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.

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