Wednesday, February 29, 2012

New prisons slated for Oahu, Maui and Hawaii Island, rental properties face new fees, state bank, charter schools up for votes today, pay raises for union workers, volcano draws tourists, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Halawa Correctional Facility
The state Department of Public Safety wants to bring back to Hawaii all of its inmates on the mainland by reducing the in-state prison population by about 1,100 and building about 900 new spaces for them on Oahu, Maui and Hawaii Island. Star-Advertiser.

If all goes as planned, officials from the Hawaii Department of Public Safety predict that 1,000 local prisoners incarcerated in two Arizona prisons could be home by 2015. Civil Beat.

The other shoe dropped today in the state’s plan to bring all Mainland prison inmates back to Hawaii by 2015: construction of new prison facilities on Oahu, Maui and the Big Island to hold some 900 inmates. Hawaii Reporter.

Aging facilities and a lack of bed space require Hawaii to house almost 1,800 of its 6,000 inmates in Arizona prisons. Gov. Neil Abercrombie's administration and the state Legislature want the prisoners returned to Hawaii.Associated Press

Owners of vacation rental properties in Hawaii are rallying support to defeat several bills they say would add thousands of dollars a year to the cost of renting out their places. Civil Beat.

About 1,250 state workers will have their pay restored by 5 percent as of this Thursday, March 1. KHON2.

A bill to overhaul Hawaii's charter school system is up for a vote today in the Senate Ways and Means Committee, after legislators were urged to make changes in view of turmoil on a few charter campuses. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii House Democrats are considering whether to form a state bank. Hawaii Reporter.

A University of Hawaii scientist said he expects heavy debris from the 2011 Japanese tsunami to reach small atolls in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands within a few months and the main Hawaiian Islands in about a year. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii teachers in schools targeted by Race to the Top reforms approved an agreement for extended learning time, a key element of a $75 million grant that the U.S. Department of Education has said is at risk of being lost. Tribune-Herald.

Teachers can now apply to transfer to or from 19 schools that will offer longer instructional days and more teacher training next school year. Star-Advertiser.

A bill that would require a permit to harvest sandalwood and any other native tree species deemed by the Department of Land and Natural Resources to be "of concern," cleared the Senate Ways and Means Committee Tuesday morning. West Hawaii Today.

Industrial employment in Hawaii grew by a half-percent last year, according to a trade publisher’s report released Tuesday. Star-Advertiser.

State roundup for Feb. 29. Associated Press.


The fight over a master planned community in Ewa that would displace more than 1,000 acres of prime agricultural land pits two former Democratic governors against Gov. Neil Abercrombie. Civil Beat.

More than 300 rail supporters chanted, "Go rail go!" outside a meeting discussing alternatives to Honolulu's rail project. Most of them came from unions touting the jobs the project will create. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu mayoral candidate Kirk Caldwell
The Hawaii Government Employees Association and the United Public Workers announced their endorsement Tuesday of Kirk Caldwell for mayor of the City and County of Honolulu. KITV4.

As general manager of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, Daniel Grabauskas was in charge of the nation's oldest and fifth-largest public transit system. Now, he's poised to take the helm of one of the nation's newest rail systems as CEO of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation. Civil Beat.

Sunday marks the long anticipated debut of the Hawai’i Symphony Orchestra. Hawaii Public Radio.

A 400-foot residential tower is planned for the corner of Kapiolani and Ward Avenue. KITV4.


Mayor Billy Kenoi's upcoming budget, to be unveiled Thursday, will reflect property value revenues at their lowest level since he took office in late 2008. West Hawaii Today.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park attracted more than 1.3 million visitors who spent more than $88.2 million in 2010, according to a new National Park Service report. Pacific Business News.

A newly released study commissioned by the National Park Service shows that visitors to the four national parks and historical sites on the Big Island spent an estimated $122 million in the parks and surrounding local communities in 2010. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii County is taking the plunge into electric and plug-in hybrid cars. Tribune-Herald.


After months of discussion and debate, the Maui County Council's Planning Committee advanced a bill to regulate short-term rentals Monday, voting 6-1 to recommend passage by the full council. Maui News.

A proposal to mandate a merger between the Maui County Fire Department and the county's Division of Ocean Safety was tabled Monday by the Charter Commission. Maui News.

New Flood Maps May Mean Higher Flood Insurance. Maui Now.


The Senate Judiciary and Labor Committee passed a resolution Tuesday urging Grove Farm Co. to consider a "win-win solution" to sell Koloa Camp land to tenants facing eviction on Kauai. Star-Advertiser.

Although smart meters were not on the agenda for the Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative board of directors meeting Tuesday, it was a topic of much discussion. Garden Island.

Kaua‘i Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. and Police Chief Darryl Perry met on Monday night, a spokeswoman for the county confirmed Tuesday, but she offered no details about the meeting. Garden Island.

Kauai's Department of Parks and Recreation began pumping the storm water Tuesday that accumulated in the Poipu Beach parking lot following last weekend’s heavy rain. KITV4.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Kaneohe Marines' kiss spurs Facebook debate, beach water monitoring funding could end as tsunami debris nears, Hawaii taxes the most services, legislators have stars in their eyes, cannabis ministery defendant pleads guilty, Race to the Top teachers approve contract, laid-off reporter to work for state energy office, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

U.S. Marines Hawaii homecoming, courtesy photo
A spontaneous kiss between a Marine just returned from Afghanistan and his male partner in Hawaii has become famous since a photo of the embrace emerged on Facebook during the weekend, drawing thousands of overwhelmingly supportive comments in a relatively new post-don't ask, don't tell military. Star-Advertiser.

A Kaneohe couple wasn't planning on becoming famous or making splashy headlines, but the pair's happy homecoming has done just that. Hawaii News Now.

