Friday, June 28, 2013

Google Street View captures Hawaii scenery, Honolulu Rail gets $250M, security guard laws take state by surprise, NSA probes reporter, historic preservation still in trouble, spear fishing at issue, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Rob Pacheco Akaka Falls
Rob Pacheco at Akaka Falls, Google Street View courtesy photo
Hawaii’s volcanoes, rainforests and beaches will soon be visible on Google Street View. Google Inc. said Thursday it was lending its backpack cameras to a Hawaii trail guide company to capture panoramic images of island hiking trails. Associated Press.

The Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau will be using a Google Maps trekker to provide one more way to get visitors to see that the isles mark the spot for their next journey. Star-Advertiser.

As U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye lay dying in Walter Reed National Military Medical Center last December, his two closest confidants were given a somber task: Deliver one final letter to Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie. Civil Beat.

Solar energy has been saving customers hundreds of dollars on their electricity bill, but only for homeowners who can afford thousands of dollars in upfront installation costs. That's about to change. Through green infrastructure financing, residents can apply for state loans to cover the costs of installing rooftop photovoltaic systems or solar water heaters. Customers then repay the loans over time from the energy savings on their electrical bills. Hawaii News Now.

Federal officials previously established a list of 43 criteria that the state agency in charge of protecting Hawaii’s historic and cultural resources had to improve on to avoid being decertified and defunded. A new report from the National Park Service on Thursday found that the state agency had satisfied just nine of the criteria outlined in a two-year "corrective action plan" that was designed to put the State Historic Preservation Division on track. Civil Beat.

A battle is brewing between the state and federal government and it centers on sharks. Three years ago Hawaii was the first government in the world to ban the sale, possession, trade and distribution of shark fins. But now a federal rule threatens to supersede that law which local lawmakers and advocates aren't happy about. Hawaii News Now.

The law was passed nearly three years ago, but new licensing requirements for security guards are still catching many by surprise. The Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs has been flooded with applications, which began arriving by the hundreds in late March. KITV4.

Three more cases of hepatitis A in Hawaii have been linked to a recalled Townsend Farms frozen organic berry mix that caused a multistate outbreak of the illness, bringing the isle total to seven cases. Star-Advertiser.

According to data from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, there are about 153 Hawaiian monk seals left in the eight main Hawaiian Islands and a little over 900 in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Civil Beat.

State roundup for June 28. Associated Press.


Federal lawmakers agreed Thursday to give Honolulu's planned rail project its full $250 million funding share for 2014 — the single largest grant for any new startup project in the nation, officials say. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Police Department officers upset over one captain's attempts to check up on them led to an outbreak of the "blue flu" Monday night, when about half the officers in East Honolulu's District 7 called in sick, sources said. Hawaii News Now.

The long-delayed update to the Ewa Development Plan was approved unanimously by the City Council Zoning and Planning Committee on Thursday, positioning it for a final vote of the full Council in the weeks ahead. Star-Advertiser.

Reporter's Diary: How I Got Probed at the NSA. Civil Beat.

When Paul Groesbeck became executive director of the Life Foundation in 1992, the HIV and AIDS treatment and prevention organization was working with 306 patients — and a year later about 100 of them had died. Star-Advertiser.

City crews uncovered a possible sinkhole in the Kaimuki area Thursday night. It’s on Saint Louis Drive next to City Mill. KHON2.

Hawaiian Telcom, Inc. said Thursday that it has sold a three-acre portion of its 10-acre baseyard in Mapunapuna on Oahu to Honolulu-based Wasa Electrical Services Inc. for about $13.9 million. Pacific Business News.


The state Board of Land and Natural Resources will consider strengthening fishery regulations off the Kona Coast when it meets today. The board is scheduled to discuss and vote on several proposed rules, including ones that would ban spear­fishing by fishermen diving with the aid of scuba gear and limit the collecting of fish for aquariums to a list of 40 species. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii Board of Land and Natural Resources will consider strengthening fishery regulations in waters off the Big Island’s western coast when it meets on Friday. The board is scheduled to discuss and vote on several proposed rules, including ones that would that would ban spearfishing by fishermen diving with the aid of scuba gear and limit aquarium fish collecting to a list of 40 species. Associated Press.

Hawaii County has purchased additional air monitors for the Fire Department to help detect the release of hydrogen sulfide at Puna Geothermal Venture. Tribune-Herald.

A “stakeholders” task force to recommend ways to make the Hawaii County property tax system more fair has become mired in controversy even before it has been formed. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii Island farmers and ranchers plan to rally in opposition of Bill 79 today at 2 p.m. in front of the county building in Hilo. Tribune-Herald.


Maui County Council members began to untangle Wednesday financing arrangements that enabled Ka Hale A Ke Ola Homeless Resource Center to provide low-income housing but also left taxpayers with millions of dollars in unpaid loans.Maui News.

The animal rights organization, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, also known as PETA, has filed a lawsuit in US District Court against the USDA, that includes implication of the East Maui Animal Refuge in Haʻikū, an announcement said. The suit claims the USDA allegedly failed to protect birds covered by the federal Animal Welfare Act. Maui Now.

The embattled Wailuku Main Street Association Inc./Tri-Isle Main Street Resource Center soon may be dissolved following a motion filed Tuesday in 2nd Circuit Court by the state Attorney General's Office. Maui News.

Verdict on reopened pool: warm and wonderful. Maui News.


The Kauai County Council unanimously voted to move forward a bill that would allow the county to govern the use of pesticides and genetically modified organisms on the island. Garden Island.

Kauai County is preparing for a large crowd at a public hearing on a proposed ordinance to strictly regulate pesticide use by large farms. The County Council voted 7-0 Wednesday night to pass Bill 2491 on its first reading. Star-Advertiser.

