Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Hawaii tourism hits new record, Pearl Harbor seeks exemption from Trump hiring freeze, backlash from Trump travel ban, University of Hawaii advises affected students, faculty to stay put, state to pay $3.9M to family of Maui fatality, Kauai jail crowded, change orders up public contract costs, Molokai unemployment office unstaffed, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2017 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Waikiki beach scene © 2017 All Hawaii News
Hawaii tourist arrivals and spending reached records again last year — the fifth in a row — and it appears 2017 will be no different. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii tourism set new records in 2016, with total visitor arrivals rising 3 percent to nearly 9 million visitors, and spending increasing by 4.2 percent to a new high of $15.6 billion, according to year-end statistics by the Hawaii Tourism Authority. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii’s tourism industry established new records in total visitor spending and visitor arrivals in 2016, according to preliminary year-end statistics released Monday by the Hawaii Tourism Authority. This marked the fifth straight year of record growth in both categories. Garden Island.

Almost 9 million visitors traveled to Hawaii last year as the state broke records for tourist arrivals and spending. KITV.


Hawaii Congressional leaders, lawmakers and others are speaking out against President Trump's executive order temporarily banning immigrants and refugees from seven majority-Muslim nations from entering the United States. Hawaii News Now.

President Donald Trump's immigration ban is stirring up a number of emotions across the nation, and some in Hawaii are fearful of the fallout. KITV.

The University of Hawaii is now advising students and staff with immigrant or non-immigrant visas or green cards who are originally from the seven named countries in the order (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Yemen) to defer travel outside the U.S. for now. KHON2.

Hawaii’s native Middle-Eastern and Muslim populations represent only a small faction of its overall demographic, but President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration has inspired backlash among politicians, lawyers and residents of the state — both from those who identify as Muslim and those who don’t. West Hawaii Today.

A former Justice Department insider is bringing the debate over President Trump's immigration ban to Honolulu classrooms.Hawaii News Now.

One of the organizers of a recent trip that U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard took to Syria conceded Monday that he and his brother had been members of a group called the Syrian Social Nationalist Party — which, according to news reports, has backed the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and has links to terrorist activities — but said they were no longer a part of the organization. Star-Advertiser.


The Hawaii Senate Committee on Agriculture and Environment voted Monday to advance three measures dealing with pesticide exposure and safety. Garden Island.

The state Legislature has more than 3 months to decide on funding levels for Hawai’i’s public school system. But lawmakers are questioning some of the education cuts being proposed by the governor. Hawaii Public Radio

After several high-profile cases involving lost or stolen money, there’s a push to make homeowner associations more accountable. KHON2.

A bill proposed at the state Legislature looks to create a program for companies and others to get paid for taking part in regulatory reviews that the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission conducts. Pacific Business News.

A Hawaii lawmaker has proposed a bill that aims to speed up and bring the costs down during any other electric utility acquisition process in the wake of NextEra Energy Inc.’s failed $4.3 billion bid last year to buy Hawaiian Electric Co. Pacific Business News.

A proposal to inspect shipping containers for illegal fireworks is gaining momentum. The state attorney general has just issued a legal opinion on the bill. KHON2.

A DNA test to identify the coconut rhinoceros beetle, an invasive pest in its juvenile stages has been developed by scientists at the University of Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.


The Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard, one of the state’s largest employers, hopes to hire more than 500 workers this year, including dozens of mechanics, engineers, IT specialists, administration personnel and laborers. But those jobs have been in limbo since President Donald Trump signed an executive order Jan. 23 freezing government hiring. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu Police Department has promoted two assistant chiefs, despite the vacancy at the top of the embattled agency. Hawaii News Now.

A fight over the Maunawili falls trail, a popular hiking trail in windward Oahu, is heating up. KHON2.


Riding a wave of new construction, charges added to county contracts to correct errors, account for unforeseen circumstances and expand the scope of work without going back out to bid nearly doubled in the past two years compared to the previous two years. West Hawaii Today.

The sponsor of legislation to transfer management of Hilo Medical Center to the County of Hawaii says he proposed it to help Mayor Harry Kim expand health services. Tribune-Herald.

A former real estate broker could receive probation and serve no more than a year in jail after pleading guilty to theft and failure to pay taxes. West Hawaii Today.

Frank Sayre and Laura Mallery-Sayre lost their son in a hiking fall 20 years ago. They turned their grief into a memorial foundation raising money for lifeguards and firefighters. Civil Beat.


The state has agreed to pay $3.9 million to the family of a 12-year-old San Diego boy who plunged to his death in 2012 from a cliff along Hana Highway. Star-Advertiser.

Sen. Rosalyn Baker, D-6th District (South and West Maui) invites the public to attend a Talk Story on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017, from 10 to 11:30 a.m. at the Kīhei Charter School campus in Līpoa Center. Maui Now.

About 100,000 more visitors came to Maui in 2016 than in 2015, raising the island’s total count to its highest annual mark ever — 2.6 million — according to data released Monday by the Hawai’i Tourism Authority. Maui News.

The Maui County Department of Parks and Recreation wants to hire six new workers for the growing Central Maui Regional Sports Complex. Maui News.

Members of the Hawaiʻi National Guard, United States Coast Guard, paramedics, Kahului Airport security, Maui police and fire fighters will be participating in a large scale emergency operations exercise starting Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017. Maui Now.


Correctional center designed for 127 has 174 inmates. Garden Island.

Volunteers have removed more than 9,000 pounds of debris from Kauai’s beaches over the past two weekends. Garden Island.


Molokai unemployment office to be unstaffed: No one will replace Chocho Kaupu when she retires from the Molokai unemployment office today. Maui News.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Hawaii governor, attorney general, public protests denounce Trump immigration policies; lawmakers mull sunscreen ingredient ban, internet tax, drones, death with dignity, marijuana decriminalization, housing shortages, free tuition, homeless medical vans, more top government and political news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy Hawaii Sen. Karl Rhoads
Immigration rally Honolulu International Airport Jan. 29, 2017, courtesy Sen. Karl Rhoads
Hawaii State Attorney General Doug Chin has joined 16 other state attorneys general in condemning President Donald Trump’s executive order banning citizens from seven Muslim countries from entering the U.S. and suspending the admission of all refugees. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii’s AG Joins Others Opposing Immigration Ban. Doug Chin is among 17 attorneys general condemning Trump’s order blocking entry to the U.S. for citizens of seven countries. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Attorney General and Governor issue statements on Trump's Immigration policies. KITV.

