Thursday, April 6, 2017

Another $1.2B for Honolulu rail, homeless program in jeopardy, Honolulu council nixes trash fee, 20-year-old Big Island murder case solved, Aloha Stadium downsizing, Maui council seeks to save golf course, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Honolulu rail project construction, by Musashi1600 - Own work via Wikipedia
The House Finance Committee voted late Wednesday to provide an additional $1.2 billion to financially bail out the Honolulu rail project, but Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell said that won’t be enough to get the job done. Star-Advertiser.

House Panel Ponies Up Another $1.2 Billion For Honolulu Rail. It’s not as much as the city wanted, but the Finance Committee chair said it should be enough to finish construction. Civil Beat.

A state-funded program that in less than a year helped 1,515 island families stay in their homes — or get off the street and into housing — faces an uncertain future on Friday. Star-Advertiser.

When it comes to one of the most high-profile issues before the Legislature — medical aid in dying — most House members are remaining silent about their position. The House Health Committee’s deferral of the bill let other members off the hook on making their position on the issue known to the public. Civil Beat.

Native Hawaiian Culture Overcomes Incarceration. Hawaii Public Radio.

Over the past decade, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs has transferred millions of dollars of its real estate holdings, including its ownership of Waimea Valley and a poi mill on Kauai to private, nonprofit companies that it controls. But critics say those nonprofits were created to shield OHA from public scrutiny, and to conceal mismanagement. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii has the second-highest individual tax burden in the U.S., behind New York, according to a study released Wednesday by WalletHub. Star-Advertiser.

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs is condemning the Paris auction of what is being billed as the world’s largest private collection of Hawaiian art and will ask the seller to stop or delay the sale in order to negotiate a “morally appropriate resolution.” Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii workers’ use of methamphetamine dropped slightly in the first quarter, but the use of synthetic urine rose. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

The Honolulu City Council Budget Committee rejected a bill that would have created a $10-a-month fee for residential curbside trash pickup, with members suggesting they’d rather look at raising property tax rates for the bulk of Oahu’s homeowners if there’s not enough money to pay for services.  Star-Advertiser.

Oahu residents worried about Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s proposal to make them start paying for trash collection can breathe a sigh of relief. Civil Beat.

A City Council committee gave tentative approval Tuesday to pay out an additional $300,000 to three downtown law firms to represent the city Ethics Commission, its former executive director and former commission investigator in a suit filed by former Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha. Star-Advertiser.

More than 30 qualified candidates have applied to become the Honolulu Police Department’s next chief, the Honolulu Police Commission said Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu Police Commission will have at least 30 candidates to choose from for the next police chief, according to Chairman Max Sword. Civil Beat.

Oahu’s solar industry continues to tank, as bills designed to help revive it move through the state Legislature. Star-Advertiser.

The development of a new, smaller stadium that seats between 30,000 and 40,000 people, which would replace Aloha Stadium, along with the 2.6 million square feet of mixed-use development of the 100-acre site of the Honolulu stadium’s surrounding property could create $1.5 billion in economic output over 25 years, according to a new report released Wednesday. Pacific Business News.

Entering its 43rd year, Aloha Stadium has, “… served its useful life and is now a liability to fan experiences, a potential danger to public health and safety and a financial burden for maintenance and operations,” a consultant’s report warns. Star-Advertiser.

Video: Aloha Stadium Conceptual Redevelopment Report Press Conference. Civil Beat.

The CEO of a nonprofit organization that supports the National Park Service’s operations in Pearl Harbor has been suspended while the group’s board investigates allegations made in an anonymous letter. Associated Press.

Builder gets extension on year-late affordable homes. Star-Advertiser.

Pacific Business News has launched Crane Watch Honolulu to keep track of all of the development and construction taking place. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii

Expressing frustration with what they called a lack of communication from Mayor Harry Kim over a multimillion-dollar composting contract, members of the County Council took unanimous action Wednesday on two measures to try to keep a hand in contract negotiations. West Hawaii Today.

The state Department of Health cleared all remaining Hilo Bay beaches still affected by a sewage spill Monday to reopen Wednesday afternoon after tests showed the water to be safe to enter. Tribune-Herald.

The father of Peter “Peter Boy” Kema Jr. pleaded guilty to manslaughter and hindering prosecution in Hilo Circuit Court today, accepting a plea deal in the murder of his young son two decades ago and agreeing to reveal where the body is located. Star-Advertiser.

Peter Kema Sr. pleaded guilty today to manslaughter and first-degree hindering prosecution in the death of his son. Tribune-Herald.

In a groundbreaking development to one of Hawaii's most well-known murder cases, Peter Kema, Sr. pleaded guilty to manslaughter on Wednesday for the 1997 death of his 6-year-old son, Peter Boy. Hawaii News Now.

A planned cleanup at Old Kona Airport Beach Park later this month has been postponed because a solution on where to move the homeless currently camping in the area has not yet been reached. West Hawaii Today.

The lava ocean entry once again can be seen up close from the sea after the Coast Guard granted four tour operators access within its temporary safety zone. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

A bill proposed by the Planning Department to regulate drive-through signs in Maui County for the first time was passed out of a council committee. Maui Now.

Several Maui County Council members say they want to find ways to keep the Waiehu Municipal Golf Course open, despite Mayor Alan Arakawa’s proposal to mull over the closure of the 87-year-old course due to millions of dollars of losses in the past decade. Maui News.

Medical marijuana products could be available by July at one of Maui’s two licensed medical marijuana dispensaries, a company official said Wednesday. Maui News.

The Maui Invasive Species Committee and state Department of Health will hold a community meeting Thursday night on rising concerns over a recent outbreak of rat lungworm disease in East Maui. Maui News.

There are four confirmed cases of rat lungworm disease on Maui. KHON2.

Kauai

A day after four men were arrested for trespassing, Wainiha community members and county officials met Wednesday to discuss community safety, kuleana lands and Native Hawaiian rights. Garden Island.

The County Republican Convention for Kauai is scheduled Saturday at the Lihue United Church parish hall. Garden Island.

Talking about climate change as a way to generate awareness and solutions is the goal of a new Kauai hui, the Kauai Climate Literacy Initiative. Garden Island.