Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Hawaii economy is hot! Plus, hotel tax for neighbor islands, 'monster house' moratorium, rooster reprieve, airport insecurity, more top state and local government news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Kona beach scene ©2018 All Hawaii News
State revenue forecast is bumped up again. A panel of economic forecasters painted a rosier financial picture for the state Tuesday, projecting Hawaii tax revenue increases of $50 million in the fiscal year ending June 30 and $66 million next fiscal year. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii House of Representatives Finance Committee will hear a proposed House amendment to Senate Bill 648 SD1 HD1 to increase the amounts of the Transient Accommodations Tax revenues for the neighbor islands. Big Island Now.

Hanabusa challenges Ige on missile alert records. U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, who is leaving her seat in Congress to challenge Ige in the state’s gubernatorial race, said today she is troubled by the lack of transparency from the agency and her opponent. Associated Press.

A bill that would dissolve the state Invasive Species Council to create an administrative body with greater authority to manage invasive species passed all but one committee in the state Legislature. Tribune-Herald.

State Relaxing Animal Quarantine Rules. For decades, Hawaii had some of the strictest animal quarantine rules in place, in an effort to keep the islands rabies-free. Hawaii Public Radio.

Lawmakers take up proposal to put UH tuition hikes on ice. State Sen. Kai Kahele believes it would be easier on UH students if the university put a freeze on tuition and tied future increases to the state's median household income. Hawaii News Now.

3-foot buffer zones for bicyclists could be a reality. KHON2.

Student walkouts spread across state. The 17-minute walkouts are a tribute to the victims as well as a rallying cry for an end to the violence. Star-Advertiser.

Campuses across the islands are gearing up for National School Walkout on Wednesday. Hawaii News Now.

Students across Hawaii will walk out of class Wednesday on the one-month anniversary of the mass school shooting in Florida. KHON2.

ACLU Says State Has No Plan To Address Gender Equity Issues. The organization said it was “disappointed” by the Department of Education’s response to its Title IX demand letter. Civil Beat.

The Employees’ Retirement System of the State of Hawaii has named Howard Hodel its acting chief investment officer, as it looks to replace Vijoy Chattergy, who left abruptly last month. Pacific Business News.

The University of Hawaii Foundation is on the hunt for a new president and CEO after Donna Vuchinich, who currently holds the position at the fundraising organization, announced she's planning to retire. Pacific Business News.

Hawaiian Telcom continued to generate solid TV subscriber growth but lost money for the sixth straight quarter as more consumers abandoned their landlines. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaiian Airlines has revised its first-quarter and full-year expectations and adjusted some 2016 and 2017 financial results due to its adoption of a new revenue accounting standard. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii is still one of the healthiest states in the country — it's just no longer the healthiest. According to the 2017 Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index, Hawaii is the third healthiest state behind South Dakota and Vermont. Hawaii News Now.


Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell signed into law Tuesday a bill imposing a moratorium of up to two years on building permits for “monster” houses, giving the city Department of Planning and Permitting time to come up with permanent rules to deal with the growing phenomenon. Star-Advertiser.

A temporary ban on over-sized homes on Oahu was formally implemented today. Hawaii Public Radio.

A temporary ban on so-called "monster homes" is now law on Oahu. KHON2.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell signed a bill into law Tuesday placing a temporary ban on building so-called "monster homes" on Oahu. KITV.


Yet Another Speed Bump Ahead For Rail As City Council Reorganizes. A power shift at Honolulu Hale rekindles debate over how to cover the costs of the project as it faces federal scrutiny. Civil Beat.

Sex discrimination, rail funding issues said to be reasons for city council leadership shakeup. Hawaii News Now.

The majority of Honolulu airport's 23,000 employees are not in compliance with security requirements, an audit has found. Hawaii News Now.

