Friday, April 27, 2018

Hot, hot, hot! Hawaii tourism breaking records, lawmakers fail to reach Airbnb tax deal, state could be the last one to set police standards, Big Island mayor hospitalized, Honolulu homeless sweeps fail, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

NPS J Wei
Kilauea lava hits ocean PC: NPS J Wei
The more than 2 million visitors that visited the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park in 2017 spent $166 million in communities near the park, according to a new National Park Service report. Pacific Business News.

More than 2 million visitors entered Hawaii Volcanoes National Park last year and collectively spent nearly $170 million in communities around Hawaii Island. Tribune-Herald.

Get ready for 10 million tourists. The state’s rampaging visitor industry could top that benchmark this year. Star-Advertiser.

Visitors to the Hawaiian Islands spent a total of $4.8 billion in the first quarter, an increase of 10.1 percent compared to the first quarter of 2017, according to preliminary statistics released Thursday by the Hawaii Tourism Authority. Garden Island.

Lawmakers appear to have failed for a third straight year to resolve the conundrum over how best to tap into millions of dollars in uncollected state taxes from short-term vacation rentals without encouraging or endorsing illegal operators. Star-Advertiser.

What bills passed as the legislative session is near the end. KITV.

Hawaii May Soon Join The Other 49 States In Setting Police Standards. A conference committee of legislators agrees to a bill that establishes a standards board instead of just studying the idea. Civil Beat.

Passage of Restrictive Pesticide Use Reporting Bill Delayed. The state legislature has only one day left to settle House and Senate differences on all money-related bills for final passage next week. Hawaii Public Radio.

A measure that would require the counties to remove abandoned vehicles from public roadways in ten business days is going to a vote before the full house and senate. Hawaii News Now.

Two former Hawaii prison inmates are urging lawmakers to audit the state prison system and to focus the inquiry on the use of long-term lockdowns and chemical irritants such as pepper spray on Hawaii inmates housed in a privately run prison on the mainland. Star-Advertiser.

House Halts Bill To Water Down Financial Disclosures Of Key State Leaders. Supporters wanted volunteers on state boards to be more comfortable; critics wanted to preserve transparency. Civil Beat.

Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander students are far more likely to be suspended and expelled in Hawaii than students of other ethnicities, causing them to miss more school days overall, according to newly released federal data. Civil Beat.

Hawaii State Hospital escapee Randall Saito deemed fit to stand trial. Associated Press.

The lawyer for Randall Saito says if the state wants to find out how the acquitted killer escaped from the Hawaii State Hospital, state lawyers should offer Saito a deal. Star-Advertiser.

Southwest Airlines plans to start service to Hawaii from one mainland city, then ramp up “very, very quickly” based on having the lowest fares to the islands. Star-Advertiser.

Southwest Airlines is coming to Hawaii, but there are still a few layovers before the airline officially touches down. West Hawaii Today.

Oahu

State conducts homeless sweep in Diamond Head. State enforcement officers cleared the slopes of Diamond Head Thursday, which have become a hideaway for the island's homeless. KHON2.

Crews cleared 26 homeless camps along Diamond Head Road early Thursday morning. KITV.

Homeless return to Kakaako park, dodging enforcement through a jurisdiction loophole. Hawaii News Now.

A controversial plan to partially destroy a popular man-made swimming cove at Black Point near Diamond Head has won the support of a state coastal lands office. Star-Advertiser.

Community clean up planned for a mass of nets at a Diamond Head beach. Hawaii News Now.

Cleanup efforts underway at Ala Wai Small Boat Harbor. DLNR Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation says the debris comes from upstream in the Ala Wai Canal. KITV.

Will The Kealoha Case Be One Big Show Or Separate Trials? A judge will soon decide whether to grant defendants’ wishes to split up the case or fulfill prosecutors’ desire to keep it intact. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige has directed the state Department of Agriculture to assist farmers whose operations were heavily damaged by the severe flooding on Kauai and Oahu earlier this month. Pacific Business News.

Honolulu medical examiner forced to store human remains off site. Hawaii News Now.

As drivers endure weekend freeway closures, DOT adjusts work schedule (again). Hawaii News Now.

A transformer fire at the University of Hawaii at Manoa that sent thick, black smoke into the air over Honolulu last week has been ruled accidental, according to the Honolulu Fire Department. Hawaii News Now.

Sinkhole forces closure of block of Ward Avenue. Star-Advertiser.

Veteran newsman Ron Mizutani is leaving television station KHON to become president and CEO of the Hawaii Food Bank. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser and its parent company, Oahu Publications Inc., are attracting international media industry interest and accolades after the newspaper’s successful launch of its Digital Billboard Network. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island


Well-wishers flooded Mayor Harry Kim’s office Thursday with phone calls, emails and get-well cards and were turned away from his Honolulu hospital room after the mayor, who previously suffered three heart attacks, checked himself in for evaluation after experiencing chest pains. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim is in stable condition at The Queens Medical Center in Honolulu, officials say, after being medevaced early Thursday as a precaution due to chest pains. Big Island Video News.

Hawaii County mayor Harry Kim is in stable condition at the Queen's Medical Center in Honolulu after experiencing chest pains Thursday morning. KHON2.

Overflows largest since Kilauea summit eruption began. Tribune-Herald.

Kalapana residents to county: Don’t move lava viewing area parking. Tribune-Herald.

County officials met with a crowd of Kalapana area residents and entrepreneurs in Pahoa Wednesday night concerning a July 1 prohibition on commercial activity within any County right-of-way at the lava viewing area. Big Island Video News.

Committee Passes Hilo Economic Revitalization Bill. Big Island Now.

The college enrollment rate among East Hawaii high school students increased last year, albeit still shy of the statewide average. Tribune-Herald.

Students witness high court in action. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Maui visitor spending increased +12.7% to $1.46 billion in the first quarter of 2018, according to new information compiled by the Hawaii Tourism Authority. Maui Now.

Economics professor Carl Bonham asked, rhetorically, Thursday whether Maui has reached its capacity to accommodate growing numbers of tourists. Maui News.

Southwest Airlines’ chairman announced Thursday that the airline intends to service four Hawaii airports, including Kahului Airport, with Maui officials saying they have been in discussions with the airline about the “pockets” of open slots at the crowded terminal. Maui News.

The Hawaii Senate on Wednesday confirmed the appointment of Kirstin Hamman to the District Court of the Second Circuit on Maui. Maui Now.

Kauai

Concerned citizens gathered Thursday to better understand the present flow of Kauai’s inland waters. Garden Island.

The Hawaii Department of Transportation is on track to open an emergency access route to Wainiha and Haena on Saturday. Garden Island.

The only highway into and out of the flood-devastated communities of Wainiha and Haena isn't expected to partially reopen for residents for at least two more weeks, but emergency vehicle access to those areas may happen sooner than expected. Hawaii News Now.

Federal funds still in question after Kauai disaster. KHON2.