Friday, January 29, 2016

Hawaii tourism up, copter commander fired days before deadly crash, Maui jail plans scuttled for Oahu project, lawmakers have gambling fever, inter-island ferry bill floated, zika worries add to dengue scare, airport security bribery spurs lawmaker action, mayor's deputy seeks top Hawaii County job, EPA investigates Kauai pesticide poisoning, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2016 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Rainbow over Kauai © 2016 All Hawaii News
Hawaii’s tourism industry achieved its fourth consecutive year of records for visitor arrivals and visitor expenditures in 2015, with strong momentum expected to continue into 2016. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii hotel market is doing well, compared to its Asia Pacific counterparts, according to a new report by Hospitality Advisors and STR Inc. Pacific Business News.

The commanding officer of the Kaneohe Bay Marine squadron, which lost 12 aviators two weeks ago in a helicopter accident, was removed from his job three days prior to the tragedy because he had failed to keep the unit operating at acceptable standards, the Marine Corps Times reported Thursday. Star-Advertiser.

Copter Commander Fired Days Before Crash. Twelve Marines were killed in the Jan. 14 crash of two helicopters off Oahu’s North Shore, just three days after the unit’s commanding officer was removed from his post. Civil Beat.

Lawmakers in Hawaii want to make an exception to the state’s gambling ban by legalizing fantasy sports contests. Hawaii is one of two states, along with Utah, with no legal gambling. The Aloha State has some of the strictest anti-gambling laws in the country, Hawaii Attorney General Doug Chin said. Associated Press.

There’s Another Hawaii Lottery Bill. Rep. John Mizuno’s bill would direct proceeds to be used to address homelessness. Civil Beat.

Private Police Force At Hawaii Airports Draws Legislative Scrutiny Contract security guards at the state’s airports carry guns and have the authority to arrest people. But some lawmakers question whether they’re qualified to do so. Civil Beat.

Re-establishing an interisland ferry capable of carrying hundreds of passengers as well as vehicles and cargo should be a priority for Hawaii, giving residents an alternative to expensive air transportation, according to a bill introduced Wednesday by Big Island Sen. Lorraine Inouye. Maui News.

Lawmakers Debate A Lower Blood-Alcohol Limit For Drivers. The measure is deferred, but another making it illegal to smoke in a car containing minors is passed by the Senate Transportation and Energy Committee. Civil Beat.

Establishment of a law enforcement standards board is a priority for female lawmakers at the Hawaii Legislature this year. Another is that county police commissions have members experienced in women’s issues and civil rights. The 2016 Women’s Legislative Caucus package also targets domestic violence and sex trafficking. Civil Beat.

The Hawaii Department of Health is looking for ways to beef up its staffing and expertise for responding to mosquito-borne viruses like dengue and Zika, following a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention pointing out “critical deficiencies” at the agency. Civil Beat.

After months battling the dengue virus, Hawaii health officials now are wary of another mosquito-borne virus that is sweeping through the Americas and has been linked to brain damage in thousands of babies in Brazil. Tribune-Herald.

Compared to other states and regions, Hawaii’s labor market is tiny. However, its growth needs to be realistic and lofty goals are not the solution, according to a panel of experts. Hawaii faces an “uphill battle” to fix its labor market, said Jack Suyderhoud, a professor of business economics at the University of Hawaii at Manoa Shidler College of Business at a “jobs for Hawaii” panel hosted by ThinkTech Hawaii on Thursday. Pacific Business News.


Under new legislation introduced by Gov. David Ige, the price tag for building a new facility to replace the crumbling Oahu Community Correctional Center could reach nearly a half-billion dollars. Civil Beat.

A joint Senate and House committee was briefed yesterday on a proposal to move the O’ahu Community Correctional Center from Kalihi to Halawa. Hawaii Public Radio.

It’s been more than two years since building resumed on Honolulu’s rail transit system, but the project continues to cope with its earlier construction delays and those costs are proving more expensive than officials had anticipated. Star-Advertiser.

An Oahu grand jury has indicted four private security officers and traffic control officers for allegedly taking bribes from taxi and shuttle drivers at Honolulu Airport, state Attorney General Douglas Chin announced Thursday. Star-Advertiser.

An Oahu grand jury indicted four Securitas law enforcement and traffic control officers on Thursday for accepting bribes from taxi and shuttle drivers at the Honolulu International Airport, Hawaii Attorney General Doug Chin announced. KITV4.

Airport bribery scheme sparks criticism over security at state facilities. KHON2.

Burglaries on Oahu dipped to a 30-year low last year, following local and national trends of declining crime. Star-Advertiser.

Folks unhappy with the city’s decision to allow alcohol in a roped-off section of the National Football League’s Pro Bowl Beach Stadium party at Queen’s Surf Beach today and Saturday are expected to voice their objections during the event. Star-Advertiser.

Police are investigating after a dozen schools received prank bomb threats Thursday afternoon. The threats were made between 2 and 3 p.m., police said, and officers were dispatched to each school. Hawaii News Now.

Several Honolulu schools were evacuated Thursday afternoon due to a series of bomb threats. Star-Advertiser.


Mayor Billy Kenoi’s top deputy quit his job Thursday and announced he’s running for mayor. West Hawaii Today.

Wally Lau announced his candidacy for Hawaii County Mayor on Thursday, resigning from his post as Hawaii County Managing Director. Big Island Video News.

A Department of Land and Natural Resources enforcement officer accused of raping a 16-year-old girl on a Hilo beach faces a possible 20 years in prison if he is convicted under terms requested by prosecutors. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii County has identified revisions for a park project in Kukuihaele it hopes will better suit the community’s needs after residents expressed concern earlier this month. West Hawaii Today.

Two bills currently under review in the legislature call for $100,000 to study the impact of a small satellite launch facility on Hawaii Island. KHON2.

The number of visitors arriving by airline on Hawaii Island rose by 3.8 percent in 2015, according to preliminary data released Thursday by the Hawaii Tourism Authority. Meanwhile, cruise ship tourism foundered slightly, dropping 0.2 percent, with 225,707 visitors arriving on the Big Island by ship in 2015. Tribune-Herald.


Plans to relocate Maui’s overcrowded jail to a larger facility in Puunene have fallen by the wayside as Gov. David Ige aggressively moves forward on plans to relocate Oahu’s largest jail to the grounds of the existing Halawa Correctional Facility. Star-Advertiser.

To prevent vehicle overcrowding and safety hazards in a parking lot at 'Ahihi-Kina'u Natural Area Reserve, the state Department of Land and Natural Resources is proposing a concrete-paved, 31,000-square-foot parking lot. Maui News.


Two government agencies are coordinating an investigation after some Syngenta workers were hospitalized last week after they were exposed to the pesticide chlorpyrifos. Dean Higuchi, Environmental Protection Agency spokesman, said his regional office was working with the Hawaii Department of Agriculture to review the incident. Garden Island.