Hawaii State Attorney General Doug Chin and 16 other state attorneys general released a joint statement Sunday condemning President Trump’s executive order that placed a 90-day ban on travel to the U.S. by citizens of Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen. KHON2.


Hawaii lawmakers are tackling drones, presidential tax returns and housing shortages as they head into their second full week of the Legislative session. They’re filling the calendar with legislative hearings after introducing more than 2,900 bills in the past week. Associated Press.

With tax collections apparently leveling off this year, lawmakers are now pressing state tax officials to explain what they plan to do to capture millions of dollars in uncollected taxes owed for internet sales in Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.

This could be the year Hawaii legislators pass a “death with dignity” bill, several told the Tribune-Herald.

Advocates for decriminalizing marijuana and drug paraphernalia think this may be the year the Hawaii Legislature takes action. But Gov. David Ige doesn’t want to pass new laws regarding marijuana until the state’s medical marijuana dispensaries get up and running. Civil Beat.

The state would spend $1.4 million every year to operate two mobile medical clinics aimed at helping sick or injured homeless people under a Senate bill aimed at cutting emergency room costs to treat homeless people for non-life-threatening issues. Star-Advertiser.

In an effort to protect our reefs, some lawmakers want to ban the sale of sunscreens that contain the chemical oxybenzone. Studies show it increases the rate of coral bleaching. KHON2.

Legislation related to paid leave, equal pay and family tax credits are included in the Hawaii women's legislative caucus package this year. Pacific Business News.

A new payment model the Hawaii Medical Service Association began rolling out with its primary care physicians in April has been expanded to include paying a fixed monthly rate to specialists such as cardiologists, oncologists and orthopedists. Star-Advertiser.

The University of Hawaii wants to provide a free education to community college students in financial need. Garden Island.

The Hawaii Employers Council Board of Governors has named KTA Super Stores President and Chief Operating Officer Toby Taniguchi its chairman for 2017. Pacific Business News.


Oahu vehicle owners could see their motor vehicle weight and fuel taxes, as well as their registration fees, rise significantly if both the Ige and Caldwell administrations get their way in the coming months. Star-Advertiser.

The city will continue to pay lawyers thousands of dollars to defend itself in lawsuits by outgoing Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha because his retirement agreement does not include his legal claims against the city, said the city’s Ethics Commission and the commission’s former executive director and investigator. Star-Advertiser.

Scores of protesters gathered Sunday at Honolulu International Airport, chanting and unfurling banners to denounce President Donald Trump’s sweeping executive order that has sparked spontaneous demonstrations across the country. Civil Beat.

Travelers walking out of the international arrivals gate at Honolulu Airport on Sunday were greeted by a welcoming party of more than 100 demonstrators chanting, “No hate, no fear. Refugees are welcome here.” Star-Advertiser.

The University of Hawaii has selected a master developer to begin negotiating the planned build-out of more than 180 acres of vacant land next to the UH-West Oahu campus in Kapolei. Star-Advertiser.

The University of Hawaii would be fine with a new, slightly smaller Aloha Stadium but is more concerned about an opportunity to generate revenue there, President David Lassner said. Star-Advertiser.

After more than a decade the Pupukea Play Courts was blessed and reopened to the North Shore community Saturday. Hawaii News Now.

New affordable housing for local artists coming soon to Kaka'ako. A groundbreaking ceremony was held Sunday for Ola Ka 'Ilima Artspace Lofts. KITV.

Commentary: Consider this time-honored Hawaii option for rail problem: Just ignore it and let it linger. Star-Advertiser.


Legislation introduced this session by Rep. Cindy Evans (D- North Kohala, South Kohala, Kona) would allow for so-called “tiny homes” — houses that are less than 500 square feet — to be built on agricultural-zoned land for farm workers. House Bill 2 is specific to Hawaii Island. Tribune-Herald.

Kona’s state representative Dr. Richard Creagan chaired his first House Committee on Agriculture hearing last Friday, and with the bang of a gavel helped advance a bill to combat the threat of rat lungworm disease in Hawaii. Big Island Video News.

The cost of Hawaii County’s organic waste diversion program doubled last year with the signing of a new contract that includes construction of a composting facility next to the Hilo landfill. Tribune-Herald.

For one week every January, a handful of volunteers roam over the hills and into the bush, through the lava tubes and onto the beaches, scouring every secluded corner of Kona on the hunt for Hawaii Island’s most elusive, and often most desperate, population — its homeless. West Hawaii Today.

Each year, volunteers with HOPE Services — the isle’s largest provider of homeless services — hit the streets to conduct the Homeless Point in Time Count, a yearly national effort that aims to gauge the current number of sheltered and unsheltered people by asking participants where they slept on a single night in January. Tribune-Herald.


The Maui County Board of Ethics has whittled down a complaint against council Chairman Mike White over his organization of the Maui County Council and will hear the remaining allegations at its Feb. 8 meeting. Maui News.

No one really knows when Maui Waena Intermediate School’s new science building will open, aside from a final inspection of the elevators Feb. 9, the acting principal said Friday. Maui News.

Instead of the hundreds of protesters that were expected to march along Mark Zuckerberg’s wall Saturday, only about 10 gathered in solidarity. Garden Island.

A meeting regarding the potential closure of the Rice Street post office will be held Feb. 23 at 6 p.m. at Kauai War Memorial Convention Hall. Garden Island.

Projects proposed to improve Kapaa vehicle flow detailed at meeting. Garden Island.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Gov. Ige seeks to double food production by 2020, homelessness as medical condition, Honolulu bill would strengthen plastic bag ban, state could tighten drunk driving laws, activists plan march on Zuckerberg property, Kim injury keeps him from important hearing, Rep. Ing pleads no contest to citation, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2017 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Hilo Farmers Market © 2017 All Hawaii News

BREAKING: Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan: 'We are dropping our quiet title actions' Garden Island.

Money Sought To Protect Watersheds And Grow More Food. Hawaii Gov. David Ige joins department heads asking legislators to approve funds for his Sustainable Hawaii Initiative. Civil Beat.

