Friday, October 30, 2015

Dengue fever spreads on Big Island, Ethics Commission probes lawmaker spending, special session set to confirm judges, Kewalo Basin development planned, Maui Dems to learn about presidential contenders, Lihue’s Town Core revitalization, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2015 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Hotels along Waikiki © 2015 All Hawaii News
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide is reportedly in talks with a couple of suitors, including Hyatt Hotels and multiple Chinese entities, and while anything is possible, a Hyatt-Starwood marriage could start some waves in Waikiki. Pacific Business News.

State Ethics Commission staff say lawmakers may have misused their taxpayer-funded annual allowances, and they plan to take a closer look at recent expenditures, particularly those for meals, hotels and event tickets. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii state Senate will convene in special session next week to consider three judicial nominations. Last week, Gov. David Ige appointed Shirley M. Kawamura, the current District Court Judge of the First Circuit, to the First Circuit Court, and Melvin H. Fujino, the current District Family Court Judge of the Third Circuit, to the Third Circuit Court. Also last week, Hawaii Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald appointed James C. McWhinnie to the District Court of the First Circuit. Civil Beat.

State health officials are pulling overtime to resume posting inspection reports for long-term care facilities online as required by law, but so far it’s only for certain types of homes and there are no guarantees how long the agency will keep up with it. Civil Beat.

A bitter — and increasingly costly — dispute between an Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustee and her fellow trustees is entering its third year, with no settlement in sight. Earlier this month a state circuit court judge in Honolulu set a trail date of Oct. 31, 2016, in the case of Akana v. Machado, named for Rowena Akana and Colette Machado, a former chairwoman of the OHA Board of Trustees. Civil Beat.


After a decade of trying, Chad Callan and his team at the Oceanic Institute of Hawaii Pacific University have finally unlocked the mystery of the yellow tang. Star-Advertiser.

People who serve their full prison sentences are at great risk of becoming homeless on O’ahu. Hawaii Public Radio.

As part of a program that encourages people to get off public assistance, state officials recently gave a Waipahu family a $30,000 check. The money represented five years of savings: As part of the program, rather than the state keeping rent increases that public housing or Section 8 families must pay when their income goes up, those funds went into an escrow account. Hawaii News Now.

How much — or little — commercial development is appropriate around Hawaii’s only commercial small-boat harbor is being assessed by a state board after two developers presented revised proposals Thursday to develop underutilized state land bordering Kewalo Basin in Kakaako. Star-Advertiser.

A controversial permit request to construct a church, parking lot and other facilities on a Mililani Mauka site that serves as a water quality detention basin was approved Monday, despite opposition from several community members. Star-Advertiser.


At least two people, and likely four more, have been infected with dengue fever after being bitten by mosquitoes on the Big Island. Tribune-Herald.

Despite calls from the public for more openness and transparency, the Maui Liquor Control Commission waived its selection process again Wednesday - choosing not to solicit a list of applicants - and after meeting behind closed doors re-appointed Dana Souza as director of the Department of Liquor Control. Maui News.

The Maui County Democratic Party will host a County Committee Meeting and a Democratic Presidential Caucus Information Session on Tuesday, Nov. 3, starting at 6:30 p.m. at the Lihikai Elementary School Cafeteria in Kahului. Maui Now.


Kauai’s vision for the future of Lihue’s Town Core is what helped secure $13 million in federal money to improve the city. Garden Island.

In the last dozen years, Ed Lyman has helped free 22 humpback whales from entanglements, recovering buoys and more than 9,000 feet of fishing line that were once wound around the bodies of these majestic endangered species. Garden Island.

Native Hawaiian activist and Molokai resident Walter Ritte Jr. announced Wednesday that he is no longer seeking to be a delegate to a Native Hawaiian constitutional convention, calling the process "not pono" and asking others to boycott the election of delegates beginning next month. Maui News.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Hawaii pays $500k in pensions to dead people, vacationing lesbian couple sues Honolulu Police Department after being jailed for kissing in public, medical marijuana benefits to be expanded, state lawmakers tour islands, Maui sugarcane burning studied, garbage hauling to increase, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2015 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Hawaii state Capitol © 2015 All Hawaii News
A public policy think tank says the state Employee Retirement System has paid out more than $500,000 in public pension benefits to dead people. The Grassroot Institute of Hawaii said the payments cover a five-year period and that the largest individual payout was over $50,000. Hawaii News Now.

It’s been only three months since Gov. David Ige signed a bill legalizing medical marijuana dispensaries in Hawaii, but lawmakers are already drafting new legislation to amend Act 241. Potential amendments range from eliminating the ban against inter-island transport of medical cannabis to adding new qualifying ailments such as anxiety and insomnia. Civil Beat.

Under pressure from lawmakers and health care advocates who accuse it of not complying with a 10-month-old law, the Hawaii Department of Health has increased the number of inspection reports it’s posted online for long-term care facilities serving seniors and the disabled. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawai‘i Tourism Authority reported Wednesday that September visitor arrivals grew to 652,616, a 4.7 percent increase over September 2014. But even with the influx, visitors spent 1.2 percent less, bringing total expenditures to just under $1. 1 billion. Star-Advertiser.

More than 650,000 visitors traveled to Hawaii last month, setting a record for the month of September. Associated Press.

Veteran Molokai activist Walter Ritte Jr. formally renounced his candidacy to the Native Hawaiian convention Wednesday and called for the boycott of a self-governance process he described as rigged. Star-Advertiser.

Nai Aupuni releases strange, defensive statement regarding Native Hawaiian protesters. Hawaii Independent.

Dr. Keanu Sai is a political scientist at the forefront of an emerging understanding of Hawaii as an existing Kingdom under U.S. occupation. In this lengthy interview, Sai talks about his recent trip to the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom where he was invited to present a paper on Hawaii as a non-European power. Big Island Video News.

The election for Native Hawaiian convention delegates is scheduled to begin Sunday and last for one month.   As HPR’s Wayne Yoshioka reports, there are deep divisions within that island community. Hawaii Public Radio.

NextEra Energy Inc., the Florida-based company looking to buy Hawaiian Electric Industries, said Wednesday its third-quarter profit jumped 33.2 percent to $879 million primarily due to new investments at its utility and energy development subsidiaries. Star-Advertiser.

NextEra Energy Inc. and Hawaiian Electric Co., the two companies involved in the Florida energy giant's $4.3 billion acquisition of the Honolulu-based utility, want to nix talk of liquefied natural gas or other utility ownership models, including municipality-owned or co-op owned utilities at the upcoming evidentiary hearings. Pacific Business News.