A Marines homecoming photo from a Hawaii base has gained worldwide attention -- two men kissing, just months after "Don't Ask Don't Tell" was repealed. KHON2.

The state with the highest score for "well-being" is Hawaii, according to the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, a poll that surveys the physical, mental and emotional health of Americans. KITV4.

State Budget Solutions, a nonprofit advocating for fundamental reform of state budgets, released their study on the states that tax the highest number of services. Topping the list was Hawaii with 160 services taxed, followed by New Mexico and Washington that tied for second place with 158. Hawaii Reporter.

The latest plan for state House and Senate districts tweaks some boundaries to keep communities intact but does not change district lines in seven areas where incumbent lawmakers would have to run against each other this year. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii Reapportionment Commission appears to have listened to public comment at recent community hearings and tweaked political boundaries — again. Civil Beat.

The reapportionment commission presented yet another version of voting district maps to the public today. KHON2.

The success of movies like "The Descendants" and "Pirates of the Caribbean" and TV shows "Lost" and "Hawaii 5-0" have state lawmakers looking at ways to draw more productions to Hawaii. Associated Press.

Hawai’i tourism officials provided an update for lawmakers today on areas they are targeting for the state’s share of foreign visitors. Hawaii Public Radio.

Tsunamis generated by the magnitude-9 earthquake in Japan last March dragged 3 million to 4 million tons of debris into the ocean after tearing up Japanese harbors and homes. Associated Press.

Federal funding to help Hawaii monitor beach water quality could dry up if President Barack Obama gets his way. Civil Beat.

Two years after the state Civil Defense Division began an in-depth analysis of its response to a Hawaii tsunami warning in 2010, the final report has not been completed. Hawaii News Now.

An environmental group has petitioned the federal government to outline what fines or other penalties it will impose on companies that fish within three marine national monuments in the Pacific. Associated Press.

By an 80 to 20 percent margin, teachers in schools in the federal Race To The Top program have approved a new contract that will make them work longer, but will pay them more. Hawaii News Now.

The well-known head of the Hawaii Solar Energy Association has been ousted from his position as board member and president of the trade group. Civil Beat.

The family of Honolulu City Council member Tulsi Gabbard has been especially involved in her race for the 2nd Congressional District. Civil Beat.

Rick Daysog, reporter for the Sacramento Bee and former reporter for The Honolulu Advertiser and the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, is coming back to Hawaii to work at the Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism’s State Energy Office. Pacific Business News.

State roundup for Feb. 28. Associated Press.


A group of property owners wants the Honolulu City Council to rescind a new law that has removed horses as "livestock" qualifying for a property tax discount. Star-Advertiser.

Daniel Grabauskas' largest construction project as chief of Boston's transit system was more than 30 percent over budget and a year late. Civil Beat.

A North Shore produce farm intends to become the first "urban farm" tenant in a community that developer D.R. Horton hopes to build in Ewa on some of Oahu's best farmland. Star-Advertiser.


The zip line at the Honolii Mountain Outpost course recently built for Hilo-based eco-tourism company KapohoKine Adventures — had experienced a similar collapse prior to the accident that claimed the life of 36-year-old worker Ted Callaway. Tribune-Herald.

The first of 13 co-defendants of The Hawaii Cannabis Ministry pleaded guilty in federal court Monday and has agreed to cooperate with the government in the drug-trafficking case. Star-Advertiser.

Mayor Billy Kenoi's principal political opponent is sponsoring a bill limiting a mayor's ability to use county equipment and personnel to distribute newsletters six months before a mayoral election. West Hawaii Today.

A lack of funding from the state Department of Transportation has put a long-awaited cargo storage facility at the Hilo International Airport on ice. Tribune-Herald.

The long-sought Hawaiian Ocean View Estates well has been delayed by pump problems. West Hawaii Today.


Attempt to prevent solar telescope suffers blow. Maui News.

A proposal that seeks to place a 10 p.m. limit on music, entertainment and dancing at the Kihei Kalama Village complex is drawing heavy discussion. Maui Now.

Wailuku attorney, Tony Takitani is among the nine-member Judicial Selection Commission that will be tasked with filling the US District Court seat being vacated by the retirement of Judge David Ezra in June. Maui Now.


Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative had already begun installation of smart meters Friday, without any notification to residents of this small senior citizen condominium development on Jerves Street in Lihu‘e. Garden Island.

Heavy weekend rains led to a brown water advisory for all of Kaua‘i Monday, and also forced workers to open the Kikiaola irrigation ditch to empty treated wastewater into Kikiaola Small Boat Harbor to prevent flooding. Garden Island.


With water levels in the Kualapu`u Reservoir reaching concerning levels and little seasonal rain in sight, members of the Molokai Irrigation System, which serves the bulk of the island’s agricultural and homestead users, are starting to prepare for the worst. Molokai Dispatch.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Ala Wai Harbor to get upgrades, 60 retired workers get big state pensions, state mulls mongoose control, inmates may return, Kauai police chief battle continues, zip-line death could spur lawsuit and more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Ala Wai Boat Harbor (c) 2012 All Hawaii News
Commercial subleasing has begun on the $20 million Kalia Marketplace project that plans to bring two wedding chapels, retail and office space and return a boat repair facility to the Ala Wai Small Boat Harbor in Waikiki. Star-Advertiser.

In 1890, the Kingdom of Hawai’i was an independent nation, with diplomatic relations with other countries. Within ten years, the government was overthrown and the nation was annexed as America joined the ranks of colonial powers. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii could become a key state in the discussion over a patient's right to ask for a physician's help to die, according to a group seeking to expand awareness of the issue in the islands. Maui News.

Nearly 60 retired state and county workers in Hawaii each receive government pensions of more than $100,000 annually. Star-Advertiser.

The state plans to return Hawaii inmates incarcerated on the mainland to the islands. Two Senate committees will hear more details of the plan from the Abercrombie administration on Tuesday. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii is a hot spot for sex and labor trafficking. Hawaii Reporter.

