Thursday, March 31, 2016

Reprieve for ride-sharing companies, Kauai's Ka Loko Dam to be rebuilt 10 years after fatal collapse, Mayor Kenoi pleads not guilty, Hawaii County Civil Defense chief retiring, Maui's Makena Beach & Golf Resort to idle 385 workers in closure, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Campaign signs, public domain photo
Do Election Signs Generate Votes? A new study suggests that they may not make much of a difference in voter preference. Civil Beat.


Wahiawa General Hospital is in deep financial trouble and is requesting help from state lawmakers. Hawaii Public Radio.

The next four weeks are shaping up to be critical for ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft as state and city lawmakers grapple with how to regulate the growing industry in which customers order up rides with a smart phone app. Civil Beat.

The City Council Budget Committee voted Wednesday to defer a bill that would require Uber, Lyft and other ride-hailing drivers to abide by the same rules as taxicab drivers. Star-Advertiser.

Ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft got a major victory at the Honolulu City Council on Wednesday. Hawaii News Now.

A bill that targets illegal dumping of bulky items has secured preliminary approval from the City Council’s Public Health, Safety and Welfare Committee. Star-Advertiser.

A woman was sentenced to 10 years in prison Wednesday for stealing nearly $150,000 while working at Sea Life Park. KHON2.

They aren’t cheap, but moderately priced condominiums in Kakaako coming up for sale in three weeks are expected to be in high demand — so much so that sales will be by lottery. Prices for Ke Kilohana units that range from 461 to 988 square feet of living space run from $323,475 to $442,246 for one-bedroom units, from $473,789 to $538,612 for two-bedroom units and from $521,774 to $560,774 for three-bedroom units. Star-Advertiser.


Kenoi ‘will go to trial’; Hawaii County mayor pleads not guilty to charges in pCard probe. Tribune-Herald.

Mayor Billy Kenoi faces eight charges — including several counts of theft — for his use of a Hawaii County credit card. But for some charges, it’s not yet clear what expenses are tied to the alleged crimes. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi pleaded not guilty to theft charges in connection with misuse of his Hawaii County-issued purchasing card and is scheduled to go on trial in July. Star-Advertiser.

The soothing voice of Civil Defense Administrator Darryl Oliveira is leaving the airwaves. Oliveira, 54, announced his retirement effective May 1. West Hawaii Today.

Thousands of motorists on Queen Kaahumanu Highway who watched rapid progression of the highway’s widening project are likely wondering why they’ve seen lines of earthmovers parked over the past couple of weeks. West Hawaii Today.

A dispute over views of the Pacific Ocean in the Alii Heights subdivision has reached an end, after a judge ruled Wednesday in favor of the neighbors who grew tall greenery in their yard. West Hawaii Today.

Hamakua Springs Country Farms on the Big Island of Hawaii is shutting down on Thursday after being in business for more than three decades. Pacific Business News.

A Hawaii Island man serving a 20-year sentence will have his prison time cut in half, thanks to President Obama. KHON2.


The 310-room Makena Beach & Golf Resort will close July 1, leaving 385 employees jobless, the resort owner, ATC Makena Holdings LLC, announced early Tuesday evening. Maui News.

State Sens. Roz Baker and Gil Keith-Agaran, Democrats from Maui, held campaign fundraisers Tuesday night at Ruth’s Chris Steak House at Ala Moana Center. The suggested donation was $200. Civil Beat.

Visitor arrivals by air were up 4.1 percent to 205,055 for Maui island in February while they were down 28.8 percent to 5,056 on Molokai and 32.1 percent to 4,225 on Lanai, according to statistics released Tuesday by the Hawai'i Tourism Authority. Maui News.


Ten years after the deadly collapse of the Ka Loko Dam, Hawaii News Now has learned that efforts are underway to rebuild the dam.

There are high levels of a bacteria in the Mahaulepu Valley’s Waiopili Stream, but there’s no proof it’s coming from human sources. That’s according to findings released Wednesday from part one of the Hawaii Department of Health’s sanitary survey of Waiopili Ditch, commonly known as Waiopili Stream, at Mahaulepu. Garden Island.

The release of the long-awaited state survey of Kauai's south shore points to animal waste and the decay of naturally occurring vegetation as the main source of pollution. KITV4.

Coral spawning is close at hand, but reef experts are anticipating a slow season for the little critters. Garden Island.

Kauai’s population is growing an average three people every day. Between 2014 and 2015, Kauai County saw an average increase in population, which rose from 70,672 residents to 71,735 residents, and added 1,063 more people — a 1.5 percent increase, according to recent figures from the U.S. Census Bureau. Garden Island.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Legislature wants wider airline seats, homeless measures advance, ivory sale ban clears hurdle, missile range fior Kauai, cleanup for Kahoolawe, Kenoi faces arraignment today, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2016 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Airline seats © 2016 All Hawaii News
A group of Hawaii lawmakers says the growing size of Americans and obesity issues should be taken into account when airlines determine the size of their seats. Many travelers are getting fed up with the tight spaces they're allowed on airplanes, so a group of state senators introduced a resolution urging the federal Secretary of Transportation to set minimum sizes for airplane seats. Associated Press.

Legislation backed by groups who want to reduce homelessness and create more affordable housing cleared the Senate Ways and Means Committee on Tuesday.The four bills — plus a fifth that was absorbed into one of the other measures — now head to the Senate floor for a full vote. Civil Beat.

Lawmakers in the House of Representatives want to study whether it would be feasible or wise to decriminalize possession of small quantities of illicit drugs for personal use in Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii is another step closer to banning ivory sales after Senate Bill 2647 cleared the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday in a 10-0 vote. Civil Beat.