Doubling Hawaii's local food production by 2020 is one of Governor Ige's marquee promises, and the state's Department of Agriculture is tasked with making it become a reality. But with the deadline just three years away, many are asking whether that number is still realistic. Hawaii News Now.

The Hawai‘i Tourism Authority is considering measures to increase public transparency in the wake of criticism from the visitor industry and state lawmakers that it isn’t forthcoming about how it spends tens of millions of taxpayer dollars to market the islands. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii bill would classify homelessness as medical condition. Associated Press.

Measures Aim To Help Domestic Violence Victims Get Help. The Hawaii Women’s Legislative Caucus is also backing bills to ensure access to health care and to keep kids safe. Civil Beat.

The chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Transportation and Energy said Thursday she would not consider bills about Hawaiian Electric Co. if the utility was not included in the process. Star-Advertiser.

The state is looking into tightening drunk driving laws. Right now, the legal limit is 0.08, but an effort is underway to lower that threshold to 0.05. KHON2.

State Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald says lawmakers have advanced some troubling bills in recent years to make dramatic changes in the selection, retention and pensions of state judges but that he doesn’t know if the measures were designed to convey some message of disapproval to the state Judiciary. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii public schools look to lessen food waste. Hawaii News Now.

A proposal to put Office of Hawaiian Affairs CEO Kamana‘opono Crabbe on paid leave while the Board of Trustees works on a deal to buy out his employment contract failed Thursday. Star-Advertiser.

In a dramatic moment Thursday, Native Hawaiian activist Bumpy Kanahele called for an investigation into OHA's finances, throwing a handful of salt onto the group's meeting table and suggesting the board invite federal authorities to examine its business its dealings. Hawaii News Now.

Stephen Schatz, deputy superintendent for the state Department of Education, is leaving his post for a job at the University of Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.


A bill to make Honolulu’s plastic bag ban more stringent has been languishing at the City Council despite concerns that the existing law isn’t doing enough to protect Oahu’s environment. Civil Beat.

Honolulu City council member Brandon Elefante has introduced a bill that would make it illegal to use your cell phone while crossing the street, or highway. KITV.

State Health Department officials have issued a public advisory for one of the lagoons at Ko Olina, saying there are high levels of a dangerous bacteria in the water. Hawaii News Now.

The Honolulu Police Commission violated state law when it met behind closed doors to discuss Chief Louis Kealoha’s employment, including agreeing to allow him to retire with an added payment of $250,000, a lawsuit filed Thursday alleges. Civil Beat.

City regulators in Honolulu on Thursday ordered the owners of the shuttered Polynesian Plaza hotel in Waikiki to immediately stop construction work on the property until a new general contractor and plumber are found, Pacific Business News has learned.

Advanced Fresh Concepts Franchise Corp., doing business as AFC Sushi at Safeway Kapahulu, was fined $6,000 Thursday by the state Department of Health for food-safety violations and removing a health inspection placard from public view. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu, where the median price of a single-family home rose 5 percent last year, was one of the coolest spots in the U.S. for house flipping in 2016, when compared with other metropolitan areas. Pacific Business News.

Three utility-scale solar farms that Hawaiian Electric Co. terminated last year are going to be revived. Star-Advertiser.

The architects who favor street-level rail from Middle Street to Ala Moana Center have launched a website. KITV.

Ledcor Construction Hawaii LLC is suing the owners of the Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina, claiming the contractor wasn't paid for doing nearly $1 million of work on the hotel’s redevelopment project, Pacific Business News has learned.


Mayor Harry Kim injured his arm and missed an important hearing in Honolulu on Monday, sparking renewed concerns about his health. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii Island state lawmakers introduced an ambitious long-term plan to revitalize Hilo’s urban core during the ongoing legislative session. Tribune-Herald.

The county Planning Department wants input on a draft version of its Downtown Hilo improvement plan, which recommends converting multiple roads from one-way to two-way and more than doubling off-street public parking spaces. Tribune-Herald.

Hilo’s state senator has introduced a bill to unlock the economic potential of his district’s urban core. Big Island Video News.

Two years ago, the State Legislature appropriated $90 million dollars to build a new judiciary building in Kona.  Now, Hawai‘i State Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald is asking for more funding. Hawaii Public Radio.

After threats to historic trails halted construction on Queen Kaahumanu Highway late last year, the Hawaii Department of Transportation announced Thursday plans to resume the second phase of the highway widening project beginning next week. West Hawaii Today.


Saying “I was mistaken” when he made earlier statements about his citation for not having vehicle insurance, state Rep. Kaniela Ing pleaded no contest Wednesday to the traffic crime. Maui News.

Maui Criminal Case Filings Increase 50% in Five Years. Maui Now.

Maui’s two licensed medical marijuana dispensaries are weeks away from beginning to grow their first crop, but it may take another four to five months before residents can get their hands on products. Maui News.


More than 200 people on Kauai are planning a protest on Saturday near Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s 700-acre property in Kilauea. Hawaii News Now.

A California couple is asking $7.5 million for a 552-square-foot, one-bedroom home set on three-quarters of an acre within Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s 700 acres of oceanfront property on the island of Kauai’s North Shore, Pacific Business News has learned.

A store providing free school supplies for teachers on Kaua‘i will open its doors this weekend.  An organization called Kumu’s Cupboard in the Kukui Grove Center will provide resources for local teachers who would otherwise be using their own money to buy basic school supplies. Hawaii Public Radio.

Settlement in polygraph suit may cost state $400K. Star-Advertiser.

Alakai O Kauai Public Charter School is enrolling students. The school unanimously approved by the Hawaii State Charter School Commission is on track to open in August with 165 students. Garden Island.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Teachers union seeks property tax and hotel tax surcharge, Tulsi Gabbard confirms meeting with al-Assad, families vow to stay on Zuckerberg land, theBus may lose transfers, Omidyar Kauai dairy denied stormwater water permit extension, Maui developer seeks to nix public access, new corporation counsel for Big Island, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy Hawaii State Teachers Association facebook page
Teachers rally, 1/21/17 Hawaii State Teachers Association Facebook page
The teachers union has again set its sights on generating more taxes to increase funding for Hawaii public schools. This time, it’s eyeing residential investment properties and visitor accommodations. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii teachers union is asking the Legislature to approve a constitutional amendment that would establish a statewide surcharge on residential investment property and visitor accommodations. Civil Beat.