A proposal to make abusive conduct against an employee an occupational safety violation would allow Victims to be eligible for workers’ compensation. Associated Press.

Despite several hundred calls to the agency’s tip line a year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has closed only one case on Kauai and three cases on Oahu during the past decade. Civil Beat.

The state land board approved a memorandum of understanding between the Department of Land and Natural Resources and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to come up with a mongoose eradication plan. KITV4.

The Hawaii Reapportionment Commission meets Monday at 2 p.m. at the state Capitol to act on its district maps for state Senate and House. Hawaii Reporter.

A bill to be heard Tuesday would outlaw the taking of opihi from below the waterline, set seasons for opihi picking and limit the amount of opihi that can be taken for non-commercial purposes. It would also essentially ban opihi picking on the island of Oahu for five years. Tribune-Herald.

Four of Hawaii’s five largest private K-12 schools plan tuition increases for the 2012-13 school year. Pacific Business News.

State roundup for Feb. 27. Associated Press.


A complaint about a chemical odor led to the discovery of an illegal gambling room in Kakaako. Hawaii News Now.

The man whom Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation officials have tapped to serve as the agency's new CEO had a rocky departure from his job as general manager of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. Civil Beat.

The Coast Guard in Honolulu wants to retire its two biggest ships, the aging 378-foot cutters Jarvis and Rush, but can't because it has no replacements, officials said. Star-Advertiser.

Past the chaperoned façade of school bus transport, first time home buyers, optimistic and anxious, were shuffled around by Hawaii HomeOwnership in Waipahu. KHON2.


More than 6,000 Big Island low-income individuals and families are on a waiting list for federal rent assistance, according to a recent report the Hawaii County Housing Agency filed with the federal government. West Hawaii Today.

The mother of the man killed in last summer's collapse of a zip line tower in Paukaa may follow a lawsuit challenging Hawaii's failure to regulate its zip line industry. Tribune-Herald.

There were no grandiose plans or brand-new ideas in Mayor Alan Arakawa's State of the County address Friday. Maui News.

In his State of the County address on Friday, Mayor Alan Arakawa noted his administration's accomplishments last year. Maui News.

A community meeting will be held Monday night to familiarize people with their legal rights and the Hawai'i Access to Justice Commission. Maui News.


There may soon be some clarification over who's in charge of Kauai's police chief. Hawaii News Now.

With six small-scale hydroelectric projects, a 12-megawatt solar farm and an island-wide rollout of smart meters all on the horizon, it’s arguably the most significant time in the history of the Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative. Garden Island.

“Free health care for all” on Kaua‘i this week has the state Department of Health phones ringing constantly. Garden Island.


A shiny new fire engine, made specifically to fit Molokai’s needs, has joined the fleet at the Kaunakakai Fire Station. Molokai Dispatch.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Honolulu Mayor Carlisle outlines state of the city, Laupahoehoe teachers sue to stop charter school, attorney general launches Main Street Maui probe, tobacco tax could rise again, 5,000 want to be Hawaiian Airlines flight attendants, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle and Managing Director Doug Chin courtesy photo  
Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle highlighted his administration's achievements and outlined a vision for the city's future that hinges on the $5.27 billion rail project in his State of the City address Thursday. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle's second State of the City address Thursday was a tale of two cities.Civil Beat.

Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle in his State of the City Speech Thursday cast Honolulu's rail project as a choice between the future and the past. Civil Beat.

Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle delivered his second State of the City of Honolulu Address today at the Mission Memorial Auditorium. The hour-long oratory covered his administration’s accomplishments and major priorities in the years ahead. Hawaii Public Radio.

After Thursday's State of the City speech the mayor defended the lifting of the city's debt limit above a 20 per cent threshold. KHON2.

Kirk Caldwell, a candidate for Honolulu mayor, released this statement today in response to Mayor Carlisle’s State of the City address. Hawaii Independent.

Some lawmakers want to increase Hawaii's tobacco tax to reduce smoking and oral tobacco use across the state. Associated Press.

Teachers who spend their own money to purchase school supplies would qualify for a tax credit to help offset such out-of-pocket expenses under a bill advanced by a Senate committee Thursday. Associated Press.

Opponents of human trafficking are pushing for passage of a Senate measure that would fine "johns" $5,000 and place the money into a special fund for victims of sex assault and domestic violence. Star-Advertiser.

Major tourism stakeholders seem to agree that the future of Hawaii’s primary economic driver will have to include plenty of growth. Pacific Business News.

The state House Judiciary Committee shelved a bill Thursday that would have allowed dogs to accompany their owners in restaurants at the discretion of restaurant owners and managers. Star-Advertiser.

A bill that would give counties the power to open ag lands to be used for overnight accommodations has been deferred at the state House of Representatives. A Senate version of the bill is still alive, waiting for next hearing to be scheduled. Garden Island.

Skateboarders of all ages would be required to wear helmets whenever they ride under a bill that cleared the state House Judiciary Committee on Thursday. Star-Advertiser.

The scope of a bill requiring helmets for skateboarders was broadened Thursday, requiring anyone of any age to wear head protection, as the bill passed the House Judiciary Committee. West Hawaii Today.

A bill calls for a five-year moratorium on opihi picking in certain areas, along with restrictions on harvesting times and amounts. Tribune-Herald.

Nepotism, ethics violations, conflicts of interest, abuse, waste and fraud. All are accusations that have been brought against individual charter schools in Hawaii in the last year. Civil Beat.

State roundup for Feb. 24. Associated Press.


More than 5,000 people applied for 175 flight attendant positions at Hawaiian Airlines, a record for the company. KITV4.

Closing the Sears store at Ala Moana Center next year will come at a big price -- $250 million, to be exact. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii is taking a major leap forward on its road to renewable energy with the start of construction today on the state's largest wind turbine project on Oahu's North Shore. Star-Advertiser.


