Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Hawaii County Mayor Kenoi's trial begins, poll shows Caldwell leading for Honolulu mayor, legislative panels tackle fishing employees' rights, Maui hospital wants $5.6M, snow dusts Mauna Kea, court allows candidate on two ballots, state goes online to seek workers, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Pool photo HOLLYN JOHNSON/Tribune-Herald
Mayor Billy Kenoi stands with his attorneys, Richard Sing, left, and Todd Eddins, during his trial Tuesday in Hilo Circuit Court. Pool photo HOLLYN JOHNSON/Tribune-Herald
Mayor Billy Kenoi, on trial for allegedly stealing public funds, waited as long as two years to reimburse Hawaii County for expenses that included large amounts of alcohol and a hotel stay for a nephew, prosecutors said Tuesday. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi’s attorney portrayed him as a 24/7 workhorse for the county on the opening day of testimony at Kenoi’s trial on theft and records tampering charges Tuesday, but prosecutors said he crossed the line by using his government-issued purchasing card for lavish personal spending, including large amounts of alcohol. Star-Advertiser.

VIDEO: Trial Of Mayor Billy Kenoi Begins. Big Island Video News.

One of the biggest trials in Big Island history kicked off Tuesday, as Mayor Billy Kenoi sought to fight off charges of theft over his misuse of a government credit card. Hawaii News Now.

Day one of Hawai'i County Mayor Billy Kenoi's felony theft trial began with opening statements Tuesday in Hilo. KITV.

Opening arguments and witness testimony began Tuesday for the criminal trial of Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi in Hilo for his alleged misuse of his county issued credit card, also known as a pCard. KHON2.

Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi is on trial for allegedly stealing thousands of dollars in county funds to pay for alcohol and other personal expenses. Civil Beat.

The mayor of Hawaii County charged Heineken beer and Crown Royal whiskey to his government credit card at a drug store and passed off the purchases as official business, a state prosecutor said Tuesday. Associated Press.

=======================

Concerned about ongoing threats to Hawaii’s freshwater resources, U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono held a hearing at the state Capitol on Tuesday about efforts to maintain the health of the state’s watersheds and opportunities for further collaboration. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii lawmakers are set to hear from state officials, fishing industry leaders and others about the allegations of human trafficking and poor working conditions aboard U.S. longline vessels, according to a House news release. Three legislative committees are facilitating a public informational briefing that’s slated for 11 a.m., Wednesday, in Room 309 at the Capitol in Honolulu. Civil Beat.

A group of Hawaii lawmakers is holding a public meeting to discuss conditions among the Hawaii longline fleet. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii’s commercial fishing industry leaders are not finished fighting the fourfold expansion of a U.S. marine monument in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Civil Beat.

Angela Kaaihue’s name will remain on the special-election ballot as a Democratic candidate for the 1st Congressional District to complete the term of the late Rep. Mark Takai. Star-Advertiser.

Circuit Court Judge Karl Sakamoto on Tuesday rejected a lawsuit seeking to remove Angela Aulani Kaaihue’s name from the special election ballot for Hawaii’s 1st Congressional District. Civil Beat.

The state is turning to the Internet in hopes of landing qualified workers for highly skilled, high-paying jobs. KHON2.

Gov. David Ige has appointed retired public school principal Darrel Galera to the state Board of Education. Star-Advertiser.

Six companies have been issued violations by the state Department of Health for not submitting payments and reports under Hawaii’s Deposit Beverage Container law. Star-Advertiser.

A diverse group of nonprofits including the Sierra Club of Hawaii, Unite Here! Local 5, Hawaii Appleseed Center and the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation has organized a series of community meetings this month focused on environmental, economic and social justice. Civil Beat.

A state biosecurity plan says the brown tree snake could cause as much as $2 billion each year in damages if introduced to Hawaii. Associated Press.

Oahu

Less than three weeks from Election Day, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell leads challenger Charles Djou 48 percent to 41 percent, according to The Civil Beat Poll.

A state judge has ruled that the city’s Residential A tax classification is unconstitutional, a decision that possibly could leave the city scrambling to make up lost money this year and needing to find millions in revenues in subsequent years. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu voters will be asked in November to decide whether to change the rules governing the city’s Affordable Housing Fund. Proposed Charter Amendment No. 5 would loosen restrictions on the fund to make it easier for developers to build low-income rental housing. Civil Beat.

A Honolulu City Council committee has given its preliminary endorsement to forcibly acquire eight Kakaako streets claimed as private property by two local brothers who charge the public to park on the shoulders of the otherwise public roadways. Star-Advertiser.

Cars and wooden spools fill the paintball field between the Keehi Lagoon and Nimitz Highway. But by next summer, it will be home to homeless families living on Oahu. KITV.

Median sales prices for Oahu homes surged last month when compared with September 2015, according to a report released Tuesday. Pacific Business News.

For Sen. Sanji Abe’s grandson, the presence of his grandfather’s Japanese go game set among the Honouliuli internment camp artifacts serves as an indication that Abe had expected a long confinement. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

Wet weather over the Big Island overnight reached the summit of Mauna Kea and left a dusting of snow this morning. Star-Advertiser.

Maui

Maui hospital executives requested up to $5.65 million as they deal with a one year transition delay of Hawaiʻi Health Systems Maui Region hospitals to Maui Health System, LLC, a Kaiser Permanente affiliated hospital system. Maui Now.

Officials with Maui County’s three public hospitals asked state legislators Monday for $5.65 million to hire additional nurses and doctors as part of a new plan that they hope will improve gaps in staffing and services through July 1, 2017, when operational control of the hospitals will be transferred to health care provider Kaiser Permanente. Maui News.

An update on proposed Lahaina Small Boat Harbor ferry pier improvements will be hosted by state Rep. Angus McKelvey and state Sen. Roz Baker, who represent West Maui, and the state Department of Land and Natural Resources on Thursday. Maui News.

Kauai

The Elections Division of the Office of the County Clerk is informing the public that early voting services will be temporarily relocated to the Lihue Neighborhood Center for the 2016 General Elections. Garden Island.

Chick No. 8 was a surprise addition to the ‘A’o (Newell’s shearwater) colony at Nihoku predator-proof enclosure, but it wasn’t a shock when the baby seabird fledged on Sunday. Garden Island.