Friday, February 28, 2014

Hawaii economy growing beyond tourism, Obama to help Hawaii's ailing Health Connector, Alaska wants humpbacks delisted, minimum wage bill closer to agreement, Lanai plane crash aftermath, Clayton Hee building war chest, nurses get raises, Mufi Hannemann disliked, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy Pacific Whale Foundation
Maui whale count courtesy Pacific Whale Foundation
The state of Alaska has filed a petition to remove some North Pacific humpback whales from protections granted under the federal Endangered Species Act, saying the whales are thriving and no longer need them. The petition filed Wednesday with the National Marine Fisheries Service aims to delist humpbacks that feed in Alaska in the summer and breed in Hawaii in winter, the Anchorage Daily News reported. Associated Press.

University of Hawaii economists are predicting the state's economy will grow slightly faster as the recovery expands beyond the tourism industry. The university's Economic Research Organization said in a report Friday Hawaii's gross domestic product is likely to grow 2.9 percent this year, up from 2.6 percent last year. Hawaii News Now.

Following two years of record-breaking growth, tourism officials say Hawaii’s tourism economy is starting to plateau. According to the Hawaii Tourism Authority, while visitor arrivals in January are on pace with last year’s numbers which contributed to a record of 8.2 million annual visitors, expenditures were down 4.7 percent compared to the same period last year. KHON2.

States such as Hawaii that have experienced technical problems running their own health care enrollment websites are getting some help from the Obama administration. Associated Press.

In a potential framework for an agreement, the state House Finance Committee on Thursday approved a bill that would increase the minimum wage to $10 an hour by January 2018 and expand the tip credit to $1 while shielding low-income workers. The $7.25-an-hour minimum wage would gradually rise to $10 an hour over four years, giving businesses time to absorb the increase. The 25-cent tip credit — the amount businesses can deduct from the minimum wage for workers who earn tips — would rise to $1 over three years. Star-Advertiser.

Facing a key internal deadline Friday, state senators and representatives are trying to reach agreement on a minimum wage increase and tip credit. A Senate committee on Thursday deferred decision making on its version of a wage hike until Friday morning — the second delay on a vote this week. Civil Beat.

Debate will continue today over how much Hawaii businesses should compensate their minimum-wage employees. The state’s benchmark has remained at $7.25 an hour — the same as the current federal minimum — since 2007. Tribune-Herald.

State Sen. Clayton Hee has more than $460,000 in cash on hand, meaning he has the money to help stave off challengers or run for higher office. Hee told Civil Beat the money gives him the “flexibility” to consider a run for governor or lieutenant governor, but that he hasn’t made a decision yet.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie Thursday declined to say whether he plans to reappoint Hawaii Public Utilities Chairwoman Hermina Morita when her term ends June 30. Morita's future as head of the regulatory agency was thrown into doubt recently after an Abercrombie staff member reportedly said the governor did not intend to reappoint her. Star-Advertiser.

Elwin Ahu, a former state judge who serves as senior pastor at New Hope Metro, announced Thursday that he would run in the Republican primary for lieutenant governor. Star-Advertiser.

A bill aimed at establishing a community food forest program within the state Department of Agriculture is headed to the House floor. Garden Island.

A bill currently going through the state Legislature would require mediation be sought before arbitration in determining the sale price or lease rental of state lands. Tribune-Herald.

A state program aiming to help low- and moderate-income families send their children to a licensed preschool is opening its doors to new applicants. Hawaii News Now.

The Hawaii Government Employees Association unit representing registered professional nurses has ratified a new two-year contract with pay raises. The unit, which covers about 1,700 public-sector nurses, agreed to a 4 percent pay raise retroactive to January and a 4.3 percent raise effective in July. The government will also cover 60 percent of health insurance premiums. Star-Advertiser.

DBEDT has released two new applications showing demographic information for Hawaii's legislative districts. Hawaii Reporter.

On Tap at the Hawaii Legislature: Feb. 28. Civil Beat.


A new Civil Beat Poll shows nearly 60 percent of Oahu voters have a negative impression of former Honolulu mayor Mufi Hannemann. Just 32 percent view him in a positive light. Asked whether they would vote for Hannemann were he to run for political office this year, 28 percent said "very unlikely" and 20 percent said "somewhat unlikely."

A Honolulu City Council committee is putting off decision-making on a request to raise the height limit for a second hotel-condominium tower on Kuhio Avenue to be operated and managed by the Ritz-Carlton chain, following objections raised by the project's neighbors. Star-Advertiser.

State senators Thursday agreed to revive a bill that could enable the state to acquire undeveloped North Shore land owned by Turtle Bay Hotel and Resort through eminent domain. Star-Advertiser.

The state Supreme Court has agreed to consider a lawsuit protesting a plan to build a 3,500 homes on farmland in Koa Ridge in central Oahu. The development by Castle and Cooke Hawaii would turn 576 acres of prime agricultural land into master-planned suburban community more than two miles away from the nearest planned rail station. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Community Development Authority (HCDA) executive director Anthony Ching said in a public meeting that there would be an announcement about a new, projected preschool-kindergarten building as part of the Kakaako redevelopment plan. Hawaii Independent.


A former Puna councilman is ready to throw his hat in the ring again — it’s just a matter of which ring. Fred Blas has filed to run for two offices, Council District 4, which covers eastern Puna and is currently represented by Greggor Ilagan, and House District 4, also in Puna, currently represented by Faye Hanohano. West Hawaii Today.

Mayor Billy Kenoi provided some insight Thursday into why he signed a controversial measure banning new genetically modified organisms from growing in Hawaii County. West Hawaii Today.

The UH Board of Regents recently approved a sublease for the planned Thirty Meter Telescope atop Mauna Kea on Hawai’i island. Hawaii Public Radio.

The logistics of travel and communication and how Maui County serves its four-island community will likely be on the public agenda in the wake of Wednesday night's fatal plane crash on Lanai. Star-Advertiser.

A small plane crashed and burst into flames shortly after takeoff from Lanai, killing three people and leaving three others injured, authorities said Thursday. Associated Press.

“This is a tragedy that has stunned our community, but we are also thankful for those whose lives were spared,” said Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa who hosted a press conference to share information on Wednesday’s deadly plane crash on the island of Lānaʻi. Maui Now.

