Friday, January 8, 2016

Revenue Council finds additional $40M, Big Island farm may go from bananas to marijuana, Honolulu council mulls public electric utility, Ellison paid $300M for Lanai, study shows hemp could grow here, Maui developers must show water availability, Kauai considers property taxes, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy photo
Rep. Cynthia Thielen visits hemp farm, file photo
Lawmakers will have about $40 million extra to work with as they craft a proposed budget after the state Council on Revenues on Thursday slightly increased its estimate of the amount of taxes the state will collect. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii Council on Revenues on Thursday upped the amount of money expected to flow into the state’s coffers this year, but only by a bit. For fiscal year 2016, which runs until June 30, the general fund revenue forecast was boosted from a growth rate of 6 percent to 6.7 percent. Civil Beat.

Just how fair is the state’s charter school funding system? State lawmakers tried to get a better understanding of the longstanding issue Thursday during one of two lengthy briefings on supplemental budget requests from the Hawaii State Public Charter School Commission and the state Department of Education. Civil Beat.

The State Department of Health has selected the on-line “seed-to-sale” tracking system that will manage Hawai‘i’s medical marijuana inventory. Hawaii Public Radio.

During the upcoming legislative session, Hawaii lawmakers are likely to discuss the implications of legalizing medical marijuana dispensaries. Topics expected to be discussed are: how and if depository institutions will serve the businesses, job protection for the users, and proposing more ways to qualify for a medical marijuana card, according to industry leaders. Pacific Business News.

The demise of sugar has dealt a blow to the state's agriculture industry but University of Hawaii researchers are working on a potential alternative. A report by scientists at the UH Waimanalo Research Station indicates that hemp can be commercially grown here. Hawaii News Now.

Civil Asset Forfeiture In Hawaii: Crime Deterrent Or Legalized Theft? Some legislators want to reform how the Aloha State seizes property tied to criminal acts to ensure innocent people aren’t victimized. Civil Beat.


Some state lawmakers are questioning the Department of Education’s request for $35 million for a new building to relieve overcrowding at Campbell high school because the same amount paid for the construction of an entire elementary school campus last year. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu City Council Will Consider An Alternative To HECO. In the shadow of the NextEra hearings, the Council will explore on Tuesday whether Oahu should switch to a publicly owned utility. Civil Beat.

The Army Corps of Engineers will hold a public meeting Monday to unveil plans for remediation of old munitions at the World War II-era Pacific Jungle Combat Training Center in Oahu’s Kahana and Punaluu valleys. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell says the city is on pace to reach its goal of refurbishing 24 public park restrooms and 16 playgrounds in the past year, but the work at Ala Moana Beach Park has just begun. KHON2.

A contractor’s crew for the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation broke a gas line in Aiea on Thursday morning, touching off a six-hour traffic jam on Kamehameha Highway fronting Pearlridge Center and other commercial establishments. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Police Department's firearms section is a busy place. Each month, more than 900 people come in to either get a permit, to acquire a firearm, or to register one. KITV4.

A big jump in the use of illegal fireworks across Oahu over the holidays has a state senator proposing a solution. Civil Beat.


A Windward Planning Commission panel is recommending cinder and rock mining operations be allowed to expand in Hawaiian Ocean View Estates, but the full commission wants to see the area for itself before it votes on the recommendations. West Hawaii Today.

Residents of a small North Hawaii neighborhood concerned about the extent of a park project in Kukuihaele will get the opportunity Sunday to voice their concerns to the county. West Hawaii Today.

Yes, we have no bananas. But we may have pakalolo. About six months ago, Richard Ha was approached by a Big Island group that is applying for a medical marijuana dispensary license about leasing land and using hydroelectric power. Tribune-Herald.

Richard Ha, founder of Hamakua Springs Country Farms on Hawaii island, updated his popular blog Wednesday to say he will be shutting down around the end of March. Star-Advertiser.

After nearly 40 years in business, Maunakea Banana Company and Hamakua Springs Country Farms is shutting down. President and owner Richard Ha informed his employees Wednesday. Hawaii News Now.

Peoples Advocacy For Trails Hawaii has nominated the Kaloko Trail for purchase by the county Public Access, Open Space and Natural Resources Preservation Fund. West Hawaii Today.


After hearing testimony from nearly 40 community members, the Maui County Council Water Resources Committee voted unanimously Wednesday to leave untouched the water availability bill known as "Show Me The Water," which requires developers to demonstrate adequate water sources for their projects. Maui News.

Armstrong Development announced, on Thursday, that they have launched a project to build a new condominium complex on Maui. Hawaii News Now.

Holiday Checkpoints Result in 49 Arrests, 891 Citations. Maui Now.

The Hana Landfill will close at 1 p.m. today and Friday due to lack of staff, the county said. An equipment operator position will soon be filled so the landfill closures are expected to be reduced, the county added. Maui News.

What’s next for Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co.? The company says it has several ongoing test projects, with plans to expand the scope and scale of the trials. Maui News.


County officials are taking another look at how to keep taxes affordable for owner-occupied homes and rental properties. The bill being considered by the Kauai County Council relating to a homestead tax cap for home exemption and long-term affordable rental properties was deferred for two weeks on Wednesday. Garden Island.


Pacific Business News has confirmed through public documents that Larry Ellison paid $300 million for the 141-square-mile Pineapple Island. The sale included the two resort hotels — the Four Seasons Resorts Lanai at Manele Bay and the Four Seasons Resorts Lanai, Lodge at Koele — two championship golf courses and club houses, the Manele Golf Course and the Koele Golf Course, and more than 88,000 acres of land.