A bill that would increase license fees for dogs met strong opposition from hunters Wednesday. Garden Island.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Hawaii agriculture gets boost, Abercrombie signs animal cruelty bills, state reacts to gay marriage rulings, former Kauai state rep sentenced for rock theft, Big Island mayor vows to build waste-to-energy, beaches rank fourth, GMO bill advances, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

animal cruelty bill with dog
Gov. Neil Abercrombie signs animal cruelty bill, courtesy photo
During a bill-signing ceremony enlivened by wagging tails and pooch-themed puns, Gov. Neil Abercrombie enacted six laws aimed at curtailing animal cruelty. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii’s agriculture industry is set to establish a strong position in world markets with new laws to help farmers, Gov. Neil Abercrombie said Wednesday. Abercrombie signed seven agriculture-related bills during a ceremony at the state Capitol. Associated Press.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed a bill Wednesday that will provide coffee farmers with funding to combat the coffee berry borer beetle. Tribune-Herald.

The Hawaiian Humane Society calls it a great day for animals and those who care for them. Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed six new laws on Wednesday to help protect them. KHON2.

A federal lawsuit challenging Hawaii laws reserving marriage for heterosexual couples could provide the U.S. Supreme Court a chance to definitively rule on whether same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marriage. Star-Advertiser.

Supporters of same-sex marriage rallied at the State Capitol to celebrate the latest step toward making such unions legal in Hawaii. But they noted that it was still just a step. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii House Speaker Joseph Souki says he will meet with fellow Democrat lawmakers to discuss the ramifications of the Supreme Court's rulings on gay marriage. Associated Press.

Right now Governor Neil Abercrombie doesn't know if more gay marriage legislation is required or what it should say. Hawaii News Now.

The drive for gay marriage in Hawaii will intensify after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that gay couples legally married under state laws are entitled to federal tax and health care benefits. Star-Advertiser.

Given the U.S. Supreme Court's decisions Tuesday to overturn a ban on federal benefits for same-sex couples and to effectively allow same-sex marriages in California, what does this mean for Hawaii? Civil Beat.

Hawaii ranks fourth among 30 states for water quality at its beaches — up from seventh in 2011 but down from third in 2010, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. West Hawaii Today.

It should go without saying that there's a conflict of interest if you can apply for a job and then have a direct say in whether you get the position. But that's apparently okay in certain parts of Hawaii government. Or it was until Wednesday when the Hawaii State Ethics Commission overturned two opinions in favor of a new one requiring the members of any state board or commission to resign before applying for a job that they are in charge of filling. Civil Beat.

Hawaii U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is looking to fill two top staff positions. Amy Asselbaye, her Hawaii-based chief of staff, is departing to devote more time to her work at the Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii Department of Education is supposed to put a laptop or tablet in the hands of every public school student, and it has $8 million to figure out how to make the digital device initiative work during the coming school year. But the department appears to be off to a rocky — and rushed — start. And it’s shaping up as an $8-million gamble that might lead to the loss of many times more. Civil Beat.

Hospital visits and costs associated with mental illness soared between 2009 and 2012 after the state substantially cut mental health services. New statistics released Wednesday by Hawaii Health Information Corp. showed overall increases in emergency room visits, hospital admissions and charges statewide. Star-Advertiser.

A University of Hawaii Hawaiian language instructor is translating English-language classics into Hawaiian. R. Keao NeSmith has translated two well-known Lewis Carroll books from the 1800s for Evertype Publishing in Ireland, “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” and “Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There.” Associated Press.

State briefs 6.27. Associated Press.


Less than a week after Mayor Kirk Caldwell and City Council leaders closed the book on a contentious 2014 budget season, they are agreeing to look at ways to raise more revenues. City Budget Director Nelson Koyanagi told the Council Budget Committee on Wednesday that the administration is amenable to developing more ways for the city to generate additional revenues to pay for services. Star-Advertiser.

What effects will transit spending have on the city budget? A forum this Saturday will examine this question. Hawaii Independent.

Honolulu Police officers have stepped up their presence in the Manoa area, incorporating plain clothes officers into routine patrols, after an up tick in reported crimes. Hawaii News Now.

There’s no question there’s money being generated by thousands of tourists who pay to park and then visit Hanauma Bay. But exactly how much cash is not easily discovered. KHON2.

Demolition recently started on part of the former Honolulu Advertiser building, which will be developed into a $200 million high-rise affordable condominium tower. Pacific Business News.

Sales were strong last week for condominium-hotel units in a planned Ritz-Carlton tower in Waikiki slated to start construction this summer, so why not build another one? That’s what the developer of the Ritz-Carlton Residences Waikiki Beach is considering. Star-Advertiser.


As his newly appointed Environmental Management director told a county panel the Hilo landfill could last another 12 years, Mayor Billy Kenoi vowed Wednesday that a waste-to-energy facility will be “on the ground” by the time he leaves office in 3 1/2 years. West Hawaii Today.

Members of Hawaii Island’s gay and lesbian community said that Wednesday’s Supreme Court rulings in favor of gay marriage mark important milestones in a fight that they think is still far from over. Tribune-Herald.

Stumps are all that remained Wednesday of four jacaranda trees and the rest are in danger of being cut down unless the state Department of Transportation changes its mind, said several concerned Big Island residents and Imua Landscaping Co., the contractor doing the tree removal and trimming. West Hawaii Today.

Organizers of Hawaii Island’s Fourth of July fireworks displays in Hilo and Kona say that the shows will go on, despite both sides struggling to raise funding. Tribune-Herald.


The embattled Wailuku Main Street Association Inc./Tri-Isle Main Street Resource Center soon may be dissolved following a motion filed Tuesday in 2nd Circuit Court by the state Attorney General's Office. Maui News.

Lance Taguchi is Maui County's new auditor. His appointment to the position was confirmed Tuesday when the Maui County Council unanimously adopted a resolution appointing the current county deputy clerk to the new position. Maui News.