AARP ‘Airs’ Caregiver Bills At Capitol. The kupuna advocacy group held live radio interviews with legislators in the Rotunda to raise support for care legislation. Civil Beat.

Hawaii ranks 37th among the states in terms of dependency on the federal government — if military spending isn't included, according to a report by WalletHub released Tuesday. Pacific Business News.

The starting salary for educational assistants is less than that of cafeteria helpers or low-level school custodians. Depending on how they are hired, EAs may not always qualify for union representation, and they have limited professional development opportunities. Civil Beat.


The Right To Take Pics In Public. ACLU Hawaii and the state settle a First Amendment dispute over snapping photos of airplanes near Honolulu International. Civil Beat.

A Hawaii Community Development Authority board member wants to temporarily shut down Kakaako Makai Gateway Park to “break the cycle” of constant sweeps to clear out the homeless only to see the camps return the next day. Star-Advertiser.


Mayor Billy Kenoi turned himself in to police for booking on theft charges late this morning. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi is expected to make his first appearance in Circuit Court in Hilo today to answer to criminal theft charges over misuse of his county purchasing card. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii County police arrested a 30-year-old Kailua-Kona man on suspicion of criminal property damage at one of the telescope facilities on Mauna Kea. Star-Advertiser.

Kailua-Kona man allegedly breaks into telescope after ramming truck into building. Tribune-Herald.

The public on Tuesday got its first look at four newly selected hopefuls vying to be Hawaii Community College’s next chancellor. Tribune-Herald.


Owners of Makena Beach and Golf Resort, formerly known as Maui Prince Hotel, announced the property is shutting down, effective July 1. The hotel will be converted into privately owned units, meaning about 350 workers will lose their jobs. KHON2.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued its final rule Tuesday designating critical habitat for 125 federally protected species found in Hawaii. Civil Beat.

Authorities have opened a criminal property damage investigation after a statue of Father William Chaminade outside a Maui school was found beheaded after Easter. Hawaii News Now.


In the face of increasing North Korean ballistic missile threats, the Pentagon is studying beefing up Hawaii’s defenses by switching an “Aegis Ashore” missile system and launcher on Kauai from testing to operational mode and adding radars to track incoming missiles, a missile defense expert said. Star-Advertiser.

Downtown Lihue businesses and associations on Tuesday urged Kauai County’s Budget and Finance Committee to move forward with plans to use $2 million in local matching funds to support $13 million in federal transportation grants to revitalize the city’s core. Garden Island.

The Friends of Kamalani and Lydgate Park are coordinating a major beach cleanup starting at 8:30 a.m. Saturday. Garden Island.


A key public decision-making hearing by the Hawaii State Senate concerning funding for the restoration of Kahoolawe is scheduled for Wednesday. Pacific Business News.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Endangered crow hatches, Democrats apologize for polling mishaps, Kauai bacterial pollution probed, family sues over Osprey crash, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy San Diego Zoo
Alala, native Hawaiian crow, hatches, courtesy San Diego Zoo
The year's first alala, Hawaii's last remaining native crow species, has hatched at a conservation center run by the San Diego Zoo as part of an alala reintroduction program. Associated Press.

Nearly half of Hawaii residents say they are living paycheck to paycheck, according to a poll released Monday by the Hawaii Appleseed Center for Law and Economic Justice, which says the research underscores the need for tax reform measures that will aid those on the lowest rungs of the economic ladder. Star-Advertiser.

Long lines. Disorganization and poor communication. Voters turned away. Those are some of the criticisms that have been shared about Saturday’s presidential preference poll, where Hawaii Democrats chose Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton by a more than 2-to-1 margin. Civil Beat.

The chairwoman of Hawaii’s Democratic Party apologized for Saturday’s confusing and crowded preference poll, which turned away untold numbers of potential Democratic presidential voters, mainly on Oahu. Star-Advertiser.

State lawmakers are asking how much marijuana a driver can safely consume before getting behind the wheel of a car. Associated Press.

A bill moving through the Hawaii Legislature retains a loophole in state law that allows elected officials to use their campaign money to buy up to two tickets to another politician’s fundraiser. But a proposal to allow direct contributions from one campaign to another has been cut from the current version of House Bill 2156. Civil Beat.

Senate Bill 2242, which has a hearing Tuesday before the House Judiciary Committee at the Hawaii State Capitol, would allow a voter to distribute or share an electronic or digital image of the voter’s own marked ballot via social media or other means.Civil Beat.

Congressional investigators have begun looking into the Transportation Security Administration's controversial practice of involuntary employee reassignments with short notice, following a lawsuit filed by two former TSA managers in Hawaii. Hawaii News Now.

The deputy commander of U.S. Pacific Command wasted government resources when he conducted “predominantly personal travel” to Alabama for his promotion ceremony in June 2014 instead of holding it in Hawaii, the Department of Defense inspector general found. Star-Advertiser.


City and state leaders launched the three Western-most rail stations at a groundbreaking ceremony in West Oahu on Monday. Hawaii News Now.

Plans for a 350-foot, 213-unit condo-hotel on the site of King’s Village and two adjoining Waikiki properties will get its first airing before the Honolulu City Council Zoning Committee on Thursday. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell wants to make it cheaper for homeowners to build a second unit on their property after a law that was expected to create thousands of rental units island-wide produced just a handful of permits in its first six months. Civil Beat.

Another group of young skateboarders is calling for improvements to their neighborhood skate park. Star-Advertiser.

The family of a U.S. Marine killed in last year's deadly MV-22 Osprey crash at Bellows Air Force Station have filed a wrongful death lawsuit. Hawaii News Now.

Thirty Meter Telescope officials plan to visit India as they continue their search for alternative sites to Mauna Kea, according to a newspaper report. Tribune-Herald.