Grief and relief rose as the dominant emotions Thursday in the aftermath of a charter plane crash that left three people dead and three others injured in charred grassland in central Lanai. Two of the dead and three of the injured were Maui County employees on Lanai to attend a planning commission meeting Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

The surviving passenger who is credited with pulling two others from the burning wreckage of Wednesday’s plane crash on Lāna‘i has released a statement to reassure family and friends of his condition. Maui Now.

After a small chartered aircraft carrying Maui County officials crashed near the Lanai Airport on Wednesday night, a deputy attorney for Maui County called 911 to alert emergency officials to the crash and then pulled two other victims from the wreckage, friends and coworkers tell Hawaii News Now.

The Maalaea small boat harbor on Maui could receive up to $4 million in improvements under legislation being considered by the Hawaii Legislature. Pacific Business News.

The Maui Planning Commission unanimously approved a new, family-focused, 200-room hotel in Wailea. Maui News.


Representatives of Hawaii Dairy Farms spent Thursday evening laying out their plans for the $17.5 million, 582-acre dairy in Mahaulepu. Garden Island.

The Honolulu firm of McCorriston Miller Mukai MacKinnon has been selected to represent Kauai County in a lawsuit filed by seed four seed companies that want to block the implementation of a new ordinance regulating pesticide use and genetically modified crops. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu firm of McCorriston Miller Mukai MacKinnon LLP has been selected to represent the County of Kauai in a lawsuit filed by four biotech seed companies relating to Ordinance 960, regulating GMO and pesticides. Garden Island.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Voters say raise minimum wage, don't legalize marijuana; plane crash kills Maui County planners, Health Connector ailing, Hawaii County asks for waste-to-energy bids, oysters making a comeback, Hawaii tops in nursing home care, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2014 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Hotel workers rally in Waikiki file photo (c) 2014 All Hawaii News
A large majority of people in the state are in favor of a substantial increase in the minimum wage, a new Civil Beat Poll shows. But the state should not legalize marijuana for recreational use. Increasing the wage from $7.25 an hour to at least $9.25 is something that 68 percent of statewide registered voters agree on. But 59 percent of respondents said they do not want the Aloha State to follow Washington and Colorado in allowing residents to smoke marijuana.

Hawaii has the highest percentage of nursing homes that earned a five-star rating in a new U.S. News & Word Report report, which ranked Hawaii as the No. 1 state in long-term care for best nursing home facilities. Pacific Business News.

The head of the Hawaii Health Connector acknowledged for the first time Wednesday that the state-based insurance exchange won't be sustainable beyond this year. The Connector, the online health insurance marketplace created by the federal Affordable Care Act, needs $15 million a year to operate but expects to earn only $1 million this year from fees. Star-Advertiser.

The head of Hawaii's online health insurance marketplace told state lawmakers Tuesday that it isn't earning enough to pay its bills beyond 2014. Tom Matsuda, the interim executive director of the Hawaii Health Connector, told the House Finance Committee that because so few people have used it, the Health Connector won't break even after this year. About 4,500 people have enrolled in individual insurance plans since the Health Connector launched in October. Associated Press.

Hawaii’s political and military leaders are worried proposed cuts to the military will affect the state’s economy and national security. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel this week announced the Obama administration’s plans to cut the U.S. Army to its smallest size since before World War II. Hawaii Reporter.

Hawaii lawmakers want to carve out an exception in the state Ethics Code so public schools can continue raising money for nonprofit organizations — if it’s educational. Teachers were advised in December to stop encouraging students from participating in the Macy’s “A Million Reasons to Believe” promotion because state employees aren’t allowed to use public resources for private business activities, which generally includes supporting or promoting charities. Civil Beat.

A bill that would mandate the use of “Made in Hawaii” labeling for local agricultural products was approved today during a joint meeting of three state Senate committees. Big Island Now.

Seven of the truly worst things about Hawaii. No, really. Hawaii Independent.

Hawaiian Airlines is suspending daily service to Fukuoka, Japan, due to low demand, the second Asian city it has dropped within the past year after an aggressive international expansion. Star-Advertiser.

On Tap at the Hawaii Legislature: Feb. 27. Civil Beat.


City Council leaders said they are generally supportive of Mayor Kirk Caldwell's plan to eliminate roughly 600 vacant job positions and cut the funding for additional slots, a plan projected to save $37 million annually for the money-strapped city budget. Caldwell made the announcement Wednesday, one of several new initiatives unveiled during his second State of the City address. Star-Advertiser.

A plan by Mayor Kirk Caldwell to start charging Oahu property owners $10 a month for trash pickup was shot down by the Honolulu City Council Budget Committee Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

The Mayor of Honolulu delivered his annual State of the City address today…his second since taking office last year. Hawaii Public Radio.

More than one out of every five public schools on Oahu failed to comply with federal school food safety regulations in one or more of the three past academic years, according to data from the state Department of Health. Specifically, the schools were not inspected by state health officials twice annually in at least one of those years — the minimum number of checks required by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which oversees the national school lunch and breakfast programs. Civil Beat.

Trevor Ozawa, a Hawaii Kai resident and attorney, will run to replace Honolulu City Councilman Stanley Chang who is leaving his position to run for U.S. Congress, according to a media release. Civil Beat.

Kamehameha Schools added details to another piece of its Kakaako development master plan Wednesday, announcing a project called 400 Keawe expected to add 183 homes in two midrise buildings in early 2016. The roughly $60 million project is made up of a six-story condominium with 95 units developed by Castle & Cooke Homes Hawai‘i Inc., and a seven-story apartment building with 88 rentals developed by Kamehameha Schools. Star-Advertiser.

Oysters grown in a nutrient-rich ancient Hawaiian fishpond for about seven months, hit the local market Monday afternoon as the first state-certified commercial harvest in decades. Star-Advertiser.

Developing Agriculture: HCDA Helps Restore Kalo Fields in Windward Oahu. Civil Beat.


Mayor Billy Kenoi on Wednesday laid out an aggressive time line to locate a waste-to-energy facility — by far the county’s largest public works project — at the site of the Hilo landfill before he leaves office in 2016. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii County could receive $306,237 to evict the little fire ant from its parks. The Senate Committee on Ways and Means will consider a bill today to provide the funds to the county Parks and Recreation Department as part of a pilot project. Tribune-Herald.

An amendment going before the county’s planning commissions will bring the county’s zoning code into line with the state Land Use Commission rules. West Hawaii Today.


