Thursday, July 17, 2014

Hawaii Supreme Court sides with media in court closing dispute, Honolulu rail to link airport, Waikiki, Maui mayoral candidate arrested at forum, China plays war games at RIMPAC, feds audit Hawaii Dems, RNC sees hope in Hawaii, Aiona unveils housing plan, last Hanabusa-Schatz TV debate tonight, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Hawaii Supreme Court ©2014 All Hawaii News
The Hawaii Supreme Court overwhelmingly ruled Wednesday that a circuit judge improperly denied the public and the media access to the first Christopher Deedy murder trial, in a decision that the plaintiffs' attorney says has wide repercussions for criminal proceedings statewide. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii Supreme Court ruled that a judge improperly closed her court and sealed transcripts during a murder trial against a federal agent. Associated Press.

The Federal Election Commission is auditing the Democratic Party of Hawaii after flagging multiple discrepancies with the party’s federal campaign finance reports during the 2012 election cycle. The commission voted in September to undertake the probe, and auditors are still gathering information from the party, sources familiar with the process say.  Star-Advertiser.

As part of its efforts to expand the map, the Republican National Committee is announcing that its putting additional staff in Hawaii and Oregon, two blue states the GOP hopes to put in play this November. Thanks to a divisive Democratic gubernatorial primary in Hawaii, the party committee thinks that seat may now be in play. CNN political ticker.

Former Lt. Gov. James “Duke” Aiona would divert 25 percent of the money collected by the state’s corporate income tax to the rental housing trust fund, hoping to create a financing pool to build more affordable rentals. Star-Advertiser.

In the reporting period that ran from Jan. 1 through June 30, Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui raised nearly nearly three times what his Democratic primary challenger Clayton Hee did, or $356,000 to $122,000. Civil Beat.

Commentary: If the 2014 Hawaii races go the way the state’s elections usually do, here are the results: Brian Schatz wins the U.S. Senate Democratic primary.  Whoever wins that Democratic primary overwhelms the Republican challenger. The winner of the 1st Congressional District’s Democratic primary defeats Republican Charles Djou. In the 2nd Congressional District Tulsi Gabbard wins virtually by default against a Republican whose name no one remembers. Neil Abercrombie is re-elected governor. Civil Beat.

Hawaii News Now and the Honolulu Star-Advertiser will host the final statewide, prime-time debate between Democratic Party U.S. Senate Candidates 7 p.m. Thursday night, July 17, on all three Hawaii News Now stations: KGMB, KHNL and KFVE.

China has been boarding ships looking for mock pirates and contraband as it joins the world's largest maritime exercises for the first time. On Wednesday, Chinese sailors from the destroyer Haikou boarded the Coast Guard cutter Waesche for a drill checking cargo as part of Rim of the Pacific exercises the U.S. is hosting in Hawaii waters this month. Associated Press.

Commentary: As part of the joint military RIMPAC exercise, the U.S. Navy’s “Great Green Fleet,” along with warships from the 21 other participating nations, have fired on and sunk two retired U.S. naval vessels off the coast of Kauai. Hawaii Independent.

The state Land Use Commission is one member closer to being able to meet again thanks to Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s decision Wednesday to appoint Jonathan Scheuer on an interim basis. Civil Beat.

A Senate Committee continued its investigation of alleged misconduct at the State Hospital.   Top administrators were ordered to testify today under oath on a number of issues. Hawaii Public Radio.

Visitor arrivals by cruise ships for the first five months were down 26 percent from the same period last year, according to the latest monthly visitor statistics released by the Hawaii Tourism Authority. Pacific Business News.

Oahu
Oahu's future rail transit system will wind its way through the middle of Honolulu Airport — dropping off and picking up thousands of passengers and airport workers at a central station there, newly unveiled designs reveal. Star-Advertiser.

The city hopes to reconfigure the financial plan for the $5.2 billion Honolulu rail project to make sure that tens of millions of dollars in federal funds traditionally used to replace aging city buses and Handi-Vans isn’t diverted for rail construction. Civil Beat.

The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART) unveiled plans for the rail station at Honolulu International Airport and also revealed plans for adding bus routes to Waikiki. Hawaii News Now.

A measure now before the Honolulu City Council takes aim at commercial activities that are not allowed in a residential community. KHON2.

A former school clerk was sentenced to probation and jail Tuesday for stealing $19,750 from an Oahu public charter school. West Hawaii Today.

The defense attorney for federal agent Christopher Deedy on Wednesday attacked the credibility of the first officer to respond to the fatal 2011 shooting, hoping to undercut the officer's assertion that Deedy, the shooter, appeared intoxicated. Star-Advertiser.

Bob Benyo, president of Aerial Banners North, says he is ready to fight in court for his companyʻs right to keep towing advertising banners over Oahu. Civil Beat.

Kapolei residents will get some answers on how truckloads of contaminated dirt from Radford High School wound up in their neighborhood. Hawaii News Now.

It's rising behind a construction screen now and doesn't look like much, but when a new Walgreens on Keeaumoku Street opens in February it will be unlike any drugstore ever seen in Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

Former County Clerk Jamae Kawauchi was cleared by the Board of Ethics on Wednesday to represent a client before the Windward Planning Commission, ending six months of delays for a Hawaiian Acres farmers market. West Hawaii Today.

A bill expanding agricultural tourism was one of the first measures introduced by Puna Councilman Zendo Kern when he took office in late 2012. After numerous delays, it may become among his last to clear the County Council before he leaves. West Hawaii Today.

A maddening recording of a Comcast customer service phone call that went viral on the Internet this week was one of two concerns presented Wednesday at a public hearing in Hilo regarding the merger of Comcast and Oceanic Time Warner Cable. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Maui mayoral candidate Nelson N. Waikiki Jr. was arrested on Tuesday night following a mayoral candidate forum in Makawao. The 49-year-old was located at the Seabury Hall campus on Olinda Road, where he was placed under arrest for allegedly violating conditions of release on bail, police said. Maui Now.

Following his arrest Tuesday night after a candidate forum at Seabury Hall, mayoral candidate Nelson Waikiki Jr. appeared Wednesday morning in 2nd Circuit Court for a hearing on allegations that he failed to comply with conditions of his release in his criminal case. Maui News.

For the first time this election season, Maui residents heard from all six mayoral candidates, including incumbent Mayor Alan Arakawa, during a forum hosted Tuesday by Upcountry community associations. Maui News.

A one year report will be released on Friday for the state’s first community fisheries enforcement unit, which operates in the waters around North Maui. Maui Now.

Kauai

A lawsuit demanding Hawaii Dairy Farms complete an environmental assessment for its proposed dairy in Mahaulepu Valley has added fuel to a fiery situation. Garden Island.

It has been four years since County of Kauai officials acquired a 75-arce piece of land in Eleele from the McBryde Sugar Company to plan what some housing officials say is one of the county’s most ambitious affordable housing projects. But in the years since then, ground hasn’t been broken on the now barren land set aside for the project. Garden Island.

There’s a major energy transformation happening on Kauai. Garden Island.

The Fourth of July fire that torched a portion of the Coco Palms Resort was classified as undetermined Wednesday by those investigating the cause. Garden Island.