Thursday, August 31, 2017

Honolulu rail $2.4B bailout passed by Senate, advances in House; Kauai missile test successful; Hawaii's last princess; Big Island judges appointed, Maui judge sought; more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy Attorney General
U.s. Sen. Mazie Hirono, Hawaii Attorney General Doug Chin at 'Dreamer' press conference, courtesy Chin
Hope For Legal Status In the US Turns To Uncertainty For This ‘Dreamer’. President Trump is considering ending a program that granted temporary legal status to young undocumented immigrants, including more than 500 in Hawaii. Civil Beat.


A $2.4 billion Honolulu rail bailout bill clipped quickly down the fast track Wednesday, easily clearing the Senate and its only House committees midway through a week-long special session. West Hawaii Today.

A $2.4 billion bailout plan for the troubled Honolulu rail project cleared some big hurdles Wednesday, passing both the full Senate and two House committees despite opposition from lawmakers who say the project’s costs have spun out of control. Civil Beat.

Impassioned pleas to force the House to negotiate and come up with a better rail bill fell on deaf ears. After nearly two hours of debate the Senate closed its side of the deal. KITV.

The bill to bail out Honolulu Rail passed the House Transportation and Finance Committees Wednesday night. Senate Bill 4 would extend the General Excise Tax (GET) and raise the transient accommodations tax (TAT) by 1-percentage point to help pay for rail. KITV.

With all 25 state senators casting votes, legislation aimed at rescuing the city’s cash-strapped rail project by raising state taxes passed the full Senate today with a 16-9 vote and now heads over to the House of Representatives. Star-Advertiser.

The State Senate chamber was emotionally charged today as lawmakers voted on the bill to fund the Honolulu Rail Transit project. Hawaii Public Radio.

A bill to fund Honolulu’s rail project passed out of the Hawaii State Senate Wednesday. KHON2.

VIDEO: Senate Advances Rail Bill, Big Island Votes No. Big Island Video News.

A bill that would combine increasing the state’s transient accommodations tax and extend Oahu’s 0.5 percent surcharge of the general excise tax passed the Senate on its third reading on Wednesday. Pacific Business News.

Mayor’s stress test claim ‘evaporated’ as FTA reaffirms half-billion pad not required. KHON2.


The U.S. military shot down a medium-range ballistic missile during a test off Hawaii, officials said. Associated Press.

Tuesday’s ballistic missile intercept test off Kauai represents another success in the development of missile defense systems that are increasingly in demand, are often tested in Hawaii, and whose development is being ramped up to meet an otherwise vexing threat from North Korea. Star-Advertiser.

A Raytheon Co. missile system was a key part of a successful anti-ballistic test off the coast of Hawaii Tuesday, boosting the company's stock as the saber-rattling between the U.S. and North Korea continues. Pacific Business News.

The US military successfully shot down a medium range ballistic missile target during an interceptor test off of Kauaʻi on Tuesday night. Maui Now.

The National Marine Fisheries Service has approved a five-year Air Force plan for bombing practice at sea off the Hawaiian Island of Kauai. Associated Press.

Updated Hawaii Salary Database: Doctors And Judges Do Well, Thank You. We’ve added tens of thousands of additional workers, including those in the Department of Education, the Judiciary and general state employees. Civil Beat.

There’s an ongoing court battle involving the health and future of the woman some call Hawaii’s last princess. Apart from the legal case itself, it’s a story of royalty….and how that lineage continues to this day. Hawaii Public Radio.

State regulators and the solar industry are seeking more input on Hawaiian Electric Co.’s $205 million grid modernization plan. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaiian Electric Companies submitted on Tuesday the final draft of its Grid Modernization Strategy for review by the state Public Utilities Commission. West Hawaii Today.

A real estate firm is predicting that investors could spend around $1 billion less acquiring commercial property in Hawaii this year, which if accurate would be a third consecutive year of decline. Star-Advertiser.

New statewide safety rules for food establishments go into effect Saturday. Garden Island.


A proposal to substantially increase Oahu liquor license fees is expected to come under heavy criticism during a public hearing today before the Honolulu Liquor Commission. Star-Advertiser.

For the past few months Honolulu police have been trying out a new method of interaction. It's designed to build a bridge with Honolulu's homeless population. Hawaii News Now.

The state Department of Health advised the public to stay out of the waters of part of Honolulu Harbor after a wastewater discharge Wednesday night. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Supporters of Hu Honua Bioenergy celebrated a new beginning Wednesday as construction continues to ramp up on the once troubled $250 million power plant near Pepeekeo. Tribune-Herald.

