Friday, November 30, 2012

Hawaii tourism hot, Honolulu addresses solar PV permit backlog, middle class tax cut could cost Hawaii $1B, phone scammer calls Kauai police chief, state funds for Hilo hospital, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2012 All Hawaii News
Polynesian Cultural Center (c) 2012 All Hawaii News
Increased tourism is the gift that keeps on giving for Hawaii's visitor industry, which moved past the traditional October shoulder season with nary a slowdown in sight and is heading toward a strong year-end finish and start next year. Star-Advertiser.

Japan overtook the East Coast of the United States in October to become Hawaii’s second largest visitor market, after the West Coast market, according to statistics released Thursday by the Hawaii Tourism Authority. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii is on track to welcome a record number of visitors to the islands this year, the Hawaii Tourism Authority said Thursday. Associated Press.

Allowing tax cuts on middle class families to expire could result in almost a billion-dollar reduction in consumer spending in Hawaii in 2013. Civil Beat.

Hundreds of teachers from 51 public schools statewide participated in grass-roots “work to rule” protests Thursday to call for a resolution to a labor dispute entering its 17th month. Star-Advertiser.

As Hawaii strives to cut its dependence on imported oil, researchers at the University of Hawaii say that state policymakers are missing a major part of the equation when it comes to energy efficiency goals. Civil Beat.

Hawaii's energy costs could drop by as much as $2 billion a year if natural gas not oil was used to generate electricity, according to the head of Hawaii's gas company. Civil Beat.

Hawaii has the second-least competitive commercial health insurance market in the country, according to an American Medical Association study released this week. West Hawaii Today.

Local attorney and former state lawmaker John Carroll is taking another whack at the Jones Act, the federal law that supports America’s commercial shipping fleet but is also criticized as inflating Hawaii’s cost of living. Star-Advertiser.

The University of Hawaii Board of Regents will follow at least one recommendation from a Senate Special Accountability Committee that looked into the fundraising concert debacle at UH-Manoa.Star-Advertiser.

State Auditor Marion Higa will retire midway through her current eight-year term on Dec. 31, after 21 years. Star-Advertiser.

State roundup for November 30. Associated Press.


A bill allowing third-party electrical engineers to make final inspections of newly installed photovoltaic systems on Oahu got a key approval from the City Council Zoning and Planning Committee on Thursday despite objections raised by city inspectors. Star-Advertiser.

Installation of Solar Photovoltaic Systems to generate electricity on O’ahu has more than doubled each year since 2009 … fueled in large part by federal, state and public utility incentives.   But this has caused the workload for electrical inspectors to quadruple…and the Honolulu City Council is seeking temporary relief. Hawaii Public Radio.

Gun registrations on Oahu are headed toward record numbers, resulting in long lines at for buyers seeking permits for their firearms. Hawaii News Now.

In a firm show of support for rail, a Honolulu City Council committee voted 8-1 Thursday to authorize Mayor Peter Carlisle's administration to sign an agreement to accept $1.55 billion in federal funding to help finance the city's planned train project. Star-Advertiser.

Starting Saturday, the State Health Department will allow Honolulu police officers to take people an HPD psychologist believes may be suffering from mental illness to four Oahu hospitals that do not have in-patient psychiatric wards. Hawaii News Now.

Kailua residents are gearing up for the arrival of President Barack Obama and the First Family. KHON2.


Hilo Medical Center can begin a series of much-needed repairs and renovations to the East Hawaii hospital after Gov. Neil Abercrombie released on Thursday $3.7 million in taxpayer funds for the projects. Tribune-Herald.

The U.S. Army maintains that it does not need a license from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to possess depleted uranium at its training ranges in Hawaii. Tribune-Herald.

Kealakehe Elementary School special education teacher Julie Vernon held a sign protesting the continuing lack of contract between the Hawaii State Teachers Association and the state Thursday morning. West Hawaii Today.


The founder of an organization opposing the Public Land Development Corp. and an official with the Sierra Club Hawaii Chapter will be discussing the controversial PLDC at a meeting of Upcountry Sustainability at 7 p.m. Monday. Maui News.

Some of the new shops set to open in The Outlets of Maui in Lahaina include high-end retailers Coach, Brooks Brothers and Calvin Klein. Maui News.


A telephone scammer dialed up a wrong number earlier this month, reaching Kauai's police chief — who recorded the conversation and shared it with the public to raise awareness about how con artists operate. Star-Advertiser.

The Kaua‘i Police Department posted an online recording of a con artist who unknowingly attempted to scam Kaua‘i Police Chief Darryl Perry, according to county officials. Garden Island.

Kana‘iolowalu is coming to Kaua‘i in an effort to reunify Native Hawaiians. The Native Hawaiian Roll Commission is hosting an informational workshop from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., and a commission meeting from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Saturday at the Kaua‘i Veteran’s Center in Lihu‘e. Garden Island.


Congresswoman Mazie K. Hirono today joined three fellow representatives in introducing a House resolution honoring Mother Marianne Cope of Molokai. Maui Now.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Counties face loss of HI-5 grants, Hawaii state auditor Higa retiring, shipping fees jump, UH biosafety lab scrutinized, charter school employees must follow state ethics, Kauai coral study continues, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2012 All Hawaii News
Hawaii recycling center (c) 2012 All Hawaii News
Despite bringing in an extra $4.5 million annually from a hike in the beverage container fee, the state Department of Health has put the counties on notice that they won’t be getting money back for their HI-5 programs next year. West Hawaii Today.

After 21 years, Marion Higa will retire as state auditor at the end of December. Hawaii News Now.

On Jan. 1, the cost to ship goods to and from Hawaii on the state's largest ocean cargo transportation firm will rise. Matson Inc. announced Wednesday that rates will increase by $175 for each westbound container and $85 for each eastbound container. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii Tax Review Commission will recommend that Hawaii create its own version of the Simpson-Bowles fiscal responsibility and reform commission to address a projected multi-billion dollar budget shortfall that is anticipated in the next decade. Civil Beat.