For 2015, Kauai saw 1.16 million visitors, up 4.3 percent from 1.11 million in 2014. Garden Island.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Fuel tax hikes proposed for roads, three counties mull general excise tax increase, attorney general says fantasy sports betting illegal, military wants to beef up Kauai missile range, opposition rises to homegrown marijuana ban bill, more than 2k bills filed this legislative session, two Hawaii billionaires among world's top 10 wealthiest, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2016 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Road construction in Hawaii © 2016 All Hawaii News
In an unusual election-year move, Gov. David Ige is asking lawmakers to raise the state’s gasoline tax from 16 cents to 19 cents per gallon while also boosting the state’s vehicle registration fees and weight taxes, steps the administration expects will cost a typical motorist about $55 extra per year. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Attorney General Doug Chin issued a formal advisory opinion Wednesday stating that daily fantasy sports contests, such as DraftKings and FanDuel, are illegal under Hawaii gambling laws, and his office is considering pursuing criminal or civil enforcement actions against companies operating the websites. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii Attorney General’s office issued an opinion Wednesday saying daily fantasy sports contests like those run by FanDuel and DraftKings constitute illegal gambling in Hawaii. Civil Beat.

The state Attorney General says daily fantasy sports contests, such as FanDuel and DraftKings, are illegal gambling under Hawaii law. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii lawmakers have filed more than 2,000 new bills in the 2016 legislative session. They're racing to turn in their proposals before a legislative deadline. Associated Press.

With the high cost of incarceration, many states are increasingly turning to ankle bracelets as a more cost-effective way to supervise offenders — while freeing up space in prisons and jails. But, in Hawaii, the concept of electronic monitoring has yet to fully take hold. Civil Beat.

Hawaii state lawmakers are pushing for a new bill to make wrongdoings by officers become public knowledge. KHON2.

A bill that would ban homegrown marijuana in Hawaii is riling pot advocates as the state prepares for the opening of medical cannabis dispensaries this year. Star-Advertiser.

The people have spoken, and lawmakers have finally heard them: Hawaii’s sweltering classrooms need to cool off. How to accomplish that will be a top priority this legislative session, possibly snagging even more attention than the Hawaii State Teacher Association’s ambitious proposal for wide-ranging education reforms. Civil Beat.

A no-tipping model has been gaining popularity across the nation and Hawaii restaurants may soon jump on the bandwagon. Pacific Business News.

As of Jan. 23, approximately 13,194 Hawaii residents had signed up for coverage through during the enrollment period that began in November, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Pacific Business News.

Candidate filing for the elections for federal, state and county offices later this year gets underway Monday and runs through June 7, the state Office of Elections said Tuesday. Maui News.

A new report ranking all 50 states based on residents’ sense of well-being puts Hawaii at No. 1, followed by Alaska, which held the top spot last year. Associated Press.


Oahu residents and visitors will be paying a 0.5 percent surcharge on goods and services through 2027 for the $6.57 billion rail project after the Honolulu City Council voted Wednesday to approve a five-year extension. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu City Council extended state funding for the rail transit project today.  But the lawmakers imposed a few restrictions on spending. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu City Council approved a five-year extension of a 0.5 percent general excise tax surcharge Wednesday to help cover cost overruns and lost revenues on the $6.6 billion rail project that’s currently under construction. Civil Beat.

The Honolulu City Council 7-2 vote boils down to this. For the average taxpayer, it’s not a forever tax. But it's continuing to pay a half percent more on goods and services until 2027. KITV4.

Is Rod Tam returning to politics? An outspoken and controversial figure, he spent two nights in jail in late 2011 and early 2012 for stealing city funds and violating campaign spending laws. Civil Beat.

The U.S. Navy is asking officials from government agencies that want to participate in the implementation of an agreement to update underground fuel tanks at Red Hill to sign non-disclosure agreements that would prevent them from sharing information related to procurement and national defense. Civil Beat.

Bikeshare Hawaii planned to roll out its bike rental system this month, but the start date has been delayed because of a lack of capital. Hawaii News Now.


A measure currently being considered by Hawaii County officials would add another half-percent to the general excise tax charged on goods and services. West Hawaii Today.

All seven members of the Big Island’s state House delegation are co-sponsoring a bill that would bolster efforts to combat invasive little fire ants. Tribune-Herald.

Extending roads across five lots between subdivisions would be enough to connect upper Puna communities and provide another route in case of an emergency, an ad hoc committee concluded. Tribune-Herald.

A pair of House and Senate bills would pave the way for privatization of Honokohau Small Boat Harbor. West Hawaii Today.

An off-duty Kona Patrol officer has been arrested and charged with the alleged assault of a 72-year-old man living above him in a Kailua-Kona apartment. Big Island Video News.

Scientists from University of Hawaii at Hilo and the San Diego Zoo, are trying to bring the Hawaiian crow back from the brink of extinction. Researchers were able to successfully sequence the genome of the bird, also known as the alala. KHON2.


ATC Makena Holdings came up against strong opposition Tuesday to its plans to develop 47 acres in the Makena Resort. Maui News.


It was a mixed bag at the Kauai County public hearing Wednesday for the proposed one-half percent general excise tax surcharge increase. Garden Island.

Findings from N&K CPA Inc.’s audit report were in the same areas as the findings from the last fiscal year’s audit report. But the county has made progress in each of the areas. Garden Island.

The head of U.S. Pacific Command said Wednesday that the U.S. military should consider enabling an Aegis Ashore facility on Kauai to protect against North Korean missile threats. Star-Advertiser.

A school bus rear-ended a sedan on Kaumualii Highway near the Kauai Humane Society Tuesday morning. There were no injuries. Garden Island.


Billionaire Larry Ellison, the co-founder of Oracle Corp. to bought Hawaii’s island of Lanai for $300 million, is the seventh-richest person in the world, according to a new ranking by Wealth-X, in collaboration with Business Insider, of the world’s 50 wealthiest people. Another Hawaii landowner, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, 31, was ranked just below Ellison at No. 8 with a net worth of $42.8 billion. Pacific Business News.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Waikiki Beach eroding; Sen. Kahele dies; bills would ban gay conversion therapy, criminalize sex with teachers, elect judges and attorney general, regulate vacation rentals, loosen ethics laws; more top government and political news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2016 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Tourists view Diamond Head from Waikiki Beach © 2016 All Hawaii News
A new state report proposes replacing a crumbling 89-year-old wall that juts out into the ocean from Waikiki Beach and has been keeping a prime section of Hawaii’s most visited beach from being swept away. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii state Sen. Gilbert Kahele, recalled as a big-hearted gentleman who cared deeply for his district, has died. Associated Press.

State Sen. Gilbert “Gil” Kahele, a soft-spoken but relentless advocate for Hawaii island and a longtime community organizer who campaigned for a long list of prominent Hawaii Democrats over the years, died Tuesday morning. He was 73. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii is mourning the loss of state Sen. Gil Kahele, who died early Tuesday after a series of heart attacks. He was 73. Tribune-Herald.

copyright 2016 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Gil Kahele, a state senator representing Hilo on Hawaii’s Big Island, died Tuesday morning at the age of 73. Civil Beat.

Surrounded by his loving family, the Hawaii State Senate reports that Sen. Gil Kahale passed peacefully at 7:55 a.m. today at Queens Medical Center. He was 73 years old. Big Island Video News.

Hawaii state Sen. Gilbert Kahele, who represented parts of the Big Island, has died. He was 73. KITV4.
A public memorial will be held this week for Hawaii Island Sen. Gil Kahele. The 73-year-old died Tuesday morning surrounded by family at Queen’s Medical Center after being hospitalized last week for undisclosed medical reasons. KHON2.