A chartered plane carrying five Maui County employees crashed moments after attempting to take off from the Lanai airport Wednesday night, killing three, critically injuring two and seriously injuring a sixth person, county officials say. Hawaii News Now.

Three people killed and three injured in a fiery plane crash on Lanai Wednesday night were Maui County employees returning on a chartered plane after attending a Lanai Planning Commission Meeting. A Maui County news release said the three people killed were the pilot of the plane and two Department of Planning employees. Two other planning employees were in critical condition and a deputy attorney for the Corporation Counsel was in serious condition. Star-Advertiser.

Three people are dead, and three others are injured after a plane chartered by the County of Maui crashed about a mile outside of the Lānaʻi on Wednesday night. County officials have since confirmed that the pilot and two Department of Planning employees suffered fatal injuries in the crash. Maui Now.

A plane crashed about a half-mile from Lanai Airport on Wednesday night, according to police and a witness near the crash site. Maui News.

Lifeguard Tamara Paltin has launched a campaign for Maui County mayor that's short on money and election paraphernalia, but, she says, long on her concern for addressing community issues. Maui News.


At least one county councilman wants the public to know the whole story. Kauai County Councilman Mel Rapozo said Wednesday he will make a motion, at a later time, to release executive session minutes to the public dealing with the civil suit filed by Councilman Tim Bynum against the county. Garden Island.

Kauai County is paying more than $250,000 to settle a wrongful prosecution lawsuit by County Councilman Tim Bynum, Hawaii News Now has learned. Bynum's suit accused former Prosecutor Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho of retaliating against him by filing criminal charges after he questioned the financial activities of the prosecutor's office.

‘Every time it rains, we flood’ Kamalu Road resident has been battling culvert issue for 7 years. Garden Island.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Wide open race for Congress, back pay coming to substitute teachers, mayors fight for TAT, Caldwell's state of the city today, Deedy transcripts unsealed, new auditor for Hawaii County, Ellison plans Lanai hydroponics, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2014 All Hawaii News
Matson container ship at Hilo Harbor (c) 2014 All Hawaii News
Two sticky messes cut into Matson Inc. profits by more than half in the fourth quarter, though Hawaii's largest ocean cargo transportation firm still increased full-year earnings. Star-Advertiser.

Mayors and county council members pleaded with state lawmakers Tuesday to give them millions of dollars in extra hotel tax money Hawaii collects each year. The House Finance Committee passed a bill that would lift the cap on the counties’ share of the Transient Accommodations Tax, which the Legislature imposed in 2011. Civil Beat.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell and Maui County Mayor Alan Arakawa told the state House on Tuesday that counties will be under increased pressure to raise taxes and fees unless the state lifts the cap on the counties' share of hotel room taxes. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii lawmakers want the chance to research police misconduct without being told an officer’s disciplinary file has already been destroyed. On Tuesday, the House Judiciary Committee passed a bill that seeks to increase transparency about bad behavior inside Hawaii’s county police departments by forcing agencies to include more information in annual misconduct reports to the Legislature. Civil Beat.

State Rep. Richard Fale said Tuesday that he intends to challenge state Sen. Clayton Hee in an election that could serve as a referendum on gay marriage. Fale, a Mormon, was one of the most vocal opponents of gay marriage during the special session last fall. The Republican believes lawmakers should have let voters decide the issue through a state constitutional amendment. Hee, chairman of the Senate Judiciary and Labor Committee, helped craft the gay marriage bill. Star-Advertiser.

A simple test that can save babies lives isn't mandatory in Hawaii. Last year, a measure that would have required newborns to be screened for congenital heart defects before leaving the hospital didn't make it through the House's health committee. More than 30 states have already enacted similar measures. Hoping to resuscitate the issue, a constituent approached Sen. Mike Gabbard about writing and sponsoring a bill, Senate Bill 2194, with more precise language than last year's bill, which some lawmakers believe was so broad that it resulted in its demise. Civil Beat.

More than 7-thousand children enter the state’s Juvenile Justice System each year and many require treatment and services that are currently nonexistent.  As HPR’s Wayne Yoshioka reports, lawmakers are considering funding these services before it’s too late.

Checks are on the horizon for an estimated 10,000 Hawaii substitute teachers who are owed a share of a $14 million settlement for back-pay claims from more than a decade ago. Star-Advertiser.

Howard Green thought he was helping farmers, such as himself, sell more of their products directly to customers. Instead, the bill he offered to lawmakers raised concerns the state Legislature might again be trying to undermine county regulations on genetically modified crops and pesticides for the second time this session. Tribune-Herald.

The Democratic primary races for governor and U.S. senator are closely fought contests, as Civil Beat reported this week.Gov. Neil Abercrombie and state Sen. David Ige are tied, as are U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz and U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa. That's not the case in the race to replace Hanabusa in the 1st Congressional District. But two of the seven candidates — Donna Mercado Kim and Mark Takai — lead the pack with 25 percent and 20 percent of the vote, respectively. All other candidates we surveyed are in single digits, and over one-third of those polled are unsure of who'll they vote for.

A little more than two weeks after vandals broke a priceless window at Iolani Palace, an influential senator wants to change law enforcement jurisdiction there to the state Sheriff's Division. Hawaii News Now.

On Tap at the Hawaii Legislature: Jan. 26. Civil Beat.


Mayor Kirk Caldwell is expected to announce in his State of the City speech Wednesday that he plans to eliminate 618 vacant positions and cut funding for additional slots, moves intended to free up $37 million annually in the city's $2 billion operating budget. Star-Advertiser.

When Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell delivers his second State of the City address today, it won't be at Honolulu Hale, or even Kapolei Hale in the  "Second City." For the first time, it will be delivered at McCoy Pavilion at Ala Moana Park. Hawaii News Now.

A bill allowing Oahu residents to once again set off sparklers and other novelty fireworks legally to ring New Year's Day and the Fourth of July was deferred by the City Council Public Safety and Economic Development Committee Tuesday due to technical reasons. Star-Advertiser.

A key committee in the Hawaii Senate has given its stamp of approval to two bills aimed at mitigating erosion on Oahu’s North Shore. Senate Bill 3035 sets aside money to realign Kamehameha Highway that runs by Laniakea Beach. Civil Beat.

Honolulu Community College says its accrediting agency reaffirmed its accreditation this month. The Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges at the Western Association of Schools and Colleges also removed the school's warning status. Associated Press.

