Friday, December 30, 2011

Judge could rule today on civil union challenge, Occupy Honolulu protesters arrested, Hawaii mortgages top $3,000, Obama visits Pearl Harbor, lava-peepers visit Kilauea, Maui high school, food center advance, Kauai timeshare buyers gripe about fees, more Hawaii news for smartphone and web

Lava flows courtesy Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

A pause in the supply of magma since Tuesday to Kilauea's East Rift Zone vent has slowed the output of lava, but that hasn't stopped hundreds of people from visiting the end of the road in a remote corner of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Tribune-Herald.

Lava slideshow

The 2012 New Year will ring in several new State measures, including Hawaii’s civil unions law. Other measures include a law that provides workplace protections for domestic or sexual violence victims, a law that allows for anonymous filings in a court of law, as well as several new insurance provisions. Hawaii Independent.

A federal judge could rule as early as today on a request by two Oahu Christian churches to block the new state law that allows same-sex couples to enter into civil unions. Star-Advertiser.

Two Christian churches on Oahu and their pastors are seeking a court order to halt Hawaii's civil union law, which goes into effect Jan. 1 — in less than three days. Civil Beat.

Two Christian churches have filed a federal complaint to stop Hawaii's new civil union law in its tracks, claiming the legislation is unconstitutional.Hawaii Reporter.

President Barack Obama has now done what every president since Franklin D. Roosevelt has done -- visited the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. CNN.

President Barack Obama laid a wreath at a memorial honoring those killed in the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. Associated Press.

It's been an event filled day for the President and First Family. KHON2.

Hawaii had the biggest average home mortgage amount in the nation in 2011, and an average monthly payment that is more than three times higher than the national average, according to statistics from Pacific Business News.

Predicting ahi prices for New Year's sashimi and poke is like gambling. Star-Advertiser.

The state Reapportionment Commission Chair, Retired Judge Victoria Marks, and her project manager, delivered the commission's final report and 2011 reapportionment plan prepared by the 2011 Reapportionment Commission to Hawaii lawmakers today. Hawaii Reporter.

State Roundup for Dec. 30. Associated Press.

Acting on newly confirmed boundaries, Honolulu police swept in late Thursday night and evicted Occupy Honolulu campers at Thomas Square Park, arresting two protesters. Star-Advertiser.

New overnight, "Occupy" protestors were forced out of Thomas Square after a two month stand. Hawaii News Now.

Feds OK Final Rail Design Work, But Demand Stronger Financial Plan. Civil Beat.

The City and County of Honolulu has moved one step closer to receiving federal funding for its $5.3 billion rail project. KHON2.

Change orders and problems have plagued two city construction projects in Ewa, a new gym and a new fire station, adding to their costs and causing months of delays. KITV4.


Hawaii County Council members are lining up their priorities for the new year. West Hawaii Today.

As Hilo Councilman J Yoshimoto makes plans to run for the District 2 council seat, now that he's been moved there from his current District 3, he's going to face competition. West Hawaii Today.

State funding of nearly $1.3 million has been released for design, planning and a portion of construction for a project to convert the University of Hawaii Maui College's former cafeteria into the new UH Food Innovation Center. Maui News.

Plans for a new Kihei high school call for building a campus in two phases, with the first targeted for opening in 2016 for 800 students and 120 staff members, according to a draft environmental impact statement posted last week. Maui News.


Time share owners at The Point at Po‘ipu are yelling foul in what might just might be a case of buyer beware. Garden Island.

County officials this week reminded Kaua‘i residents that more tax relief is now available for eligible homeowners. Garden Island.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Obama golfs, dines, endures criticism, substitute teachers need college degrees, Hawaiian Monk seals die as residents fight NOAA limits, DLNR to merge divisions, long-term care crisis looms, Hilo marijuana minister still behind bars, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

President Obama and entourage in Hawaii
As Republicans who want to be president slog through chilly Iowa in the run-up to next week’s caucuses, the man who is president moves from one enviable sun-splashed outing to the next. Tribune.

President Barack Obama spent Day 6 of his Windward Oahu holiday at a different golf course, but with familiar playing partners. Star-Advertiser.

President Barack Obama and wife Michelle headed to one of their favorite Oahu restaurants for a date Wednesday night. Hawaii News Now.

The cost of the First Family's holiday vacation in Hawaii continues to cause controversy. Hawaii News Now.

Starting early next year, substitute teachers who do not have college degrees will no longer be allowed to work in Hawaii's public schools, a move that education officials said is aimed at complying with federal requirements. KITV4.

Waikiki residents Gary Bradley and Paul Perry are among the scores of same-sex couples who are preparing to say "I do" under the state’s new civil unions law. KITV4.

A third monk seal was found dead on Molokai Wednesday and officials at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are working to determine the cause of death. Civil Beat.

A merger of the two divisions that manage state water and land resources is on the horizon, a Department of Land and Natural Resources official says. West Hawaii Today.

The graying of the so-called baby boomer generation will soon trigger a tsunami-like demand for long-term care services that the state and its residents are not prepared for. Tribune-Herald.

Hawai‘i is ranked No. 1 in the United States for investment in energy savings performance contracting (ESPC) for public buildings per capita, according to a ranking published by the Energy Services Coalition, a national nonprofit network working at the state and local level to increase energy efficiency through building upgrades. Hawaii Reporter.

Last week, the U.S. Department of Education warned that Hawaii’s $75 million in Race to the Top educational funding was in jeopardy. Hawaii Independent.

State roundup for Dec. 29. Associated Press.