The death of state Sen. Gil Kahele on Tuesday could leave Hilo without a Senate representative for several weeks of the legislative session as Democratic Party officials interview applicants for the District 1 seat. Gov. David Ige will be responsible for picking a replacement for Kahele, who came to the Legislature in 2011 as an appointment by then-Gov. Neil Abercrombie, following a nomination process held by county party officials. Tribune-Herald.


Hawaii lawmakers are considering bills this year that would fundamentally change how district judges, the attorney general and lieutenant governor are chosen. Civil Beat.

Hawaii lawmakers have introduced a bill banning a hotly disputed treatment that aims to turn gay teens heterosexual on the basis that being gay is an illness. Associated Press.

Lawmakers are debating a bill that would make it a crime for a teacher to have consensual sexual contact with a 16- or 17-year-old. Hawaii's age of consent is 16, but under House Bill 1044, an adult in a position of power who engages in sexual contact with a 16- or 17-year-old would face fourth-degree sex assault charges. Hawaii News Now.

Reps. Kaniela Ing and Cynthia Thielen are joining forces to introduce a measure that expands industrial hemp research, growth, cultivation and marketing activities in Hawaiʻi. Maui Now.

Today state Representatives Cynthia Thielen, R-Kailua, and Kaniela Ing, D-South Maui, unveiled their big industrial hemp bill. MauiTime.

An East Hawaii lawmaker is proposing a new payroll tax to fund paid sick leave for most employees in the state. The bill, introduced by Rep. Mark Nakashima, would require businesses that employ at least 10 people to provide up to five days of paid leave a year for illnesses. Tribune-Herald.

The Governor covered his major priorities yesterday during his State of the State address to the Legislature.   But the largest departmental budget includes much more than what was revealed. Hawaii Public Radio.

Commentary: Ige’s clumsy delivery belies bold ideas charted in speech. Star-Advertiser.

Big Island legislators want to bolster the state Department of Health Vector Control Branch to better focus on controlling populations of animals and insects that spread disease. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii has a new statewide on-demand television channel called HSPAN that its creators say “will significantly increase” the coverage of state Capitol activities available to the public. Civil Beat.

Who’s Raising Cash During Session? Hawaii state Reps. Evans, Mizuno and Morikawa, that’s who. And it’s not illegal. Civil Beat.

Commentary: A controversial decision last year by the State Ethics Commission restricting educational trips planned, organized, and led by public school teachers has spawned a pair of identical bills that could dangerously weaken the state ethics law. Civil Beat.

Hawaii’s medical marijuana industry, which could be valued at $300 million by the end of 2018, will have a major impact on the industrial real estate market in the state, that is already one of the tightest markets for space in the nation, according to an industry expert. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii received a B when Americans for Safe Access released its Medical Marijuana Access in the US: A Patient-Focused Analysis of the Patchwork of State Laws Tuesday. Civil Beat.

The federal Office of National Marine Sanctuaries has withdrawn plans to expand the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary amid resistance from the state, the community and boating and fishing groups. Star-Advertiser.

The federal government announced it dropped a plan to transform the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary from a single species national marine sanctuary. West Hawaii Today.

The Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary isn’t expanding. That’s due to a decision from the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration to not move forward with a proposed expansion to an ecosystem-based sanctuary. Garden Island.

Pacific Water Conference could provide new solutions for septic systems, as regulation offers tax rewards. Pacific Business News.

The Department of Education is working to collect nearly $100,000 it mistakenly paid to more than 200 substitute teachers over a year ago. Star-Advertiser.

Micronesians who were hospitalized in Hawaii were significantly younger than other racial and ethnic groups, a new study has found. The severity of the illnesses also was higher for Micronesians than for whites, Japanese and Hawaiians when it comes to cardiac and infectious disease. Civil Beat.

Citing a need to pay off debt, Hawaiian Airlines officials say a profitable year won’t directly affect ticket prices. Garden Island.


Pearl City legislators have introduced House Bill 1840, which calls for a plan to repair the Sunset Memorial Park Cemetery on 4th Street off Kamehameha Hwy. Hawaii News Now.

The Waimanalo Market Co-op faces an insecure future. General Manager Leinaala Bright says that while the co-op has state nonprofit status, it does not yet meet federal criteria that would allow it to qualify for a host of grants. Star-Advertiser.


For years, an unknown — but some say increasing — number of homeowners have quietly rented out their properties to visitors on such online clearing houses as Airbnb and Vacation Rentals By Owner. Kona Sen. Josh Green has introduced a bill that would require all vacation rentals to be licensed annually under the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs. West Hawaii Today.

Water bills will trickle down another few cents Monday, as the county Department of Water Supply passes along savings from lower electricity costs. West Hawaii Today.

HPD Keeps Mum About Fired Cop Now Charged With Sex Assault on Hawaii Island. Honolulu police officials refuse to answer questions about Ethan Ferguson, who was hired by a state agency after being discharged by HPD for misconduct. Civil Beat.


Gov. David Ige called it a "first priority" to keep Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. land in agriculture rather than leave it unproductive or turned into luxury housing when the more than 100-year-old company ceases its sugar operations later this year. Maui News.

Maui County's unemployment rate fell to 3.1 percent in December, down more than half a percentage point from 3.8 percent a year earlier, according to labor statistics released Monday by the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations. Maui News.


The Kauai anti-bullying campaign grew Tuesday when public school principals received the Mauka to Makai message banners during the principals’ meeting at the Department of Education administrative offices in Lihue. Garden Island.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Ige seeks cool schools, affordable housing, new Oahu jail in State-of-the-State address; hotel tax a sticking point for mayors; bills mulled for lottery, birth control from pharmacists, lower blood-alcohol for DUI; more government news from all the Hawaiian Islands

photo courtesy Sen. J. Kalani English
Gov. David Ige State-of-the-State address, courtesy Sen. J. Kalani English
Gov. David Ige used the words “long overdue” five times in his second State of the State address Monday. Speaking before a packed Hawaii House of Representatives chamber, the governor identified issues that he said had been neglected but could wait no longer for action. Civil Beat.

Gov. David Ige vowed in his second State-of the-State speech to install fixes that will cool 1,000 public school classrooms by the end of the year, and to launch an initiative to develop water, sewer and other infrastructure to make it easier to for companies to develop affordable housing. Star-Advertiser.

Gov. David Ige outlined the broad strokes of his policy agenda for the upcoming year, promising to focus on affordable housing, homelessness and conditions in public schools in a speech that paid homage to the state’s past while embracing the need for change. Associated Press.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige discussed several funding issued during his second State of the State address on Monday, including a proposal that the state fund $30 million over the next six years to support growth in the innovation sector. Pacific Business News.

The Governor delivered his second state of the state address to the legislature today. Hawaii Public Radio.

In his second State of the State address, Gov. David Ige made a big push for affordable housing units, a key to address the ongoing concern about homelessness. KHON2.

Lawmakers agree on Governor’s priorities but want to see details. KITV4.

County mayors say they were caught off guard during a budget briefing Monday when powerful members of the Legislature questioned a recent panel recommendation that state lawmakers significantly increase the counties’ share of the state hotel room tax, known as the transient accommodations tax. Star-Advertiser.

The mayors of Honolulu, Kauai, Maui and Hawaii counties told legislators Monday that the state should give them a bigger share of the 9.25 percent transient accommodations tax that it collects from visitors. The counties currently split $103 million of the hotel tax revenue, and the cap drops to $93 million next fiscal year, which starts July 1. Civil Beat.