Teachers at Laupahoehoe High and Elementary School filed suit Thursday to halt their school's conversion to a charter school. Tribune-Herald.

All the trappings for a successful grand opening celebration were there Thursday evening when Tulsi Gabbard opened her campaign headquarters at the old Chevrolet dealership across from Hilo Shopping Center. West Hawaii Today.

The Ka'u District Gym and Shelter is on track to meet a tight deadline or risk losing state funding. West Hawaii Today.

Alapaki Nahale-a became chairman of the Hawaiian Home Lands Commission in January 2011, and says it was "kind of shocking" to learn that he was the first chairman in its 100-year history to have been born and raised on Hawaiian Home lands — in Pepeekeo, north of Hilo. Star-Advertiser.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center says a 4.3 magnitude earthquake was reported in the summit region of Kilauea Volcano. Associated Press.

Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa delivers his State of the County Address at 10 a.m. in the Council Chambers. Maui Now.

Auwahi Wind Energy will go before the state Board of Land and Natural Resources on Friday to seek a conservation district use permit to realign Papaka Road on Ulupalakua Ranch land. Maui News.

The state Department of the Attorney General has opened an investigation into the Wailuku Main Street Association, following allegations that officials with the organization withheld information and records from board members. Maui News.

After a traditional Hawaiian blessing of the building and comments from guests, Senator Daniel K. Inouye and dignitaries untied the maile lei to initiate the opening of the new headquarters and visitor center at Keālia Pond National Wildlife Refuge on Maui. Maui Now.


The Kaua‘i Historical Society will host its first Vintage Book Offering and Wine and Cheese Tasting from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Friday in the lobby of the historic County Building. Garden Island.

Ten years ago, Mo`omomi was vibrant, green and healthy, with plentiful fish, according to Molokai-born Halealoha Ayau, Department of Hawaiian Homelands (DHHL) acting district supervisor for Molokai. Now, he said, the landscape is suffering, resources are being depleted, and the buildings are facing a high level of vandalism and damage. Because of this, Ayau has made a tough decision: erect a gate at Mo`omomi and initiate managed access to the area. Molokai Dispatch.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Hawaii is the favorite state, political maps continue to draw fire, state Senate mulls Internet sales tax, Honolulu quietly breaches debt limit on rail, Big Island to host Mars training center, Kauai police chief furor continues, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Child plays at Waikiki (c) 2012 All Hawaii News

A new poll confirms what residents of the Aloha State already knew — Americans love Hawaii. Pacific Business News.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie left for Washington, D.C., Wednesday night to attend the 2012 National Governor's Association Winter Meeting. Associated Press.

Residents from all corners of Oahu urged members of the state Reapportionment Commission to make further changes to proposed political boundary maps and make greater effort to keep communities together. Star-Advertiser.

New political boundaries are working toward reality, as the 2011 Reapportionment Commission races to meet a Feb. 29 deadline. Few like the lines; not only do they split up distinct neighborhoods, many say, but two state senators and five sets of state representatives will be forced to face each other should they seek re-election. Civil Beat.

State senators appear poised to pass a measure that would allow Hawaii to tap into millions of dollars in uncollected taxes on Internet sales. Civil Beat.

A Senate committee is hearing a bill today that would establish a tax credit to help offset teachers’ out-of-pocket expenses. Associated Press.

Weaknesses in Hawaii's child pornography laws would be strengthened to address possession of particularly violent or egregious images, under an effort in the Legislature. Associated Press.

The concern over the dwindling supply of opihi has renewed calls for a ban on opihi harvesting. KITV4.

The furor over Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s appointments to the state water commission isn’t likely to die down any time soon. Civil Beat.


Honolulu Managing Director Douglas Chin quietly approved a request to suspend city debt guidelines last year in a move that clears the way for the extraordinary borrowing necessary to finance the city's $5.27 billion rail project. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu’s top-paid city job will soon be filled -- the head of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation. But public feedback won't be possible before the offer is made.  KHON2.

A look back at what Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle said in his first such speech almost one year ago. Did he make good on his promises? How did his initiatives fare with the Honolulu City Council? Civil Beat.

former U.S. Rep. Ed Case

With the help of cheering supporters, Hawaiian music and fragrant food, a former restaurant was transformed Wednesday into the East Hawaii campaign headquarters for native son and former U.S. Rep. Ed Case. West Hawaii Today.

An unusual flurry of more than 60 small, shallow quakes at Kilauea volcano Wednesday is no cause for alarm, U.S. geologists say. Star-Advertiser.

A seismic swarm can be seen as a precursor to a lava outbreak, but in this case scientists say other factors are at play. Tribune-Herald.

Five homes will be built in just 240 hours this fall by Habitat for Humanity West Hawaii and other volunteers in an effort to increase affordable housing in Kona. West Hawaii Today.

The University of Hawaii and NASA are on the hunt for participants for a first-of-its-kind habitat study to Mars. NASA has a mission to Mars in its sights, and Hawaii Island is about to play a big part. Hawaii News Now.


A once-luxurious beachfront house that has been left vacant for more than 10 years would be removed and sold to the highest bidder under a proposal by Mayor Alan Arakawa. Maui News.

Planning for a proposed 4.5 story parking garage in the center of Wailuku town has been put on hold by the County of Maui and future meetings of the design team have been canceled. Maui Now.


The Kauai County Charter Review Commission is scheduled to meet Monday to look at whether Mayor Bernard Carvalho has the authority to keep Police Chief Darryl Perry on leave. Star-Advertiser.

Kaua‘i Police Chief Darryl Perry was working in his office Wednesday afternoon for the first time since Feb. 1, even though the mayor said Wednesday morning the police chief was still on paid leave. Garden Island.

