Friday, March 31, 2017

Hawaii tourism agency targets NYC, state battles occupiers of iconic Coco Palms resort, Maui coffee bonds advance, Ige bolsters state building code, groups fight over seal protection, more money sought in Honolulu police cases, tax on Amazon purchases coming, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Waikiki beach scene © 2017 All Hawaii News
Tourists in Hawai’i spend $33,000 a minute. That’s up 8 percent in average visitor spending from the same time last year, according the Hawai’i Tourism Authority.  Nearly three-fourths are return visitors, so the marketing strategy for the mainland is to focus on the “Never Beens.” And that market’s New York. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii will host its largest incentive travel group from China next month, but roughly 40 percent of Nu Skin’s top distributors won’t be joining their peers because their visa applications were rejected. Star-Advertiser.

Gov. David Ige has updated the state’s building codes and standards, requiring new construction to be more energy-efficient. Star-Advertiser.

The state of Hawaii could save more than $14 billion in energy costs during the next 20 years under a new building code recently signed by Gov. David Ige. Pacific Business News.

Worried about the state’s anemic voter turnout, two Senate committees unanimously approved legislation Thursday to implement voting by mail for all Hawaii counties by 2020. Civil Beat.

Startup technology companies boosted by government funds in Hawaii boosted the amount of taxes they paid the state last year by 74 percent, according to a recent survey. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii’s incubator and manufacturing companies contributed $619.6 million to the state’s economy in 2016, according to the results of an annual survey conducted by the High Technology Development Corp. Pacific Business News.

Gov. David Ige nominated Tom Gorak to be confirmed as a commissioner of the state panel responsible for regulating public utilities, after having served as interim commissioner for nine months. Star-Advertiser.

It’s not exactly a Christmas holiday-level deluge, but the U.S. Postal Service is seeing a significant boost in the number of Amazon packages shipped to Hawaii in advance of the giant online retailer collecting the state’s general excise tax here starting Saturday. Star-Advertiser.

Amazon tax: Burden or boon? Hawaii consumers, retail industry divided on added charge. Tribune-Herald.

The Trump administration filed a notice Thursday to appeal U.S. District Court Judge Derrick Watson’s nationwide stay against the president’s revised executive order on immigration. Civil Beat.

President Donald Trump’s administration on Thursday appealed the latest court ruling against his revised travel ban to the same court that refused to reinstate the original version. Associated Press.

Lawmakers Urge Medical Help For Micronesian Veterans. Service members from Palau, the Marshall Islands and the Federated States are not eligible for U.S. care. Civil Beat.

Some Hawaii lawmakers are pushing to criminally charge people who leave their dog tied up too long. Garden Island.

Oahu


Proposed Increases In Honolulu Taxes And Fees Will Be ‘A Tough Sell.' City officials say the cost of government operations is growing — including salaries, pensions and other benefits. But some council members are pushing back. Civil Beat.

A private security officer who shot a pet dog in the head in front of its owner at Honolulu Airport Tuesday night is being investigated for reckless endangering in the second degree and was previously fired as a civilian police officer for the Army “for pulling a gun too much,” according to state Sen. Will Espero. Star-Advertiser.

State releases nearly 400-page airport security contract with Securitas. KHON2.

Ten women have filed a lawsuit alleging they were sexually assaulted and harassed by four guards and one Department of Public Safety worker while incarcerated at the Women’s Community Correctional Center in Kailua. Star-Advertiser.

City seeks more funding for firms to fight lawsuit filed by former Police Chief Louis Kealoha and his family. Star-Advertiser.

Another Honolulu police officer, high in the ranks, has retired while being examined for his role in a federal public corruption case. Hawaii News Now.

Beach confrontations over the critically endangered Hawaiian monk seals are spilling over into Hawaii's courtrooms. In a lawsuit filed in state Circuit Court, a woman known for helping rescue seals said she's being harassed by volunteers for a nonprofit group that works with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which monitors monk seals in Hawaiian waters. Hawaii News Now.

The long-vacant Queen Emma Building in Downtown Honolulu could be redeveloped into a 71-unit affordable rental housing project that also would include units for housing homeless families, Pacific Business News.

The city is moving forward on its $1 million makeover of historic Thomas Square, but not everyone is on board with the changes. Hawaii News Now.

Got cauliflower? Field Day highlights potential Hawaii crop. These trials are a step toward the governor's goal of doubling our food production so Hawaii don’t have to rely so much on imports. KITV.

Hawaii

Hawaii Island residents received no immediate solutions to the problem of helicopter tour noise pollution during a meeting Thursday afternoon, but were assured that their voices were heard as federal officials once again attempt to address the issue. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii Island residents, especially those living in Puna subdivisions who are fed up with the constant noise from low flying tour helicopters visiting the volcano, had a chance to take their complaints directly to the feds on Thursday. Big Island Video News.

A former school campus at Mauna Lani resort could see new life as a shopping plaza, if the County Council approves rezoning the property from agriculture to mixed commercial/industrial. West Hawaii Today.

TMT International Observatory signed a hosting agreement Thursday that would allow construction of its giant telescope on the Spanish island of La Palma. The site is part of the Canary Islands and is the developer’s backup plan should it not be able to resume construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea by April 2018. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

The Maui Memorial Medical Center is on track to transition to Kaiser on July 1, as part of a public/private partnership approved by the state in 2015. Maui Now.

A bill to authorize a special purpose revenue bond for as much as $13 million to help MauiGrown Coffee Inc.’s expansion to the lower slopes of Haleakala has cleared the state Senate Ways and Means Committee. Maui News.

E.K. Fernandez Shows’ cancellation of next week’s Maui County Carnival threw a cloud over the Maui Fair as well. Maui News.

Kauai


Kauai police and the prosecutor's office are debating whether to take action against some people who have been camping out at the abandoned Coco Palms Resort — some for as long as a year. Hawaii News Now.

Owners of the iconic Coco Palms resort on Kauai are working to remove residents who they say have been living on the property illegally. Associated Press.

State officials say a group occupying land on a historic hotel site is trespassing. Garden Island.

A second informational meeting has been set for the public to hear about the state’s plan to eradicate rats on Lehua Island with poison this summer. Garden Island.