The powerful chairs of the state House and Senate money committees on Monday dashed the hopes of the four county mayors that the counties would easily get a bigger share of money collected from hotel rooms and other short-term rentals. West Hawaii Today.

It doesn’t have a hearing scheduled yet, but there is a bill to allow lotteries in Hawaii. It was introduced last Friday by Joe Souki, the speaker of the House of Representatives, who said recently that a lottery for the state is a distinct possibility. Civil Beat.

Hawaii lawmakers introduced legislation that would make it easier for adult women in Hawaii to get birth control. Right now, women can only get certain contraceptives through a physician. If passed, the bill would allow women older than 18 to get hormonal contraceptives such as birth control pills, patches and rings directly from pharmacists without having to visit a doctor. Associated Press.

One Hawaii lawmaker wants to impose a DUI game-changer, lowering the limit below the .08 blood alcohol percentage used in all 50 states. KITV4.

Rep. Romy Cachola says the state should spend the money to turn the reflecting pool surrounding the State Capitol into dancing fountains with bright lights and music. KHON2.

Homeless outreach specialists and volunteers walked for hours all over the state on Monday counting the homeless for the annual Point-in-Time Count. Hawaii News Now.

High school students using e-cigarettes will likely graduate to tobacco, a two-year University of Hawaii Cancer Center study found after following 2,300 Hawaii teenagers. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 3.2 percent in December after the number was revised upward by one-tenth of a point for November.The last time the rate was this low was in January 2008, according to data released Monday by the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations. Star-Advertiser.


Property taxpayers can expect to see a 9 percent increase in rates to subsidize annual operational costs for the 20-mile rail system when it comes online in late 2021. Star-Advertiser.

The Oahu Board of Registration has concluded that Hawaii Sen. Brickwood Galuteria and his wife Abigail did in fact live in a one-bedroom apartment with the senator’s mother in Kakaako during the 2014 general election, despite a complaint brought by a political opponent. Civil Beat.

A new plan to stabilize a famous stretch of shoreline is moving forward. Funding for the Royal Hawaiian Groin Replacement project will be provided by the state and commercial property owners in Waikiki. Hawaii News Now.

Eight months after the University of Hawaii launched an internal investigation of UH Manoa’s chief academic officer over faculty and staff complaints of bullying and racist and sexist behavior, UH expects to hand the case over for an outside decision-maker. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii Supreme Court has rejected Kamehameha Schools’ request to block a judge’s order to turn over evidence trust officials gathered in their own investigation of a former teacher charged with using a hidden camera to record students showering in his apartment. Star-Advertiser.


Hawaii’s four county mayors went to the capitol on Monday to present their local needs to state lawmakers. Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi joined Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa, Kauai Mayor Bernard Carvalho, Jr., and the City and County of Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell for an informational briefing before the Senate Ways and Means and House Finance Committees. Big Island Video News.

East Hawaii administrators for Hawaii Health Systems Corp. say they are continuing to review changes to their long-term care services following a public grilling last week by state Rep. Richard Onishi, D-Hilo. Tribune-Herald.

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs is requesting the state charge “sufficient” rent to observatories on Mauna Kea. Bills introduced on behalf of OHA in the state House and Senate would require University of Hawaii, which holds a master lease for the Mauna Kea Science Reserve, to account for environmental damage, impact to Native Hawaiians and administration of its management plan, among other factors, when assessing lease payments. Tribune-Herald.


A road repair project on Kahekili Highway is pending while officials decide how best to protect a nearby burial site thought to contain multiple human remains. Maui News.

The hearings officer in the East Maui watershed contested case is calling for the restoration of 18 million gallons of water a day to 10 streams currently being diverted mainly for Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. operations - but he did not take into consideration the impending closure of the plantation at the end of 2016. Maui News.

Maui Electric Co. has donated $30,000 to the University of Hawaii Maui College to establish an endowment fund for students enrolled in the school's sustainable science management program, according to an announcement. Maui News.

The Maui Humane Society has received a $258,000 grant from PetSmart Charities to expand the society's veterinary clinic, according to an announcement. Maui News.


The Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whales National Marine Sanctuary expansion plan will be discussed at the sanctuary’s advisory council meeting today. But a Jan. 22 letter from Suzanne Case, chairperson for Hawaii’s Department of Land and Natural Resources, was a tell for how the meeting might shake out. Garden Island.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Full text of Gov. David Ige's State of the State address to the 2016 Hawaii Legislature

scren shot courtesy Hawaii public television
Gov. David Ige State of the State address to the Hawaii Legislature

Speaker Souki, President Kouchi, former governors, distinguished justices of the courts, representatives of our congressional delegation, members of the Hawaii State Legislature, county mayors and other elected officials, honored guests, family and friends,

Good morning and aloha.

After Alexander & Baldwin announced the end of sugar production on Maui, I visited the people who work there.  Among them was a diesel mechanic, a fourth generation plantation worker, whose family history was interwoven with the sugar plantations.

He talked with pride about his work and life, and I shared that pride in recalling my own family's life on the plantation.  I was also struck by the realization that his family’s future would forever be altered by the closure of sugar.

Like many of you here, I was saddened for those workers whose lives will be changed forever.
At the same time, I reflected on the challenges that we face moving forward.

Today, we live in a time of extraordinary change, where the past seems to have little relevance to what is happening today, let alone tomorrow.  And while the past doesn’t provide us with a precise roadmap to the future, it does give us the very things we need to find our path:  values, sensibilities and the ways in which we treat each other—with aloha.

Sugar is gone, as are many other aspects of the Hawaii we once knew.   In their place, however, there is an exciting new world beckoning us.  And that is what I want to talk about this morning—about this new world and the challenges we face as we govern—about doing things the right way to make things happen. 

It begins with being truthful.  We, in government, are obligated to be truthful, even when the truth is not easy or popular.  When we live without truth, our actions fail to pass the test of time.  Moreover, we tend to repeat our mistakes because we have not learned from them.

A few years ago, we saw the demise of the SuperFerry.  Its failure has been attributed to environmental objections and a hostile court.  But that is not exactly what happened.  The fact is the state failed to follow the law.  When we tried a legal end run, it also failed.  The point is the state should have followed the law and done the right thing in the first place.

While the circumstances are very different, we are now going through some very difficult days with the Thirty Meter Telescope.  When I visited Mauna Kea last April, I felt deeply that something was not right. 

Even though I personally believe that the telescope needs to be built, it was also clear to me that many things have gone very wrong along the way.  As a result, I have taken the time to listen to a lot of people—listening to their hopes as well as their concerns.

In its recent ruling, the Supreme Court did not say don’t do this project.  What it did say was that the state didn’t do the right things in the approval process.  It told us we needed to do a better job of listening to people and giving them a real opportunity to be heard.

The unrelenting search for truth, knowledge and understanding is an essential part of our human makeup.  It helps us become who we are. 

So does our obligation to be true to our past and cultural heritage. 

That’s why it’s so unfortunate that our past and our future have been pitted against each other on the slopes of Mauna Kea.  As Governor, I am committed to realigning our values and our actions. They are what define us as a community and allow us to move forward – proud of our past and facing our future with strength and confidence.