Wealthy video-game industry businessman and renewable energy crusader Henk Rogers, in 2006 created the Blue Planet Foundation, which aims to make Hawaii into a “global model for energy independence.” The non-profit organization has been pushing for greater energy efficiency and opening up a broader space for renewable electricity generation. Civil Beat.


The Honolulu Police Department opened an internal investigation Wednesday into allegations that an officer wrongfully arrested a vacationing lesbian couple after seeing them kissing in a grocery store. Courtney Wilson and Taylor Guerrero, who were visiting Hawaii from Los Angeles in March, said in a federal lawsuit filed Tuesday that they were harassed and arrested because the officer didn't like their public displays of affection in a Foodland store on Oahu's North Shore. Associated Press.

A lesbian couple that was vacationing in Hawaii last spring filed a lawsuit Tuesday against a Honolulu police officer who violently arrested them after watching them hug and kiss in the aisles of a North Shore grocery store. Civil Beat.

In March, Courtney Wilson and her girlfriend Taylor Guerrero came to the islands from Los Angeles for what was supposed to be a restful vacation. Instead, the trip turned into a nightmare when the pair was arrested after kissing in Foodland Pupukea. Hawaii News Now.

A same-sex couple has filed a lawsuit, accusing a Honolulu police officer of discrimination, assault and battery, and violation of their Fourth Amendment rights. KHON2.

University of Hawaii journalism students have launched a lovely looking online news site, kicking it off this month with a series that investigates pesticide use on Oahu’s north shore farms. Civil Beat.


Cross-county garbage hauling moved a step closer to reality Wednesday, with the Environmental Management Commission’s unanimous approval of a bill giving the mayor’s administration much more leeway in deciding whose trash goes where. West Hawaii Today.

The long process of bolstering Hilo Harbor’s cargo shipping capacity continues. Construction work on the third phase of the ongoing Pier 4 project is on track to be completed in January 2016, state Department of Transportation spokesman Timothy Sakahara wrote in an email. Construction work on the pier itself — the final stage of the project — is estimated to begin in December. Tribune-Herald.

The family of a Puna man allegedly murdered by an escaped mental patient is suing the state and county, claiming their negligence resulted in the victim’s death. Tribune-Herald.


A study, “Association between sugar cane burning and acute respiratory illness on the island of Maui,” published in the October 2015 issue of the Environmental Health journal, is already being referenced in a lawsuit to stop sugarcane burning on Maui—the first case to be heard by Hawaiʻi’s recently established Environmental Court. Maui Now.

The number of Maui County residents to receive treatment for drug and alcohol abuse over the last five years has remained fairly steady, according to a new report published by the state Department of Health. Maui News.


Members of the Hawaii House of Representatives Finance Committee got a view of Kauai from the sky Wednesday to see projects that are funded, at least in part, by the Legislature. Garden Island.

The Black Pot Beach Park Master Plan community meeting has been rescheduled to 6 to 8:30 p.m. Nov. 17 at the Hanalei Elementary School cafeteria. It had been scheduled Oct. 29. Garden Island.

New research about sunscreen’s destructive effects on coral reefs has Sharon Eacott thinking twice before slathering it on. Garden Island.


Last week, House Finance Committee members visited Molokai for the first time in years to get an up-close picture of problems facing island residents. Molokai Dispatch.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Schism widens over Native Hawaiian election, student test scores drop, NextEra hearing draws crowds, Maui seeks more police, Kauai mulls county manager v. mayor, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy Makawalu Photography
Walter Ritte leads Hawaiian rally, courtesy Makawalu Photography
Walter Ritte will announce Wednesday that he is disenrolling from the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission’s registry, withdrawing his candidacy as a Nai Aupuni election delegate and calling for a boycott of the election. Civil Beat.

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs on Tuesday rolled out a website called Mo‘oaupuni, which is intended to present material relating to what’s referred to as “Hawaiian political landscapes.” Civil Beat.

The state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands is holding community meetings statewide on proposed rule changes that include allowing the agency to accept DNA tests to establish family ties for eligibility for the homestead program for Native Hawaiians. Maui News.

Academic gains Hawaii public school students saw two years ago on the National Assessment of Educational Progress were essentially erased this year as math and reading scores slipped to 2011 levels on the standardized test known as the “Nation’s Report Card.” Star-Advertiser.

The percentage of Hawaii fourth and eighth graders proficient in math and reading declined in 2015, scores released Tuesday show. Hawaii's scores slipped in both grades and both subjects on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, which is administered every two years to a representative sample of students in each state. Hawaii News Now.

A group of Hawaii legislators is tired of the Health Department ignoring a state law that requires inspection reports of adult care homes and other long-term care facilities to be posted online. Civil Beat.

The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission won’t let opposition to NextEra Energy's acquisition of Hawaiian Electric Co. influence its decision on whether to grant final approval of the $4.3 billion deal, the agency's chairman told Pacific Business News.

As the state Public Utilities Commission prepares to weigh evidence in the proposed $4.3 billion merger of the Hawaiian Electric Companies and NextEra Energy, the companies requested intervenors pushing alternatives to the merger be excluded from an upcoming hearing. Tribune-Herald.

The state is working to increase ocean safety education for visitors in the wake of recent tourist drownings. Associated Press.


Hundreds crowded into McKinley High School's auditorium Tuesday to voice their opposition to Hawaiian Electric's NextEra merger. Hawaii News Now.

More than 250 Oahu residents gathered Tuesday night at the McKinley High School auditorium to voice their opinions on the proposed purchase of Hawaiian Electric Industries by Florida-based NextEra Energy Inc. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission heard an unfamiliar sound Tuesday evening — strong support for the proposed $4.3 billion sale of Hawaiian Electric Industries to NextEra Energy. Unlike on Maui and the Big Island where members of the public overwhelmingly opposed the deal, the Oahu residents who testified were far more evenly split. Civil Beat.

A University of Hawaii law school degree is one of the most valuable for the mind and wallet, according to the National Jurist magazine’s latest rankings. The UH William S. Richardson School of Law was recognized again as a "Best Value" law school for its significant rate of employed recent graduates as well as its students' low levels of debt. Pacific Business News.

Board of Water Supply Critical of Navy Red Hill Fuel Leak Mitigation Plan  Hawaii Public Radio.

The Air Force apologized Tuesday for unexpected early morning noise from fighter jets roaring over Oahu. Star-Advertiser.

Kevin Mulligan, a retired union agent for the Hawaii Government Employees Association, and a member of the 12-person Honolulu Charter Commission, has submitted several proposals to the Charter Commission, including one that would lower the threshold for firing a police chief and another to create a completely new oversight agency to keep tabs on the department’s internal disciplinary process. Civil Beat.