The Hawaii State Teachers Association believes taxing two areas would raise millions of dollars to recruit and retain teachers, reduce class sizes, pay for special education and fund educational programs.Hawaii News Now.


U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard defended her trip to Syria and meeting with President Bashar Assad on Wednesday, saying that it’s impossible to broker any kind of peace deal without talking to the country’s leader, who has been accused of war crimes and human rights violations by lawmakers and human rights organizations. Star-Advertiser.

Back from her mysterious trip to Syria during inauguration week, Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard confirmed reports Wednesday that she had met with Syrian President Bashar Hafez al-Assad. Civil Beat.

Tulsi Gabbard,  a congressional Democrat just back from a weeklong trip to Syria defended her meeting with the war-torn country's president, saying Wednesday there's no possibility of a viable peace agreement unless Bashar Assad is part of the conversation. Associated Press.

Tulsi Gabbard
Posts Video From Secret Trip To Syria. Big Island Video News.

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard returned to Washington, DC after a week-long visit to Syria with a renewed and greater resolve to end the war there. Maui Now.


Medical marijuana licensees can begin cultivating their crops next week, the state announced Wednesday. But exactly when patients can begin purchasing products is still unclear. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii officials are proposing several rule changes for state harbors in response to ongoing concerns, including limitations on alcohol consumption and a ban on feeding wildlife and feral animals. Associated Press.

On a per-patient basis, Hawaii was ranked No. 16 in Medicare waste, with an average overpayment of $11.31 per patient, and overpayments totaled $1.47 million for 2015, compared to just under $5 million in 2014. Pacific Business News.

New data from the state Campaign Spending Commission shows 2016 highlights. Civil Beat.

Despite calls for reconciliation and peace, the fractured Office of Hawaiian Affairs Board of Trustees is likely to engage in even more skirmishing next week, possibly including an attempt to topple Chairwoman Rowena Akana from her leadership role. Star-Advertiser.

Commentary: With so much to do and so little time to get it done, why in the world would Souki and other key legislators  pick another unnecessary fight with the Hawaii State Judiciary? But that’s exactly what it appears they’re doing. Civil Beat.

Hundreds of volunteers have been canvassing the streets across the state. They’re counting homeless individuals and families for the annual Point-In-Time Count. Hawaii Public Radio.


Those flimsy, hard-to-read paper bus transfer slips soon will be a thing of the past while all-you-can-ride, one-day passes will be the future under a bill passed 9-0 by the Honolulu City Council on Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

A federal judge says the lawyer representing Honolulu Police Chief Louis Ke­aloha against possible federal criminal charges cannot also represent two people suing the city and three former police officers. Star-Advertiser.

 Myles Breiner has filed numerous lawsuits attacking the credibility of the Honolulu Police Department, the chief and his prosecutor wife. Now he’s representing the couple. Civil Beat.

The Honolulu Police Department is going through changes with its chief of police, Louis Kealoha, retiring in about a month. KHON2.

Work crews started striping new two-way bike lanes on McCully Street this week — the latest step in the city’s gradual efforts to make Honolulu more bike-friendly, and to encourage more of its residents to get around by bicycle. Star-Advertiser.

A bill to prohibit most commercial activity at five Waimanalo beaches was approved by the Honolulu City Council on Wednesday. Civil Beat.

The developer of Hawaii’s largest solar farm said it has begun pumping power to the grid. Star-Advertiser.

A permitting dispute is intensifying on Oahu's North Shore, where city officials have issued a third notice of violation for a controversial commercial development near Sharks Cove. Hawaii News Now.

INspiration Interiors is expanding to West Oahu with a new location in the former Sports Authority space at the Target-anchored Kapolei Commons shopping center, Pacific Business News has learned.


A County Council 8-1 confirmation vote Wednesday made Joe Kamelamela the county’s top civil lawyer. West Hawaii Today.

A handful of bills that would facilitate clearing albizia trees from private property passed their first readings in the state Legislature. Tribune-Herald.

The Hawaii County Council on Wednesday voted unanimously to pass a nonbinding resolution again asking the Legislature to put money in the budget for lifeguards, a lifeguard tower and necessary equipment at Kua Bay. West Hawaii Today.

Hilo businessman Ken Fujiyama and his company still owe about $6.1 million to a North Carolina bank that held mortgage on the then-Naniloa Volcanoes Resort, according to a complaint filed in Hilo Circuit Court. Tribune-Herald.


Developer wants to nix public access after county fails to purchase land. Maui News.

A second-chance hearing for an unpermitted zipline company in Haiku was unanimously denied by the Maui Planning Commission on Tuesday. Maui News.


In his quest to create a secluded, tranquil estate on Kauai, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has run into a messy problem that involves publicly advocating for something Native Hawaiians often regard as an injustice equated to stealing land. Star-Advertiser.

Heirs of kuleana land on Zuckerberg property say they’re not selling. Garden Island.

A second extension for a storm water permit has been denied for a proposed dairy on Kauai's south shore. Hawaii News Now.

Kauai’s pesticide legislation, Ordinance 960, was repealed Wednesday through the approval of Bill 2643 upon second reading during a Kauai County Council meeting. Garden Island.

The Kauai County Council unanimously voted to “clear the books” of an invalidated county law the courts had struck down requiring biotech companies to disclose pesticide use and regulate the growth of genetically modified organisms. Star-Advertiser.

There will be no county-sanctioned drinking alcohol on the links anytime soon at Wailua Golf Course. Garden Island.

Lihue Post Office may close: Site may be consolidated with facility off Kapule Highway. Garden Island.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Endangered monk seal population recovering, Zuckerberg reconsiders neighbor stance, OHA airs gripes at public meeting, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

via Wiki Commons
Monk seal at Five Fathom Pinnacle, Hawaii, courtesy Kent Backman
Scientists and government officials delivered some rare good news Tuesday about one of the world’s most endangered animals, the Hawaiian monk seal. Civil Beat.

The population of Hawaiian monk seals — one of the world’s most critically endangered marine mammals — has been increasing 3 percent a year for the past three years, federal wildlife officials said Tuesday. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii residents who have been waiting 16 years for a legal place to buy medical marijuana will have to wait at least several more months. But as of next week, their medicine can start growing. Civil Beat.

