Thursday, May 18, 2017

Economists upbeat about Hawaii, judge allows Native Hawaiians to occupy Coco Palms site, Honolulu kills property tax hike for resorts and hotels, police chief citizen panel axed, Maui among least affordable, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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State economists revised Hawaii's economic outlook upward Wednesday, saying the economy is expected to grow by 1.9 percent this year, while the state's unemployment rate is set to remain at less than 3 percent. Pacific Business News.

The state’s top economists nudged up expectations for Hawaii’s growth for the year because of improved performance in the tourism industry. Star-Advertiser.

The Education Commission of the States said on Tuesday that the Hawaii State Department of Education is the 2017 recipient of the Frank Newman Award for State Innovation. Pacific Business News.

Out of surgery after having her right kidney removed, U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono was already weighing in on the latest political developments, according to a Twitter message from her staff Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Sen. Mazie Hirono is recovering after having surgery to remove a kidney. Associated Press.

Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is one of several co-sponsors for a bipartisan bill aimed at decriminalizing marijuana at the federal level. Tribune-Herald.

Representative Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaiʻi joined Rep. Tom Garrett (VA-05) in hosting a press conference today, urging Congress to pass H.R.1227, the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act. Maui Now.

Navy Adm. Harry Harris Jr., the commander of the Hawaii-based U.S. Pacific Command, said Wednesday that North Korea's recent military tests could lead to a disaster and called on the international community not be complacent as tensions on the Korean Peninsula rise. Pacific Business News.

The top American military officer in the Pacific said Wednesday that North Korea's recent military actions are "a recipe for a disaster" and warned against a sense of complacency in the face of increasing tensions on the Korean Peninsula. Associated Press.

The Green Party of Hawaii will hold its annual party convention at the Kailua-Kona Elks Club on Maui on June 10. Garden Island.

Southwest Airlines has officially confirmed its intention to offer flights to Hawaii, with service launching as early as 2018. Pacific Business News.

Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly said Wednesday that Hawaii is a priority destination for the carrier, according to a report from the The Arizona Republic. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

Riders of TheHandi-Van are being spared a fare hike and owners of hotel and resort properties won’t get hit with a tax increase as a result of decisions made by the Honolulu City Council’s Budget Committee on Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu City Council Budget Committee rejected a proposed property tax increase for hotels and resorts Wednesday. Civil Beat.

The Honolulu Police Commission on Wednesday scrapped the idea of forming a citizens selection panel to help evaluate candidates seeking to become the city’s next police chief. Civil Beat.

The Honolulu Police Commission on Wednesday ditched its plan to use a citizen advisory panel to help pick a new police chief after receiving flak for its initial list of volunteers. Star-Advertiser.

Commission scraps citizens panel that would have aided search for next police chief. KHON2.

Plans by the city to acquire more land along Dillingham Boulevard is getting backlash from the Blood Bank of Hawaii. Hawaii News Now.

The Native Hawaiian Legal Corp. is suing to temporarily halt a $115 million renovation of the Pacific Beach Hotel in Waikiki after two human burials were unearthed below an elevator shaft. Star-Advertiser.

The discovery of human remains at a construction site of a Waikiki hotel is prompting some Native Hawaiian activists to call for a halt to the development. Hawaii News Now.

A Native Hawaiian plaintiff known for high-profile litigation protecting Native Hawaiian burial sites has filed a lawsuit asking a state court to stop construction at a Waikiki hotel where bones have been discovered. Civil Beat.

Honolulu welcomes new citizens, but holds off on becoming a sanctuary city. Hawaii News Now.

The state and the city, for the first time, will jointly hold a May 29 Memorial Day ceremony at the National Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl to honor Vietnam veterans for their service 50 years ago. Star-Advertiser.

Bikeshare Hawaii will launch the state's first bikeshare program, called Biki, this summer in Honolulu. Pacific Business News.

The developer of a residential and resort community in Ewa Beach has decided what it wants to anchor much of its 52-acre man-made lagoon, and it is a retail village that looks as if it was built over a century stretching from Hawaii’s plantation era to today. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

County administration has a bit more explaining to do before the County Council is ready to approve a $20 million bond issue creating a closure plan for the Hilo landfill. West Hawaii Today.

The process to finally close the South Hilo Sanitary Landfill has begun. Big Island Video News.


Puna Councilwoman Jen Ruggles was unable to find support from a single councilmember for her resolution asking the county and the state to acknowledge they have “historically discriminated against low income and native Hawaiian communities of the Puna and Ka`u districts, as established by the Office of Civil Rights’ September 28, 2000, ruling.” Big Island Video News.

There’s a suspected case of mumps in Puna. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Testifiers expressed mixed views of the proposed 49-unit Makila Kai project in Launiupoko on Wednesday, with supporters saying the project’s workforce housing is needed while critics worried about more traffic on busy West Maui roads, among other concerns. Maui News.

Maui has joined the ranks of Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco, cities famous for their movie star residents, company tycoons and the wealthy. The Valley Isle is one of the least affordable places to live in the United States. Maui News.

New emergency siren testing began on Wednesday in Maui. Department of Defense officials say residents may hear the sound of the siren for about thirty seconds to one minute on Thursday and Friday. KITV.

Alexander &Baldwin has entered the ranching business on Maui, forming Kulolio Ranch in Hamakuapoko in a diversified agriculture venture on 4,000 acres of old Hawaiian Commercial &Sugar lands. Maui News.

Kauai

A motion that would have ordered two Hawaiians — who claim 17 acres of Wailua land as theirs via royal patent — to stay away from property was denied by a Fifth Circuit judge Wednesday. Garden Island.

The Kauai County Council is considering acquiring two plots of land on opposite sides of the island. On Wednesday, the council discussed a .27-acre property in Wainiha and a 2.1-acre piece of land in Kekaha, both of which the Open Space Commission is proposing the county take charge of before they are sold. Garden Island.

The Kauai County Council unanimously approved Wednesday establishing no parking zones along a stretch of Ho’onani Road in Koloa. Garden Island.

Dr. Gerald McKenna says the policies regarding medical marijuana in Hawaii are getting ahead of themselves. McKenna was a guest speaker at the Kauai Rural Health Association’s “Medical Marijuana Law and Impact on Businesses” conference Wednesday at Kauai Community College. Garden Island.