Friday, February 23, 2018

Auditor says state tourism authority wastes taxpayer money, Coco Palms occupiers ousted, rail authority may be fined $4 million for federal infractions, state budget $45M short, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy Hawaii Tourism Authority PC: Tor Johnson
Diamondhead surfers courtesy Hawaii Tourism Authority PC: Tor Johnson
State lawmakers are calling for better oversight of the Hawaii Tourism Authority — maybe even budget cuts — in the wake of a scathing state audit released Thursday. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Tourism Authority audit revealed ‘environment of loose oversight’. Pacific Business News.

Audit: Tourism authority has 'lax oversight' over contracts, reimbursed lavish expenses. Hawaii News Now.

The State auditor says the Hawaii Tourism Authority has been wasteful with state funds, and in many cases disregarded its own policies and contracts. KITV.

Audit claims Hawaii Tourism Authority spends extravagantly with little accountability. KHON2.

Hawaii Tourism Authority Responds to Audit. Hawaii Public Radio.

Read the full audit report of the Hawaii Tourism Authority here.

Hawaii’s hotel industry kicked off the year with solid growth in average daily rate and revenue per available room in January, according to a hotel performance report released Thursday by Hawaii Tourism Authority. Star-Advertiser.

Neighbor Island hotels lead off 2018 with strong results. Hawaii's hotels began 2018 with strong results, reporting a 5.4 percent statewide increase in revenue per available room in January, according to the Hawaii Tourism Authority’s monthly hotel report released Thursday. Pacific Business News.


Hawaii Lawmakers Are Scrambling To Find Another $45 Million. A rare mid-session public meeting is planned by the Senate Ways and Means chairman to assess the state’s financial picture. Civil Beat.

Hirono On Her Cancer Battle: ‘My Voice Remains Strong’. The Hawaii senator discusses her stage 4 diagnosis and decision to remain in politics at an annual cancer event. Civil Beat.

In an effort to tackle the growing opioid crisis, lawmakers are looking to crack down on so-called "pill mills" and improve how prescription drugs are tracked and disposed of. Hawaii News Now.

Admitted ‘Wonder Blunder’ con man wants to change plea. Associated Press.


The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation on Thursday admitted that it may have overpaid for relocating people in the path of the Kapolei-to-Ala Moana rail line and violated a federal relocations law in the process. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Rail May Have To Give Up Nearly $4 Million to Feds. HART officials say a review of compensation payments to property owners has turned up possible violations of federal law. Civil Beat.

The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation announced the official names of all nine rail stations on the Ewa side of Oahu Thursday. Hawaii News Now.


Sunday’s heavy downpours resulted in roughly 8.8 million gallons of rain-induced sewage spills in Windward Oahu, keeping city crews busy and resulting in numerous state Health Department advisories for the area. Star-Advertiser.

Last weekend's rainstorm caused nearly nine-million gallons of sewer water to spill on the Windward side of Oahu. KITV.

Kamehameha Schools assistant band director James Maeda allegedly had sex on the Kapalama campus with a 14-year-old student over an eight-month period, Deputy Prosecutor Ayla Weiss told a state judge Thursday after an Oahu grand jury returned an indictment charging Maeda with multiple counts of sexual assault. Star-Advertiser.

Police: Kamehameha Schools faculty member had sex with student on campus, at home. Hawaii News Now.

Kamehameha faculty member accused of having sex with student appears in court. KHON2.

Waianae’s Community Gym Is Finally On The Mend. Classes in the facility’s upper level have been affected ever since a leak was discovered three years ago. Civil Beat.

Lawmaker pushes to stop Olelo channel move. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

The University of Hawaii will conduct its own internal audit of its Maunakea-related activities, a response to “public concerns that have emerged … regarding the university’s operational and financial management” of the mountain. Tribune-Herald.

During a special meeting, regents were given a presentation by Mayor Harry Kim and voted on a financial management audit of Maunakea activities. Big Island Video News.

Coming off a critical audit that ended with the sudden resignation of the former Human Resources director, the county Merit Appeals Board and the newly appointed director put reestablishing trust at the top of the agenda. West Hawaii Today.

In about another month, Hawaii County’s Department of Environmental Management expects delivery of the first three trucks and trailers it will use to haul rubbish across the island following closure of the Hilo landfill. Tribune-Herald.


Upcountry residents continued to angrily question officials with the state Department of Health this week about recent studies that identified their neighborhoods as a top priority area for cesspool contamination of drinking-water wells. Maui News.

The owner of a Maui apartment complex where tenants did maintenance and landscaping work has run afoul of federal labor regulations and will pay $84,136 to 22 workers, the U.S. Department of Labor announced Thursday. Star-Advertiser.

Maui Continues to Lead State with Revenue Per Available Room, Daily Rates. Maui Now.

Longtime Hawaii Realtor Mary Worrall has sold her interest in Island Sotheby’s International Realty to her nephew, Ryan MacLaughlin, who is now a part owner of the Maui-based firm with his father, Paul MacLaughlin. Pacific Business News.

Maui will be getting a new bowling alley as Island Bowling is set to open at the Outlets of Maui in Lahaina next week. Maui Now.

Police have closed an arson investigation into a fire that burned Kahului Elementary School classrooms, after identifying a 17-year-old Oahu boy as a second juvenile suspect in the case. Maui News.


State sheriffs on Thursday removed protesters from the ruins of a Kauai hotel where they have been squatting since last year in an attempt to block redevelopment of land where Hawaiian chiefs once lived and where Elvis Presley’s character got married in the movie “Blue Hawaii.”  Associated Press.

Authorities Oust Protesters From Coco Palms Resort Land. A Native Hawaii group has been camping on the site where developers are planning a $135 million project. Civil Beat.

Authorities clear occupiers from historic Coco Palms property. Hawaii News Now.

Protester arrested as deputies serve eviction notice to Coco Palms’ occupiers. Star-Advertiser.

One person was arrested Thursday morning in Wailua, where the famed Coco Palms Resort once stood, as last month’s court-ordered ejectment was enforced. Garden Island.

Occupiers at the site of historic Coco Palms were ordered off the property Thursday. That comes about one month after a judge ruled they have to leave. KITV.

Security guard sent to protect Coco Palms declines to do so. Garden Island.