The chairwoman of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs on Tuesday addressed dozens of allegations of human resource violations filed against her by OHA employees. Civil Beat.

The Department of Education is installing cameras on buses to keep track of students even when they’re out of the classroom. KHON2.

Lawmaker wants DOE to standardize concussion evaluation. Hawaii News Now.


Board of Water Supply crews this morning have repaired the 24-inch water main that broke on Kalanianaole Highway early Saturday. Officials expect all eastbound lanes to be open by noon Wednesday, the agency said. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu's acting police chief is opposed to using $250,000 in police department funds for a severance payment to outgoing Police Chief Louis Kealoha, according to a letter obtained by Hawaii News Now.

Retiring Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha’s $250,000 severance payment isn’t sitting well with his acting successor. Civil Beat.

House Bill 148, introduced by Rep. Gregg Takayama, D, Pearl City, Waimalu, Pacific Palisades, would allow single-occupant vehicles to use the Zipper Lane for a $1 fee. KHON2.

A state lawmaker plans to introduce a bill on Wednesday to take the next step in redeveloping the Aloha Stadium area. Hawaii News Now.

IHOP is expanding a new restaurant concept called "IHOP Fresh & Go" in Hawaii, which will become the first of its kind in the United States, the franchiseee for IHOP in the state confirmed to Pacific Business News.


The Hawaii County Council moved no closer to passing new limits on buying alcohol with public funds after a second round of discussion Tuesday. Tribune-Herald.

George Yokoyama, community organizer, grant writer and fundraiser, political kingmaker — and Living Treasure of Hawaii — died Sunday at Hospice of Hilo Pohai Malama Care Center following a brief illness. He was 90. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii Oceanic Technology Inc., a Honolulu-based open ocean fish farming technology company, has shut down after nearly a decade in business, Pacific Business News has learned.


In his State of the State address Monday, Gov. David Ige touted the state’s efforts to combat homelessness, saying that more beds for homeless people are being created through a new contract process — a statement contradicted by Maui shelter officials last week. Maui News.

Haleakala National Park visitors are being reminded that the National Park Service’s new reservation system for sunrise viewing will begin Feb. 1. Maui News.

Kamehameha Schools buys Wailuku building. Maui News.

Kamehameha Schools has acquired the former office building of the Wailuku Federal Credit Union on Maui that will be turned into the Maui regional office and community resource center for the state’s largest private landowner, the $11 billion educational-focused trust said Tuesday. Pacific Business News.


Mark Zuckerberg announced today through a spokesman that he is “reconsidering” his quiet title lawsuits filed recently against hundreds of owners or potential owners of land on Kauai. Star-Advertiser.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says he is reconsidering his actions involving quiet title cases on Kauai after filing several lawsuits against kuleana land owners. Maui Now.

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg says he wants to be a good neighbor, but Naoshi Grady didn’t feel any aloha when he says he was harassed and intimidated while using a coastal trail that passes through the billionaire’s 700-acre property on Kauai. Star-Advertiser.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Governor touts education, housing in third State of the State address, lawmakers push counties to tax themselves more, Kauai missile defense plans, Ellison closes Lanai golf course, Hilo landfill almost pau, Waikiki condo put on hold, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy Governor's Office
Gov. David Ige 2017 State of the State, courtesy photo
Full transcript of Gov. David Ige's State of the State address here.

Gov. David Ige offered up a cautious State of the State address to lawmakers Monday that underscored his achievements during his first two years as governor, and warned that a slowing state economy will require “adjustments” to his proposed two-year $28.5 billion budget. Star-Advertiser.

Gov. David Ige’s third State of the State address was heavy on improving public education and innovating economic development. Civil Beat.

Gov. David Ige says transforming schools is key to diversifying the state’s economy, and he wants to expand a program that enables high school students to earn college credits for free. Associated Press.

Governor's State of the State Address: Downward Adjustments to Executive Budget Forthcoming. Hawaii Public Radio.

In his third State of the State address on Monday, Gov. David Ige pointed to homelessness, education and government accountability as the core priorities for his administration in the coming year, but he also warned of a slowing economy that could prompt tough budget decisions. Hawaii News Now.

Governor David Ige made affordable housing one of the main cornerstones to his Monday state of the state speech. Pacific Business News.

Recent changes in revenue projections were mentioned in Governor David Ige’s state of the state address on Monday.Big Island Video News.

Leaders of the Hawaii Legislature say they generally agree with Hawaii Gov. David Ige's public policy goals. But they want to see more details on his proposals. KITV.

Hawaii’s political spotlight settled firmly on Gov. David Ige Monday, as he delivered the 2017 State of the State Address on Oahu. West Hawaii Today.

For Kauai representatives, Gov. David Ige’s plans to address homelessness and enhance the school system were some of the main takeaways from his State of the State address. Garden Island.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige touted the success of the state’s accelerator programs In his third State of the State address on Monday as he called for investment in Hawaii’s innovation sector. Pacific Business News.

Parents and others concerned about recent deaths of children in day care filled a Hawaii Senate committee hearing room Monday to support bills that would toughen sanctions against negligent operators and bolster safe sleeping rules meant to prevent sudden infant death syndrome. Civil Beat.

Hawaii residents eventually might be able to use marijuana recreationally, and patients could be allowed to purchase it from legally formed collectives.Those are among more than a dozen bills being vetted in the state Legislature related to marijuana and marijuana dispensaries. Tribune-Herald.

Few Tears Shed In Hawaii As Trump Dumps Pacific Trade Pact. Civil Beat.

The recent power struggle that has wracked the leadership of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs is expected to flare up again this week in two board of trustees meetings scheduled to take place behind closed doors. Star-Advertiser.


Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell told state lawmakers Monday that he is proposing to raise fuel and weight taxes, and city parking fees, and might even ask for an array of other hikes to pay for construction, operation and maintenance of Oahu’s rail line. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii lawmakers want the counties to put “more skin in the game” instead of just coming to the state year after year asking for more money, especially when it comes to Honolulu and funding for its increasingly expensive 20-mile rail project. Civil Beat.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell faced tough questions as he tried to convince state lawmakers to approve a permanent extension of the 0.5 percent general excise surcharge used to fund the cash-strapped rail project. They wanted to know what was being done to control rising costs. With a $5.2 billion budget two years ago, Caldwell assured legislators at that time that an extension through 2027 would cover a $910 million shortfall. Hawaii News Now.

