Friday, August 30, 2013

Hawaii tourism slows, Maui mulls time-share ban, alleged Tulsi stalker arrested, gay marriage doesn't cause teen suicide, sneak peek at Health Connector on Kauai, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Waikiki beach (c) 2013 All Hawaii News
July is historically one of the best months for Hawaii's visitor industry. But tourism slowed last month as price sensitivity to the increasing cost of a Hawaii vacation, rising oil prices, a fragile world economy and the strengthening of the dollar affected arrivals. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii hotels charged an average daily room rate of $234.69 last, a 12.3 percent increase compared to the same week last year, while the statewide hotel occupancy rate decreased by 1.2 percentage points to 78.8 percent, according to the latest report by Hospitality Advisors LLC and Smith Travel Research. Pacific Business News.

A former Maui man who authorities believe stalked Rep. Tulsi Gabbard for two years and in early August threatened to brutally kill her was arrested in Mexico earlier this week. Aniruddha Sherbow, 43, was being held in San Diego in connection with the threat on the congresswoman’s life. Civil Beat.

A man with a history of harassing and threatening Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has been arrested after he allegedly sent an email to the FBI and media threatening to decapitate the first-term congresswoman. Associated Press.

Nearly three years after she began receiving vulgar and threatening phone calls, a grateful U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard acknowledged the work of law enforcement agencies from Washington, D.C., to Mexico after the arrest Wednesday of a 43-year-old man in Tijuana who allegedly said he would decapitate her. Star-Advertiser.

The former Hawaii resident who threatened to decapitate Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard was arrested Wednesday in Tijuana, Mexico, by Policia Estatal Preventiva, Baja California State Police Fugitive Unit. Hawaii Reporter.

A former Hawaii resident is under arrest in San Diego, accused of threatening to kill Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu Bishop Larry Silva’s claim that kids who have gay parents are more prone to suicide is FALSE. All the respected scientific studies to date have consistently found that children who grow up with gay parents are at least as likely to lead a great life as those with heterosexual parents. Civil Beat.

A new report by the Cato Institute gives Hawaii’s Department of Education an F-minus for financial transparency. Only Alaska ranks worse. Hawaii Reporter.

The former head of the state's embattled State Historic Preservation Division has worked on projects there as a state employee since stepping down from her leadership post last month, officials say. Pua Aiu resigned July 2 as the division administrator days after National Park Service officials reported that "serious problems" remain at the division. As a "high risk grantee," the division could lose its federal funding if those problems aren't fixed within a year. Star-Advertiser.

One of the largest gatherings to focus on Native Hawaiian issues takes place next week, and establishing a more direct relationship with the federal government is expected to be one of the key topics of discussion. U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, who could play a critical role at the federal level in helping guide the process, is scheduled to attend the conference Wednesday and give a keynote address, a conference planner said Thursday. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu
The Marine Corps put on a miniature air show Thursday at Kaneohe Bay to showcase the abilities of the tilt-rotor MV-22 Osprey while also getting in some training on its first afloat deployment through the Pacific as part of the three-ship Boxer Amphibious Ready Group. Star-Advertiser.

The Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay will eventually be home to two dozen Osprey. But since the Corps announced the aircraft is coming, residents who live alongside K-Bay's flight line have been worried, fearing the Osprey would crank up the noise. Hawaii News Now.

City maintenance crews continued to clear Honolulu sidewalks this week, removing 28 shopping carts and hauling away 2.14 tons of waste from Chinatown, Aala Park, Waikiki and Thomas Square. Star-Advertiser.

Chinatown has had problems with crime before, but now witnesses say a new group of thieves are just little guys, some as young as eight years old. Hawaii News Now.

U.S. State Department special agent Christopher Deedy is a free man, but he still faces the possibility of another murder trial. That's an expensive proposition, not only for Deedy but also for Honolulu taxpayers. Prosecuting Attorney Keith Kaneshiro has vowed to take the case back to court next year. Civil Beat.

Hawaii

A contractor is gearing up to begin widening a 2.5-mile stretch of Keaau-Pahoa Road. The $15 million project between Shower Drive and Keaau Bypass Road will result in a new 12-foot lane and 8-foot shoulder in the Hilo-bound direction, providing for two lanes open at all times. Tribune-Herald.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources is planning a new fence to protect the Manuka Natural Area Reserve from hoofed animals. The 22-mile fence will encompass about 24,000 acres, almost the entire reserve, and will run from sea level to 5,500 feet. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

The Maui County Council is considering a bill to prohibit new time-share units or time-share plans. Maui News.

Within a year, the state wants to charge for parking at Maalaea Harbor, much to the dismay of fishermen and those who work on the charter boats in the harbor. Maui Now.

A 45-day period for fast-track consideration has started on the proposed 48-unit Waikapū Gardens-Phase II, affordable housing project in Central Maui, council officials announced today. Maui Now.

The Maui Police Department is encouraging the public to participate in an online survey to help the department improve services to the community. Maui News.

Kauai

Kauai was treated to the first public demonstration of the Hawaii Health Connector, the state’s online health insurance marketplace, Thursday. Garden Island.

The Kauai Island Utility Cooperative announced that after Sept. 30, it will charge a fee for those who already have a smart meter installed but want it replaced with a “non-standard” meter. Garden Island.