Gov. David Ige on Wednesday announced the appointments of two new judges to the 3rd Circuit Court on the Big Island. Pacific Business News.

Gov. David Ige Wednesday appointed Kealakekua-based Attorney Robert D.S. Kim as judge of the 3rd Circuit Court in Kona. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii Senator Mazie Hirono kicked off a special Facebook event geared towards small business owners in Hilo on Monday. Big Island Video News.


A settlement has been reached between the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission and the County of Maui over a complaint filed that alleged denial of reasonable accommodations for a disabled employee. Maui Now.

A disability discrimination case has been settled between Maui County and the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission, according to an announcement Wednesday. Maui News.

Saying it didn’t appear that information not provided to the defense would have affected the outcome, a judge denied a former Maui Community Correctional Center guard’s request for a new trial on charges that he sexually assaulted an inmate three years ago. Maui News.

Former Maui Corrections Officer Convicted of sex assault, Sentencing Set. Maui Now.

The Department of Water Supply’s new water treatment plant on West Alu Road in Wailuku is about 40 percent complete. Maui News.

The Judicial Selection Commission is accepting applications and nominations to fill a vacancy for 2nd Circuit Family Court judge. Maui News.

When Judge Keith Tanaka retires today, he will end 10 “unexpected” and “invaluable” years on the 2nd Circuit Family Court bench. Maui News.


The second drop of rodenticide on Lehua Island happened Wednesday. Garden Island.

The state has administered a second round of rodenticide bait drops to eradicate rats on Lehua Island. Star-Advertiser.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Rail bailout bill up for Senate vote today, grand jury probes Honolulu prosecutor, bombing OK'd off Kauai, Hawaiian homesteaders seek takeover of troubled telecom, prison sex shaming lawsuit revived in appeals court, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2017 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Royal Kona resort © 2017 All Hawaii News
A bill to fund Honolulu’s financially troubled rail project was advanced by the state Senate and is heading for a final vote by the legislative body. Associated Press.

A package of state tax hikes to bail out the city’s beleaguered rail project appears poised to clear its last major hurdle with a full Senate vote today before moving over to the House. Star-Advertiser.

State Lawmakers are advancing the Honolulu rail transit funding measure this week during a special legislative session. Hawaii Public Radio.

A bill that would generate almost $2.4 billion to bail out the city’s troubled rail project passed its second reading in the state Senate on Tuesday, and the measure appears to have enough support to make it through the third and final vote. Hawaii News Now.

A bill to bail out Honolulu’s rail project passed a second reading in the Senate Tuesday. KHON2.

A bill raising the statewide hotel tax to pay for the struggling Honolulu rail project cleared another hurdle Tuesday, when the Senate advanced it on a 17-7 procedural vote. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii lawmakers are back in for day two of the special legislative session to deal with a rail tax bill. KITV.

When Hawaii industry tourism executives decried a proposal to raise a hotel room tax to help bail out the struggling Honolulu rail project, lawmakers responded with more than a little skepticism Monday. Civil Beat.

Maui Groups Testify Against Honolulu Rail Funding. Maui Now.

Members in the Maui County legislative delegation were of different minds on the proposed measure to help Honolulu fund cost over-runs on its rail transit project, which is being considered in a special session that opened Monday. Maui News.


The state House of Representatives today adopted a resolution formalizing new committee assignments, which includes more than 50 changes. Maui Now.

Gov. David Ige’s nominee to the state agency that regulates Hawaii’s utilities was unanimously approved by a Senate committee today. Star-Advertiser.

Gov. David Ige has nominated state Rep. Marcus Oshiro as the new chairman of the Hawaii Labor Relations Board. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige has nominated state lawmaker Marcus Oshiro for the Hawaii Labor Relations Board as its chairperson and representative of the public. Pacific Business News.

Republican state Rep. Bob McDermott announced today he is withdrawing from the 2018 race for Hawaii governor after learning that another Republican plans to run. Star-Advertiser.

A coalition of Hawaiian homestead associations has declared its intent to purchase the beleaguered Sandwich Isles Communications, which in June lost its exclusive license to provide telephone and internet service to homestead communities statewide. Civil Beat.

Hawaiian Electric Co. submitted final plans to state regulators Tuesday seeking to make $205 million in upgrades to its energy systems on Oahu and Hawaii island and in Maui County over the next six years. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii's largest utility company, Hawaiian Electric Cos., has filed its grid modernization plan with state regulators. Pacific Business News.

