Thursday, May 16, 2019

Homelessness down slightly, former lawmaker Tam dies, $5.1M for Maui jail riot repairs, GOP retains state Chairwoman Ostrov, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Homeless in Chinatown, Honolulu ©2019 All Hawaii News
Count shows homelessness down, but number of unsheltered homeless swells. The figures from the count, conducted on a single night in January, were released Wednesday and show slight declines in the overall homeless population. Hawaii News Now.

Airbnb says it would have hauled in $64M in taxes for Hawaii last year. If the vacation rental platform Airbnb had been authorized to collect taxes on behalf of the state last year, it would have hauled in $64 million in Hawaii hotel room and excise tax revenues, the company says. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii health care takes top spot in nationwide survey. Hawaii was No. 24 overall in the U.S. News & World Report’s annual 2019 Best States rankings but took the top spot for health care. Star-Advertiser.

Kailua Crash Puts Hawaii’s Copter Tours Under A Microscope. Regulators are updating the one flight manual that governs the state’s air tours, but the public won’t get to participate. Civil Beat.

Gun Group Sues FBI For Records On State Fingerprint Program. The Hawaii Firearms Coalition says it’s trying to find out why the state is retaining registered gun owners’ fingerprints. Civil Beat.

Hawaii GOP Keeps Ostrov As Party Chair. The minority party boasts of unity in a Democratic-controlled state. Civil Beat.

Nonprofit Group Says DOE Is Withholding Key Financial Data. The Education Institute of Hawaii is trying to pressure the state into providing information for a financial database to shed light on school funding practices. Civil Beat.

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Former Hawaii lawmaker Rod Tam dies from leukemia. Tam spent three decades in office between the House, Senate, and Honolulu city council. His political career however was overshadowed by a run-in with the law and brief time spent behind bars. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii politician Rod Tam dies due to complications from leukemia. Colorful and controversial political figure Rod Tam died this afternoon due to complications from leukemia, a family spokesman said. Star-Advertiser.

Former Hawaii politician Rod Tam has died at age 65. Former Hawaii politician Rod Tam has died due to complications from leukemia. KITV.

Oahu

Oahu saw only a 1% drop in homelessness in January — not the 4% decline reported in February, according to data released Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

How Honolulu Property Tax Decisions Could Affect Owners. The Honolulu City Council on Tuesday overrode Mayor Kirk Caldwell's veto of a bill that increases the standard home exemption on property taxes while advancing his proposal to hike the tax rate on hotels and resorts. Hawaii Public Radio.

Council member seeks to revive proposal after 17-year-old was hit in a mid-block crosswalk. Councilman Ron Last year, Menor had proposed a bill that would allow cars to turn on their hazard lights at mid-block crosswalks to alert other drivers that someone is crossing. KHON2.

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Pool of potential jurors for Kealoha trial shrinks. The pool of prospective jurors for the federal conspiracy trial of retired Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha; his wife Katherine, a former deputy prosecutor; and three former members of the Honolulu Police Department’s Criminal Intelligence Unit is down to 249. Star-Advertiser.

Nearly 200 prospective jurors already eliminated for Kealoha ‘mailbox trial’.  Despite incredible amounts of publicity, lawyers in the Kealoha trial say they are confident they will have an impartial jury -- perhaps faster than expected. Hawaii News Now.

TV Reporter No Longer Sought As Witness In Corruption Trial. Hawaii News Now reporter Lynn Kawano had said the move to call her to the stand was retaliation for her prior coverage. Civil Beat.

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Pali Highway Repair Pegged At $20 Million To Date. Emergency work continues to install a rockfall mitigation system. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Island

Lieutenant governor visits East Hawaii as part of state’s ongoing efforts to address homelessness. Lt. Gov. Josh Green visited several sites where homeless people congregate in East Hawaii, including a homeless camp nestled in the woods off Railroad Avenue and the homeless congregation around the Mooheau Park Bandstand in Hilo. Tribune-Herald.

‘Action plan’ necessary for county to access federal disaster recovery grant. A $66.9 million federal grant heading to the state for disaster recovery was welcomed news for Hawaii County officials. Tribune-Herald.

Noise From Helicopter Tours Leaves Residents With Frayed Nerves. It’s been a hot-button issue on the island for decades, but many say the problem has grown worse as more tourists are drawn to the site of the lava eruptions. Civil Beat.

State expects report about feasibility of restoring access to Pohoiki boat ramp by early June. The state Department of Land and Natural Resources hired consultant Sea Engineering to determine the feasibility of restoring access to the ramp. Tribune-Herald.

OSHA violations settled with Mass Transit. The Federal Transit Administration isn’t the only U.S. agency finding problems at the county’s beleaguered Mass Transit Agency. West Hawaii Today.

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Chief, mayor react to charges on retired officers; Fukui, Miller turn selves in. Former police officers indicted on charges ranging from drug offenses to conspiracy and tampering are scheduled to make their first appearances today in Hilo Circuit Court. West Hawaii Today.

Two Former Hawaii County Police Officers Indicted. Hawaii County Police Chief Paul Ferreira says the investigation began with cocaine and hashish missing from police custody. Hawaii Public Radio.

Maui

Council budget up for first reading. $823.6M budget is about $43 million, or 5.5 percent, higher than mayor’s proposal. Maui News.

Mayor Victorino to Visit Japan and Korea in a Goodwill, Business Trip. Maui Now.

Ige Signs Bill To Cover $5.1 Million In Repairs After Maui Jail Riot. The measure also includes $2 million to temporarily house 248 additional Hawaii inmates at a private prison in Arizona. Civil Beat.

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs is seeking the community’s input for the development of the agency’s new strategic plan through an online survey and a series of statewide meetings, with the first one on Maui on Monday. Maui News.

$340M rental car facility opens at Kahului Airport. CONRAC relied solely on rental car funds; ‘no taxpayer dollars were involved’. Maui News.

Kauai

Can $13 Million Save Lihue? A federal grant to reconfigure roads in the core of this island’s county seat could spur enough private investment to bring back the good times. Civil Beat.

Group protests 5G, doesn’t want it on Kauai. In a national day of protest against the fifth generation of cellular network technology, 5G Action Kauai rallied on Kapule Highway and Ahukini Road Wednesday afternoon. Garden Island.

Lanai

Lanai Airport gets $10M in federal money for runway improvements. The U.S. Department of Transportation grant is part of $779 million dollars in funding for more than 100 airports, nationwide and in Puerto Rico. Hawaii News Now.

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