Friday, February 9, 2018

Tourism outlook sunny, legislative committees advance pesticide bills, emergency shelters, vacation rentals, monster homes, 'survival sex' for young Honolulu homeless, plus Maui politics, Coco Palms lawsuit, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Hawaii visitor arrivals and spending are expected to grow over the next four years. Speakers at the Pacific Asia Travel Association’s annual outlook and economic forecast forum tried to evaluate how much of a boon for Hawaii the latest forecast from the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism would be. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism said in a new report Hawaii’s overall economic condition in 2018 will be better than previously projected, as a result of the new tax reform bill. Pacific Business News.

Visitor accommodation units statewide increased to 80,336 units (+1.6%) year-over-year, the largest total ever recorded for the State of Hawaii, according to the 2017 Visitor Plant Inventory released by the Hawaii Tourism Authority. Maui Now.

Bills Introduced to Crack Down on Vacation Rentals, Monster Homes. Maui Now.

All new state buildings would have to be designed and built with shelter space capable of withstanding catastrophic disasters under a proposal making its way through the Legislature. Star-Advertiser.

House Emergency Preparedness Task Force Bill Advances. Hawaii Public Radio.

In the hours before the state's infamous missile alert mistake, a documentary crew from NBC News was getting an exclusive tour of the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency, gathering material for a future story that was meant to focus on communications in the aftermath of an actual attack. Hawaii News Now.

Four bills are moving ahead in the state legislature, and lawmakers believe that a lack of action on the federal level will increase the likelihood that the bills will pass. The bills would regulate the use of some heavily used pesticides, including a popular herbicide called Roundup.  Hawaii News Now.

House Committee Advances Ban On Chlorpyrifos. Big Island Video News.

The House committees on Agriculture and Energy & Environmental Protection passed a complete ban on the pesticide chlorpyrifos during a hearing at the State Capitol on Thursday. Big Island Now.

A statewide ban on chlorpyrifos passed through two Hawaii House committees Thursday, along with measures for stricter restrictions on glyphosate herbicides and public notification requirements for pesticide application. Garden Island.

Modernizing Hawaii’s Electric Grid For Less Than $1 A Month. Hawaiian Electric Co. needs to upgrade its distribution system to accommodate mushrooming rooftop solar. Civil Beat.

Hawaiian Electric reports 1 percentage point increase in renewable energy in 2017. Hawaiian Electric Cos., the state's largest utility company, said on Thursday it was able to increase its renewable portfolio standard to 27 percent during the past year. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii Schools Can’t Seem To Give Breakfast Away. Nearly all of Hawaii’s public schools participate in the federal School Breakfast Program, but only 43 percent of low-income students who qualify for free or reduced-price school lunches also take advantage of subsidized school breakfast. Civil Beat.

Another government shutdown — even a short one — has particularly bad timing for the Hawaii National Guard, which has its once-a-month drills this weekend. More than 4,500 Hawaii Army and Air Guard soldiers were expected to train Saturday and Sunday. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

Young homeless on Oahu are forced into “survival sex”. Homeless youth on Oahu tend to have been abused by their parents, became homeless at the age of 14, on average, and generally live a dangerous and disturbing existence where most tried to kill themselves while others were forced to perform “survival sex,” according to the first study of its kind in four decades. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell has a lucrative second job at Territorial Savings Bank, and that's raised concerns with members of the state Legislature. Now, legislators are considering a proposal that would prevent acting governors and mayors from having second jobs. Hawaii News Now.

Spill sends 10,000 gallons of sewage into Waianae drainage ditch. The Hawaii Department of Health is urging the public to stay away from a sewage-contaminated drainage ditch in a residential area near Waianae Mall. Hawaii News Now.

City reverses decision to reject gift aimed at supporting young athletes. KHON2.

A woman who stole more than $3.8 million from the company that publishes Honolulu Magazine through a scheme the judge called “intricate” and that the prosecutor said was “exquisitely executed” was sentenced in federal court Thursday to four years in prison. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

The Nature Conservancy has transferred ownership of 222 acres of land to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Tribune-Herald.

Lifeguard liability bills treading water. West Hawaii Today.

A state House committee voted Thursday to advance a bill to establish lifeguards at Kua Bay. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii Island Rep. Richard Creagan and the Hawaii County Council don’t think the Hawaii Department of Health is as serious as it should be about rat lungworm disease. West Hawaii Today.

After two meetings left local business owners with more questions than answers about the proposed surf school regulations, the county has postponed a looming deadline to bid on doing business at Kahaluu Bay. West Hawaii Today.

The Hawaii Army National Guard is replacing its decades-old vehicle and equipment maintenance shop in Hilo. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Was Maui Official Ousted For Skipping Mayor’s Campaign Event? The director of Maui’s Department of Water Supply is suing his boss after being placed on leave. Civil Beat.

New rental car tax proposed to help fund Lahaina, Paia bypasses. $4.50 per car, per day fee would help build state projects stalled in county. Maui News.

Ongoing discord among Maui County Council members has inspired the launching of campaigns for two candidates: former mayoral candidate and Council Member Alice Lee and Claire Kamalu Carroll, the 48-year-old daughter of Council Member Bob Carroll, who’ll retire this year. Maui News.

Maui resident and community organizer Tiare Lawrence is running for the State House representing Maui. KITV.

Two men who were arrested for allegedly harassing a monk seal in Lahaina could have felony charges dismissed if they make donations to a federal agency responsible for managing ocean resources. Maui News.

Businesses who use the EKO Compost facility that do not have a commercial account are being reminded by Department of Environmental Management officials that they are now required to set up an account and pay green waste tipping fees at $46 per/ton. Maui Now.

Kauai

Coco Palms Developer Fights Back With Its Own Native Hawaiian Research. A Hawaiian consultant disputes the claims of the occupiers of a planned resort site on Kauai. Civil Beat.

Milo Spindt, born in Lawai and now a Kalaheo resident, has pulled papers and is running for the Kauai County Council. Garden Island.

Kapaa grocery store Cost-U-Less is closing after a quarter-century of doing business.  Garden Island.

Phyllis Ann De Graff Kunimura died Dec. 7. She was known as the “First Lady of Kauai” during her husband Tony Kunimura’s tenure as mayor. Star-Advertiser.