Monday, January 11, 2016

Risky behavior puts tourists at risk, Native Hawaiians in foster care, tax returns slow, Hawaiian activist group wants own political party, Bishop Estates selling Big Island landmarks, Maui mayor happy with salary, more government and political news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Visitor climbs fence protecting Waimea Canyon, Kauai © 2016 All Hawaii News



Death In Paradise Is All Too Frequent For Visitors To Hawaii. Yet state, county and even tourism officials are doing little to try to reduce what’s become one of the highest rates of visitor deaths in the nation. Civil Beat.

‘Bigger And Stronger Waves’ Are Perilous For Visitors. In the middle of the Pacific Ocean, Hawaii’s unique topography, currents, winds and other conditions often catch tourists off guard. Civil Beat.

Breaking Bad: Dozens Of Tourists Suffer Spinal Cord Injuries. Too many people are ignoring or simply not understanding the warning signs posted at many public beaches. Civil Beat.

Founders of a new political party are hoping to turn voter angst into action at the ballot box this year on a range of issues from homelessness to Hawaiian sovereignty. But before the Aloha Aina Party can field candidates, organizers need to make the group official, which means gathering 707 signatures from registered voters by Feb. 25. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii Attorney General Doug Chin says that the courts overstepped their authority in ordering the state to boost funding for the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands by about $18.4 million this year. Star-Advertiser.

For years the percentage of Native Hawaiians in the state’s foster care system has significantly topped the percentage of Hawaiians in the overall population of children statewide. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaiians at risk: Healing efforts return to roots. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii residents who expect state income tax refunds in 2016 may have to wait. State Tax Director Maria Zielinski says it will again take up to 16 weeks to process refund payments this year because the state is continuing to aggressively scrutinize tax returns in its ongoing crackdown on fraudulent filings. Star-Advertiser.

A bill is likely to be introduced in the upcoming Hawaii legislative session that would raise the monthly salary required to be exempt from minimum-wage law, according to an attorney with the Hawaii Employers Council. Pacific Business News.

Eight years after the start of the worst economic crisis in modern American history, incomes in the islands are rising and unemployment is just 3.2 percent, which is scratching at modern lows for Hawaii. Civil Beat.

U.S. Rep. Mark Takai  wants Aloha wear to be allowed on the House floor on Fridays, a change from the current rule that requires full business attire. Associated Press.

Oahu

The military housing allowance rate for Oahu in calendar year 2016 is dropping 8.6 percent — the biggest dip in the country — even with rising rent and a housing shortage here. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

The Bishop Museum plans to sell two properties on the Big Island of Hawaii valued at more than $10 million as part of its new operating model, the Honolulu-based museum confirmed with Pacific Business News on Friday.

A man arrested while blocking telescope construction crews on a Hawaii mountain was acquitted Friday after a trial that was conducted in Hawaiian. Associated Press.

Kaho’okahi Kanuha was found not guilty by Judge Barbare Takase at the Third-Circuit District Court in Waimea. Big Island Video News.

A local church property is headed for tax auction following a decades-long dispute over ownership. Mauna Ziona Church, established by the early missionaries who came to Hawaii more than a century before statehood, is scheduled for tax sale Tuesday in Hilo. West Hawaii Today.

The U.S. Forest Service is moving ahead with plans for a science and education center at Puu Waawaa. West Hawaii Today.

The discovery in Milolii of a swarm of mosquitoes more efficient at transmitting the dengue fever virus than Hawaii’s common mosquito is prompting state officials and entomologists to look at other areas on the Big Island as they assess the spread of the illness. Star-Advertiser.

The Four Seasons Resort Hualalai is producing organically raised oysters on Hawaii island for use at all six restaurants on the property. Star-Advertiser.

Maui

Former Maui County Council Member Dain P. Kane will seek his old position for the Wailuku-Waihee-Waikapu residency seat in the 2016 election, he has announced. Maui News.

Mayor Alan Arakawa told the Salary Commission on Friday that he is "satisfied" with the level of his pay and will not be seeking salary increases for his department heads - even if they deserve them. Maui News.

The development team spearheading the $354.8 million redevelopment of the Makena Resort in South Maui into a mixed-use golf course resort community has revealed more details about the 158-unit project, according to public documents. Pacific Business News.

Alexander & Baldwin's announced shutdown of sugar cane operations by the end of the year has caused a ripple effect for state and county water officials, with one official calling it the "single biggest change in water resource management in this generation." Maui News.

A proposed new planning organization that could bring in millions of federal dollars for county transportation projects is raising concerns among Maui County Council members who worry that the organization would not be held accountable. Maui News.

A presentation on the proposed West Maui hospital and speeches by Maui County lawmakers are on tap Thursday at the West Maui Taxpayers Association meeting in the Lahaina Civic Center Social Hall. Maui News.

Kauai


Something is working over at Kauai Community Correctional Center. That’s what Lt. Thomas Weston Keolaikepapalua Lindsey Jr. will say if you ask him about the culture surrounding Kauai’s prison, its guards and the inmates who live there. Garden Island.

Underwater titans surround Kauai every winter. But the pods of North Pacific humpback whales rarely share much more of their lives than an occasional spout or breach seen off-shore. Garden Island.

A Hawaiian green sea turtle was rescued from a storm drain Friday morning. Garden Island.

Lanai

Billionaire Larry Ellison’s Four Seasons Resort Lanai, at Manele Bay, is scheduled to open on Feb. 1, with the Four Seasons Resort Lanai, The Lodge at Koele reopening later this year after it undergoes a renovation. Pacific Business News.