Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Hawaii tourism hits new record, Pearl Harbor seeks exemption from Trump hiring freeze, backlash from Trump travel ban, University of Hawaii advises affected students, faculty to stay put, state to pay $3.9M to family of Maui fatality, Kauai jail crowded, change orders up public contract costs, Molokai unemployment office unstaffed, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Waikiki beach scene © 2017 All Hawaii News
Hawaii tourist arrivals and spending reached records again last year — the fifth in a row — and it appears 2017 will be no different. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii tourism set new records in 2016, with total visitor arrivals rising 3 percent to nearly 9 million visitors, and spending increasing by 4.2 percent to a new high of $15.6 billion, according to year-end statistics by the Hawaii Tourism Authority. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii’s tourism industry established new records in total visitor spending and visitor arrivals in 2016, according to preliminary year-end statistics released Monday by the Hawaii Tourism Authority. This marked the fifth straight year of record growth in both categories. Garden Island.

Almost 9 million visitors traveled to Hawaii last year as the state broke records for tourist arrivals and spending. KITV.

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Hawaii Congressional leaders, lawmakers and others are speaking out against President Trump's executive order temporarily banning immigrants and refugees from seven majority-Muslim nations from entering the United States. Hawaii News Now.

President Donald Trump's immigration ban is stirring up a number of emotions across the nation, and some in Hawaii are fearful of the fallout. KITV.

The University of Hawaii is now advising students and staff with immigrant or non-immigrant visas or green cards who are originally from the seven named countries in the order (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Yemen) to defer travel outside the U.S. for now. KHON2.

Hawaii’s native Middle-Eastern and Muslim populations represent only a small faction of its overall demographic, but President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration has inspired backlash among politicians, lawyers and residents of the state — both from those who identify as Muslim and those who don’t. West Hawaii Today.

A former Justice Department insider is bringing the debate over President Trump's immigration ban to Honolulu classrooms.Hawaii News Now.

One of the organizers of a recent trip that U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard took to Syria conceded Monday that he and his brother had been members of a group called the Syrian Social Nationalist Party — which, according to news reports, has backed the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and has links to terrorist activities — but said they were no longer a part of the organization. Star-Advertiser.

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The Hawaii Senate Committee on Agriculture and Environment voted Monday to advance three measures dealing with pesticide exposure and safety. Garden Island.

The state Legislature has more than 3 months to decide on funding levels for Hawai’i’s public school system. But lawmakers are questioning some of the education cuts being proposed by the governor. Hawaii Public Radio

After several high-profile cases involving lost or stolen money, there’s a push to make homeowner associations more accountable. KHON2.

A bill proposed at the state Legislature looks to create a program for companies and others to get paid for taking part in regulatory reviews that the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission conducts. Pacific Business News.

A Hawaii lawmaker has proposed a bill that aims to speed up and bring the costs down during any other electric utility acquisition process in the wake of NextEra Energy Inc.’s failed $4.3 billion bid last year to buy Hawaiian Electric Co. Pacific Business News.

A proposal to inspect shipping containers for illegal fireworks is gaining momentum. The state attorney general has just issued a legal opinion on the bill. KHON2.

A DNA test to identify the coconut rhinoceros beetle, an invasive pest in its juvenile stages has been developed by scientists at the University of Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

The Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard, one of the state’s largest employers, hopes to hire more than 500 workers this year, including dozens of mechanics, engineers, IT specialists, administration personnel and laborers. But those jobs have been in limbo since President Donald Trump signed an executive order Jan. 23 freezing government hiring. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu Police Department has promoted two assistant chiefs, despite the vacancy at the top of the embattled agency. Hawaii News Now.

A fight over the Maunawili falls trail, a popular hiking trail in windward Oahu, is heating up. KHON2.

Hawaii

Riding a wave of new construction, charges added to county contracts to correct errors, account for unforeseen circumstances and expand the scope of work without going back out to bid nearly doubled in the past two years compared to the previous two years. West Hawaii Today.

The sponsor of legislation to transfer management of Hilo Medical Center to the County of Hawaii says he proposed it to help Mayor Harry Kim expand health services. Tribune-Herald.

A former real estate broker could receive probation and serve no more than a year in jail after pleading guilty to theft and failure to pay taxes. West Hawaii Today.

Frank Sayre and Laura Mallery-Sayre lost their son in a hiking fall 20 years ago. They turned their grief into a memorial foundation raising money for lifeguards and firefighters. Civil Beat.

Maui

The state has agreed to pay $3.9 million to the family of a 12-year-old San Diego boy who plunged to his death in 2012 from a cliff along Hana Highway. Star-Advertiser.

Sen. Rosalyn Baker, D-6th District (South and West Maui) invites the public to attend a Talk Story on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017, from 10 to 11:30 a.m. at the Kīhei Charter School campus in Līpoa Center. Maui Now.

About 100,000 more visitors came to Maui in 2016 than in 2015, raising the island’s total count to its highest annual mark ever — 2.6 million — according to data released Monday by the Hawai’i Tourism Authority. Maui News.

The Maui County Department of Parks and Recreation wants to hire six new workers for the growing Central Maui Regional Sports Complex. Maui News.

Members of the Hawaiʻi National Guard, United States Coast Guard, paramedics, Kahului Airport security, Maui police and fire fighters will be participating in a large scale emergency operations exercise starting Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017. Maui Now.

Kauai

Correctional center designed for 127 has 174 inmates. Garden Island.

Volunteers have removed more than 9,000 pounds of debris from Kauai’s beaches over the past two weekends. Garden Island.

Molokai

Molokai unemployment office to be unstaffed: No one will replace Chocho Kaupu when she retires from the Molokai unemployment office today. Maui News.