Friday, February 3, 2017

Hawaii residents healthy, fewer airline seats but more tourists, OHA board ousts chairwoman, Health Department violated records act in redactions, Oahu jail costly, lava shelf collapses, turning Maui sugarcane fields to coffee, Waikoloa garbage gasification advances, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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For the second year in a row, Hawaii has been named the state with the healthiest residents, in terms of mind and body, according to the 2016 State of Well-Being Rankings report released by Gallup and wellness provider Healthways Inc. Pacific Business News.

The state's economist says a slight decline in the number of seats on flights to Hawaii will likely slow tourism industry growth. Associated Press.

Airfares are expected to increase in 2017 as a result of decreased air capacity, according to travel experts that spoke at a conference Thursday of the Pacific Asia Travel Association and the Travel and Tourism Research Association. Pacific Business News.

Key Hawaii lawmakers are hoping to secure $3.5 million annually over the next two years to continue a program that has been credited with helping hundreds of families in the past year escape or avoid homelessness. Star-Advertiser.

Circuit Court Judge Karen Nakasone ruled Thursday the state Health Department violated the state open records law by blacking out large portions of inspection reports for a Honolulu nursing home before it made the documents public. Civil Beat.

A state Senate committee on Thursday gave police more power to seize guns from potentially dangerous people. But lawmakers also softened the consequences for people who fail to register their guns as required by law. Civil Beat.

Senator: Police Union Wrong On Domestic Violence Bill. Sen. Laura Thielen took issue with a SHOPO attorney who testified the union contract takes precedence over state law. Civil Beat.

Marijuana use has risen slightly among Hawaii workers, a quarterly report shows. Star-Advertiser.

After two months of drama and infighting, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs Board of Trustees on Thursday ousted Rowena Akana as chairwoman and elevated Vice Chairwoman Lei Ahu Isa to the top spot on an interim basis. Star-Advertiser.

OHA Infighting Continues As Chairwoman Rowena Akana Is Ousted. Lei Ahu Isa takes over as the acting chair. She is the third trustee to lead the troubled board in three months. Civil Beat.

The state’s Department of Education Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi has a new replacement. Keith Hayashi has accepted the offer to serve as deputy superintendent through the remainder of Matayoshi’s term. Garden Island.

The Hawai’i Public Utilities Commission today issued a reminder to the public that its enforcement officers continue to be on the road at unannounced times statewide to ensure that motor carriers are in compliance with state laws and rules. Maui Now.

Commentary: Everybody is wondering about Tulsi Gabbard. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

Replacing Hawaii’s largest jail might cost $673 million, although that price tag could be reduced by hundreds of millions of dollars if lawmakers and prison officials choose a less expensive, low-rise design, according to preliminary estimates in a report from consultants hired to plan and design the proposed facility. Star-Advertiser.

The price tag for building a new jail to replace the crumbling Oahu Community Correctional Center could reach anywhere from $433 million to $673 million, according to a team of consultants hired by the Hawaii Department of Public Safety. Civil Beat.

The state of Hawaii is taking more money than justified out of a general excise tax surcharge for Honolulu’s troubled rail project, according to a University of Hawaii report released Thursday. Civil Beat.

A $250,000 severance check was delivered to Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha and his attorneys sometime in the last week, as stipulated in Kealoha’s retirement agreement with the Police Commission, Commission Chairman Max Sword told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser on Thursday.

About a dozen Honolulu police officers were disciplined last year — including two who were discharged — for their handling of an investigation into a fellow officer who accidentally shot a woman in the stomach while he was at a bar. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz and Washington Rep. Derek Kilmer have introduced legislation that would exempt employees of Navy public shipyards from President Donald Trump’s federal hiring freeze. Pacific Business News.

Public Navy shipyards, including the Pearl Harbor Navy Shipyard, will be exempt from President Donald Trump’s federal hiring freeze. Star-Advertiser.

The question of whether Honolulu can pursue a third trial against Christopher Deedy, a federal agent from the mainland who fatally shot local resident Kollin Elderts in 2011, is now in the hands of the Hawaii Supreme Court. Civil Beat.

Five state Supreme Court justices heard oral arguments Thursday on whether to allow a third trial of Christopher Deedy, who as an off-duty federal agent shot and killed Kollin Elderts, a 23-year-old Kailua man, at a McDonald’s in Waikiki on Nov. 5, 2011. Star-Advertiser.

It’s illegal to sit or lie on sidewalks in a number of areas across Oahu. Honolulu’s mayor is looking to expand the ban to more areas on the island. KHON2.

The state Department of Health has cited Island Recycling Inc. for failing to comply with its permit to prevent polluted stormwater discharges at two of the company’s facilities. Star-Advertiser.

The push to change Dole Street’s name back to its original Hawaiian name has ended, at least for now. Hawaii News Now.

Robert Kekaula and Paula Akana have been named weeknight 6 and 10 p.m. news anchors at KITV effective Feb. 13, the station announced Thursday. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

The entire section of the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park sea cliff that was seaward of the hot crack collapsed, scientists say. The moment was partially caught on video. Big Island Video News.

A dramatic “fire hose” of lava entering the ocean from Hawaii island has ended, for now at least, with the collapse of a nearby sea cliff, the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii County Planning Department has given its stamp of approval on a waste-to-energy plant in Waikoloa that could reduce the garbage headed to the landfills while providing natural gas for Kohala coastal resorts. West Hawaii Today.

TMT International Observatory’s sublease payments are on hold following a court order requiring a contested case for the agreement with the University of Hawaii at Hilo. Tribune-Herald.

Hilo Medical Center will soon solve two key medical-specialist shortages in East Hawaii. Tribune-Herald.

The Big Island Abalone Corporation announced Thursday it is seeking a new investor for its farm at the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority. West Hawaii Today.

Prominent Hilo-born business and community leader Fred J. Koehnen died at home Wednesday following an illness. He was 92. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

The state House Committee on Agriculture will hear a bill this morning to help MauiGrown Coffee expand its West Maui plantation to fallow sugar cane lands and to create jobs for displaced Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. workers. Maui News.

The way vehicles access Iao Valley State Monument “could be substantially different” once the park reopens in the summer, state Department of Land and Natural Resources officials said Wednesday evening. Maui News.

A close call at Maui's Kahului Airport. Federal Aviation Administration officials say a small plane took off without clearance from Runway 5 as a Hawaiian Airlines Boeing 717 took off from Runway 2. KITV.

A pilot turned a Hawaiian Airlines interisland jet to avoid a smaller plane that took off without clearance Wednesday morning at Kahului Airport, according to a Federal Aviation Administration spokesman. Maui News.

Kauai

Denver oil and gas executive Gary Stewart, who owns about 80 acres of land next door to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's 700-acre oceanfront estate on Kauai’s North Shore, bought out one of the small landowners within his larger parcel but has no plans to buy out the other one, he confirmed to Pacific Business News Thursday.

The Hawaii Department of Agriculture is investigating the source of coffee plants found at a Home Depot on Kauai earlier this week. Garden Island.