Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Grim pension fund news sends state government seeking more taxes, big payout for Kealoha despite FBI probe, state to appeal Thirty Meter Telescope ruling, PUC rejects Hawaii Electric $340M smart-grid plan, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Elephants at the Honolulu Zoo © 2017 All Hawaii News
Nonresidents 13 and older who visit the Honolulu Zoo will need to pay $2 more starting next year under a proposal by Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s administration. Star-Advertiser.

The shortfall in Hawaii’s public employees pension fund mushroomed to $12.44 billion in fiscal 2016, setting the stage for more finger-pointing in the Legislature and dealing a financial blow to taxpayers who will have to dig deep to pay for it. Star-Advertiser.

State lawmakers this year are eyeing the possibility of Hawaii joining 34 other states that are subject to an internet sales tax on purchases from online retailers such as Amazon.com. Pacific Business News.

State tax collections are below Council on Revenue projections this year and lawmakers are looking elsewhere to make up the difference. Hawaii Public Radio.

The state tax department needs extra security guards, armored car services and new surveillance equipment to prepare for a surge in cash payments to cover the taxes paid to the state for medical marijuana sales. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaiian Electric Co. was sent back to the drawing board on its $340 million smart-grid plan by state regulators. Star-Advertiser.

Food producers, service providers and consumers heard highlights Monday from a new report about Hawaii’s reliance on imported food. Tribune-Herald.

Oahu

Although he’s the target of an ongoing federal corruption investigation, Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha is expected to receive a substantial cash payout as part of a retirement agreement being negotiated with the city. Civil Beat.

Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha isn't just retiring under pressure. He's getting a hefty payout to walk away. Hawaii News Now.

Mainland police department eyes local recruits as HPD grapples with leadership change. KHON2.

The Oahu Community Correctional Center needs a new home and officials are looking closely at Aiea, as one of the options. KITV.

Park Hotels & Resorts Inc., the real estate investment trust recently spun off by Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc., may develop a new hotel or time-share tower at the iconic Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort, which is the largest in the Hilton chain of hotels and the biggest resort in Hawaii, Pacific Business News has learned.

The state agency overseeing Kakaako redevelopment has approved new rules for its parks, including areas that have frequently been the sites of homeless encampments. Civil Beat.

Programs that keep people from falling into homelessness and provide access to permanent housing top this year’s legislative priority list compiled by Partners in Care, a collaboration among 35 nonprofits, advocates and government agencies seeking to end homelessness on Oahu. Star-Advertiser.


Hawaii

The state will appeal a Hilo Circuit Court ruling that vacated its consent to the Thirty Meter Telescope’s sublease with the University of Hawaii at Hilo. Tribune-Herald.

A Native Hawaiian educator said Mauna Kea is the realm of akua, or gods, while testifying against the proposed Thirty Meter Telescope on Monday. Tribune-Herald.

Three decades since it was first envisioned and four years after a new owner took over, a mixed-use development along Hina-Lani Street mauka of Kaloko Business Park is again moving forward. West Hawaii Today.

New Hawaii Police Chief Paul Ferreira used the occasion of a public oath reaffirmation ceremony Monday to deliver a brief State of the Department address. Tribune-Herald.

A standing-room-only crowd packed onto the mezzanine area of the South Hilo police station on Monday morning, to watch a new police chief and deputy chief take over as the heads of the Hawaii County Police Department. Big Island Video News.

Maui

The Matson Foundation has given the A Hui Hou Fund with a $100,000 grant to augment widespread community support for displaced sugar workers on Maui. Maui Now.

The number of rooftop solar permits issued for Maui, Molokai and Lanai dropped 47 percent in 2016 compared with the year earlier. Star-Advertiser.

Kauai

There were 1,113 students on the first day census at Kauai Community College provided by the University of Hawaii Institutional Research. This represents a 2.6 percent gain over the spring 2016 semester of 1,085 students. Garden Island.

Two of three baby nene photographed grazing in lush grass alongside the Hanalei River last month were killed by cars as they attempted to cross a highway. Garden Island.

Hanapepe librarian Karen Ikemoto retires after 41 years of serving Kauai’s community. Garden Island.