Mala boat ramp and the two loading docks at the West Maui boat launch facility will be closed off for about 60 days starting Oct. 14, as agreed upon at a public meeting Tuesday afternoon. Maui News.


The Kauai County Council unanimously voted 7-0 Wednesday night to hold a public hearing on a proposed ordinance to regulate pesticides and GMOs by agricultural farms. Star-Advertiser.

A former state representative was sentenced to community service Wednesday for illegally receiving rocks from a historic preserve and heiau site in 2011. Roland Diaz Sagum III was sentenced to 200 hours of community service. His request to serve the sentence with the Royal Order of Kamehameha was approved by the court. Garden Island.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Hawaii Army survives troop cuts, Abercrombie signs medical marijuana bills, Tulsi loses top staff, Hawaii, Kauai councils mull GMO, Honolulu advances smoking ban, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2013 All Hawaii News
Pohakuloa Training Area (c) 2013 All Hawaii News
The Army in Hawaii escaped big troop cuts — and in fact is gaining about 165 soldiers — under one of the largest organizational changes announced for the land force since World War II. Gen. Ray Odierno, the Army's chief of staff, said Tuesday that the service will shrink by 14 percent by 2017, to 490,000 soldiers from a wartime high of 570,000 soldiers in 2010. The Army will have 33 brigade combat teams, down from 45 today. Star-Advertiser.

U.S. Army Pacific says units in Hawaii and Alaska will gain 700 positions under restructuring announced by Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno.Associated Press.

Medical marijuana bills Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed into law Tuesday have long been needed to update the state's program and shift the focus from law enforcement to medical and health concerns, advocates said. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie on Tuesday signed five bills in a series of afternoon ceremonies at the Capitol, including one to establish a state homeland security office and another to transfer control of the state's medical marijuana program from the Public Safety Department to the Department of Health. Associated Press.

Governor Neil Abercrombie today signed two bills into law relating to the administration of medical marijuana. Maui Now.

Making a Splash: Is Tulsi Gabbard the Next Democratic Party Star? Vogue.

As she looks out from the pages of the just-released July issue of Vogue magazine, the present looks golden for Tulsi Gabbard, Hawaii's freshest member of Congress. But there are signs of a surprising shake-up in her cabinet. Civil Beat.

Sen. Brian Schatz called this morning’s Supreme Court ruling declaring the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional, “a victory for all Americans.” Civil Beat.

Skeptics of man-made global warming need to be “ridiculed” said U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz, a Democrat from Hawaii who spoke at last week’s Netroots Nation gathering in San Jose, Calif. Hawaii Reporter.

Your outrageous electric bills in Hawaii are primarily the result of an ineffective regulatory agency, soaring oil prices and a profit-driven utility company. Civil Beat.

Hawaiian Airlines is planning to slow its rapid expansion after launching or announcing flights to 10 new international destinations in less than three years. Star-Advertiser.

The insurance company Geico won’t, for some seemingly inexplicable reason, cover electric vehicles for new customers. Civil Beat.

Catholic Bishop Larry Silva is now a Knight Companion in the Royal Order of Kamehameha I.  63-year-old Bishop Silva, who was born here in Hawaii, became an honorary member of the Order's  first chapter. There are four royal societies; The Royal Order of Kamehameha is one of them. Hawaii News Now.


Less than a year into a new system, the city of Honolulu intends to terminate its contract with an exclusive vendor for police-initiated motor vehicle tows on Oahu, acknowledging that changes have to be made before a new one is awarded. Star-Advertiser.

The County of Honolulu has already banned smoking at certain beaches and Tuesday the City Council Public Safety Committee unanimously approved a plan to outlaw smoking at all city facilities and bus stops. Hawaii News Now.

The roadwork and lane closures to replace aging waterlines beneath Ward Avenue will go on at least three months longer than utility officials anticipated — and the repaving along Kapiolani Boulevard will continue at least several weeks longer than the city planned, officials say.Star-Advertiser.

Billing problem forces review of thousands of Oahu water bills. Board of Water Supply to send out letters to affected customers this week. KITV4.

The $2 billion Sea-Based X-Band Radar recently left Pearl Harbor to take part in an upcoming test of the nation's ground-based ballistic missile defense system — a key element in the protection of Hawaii and the mainland from North Korean threats, officials said. Star-Advertiser.

The city is building on a grassroots recycling initiative, with a goal of 1,000 bins by the end of this year. Hawaii Independent.

The indictment Tuesday of a 28-year-old Ewa Beach man on three charges of first-degree promotion of prostitution marks the first time that the city prosecutor's office has used legislative reforms to charge a suspected pimp with a Class A felony, a serious charge that carries the possibility of substantial prison time and fines. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii County Councilwoman Margaret Wille is preparing new amendments for her bill to limit the use of genetically modified crops. Tribune-Herald.

The Queen’s Health Systems is exploring an affiliation with the North Hawaii Community Hospital that could include an acquisition of the rural Big Island hospital founded in 1996 by Medtronic founder Earl Bakken. Pacific Business News.

North Hawaii Community Hospital and Queen’s Health Systems — corporate parent of Queen’s Medical Center on Oahu — are exploring an affiliation that officials with both entities say will improve health care on Hawaii Island. West Hawaii Today.

The state Department of Transportation is asking the Hawaii County Water Board to come up with as much as $395,865 over the $3.7 million it’s already committed for the Queen Kaahumanu Highway widening project. West Hawaii Today.


A final environmental assessment with a "finding of no significant impact" has been filed with the state Office of Environmental Quality Control for the 65-acre Central Maui Regional Park that will be built in an area bordered by the Maui Lani subdivision and Kuihelani Highway in Kahului. Maui News.

On the eve of the enactment of a statewide distracted driving law carrying stiffer penalties, Maui police officers stepped up enforcement to give out 265 citations to drivers using cellphones last week. Maui News.

