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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Hawaii is the happiest state, legislator's racial slurs revealed, government stuck in a time warp, Kauai's only press shuts down, Abercrombie pushes public-private partnerships in Kona, plastic bag ban a success, minimum wage, GMO, election bills advance, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

surf surfing contest
Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi courtesy photo
People in Hawaii are the happiest and healthiest in the nation, according to an annual national survey released Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

State Rep. Faye Hanohano — unhappy with the paintings installed in her state Capitol office as part of a public exhibit — used racial and ethnic slurs in a tirade Monday, according to an email from a state exhibit specialist. Star-Advertiser.

Wednesday may have been the last day of recess for the full Hawaii Legislature, but for some lawmakers it was a marathon of voting on bills. Associated Press.

It could be up to voters to decide whether candidates have to actually live in the district they want to represent. And Hawaii could count military just like most everyone else does on the mainland — as residents, according to several measures before lawmakers. Civil Beat.

The first state minimum wage increase in six years became closer to reality Wednesday after lawmakers passed a bill mandating regular pay hikes through the Senate’s Ways and Means Committee. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii small business owners are imploring lawmakers this session to make changes that will allow them the freedom to make a profit, reinvest in their business and employ more people. Instead, key committee chairs are planning to increase the minimum wage and add even more regulations. Hawaii Reporter.

Hawaii lawmakers are doing more this session than ever to plug a multi-billion-dollar hole in health and retirement benefits promised to thousands of county and state workers. Civil Beat.

Walking into the windowless office where payroll is processed for the state of Hawaii is like stepping back in time. Associated Press.

Earlier this month, opponents of Genetically Engineered Food lobbied State lawmakers to encourage them to pass legislation to require the labeling of GMO foods.   Today, workers from Hawai’I’s five GMO companies … the  producers of Hawai’i’s largest agricultural commodity … visited the Capitol to tell their story. Hawaii Public Radio.

U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa has introduced a bill she says will help avert defense cuts that are due to the continuing resolution and avoid the need for layoffs at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard. Star-Advertiser.

A proposal is making its way through the State Legislature, that would raise the age limit for foster kids who receive support. KHON2.

Part 4 of a 5-part series. Read all the stories in Civil Beat's special report, In The Name Of The Law.

The number of foreclosure sales in Hawaii during the fourth quarter of 2012 fell 11 percent compared to the year before, but the average sales price of a foreclosed home jumped 24 percent, according to the latest data from RealtyTrac. Pacific Business News.

Oahu

Some 3,585 Oahu families who receive rental housing subsidies have been notified that massive federal budget cuts set to kick in Friday could leave them without a roof over their heads. Star-Advertiser.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is suing the city and Waste Management of Hawaii Inc., the operator of the Waimanalo Gulch Sanitary Landfill in Leeward Oahu, over gas emissions. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii senators are moving forward with a bill to direct the governor to purchase land owned by Turtle Bay Hotel and Resort on the North Shore. Star-Advertiser.

After hearing hundreds of complaints from riders who had longer waits for overcrowded buses, city leaders unveiled a plan Wednesday to reverse many of the cost-saving service changes for TheBus system that serves more than 200,000 riders daily. Star-Advertiser.

The company that oversees all police-initiated automobile tows for the city is continuing to overcharge motorists even though the city says it is closely monitoring the contract because of previous problems with overcharging, according to testimony at a hearing Wednesday and towing invoices reviewed by the Star-Advertiser.

Police disciplinary records are supposed to be released when an officer is discharged. But getting those records can be tough — and so expensive that most people likely can’t afford it — as Civil Beat has learned in researching this special report.

For some disabled students at Kipapa Elementary School, it was a nightmare of physical abuse, verbal assaults and emotional attacks. Hawaii News Now.

Chevron Corp.’s Hawaii operation is planning to develop a solar thermal demonstration project at its Kapolei refinery, which will be used to offset burning fossil fuels utilized to generate heat and steam for internal use. Pacific Business News.

Developer accused of ruining Hawaiian cultural site. Hawaii News Now.

Three bills aimed at clearing the homeless and their possessions from city sidewalks passed first reading at the Feb. 20 City Council meeting. Honolulu Weekly.

Hawaii

The first month of Hawaii County’s plastic bag ban seems to have been a resounding success, members of the county Environmental Management Commission learned Wednesday. West Hawaii Today.

Five of the nine County Council members will travel to Washington, D.C., this week for the National Association of Counties legislative conference. Tribune-Herald.

Neil Abercrombie came to Kona on Wednesday to push one message: Hawaii needs public-private partnerships. West Hawaii Today.

Police Chief Harry S. Kubojiri gave an overview of crime and traffic trends in Hawaii County on Tuesday to members of the Hawaii Island Chamber of Commerce. Tribune-Herald.

A state transportation official will hold a meeting next week to update the public on the status of an expansion project at Kona International Airport. Big Island Now.

The former home of Miko Meats is undergoing transformation to a new business incubator, creating jobs and building community in East Hawaii. Tribune-Herald.

Maui
A new county office building on the old Wailuku Post Office site moved a step closer to being built as a Maui County Council committee recommended approval of $1.5 million for planning and design. Maui News.

Maui Planning Commission members approved Tuesday a special management area permit for HFM Maui to build a 45,000-square-foot warehouse at 120 Kane St. in Kahului on the 2.5-acre former site of Maui Land & Pineapple's administrative and corporate offices. Maui News.

With a 6-3 vote, the state Land Use Commission determined that owners of Kihei property slated for retail--Pi'ilani Promenade and Maui Outlets--and apartment development violated three conditions of the original 1995 order that changed the permitted land use from "Agricultural" to "Urban." Maui Weekly.

Kauai

Kaua‘i is the first major Hawaiian island to not have a press. Starting with Friday’s edition, The Garden Island will be printed on O‘ahu Publication Inc.’s $80,000,000 state-of-the art printing facility launched in 2004 at Kapolei. Out of 42 staff, the new operations retained 17 workers.