Public school teacher protests over contracts are mounting as the Department of Education nears another important milestone in school reform. KHON2.

The state of Hawai‘i continues to move steadily toward its goal of aligning with the federal Affordable Care Act of 2010 to provide cheaper and simpler health insurance choices to residents, after beating by two weeks the deadline to submit to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services a blueprint application for a state-based health insurance exchange. Garden Island.

It took four months, but a predicted surge in new Hawaii foreclosure cases emerged in October as more law firms and mortgage lenders adjusted to the latest overhaul of a state foreclosure law enacted in June. Star-Advertiser.

State briefs 11/29. Associated Press.


Honolulu City Councilmembers were provided a financial update on the 5.2 billion dollar rail transit project today.    As HPR’s Wayne Yoshioka reports … although the construction was suspended three months ago … millions are still being spent on the project due to contractor delay claims. Hawaii Public Radio.

Some members of the University of Hawaii Board of Regents are skeptical about whether the $2.2 million operating costs of a biosafety lab planned for Kalaeloa will benefit the state. Star-Advertiser.

A plot of land the University of Hawaii thought it was leasing for a dollar a year will now cost more than $200,000 a year. Hawaii News Now.

A key prosecution witness in the federal extortion case against former Honolulu police Maj. Carlton Nishimura will remain in custody after her arrest Friday at Honolulu Airport on a charge of possessing methamphetamine.Star-Advertiser.

The University of Hawaii Board of Regents approved on Wednesday a $32 million sale of land next to UH-West Oahu to the Roman Catholic Church, which plans to build a church and a private school that one regent called "Maryknoll West." Star-Advertiser.

The outgoing members of the Hawaii County Council will sit together for one final time Monday morning in Hilo. Tribune-Herald.

Big Island Carbon LLC, which spent some $50 million to build a biomass plant to turn Hawaii-grown macadamia nut shells into granulated activated carbon, has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Pacific Business News.

The state Ethics Commission ruled in Hilo this week that Hawaii charter school employees are subject to the same ethics rules as any other state employee. Tribune-Herald.

If there was ever any doubt about whether a charter school employee works for the state, that issue was put to rest this week. Civil Beat.

Big Island police and federal agents on Wednesday arrested eight people in connection with an alleged illegal gambling and sports betting operation in Kailua-Kona. West Hawaii Today.


The planned Olowalu Town development continues to be a hot-button issue as the Maui County Council works toward adopting the Maui Island Plan to guide future growth over the next two decades. Maui News.

The Maui Planning Commission accepted a final environmental assessment Tuesday for CMBY Investment's proposed 86-acre, $20 million heavy industrial subdivision in Puunene. Maui News.

Governor Neil Abercrombie has signed off on the Final Environmental Impact Statement for a long-awaited high school in Kihei. Maui Now.

Starting Jan. 1, the Maui Bus will extend its Upcountry route from Pukalani to Rice Park. Maui News.


Kauai’s outgoing prosecuting attorney says she will move to reinstate criminal charges against county official Janine Rapozo. Hawaii Reporter.

A pair of scientists spent more than six hours in the waters off of ‘Anini Beach Wednesday as part of an ongoing coral disease study along Kauai‘i’s North Shore. Garden Island.

The Kaua‘i County Council landed a right hook against one of Hawai‘i’s most lethal and undetected killers, the hepatitis B virus. Garden Island.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Obama coming home for the holidays, beach smoking ban advanced, elections investigations multiply, Hunger Games casting call, invasive frog hops Christmas tree shipment, Kauai HR director theft case dismissed, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

White House courtesy photo
White House gates on Obama Kailua beach rental, White House courtesy photo
President Barack Obama and his family are preparing for their annual December vacation in Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.

Residents living near the beachfront homes where President Barack Obama and First Family vacation with their friends every year since 2008 were alerted on Monday to some specifics of the Obamas' holiday vacation plans. Hawaii Reporter.

The state Elections Commission opted not to fire or discipline Chief Election Officer Scott Nago after a meeting Tuesday and instead will form a subcommittee to study the ballot shortages that led to long lines and frustrated voters on election day. Star-Advertiser.

After sitting through an hour of impassioned pleas from the public calling for his head to roll Tuesday, Scott Nago had to endure an hour of criticism and questions from the state Elections Commission. Civil Beat.

The state Elections Commission Tuesday decided to appoint a subcommittee to investigate ballot problems on Oahu during the Nov. 6 election, following testimony from some members of the public who called for Chief Election Officer Scott Nago to be fired. Hawaii News Now.

The state’s elections commission met Tuesday to review alleged problems in the primary and general elections. Hawaii Independent.

The state elections commission on Tuesday formed a subcommittee to investigate what caused two dozen Oahu polling places to run out of paper ballots during the Nov. 6 General Election. Associated Press.

Accusations and emotions flew at an elections commission meeting on Tuesday, to try and address the ballot shortage fiasco that turned Hawaii's general election into a nightmare. KITV4.

Angry voters are calling for state and federal investigations of the Office of Elections. KHON2.

Hawaii Gas President and CEO Jeffrey M. Kissel will discuss his company’s plan to bring liquified natural gas to Hawaii at the Natural Gas Roundtable at the University Club in Washington on Thursday. Pacific Business News.

UH researcher attempts to fill gaps in tsunami buoy system. KITV4.

A casting call has been put out for stand-ins in Hawaii for several cast members of ‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire'. Hawaii News Now.

Catching Fire, the much anticipated sequel in The Hunger Games trilogy, is shooting at several locations in the state between November 26 and December 22. Hawaii News Now.

State briefs 11/28. Associated Press.


A bill to ban smoking at five of Oahu's most popular beach parks got a favorable nod Tuesday from a key Honolulu City Council committee. Star-Advertiser.

A proposed Bill to make Waikiki Beaches smoke free was advanced by a Honolulu City Council Committee today. Hawaii Public Radio.

State Department agent Christopher Deedy spent the night drinking and bar-hopping before going to a Waikiki McDonald's restaurant where he shot and killed a 23-year-old Kailua man, city prosecutors said in court papers filed in Deedy's murder case. Star-Advertiser.


