Tuesday, March 6, 2018

State may divert rail money, Hee as gubernatorial spoiler, Sandwich Island Communications plans to close and layoff 62 workers, students plan walkout, Kauai County sues for Secret Beach access, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transit
Honolulu rail project PC: HART
State May Divert $500,000 A Year To Cover Its Own Rail Project Costs. A House bill could take a total of $6.5 million out of rail’s recovery plan, which is already stretched thin. Civil Beat.

At private and public schools across the state, students are planning to walk out of class for 17 minutes on March 14 in solidarity with the 17 victims of the Florida high school shooting. Star-Advertiser.

Feds Say Hawaii Falls Short In Dealing With School Bullying. The Hawaii Department of Education says improvements have already been made, but the federal findings are bleak. Civil Beat.

Nearly 1 in 3 Hawaii public school students said they've been the victims of bullying or harassment, according to a survey conducted as part of a years-long federal compliance review of the state Education Department's handling of bullying and harassment complaints. Hawaii News Now.

Sandwich Isles Communications Inc. submitted a letter to the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations on Jan. 3 announcing it could close as early as March 4 and lay off its 62 employees. Star-Advertiser.

The House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on the medical aid in dying measure today. Hawaii Public Radio.

As popularity of electric cars grows, lawmakers want to require more charging stations. Hawaii News Now.

Cyclists urge Hawaii lawmakers to adopt 'safe passing' bill. Hawaii News Now.

Spying On Injured Workers Often Adds To Their Pain. Surveillance is accepted practice in workers’ comp cases. It can lead to a cutoff of benefits, but things are not always as they appear. Civil Beat.

Meet the Detective Who Tails Injured Workers. George Copeland’s tricks of the trade include cameras hidden in a key fob or shirt button, or hours spent staring at an apartment door. Civil Beat.

Hawaii’s state epidemiologist says she’s hopeful the mumps outbreak might be slowing. The state’s tally of confirmed mumps cases reached 902 as of March 1, the anniversary of the outbreak’s first diagnosis, including 719 people in the City and County of Honolulu, 131 in Hawaii County, 49 in Kauai County and three in Maui County. Tribune-Herald.

Gov. David Ige made it clear Monday he disagrees with with proposals to arm teachers, or have armed guards at schools. Garden Island.

Commentary: Guns Suddenly Become An Issue In Governor’s Race. Challenger Clayton Hee demonstrates that he has not lost his ability to shake things up, politically and policy-wise. Civil Beat.

Commentary: Hee poised to roil gubernatorial race with ideas to legalize gambling and marijuana. Star-Advertiser.

Commentary: Back in mid-January, a political “hit” piece was quietly making the email rounds. Among other things, it accused a cabal of Governor David Ige’s campaign insiders of soliciting former senator Clayton Hee to enter the governor’s race in order to “siphon off Hawaiian Votes from Colleen Hanabusa.” Ian Lind blog.

Oahu

City starts citing ride-hailing drivers; taxis bear brunt. A few ride-hailing drivers have been caught violating city regulations since March 2017, when restrictions on ride-hailing companies such as Uber and Lyft were brought more closely in line with taxicab companies. Star-Advertiser.

Rideshare driver's confrontation with city inspectors reveals communication breakdowns. Hawaii News Now.

The civil lawyer of former Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha and his deputy prosecutor wife, Katherine Kealoha, is asking a federal judge to allow the Kealohas to sell their Hawaii Kai home so he can collect the attorney fees the Kealohas owe him. Star-Advertiser.

Lienholder On Ex-Police Chief’s Home Wants It Sold. Attorney Kevin Sumida wants to recoup money he says he’s owed by Louis and Katherine Kealoha. Civil Beat.

City looks to convert barely-used safe house for abused women into homeless shelter. Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell and the city prosecutor are in discussions over the future of a $5.5 million shelter for abuse victims that's been barely used since it opened in 2016. Hawaii News Now.

Black-Footed Albatross Chicks Take Refuge From Climate Change On Oahu. The North Shore’s James Campbell National Wildlife Refuge now hosts 23 birds that faced threats in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Civil Beat.

A federal bankruptcy judge approved a business divorce between The Filipino Community Center and a prominent local catering company Monday, though the two will share custody of some clients through the end of the year. Star-Advertiser.

Sales of condominiums on Oahu rose 5 percent in February, as prices rose by the same percentage point, while single-family home sales recorded a slight decline in sales and a slight increase in prices, according to a report from Hawaii real estate firm Locations. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii Island

Hu Honua says outfall issue now moot. The project, which would burn wood from eucalyptus trees to generate electricity, has faced numerous fits and starts because of legal disputes, including with a contractor and Hawaii Electric Light Co. Tribune-Herald.

New mass transit administrator hits the ground running. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii Island’s lone sheriff’s lieutenant publicly opposed a bill that would allot money to fund a second lieutenant on the island, despite strong support for the measure by his superiors. West Hawaii Today.

The Royal Order of Kamehameha I received a building permit to construct an annex at the back of Kamehameha Hall in Keaukaha. Tribune-Herald.

Former Big Island coffee farmer among 300 people suing agribusiness giant Monsanto. KITV.

Sales of single-family homes on Hawaii’s Big Island declined last month, compared to February last year, along with median prices, according to statistics from Hawaii Information Service on behalf of Hawaii Island Realtors. Pacific Business News.

Maui

A bill that would’ve raised rental car taxes at the Kahului Airport to pay for Maui bypass projects has morphed into a proposed statewide rental car tax to fund projects most likely on Oahu, frustrating the Maui lawmakers who originally introduced it. Maui News.

While Alexander & Baldwin continues work to diversify its Maui agricultural lands, redeploying 4,500 acres of former sugar cane lands last year, the company sees progress as slow, difficult and unlikely to turn a profit, A&B President and Chief Executive Officer Chris Benjamin told investors. Maui News.

Kauai

For decades, a legal public trail to the eastern side of Kauapea Beach has been closed. Now, the county is taking legal action to reopen access to the area known as Secrets Beach. Garden Island.

Kauai County filed a lawsuit seeking public access to East Kauapea Beach, also known as Secret Beach. KITV.

The County of Kauai Housing Agency announces a public meeting to present the draft Environmental Assessment for the Pua Loke Affordable Housing Development project. Garden Island.

Democratic Party of Hawaii precinct meetings set. Garden Island.

Home sales on Kauai rose in February, along with the median price of a single-family home, while the median price of a Garden Isle condominium fell by 28 percent, according to statistics from Hawaii Information Service on behalf of Kauai Island Realtors. Pacific Business News.