The Kaua‘i Planning Commission on Tuesday approved an office building in Hanalei in the front portion of a highway-facing lot, despite the outcry of members of the Hanalei to Ha‘ena Community Association, who wanted the building far from the highway as possible. Garden Island.


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Hawaii Legislature looks at decriminalizing marijuana, hospital privatization mulled, UH cuts NEA ties, Waikiki beach smoking ban advances, Ellison expanding Island Air, Singapore buys Maui's Grand Wailea resort, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

hemp field in France
Hawaii Rep. Cynthia Thielen in hemp field in France, courtesy photo Hawaii House Republicans

State senators are drafting a bill that would decriminalize the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana but would impose a stiff fine on those caught with the drug. Star-Advertiser.

Senate Moves On Civil Violation For Pakalolo. Civil Beat.

Hawaii House and Senate judiciary committees are moving forward bills to decriminalize marijuana, curb child prostitution and reform state elections. Associated Press.

New House Leadership Accuses Calvin Say Of Last Ditch Power Grab. Civil Beat.

Lawmakers are aiming to increase voter turnout through a bill that would allow residents to register to vote on Election Day. Star-Advertiser.

House Bill 1481 would set up a comprehensive public funding program of candidates for state senator and state representative. Money would be appropriated to fund the program beginning in the 2016 elections. Civil Beat.

Bills paving the way for a turnover of the state’s public hospitals on Maui and Hawaii Island to a private nonprofit were sponsored six months after one particular nonprofit, Banner Health, began talking to Hawaii Health Systems Corp. about the possibility. The Senate version of the bill would apparently allow HHSC to contract with Banner without putting the multimillion-dollar transaction out for competitive bids. West Hawaii Today.

Banner Health, a Phoenix-based nonprofit operating 23 owned and leased hospitals in seven states, has set its sights on Hawaii. West Hawaii Today.

The University of Hawaii's faculty union has voted to end its affiliation with the National Education Association, despite serious concerns from some members. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii teachers say they were shocked and angered to hear Gov. Neil Abercrombie tell a group of the nation's governors that the state may again impose a labor contract on teachers if a 2013-15 deal isn't reached. Star-Advertiser.

Local Media Shy Away From Critical Reporting On Military. Civil Beat.

Part 3 of 5: Even before Hawaii Circuit Court Judge John Lim unequivocally championed the public interest in police disciplinary actions and ruled against the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers, SHOPO had a Plan B — get the Legislature to do what the courts would not. Civil Beat.

Hawaii’s most visited attractions, including the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island, Haleakala National Park on Maui and other national wonders, could feel the pinch if sequestration goes through. Pacific Business News.

State roundup for February 27. Associated Press.

Oahu
A bill barring smoking at major beaches in Waikiki, Ala Moana and East Hono­lulu and at Kapiolani Park is now poised for a final vote of the City Council after being approved by the Council's Public Safety and Economic Development Committee on Tuesday. Star-Advertiser.

A bill making it harder for people to keep tents and other items on Oahu sidewalks was given preliminary approval Tuesday by the City Council's Public Safety and Economic Development Committee. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu City Council today advanced a bill that would allow the immediate removal of personal property or other items from city sidewalks. Hawaii Public Radio.

Seven months after they started spinning, the Kahuku wind mills stopped because of a fire. The fact that they're sitting idle is having an ripple effect that reaches your electric bill. KHON2.

Some state lawmakers and many viewers are questioning the University of Hawaii and its decision to spend $260,000 on another study to look into the Stevie Wonder blunder concert last year. Hawaii News Now.

The Korean church behind an ambitious plan to launch a farm and kim chee factory in Wai­anae that will be largely staffed by homeless people has lots of obstacles yet to overcome but is kicking off a fundraising effort to help push things along. Star-Advertiser.

For half a dozen former Kipapa Elementary School students, room P-10 was a little class of horrors. Hawaii New Now has learned that the families of six disabled students have now come forward with allegations of abuse by staffers at this Mililani School. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii

Should the Banyan Drive resort area be transferred to Hawaii County? The state Senate’s Ways and Means Committee will consider that question today when it takes up a bill that would make the county the landlord for the nine hotel properties. Tribune-Herald.

Bids for the proposed Laaloa Avenue extension came in significantly lower than expected, Public Works Director Warren Lee said Tuesday. West Hawaii Today.

Sen. Josh Green says the Department of Transportation will start working on the Queen Kaahumanu Highway widening project in June, unless Native Hawaiians who previously objected to the expansion path file a lawsuit. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii County citizens voted for a new county prosecutor for the first time in 20 years last November. The new prosecutor has been on the job for nearly three months now. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park could take a sizable hit to its operations if Congress allows across-the-board, 5 percent budget cuts to go into effect at multiple government agencies on Friday. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

A chicken got into a Maui Electric Co. transformer in the rental car area at Kahului Airport on Tuesday afternoon, causing a power outage at the airport that left some passengers having to disembark their planes the old way -- by mobile stairway. Maui News.

Farmers, ranchers and private landowners are worried that they could face more government regulations, see their businesses hurt and even be sued if their properties are included in federal proposed critical habitats for threatened and endangered species in Maui County. Maui News.

A bankruptcy judge in New York approved a plan last week to sell the Grand Wailea and three other U.S. luxury resorts to a Singaporean government investment fund, according to court documents. Maui News.

The state Department of Health licensed Hale Makua last week to be an adult residential care home. Maui News.

Kauai

The Kaua‘i Planning Commission approved the consolidation of two large lots where the Hanalei Plantation Resort is being proposed to be developed. Garden Island.

The Kaua‘i Chamber of Commerce will be hosting the first of three Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative 2013 Board of Directors candidate forums today from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Kaua‘i Community College, Office of Continuing Education and Training Building, Room 106. Garden Island.