Veteran journalist and journalism educator John Heckathorn died Wednesday morning at Straub Clinic & Hospital after suffering a heart attack Christmas morning at his home in Kalama Valley. He was 65. Star-Advertiser.

Former Honolulu Magazine editor, John Heckathorn, died on Wednesday morning after suffering a heart attack on Christmas. Hawaii News Now.

Respected journalist and teacher John Heckathorn died this morning after suffering a heart attack on Christmas Day. KHON2.

Hawaii Medical Center's Ewa hospital closed on Wednesday after transferring the last of its patients to its Liliha facility. Star-Advertiser.

The massive sea-based X-Band Radar left Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam on Wednesday morning, but Navy officials would not disclose where it was headed. Pacific Business News.


Hilo marijuana minister Roger Christie has been held for 17 months without bail in the Honolulu Federal Detention Center. Civil Beat.

Pahoa's Sacred Heart Church is teaming up with an internationally trained sculptor to create a one-of-a-kind statue of St. Damien DeVeuster to commemorate his Puna missionary work. Tribune-Herald.

The Kailua-Kona Public Library will soon see its electric bill drop. West Hawaii Today.


Hale Makua Health Services is finalizing an application to the state Department of Health to turn a wing of its Wailuku facility into an adult residential care home. Maui News.

Upwards of 30 protesters held signs along Dairy Road in Kahului today over a three hour period, in a demonstration against a nearby tenant for the sale of reef fish. Maui Now.


The Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative board has yet to discuss how it will address the impending vacancy to be created in January by the departure of director Ben Sullivan. Garden Island.

A new Professional Readiness Employment Program (PREP) Academy aims to help job seekers, particularly Native Hawaiians, with creative tools to improve their ability to find and keep good jobs. Garden Island.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Gov. Abercrombie too dizzy to greet Obama, blocks of Waikiki set for demolition, Hawaii pension plan overtaxed by OT, Hawaii County councilman leaves hospital, Paul Mitchell heir donates Kona waterfront, case dismissed against Kauai council, state to fence thousands of acres on Maui, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Humpback whale NOAA courtesy photo
Humpback whale aficionados have an opportunity to help scientists keep tabs on a growing population in the nation's primary mating and calving grounds. West Hawaii Today.

President Barack Obama and his family spent a warm and sunny Tuesday afternoon at one of the most popular snorkeling spots on Oahu, where they released four green sea turtles into the water. Associated Press.

Some Americans are bothered by President Barack Obama's decision to take a million-dollar vacation to Hawaii during these tough economic times. Hawaii News Now.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie suffered from dizziness on Friday, preventing him from greeting President Barack Obama when he arrived in Honolulu. KITV4.

Abercrombie's First Year, According To Abercrombie. Civil Beat.

Some 100 Hawaii clergy and other potential officiants have learned how to obtain online licenses to perform civil unions beginning just after midnight Sunday, offering a hint of the potential scope of civil unions in the islands. Star-Advertiser.

Shortly after the stroke of midnight on New Year's Day, Gary Bradley and Paul Perry will be among the first couples in the state to enter into civil unions as soon as a Hawaii law goes into effect. Tribune-Herald.

Trustees of Hawaii's public pension system are finalizing proposed legislation aimed at preventing employees from "spiking" their pay to dramatically boost retirement benefits. Civil Beat.

Hawai`i’s Filipino Cultural Center is the largest of its kind outside of the Philippines. Filcom is organizing statewide donations through three banks in Hawai`i to help provide disaster relief to typhoon survivors. Hawaii Public Radio.

The Professional and Vocational Licensing Branch will hold extended hours on Dec. 29 and Dec. 30 to accommodate those needing to renew their licenses before the end of the year. KHON2.

State roundup for Dec. 28. Associated Press.


The International Market Place, Waikiki Town Center and the Miramar at Waikiki Hotel will be demolished and redeveloped into a new three-level retail, dining and entertainment center beginning in 2013 — a long-awaited project expected to cost up to $300 million and revitalize an aging but iconic six-acre block in Hawaii’s main tourist hub. Pacific Business News.

A highly restrictive fireworks law has put a damper on the first New Year's Eve -- traditionally Hawaii's biggest annual fireworks celebration -- under the new city ordinance, say fireworks shoppers. Star-Advertiser.

The closure of two Oahu hospitals is having a ripple effect on the medical community. KITV4.

City Not Rushing To Implement "Sidewalk Law". KITV4.


A "rare treasure" of Hawaii island property containing spring-fed pools connected to Kiholo Bay in North Kona has been donated to The Nature Conservancy by the son of hairstyling company founder Paul Mitchell. Star-Advertiser.

The heir to a hairstyling and hair-care products dynasty has donated seven acres of land on the North Kona Coast to The Nature Conservancy. Tribune-Herald.

A Hawaii resident best known for manufacturing hair care products has donated seven acres of land on the North Kona Coast to the Nature Conservancy. KHON2.

Hawaii County Council meetings will not be held at the West Hawaii Civic Center until contractors make long-overdue fixes, Council Chairman Dominic Yagong said Tuesday. West Hawaii Today.

North Kona Councilman Angel Pilago headed home Tuesday, after spending two days hospitalized on Oahu. West Hawaii Today.

The state is considering appealing a Big Island judge’s recent decision to allow a project in South Kohala to move forward. Civil Beat.

Maui residents are not holding back on spending money on fireworks for New Year's Eve. Maui News.

The state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands has awarded more than two dozen homesteads to Native Hawaiian families. Maui News.

