Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Audit questions big film industry tax breaks, Health Department mulls food handler certification, other rules, water tank vandalism closes Molokai schools, Big Island faces electricity hikes, more ado about University of Hawaii politicking, House picks leaders, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy Hwaii Film Office
Hawaii Five-O promo, courtesy Hawaii Film Office
The tax breaks the state of Hawaii offers to lure Hollywood productions to the islands are probably sweeter than they should be under state law, according to a report released Tuesday by the state auditor. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii's film tax credit may not be helping the state as much as its film office claims. Civil Beat.

Read the entire film tax credit audit here.

The Hawaii State Department of Health said Tuesday that it will introduce amendments and updates to the state's food safety code, including a new education requirement, that will affect restaurants and other food service operations in the Islands. Pacific Business News.

More about the food safety rule changes and public hearings here.

The leadership of the state House of Representatives announced Tuesday who will head 20 committees that will oversee everything from tourism and transportation to the environment and education when the 2017 legislative session gets underway in January. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii House unveils lineup of committee chairs. Civil Beat.

See the entire House lineup at All Hawaii News.

A federal judge's nationwide preliminary injunction blocking the implementation of the Department of Labor’s overtime rule could be good news for employers in Hawaii, according to Ryan Sanada, director of legal and government affairs for the Hawaii Employers Council. Pacific Business News.

Communities such as Hawaii that continue to see their homeless populations rise “tell us that something is broken” and changes need to be made, the regional coordinator for the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness told the Hono­lulu Star-Advertiser on Tuesday.

Oahu

A donor has pulled funds supporting art students at the University of Hawaii after the art department’s chairwoman organized a sign-painting party on Facebook to protest President-elect Donald Trump. Associated Press.

Why Keith Kaneshiro Is Standing Behind Katherine Kealoha. Honolulu’s top prosecutor has been a harsh critic of a Justice Department investigation into Police Chief Louis Kealoha and his prosecutor wife. Civil Beat.

One of the largest food pantries on Oahu is preparing to close next month if a new location is not found.  Civil Beat.

State investigates water pollution complaint at Keehi Marine Center. KITV4.

Kahumana Community, a 50-acre nonprofit organic farm and community in Leeward Oahu, has been waiting for more than two years to get a solar energy project approved by Hawaiian Electric Co., delaying plans to house several dozen homeless individuals, businesses involved in the project confirmed to Pacific Business News.

Hawaii

The public soon will have a chance to weigh in on two scenarios posed by Hawaii Electric Light Co. that could raise typical residential electric rates by $9.31 a month in one case or possibly provide savings in another. West Hawaii Today.

The House of Representatives Majority named its 2017 Committee Chairs and Vice Chairs during a caucus meeting today. Kona-Ka’u representative Richard Creagan has been declared the new chair of the House Committee on Agriculture. Big Island Video News.

KTA Super Stores dives deeper into the digital age this week with the introduction of “virtual clinics of the future.” Shoppers in need of medical checks for scrapes, respiratory ailments, urinary infections, colds, sunburns or prescription refills can connect through iPad telemedicine. Tribune-Herald.

A guide sign that was misdirecting South Kona drivers through a new intersection came down in recent days and new, correct signs are expected to go up in its place. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Maui County Council Land Use Committee members recommended approval of A&B Properties’ Waiale South project Monday, while continuing to wrestle with questions about the developer’s vetting of prospective homebuyers for its 600-home Kamalani project in north Kihei. Maui News.

The Department of Water Supply is advising customers in the Honokōhau area to boil water before consumption due to possible E. coli contamination. Maui Now.

The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua has been sold for the second time in about two years to a partnership that includes Trinity Investments and Area Property Partners, which also are part of a consortium that owns the shuttered Makena Beach & Golf Resort. Maui News.

Melon Headed Whale Stranding Off Sugar Beach, Maui. Maui Now.

Kauai

The Kauai Island Utility Cooperative is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of a suspect involved in vandalizing the utility’s hydroelectric power infrastructure. Garden Island.

Molokai
The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands is urging the public on Molokai to avoid using water from two storage tanks in Hoolehua after they were damaged by vandals. Star-Advertiser.

Several schools on Molokai are closed Wednesday due to water quality concerns after vandals damaged two 3.5-million-gallon storage tanks, officials said. Hawaii News Now.