Monday, November 20, 2017

New $60M tax system has problems, Kauai assistant police chief put on leave, Maui mayor seeks to fire water chief, money for Hawaii in defense bill, more news from all the Hawaiian islands

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Hawaii’s Marijuana Business: Room for Growth. It’s been two and a half years since Hawaii’s legislature approved a dispensary program for medical marijuana, and about four months since the first dispensary opened its doors. Hawaii Public Radio.

Employees warn of problems with new tax system. The state’s largest union and workers in the state Department of Taxation are warning that the $60 million project to modernize the tax department’s computer systems has gotten seriously off track, and have written to Gov. David Ige to warn that the project could be “severely compromised” unless changes are made. Star-Advertiser.

The $700 billion defense policy bill just passed by Congress states that North Korea nuclear and missile tests “constitute a grave and imminent threat” to Asia-Pacific security and calls for expansion of radar systems and a “sequenced approach” to the defense of Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.

Russian surveillance plane flies unchallenged over isles. The Russian overflight conducted Oct. 4-6 was sanctioned by the United States as part of the Treaty on Open Skies, which has been in effect since 2002 to verify arms control agreements and promote stability through transparency of military forces and activities. Star-Advertiser.

Disabled Job Seekers Left In Limbo By Agency’s Cash Crunch. Hawaii’s vocational rehabilitation program insists the problem is temporary, but some clients fear they’ll lose their support. Civil Beat.

Study on state ferry awaited. A study looking at the viability of a state-owned ferry system will be presented to the state Legislature next month, according to the state Department of Transportation. Tribune-Herald.

Analysts, competitors cast doubt on prospects for third shipper to isles. Star-Advertiser.

Some State Hospital staffers regularly break rules, worker alleges. A social worker on disciplinary leave from the Hawaii State Hospital since October said employees regularly help patients leave the hospital out of sympathy, pick on patients they don’t like — and even turn on one another while security guards look the other way. Star-Advertiser.

Little Fire Ants Are On The March In Hawaii. They’re already established on every island except Molokai, and experts say a concerted effort is required to stop their spread. Civil Beat.

Oahu residents will see their electrical bills dip slightly this month while customers in Maui County and on Hawaii island are facing continued sharp increases due to higher fuel costs. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

Former rail CEO gets $32,000 bonus pay. The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation board voted Friday to reward its former interim executive director and CEO, Krishniah Murthy, with a $32,000 bonus. Star-Advertiser.

Paying The Rent Just Keeps Getting Tougher In Honolulu. Nearly 60 percent of Honolulu renters spend at least 30 percent of their incomes on housing, a study shows. Civil Beat.

New proposal to alleviate DMV lines with weekend hours pilot already on chopping block. KHON2.

Community group wants rescue tubes across Oahu. The tube, a flotation device, can and has been used to help save lives when people get in trouble in the ocean. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu solar permits declined 16 percent in October. Star-Advertiser.

Don’t be alarmed if you hear loud noises, such as gunfire, in Central Oahu this week. The U.S. Marines will conduct demolition training at Schofield Barracks on Monday and Tuesday. KHON2.

Commentary: State’s new role over city’s bloated rail project amounts to huge hill of bean(counter)s. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Feds to end subsidy for service to Waimea airport. The U.S. Department of Transportation in January will end a subsidy for air service at the Waimea-Kohala Airport following unsuccessful efforts to negotiate sharing the subsidy’s cost. West Hawaii Today.

Retiring local police leave vacancies tough to fill. Upcoming retirements add to the increasing number of vacancies impacting the Hawaii Police Department, officials reported to the Hawaii County Police Commission Friday morning. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii Police Department prepares for 20-plus retirements. Associated Press.

A mainland applicant has accepted an offer to become the county’s mass transit administrator. West Hawaii Today.

Final Waiaha Transmission Waterline EA Published. The 16-inch transmission water line will provide "critical redundancy in case there are problems with another part of the system", water officials say. Big Island Video News.

Big Island resort to include crossfit studio following $46M renovation. he Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel will convert to the Westin Hapuna Beach Resort following a $46 million renovation in March. Pacific Business News.

Maui


Mayor Seeks Removal of Water Director, Dave Taylor. Maui Director of Water Supply Dave Taylor has been placed on paid administrative leave while Mayor Alan Arakawa seeks his removal as head of the department. Maui Now.

Iao Valley State Monument to Re-Open Nov. 22, Ahead of Schedule. Maui Now.

Threat assessment of eruption at Haleakala crater is moderate. The 10,000-foot East Maui mountain erupts every 200 to 500 years. Maui News.

Hokulea says a hui hou to Hana as they head to next neighbor island stop. Hawaii News Now.

Indoor trampoline park to open on Maui after leasing space. Ultimate Air LLC, an Arkansas-based company that operates indoor trampoline parks, recently signed a lease for a 25,000-square-foot space on Maui for its first Hawaii trampoline park. Pacific Business News.

Food preservatives might throw off the balance of “good” bacteria in the human gut, which could have implications for health, according to a new study by faculty and students at University of Hawaii Maui College. Star-Advertiser.

Kauai

KPD's assistant chief placed on leave after complaint. An internal investigation has led to Kauai's Assistant Police Chief being placed on leave. Hawaii News Now.

Report cites ‘loss of control’ in fatal Kauai plane crash. The National Transportation Safety Board says the defining event in a crash that killed five people aboard a skydiving flight on Kauai was “loss of control in flight.”  Garden Island.

NTSB releases cause of 2016 plane crash on Kauai that killed 5. Dramatic video recently released by the National Transportation Safety Board shows the skydiving plane crash on Kauai that killed all five people on board last May. Hawaii News Now.

New video released by the National Transportation Safety Board gives a better view of what happened when a Skydive Kauai plane crashed while leaving Port Allen Airport in Hanapepe. KITV.

NTSB investigators use GoPro videos to assist in investigation of deadly plane crash on Kauai. KHON2.

Real estate prices continue climbing. The median sales price of a home on Kauai was $713,000, up nearly 9 percent from last month and more than 14 percent since October 2016. Garden Island.