Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Hawaii's worker shortage, state at odds over voter info, Schofield soldier in court, 'Peter Boy' father gets 20 years, Kauai seeks to save native birds, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Waikiki restaurant worker © 2017 All Hawaii News
There Just Aren’t Enough Workers To Go Around In Hawaii. The state labor director calls it a “perfect storm” as restaurateurs and retailers struggle to recruit — and keep — employees. Civil Beat.

A federal judge has cleared the way for President Donald Trump’s commission on election fraud to resume collecting detailed voter roll information from the states, but at least one election official in Hawaii says he won’t comply with the federal request. Star-Advertiser.

A U.S. Army soldier based in Hawaii pleaded not guilty Monday to charges of attempting to support the Islamic State group. Associated Press.

A Schofield soldier accused of trying to provide support for ISIS has pleaded not guilty. KHON2.

A federal judge Monday scheduled a trial date in September for Wheeler Army Airfield soldier Ikaika Erik Kang on four counts of trying to provide support to the Islamic State, also known as ISIS. Star-Advertiser.

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A trustee with the Office of Hawaiian Affairs has accepted nearly $16,000 from a Native Hawaiian heiress to pay for legal fees in her battle against fellow trustees. Civil Beat.

Native Hawaiian waterman Malama Chun of Maui filed a petition with the state Board of Land and Natural Resources on April 12, 2017, challenging the DLNR Division of Aquatic Resources’ practice of issuing licenses to foreign fisherman who have been refused permission to land in Hawai’i by US authorities and have been ordered deported. Maui Now.

Royal Hawaiian Macadamia Nut Inc. said Monday that the company’s petition to claim that consuming macadamia nuts can help reduce the risk of coronary heart disease under certain circumstances has officially been approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. Pacific Business News.

Two of the three storms in the Eastern Pacific strengthened overnight. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaiian Airlines said Monday it will add three new daily routes between the neighbor islands and the U.S. West Coast in early 2018. Star-Advertiser.

A robust economy continued to boost Bank of Hawaii’s double-digit loan growth in the second quarter, with earnings per share exceeding analysts’ expectations. Star-Advertiser.

Wailuku artist Kirk Kurokawa’s “most significant” project in his artistic collection — the official painting of former Gov. Neil Abercrombie — was unveiled last week on Oahu. Maui News.

Oahu

Mayor Kirk Caldwell on Monday signed into law a bill that bans nearly all plastic bags distributed at Oahu retail checkout counters starting Jan. 1, 2020. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu City Council is considering a bill that would expand the city’s sit-lie ban another few blocks in the Ala Moana-Sheridan area. Civil Beat.

Honolulu’s Potholes Cost Drivers — And Taxpayers — Millions. A 2016 study found the city had the 11th-worst roads among large urban areas, and residents pay more than the national average for related car repairs. Civil Beat.

The police presence in Oahu’s main tourist hub could be getting a boost thanks to a gift that puts more boots on the ground. A Waikiki business group wants to give $85,000 to the city. KHON2.

The July Fourth Waikiki “floatilla” attracted a crowd of about 9,000 partyers, led to at least 30 alcohol-related injuries and cost the city and state more than $12,000 to police, so it’s little wonder officials want to halt alcohol use at future floatillas. Star-Advertiser.

The executive director of the Hawaii Community Development Authority said since April the number of illegal campers in Kakaako parks under HCDA supervision has nearly doubled. Hawaii News Now.

Bill to ban electronic devices for crossing pedestrians represents latest push to make roads safer. Bill 6, which is awaiting the mayor’s approval, would make it illegal to look at a phone, tablet, gaming device, or anything electronic while crossing the street. KHON2.

The Queen Kapiolani Hotel, a 312-room property across the street from Kapiolani Park, is starting a $30 million makeover. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Peter Kema Sr. was sentenced Monday in Hilo Circuit Court to 20 years in prison for the 1997 death of his 6-year-old son, Peter Kema Jr. Tribune-Herald.

Peter Kema Sr. was sentenced to 20 years in prison this morning for the manslaughter of his 6-year-old son, Peter Boy, whose fate remained a mystery for two decades until his parents recently acknowledge their roles in his death. Star-Advertiser.

20 years. That is how long it's been since Peter Boy Kema's death. It's also the sentence handed down to his father on Monday, for killing the Big Island boy. KITV.

Hawaii County Prosecutor Mitch Roth said he’s using lessons learned from the Peter Kema Jr. case to propose changes in the laws governing child abuse and home schooling and to advocate for a longer statute of limitations period for manslaughter. Tribune-Herald.

A lawyer for the estate of the late Peter Kema Jr. and the siblings of “Peter Boy” sent a cease-and-desist letter to a senior vice president of Amazon.com, attempting to persuade the online merchandising giant to pull the Kindle book series “Peter Boy: Hawaii’s Most Notorious Case of Child Abuse and Murder” from its website. Tribune-Herald.

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Major changes are coming to boating and harbor rules, but those most affected say the state hasn’t consulted with them, or even made the rules readily available prior to public hearings scheduled for Thursday and Friday. West Hawaii Today.

PA system installed at popular Kailua-Kona beach park. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaiian Airlines will add a new year-round flight from Los Angeles to Kona starting early next year. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Ulupalakua Ranch on Maui is best known for its winery and cowboy culture, but not its Hawaiian dry forest. A 20-year forest restoration project on Ranch lands is changing that. Hawaii Public Radio.

Maui Electric Co. is seeking approval by the state Public Utilities Commission to refurbish one of its 21-megawatt petroleum-fired turbines at the Maalaea Power Plant, which will cost an estimated $2.6 million. Maui News.

Three months after being forced to vacate its longtime dance studio in the Old Kula Community Center, the Alexander Academy of Performing Arts has found a new home in Haliimaile that will allow it to add classes, teachers and more studio space in the coming months. Maui News.

Maui’s electronic recycling program should reopen August 5th after being closed for several weeks. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaiian Airlines will add a new non-stop daily route between Portland and Maui, starting Jan. 18. Maui Now.

Move over, Kona. Maui coffee is getting much stronger. Maui News.

Kauai

Noisemakers and motion sensors are just a few of the new tools scientists and conservationists are combining with traps to reduce predators in remote endangered seabird nesting areas. Garden Island.

There are nearly 400 predator traps scattered throughout Kauai's Hono O Na Pali Natural Area Reserve. Hawaii News Now.

The county Housing Agency will be hosting a community meeting Thursday from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Koloa Neighborhood Center to discuss plans for a new workforce housing development. Garden Island.

Boardwalk from Kawaihau Road to highway is open. Garden Island.

Niihau

State officials say they're moving ahead with a second attempt at eradicating rats from a tiny island near Niihau, but critics of the plan say they're worried about the potential risks to the marine environment. Hawaii News Now.