With six small-scale hydroelectric projects, a 12-megawatt solar farm and an island-wide rollout of smart meters all on the horizon, it’s arguably the most significant time in the history of the Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative. Garden Island.


The nun who served Hansen’s disease patients who were exiled to Kalaupapa for over 30 years will become a saint in a canonization ceremony to take place on Oct. 21 of this year, the Vatican announced last Saturday. Molokai’s Mother Marianne Cope was green-lighted for sainthood by Pope Benedict XVI in December, after confirmation of a second miracle was attributed to her. Molokai Dispatch.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Hawaii legislative maps aired at public hearing, Gov. Abercrombie agrees with same-sex couple challenging state marriage law, state Board of Education approves new standards for teachers, Kauai police chief back on the job, Honolulu tractor rally protests lost farmland, more Hawaii news

Former Hawaii Sen. Lorraine Inouye mulls maps (c) 2012 All Hawaii News
Big Islanders — whose colleagues sued to force a fourth Senate seat and a second round of public hearings on new legislative maps — formed a small but vocal crowd Tuesday evening when the state Reapportionment Commission came to town. West Hawaii Today.

The state Reapportionment Commission found out Tuesday that you can’t please everyone. Big Island Now.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie acknowledged Tuesday that the state's marriage law is unconstitutional because it denies same-sex couples the "fundamental right" to marry, but the state will still defend the statute in federal court on behalf of the state Department of Health. Star-Advertiser.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie told a federal court Tuesday that Hawaii's existing marriage law denies federal constitutional rights to same-sex couples who want to marry. Associated Press.

Separate answers have been filed in response to a lawsuit that challenges Hawaii’s ban on same-sex marriage. Maui Now.

The Hawaii State Board of Education approved new performance management policies for teachers on Tuesday that might be the most tangible progress the state has made in its Race to the Top since December. Civil Beat.

Against the objections of scores of teachers, the Board of Education approved proposals Tuesday to make it board policy that the state change to a performance-based management system for teachers and principals. Star-Advertiser.

Breastfeeding mothers could find it easier to pump milk at work under a bill before the state House. Associated Press.

The majority of births to Hawaii women younger than 30 are taking place outside of marriage for the first time, according to a Washington-based nonprofit research group that tracks national birth data. Civil Beat.

The House Judiciary Committee chairman deferred a bill proposing to exempt Hawaii's four county councils from the state's Sunshine Laws. West Hawaii Today.

A $500 million construction package aimed at stimulating job growth has cleared the state Senate. Associated Press.

The state Senate unanimously voted to pass SB 2012, known as “The Invest in Hawai‘i Act of 2012,” on Tuesday. Garden Island.

Judge David Ezra

U.S. District Court Judge David Alan Ezra, the longest serving active federal judge in Hawaii’s history, will take senior status after June 27 when he turns 65 years old. Hawaii Reporter.

A trial began Tuesday in the case of a Hawaii-based Marine accused of punching, kicking and pouring sand in the face of a fellow lance corporal who fell asleep on watch in Afghanistan. Associated Press.

State roundup for Feb. 22. Associated Press.


As he prepares for his second State of the City address, Mayor Peter Carlisle confronts a sagging job approval rating and growing public skepticism about the biggest public works project in Hawaii's history. Star-Advertiser.

Downtown Honolulu became the latest battleground between farmers and developers. A fleet of tractors circled around the business district during lunchtime to protest the potential loss of more than 2000 acres of active farmland. Hawaii Public Radio.

The embattled Wahiawa senior center at the center of a federal investigation is abandoning plans to seek continued Community Development Block Grants, according to a Jan. 31 letter obtained by Civil Beat. Civil Beat.

Unrelated power failures Tuesday morning in Manoa and at Honolulu Airport closed schools and delayed dozens of interisland flights, respectively. Star-Advertiser.

Attorneys for the City and County of Honolulu have asked the federal court to declare that the plaintiffs in a lawsuit to stop the rail transit project lack standing to pursue some claims under a section of the Department of Transportation Act that applies to publicly owned land or historic sites. Pacific Business News.

Guests and staff members had a brief scare at two Waikiki hotels early Wednesday morning. Hawaii News Now.

Along the Waianae mountain range, tucked in thick shrub is a safe haven for an endangered native species. KITV4.

An early morning power outage at Honolulu International Airport's inter-island terminal caused major delays for Hawaiian Airlines' neighbor island flights. KHON2.


A former County Council chairman and his former clerk are headed for an election-day showdown to represent the vacant 2nd council district. Tribune-Herald.

South Kona property that Hokulia developer Lyle Anderson tried to convert into a golf course before being rebuffed by the Sierra Club and others is up for sale. West Hawaii Today.

A winter storm that caused a voluntary evacuation of Mauna Kea on Tuesday morning likely will continue throughout the week, bringing more rain and chilly temperatures to East Hawaii. Tribune-Herald.


When the Maui County prosecutor's office was created Feb. 1, 1977, John Tam was one of its four attorneys. Maui News.

A blessing ceremony will be held on Wednesday for a new vessel on Maui that will support whale response and research efforts throughout the state. Maui Now.

A Kapalua retiree has found a way to harness the power of ladies who lunch. Maui News.


Kaua‘i Police Chief Darryl Perry, after being first suspended for “insubordination” on Feb. 1 and later placed on paid leave by the mayor, will be back at work today after a unanimous vote by the Kaua‘i County Police Commission to return him to his job, Perry said Tuesday. Garden Island.

About two dozen people dressed as lab rats held signs and marched to the sound of a drum during a GMO Free Kaua‘i afternoon rally Tuesday. Garden Island.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Eating your dog or cat could become a crime. Counties want reprieve from Sunshine Law, defense cuts will spare Hawaii, pro-rail Inouye won't back Cayetano, fired charter school head spent state money, homeless shelter, public housing scrutinized, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Mauna Kea mountain view (c) 2012 All Hawaii News

Storms this weekend blanketed Mauna Kea summit with 3 to 4 inches of new snow, and more winter weather is expected. West Hawaii Today.