100-year-old Japanese bible returned to Sen. Inouye's family, archives now public. Hawaii News Now.


A U.S. Justice Department investigation into alleged corruption and abuse of power in Hawaii law enforcement has expanded to include a look at a property deal associated with a much-touted safe haven for victimized women created by Honolulu prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro. Civil Beat.

A federal appeals court ruling Tuesday revived a woman’s lawsuit that alleges she was subjected to cruel and unusual punishment by being forced to participate in a therapy program involving “public sexual shaming” while incarcerated at a Hawaii jail. Associated Press.

A project in the governor's push to build thousands of affordable homes has been scaled back dramatically because of push back from Kalihi residents. Hawaii News Now.

Some changes are coming to the property tax laws for the City and County of Honolulu. They’re going into effect this Friday. KHON2.

Electric vehicle owners heading to Costco in Iwilei will soon be able to shop and charge their cars car at the same time. Pacific Business News.

Retired Senior Family Court Judge Betty Vitousek, instrumental in establishing the Family Court here as well as the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii, died of natural causes Monday in Honolulu. She was 98. Star-Advertiser.

Commentary: No One Has Won The Fight Over Fixing This Waikiki Seawall. Both sides claim victory in the legal battle between landowners and the state over who should maintain the “Gold Coast” barrier. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Island

The second theft of a Hele-On bus within a month, allegedly by the same individual, has county officials scrambling to ensure it doesn’t happen again. Tribune-Herald.

Members of the HI-CoP group waved signs at the entrance of Hilo Airport as the mayor met with the tour helicopter industry. Big Island Video News.

Big Island residents fed up with noisy tour helicopters took their message to the streets Tuesday, waving signs calling for the end to noise. Hawaii News Now.

Some residents in North Kona are worried that the region's water crisis will worsen when thousands of visitors arrive soon for the world's largest long distance canoe race and the Ironman triathlon. Hawaii News Now.

Big Island physicians are starting a nonprofit designed to encourage doctors-in-training to pick the Big Island as a place to live and practice medicine. Tribune-Herald.


Businesses and customers in and around the Kahului industrial area report an increase in vandalism and other criminal activity they say is related to the number of homeless people in the area. Maui News.

A bulldozer operator, whom earlier witnesses said was moving sand without an archaeological monitor, testified Monday that he did not need one in the sand mining lawsuit against a Maui Lani developer. Maui News.


The National Marine Fisheries Service has given approval to a five-year Air Force plan for bombing practice at sea off Kauai that reduces munitions used and increases monitoring for impacts to whales and dolphins. Star-Advertiser.

People living near the U.S. Navy Pacific Missile Range Facility might have heard sirens and other loud noises coming from the base Tuesday, and those noises will be continuing today. It’s because of a two-day training exercise. Garden Island.

A Kauai judge declared a mistrial in a case against a former law enforcement officer after jurors deadlocked on 19 counts of sexual assault of a minor and found him not guilty on four counts. Star-Advertiser.

Ulupono Initiative is conducting a telephone survey about Kauai’s economy, and some say the company should be more upfront about its involvement with Hawaii Dairy Farms. Garden Island.

Tuesday water quality tests from the Surfrider Blue Water Task Force show the bacteria level in Hanalei Bay has waned. Garden Island.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Rail bailout bill squeezes through divided Senate committee, House reorganization removes rail critics from key posts, federal court hears Hawaii's challenge to Trump travel ban, food safety rules go into effect this weekend, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2017 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Iolani Palace © 2017 All Hawaii News
Iolani Palace is shining brighter than ever with a new look from LED lights. More than 1,000 lights were installed at the nation's only royal residence, illuminating the palace in the dark night. Hawaii News Now.

The state Senate Ways and Means Committee narrowly voted tonight to advance legislation that would generate $2.37 billion to bail out the city’s financially troubled rail project. Star-Advertiser.

A $2.4 billion bailout plan for the Honolulu rail project crossed its first hurdle on Monday, when the Senate Ways and Means Committee narrowly voted to approve the measure in the face of fierce opposition from the Mayor of Honolulu, neighbor island officials and hotel executives. Civil Beat.

State Legislative Leaders Inclined to Pass Rail Funding Bill "As Is" Hawaii Public Radio.

A $2.4 billion bailout of the Honolulu rail project, partly subsidized by an increase in the statewide hotel tax, advanced by a 6-5 vote Monday in the Senate Ways &Means Committee. West Hawaii Today.