Mayor Billy Kenoi on Tuesday solidified his administration’s West Hawaii presence by naming Deputy Managing Director Wally Lau his new managing director, replacing retiring Managing Director Bill Takaba. West Hawaii Today.

The Water Board voted down changes to its rules that would have codified requirements that standpipe lessees comply with all federal, state and county laws, rules and regulations. West Hawaii Today.

Plans are underway to relocate the Hilo Adult Day Center to a new home to be built adjacent to a senior rental housing project now under construction. Big Island Now.

A Maui County Council committee on Monday advanced the second piece of a three-part package aimed at eliminating the long-standing Upcountry water meter waiting list. Maui News.

A recent donation from the Alexander & Baldwin Foundation was used to improve facilities for the homeless at The Salvation Army in Kahului. Maui Now.

The invasive veiled chameleon is close to being eradicated from Maui with the Maui Invasive Species Committee reporting that they have not seen the critter since spring 2008. Maui News.

Phasing in the Lahaina bypass. Maui News.


Kauai Circuit Judge Randal Valenciano dismissed Tuesday an indictment against county Human Resources Manager Janine Rapozo, who was charged with falsifying business records to aid Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. in the theft of gasoline using a county-issued gasoline card. Star-Advertiser.

The case against a county manager over accessory to theft charges was dismissed at her initial appearance in 5th Circuit Court Tuesday. Garden Island.

There was more drama today in the ongoing controversy over Kauai Mayor Bernard P. Carvalho, Jr.'s alleged criminal use of a county gasoline card. Hawaii Reporter.

The Hawai‘i Public Utilities Commission has dismissed a formal complaint with prejudice against the Kauai Island Utilities Commission. Garden Island.

Officials captured an non-native frog that jumped from a Christmas tree a couple had just bought Tuesday at a Walmart in Lihue, the Kauai Invasive Species Committee reported. Star-Advertiser.

Marine experts will collect samples off Kauai's North Shore today to determine whether one of the state's major coral disease outbreaks in recent years is related to lesions being found on Hawaiian puffer fish. Star-Advertiser.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Hawaii election snafu prompts investigation, firing, defamation lawsuit tossed against Hawaii County officials, Kauai county manager to cooperate in mayor gas card theft case, HECO sets hearings on electric grid, Oahu school roof collapse prompts statewide inspections, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2012 All Hawaii News, all rights reserved
Hawaii election officials Lori Tomcyzk and Scott Nago (c) 2012 All Hawaii News
Saying ballot shortages at dozens of voting sites on election day "eroded public confidence," Gov. Neil Abercrombie said Monday he wants Hawaii elections to be conducted entirely by mail. Star-Advertiser.

Lori Tomczyk, a long-time state election section chief, is taking the fall for Oahu's ballot shortages on Election Day, and resigned at her boss' request earlier this month. Hawaii News Now.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie announced Monday he will be proposing a measure in January to move our state toward 100 percent mail-in voting.  He says this has been effective in other parts of the country. KITV4.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie said Monday he wants Hawaii to move toward 100 percent mail-in voting, following the lead of two other states, Oregon and Washington.  It's a move supported by state lawmakers. Hawaii News Now.

Frustrated over election day foul-ups, Gov. Neil Abercrombie is putting his administration's support behind converting the state's voting system to an all-mail-in and electronic voting system by 2014. Civil Beat.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie has asked his appointed attorney general, David Louie, to investigate problems that arose during the November 6 General Election on Oahu, saying "the handling of election operations raises legitimate concerns." Hawaii Reporter.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie says his administration will propose voting entirely by mail in the wake of snafus during both the Primary and General Elections this year. KHON2.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie announced his support for mail-in voting Monday as he criticized ballot shortages during the Nov. 6 general election. Tribune-Herald.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie's administration has signaled that the biennial budget it submits to the Hawaii Legislature in December will assume Congress finds a way to fix the sequestration cuts set to take effect at the end of the year.Civil Beat.

The tsunami warning buoys that ring the Pacific and alert Hawaii and others to impending tidal waves could lose $1 million in funding if federal budget cuts take effect as proposed. Civil Beat.

Hawaiian Electric Co. has scheduled a series of meetings around the state starting today to gather public comment as it considers the best mix of energy resources and efficiency measures to meet demand for the electricity it produces. Star-Advertiser.

A proposed bill that would mandate the labeling of transgenic food in Hawaii could die in Honolulu Hale without reaching the state Legislature. Tribune-Herald.

State and federal officials are reminding the public to report any Hawaiian monk seals in distress after one came close to dying from a fishhook. Star-Advertiser.

Cyber Monday, typically the largest annual online shopping day, proved profitable for many Hawaii retailers. Star-Advertiser.

State roundup for November 27. Associated Press.


The state will conduct inspections of roofs at schools, designated disaster shelters and other state facilities following Friday's roof collapse at the Farrington High School auditorium. Star-Advertiser.

Structural engineers are trying to figure out what caused the Farrington High School roof to collapse and the state plans to make precautions to prevent another accident. Hawaii News Now.

The state is poised to spend $13 million on 1,750 acres of agricultural land in a plan to boost farm production and food security. But obstacles remain to making the farming experiment on central Oahu lands owned by the George Galbraith Estate a success. Civil Beat.

Should public restrooms in Waikiki remain open around the clock? The Honolulu City Council will take up the issue during a meeting on Tuesday. KHON2.

Federal agent Christopher Deedy “appeared intoxicated and was slurring his words” when he fatally shot Kollin Elderts during an altercation last year inside a Waikiki fast food restaurant, according to prosecutors. Hawaii Reporter.

Downtown Honolulu's Class A office towers recorded nearly 28,000 square feet of new tenancy in the third quarter, as businesses moved in a "flight to quality," according to a new report by Hawaii Commercial Real Estate. Pacific Business News.

Christmas arrived early for an Oahu tree farm with a jump in sales in the wake of pest problems with tree shipments from the Pacific Northwest.Star-Advertiser.