As military communities around the nation fret about defense cuts, U.S. Sen. Daniel Ino­uye said Hawaii expects to receive about 1,000 more Marines from Oki­nawa, have the same number or more ships based at Pearl Harbor and see a slight increase in shipyard work here. Star-Advertiser.

A third Marine accused of hazing a lance corporal who committed suicide in Afghanistan goes to trial this week. Associated Press.

A bill to give counties a break from the Sunshine Law, HB 2742, up for a hearing Tuesday afternoon, has already caught the attention of good-government watchdogs. Civil Beat.

Hawaii legislators will again take up the question of whether the state's four county councils should be exempt from the Sunshine Law. West Hawaii Today.

Legislators are considering two bills that would give the Hawaii Department of Education the authority to develop and implement a performance management system for teachers and principals. Civil Beat.

Legislators are supporting bills that would broaden the definition of school instruction beyond "seat time" but would also standardize bell schedules to ensure that the length of the school day is about the same for students statewide. Star-Advertiser.

State officials are trying to figure out how to best teach Hawaii's preschool aged residents.KHON2.

The state representative who made the motion to kill a bill that would make shoppers pay for single-use bags said it was a mistake. Civil Beat.

In the Judiciary Committee, members will hear HB 1170 seeking to criminalize the consumption of or trafficking in dog, cat or equine animal meat for the purpose of human consumption. Maui Now.

State lawmakers are  working on two bills that would open the doors for counties to legalize transient vacation rentals on agricultural land. Garden Island.

Hawaii will be getting a new U.S. district judge as a result of David Ezra's move to senior judge status in late June. Star-Advertiser.

In light of the continued strain on the state's budget, just one top executive at Hawaii Health Systems Corp. got a raise this year, according to a Civil Beat review. Civil Beat.
Former U.S. Red Charles Djou

Army reservist and congressional candidate Charles Djou is heading back from Afghanistan. KHON2.

State roundup for Feb. 21. Associated Press.


U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye said he will support either Mayor Peter Carlisle or former city Managing Director Kirk Caldwell in the race for Hono­lulu mayor, based on their support for the city's $5.27 billion rail transit project. Star-Advertiser.

The state spends about $1 million a year to operate a Kakaako homeless shelter plagued with a leaky roof, bedbugs, rats, roaches and intermittent hot water. Civil Beat.

Two fatal stabbings in four months have happened at one of Hawai`i’s public housing complexes. Each incident involved non-residents. Residents say the current security system is severely lacking and more needs to be done to protect them from violent visitors and brawls that end in death. Hawaii Public Radio.

The fired former head of Hawaii Technology Academy and his vice principal spent about $100,000 in state school funds on travel in one year, and an auditor found that "abuse, waste or fraud" likely occurred at the state's largest charter school. Hawaii News Now.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association will be opening a new Marine Science & Storage Facility Tuesday, along with announcing a new partnership to open their Pacific Regional Center for tourism. KITV4.


Developers' fair share contributions will account for only $3 million of a county capital improvement budget likely to be more than $125 million in the fiscal year that starts July 1. West Hawaii Today.


Representatives of a Kaanapali oceanside restaurant said that their establishment continues to address a bedbug problem that first surfaced last summer. Maui News.

Federal, state and county governments are teaming up to host Medicare fraud prevention town hall meetings this month and next on Lanai and Maui. Maui News.


Free bus rides begin on Kaua‘i. Garden Island.

Three prominent peace activists will be featured at a free public meeting at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Kapa‘a Library to discuss the global effects of U.S. missile defense technologies on an island home to the world’s largest missile range. Garden Island.

Monday, February 20, 2012

End of earmarks: Hawaii Legislature considers streamlining, revenue enhancers. Teachers edge toward contract. Secrecy in government, mixed martial arts, wind power, electric cars and other news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii Legislature (c) 2012 All Hawaii News
State House members are moving a package of related bills — what they are calling a matrix — to position Hawaii for economic recovery. Star-Advertiser.

Organizations and agencies in Hawaii that have relied on federal funding through earmarks are making painful adjustments, including layoffs, as the loss of $321 million settles in across the islands. Star-Advertiser.

The union representing Hawaii's public school teachers has reached a tentative agreement on a key element of the state's Race to the Top grant that has recently been put in jeopardy because of unsatisfactory progress on promised reforms. Associated Press.

For nearly a decade, the state has automatically deleted emails on computers in the Hawaii governor's office and all administration departments after just 60 days. Civil Beat.

Spending by so-called independent-expenditure-only committees in Hawaii is nearly impossible to track. But that could change this year if the state's campaign finance watchdog agency gets its way. Civil Beat.

Hawaii lawmakers are considering changes to mixed martial arts laws so that other disciplines that use striking can be held to the same safety requirements as mixed martial arts. KITV4.

A Creeping Attempt To Shut Down Hawaii Court Records. Civil Beat.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie has appointed Honolulu attorney Lorraine Akiba to serve as a commissioner on Hawaii’s Public Utilities Commission. Pacific Business News.

The lowest gasoline prices in Hawaii, at discount stations on Oahu, are now more than $4 a gallon, while gasoline is now selling for well over $5 a gallon on Molokai. Hawaii News Now.

State roundup for Feb. 20. Associated Press.

Pearlridge Center on Sunday opened the first in a series of electric vehicle charging stations that will let people charge their vehicles for free while they shop, a feature that will be provided at Kahala Mall on Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

First Wind broke ground Friday on construction for Kawailoa Wind, Hawaii's largest wind project, with 69 MW, or enough power for 14,500 homes. Hawaii Reporter.

A California company with ties to the development of Trump International Hotel Waikiki Beach Walk has bought land in Waikiki previously slated for a hotel, time share or residential condominium tower. Star-Advertiser.