New data on the health of Maui County residents will be highlighted during a presentation this Friday, June 28, at the University of Hawaiʻi Maui College. Maui Now.

High winds shut down the Central Maui Landfill as of 1 p.m. Tuesday, and it will be closed at the same time Wednesday to give workers time to collect windblown debris, according to a Maui County announcement. Maui News.

Five days after the official announcement, Kauai County Councilman Gary Hooser will introduce House Bill 2491 related to pesticides and genetically modified organisms to his colleagues. Garden Island.

Kauai Fire Department officials are reminding residents that they need to get a permit from the fire department by Wednesday, July 3 if they plan to purchase and/or light firecrackers on the Fourth of July. Garden Island.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Hawaii governor signs preschool bills, medical marijuana bills to be signed today, Feds to set rules for Hawaiian Homelands, permit granted for Gene Simmons Maui restaurant, Honolulu council tackles smoking bans, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

preschool bill signing
Hawaii preschoolers sing before bill signing
Surrounded by preschoolers, Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed a bill Monday that expands early childhood education. Even though it’s a far cry from what Abercrombie envisioned, he declared, “No other piece of legislation this year was more important.” The bill funds $1.16 million for administrative costs and $6 million in subsidies to help 900 children. Associated Press.

Hawaii moved closer Monday to providing universal preschool under legislation Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed that establishes a statewide school readiness program. Star-Advertiser.

universal preschool bill
Preschool bill signing
Governor Neil Abercrombie calls the 'school readiness' bill the most important legislation of the session. Parents in Hawaii pay an average of 640-dollars per month to send their child to preschool. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii’s first changes to its medical marijuana laws since their inception 13 years ago will begin with a bill-signing today, after the legislation survived a rather short potential veto list released Monday by Gov. Neil Abercrombie. West Hawaii Today.

Legislative leaders say they plan to meet with other lawmakers this week but do not expect a special session to override any of the nine bills on Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s potential veto list. Star-Advertiser.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie notified lawmakers Monday that he intends to veto just nine of the 293 bills they passed. Last year, he had 20 bills on the list and went on to veto 14. In 2011, his potential veto list included 25 bills and he vetoed 17. Civil Beat.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie on Monday notified Hawaii lawmakers of his intent to veto nine of the 293 measures that passed the Legislature during this year’s session. Pacific Business News.

For the first time in nearly 100 years, the U.S. government may soon have formal rules for the federal law designed to put eligible Native Hawaiians onto homestead lots. The U.S. Department of the Interior on Monday notified the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands of its intent to establish rules related to the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act of 1920, which set up a trust comprising roughly 200,000 acres throughout the islands for homesteading purposes. Star-Advertiser.

On March 1, Gov. Neil Abercrombie called for the formation of a Sequestration Impact Response Team to address nationwide federal spending reductions. The team is still trying to fill the 25 slots with people from government, the military, business and non-profits. Hawaii News Now.

The third National Climate Assessment aims to help federal, state and local officials to adapt to mounting environmental challenges that are likely to result from warming waters, higher average temperatures, more extreme weather, and rising sea levels. Civil Beat.

Hawaii falls smack dab in the middle of a list that rates overall child well-being across the country. Civil Beat.

While some analysts have compared the state’s growing unfunded pension and retirement benefit liabilities as a “tsunami,” overwhelming state taxpayers with an enormous debt, the comparison isn’t valid, says a new Senate Minority report. Hawaii Reporter.

Federal and state authorities are asking boaters to call in when they see dead whales floating at sea. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration regional marine mammal response manager David Schofield says early reporting allows officials to locate dead whales and tow the carcasses away from the islands. Associated Press.

State roundup for June 25. Associated Press.


Three bills designed to curb smoking in public places on Oahu will be on the agenda of the City Council Public Safety and Economic Development Committee today. Star-Advertiser.

A nonprofit group under investigation for possible misuse of federal grant money received nearly $30 million in contracts from the U.S. Department of Defense between 2000 and 2012. Opportunities and Resources, Inc., also known as ORI Anuenue Hale, runs a wellness center and workplace for elderly and developmentally disabled people next to the Dole Plantation in Central Oahu. Civil Beat.

Oahu nonprofit groups may now request as little as $25,000, instead of a minimum of $50,000, from the city's new Grants in Aid Fund, city officials announced Monday. Star-Advertiser.

Although Honolulu's new sidewalk nuisance law is more than two months old, enforcement won't begin until next Monday. The city was forced to delay implementation if Bill 7 until new administrative rules could be written. KITV4.

Aliiolani Hale, the 139-year-old downtown Honolulu building that is home to the Hawaii Supreme Court and the iconic statue of Kame­ha­meha I, is about to undergo nearly $3 million in repairs. Star-Advertiser.

A  plan by a geologist and former mineral exploration company chief executive to establish an organic cacao farm in Wai­kane Valley took a step forward with publication of a draft environmental assessment Sunday. Star-Advertiser.

Members of the public can provide feedback on the latest designs for three planned rail stations — West Loch, Waipahu Transit Center and Leeward Community College — during a 6:30 p.m. meeting today at Waipahu Intermediate school, 94-455 Farrington Highway. Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation, the semiautonomous government agency overseeing the entire rail project, is holding the meeting. Star-Advertiser.


More than 50,000 of the state’s kids — or 17 percent — lived in poverty in 2011, up from 13 percent in 2005. Hawaii County, in particular, continues to have the highest child poverty rate, increasing from 18 percent in 2008 to almost 30 percent in 2011, according to statistics released Monday. West Hawaii Today.


Rock & Brews LLC, a California-based restaurant chain involving rocker Gene Simmons of Kiss fame, which has plans to open in Paia on Maui, is moving ahead as the state of Hawaii recently approved its special management area minor permit. Pacific Business News.

