Monday, May 15, 2017

U.S. Supreme Court rebuffs challenge to open primaries, former state director writes tell-all Peter Boy book, Ostrov to head state GOP, Maui property tax hikes approved, homeless arrested on Kauai, more news from all the Hawaiian islands

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Hawaii is the third healthiest state in the country for senior citizens, according to the 2017 America’s Health Rankings Senior Report released by United Health Foundation. Star-Advertiser.

The Supreme Court has turned away challenges to open primaries in Hawaii and Montana that allow voters to take part in party primary elections regardless of their political affiliations. Associated Press.

Campaign Cash Flowed To Hawaii Lawmakers As Hot Topics Debated. Lawmakers may not have settled the rail tax issue, but they did hold a lot of fundraisers during the session. Civil Beat.

The shake-up in state Senate leadership that began at the end of the legislative session with the ouster of Sen. Jill Tokuda as chair of the Ways and Means Committee continued Friday with the announcement of some new committee chairmanships. Civil Beat.

Central Maui state Sen. Gil Keith-Agaran has been named as vice chairman of the powerful Senate Ways and Means Committee, which works with the House Finance Committee and governor’s administration to handle the state’s purse strings. Maui News.

Shirlene Ostrov, a retired Air Force colonel and founder of a logistics consulting company, defeated state House Minority Leader Andria Tupola at the party’s state convention Saturday on Kauai to become the new chairwoman of the Hawaii Republican Party. Star-Advertiser.

A retired Air Force colonel was overwhelmingly selected as the chair of the Hawaii GOP at the party’s 2017 state convention. Garden Island.

Government's Affordable Housing Model Doesn't Work. Hawaii Public Radio.

Affordable Housing: Nothing Being Built on Neighbor Islands. Hawaii Public Radio.

Eight months after an extensive Associated Press investigation detailing poor labor conditions aboard Hawaii longline vessels, little appears to have changed when it comes to protecting the foreign fishermen who can’t stray from their American boats docked at Honolulu Harbor without risking deportation. Associated Press.

Why It’s Taking So Long To Open Hawaii’s Medical Marijuana Dispensaries. The state legalized the use of cannabis as medicine 17 years ago, but patients still have no place to legally buy it. Civil Beat.

Singapore budget-airline Scoot is planning to fly to Hawaii. Pacific Business News.

Hawaiian Airlines is trying to capture a bigger share of the Chinese market and has increased its marketing efforts in the country. Pacific Business News.

Oahu

While the numbers show Oahu’s overall homeless population grew by just 19 people, the island saw a 9 percent increase in homeless veterans despite a nationwide push to house them. Star-Advertiser.

A developer with investors from China is accusing City Councilman Ikaika Anderson of trying to illegally oppose a planned condominium tower because some units are intended for sale in China. Star-Advertiser.

Opposition To Foreign Condo Sales Raises Legal Questions. Did a City Council member create legal risks by suggesting the council might deny a development permit if the condos were sold to Chinese buyers? Civil Beat.

The Honolulu City Council deferred action on a bill Wednesday that would require retailers to charge a fee for single-use checkout bags and ban so-called compostable plastic bags. Star-Advertiser.

St. Louis Drive-In voluntarily shut down after the state Department of Health reported seeing more than 200 live roaches and rat droppings during a recent inspection. Despite what was found, the restaurant was allowed to keep its green placard. KHON2.

Rental homes in a Kalaeloa neighborhood where residents were once hit with utility bills as high as $700 a month are set to get a solar system. Star-Advertiser.

Global Japanese supermarket chain Mitsuwa Marketplace will open its first Hawaii location next week at the International Market Place. Pacific Business News.

Chimp escapes enclosure at Honolulu Zoo, prompting evacuation. Hawaii News Now.

A chimpanzee scaled a wall and escaped from its exhibit Sunday at the Honolulu Zoo. Star-Advertiser.

Renowned surfer Kelly Slater has purchased a 6,610-square-foot property in Haleiwa for $7.8 million, according to property filings. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii Island

Peter Boy's siblings are shocked by publication of e-book, “Peter Boy, Hawaii’s Most Notorious Case of Child Abuse and Murder," by Lillian Koller, former director of the state Department of Human Services, which investigates child abuse cases. Star-Advertiser.

West Hawaii’s three council districts, home to a third of the island’s approximately 198,000 people, continues to be the county government’s cash cow, accounting for almost 70 percent of property tax revenues under rate hikes planned by Mayor Harry Kim. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii Island representatives say they have secured more than $331 million in Capital Improvement Project funding for the biennium of fiscal years 2018 and 2019 for various projects across Hawaii County. Big Island Video News.

Mauna Lani Bay resort, which has been owned by a subsidiary of Japanese-based Tokyu Corp. for all of its more than 40-year-history, is getting a new owner — a change that will bring needed resort reinvestment and fuel upward repositioning for Hawaii island’s Kohala Coast. Star-Advertiser.

A leader of a group of opponents trying to stop a giant telescope from being built on a Hawaii mountain said she is concerned they are at a disadvantage because they can’t afford to pay for thousands of pages of transcripts. Associated Press.

Construction of the long-awaited Puna Kai marketplace in Pahoa is scheduled to begin June 1. The project has been in development since 2012. Tribune-Herald.

The Waimea Town Center development plan and a land exchange between Parker Ranch and the Hawaii Department of Education were central topics at a South Kohala Traffic Safety Committee meeting held in Waimea last week. West Hawaii Today.

Soldier killed, another injured in training accident on the Big Island. Hawaii News Now.

One person was killed and another injured when a military tractor trailer carrying a sky jack lost control and barreled through a guardrail and down the embankment causing the vehicle to roll over. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

The Maui County Council narrowly approved a property tax rate resolution on Friday for fiscal 2018, which begins July 1. Maui News.

Upward of 100 homeless people live around Baldwin Beach Park, according to the county, and social service agencies are trying to prepare them to leave their extended campsite. Maui News.

Solutions for pali traffic woes elusive. Maui News.

Administrators of Hawaii’s public-sector employee retirement fund have come up with a plan to get out of a sand trap of sorts pertaining to an unusual asset it owns: two golf courses at Kaanapali Resort on Maui. Star-Advertiser.

Teresa Shook of Hana has been honored by the Hawaii Legislature as a “Visionary for the 2017 Women’s March.” Maui News.

Kauai

State law enforcement officers arrested 17 people in the Kalalau section of Napali Coast State Wilderness Park on Kauai in the past week for allegedly being in a closed area without a valid permit, the Department of Land and Natural Resources said today. Star-Advertiser.

Developers of a proposed industrial dairy on Kauai will need to jump through a few more hoops before construction can start, due to a final order from Hawaii’s Environmental Court. Garden Island.

Tropic Care Kauai returns to the island offering medical care at no cost between June 12 through 21 at three clinic sites. Garden Island.

Acquiring coastal lands and designating no parking zones are on tap for discussion when the Kauai County Council meets Wednesday. Garden Island.