Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Teachers cleared for free trips, Honolulu Police Commission to discuss police chief's fate today, counties submit legislative priorities, new Maui council leadership, $18M upgrades for Kauai airport, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Kilauea lava flow
Ocean entry viewing from the Kalapana side. National Park Service Sept. 20, 2016
A new viewing area for the Kamokuna lava ocean entry opened Tuesday after two days of closure because of a New Year’s Eve lava delta collapse. Tribune-Herald.

Public school teachers may resume traveling free as chaperones on educational field trips without violating ethics laws, under an agreement between the teachers union and the State Ethics Commission announced Tuesday. Star-Advertiser.

Under an agreement between the state teachers union and the state Ethics Commission, teachers serving as chaperones on school-related trips can continue to have their travel costs paid for by private tour companies. Civil Beat.

A larger county share of the tax on hotel and vacation rentals, liability protection for lifeguards, ambulances for Hawaii and Kauai counties and a greater say in union negotiations are the top priorities for county governments going into the 2017 session of the state Legislature. West Hawaii Today.

Following a New Year’s fireworks accident that killed a woman in Kapolei, state lawmakers will likely reconsider boosting inspections of the shipping containers that authorities say are used to smuggle in most of Oahu’s illegal pyrotechnics. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii residents concerned about pesticide use by major agriculture companies on the islands are planning a push to strengthen regulation over chemicals they fear harm their health. Associated Press.

Commentary: Hold onto your wallet, because this coming legislative session looks like it may be a rough ride! Civil Beat.

A robust Hawaii economy pushed down statewide bankruptcy filings in 2016 for the sixth straight year with few signs that the trend is going to reverse anytime soon. Star-Advertiser.

A possible contender for president in 2020 is helping U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono bring in campaign funds. Civil Beat.

Oahu

Both Mayor Kirk Caldwell and newly installed City Council Chairman Ron Menor called finding the funding to complete the city’s 20-mile rail line their top priority over the next few years. Star-Advertiser.

Although they spoke two hours apart and in separate locations, the mayor of Honolulu and the new chairman of the City Council seemed at times to be reading from similar scripts. Civil Beat.

Kirk Caldwell will serve another 4 years as mayor of Honolulu after being sworn in today at Ala Moana Beach Park. KITV.

The Honolulu Police Commission will meet Wednesday to discuss the future of Police Chief Louis Kealoha, who has been on paid leave since receiving a "target letter" from the FBI last month. Hawaii News Now.

The Honolulu Police Commission’s plan to discuss the fate of Police Chief Louis Kealoha in a closed-door session is being questioned by attorneys who often represent the media and the public interest. Civil Beat.

In June 2013, two homicide detectives from the Honolulu Police Department were assigned to investigate a busted taillight at the Kahala home of their boss. Civil Beat.

Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney Keith Kaneshiro announced this week that Katherine Kealoha, who is the subject of an ongoing public corruption investigation, will be part of a new initiative that aims to crack down on criminals who target tourists. Civil Beat.

The city might need to spend millions to replace two force main lines in Ko Olina after one broke this week near the site of a break in late November, spilling tens if not hundreds of thousands of gallons of raw sewage, city Environmental Services Director Lori Kahikina said Tuesday morning. Star-Advertiser.

State Rep. Gene Ward insists there is nothing unconstitutional about a map he published identifying locations of suspected homeless people in his East Honolulu district, but Ward nevertheless has asked the state attorney general for a legal opinion. Star-Advertiser.

Marine Corps Base Hawaii cancels 2017 air show featuring Blue Angels. KHON2.

Honolulu ranked No. 48 among cities with the most bed bugs in 2016, according to pest control company Orkin. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii

Thirty Meter Telescope
project manager answers questions from opponents; Gary Sanders will continue his testimony today during ongoing contested case hearing. Tribune-Herald.

A long-awaited traffic project in Puna began construction Tuesday. The Hawaii Department of Transportation State Highways Division will be installing a traffic signal at the intersection of Shower Drive, Pohaku Drive and Highway 130. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii's Kona International Airport is now officially named the Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keahole, in honor of the Challenger astronaut who grew up nearby on the Big Island. Pacific Business News.

When the bailiff declares Division 2 of the 3rd Circuit Court in session Tuesday, for the first time in 12 1/2 years — with the exception of vacations — the presiding judge will not be Glenn S. Hara. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Monday morning’s inauguration of the new Maui County Council was “the easy part,” but now it’s time to get down to business, council members said following the celebration. Maui News.

Maui County Council Member Mike White regained his position as chairman Monday late evening during a contentious first council meeting that included 75 testifiers and five failed nominations for other chairpersons. Maui News.

Kauai

About $18 million worth of improvements and upgrades to Lihue Airport is slated to be completed by the end of 2019, according to the Hawaii Department of Transportation. Garden Island.

An organization on Kauai is keeping a critically endangered plant from going extinct. Hawaii Public Radio.