The vast majority of Hawaii Island schools appear to be making improvements, according to the latest results of the fledgling Strive HI Performance System. However, the island as a whole continues to lag behind the rest of the state on most performance measures. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii County has selected a preferred site for a wastewater treatment plant serving Naalehu. The site is located on state land makai of Mamalahoa Highway on the east side of the town. It borders property the county is considering purchasing in order to preserve former Makahiki grounds known as Kahua Olohu. Tribune-Herald.

An unhappy homeowner at the luxury Four Seasons Resort Hualalai is suing the resort and its developers, saying he and others aren’t getting the benefits they were promised when they built or purchased their homes. The suit claims that homeowners, their families and guests face crowded facilities and fees that have risen unfairly at The Hualalai Club, where a membership runs $250,000, plus $40,625 in annual dues. West Hawaii Today.

The Maui Police Department is seeking funding for five additional positions, including a police major and an emergency services coordinator, in its budget proposal for the 2017 fiscal year. Maui News.

Pregnant women can take advantage of new parking stalls designated for expectant moms at the Queen Kaʻahumanu Shopping Center in Kahului. Maui Now.


Kauai County Councilman Mason Chock will present a preliminary report this morning on the findings thus far of a subcommittee formed in June to study the possibility of switching to a county manager system of government. Garden Island.

A majority of the Kauai County Council changed its own internal rules to prevent any Councilmember from asking questions of the public when they testify. Hawaii Independent.

Jim Guerber, head brewer and owner of Kauai Beer Company, was elated when he heard that Kauai County was earmarked to receive $13 million in federal funds targeted at revitalizing the Lihue Town Core. Garden Island.


The Kaho'olawe Island Reserve Commission intends to ask the state attorney general to clarify the law that bans commercial activity in the reserve. Maui News.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Hawaii Rep. Takai diagnosed with pancreatic tumor, Ige and cabinet on the road, $300M lost on Hawaii Obamacare, possible dengue fever on Big Island, group appeals Hawaiian election ruling, Waste Management settles with EPA on landfill charges, no expansion for Molokai national park, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii congressional office courtesy photo
Congressman Takai, courtesy photo
U.S. Rep. Mark Takai has been diagnosed with a small tumor on his pancreas after undergoing tests to determine why he had been experiencing some stomach pain in recent weeks, according to a spokesman. Takai, 48, was elected to his first term in Congress last year representing urban Oahu. Star-Advertiser.

U.S. Rep. Mark Takai has been diagnosed with a tumor on his pancreas. Civil Beat.

Congressman Takai releases statement on personal health. Takai press release.

Gov. David Ige and members of his cabinet highlighted some of the administration's early achievements tonight — including speeding up the use of federal dollars on transportation projects, closing on the Turtle Bay conservation deal and boosting the state's bond rating — at a community meeting at Windward Community College in Kaneohe. Star-Advertiser.

Nearly 40,000 Hawaii Health Connector enrollments are shifting to the federal site in a week. Hawaii Health Connector Executive Director Jeff Kissel said $300 million in taxpayer dollars would have been saved if the state had used the federal program to enroll residents. Associated Press.

The Hawaii Department of Health doesn’t plan to hold a public hearing or accept public comments on rules governing the state’s new medical marijuana dispensary system before releasing draft rules by Jan. 4, 2016. That means entrepreneurs will have only a few days to review the rules before applying between Jan. 11 and Jan. 29, for eight coveted licenses to grow and sell medical cannabis. Civil Beat.

Over 60 percent of patients registered for medical marijuana cards in Hawaii are over the age of 56, according to new data revealed by the Department of Health. Scottina Malia Ruis, the agency’s medical marijuana registry coordinator, presented the information during the Hawaii Bar Association’s conference at the Hawaii Convention Center on Friday. Civil Beat.

Last week’s decision by a federal judge to allow the election for delegates to a Native Hawaiian constitutional convention to proceed is being appealed by the Grassroot Institute. Civil Beat.

A federal judge ruled Friday that an election can go forward to choose delegates to draft a document allowing Native Hawaiians to govern themselves. Associated Press.

Kaiser Permanente employees have ratified a new contract that gives 1,900 workers at 22 facilities in Hawaii at 2.5 percent wage increase this year. Star-Advertiser.

Nearly 2,000 Kaiser Permanente employees in Hawaii have ratified a three-year deal with one of its employee unions after three years of bargaining, the union and the health maintenance organization said Monday. Pacific Business News.

Why Is Hawaiian Electric Ready To Cash Out? A company that thrived for more than a century in the islands is ready to sell. It is a good deal for executives and, the power company’s CEO argues, for the rest of us, too. Civil Beat.

A decades-long fight over the future of the aquarium industry’s collecting of fish in Hawaii was renewed last week when two state agencies requested an emergency moratorium on the practice in light of unprecedented coral bleaching. Civil Beat.


Rail officials announced Monday that for July, August and September, the transit project will receive $64.8 million from Oahu’s general excise tax surcharge to fund construction. That’s $8.3 million more than what the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation had expected to take in for the quarter, based on the project’s financial plan. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation said Monday that it is $30.5 million behind its projections for revenue from Hawaii’s general excise and use tax surcharge, despite its latest quarterly installment being higher than anticipated. Pacific Business News.

Some 130 people living in three oceanside homeless encampments that grew in size after the city cleared out the adjacent Kakaako makai encampment have at least three more weeks before state sheriff’s deputies push them somewhere else. Star-Advertiser.

A large segment of the homeless population in Kaka’ako has moved to nearby state parks.  In response to this development, the Governor announced plans for a coordinated effort to enforce park closure rules. Hawaii Public Radio.

Two West Oahu nonprofits will receive $100,000 each under the terms of a plea agreement reached between federal prosecutors and Waste Management of Hawaii to settle a case involving the spillage of millions of gallons of contaminated stormwater from the island’s only landfill into the ocean several years ago. Federal prosecutors agreed to drop more serious felony charges against Waste Management and top employees Joe Whelan and Justin Lottig in exchange for their guilty pleas to misdemeanor counts of negligent discharge of pollutants for violating the U.S. Clean Water Act. Star-Advertiser.

Investigators from the state tax, labor and business departments raided construction sites Monday at at least nine boutiques and food establishments near Bloomingdale's in Ala Moana Center’s newest wing, which is still under construction. Ala Moana Center's Ewa Wing Expansion opens Nov. 12.More They were acting on a complaint by the Hawaii Construction Alliance, which represents five unions including the carpenters, after their undercover informants made troubling findings. Hawaii News Now.

Nearly 630 acres of Oahu’s north shore coastline have been preserved from development in perpetuity, thanks to an agreement finalized this week between Turtle Bay Resort and the state of Hawaii. Pacific Business News.