A state judge has granted a request by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser to release the transcripts of closed court proceedings before she declared a mistrial in federal agent Christopher Deedy's murder case. Star-Advertiser.

Deedy Transcripts Revealed: 'Not Something We See Every Day' Civil Beat.

More than $90,000 was spent to improve Koko Head Shooting Complex, after reports of stray bullets flying into homes and cars. But some residents say the repairs are not enough. KHON2.

Olive Garden Italian Restaurant — which is postponing the opening of its first Hawaii location, as I reported on Monday — on Tuesday launched the “most comprehensive menu evolution in its history.” Pacific Business News.

The latest installment of Jurassic Park is set to film in the islands and a local talent agency tells KHON2 that the film’s casting department is looking for local extras to be a part of the movie.


Hawaii County may soon have a new legislative auditor, more than a year after the position became vacant. Bonnie Nims, a senior performance auditor who worked for 16 years for the state of Washington and more recently, as a performance auditor supervisor at the American Samoa Government Territorial Audit Office, would be appointed in Resolution 313, scheduled to be voted on March 7 by the Hawaii County Council. If the resolution is passed, she will begin work May 1. West Hawaii Today.

Three County Council members are toting armloads of questions and ideas on their trip this weekend to the National Association of Counties conference in Washington, D.C. West Hawaii Today.

Nearly every school on the Big Island will benefit in some way from the recent release of $62.4 million in capital improvement project monies for Hawaii Department of Education facilities. Tribune-Herald.

Kamehameha Schools does not currently have a plan to open a K-12 campus in West Hawaii, a spokesman said Tuesday morning. West Hawaii Today.

Using local products to feed fish and animals could help the Big Island’s food sustainability and self-sufficiency. That was the conclusion of a draft environmental assessment prepared by the Oceanic Institute of Hawai‘i Pacific University for its long-planned Feeds Research and Pilot Production Facility, which it would build at the University of Hawaii at Hilo’s Farm Laboratory at the Panaewa Agricultural Park. Big Island Now.


Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa today announced the county’s purchase of more than 148 acres of land at Launiupoko as part of the planned “Pali-to-Puamana” parkway. The parcel is one of two being acquired for a total price tag of $13 million, following an agreement reached with the seller, Makila Land Co. LLC, and approved by the Maui County Council in December. Maui Now.

While tiger sharks along Maui's coastline recently have captured the attention of marine experts statewide, research biologist Robin Baird has been focusing on other sea creatures, tracking whales and dolphins in hopes of understanding where they travel and why. Maui News.

The county Department of Housing and Human Concerns is proposing the construction of a 64-unit affordable housing project in Pukalani. The Kulamalu project is proposed for construction on more than four acres of land, bounded by ʻŌhiʻa Kū Street and ʻAʻapueo Parkway, and located west of the Kula Highway. Maui Now.

A new program that offers grants or loans to growing and stable businesses and nonprofit organizations in Maui County rolled out last week through the Mayor's Office of Economic Development. Maui News.


A federal judge on Monday granted a Kauai councilman’s request to dismiss a civil suit that claimed he was the target of illegal prosecution by the county over zoning law violations. Garden Island.

Some local residents and environmental groups are voicing concerns about Hawaii Dairy Farms, the $17.5 million dairy planned for Kauai’s South Shore. Garden Island.

Kaua‘i GMO legal bout enters round two. National non-profits the Center for Food Safety and Earthjustice enter the ring on behalf of Kaua‘i County and its under-siege law. Hawaii Independent.


Oracle Corp. CEO Larry Ellison, the majority owner of the Hawaiian island of Lanai, plans to build a facility that would house aquaponics and hydroponics sustainable food systems to produce fresh produce and fish for Lanai residents visitors. Pacific Business News.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Schatz-Hanabusa still tied for Senate, GMO could be on Maui ballot, food safety rules tighten, Hanohano meets with speaker, minimum wage opposed, Kauai mulls redistricting, drones on the Big Island, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

democratic candidates for U.S. Senate, Hawaii
Brian Schatz and Colleen Hanabusa
Just five months before the first votes are cast, likely Democratic primary voters are evenly split on who to support for the U.S. Senate. A new Civil Beat Poll shows U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz and U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa with 40 percent each. Another 20 percent are not sure who they'll vote for. This is the third time Civil Beat has polled the Schatz-Hanabusa matchup in eight months, and there has been very little movement in either direction for either candidate.

Scientists revealed the results of a comprehensive study relating to the levels of radiation in the Pacific Ocean as a result of the Fukushima nuclear disaster. As it relates to Hawaii, the findings were positive. Hawaii News Now.

A new wide-ranging set of food safety rules went into effect Monday for some 10,000 restaurants, lunch wagons and food establishments in Hawaii, but the state Health Department will not begin enforcement until June. Peter Oshiro, state environmental health program manager, said inspectors will visit every food establishment in the state to explain the new rules before enforcing regulations that require everything from gloves for those who handle food to patron notification of the risk of eating raw and undercooked food. Star-Advertiser.

The Senate Health Committee held an emotional hearing Monday as senators began vetting Gov. Neil Abercrombie's appointee for director of the Department of Health — a position left vacant when Director Loretta Fuddy died in December after a plane crash off Molokai. Star-Advertiser.

State Rep. Faye Hanohano met privately Monday with House leaders to give her side of the controversy that has swirled around her conduct. Hanohano, who had postponed two previously scheduled meetings with House leaders last week, spoke with House Speaker Joseph Souki, House Vice Speaker John Mizuno, House Majority Leader Scott Saiki and others for about a half-hour. Rep. Marcus Oshiro accompanied Hanohano in what he described as "moral support." Star-Advertiser.

The public may soon see more timely and detailed reports from people who are paid to try to influence policy decisions in Hawaii. That’s good news for a state with lax lobbying laws. A nationwide survey conducted two years ago found Hawaii lagging far behind — especially when it comes to disclosure — and the Legislature has done little since then to address the problem. Civil Beat.

Senate Bill 2609, which raises the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour by 2017 and eliminates the tip credit, has a hearing set for Wednesday in Senate Ways and Means. Civil Beat.

Mentally and physically debilitated prisoners in Hawaii are likely to gain easier access to parole hearings under changes state agencies are making. Associated Press.