Nearly 30,000 people are registered to participate in the Great Aloha Run Monday. KHON2.


Moisture and sub-freezing temperatures brought a wintry mix of snow and rain to Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa summits, causing delight along with danger and a road closure Sunday. Stephens Media.

Congresswoman Mazie Hirono spent roughly 25 minutes Sunday wandering Alii Drive, where she perused merchandise, met residents, posed for photos, and talked story with vendors at the Kokua Kailua Village Stroll. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii County's next budget unveiling is just around the corner, but Mayor Billy Kenoi is still a bit coy about the plan's likely provisions. West Hawaii Today.

University of Hawaii at Hilo students who live on campus told the Tribune-Herald on Sunday that they would be willing to pay higher housing fees. Tribune-Herald.


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has released its comprehensive conservation plans to guide management of its Kealia Pond and Kakahai'a national wildlife refuges for the next 15 years. Maui News.

Maui County Council members advanced bills Friday to spend money on water projects, to complete construction of a veterans center on Molokai and to help fund affordable housing projects. Maui News.

When Randy Piltz was a candidate for Maui mayor in 2010, one of his major themes was the need for improvements to the permitting process. Maui Now.


Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. joined Kaua‘i students and county workers to help feed homeless people on the island. Garden Island.

The Kaua‘i Independent Food Bank set a goal for this year’s Island Wide Spring Food Drive at $100,000 and 100,000 pounds of food for Kaua‘i’s hungry. Garden Island.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Kona coffee battles continue, Hawaii Legislature advances bill allowing smoking in Oahu bars, Superferry redux, gas prices jump, Kauai camp-dwellers face eviction, bag fee advances, big bucks for high-school principals, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Kona coffee on the vine (c) 2012 All Hawaii News

Coffee farmers and blenders are split over a proposed bill that would eliminate inspection and certification requirements for green coffee beans being shipped off island. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii Reapportionment Commission's rushed redistricting plan leaves some Oahu legislators unhappy. Hawaii Reporter.

The Big Island's fourth state Senate seat is creating new opportunities for current and former lawmakers. West Hawaii Today.

Inouye Wants to Revive Interisland Ferry. Civil Beat.

Zipline operators push for mandatory safety regulations. Hawaii News Now.

Oahu nightclub and bar owners might be given the choice to allow smoking in their establishments. Associated Press.

Bar and nightclub owners trying to get an exemption from Hawaii's ban on indoor smoking were able to further their argument before lawmakers Thursday. Star-Advertiser.

By a vote of 10-1 members of the House Economic Revitalization and Business Committee approved a measure that would allow bars and nightclubs on Oahu to offer indoor smoking. KHON2.

High school prinicpals average $130,500 annual pay, $10,000 more than the average pay of the state's 15 complex area superintendents and some $20,000 more than seven state-level assistant superintendents. Two principals earn more than schools Superintendent Kathryn Mata­yo­shi. Star-Advertiser.

A proposal to collect fees from customers who choose disposable paper and plastic shopping bags is gaining support as it works through the state Legislature. Associated Press.

Ag officials say they are struggling to control the problem of invasive species, which can wreak havoc on Hawaii’s ecosystem, amid budgetary cutbacks and reductions in inspectors. Civil Beat.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie has appointed Heather Haunani Giugni, a documentary filmmaker and producer, to the Halawa-Aiea state House district seat to replace Rep. Tom Oka­mura, who resigned last month for health reasons. Star-Advertiser.

Air Australia announced today that it will suspend all flights immediately, including two from Honolulu to Brisbane and Melbourne. Maui Now.

Hundreds of visitors were stranded in Hawaii -- and thousands more worldwide -- when Air Australia abruptly suspended operations Thursday. KHON2.

Gas prices in Hawaii rose again this week, with the average price of a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline increasing by 2 cents to $4.21, according to AAA Hawaii’s Weekend Gas Watch. Pacific Business News.

State roundup for Feb. 17. Associated Press.


Hawaii's Supreme Court heard arguments Thursday outside its courtroom and inside a high school. KITV4.

Honolulu mayoral candidate Ben Cayetano said Thursday he was telling his campaign to remove Civil Beat from its media list. Civil Beat.

About 7,000 sailors are pulling into Pearl Harbor for leave with the John C. Stennis aircraft carrier strike group following a more than six-month deployment to the Middle East and Western Pacific. Star-Advertiser.

HPR PRESENTS JOURNALISM PANEL WITH NPR NEWS HOST NEAL CONAN; Local Journalists Gather For Feb. 28th Discussion on Journalistic Ethics. Hawaii Public Radio.


The little town of Waimea rose up on Thursday evening and told its charter school board of directors from Honolulu in no uncertain terms that it would not be pushed around. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii Army National Guard Col. Benedict L. Fuata was named Civil Defense administrator by Mayor Billy Kenoi Thursday. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii Tribune-Herald reporter Jason Armstrong on Thursday assumed a newly created position in county government. West Hawaii Today.


After years of planning and funding delays, the Kahului Airport access road and parking lot expansion projects have money lined up to start construction in mid-2013. Maui News.

Maui County Council members recommended that two nominees for the Molokai Planning Commission be disapproved, saying Karen Ashley and Amy Maeda needed more experience with planning issues and the community. Maui News.

Grove Farm Co., which owns the land at Koloa Camp on Kauai, has turned down an offer from a local developer to purchase the property to help tenants facing eviction stay in their homes. Star-Advertiser.

Surfrider Kaua‘i is seeking volunteers to help remove two large derelict fishing nets near Kealia Beach on Saturday. Garden Island.