A proposed improvement district along Nalani Street in Kona’s Sunset View Terrace subdivision is drawing a mixed reaction from residents there. West Hawaii Today.


During a Congressional visit to Maui on Monday, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) visited with HC&S employees and met with leaders from ILWU Local 142 (Maui/Lānaʻi/Molokaʻi Division) to discuss the transition and support for Maui’s displaced sugar workers and others affected by the closure of HC&S. Maui Now.

A Haiku man suspected of contracting the Zika virus has either Zika or dengue fever, and health officials are awaiting the results of a blood test for a definitive answer, the state Department of Health's Maui County district health officer said Monday. Maui News.

Workers from Swinerton Builders and D&D Builders begin putting up a perimeter dust fence as site work begins last week for the Kamalani master-planned community in north Kihei. Maui News.


The search continues for the source of heavy bacterial contamination in the Waiopili Stream. Garden Island.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Democrats flock to the polls for Sanders, Army reorganization could affect Hawaii, initial rail route cut by 10 miles, airline seats, DUIs on Legislature's agenda, Maui battles for new school, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

photo by K.T. Cannon-Eger

Democrats crowd Pahoa polling place Saturday as Sanders takes Hawaii, photo by K.T. Cannon-Eger
Democratic voters who were both buoyed — and discouraged — by this year’s presidential hopefuls from both parties packed polling sites Saturday, hoping to influence the outcome of the November general elections. Star-Advertiser.

Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders scored a stunning victory over Hillary Clinton in Hawaii Democrats’ presidential preference poll Saturday, mobilizing a grass-roots campaign that signed up thousands of new Democrats and defied the wishes of almost the entire “old guard” of the party. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii’s Democrats have spoken, and they much, much prefer Bernie Sanders to Hillary Clinton in the presidential election. Sanders, the Vermont senator, defeated Clinton, the former secretary of state, 70 percent to 30 percent in the state’s presidential preference poll Saturday, with 100 percent of all precincts reporting. Civil Beat.

Hawaii lawmakers will return from long holiday weekend and tackle a slew of resolutions and bills in committee hearings. They'll take up a resolution about driving under the influence of marijuana. And another resolution asks the federal government to set limits on how small airline seats can get. Associated Press.

NextEra Deal: What Happens If The PUC Loses A Member? PUC commissioner Mike Champley could be off the board on June 30. That puts a new card in Gov. David Ige’s hand. Civil Beat.

As laid out by the Army, the Army Reserve’s 100th Battalion, 442nd Infantry Regiment, headquartered in Hawaii, could lose some autonomy — and possibly its famed liberty torch shoulder patch — in its alignment with the 3rd Brigade Combat Team at Schofield Barracks. Star-Advertiser.

Both the Hawaii House and Senate have passed their own version of bills that would ban the sale of certain wildlife parts, including elephant ivory, rhinoceros horn and shark. The bills include some exemptions, including for the age of the ivory and cultural uses. Associated Press.

A top Hawaii lawmaker is delaying a public-records request because of a dispute that could hold up similar requests for years. The outcome will likely determine whether legislators may withhold emails, calendars and other information from the public, which watchdog groups see as crucial to government accountability.  Associated Press.


Local rail officials have decided that for the opening of the transit system, they won’t extend the route to Middle Street after all. Star-Advertiser.

City Council Chairman Ernie Martin and at least two other Council members want to mimic Seattle-style public showers and tent cities across Oahu. Star-Advertiser.

Both the city administration and the nonprofit Honolulu Zoo Society need to do more to ensure the longevity of the zoo, particularly providing more stable funding, current and former elected officials insist. Star-Advertiser.

Health officials are reminding Hawaii residents to get rid of mosquito-breeding grounds as the state Department of Health investigates whether four reports of travel-related mosquito-borne illness on Oahu could be the Zika virus, dengue fever or chikungunya. Associated Press.


The projects are being built and soon the bill will come due. A big bond sale last month by term-limited Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi and the County Council will leave the next administration with a heck of a tab to pay. West Hawaii Today.

Three bills signed by the late state Sen. Gil Kahele hours before his death this past January, are moving full steam ahead through the House. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii County is moving forward with modified plans to improve Kukuihaele Park. A final environmental assessment was released Wednesday for the North Hawaii project. West Hawaii Today.

The Hawaii Community College in Hilo announced its final four candidates for chancellor this week. The four candidates are Larry Buckey, Micheal Glisson, Anthony Munroe and Rachel Solemsass. Pacific Business News.

The public will get a chance next week to hear from four newly selected finalists vying to be Hawaii Community College’s next chancellor. Tribune-Herald.

About 2,412 more people resided in Hawaii County in 2015 than the year prior, newly released data from the U.S. Census Bureau show. The bureau reports Hawaii Island’s population at 196,428 as of July 1, 2015, up from 194,016 the same day in 2014. That’s roughly a 1.2 percent yearly growth rate, or about a seven-person increase each day. Tribune-Herald.


The County Council budget committee chairman Thursday announced a slate of countywide meetings on Mayor Alan Arakawa's proposed $711.5 million budget while expressing concerns about its 14.6 percent spending increase over the current fiscal year and the assumptions on the county's take of the hotel room tax. Maui News.

Citing a Legislative Reference Bureau report showing declining enrollment at Maui High School beginning in the 2018-19 academic year, state Rep. Bob McDermott of Oahu says a new Kihei high school is not needed and that state funding should go toward building a new high school in West Oahu, which is "exploding in growth." Maui News.

Permit application requests Baldwin estate to become grand vacation rental. The former Baldwin estate in Haiku has a long history as well as a botanical garden with a collection of rare species of tropical trees collected from around the world. Maui News.