I am committed to pursuing this project and I hope its sponsors will stay with us.  And this time, we will listen carefully to all, reflect seriously on what we have heard and, whatever we do in the end, we will do it the right way.

Governing the right way also means managing public funds as a public trust.  That’s especially true when it comes to taking care of our debts and obligations.

The state’s obligation to the public pension and health benefit funds represent two of our biggest fixed expenses.  We need to find better ways to meet this challenge.  Their continued growth is a challenge that will remain with us for many years.  We must find ways to do better in meeting this challenge so as not to burden future generations of taxpayers. 

Last year, we changed the way in which we funded those obligations that will save hundreds of millions of dollars in the future.  In the past, the state’s contributions to the fund were made in installments that spread over 12 months.  By consolidating those contributions into a single payment at the beginning of each fiscal year, we will realize contributions or taxpayer savings of up to half a billion dollars over the next 20 years. 

Furthermore, my supplemental budget request to the Legislature includes paying 100 percent of the annual required contributions rather than 60 percent for the next two fiscal years.  If authorized, this will further save more than $300 million in required contributions over the next 20 years.

Tax Modernization Program
We’ve also been working hard to implement expenditure control policies and create fiscal initiatives such as a tax modernization program. 
While the history of the tax department’s computer programs is not a good one, the recent initiative to upgrade those programs is on time, on budget and meeting our first-year expectations.  It will take until 2018 to complete, but we are already seeing progress in the collection of the general excise and transient accommodation taxes.

Greater efficiencies have increased tax revenues and saved taxpayer dollars.  At the same time, our tax-fraud unit identified over $20 million in fraudulent claims in the last fiscal year and, so far this year, it has found another $11 million.  Let’s be clear. Stopping tax fraud is about fairness for all those who faithfully pay their share each year.

We know this work delays tax refunds and we are working hard to minimize those delays.  If you bear with us during this transition, we will soon have a system that will be better able to catch fraud, without the time, cost and work required to do so today.

Federal Funds
In some cases, the state has struggled to spend federal monies in a timely way.  This issue has vexed us for too long.  We are starting to make progress.  The Department of Transportation reduced its Fiscal Year 2015 project pipeline balance by over $100 million.  This is the largest drop in five years and is the lowest it has been since Fiscal Year 2002.

I am also pleased to announce that the Federal Environmental Protection Agency has determined that our State Department of Health is now in compliance in spending down the Drinking Water Fund.  As a result, the remaining balance totaling $8 million for Fiscal Year 2015 is being released for use locally. 

We have more work to do on this critical issue, but we are making real progress.

Bond Financing
We also know that when public funds are managed better, the cost of borrowing money decreases.  Last November we completed a $750 million state bond sale—the first for this administration—and were able to refinance some of our bonds.  This resulted in savings of about $61 million in our debt service requirement.

Because of all these initiatives, we were able to balance the state budget by last June, even though the state was projected to close the last fiscal year in the red.

Maui Public Hospitals
While we have made progress, there continues to be areas of concern.  One of these is the operation of the hospitals on our neighbor islands and in rural communities.  It is getting harder and harder for us as a state to operate these hospitals well.

We need the resources the private sector can bring to bear on the increasingly complex issues and challenges of health care.  We recently signed a historic agreement transferring the operation and management of the Maui Region health care facilities from the state to Kaiser Permanente.  There is still work ahead but this is a great step forward.  Thanks to all of you for working with us to make this happen.

In these and many other ways, we are committed to maintaining your trust—the public’s trust—and to closely mind the state’s purse strings as we prioritize and invest in the projects and programs that are long overdue.

When we govern in the right way, we conduct the people’s business WITH the community, not against it or around it or without it.  I’ve long had strong concerns about the way the redevelopment in Kakaako proceeded.  So do a lot of people who felt left out. 

We have a great opportunity to learn from past experience and do things differently going forward.  We have an immediate opportunity to get it right in Kalihi.

One of the harshest realities facing us today is that we need to tear down the Oahu Correctional Facility in Kalihi and build a new facility in Halawa.  The jail is severely overcrowded and in disrepair and we must take action.

Therefore, I am introducing a bill to move this forward. 

The facility will be designed to take advantage of all that we have learned about incarceration, and the need to give inmates a real opportunity to change their lives.  Once the correctional facility has been moved, we can take advantage of the transit-oriented development opportunities created by the rail transit system. 

In the next couple of weeks, I intend to put together a group of community leaders who will convene a series of community meetings to let Kalihi speak about what Kalihi wants and what role it will play in the future of Honolulu.

The land at Dillingham and Puuhale could be used for affordable housing, open space for recreation, commercial development and the jobs that it would bring, education and many other possibilities.  And there are other state housing and mixed-use developments in various stages of planning and development in Kalihi.

In short, this is a tremendous opportunity to reposition Kalihi for the future.
This Kalihi 21st Century initiative truly gives us the opportunity to do community planning the right way.  No one deserves this more than the people of Kalihi.

This is long overdue.

Governing in the right way is about people.  That’s why we will do what needs to be done with compassion.

Homelessness in Hawaii presents a complex and difficult issue.  On one hand, we need to ensure that our parks and sidewalks remain open and safe for all to use.  But we will do this with compassion and respect, especially when families with young children are involved.  We will be sure that shelters are available for them. 

We cannot force people into shelters, but we can do our best to help those families.  That’s why we increased funding for the Housing First effort and organized a Landlord Summit to encourage acceptance of more low-income and homeless tenants from building owners.

We are also currently in the final stages of renovating a 5,000-square-foot maintenance facility in Kakaako to house up to 240 people a year.  This facility will not be just another shelter.  Instead, it will be a Family Assessment Center that will quickly connect families to longer term housing.

An additional $8.3 million has been included in my budget for Fiscal Year 2017 to operate the Family Assessment Center, expand the Housing First Program on the neighbor islands, and establish a new Rapid Re-housing program throughout the state.

The ultimate goal of the state’s efforts to address homelessness is to make permanent housing available.

I am also pleased to announce that the state will be investing $5 million immediately to jumpstart a new public-private partnership with Aloha United Way.  It will provide direct funding for rapid re-housing, homeless prevention services and establish a statewide referral system. It will also develop long-term homeless strategies to address the needs of the most vulnerable individuals, including unaccompanied youth and those with chronic health concerns.

This initiative is expected to provide immediate relief to an estimated 1300 households.

My thanks to the Legislature, county mayors and the many community groups committed to helping homeless families and individuals throughout the state. 

Affordable Housing
You cannot talk about homelessness without talking about the major reason why it has become so widespread.  And that is the lack of affordable housing.  It is estimated that 66,000 housing units are needed in the coming years. The state alone cannot fill the gap, but the state wants to do its part.

That’s why we are working with the private sector to develop a comprehensive approach to reduce regulatory barriers, strengthen financial tools, streamline procedures and re-orient policies toward increasing housing production.  We’ve expanded our partnerships with the private sector to build more affordable homes and rentals across the state.

Last year, the Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corporation awarded about $10 million in low-income housing tax credit and $108 million in loans and bonds to leverage over $660 million in total development costs.

This year, because of the great demand, we are seeking $75 million for the Rental Housing Revolving Fund to make more money available for low-income rentals.

But the biggest roadblock to developing more homes is the lack of adequate infrastructure that allows housing projects to even begin.  The state can make a major contribution by funding projects such as roads and water systems.