Last week, a bill passed another hurdle on its way to establishing a working group to explore options for reducing shipping costs from Molokai and Lanai to Oahu. Molokai Dispatch.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Watershed protection advances, sweet soft drink tax killed, rentals limited at Oahua beaches, Honolulu Council mulls plastic bag ban, UH settles data breach lawsuit, Hawaii Island may declare food emergency, family of murdered inmate files lawsuit, Kauai students want free bus, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Waipio Valley watershed (c) 2012 All Hawaii News

There are more than 60 bills relating to natural forest watershed protection before the State Legislature this session. Hawaii Public Radio.

The state Senate Health Committee shelved a bill Wednesday that would have imposed a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages, and the syrup and powder used to make them, in an effort to combat childhood obesity. Star-Advertiser.

House Speaker Calvin Say is raising the ire of environmental activists by sidestepping normal legislative procedures on a bill they think would weaken environmental protection in the state. Civil Beat.

Hawaii’s newspapers will continue collecting some $1 million for at least another year to print government legal notices, according to the state’s Chief Information Officer. Hawaii Reporter.

The foreclosure count for January was the highest since June, it was still 34 percent below the 985 cases filed in January 2011, suggesting that Hawaii's new foreclosure mediation is still having a dampening effect and providing relief to troubled borrowers. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii Community Development Authority approved a 5 percent increase for executive director Tony Ching at a time when other state officials are subject to a 5 percent salary cut because of tight fiscal times. Civil Beat.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii announced a lawsuit this morning against the state and a private prison company for the murder of a Hawaiian inmate in Arizona in 2010. Hawaii Independent.

Bronson Nunuha's family filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the state and its contractor, Tennessee-based Corrections Corp. of America, alleging understaffing and their failure to protect Nunuha, who was killed by fellow inmates on Feb. 18, 2010, in a CCA prison in Eloy, Ariz. Star-Advertiser.

A state judge has approved a $9 million settlement between Bank of Hawaii and 160,000 customers in a class-action lawsuit over improper overdraft charges. Associated Press.

A judge has approved the University of Hawaii's settlement over a major data breach involving thousands of students, faculty, alumni and employees. Hawaii News Now.

The state Reapportionment Commission expects to finalize new political boundaries for state House and Senate offices by the end of the month. Star-Advertiser.

A new attempt to redraw political boundaries drew opposition at the unveiling of the new election maps. KITV4.

Norwegian Cruise Line agreed to pay $526,602 in back wages to 2,059 employees in Hawaii after a federal labor investigation found that the company had violated minimum wage, overtime and record-keeping provisions for employees on the Pride of America cruise ship. Pacific Business News.

State roundup for Feb. 16. Associated Press.


Seeking to curb increasing commercial activity at two of Kailua's most popular beach parks, the Honolulu City Council Wednesday approved a ban on such enterprises at Kailua Beach Park and Kalama Beach on Sundays and most of Saturdays. Star-Advertiser.

A bill that would ban the use of non-biodegradable plastic bags passed the first of three required votes at the City Council Wednesday. KHON2.

The Honolulu City Council on Wednesday voted to approve the Waianae Sustainable Communities Plan with the controversial "purple spot" of light industrial zoning in Lualualei Valley inside it. Civil Beat.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie has pledged to improve a staffing shortage which resulted in just one inspector left working in the field to test the accuracy of thousands of gas pumps, supermarket check-out scanners and taxi meters on Oahu. Hawaii News Now.

The Seaside Hotel in Waikiki is about to change hands with the pending sale of the 1970s-era building from owner United Airlines to an unnamed buyer. Pacific Business News.

A killer monk seal named KE18 is expected to return to Hawaii and spend his days at Sea Life Park outside Honolulu, one of just four institutions authorized to house Hawaiian monk seals. Associated Press.


The Hawaii County Council will likely declare an emergency in order to give money to the Food Basket. West Hawaii Today.

A 10-day-long effort to gather 100,000 pounds of food for the island's only food bank reached its goal, but the "tremendous" increase in demand for food remains and the call for help is continuous, said Nani Lee, executive director of The Food Basket. West Hawaii Today.

Native Hawaiian homesteaders owe more than $1.6 million in back property taxes, penalties and interest that Hawaii County needs but is virtually powerless to collect. Tribune-Herald.

Waimea Middle School officials have scheduled a community meeting for tonight to discuss the departure of Principal John Colson. Tribune-Herald.


After years of planning and funding delays, the Kahului Airport access road and parking lot expansion projects have money lined up to start construction in mid-2013. Maui News.

Maui County Council members on Friday deferred a proposal that would require house lots on agricultural land to be taxed the same way as any other residential property. Maui News.

The EA Sports Maui Invitational brought more than 5,000 visitors, including college basketball fans, coaches, players and sports media, to the Valley Isle and generated $8.1 million for the island's economy, according to an announcement from KemperLesnik, operator of the annual tournament hosted by Chaminade University. Maui News.


A group of Kaua‘i Community College students rode The Kaua‘i Bus from their campus in Puhi to urge the Kaua‘i County Council to continue the island’s free bus fare program for students. Garden Island.

About 50 people gathered at the Hanalei School cafeteria Wednesday evening for the first of five forums featuring candidates for the Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative board of directors. Garden Island.

The Kaua‘i County Council on Wednesday unanimously approved on first reading Resolution 2012-22 calling for the following ballot question to be added to the November elections: “Shall the terms “must” and “shall,” when used in the Kaua‘i County Charter, be interpreted as mandatory directives and shall the term “may,” when used in the Kaua‘i County Charter, be interpreted as permissive?” Garden Island.

The deadline to submit an application for a seat on the Kaua'i County Public Access, Open Space, and Natural Resources Preservation Fund Commission has been extended to March 2. KHON2.


A product being sold as incense on Molokai is causing concern, especially for its possible abuse among students and teens who are reportedly smoking it. Known as Spice, K2, herbal incense and other names, the substance, legal in Hawaii, is classified as synthetic cannabis and is chemically blended with herbs. Molokai Dispatch.