Friday, April 19, 2019

Ige urges resurrection of water rights bill, vacation rental bills sent to Honolulu mayor, eruption communication criticized, gas prices up 5 cents, homeless rousting continues, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Pipe brings water down from mountain ©2019 All Hawaii News
Gov. David Ige urges Hawaii Legislature to resurrect water rights bill opposed by environmentalists. Gov. David Ige is prodding state lawmakers to resurrect a controversial bill that would give public water users, including Alexander & Baldwin, the electrical utilities, farmers and others, more time to meet stringent requirements for obtaining long-term leases, a move that has angered opponents of House Bill 1326. Star-Advertiser.

Ige Calls For Reconsideration Of Water Bill. The governor says passage of the stalled measure is in the public interest but critics called it an abuse of Ige’s position. Civil Beat.

Governor Asks Lawmakers to Revive Water Rights Bill. Gov. David Ige has asked state lawmakers to revive a bill that would extend water permits held by private users, a measure that a Senate committee shelved earlier this session. Hawaii Public Radio.

Governor Urges Lawmakers to Take Action on Controversial Water Bill. Maui Now.

Ige accused of trying to bring back ‘zombie bill’ on contentious water rights issue. Gov. David Ige has taken the unusual step of asking lawmakers to revive a hotly debated measure that many thought was dead for the session. Hawaii News Now.

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Aloha State sees increase in gas prices. The average price of gas in the state increased a nickel or more in the past week and 24 cents higher in than a month ago, said GasPrices.AAA.com. KHON2.

Hawaii jobless rate climbs to 2.8%. Hawaii’s unemployment rate, reflecting slowing growth in the state economy, resumed its upward trend in March and climbed to a 28-month high of 2.8%. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

Battle lines take shape as 2 vacation rental bills advance. When it comes to the thorny issue of vacation rental homes on Oahu, it seems the clearer the issue gets, the more complex the answers appear to be. Star-Advertiser.

Short-Term Rental Regulation Advances at Honolulu Hale. On Wednesday, the Honolulu City Council held a public hearing on the latest proposals to rein in Oahu’s vacation accommodations, like those rented on Airbnb, HomeAway, and VRBO. Hawaii Public Radio.

After several years of debate, a measure to regulate monster homes on Oahu is awaiting Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s signature. The bill passed the City Council Wednesday, but the head of the department that will enforce the proposed rules says some details need to be hammered out. Associated Press.

A bill regulating so-called monster homes on Oahu is now in the hands of Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell. KITV.

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Police investigating reported kidnapping of attorney tied to Kealoha corruption probe. Chris Woo once represented Jesse Ebersole, a Big Island firefighter who told the court he had a long-term affair with Katherine Kealoha and said he lied to the federal grand jury to protect her and hide their romantic relationship. Hawaii News Now.

City plans second interim rail opening. In a significant change to the much-anticipated rollout of the Honolulu rail line, the city is now planning to open new segments of rail in 2020 and in 2023 before finally opening the entire 20-mile line in 2025. Star-Advertiser.

Ige Assures Caldwell Of Ala Wai Flood Control Financing Plan. The latest letter in the saga over canal flood control informs city leaders that at least some dollars have been committed to the project. Civil Beat.

Honolulu City Councilmember-elect Tommy Waters is eager to hit the ground running. Waters says there's a 20-day waiting period where the City Office of Elections can audit the results from Saturday's District Four Special Election. KITV.

Inspection leads to boat blaze at Honolulu Harbor. U.S. Customs and Border Protection personnel Thursday were inspecting a fishing boat at Pier 16 when a neglected stove apparently caught fire, leading to a spectacular blaze. Star-Advertiser.

Coast Guard: Blaze on fishing vessel started during Customs inspection. Hawaii News Now.

Can A Sustainable Industry Be Built From An Invasive Species? A landmark project on the UH Manoa campus shows the albizia tree’s potential as a building material — and the challenges of developing manufacturing in Hawaii. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Island

Civil Defense on the hot seat. Civil Defense Administrator Talmadge Magno found himself in the hot seat Thursday, as County Council members grilled him about communication lapses during two recent disasters. West Hawaii Today.

Volcano Watch Examines Cause Of 2018 Kilauea Eruption. The USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory is reiterating its position that geothermal drilling did not cause the lower East Rift Zone eruption. Big Island Video News.

Hilo Transfer Station Shutdown After Discovery of Explosive Ordnance. The explosive device was found to be a non-functioning grenade, with no detonation ability. Big Island Now.

Unexploded ordnance scare forces brief closure of Hilo transfer station. Hawaii News Now.

County cleans out more homeless camps. Hawaii County Highways Divisions crews, Hawaii Police officers and HOPE Services Hawaii employees worked to clear more homeless camps Thursday in the village and downtown Kailua-Kona areas. West Hawaii Today.


Maui

Blessing Held for $21.7 M Iao Water Treatment Plant. Mayor Michael Victorino took part Thursday in the blessing of the new $21.7 million Iao Water Treatment Plant. Maui Now.

Airport tram making practice runs. The tram connects the airport’s arrivals and departures gates with the $340 million, 1.3 million-square-foot consolidated rental car building scheduled to open May 15. Maui News.

Makawao Public Library celebrates 50 years. Maui News.

Kauai

Costs still rising. According to the County of Kauai, it has received $25 million from the state of Hawaii to help recover from the April 2018 flooding disaster. Garden Island.

No place to go. Homeless to be evicted from camp near homeless shelter. Garden Island.

