Thursday, January 31, 2013

Hawaii Shield Law in jeopardy, governor touts preschool, Honolulu considers city chickens, Maui seeks Higa's help finding auditor, Thirty Meter Telescope heads to hearing, monk seal speared, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Senate Education Committee
Abercrombie testifies on education courtesy Hawaii Senate majority
State lawmakers should not wait for a constitutional amendment in 2014 that would allow public money to be spent on private preschool before launching a school readiness program, Gov. Neil Abercrombie said Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii Legislature is considering a plan for a statewide preschool program, one of Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s priorities this session. Associated Press.

A state law protecting journalists from revealing their sources will be a lot weaker if the Legislature keeps the amendments that the House Judiciary Committee has made to the bill, media experts say. Civil Beat.

The state House Judiciary Committee agreed Tuesday to make permanent a state law protecting journalists and bloggers from disclosing confidential sources or other information, but proposed expanding exceptions to the law to include a broader range of serious crimes and civil actions. Star-Advertiser.

Environmentalists and conservation advocates would have a greater say in the outcome of public land development projects under a proposed new development authority for state harbors and parks. Star-Advertiser.

The House Committee on Water and Land has scheduled a hearing on Saturday, Feb. 9, to address issues surrounding the controversial Public Land Development Corporation. Maui Now.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie has said he does not need tax increases to balance his two-year budget draft, but the governor has proposed a significant boost in the hotel room tax to start a conversation about the state's long-term revenue needs. Star-Advertiser.

After reviewing hundreds of pieces of testimony, and a heated debate over process, power, politics and public input, House Judiciary Committee members narrowly killed controversial legislation that would have made firearms instructors civilly liable for incidents arising during their classes. Hawaii Reporter.

A recent Congressional study shows that women in general earn nearly 18 percent less than their male counterparts in Hawaii. Hawaii News Now.

With a wait list of more than 10,000 for public housing, the state may target fancy car drivers as a sign to excess disposable income to open up units for those more in need. KHON2.

Following through on a pledge to pursue measures aimed at improving accountability and transparency at the University of Hawaii, Senate President Donna Mercado Kim introduced a package of bills Wednesday that would limit some of the UH president's powers in procurement, require Board of Regents members be trained about their own policies and on state laws and adjust how regents are selected. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii gun enthusiasts are organizing to stop gun control bills from gaining any traction at the state Legislature. Associated Press.

courtesy NOAA
courtesy NOAA
Authorities in Hawaii are investigating the spearing of a Hawaiian monk seal found Tuesday afternoon on Rabbit Island. Star-Advertiser.

Federal conservation officials are looking into reports of three whale-vessel collisions in less than 24 hours off the coast of Hawaii Island and Maui. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii has been declared one of the "Terrible Ten" most regressive states for tax laws, by the nonpartisan Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, based in Wash., D.C. Star-Advertiser.

When it comes to taxes, Hawaii’s poor pick up more than their share of the tab, according to a new report. Tribune-Herald.

Statewide all plastic bags will be banned by 2015, but lawmakers have a plan for single-use bags between now and then, which they say will save the environment and taxpayers money. Hawaii News Now.

The plug has quietly been pulled on a plan by a band of entrepreneurs to buy Hawaii's $2.6 billion electric utility and convert it rather quickly to generate only renewable energy at a savings to consumers. Star-Advertiser.


While Dan Inouye's immense impact on Hawaii is difficult to measure, his association with the East-West Center is easily one of his most significant accomplishments. Civil Beat.

The first Honolulu City Council bill introduced this calendar year has already created quite a stir. The measure has to do with allowing chickens to be kept in residential areas. Hawaii Public Radio.

It looks like the Sand Island Wastewater Treatment Plant will get a second digester that will turn sewage into fertilizer. Civil Beat.


The long-running controversy over the proposed Thirty Meter Telescope atop Mauna Kea enters its next chapter Feb. 12, when the Board of Land and Natural Resources meets in Hilo to hear arguments following a contested case hearing over a conservation district use permit. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaiian Paradise Park residents may soon not have to travel so far to catch a bus. Tribune-Herald.

A veteran park ranger has been named chief of interpretation at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Big Island Now.


Recently retired state Auditor Marion Higa may be helping Maui County with its hiring and development of its new auditor position, council members said Tuesday. Maui News.

The state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands is looking to lease up to 1,400 acres of its land on Maui to developers for renewable energy projects such as biomass, wind, solar or hydro. Pacific Business News.

The parking area between Iao Theater and Maui Sporting Goods is being proposed for a makeover that has some businesses in the area a little uneasy. Maui News.

State enforcement of administrative rules for offshore mooring at Mala Wharf and the Lahaina Small Boat Harbor led to the impounding of six vessels Tuesday. Maui News.

A man who spent 20 years in prison before his rape, kidnapping and burglary convictions were vacated and later dismissed is suing the state, Maui County and the Maui Police Department, alleging he was falsely arrested and wrongfully imprisoned. Maui News.


The disagreements between the County Attorney’s Office and the former leadership at the Office of Prosecuting Attorney have re-ignited. Former Prosecutor Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho testified at a Kaua‘i County Council meeting Wednesday, accusing County Attorney Al Castillo of trading a lawsuit settlement for a job for his wife under the new OPA leadership. Garden Island.

Though Kauai residents flocked to hear the words of anti-GMO activists Dr. Vandana Shiva, Andrew Kimbrell and Walter Ritte, it remains to be seen whether their enthusiasm can be galvanized into effective political action. Honolulu Weekly.