A 3rd Circuit Court judge on Monday threw out a defamation lawsuit against Hawaii County, County Council Chairman Dominic Yagong and County Clerk Jamae Kawauchi. West Hawaii Today.

Members of the Mauna Lani Resort Association are asking 3rd Circuit Court Judge Elizabeth Strance for an injunction against DW Aina Lea until the developer can get a more complete environmental impact statement finished and accepted. West Hawaii Today.

Mayor Billy Kenoi may have a new managing director when his administration takes office next Monday. Big Island Now.

Kohala Councilman Pete Hoffmann can tick off a number of accomplishments during his eight-year tenure, but he’s had his share of regrets, as well. West Hawaii Today.


New Maui Bus routes for Upcountry and the University of Hawaii's planned solar telescope project for Haleakala are on Wednesday's community meeting agenda of the Kula Community Association. Maui News.

A 51-year-old Maui resident is the Hawaii distributor for EZ-Access ramps, a Washington state manufacturer of portable aluminum ramps that can be placed over steps to grant on-demand wheelchair access. Maui News.


The Kauai county manager indicted on an accessory to theft case involving the mayor’s gas card will make her initial appearance in 5th Circuit Court today with Chief Judge Randal Valenciano presiding. Garden Island.

The Kauai county’s Division of Purchasing started its move back into its original office space in the Pi‘ikoi Building Monday. Garden Island.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Kilauea lava flows to ocean, Kulani prison moves forward, schools hire without background checks, slug-infested Christmas tree deliveries stopped, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

2011 USGS photo of Kilauea lava flow
For the first time in eleven months, lava is entering the ocean from Kilauea volcano. Hawaii News Now.

Lava from Kilauea Volcano is entering the ocean in lower Puna for the first time since New Year’s Day, the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reports. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii island tour operators enjoyed their own version of Black Friday weekend when lava from Kilauea Volcano's Puu Oo vent spilled into the ocean Saturday afternoon, prompting a surge of business from locals and visitors eager to witness the spectacle. Star-Advertiser.

College students from the University of Hawaii at Hilo had a chance to see the work of Madame Pele in person this weekend, as a Volcanology class left the confines of campus and studied a lava flow at Kalapana on the Big Island. Hawaii News Now.

State Rep. Marcus Oshiro says it's not clear yet who will lead the state House despite an announcement by former speaker Rep. Joe Souki that he has the vote to reclaim the post. KITV4.

A new Department of Education audit of the casual hire system that employed some 22,000 people at schools statewide last fiscal year found poor oversight and a lack of monitoring, and concluded schools were failing to follow even basic pre-employment protocols, including ensuring that background checks were conducted before an employee began work. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Ethics Commission Sets Sights On Charter School Employee. Civil Beat.

Pierre Omidyar
Pierre and Pam Omidyar’s plan to give $50 million to the Hawaii Community Foundation is halfway through its six-year commitment to launch community initiatives, and there is already progress on those initiatives. Pacific Business News.

Shipments of Christmas trees to stores statewide have stopped. KITV4.

The Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council — a taxpayer-funded federal agency that works with NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service to ensure commercial fisheries stay strong in the 1.5 million square miles under its jurisdiction, forked over at least $107,500 to publish a book, little more than a summary of a series of workshops. Civil Beat.

State roundup for November 26. Associated Press.


The Honolulu City Council will welcome four new members in the next two months, three of whom were in the state Legislature only a month ago. The fourth was in the state Senate just four years ago. Star-Advertiser.

A backlog of claims at the Honolulu Veterans Benefits Administration is keeping some Hawaii veterans waiting up to 18 months for decisions on disability benefits. Civil Beat.

Photovoltaic permits overloading city of Honolulu. KHON2.

The Honolulu rail project will make about $5 million available to buy works of art to dress up the system's 21 train stations, and the city expects to invite artists from across the nation to compete for a chance to win commissions. Star-Advertiser.

Farrington High School officials dealing with aftermath of roof collapse. KITV4.


Councilman J Yoshimoto intends to run a tight ship when he takes the helm of the Hawaii County Council on Dec. 3. Tribune-Herald.

About 200 Hawaii inmates will be closer to home for the holidays as early as next year if the proposed reactivation of Kulani prison comes to fruition. West Hawaii Today.

On Dec. 3, Mitch Roth will become Hawaii County’s first new elected prosecutor in a generation, having won a general election nailbiter over county Corporation Counsel Lincoln Ashida. Tribune-Herald.


The Maui County Planning Department has issued a request for proposals for a new "small town planning" grant program. Maui News.

Hamoa Beach, one of the most beautiful beaches in the world has been without a public shower for the past month and may continue to be without one for a while. Maui News.

With more than 17,500 smart meters already installed, the Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative is more than halfway finished with the project to replace older mechanical meters at 33,000 homes and businesses. Garden Island.

The County of Kaua‘i signed on to take the Better Buildings Challenge, pledging to reduce energy use by 20 percent at its facilities by 2020. Garden Island.


Molokai teachers are joining public school educators around Hawaii to raise awareness for their efforts of negotiating a fair contract with the state. Molokai Dispatch.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Christmas trees delayed by invasive slugs, Souki solidifies House speakership, teacher protest spreads, DEA closes Hilo office, park service kills deer on Molokai, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2012 All Hawaii News
Hawaii Santa and Mrs. Claus (c) 2012 All Hawaii News
From festive wreaths outside the headquarters of First Hawaiian Bank in downtown Honolulu, to the big Santa statue greeting shoppers at Ala Moana Center to a sculpture of Santa and his elves carved from sand greeting visitors in the lobby of the Sheraton Waikiki, Hawaii businesses have been busy decking the halls for the start of what is expected to be a robust holiday shopping season. Pacific Business News.

Pacific Northwest Christmas tree shippers don't know why there is such a large infestation of slugs, an invasive species that can carry rat lung disease in shipments of Christmas trees this year. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Legislature
Joe Souki
Maui Rep. Joe Souki, the speaker emeritus, announced Wednesday that he had 28 firm commitments to give him back the job that Speaker Calvin Say took from him 13 years ago. Civil Beat.