Settlement reached, payment delayed. Patricia and Michael Kocher Sr. still haven’t been paid the $1 million promised to them by the County of Kauai to settle a lawsuit they filed over the death of their son, who was killed four years ago by a speeding police cruiser. Garden Island.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

State population continues downward trend, Aila confirmed to DHHL, Honolulu cracks down on monster houses, Maui mayor names Honolulu rail engineer as Public Works deputy, new Honolulu-Princeville air route, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Population estimates as of July 1, data from U.S. Census Bureau
Big Island leads the state in population gains. While people continue to leave Oahu, dragging the entire state’s growth rate into the negative zone, people are still moving to Hawaii Island, according to estimates released Wednesday by the U.S. Census Bureau. West Hawaii Today.

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Senate OKs deputy director of DHHL. The full Senate voted 19 to 5 Wednesday to reconfirm William Aila as deputy director of the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands. Star-Advertiser.

Senate Votes To Keep Aila As Deputy DHHL Director. Five senators voted “no” on the renomination, saying the department needs to go in a new direction. Civil Beat.

Senate votes to reconfirm head of DHHL to another 4-year term. The full Senate voted Tuesday to reconfirm William Aila as the Deputy Director of Hawaiian Homelands. Hawaii News Now.

State Senators confirmed William Aila to serve another term as Deputy Director of DHHL. KITV.

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Two Ethics Reform Measures Clear House-Senate Conference Committee. But a campaign finance measure is on hold after the Campaign Spending Commission complains that amendments would result in less transparency rather than more. Civil Beat.

Hawaii lawmakers push to reduce number of unnecessary hospital visits from homeless. Helping the homeless and saving money. The state is trying to do both by addressing the issue of unnecessary hospital visits.  KITV.

Who owns aloha? Hawaii eyes protections for native culture. A resolution calls on state agencies and Native Hawaiian organizations to form a task force to develop a legal system to “recognize and protect” Native Hawaiian cultural intellectual property and traditional cultural expressions. Associated Press.

Few local contributors to Gabbard’s presidential bid. Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard has attracted little financial support locally for her presidential bid, with just 3% of the $1.95 million she raised in the first quarter of this year coming from residents of her home state. Star-Advertiser.

ANA completes first A380 test flight at airport. All Nippon Airways brought the state’s largest airport one step closer to accommodating the world’s largest passenger airliner with the completion of the first of two test flights of its colorful A380 “Flying Honu” Wednesday.  Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

Council passes bill to crack down on monster homes. A bill aimed at addressing the issue of monster houses in the long term won final approval from the Honolulu City Council Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

Tensions rose at a Windward Oahu meeting held to discuss a controversial road usage tax Wednesday night. The state transportation department is considering taxing drivers by the mile, rather than by the gallon. Hawaii News Now.

Road closures begin as rail construction reaches the airport. According to the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transport or HART, closures began on Monday. The closures will mostly take place at night. KHON2.

Landfill decree will cost city about $233,000. The city will pay a $125,000 fine and spend about $108,000 in upgrades and improvements for its role in the spillage of contaminated storm water from the only municipal landfill into the ocean in December 2010 and January 2011. Star-Advertiser.

A ‘Vicious’ Battle Over The Future Of Koko Crater Stables. Two sides are feuding over what type of riders the nearly 60-year-old stables should serve — and whether the city is awarding the contract fairly. Civil Beat.

A once impressive boat seen in Hollywood productions now sits in disrepair. The state recently impounded the Navatek II for back rent. Hawaii News Now.

Low-income status extended for senior housing. A mid-rise apartment building in Moiliili recently turned 40, but today is commemorating the next 45 years as affordable housing for seniors with low incomes. Star-Advertiser.

Some parts of Oahu see double-digit drops in home sales in March, others double-digit gains. Some of Oahu’s largest single-family home neighborhoods recorded double-digit drops in home sales last month, while the Waipahu neighborhood saw a 31 percent increase, according to the local market report from the Honolulu Board of Realtors. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii Island

Changes To Proposed Mauna Kea Rules Explained. The Office of Maunakea Management wants to hold a second round of public hearings on a new draft of proposed administrative rules. Big Island Video News.

Airport-Style Security Comes To Hilo Hospital After Stabbings. A man attacked four employees last month, and now the emergency room has adopted measures usually found in bigger cities. Civil Beat.

State launches aquaculture accelerator program at NELHA. A three-year aquaculture accelerator pilot program the state hopes will make Hawaii a bigger player in the global aquaculture industry is poised to kick off this summer. West Hawaii Today.

Kona Aquaculture Accelerator Launched. HATCH, the world's first sustainable aquaculture accelerator, will operate the accelerator and run the investment fund. Big Island Video News.

County to dismantle two homeless encampments in Kailua Village. In the wake of a substantial state effort to clear a sprawling homeless encampment near a busy Kona intersection, Hawaii County on its own is addressing two smaller campsites in Kailua Village. West Hawaii Today.

UH-Hilo launches its own food bank. The goal of Hale Pai Ai is to help students who have “food insecurity,” said Kalei Rapoza, interim vice chancellor for administrative affairs. Tribune-Herald.

Specialty License Plates A Big Moneymaker For Damaged Park. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and, to a lesser extent, Haleakala National Park, are benefitting from the state-authorized program. Civil Beat.

Maui

Victorino taps engineer who worked on Oahu rail. Welling is named Public Works deputy. Maui News.

Water Conservation Extended to April 24 in West Maui. A water conservation advisory has been extended for West Maui customers as crews continue ongoing construction at the Lahaina Wastewater Treatment Facility. Maui Now.

Economist: Maui ‘maxed out’ of housing units. There is not enough affordable housing, said Brewbaker. Maui News.