Members of the Pacific Missile Range Facility’s Weapon Recovery Boat team pulled a Japanese buoy out of the ocean approximately 2 nautical miles west of Nohili Point on Jan. 18. Garden Island.

Oahu Publications, Inc. which publishes the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and MidWeek, has gained control of Kauai print media with its recent acquisition of The Garden Island newspaper. Honolulu Weekly.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Abercrombie wants to raise hotel tax, Hawaii Legislature kills fish protection bills, Hawaiian Electric zapped by legislative committee, Native Hawaiian students want tests in their own language, iconic Coco Palms could lose renovation permits, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii hotels
Royal Kona Resort (c) 2013 All Hawaii News
Prompted by the record visitor arrivals, Gov. Neil Abercrombie is proposing to raise Hawaii's transient accommodations tax by 2 percentage points. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii fishermen organized successfully to kill a bill that would have limited the type of nets they use to fish. Associated Press.

A controversial bill to require holders of aquarium fish permits to specify all species collected, and in what collection areas, has been deferred indefinitely. West Hawaii Today.

They're back: gambling proposals at the Hawaii Legislature. Civil Beat.

Hawaii already has among the strictest firearms laws in the nation, and some of the most cumbersome registration and training requirements, but if key lawmakers get their way, the laws will become even tougher for firearms owners and anyone who lives in their home. Hawaii Reporter.

Holding signs that read, "No more unfair testing," hundreds of Hawaiian-immersion students and supporters gathered on the lawn of the Department of Education building Tuesday to call for the development of standardized assessments in the Hawaiian language. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaiian Electric Co. executives speaking at an informational briefing at the state Capitol on Tuesday got an earful from state legislators who complained the utility is not moving fast enough to reduce electric rates. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii's electric rates are so high some residents have been forced to burn candles at night and cook on kiawe, lawmakers say. Civil Beat.

Hawaiian Electric Co. officials were hesitant Tuesday to pick one path as the sole avenue to reduce Hawaii’s high energy costs. West Hawaii Today.

It’s a well-known fact that Hawai’i has one of the highest electricity rates in the nation…and state lawmakers conducted an information hearing yesterday to find out what the public utilities are doing to bring costs down for local customers. Hawaii Public Radio.

Foster parents urged state legislators Tuesday to support a bill that would increase their monthly reimbursement checks for the first time since 1990. Star-Advertiser.

A bill introduced in the State Legislature aims to tighten the current seat belt law, and ultimately save lives. KHON2.

Lawmaker Raises Alarm About Geothermal Fracking in Hawaii. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Lawmakers Aim to Strengthen Laws Against Sex Offenders Targeting Children. Hawaii Reporter.

All of Hawaii's counties have passed bans on plastic shopping bags for most purchases, but state legislators now are proposing fees on all bags at checkout. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii Tourism Authority has selected nearly 100 cultural and community events and programs statewide to receive funding under its County Product Enrichment Program for 2013. Pacific Business News.

State roundup for January 30. Associated Press.


Vice Speaker John Mizuno says he drafted a letter to William Aila, director of the Department of Land and Natural Resources, urgently requesting a survey of any potential risks associated with a Kalihi Valley hillside after three boulders rolled down and damaged a home Monday morning. KITV4.

Kaiser Permanente Hawaii's licensed practical nurses and medical assistants protested possible registered nurse layoffs by distributing informational leaflets Tuesday to members at the Hono­lulu Clinic and Moana­lua Medical Center. Star-Advertiser.


Big Island lawmakers are once again seeking to allow Hawaii County to use some of its fuel tax revenue to help subdivisions maintain their private roads. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii Electric Light Co. will withdraw a 4.2 percent rate increase request that would have raised the average homeowner’s bill by $8.32, according to Gov. Neil Abercrombie. Tribune-Herald.

It will cost at least $552 nightly for a private security service to patrol the Kawa Bay property purchased by the county, according to bids opened Tuesday afternoon. West Hawaii Today.


First Wind officials said Tuesday that they have started work on a program to preserve the population of threatened or endangered Hawaiian seabirds in West Maui, several miles from the company’s Kaheawa Wind project. Pacific Business News.

A Coast Guard aircraft was forced to return to Oahu after being targeted by an individual with a laser pointer while flying into Kahului Airport on Maui on Monday night, authorities said. Maui Now.

Kauai County's planning director filed a petition Tuesday to revoke permits issued to the property owner of Coco Palms Resort, citing inaction to restore and redevelop the historic site. Star-Advertiser.

Two decades after Hurricane ‘Iniki delivered a merciless blow to Coco Palms Resort in Wailua Beach, the iconic hotel — now a visual blight on the island’s busiest corridor — may have a much more difficult time returning to its former glory, after its permits to re-develop the property expired last week. Garden Island.

After many expansions, the Kekaha Landfill — the island’s only landfill — will reach capacity by 2021 or 2022, according to county officials. Garden Island.

Steven A. Hunt was named Kauai County director of finance by Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. on Tuesday. Star-Advertiser.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Taxes, bag fee sought for watershed protection, homeless, public housing smoking ban mulled in Legislature, Maui to monitor vehicle use with eye in the sky, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2013 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Freshwater stream flows into Kawa Bay (c) 2013 All Hawaii News
Environmental advocates are urging the Hawaii Legislature to help preserve Hawaii’s water by increasing taxes on high-end property sales. Associated Press.