A group of thieves broke into the vacant Coco Palms Resort in Wailua Beach Saturday night, making off with four solid koa wood doors from the Queen’s Auditorium Hall. Garden Island.

Lanai

Billionaire Larry Ellison now owns an airline to go along with his island. Local carrier Island Air confirmed Tuesday that Ellison, who bought 97 percent of Lanai in June, has completed a deal to buy the company, ending weeks of speculation that the country's third-richest man was going to further entrench himself in Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.

Larry Ellison, the billionaire owner of the Hawaiian island of Lanai, bought the Hawaii interisland airline Island Air on Tuesday for an undisclosed price. Pacific Business News.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Hawaii tourism blitz targets snowy Mainland markets, Kauai police face wrongful death lawsuit, geothermal, GMO, government contractors mulled by Legislature, UH regents study spending, police misconduct scrutinized, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2013 All Hawaii News
Waikiki beach scene (c) 2013 All Hawaii News
Hawaii tourism blitz aims to hit winter-weary New York and Chicago markets. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii public schools won't immediately feel the effects of across-the-board federal budget cuts set to begin Friday, school officials said. Star-Advertiser.

Education leaders are trying to close the gap in student learning time between Hawaii's public school campuses. Hawaii News Now.

As across-the-board federal budget cuts loom, nonprofits are bracing for decreased funding for safety-net programs as they also predict increases in need. Star-Advertiser.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie today announced the release of $113 million for various capital improvement projects at airports and harbors throughout the State of Hawaii. Hawaii Reporter.

A University of Hawaii Board of Regents task group will spend up to $260,000 to conduct a study of accountability in the UH system and lines of responsibility on financial transactions. Star-Advertiser.

A bill before state legislators would allow state and county officials to consider a contractor’s past performance when a new project is up for bid. West Hawaii Today.

Kaiser Permanente Hawaii said it is forging ahead with a plan to eliminate 46 registered nurse positions at some primary care clinics over the next few months. Star-Advertiser.

On Thursday at 3pm, organizers will deliver a petition asking Hawaii Senate President Donna Mercado Kim to rescind her appointment of Monsanto Lobbyist, Alan Takemoto, to the Water Commission nominating committee. Hawaii Reporter.

The state Department of Public Safety has established a Nixle account that will allow information about prison escapes and other events to be distributed to Hawaii residents in a timely fashion. Star-Advertiser.

The Verdict: Judge Rules In Favor Of Public Disclosure Of Misconduct. Civil Beat.

Those who take care and board Hawai’i’s foster children have not been given a single raise in more than 22 years.   As HPR’s Wayne Yoshioka reports … state lawmakers are considering a state-wide increase this session. Hawaii Public Radio.

State roundup for February 26. Associated Press.

Oahu

The city of Honolulu's former corporation counsel won't be returning to his old office. David Arakawa withdrew himself from consideration to become corporation counsel for personal reasons, Arakawa and Mayor Kirk Caldwell confirmed Monday in a joint statement to the Star-Advertiser.

After years of neglecting road repairs across Oahu, Mayor Kirk Caldwell and other city leaders Monday urged unprecedented spending to repave the city's most damaged and degraded streets through the next five years. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell has announced an aggressive plan to repave almost half of the city's roads in the next five years. Hawaii News Now.

Taxpayers are on the hook to settle a lawsuit over allegations of sex assault at the Hawaii Center for the Deaf and Blind. But the nearly $6 million settlement isn't the only thing that will cost the state money. KHON2.

On March 29, 1994, nearly 500 police officers staged a show of force at the state courthouse in downtown Honolulu the likes of which hadn’t been seen in the islands before or since. Civil Beat.

Chevron Corp.’s Hawaii operation is planning to develop a solar thermal demonstration project at its Kapolei refinery, which will be used to offset burning fossil fuels utilized to generate heat and steam for internal use. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii

Hawaii lawmakers are debating a bill to give the counties more control over the development of geothermal energy resources. Associated Press.

Jim Albertini will be able to speak at Hilo High School after all. The anti-war activist said that Principal Bob Dircks notified his attorney on Friday that he will be allowed to speak to students, reversing a decision made two days prior to cancel the event due to a backlash over his outspoken views of the military. Tribune-Herald.

A North Kona man says he heard hunters firing at animals on Hualalai’s upper slopes last week, but a Kamehameha Schools spokesman says the organization wasn’t doing any aerial hunting. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

The governor today announced the release of $50 million for a portion of the Kahului Airport Access Road on Maui, and $600,000 for the demolition and relocation of the Kahului Harbor District Office. Maui Now.

Whale count suggests that peak season still to come. Maui News.

With the 428-foot-tall wind turbines in the Auwahi Wind energy project completed, state and community officials viewed the towers dotting the southern slope of Haleakala as a symbol of renewable energy. Maui News.

Kauai

The Charter Review Commission — in a 5-2 vote — decided Monday to keep working on a proposal to slice the island into different districts when electing Kaua‘i County Council members. Garden Island.

After a short discussion, the Kaua‘i County Council’s Parks and Recreation Committee last week voted to approve a bill that would bring back a late-night alcohol prohibition to parks and facilities. Garden Island.

The family of a man shot to death by Kauai police a year ago has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the department, Kauai County and the officer involved in the shooting. Associated Press.

Work to repair the bridge located on Waha Road started Monday in Lawa‘i. Garden Island.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Hawaii humpback whales at risk in boat collisions, Abercrombie seeks to give startups $20M, Maui Four Seasons sued to keep beach access public, hotel rates up 13%, sequestration threatens state projects, police conduct scrutinized, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

NOAA courtesy photo
Hawaii humpback whale NOAA courtesy photo
A spate of collisions between vessels and endangered humpback whales has prompted some scientists to call for stricter rules — including boating speed limits — in the animals' winter migratory waters in Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.

Sunday night, the White House released state-by-state summaries of what automatic budget cuts would mean. Hawaii faces the loss of funding — including for Head Start, vaccinations for children and law enforcement — as well as furloughs of members of the military. Civil Beat.