Condominium supply tight with a median price at $525,000. Homes were $735K in the first quarter. Maui News.

Kauai

Highway reopening dominates Schatz town hall. The May 1 reopening of Kuhio Highway on the North Shore was the main topic at Wednesday’s town hall meeting held by Sen. Brian Schatz at Kauai War Memorial Convention Hall. Garden Island.

Starting next month, Makani Kai Air will begin air service between the Princeville Airport and Honolulu. Garden Island.

Makani Kai offering Princeville-Honolulu flights. Direct air service between Princeville and Honolulu will begin next month after a nearly 25-year hiatus. Star-Advertiser.

Direct flights from Honolulu to Princeville set to begin next month. Hawaii News Now.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Governor tours Maui jail, signs Kilauea lava relief bill; homeless shelters don't meet specs; pay raises for Honolulu officials, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2019 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Elderly hula dancer n Hawaii ©2019 All Hawaii News
Lawmakers boost funding for senior services. State lawmakers Tuesday approved a package of bills that earmark about $10 million during the next two years for services and staff to support seniors. Star-Advertiser.

Legislature Approves Spending Millions For Elderly Care. Funding for kupuna care programs were some of the outstanding big ticket items that weren’t included in the state’s operating budget in March. Civil Beat.

8 homeless shelters don’t meet new standards, but will be funded anyway. The state has had to throw out the results of its latest bids from homeless shelter providers after eight of 34 homeless shelters failed to meet new quality standards. Hawaii News Now.

DOE Lays Out A 10-year ‘Road Map’ For Fixing Old Schools, Building New Ones. A long-range DOE facilities plan has identified $7 billion in “top priority” capitol needs, from adding more classrooms to repairing aging schools. Civil Beat.

State seeks ‘safe harbor’ for financial institutions that do business with medical marijuana dispensaries. Star-Advertiser.

Minimum Wage Increase Could Help Over 200,000 Workers, Report Says. The Hawaii Appleseed Center for Law & Economic Justice analyzed the demographics of workers who could be impacted by an increase. Civil Beat.

Ozawa-Waters Race Highlights Flaws in Hawaii's Voting System. Problems counting mail-in ballots and an extremely small margin created chaos in the 2018 Honolulu City Council election between Tommy Waters and Trevor Ozawa. Several bills at the legislature aim to correct those problems. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii Rep. Ed Case Raised 99% Of Campaign Money From PACs. The congressman raised nearly $78,000 during the first quarter of 2019. Only $425 came from individual donors. Civil Beat.

Commentary: Why, Tulsi, Why? Her fans cried, “Run, Tulsi, Run.” But now the Hawaii congresswoman’s presidential campaign is sputtering and the big question is why is she staying in the race? Civil Beat.

Statewide solar electric permits in Hawaii decline in Q1. Oahu and the Big Island experienced year-over-year first quarter decreases in the number of solar photovoltaic installation permits while Kauai and Maui had slight increases, according to data compiled by Marco Mangelsdorf, president of Big Island-based ProVision Solar. Pacific Business News.

Oahu

Honolulu Salary Commission Approves Pay Raises For Top City Officials. Barring any action by the City Council, most of Honolulu's top officials will get a 3.5% pay raise this year. Hawaii Public Radio.

A bill designed to give owners of apartment-size lots enough incentive to develop affordable rentals is up for a key vote before the Honolulu City Council today. Star-Advertiser.

City Council to vote on a long-awaited Waikiki park project. A vacant lot will become a gated green area in Waikiki with the approval of what would become Centennial Park in a vote today before the Honolulu City Council. Star-Advertiser.

Lawmakers Agree to Emergency Funds For Pali Highway. The $7 million approved by lawmakers Tuesday is less than half of the $15 million requested by the Senate in March. Civil Beat.

State regulators push to relocate Red Hill fuel tanks as Navy studies potential new sites. The Navy pumps fuel from its Red Hill tanks to its piers at Pearl Harbor. Hawaii News Now.

New sit-lie enforcers proposed. The homeless population in Chinatown has grown by about 30 percent, according to the chairwoman of the area's neighborhood board. KHON2.

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A Division of Fish and Wildlife employee and two representatives of the nonprofit Pacific Rim Conservation survive helicopter crash near Sacred Falls. A pilot and three passengers walked away from a helicopter that lost power and crashed Tuesday morning in a gully in a remote section of Sacred Falls State Park in Hauula. Star-Advertiser.

4 escape injury after chopper crash on Oahu’s North Shore. Four people miraculously escaped injury Tuesday morning after a state-contracted helicopter crashed in Sacred Falls Valley on Oahu’s North Shore. Hawaii News Now.

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Matson’s bigger cranes for bigger cargo ships arrive in Honolulu. Hawaii’s dominant ocean cargo transportation firm Tuesday began what is expected to be a more than two-month process of installing three bigger and more powerful gantry cranes at its container handling facility at the state’s busiest harbor. Star-Advertiser.

Matson unloads three cranes to advance modernization push. Matson Inc. set a new milestone in Honolulu Harbor as three new 65 long-ton capacity gantry cranes, the biggest ship-to-shore container cranes sent to a commercial Hawaii harbor, were delivered. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii Island

Governor Signs Volcanic Disaster Relief Bill For Hawaii County. The new law, now to be known as Act 9, appropriates $60 million for disaster recovery in the wake of the Kilauea volcanic eruption. Big Island Video News.

Council seeks proof that taxpayer money’s well-spent. A full 38% of the county’s proposed 2019-20 budget is eaten up by employee pensions, retirement, health insurance and payment on old debt, eroding the ability of the County Council and administration to pay for new services and initiatives. West Hawaii Today.