That’s why I am proposing legislation to allow us to use the Dwelling Unit Revolving Fund for infrastructure development.  We are also asking for a $25-million increase to that fund in Fiscal Year 2017. 

Public Housing
We’re also thinking outside the box in renovating the state’s public housing facilities. 

The North School Street redevelopment project will be one of three Oahu public housing initiatives to enter into a public-private partnership that allows for a mixed-use/mixed income model.  Kuhio Park Terrace and Mayor Wright Homes are the other two.

These projects will redefine our concept of public housing and make it more efficient, more welcoming and more compassionate. 

With the Mayor Wright Homes, we are in the process of formulating a master development agreement with Hunt Companies that has the potential of adding additional mixed-income units.  A development agreement with the Michaels Group for phase two of Kuhio Park Terrace is also imminent, with the potential for additional affordable units.

Private Sector and County Initiatives
There are other purely private sector projects in various stages of development that will contribute thousands of additional units, including Hoopili in East Kapolei and Koa Ridge in Central Oahu.  Combined, there will be over 10,000 units coming on line in the next few years.  While that is still not enough, it is a solid beginning.

We will also need innovative help from other levels of government.  I want to thank Honolulu Mayor Caldwell and the City Council for thinking out of the box to create an “accessory dwelling unit” plan to increase rentals.

Perhaps the greatest opportunities for housing on Oahu rest with transit-oriented development.  We will be working closely with you on affordable housing initiatives in this key area.  And mahalo to Mayor Carvalho of Kauai, Mayor Arakawa of Maui, Mayor Kenoi of Hawaii Island, and their respective county councils for stepping up their island-tailored efforts to house our people.

Hawaii State Hospital
Compassion must also extend to those who struggle each day with mental health issues.  Behavioral health issues are often the underlying cause of many of our social, health and economic challenges.  In fact, mental health is the single-most pressing unmet health issue facing our state.

That’s why we’re investing $160.5 million in a new forensic mental health facility on the grounds of the State Hospital in Kaneohe.  And we’ve budgeted $4.7 million in Fiscal Year 2017 to cover projected operating deficits at the State Hospital.

No one who has ever visited these facilities would ever question the need for these improvements.  We must address the severe overcrowding as well as the safety of our state employees.  We will work with you to find ways to accelerate the design and construction of this critically needed facility.

It is long overdue.

Governing in the right way also looks to the future.  For me, our highest single obligation is to take care of our children.  The classroom is a sacred learning space, but students will fail to learn the lessons of their teachers when temperatures soar to over 100 degrees.  There is enough blame to go around.  Our children deserve better from us.

We need to cool our classrooms now, in energy-efficient ways that align with our commitment to end our dependence on imported fossil fuels.  Clean energy technology is changing rapidly and it’s becoming more efficient.  The Department of Education has already launched an energy-efficiency program called Ka Hei.  This is a start and we need to take it farther.

I am working with the DOE, other state departments, utilities and clean energy companies to cool 1,000 public school classrooms by the end of this year and thousands more each year through the end of 2018. 

We are going to get this job done.

To start, we will use $100 million of Green Energy Market Securitization funds to immediately install energy-efficiency measures and air conditioning units in classrooms where our children need it the most.  By using existing GEMS program dollars, the Department of Education and its energy-efficiency partner, OpTerra, can quickly access affordable financing for a large portion of its cost to air condition our classrooms. 

I know you share my concerns.  Let’s work together to support our kids.  You have my personal commitment that I will do all in my power to serve them.  I’ll work with anyone else who wants to do the same.

This, too, is long overdue.

Finally, good governance creates a legacy—what we leave our children.

When I look at all the things we are doing right now, I see two legacy building elements in our current budget:  They are strengthening our economic foundation and encouraging innovation.

Economic Foundations
Tourism is one of our primary economic engines, generating over $14 billion each year in visitor spending and employing nearly 150,000 workers.  It’s essential for us to maintain our global position as a leader in the industry.

To do this, we need to make travel to Hawaii as easy as possible by expanding U.S. Customs pre-clearance for international visitors, particularly from Japan.  Honolulu is the fourth largest port of entry in the United States. 

Through a CIP funding appropriation, we want to establish Kona as a second international airport, giving visitors more travel options and conveniences. 

We are also asking for funds to modernize our airports and automate the passport control system.  This will enrich the visitor experience and encourage more carriers to fly here.

Agriculture and the Environment
In agriculture, we must move more aggressively to take on threats to our homegrown resources, with the creation of the Hawaii Invasive Species Authority. 

Yes, it’s long overdue.

The authority is just part of a broader framework for sustainability in Hawaii that will connect all of our efforts in resource protection, water production and fishery restoration to support sustainable communities throughout the state. 

Maui Sugar Lands
As I noted earlier, the end of sugar production in Hawaii provides us with new opportunities.  Here is the fundamental question:  In the future when we look upward to Central Maui, will we see green productive farmlands, a fallow dust bowl or more homes for the super wealthy? 

We must learn from the failures of the past and vow not to repeat them.  Because we are running out of chances.

And so we will work steadfastly with Alexander & Baldwin and Mayor Arakawa to keep these lands in agriculture as a first priority.  This is a long-term top agenda item for everyone who loves what Hawaii stands for and where we came from as a people.

Our Military Family
The military is also a primary driver of our economy, and a very important one.  But that’s not how I want to focus on it today.

Many of us have friends and neighbors serving in the military here.   They are so much a part of us that we sometimes forget the risks and dangers that are a constant part of their lives.

We were tragically reminded of this when we lost twelve Marines recently.  I know we all grieve and pray with their families.  We were also reminded of the importance of what our military does in protecting democracy and peace in the Pacific and throughout the world. 

And so to our military members and veterans here in the chamber today—to those who we owe so much—I’d like to ask them to stand and be recognized.

The Innovation Economy
In years past, our parents were forced to confront the reality that times were changing—that the plantations could no longer drive Hawaii’s economy, and a new economic engine had to be found.

Their answer was tourism. Today, with tourism at near capacity, we face a similar dilemma.

For those who haven’t noticed, innovation, fueled by technology, is driving the global economy at breakneck speed.  We simply must create an economic environment that enables Hawaii's entrepreneurs to turn ideas into products and services so that we can compete in today's global economy. 

And we know that deploying a strong broadband capacity is critical to that kind of environment.

More importantly, innovation is not just a technological phenomenon.  It crosses all industries, including agriculture, fashion, “media and design,” clean energy, and healthcare.  And it creates good paying jobs that keep our best and brightest here where we need them.

For that reason, I am proposing we set aside $30 million over the next six years from our corporate tax revenues to support innovation enterprises.

We also need to support accelerator and venture fund activities to give talented entrepreneurs the means to create new products and services.  In addition, our investments will also help attract private money. 

My strongest personal partner in this is University of Hawaii President David Lassner.  We are members of the Islander Wonk’s Club; there’s a sign-up sheet outside.  So it’s not too late to join!

Finally, making things right to make things happen is not just a nice slogan. 

If we are truthful and act accordingly, if we value the public trust, if we govern with the people, if we are strong yet compassionate, if we take special care of our children, if we look to all of our futures, then we can more than meet the challenges we face today and tomorrow.

I began my remarks by talking about the end of sugar and the values handed down to us from our parents and grandparents who worked on those plantations.  I talked about the importance of transforming those values into action.

