Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Hotel revenue surges, Legislature mulls transient taxes, Ige AC plan lags, Board of Education reduces proposed impact fee on rail route, grad students again try to unionize, Big Island audit finds inventory controls lacking, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Hawaii hotels ended 2016 with record highs in revenue, boosted by increases in visitor arrivals and a spike in room rates in December. Star-Advertiser.

Airbnb is once again backing two bills that would enable the online vacation rental platform to act as a tax broker and collect and remit taxes on behalf of its hosts in Hawaii, claiming the measure could generate $100 million in tax revenue. Pacific Business News.

Counties face a drop in their share of the state’s transient accommodations tax next fiscal year if the state Legislature doesn’t take action this session. Tribune-Herald.

Housing Bill Strikes A Blow For The Middle Class. Rep. Beth Fukumoto says the Legislature needs to act on housing issues to help low- and middle-income buyers. Civil Beat.

University of Hawaii graduate assistants could have the option to unionize under legislation moving through the state Legislature. Tribune-Herald.

Only about 200 Hawaii classrooms have received air conditioning units as part of Gov. David Ige's $100 million plan announced early last year to cool 1,000 classrooms. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii’s public school system is the top-ranked district in K-12 broadband connectivity in the United States, according to an annual report released by EducationSuperHighway, a nonprofit that focuses on Internet connectivity in the classrooms. Garden Island.

Life is getting better for the thousands of humpback whales that make the trip from Alaska each winter to breed in Hawaii’s warm waters, but state and federal scientists, government officials and law enforcement officers are remaining vigilant. Civil Beat.

Young Brothers Ltd.’s interisland cargo volume finished 2016 at virtually the same level it began the year. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

The Department of Education has come up with a lower proposed fee that it would charge homebuilders to help pay for new schools along the rail line in urban Honolulu. Star-Advertiser.

City proposes new park rules to curb sales of goods by religious groups. KITV.

Police Commission starts hashing out subpoena process. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

Inadequate inventory control at county Public Works baseyards allowed chainsaws, string trimmers, a generator, lawnmower, digital camera and other items to walk off the job. West Hawaii Today.

Efforts to revitalize Banyan Drive and the surrounding Kanoelehua Industrial Area are moving forward in the Hawaii State Legislature. Big Island Video News.

The Leeward Planning Commission approved a rezoning proposal last week that cleared a path for a new development at the Mauna Lani Resort in South Kohala. West Hawaii Today.

New Hawaii island Police Chief Paul Ferreira was a young detective when he enlisted famed forensic scientist Henry Lee 24 years ago to determine whether a well-liked police sergeant accidentally ran over his wife or if blood spatter inside his van proved it was murder. Star-Advertiser.

The Big Island Community Beach Clean Up event is back and has the potential this year to be bigger than ever before. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Less than a year after Wailuku’s Clean & Safe program was born, business owners say the town’s atmosphere has improved, and the people who were given jobs say they’ve gotten their dignity back. Maui News.

Kauai


Kekaha Elementary is the only Kauai school on the Department of Education’s priority list in the state’s Heat Abatement project to cool down Hawaii classrooms, ranking 31 out of 33 in the state. As of Feb. 15, no units have been installed. Garden Island.

New Catholic Charities CEO: Homelessness, senior care are big challenges. Garden Island.