Monday, December 30, 2019

New $50 registration fee for electric vehicles, NTSB investigating fatal Kauai tour helicopter crash, Honolulu officials enjoy contractor-paid lunches, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Electric vehicle at Hawaii charging station ©2019 All Hawaii News
Hawaii joins states charging more for electric cars as new laws kick in. The new year will bring new charges for some owners of electric vehicles, as an increasing number of states seek to plug in to fresh revenue sources to offset forgone gas taxes. Associated Press.

Sun shines for solar PV, despite tax credit step-down. Solar companies are rushing to finish up installations as part of the usual end-of-year crunch, but are particularly busy this year due to a step-down in federal tax credits for residential solar PV systems set to begin in 2020. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Congressman Ed Case Renews His Crusade Against The Jones Act. Case’s attempt to exempt Hawaii from the 1920 maritime law isn’t supported by others in the state’s federal delegation. Civil Beat.

$30 million in ‘ohana zone’ funding has led to multiple state projects. In the 2018 legislative session, lawmakers approved a whopping $30 million to fund a homeless concept that started out as tent cities, then morphed into undefined “safe zones” and finally became law under the banner of “ohana zones.” Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

Free Lunch From A Contractor Is Annual Tradition at Honolulu Hale. The Ethics Commission is considering a zero-tolerance policy on “tokens of aloha.” Civil Beat.

ACLU says Honolulu's "midnight homeless sweeps" unconstitutional, cruel during holidays. Civic groups call for end to enforcements they say are ineffective, inhumane and illegal, citing a federal ruling that applies to Hawaii. KITV.

Barbers Point air museum files suit to stay in business. The nonprofit Naval Air Museum Barbers Point, which maintains that it is being wrongfully evicted by state airport officials over a convoluted contract history, has filed a lawsuit claiming it has an “implied agreement” with the state to occupy certain space at what is now known as Kalaeloa Airport. Star-Advertiser.

Kaneohe Cemetery Expansion Threatens Rare Damselfly. State officials will decide at a hearing that starts next month if the developer’s mitigation plan adequately protects this endangered species. Civil Beat.

Wahiawa residents say planned homeless shelter is unsafe. Alea Bridge’s Resource and Navigation Center will provide showers, hygiene and laundry facilities. Hawaii News Now.

Kaimuki residents: City isn’t doing enough to rein in monster home builder. Kaimuki residents are up in arms about another monster home proposed in their neighborhood. The city is still investigating but neighbors said it isn’t doing enough. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

GET increase to take effect Jan. 1. For the second time in two years, the new year will bring another increase to the county’s general excise tax. Tribune-Herald.

Mauna Kea road cleared as protesters shift focus. The Mauna Kea Access Road was finally cleared of tents and protesters Saturday for the first time since mid-July, but the opponents of the Thirty Meter Telescope vowed to shift the focus of their protest campaign to the mainland during a two-month pause in the standoff on the mountain. Star-Advertiser.

$90M penciled in for Saddle extension. State transportation officials are targeting a new source of funding to help cover some of the cost of extending Daniel K. Inouye Highway to Queen Kaahumanu Highway. West Hawaii Today.

$4 million for Kukuiola, Village 9 road project. The county is poised to receive $4 million from the Hawaii Housing Finance &Development Corp. to build a road accessing the Kukuiola emergency shelter project and Village 9 affordable rental community project on Kealakehe Parkway. West Hawaii Today.

Plotting the road to recovery: Disaster task force to review strategies at meeting. Hawaii County’s Disaster Recovery Task Force will begin reviewing proposed strategies related to recovery efforts from the 2018 eruption of Kilauea volcano at its meeting next month. Tribune-Herald.

Inaba to run for County Council. A contender for the County Council District 8 seat being vacated by Karen Eoff is poised to announce his candidacy. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Alice Lee new council chairwoman. Committees reorganized in wake of King's resignation as chair. Maui News.

King’s Term as Chair Cut Short: Lee Pledges “Unifying” Style. The Maui County Council voted 7-2 on Friday in favor of changing council leadership from the current chair, Kelly King, to the selection of Alice Lee, who will take over chairmanship on Jan. 2, 2020. Maui Now.

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County Council overrides Victorino’s property tax veto. New classifications to take effect July 1. Maui News.

Extra care goes into Iao Valley grounds. Maui Native Hawaiian Club members and volunteers worked on the grounds surrounding the foundation of the Hawaiian Hale at Kepaniwai Heritage Gardens in Iao Valley on Saturday morning. Maui News.

Kauai

NTSB arrives on Kauai to investigate fatal tour chopper crash. An NTSB team arrived on Sunday to launch their investigation of what caused the tour helicopter crash on Kauai’s Na Pali Coast that left no survivors. Hawaii News Now.

No survivors in Kauai helicopter crash; tours scrutinized. Tour helicopter operations in Hawaii have come under increased scrutiny after the deadly crash this week, one of several recent accidents in the state, with a congressman calling the trips unsafe and lacking proper oversight. Associated Press.

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Park limitations having impact. One of the sure signs of the new management paradigm for this state park and the adjoining Ha‘ena State Park on Kauai is a truer wilderness experience for people hardy enough to hike 11 miles one-way from Ke‘e Beach to Kalalau Beach. Garden Island.

Rise of EVs. Two sleek cars — one red and the other blue — sit in adjoining parking spaces at Kukui Grove Center in Lihue. They are testimony to the speed with which Kauai is embracing electric vehicles. Garden Island.

Lanai

Lanaʻi Veterans Cemetery Improvements Complete. State dignitaries gathered on Saturday to mark the completion of a nine-year, $600,000 project at the Lanaʻi Veterans Cemetery. Maui Now.

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