Boosting funds for watershed and forest preservation programs, either through an increase in taxes on expensive real estate transactions or a fee on single-use plastic checkout bags, remains a priority for the Abercrombie administration, the state's land and natural resources director said. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Legislature: Thousands of Bills, So Little Time. Civil Beat.

Several Hawaii lawmakers want tougher ethics laws for lobbyists and public officials. Associated Press.

The Hawaii Filipino Chamber of Commerce says Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui will lead the organization's upcoming trade mission to the Philippines. Associated Press.

Hawaii’s consumer advocate has reached a settlement with the state’s major electric utility that rejects $60 million in expenditures that Hawaiian Electric Co. was hoping to recover from customers. Civil Beat.

Hawaiian Electric Co. has agreed to reduce by $60 million the amount of revenue it will seek to recover from ratepayers as a result of a settlement the utility negotiated with the state consumer advocate. Star-Advertiser.

The number of new foreclosure lawsuits filed against Hawaii property owners stayed above 300 for a second consecutive month in December, as lenders continue to file more cases since state foreclosure law was overhauled in June. Star-Advertiser.

A bill seeking the establishment of a return-to-home program for homeless in Hawai’i is being considered at the state Legislature. Maui Now.

A bill that would provide an overnight parking lot for homeless persons narrowly survived a committee hearing at the House Monday morning. Garden Island.

More than 10-thousand families are on the wait-list for Public Housing in Hawai’i. As a result… state lawmakers want to curb systemic abuse and tighten the rules to qualify for low rental housing. Hawaii Public Radio.

Anyone living in public housing can forget about smoking at home if a proposed ban passes. KHON2.

Rock climbers lobby lawmakers. Bills to limit liability for rock climbing on state land. KITV4.

Conservationists say they've successfully eliminated harmful, non-native rats from remote, uninhabited Palmyra Atoll. Star-Advertiser.

State roundup for January 29. Associated Press.


The film industry brings roughly $180 million and 2,500 jobs to Hawaii each year, but productions that choose to film here are met by a dilapidated studio that has suffered from scarce funding and years of wear and tear. Civil Beat.

With tuition at the University of Hawaii rising 141 percent over the last 11 years, female students have found an unconventional method to cover the cost of education that can now cost nearly $10,000 a year for an undergraduate degree. They are signing up in record numbers with, a dating web site that openly boasts it will find them their perfect "Sugar Daddy." Hawaii Reporter.

The 40th Honolulu Marathon generated a record $132.8 million in visitor spending in December, according to a study released Monday by Hawaii Pacific University. Hawaii News Now.

Two boulders dislodged during heavy rain tumbled about 20 feet down a Kalihi Valley hillside early Monday morning, damaging a home and narrowly missing four people sleeping inside. Star-Advertiser.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie, former Governor Ben Cayetano, former Lt. Governor Duke Aiona, State Senator Sam Slom and former Senator Richard Henderson were among the people who spoke at a memorial service for Wilfred Clinton "Buddy" Soares on Saturday at Holy Trinity Church in Hawaii Kai. Hawaii Reporter.

On Facebook he describes himself as a "wounded warrior … very wounded." Schofield Barracks soldier Brendan Marrocco, the first service member to survive losing all four limbs in the Iraq War, received a double arm transplant Dec. 18, doctors revealed Monday. Star-Advertiser.


The state of Hawaii and Hawaiian Electric Co. have reached an agreement that will result in the withdrawal of a rate increase request submitted for the Big Island, Gov. Neil Abercrombie said in a statement. Pacific Business News.

Big Island legislators say they have serious concerns about a construction company’s decision to withdraw its bid for the Hawaii Community College at Palamanui project. West Hawaii Today.

Hilo Medical Center and other public health care facilities across the state face having to resort to “painful choices” as they deal with diminishing resources, according to an editorial distributed Monday by CEO Howard Ainsley. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii Electric Light Co. filed on Friday a final request for proposals for expanding geothermal power on the island. Tribune-Herald.

Flying steerage just took on a whole new meaning. Pacific Air Cargo, using 727 airplanes leased from Kalitta Air, is taking Big Island cattle to the West Coast on a weekly basis, CEO Beti Ward said. West Hawaii Today.


Maui County has adopted a comprehensive vehicle use policy and has taken steps to use eye-in-the-sky technology to track employees' use of official vehicles. Maui News.

The Legislature is again trying to serve the counties with a footloose challenge, as two state senate bills are trying to get the counties find the elusive definition of dancing. Garden Island.

Five Mauians, including the late planner Chris Hart, will be honored for their work to preserve Maui's environment by the Maui Group of the Sierra Club at its annual meeting from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Kaunoa Senior Center in Spreckelsville. Maui News.


Kaua‘i’s elected leaders say that Hawai‘i has tough gun laws and that it may be premature to enact more legislation without a deeper look. Garden Island.

County employees donated $18,900 in total to the Kaua‘i United way in 2012, officials announced this week. Garden Island.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Gay marriage, election reform, farm bills on Legislature's agenda, Kaiser Permanente cutting nurses, HELCO seeks geothermal energy, high court to hear medical marijuana case, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2013 All Hawaii News
Honolulu gay marriage rally (c) 2013 All Hawaii News
Hawaii advocates of gay marriage applauded the introduction of legislation this week that would give same-sex couples the same status, legal and symbolic, as opposite-sex couples. Civil Beat.