The city is struggling to find qualified workers, and Honolulu's mayor says it's enough to drive him crazy. Near-record-low unemployment makes hiring a challenge for all businesses, and the mayor says the city needs to do a better job of recruiting. KHON2.

The state's planned sweep of Oahu's largest homeless camp is on hold after its leaders met with the governor for more than two hours Tuesday. Hawaii News Now.

Homeless Leaders Say Waianae Sweep Called Off For Now. Leaders of the Waianae Boat Harbor encampment say the governor assured them there’s no impending eviction. Civil Beat.

Environmentalists are using a bill at the state Legislature to pressure the military to do more and do it sooner to protect a major Oahu groundwater source from future leaks from the Navy’s enormous fuel tanks at Red Hill. Star-Advertiser.

Hale Mahana, the $57.6 million student housing project being developed by Laconia Development at EdR Collegiate Housing near the University of Hawaii’s Manoa campus, towers over other buildings in the Moiliili neighborhood more than a year after breaking ground. Pacific Business News.

State Circuit Judge Todd Eddins says U.S. State Department Special Agent Christopher Deedy’s third trial for a fatal shooting in a Waikiki McDonald’s restaurant will go on as scheduled. Star-Advertiser.

A P-3C Orion airplane monument put up by the Navy nearly two decades ago to memorialize a long history of maritime patrol service at Naval Air Station Barbers Point has been removed, creating a backlash in the community and concern over how the process was handled. Star-Advertiser.

After a dramatic drop in the number of residents at the Hawaii Youth Correctional Facility, more teens could head there later this year. There are plans for more services to help at-risk youth at the Olomana facility, but those troubled teens would go there by choice instead of being ordered by the courts. KITV.

The State Department of Land and Natural Resources says enforcement officers cited an Oahu man for multiple lay net violations. KHON2.

Dick Adair, an editorial cartoonist who amused and sometimes outraged Hawaii newspaper readers for more than three decades, died at his Hawaii Kai home Monday from cancer. He was 82. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

County Council members are calling for a balance that would allow revenue-generating vacation rentals in some areas, while keeping them from consuming neighborhoods in others. West Hawaii Today.

A bill that would have provided a buffer zone between rooster farms and their neighbors died in a Hawaii County Council committee on Tuesday. Tribune-Herald.

Rooster Farmers Flock to Council Meeting, Bill Dies. Big Island Now.

The first of three public open house meetings was held in Waimea Monday night, on the University of Hawaii’s Environmental Impact Statement Preparation Notice to replace the two existing leases and easement for UH managed lands on Maunakea. Big Island Video News.

A shortage of lifeguards will affect the operating hours at Charles “Sparky” Kawamoto Swim Stadium from next week until further notice. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii Island schools and libraries would receive more than $10 million in capital improvement project funds under the proposed state budget for fiscal years 2018 and 2019. Tribune-Herald.

The dust won’t settle on the old Keauhou Beach Hotel demolition until the end of the calendar year but the project continues to outpace its original timeline, currently operating two to three weeks ahead of schedule. West Hawaii Today.

A monk seal and her recently born pup are doing well resting on a North Kona beach. West Hawaii Today.


State eyes purchase of affordable complex after rent hike threats. Front Street Apartments is a 142-unit affordable rental project in Lahaina. It was expected to remain affordable for 51 years. But after 17 years, the owner is exercising a legal option to raise rents to "market value." Hawaii News Now.

The House Finance Committee approved $83.26 million for Central Maui Capital Improvement Projects. This includes $10 million towards the construction of a new middle school in Central Maui. Maui Now.


The anticipated impacts of sea level rise on Kauai will be explained in a Friday meeting at Kauai Community College. Garden Island.

New director, same direction for KIUC. Janet Kass is the newest member of the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative’s board of directors, and she really didn’t expect to be. Garden Island.

The Hawaii Department of Education has said it will support students who plan to participate in the planned nationwide school walkouts in protest of gun violence, and several Kauai schools are participating. Garden Island.