Mix seasonal changes with chronic erosion, dash in some global warming, coral death and rise in sea level, and top all of that with one mean El Nino year — and you’ve got a cocktail of challenges for Kauai’s coastline. Garden Island.

On Sunday, the debris clogging the Morgan’s Ponds swimming pond and adjacent keiki pond kept people on land. Garden Island.


A roughly 20-year dispute over whether a luxury resort golf course on Lanai is improperly tapping the island’s stressed drinking water supply appears headed back to the state Land Use Commission after a court ruling last week. Star-Advertiser.

Friday, March 25, 2016

First Honolulu rail cars arrive, Kenoi turned down plea deal, no property tax hike for Maui, Democrats prep for Saturday caucus, cameras for Honolulu beach restrooms, Superferry gets new life in Canada, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy Honolulu Mayor's Office
Rail cars arrive, courtesy Honolulu Mayor's Office
Honolulu’s first two rail cars have landed on Oahu — covered in shrink wrap, resting on trailers and poised to help form a transit system that local leaders are betting on to change how commuters eventually get around the island’s crowded South Shore. Star-Advertiser.

The first 2 trains for O’ahu’s rail transit system arrived today at Honolulu Harbor.  They cost about 2.2 million dollars each and are being shipped from Italy to Hawai’i. Hawaii Public Radio.

A state Circuit Court judge has thrown out a legal challenge to the state’s ability to keep a portion of county tax surcharges to fund rail transit. Hawaii News Now.

The Democratic Party of Hawaii will hold its presidential preference poll Saturday afternoon. Civil Beat.

This Saturday, Hawaii Democrats will head to the polls in what's expected to be a tight race between former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders. Hawaii Democratic Party officials are expecting turnout to be impressive. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii’s population has increased by 5.2 percent over the last five years, according to a report from the U.S. Census Bureau. Civil Beat.

Hawaii's unemployment rate is an eight-year-low. The Hawaii state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations said Thursday the jobless rate fell to a seasonally adjusted 3.1 percent in February. That's down from 3.2 percent in January. Associated Press.

The original Hawaii Superferry, the Alakai, will once again be taking civilian passengers and vehicles on commutes over the ocean — only this time it will be in Canada. Associated Press.

The fine for abandoning an animal in Hawaii would increase under bills advancing on both sides of the Legislature. Star-Advertiser.

A bill approved by a key Senate committee Tuesday would allow the Hawaii Medical Service Association to continue its controversial new policy of requiring doctors to get pre-authorization from a mainland company before ordering imaging tests for patients. Star-Advertiser.

The long-standing restaurant industry practice of having servers share their tips with nontipped kitchen staff is out by court order. Star-Advertiser.

A new study led by a University of Hawaii scientist has found that humans are releasing carbon into the atmosphere about 10 times faster than during any time in the past 66 million years. Star-Advertiser.


City officials are looking into the installation of security cameras along the ceilings of the restrooms at Keehi Lagoon Beach Park and other Oahu recreational areas after what appears to have been the latest vandalism incident sometime about midnight Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

After recent vandalism in city park restrooms, Mayor Kirk Caldwell plans to install more high-tech security cameras like the one at Hans L’ Orange Park in Waipahu. Civil Beat.

A City Council committee agreed to amend and move forward a bill that would relocate resort zoning away from the shoreline between White Plains Beach and Oneula Beach Park. Star-Advertiser.

Marine Corps Base Hawaii officials this week deployed a wave energy device that converts wave motion into energy off Kaneohe’s shoreline. Pacific Business News.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources says it's decided to fix the corroded structures on  Lanikai pillboxes trail so people can continue to enjoy one of the island's most popular hikes. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaiian Electric Co. is willing to talk to an investment firm about ways to resuscitate three solar farms on Oahu that the utility nixed in February. Civil Beat.

Hurricane Electric, a California-based company, has teamed up with Honolulu’s DRFortress to bring high-speed internet to the state. Pacific Business News.


Mayor Billy Kenoi will face an ethics complaint, in addition to criminal charges, for charging personal expenses to a county credit card. After initially deferring a petition from Kapaau resident Lanric Hyland, the Hawaii County Board of Ethics has agreed to hear his complaint against the mayor at its May 10 meeting, according to a letter he received from the board. Tribune-Herald.

Big Island Mayor Billy Kenoi rejected a plea deal offered by state prosecutors, sources said, paving the way for his theft indictment Wednesday. Hawaii News Now.

A bench warrant for the arrest of Hawaii Island Mayor Billy Kenoi has officially been issued, but he has yet to turn himself in. KHON2.

The full speech by Mayor Billy Kenoi, as delivered just minutes before news of a grand jury indictment was circulated in Hawaii. Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi spoke for nearly 45 minutes during the Japanese Chamber of Commerce & Industry of Hawaii general membership in Hilo on Wednesday, and answered questions for another ten minutes. Big Island Video News.

The release of a draft environmental study brings the state one step closer in a controversial plan to install new moorings at Keauhou Bay. West Hawaii Today.

The state Department of Agriculture is reminding people attending the Merrie Monarch hula festival in Hilo later this month that quarantine restrictions are in effect for Big Island ohia. Associated Press.

With just days before the start of the annual Merrie Monarch Festival, Vector Control teams are taking preventive measures in Hilo near the venues where the popular hula events will be held. Big Island Video News.


Citing higher property tax valuations this year, Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa said that he is proposing that the property tax rate in all categories remain flat this year, during his annual budget presentation before County Council members today. Maui Watch.

The Maui County District Health Office and the County of Maui jointly announced today a suspected case of Zika virus brought to the island by a resident who became ill while traveling in Latin America and upon return to Maui in February. Maui News.

