Thursday, December 29, 2016

Tourism continues upward trend, cafe owner takes down anti-Trump sign, 'fake monks' harass Waikiki visitors, Hawaii County bill would outlaw government alcohol purchases, 50 nene killed in two years on Kauai, new campus for Maui charter school, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Waikiki beachgoers © 2016 All Hawaii News
With 2016 all but in the books, Hawaii’s tourism industry is looking forward to 2017 and what could be a sixth straight year for record tourist arrivals and spending. Star-Advertiser.

Total visitor spending in Hawaii for the month of November was $1.2 billion, an increase of 5.6 percent compared to November last year, according to preliminary statistics released by the Hawaii Tourism Authority. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii residents hoping to ring in the New Year while dining on sashimi are in luck, as the “catch has been good.” Star-Advertiser.

The Office of Information Practices, the state agency that oversees Hawaii’s laws on public access to government information and meetings is reducing its backlog of cases, according to its annual report released Wednesday. Civil Beat.

Oahu

Cafe 8 1/2 co-owner Robert Warner on Wednesday took down a sign on the Italian restaurant’s front door telling people who voted for President-elect Donald Trump he does not want them there, but offered no regrets or apologies for putting it up in the first place. Star-Advertiser.

Millennials Make A Stand In Honolulu’s Chinatown. A few blocks from the bustle of open-air markets, the arts district gets an infusion of restaurants and other new businesses. Civil Beat.

Kmart is closing its Halawa store in mid-March as part of a nationwide strategy to unload unprofitable locations. Star-Advertiser.

Long lines outside of Iolani Palace Wednesday night for the first of just two-nights of special evening tours. The special tours are to commemorate Queen Kapiolani’s birthday. KHON2.

Daniel Grabauskas, who once headed the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation, which oversee the more than $9 billion rail transit project, has found a new job in New York as an independent transportation consultant, he confirmed to Pacific Business News.

On the sidewalks of Kalakaua and Kuhio avenues in the past month, men in orange robes are hitting up tourists and workers for donations -- sometimes aggressively. Some call them "fake monks." Hawaii News Now.

The new owner of Outrigger Hotels and Resorts is moving ahead with a $90.7 million plan to redevelop the Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort, Pacific Business News has learned.

President Obama spent another day teeing off at the Kapolei Golf Course before dining at a new restaurant in the Ward Village area. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii

Stricter limits on taxpayer-funded alcohol could soon become law, under a bill to be considered next week by a County Council committee. West Hawaii Today.

The Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority is offering up a 1.3-acre lot for “eco-friendly” developers along what the county believes will be a major road in West Hawaii’s future. West Hawaii Today.

Like so many coastal areas in Hawai‘i, the once plentiful waters off North Kona have seen a decline in marine life over several decades.  As the state wrestles with how to manage these natural resources, some communities are stepping forward with a plan of their own. Hawaii Public Radio.

Kamehameha Schools will seek a new tenant for more than 10,000 acres of eucalyptus forest it owns on the Hamakua Coast following expiration of its current lease agreement. Tribune-Herald.

The superintendent for the West Hawaii Complex Area and the principal of the area’s largest school are both embracing the Department of Education’s new strategic plan, a plan they say finally puts more focus on educating “the whole child.” West Hawaii Today.

Maui

The South Maui Learning Ohana will break ground Friday on a new building and central campus for Kihei Charter School, which has been spread out across three separate locations for more than a decade. Maui News.

Maui Electric Co. officials tried to clear up confusion over the utility’s optional rate program, which varies charges based on time of use, because of differences in the rates published in its October rollout and those on letters recently received from the utility by those who have signed up. Maui News.

Maui Memorial Medical Center has reopened its oncology unit after 16 months of construction, the hospital said Tuesday. Maui News.

Kauai

Eight nene were recently killed by vehicles along a two-mile stretch of Kaumualii Highway in Kekaha, and the state is urging drivers to slow down in that area. Garden Island.

Though the tradition of busting firecrackers is long here in the Aloha State, one must purchase a permit to ignite them on New Year’s Eve. Garden Island.