Monday, August 22, 2016

Japan’s first lady visits Pearl Harbor, Souki retains House speakership, $10M in Honolulu Police lawsuits, Maui sugar layoffs continue, black band killing Kauai coral, medical marijuana permits increase, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Facebook photo
Japanese First Lady Akie Abe at Pearl Harbor, Facebook photo
Japan’s first lady has visited Pearl Harbor in Hawaii for the first time to pay tribute to the victims of the Japanese attack 75 years ago. Associated Press.

In his long career in Hawaii politics, Democratic House Speaker Joe Souki has risen to power, been ousted, and then engineered a deal to get that power back. At 85, he still commands respect, and he isn’t ready to walk away yet. Both Souki’s supporters and critics say he has firmly locked down all the votes he needs to remain as speaker for the next two years, quietly gathering that support with his allies even before lawmakers adjourned the last session in May. Star-Advertiser.

The chair of the Hawaii Republican Party is urging party members to disavow the candidacy of the GOP nominee for the 2nd Congressional District, which represents the neighbor islands and rural Oahu. Civil Beat.

The libertarian think tank the Cato Institute has a new project in which it analyzed all 50 U.S. states regarding “respect for individual freedom,” and it found Hawaii wanting. Civil Beat.

How One Attorney Is Trying To Make Food Safer. Hawaii’s hepatitis A outbreak is the latest battleground for a Seattle attorney who specializes in foodborne illnesses and has won damages of more than $600 million. Star-Advertiser.

Luaus, potlucks, a breathtaking variety of seafood and ways to eat it, and endless summer are a few of the attractions of Hawaii life. But the combination may come with a hangover: foodborne illness. Civil Beat.

The Hawaii State Department of Labor & Industrial Relations announced Friday that the seasonally adjusted statewide unemployment rate for July was 3.5 percent, up from the revised rate of 3.4 percent in June. Pacific Business News.

Oahu

Nearly 1 of every 6 current Honolulu Police Department officers have been taken to court over criminal or civil allegations of wrongdoing, ranging from excessive force to domestic abuse, according to a first-of-its-kind analysis by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

Short of being fired, police disciplined for misconduct are the only county and state workers in Hawaii whose names under state law cannot be released publicly. Star-Advertiser.

The tab to taxpayers is nearing $10 million and likely will go higher. Over the past decade, that’s about how much the city has paid or approved to settle dozens of lawsuits accusing Honolulu Police Department officers of excessive force, negligence and other wrongdoing, including civil rights violations. Star-Advertiser.

Using the frame of his Taser, a Honolulu police officer struck a bystander’s hand as the man shot video of a friend’s arrest. The blow was strong enough to fracture the hand, according to court documents. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu residents will foot most of the city’s multimillion-dollar security tab to host the upcoming World Conservation Congress, a major international event next month in Waikiki, which may attract President Barack Obama as opening speaker. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu taxpayers have reportedly been responsible for paying nearly $10 million to settle dozens of misconduct allegations against police officers over the last decade. Associated Press.

A Honolulu company has been awarded the first four contracts under the state’s $100 million initiative to cool 1,000 public school classrooms — signaling a major step forward for the project, which has suffered setbacks amid the state’s booming construction market. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

The next Hawaii County Council is starting to take shape following the primary election. Tribune-Herald.

New data from the state Department of Health confirms Hawaii County has nearly twice as many medical marijuana patients as Oahu, with about 11 percent living in Pahoa alone. Tribune-Herald.

Were they interfering with the rescue of a stranded whale or not? That is the question left to a federal judge following an administrative hearing last week to determine whether two Hilo women who run a small Native Hawaiian group dedicated to the protection of whales and other marine animals will be punished for violating the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Star-Advertiser.

Couple feels targeted after Trump signs repeatedly stolen. West Hawaii Today.

More than 25 community volunteers participated in a weed pull Saturday, 9,000’ feet up on Mauna Kea at the site of Halepohaku. Big Island Video News.

Maui

The last harvest: The final chapter in the story of sugar on Maui. Many learned a trade at HC&S. With the end of the sugar industry on Maui, so too goes the apprenticeship program. Maui News.

With another round of Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. workers set to leave Friday, the company held its second on-property job fair Thursday. Many workers said they are still trying to figure out the next step after HC&S, the only employer they've known for decades. Maui News.

Remembering plantation life. Life in the camps was filled with community, ohana. Maui News.

The Maui Fire Department would like to reassure the public that the unscheduled cane fire currently burning in the Pūlehu-Puʻunēnē area is not an immediate threat to any structures or neighborhoods. Maui Now.

People who camp at a Maui beach park will temporarily lose access to permits come September as the county works to clean up the area. Associated Press.

Kauai

All of the Kauai County Council candidates who came in at the bottom five during the recent primary election plan to continue in the race. Garden Island.

Submarine groundwater discharge could be contributing to the black band coral disease outbreak on Kauai’s North Shore. That’s according to initial evidence discovered during a United States Geological Survey study at Makua (also known as Tunnels) and Haena, conducted July 29 through Aug. 5. Garden Island.

Over the past few weeks, volunteers have removed more than 1,500 pounds of trash from Papaa Bay Beach, and there’s more where that came from. Garden Island.

Some Waimea residents are calling for the preservation of a historic Westside home that was formerly a nurses quarter. Garden Island.