There's a new push to legalize same sex marriage in Hawaii, where Civil Unions are allowed. KITV4.

Hawaii lawmakers are pushing to reform the state elections process after a series of mishaps caused polling places to run out of ballots and open late last year. Associated Press.

The state Senate Agriculture Committee will hear public opinions on at least six bills related to incentives to local farmers Tuesday. The bills’ scope range from tax exemptions to planning for food security. Garden Island.

The Navy said it plans to cut some temporary workers in Hawaii in the spring, cancel a $35 million repair job on a Pearl Harbor destroyer and reduce base support and modernization by $75 million as part of at least $110 million in savings it says it needs to reach in Hawaii alone due to a federal budget shortfall. Star-Advertiser.

Kaiser Permanente Hawaii plans to eliminate nearly one-quarter of its clinic registered nurses, replacing some of them with lower-skilled licensed practical nurses and medical assistants. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii Attorney General’s office is blasting a proposal aimed at countering the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, which opened the floodgates for secret cash to influence elections. Civil Beat.

The union representing Hawaii public school principals and the state Department of Education have reached an agreement on evaluations. Associated Press.

Troubled Waters: Budget Cuts Hamper An Unusual Ocean Research Project. Civil Beat.

The city of Honolulu is preparing another property-related citation against the operator of Oahu's only auto racing venue, placing another black mark on the company's checkered history on that state-owned parcel. Star-Advertiser.


The Big Island's electric utility is asking the Public Utilities Commission for permission to generate more geothermal energy for sale to customers. Associated Press.

Former state Rep. Jerry Chang says his primary focus this year will be to obtain $33 million from the Legislature to fund a building for the University of Hawaii at Hilo’s College of Pharmacy. Tribune-Herald.

The Hawaii Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear an appeal from a man convicted of promoting a detrimental drug when he tried to take his medical marijuana on a flight to Honolulu from Kona International Airport. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park has released a new ungulate management plan that includes fencing and both lethal and non-lethal techniques. Tribune-Herald.

Coffee berry borer damage is resulting in diminished quality that could jeopardize the region’s position in the global coffee market, a grower and processor said Friday. West Hawaii Today.


Maui County officials say the electric utility's reluctance to retire decades-old oil-fired generators is keeping electric costs high on the island. Civil Beat.

Care Homes by Hale Makua was blessed Friday as the Wailuku facility converts a closed wing at Maui's largest nursing home into a 26-resident adult residential care home. Maui News.


Scientists aren’t the only ones concerned about the future of Kaua‘i’s diseased coral reefs. Garden Island.

The Kaua‘i Police Commission held its first meeting of the year with new board leadership in place. Garden Island.


Larry Ellison, Oracle Corp.’s billionaire CEO who bought the majority of Lanai last year, has laid out pretty distinct plans for the future of Hawaii's Pineapple Island. Pacific Business News.

A bungalow-style hotel, a desalination plant and a new airport runway are part of billionaire and new Lanai owner Larry Ellison's vision for the island, Lanai residents said Friday. Maui News.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Hawaii tourism hits record, Honolulu rail condems land on route, Kona dolphin asks diver for help, Molokai preserve finalized, marijuana minister trial delayed, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2013 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Waikiki Beach (c) 2013 All Hawaii News
Hawaii's tourism industry had a record-breaking year in 2012, with 7.99 million visitors to the Islands spending $14.3 billion, according to preliminary statistics released on Thursday by the Hawaii Tourism Authority. Pacific Business News.

A recovering global economy, strong yen, stable oil prices, more flights and marketing campaigns helped bring a record number of tourists to Hawaii last year, the Hawaii Tourism Authority said Thursday. Associated Press.

Lawmakers in both chambers of the state Legislature want to charge a 10-cent fee for paper and plastic shopping bags, and four representatives are sponsoring a bill to ban single-use checkout bags altogether. Associated Press.

A renewed gun-control debate is sweeping the country — and Hawaii is no exception. Lawmakers here have introduced at least six gun-control bills. Civil Beat.

Hawaii residents want state lawmakers to stop diverting the barrel tax from its original purpose in order to cover shortfalls in the General Fund. Pacific Business News.

Distressed that a state Supreme Court ruling that halted construction of the Honolulu rail project could also sidetrack state highway projects, the Abercrombie administration wants the state to be able to review in phases the potential impact of construction on burials or other historic sites. Star-Advertiser.

A pair of bills before the state Legislature would expand counties’ authority regarding development on agriculture land, impose a maximum size for farm dwellings and increase the minimum lot size for agricultural land. Rep. Clift Tsuji, D-Hilo, introduced the bills this month. West Hawaii Today.

A bill introduced at this year’s Legislature proposes to amend of the state Constitution “to provide that the freedom of speech shall be extended only to natural persons, and not to a business entity.” Garden Island.

Hawaii workers could soon see the first raise in the minimum wage in six years. Tribune-Herald.

Long-overdue performance evaluations for Hawaii public school principals will be rolled out next school year, with half of a principal's rating based on student achievement, the union for school administrators announced Thursday. Star-Advertiser.

The Judiciary Committee of the state House of Representatives will hear today a bill that could make it a petty misdemeanor to lie down across a bench at a bus stop. Garden Island.

Hawaii’s newly appointed U.S. Senator Brian Schatz is supporting a highly controversial proposal called “filibuster reform” that being pushed by U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada. Hawaii Reporter.