The internal battle to lead Hawaii's House of Representatives appears to have ended with Maui's Rep. Joe Souki officially announcing Wednesday that he's garnered enough support to defeat longtime House Speaker Calvin Say. Maui News.

A handshake with the Republican minority leader sealed the deal for Rep. Joe Souki to regain the position he held 13 years ago. KITV4.

Teachers at more than 25 public schools statewide have pledged to participate in "work to rule" protests each Thursday for the next three weeks in a bid to bring an end to a protracted labor dispute. During the protests, teachers will work only the hours they're required to under contract. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii Elections Commission has moved up its meeting from December to the last week of November after voters across the Big Island and Oahu have complained about the management of the 2012 Primary and General Elections. Hawaii Reporter.

A Senate committee that investigated the Stevie Wonder concert debacle questions whether the University of Hawaii got its money’s worth from the lawyers hired to respond to the committee and to prepare a fact-finders report. Star-Advertiser.

Pacific Resource Partnership, also known as the Hawaii Carpenters Union Market Recovery Fund, has filed a motion in U.S. District Court to transfer the libel and slander case filed against them by former Gov. Ben Cayetano from state to federal court. Hawaii Reporter.

Residential electricity rates fell on Oahu in November to their lowest level since February, tracking a decline in the price for fuel the utility burns for most of its power generation. Star-Advertiser.


Federal cutbacks in the U.S. Department of Justice have caused the federal Drug Enforcement Administration to close its office and hangar that were located at Hilo International Airport. Tribune-Herald.

While Hawaii Island is a state leader in sustainable electricity production, it’s woefully lacking in another important component of self-sufficiency — transportation sustainability. West Hawaii Today.

The County Council took a step toward acquiring an easement along Papaikou Mill Road Wednesday. West Hawaii Today.


The executive director of the private, not for profit community health group, Hui No Ke Ola Pono, has resigned. Maui Now.

Maui retailers are optimistic about holiday season sales, with stores saying they already are seeing an "uptick" in business this month and feeling that customers are more confident about spending. Maui News.


The Kaua‘i County Council’s Parks and Recreation Committee by a 3-1 vote Tuesday recommended passage of a bill that would make it illegal to fish at Morgan’s Ponds in Lydgate Beach Park. Garden Island.

A DuPont Pioneer education grant will provide funding for the media production program at Waimea Canyon Middle School. Garden Island.


This week, the National Park Service held a two-day deer hunt to eradicate an estimated 20 to 40 axis deer from the settlement. Molokai Dispatch.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Hawaii House leadership fight brings in the GOP, senator backs off support for Public Land Development Corp., Honolulu tower could be state's highest building, Hawaii County Council nixes hens in town, Maui publisher arrested, Kauai Council chooses chairman, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2012 All Hawaii News
Hawaii House Speaker Calvin Say (c) 2012 All Hawaii News
State House Republicans have agreed to organize with Rep. Joseph Souki and a dissident faction of Demo­crats, sources say, potentially giving Souki and the dissidents the majority necessary to topple House Speaker Calvin Say. Star-Advertiser.

copyright 2012 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Say (c) 2012 All Hawaii News
Democrats in the State House of Representatives outnumber Republicans 6-to-one…following a number of key victories in the general election.    HPR’s Wayne Yoshioka presents the first report of a two-part series that profiles the new faces in the State House. Hawaii Public Radio.

State Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz, one of the driving forces behind the Public Land Development Corp., said Tuesday he would be open to a repeal of the law because of what he believes is inconsistent implementation. Star-Advertiser.

Emboldened by wins on Election Day, local advocates for same-sex marriage say Hawaii may be one of the next states to legalize it. Civil Beat.

The State Ethics Commission has been making headlines, but is it making headway in ushering in higher standards of ethical conduct? Civil Beat.

A consultant's report examining ballooning costs of public school bus service was described as "comprehensive" Tuesday, but not made public because state officials said they needed more time to review it. Star-Advertiser.

The algae problem at one of the State Capitol's two reflecting pools is the worst workers there have seen in more than six years, creating a smelly problem. Hawaii News Now.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. said Tuesday that its Sheraton Hotels & Resorts brand has completed more than $230 million in renovations to four of its Hawaii Sheraton properties in Waikiki and on the Big Island, Maui and Kauai. Pacific Business News.

Here's a look at what's closed on Thanksgiving Day Nov. 22. KITV4.

State roundup for November 21. Associated Press.


Two companies vying to develop what would be the tallest building in Hawaii under a plan championed by Gov. Neil Abercrombie said they are willing to stay within the present 400-foot height limit if the proposed 650-foot tower is not approved. Star-Advertiser.

Residents of an old sugar mill plantation on Oahu’s North Shore have been waiting to take over ownership of the homes and land they've lived on for years. But the Florida developer has doubled the price, dashing hopes for many residents who are low-income descendants of plantation workers. Civil Beat.

It's a daily grind for thousands of commuters who ride TheBus. KHON2.

There are 288 parks just on Oahu alone. It takes a staff of about 400 people to clean, repair, and maintain those parks, sometimes it's just one person to handle 15 acres, according to City & County Parks & Recreation Director, Gary Cabato. A job that can seem insurmountable at times. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii's hotly contested political campaigns translated to millions of dollars for Honolulu television stations, a review of publicly available records on file at the stations shows. Civil Beat.


Hawaii Island residents won’t be getting the chance to raise their own hens and harvest their eggs in nonagricultural areas. West Hawaii Today.

The Pele Defense Fund filed a lawsuit Tuesday challenging the state’s Ka‘u Forest Reserve Management Plan. Tribune-Herald.

Vehicle, motorcycle and pedestrian crashes, drownings and suicides are claiming Big Island lives at a rate higher than the rest of the state, according to a report released Tuesday. West Hawaii Today.