After a marathon hearing, the Senate Ways and Means Committee narrowly voted 6-5 Monday night on a bill that would generate almost $2.4 billion to bail out the city’s troubled rail project. Hawaii News Now.

The rail bailout bill passes the Senate Ways and Means Committee with a narrow 6-5 vote. KITV.

A special session began Monday for lawmakers to hammer out a proposal to bail out Honolulu’s rail project. KHON2.

Officials at Honolulu's cash-strapped $9.5 billion rail project are under pressure to deliver an adequate funding plan to the federal government. Hawaii lawmakers are meeting in a special legislative session to find a financial solution. Associated Press.

The mayor of Hawaii County made a rare trip to the State Legislature on Monday to speak out against the latest rail funding proposal. Big Island Video News.

How Hawaii's Hotel Room Tax became the Lawmakers' Go-To Tax. Hawaii Public Radio.

Lawmakers gaveled in for what they hope will be a week to sort out a rail spending plan. KITV.

Feds not yet counting rail ‘stress test’ that borrowing could patch. KHON2.

Lawmakers are using the five-day special session this week to shuffle some positions in the state House, and on Monday officially named state Rep. Cindy Evans (D, Kaupulehu-Waimea- Halaula) as the new House Democratic majority leader. Star-Advertiser.

State Reps. James Tokioka and Isaac Choy received notice late Sunday morning that they were reassigned from the House Finance Committee. Garden Island.


Three federal appeals court judges today challenged the Trump administration’s limited view of who is allowed into the country under the travel ban, with one questioning from “what universe” the government got the idea that the mother-in-law of a U.S. resident could enter while cousins, aunts and uncles, and grandparents are barred. Associated Press.

New food safety rules designed to protect the public at restaurants and food establishments statewide will go into effect on Saturday. Star-Advertiser.

The state Department of Health will require all restaurants statewide — during food prep and service — to have a staff member on-site who is certified in food safety. Tribune-Herald.

The Hawaii Department of Health has amended Chapter 50 of the Food Safety Code with new requirements, including a new food education mandate, with some going into effect Sept. 2. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige has nominated corporate executive and consultant Douglas Shinsato to the University of Hawaii Board of Regents to serve out the remainder of the late Barry Mizuno's term. Pacific Business News.

First Assembly of God in Moanalua set up its Alaska-­made “spherical dome” on the grounds of the state Capitol to give city and state lawmakers a chance to see how 45 homeless mothers and their children would live in Kahaluu. Star-Advertiser.

A passenger whose disruptive behavior prompted the pilot of a nonstop flight to New York to return to Honolulu in November owes Hawaiian Airlines $97,817, a federal judge ruled Monday. Star-Advertiser.


Condominium owners along Waikiki’s Gold Coast celebrated Monday a Hawaii Supreme Court ruling that they said makes clear the state is responsible for maintaining a crumbling sea wall that protects their mostly million-dollar properties. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Supreme Court says state responsible for Waikiki seawall. Pacific Business News.

Waikiki Residents Lose Fight To Force State To Repair Seawall. The state Supreme Court ruled it was up the Legislature — not the courts — to decide whether to pay for fixing a damaged seawall. Civil Beat.


Major upgrades are finally about to begin at a run-down Oahu harbor. Hawaii News Now.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said Monday it reached a settlement with Fileminders of Hawaii LLC and its owner, Hawaii MMGD, to pay a civil penalty of $122,000 for operating a large-capacity cesspool at their Kapolei facility in violation of the Safe Drinking Water Act. In June the cesspool was closed, and the company installed an individual wastewater system. Star-Advertiser.

Facebook will host a free workshop for small businesses in Honolulu this week. The event is aimed at teaching local small business owners best practices when it comes to engaging customers on the social media platform. Pacific Business News.

Commentary: Demilitarizing Diamond Head. The state Department of Defense is demolishing outdated buildings, as well as turning over land, tunnels and historic artillery batteries to the state parks. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Island

The Hawaii County Water Board and Hawaii County Department of Water Supply intend to pull out all the stops to address North Kona’s water crisis, including opening up their wallet. West Hawaii Today.

Kamehameha Schools says it is finalizing a lease with Hawaii Forest for 10,000 acres of timber land on the Hamakua Coast. Tribune-Herald.

A 21-year-old Hilo man accused of stealing a Hele-On bus earlier this month has done it again, police said. Tribune-Herald.