A 45-day public comment period has started on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement filed for the proposed Kihei High School in South Maui. Maui Now.

The state is proposing the construction of an enclosure fence around approximately 2,350 acres of native remnant koa forest on the Leeward side of Haleakala. Maui Now.


A civil complaint against the Kaua‘i County Council brought by two of its council members was dismissed in 5th Circuit Court on Tuesday. Garden Island.

The last of the “five side-men” is leaving the Kaua‘i Police Commission. Garden Island.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Hawaii inmates released without supervision, tax department not keeping up, four same-sex couples to inaugurate new civil unions law, Maui PD shows off morgue, Kauai mayor to talk story, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Honolulu city lights (c) 2011 All Hawaii News
While Honolulu residents may marvel at the brilliant glow of the city's night skyline, it's not a welcome sight for astronomers atop Haleakala. For them, it's light pollution that's interfering with their scientific studies. Civil Beat.

Hawaii inmates considered at high risk for committing new offenses increasingly have been released from prison without any supervision -- a trend that experts say is not only out of sync with national practices, but increases the safety risk to the public. Star-Advertiser.

Antiquated technology at the Hawaii Department of Taxation is hampering efforts to perform effective and timely audits of Hawaii taxpayers. Civil Beat.

Four committed couples from Hawaii will become the first in Hawaii to enter into civil unions on January 1. Hawaii Independent.

Thirty-seven programs that help homeless people in Hawaii have received a total of $10.7 million from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Star-Advertiser.

Bouncing back from homelessness is a challenge confronted by more than 10-thousand adults in Hawai`i over the past year. Hawai`i’s high cost of housing and the dominance of service industry jobs makes it particularly challenging for many people to rent or own a home they can call their own. Hawaii Public Radio.

The number of Hawaii residents filing for unemployment benefits has fallen sharply since hitting historic highs during the recent recession. Star-Advertiser.

State officials are bracing for a federal review of Hawaii's public school system early next year that could determine whether the state continues to receive millions in competitive education grants. Associated Press.

State roundup for Dec. 27. Associated Press.


President Barack Obama had an active Monday, starting with a morning workout and a late-morning hike with his family in Lanikai, followed by a golf outing with friends in the afternoon. Star-Advertiser.

City May Need $1 Million From State For Extra Ambulances. KITV4.

Fireworks ban dampens New Year plans for some. KHON2.

A vocal proponent of the Honolulu rail project has asked the IRS to look into alleged tax violations by a nonprofit suing to stop the train. Star-Advertiser.

The University of Hawaii at Manoa is asking a national education research group to pay about $28,800 for UH to fulfill an open-records request from the group, which is compiling a controversial ranking of teacher preparation programs. Star-Advertiser.

An area that's been a magnet for illegal dumping continues to attract everything but the kitchen sink. KHON2.


New Year's celebrations and fireworks have been synonymous on Hawaii Island. West Hawaii Today.


The temperature in the walk-in refrigerator at the Maui Police Department's new morgue and forensic facility is maintained between 36 and 38 degrees. Inside, there are racks of steel slabs. Maui News.

The nuns who have been researching the life of Mother Marianne Cope have discovered a woman who was a tough, capable, caring administrator. Maui News.

In an effort to ensure a safe and enjoyable New Year’s celebration, officials with the Maui Fire Department are urging the public to take proper precautions. Maui Now.


Robert Kawamura, a junior at Kaua‘i High School, said he’s been pounding mochi for a long time, Monday in Wailua. Garden Island.

Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. will meet with community members in Hanapepe, Kapa‘a, Kekaha and Koloa in January as part of his pledge to meet with communities throughout the island annually. Garden Island.


The studio structure is being constructed by Molokai Habitat for Humanity (MHFH) through a Habitat for Humanity International and Lowe’s Home Improvement program called Hammers for Heroes, which funds home improvements for veterans. Molokai Dispatch.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Obama enjoys quiet Hawaii holiday, tourism boost expected from new civil union law, coqui frogs, angry birds challenge state agencies, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands for smartphone and web

Baby checks out President Obama's mouth, AP pool photo
The first family kept a low profile on Oahu's Windward Coast for Christmas, attending a Christmas Day church service at the Base Chapel on Kaneohe Marine Corp Base. KITV4.

Marine Gunnery Sgt. Joseph Maupai could barely contain his enthusiasm at having his four children meet his commander in chief on Christmas Day at Marine Corps Base Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.

President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama spent part of Christmas greeting families at a Marine base in Hawaii. USA Today.

President Obama got a Christmas Day surprise when a baby put his hand in the president's mouth. CBS News.

The Obamas got to spend some time off on the East side today, enjoying what many would call, a very ordinary, special Christmas. KHON2.

President Barack Obama has kept a relatively low profile since arriving to Hawaii to join his family for the holidays. Hawaii News Now.

With Congress finally buckling to White House demands to extend the payroll tax cuts before the new year, President Barack Obama is officially heading “home” to Hawaii for the holidays. Hawaii Reporter.

While President Obama Arrives in Hawaii Amidst Security and Fanfare, Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Slips Quietly into Big Island Resort. Hawaii Independent.

When federal authorities visit in January for an extensive review to determine whether Hawaii can deliver on its Race to the Top education pledges, the state will acknowledge stumbling in key initiatives but argue the school system has seen great progress. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii comptroller's office this year spent $25,000 to replace bird netting wrapped around the third-floor ledge of the state Capitol. Civil Beat.

The coqui frogs have been growing in population in the state in recent years and are now starting to show up in larger numbers on Oahu. Associated Press.