Six of the seven announced Democratic candidates for Hawaii's 1st Congressional District seat stepped up efforts to separate themselves from the rest of the field during a forum Monday, while attempting to make special appeals to a largely older crowd. Sponsored by the Hono­lulu-based Kokua Council, which advocates for seniors, the forum drew about 50 people to Harris United Methodist Church in lower Nuuanu. Star-Advertiser.

Candidates in the crowded race for Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa’s seat met for the first time today in a face-to-face political forum hosted by the Kokua Council in Honolulu. Hawaii Public Radio.

In the months since the Sandy Hook mass shooting that left 26 students and staffers at the Connecticut elementary school dead in December 2012, Hawaii has stepped up its security and safety training at public schools to prevent similar tragedies here, school officials told lawmakers Monday. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii lawmakers want to help the state’s seniors avoid a situation where they’ve fallen — and can’t get up. The Legislature plan to allocate $80,000 for a new “fall prevention coordinator” position in the state Department of Health’s Emergency Management Division. Hawaii Reporter.

In the last seven years there have been 13 security breaches at Iolani Palace or on the palace grounds. Some of the incidents have resulted in the destruction of irreplaceable treasures. Civil Beat.

The state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs is trying to make it easier to check whether a professional in Hawaii is licensed. The department said Monday more than 375,000 Hawaii licenses can now be accessed on mobile devices. Associated Press.

State roundup for February 25. Associated Press.


Proposed military cuts could have negative impact on Oahu. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Pacific University has completed a draft environmental assessment for its proposed conversion of Aloha Tower Marketplace into an extension of its downtown Hono­lulu campus sprinkled with some retail and restaurant use. Star-Advertiser.

Walmart plans to hire 150 people for its new Downtown Honolulu store, which will open this summer in the former Macy’s department store, the discount retail giant said Monday. Pacific Business News.

Plan expands types of events OK'd for Stan Sheriff Center. Star-Advertiser.

Researchers at the University of Hawaii at Hilo announced Monday that the Federal Aviation Administration granted a Certificate of Authorization for the use of an unmanned aircraft to assess wiliwili trees on the Big Island. Tribune-Herald.

Earlier this month, five men stood outside of the University of Hawaii at Hilo, their gaze locked on what resembled a miniature spaceship hovering above their heads. The object: a remotely piloted aircraft (RPA), or drone. Its implications: many. Tribune-Herald.

The Hawaii Pacific University Oceanic Institute’s long-planned $5 million Feeds Research and Pilot Production Facility to be developed at the University of Hawaii at Hilo on the Big Island is finally getting some traction with the filing of a draft environmental assessment. Pacific Business News.

Kamehameha Schools will be buying the Hualalai Academy campus, the closing school’s board president says. West Hawaii Today.

Access to water in dry Kawaihae was one of the top concerns about the state’s proposal to add water lines to the small boat harbor under construction there. A Department of Hawaiian Home Lands official noted the draft environmental assessment, issued in December, said the water line and road construction project will increase demand on the region’s water system. West Hawaii Today.


Come November, the citizens of Maui County could be voting on a temporary suspension of all genetically modified crop production in their county. The only thing standing in the way of a public vote on the matter is the collection of 8,500 signatures. Kauai County Councilman Tim Bynum said it is a more comprehensive moratorium than the one proposed in the original version of Bill 2491, which would have placed a moratorium on field expansion. Garden Island.

The battle against genetically modified farming is heating up on Maui, where residents are pushing a citizens’ initiative to temporarily ban the use of such biotechnology. While Hawaii doesn’t allow residents to bring statewide ballot initiatives, the Maui County Charter has a provision for county-level efforts. Civil Beat.

Four Upcountry farms and one farm labor contractor were fined by the United States Department of Labor last year for violating minimum wage and other federal standards for migrant fieldworkers, prompting Maui County to adopt a code of conduct for agricultural employers. Maui News.

The Maui County Council on Friday passed a bill to honor raises in five departments and appropriated $864,000 to assist with the costs of landfill operations and refuse collection and Department of Environmental Management compliance with regulations. Maui News.

A total of 24 Maui residents have pulled papers for the upcoming 2014 elections since the candidate filing period began on Feb. 3. Maui Now.

Three people were appointed to the Molokai Planning Commission and a longtime Maui educator was named to the Maui Planning Commission as the Maui County Council approved the mayor's nominees to various boards and commissions Friday. Maui News.

The Maui County Department of Water Supply filed a draft environmental assessment for a 1.44 million gallon per day exploratory well in West Maui. Maui Now.


A coalition of Kauai residents and public interest groups, represented by the Center for Food Safety and Earthjustice, filed papers in federal district court Monday to intervene as defendants in the legal challenge of Ordinance 960, formerly Bill 2491, which regulates pesticides and GMOs on the island. Garden Island.

Bob Stout minces few words when it comes to proposals to raise Hawaii’s minimum wage: It’s not a good idea. Garden Island.

The County of Kauai Charter Review Commission will consider five redistricting proposals next month, when its members will decide whether voters will take up the question during this year’s general election. A report released by a special Charter Review Commission committee Monday suggested that the entire governing body reconsider its initial proposal to establish seven geographic districts and elect Kauai County Council members based on the district in which they both reside. Garden Island.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Abercrombie, Ige tied in poll for governor, Hawaii ranked high in shark attacks, Hanohano on the hot seat, Maui group wants GMO regs, no new taxes for Hawaii County, HECO execs get raises, Caldwell to deliver state of the city, more news from all the Hawaian Islands

Hawaii governor Democrats
Abercrombie vs. Ige
A new Civil Beat Poll suggests that state Sen. David Ige has a shot at unseating Hawaii's incumbent governor, Neil Abercrombie. Ige and Abercrombie are tied at 37 percent apiece among likely Democratic primary voters, the poll shows. And more than a quarter of those voters, or 26 percent, say they are unsure of who they'll vote for.

Hawaii tallied the second-highest count of shark attacks of any place on Earth last year, according to the University of Florida's annual International Shark Attack File report released last week. Only Florida had more shark attacks, with 23. Star-Advertiser.

Dozens of Hawaii legislators have written Gov. Neil Abercrombie urging him to reappoint their former House colleague to lead the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission. As Civil Beat reported Wednesday, the governor could be disappointed that PUC Commissioner Mina Morita has not helped advance aspects of his energy agenda and that the PUC has been slow in issuing opinions. Morita may have raised the governor's ire due to the PUC's rejection of a Big Island biofuel contract and the commission's ongoing delays in letting an inter-island cable plan go forward.