A blessing was held today for the one- and two-bedroom apartments at the County of Maui’s 56-unit Kulamalu Hale apartment rentals in Pukalani. Maui Now.

Four food trucks were robbed and vandalized on Maui Sunday night at the Food Truck Marketplace in Kahului. KITV.


People on Kauai are still wondering about the black, tar-like substance infiltrating the tide pools on the eastern side of Mahaulepu Beach. Garden Island.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Finance Committee members yanked as special session for rail funding starts today, SNAP program scrutinized, Maui to pay $10.7M in time share lawsuit, Ka'u shelter falls short, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2017 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Kauai taro fields © 2017 All Hawaii News
A state program that has preserved more than 30,000 acres of private land in Hawaii for public benefit over a decade might not preserve much this year because of a paperwork mishap that the Legislature declined to correct in April. Star-Advertiser.


Two members of the powerful House Finance Committee were abruptly replaced Sunday in a partial House reorganization launched just a day before the start of a high-stakes special session to try to bail out the financially troubled Honolulu rail project. Star-Advertiser.

A bill that would bail out Honolulu’s floundering rail project with about $2.4 billion from Oahu taxpayers and hotel guests statewide contains one key provision missing from earlier proposals: a requirement that the Hawaii State Auditor conduct a sweeping audit of the rail project and its manager, the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation. Civil Beat.

When the Legislature takes up a $2.4 billion bill to bail out the struggling Honolulu rail project on Monday, the carefully crafted deal faces three main obstacles. Civil Beat.

A bill requiring the neighbor islands to help bail out Honolulu’s over-budget rail project is roundly opposed by Hawaii County officials, the chambers of commerce, the hotel industry, many Big Island residents and all four of the island’s state senators. West Hawaii Today.

Some neighbor island lawmakers are agitating against plans to increase the hotel room tax statewide to pump more money into Honolulu’s financially troubled rail project, and their resistance could jeopardize what is expected to be a close vote in the state Senate this week on a multibillion-dollar rail bailout package. Star-Advertiser.

An undercurrent of tension between the Honolulu mayor and lawmakers has spilled over into outright mistrust over a huge money gap. KHON2.

Lawmakers will gather at the state Capitol Monday for a special legislative session on how to fund Honolulu's troubled rail project. Hawaii News Now.

The state legislature is set to open a special session on Monday to decide how to pay for Honolulu’s 10-billion dollar rail project. Hawaii Public Radio.

A special session starts on Monday for the proposal to bail out Honolulu’s rail project. KHON2.

The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation invited the public to a viewing of the country's first fully-automated, driverless train. KITV.


The Hawaii system that administers federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program dollars, formerly called food stamps, has allowed at least one recipient to accumulate more than $20,000 in unused benefits. Star-Advertiser.

DNA leads Army to declare 3 Black Hawk crew members dead after crash. KHON2.


Frustrated by how long it has taken the Police Commission to pick a new chief, some Honolulu City Council members are suggesting it may be time to consider changing the law to allow the mayor to make the selection. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii’s growing homeless problem has prompted the state’s largest health care companies to join forces with the city to provide medical services, respite and housing to some of Oahu’s most needy residents. Star-Advertiser.

Last week, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell signed into law yet another bill that expands the boundaries of Honolulu’s “sit-lie” ban — a series of ordinances that prohibit people from sitting or lying on sidewalks and in pedestrian malls. Civil Beat.

Would you let a homeless person live in your backyard? What if you got paid to do it? Hawaii News Now.

Wind developers looking to build on Oahu are now required to give the public more opportunity to be heard. Star-Advertiser.

A woman who lives in Nuuanu is on a mission — to turn part of Aala Park in Downtown Honolulu into a dog park, which she tells us will also help revitalize the neighborhood. KHON2.

Unearthing Hickam’s 14 ‘unknowns’ Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Hawaii County has withheld payment of more than $900,000 to the general contractor of the Ka‘u District Gym and Shelter because the structure isn’t up to code for a hurricane shelter. Tribune-Herald.

The HELCO-Hu Honua biomass power purchase agreement is being appealed to the Hawaii Supreme Court. Big Island Video News.

Drivers will have to wait a little longer before using the latest improvements to Saddle Road,  the Daniel K. Inouye Highway. Tribune-Herald.

Volunteers keep Amy B.H. Greenwell Ethnobotanical Garden alive. West Hawaii Today.


Maui County has been ordered to refund $10.7 million to two time-share owners associations in a legal dispute over amended assessments billed nearly a decade after the original assessments were made. Maui News.

