Tuesday, March 28, 2017

No police reform in 2017 Legislature; Honolulu taxpayers fund police chief PR campaign, legal fees; Hawaii one of worst states for doctors; Canary Island more appealing to Thirty Meter Telescope board; immigrants an issue at Kona coffee farms; Ellison changes Lanai energy advisor, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Hawaii lawmakers so far haven’t had much of an appetite for passing police reform legislation this year, despite widespread concerns both locally and nationally about the need for more accountability of law enforcement. Civil Beat.

The chairwoman of the Hawaiian Homes Commission is asking federal authorities whether the state’s long-standing and exclusive agreement with embattled telecommunications provider Sandwich Isles Communications Inc. might run afoul of federal law. Star-Advertiser.

Lawmakers are moving forward on a bill that would allow hundreds of low-income Hawaii students to attend college for free. Tribune-Herald.

Doctors in Hawaii live in one of the worst states to practice medicine, according to a new study by WalletHub. The personal finance website placed the Aloha State toward the bottom of its list of best states to be doctor, in 43rd place. Pacific Business News.

Interest slows for Hawaiian Electric's pilot rate program. Pacific Business News.

The president's proposed budget includes deep cuts to a number of federal agencies, and federal workers fear in the islands fear that could translate into layoffs, furloughs and big impacts to services for residents. Hawaii News Now.

Condo boards brace for medical marijuana smoke complaints. KITV.

Hawaiian Airlines flight HA47 from Oakland to Honolulu was diverted to Kahului on Monday due to an odor of smoke in the cabin, according to the airline. KITV.

A rare collection of Hawaiian and Polynesian artifacts will be going up for auction in Paris. Hawaii News Now.

Commentary: Money Talks To Lawmakers During Legislative Session. Numerous legislators continue to hold campaign fundraisers at the same time they’re making decisions on their benefactors’ issues. Civil Beat.

Oahu

A just-ended, $125,000 one-year contract with a downtown public relations firm netted the Honolulu Police Department about a dozen training classes for top HPD officials, a department wide communications plan and a customized, seven-page “crafting your message” strategy guide. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu City Council on Wednesday approved payment of up to $10,000 to a private law firm to represent former Police Chief Louis Kealoha in yet another lawsuit against both him and the city. In December the Council had authorized up to $150,000 be paid to three law firms to represent Kealoha in four other civil cases that name him (in his capacity as chief) and the city. Star-Advertiser.

HPD accepts recruit applications, looks to fill more than 100 vacancies. KHON2.

The Honolulu Rail Transit Project is facing an April 30th deadline to come up with a funding source to complete the downtown segment of the 20-mile system. Hawaii Public Radio.

A $900,000 settlement for the family of an elderly woman struck and killed by a Honolulu garbage truck in 2013 was approved Wednesday by the Honolulu City Council. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu might seem crowded these days, especially during the morning commute. But new Census figures show the island's population actually shrank in 2016. Hawaii News Now.

Residents in a Mililani neighborhood are worried as a nonprofit prepares to open a group home for mental health patients. Hawaii News Now.

Hilton Garden Inn hotel workers ratified their first union contract between management and Unite Here Local 5. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

One year out from the time Thirty Meter Telescope officials are insisting that construction must begin, the TMT International Observatory board is making the case for why a mountain in the Canary Islands will be an “excellent” alternative site for the $1.4 billion next-generation telescope. Star-Advertiser.

ICE officials deny any ‘large scale enforcement actions’ around Kona coffee farms. West Hawaii Today.

A lack of staff has pool hours reduced at the Kona Community Aquatic Center — a temporary set back the county says it hopes to remedy by April although some people are skeptical they’ll get the extra lane time back. West Hawaii Today.

Repairs to a century-old bridge in Hakalau valley might have to wait until October to avoid the Hawaiian hawk’s breeding season. West Hawaii Today.

VIDEO: Lava Fire Hose Fizzles, New Delta Forming. Big Island Video News.

Maui

The Maui County Democratic Party will hold its annual convention Saturday in the Maui Waena Intermediate School Cafeteria. Maui News.

Kauai

The Department of Land and Natural Resources is accepting proposals for projects or programs submitted by public or private agencies or organizations to increase water security in Hawaii. Garden Island.

On the Garden Isle, two people are born and one person is moving to the island per day, according to census data. Garden Island.

A Hawaii estate once owned by actor Sylvester Stallone has been sold for $11 million. In 1990, Stallone paid $401,800 for the property on Kauai’s North Shore and sold it in 1998 for $875,000, public records show. Pacific Business News.

Lanai

Billionaire Oracle Corp. founder Larry Ellison is not using the expertise of an energy veteran and Punahou School alumnus to lead his sustainability efforts on the Hawaiian island of Lanai that he purchased for $300 million in 2012, the company heading operations on the island on behalf of Ellison confirmed to Pacific Business News.