The top thing to watch for this week in the Hawaii state Legislature is what didn't notably happen last week: a promised meeting among House leadership to discuss possible censure of Rep. Faye Hanohano. Associated Press.

In drafting legislation to regulate the budding unmanned aerial vehicle industry, legislators nearly excluded all uses of the devices, except by law enforcement — the opposite of their intent. Star-Advertiser.

After an informational briefing highlighted the medicinal values and outlined the path and roadblocks to implementation of marijuana dispensaries, Rep. Della Au Belatti calls for "steady, measured and reasonable dialogue" on the subject. Hawaii Independent.

Measure regulating dietary supplements gets little attention. Star-Advertiser.

The League of Women Voters of Hawaii is urging taxpayers to support the state's election campaign fund. The league asked last week that taxpayers indicate on their income tax returns that $3 for individuals, or $6 for joint filers, should go to the fund. Associated Press.

University of Hawaii Board of Regents Vice Chairman James Lee has been passed up by Gov. Neil Abercrombie for another term on the board. Star-Advertiser.

The state Department of Education has convened a working group to review an experimental sex-education program in public schools that has been criticized by Republican lawmakers. The program entitled Pono Choices was developed by the University of Hawaii for seventh-graders. Big Island Now.

Hawaii’s online health insurance exchange hopes to boost enrollment by targeting younger adults. The Hawaii Health Connector is making an aggressive push this weekend aimed at so-called “invincibles,” those who see insurance as an unnecessary expense. Associated Press.

The president and the executive staff of Hawaiian Electric Co., the state’s largest electric utility, received higher base salaries in 2013, but their total compensation for the year was lower compared to the year before, according an annual report for parent Hawaiian Electric Industries. Pacific Business News.

In her keynote address at Sunday's opening of the 17th biennial Ocean Sciences Meeting, National Geographic explorer Elizabeth Kapuuwailanui Lindsey shared a memory about her late mentor, Pius "Mau" Piai­lug, the esteemed Micronesian navigator whose work to preserve traditional way-finding practices influenced generations of modern Polynesian voyagers. Star-Advertiser.


When Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell delivers his second State of the City address this week, it won't be at Honolulu Hale, or even Kapolei Hale in the  "Second City." For the first time, it will be delivered at McCoy Pavilion at Ala Moana Park. Hawaii News Now.

Thousands of ocean scientists are in Hawaii this week for a conference at the Hawaii Convention center. Their goal is to address major marine issues around the world. Organizers feel hawaii is the perfect place to begin the discussion. KHON2.

Beginning Monday, February 24, a tree care company hired by the city will begin the removal of two mature monkeypod trees growing along Kapiolani Boulevard. Hawaii News Now.


Increases in property values coupled with an improving economy should provide enough revenue to balance the county budget without having to raise property taxes this year, despite across-the-board salary hikes for county employees covered by collective bargaining agreements. West Hawaii Today.

State Rep. Faye Hanohano's recent remarks and actions have roiled the state Capitol, but in her home district of Puna her constituents remain divided about the alleged misconduct. In Pahoa, a once-sleepy town that has mushroomed into a bustling gathering place for people living in the region's many sprawling subdivisions, there are those who still support Hanohano and those who shake their heads at the mention of her name. Star-Advertiser.

The University of Hawaii Center at West Hawaii has a new director. The University of Hawaii Board of Regents Thursday night hired Kenneth “Marty” Fletcher to helm the community college, which will become the University of Hawaii at Palamanui. West Hawaii Today.

A former president of Hilo Little League has pleaded guilty in federal court to embezzling tens of thousands of dollars in league funds, plus money from two youth soccer teams, a pageant organization and a car repair and alignment shop. Tribune-Herald.

Five Maui County residents are looking to gather at least 8,500 signatures for a ballot initiative that would force genetically engineered food growers, such as Monsanto, to "prove that their crops are safe," supporters said. Maui News.

As the state Public Utilities Commission continues to gather public testimony to determine whether a Maui-Oahu undersea power cable would be in the public interest, Upcountry residents were able to ask energy officials and experts questions about the proposal during the Kula Community Association meeting Wednesday night. Maui News.

A total of 1,331 humpback whale sightings were recorded during the Pacific Whale Foundation’s annual Great Whale Count held on Saturday. Maui Now.

A workshop that will include officials from Google, who will help small businesses take advantage of online opportunities, will be held March 19 at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center. Maui News.


Four Kauai charter schools will continue to operate thanks to a shot of emergency financial support. The Board of Trustees of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs approved $1.5 million in emergency funding to 17 Hawaiian-focused public charter schools for the 2013-2014 school year to address the budgetary shortfalls the schools have faced over the past five years. Garden Island.

Several teachers at Kilauea Elementary School are feeling such pressure to implement a new pilot program called the Educator Effectiveness System, they’ve sent a letter protesting the measure to the Hawaii Board of Education and the Hawaii Department of Education. Garden Island.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Thirty Meter Telescope advances, Independent Party forms in Hawaii, Schatz-Hanabusa in tight race, Future Caucus launched, 2,500 construction jobs coming, VA approves water catchment, Ellison buys $41M of Lanai properties, Maui racial ranter investigated, Honolulu water department cleared of ethics charge, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

artists conception
Artist conception of Thirty Meter Telescope, courtesy image
The University of Hawaii on Thursday approved a plan to lease land at the summit of Mauna Kea for construction of the world’s largest optical telescope. The Board of Regents voted 15 to 1 to approve subleasing the land atop the Big Island volcano for the Thirty Meter Telescope. Associated Press.

Plans to erect the world's largest telescope atop Mauna Kea advanced Thursday with approval of a long-term lease agreement with the University of Hawaii that clears the way for construction to begin as planned in April. The UH Board of Regents voted 13-1 to approve sublease terms for the controversial $1.3 billion Thirty Meter Telescope project, which is expected to create 300 construction jobs and up to 140 permanent jobs. Star-Advertiser.

The battle to put one of the world’s largest telescopes on a sacred Hawaiian mountain continued with a hearing in 3rd Circuit Court in Hilo on Thursday morning. Backers of the Thirty Meter Telescope project sat side by side with supporters of the six petitioners arguing the state erred when granting a Conservation District Use Permit for construction of the telescope. Tribune-Herald.

Amid an ongoing lawsuit and student-led demonstrations, the UH Board of Regents met today and voted for a planned sublease that would allow the Thirty Meter Telescope project to proceed. Hawaii Independent.