Camp Maluhia, the largest Boy Scouts of America camp in Hawaii, received $1.5 million from the state for facility improvements and repairs as part of $41.2 million in state funding for capital improvement projects released by Gov. Neil Abercrombie on June 6. Maui News.

The Maui County law says sign waving too close to roads, crosswalks or intersections can distract drivers and become a hazard so there are space restrictions. But residents say it's not fair that the law is being selectively enforced. Kevin Olson's sign reads, "MPD spotter van ahead in the Times Super Market parking lot. Be smart." Holding that sign got Kevin Olson a $50 ticket. Hawaii News Now.


The Department of Water will hold informational meetings over the next few weeks to discuss the scheduled 11.2 percent water rate increase that will take effect on July 1. Garden Island.

A proposal to be introduced by the Kauai County Council Wednesday would mean a significant hike in dog-license fees — especially for owners of unneutered and unspayed dogs.Garden Island.

Monday, June 24, 2013

More Hawaii children in poverty, Gabbard in spotlight, Hanabusa, Schatz battle for Senate, Waikiki homeless at issue, unsanctioned trails claim hikers, UH contract woes continue, Ellison to build tennis stadium on Lanai, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2013 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Hawaii father and son (c) 2013 All Hawaii News
The number of children growing up poor in Hawaii has continued to climb, with the families of about 1 in 6 keiki living in poverty, according to new data from the University of Hawaii Center on the Family. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard was featured on ABC's This Week "Sunday Spotlight," where she talked about contributions women have made in the U.S. military, the need to put an end to military sexual assault, and her time in office as a Hawaii representative. Star-Advertiser.

Should Colleen Hanabusa defeat Brian Schatz in the U.S. Senate race, she will owe her ascension largely to lingering affection for Daniel Inouye, the most powerful figure in the state's modern history. It would suggest that the late senator is so influential that he can win victories from beyond the grave. But if Schatz prevails, it could signal the end of an era of a kingmaker in Hawaii politics, and the beginning of a less predictable period. Civil Beat.

Burned by high-technology tax incentives that many tax policy experts thought were too generous and ripe for abuse, state lawmakers have chosen to resurrect a pared-down research and development credit to reward scientific experimentation. Star-Advertiser.

The Public Utilities Commission Finally Generates Some Sparks. Civil Beat.

Signs that Hawaii's superheated solar energy market is beginning to cool have some photovoltaic installation companies pulling out all stops with giveaways and other promotions to drum up new business. Star-Advertiser.

Educators May Give Poor Marks to New Teacher Evaluation System. Civil Beat.

Three Hawaii colleges have committed to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's 2013 Food Recovery Challenge to further reduce food waste on campuses. Star-Advertiser.

Hawai‘i is home to over 12,000 native plant species, with 90% found nowhere else in the world. Hundreds of these plants are endangered and teeter on the brink of extinction. Hawaii Public Radio.

State roundup for June 24. Associated Press.


A 70-year-old man and a 23-year-old woman died this weekend after separate falls from unsanctioned hiking trails on Oahu, and several other hikers were rescued. Star-Advertiser.

It’s the number one complaint by tourists who come to Oahu — the homeless situation in Waikiki. The visitor industry is so important to our state’s economy that tourism officials are now working with the city and state to find a solution. KHON2.

The Royal Order of Kamehameha I will bestow the order of Honorary Alii Knight Companion, 7th degree, on Roman Catholic Bishop Larry Silva, in an investiture ceremony, 6 p.m., June 25, in the Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace in downtown Honolulu. Hawaii News Now.


University of Hawaii at Hilo administrators maintain that their campus will be ready to receive a new crop of students in a new dorm building this fall, despite an ongoing investigation into UH’s procurement process for capitol improvement projects. Tribune-Herald.


Work on the 1.8-meter Pan-STARRS 2 telescope atop Haleakala that will focus on near-Earth objects "has been going very well," with the telescope expected to be operational next month. Maui News.

Nearly one in four bridges in Maui County is structurally deficient and in need of significant repairs or replacement, according to a recent study by Transportation for America. Maui News.

Changes in honey-production regulations, signed into law by Gov. Neil Abercrombie last week, will benefit home-based, uncertified honey producers, also referred to by local beekeepers as the "renegade honey guys," according to a handful of Maui beekeepers. Maui News.

Police Chief Gary Yabuta issued a statement Friday afternoon, responding to an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit alleging that enforcement of Maui County's sign ordinances violates the public's constitutional right to free speech. Maui News.

A state budget bill, signed into law this week, significantly increases funding for forest protection in Hawaiʻi, state officials said. Maui Now.


The administration signed a contract Wednesday morning for a Lihue Bypass Road feasibility study, only to take a lashing from some members of the Kauai County Council in the afternoon for putting money down on a project they believe will likely never go through. Garden Island.

New changes will soon be coming to Kauai High School following the release of $134.7 million in capital improvement projects identified by legislators as key projects needed to stand up the state’s economy and aging public schools. Garden Island.


Oracle Corp. CEO and Lanai majority owner Larry Ellison is bringing his love of tennis to the Pineapple Isle with plans to build a 50-acre tennis academy in town, Pacific Business News has learned.


Larry Helm, a well-known native Hawaiian activist, former political candidate and military veteran on the island of Molokai, has died after a battle with cancer. Hawaii Reporter.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Hawaii deep-sea reefs explored, Mazie finding her mojo, Ellison buys another airline, ACLU sues Maui for sign ordinance, Kauai joins GMO battle, park fees increase, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

NOAA courtesy photo
Northwestern Hawaiian Islands coral reef NOAA photo
Exploration of deep-sea coral reefs in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands is just beginning but already has revealed a slew of species previously not known to inhabit the island chain. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration researchers returned last week from a 26-day trip to four of the northwestern islands and the Johnston Atoll National Wildlife Refuge with specimens of new species of deep-water algae and the first recorded specimens of black coral from Johnston Atoll. Star-Advertiser.