County preparing to address parking lot behind Agasa Furniture that has become a homeless camp. A small lot of land located between Ponahawai and Mamo streets has, during the past several months, gone from a vacant parking lot to a fenced-off collection of tents and makeshift structures. Tribune-Herald.

NHCH nurses, Queen’s in contract talks. As negotiations continue for a new contract between The Queen’s Health Systems and the nurses of North Hawaii Community Hospital, the president of the Hawaii Nurses Association says there are still some issues that need resolving, even as management is preparing to come back with its final offer. West Hawaii Today.

Lead Found In Hu Honua Discharge, Sierra Club Says. Cory Harden of the Sierra Club's Moku Loa group informed the Hawaii County Game Management Advisory Commission of their findings on Monday. Big Island Video News.

Experts say market should be stable and slow, which is good news. Matthew Gardner, Windermere Real Estate chief economist, delivered his forecast Monday during the inaugural Hawaii Island Economic Summit, hosted by Windermere C&H Properties, at the Courtyard King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel. West Hawaii Today.

Maui


Officials tour Maui jail. Five weeks after an inmate revolt at the Maui Community Correctional Center caused $5.3 million in damage, state and county officials toured the Wailuku facility Tuesday to check on repairs and security updates while promising to address overcrowding issues they blame for the unrest. Star-Advertiser.

Maui Jail Riot Repairs Estimated to Cost $5.3 M. Public Safety Director Nolan Espinda, Governor David Ige, and United Public Workers Union’s State Director Dayton Nakanelua all traveled to Maui today to join Maui Mayor Michael Victorino in surveying the latest repairs and security updates underway at the Maui Community Correctional Center. Maui Now.

Gov. Ige tours MCCC for a first-hand look at damage following riots, escapes. A month after an inmate uprising at the Maui Community Correctional Center, Gov. David Ige toured the facility for an update on repairs. Hawaii News Now.

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Mayor Michael Victorino announced today his selection of Steve Welling as deputy director of the Department of Public Works. Maui Now.

Maui retail vacancies hit record high in 2018. Report shows that new, existing retailers moving to new malls. Maui News.

Kauai

Old school produce. Rotary members built two wheelchair accessible raised garden beds at Kauai Care Center, and now residents are harvesting produce for their dinner table. Garden Island.

Kauai 'alert and warning' siren testing Wednesday 8am-5pm. It's just a test, a part of Hawaii's statewide "alert & warning system"  used to notify the public during pending emergencies. KITV.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

DLNR chief faces easy confirmation, Honolulu condo sprinkler bill watered down, Kona homeless rousted, cutoff Kauai residents prepare for visitors, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy photo
DLNR Chairwoman Suzanne Case PC:DLNR
Senate panel recommends reappointment of Suzanne Case to lead Hawaii land department. The committee also voted unanimously to approve Robert Masuda as DLNR’s deputy director. Star-Advertiser.

Senate Committee Recommends Confirming Case As DLNR Chair. The vote was unanimous in favor of the governor’s nomination to head the state land department. Civil Beat.

The State Senate voted to confirm Scott T. Murakami and Leonard Hoshijo as the director and deputy director of the Hawaii State Department of Labor and Industrial Relations.  Maui Now.

Lawmaker seeks study on sliding-scale tickets. A leading lawmaker who deals with issues of crime and punishment in Hawaii wants to study the concept of “fair and proportional” fines, which means a schedule of fines for traffic or other violations that requires rich people to pay more than poor people. Star-Advertiser.

Group Opposed To Taxing Billions In Real Estate Trusts Is A Big Spender At Capital. The national association supporting owners of some of Hawaii’s premier commercial locations spent $126,000 in two months — but a bill to tax them is still alive. Civil Beat.

Final road usage charge meetings set. The Department of Transportation is holding its final three of 14 community meetings on its proposed road usage charge instead of fuel tax paid at the pump. Star-Advertiser.

HDOT still seeking your thoughts on a proposal to tax drivers by the mile. The idea behind the tax is to charge drivers for the distance they drive in place of the current fuel tax — which brings the state 16 cents per gallon of gas at the pump. Hawaii News Now.

Navy remembers North Korean shoot-down on 50th anniversary. Twenty-one relatives of three fallen crew members traveled to Oahu and Ford Island for a memorial ceremony organized by Navy Information Operations Command Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.

The High Price Of Luring The Movies To Hawaii. The film industry says the state’s $35 million cap on tax credits is too low, costing Hawaii projects and jobs. But some question whether the benefits are worth the cost. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Raises $1.9 Million In Bid For White House. Meanwhile, Kai Kahele, the state senator vying to take her congressional seat, says he feels good about the $250,000 he raised so far. Civil Beat.

Oahu

Sprinkler bill allows easier compliance for condo owners. A bill making it easier for owners of older high-rise residential buildings to meet a tougher fire safety law comes up for a final vote before the Honolulu City Council on Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

Grandma’s Deposition In Kealoha Corruption Case Postponed. Florence Puana was hospitalized over the weekend. Prosecutors want to question her early because of her poor health. Civil Beat.

Katherine Kealoha’s grandmother, Florence Puana, is appealing the case that ended with her paying more than $100,000 of Kealoha’s legal fees. The 99-year-old was ordered to pay up after losing her state lawsuit against Kealoha several years ago. Hawaii News Now.

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Commentary: This Is Why We Rarely Rely On Anonymous Sources. Readers should be able to know and trust where your information is coming from. But public officials also have a responsibility to speak up and correct erroneous reporting. Civil Beat.