On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Labor approved a petition for federal aid that will provide millions of dollars in federal funding for displaced workers at the Hawaiian Commercial and Sugar Company. KITV4.

The Shops at Wailea has tweaked its paid parking program again, after sometimes sporadic implementation of the program since last June. Maui News.


After more than a week, members of the Lawful Hawaiian Government said they have still not been granted permission to retrieve signage it owns and was wrongfully confiscated by the Department of Land Resources last year. Garden Island.

Today is the deadline for comments on the feasibility study for a new Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge Valley Viewpoint that would offer parking, transit facilities, restrooms, a visitor contact information station, and access viewpoints for landscape and wildlife observation. Garden Island.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Grand jury indicts Hawaii County mayor, millions in federal aid for displaced sugar workers, Legislature kill gas tax hike, charter amendment could strengthen Honolulu Police Commission, Kauai council nixes county employee raises, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2016 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi in happier times © 2016 All Hawaii News
An attorney for Mayor Billy Kenoi said the county’s embattled chief executive won’t resign. A Hilo grand jury on Wednesday indicted Kenoi with two counts of second-degree theft, two counts of third-degree theft, three counts of tampering with a government record, plus making a false statement under oath. Tribune-Herald.

Mayor Billy Kenoi gave a half hour speech to the local business community in Hilo, as a grand jury indicted him for his alleged misuse of a government issued purchase card between 2011 and 2015. Big Island Video News.

A Hawai‘i County grand jury has indicted Mayor Billy Kenoi on seven different counts stemming from the misuse of his county issued purchasing card. Hawaii Public Radio.

A grand jury indicted Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi on theft charges Wednesday in connection with misuse of his county-issued purchasing card. Star-Advertiser.

After months of investigation, a 16-member grand jury indicted Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi on theft charges Wednesday in connection with his alleged misuse of a government credit card. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island Mayor Billy Kenoi has been indicted by a grand jury. The charges come after a nearly-year-long criminal investigation by the attorney general’s office over Kenoi’s improper use of a county-issued credit card, or pCard. KHON2.

The state Attorney General’s office said Wednesday that a Big Island  grand jury has indicted Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi. Civil Beat.

A grand injury has indicted Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi on two counts of felony theft and other charges, the state attorney general's office said Wednesday. Associated Press.

Hawaii island’s homegrown mayor from Kalapana and Hilo seemed on an unlikely path to a bright future in island politics. Instead, two-term Mayor Billy Kenoi — a former Honolulu deputy public defender and disciple of the late U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye — must answer to felony, misdemeanor and petty misdemeanor charges from his time in office from 2011 to 2015. Star-Advertiser.

Many political insiders thought one day Billy Kenoi's career would take him to the governor's mansion. That future is still up in the air as some say his political career is over, but others say he could make a comeback. Hawaii News Now.

Following months of controversy hanging over Mayor Billy Kenoi, Hawaii island officials expressed shock and dismay that the hammer finally came down Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

The mood on the Big Island on Wednesday is one of shock and sadness. KHON2.

Those who worked with Mayor Billy Kenoi are trying to understand how it all came to this. KHON2.


Despite a full-court press lobbying effort by Gov. David Ige’s administration, the proposed gas tax, weight tax and vehicle registration fee increases it proposed may be dead for the year. Star-Advertiser.

The House Transportation Committee on Wednesday indefinitely deferred a bill that would have increased taxes and fees on motor vehicles and fuel. Civil Beat.

Hawaii may soon implement what’s become standard practice elsewhere in the country — mandatory unannounced inspections of state-licensed care facilities for the elderly and disabled. Civil Beat.

A measure that would have required drivers working for transportation network companies such as Uber and Lyft to carry a certain level of insurance was killed by the House Consumer Protection and Commerce Committee on Wednesday. Civil Beat.

A bill that would ensure enforcement of crime victims’ rights as an amendment to the state Constitution remains alive at the Legislature. Star-Advertiser.

A Hawaii Senate panel deadlocked 3-to-3 Wednesday over a controversial bill that sought to trim retirement benefits for judges, effectively killing the measure. Civil Beat.

Despite the fact that Hawaii has two official languages, only one of them is offered on voters’ ballots. English and Hawaiian are the state’s official languages, and lawmakers are pushing a bill to offer both on ballots. Right now, English, Japanese, Cantonese and Ilocano must be offered on ballots in some counties. Associated Press.

Union membership has declined nearly 10 percent in Hawaii since 1989, according to the latest figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. But despite this downward trend, the BLS reports that Hawaii still has the second-highest percentage of union membership in the nation behind New York. Civil Beat.

Ryan Kalei Tsuji Leaves Government. The aide to Gov. Ige will leave his post at the end of the month to focus on his new video production company. Civil Beat.


Oahu voters will have the chance to toughen up the Honolulu Police Commission in light of numerous scandals gripping the Police Department, including a federal investigation of Chief Louis Kealoha. Civil Beat.

Supporters and staff of Wahiawa General Hospital turned out in force Wednesday to ask lawmakers to fund a $3 million bailout of the private, nonprofit facility, which has been struggling to stay afloat during the past nine years of increasing financial strains. Star-Advertiser.

Supporters turned out in force at the state Capitol Wednesday to ask lawmakers to approve of a resolution requesting the governor and the Legislature to provide emergency financial assistance to Wahiawa General Hospital. Civil Beat.

Dozens rallied at the State Capitol Wednesday in support of Wahiawa General Hospital as financial troubles threaten to shut it down. KHON2.

Hawaiian Electric Co. President and CEO Alan Oshima said the electric utility will meet with the company looking to buy three canceled solar farms on Oahu. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu Board of Water Supply has struck a $33 million deal with NORESCO, one of the largest energy services companies in the United States, that allows the water agency to implement energy efficiency, renewable energy and operational improvements while guaranteeing enough savings over the next 20 years to pay for the contract, the agency said Wednesday. Pacific Business News.