Hilo Medical Center officials will be heading to the state Legislature next year, hat in hand, hoping for a solution to Hawaii Island’s physician shortage problem. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii Outdoor Tours Inc., owner of the Naniloa Volcanoes Resort in Hilo, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization on Tuesday, citing debts of between $10 million and $50 million with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Honolulu. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii Outdoor Tours Inc., the parent company of the Naniloa Volcanoes Resort, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization Tuesday morning in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Honolulu. Tribune-Herald.

The Mauna Lani Bay Resort and Bungalows is in the midst of a $30 million renovation plan, resort officials announced Tuesday. West Hawaii Today.

Despite reduced service, Waikoloa Elementary and Middle School hasn’t experienced any significant bus woes. West Hawaii Today.

The publisher of Maui Time Weekly was arrested this morning when police said he refused to comply with police instructions to leave and offended occupants of a vehicle while videotaping them during a traffic stop on Haleakala Highway. Maui News.

The publisher of a weekly newspaper on Maui said he was only doing his job as a journalist when he was arrested by police Tuesday morning while videotaping traffic stops. Star-Advertiser.

Some 300 members of the Lahaina community turned out Sunday for a grand reopening of the Lahaina Public Library after a remodeling project done without public funding. Maui News.


The next Kaua‘i County Council has yet to be sworn in, but its composition is already taking place. At a special council-elect meeting Tuesday, several roles were decided through a straw vote. Garden Island.

Dozens of teachers stood in front of Wilcox Elementary School Tuesday — before and after school — to rally in favor of a negotiated contract for teachers. Garden Island.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Feds' $1.6B keeps Honolulu rail on track, Senate committee outlines UH Stevie Wonder problems, Hawaii County police accredited, union contracts trump ethics code, indictment released against Kauai HR director, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation courtesy photo
Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation courtesy photo
Honolulu's plans for a rail line gained new momentum Monday with an announcement by Hawaii's congressional delegation that the $5.26 billion train project has effectively secured $1.55 billion in federal funding. Star-Advertiser.

The Federal Transit Administration on Monday told leaders in Congress it will sign a $1.55 billion funding agreement for the Honolulu rail project, the third key hurdle cleared by the once-embattled system in less than three weeks. Civil Beat.

The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation and the Federal Transit Administration will sign a full-funding grant agreement that will give Honolulu $1.55 billion in federal funds for the city’s elevated-rail project, city officials said Monday. Pacific Business News.

The Federal Transit Administration will award Honolulu's rail authority a $1.5 billion Full Funding Grant Agreement for Honolulu's $5.2 billion elevated steel on steel rail project. Hawaii Reporter.

The rail crosses another big hurdle.  The Federal Transit Administration has signed off on $1.55 billion in federal funding for the rail project. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu is a step closer to receiving more than $1.55 billion in federal funding for rail, but it's not a done deal yet. KHON2.

For the first time in nearly two decades, a Republican holds a leadership position in the Hawaii Legislature. Civil Beat.

Computer problems are being blamed for causing an unexpected statewide shutdown of motor vehicle licensing offices Friday afternoon. KITV4.

The state Senate committee looking into the University of Hawaii and its athletics department spent only one hour discussing its findings at a briefing Monday at the Capitol. Civil Beat.

Five months after the University of Hawaii lost $200,000 in the failed Stevie Wonder fundraising concert and after more than 13 hours of hearings, a Senate committee investigating the debacle says there are still unanswered questions. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii state senators today issued a 32-page report that strongly criticized spendthrift and secretive practices at the University of Hawaii and called for close new monitoring of how the Board of Regents and President M.R.C. Greenwood run the institution. Hawaii Reporter.

A state Senate panel said Monday that the University of Hawaii could have avoided losing $200,000 in its failed attempt to hold an athletic department fundraiser if officials had performed due diligence on a company claiming to be Stevie Wonder's booking agent. Associated Press.

After two marathon briefings looking into the bungled Stevie Wonder concert. The Senate's special committee on accountability's chair announced its findings. Hawaii News Now.

The Senate Special Committee on Accountability released its report Monday resulting from the informational briefings that looked into the oversight, accountability, and transparency of the operational and financial management of the University of Hawaii, including but not limited to the University of Hawaii’s athletics program. KITV4.

Senate Special Committee on Accountability University of Hawaii Report can be found here.

A long-anticipated study on how to fix the state's student transportation program is done, but the Hawaii Department of Education isn't ready to release it to the public. Civil Beat.

With Oahu in the lead, Hawaii hotels held their own against other island and international destinations for the first three quarters of the year, according to a report to be released today by hotel consultancy Hospitality Advisors LLC. Star-Advertiser.

The destroyer named for a Pearl Harbor SEAL who gave his life for fellow commandos in Af­ghani­stan will pull into its new home port in Hawaii on Wednesday morning. Star-Advertiser.

State roundup for November 20. Associated Press.


Electricity from the state's largest wind energy project — Kawailoa Wind — has begun flowing into the Hawaiian Electric Co. grid on Oahu. Star-Advertiser.

One of the largest tracts of undeveloped land on Oahu is being sold to the state for preservation as farmland, a nationally published report said. Star-Advertiser.

Gun sales are up across the nation including here in Hawaii. And as a result, people on Oahu have been waiting hours in line to get a gun permit. KHON2.

A man who testified that he grew marijuana to use in his practice of the Rastafarian religion could go to prison for 40 years for conspiring to grow more than 100 marijuana plants. Star-Advertiser.


Union contracts trump the county ethics code, the county Board of Ethics said Monday in dismissing a complaint about United Public Workers employees attending events where union-endorsed candidates campaigned on county time and in county facilities. West Hawaii Today.

The Hawaii Police Department has been awarded national accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies Inc. Tribune-Herald.

A public official’s relationship with journalists may be prickly, but it doesn’t arise to an ethics violation if it’s not personal, the Board of Ethics decided Monday in unanimously dismissing a complaint against County Clerk Jamae Kawauchi. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii County will have to dust off an ordinance establishing a cultural advisory commission for Wednesday’s County Council meeting. Tribune-Herald.