A team of researchers from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and Cornell University are asking people to enter a recipe contest for meals they'll serve during a simulated mission to Mars. Associated Press.


Honolulu rail transit officials took their first steps Thursday to use eminent domain to acquire two privately owned properties they need to help build the 20-mile project — and the owners of those properties aren't happy with the move. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation wants to use eminent domain to acquire two properties along the rail route. Civil Beat.

The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation's board of directors voted Thursday to use eminent domain to acquire pieces of two properties totaling nearly 10 acres in West Oahu that are needed to build the city's $5.16 billion rail project. Pacific Business News.

The new chief of the Honolulu Fire Department said Thursday he will consider a merger of its functions with those of the Department of Emergency Services. Star-Advertiser.

Former Honolulu City Councilmember Gary Okino has angered the gay community after making inflammatory comments during a council committee meeting.  All while he is trying to be confirmed as a member of the city Ethics Board of Appeals. Hawaii News Now.

Ala Moana Shopping Center isn't just the state's largest mall, but it's also one of the most dangerous areas when it comes to the number of pedestrian accidents. KHON2.

UH Students: We Had No Idea Our Dorm's Security Cameras Were Broken. Civil Beat.

Hawaiian Telcom plans to work with police and state authorities to beef up security in an area frequented by the homeless where telecommunications cables have been damaged twice in the past 10 days, company officials said Thursday. Star-Advertiser.

Limited-service" hotels would be allowed in low-density, mixed-used areas of Hono­lulu, West Oahu and Central Oahu under a bill that got a preliminary approval Thursday from the City Council Zoning and Permitting Committee. Star-Advertiser.

Developers of a planned Waikiki hotel-condominium won a preliminary approval Thursday from a key City Council committee that would allow the high-rise to have a height of 350 feet, 50 feet more than is currently allowed. Star-Advertiser.


A West Hawaii dive instructor’s aid to a bottlenose dolphin off the Kona Coast has become an Internet sensation. West Hawaii Today.

Dolphin video here.

 Bond rating agencies have affirmed Hawaii County’s solid financial standing as the county schedules the sale of $97.2 million in bonds. West Hawaii Today.

Trial has again been delayed for marijuana advocate Roger Christie and prosecutors have filed additional charges against him as well. Tribune-Herald.

Several Hawaii Island businesses have been fined by the Department of Health’s Clean Air Branch for violating air permit and pollution rules. West Hawaii Today.

The Hilo store is one of 300 Blockbusters nationwide that parent company DISH Network announced this week that it is closing, leaving the Big Island without a Blockbuster. Tribune-Herald.


A bill introduced today by Maui Senators Gil Keith-Agaran and Roz Baker seeks approval to rename the Mokulele Highway to honor the legacy of late US Senator Daniel K. Inouye. Maui Now.

More than a dozen Native Hawaiian Maui boys began their three-year journey of self-discovery and maturation Wednesday night at Hale Nanea. Maui News.

Maui Planning Commission members approved a permit Tuesday for the Aloha Aku Inn to operate a six-bedroom, bed-and-break-fast business near St. Theresa Church in Kihei. Maui News.

Maui planner Chris Hart will be honored posthumously with an environmental award issued by the Maui chapter of the Sierra Club during their annual meeting on Feb. 2. Maui Now.


Kaua‘i leaders are taking a cautious look at a proposed legislation that would legalize marijuana. Garden Island.


Molokai Land Trust has received the deed to Mokio Preserve, 1,719 acres of some of the most pristine and environmentally sensitive land on Molokai. Molokai Dispatch.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Abercrombie seeks redo of Public Land Development Corp., Hawaii union membership rises, Legislature mulls sugar tax, legal marijuana, $750M to fix Honolulu airport, Hawaii County Council fights geothermal, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2013 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Ala Wai boat harbor (c) 2013 All Hawaii News
The Abercrombie administration wants state lawmakers to create a new development authority for state harbors and parks that would partner with the private sector on recreational and leisure projects to bring new revenue for the state. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii's efforts to strengthen its lobbying laws have consistently fallen victim to a resistant Legislature. Civil Beat.

Allowing a greater swath of the population to take advantage of solar energy and save money on their electricity bills is a top priority for Gov. Neil Abercrombie this legislative session. Civil Beat.

Union membership in Hawaii rose in 2012 even as the unionization rate declined nationally. Star-Advertiser.

Several key Hawaii lawmakers want to legalize marijuana in the Aloha State. Associated Press.

Bills that reform Hawaii’s marijuana laws are likely to gain traction in the state Legislature this year, bolstered by a change in House leadership and a new poll that reassures lawmakers of broad public support. Honolulu Weekly.

Four Hawaii senators want to charge 1 cent per teaspoon of sugar in each drink and use the revenue to fund community health centers and help trauma victims.  They say the tax would translate to about 10 cents per 12-ounce soda. KITV4.

Hawaii governors have a lot of appointment power. They include Cabinet members and deputy directors, judges and justices, members of board and commissions. Civil Beat.

Federal attorney Derrick Watson appeared Wednesday before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, which is considering whether to send his nomination as Hawaii's fourth full-time U.S. district judge to the Senate floor for a vote. Star-Advertiser.

As tourism fuels recovery in Hawaii, the state's tourism marketers are focusing on getting more visitors to sample neighbor islands, where hotels have more free rooms. Hawaii News Now.

University of Hawaii President MRC Greenwood Goes to Washington During Inauguration to Lobby for Presidential Center. Hawaii Reporter.