It will be business as usual at Sheraton Kona Resort Spa at Keauhou Bay amid a proposed merger between the hotel’s owner, Starwood Hotels and Resorts, and Marriott International. West Hawaii Today.


Hundreds of Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. workers will receive millions of dollars in federal funding as the sugar plantation ends its operations, the U.S. Department of Labor announced Thursday. Hawaii News Now.

The latest vision to alleviate Wailuku Town's parking problem is a multipurpose layout akin to San Francisco's Union Square, members of the Maui Redevelopment Agency said Wednesday. Maui News.

Kaanapali resort managers spoke out against proposed water rate increases, calling them "excessive" and "out of line" during a public hearing held by the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission on Wednesday night at Lahaina Intermediate School. Maui News.


Citing bad timing and an uncertainty in the ability to make good on its promises, the Kauai County Council Wednesday voted 5-2 against proposed salary increases for county administers. Garden Island.

Kauai County Councilmember JoAnn Yukimura will host a public workshop titled “How to Have a Voice in County Government” 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, March 31 at Ha Coffee Bar in Lihue. Garden Island.

When an after-hours medical emergency arises on the rapidly growing North Shore of Kauai, critical minutes can be lost before treatment can be provided. That will soon change. Garden Island.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Honolulu Zoo loses accreditation, sex trafficking bill opposed by sex workers and prosecutors, police body cams advance in Legislature, Kauai farm center created, Hawaiian Electric's Lau makes $2.7M, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2016 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Honolulu Zoo © 2016 All Hawaii News
The Honolulu Zoo has lost its accreditation with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the organization and the city announced today. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu Zoo could lose as many as 90 exotic animals on loan through animal exchange programs after the Association of Zoos and Aquariums this week denied the Waikiki facility’s request for re-accreditation. Star-Advertiser.

copyright 2016 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
© 2016 All Hawaii News

The Association of Zoos and Aquariums has rejected the Honolulu Zoo’s request for re-accreditation. City officials recently met with AZA executive members, and were told their application was denied due to concerns about consistent funding from the city and private partners. Civil Beat.

The Honolulu Zoo has lost its accreditation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Hawaii Public Radio.

copyright 2016 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
© 2016 All Hawaii News
The Association of Zoos and Aquariums has denied Honolulu Zoo’s application for re-accreditation as it is worried about the institution's lack of funding from the city. Pacific Business News.

A panel of Association of Zoos and Aquariums executive members met with a team from the Honolulu Zoo this Monday in Omaha, Nebraska to consider the city’s application for re-accreditation of the Honolulu Zoo. KITV4.

The Association of Zoos and Aquariums has denied the city’s application for re-accreditation of Honolulu Zoo. KHON2.


A new version of a sex trafficking bill vetoed last year by Gov. David Ige was discussed before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, and it drew the same opposition as last year from Honolulu’s prosecuting attorney. Civil Beat.

Advocates for sex trafficking victims are saying Hawaii is long overdue to pass a bill banning sex trafficking. But some sex workers oppose the measure. Hawaii is the only state in the nation without a law that specifically bans sex trafficking. Hawaii News Now.

Body cams and dashboard cameras in police cars moved a step closer on Tuesday to becoming part of police operations in Hawaii. The House Judiciary Committee unanimously passed Senate Bill 2411, with two Republican members voting with reservations. Civil Beat.

Hawaii lawmakers have made changes to a controversial bill aimed at simplifying tax collections for transient vacation rentals to prevent the operations from being run illegally. Associated Press.

Connie Lau, president and CEO of Hawaiian Electric Industries Inc., received total compensation of $2.7 million in 2015, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.Star-Advertiser.

Discovery of long-lost Navy vessel ends years of searching. Star-Advertiser.

Scientists from Honolulu's Bishop Museum have helped document the existence of second bat species that once lived in the Hawaiian Islands. Associated Press.


A federal jury found Honolulu police officer Landon K. Rudolfo guilty this morning of knowingly buying then selling a stolen vehicle. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s often-fractious relationship with most members of the City Council appeared to reach a new low last week, with some Council members calling him insincere and disrespectful during a public meeting. Civil Beat.

TheBus, the future rail line and Handi-Van are all moving closer toward sharing a “smart card” fare pass that Oahu riders would use for all public transportation. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu Authority of Rapid Transportation and the city’s Department of Transportation Services have awarded a $31 million contract to design, build, operate and maintain a new smart card pass system to INIT Innovations in Transportation, Inc. Pacific Business News.

Pushed out for rail, a Kakaako business owner fears he'll lose everything. Hawaii News Now.

At a time when airport security is at the top of people’s minds, the agency responsible for protecting our nation’s airports is experiencing its lowest staffing levels in years. KHON2.

Hawaii is facing a nearly $6 million funding shortfall to host the International Union for Conservation of Nation World Conservation Congress slated for September in Honolulu, an international event deemed the “Olympics of Conservation.” Civil Beat.

Hawaiian Airlines has received a temporary daytime slot by the U.S. Department of Transportation for travel this winter between Honolulu and Haneda International Airport in Tokyo. Hawaiian currently has less-desirable late-night arrival and departure times because of a 2010 U.S.-Japan Open Skies agreement that limited U.S. flights to between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. local time. Star-Advertiser.

The commander of the 25th Infantry Division, Maj. Gen. Charles A. Flynn, has been named a deputy commander of U.S. Army Pacific at Fort Shafter, the Pentagon announced last week in a slew of general officer changes for Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.