That takes leadership.  The kind of leadership and guidance provided by the late Ron Bright.

Ron was a teacher at Castle High School who transformed Hawaii, one student at a time, by engaging them in the performing arts.  He understood the importance of values.

His classroom was the theatrical stage where he directed generations of students in an imaginary world.  But the lessons they learned there were about life and the real world.  In his productions as artistic director of Castle’s Performing Arts Center, Ron celebrated our differences, reminded us of our common humanity and joyfully depicted life in all of its manifestations.

At this time, I’d like to recognize Ron’s family who is with us today.

Ron's total commitment to the affirmation of life through education must continue to guide us.  Today, we need only watch the news on TV to see examples of man's inhumanity to man, triggered by the fear of differences—racial, religious, national.  There are of course real dangers in the world that must be squarely met. 

But it is also true that the world is becoming a smaller place where pluralism is increasingly the rule rather than the exception.  These conditions call less for fear and hostility and more for the unyielding affirmation of diversity.  We have found a way in these islands—anchored by a remarkable host culture and the enriching waves of immigration from east and west—to value and venerate who we are. 

Many and yet one.

It is a lesson we have learned over time and it is an active pledge we must keep and live by every day.  The transcendent call from our island state to the surrounding world is that when we demean others we betray ourselves.

There is a finer, better way.  Pledge to it, make it real every day and lead the way.

Bills could ban homegrown medical marijuana, expand sit-lie ban to state lands, require helmets on mopeds; Ige to give State of the State today; grand jury probing bribery charges at Honolulu airport; Thirty Meter Telescope director ponders future; energy commissioner sought on Maui, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2016 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Medical marijuana sign in Hilo © 2016 All Hawaii News
The Hawaii Legislature is heading into its first full week of the 2016 legislative session, and lawmakers are busy submitting new bills. The week will begin with an overview of the state as Gov. David Ige delivers his annual address on Monday. Associated Press.

A slew of bills concerning campaign spending, elections and open government are set for hearings in two committees Tuesday. Civil Beat.

Gov. David Ige will deliver his State of the State address Monday morning. While he’s expected to outline his vision on topics ranging from homelessness to the prison population, resistance from a frustrated Legislature could also occur. Hawaii News Now.

Governor David Ige will outline his vision and plan for a variety of issues that continue to impact the state. Maui Now.

As the state’s medical cannabis dispensary program gets underway, one lawmaker is proposing a twist — limiting purchases to dispensaries only. House Bill 1680, introduced by Oahu Democrat Rep. Marcus Oshiro, would prohibit patients from growing their own medical marijuana and instead require them to obtain it through a state-licensed dispensary. Tribune-Herald.

State Rep. Marcus Oshiro of Oahu is pushing for another way to regulate Hawaii’s medical cannabis. Specifically, the physicians who recommend it. Oshiro’s House Bill 1677 would establish a system to monitor doctors who provide medical marijuana certifications and track how many certifications they provide. Tribune-Herald.

Lawmakers are introducing a bill to require all doctors practicing in the state to treat Medicare patients. Associate Press.

A decade after Act 51 mandated that each school in the state have a school community council, it’s unclear how well the system is — or isn’t — working when it comes to giving parents and community members a voice in how schools are run. Civil Beat.

Administrators and teachers gathered at the Hawaii Convention Center Sunday for the Hawaii School Empowerment Conference that focused on what is best for the future of education in Hawaii. KHON2.

Because the University of Hawaii doesn’t have the money to make any significant dent in deferred maintenance, the costs continue to pile up. In addition to the $354 million needed for UH Manoa, another $21.5 is needed for UH Hilo and $59.2 for the system’s community colleges. Civil Beat.

Sitting and lying down on state lands in Hawaii could become illegal under a proposal in the state Legislature, and homelessness experts say they don’t know of any other state with such a ban. Associated Press.

State Sen. Lorraine Inouye will push this legislative session for at least a helmet law, safety checks statewide and a closed-toe shoe and protective jacket requirement for moped operators. West Hawaii Today.

Replacing oil with liquefied natural gas as a “bridge fuel” to generate much of the state’s electricity likely would save Hawaii billions of dollars, according to a projection from the Ulupono Initiative. Civil Beat.

Editorial: Our Beef With The Donald Trump Campaign. We work hard to be an independent, nonpartisan news operation. Even presidential candidates need to understand that. Civil Beat.

An Oahu grand jury is investigating an alleged bribery scheme involving private security guards at Honolulu Airport. Hawaii News Now.

The federal government will help Honolulu convene a group of community leaders to help tackle homelessness among new arrivals from Micronesia, Mayor Kirk Caldwell said Thursday in an interview. Hawaii News Now.

As many as 40 Navy divers, other personnel and a salvage ship from Pearl Harbor are supporting a survey of the debris fields 2 miles off Haleiwa where two helicopters apparently collided and crashed, killing 12 Marines. Star-Advertiser.

The Kobayashi Group and The MacNaughton Group have canceled plans to build the Vida at 888 Ala Moana luxury high-rise condominium project and develop a neighboring parcel that would have added a total of 500 residential units to Honolulu's growing Kakaako neighborhood, citing slow sales in recent months. Pacific Business News.

Users say the park where they skate at Ewa Beach Community Park has fallen into such disrepair that it has become difficult and sometimes impossible to skate safely over holes in the surface and cracks in the ramps. Star-Advertiser.


Despite a long wait to bolster the membership of the county Board of Ethics, the County Council on Friday postponed action on two nominees who would fill the five-member panel. West Hawaii Today.

Over objections from Kailua-Kona business interests, the Hawaii County Council agreed Friday to spend $650,000 for homeless housing in the Old Industrial Area. West Hawaii Today.

The state is about to kick off preliminary planning for a new regional public library for underserved residents in the rapidly growing Puna district. Tribune-Herald.

The executive director of the embattled Thirty Meter Telescope said Friday he wants to move forward with the project but is waiting to hear from state agencies about how to proceed after the Hawaii Supreme Court invalidated a key construction permit. Associated Press.

The future of the Thirty Meter Telescope on Hawai‘i Island’s Mauna Kea remains uncertain. Construction has been halted on the project since protests began last April. And in December, Hawaii's Supreme Court ruled the permit invalid, sending the matter back for a new contested case hearing. Hawaii Public Radio.


Maui County has begun advertising to fill the position of energy commissioner, a job that pays between $75,000 and $80,000 per year. Maui News.

A resolution to authorize the Maui County Council to hire special attorneys for second opinions in disputes with Mayor Alan Arakawa's administration was sent back to the Committee of the Whole on Friday after the proposal appeared to lack the votes for approval. Maui News.

The hearings officer in the East Maui watershed contested case is calling for the restoration of 18 million gallons of water a day to 10 streams currently being diverted mainly for Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. operations - but he did not take into consideration the impending closure of the plantation at the end of 2016. Maui News.

Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. has officially given Maui Electric Co
. notice that the plantation's Puunene Mill will no longer provide power to the island's electric grid. Maui News.

A road repair project on Kahekili Highway is pending while officials decide how best to protect a nearby burial site thought to contain multiple human remains. Maui News.

Maui Electric Company announced that it has established the Maui Electric Company Sustainability Scholarship Endowment fund through a grant from the Hawaiian Electric Industries Charitable Foundation for students enrolled in the Sustainable Science Management program at University of Hawaiʻi Maui College. Maui Now.