After U.S. Sen. Richard Durbin won a second term in 2002, he asked U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye to escort him to the swearing-in ceremony because of his great respect for the Hawaii icon. But Durbin and other top Senate Democrats are supporting U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate over U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, Inouye's preferred successor. Star-Advertiser.

Brian Schatz may have a 2-to-1 advantage over Colleen Hanabusa in campaign fundraising, but both candidates have received significant contributions from well-connected local folks. Schatz, the appointed U.S. senator, and Hanabusa, the U.S. representative who wants his job, also attract plenty of money from mainland donors and political action committees. Civil Beat.

Former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann may soon have a new political party. The Hawaii Independent Party filed enough signatures of registered voters with the state Office of Elections by Thursday's deadline to satisfy the requirement for a new party. Hannemann has said that he would seriously consider running for governor as an independent if the new party is certified. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii Independent Party registered this afternoon and by Thursday evening, the Office of Elections confirmed they gathered enough signatures to be a certified political party. Now a familiar face, former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann, could soon join the race for Governor. KITV4.

The door at the State Office of Elections closed at 4:30 Thursday afternoon. That was the deadline to have a petition handed in in order to have a political party placed on the ballot for this year’s election. For the newly-formed Hawaii Independent Party it was a close call. KHON2.

Hawaii lawmakers officially launched the state's Future Caucus on Thursday — the first program of its kind at the state level, modeled after a national caucus co-founded last year by U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. Star-Advertiser.

Hawai’i’s young politicians are reaching across party lines and governmental jurisdictions to work for a common goal, to get things done.   The group hosted a special guest who inspired its formation. Hawaii Public Radio.

Race relations in Hawaii came to the fore this week as a result of two extremely vocal Hawaii residents. One is a young homeless man from Maui. The other is an elected state official from the island of Hawaii. The reaction to them has been fierce and both could face serious repercussions. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Lawmakers Mull Clearer Rules for Schools With Uncontrollable Kids. Civil Beat.

Crimes such as pumping pool water into the ocean and dumping trash on roadsides would be prosecuted better if Hawaii establishes an environmental court, advocates and regulators told state lawmakers Wednesday. Associated Press.

Hawaii will add 2,500 construction jobs this year on top of the 2,500 added last year, according to a report issued Thursday by the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii wants doctors to start measuring kids’ body fat, which will be recorded and sent to the local Obamacare exchange. Health insurance companies would be required to cover the expense. Hawaii Reporter.

During the first four months of enrollment, 3,614 individuals statewide signed up online for insurance plans offered through the Hawaii Health Connector marketplace. Tribune-Herald.

Bills that would provide for mental health care, affordable housing and invasive species research are advancing in the Hawaii Legislature. Associated Press.

On Tap at the Hawaii Legislature: Feb. 21. A selective list of bills, resolutions, hearings, briefings and events for Friday at the state Capitol. Civil Beat.

State roundup for February 21. Associated Press.

A city Ethics Commission report concludes that an investigation found no ethics laws were violated in the awarding of three Honolulu Board of Water Supply contracts, but calls on the city auditor to look into serious problems uncovered at the agency. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu Police Department says a 5.5 percent increase for the police chief and his deputies is needed to keep up with salaries of officers, whose salaries have climbed after successful union negotiations. The request for an increase was taken to the city Salary Commission this month by Assistant Police Chief Mark Nakagawa. Star-Advertiser.

Inflation in Honolulu remained muted during the second half of last year, helping underpin a steady recovery in the local economy, government officials said Thursday. Prices for a range of consumer goods and services rose 1.7 percent from July through December when compared with the same period a year earlier, according to a report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics. Star-Advertiser.

Navy Seabees have been called in to combat a growing number of invasive coconut rhinoceros beetles discovered on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, the Navy said Thursday. Star-Advertiser.


There’s good news trickling down from Washington, D.C., for Hawaii Island’s 17,000 veterans. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs will once again guarantee loans for homes on water catchment systems. West Hawaii Today.

Within perhaps six months, County Prosecutor Mitch Roth plans on having a courthouse canine in his Hilo office, courtesy of two organizations — Courthouse Dogs Foundation and Assistance Dogs of Hawaii. Tribune-Herald.

A 0.6-mile stretch of Queen Kaahumanu Highway in Kailua-Kona has bicyclists wondering how long it will be until a life is lost. Though the highway has a designated bicycle lane between Makala Boulevard and Palani Road, bicyclists say they would rather go out of their way to loop through the Kailua-Kona town area than continue straight on the highway. West Hawaii Today.

A new Cost of Government Commission was seated Thursday, optimistic about finding ways to save taxpayers money. West Hawaii Today.


The 21-year-old man who went on a racist rant that was caught on cell phone video could be banned from all Maui county parks for a year. Maui Police are also moving forward with Terroristic Threatening and Harassment charges, both misdemeanors.  The case is currently at the prosecutors office being reviewed. Hawaii News Now.

The Maui Police Department needs to fill more than two dozen civilian positions, mostly for radio dispatchers. It's the largest vacancy the department has seen in about six years, police officials said. Associated Press.

University of Hawaii Maui College Chancellor Clyde Sakamoto, the longtime name and face of Maui's primary post-secondary institution, will retire by the end of October, University of Hawaii officials confirmed Wednesday. Maui News.

Young Brothers shipping between Honolulu Harbor and Kahului Harbor, the largest Neighbor Island port in terms of cargo volume, rose 1 percent in 2013, and the smallest, Kaumalapau Harbor on Lanai, saw shipments grow 21 percent. Maui News.


The Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Forestry and Wildlife is inviting Kauai residents to submit applications for positions on a community council to advise the DOFAW Na Ala Hele Trails and Access Program. Garden Island.

For almost 13 years, YWCA of Kauai employees have worked to expand their reach and create a place where they could serve more families in the community. Garden Island.


Larry Ellison, the billionaire CEO of Oracle Corp. and the majority owner of the Hawaiian island of Lanai, has been busy with real estate shopping since he purchased the Pineapple Island in mid-2012. Ellison has purchased 21 resort residential properties near the Four Seasons Resorts Lanai at Manele Bay for a little more than $41 million. Pacific Business News.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Raising the minimum wage, building prisons, lobbyist influence, UH president sought, Ethics Commission examines lawmakers' expense accounts, VA to allow water catchment loans, embattled Kauai police commissioner resigns, Maui college chancellor retires, Mufi may run, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2014 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Hawaii bartender (c) 2014 All Hawaii News

State House and Senate leaders have reached an understanding on raising the minimum wage to $10 an hour by January 2018 and expanding a tip credit to 75 cents, but an influential state senator wants a debate over the tip credit before signing off on the agreement. Star-Advertiser.