A few months ago the state sent letters to Diamond Head shoreline homeowners asking them to cut back overgrown vegetation encroaching onto the public beach. And they listened. Hawaii News Now.

The U.S. government has agreed to pay $850,000 to settle a man's medical malpractice lawsuit that says prostate cancer surgery at a Honolulu military hospital left him incontinent, impotent and blind. Associated Press.


Mayor Billy Kenoi said Monday no homeless sweeps are planned on the Big Island such as those recently carried out at an encampment in Oahu’s Kakaako neighborhood — or like the ones Gov. David Ige says will take place at two Honolulu parks if individuals and families don’t move soon. Tribune-Herald.

The governor’s coordinator on homelessness said about 45 percent of the $1.3 million Gov. David Ige allocated under an emergency proclamation to address the issue statewide will go to Neighbor Island programs. Tribune-Herald.

The state Department of Health is awaiting test results in two possible cases of mosquito-borne dengue fever on the Big Island. Star-Advertiser.

A desire to save consumers money and reduce their environmental footprint has led the county Department of Water Supply to expand into energy generation, said Keith Okamoto, the department’s manager-chief engineer on Monday night. West Hawaii Today.

They say you can’t fight city hall. But people can — and it seems increasing numbers do — sue their local government. Since 2010, Hawaii County residents have sought redress for everything from an avocado falling from a tree in a county-owned right of way striking a windshield to contracting a flesh-eating bacteria in a county hot pond to vehicle damage from hitting a feral goat on Mamalahoa Highway to fingerprint dust spilled in a burglary victim’s home causing carpet damage to purchasing a grave site that was already occupied. West Hawaii Today.


A lottery for vouchers for federally subsidized rental housing assistance will be held from Monday through Nov. 8, according to an announcement from the Maui County branch of Mental Health America of Hawaii. Maui News.

Currently under new management and with a new name, a film studio in a leased warehouse at the Maui Lani Village Center has lined up at least three film or TV projects starting in early December and running into 2016, Maui County Film Commissioner Tracy Bennett said last week. Maui News.

Kula Produce has begun construction on a new produce facility at the Maui Lani Village Center, which should be completed at the end of 2016. Maui News.


Kauai County learned Monday it landed $13 million in grant funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation. The funds will be used for the revitalization of the Lihue Town Core. Garden Island.

Colorado-based Timbers Resorts is planning a $750 million to $800 million development of the unfinished Kauai Lagoons master-planned oceanfront community that will include 468 units in a mix of oceanfront and golf course homes, condominium units, hotel and townhomes. Pacific Business News.


The National Park Service has nixed the idea of expanding Molokai's Kalaupapa National Historical Park's boundaries within nearby Pelekunu and Halawa valleys because of opposition voiced at public meetings and during a comment period earlier this year. Maui News.

The National Park Service is seeking new members to appoint to the Kalaupapa National Historical Park Advisory Commission. Maui News.

Friday, October 23, 2015

We interrupt our daily aggregate news blog post to ....

Gone fishing.
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Thursday, October 22, 2015

Tax Foundation sues over state's share of rail tax, solar companies sue over end to net metering, Honolulu Police Commission sees no need to discipline chief, NASA Mars mission scouts Kilauea lava fields, EPA fines over cesspools, Department of Education wants $70M increase, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2015 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Hawaii Convention Center © 2015 All Hawaii News
The Hawaii Convention Center is looking for a contractor to conduct up to $7.5 million in repairs and improvements, according to a public call for proposals released this week. Pacific Business News.

The Tax Foundation of Hawaii filed a class-action lawsuit Wednesday challenging the state’s practice of siphoning 10 percent of the money collected from the excise tax surcharge for the city’s rail project and depositing it into the state’s general treasury. Star-Advertiser.

A new lawsuit is accusing the state of skimming millions of dollars from the Honolulu rail project. Since 2007, the State Tax Department has charged Oahu residents nearly $170 million just to collect the half percent tax to fund the rail project. Hawaii News Now.

A group representing rooftop solar interests sued the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission on Wednesday over its decision last week to cap a popular program that let residents with photovoltaic systems sell excess energy back to the electric companies at the full retail rate. Civil Beat.

The Alliance for Solar Choice, which is made up of national solar firms, including both SolarCity and Sunrun which operate in Hawaii, has filed a lawsuit that challenges a recent Hawaii Public Utilities Commission’s decision to cap net metering to existing customers. Pacific Business News.

Nearly six years after it was established by the Legislature, the state’s Re-entry Commission is failing to fulfill its job of overseeing programs to help Hawaii’s inmates stay out of prison after they’re released. The commission has only met once since 2013. That’s because eight seats on the 10-member commission have been empty for more than three years. Civil Beat.

The state Department of Education is seeking $70 million in budget add-ons for school operations next fiscal year and $30 million in bond financing for so-called heat abatement efforts that include air conditioning classrooms. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii fisheries may soon receive stronger protection from illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing thanks to legislation that unanimously cleared the U.S. Senate on Wednesday. Civil Beat.

For years, scientists have warned sunscreen is killing the world’s coral reefs. Now, a new study confirms those concerns, revealing the chemical oxybenzone, found in more than 3,500 sunscreen products worldwide, can be harmful in concentrations as small as 62 parts per trillion — the equivalent of a single drop of water in six-and-a-half Olympic-sized swimming pools. Tribune-Herald.

Two state agencies, backed by environmental groups, are calling for a moratorium on the collection of aquarium fish — a proposal that is highlighting still-deep divisions over the harvesting of the fish for export and captivity. West Hawaii Today.

Two Hawaii resorts and one nightclub must pay over $300,000 in fines to the Environmental Protection Agency for failing to close large-capacity cesspools, according to a press release from the federal agency. The Travaasa Hotel Hana Resort in Hana, Maui, owes $187,500; Vacation Inns International on Oahu’s North Shore owes $40,000; and Shaka’s on the Big Island must pay $82,425. Civil Beat.


The Honolulu Police Commission has found no reason to impose disciplinary action against Police Chief Louis Kealoha, commission Chairman Ron Taketa told reporters Wednesday after a closed-door meeting with his colleagues. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha will stay on the job as the FBI and a special prosecutor from the U.S. Attorney’s Office continue their criminal probe into the circumstances surrounding the HPD’s own investigation into his missing mailbox. Civil Beat.

Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha will remain on the job because his bosses at the Honolulu Police Commission cannot verify what Hawaii News Now first reported almost two weeks ago: that there's a full-fledged federal criminal investigation targeting him and his wife.