A state judge has rebuked Maui County attorneys and property tax officials for collecting $10.7 million in improper taxes from owners of a Kaanapali time-share because the owners challenged the county’s tax policy. Star-Advertiser.

The hearings officer in a contested case proceeding over East Maui stream flows has recommended restoring 26.5 million gallons a day to 12 streams, which East Maui taro farmers, Native Hawaiian cultural practitioners and their attorneys complained still represented “a gross imbalance” in water allocation in favor of Alexander & Baldwin. Maui News.

A poll taken at the end of a Haiku Community Association meeting Thursday night showed residents evenly divided (about 20 to each side) on whether to allow more vacation rentals in the community. Maui News.

Dozens of residents gathered Saturday at the West Maui Senior Center in Lahaina to learn about and give feedback on the impending update of the West Maui Community Plan. Maui News.

Six Hawaiian green sea turtles (honu) were released off the coast of Maui during a private ceremony on Thursday, marking the conclusion of the turtles’ residency at the Maui Ocean Center’s Aquarium. Maui Now.

Hawaii Public Radio announced the completion of its relocated Maui transmitters on August 8. Hawaii Public Radio.


Flights to Kauai will increase by 42.6 percent in 2018; concerns loom over too many visitors. Garden Island.

Public schools across Kauai have been back in class for nearly a month, but some students are still sweating it out because of high temperatures and a lack of air conditioners in their classrooms. Garden Island.

Kauai’s farm-to-school pilot program, happening at two public charter schools on the island, has received a $170,000 commitment from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. Garden Island.

Kauai Humane Society has cats coming out of its ears. The shelter is filled to capacity with all types of animals right now. Garden Island.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Rail deal reached-- special session starts Monday, lawmaker seeks recreational marijuana, Maui police suspended in probe, mumps could linger another year, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Mayor's Office photo
Caldwell unveiling rail, May 30, 2017, Mayor's Office photo
State lawmakers announced their new plan Thursday to raise $2.37 billion to bail out the city’s financially troubled rail project, but Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell warned the money is “not sufficient” to cover the budget shortfall for rail. Star-Advertiser.

Four days ahead of a planned special session, state House and Senate leaders outlined their proposal to save Honolulu’s struggling rail project. Civil Beat

Full text of SB1, rail funding bill to be heard Monday can be found here.

State lawmakers have struck a breakthrough compromise to keep Honolulu's rail project going, but the city says the deal falls short. Hawaii News Now.

Just days before a special session, Hawaii lawmakers announced late Thursday they've come up with a measure that could fund Honolulu's mass transit rail project. KITV.

Hawaii lawmakers reached a tentative agreement Thursday, which means a special session to address funding for Honolulu’s rail project can begin Monday. KHON2.

Hawaii lawmakers have reached a tentative deal to solve the funding shortfall of Honolulu's rail project by drafting a bill that combines extending Oahu's general excise tax surcharge as well as raising the transient accommodations tax by one percent. Pacific Business News.

A bill to fund completion of the $8.2 billion rail project on Oahu will be considered during a special legislative session next week. Garden Island.

Governor and lawmakers react to new rail funding ideas. KITV.

The ongoing friction between several state lawmakers and Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell is a key subplot in the drama playing out this week in the Legislature as it decides whether, and how, to raise the money to bail out the city’s financially strapped rail project. Star-Advertiser.

State House and Senate leaders have come up with a compromise measure to help the City and County of Honolulu pay for cost overruns on its rail project that includes raising the hotel room tax — assessed in all state counties — by 1 percent and increasing Maui County’s share of the revenues by $2.3 million per year. Maui News.


Homeless shelters are bracing for change — and the potential loss of funds — as the state begins requiring them to move the homeless more swiftly into permanent housing. Civil Beat.

Hawaii’s desire for higher tax revenue could eventually lead to the legal sale of recreational marijuana, a state legislator said. Star-Advertiser.

The fate of America’s largest protected conservation area — the 580,000-square-mile Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument northwest of the main Hawaiian Islands — remains in doubt after Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke on Thursday sent undisclosed recommendations to President Donald Trump about 27 national monuments that Trump ordered reviewed. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii again ranked No. 1 in a national nonprofit’s survey of state investments in energy efficiency projects. Star-Advertiser.

Fundraising accounts have been set up for two of the five Hawaii Army aviators missing from the Aug. 15 nighttime crash of a Black Hawk helicopter off Kaena Point as a sonar search for wreckage and the crew continues about a mile offshore. Star-Advertiser.