Public Safety Director Ted Sakai told lawmakers Wednesday that officials are evaluating 13 design-build proposals and alternative funding ideas submitted by private firms and partnerships hoping to help the state build new jails and more prison space. Sakai didn't offer up much detail on any of the proposals to a joint meeting of the state Senate and House Public Safety committees. Star-Advertiser.

copyright 2014 All Hawaii News
Former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann said Wednesday that he would seriously consider running for governor as an independent if his allies collect enough signatures to get certified as a new Hawaii Independent Party. Organizers have until Thursday afternoon to collect the necessary 706 signatures from registered voters for a petition to the state Office of Elections. Star-Advertiser.

Lobbyists Test Another Path to Influence. Civil Beat.

Should state lawmakers spend taxpayer dollars to keep their aloha shirts clean and their suits pressed? What about legislators using public money to send flowers to the family of a friend who died? Or buying a birthday cake for a staff member? The state Ethics Commission began Wednesday to examine the way Hawaii’s 51 House reps and 26 senators spend their legislative allowances each year. The commission did so after receiving complaints from a couple of lawmakers. Civil Beat.

The state legislature wants the state administration to track body fat on children ages 2 to 18 years old. Senate Bill 2351 requires primary care physicians and pediatricians to provide an annual body mass index measurement to patients from age two to eighteen years and then tally that up and report the age and body mass index statistics to the Hawaii health information exchange. Hawaii Reporter.

State House leaders hope to meet privately with state Rep. Faye Hanohano to discuss how the chamber should respond to several complaints about her conduct. Among the options, according to House sources, would be for Hanohano to apologize; for House leaders to remove her as chairwoman of the House Ocean, Marine Resources and Hawaiian Affairs Committee; or for the House to censure her. Star-Advertiser.

Rep. Faye Hanohano is in hot water again over allegations of racially discriminatory behavior. Tribune-Herald.

The US Department of Veterans Affairs today announced it will resume its policy of allowing homes with water catchment systems for use as collateral for VA loans. Big Island Now.

What you need to know about the state regulatory entity responsible for addressing ethical issues involving legislators, registered lobbyists, and state employees. Hawaii Independent.

The University of Hawaii is advertising for a new president. The university said Wednesday print and online advertisements will appear in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, Midweek and Pacific Business News in Hawaii. Nationally, the ads will appear in the Chronicle of Higher Education. Star-Advertiser.

State Senate leaders were upset after Hawaii News Now revealed that the state's new safety check program has a big problem: common household cleaners such as rubbing alcohol and nail polish wipe away the printing from new safety check decals.

Hawaii has the lowest number of Obamacare enrollments in the nation, through its Hawaii Health Connector, leading lawmakers on the House Consumer Protection Committee to consider a $15 million a year state funded replacement. Hawaii Independent.

The number of new motor vehicle registrations in Hawaii rose nearly 15 percent in 2013, according to a report from the Hawaii Automobile Dealers Association, which attributed the increase to low interest rates and strong affordability. Pacific Business News.

State roundup for February 20. Associated Press.


Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s proposal to raise or begin charging fees for more than 40 permits and services tied to land use hit a snag at what was expected to be a final vote at a City Council meeting on Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

Mayor Kirk Caldwell's plan to begin charging Oahu property owners $10 a month for trash pickup cleared its first hurdle Wednesday but appears to have a long way to go before it becomes law. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha could see another salary bump in the coming fiscal year. So too could his deputy and assistant chiefs.Civil Beat.

Honolulu Police have a new weapon in their crime fighting arsenal – and it pairs a camera with a computer. Police say the Automated License Plate Technology will help them in their fight against crime, but there are people who are concerned about their right to privacy. KHON2.

A bill moving through the state Legislature would require all Hawaii government agencies located near a planned rail station form a consortium to study how Honolulu’s rail transit project will affect the local workforce and housing. Pacific Business News.

For many Hawaii residents, the rural town of Wahiawa in central Oahu is just a place you drive through when traveling to the beaches on the North Shore or commuting to urban Honolulu. But Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz is hoping to change all that. Civil Beat.


Home rule was back before the Hawaii County Council Wednesday morning at the West Hawaii Civic Center. West Hawaii Today.

Native Hawaiian practitioner Kalani Flores recognizes Mauna Kea for more than its scenic views and pristine hiking opportunities. With a hearing scheduled for 8 a.m. today in Hilo’s Third Circuit Court, Ching and Flores visited the mountain to pay their respects. Tribune-Herald.

The State Department of Health has introduced new, more stringent regulations for food safety in commercial establishments.  Under the old rules, low income and homeless feeding programs were exempted from some of the provisions.  But that's changing, and it will have a direct impact on Hawaii Island. Hawaii Public Radio.


University of Hawaii Maui College Chancellor Clyde Sakamoto will retire this fall, after leading the Maui campus for more than two decades. Sakamoto, who is credited with pioneering distance learning opportunities across Maui County's three islands, will retire at the end of October, UH announced Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

Beginning March 1, Maui Memorial Medical Center will be transitioning from a paper-based records system to an electronic medical records system that officials say will improve patient care and safety and could even earn the hospital about $4 million in federal funds. Maui News.

It's a racial rant that has been seen by more than a quarter of a million people.  A 21-year old man, with a criminal past, was caught on cell phone video unleashing racial statements against a Kihei couple and their friends at Kalama Beach Park. Hawaii News Now.

An adult humpback whale was freed of hundreds of feet of small gauge line during a successful disentanglement effort conducted this morning in waters off of West Maui, marine officials said. Maui Now.


A Lihue man under federal investigation regarding gambling allegations has resigned his post as a Kauai Police Commissioner. Bradley Chiba is allegedly under investigation for illegal gambling. He was serving his fourth year as a commissioner. Garden Island.

Stella Burgess, a longtime South Shore resident, community leader and director of Hawaiian culture for the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa, died late Tuesday night at her Koloa home with family and friends surrounding her. She was 61. Garden Island.