Proposed fee hikes target drivers, vehicle owners on Oahu. KHON2.

Majority Leader Scott Saiki says his proposed legislation to prohibit a sitting governor or county mayor from holding outside employment or receiving emoluments is inspired by President Donald Trump, not Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell. Civil Beat.

The Honolulu developers of a 32-story, 246-unit condominium-hotel project that would replace the King’s Village shopping center in Waikiki are pressing the pause button on this development because of high construction and decreasing demand for this type of product, an executive from the development team confirmed to Pacific Business News.

Volunteers and social service outreach workers fanned out across Oahu on Monday night to interact with the homeless and try to get an accurate head count for an island that once had the highest per capita rate of homelessness in the country. Star-Advertiser.


Closure of the Hilo landfill remains a moving target, but the East Hawaii rubbish dump could reach capacity in as little as a year. Tribune-Herald.


Three Maui facilities spewed nearly 190,000 pounds of toxic chemicals into the air in 2015 with the two Maui Electric Co. power plants logging the largest releases in Maui County, the Environmental Protection Agency reported. Maui News.


The head of the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance still wants the Pentagon to activate a Kauai missile defense testing facility for the protection of Hawaii in emergencies. Star-Advertiser.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg plans to build a single home on the 700 acres of oceanfront land he owns on Kauai’s North Shore, even though half the land once held entitlements in place for up to 80 luxury homes, Pacific Business News has learned.


Billionaire Larry Ellison, who co-founded Oracle Corp. and owns 98 percent of the Hawaiian Island of Lanai, is closing one of the two golf courses he owns on the island, a spokeswoman for the company managing the two golf courses confirmed to Pacific Business News Monday.

The Lodge at Koele, one of the two Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts-branded hotels owned by billionaire co-founder of Oracle Corp. and Lanai owner Larry Ellison, is scheduled to re-open in 2018 with a mix of hotel rooms and a spa and wellness concept, a spokeswoman Four Seasons Resorts Lanai confirmed to Pacific Business News Monday.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Bills for free tuition, school funding, Zuckerberg's land plans, $2B housing bond flow in new legislative session, Ige's State of the State address today, lower coffee rules to stay, Maui to vote on GMO repeal, veto override, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Wind farm on Big Island
President Donald Trump has disputed climate change, pledged a revival of coal and disparaged wind power, and his nominee to head the Energy Department was once highly skeptical of the agency’s value. What this means for states’ efforts to promote renewable energy is an open question. Associated Press.

Hawaii could soon join other states in offering tuition-free college under legislative proposals to have the state pick up the cost of tuition and other school expenses for needy students enrolled at University of Hawaii community colleges. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii’s Cash-Strapped Small Schools Struggle To Operate. The teachers union and a Maui state representative will push proposals to better fund remote neighbor island schools. Civil Beat.

Lawmakers are introducing dozens of measures that aim to solve Hawaii’s homelessness crisis and increase affordable housing, including a proposal to issue $2 billion in state-backed bonds to develop public housing, shelters and apartments. Associated Press.

The Hawaii Tourism Authority faces losing its sunshine exemption in the wake of criticism from lawmakers and members of the visitor industry that it isn’t transparent about how it spends tens of millions of taxpayer dollars to market the islands. Star-Advertiser.

State health officials are pushing this year to restore adult Medicaid coverage for basic dental care nearly eight years after it was cut amid the 2008 financial crisis. Star-Advertiser.

As Hawaii struggles to stem homelessness and prison overcrowding, Gov. David Ige wants to take a new approach: connecting people arrested for low-level drug crimes with social services rather than putting them behind bars. Civil Beat.

Gov. David Ige will give his third State of the State address to the Legislature at 10 a.m. Monday in the chamber of the state House of Representatives at the Capitol. Star-Advertiser.

Commentary: Fellow Democrats faulting governor for lack of decisiveness and clear leadership. Star-Advertiser.

Robert Farrell, the state Department of Land and Natural Resources’ new chief of enforcement, pledged to work on improving efficiency and providing more resources to staff as he takes the reins as helm of DLNR’s Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement. Star-Advertiser.


The Honolulu Police Department let millions of budgeted dollars lapse unspent, while some divisions, including the police commission, have seen spending soar in recent years. KHON2.

Honolulu motorists whose commute includes the east end of H-1 and the adjoining Kalanianaole Highway should plan detours when heading home this week, as workers are expected to be repairing a broken water main until Thursday. Star-Advertiser.


Six Hawaii County department heads and seven deputy directors make less than their subordinates, an issue the county’s Salary Commission will focus on at a meeting next month. Tribune-Herald.

A compromise among coffee producers statewide is leading to continuation of lower standards that were temporarily put in place in 2014 in the wake of an invasion of coffee berry borers. West Hawaii Today.

Two Kona legislators are pushing for management changes at the Honokohau Small Boat Harbor as its state of disrepair, and the overall quality of other harbors like it, have become a growing source of frustration across Hawaii Island. West Hawaii Today.

Honomu residents will ask the county Parks and Recreation Department to save their iconic banyan trees. Tribune-Herald.

Starting today, all Priority Mail stamps sold around the country will feature an image of Hilo’s Liliuokalani Park and Gardens. Tribune-Herald.


The Family Life Center’s new state contracts for emergency shelter and other services for Maui homeless people have forced the facility to reduce its number of beds from 50 to 18 and to discontinue shelter services for families and men. Maui News.


Over 120 years have passed since a handful of businessmen with loyalties to the U.S. led a coup d’etat to overthrow the Kingdom of Hawaii, but some Native Hawaiians on the Garden Isle continue to advocate sovereignty. Garden Island.

Solutions to Kapaa’s traffic will be discussed Thursday at a public meeting hosted by the Kapaa Business Association. Garden Island.

Council to vote on mayor veto, GMO repeal. Garden Island.

School transgender guidelines implemented smoothly. Garden Island.


Entire Island of Lana'i without power. KITV.