The largest supplier of flu vaccines in Hawaii has run out of some products. KHON2.

State briefs 1/24. Associated Press.

Travelers passing through Honolulu Airport can expect to see construction start later this year on a $750 million effort to erect new terminals, larger gates, a new rental car building and other improvements at Hawaii's busiest ­— but aging — commercial airport. Star-Advertiser.

A developer's request to raise the height limit for a new $275 million hotel in Waikiki gets its first airing before the City Council Zoning and Planning Committee today. Star-Advertiser.

The city of Honolulu has paid an exterminator $17,372 to eradicate bedbug infestations at two city-owned affordable housing complexes. Civil Beat.

Schofield soldiers train for mission as 'key leaders' of Afghan troops. Star-Advertiser.

A fiber optic cable near one that broke during a fire last Tuesday was intentionally cut Wednesday night, affecting phone and cable services around the state for the second time in less than two weeks. Hawaii News Now.

Eddie Sherman, the longtime three-dot columnist who wrote about celebrities for the Honolulu Advertiser, Honolulu Star-Bulletin and MidWeek, died Tuesday at Straub Clinic & Hospital after a massive heart attack at home, said his wife, Patty Sherman. He was 88. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Newspaper Columnist Eddie Sherman Dies at 89. Hawaii Reporter.

A bus rider was caught off guard by an army of rats. He couldn't believe his eyes and had to pull out his cell phone to catch it all on video. KHON2.

Olive Garden tops a list of national retailers eyeing a Hawaii debut. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii County residents offered a unified front against actions the Legislature took last year regarding what areas of the state could be used for geothermal energy. West Hawaii Today.

Almost three months after Hawaii County evicted Abel Simeona Lui and a group of Native Hawaiians claiming indigenous rights to the 784-acre oceanfront parcel, the property, purchased with taxpayer money through the public lands and open space fund, remains in limbo as the county works with community groups on how best to proceed. West Hawaii Today.

A Big Island lawmaker believes it’s “high time” for Hawaii to legalize marijuana. Tribune-Herald.

February marks the start of the Year of the Snake on the Chinese calendar, and the traditional celebration of the Chinese New Year nearly slithered away from downtown Hilo. Tribune-Herald.

Three Projects Critical to the Big Island Economy. Big Island Now.

Wayne “Big Dog” Joseph, the Tribune-Herald’s running columnist who promoted health and fitness as his life’s motto, died Tuesday night. He was 65. Tribune-Herald.


Maui Planning Commission members reviewed and recommended approval Tuesday of a bill to permit transient vacation rentals at the 230-unit Puamana oceanfront resort complex in Lahaina. Maui News.

During more than 40 years as an attorney, B. Martin Luna represented developers at state and county hearings for many resorts and other large projects in Maui County. Maui News.

The 2013 OpenTable Diners’ Choice Award winners for the Top 100 Most Romantic Restaurants in the US included three Maui restaurants. Maui Now.


The proposed Waimea Sports complex would feature facilities for all ages when it opens. Garden Island.

Wednesday was a good day for the Kaua‘i County Council to push decisions to another day, as all four bills worked by different committees were deferred to February. Garden Island.

Kaua‘i County Department of Public Works is offering the public a bus tour of the proposed site for the new landfill and resource recovery park located about a mile north of Hanama‘ulu off Ma‘alo Road. Garden Island.


A fisherman and conservationist is being honored for a lifetime of work protecting Molokai's northern coast. Associated Press.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie's State of the State: Raise the minimum wage to $8.75, pay down unfunded liabilities, pensions. That and more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

2013 Hawaii Legislature
Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie 2013 State of the State address
Gov. Neil Abercrombie on Tuesday condemned the "virus of absolutism" that he said infects politics, and appealed to state lawmakers to set strident voices aside and take action on early childhood education, renewable energy, economic diversification and the state's debt. Star-Advertiser.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie's third State of the State address was, as many such addresses are in Hawaii, all about the five E's: energy, education, employees, the economy and the environment. Civil Beat.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie on Tuesday used his state-of-the-state speech to outline some of the economic initiatives he’s pushing this legislative session, among them a $1.50-per-hour increase to Hawaii’s minimum wage starting next year. Pacific Business News.

If Hawaii’s Governor Neil Abercrombie gets his way, the state would add about $1 billion in new and reclaimed programs and personnel in 2014 and 2015. Hawaii Reporter.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie today unveiled a plan to spend $100 million dollars next year to pay down future obligations to state workers and retirees. Hawaii News Now.

Unfunded liabilities took center stage this morning as Gov. Neil Abercrombie gave his third State of the State address. Big Island Now.

Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie says the state budget is his top priority for this coming year, in addition to energy and education. Associated Press.

The state’s Chief Executive delivered his annual State of the State address to a joint session of the legislature today.   As HPR’s Wayne Yoshioka reports … the Governor is proposing a long list of initiatives but provided little in terms of how to pay for them. Hawaii Public Radio.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie, during his State at the State address Tuesday, highlighted the state’s better financial position and many private and public initiatives, while criticizing the opposition to the Public Lands Development Corporation’s lack of aloha. Garden Island.

The verbatim text of the Governor’s 2013 State of the State Address. Hawaii Independent.

An increase in the minimum wage in Hawaii to $8.75 an hour from $7.25 would be the first since 2006 when it rose by 50 cents. In his State of the State address Tuesday, Gov. Neil Abercrombie said he will propose a bill to increase the wage starting in January 2014. Star-Advertiser.