The proposed cap on general excise tax dollars used to build rail would likely be more of a flexible limit than a hard one with no exceptions, Honolulu City Council leaders say, as project costs have soared even higher in recent weeks. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell agrees with City Council Chairman Ernie Martin, a potential political rival, that the city needs to hold rail officials more accountable for their spending, especially as costs for the Honolulu Rail Transit Project escalate beyond $6.5 billion. Caldwell just wants a little more flexibility when doing it. Civil Beat.

Mayor Kirk Caldwell is expressing skepticism regarding a plan by City Council Chairman Ernie Martin to cap revenue generated by a 5-year extension of Oahu's rail tax at $910 million dollars. The mayor said such a cap could deter companies from bidding on the remaining contracts for the controversial project. KITV4.

Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation will end up spending millions more after the cancellation of a major rail contract. KHON2.

One week after the city and state wrapped up its high profile homeless sweep in Kakaako makai, new homeless camps are springing up in nearby parks. Hawaii News Now.

The ACLU of Hawaii says the City and County of Honolulu has “reversed course” and is now going to permit survivors of domestic violence and persons with mental illness to access a new homeless shelter in Sand Island. Civil Beat.

State seeks to crack down on off-roading at Kaena Point. Hawaii News Now.


Scientists are scouting lava flow fields around Kilauea this week as part of a NASA-funded study that could help lay the groundwork for a manned mission to Mars. Tribune-Herald.

The County Council in 2012 unanimously passed a bill, sponsored by then Chairman Dominic Yagong, to prohibit disposal of trash from Hilo and Puna in the West Hawaii landfill at Puuanahulu. But a bill now making its way through the County Council would undo that. West Hawaii Today.

The East Hawaii Regional Board of Hawaii Health Systems Corp. voted Tuesday to actively pursue partnerships with other health care providers. Tribune-Herald.

On Friday, the Board of Land and Natural Resources will vote on whether or not to establish a volunteer agreement with Friends of the Future non-profit at Lapakahi State Historical Park. Here is the background – and favorable recommendation – from the Department of Land and Natural Resources submittal. Big Island Video News.


The US Environmental Protection Agency completed enforcement actions with the Travaasa Hotel Hāna Resort in East Maui for failure to close its large capacity cesspool.  Travaasa will pay a penalty of $187,500. Maui Now.

A Maui parent has filed a lawsuit against the Department of Education, claiming that the department is incapable of providing the deaf and hard-of-hearing services that her daughter needs at school. Associated Press.

Opinion: Hey, Maui County: if you need more evidence that the people pulling the strings over the liquor department are inept fools , look no further than the Liquor Commission. It now looks like they’re backing off their Oct. 7 appointment of one of their own–Dana Souza–to assume the mantle of Liquor Control Director, a post held not so long ago by Dana’s own father Joe. MauiTime.


‘Find your voice’ Candlelight vigil unites community with goal of ending domestic violence. Garden Island.

The public is advised that a rockfall mitigation project along Menehune Road near the Waimea Swinging Bridge is underway and is expected to be completed by the end of the year. Garden Island.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Groups seek aquarium harvesting ban because of coral bleaching, judge to rule Friday on Native Hawaiian election, attorneys cleared to help medical marijuana dispensaries, students lag on tests, third telescope to be removed from Mauna Kea, Big Island advances ethics bills, fireworks and Christmas trees concern Honolulu council, Maui audit criticizes roadwork, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2015 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Yellow tang amid bleached coral in Hawaii © 2015 All Hawaii News
Sixteen environmental groups and two state agencies are asking Gov. David Ige and Department of Land and Natural Resources Chair Suzanne Case to issue an emergency moratorium on the collection of reef wildlife for aquarium purposes due to the effects of climate change. Civil Beat.

A federal judge says he'll rule on Friday whether an election for Natives Hawaiians can proceed. U.S. District Judge J. Michael Seabright heard arguments Tuesday in a lawsuit that says the state is improperly involved in a race-based election. Star-Advertiser.

After four hours of legal arguments on Tuesday by supporters and opponents of the current election for delegates to a Native Hawaiian political convention that both sides agree could be an important step toward some form of Hawaiian self-governance, federal Judge J. Michael Seabright said he will decide by the end of the week whether he will block the election from proceeding. Civil Beat.

Hawaii lawyers assisting the state's first medical marijuana dispensary applicants were provided relief Tuesday, thanks to a figurative pardon from the Hawaii Supreme Court. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii lawyers are allowed to assist people who are applying for licenses to grow and sell medical marijuana, according to a rule change approved by the Hawaii Supreme Court. Civil Beat.

Only 76 Hawaii public schools achieved proficiency of at least 51 percent of students on the math portion of the Smarter Balanced Assessment last school year, according to an analysis of data released Tuesday by the state Department of Education. Star-Advertiser.

The 2013-14 school year marked the second year Hawaii's public schools were evaluated under Strive HI, a new accountability system that replaces outdated requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind law. Star-Advertiser.

The state has begun to scrutinize proposed contracts with private companies to determine whether they comply with an 18-year-old court decision that limits privatization of government services in Hawaii, and officials so far have identified 99 contracts that may need to be phased out because they conflict with that ruling. Star-Advertiser.

A Federal Communications Commission member sharply criticized his own agency this week, saying that for years “it turned a blind eye” to Honolulu telecommunications executive Albert Hee’s apparent use of ratepayer money to fund a lavish lifestyle of personal massages and family trips to Tahiti, France, Switzerland and Disney World, as well as college tuition for his kids and “salaries” to family members. Star-Advertiser.

Diabetes and cancer are rampant throughout Micronesia, largely thanks to the legacy of nuclear tests and Western culture. But most islands lack adequate medical facilities, making migration a necessity. Civil Beat.

Hawaii is on track to see more than 8 million visitors to the Islands once again this year, and tourism is expected to continue to drive the state's economic growth into 2016, according to a First Hawaiian Bank economist. Pacific Business News.

Despite not living up to expectations during the past several years, Hawaii's construction sector is finally showing signs of stronger growth, reaching double-digit percentage growth in completed activity in 2015, according to Jack Suyderhoud, economic advisor for First Hawaiian Bank. Pacific Business News.

An electrical workers union is now saying it supports NextEra Energy Inc.'s proposed purchase of Hawaiian Electric Industries after being in opposition of the sale since it was announced in December. The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1260 had previously opposed HEI's sale to NextEra because the Florida-based company hadn't committed to training union workers for new jobs. Associated Press.


Oahu residents could have the option to light up a limited number of fountain-type fireworks this New Year’s Eve under a bill that a Honolulu City Council committee approved Tuesday. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Rail’s Big Cash Problem. The City Council’s budget committee will weigh extending a half-cent tax Wednesday — and whether to cap rail funding in favor of other priorities. Civil Beat.