The White House has released a list of cuts that could affect Hawaii if sequestration cuts take effect Friday. Hawaii News Now.

The White House released a report today showing which Hawaii programs and jobs would be on the chopping block if sequestration, or automatic budget cuts, take place. KHON2.

Schofield Barracks and other Army installations in Hawaii would see their base operations budgets cut by $106 million, and funding for Air Force operations in the Islands would be cut by $15 million if the looming federal budget cuts take place, according to a report released by the White House Sunday that details how the cuts would affect each of the states. Pacific Business News.

The forecasted cuts to Hawaii's federal programs are detailed in the study "Under Threat: Sequestration's Impact on Nondefense Jobs and Services." Maui News.

Looking to drive entrepreneurship in an economy dominated by tourism and the military, the Abercrombie administration is willing to spend $20 million over two years to help local startup companies take ideas to market. Star-Advertiser.

For the past six months, Civil Beat has been revisiting the question of whether the public can trust that Hawaii’s police officers, with their extraordinary power over ordinary citizens, are being held accountable for their actions. Civil Beat.

The state Legislature is technically on recess, but Hawaii lawmakers aren’t taking a break. Associated Press.

It’s Your Money: Taxpayers Owe $550K After Kids Are Put in ‘House of Horror’ Civil Beat.

Hawaii hotels were 89.7 percent full last week, 2.3 percentage points higher than the same week in 2012 and the statewide average daily room rate rose nearly 13 percent to $235.52, according to a report from Hospitality Advisors LLC and Smith Travel Research. Pacific Business News.

Melting ice is causing a rise in sea level and the place where that will be felt the hardest is Hawaii, according to a new study out this month from a university in Italy. KITV4.

State roundup for February 25. Associated Press.

Oahu

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell will announce today a sweeping plan to fix and repave all city roads needing repair in the next five years. Star-Advertiser.

A searchable database of the 3,000 Oahu road segments scheduled to be repaired over the next five years. Star-Advertiser.

For more than a decade, some of the administrators and students at Hawaii School for the Deaf and Blind covered up a terrible secret – young children between 12 and 16 years old were being terrorized - robbed, raped, sodomized and even gang raped on campus and on the school buses – not by employees, but by other children. Hawaii Reporter.

Thousands of items of clothing worn in the hit ABC television shows including "Lost," "the River" and "The Last Resort" were given to Goodwill. KITV4.

Hawaii

Relatives and friends — and Helene Hale had a lot of them — gathered Sunday night at the ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center to honor the life of one of Hawaii’s most remarkable women. Tribune-Herald.

A long-delayed replacement of Hilo International Airport’s cargo facilities is now under way, and East Hawaii officials say they expect it to provide a much-needed boost to the economy. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaiian cultural and natural history was celebrated Saturday at the Amy B.H. Greenwell Enthobotanical Garden in Captain Cook. West Hawaii Today.

Hualalai Resort estate to be sold at auction. Pacific Business News.

Maui
A 2nd Circuit Court complaint has been filed to stop the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea from taking a public portion of Wailea Beach for its guests' exclusive use. Maui News.

A council committee will review a proposal on Monday that seeks the designation of 271,062 acres on Maui as critical habitat for endangered species. Maui Now.

Deer weigh heavily on isle. Maui News.

Kauai

Strong winter tradewinds are contributing to an increase in debris from the March 2011 Japa­nese tsunami reaching coastal areas off Kauai and other Hawaii islands, sometimes smashing against reefs and carrying suspected alien species. Star-Advertiser.

Volunteers were up on Kaua‘i, but whales were not Saturday, as the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary hosted the second of three Ocean Counts. Garden Island.

Carl Berg, chairman of the Surfrider Foundation of Kaua‘i, said recently that while Kaua‘i’s beaches and surf spots remained, on the whole, pretty clean, Kaua‘i’s rivers remain contaminated with bacteria. Garden Island.

George and Shirley Snead dutifully pay the monthly maintenance fee on their Kauai condominium. But recently they had to help pay such fees for other owners as part of what some call an unanticipated consequence of recent amendments to Hawaii foreclosure law. Star-Advertiser.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Hilo High School cancels peace activist presentation, Kona coffee growers fined for 5-yr-old pickers, Legislature seeks to ban employers from getting social media passwords, skimming from pension fund puts Hawaii in the red, six sue Catholic Church, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2013 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Hilo peace protest (c) 2013 All Hawaii News
Hilo High School has cancelled a presentation by anti-war activist Jim Albertini following objections raised by the school librarian, parents and others. Tribune-Herald.

State lawmakers are considering a bill that would prevent employers from requesting or requiring employees or job applicants to hand over log-in and password information for their personal or social media accounts. Star-Advertiser.

FACT CHECK—Abercrombie: Critical Public Services Have Been Restored - Half-True. Civil Beat.

The public pension system for state and county workers would have been about 95 percent funded had the state not diverted money from the fund in decades past, the pension administrator said this week. Star-Advertiser.

Ask a state or county worker if there are too many government employees in Hawaii, and the answer will likely be ‘no!’ Hawaii Reporter.

Several Hawaii lawmakers are pushing for a bill requiring more background checks for gun owners in the state along with a firearms buyback program. Associated Press.

Six Hawaii residents have filed suit against the the Diocese of Hawaii, the Catholic Foreign Mission Society of America, the Congregation of Christian Brothers of Hawaii and the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary alleging sexual abuse. Star-Advertiser.

The biggest challenge for many Hawai'i residents who want to install solar water heaters or rooftop systems is the up front cost—which is why state lawmakers and industry experts are working on a way for more people to benefit from clean energy and it's savings by getting it with no money down. Hawaii News Now.

As the debate over how to allow a path toward citizenship for America’s 11 million illegal immigrants continues in Washington, Hawaii residents are worried that a related immigration issue — family reunification — will fall by the wayside. Civil Beat.