One of the future plans Governor Abercrombie outlined in his State of the State address this morning is a proposal to increase minimum wage. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii's minimum wage has not gone up in more than six years. Gov. Abercrombie wants to change that. It was just one of the plans he outlined Tuesday morning in his State of the State address. KHON2.

Hawaii led the nation four decades ago when it became one of the first states to pass a lobbying law and create an Ethics Commission to administer it. But the law has been stuck in time. Efforts to substantially update it or strengthen it have failed year after year. Civil Beat.

A proposed bill that would make helmets mandatory for kids and limit liability in skateboard parks has quickly moved through the Legislature, passing first reading Friday and referred to three committees Tuesday. Garden Island.

U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard says her new post as a vice chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee will help raise Hawaii's profile on the national political landscape. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii auto sales rose last year by the highest margin on record as the industry recovered from the economic downturn that drove it to hit bottom in 2009. Star-Advertiser.

As an elected official, Rep. Karen Awana knows the rules. Why she's choosing not to play by them is another question. Civil Beat.


There were 57 “move over” traffic citations issued against motorists during the first four months a new law was in effect — August through November, the Honolulu Police Department said Tuesday. Star-Advertiser.

It’s been a year and a half since state regulators ordered Hawaiian Electric Co. to issue a request for proposals for major energy projects that would deliver power to Oahu. Civil Beat.

An oft-repeated message employers delivered to people looking for work Tuesday at a Job Quest fair at Blaisdell Center was to "improve your skill set." Star-Advertiser.


Gov. Neil Abercrombie has committed $3.5 million for an agricultural park in Waimea. West Hawaii Today.

Governor Neil Abercrombie announced in his State of the State speech that he wants to re-open the Kulani Correctional Facility on the Big Island by July 1, 2014. Residents had a chance to offer their opinions on Tuesday night at a public meeting in Hilo. Hawaii News Now.

Queries about establishing a pu`uhonua, or place of refuge, were among the topics discussed today during the first of two public meetings being held on the proposed reopening of the Kulani Correctional Facility. Big Island Now.


During calendar year 2012 the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development issued more than $5.1 million dollars in grant monies to various local organizations. Hawaii Reporter.

Mauians attending the second inauguration of President Barack Obama on Monday endured the chill of winter, to which they are unaccustomed, but were warmed by the words of the American president born in the islands. Maui News.

A time capsule dating back more than 50 years was discovered this morning in Wailuku. Maui Now.


The Army is asking the public to comment on its plans to study marine life near Makua Valley where commanders want to resume live-fire training. Garden Island.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Hawaii bands entertain at Obama inauguration, Abercrombie's State of the State address at 10 a.m. today, Hawaii Island newspapers subpoenaed in political lawsuit, Honolulu newspaper owner buys Kauai daily, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Obama 2013 inauguration
U.S. Sens. Schatz, Hirono at Obama inauguration, courtesy photo
Two Hawaii school bands — from Kamehameha and Punahou — marched in the presidential inaugural parade down Pennsylvania Avenue on Monday in a historic display that gave hundreds of thousands of attendees from around the world a little taste of the sights and sounds of President Barack Obama's birthplace. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie will deliver his State of the State address at the Capitol building at 10 a.m. on Tuesday. Hawaii News Now.

HPR-1 will carry Governor Abercrombie's  complete State of the State address on Tuesday, January 22, 2013 from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Hawaii Public Radio.

Keeping tabs on who is trying to influence public policy in Hawaii and how they are going about it is difficult in Hawaii. Unlike many other states, Hawaii requires very little information from those who lobby as well as those who get lobbied. Civil Beat.

State lawmakers have begun this year’s Legislature with a pile of bills targeting biotech industries that produce genetically modified organisms, with measures ranging from mandatory labeling to a total ban of such products in Hawai‘i. Garden Island.

Hawaii Lieutenant Governor Shan Tsutusi will head a delegation of more than 40 business executives to the Philippines. Maui Now.

Rep. Karen Awana
Outstanding fines didn’t prevent state Rep. Karen Awana from scoring a top leadership position in the House this session. The four-term lawmaker owes the Campaign Spending Commission $6,800 for failing to keep records and filing false reports dating back to 2008. Civil Beat.

Marijuana use on company time fell in Hawaii last year, but it is still the drug that turns up most often in workplace drug testing. Star-Advertiser.


Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell says after meeting with the governor twice, he intends to resume work on the Waikiki Natatorium War Memorial's environmental impact statement. KITV4.

State wildlife officials are trying to preserve an area on Oahu critical to groundwater protection where four native plant species are making their last stand. Star-Advertiser.

It's taken five years to get to the point of breaking ground on what will be known as Halekauwila Place. It needed state land, a private developer and the Hawaii Housing Finance Corporation to finally launch an affordable housing project in Kakaako for singles and families. KITV4.

GUIDED by a long piece of string on the ground and a man with a bullhorn, hundreds of people — residents and visitors, young and old — stood shoulder to shoulder in Kapiolani Park on Monday in an attempt to form the world's largest human peace sign. Star-Advertiser.


The lawyer for a county elections official who was fired and later reinstated has subpoenaed the Tribune-Herald, seeking the identities of six individuals who posted online comments regarding stories about the turmoil surrounding the 2012 elections. Tribune-Herald.