The family of Sheldon Haleck, who died on March 16 after an encounter with Honolulu police, is suing the department in federal court for the negligent use of force, alleging that officials have been trying to cover up the circumstances surrounding his death. Civil Beat.

A group of Honolulu City Council members want the state Legislature to appropriate enough money for public housing to renovate hundreds of empty units, according to a resolution approved Tuesday. Civil Beat.

Christmas is still more than two months away, but Oahu hotels could be getting an early Christmas present soon. Earlier this year, KHON2 told you how the city planned to enforce a rule that prevented some places from having a real Christmas tree because of the concern over potential fires, but that could soon change.

Two weeks ago, the University of Hawaii shuttered Building 1 at the College of Education following a Hawaii News Now investigation that found students were learning in unsafe and unhealthy conditions. Now, COE professors are raising concerns about the space they’ve been moved to, which lacks crucial laboratory space and other equipment needed to teach Hawaii’s soon-to-be teachers.


The Hawaii County Council on Tuesday mulled a trio of ethics bills covering everything from official travel and pCard use to county contracts to the composition of the Board of Ethics itself. West Hawaii Today.

The Hawaii County Council on Tuesday delayed authorizing the purchase of former Makahiki grounds after a testifier accused the owners of having “inside information” regarding the Naalehu property. Tribune-Herald.

The United Kingdom Infrared Telescope will become the third observatory removed from Mauna Kea by the time the controversial Thirty Meter Telescope is complete. Guenther Hasinger, director of University of Hawaii’s Institute for Astronomy, said there is no timeline yet for its decommissioning but noted the 36-year-old observatory could be studying the universe for another “six or seven years.” Tribune-Herald.

An Oahu fish farming technology company says it needs more time to launch what it describes as the world’s first free-floating “egg to fish” ahi farm off the Kohala Coast. This week, Hawaii Ocean Technology Inc. will be asking the state Board of Land and Natural Resources for its third time extension to begin building the 180-foot wide oceansphere — the first in up to 12 such pens the state approved for a 247-acre farm located three miles west of Malae Point. West Hawaii Today.

A Hilo Circuit Court judge Tuesday disqualified himself from hearing a felony theft case and indicated there might be no judges in East Hawaii who will preside over the case. The reason is the victims are Hilo District Judge Barbara Takase and her husband, Gerald Takase, the county’s director of liquor control. Tribune-Herald.


The county Department of Public Works' pavement preservation program is expected to prolong the life of county streets, but more can be done to ensure ailing roadways get the attention they need, according to an audit released Monday. Maui News.

The Maui Redevelopment Agency is looking to launch a safety ambassador program by December in Wailuku town, where retired police officers, firefighters and others will work to decrease crime and to find aid for homeless people in the town. Maui News.

A group of young Native Hawaiians have organized to form Nā Makalehua, a collective consisting of 19 individuals who are seeking delegate seats to participate in the Na‘i Aupuni Native Hawaiian constitutional convention. Maui Now.

A fire in March knocked out Maui Electric Co.'s 819-kilowatt, ultra-low sulfur diesel generator at the Four Seasons Resort Lana'i at Manele Bay, and the utility is planning to replace the unit with insurance money. Maui News.

Don’t let your guard down. That’s Jay Breidenbach’s advice as Hurricane Olaf approaches the Hawaiian islands. Garden Island.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Mauna Kea telescopes to open facilities to public, Native Hawaiian election lawsuit in court today, Hawaii one of five states where graduation rate declines, Honolulu councilman wants to curb rail costs, Kauai fence keeps predators out, Big Island mulls local control of transient vacation rentals, more new from all the Hawaiian Islands

President Barack Obama looks at the moon through a telescope while talking with student Agatha Sofia "Sofy" Alvarez Bareiro during the White House Astronomy Night on the South Lawn of the White House, Oct. 19, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Astronomy Night at the White House. President Obama announces that leading observatories on Mauna Kea — including the still unbuilt Thirty Meter Telescope — will begin offering guided tours. Civil Beat.

The Mauna Kea Observatories and Imiloa Astronomy Center on Monday announced the Kamaaina Observatory Experience, a monthly event that welcomes Hawaii residents to the science reserve atop Mauna Kea to see telescopes and learn about the cultural and environmental importance of the mountain. Tribune-Herald.

High school graduation rates for most states continue to improve, but Hawaii was one of five states that saw a decline, according to preliminary data released Monday by the Obama administration. Star-Advertiser.

A federal court hearing will consider a lawsuit that wants to put a stop to an election process that's under way for Native Hawaiians. Associated Press.

A federal judge today will consider an injunction motion in a lawsuit that argues it’s unconstitutional to restrict voting to those with Native Hawaiian ancestry and that the state is improperly involved in the process. Associated Press.

State officials have ruled work covered by at least 99 private contracts -- to handle everything from groundskeeping to pest control -- needs to be carried out by state employees, a move that could cost taxpayers millions and create hundreds of new state jobs. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaiian Airlines is introducing a new design for the interiors of its Airbus A330 aircraft that adds seat-beds to the first- and business-class cabins but cuts the number of economy seats by 44 by adding 28 more "Extra Comfort" premium economy seats in the main cabin. Pacific Business News.

At Sea, Merely Observing Can Be Risky Business. Observers assigned to help make sure Hawaii’s fishing fleets follow the rules face the same dangers as fishing crews — and sometimes dangers from those they observe. Civil Beat.

For the first time, the Hawaii Interagency Council met under the leadership of a new Homeless Coordinator on Monday, and shifted some of its focus, thanks to a $1.3 million infusion. KITV4.

The state is going to spend more than a million dollars to help Hawaii’s homeless. KHON2.


Honolulu City Council Chairman Ernie Martin wants to “stop the bleeding” on the rising cost of the city’s $6 billion-plus rail project by putting a cap on how much in general excise tax surcharge dollars can be used to build it. Star-Advertiser.

The City Council Zoning Committee gave tentative approval Wednesday to a developer seeking building waivers and exemptions in exchange for constructing a 45-story residential tower that will consist largely of affordable sales units. Star-Advertiser.

Trevor Ozawa, the councilman from District 4, which stretches from Ala Moana to Hawaii Kai, is pushing a bill to require cycle tracks to be placed on the city’s official Public Infrastructure Map before getting installed. Civil Beat.

A Honolulu City Council committee Monday deferred a bill that would tighten regulations on Oahu taxicab drivers after receiving assurances from city officials that they are already making improvements to the system. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii developer Peter Savio plans to submit a bid to become the master developer for 168 acres near the University of Hawaii West Oahu campus that will be turned into a university district, which will include a mix of restaurant, retail and entertainment options. Pacific Business News.