Lanai High & Elementary School will be closed Monday due to the power outage on the island, the state Department of Education announced at 9 p.m. Sunday. Maui News.

A Hawaii lawmaker said Friday he plans to introduce a bill aimed at closing what he calls a “legal loophole” that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is using to gain ownership of small pieces of land, or kuleana lands, within his 700 acres of oceanfront property on the island of Kauai. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii Dairy Farms, a long-planned 699-cow operation on the island of Kauai being funded by billionaire eBay founder Pierre Omidyar’s Honolulu investment firm Ulupono Initiative, has reached a key milestone. Pacific Business News.

Friday, January 20, 2017

EPA, Matson reach settlement on molasses spill, Zuckerberg takes to Facebook to dispute Kauai stories, Innocence Project takes on Dana Ireland murder case, last sugar company equipment draw interested buyers, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

KHON2 screen shot
Molasses spill in Honolulu Harbor, KHON2 screenshot
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced a settlement today with Matson Terminals Inc. for the company’s 1,400-ton molasses spill in Honolulu Harbor in 2013. Associated Press.

Honolulu-based Matson Inc. has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $725,000 to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over federal Clean Water Act violations relating to a molasses spill in Honolulu Harbor in 2013. This follows a July 2015, settlement, in which Matson (NYSE: MATX) paid $15.4 million to the state of Hawaii over the spill. Pacific Business News.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced a settlement Thursday with the company responsible for a 1,400-ton molasses spill in Honolulu Harbor in 2013. Associated Press.

The state has offered public school teachers an annual 1 percent lump-sum bonus that the teachers union called an unacceptable and “paltry” offer in an internal email sent to members Thursday night. Star-Advertiser.

House Finance Chairwoman Sylvia Luke is demanding that state financial and computer experts investigate a massive $59 million project to replace the computer systems in the state Tax Department, saying components of the new system don’t work properly. Star-Advertiser.

More than half of the doctors in Hawaii will reach the retirement age of 65 within the next decade, according to a new report submitted Thursday to the state Legislature.  Tribune-Herald.

Faced with the anti-regulatory zeal of the incoming Trump administration, members of Hawaii’s all-Democratic congressional delegation are finding themselves in the difficult position of choosing when to fight and when to retreat. Civil Beat.

Hawaii taxpayers are on the hook for almost $200,000 for lost dentures at a hospital, missing property at a prison, potholes damaging vehicles and a school ceiling falling on a student, among dozens of other small claims over the past year. Civil Beat.

Prison officials told state legislators Thursday that about 15 percent of their pre-trial inmates are homeless. But advocates and lawmakers immediately disputed that figure as too low. Hawaii News Now.

Included in President Barack Obama's Thursday clemency list were three Hawaii inmates who had been convicted of meth-related offenses: Thaddeas Kulani Thomas Hall, of Waipahu; Alfred William Kemfort, of Maui; and Allan Aquino Lafuente, of Kapolei. Civil Beat.

Hawaii’s unemployment rate declined for the fifth straight month and hit 2.9 percent in December, the lowest level since September 2007, according to data released today by the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaiʻi State Department of Labor & Industrial Relations today announced that the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for December was 2.9 percent, compared to 3.0 percent in November. Maui Now.

The Hawaii Venture Capital Association announced the finalists in 12 categories honoring local entrepreneurs. Pacific Business News.


Iolani School announced Thursday that it will build a high school dormitory to foster global connections for its students and will expand its elementary school with new classrooms, science labs and music studios. Star-Advertiser.

Iolani School expansion forces nearby residents to move out. Hawaii News  Now.

A church is prohibiting gay and transgender couples from attending its annual Sweethearts Banquet at the federally owned Hale Koa Hotel, even though state law bans discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in public venues. Civil Beat.

Another Oahu rail official has left the project. Diane Arakaki resigned and departed as the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation’s chief financial officer on Dec. 15, according to the rail agency’s latest monthly status report. Arakaki was HART’s CFO for more than four years. Star-Advertiser.

Why One Police Commissioner Wanted To Fire The Chief. Commissioner Loretta Sheehan was outvoted by the other commissioners but presented them with a detailed plan for moving to fire the chief. Civil Beat.

The date is set for Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha's retirement. The police commission will now turn its attention to hiring his replacement. KITV4.


The Hawaii Innocence Project filed a motion this week to take another look at the Dana Ireland murder case. KHON2.

With uncertainty over the nation’s health care system, the president and chief operating officer of the state’s largest insurer said he’s keeping an eye on how policy changes could affect coverage in Hawaii. West Hawaii Today.

Construction crews this week began work on new acceleration and deceleration lanes at the entrance to the University of Hawaii at Hilo’s Agricultural Farm Laboratory, located near mile marker 6 on Highway 11..Tribune-Herald


It was standing room only for the more than 250 people at the Maui Beach Hotel on Wednesday who crammed into a hotel ballroom to try and fetch a good deal on Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co.’s red pickup trucks, small farming equipment, machine shop items and even microscopes and scales. Maui News.

The state Land Use Commission unanimously approved the final environmental statement for the 1,433-unit, residential mixed-use Waikapu Country Town project Wednesday, after residents spoke highly of both the project and developer Mike Atherton. Maui News.


A new Hawaii law dealing with land ownership that went into effect on Jan. 1 was likely the reason why Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg filed the “quiet title” actions on his 700 acres of Kauai oceanfront land just before the start of 2017, a Honolulu real estate attorney tells Pacific Business News.

The CEO and head of Facebook says eight lawsuits involving about a dozen parcels of kuleana land on his 700-acre property are to identify owners and compensate them adequately. Garden Island.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed — for the first time — what he plans to do with his roughly 700 acres of undeveloped oceanfront land he purchased a few years ago on the Hawaiian Island of Kauai. Pacific Business News.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg used his own social media platform today to explain his effort in court to acquire several small pieces of land on Kauai from Hawaii families. Star-Advertiser.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg issued a response to the "misleading stories" going around about his plans in Hawaii. KITV

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is in a legal battle and wants to clear things up. KHON2.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Hawaii Legislature opens 2017 session: news coverage, speech transcripts, photos. Honolulu Police Chief paid $250k to leave, Tulsi Gabbard goes to Syria, Facebook's Zuckerberg tries to oust Kauai families, pay raises all around, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy Robert D. Harris
Opening day Hawaii Legislature, courtesy Robert D. Harris
Several hundred people gathered at the state Capitol in downtown Honolulu on Wednesday morning to kick off the opening of this year’s legislative session, in which lawmakers are expecting spirited debates on issues of rail financing, “death with dignity,” overcrowded jails, affordable housing and the state’s ongoing homeless problem. Star-Advertiser.