High-ranking deputy Prosecutor Janice Futa is denying that she has received a subject letter from the FBI. In December, Hawaii News Now reported Futa received a subject letter. Based on Futa’s denial in court documents, Hawaii News Now has removed references to the letter from prior online stories. Hawaii News Now.

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Recycling rates have been dropping on Oahu, while the cost of the program has been rising...thanks in part to contaminated recyclables in those blue bins. KITV.

Windward Mall Sears to close on April 28. The Kaneohe department store will close April 28 — shortly after Wednesday’s shutdown of the auto center. Star-Advertiser.

Sears at Windward Mall to close this month. Officials said Monday that Sears at Windward Mall would close April 28. The auto center will be closing much earlier -- on Wednesday. Hawaii News Now.

Urban Honolulu has lost 76,000 trees in the last four years, aerial survey finds. The big loss in numbers is one of the reasons a group of volunteers headed to Kaimuki District Park on Monday morning. Their mission was not just to count the trees, but to help in an effort to get more trees planted and cared for. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

DOT empties homeless encampment near busy Kona intersection. Cleanup crews targeted two main sites in Kona on Monday — the Palani Road and Queen Kaahumanu Highway intersection where nine homeless individuals were informed a week prior they had seven days to collect their possessions and go, and the Tunnels where two individuals were given the same warning on the same day. West Hawaii Today.

A Hawaii nonprofit was awarded a $750,000 grant to preserve a 32-unit apartment complex in Pahoa. The grant money will serve to preserve the 32 units of the Nani O Puna apartment complex. Tribune-Herald.

Commission denies approval for too big of signs already in place at Planet Fitness.  West Hawaii Today.

Heavy rainfall leads to another stormwater discharge at dairy. Because of heavy rainfall during the past week, Ookala-based Big Island Dairy on Monday again discharged stormwater collected in its wastewater lagoons. Tribune-Herald.

Final EA For New Kona Museum Gallery Published. The Kona Historical Society says the new building will be a benefit to the South Kona area, which currently lacks community program and gallery space. Big Island Video News.

Mauna Loa activity rises. The Hawaii Volcano Observatory is monitoring Mauna Loa closely as the volcano shows signs of increasing activity following the Kilauea eruption. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

The Maui County Council will hold a public hearing on the mayor’s proposed budget for next fiscal year at 6 p.m. Wednesday in the Council Chambers at the Kalana O Maui building in Wailuku. Mayor Michael Victorino has proposed a $781 million budget for the 2020 fiscal year, which begins July 1. Maui News.

County looking to convert two West Maui water wells. Proposal would turn exploratory wells into full production wells. Maui News.

$254K in county grants disbursed. Seabird recovery work, electric vehicle charging stations and the annual whale festival are among projects slated to receive money through the county Office of Economic Development. Maui News.

Kauai

As Kauai Highway Prepares To Reopen, State Plans Limits On Haena Park Visitors. The state Department of Transportation plans to phase-in the re-opening of Kuhio Highway beginning in May and plans to limit visitors when the Haena State Park and popular Kalalau Trail is scheduled to re-open in June. Hawaii Public Radio.

Even though Kuhio Highway is scheduled to reopen May 1, the main attractions on the North Shore will remain closed. Garden Island.

Some Kauai residents, cut off by damage for a year, will miss life in the slow lane. Star-Advertiser.

Kalalau Trail and the Napali State Wilderness Park are set to open in early-mid June. The trail is monitored by the Department of Land and Natural Resources and a few locals who have taken it upon themselves to protect the public and the place itself, but a couple of people have made it down the trail a little ways. Garden Island.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Honolulu council to cooperate with mayor after special election, businesses resist new taxes, Big Island rethinks polystyrene ban, Maui officials' raises unlikely, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Col. Brendan Raymond, 25th Infantry Division Artillery Commander ©2019 All Hawaii News
Pohakuloa Training Area showcases live-fire exercises with Schofield Barracks. The bass booms of heavy artillery echoed through the region Sunday morning as plumes of smoke spiraled into the blue skies along the slope of Mauna Loa. West Hawaii Today.

Business leaders resist tax proposals. Lawmakers are considering a package of tax increases and other tax changes in the final weeks of the legislative session that could raise more than $100 million a year to help balance the state budget, but those plans have aroused the ire of major players in the business community. Star-Advertiser.

Airport authority bill once again fails to pass. For the fourth year in a row, a bill that would place authority over the state’s airports in the hands of an independent corporation has failed to pass. Tribune-Herald.

Legislators pushing for electric vehicle chargers. Bills that mandate that EV charging capacity be part of new construction projects or provide developers with incentives for installing more charging stations are under consideration at the Legislature. Star-Advertiser.

Bill to regulate midwives reveals divide. Senate Bill 1033, approved Friday by the Legislature and moved to the governor, licenses midwives and make it illegal for cultural and traditional practitioners to provide midwifery services after 2023. Star-Advertiser.

Where Hawaii Renters Spend Half Their Incomes On Housing. In the state as a whole, people at many income levels who rent — not just low-income residents — face a shortage of rental housing. Civil Beat.

Commentary: Lawmakers must try, try and try again until they forge needed law on vacation rentals. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu


After the election: Kobayashi and Caldwell promise to work together more. In the wake of Tommy Waters’ decisive Honolulu City Council win Saturday night, Mayor Kirk Caldwell and Council Chairwoman Ann Kobayashi spoke of the need to set aside politics and work more collaboratively in the coming months. Star-Advertiser.

Waters Wins Honolulu City Council Special Election. The unofficial results show Waters drew 17,491 votes to Trevor Ozawa's 16,487, a margin of 1,004 votes. Hawaii Public Radio.