According to the latest U-S Census … immigrants comprise about 20 percent of Hawai’i’s population and workforce. But for many … especially the 35-thousand or so undocumented immigrants … the road to citizenship is a long and lonely one. Hawaii Public Radio.

State Public Safety Director Ted Sakai said he is taking steps to ensure no other inmate escapes from the custody of corrections officers in the same manner as murder suspect Teddy Munet, who fled while getting out of a van at Circuit Court in Kakaako Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

University of Hawaii regents voted unanimously Thursday morning to place restrictions on paid leave taken by executives. Tribune-Herald.

The University of Hawaii Board of Regents approved a plan Thursday to name four UH buildings or programs after the late U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye. Star-Advertiser.

With Hawaii facing the prospect of losing both its oil refineries, Gov. Neil Abercrombie issued an executive order this week creating the Refinery Task Force. Civil Beat.

State roundup for February 22. Associated Press.

Oahu
The University of Hawaii Board of Regents on Thursday named Rockne Freitas to serve as chancellor of the University of Hawaii West Oahu campus for a three-year term. Pacific Business News.

Boxes of data and equipment have yet to be unpacked, and desks wait to be occupied, but research and collaboration are well under way at the new University of Hawaii Cancer Center in Kakaako. Star-Advertiser.

A bill aimed at allowing Oahu residents to keep more chicken hens in their yards isn't ready to hatch just yet. Star-Advertiser.

More than 350 Pearl Harbor shipyard workers could be laid off as the Navy faces a funding shortfall due to a budget stalemate, officials said. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

A community college for West Hawaii moved a step closer Thursday when the University of Hawaii Board of Regents approved “repurposing” money left over from an Oahu project to pay higher-than-expected construction costs. West Hawaii Today.

Some of Kailua-Kona's well-known coffee growers and producers are being required to pay more than $100,000 in back wages and penalties for labor violations, including failing to pay minimum wage and putting 5-year-olds to work picking coffee. Star-Advertiser.

Developers seeking a subdivision code variance through a planned unit development would need to hold a public meeting before filing an application and wait for another public meeting after the planning director considers the request under proposed changes to the county code. West Hawaii Today.

U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono talks with Ernest Matsumura, the East Hawaii Community Development Corporation Board chairman and building owner, during a tour of his property Wednesday afternoon. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Four Hawaii beaches, including No. 1 Kaanapali Beach on Maui, are among the top 10 beaches in the United States, according to TripAdvisor’s 2013 Travelers’ Choice Beach Awards. Pacific Business News.

About 100 veterans and residents told new U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard on Wednesday about the difficulties of receiving medical attention and the "revolving-door process" for veterans being treated by doctors and nurses. Maui News.

Kauai

The Kaua‘i County Council’s Public Works Committee on Wednesday approved a bill that exempts certain agricultural structures from seeking county building permits. The bill aligns with Act 114, signed by Gov. Neil Abercrombie last summer, following a law passed by the state Legislature. Garden Island.

A bill that would put a reserve fund in the county budget survived a motion for a four-month deferral, after the proposal got stuck on a 2-2 decision by the members of the Kaua‘i County Council’s Finance Committee Wednesday. Garden Island.

Defense Witnesses in Jimmy Pflueger's Federal Tax Fraud Trial Include Well Known Politicians. Hawaii Reporter.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Hawaii gets $17M for road repair, bill would keep candidates' hands off ballots, Public Safety mulls how murderer escaped, AP students increase, deaf fight for services, Maui mayor seeks water rate hikes, Kauai county prosecutor breaks hip, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2013 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Hawaii roadway (c) 2013 All Hawaii News
he state of Hawaii will be receiving $17 million in disaster relief funds to repair roads and highways. Associated Press.

Senator Mazie K. Hirono, Senator Brian Schatz, and Representative Tulsi Gabbard announced today that Hawaii will receive $17 million for disaster relief. Hawaii Reporter.

Senate Bill 827 would prohibit candidates from physically handling or possessing absentee ballots and voter registration forms. Civil Beat.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie may be asked to sign legislation that would give the state Senate reasons to impeach him. Civil Beat.

Conflicting testimony by the current and former directors of the State Ethics Commission before a Senate committee earlier this month exposed different perspectives on the interpretation of a key conflict of interest provision and of the ethics laws more generally. Civil Beat.

Deaf people and advocates are fighting to preserve state-funded interpreter referral and independent living services, saying they are vital to helping members of the deaf community operate in the hearing world. Star-Advertiser.

The percentage of Hawaii students taking Advanced Placement courses increased faster than the national average, and students scored higher than last year, while still trailing their national counterparts. West Hawaii Today.

More than 1 million federal employees, including thousands of workers in Hawaii, will likely be forced to take unpaid furloughs starting in April because of the $85 billion in spending cuts that will go into effect March 1 if Congress doesn’t act. Pacific Business News.

19,000 Hawaii Defense Workers At Risk Of Being Furloughed. Civil Beat.

Seven years after the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands became the world’s first oceanic no-fishing marine reserve, Hawaii’s example is being followed by countries ranging from Great Britain to Chile, giving hope that the huge areas they are protecting will become invaluable food banks as the world’s oceans are inexorably fished out and the global catch continues its 30-year-old decline. Honolulu Weekly.

Are Hawaii Schools Doing Enough to Prevent Youth Sports Concussions? Civil Beat.

It took a full presidential term, a re-election, and the work of a determined journalist before President Barack Obama agreed to a one-on-one interview with a television news crew from Hawaii. KITV4.

Oahu

Union fights Council on nonresort lodging: A bill allowing limited service hotels in lower density, mixed-use neighborhoods of West and Central Oahu was sent back to the City Council Planning and Zoning Committee for retinkering on Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

A proposal to build a canoe hale and park could end the controversy over what to do with eight city-owned parcels in Haleiwa. Star-Advertiser.