State roundup for Dec. 26. Associated Press.


Tony Locricchio saw the growing homeless population living in tents on sidewalks and said we must find places for them to live with dignity. KITV4.

The city and the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands are planning a land swap worth an estimated $30 million to provide the city with a site for a rail maintenance facility in Waipahu. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu oceanfront property owners are being given violation notices for blocking public access to beaches. KHON2.

The Honolulu City Council may consider a ban on businesses offering plastic bags at checkout counters as early as February if Council Chair Ernie Martin goes through with his plans. Pacific Business News.


Fireworks are going on sale this week across the island, and the Fire Department is hoping for a soggy New Year. Tribune-Herald.

New Year's celebrations and fireworks have been synonymous on Hawaii Island. West Hawaii Today.

In 2011, one event swept away the rest when it came time to pick the top stories of the year. West Hawaii Today.


Maui hotels and resorts are gearing up to host same-sex couples in Hawaii to formalize their relationships starting New Year's Day. Maui News.

The state Department of Transportation is weighing options for a major overhaul of Kahului Airport's long runway, after being notified that federal funds would no longer be available to keep patching the aging tarmac. Maui News.

State and federal officials announced Friday that they were investigating the deaths of two Hawaiian monk seals on the south shore of Molokai, and a prominent Molokai advocate called on Native Hawaiians to protect the species. Maui News.


After purchasing a home on Kauai nearly two years ago, actor Will Smith and wife Jada Pinkett-Smith recently sold their property, making a $6.5 million profit. Hawaii News Now.

Santa Claus wasn’t the only one on duty this holiday. Across the island, police officers and firefighters were on the clock Sunday, along with restaurant and hotel workers, gas station employees and airport personnel. Garden Island.

Many things on the islands nowadays come from China, including The Garden Island’s new managing editor, RenĂ©e Haines. Garden Island.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Mele Kalikimaka from All Hawaii News!

Shaka Santa and Tutu Mele at Honolulu Hale

Friday, December 23, 2011

Superferry joins the Navy, Hawaii education foundering, Maui CSI complete, Birthers smacked down, Oahu beach access enforced, Hawaii County redistricting pau, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii Superferry (c) 2011 All Hawaii News
The Navy has received congressional approval to buy two high-speed superferries from the U.S. Maritime Administration. Associated Press.

Hawaii lacks a "sense of urgency" about meeting the commitments it made to secure $75 million in federal education funding, U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan said Thursday. Civil Beat.

The Hawaii Department of Education is struggling to make the grade and now the state has been warned it could lose $75 million in federal funding as a result. Hawaii News Now.

Don Horner is retiring as CEO from First Hawaiian Bank at the end of this month and building a second home on the North Shore, but he's hardly stepping out of the limelight. Star-Advertiser.

The scene at the Hawaii Labor Relations Board Thursday — one day after the federal government issued a harsh warning to the state about its $75 million Race to the Top grant — was unlike anything that's happened until now. Civil Beat.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration say updated computer models show that debris from the Japan tsunami earlier this year could impact the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands as early as January or February 2012. KITV4.

Statewide initial unemployment claims dropped 5.6 percent last week, the Hawaii’s Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism said Thursday. Pacific Business News.

These are hardly happy days for Hawaii Democrats. New York Times.

The so-called birther movement was dealt another legal blow Thursday when a federal appeals court tossed out a lawsuit challenging President Barack Obama's U.S. citizenship and his eligibility to serve as commander in chief.  Associated Press.

State Roundup for Dec. 23. Associated Press.


State coastal enforcement officials are cracking down on beachfront homeowners whose property landscapes encroach on public rights of way in Kahala and elsewhere. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu City Council Chair Ernie Martin says he will move to have the city join Hawaii's three other counties in banning or regulating plastic checkout bags. Civil Beat.

The nearly 1,000 Hawaii Medical Center workers who will lose their jobs when the bankrupt hospitals shut down through the next few weeks are expected to push state unemployment to its highest rate in almost two years. Star-Advertiser.

The State has conducted 24 assistance sessions for Hawai’i Medical Center employees facing unemployment due to the closure of two O’ahu hospitals. Hawaii Public Radio.

KITV4 News has learned the company that transports dead bodies to the Medical Examiner's office has two convicted felons on its payroll. KITV4.

The final numbers are in for firecracker permit sales on Oahu, and they could be an indication that residents are in for a quieter New Year's. KHON2.


"We have completed our work."With that terse comment by Chairwoman Rene Siracusa, the Hawaii County Redistricting Commission on Thursday adjourned its meeting for the last time, not to return for 10 years unless someone challenges the final product. West Hawaii Today.

Big Island resident Eric A. Lighter, 61, has been convicted in California of federal crimes including conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit blackmail and witness tampering. Hawaii Reporter.

West Hawaii residents homed in on one state transportation project -- widening Queen Kaahumanu Highway -- during a talk story with Department of Transportation Director Glenn Okimoto. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii County could save millions of dollars, generate money and create "green" jobs by privatizing its little-used, multimillion-dollar Hilo recycling facility, the County Council decided Wednesday. Tribune-Herald.

Filtration upgrades at the Waimea Water Treatment Plant and replacement of a long-defunct reservoir in North Kohala are in the works.  West Hawaii Today.


Pacific Wings has petitioned the Federal Aviation Administration to reconsider its award of nearly $2 million in subsidies to Makani Kai Charters to fly into Kalaupapa. Maui News.

