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.

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