Shark tours are more valuable than shark soup, study finds. Hawaii News Now.

Deep-sea adventure captures humpback whales’ song off Kona. KHON2.

A bureaucratic scuffle between the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the state Department of Health is leaving veterans unable to qualify for VA loans or refinance existing VA loans at lower interest rates. The VA has declined to approve home loans on properties with rainwater catchment systems in Hawaii because the state does not recognize the water as safe for drinking or food preparation. Star-Advertiser.

As Congress works to frame a sweeping immigration reform deal, U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono and 12 other female senators Thursday introduced an amendment they say would treat women more fairly as they seek to come to the U.S. Star-Advertiser.

In a church auditorium here this week, Senator Mazie Hirono enjoyed something of a rock-star welcome. At a female-rich rally on immigration, Hirono was introduced to more than a hundred women from across the country, including the president of the National Organization for Women, as a “champion” of women’s issues. The crowd cheered wildly and began chanting: “Ma-zie! Ma-zie!” Civil Beat.

Local Enough To Be UH Prez? Take Our Quiz! Civil Beat.

The executive director of a Kauai foundation trying to prevent drownings says rescue tube kiosks that have worked on the island are coming to other parts of Hawaii. Associated Press.

Friday Factoid: How Many Pesticides Are Licensed for Sale in Hawaii? Civil Beat.

State 6/21. Associated Press.

State roundup for June 21. Associated Press.


A former Honolulu police officer faces possible state and federal drug charges after police and the Drug Enforcement Administration conducted separate raids at his Pearl City house through the past two months. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii News Now has learned that the FBI is looking into the case of a 35-year-old Kaneohe man who died after he was arrested by police.

What’s the cost of restarting an oil refinery just two months after it was shut down? About $27 million, according to the new owner of Tesoro Corp.’s Kapolei oil refinery. Star-Advertiser.

Honey Bee USA Inc. has revealed more of its $20 million plan to redevelop a part of the Ala Wai Small Boat Harbor called Waikiki Landing with wedding chapels, restaurants, retail and office space, as well as a boat repair facility and fuel dock. Pacific Business News.

Repairs are under way for a historic downtown Honolulu building that houses the Hawaii Supreme Court. Associated Press.

HI Spy: Out of the Honolulu Weekly’s Ashes. Hawaii Public Radio.

Picking up art is not foremost in most customers’ minds as they rummage through the boxes and stacks of literary and musical goodies at the annual Friends of the Library of Hawai‘i Book Sale. But this year’s sale, which begins Saturday, will include catalogs of paintings, prints and art books, according to Friends Executive Director Byrde Cestare. Star-Advertiser.


Those graduation and birthday picnics at a park pavilion will soon cost you more — more than twice as much, in fact. The increases, along with hikes in property taxes, vehicle registration and weight fees and bus fares, all go toward balancing the county’s $394.3 million 2013-14 budget. West Hawaii Today.

The federal Department of Transportation is considering making a new agreement for regular scheduled service to the Waimea airport. Flights are guaranteed to the North Hawaii community through the federal Essential Air Service program, which subsidizes service to rural areas. Tribune-Herald.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Honolulu District, in coordination with the Hawaii Department of Health and various Hawaii County safety and law enforcement agencies, on Wednesday successfully completed investigations for ordnance at the Sandalwood subdivision area and along Kawaihae Road in South Kohala. West Hawaii Today.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s office announced Thursday afternoon releasing more than $134.7 million for capital improvement projects at Hawaii public schools, including $850,000 for work at two Big Island schools. Tribune-Herald.


The American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaiʻi has filed a lawsuit against the County of Maui seeking changes to laws relating to the display of signs on sidewalks and along roadways. Maui Now.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii filed a federal lawsuit against Maui County on Thursday, saying an ordinance placing restrictions on roadway sign-waving is unconstitutional. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Maui residents Chuck Carletta and Mele Stokesberry, who said police threatened to fine them for carrying signs in a Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade in Wai­luku in January. Star-Advertiser.

Two Maui residents are suing to change a county law prohibiting sign waving on sidewalks and roadways. The American Civil Liberties Union filed the lawsuit Thursday in federal court in Honolulu on behalf of Chuck Carletta and Mele Stokesberry. Associated Press.

A divided Maui County Council voted down a request by Mayor Alan Arakawa's administration Wednesday to expedite a bill that would amend the current county budget to explicitly call for the demolition of the Old Wailuku Post Office after the fact in an attempt to resolve a simmering dispute between the mayor and the council. Maui News.

The Maui County Council accepted a donation Wednesday of a personal watercraft and sled and approved some funding for the Department of Fire and Public Safety's budget shortfall this year. Maui News.

Maui Economic Opportunity Inc. has begun construction on its new transportation facility located on 10 acres of former sugar cane land in Puunene, according to an announcement Wednesday. Maui News.

Kauai County Councilman Gary Hooser introduced an ordinance Thursday that would give authority to the county to govern the commercial use of pesticides and genetically modified organisms. Garden Island.

The latest buzz from the Kauai Beekeepers Association is a plea to local government for more transparency and regulations on pesticide use. Garden Island.

State regulators have cleared the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative to build a $42.2 million solar energy facility that would be the state’s largest. Star-Advertiser.

Kauai residents will experience an 11.2 percent water rate increase July 1. It's the third of four increases to pay for upgrades to the island's aging water system. Hawaii News Now.

Officials held a groundbreaking ceremony Thursday at Kauai Raceway Park, also known as Mana Drag Strip, to mark the start of construction of a $1 million project to repair the facilities and resurface the pavement, the state Department of Land and Natural Resources said. Star-Advertiser.

The deadline to provide input on phase two of the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance update is June 28, according to county officials. The CZO, which regulates land use and development on Kauai, is being updated in two phases by the Planning Department with assistance from the consulting firm Helber, Hastert and Fee. Garden Island.