With the announcement of its third class of physician residents last Friday, the Hawaii Island Family Medicine Residency Program has reached a milestone. For the first time since it began in 2014 as a means of addressing Hawaii Island’s doctor shortage, it will have a full complement of doctors: 12 in all. Tribune-Herald.

A new surcharge will hit water bills this summer as the Department of Water Supply strives to reduce its dependence on purchased power. The energy rate surcharge, set at 5 cents per 1,000 gallons of water, goes into effect July 1, and is expected to generate $460,000 the first year. West Hawaii Today.

State Representatives passed two resolutions through committee on Monday requesting stakeholders collaborate on the future stewardship and preservation of Waipi‘o Valley. Big Island Video News.

Burrowing beetles that colonize dead ohia trees and spread wood dust on the wind are being targeted as the likely cause of a swiftly spreading fungus that threatens the island’s forests. West Hawaii Today.


A bill that would allow Alexander & Baldwin to temporarily hold on to the rights to millions of gallons of water it diverts each day from East Maui streams survived a close vote in a key Senate committee Monday night. Star-Advertiser.

Most charges were dismissed Monday for four college students who had been awaiting trial after being arrested last year during a protest over the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope being built at the Haleakala summit. Maui News.

The wife of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders came to Maui on Monday and heard about the end of sugar - its lost jobs as well as the harms of cane burning - reached out to Native Hawaiians and offered advice to a community grappling with the issue of genetically modified organisms in food. Maui News.

Public meetings on proposed tuition increases for the University of Hawaii system - including the University of Hawaii Maui College, which would see annual rates rise $150 by the 2019-20 school year - will be held at 2 p.m. May 5 at the college and through Skybridge's two-way video to Hana, Lahaina, Molokai and Lanai. Maui News.

Seventy-five acres of prime farmland, ceded by the county to a community-based not-for-profit organization will become an agricultural center. Garden Island.

Democratic voters in Kauai have an opportunity to show their patriotic spirit when they cast votes for their party favorite Saturday as part of the presidential preference poll. Garden Island.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Senate panel approves $28.4M for Hawaiian Home Lands, committee announced to select medical marijuana dispensary vendors, cigarette tax hikes mulled, Thirty Meter Telescope builders check out Canary Islands, Maui water rights at issue, zika in Kauai, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2016 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Hawaiian Home Lands homestead © 2016 All Hawaii News
Heeding the complaints of homesteaders and a Hawaii judge, a state Senate committee on Monday agreed to fund the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands in the amount of $28.4 million for the current fiscal year. Civil Beat.

The state Department of Health on Monday released the names of a five-member panel that will help review and select those vying for the state’s first medical marijuana dispensary licenses. The committee is made up of University of Hawaii professor H. David Bess, retired Hawaii Supreme Court Justice James E. Duffy Jr., state Department of Agriculture Deputy Director Phyllis Shimabukuro-Geiser, state Office of Health Care Assurance chief Keith R. Ridley and John Fisher III, a pharmacologist and toxicologist from Alabama. Star-Advertiser.

The state Department of Health has announced the five members of a committee that will review applications to grow and sell medical marijuana in Hawaii. Civil Beat.

The number of registered medical marijuana applicants has surged more than 14 percent since the Department of Health first began administrating the program in Jan. 2015. The DOH said the number could more then double after improvements made to the process last month. Pacific Business News.

A bill is circulating in state legislature that could drastically cut funding to Hawaii's 14 community health centers. Hawaii News Now.

University of Hawaii officials are hoping a bill in the state Legislature that would raise the excise tax on cigarettes and little cigars will help the UH Cancer Center stay afloat despite recurring budget deficits. Star-Advertiser.

State officials contend that drastic changes must be made if the University of Hawaii Cancer Center is to survive, though they have yet to gain consensus on a single plan to lift the organization out of its financial hole. Star-Advertiser.

SB-2561 would create a new task force headed up by the Lieutenant Governor.  The goal:  facilitate the construction of 22,500 affordable rental units over the next 10 years. Hawaii News Now.


Waianae residents are hoping the Honolulu Police Department’s newest substation will discourage crime and bring a larger police presence to the Leeward Coast. Star-Advertiser.

The City Council has adopted a resolution that urges the administration to extend the hours lifeguards are on duty. Star-Advertiser.

The rapid development of residential high-rises in Kaka’ako has resulted in legislative solutions to long-standing issues like regulating private roads in the neighborhood. Hawaii Public Radio.

It’s been a year and a half since Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell unveiled a proposal to require every large new residential development on Oahu to include low- or moderately-priced units. Civil Beat.

Construction is slated to begin next month on the Keauhou Lane midrise apartment rental housing project in Kakaako reserved for residents with moderate incomes. Star-Advertiser.

Kamehameha Schools’ $90 million Keauhou Lane mixed-use project is scheduled to break ground next month in the Honolulu neighborhood of Kakaako, the developer said Monday.Pacific Business News.

The Honolulu fire station in Makiki is off limits indefinitely because of what may have been lurking underneath the floor. Officials say they’re testing the building for asbestos. KHON2.


The Thirty Meter Telescope’s leaders don’t appear to be wasting much time finding an alternative site for the next-generation observatory, if a recent post on social media is any indication. On Monday, photos showing TMT’s board members and project leader visiting observatories on the Canary Islands were posted on the telescope’s Facebook page, helping stir speculation about where they might look to if they give up on building on Mauna Kea. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii County mayor is proving a popular job description, with a baker’s dozen would-be candidates pulling nomination papers for the office more than two months before the filing deadline. West Hawaii Today.


Opponents turned out in force Monday to testify against a bill that would allow Alexander & Baldwin to temporarily hold on to the rights to millions of gallons of water it diverts each day from East Maui streams. Star-Advertiser.