The new $4.5 million Maui Police Department Forensic Facility will be fully operational before the end of the year. Maui Now.

At the blessing of the Andaz Wailea Hotel on Wednesday, on the site of the long-closed Renaissance Wailea Beach Resort, Bud Pikrone, executive director of the Wailea Community Association, said the revival of the property "will definitely help" the image of the resort. Maui News.

Maui County Council Member Joe Pontanilla is the latest victim of a vehicle theft on Maui. Maui Now.


Construction crew members were retrofitting the Kaua‘i Bus shelter by the Kapa‘a Neighborhood Center this week to accommodate persons with disabilities. Similar improvements to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) will be made at Hanama‘ulu’s Kalepa Village bus stop, county spokeswoman Beth Tokioka said. Garden Island.

Kaua‘i Police Department recently recognized three officers for outstanding service: Lt. Richard Rosa, officer Anthony Abalos and officer Colin Nesbitt. Garden Island.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Bag ban passes Big Island council, $75M in Race to the Top funds at risk, 14 Hawaii tax employees face criminal charges, Oahu top island getaway, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Following Maui and Kauai's lead, the Big Island on Wednesday became the third county to adopt a ban on merchants giving out plastic bags. That leaves Honolulu as the only Hawaii county without such a ban. Civil Beat.

Hawaii County shoppers can expect free plastic shopping bags at the cash register for just one more year, following the passage Wednesday of a bill restricting their availability. West Hawaii Today.

When it comes to protecting the environment, reducing litter and preserving landfill space, the County Council has left Mayor Billy Kenoi holding the bag. Tribune-Herald.

An Education Department official on Wednesday admonished Hawaii for its "unsatisfactory" performance under a $75 million federal grant the state won last year in a high profile competition and said it was placing it under "high risk" status, meaning the state is in danger of losing the money if it doesn't make improvements. Associated Press.

Citing "unsatisfactory performance" and concerns about whether future pledges can be met, the federal government has placed Hawaii's $75 million Race to the Top grant on "high-risk" status, which means the money may be lost if progress isn't made. Star-Advertiser.

Middle-school boys and girls in some low-performing schools on Oahu and Hawaii island next fall will begin playing in small, after-school sports leagues as part of a larger effort to improve the lives of 3,700 students. Star-Advertiser.

14 employees of the State Tax Department are under investigation by the State Attorney General's office for possible criminal wrongdoing. KITV4.

Hawaii's ethics rules sure seem to be resonating with lawmakers. Several turned away bottles of wine given as a holiday gift from a solar-energy company. Civil Beat.

President Barack Obama will have to come up with an action plan to address the economic impact of Pacific migration in Hawaii and other states and U.S. territories. Star-Advertiser.

State roundup for Dec. 22. Associated Press.


Yahoo! News has named Oahu the top island getaway in the U.S. in the latest episode of Wanderlust, the travel series on Yahoo! News. KHON2.

A new Kakaako booking and warrants building for the state Sheriff Division is proving to be more convenient for both deputies and the public. Star-Advertiser.

The state sheriffs division has opened a new booking and warrants facility in Kakaako, a more convenient and less threatening location has resulted in more people turning themselves in there, according to public safety officials. KITV4.

Just how popular is the camping permit window at the Wahiawa Satellite City Hall? Civil Beat.

Hawaii Medical Center’s approximately 990 employees are getting some help from the Hawaii Department of Labor and Industrial Relations in navigating the unemployment rolls they soon will find themselves on when HMC shuts down its two Oahu hospitals in the next few weeks. Pacific Business News.

Mordechai Orian, CEO of Global Horizons, who is facing charges relating to the alleged trafficking of farm workers from Thailand to America, was set to go to trial on February 7. Civil Beat.

The following letter by John Bond of Save Ewa Field alleges potentially damaging construction being done at the historic Ewa Field, owned by the U.S. Navy and leased to developers. Hawaii Independent.

Twenty-five thousand soldiers from Schofield's 25th Infantry Division headquarters served in the Iraq War. Hawaii News Now.


With more than a quarter of Big Island children not knowing where their next meal is coming from, the Hawaii County Council on Wednesday unanimously passed a nonbinding resolution asking the administration to give the Food Basket an emergency $500,000. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii County is making headway in its effort to make the much-needed Ka'u District Gym and Shelter a reality in Pahala. West Hawaii Today.

Federal officials want to hear the public's comments on a wilderness review and legislative environmental impact statement for the Hawaiian and Pacific Islands National Wildlife Refuge Complex. West Hawaii Today.


A U.S. District Court jury has acquitted Maui County of liability in a civil suit brought by the family of a homeless man who died in the Lahaina lockup in 2008. Maui News.

The Maui Fire Department will begin processing firecracker permits this week while public fireworks displays have been scheduled in South Maui, Hana and on Lanai. Maui News.

Owners of a cruising yacht that Molokai protesters turned back earlier this month in Kaunakakai Harbor announced Tuesday that they reached an agreement with opposition and authorities to resume their Molokai tours, at least temporarily, next month. Maui News.


If Kaua‘i County Council Chair Jay Furfaro is right, the administration could be facing a budgetary shortfall of $2.64 million. Garden Island.

The County of Kaua‘i has released its Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for fiscal year 2011, which began July 1, 2010, and ended June 30, 2011. Garden Island.