Oracle Corp. CEO Larry Ellison, who bought the island of Lanai a year ago and recently purchased Island Air, is now buying the Hawaii interisland airline go!, Pacific Business News has learned.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Deadline looms for shipping union, medical records cost doubles, UH looks close to home for new president, Tsutsui gets $1 Maui office space, Honolulu strives to be bike-friendly, Abercrombie sign super PAC, budget bills, Ellison clout makes quick work of state permits, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

container ship
Matson container ship courtesy photo
Crew members in charge of sailing Matson ships are nearing a deadline to reach a new contract. KHON2 learned Wednesday night that if both sides don’t have a deal by July 1, the workers can walk off the job.

The cost to convert to electronic medical records at the state’s 14 public hospitals will likely exceed $100 million over five years, nearly double earlier projections. Hawaii Health Systems Corp. says it will need to seek additional funds from the Legislature next year for the largest project in decades at its antiquated facilities that provide acute and long-term care as well as critical access services on Oahu and the neighbor islands. Star-Advertiser.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie has approved a pair of bills imposing new regulations on campaign super PACs. Abercrombie also gave final approval Tuesday to the two-year state budget of $11.8 billion for fiscal year 2014 and $11.9 billion for fiscal year 2015. Star-Advertiser.

The federal government wants Hawaii to give back more than $500,000 in stimulus funds after state officials let a nonprofit spend it on computers and multimedia equipment for at-risk youth. Civil Beat.

The group of University of Hawaii regents assigned to find the next UH president said it will look for a candidate with strong island ties before conducting a national search. That might require reaching beyond academia and widening the candidate pool to include leaders in the business, government and nonprofit sectors. Star-Advertiser.

FACT CHECK — Gov: Hawaii is 'Most Stable' State Government. Civil Beat.

Hawaii is ranked eighth in the nation for most entrepreneurial activity, according to a report in CNN Money. Pacific Business News.

You've probably seen the logo for "Defend Hawaii," a streetwear company, on T-shirts or on vehicles. It's the two words sandwiching an AR-15 assault rifle. The company's owner says it can be misinterpreted as perhaps being anti-American or anti-haole, but he maintains it's to protect the Hawaii way of life. Hawaii News Now.


Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell joined local cyclists, federal environmental protection officials and state and city workers on Wednesday to ride more than six miles through town, promoting bicycling as a healthier, more affordable way to commute. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell wants to encourage a more bike-friendly city. So we strapped a camera on his handlebars and watched him roll. Civil Beat.

Nearly 40 nonprofit organizations represented at a meeting Wednesday for those wishing to apply grants from the city ran the gamut of interests — from one of the state’s largest hospital systems to a group that wants to provide birth control tablets to feral pigeons. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaiian Electric Co. hopes to reduce electricity costs by adding more lower-priced, renewable energy projects. HECO said Wednesday it is asking state regulators for permission to negotiate with developers of five renewable energy projects that want to sell electricity to the utility for one-third less than HECO's current cost of generating power. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawai’i Community Development Authority conducted back-to-back public hearings today for two condominium projects in downtown Kaka’ako. Hawaii Public Radio.


Recently released data from Hawaii’s Department of Aquatic Resources indicates that the overall number of reef fish off the coast of Puako has fallen by between 43 percent and 69 percent over the last quarter-century, and off of Pauoa, the fish population dropped between 49 and 76 percent. Civil Beat.

Less than half of Hawaii County residents responding to a Hawaii Police Department survey believe the agency does a good job keeping the island safe, but most said they are comfortable contacting the department and were treated with “aloha and respect” by officers. West Hawaii Today.

Three sovereignty activists who were arrested on April 5 near the King Kamehameha the Great statue on the Hilo Bayfront were in Hilo District Court on Wednesday. Judge Barbara Takase delayed hearings for Abel Simeona Lui, Simbralynn Kanakaole and Kittrena Morgan until July 24 at 1:30 p.m. All have pleaded not guilty to illegal camping at their “Kanaka Garden” near the statue of the Hawaiian monarch at the Wailoa State Recreational Area. Tribune-Herald.

A 69-year-old Ocean View man awaiting trial for allegedly molesting two underage girls was a deacon and youth mentor for a church in the remote Ka‘u community for at least a part of the time the abuse was alleged to have occurred. Tribune-Herald.

Kekaha Kai State Park remained closed for a second day Wednesday while a 28-year-old Kailua-Kona man remained hospitalized, recovering from shark bites to his leg. The shark attack occurred shortly before 1 p.m. Tuesday afternoon in waters off the Mahaiula area. West Hawaii Today.

Lt. Governor Shan Tsutsui signed a $1 lease agreement with the mayor, which allows him to utilize office space at the County Building for the next 18 months, officials said. Maui Now.

Maui Electric Co. announced its plan Tuesday to refund $7.8 million, plus interest, to its customers on Maui, Molokai and Lanai. The refund will be in the form of a credit on customers' bills, the utility said. Maui News.

A proposed waiver that surfaced in a special meeting of the county council today failed to pass as an investigation looms over potential misuse of funds involving the demolition of the Old Wailuku Post Office. Maui Now.

Saying a recent rash of unscheduled cane fires has endangered residents and firefighters while taxing Fire Department resources, Fire Chief Jeff Murray asked for help from the community by reporting suspicious activity. Maui News.

The Texas-based landowner of a controversial 700,000-square-foot retail shopping complex in Kihei has taken over development of the project and plans to change its concept to a "mixed-use" development with business, commercial and residential uses, a representative for the project said Tuesday. Maui News.

An education specialist with the state Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Aquatic Resources will discuss coral reef trends, threats and management from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Pacific Whale Foundation's Discovery Center near Maalaea Harbor. Maui News.