Waters upsets incumbent Ozawa in a special election for Honolulu City Council. Tommy Waters is now the councilmember-elect for the District 4 seat on the Honolulu City Council. Hawaii News Now.

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HART board chair under federal investigation — but it’s not about the rail project. The FBI is investigating the local electrical workers’ and plumbers’ unions over a $6 million investment in a private company. Hawaii News Now.

Vacation Rentals On Oahu May Face Tough Enforcement And New Limits. Airbnb says bills before the Honolulu City Council could cause economic damage by suddenly removing many tourist rentals from the market. Civil Beat.

Some are worried about the impact homeless encampments have on a learning center for young children. A House Concurrent Resolution urges the state and the city to start a task force, develop strategies and a plan that'll assist those on the streets. KITV.

Hawaii Island

Councilman wants to make more clear what alternatives will be acceptable to polystyrene. Hawaii County’s polystyrene ban could be amended before it goes into effect. Tribune-Herald.

The state Public Utilities Commission, the state consumer advocate and representatives from Hawaii Electric Light Co. were out in force Friday evening for a public hearing on a proposed rate hike. Everyone was at the public hearing, in fact, except for one key component — the public. West Hawaii Today.

UH looks to hold additional hearings on Maunakea rules. The University of Hawaii is requesting a second round of public hearings be held for its draft Maunakea administrative rules after making revisions. Tribune-Herald.

Scrap yard cleanup costs nearly double. The price to clean up the old Kealakehe scrapyard has nearly doubled to $10 million. West Hawaii Today.

Nearly a year later, many eruption evacuees still in search of a permanent home. Of the 626 families who needed help finding a new place to live, only 153 have been able to secure permanent housing. Another 45 families, totaling 156 people, requested plane tickets so they could start over somewhere else. Hawaii News Now.

Is It A Waste Of Time To Complain About Illegal Building Here? Understaffed and saddled with red tape, inspectors have a hard time dealing with issues like a proposed farm complex in Upper Puna that has neighbors upset. Civil Beat.

Maui

3 percent Maui County Council salary hike lacks the votes in Salary Commission. Commission gave administration officials that amount in 2018. Maui News.

Maui Mayor Michael Victorino today announced his commitment to resurrecting Maui County’s longtime water reuse program. The program had been put on hold due to pending litigation involving the Department of Environmental Management’s permitted use of injection wells in West Maui. Maui Now.

The Mayor’s Office of Economic Development recently issued more than $254,000 in grants to various local organizations. Grantees were selected based on their economic impact within Maui County through business and/or the jobs they created or sustained. Maui Now.

New safety questions raised after 2 detainees escape Maui jail through broken door. Two pretrial detainees escaped from the Maui Community Correctional Center early Sunday through a broken door, raising new safety questions about the facility. Hawaii News Now.

Inmate: ‘This is crazy; we going die’. MCCC riot described by those inside Module B. Maui News.

Kauai

DLNR Worker Bought Truck Parts With State Money. The maintenance worker on Kauai faces ethics charges and is expected to be fined $4,500. Civil Beat.

Homeless encampment lies on state DOT land. The Department of Transportation has scheduled an assessment of a homeless encampment on Rice Street for April 17. Garden Island.

Community fears reopening Kuhio Highway will create flood of tourists. The April 14-15, 2018, flood washed out Kuhio Highway, the only route into the small communities of Lumahai, Wainiha and Haena. Since then the road has been opened to local residents but not tourists. Now with repairs almost complete, the state plans to reopen Kuhio Highway to all traffic May 1. Star-Advertiser.

Kauai communities have more miles to go on the road to recovery. Last year’s flooding was Kauai’s worst disaster since Hurricane Iniki struck the island more than 25 years ago. Over 350 homes were destroyed or damaged. A dozen landslides forced the closure of a 2-mile stretch of Kuhio Highway, cutting off the communities of Lumahai, Wainiha and Haena. Star-Advertiser.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Senate panel votes against Public Safety director's confirmation, more details emerge on federal rail fund withholding, AC Hotel Wailea by Marriott breaks ground on Maui, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands


Senate panel votes against reappointing public safety director. A state Senate committee voted Thursday against reappointing Nolan Espinda director of the Department of Public Safety, citing last month’s riot at the Maui jail, recent shootings of an Oahu jail inmate and a homeless man, detention of prisoners beyond their release dates and an alleged culture of retaliation and intimidation within the department. Star-Advertiser.

Ige Stands By His Public Safety Chief After Senate Panel Calls For Espinda’s Ouster. A Senate committee harshly criticized Nolan Espinda’s leadership of Hawaii’s prisons and the Sheriff Division. Civil Beat.

Senate Committee Votes Against Confirming Public Safety Director. Nolan Espinda, Gov. David Ige’s nominee to head the state Department of Public Safety, won’t get the backing of a key legislative committee. Hawaii Public Radio.

Senate committee won’t recommend Espinda’s return as public safety director. Hawaii News Now.

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Administrator in charge of DPS training programs accused of lying on her resume. The woman in charge of training more than 1,500 of Hawaii’s deputy sheriffs and adult corrections officers is facing public scrutiny for allegedly being dishonest about her job qualifications. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Rifle Association, NRA Seek Injunction To Suspend Gun Carry Requirements. Gun advocates filed a motion Thursday in U.S. District Court asking for an immediate injunction stopping enforcement of permit requirements that they say amount to a de facto ban on carrying guns. Hawaii Public Radio.

Urgency claimed in isle lawsuit over public carry of guns. The Hawaii Rifle Association is attempting to obtain quick action in a 2-week-old federal lawsuit aimed at allowing many residents statewide to carry loaded handguns in public. Star-Advertiser.