Restrooms, paved parking and roads, lighting, a bike path and sidewalks are among some of the improvements area residents would like to see at  a beach park in Ewa Beach. Star-Advertiser.


Manta rays might be gentle, elegant creatures but state officials say the large number of boats and tour groups they attract has become a safety problem as too many people crowd around prime viewing areas off the Kona coast. The state Department of Land and Natural Resources announced Monday it is drafting rules for manta ray viewing areas at Makako and Keauhou bays that would create the first site-specific regulations for the popular tourist activity. Tribune-Herald.

Their off-island owners see transient vacation rentals as investment for their retirement or a way to afford their own vacation stays in Hawaii. But the short-term rentals are a source of headaches for neighbors and frustration for on-island companies trying to manage property properly. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii Health Systems Corp.’s East Hawaii Region could face another $7 million shortfall next fiscal year and the possibility of more painful budget cuts, administrators told state legislators Monday. Tribune-Herald.

The Mohouli Heights Senior Neighborhood is getting ready to expand with the planned addition of 30 new units. The existing 60-unit senior housing project on Mohouli Street in Hilo opened in April 2014 and has a waiting list of more than 400 people, said Keith Kato, Hawaii Island Community Development Corporation executive director. Tribune-Herald.


Maui Rep. Angus McKelvey, one of the most influential Democratic leaders in the state House of Representatives, has been charged with two misdemeanor offenses in connection with the handling and reporting of campaign donations. Star-Advertiser.

State Representative Angus McKelvey, D-West Maui, is in hot water over irregularities with his 2014 campaign spending, according to complaint filed last week by the state Attorney General’s office and numerous media reports. Maui Time.

Appointments are being taken for a household hazardous waste collection event Nov. 21 and 22 in Central Maui. Maui News.


Fifty miles north of the Hawaiian island of Kauai, more than a mile below the ocean surface, lies a dark, watery graveyard of ships. Since 1999, 52 vessels have reached their final resting place here as part of SINKEX, the Navy’s ship sinking program. Civil Beat.

Predator-proof protection. $300K fence safeguards endangered seabirds by creating a sanctuary at Nihoku. Garden Island.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Hurricane Olaf nears Hawaii, Gabbard, Takai fatten campaign coffers, Section 8 vouchers return to Oahu, Maui march draws thousands, E-Trade founder Porter dies on Kauai, Pahala gym floor redo, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy Central Pacific Hurricane Center
Hurricane Olaf 5 a.m. Monday, courtesy Central Pacific Hurricane Center
Olaf is now a major hurricane as it approaches the Central Pacific, according to the National Hurricane Center. At 5 a.m. Monday, Olaf had winds of 115 miles per hour, making it a Category 3 hurricane. It was located approximately 1,345 miles east-southeast of the Big Island. It was moving toward the west at 14 miles per hour. Hawaii News Now.

There’s still six weeks to go, but the 2015 Central Pacific hurricane season is already one for the record books. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii’s freshman in the U.S. House of Representatives, Mark Takai, raised $234,335 in the most recent fundraising cycle — more than Hawaii’s other House delegate, Tusi Gabbard. But not by much. Gabbard raised just $129 dollars less than Takai — or $234,206 — for the July-September reporting period. Civil Beat.

The embattled Sandwich Isles Communications Inc. owes $108.6 million to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for loans it obtained to finance its telecommunications network on Hawaiian home lands, and has been in default on some or all of those loans for the past two years, according to federal records. Star-Advertiser.

Gov. David Ige issued an emergency proclamation Friday to address Hawaii’s homelessness crisis, a move that allows him to tap into the state’s general revenue funds reserved for “the immediate relief of the conditions created by the disaster.” Civil Beat.

The state Division of Aquatic Resources has scheduled public hearings in November on a proposed rule to permanently regulate the harvesting of sea cucumbers in state waters. Star-Advertiser.


For the first time in a decade, the state’s public housing office will begin handing out Section 8 vouchers to individuals and families living on Oahu. However, demand is forecast to greatly outstrip available housing units because of the island’s tight housing market and the reluctance of landlords to accept low-income tenants. Star-Advertiser.

The City and County of Honolulu has chosen Massachusetts-based Ameresco Inc. to replace about 52,000 of its streetlights with more efficient LED lighting. Pacific Business News.

As the administrations of Gov. David Ige and Mayor Kirk Caldwell continue to search for new ways to address the estimated 4,900 people who are homeless on Oahu, IHS continues to receive emails, phone calls, tweets and Facebook messages from homeless people on the mainland who are considering coming to Hawaii with no housing and no idea how much it actually costs to live here. Star-Advertiser.

Former Honolulu police officer Vincent Morre was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison Friday for civil rights violations after attacking two men in a Hopaka Street game room last September. Civil Beat.


The first sneaker didn’t squeak across the floor of a new gymnasium in Pahala before it was ripped out to start over. A sign near the massive new green-roofed Ka’u gym and shelter looming over the public school campus in Pahala bears an optimistic completion date of Nov. 15, 2014. But chances are, the $17.3 million project won’t be ready a year from then. West Hawaii Today.

The Hawaii Fire Department is asking for another $6 million to build a new station on Haihai Street in Hilo. The 12,000-square-foot facility will replace a smaller and aging fire house on Kawailani Street. It will serve Panaewa makai to Waiakea Uka, according to the project’s environmental assessment. Tribune-Herald.

The Mohouli Heights Senior Neighborhood is getting ready to expand with the planned addition of 30 new units. The existing 60-unit senior housing project on Mohouli Street in Hilo opened in April 2014 and has a waiting list of more than 400 people, said Keith Kato, Hawaii Island Community Development Corporation executive director. Tribune-Herald.

Next to sparsely stocked shelves at The Food Basket’s Kona Warehouse, Marshall Akamu holds a wicker basket. West Hawaii Today.

It’s rare that a day goes by when Issa Hillweh, owner of the Hilo Town Tavern, doesn’t have a customer ask for the house brew. But a Hilo Town Tavern brew could be on its way soon. Hillweh is in the final stages of the permitting process for a new type of liquor license approved during the last state legislative session. Tribune-Herald.

Big Island police are investigating damage to a fiber optics cable network on Mauna Kea mountain, the site of a hotly disputed project to build a massive telescope. Associated Press.

It may be 10,000 to 100,000 years before Hawaii’s smallest and youngest volcano breaches the surface of the ocean. The Loihi Seamount, whose summit lies some 3,200 feet beneath the waves nearly 22 miles southeast of Ka‘u, was only discovered in 1952 when a flurry of earthquakes drew scientists’ attention offshore. The earliest known mention of Loihi was on bathymetric charts in 1940. West Hawaii Today.