A blessing and groundbreaking for the next segment of Ke Ala Hele Makalae, the multi-use path, was held in Kapa‘a this morning at Gore Park near Samuel Mahelona Memorial Hospital. Garden Island.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Molokai tour boat truce reached, Hawaii teachers take second jobs, Big Island rents drop, $10.7M for homeless, Honolulu scrambles after hospital shutdown, UH picks Norm Chow as new football coach, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Molokai blockade courtesy photo
Molokai protesters and the operator of American Safari Cruises have agreed to a truce that will allow the tour boat company to resume its weekly visits to Molokai next month. Star-Advertiser.

American Safari Cruises announced Tuesday that an agreement has been reached between the company, state and federal authorities and local groups so that the Safari Explorer will return to Molokai in January. Star-Advertiser.

American Safari Cruises plans to resume regularly scheduled visits to Molokai on January 21, 2011. Maui Now.

U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan Tuesday awarded $10.7 million to renew funding to Hawaii homeless programs. KHON2.

Two-thirds of Hawaii public school teachers who responded to a recent union poll said they hold one or more outside jobs, and 41 percent of those earning supplemental incomes said they started working another job in the last one to three years. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii legislators are planning a complete overhaul of the state’s charter school system in the wake of “glaring concerns” about lack of accountability and even possible fraud at some schools. Hawaii Reporter.

Inouye Still Brings Home The Bacon. Half a billion dollars going to military, APEC costs, East-West Center. Civil Beat.

Norm Chow is poised to become the next University of Hawaii head football coach -- 16 years, two Heisman Trophy winners and two national titles after losing his first bid for the position. Star-Advertiser.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s version of the Supplemental Budget for Fiscal Year 2013, submitted yesterday, requires an additional $35 million in general funds—overall changes included an increase of $119.9 million in spending in some areas and $85.9 million in savings in others. Hawaii Independent.

The Keck Observatory was involved in what its director called a historic moment recently, helping confirm the discovery of two Earth-sized planets.  West Hawaii Today.

State roundup for Dec. 21. Associated Press.


Police-Business Deal Raises Ethical Questions. Civil Beat.

About 1200 people are waiting for the outcome of a lawsuit determining their future living conditions. Mayor Wright Homes is the second complex to draw attention to public housing standards in the past several years. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii Medical Centers, which is closing the former St. Francis Medical Centers in Liliha and Ewa over the next few weeks, operates the only organ transplant center in the Pacific. The Transplant Institute of the Pacific shut down on Friday when HMC's Liliha hospital stopped admitting patients. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii State Department of Labor & Industrial Relations will provide Rapid Response services to employees at both Hawaii Medical Center worksites in Liliha and Ewa after the company announced last Friday it is closing. KITV4.

After the sudden closure of Hawaii’s only organ transplant hospital at Hawaii Medical Center East in Liliha, The Queen’s Medical Center is racing against the clock to quickly certify a new program. KHON2.

A non-profit that describes itself as the world's largest religious civil liberties legal organization is getting involved in a discrimination lawsuit filed on Oahu Monday by a lesbian couple. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu mortgage brokers Welton Kalani and Stephen Balino have been found guilty on numerous counts of mortgage fraud and money laundering, the U.S. Department of Justice reported Tuesday. Pacific Business News.

The Honolulu Fire Department says Wednesday, December 21 is the last day to get firecracker permits on Oahu. KITV4.


A newly released study shows that monthly residential rents are decreasing on the Big Island, while the rest of the state is posting increases. Tribune-Herald.

Big Island residents are in for a sight when several massive storage tanks for the new Big Island Biodiesel refinery are transported from Hilo to Keeau on Wednesday. KHON2.

Kona Community Hospital is actively recruiting a cardiologist, CEO Jay Kreuzer said this week. West Hawaii Today.

Residents in four Big Island communities may soon have access to computers and printers at County Council offices, thanks to a resolution forwarded Tuesday by the council's Finance Committee. West Hawaii Today.

Big Island County Council to Vote on Plastic Bag Ban, Civil Beat.


About 40 nisei veterans traveled to Oahu this past weekend to take part in ceremonies honoring them for receiving the Congressional Gold Medal for their service during World War II with the 100th Battalion/442nd Regimental Combat Team and the Military Intelligence Services. Maui News.


Kadomatsu, one of the more familiar New Year’s decorations, are now on sale at the Hawai‘i Government Employees Association offices on Aikahi Street in Lihu‘e. Garden Island.

The holiday spirit caught up with the staff at the Courtyard by Marriott at Coconut Beach Thursday night. Garden Island.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Abercrombie unveils $11.1 billion no-new-taxes budget, lesbian couple sues Hawaii Kai B&B, Bank of Hawaii one of best, Hawaii Supreme Court sets oral arguments in reapportionment lawsuit, Kamehameha Schools to get $1.4M back in discrimination lawsuit, and more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie, Budget Director Kalbert Young, courtesy photo  
Gov. Neil Abercrombie said Monday that the state won't need to increase taxes or cut spending any further to balance the budget during the upcoming fiscal year. The state will also be able to pay back the rainy day fund that was used to balance the budget this year, he said. Associated Press.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie, setting an optimistic tone for the next session of the state Legislature, released a budget draft on Monday that calls for a modest increase in state spending and anticipates a healthy surplus as the state moves out of a recession. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Gov. Proposes Bigger Budget For Next Year — With No Tax Hikes. Civil Beat.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie's administration submitted its supplemental budget to the legislature on Monday. Under the proposal, the state budget would increase from $10.9 billion to $11.1 billion dollars. Hawaii News Now.