The number of farms in Hawaii grew substantially from 2012 to 2017, though the market value of the industry dropped nearly $100 million over the same period. That’s according to numbers released Thursday morning by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in its 2017 Census of Agriculture. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii School Chief Asks DeVos About Teacher Shortage. Christina Kishimoto mentioned the challenge of teacher retention in remote areas. Civil Beat.

Oahu

With still two days left, record number of ballots cast in City Council special election. Ahead of Saturday’s deadline, more than 31,000 votes have already been cast in the City Council District IV special election. Hawaii News Now.

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Honolulu Rail’s Final Federal Money Not Expected Until Next Year. The Federal Transit Administration has withheld $744 million from the project since 2015. Civil Beat.

Federal agency demands faster city contributions for rail. The Federal Transit Administration wants to see the city accelerate the pace of its contributions to help fund the Honolulu rail project before the FTA releases $744 million in federal funding it has withheld from the project. Star-Advertiser.

Feds Delaying Rail Funding, Citing Concerns About The Project. The Federal Transit Administration is withholding payments for Honolulu's rail system until officials make changes to its plan to get the $9 billion project back on track. Hawaii Public Radio.

Feds to delay release of millions in rail funding over construction concerns. Citing concerns about two impending construction contracts, the FTA has decided to delay the release of hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding intended to help propel Honolulu’s rail line toward completion. Hawaii News Now.

Federal Transit Administration withholding rail transit funding until February 2020. KHON2.

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Health director wants Navy to move Red Hill fuel tanks. State Department of Health Director Bruce Anderson is urging the Navy to relocate its underground fuel storage facility at Red Hill away from a major source of Oahu’s drinking water.  Star-Advertiser.

Worried about 'catastrophic’ spill, state wants U.S. Navy to move its Red Hill fuel tanks. Hawaii News Now.

Turtle Bay to start $70M renovation. Turtle Bay, which is owned by Blackstone and managed by Benchmark Resorts &Hotels, plans to start a $70 million renovation by the fourth quarter of this year that will be the precursor for its plan to add about 725 more units during a lengthy build-out that could start two or three years from now. Star-Advertiser.

An Ewa Elementary School A-plus teacher is accused of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old former student. An Oahu grand jury returned an indictment today charging Jordan Cortez with eight counts of sexual assault. Star-Advertiser.

Thousands of items from the Honolulu Police Department’s evidence room are up for auction. HPD amassed the items from various criminal cases over the years as well as from personal property turned in by the public that was never claimed by their owners. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Lawmakers talk successes, failures at legislative forum. A handful of lawmakers took some time Wednesday to return to Hawaii Island for a Community Forums event and talk story on a few measures of note in the 2019 legislative session, both those that look promising and those that have fallen short. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii County Council approves two of three lava disaster aid bills. Bills passed on final reading clear the way to accept $40 million in loans from the state and adds restoration of Highway 132 to the capital budget. Tribune-Herald.

An old hospital in Hilo is being transformed into a haven for the homeless. In Hilo, an old hospital is being transformed into one of the state's first homeless Ohana Zones. It's one of two Ohana Zone projects in the works for Hawaii Island. Hawaii News Now.

Wally Lau, Kimo Lee Named To Kahu Ku Mauna. The Maunakea Management Board voted to approve the two selections to the volunteer advisory board during its April 2 meeting. Big Island Video News.

Maui

Hale Mahaolu Lahaina Surf will not raise rents on tenants. Housing complex only looking to raise subsidy that HUD pays  Maui News.

Lahaina Cannery Mall eyes expansion with gas station. Plans call for 8-pump gas station and convenience store. Maui News.

New AC Hotel Wailea Breaks Ground. The 110-room AC Hotel Wailea by Marriott is being built on a three acre-lot situated at the corner of Wailea Ike Place and Wailea Ike Drive, adjacent to the Wailea Tennis Club. Maui Now.

Ex-Maui inmate gets $10K in sex assault lawsuit settlement. A former inmate who says Hawaii officials didn’t protect her against a guard convicted of sexually assaulting her is settling a lawsuit for $10,000. Associated Press.

Ex-Maui inmate gets $10K in sex assault lawsuit settlement. A former inmate who alleges Hawaii officials didn't protect her against a guard convicted of sexual assault is settling a lawsuit for $10,000. Hawaii News Now.

Kauai

Former lifeguard’s lawsuit dismissed. A Fifth Circuit Court judge on Wednesday dismissed a lawsuit brought by a former firefighter, alleging his supervisors in the Kauai Fire Department threatened and retaliated against him for testifying about their alleged misconduct. Garden Island.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Climate change bills falter, Carlisle wants to be Honolulu prosecutor again, Hawaii County suing Big Pharma, Maui commissioners resign over vacation rental, Gabbard makes presidential debates, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Hawaii Lawmakers Have Largely Dropped The Ball On Slowing Climate Change. Efforts to address the effects of a warming planet on a vulnerable island state have mostly fallen short this session. Civil Beat.

Ranked voting, a new way to elect candidates for political office, could be coming to Hawaii if a bill making its way through the state Legislature becomes law. Star-Advertiser.

Inside The Legislature’s Backroom Brawl Over A Water Rights Bill. As opponents of House Bill 1326 were making a lot of noise in the Capitol Rotunda on Tuesday and chanting things like, “The people have spoken, the public trust is broken,” the state Senate was behind closed doors in its chamber-level quarters trying to save legislation extending the right of Alexander & Baldwin and others to divert water from Hawaii streams. Civil Beat.