Lei-draped lawmakers sang Hawaiian songs and snapped photos as the Hawaii Legislature began its 2017 session, and they vowed to tackle homelessness, housing, traffic and the issue of aid in dying. Associated Press.

Hawaii lawmakers returned to the state capitol Wednesday morning to gavel in for the 2017 legislative session. KITV.

Speech transcript: House Speaker Joe Souki.

Speech transcript: House Minority Leader Beth Fukumoto.

Blog post: Hawaii Senate Majority.

For the first time in decades, the state Senate opened the legislative session on Wednesday without a single Republican. Hawaii News Now.

Photos: The Hawaii Legislature Is Back In Business. Civil Beat.

The leader of the Hawaii State Senate promised on opening day of the 2017 Legislature that the issue of paying for Honolulu’s rail system will be concluded before the session ends in early May. Civil Beat.

Hawaii House Speaker Joe Souki opened his chamber’s 2017 legislative session Wednesday calling for an extension of the general excise tax surcharge to finance Honolulu’s rail transit project and a study looking at whether toll roads would help to reduce traffic congestion on Oahu. Pacific Business News.

In his opening day remarks, Speaker of the House Joseph M. Souki of Maui called on members of the House of Representatives to extend the general excise tax to finance rail, to find viable alternatives to prison incarceration and to provide human compassion to those who are mentally ill and terminally sick. Maui Now.

The Latest on the start of the 2017 session of the Hawaii Legislature. KITV.

Hawaii bill aims for 100 percent renewable transportation. Associated Press.

Biofuel crops are expected to play crucial role in Hawaii’s energy future. Tribune-Herald.


Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has made an unannounced trip to Syria and Lebanon, traveling to the region two months after she sat down with President-elect Donald Trump to discuss foreign policy. Associated Press.

U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard traveled to Syria this week on what her aides described as a “fact-finding” mission relating to her efforts to bring resolution to a war that has torn the country apart and heightened tensions between the United States and Russia. Star-Advertiser.

As hundreds of Hawaii residents converge on the nation’s capital either to cheer or protest the inauguration of incoming President Donald J. Trump, the state’s two congresswomen are elsewhere. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Residents Journey To DC For Very Different Reasons. Some are here to celebrate a new direction for the country. Others will march for the preservation of women’s rights. Civil Beat.

A program in Hawaii that allows law enforcement officers to seize property that they suspect is related to the commission of a crime, without getting a conviction, this week has scored low marks from the Institute of Justice, a national civil liberties law firm, for falling short on transparency and accountability. Star-Advertiser.

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs has settled a sexual harassment claim against OHA Trustee Peter Apo for $50,000, Hawaii News Now has learned.

Apo: Don’t Jump To Conclusions. The OHA trustee speaks out after a news report that he settled a sexual harassment claim. Civil Beat.

A group of NASA-funded researchers are poised to enter an isolated geodesic dome on a remote Hawaii volcano to study human behavior in long-term space exploration, including a planned voyage to Mars. Associated Press.


The city will pay $250,000 to embattled Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha to leave at the end of February under a “retirement agreement” approved by the Honolulu Police Commission on Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha, who is under investigation for public corruption, will receive a $250,000 cash payment as part of a retirement deal he cut Wednesday with the Honolulu Police Commission. Civil Beat.

The Honolulu Police Commission agreed to a $250,000 settlement package for retirement with Police Chief Louis Kealoha, the target of a federal investigation involving allegations of civil rights abuses and corruption. Associated Press.

The Honolulu Police Commission approved a $250,000 payout deal for embattled Police Chief Louis Kealoha on Wednesday. But in an apparent nod to community concerns over the plan, Kealoha will have to pay back the money if he's convicted in an ongoing federal public corruption probe. Hawaii News Now.

Chief Kealoha’s retirement deal did not need the city council’s approval. KHON2.


Honolulu inflation doubled to 2 percent last year despite lower energy costs as consumer prices rose at the fastest pace since 2012. Star-Advertiser.

A new proposal to build more homes on the North Shore is drawing criticism. KHON2.

About 400 volunteers have signed up to count Oahu’s homeless population next week, and the organizer of the annual homeless census said she believes that’s enough people to get a good picture. Star-Advertiser.

Japan’s Watabe Wedding Corp., one of the largest wedding services companies in Hawaii, has purchased Michel’s at the Colony Surf in Waikiki, one of the most popular high-end restaurants in the Islands for more than five decades, the head of Watabe’s Hawaii branch confirmed to Pacific Business News Wednesday.


Top-to-bottom raises are being considered for county officials and employees, despite a hiring freeze as fixed costs for retirees take a bigger chunk out of the county budget. West Hawaii Today.

A need for a public shooting range on the Big Island drew a standing-room only crowd to a Tuesday evening meeting in Hilo. Big Island Video News.


Two Maui nonprofits that work with homeless people received a total of $4.4 million from the state for an upcoming 18-month period, at the same time they must adjust to the state’s new “housing first” paradigm for homelessness. Maui News.

The Pa’ina building, one of University of Hawaii Maui College’s most used facilities, suffers from construction and design deficiencies and is in need of major repairs, officials said. Maui News.

More than 400 lots of items from Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co., including pickup trucks, machine shop and welding items and John Deere equipment, will be auctioned beginning today. Maui News.


Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who paid north of $100 million for hundreds of acres of undeveloped oceanfront land on the Hawaiian Island of Kauai’s North Shore, is making some moves to build at least one home on the land he acquired nearly three years ago, Pacific Business News has learned.

The owner of Facebook has filed several lawsuits with three of his companies to acquire about a dozen parcels of kuleana land on his $100 million property, sources close with Mark Zuckerberg confirmed with The Garden Island Wednesday.

After nearly two years of evaluation and technical work by experts, Hawaii Dairy Farms has submitted its Final Environmental Impact Statement to the State of Hawaii Department of Health. Garden Island.