Public safety officials are trying to piece together how murder suspect Teddy Munet escaped from corrections officers behind the Circuit Court building in Kakaako on Wednesday morning. More than 11 hours later, Munet, 29, was arrested without incident by Honolulu police on Waimanu Street — about eight blocks away — after a tip was called into 911. Star-Advertiser.

This is the second time in less than four months that a prisoner has escaped from circuit court. Officials say, yes, it's definitely a concern, but if inmates are desperate, they'll try anything. Hawaii News Now.

The Honolulu City Council heard testimony on Bill 2, 6, and 7, which all look to give power to the police to regulate and remove people or property that are "nuisances to the public." KHON2.

On a quiet hillside above Haleiwa town, Seneca Klassen is planting cacao seedlings on the last of his 14 acres, next to trees he planted a few years ago that are now laden with the nubby pods that yield chocolate. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

More homeowners could soon be moved away from Puna Geothermal Venture with the help of Hawaii County. Tribune-Herald.

Keaukaha residents will have to endure another two months of heavy traffic as the sewer project that has rerouted drivers from Kalanianaole Avenue faces delays. Tribune-Herald.

Cultural Learning Center to Replace Former Keauhou Beach Hotel. Hawaii Public Radio.

Maui

Mayor Alan Arakawa on Wednesday called for water rate hikes of 5 percent across the board, noting repairs and upgrades that are long overdue for the county's aging water system.  Maui News.

Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa delivered his State of the County Address before an auditorium of guests at the HP Baldwin High School Auditorium in Wailuku on Wednesday night. Maui Now.

A 6-3 vote by the state Land Use Commission found the landowners of Pi'ilani Promenade, Maui Outlets and a housing project in violation of the original order granted in 1995 that converted the land from agricultural to urban use. Maui Weekly.

Kahana Sunset apartment owners worry about the next big winter storm. Perched near the water's edge at Keonenui Bay in Napili, the 4.5-acre, six-building apartment complex has had some close calls with destructive surf since the 79-unit resort was built in 1971. Maui News.

Kauai

Kaua‘i County Prosecuting Attorney Justin Kollar has suffered a broken hip. Kollar reported Wednesday that he is presently out of the office to take care of a broken hip, but that he remains in close contact with his staff on a daily basis, according to county spokeswoman Beth Tokioka. Garden Island.

Nancy Pflueger said she doesn’t know who signed the joint federal income tax returns filed for the years 2003 through 2006 for her and her husband, but that the signatures on the documents are not hers. Star-Advertiser.

Lanai

Lanai majority owner Larry Ellison, who met face-to-face for the first time with Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa on Tuesday aboard the billionaire’s yacht off the coast of the Pineapple Isle, revealed new development plans for Lanai, which he reportedly bought for an estimated $500 million last June. Pacific Business News.

Molokai

When the Kalaupapa post office wasn’t shut down last year, the small, isolated community considered it a big victory. The patients and staff at the former Hansen’s Disease settlement recently celebrated again as they learned their post office – a vital communication lifeline for the area – will extend its operating time by two hours a day, a rare deal in this unstable time for the United States Postal Service. Molokai Dispatch.


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Gay Dems file complaints over marriage definition bills, $5.75M class action settlement over sex abuse at blind and deaf school advances, hotel tax increase mulled, Oahu red light bill advances, Ellison meets Maui mayor, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2013 All Hawaii News
Honolulu gay rally (c) 2013 All Hawaii News
Gay activists in the Democratic Party of Hawaii said Tuesday they have filed complaints against 11 state House and Senate Democrats for sponsoring a constitutional amendment that would ask voters whether marriage should be defined as between a man and a woman. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii state Senate voted unanimously Tuesday to get rid of the heavily criticized Public Land Development Corp. Associated Press.

In an effort to make legislators' financial disclosures more pertinent to the legislative session, House Bill 1132, which passed a second House committee Tuesday and now heads to the floor for a full vote, would move the disclosure deadline to between Jan. 1 and Jan. 31. Civil Beat.

A federal judge granted preliminary approval Tuesday to a proposed $5.75 million class-action settlement of a lawsuit accusing the state of allowing and covering up years of sexual abuse of students at Hawaii School for the Deaf and Blind. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii lawmakers are considering a proposal that would increase the hotel room tax known as the Transient Accommodation Tax (TAT) by 2 percent from 9.25 to 11.25 percent. Hawaii Reporter.

Hawaii Board of Education members said Tuesday that they are tired of hearing the same progress reports on how the department plans to fix its student transportation system. Civil Beat.

The University of Hawaii has asked the attorney general's office to assist in an investigation of allegations that a top UH official wasted potentially millions of dollars in state money through the mismanagement of construction projects, including steering contracts to friends. Star-Advertiser.

University of Hawaii officials have announced they’ll investigate allegations that a university administrator wasted what could add up to millions of taxpayer dollars. Civil Beat.

The University of Hawaii Board of Regents and UH President M.R.C. Greenwood are scheduled to discuss allegations of mismanagement made by a prominent Honolulu engineer at the board’s regularly scheduled meeting Thursday in Hilo. Star-Advertiser.

University of Hawaii executives who take sabbaticals would have to make clear how their paid time away will benefit the institution, under a proposal set to go before the Board of Regents on Thursday. Star-Advertiser.

The University of Hawaii Board of Regents is considering a policy change that would give undocumented immigrants the chance to qualify for resident tuition rates at a UH community college or four-year campus. Star-Advertiser.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie said Tuesday that he has created a 29-member task force to assess the impact of the closure later this year of Tesoro Corp.’s Hawaii refinery. Pacific Business News.

Salary hikes are on the table across the islands for elected and appointed officials, though setting the right pay is a moving target. KHON2.

A new state task force will look into Hawaii’s future energy prospects if both of the states oil refineries close. Civil Beat.

KITV4 News is excited to announce an exclusive interview with President Barack Obama. KITV4.

Oahu

A new bill to install red-light cameras at intersections across Oahu is gaining speed, and state lawmakers are encouraged that this year’s effort could succeed where previous attempts hit the skids. Star-Advertiser.