Lawmakers are considering a controversial proposal that would require midwives to be licensed by the state before July 1, 2020. Midwives were regulated in Hawaii from the 1930's, but haven’t been since the late 90's when nurse-midwives were placed under the Board of Nursing. Hawaii News Now.

Lawmakers still considering leasehold condos on state land. A bold idea this year to address Hawaii’s chronically short supply of affordable housing by developing and selling leasehold condominiums on state land is still in play at the Legislature. Star-Advertiser.

OHA Presses For A Bigger Share Of Money From Hawaii’s Trust Lands. The Office of Hawaiian Affairs hasn’t received an increase in revenues from the ceded trust lands in more than a decade. Civil Beat.

AG Breezes Through Committee Vote. Attorney General Clare Connors had no worries heading into a vote from the Senate Judiciary Committee. Civil Beat.

Gabbard qualifies for Democratic debate stage. U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard announced Wednesday that 65,000 people have donated to her presidential campaign, a milestone that makes her eligible to join the televised Democratic debates in June. Star-Advertiser.

Coming To A Democratic Debate Stage Near You -- Tulsi Gabbard. The Hawaii congresswoman needed 65,000 donors per DNC rules to qualify for the 2020 debates. On Wednesday her campaign announced she hit the mark. Civil Beat.

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Black hole named Powehi. With the world’s first image of a black hole made with the help of two Hawaii telescopes, astronomers say it was only right to give it a Hawaiian name. Star-Advertiser.

Introducing Powehi, The World-Famous Black Hole. Hawaii Public Radio.

Maunakea telescopes help create the first image of a black hole. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii telescopes instrumental in capturing first image of black hole. KHON2.

Oahu

Ex-Mayor Peter Carlisle Wants To Be Honolulu Prosecutor Again. His longtime political rival, Keith Kaneshiro, has taken a leave of absence because he’s a target in a federal investigation. Associated Press.

Despite warnings, Kaneshiro continues to visit building that houses prosecutor’s office. After Keith Kaneshiro placed himself on administrative leave pending the outcome of a federal criminal investigation, he was told to stay away from the city prosecutor’s office until the investigation was over. Hawaii News Now.

Feds Still Aren’t Releasing $744 Million For Honolulu Rail. Rail officials had hoped to finally get their long-stalled recovery plan approved by this month. Now, they hope to get “provisional’ approval in late May or early June. Civil Beat.

Judge upholds land board decision to allow a new North Shore wind farm. The board previously said the Na Pua Makani project in Kahuku could proceed, despite expectations that it would kill a number of native bats every year. Hawaii News Now.

Talk of a new racetrack in Ewa fuels a debate, the neighborhood board wants more community input. Racers are eager to get behind the wheel again. After 12 years without a racetrack on Oahu, many said it's about time. KHON2.

State to open Pali Highway on Sunday as repairs close Likelike Highway. Likelike Highway will be closed from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday as Hawaiian Electric crews conduct emergency work involving the removal of a damaged, leaning utility pole and other equipment. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Police Department dealing with dispatcher shortage. Last year the Public Safety Answering Point located at the Honolulu Police Department headquarters received over 1 million 9-1-1 calls. KITV.

Airport post office open late for taxes. The Honolulu main post office at 3600 Aolele St. near the airport will be the only post office in Hawaii offering late collection of mail Monday to accommodate last-minute tax filers. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu main is the only post office in the state offering late collection on tax day. The Honolulu Main Post Office at 3600 Aolele Street will be the only post office in Hawaii offering late collection of mail on federal Tax Day, Monday, Apr. 15, to accommodate last-minute filers of tax returns. KITV.

Hawaii Island

County to sue opioid manufacturers, distributors. Hawaii County has jumped into a multi-state class action lawsuit against Big Pharma manufacturers and distributors, seeking compensation for opioid addiction and overdoses on the island. West Hawaii Today.

New life for South Kohala development. Aina Lea Inc. expects to emerge from bankruptcy next month following a judge’s tentative approval of a plan that will make viable the continued development of The Villages of Aina Lea. West Hawaii Today.

Officials Give Highway 132 Lava Recovery Update. The County Council voted today to approve a bill to allocate $50 million to restore 3.2 miles of road in Puna. Big Island Video News.

School inundated by lava looks toward the future as classes continue. Nearly nine months after lava inundated Kua O Ka La New Century Public Charter School’s Puna campus, classes continue elsewhere and school officials are looking toward the future. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Two Maui Planning commissioners resign over Paia Inn vacation rental expansion permit. Judge’s order forces planning commission to authorize permit. Maui News.

Mayor Michael Victorino lauded for revealing he was sex assault victim. Experts say his story may help others. Maui News.

Wong resigns; Lutey is named corporation counsel. Even with charges dropped, mayor accepts resignation. Maui County’s top civil lawyer, Corporation Counsel Patrick Wong, resigned Tuesday following a contentious County Council confirmation process and a domestic incident last month. Maui News.

Homelessness down slightly in Maui County in 2019. Point-in-Time Count shows 862 people living on streets or in shelters. Maui News.

New effort afoot to save an endangered Native Hawaiian bird on Maui. It’s estimated that there are less than 300 Kiwikiu, or Maui Parrotbill, left in the wild. Hawaii News Now.

Kauai

'Everything is on the table'. On the second reading of resolution 2019-1 — proposing salary increases for employees of the county and officials--the council found itself deadlocked again. Garden Island.

Wary of highway reopening. Kuhio Highway west of Hanalei --closed and accessible only to residents since last year’s disastrous storms -- is tentatively set to reopen on or about May 1, but continuing restrictions will make actually using the highway challenging for both residents and visitors. Garden Island.