The cost of not paying property taxes on time could be getting lower. The Hawaii County Council’s Finance Committee will discuss a bill today that would cut the penalty for late payment in half, from 10 percent to 5 percent. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii County is still mulling whether to expand its hybrid vehicle fleet after putting five new cars on the road last year. Tribune-Herald.

Kaiser Permanente employees and their families pitched in at three sites around Hawaii Island as part of the national day of volunteering Monday. West Hawaii Today.

Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa spent the weekend in Washington DC, as a participant in the US Conference of Mayors. Maui Now.

After the graduation Friday of 20 members of the Maui Police Department's first Crisis Intervention Team, officers said they're more equipped to respond to emergencies. Maui News.

Organizers of the inaugural Aloha Writers Conference - which is set to wrap up today in Kapalua - say they're cautious of the pitfalls suffered by the event's predecessor, and instead want to maintain a grass-roots conference that can help position Maui as "a literary jewel of the Pacific." Maui News.


Oahu Publications Inc., publisher of the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, has acquired The Garden Island newspaper from Lee Enterprises, the companies announced Monday. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu Publications, Inc. and Kauai Publishing Co. announced today that OPI has purchased The Garden Island newspaper from Lee Enterprises, of Davenport, Iowa. The expected closing date is February 11, 2013. Garden Island.

Federal prosecutors have leveled more accusations against retired car dealer James Pflue­ger, who faces trial next month on conspiracy and tax evasion charges. Star-Advertiser.

A large crowd circulated through the Kukui Grove Center Monday during the Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration of Peace, sponsored by the Interfaith Roundtable of Kaua‘i. Garden Island.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Road slated for Inouye honor, Hawaii cuts cash assistance, Molokai mulls waste-to-energy plant, House speaker wants legal marijuana, Zuckerman buys pricey Honolulu condos, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2013 All Hawaii News, all rights reserved
Saddle Road, Hawaii Island (c) 2013 All Hawaii News
State Sen. Malama Solomon, a Democrat whose district covers the north side of Hawaii Island from Kona to Hilo, has sponsored a bill renaming Saddle Road the “Daniel K. Inouye Legacy Highway.” West Hawaii Today.

The state of Hawaii is cutting financial assistance payments it provides to more than 5,500 people. Associated Press.

Even with news last week that Hawaii's unemployment rate dropped to 5.2 percent in December, its lowest since October 2008, the state is still a year or more away from regaining all the jobs lost during the recent recession. Star-Advertiser.

The Native Hawaiian Roll Commission hosted the Huli-a-Mahi celebration Sunday at Iolani Palace, said its chairman, former Gov. John Waihee. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaiians honored Queen Lili'uokalani at Iolani Palace on Sunday. It's been 120 years since the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom. KITV4.

The newly designated speaker of the state House of Representatives today introduced a bill that would legalize the recreational use of marijuana. Big Island Now.

State Reps. Cynthia Thielen and Mele Carroll want to limit Hawaii’s power to develop public lands. Associated Press.

Scientists say the outlook is bleak for a rare Maui plant if current climate change trends continue. Associated Press.

Hawaii’s only state taxpayer-supported University, the University of Hawaii, increased tuition by 108 percent from 2006 to 2012, and over the next five years, tuition will rise again by 33 percent. Hawaii Reporter.

Hawaii Beverage Hui Opposes Soda Tax. Civil Beat.

It has been less than a month since U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz took office, and while he is still in temporary offices, he says he has settled in and is working to tackle big economic challenges facing the islands. Star-Advertiser.


Oahu taxpayers will pick up a portion of the tab for President Barack Obama's visit to Hawaii over the Christmas and New Years holidays, specifically for police and ambulance escorts. Hawaii Reporter.

Mark Zuckerman, The world’s youngest billionaire, chairman and CEO of Facebook Inc. (Nasdaq: FB), is buying several multi-million-dollar units in a 23-story ultra-luxury condominium under development called ONE Ala Moana, according to a source. Pacific Business News.

The city's exclusive vendor for handling police-initiated vehicle tows on Oahu could be evicted from the Kapolei lot serving as its headquarters because the company owes back rent dating to March and has failed to correct solid waste-related violations at the property, according to a lawsuit filed by the property owner. Star-Advertiser.

A plan to extend Kuakini Street across Lanakila Avenue to join with Keola Street could become a reality this summer. KHON2.

The findings in a federal report on the fireworks explosion that killed five men at a Waikele storage bunker in April 2011 raise concerns not just about a lack of federal rules and guidelines about the disposal of unused fireworks, but about inadequate oversight of employee safety procedures taken by large-scale contractors in general. Star-Advertiser.


Citations for the use of cell phones and other electronic devices while driving on Big Island roads almost doubled in 2012 over the previous year. Tribune-Herald.


One of the unsuccessful applicants for the Central Maui state Senate seat vacated by Shan Tsutsui has filed a complaint with the state Democratic Party chairman about the process to name a successor, assailing the process as "blatant arrogance" and unfair. Maui News.


A revamped two-dimensional look at how a tsunami would flood the Hawaiian islands is about to change it all, and with it, a rise in home insurance rates could be looming in the horizon. Garden Island.


Aurora Renewable Energy, Inc. has proposed the first combined waste-to-energy/waste-to-product plant to the residents of Molokai as a means of becoming energy independent. Molokai Dispatch.

As the state continues toward its goal of 70 percent clean energy by 2030, Molokai is coming to the forefront of the renewable energy discussion. Hawaii Public Radio.