The ban on all commercial activities at O’ahu City Parks was reversed today by the Caldwell Administration. Hawaii Public Radio.

A Moanalua mother is fighting for her right to breastfeed in public. Hawaii News Now.

The owner of Ala Moana Center is forcing Sears to close more than six months earlier than scheduled to demolish the 340,000-square-foot anchor store in July and start an extensive expansion of the state's largest shopping complex. Star-Advertiser.

About 125 BAE Systems Hawaii workers at Schofield Barracks received notice Friday that they are being furloughed immediately for 30 days, officials said. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

The chances of Congress heading off sequestration — across the board budget cuts for federal departments and programs — are slim at this point, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard said during a Kona visit Tuesday. West Hawaii Today.

A move to have the County Council represented by a different attorney than the one representing the mayor was summarily shot down Tuesday by a County Council committee. West Hawaii Today.

School Librarian Takes Exception With Anti-War Presentation. Big Island Now.

A Connections New Century Public Charter School employee is appealing an ethics commission ruling after being slapped with a $10,000 fine earlier this month. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

On the Mainland there were Manzanar and Tule Lake, perhaps the two most-known Japanese-American internment camps. But not many know of Honouliuli on Oahu and Kalaheo Stockade on Kauai - two of Hawaii's 13 internment camps during World War II. Maui News.

The Mayor Arakawa Community Kokua Fund, will host its signature Mayor’s Kokua Ball fundraising event on Saturday, March 9. Maui Now.

Kauai

Work is ready to commence on the construction of the Hanalei Pier canopy, said Tony Motta, president of the Rotary Club of Hanalei Bay, who was joined by Rotary Club members, supporters for the Save the Pier campaign, and dignitaries from the county of Kaua‘i during the blessing for the construction of the canopy Tuesday. Garden Island.

A recently released report indicates that promoting health and community interaction can also be a source of economic wealth for Kaua‘i. Garden Island.

Lanai

Larry Ellison, the corporate titan who bought the majority of Lanai last summer, has had his first meeting with Maui Mayor Alan Arawaka. The two posed for pictures Tuesday on the yacht owned by the Oracle Corp. CEO. Pacific Business News.

See photo here.

Larry Ellison’s Lanai Resorts LLC has named Arlan Chun, a former Hawaii executive with developers OliverMcMillan and DMB Associates, as vice president of all development and construction on Lanai. Pacific Business News.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Aquarium fish in jeopardy, Hawaii tax office backs off hefty filing fee, UH profs consider severing NEA ties, military cuts could hurt, plan could help solar panel installation, Steve Case licks wounds on Maui, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2013 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Yellow tang off Hawaii coast (c) 2013 All Hawaii News
Aquarium fish collectors love yellow tang, the electric-yellow fish that once thrived off the Hawaiian islands. But a successful research program on the brink of helping ease depletion of the wild species is facing an uncertain future. Civil Beat.

The state might help more consumers afford solar panels by tapping into the same bond financing that utilities have used to improve power plants and respond to storm damage. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii tax officials have backed off on plans to charge an extra fee to residents who file their taxes electronically after tax preparers used to doing so for free raised a big stink. Civil Beat.

The University of Hawaii's faculty union will decide this month whether to end its affiliation with the National Education Association, a move proponents say would save money and sharpen the union's focus. Star-Advertiser.

In the midst of the national debate over immigration, the University of Hawaii system is poised to begin treating undocumented students as state residents — a move that would make it less expensive to attend college and open up career paths for perhaps hundreds of young people. Civil Beat.

The University of Hawaii has received a $3 million gift in support of cancer and oceanographic research. Associated Press.

Hawaii among most vulnerable to federal military cuts. Associated Press.

Hawaii is the state most vulnerable to federal defense budget cuts, according to a report released Monday by Wells Fargo Securities. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz has tapped field representatives on Oahu, Kauai, Maui and the Big Island, including the CEO of a Kauai engineering firm and the COO of L&L Franchise Inc., to help his office engage with local communities. Pacific Business News.

Trafficked Thai Workers' Dreams Become Nightmares. Hawaii Reporter.

Stunning underwater video of a Hawaii-based shark conservationist petting and swimming very close to a Great White shark is aimed at teaching people that not all sharks are violent, blood-hungry creatures, according to the people who shot the footage. Hawaii News Now.

Oahu

The Waikiki Health Center, Honolulu's largest homeless service provider and operator of the city's biggest emergency shelter, has opted out of a plan to get some of Oahu's most mentally ill homeless off the street. Star-Advertiser.

The destroyer USS Russell has been replaced at Pearl Harbor by the destroyer USS Halsey in what's known as a "hull swap," but planned upgrades of the Russell that prompted the move are in jeopardy because of military-wide budget shortages, the Navy said. Star-Advertiser.

About 100 Kaiser Permanente Hawaii workers have authorized their union to move forward with preparations, including a potential strike, over layoffs due to the planned closure of Kaiser's Honolulu Clinic Urgent Care Center. Star-Advertiser.

Billionaire investor plans to change image of Kahala. Hawaii News Now.

A fishing boat that recently reached Hawaii has been confirmed as debris from the Japan tsunami, capping off a busy week of discoveries. KHON2.

Hawaii

April 23 marks the 20th anniversary of the West Hawaii Sanitary Landfill in Puuanahulu, an ambitious public-private contract born of necessity and forged through a lawsuit over union labor. West Hawaii Today.

A measure to codify language about public access and open space land Hawaii County voters approved six years ago goes before the County Council for its final reading Wednesday. West Hawaii Today.

HPR is getting underway with its next signal enhancement project – the building of a new HPR-2 transmitter for West Hawaii. HPR has just made the $100,000 goal needed for the West Hawaii KHPH transmitter. Hawaii Public Radio.