Hawai’i’s Chief Executive was upbeat about his balanced budget proposal. Hawaii Public Radio.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie proposed a supplemental budget proposal for the second year of the state’s two-year budget cycle Monday that includes no new taxes. KITV4.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie presented his supplemental budget request to state lawmakers Monday by touting the fact it contains no new taxes. KHON2.

Governor Submits Balanced Budget Aimed at Funding High-Priority Programs and No Tax Increases. Abercrombie news release.

The Hawaii Supreme Court has scheduled oral arguments Jan. 4 in two lawsuits over new legislative maps that some say shorted the Big Island a fourth state Senate seat. West Hawaii Today.

Kamehameha Schools will receive $1.4 million in a settlement of its lawsuit alleging a breach of a confidential agreement that ended a court challenge to the schools' admissions policy giving preference to students with Hawaiian blood, the schools announced Monday. Star-Advertiser.

Charter Schools' 'Glaring Concerns' Raised at Briefing. Civil Beat.

A recent report by the State Office of the Auditor found Hawaii’s public charter school system riddled with poor performance, a lack of accountability, and unethical and illegal spending and employment practices. Hawaii Independent.

Bank of Hawaii has been named one of the top investor-owned banks in the country for the third consecutive year by Forbes magazine. Pacific Business News.

Emily's List Endorses Tulsi Gabbard for Congress. Hawaii Reporter.

State roundup for Dec. 20. Associated Press.


Two Los Angeles women filed a discrimination lawsuit Monday against a Hawaii Kai bed-and-breakfast, saying its owner refused to rent them a room because they are a lesbian couple. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu City Council will start debating an overhaul to the property tax system next month, even though the idea is already been dismissed as a dead-on-arrival election-year tax increase. Civil Beat.

Sarah Perez was in tears Monday when she tried to go to Hawaii Medical Center in Ewa for severe shoulder pain and saw a sign that read, "Emergency Room Closed." Star-Advertiser.


There will be a lot of trash talk Wednesday when the County Council meets in Hilo. West Hawaii Today.

New beds for nursing program. Tribune-Herald.

Lander telescope clears trial hurdle. West Hawaii Today.

Big Island police are investigating the theft of coffee cherries from trees in the Ka'u District. KHON2.


A group of residents on a short, one-way street behind the Wharf Cinema Center is so upset about the county's plan's to switch the direction of traffic on Luakini Street between Prison and Dickerson streets to accommodate Maui Bus that they are organizing a protest today. Maui News.

Despite internal disagreements and a lawsuit, the third annual Rice Festival as held Sunday night - at the school across the street from Binhi at Ani - with many participants saying that honoring the sakadas who came to Hawaii before them and celebrating the holidays comes before anything else. Maui News.


Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative took a step closer toward renewable energy sources, lessening the island’s dependence on oil, Friday with the dedication of its battery energy storage system its the Koloa substation. Garden Island.

A bright idea by a Kaua‘i High School student has powered an energy agreement intended to turn the island’s schools a little greener. Garden Island.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Hawaii on Obama watch, feds pan early education plan, Young Bros. granted 16.6% rate hike, UH to pay student for peeping tom, Maui to ban booze at park, Hawaii County studies property taxes, Kauai seeks landfill space and more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Mother Marianne Cope at Father Damien's funeral historical photo
Pope Benedict XVI has approved seven new saints for the Catholic Church, including Hawaii’s Mother Marianne and a 17th-century Native American, Caterina Tekakwitha. Associated Press.

First lady Michelle Obama and daughters Malia and Sasha seem to have been enjoying a respite from the television cameras since arriving at their Kailua vacation home on Saturday, according to area residents. Star-Advertiser.

First Lady Michelle Obama and her daughters, Sasha and Malia, spent the night in Kailua, Oahu, on Saturday. Hawaii Reporter.

First lady Michelle Obama and first daughters Malia and Sasha are on day two of their Hawaiian holiday vacation. KHON2.

Federal reviewers ranked Hawaii's application for a competitive, $49 million federal grant to improve the state's early-learning network last among 35 states vying for the money, calling elements of the plan "minimally implemented" and "low quality," documents show. Star-Advertiser.

Recently ratings by the federal government show how Hawaii hospitals compare with ones across the country and the grades could also lead to better quality care. KITV4.

Hawaii's big bond sale this month was great news for the state because of how much it will save in lower interest rates. But for the Hawaii State Department of Education, it was a routine event. Civil Beat.

It's been a month since the head of Hawaii's largest union demanded to reopen labor talks with Gov. Neil Abercrombie's chief negotiator, claiming another union got a better deal. Civil Beat.

The University of Hawaii must pay about $31,000 to a former student who was showering at a UH dormitory four years ago when an intruder tried to take photos or a video of her with his cellphone, a state judge has ruled. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission on Friday approved a 16.58 percent rate increase for interisland shipping company Young Brothers Ltd. Pacific Business News.

State Roundup for Dec. 18. Associated Press.

Hawaii Soldiers Last Division To Exit Iraq. KITV4.

There were many hugs and kisses at Wheeler Army Airfield Sunday night, as the families of about 50 soldiers from the 25th Infantry Division welcomed them home from their deployment to Iraq. Hawaii News Now.


Residential electric bills on Oahu hit a record high in December for the third consecutive month, continuing a trend that has prompted a growing number of homeowners to install rooftop photovoltaic systems to cut their soaring power bills. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii state Department of Agriculture will inspect a Kahuku farm where undocumented workers from Laos said they were sickened by exposure to toxic pesticides. Hawaii Reporter.

The Council had approved to hear a bill in 2012 that would require grocers or wholesale food clubs to post signs or labels signifying that a food product included genetically engineered material. Hawaii Independent.