For the fifth straight year, residents and visitors can participate in the Mayor-a-thon, an event that draws hundreds of people to the multi-use coastal path, Ke Ala Hele Makalae, for a day of fun, exercise and a chance to win prizes. Garden Island.

The residents of Kalaheo, Omao and Lawai who were unable to attend the kick-off events for the South Kauai Community Plan update are encouraged to share their thoughts on the future of their communities at a workshop scheduled next week. Garden Island.

George Thompson, owner of Fathom Five Divers in Koloa, has been chosen to represent Kauai as an advisory council member for the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary. Garden Island.

Oracle Corp. CEO Larry Ellison has quite the influence and power. The billionaire, who became the majority owner of Lanai last year, managed to leverage his relationship with Nobu Malibu to briskly open a Nobu restaurant on Lanai at Four Seasons Resort Lanai at Manele Bay in less than a year. Pacific Business News.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Abercrombie unlikely to veto much, Oahu prison guard dies when rescuers can't find the key, shark taste-tests Kona man, Honolulu rail depot downsized, more on Dems lawsuit, Hawaii Island faces hikes on vehicle taxes, bus fares, Maui sugarcane fires suspicious, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie
Abercrombie bill signing
Gov. Neil Abercrombie says he is likely to complete his list of potential vetoes ahead of Monday's deadline to notify the state Legislature and that the list will probably be a short one. Star-Advertiser.

The Democratic Party of Hawaii has taken the politically risky step of asking a federal judge to throw out a provision of the state constitution protecting the “secrecy of voting” and the confidentiality of voters’ party affiliations. Civil Beat.

In a federal lawsuit, the Democratic Party of Hawaii claims the state's primary election law is unconstitutional. Associated Press.

The new leader of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, a nonprofit hui focused on public policy, has already identified two policy areas as priorities: the cabotage laws that govern maritime rules in U.S. waters (the Jones Act) and the formation of a race-based government (the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission). Civil Beat.

Hawaii's elementary- and high-school teaching degree programs are among the worst in the country when it comes to preparing new teachers for the classroom, according to a new report that slams many of the nation's teacher colleges. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii is one of six states chosen by the National Governors Association to receive help with early childhood education. Associated Press.

Hawaii is home to one of the largest and most powerful military complexes in the world yet fails to produce a large cadre of local kids who are qualified to enter its ranks, according to experts who say declining military eligibility across the country is posing a threat to national security. Civil Beat.


Community feedback on the size and scope of Honolulu's future rail stations has helped save the project some $100 million in design and construction costs, the city's top rail official said Tuesday. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation on Tuesday released renderings of three proposed rail station designs, and it plans to hold a series of public meetings next week to gather input on the designs. Pacific Business News.

A veteran Oahu Community Correctional Center sergeant died on the job Saturday night after suffering an apparent cardiac arrest, and prisons officials were delayed in getting him medical treatment because they couldn't find the key to get to his secured post. Hawaii News Now.

A community group opposing Turtle Bay Resort expansion plans has renewed a push to block the project by challenging the validity of a 27-year-old state approval for enlarging the resort on Oahu's North Shore. Star-Advertiser.

When the sun goes down, beaches up and down the Leeward coast are filled with night fishermen. That's when Ro Domondon catches ulua and other fish that swim close to the shoreline. Hawaii News Now.

Oahu’s first stand-alone zip line planned for Aiea. KHON2.


By bus or by car, your ride is soon going to cost you more. The Hawaii County Council on Tuesday advanced bills doubling bus fares and car registration and vehicle weight taxes. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources
A shark bit the leg of a man swimming at a West Hawaii beach Tuesday afternoon but released him and swam away, allowing the man to get back to shore. Star-Advertiser.

A 28-year-old Kailua-Kona man is recovering from shark bites to his leg following an attack Tuesday afternoon in waters off the Mahaiula area of Kekaha Kai State Park in North Kona. West Hawaii Today.

A man was bitten by a 14-foot shark while swimming at Kekahakai State Park's Mahaiula Beach on the Big Island of Hawaii Tuesday afternoon. Hawaii News Now.

A proposal to give the County Council members’ appointed staff a 4 percent raise was tabled Tuesday after a lengthy discussion over step increases. Tribune-Herald.

Dozens of construction workers could lose their jobs on a bioenergy plant project in Pepeekeo following a decision in a labor dispute. Tribune-Herald.

A parade of county dignitaries and former leaders came to the West Hawaii Civic Center on Tuesday to witness the final chapter of a 35-year saga. West Hawaii Today.


A spate of suspicious sugar cane field fires in Central Maui within a month has resulted in the loss of an estimated $182,500 to the sugar crop, firefighters said Tuesday. Although the cause of the fires remains undetermined, fire officials believe the fires may have been intentionally set because there are no obvious points of ignition. Star-Advertiser.

Maui County Council's Policy and Intergovernmental Affairs Committee advanced a resolution Monday to formally investigate possible misuse of public funds by Mayor Alan Arakawa's administration over the demolition of the Old Wailuku Post Office. Maui News.

The Texas-based landowner of a controversial 700,000-square-foot retail shopping complex in Kihei has taken over development of the project and plans to change its concept to a "mixed-use" development with business, commercial and residential uses, a representative for the project said Tuesday. Maui News.

The Polynesian voyaging canoe, Hōkūleʻa arrived at Māʻalaea Harbor on Maui last night as part of the Mālama Hawaiʻi leg of its worldwide voyage. Maui Now.

Despite Kauai being ranked No. 2 on Trip-Advisor’s 2013 list of “Top 10 Islands” in the United States, the latest report from Hospitality Advisors LLC shows a decline in occupied hotel rooms during the month of April. Garden Island.

State and county officials expect the number of emergency medical response calls to rise as the elderly population on Kauai grows. Garden Island.

‘Bureaucratic abuse’: Hawaii vets wait a decade for center, services. Hawaii Reporter.