The Pentagon would have to decide whether a combat-ready Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai would protect either Hawaii or the mainland against a possible North Korean ballistic missile attack, because the missile defense system there would not be capable of shielding both, an East-Asia security analyst said Friday. Star-Advertiser.

There’s a new suggestion for how to regulate homestays on Kauai, and the county’s planning committee decided to defer the discussion until they could hear more details and compare the two bills. Garden Island.

Lisa McDonald, the Hanalei Elementary School principal who was removed from her post in September, will stay at the district office instead of returning to head the school, after a decision by Complex Area Superintendent Bill Arakaki. Garden Island.

Ten Syngenta employees were taken to Kauai Veterans Memorial Hospital on Wednesday after walking onto a field too soon after it had been sprayed with an agricultural pesticide. Garden Island.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Breaking -- Big changes could be coming to Pacific Missile Range on Kauai

copyright 2016 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Pacific Missile Range, Kauai © 2016 All Hawaii News
The U.S. military has stepped up discussions on converting its Aegis missile defense test site in Hawaii into a combat-ready facility that would bolster American defenses against ballistic missile attacks, according to sources familiar with the discussions. Reuters

Obama vacation costs Honolulu Police Department $341,000 in overtime, state senator seeks tax hike to pay for universal long-term care, downed Marines to be honored today, council mulls $650k for Big Island homeless, experts recommend UH Cancer center go private, Kauai police bodycam laws, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Associated Press photo
Obama swimming during one of his Hawaii vacations (Associated Press)
The Honolulu Police Department says it spent about $341,000 in overtime costs to help protect President Barack Obama and his family during their annual winter vacation. The department said Thursday it's the highest amount during an Obama Hawaii vacation since he was elected president in 2008. Associated Press.

State Sen. Rosalyn Baker hopes to push through a bill this year that would add a 0.5 percent surcharge to the statewide general excise tax to help cover the cost of in-home health care services for seniors and the disabled. Star-Advertiser.

Citing a “public health crisis,” a state senator wants a half-percent surcharge on the general excise tax to fund elder caregiving. Civil Beat.

A Hawaii state senator plans to reintroduce a bill that would make the Aloha State the first in the nation to offer universal long-term care to elders. Pacific Business News.

The cost of long term care in Hawai’i averages more than 10-thousand dollars a month, according to AARP.   And some lawmakers want to help. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii’s economy is on a normal growth path with a slowing tourism industry, but buoyed in part by improving labor and construction markets, economists told Hawaii lawmakers Thursday. Civil Beat.

Work-related deaths in Hawaii spiked in 2014, reaching the highest level since the federal government began tracking the number in 1992. Star-Advertiser.

At least 31 people died on the job in Hawaii during 2014, according to data released Thursday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Civil Beat.

The 12 Marines killed last week when two cargo helicopters collided and crashed on the North Shore will be remembered at a memorial service today. Star-Advertiser.


External consultants are recommending the University of Hawaii strongly consider changing the struggling UH Cancer Center to a semiautonomous business entity, co-owned and run with community hospital partners, to keep the research facility viable. Star-Advertiser.

A $5 million cash infusion plan for the University of Hawaii Cancer Center is already facing opposition from some lawmakers. Hawaii News Now.

Gov. David Ige is about to tackle an issue that’s been 100 years in the making. In his State of the State address slated for Monday, the governor is expected to unveil his plans for what to do with the Oahu Community Correctional Center, the largest jail facility in Hawaii. Civil Beat.

The state’s HI-5 recycling program was meant to be an incentive to recycle. But that’s getting a lot harder to do. KHON2.

The number of Oahu neighborhoods with a median single-family home price of $1 million or higher doubled in 2015 from the year before, with year-over-year price increases that ranged from 3 percent to 37 percent, according to local market report by the Honolulu Board of Realtors. Pacific Business News.

A new monthly event organized by Common Cause Hawaii is set to debut Monday evening at Manifest with a look at why the Legislature is important and the work that state lawmakers plan to focus on this session, which opened Wednesday. Civil Beat.


Broken glass, food containers and spray paint cans are among the leavings on the excrement-smeared floor of a little building that once represented big plans to combat homelessness in Puna. West Hawaii Today.

Attorneys for the parent company of the Hawaii Tribune-Herald are seeking to overturn a judge’s decision to seal a crucial court document in the case of a state law enforcement officer accused of raping a minor girl on a Hilo beach. Tribune-Herald.

After months of inaction because it couldn’t seat enough people to vote, the county Board of Ethics is getting reinforcements. West Hawaii Today.

State health officials identified six new cases of dengue fever Thursday, bringing the total number on Hawaii island to 230. Meanwhile, an entomology team from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is returning to Hawaii this week to continue working with the state Department of Health on mosquito surveillance in the Kona area. Star-Advertiser.

A consultant hired by the state has finished a draft of alternatives for improving and managing the Kealakekua Bay State Historical Park. Those plans will be up for public scrutiny and comment later this month. West Hawaii Today.

Leaders of the Thirty Meter Telescope haven't said much since construction atop Mauna Kea was halted last April. But for the first time, we now know how much the company had already spent before protests blocked construction. Hawaii News Now.

The first Kama’aina Observatory Experience tour was held this Saturday, giving Hawaii Island residents a chance to visit the summit of Mauna Kea and see the world-class telescopes operating above the clouds. Big Island Video News.

George Yokoyama says he first got the idea of a botanical garden at Rainbow Falls 20 years ago while observing the arrival of visitors from his office at the Hawaii County Economic Opportunity Council across the street. Tribune-Herald.

A pack of mutt-loving locals is mulling ways to install more public off-leash dog parks throughout the Big Island. Tribune-Herald.


Maui Republicans will hold their presidential caucus from 6 to 8 p.m. March 8 at five Maui locations and at sites on Molokai and Lanai. Maui News.

County Department of Liquor Control Deputy Director Traci Fujita Villarosa is seeking to become the next Liquor Control director, she confirmed Wednesday. Maui News.

For those of you who look over Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar’s 36,000 or so acres of Central Maui that won’t be growing sugar anymore this time next year and think that maybe we might start growing hemp on at least a portion of that land, there’s good reason to be optimistic. Really optimistic, if state Rep. Kaniela Ing, D–South Maui, gets his way. MauiTime.

Leila Hayashida, a former principal at Waihee Elementary School, has been named Central Maui complex area superintendent, the state Department of Education announced Wednesday. Maui News.

A multimillion-dollar social hall and office building project for the Portuguese Association of Maui and Maui Puerto Rican Association is expected to be completed by the end of March after a donation from a local business owner on Monday. Maui News.


It’s been nearly one month since the Kauai Police Department became the first in the state to implement body-worn cameras and legislators have taken notice. Garden Island.

Island Air is heading back to Kauai after less than a year’s absence. The state’s second-largest airline, which ceased flights to the Garden Isle in June amid a company restructuring, will restore service with six daily round-trip flights between Honolulu and Lihue on March 15. Star-Advertiser.

If you were wondering just how busy the Kauai Lifeguard Association was last year, these numbers tell a pretty good story: Garden Island.

A new law on Kauai allows enforcement officers to fine dog owners who don't control their dogs from incessant barking. KITV4.