In a move toward using less paper, the Maui County Council will be streaming video and legislative files of Maui County Council meetings conducted in the Council Chamber. Maui Now.

Maui County Council members have authorized the acquisition of the Waiakoa Gym, better known as Kula Gym, for $1.2 million from the Maui Federal Credit Union. Maui News.


A Kauai resident who recently returned from Latin America has been infected with the Zika virus. Garden Island.

Zika Case Reported On Kauai May Still Be Infectious. Big Island Video News.

As transportation frustrations across Kauai continue to rise regarding traffic congestion and deteriorating road conditions, a growing number of state and local officials are addressing the local concerns. Garden Island.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Bernie Sander's wife visits Aloha State as Hawaii Democrats prepare for caucus, public records dispute slows response, Kauai streams contaminated, marijuana patients increase, success of PISCES rocket unclear, new electric substation for Maui, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2016 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
School of tropical fish © 2016 All Hawaii News
Sen. Mazie K. Hirono and Rep. Mark Takai have introduced the Coral Reef Sustainability Through Innovation Act, legislation that would jumpstart research related to coral reef conservation. Garden Island.

Hawaii Democrats will gather for their presidential preference poll this weekend in what is expected to be a large turnout driven in part by new party members who signed up in recent months to support U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders. Star-Advertiser.

Two enthusiastic Honolulu receptions on Sunday for the wife of Hillary Clinton’s chief opponent, Bernie Sanders, suggests that supporters of the Vermont senator believe the Democratic primary process is far from over, despite the substantial delegate lead for the former secretary of state. Civil Beat.

Battling both a cold and the constrictions of a one-day barnstorm itinerary, Jane Sanders, wife of Democratic presidential hopeful U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, proved herself a good listener, a well-versed explainer of all things Bernie and, when she could get away with it, an efficient speaker. Star-Advertiser.

A top Hawaii lawmaker is delaying a public records request because of a dispute that could hold up similar requests for years. The outcome will likely determine whether legislators can withhold emails, calendars and other information from the public, which watchdog groups see as crucial to government accountability. Associated Press.

Lawmakers are pursuing a bill aimed at the state’s largest health insurer’s new imaging exam rule that is frustrating physicians. Associated Press.

Hawaii already prohibits employers from discriminating against workers based on their gender, but some legislators think more needs to be done to promote equal pay between men and women. Civil Beat.

What really happened at the ʻAha, part III. Impediments to carrying out the people’s business continue throughout the final days of the Native Hawaiian convention. Hawaii Independent.

At the end of February, there were more than 1,800 additional people registered as medical cannabis patients than in January 2015, the first month the DOH began overseeing the program. Broken down, that’s about a 16 percent increase between last month, when 13,244 unduplicated patients were registered, and 14 months ago, when the registry was about 11,402 people. Tribune-Herald.


With the primary election now a scant five months away, acrimony between Mayor Kirk Caldwell and City Council Chairman Ernie Martin’s leadership team amped up last week, with accusations flying both ways. Star-Advertiser.

Wahiawa General Hospital is in danger of closing if it doesn’t find the funds to keep its doors open. KHON2.

The UH Cancer Center has made significant strides in its fight against one of the world’s most deadly diseases, targeting research and clinical trials specifically to Hawaii’s diverse population. But the center is struggling to secure long-term funding from the state Legislature to help offset this year’s $7 million operating deficit and future shortfalls. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Kai housing plan is criticized as ‘incursion’ Star-Advertiser.

As Stephan Jost departs the Honolulu Museum of Art for a new job in Canada, he’s leaving behind a number of achievements. Hawaii Public Radio.

Researchers at the Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems say it’s back to the drawing board after a test Sunday showed its lunar landing pad’s interlocking mechanism wasn’t quite up to par. Tribune-Herald.

The Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems, or PISCES, conducted a successful rocket engine firing test at its Lunar Landing Pad Site today. Big Island Video News.

The state House was kind to Hawaii Island this year, almost doubling its proposed spending for capital improvement projects compared to last year. West Hawaii Today.

Who will it be? Hillary, Bernie or Rocky? That’s what Hawaii Democrats will decide when they cast their ballots Saturday in the Hawaii Democratic Party Presidential Preference Poll, or caucus, at an array of locations around Hawaii Island.  West Hawaii Today.

A Hawaii Island doctor specializing in anti-aging medicine was arrested Thursday on allegations he violated the state Uniform Controlled Substances Act. West Hawaii Today.


A citizens group much like the one that led Maui County's first successful ballot initiative for a moratorium on genetically engineered crops has new goals - an initiative for the county to take over sugar cane lands and convert them into the world's "largest diversified organic farms" and a voter-led charter amendment to make way for district voting for Maui County Council members. Maui News.

The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission has approved Maui Electric Co.'s request to build a new substation to meet a growing demand for electricity in Central Maui, according to a commission decision and order filed last week. Maui News.

Plans for a new power substation near the intersection of Kuihelani Highway and Maui Lani Parkway include overhead power lines to connect it with Maui Electric Co.'s Maalaea-to-Puunene 69,000-volt line in a sugar cane field. Maui News.


Some waterways on Kauai are chronically contaminated with the bacteria Enterococcus, according to findings released recently by Surfrider Kauai Chapter’s Blue Water Task Force. Garden Island.

Group shares pesticide fears with Ige. Kauai residents call on governor to implement study suggestions. Garden Island.

Kauai could see a little more than $141 million in Capitol Improvement Project money if the Hawaii House of Representatives’ proposed state budget cruises through the Senate and the rest of the legislative process. Garden Island.


Lanai plane crash survivor Doug Miller told a Maui County Council committee Friday to "do the right thing" and allow the survivors and families of the deceased to keep their settlement money from a lawsuit with the airline, Maui Air. Maui News.