The county Edith Kanaka‘ole Multi-Purpose Stadium is getting a $2 million facelift, but contractors are running short on time. Tribune-Herald.

After overcoming a number of obstacles last year, Hilo’s Toys for Tots Motorcade appears to be a bust. Tribune-Herald.


The Maui Mayor’s Office will soon start accepting applications to fill anticipated vacancies on County Boards and Commissions for terms that are set to expire in 2013. Maui Now.

The native apapane Hawaiian honeycreeper was recently spotted at Fleming Arboretum at Pu'u Mahoe in Ulupalakua for the first time in the arboretum's 60-plus-year history. Maui News.

The indictment against County Human Resources Manager Janine M.Z. Rapozo was released as public record Monday. Garden Island.

Ocean safety officials closed Hanalei Bay to swimming Monday afternoon due to shark sightings. Garden Island.

A new facility in the site of the former Kaua‘i Community College bookstore was unveiled Monday afternoon before an audience of KCC Chancellor Dr. Helen Cox, culinary arts department instructors, students and supporters. Garden Island.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Courts offer legal aid, gas prices drop, Kaui mayor fingered in gas theft, Honolulu mayor filling cabinet, Maui seeks waste-to-energy plant, hypnosis thefts in Chinatown, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2012 All Hawaii News
Hawaii Supreme Court (c) 2012 All Hawaii News

With the backing of Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald, courthouses across the state are setting aside space to help people who can't afford a lawyer prepare for their day in court. Star-Advertiser.

As Hawaii’s main solar lobby fights off attempts to scale back the state's energy tax credits, a national expert and advocate of solar energy says that Hawaii should get rid of the incentives altogether. Civil Beat.

A state Senate committee will announce the findings of its investigation into the University of Hawaii's operational and financial management. Star-Advertiser.

Teachers intend to stop doing all the work they do on their own dime, limiting their hours to what's contractually obligated, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Everything else that would normally get done won't on work-to-rule protest days, the first of which was last week at Campbell High School and a few other campuses around the state. Civil Beat.

Publishers of the free guides and brochures visitors pick up at Hawaii's airports may soon have to pay the state for the right to get their publications into visitors' hands. Star-Advertiser.

Federal scientists have developed new tsunami forecasting models that can accurately predict where a wave will hit, and where it will flood. They've also designed new buoys that could help the tsunami warning center fill the gaps in its net. So why hasn't Hawaii embraced the new technology? Civil Beat.

Prices at the pump have continued to mercifully decline as the Thanksgiving holiday nears. Tribune-Herald.


Hawaii Civil Defense will conduct tests of five warning sirens around Oahu on Monday. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu City and State lawmakers hold informational meeting over disaster planning. KITV4.

The process of establishing a new Honolulu city administration has begun for Mayor-elect Kirk Caldwell. KITV4.

Hawaiian Electric Co. says its interconnection facility inside the battery energy storage system warehouse at the Kahuku Wind Farm on Oahu's North Shore, which was destroyed by fire in August, will cost at least $8 million to rebuild and take about a year to complete. Pacific Business News.

The Italian parent company of one of the largest contractors working on the Hono­lulu rail project now has a credit rating just above junk-bond status, and officials with the Hono­lulu Authority for Rapid Transportation want assurances that that won't affect the $5.26 billion project. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu motorists saw something Friday that they haven’t seen in nine months: Prices at a number of gas stations around Oahu dipped below $4 a gallon for the first time since February. Pacific Business News.

An 8-inch water main broke on Ahua Street between Kaihikapu and Mokumoa Streets in Salt Lake early Monday morning near Hawaii Self Storage, causing the road to buckle up. Hawaii News Now.

The Chinatown community is on alert after a new scam has swindled thousands of dollars worth of cash and jewelry from elderly women. Police are looking for three women whose scheme may involve hypnosis. KHON2.


Hawaii Electric Light Co.'s recently launched search for developers to expand geothermal energy production on Hawaii island emphasizes the potential benefits of locating new production facilities on the west side of the island where population growth is the fastest. Star-Advertiser.

Geothermal companies are trying to line up potential sites for a new power plant before a bidding deadline early next year. Tribune-Herald.

Along with a new County Council leadership, there will be a new county clerk taking office next month. Big Island Now.

The sewer rehabilitation project along Kalanianaole Avenue in Hilo has progressed to its second phase, leaving businesses that were impacted by the first phase breathing sighs of relief. Tribune-Herald.

Almost everything used in Ke Kula o Ehunuikaimalino’s cafeteria is washable, reusable, recyclable or compostable, said Clare Loprinzi, the school’s garden coordinator. West Hawaii Today.


Maui County is seeking bids for a company to convert the island's solid waste into energy in an effort to cut down on the amount of trash that ends up in the Central Maui Landfill in Puunene. Maui News.

Maui County isn’t waiting on the electric utility to issue a request for proposals for waste-to-energy projects. The county’s Department of Environmental Services issued its own RFP last week. Civil Beat.

A state Office of Planning official said that developers of two large retail centers and 250 affordable housing units in Kihei should have filed a motion with the state Land Use Commission to amend conditions placed on the parcel that was initially proposed as a light industrial park. Maui News.

A National Transportation Safety Board report on a December 2009 helicopter crash in Hana, Maui, in which a commercial pilot and a Federal Aviation Administration inspector were seriously injured, presents a frightening narrative of a routine safety exercise that turned into a life-threatening emergency. Star-Advertiser.


A warrant for the arrest of Kauai Mayor Bernard P. Carvalho Jr. on charges that he stole more than $5,000 of county gasoline in 2009 and 2010 has been submitted to two state judges on the Garden Isle who reportedly refused to sign the warrant until there is more evidence. Hawaii Reporter.

The personal attorney for Kauai Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. angrily denounced efforts by Police Chief Darryl Perry and outgoing Prosecutor Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho to charge the mayor for alleged theft of more than $5,000 of county gasoline. Hawaii Reporter.

