Friday, September 1, 2017

Tourism up, crime down, final vote for $2.4B rail bailout bill today, Ige cools 1k schools, OHA member pays $25k ethics fine, waters woes not to impact Ironman, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Tourists at Honolulu farmers market © 2017 All Hawaii News
Hawaii Visitor Spending Jumped Nearly 10 Percent In July. Travelers spent $1.6 billion last month, and the number of visitors climbed almost 7 percent to more than 890,000. Associated Press.

Hawaii’s visitor industry knocked it out of the park in July, which was the biggest month ever in Hawaii tourism. Star-Advertiser.

Visitor spending in Hawaii increased 9.8 percent to $1.6 billion in July, with year-to-date spending rising 8.9 percent to $9.95 billion, compared to the same period last year, beating expectations for the month, according to preliminary statistics released Thursday by the Hawaii Tourism Authority. Pacific Business News.

Visitors to Hawaii from the U.S. East Coast brought the largest gains in spending in July, with spending from that market increasing 22 percent last month to $452.5 million, compared to last year, and contributing to an overall increase in visitor spending of 10 percent. Pacific Business News.

The Hawaii Tourism Authority says spending by visitors jumped nearly 10 percent last month compared to a year earlier. Garden Island.

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Hawaii achieved a record-low crime rate in 2016 as three of the state’s four counties led the way in setting their own record rates. Star-Advertiser.

Go. David Ige fulfills goal to air-condition 1K classrooms. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii's public school children will be more comfortable this school year after the state kept its promise of installing air conditioning units in 1,000 classroom across the islands. Pacific Business News.

Gov. David Ige out beats his promise to cool 1,000 classrooms. KITV.

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Based on a procedural voice vote Thursday, rail’s controversial bailout bill appears poised to easily pass the House today. Star-Advertiser.

The Legislature’s $2.4 billion rail funding package, expected to clear its final legislative hurdle Friday, won’t just bring a big influx of of cash to the over-budget and behind-schedule project. Civil Beat.

A bill increasing the hotel tax statewide to bail out the vastly over-budget Honolulu rail project advanced in the House on Thursday after narrowly clearing its committees the night before. West Hawaii Today.

Senate Bill 4 is nearing final passage during this week’s Special Legislative Session. But funding Honolulu’s Rail Transit Project caused some clashes between lawmakers. Hawaii Public Radio.

The rail bail out bill faces one final hurdle with a final floor vote in the House Friday. KITV.

Facing pressure from state lawmakers to find new revenue sources, the city and the rail authority are taking a second look at private and public partnerships. Hawaii News Now.

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The state Ethics Commission has fined an Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustee $25,000 for violating ethics laws by using his state office, staff and resources for his own business purposes on “innumerable occasions,” including on a critical vote and subsequent work associated with the controversial Thirty Meter Telescope. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii State Ethics Commission announced Thursday that it has reached a $25,000 settlement agreement with Office of Hawaiian Affairs Trustee Peter Apo, who admitted to using the state agency’s connections and resources to benefit his consulting firm, The Peter Apo Company. Civil Beat.

An Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustee who admitted to making an inquiry with a business from the Thirty Meter Telescope after publicly advocating for its construction will pay a $25,000 fine to the state ethics commission. Hawaii News Now.

The Army has declared as deceased the final two missing members of a UH-60 Black Hawk that crashed during night training off Kaena Point Aug. 15. Star-Advertiser.

The Army has declared dead the final two soldiers missing after a Black Hawk helicopter with a crew of five crashed off Hawaii earlier this month. Associated Press.

Hawaii is neglecting a “hidden economy” by significantly undervaluing its nearshore fisheries both economically and culturally, according to a recently published report. West Hawaii Today.

Oahu

On Oahu 1,400 establishments hold liquor licenses. The Honolulu Liquor Commission's proposed license fee increase would raise what they pay by 70 percent. Hawaii News Now.

A nonprofit developer has completed a $33 million first phase of preservation work on an old Kunia pineapple plantation village to provide affordable housing for retirees and low-income farmworkers. Star-Advertiser.

An annual truck rally held Sunday in Kapolei was disrupted when Honolulu police officers and city vehicle inspectors arrived in force. Hawaii News Now.

Can anything be done about the flooding in Mapunapuna? KHON2.

Honolulu-based Hensel Phelps Construction Co. on Thursday received two contracts totaling close to $39 million from U.S. Department of Defense for construction work in Hawaii and Guam. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii Island

Crime hits record low. Tribune-Herald.

Rates that will cause Hawaii island residents’ electrical bills to rise nearly $5 a month went into effect Thursday. Star-Advertiser.

A U.S. Coast Guard investigator identified a brownish slick floating offshore of Kahaluu Beach Park as possibly algae, authorities said Thursday afternoon. West Hawaii Today.

The Ironman World Championship, the thousands of visitors it brings and a water shortage at the heart of the action in North Kona during one of the hottest times of the year appears a volatile and potentially dangerous mix. But it might not be so bad as it seems. West Hawaii Today.

The University of Hawaii at Hilo welcomes Douglas Shinsato, nominated by the governor to be the new UH Regent. Big Island Video News.

State Sen. Kai Kahele of Hilo wants the University of Hawaii at Hilo’s enrollment to exceed 5,000 students in 10 years. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Maui County’s total Index Crime rate in 2016 was the highest in the State of Hawaii; but it was also its lowest level on record since the start of statewide data collection in 1975. Maui Now.

Maui’s Short Term Rentals. Residents of Paia and Haiku are trying to decide the future of short-term rentals in their community after an unusual discovery: their current community plan and the Maui County Code don't match up. Hawaii Public Radio.

New Study: 72% of Maui Ocean Drownings are Visitors. Maui Now.

The Hawaii State Department of Education reports that progress is being made by school bus contractors to address the current shortage of Commercial Driver Licensed drivers on Maui and Kauai qualified to operate school buses. Maui Now.

Kauai

Though the Air Force reduced the number of bombs aimed at a training area 50 miles off the coast of Kauai, conservationists are still concerned about the whales and dolphins in the area. Garden Island.