The Aloha ʻĀina Unity March down Front Street in Lahaina on Sunday was a huge success, according to event organizers, calling it a “a beautiful day of activation.”  Maui Now.

West Maui march focuses on overdevelopment, resources. Front Street ran red with marchers Sunday morning as more than 5,000 people joined in the Aloha 'Aina Unity March. Maui News.

West Maui-Maalaea-north Kihei state Rep. Angus McKelvey said Saturday that he "screwed up royally" and apologized to constituents after acknowledging that he was charged last week with failing to report campaign contributions and for unauthorized expenditures of campaign funds. Maui News.

Maui County Council members unanimously approved Friday a 186-unit, fast-tracked affordable rental housing project, the Kenolio Apartments in Kihei, although lingering concerns remained about the capacity of the area's infrastructure. Maui News.

Hawaii regulators have approved the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative’s plan to retrofit nearly 3,500 street light fixtures owned by the county and state with energy-saving LED lights, becoming the first island in the state to switch virtually all of its street lights to LED lights, the Lihue-based cooperative said Friday. Pacific Business News.

Two months after Kauai County’s dog barking ordinance was repealed, another rule regulating noisy pups may be ready to get back on the books. Councilman KipuKai Kuali’i is crafting regulation that would try to hold pet owners responsible for excessive barking — one that would require more parties to notify authorities of a potential problem before a dog owner could be cited. Garden Island.

Alaska Airlines and the Kauai Humane Society are setting records this year in dogs and cats flown for free to the mainland for adoption. Hawaii News Now.

Bill Porter, the E-Trade founder who funneled generous portions of his fortune into businesses and nonprofits benefiting organic farming, recreation and community building on Kauai’s North Shore, died Wednesday at his home in Princeville, surrounded by family and friends. Garden Island.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Gov. Ige reports on Japan-China trip, Honolulu rail costs rise to $6.57B, feds support Native Hawaiian election, University of Hawaii seeks $16.2M budget increase, tigers denied for Hilo zoo, ABC's Jamie Zimmerman drowns on Kauai, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard bloodies nose in surfing mishap, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii Gov. Ige visits Gov. Onaga of Okinawa, courtesy photo
Gov. David Ige and first lady Dawn Amano-Ige returned from a diplomatic mission to Asia this week where they visited Okinawa, Japan, and Guangdong, China, to promote economic development, tourism, international student exchanges and the further development of renewable energy. Star-Advertiser.

Ending months of uncertainty, Hawaii Gov. David Ige announced Thursday that he has appointed Scott Glenn to serve as director of the state Office of Environmental Quality Control. Glenn will take the reins in November from Jessica Wooley, whose term ended June 30. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Gov. Ige is still opposed to NextEra Energy Inc.’s proposed $4.3 billion acquisition of Hawaiian Electric Co., even after seeing more than 50 new commitments the Florida firm made in its updated sale application. Pacific Business News.

The University of Hawaii will seek $16.2 million in additional state funding for operations next fiscal year under a supplemental budget request approved unanimously Thursday by the university’s Board of Regents. Star-Advertiser.

The University of Hawaii regents agreed Thursday to request $16 million in additional funds for the 2017 fiscal year from the state. Pacific Business News.

The University of Hawaii Board of Regents voted Thursday to approve a $700,000 settlement over the removal of former basketball coach Gib Arnold. Hawaii News Now.

The $700,000 settlement between the University of Hawaii and fired head basketball coach Gib Arnold is one of several costly contract disputes for the university over the last decade. Hawaii News Now.

The U.S. Department of the Interior says a judge shouldn't grant an injunction against an election process that's underway for those with Native Hawaiian ancestry. The department filed what's known as a friend-of-the-court brief in a lawsuit challenging the election. The lawsuit says a race-based election is unconstitutional. Associated Press.


The cost of the city’s rail project is now expected to swell to $6.57 billion as rail officials Thursday made public a new outline of the rail financial plan that incorporates additional utility work, traffic signals and finance charges that had not been included in previous cost estimates. Star-Advertiser.

For the 50.6 percent of Oahu voters who approved the city's rail project in 2008, the original price tag was estimated at $5.3 billion. Nearly seven years later, the cost of the elevated rail line has ballooned to more than $6.5 billion. KITV4.

The only quandary facing Honolulu Authority of Rapid Transportation board members Thursday was figuring out how to pay for future contracts and repay any debt incurred since the City Council has yet to approve an extension of the General Excise Tax. Civil Beat.

Construction of new Oahu SPCA shelter hit with violation notices. Hawaii News Now.

Rep. Tom Brower has been keeping close tabs on the homeless sweeps in Kakaako. KHON2.

U.S. Rep.Tulsi Gabbard injured her nose in a surfing accident Thursday morning at a surf spot area in Waikiki known as “Number Threes.”  Star-Advertiser.

For those interested in taking a look at sections of the sunken USS Arizona not normally seen — those below the murky waters of Pearl Harbor — the National Park Service is diving on the historic battleship and broadcasting it on a live webcast Saturday. Star-Advertiser.


Several amenities have been trimmed from the plans of a long-awaited Waimea district park after the construction bids came in higher than anticipated. The first phase of the project, originally expected to cost about $30 million, has been downsized to $23.87 million, because of “insufficient funds to award the contract at the basic bid amount,” according to a Sept. 14 letter from the Department of Public Works to winning bidder Nan Inc. West Hawaii Today.

There will be no permit for the Panaewa Rainforest Zoo and Gardens to import tiger cubs from an Oregon big cat breeder, at least for now. In a meeting Wednesday in Honolulu, the state Department of Agriculture’s Advisory Committee on Plants and Animals decided not to forward the county zoo’s request to bring in two Bengal tiger cubs to the Board of Agriculture for its consideration. Tribune-Herald.

An open discussion was held on Wednesday evening at the University of Hawaii concerning Na’i Aupuni, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs-funded nation-building effort. Big Island Video News.


State legislators come home to talk story. Maui News.

The County of Maui Department of Transportation is seeking public input on proposals to increase Maui Bus Service, as outlined in the draft Maui County Short-Range Transit Plan. Maui Now.


In September of 1970, Tom Summers, a surfer from California, arrived on Kauai and landed his first job building a 400-room expansion at the Coco Palms Resort. Garden Island.

Jamie Zimmerman, a doctor and reporter with ABC News’ medical unit, has drowned while on vacation in Hawaii. She was 31. Associated Press.

Jamie Zimmerman, a doctor and reporter with ABC News' medical unit, has drowned while on vacation in Hawaii. She was 31. Zimmerman apparently lost her footing while trying to cross the Lumahai River on Kauai's north shore and was swept out to sea. Star-Advertiser.

County officials have issued another notice about the importance of residents using their refuse carts properly. Garden Island.