Royal Hawaiian heiress Abigail Kawananakoa wants a state judge to issue a gag order to her former attorney, James Wright, saying he has inappropriately revealed sensitive details about her and her partner, Veronica Gail Worth. Civil Beat.

The Hawaii Department of Health says it could be a year or more before the state's mumps outbreak finally subsides. Hawaii News Now.


City audit discovers high costs in employee overtime in the bulky waste pick-up program. KITV.

Grandmother who launched Kealoha corruption probe believes indictments are coming. Hawaii News Now.

A bill that would establish a special entity to manage parking and traffic in Waikiki will go before the full Honolulu City Council for a final vote. KITV.

Risking fines, thousands of moped owners flout new requirements. Hawaii News Now.

According to a report from the Honolulu Police Department, the department paid more than $171,000 for overtime and expenses over the last fiscal year on protecting visiting dignitaries. KHON2.

Matson Inc. on Wednesday said it reached a deal with Paceco Corp. for the purchase of three new 65 long-ton capacity cranes and modifications to upgrade three existing cranes at its Sand Island Terminal in Honolulu Harbor. Pacific Business News.

Bank of Hawaii’s renovation of its main branch downtown will be unveiled Wednesday after five months of construction. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaiian Electric Co. ranks among the top 10 utility companies in the United States for solar capacity per customer, according to the Smart Electric Power Alliance "2017 Utility Solar Market Snapshot." Pacific Business News.

A live boa constrictor found in a shipment of household goods was spotted Thursday morning by workers who were unloading a pallet and then used a stick and bucket to capture it. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

The University of Hawaii’s Board of Regents adopted a resolution Thursday in Honolulu stating it affirms its commitment to the “collaborative stewardship” of Mauna Kea and its resources. Tribune-Herald.

Pohakuloa seeks citizens for advisory board. West Hawaii Today.

Fall enrollment at the University of Hawaii at Hilo appears to be lower than predicted, but interim Chancellor Marcia Sakai said she’s optimistic the campus can reverse the decline. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii's state-funded aerospace agency, Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems, has launched a new credit-based internship program for students at the Big Island's Hawaii Community College to gain high-tech skills. Pacific Business News.

The lawsuit over the state’s Kaʻū Forest Reserve Management Plan reached the Hawaii Supreme Court. Big Island Video News.

Sen. Mazie K. Hirono announced that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has awarded $646,886 in grant funding to restore the Kawaihae watershed in West Hawaii. Garden Island.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park will temporarily close portions of the popular Thurston Lava Tube, also known as Nahuku, and its rainforest loop trail for maintenance work. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii County will become the first county in the United States to receive a Blue Zones designation. Hawaii Public Radio.


Maui Police Department investigations lead to suspensions. Maui News.

Two people testifying Wednesday in a sand mining lawsuit recalled seeing earthmoving work in a Maui Lani development in February without a required archaeological monitor. Maui News.

A single family residence located at 150 Luna Place in Paiia, is being proposed for transformation into a commercial building. Maui Now.

Ocean water levels remain unseasonably high, said a University of Hawaii coastal expert. Maui News.


Watershed restoration: Waipa Foundation’s holistic management of the ahupua’a is showing signs of success. Garden Island.

Bus shelters on the way: Project expected to cost nearly $900k. Garden Island.

When it comes to converting to renewable energy, the biggest success story in the islands is on Kauai. Hawaii Public Radio.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument could be spared, state sued over harbor lights, Lehua rat poison drop commences, special session on rail funding nears, Board of Regents poised to vote on Thirty Meter Telescope resolution, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument map
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said he’s recommending that none of 27 national monuments carved from wilderness and ocean and under review by the Trump administration be eliminated. The Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument is on the list for consideration. Associated Press.


House and Senate negotiators have tentatively agreed on a plan to bail out the city’s rail project by raising hotel room taxes statewide and extending the general excise tax surcharge on Oahu for another three or four years, according to sources familiar with the discussions. Star-Advertiser.

A decision to move forward with a special session to address funding for Honolulu’s rail project could be made Thursday. KHON2.

Saying they are frustrated with the city's failure to talk about new ideas on how to find money for rail, state lawmakers are looking to place tighter reins on money collected to pay for system's project $2.8 billion shortfall. Hawaii News Now.

Could recent plunge in public transportation ridership spell trouble for rail? KHON2.