Hawaii County has begun an outside review of its property tax structure, the first step in ensuring fairness and perhaps bringing additional money to county coffers. West Hawaii Today.

The Transportation Security Administration is hoping to prevent concerns that new body scanning machines it began using at Hilo International Airport are an invasion of privacy. Tribune-Herald.

Organizers of the Laupahoehoe Community Public Charter School have been notified that they will not be allowed to launch next year. Tribune-Herald.


Maui County Council members voted 8-0 Friday to give initial approval for a ban on the consumption of alcohol at the new South Maui Community Park. Maui News.

Xorin Balbes maintains that he renovated a historic landmark and created a self-awareness retreat, Lumeria Maui, while at least one opponent to reopening the Fred Baldwin Memorial Home said it looks more "like the Ritz." Maui News.

28 families were selected to receive homestead leases in the Kula, Waiohuli Hikina and the Waiehu Kou communities. KHON2.


The island’s only landfill may operate another 10 years before closing down for good. With the clock ticking — and after a few extensions and expansions — the county has yet to find a site for the next landfill. Garden Island.

The Kaua‘i Police Department has a new deputy chief. Garden Island.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Hawaii tax database breached, scathing audit of charter schools, Honolulu property ticks up, recovery slow, Hawaii County fires five cops, big airport changes coming to Maui, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Honolulu road construction (c) 2011 All Hawaii News
Congress appropriated 840-Billion dollars in Federal Economic Stimulus money to States in February 2009. Did Hawai’i receive its fair share of that funding and who’s tracking it? Hawaii Public Radio.

The state Department of Taxation placed several employees on administrative leave without pay this week following the discovery of an internal security breach of the department's tax database. Star-Advertiser.

Governor Neil Abercrombie’s administration is investigating unspecified wrongdoing in the state Tax Department. Hawaii Reporter.

The State Attorney General is investigating allegations of security breaches at the tax department dating back several years. KHON2.

Charter schools have been spending public money with little oversight -- or accountability for student performance -- and the lack of government monitoring has resulted in "unethical and illegal" spending and employment practices at some campuses, a scathing audit of Hawaii's system of 31 charter schools found. Star-Advertiser.

State Auditor Marion Higa issued a scathing report on Hawaii's charter schools Thursday, calling out individual schools for potential fraud and criticizing the Charter School Review Panel. West Hawaii Today.

A blistering report released Thursday by the Hawaii state auditor alleges little to no oversight of the state’s public charter school system.KHON2.

For the first time in five years, Hawaii's school bus companies have bid against each other for contracts to transport students to and from school. Civil Beat.

Youth Correctional Facility Cleans Up Its Act. Civil Beat.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie said Wednesday that he will appoint an interim successor for Office of Hawaiian Affairs Trustee Boyd Mossman "as soon as I can" and that whomever he picks will not be running for the seat in the November election. Maui News.

State roundup for Dec. 16. Associated Press.


Property values on Oahu rose slightly over the past year, giving the City Council and the Carlisle administration the expectation for some added revenue to work with as they craft a budget for the next fiscal year. Star-Advertiser.

The tax bill for some landowners may increase slightly if the Honolulu city council keeps tax rate at the current level. KITV4.

The pace of Honolulu's economic recovery since the end of the recession ranks in the bottom 20 percent of the nation's top 100 metropolitan areas, according to a report released Thursday by the Brookings Institution. Star-Advertiser.

The University of Hawaii at Manoa John A. Burns School of Medicine will receive a $13.2 million federal grant for its Bioscience Research Infrastructure Development for Grant Enhancement and Success project. Pacific Business News.

First complaint filed under new city ordinance against personal property on sidewalks. Hawaii News Now.

The Gas Company dedicated a new plant in Kapolei that can make "renewable natural gas" out of oils and fats from animal, fishing and farming waste. KHON2.

Visitors to the Waikiki Aquarium got their first chance to see the aquarium's newest resident Thursday. KHON2.


Five Hawaii County police officers were fired this year, a significant increase over last year, when no nonprobationary police officers lost their jobs for disciplinary reasons. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaiians unloaded their mana'o on officials from the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands about an initiative to get the longest-waiting beneficiaries off the homestead waiting list.  Tribune-Herald.

The Hawaii County Water Board has tapped the department's deputy manager to become the manager and chief engineer. West Hawaii Today.

The Police Department won't be getting any new marked cruisers this Christmas or in the near future, a senior administrator said. Tribune-Herald.

Double-decker out of commission. West Hawaii Today.


The state Department of Transportation is studying different plans to comprehensively rebuild Kahului Airport’s aging main runway, which was built in 1942. KITV4.

Projects such as the 460-kilowatt photovoltaic system recently installed at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center are part of a "spectrum of alternative energy" from home-based systems to large-scale farms to meet the state's current and future power needs, said Gov. Neil Abercrombie on Wednesday. Maui News.

A small turnout of Kihei residents Tuesday night urged Charter Commission members to put a proposal for four-year council terms on the ballot and keep County Council elections nonpartisan. Maui News.


Grove Farm has told its Koloa Camp tenants it’s time to move out and make way for progress. Garden Island.

The major Hawaiian ports of call for hundreds of whalers during the 19th century were Honolulu and Lahaina, where whalers restocked provisions, replenished crews and transshipped whale oil cargoes following whale hunts in the Japan Sea, the South Pacific or the Arctic. Garden Island.

West Kaua‘i Rotary plants seeds for ‘Christmas miracle’ Garden Island.