Thursday, April 20, 2017

Teacher tax struggling, $13M technology fiasco, rat lungworm cases pile up after slug found in kava drink, Honolulu police to get body cams, agreement reached in Big Island compost contract, Haleakala tour companies pared, Schatz and Gabbard continue town hall tour, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy Hawaii State Teachers Association
Teacher rally at Capitol earlier this year, courtesy HSTA
Legal, practical and political problems appear to be piling up in the path of a controversial proposal to impose tax surcharges on hotel rooms and residential investment properties to raise more money for public education. Star-Advertiser.

An information technology firm that is battling the state in court over a failed state Department of Transportation computer project has filed for bankruptcy, but transportation officials say they plan to pursue their claims against the company. Star-Advertiser.

The Legislature is on the cusp of passing two bills that will allow online accommodation brokers such as Airbnb to serve as tax collectors for the state. Civil Beat.

Hawaii has one of the toughest drug paraphernalia possession laws in the country. But, Hawaii lawmakers are working to decriminalize paraphernalia possession. KITV.

Coast Guard Budget Cuts Could Mean Fewer Rescues In Hawaii. The service’s District 14 is a lifeline for the islands. All coastal states are concerned, but Hawaii would be hit the hardest. Civil Beat.

Hawaii ranks fifth among the 50 states in the U.S. for shifting to renewable energy, according to a new report. Pacific Business News.

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State Department of Health officials confirmed two more cases of the parasitic disease rat lungworm today and said another four are probable. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii Department of Health announced Wednesday that as many as six more people may have been infected with rat lungworm disease on the Big Island, bringing the year-to-date total of the parasitic infections statewide to 15. Civil Beat.

The Hawaii State Department of Health announced Wednesday that two Hawaii Island residents have been diagnosed with rat lungworm infections, bringing the number of confirmed cases across the state up to 11 in 2017. West Hawaii Today.

Two new cases of rat lungworm disease have been reported on Hawaii Island, with four more probable cases, after residents in Puna accidentally consumed garden slugs in a homemade drink. Big Island Video News.

As many as six people have contracted rat lungworm disease on the Big Island after drinking homemade kava tainted by slugs, the state Health Department said Wednesday. Hawaii News Now.

The Hawaii Department of Health says there are two new cases of rat lungworm on the Big Island. There are also four other cases that are probably for rat lungworm. KITV.

Two new cases of rat lungworm on Hawaii Island were confirmed today by the Hawaii Department of Health. Another four cases are considered highly probable due to exposure through the same method. KHON2.

Oahu

The Honolulu Police Department has crafted a nine-page policy on the use of body-worn cameras for its officers as it gears up for a pilot project scheduled to begin before the end of the year. Star-Advertiser.

Twenty Honolulu Police Department officers should be outfitted with body-worn cameras by the end of the year as part of a pilot program. Civil Beat.

Honolulu police officers accused of crimes or named in lawsuits may not be getting the legal representation they deserve under state law. Civil Beat.

Officials on Thursday night will be discussing how to proceed with the off-limits Haiku stairs. Hawaii News Now.

Critics: Billboards proposal would allow ads on everything from public buildings to garbage trucks. Hawaii News Now.

It took the state nearly 12 hours to alert the public about 3 escapees. Hawaii News Now.

The state Department of Health fined a Waikiki health food restaurant $9,000 for hiding a yellow “Conditional Pass” placard, indicating the restaurant had major food code violations. Star-Advertiser.

Heavenly, a popular breakfast and dinner café in Waikiki, was fined $9,000 by the Department of Health for hiding a yellow conditional pass placard that was issued following other food safety violations, though the restaurant claims it was not intentional. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii developer Gil Barden has purchased a vacant parcel of land in the Honolulu neighborhood of Makiki that’s surrounded by residential buildings for $2.9 million. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii Island

Mayor Harry Kim and Hawaiian Earth Recycling announced an agreement Wednesday that trims $1.5 million off its original contract and relocates a planned composting facility away from the Keaukaha/Panaewa neighborhood that doesn’t want it. West Hawaii Today.

A contested case hearing about a proposed 306-unit condominium in Kahaluu will continue beyond the originally planned two-day schedule to allow an area resident to question a groundwater expert about his research for the project. West Hawaii Today.

Former Hawaii County police officer Michael Dubberstein’s attorney has filed a motion to dismiss an assault charge filed in connection with a 2014 road rage incident in Ka’u. West Hawaii Today.

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz emphasized his commitment to resisting President Donald Trump’s agenda while working toward the “sweet spot” of bipartisanship during a town hall meeting Tuesday at the University of Hawaii at Hilo. Tribune-Herald.

Senator Brian Schatz tackled questions of federal concern, like working (or resisting) on the Trump administration, the potential threat from North Korea, ethics and the emulsion clause, internet privacy, and helicopter noise on Hawaii Island. Big Island Video News.

U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard warned of the threat from North Korea and defended her stance on the conflict in Syria during a packed town hall meeting in Hilo. Tribune-Herald.

A huge crowd came out to hear from Rep. Tulsi Gabbard in Hilo Tuesday night. Big Island Video News.

Former Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustee Moanikeala Akaka, whose early activism in the 1970s helped native Hawaiians eventually obtain more than $100 million in trust land revenues, has died. Star-Advertiser.

Maui

Higher costs for wind power in April increased the bills for electric utility customers on Maui. Star-Advertiser.

Starting in 2018, Haleakala EcoTours, Polynesian Adventure Tours, Skyline Eco Adventures and Valley Isle Excursions will be the only companies allowed to bring vehicle-based tours into Haleakala National Park, park officials announced Tuesday. Maui News.

Hawaii park officials have announced that starting in 2018 only four companies will be allowed to bring vehicle-based tours into Haleakala National Park. Associated Press.

The Office of the County Auditor said Tuesday that there was “poor communication,” “assumptions” and “pressure to move quickly” in the process that led to the demolition of the historic Old Wailuku Post Office, siding for the most part with the Maui County Council in its dispute with Mayor Alan Arakawa. Maui News.

About 100 high school and adult golfers rallied Tuesday evening outside the Kalana O Maui building demanding the county save its only public golf course, which Mayor Alan Arakawa has proposed to close by the end of the year. Maui News.

Kauai

About 300 people came to the Kauai Veterans Center Wednesday evening for a town hall meeting with Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard. Garden Island.