People for the Preservation of Kaua‘i, one of the driving forces behind the fight against the Hawai‘i Superferry, has reformed with a new mission — to squash Act 55 in court. Garden Island.

DBEDT: Kaua‘i had strong 2nd quarter in 2012. Garden Island.


Molokai residents put in their two cents for who they felt should become the new Honorary Mayor of Kaunakakai last Saturday, and elected Glenn Davis. Molokai Dispatch.

Honoring kupuna is part of Hawaiian culture, and on Molokai, there’s a special tradition to recognize those with exceptional aloha spirit. Hawaii Public Radio.

Kanemitsu Bakery, after having been closed for five months, will be open in time for Thanksgiving this year. Molokai Dispatch.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Porn industry looks to Hawaii in wake of condom law, unemployment hits 4-yr low, League of Women Voters seeks election investigation, apologies in UH tiff, rail project forgot wifi, Inouye takes fall, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2012 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Tulsi Gabbard (c) 2012 All Hawaii News
She hasn't even been sworn in yet, but Congresswoman-Elect Tulsi Gabbard is already trying to get comfortable in Congress. Civil Beat.

Sen. Daniel K. Inouye sustained a minor cut to the back of his head following a fall at his home Thursday and was taken to the Bethesda Naval Hospital as a precautionary measure. Star-Advertiser.

Sen. Daniel K. Inouye took a spill at his Maryland home Thursday morning, cutting his head and heading to the hospital as a precaution. Civil Beat.

Porn producers may set sights on Hawaii in wake of L.A. condom law. Los Angeles Times.

The League of Women Voters of Hawaii is calling on the Hawaii State Legislature to take steps to remedy problems in voting operations that surfaced in the 2012 elections. Hawaii Reporter.

In its fourth quarter 2012 economic report, the Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism projected higher growth of visitor-related indicators and more optimistic growth of most other economic indicators in 2012. KITV4.

Hawaii's unemployment rate fell to 5.5 percent in October, the lowest level in nearly four years, the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations reported Thursday. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii's diabetes rate soared 117.1 percent from 1995 to 2010, mirroring a disturbing nationwide trend, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study shows. Star-Advertiser.

A lack of judgment, and UH personnel unwilling to take overall responsibility, are to blame for losses from the Stevie Wonder concert scam. An advisory task force group released those findings to the UH Board of Regents Thursday. KHON2.

The University of Hawaii Board of Regents expressed its support for President M.R.C. Greenwood Thursday night, saying they will "work together" after months of turmoil that began with the Stevie Wonder concert debacle. Star-Advertiser.

The Board of Regents and President Greenwood announced that their partnership to achieve ever higher standards of academic excellence throughout the UH system will continue and remains strong. Star-Advertiser.

After insulting the state’s political leaders and demanding $2 million from the University of Hawaii regents, today UH President M.R.C. Greenwood took it all back, said she was sorry and kept her job. Hawaii Reporter.

Ecotourism ends at Midway Atoll. Star-Advertiser.

State roundup for November 16. Associated Press.

State and Honolulu city lawmakers plan to meet today to assess the coordinated response to last month's tsunami warning and coastal evacuation. Star-Advertiser.

Officials with the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation announced Thursday that the transit agency has only 27 more trenches left to dig for the archaeological survey work along the planned route of the elevated-rail mass-transit project. Pacific Business News.

The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation is budgeting nearly $86 million to buy 63 properties in the next fiscal year as part of an accelerating land acquisition program for the 20-mile rail line. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART) Board is asking for more than $1.3 billion to spend in 2014 and yet with all that money there is one thing the city didn't think about, wifi for riders.Hawaii News Now.

Roughly 600 teachers, students, parents and community members flanked Fort Weaver Road near Campbell High School on Thursday to send Gov. Neil Abercrombie a message: "Negotiate, not mandate." Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu City Council was looking a little different on Wednesday. KITV4.

Campbell High School teachers and students staged two demonstrations today to express their frustration with the state over stalled teacher contract negotiations. Hawaii Public Radio.

Community organizations continued the fight over the future of the Waikiki Natatorium War Memorial on Thursday night. KHON2.

At Kaimuki High School, 558 photovoltaic panels harness energy from the sun. They were installed in May as part of the Department of Education's five-year plan to dramatically reduce its energy bill. Hawaii News Now.

A freak accident that killed a man who touched a streetlight will cost Honolulu taxpayers $550,000. Civil Beat.


U.S. DOT rejects Hawaiian Airlines Kona-Haneda request. West Hawaii Today.

The long-sought Kealakehe Regional Park could cost more than $85 million, Hawaii County officials and park planners revealed Thursday in Kailua-Kona. West Hawaii Today.

A local resident who’s “passionate about keeping the pool open” has donated $30,000 to the Hilo YWCA to help keep the solar-heated, salt water swimming pool open through 2013. Tribune-Herald.

Members sought for Game Management Commission. Tribune-Herald.

The Department of Public Works now has planning authorization to move ahead on the Laaloa Street extension. West Hawaii Today.

A controversial bill that severely restricts geothermal energy production drilling operations on the Big Island has passed the Hawaii County Council and is headed to Mayor Billy Kenoi’s desk for his signature. Pacific Business News.

After six years of testifying before the County Council, Kohala Councilwoman-elect Margaret Wille will soon take a seat on the other side of the dais. West Hawaii Today.


Public school enrollment in Maui County grew by 1.6 percent to more than 21,000 students this school year as the impact of Kamehameha Schools Maui on the island student population diminishes, according to a state Department of Education official. Maui News.

University of Hawaii President M.R.C. Greenwood will be speaking from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Tuesday as part of an ongoing innovation series sponsored by the Maui Economic Development Board. Maui News.


A 5th Circuit grand jury on Wednesday indicted a county department head on charges relating to the alleged abuse of a county gas credit card, according to a county news release issued Thursday. Garden Island.

A Kauai grand jury has indicted the county’s Human Resources Manager Janine Rapozo on charges relating to alleged misuse of a county gas credit card. Star-Advertiser.

Workers’ Compensation awarded in county case. Garden Island.