World-renowned inventor and engineer Graham Hawkes hopes to inspire the next generation of ocean explorers with his latest machine. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Steve Case's fortunes ballooned as the chairman of AOL was able to gobble up Time Warner in hopes of building an old/new media behemoth. It all unraveled at the dawn of the 21st century, and Case's fortune is a mere shadow of its past. But if you feel like you want to weep for the guy, take the road past Kaanapali and Napili to the far northwest coast of Maui. Orange County Register.

A bill that authorizes the mayor and the Department of Water Supply director to declare "water shortages" and to impose higher rates for Maui County residents is one step closer to becoming law with the Maui County Council on Friday approving the measure on first reading. Maui News.

A bill that would establish a Mala Wharf Task Force to examine the feasibility of redeveloping the collapsed pier at Mala Wharf on Maui, gained preliminary approval by a House committee on Friday. Maui Now.

Kauai

On Presidents’ Day, U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono met with about 40 veterans at the Kaua‘i Veterans Center to listen to their various concerns on jobs, health and education. Garden Island.

After several weeks of fine-tuning, the Kaua‘i County Council on Wednesday gave its final approval on a law that creates a planning enforcement account, where fines collected by the Planning Department will be deposited and used toward enforcement of zoning laws. Garden Island.

There are more than 200 former residents of the Marshall Islands on Kaua‘i, and they are adapting to Kaua‘i’s (comparatively) fast-paced lifestyle, leaders of the community said last week.  Garden Island.


Monday, February 18, 2013

Bag fee advancing in Hawaii Legislature, adult care industry lobbies to keep inspections secret, Hawaii court says online commenter can remain anonymous, Honolulu revisits commercial beach ban, Young Bros. seeks shipping increase, tsunami debris washing onto Kauai, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2013 All Hawaii News
Hawaii KTA grocery clerks (c) 2013 All Hawaii News
Gov. Neil Abercrombie's plan to raise money for watershed protection and invasive species control by charging consumers a 10-cent fee on disposable checkout bags or increasing taxes on multimillion-dollar real estate transactions is alive at the state Legislature. Star-Advertiser.

Amid a downpour of last-minute criticism from the adult care home industry, Hawaii lawmakers further diluted a bill that would require the state to post online its inspection reports of facilities for the elderly and disabled. Civil Beat.

Representatives from three House committees are moving forward a plan to let Hawaii raise revenue by developing unused public school lands. Associated Press.

A bill that would require coverage and benefits for patients with autism spectrum disorders passed committee approval in the state House on Friday. Maui Now.

Let the solar wars begin. The Hawaii Solar Energy Association on Friday denounced the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization’s recently released report on the controversial solar photovoltaic tax credits. Pacific Business News.

A bill labelled “Draconian” by the county’s prosecuting attorney because it could result in government seizure of land for crimes such as harassment is being considered by the state Senate. Big Island Now.

Young Brothers Ltd. has filed a request with the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission that would allow the interisland shipper to adjust its rates for the next three years using the cost of labor, cargo volume and inflation as the determining factors. Pacific Business News.

Oahu

In the 2012 elections, Hawaii saw one local dark money group emerge and play a major role in the Honolulu mayoral race. The Pacific Resource Partnership didn't have to disclose its donors and yet spent $3.6 million to defeat anti-rail candidate Ben Cayetano. Civil Beat.

The controversial law that banned commercial activities at city beaches and parks is being revisited. KHON2.

The city of Honolulu says a new Ocean Safety and Lifeguard Services Division substation is needed in case the Waikiki Natatorium, which houses administrators and lifeguards covering Oahu's South Shore, is deemed unsafe. Star-Advertiser.

Since November 2011, the (de)Occupy Honolulu movement has been planted along a stretch on Beretania street. The Honolulu City Council is proposing two bills could that could pack up its tents and free pathways around Oahu for good. Hawaii News Now.

A Minnesota-based developer of housing for artists has partnered with a Hawaiian cultural group to build low-income rental apartment lofts on state land in Kakaako where artists can live and create and showcase their art. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

The newspaper website commenter known only as “Taxedtodeath” won’t have to reveal his or her identity, a 3rd Circuit Court judge ruled Friday afternoon. West Hawaii Today.

The University of Hawaii is seeking ways to close an $8.8 million shortfall so it can begin construction of a long-planned community college campus in West Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.

State wildlife officials say large swaths of koa forest on the Big Island are losing their leaves, and a sudden outbreak of a native moth is to blame. Big Island Now.

Police say the Waimea Foodland Super Market was evacuated for more than three hours Saturday morning after a grenade was found in the produce section of the store. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Community to initiate effort to rebuild play area in Haiku. Maui News.

A voluntary coral management plan, which was developed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Coral Reef Conservation Program, is the first in the state that comprehensively addresses how runoff is affecting deteriorating reef health. Maui News.

Mayor Alan Arakawa and three council members, including new Council Chairwoman Gladys Baisa, will make presentations at Tuesday's meeting of the Kula Community Association. Maui News.

Kauai

Without discussion, the Kaua‘i County Council passed in first reading a bill which corrects an oversight that has erased from the Kaua‘i County Code a late-night prohibition on alcoholic beverages at county parks. Garden Island.

Kaua‘i residents have seen a spike in the amount of debris — including pieces of refrigerators — on Kaua‘i’s beaches, and experts say it’s part of the Japanese tsunami debris making the unpleasant new waves. Garden Island.

Sen. Mazie K. Hirono kicks off a four-day Bringing Hawai‘i’s Voice To Washington listening tour Monday on the Garden Isle. Garden Island.

Molokai

This year marks 20 years of coffee production on the island of Molokai. Also in 2013, the entire coffee industry in the State of Hawaii celebrates 200 years of producing the crop. Coffees of Hawaii will host a free two-day festival March 15 and 16 at the plantation in Kualapu`u. Molokai Dispatch.

Fragile sand dunes of Mo Ľomomi on Molokai, once overrun with alien kiawe thickets, are blooming with new native growth. Molokai Dispatch.