Three conservation groups filed suit against the state Wednesday, claiming it has failed to address the harm to imperiled seabirds on Kauai, Maui and Lanai caused by bright lighting at its facilities in violation of the Endangered Species Act. Star-Advertiser.

Conservation groups today filed a lawsuit against the Hawai‘i Department of Transportation for allegedly failing to address injuries and deaths of three species of critically imperiled seabirds.  The lawsuit claims the deaths and injuries are the result of by bright lighting at state-operated airports and harbors on Kauai, Maui and Lanai. Maui Now.

In response to a lawsuit filed by environmental activists over the death of endangered birds, the state Department of Transportation says their facilities don't violate any environmental regulations. Hawaii News Now.

The Hawaii Department of Transportation is facing a lawsuit over lights at its airports and harbors. KHON2.


The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday that police officers working off-duty jobs at private events may not qualify for legal protection. Hawaii News Now.

The Hawaii Community Foundation today will bring together more than 200 island nonprofit organizations to prepare for potentially devastating cuts in federal funding under the Trump administration. Star-Advertiser.

State civil defense officials say they are prepared to add air-raid sirens to monthly exercises as early as Nov. 1, but will meet with mayors before setting a date. Tribune-Herald.

The advent of Donald Trump on the national stage has had a galvanizing effect on many Democrats in the country, and none more so than U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono, who is running for re-election in 2018. Civil Beat.

The who’s who of Hawaii’s medical cannabis dispensary program will be meeting today. The Medical Cannabis Working Group has been meeting every month for the past year. This will be the first meeting since dispensaries have opened. Hawaii Public Radio.

During a hearing at the state Capitol Wednesday, Department of Health officials weren't able to provide lawmakers with a clear timeline for the certification of medical marijuana testing labs. Hawaii News Now.

Pasha Hawaii has ordered the construction of two new ships that will join its Hawaii-Mainland trade lane. Pacific Business News.


Building several hundred affordable rental apartments on state land in the Liliha- Palama area is now likely 15 months or more away from getting started, pushing back construction from what had been an anticipated start late last year. Star-Advertiser.

Kunia Village, an affordable rental housing development reserved for farmers and their families making less than 60 percent of the area median income, has been completed. Pacific Business News.

The city could start cracking down on sleeping along Oahu streams. After an increase in homeless along our waterways, a bill to block this type of illegal camping advances at the Honolulu city Council. KITV.

Oahu’s Cheapest Source Of Power Is About To Go Away. How HECO plans to replace that electricity for Oahu customers is still unknown but Hawaii’s last coal-fired power plant intends to shut down in just five years. Civil Beat.

The Caldwell administration is considering switching back to a call-in, by-appointment-only system for bulky item trash pickup on Oahu, Environmental Services Director Lori Kahikina said Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

Valuable crime fighting tool credited for a decrease in crime in Oahu neighborhood. KHON2.

Hawaiian Airlines and the Honolulu International Airport have each scored top spots in a new ranking by free travel service RewardExpert. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii Island

With the Thirty Meter Telescope project nearing a key regulatory hurdle, the University of Hawaii Board of Regents is expected to reassert its commitment to the stewardship of the Mauna Kea summit in a resolution on the board’s agenda today. Star-Advertiser.

A foam food container ban will be back on the table next month, following a unanimous endorsement by the county Environmental Management Commission. West Hawaii Today. Inc. said it has no intention of pulling the Kindle online book series “Peter Boy: Hawaii’s Most Notorious Case of Child Abuse and Murder” from its website. Tribune-Herald.

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustees unanimously approved the Wao Kele o Puna Comprehensive Management Plan during a Resource Management Committee meeting on Oahu Wednesday. Big Island Video News.

The University of Hawaii at Hilo’s efforts to draw more students to its Hale Alahonua residence hall appear to be paying off. Tribune-Herald.


Agricultural shipments from Kahului Harbor were down 40 percent in the second quarter with interisland shipper Young Brothers blaming the closing of Maui’s oldest and largest farming cooperative at the end of June for the severe drop-off. Maui News.

With talk of the impeachment of President Donald Trump stirring on Capitol Hill, Hawaii U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz addressed the possibility of the president’s removal from the White House a couple of times Tuesday during a town hall meeting before a mostly progressive crowd of about 150. Maui News.

Maui Family Support Services will receive $1.3 million for its Early Head Start program, U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz announced last month. Maui News.

The University of Hawaii Maui College registered a slight uptick in enrollment as it began the fall semester Monday with 3,318 students enrolled, up from 3,298 a year ago. Maui News.


The state proceeded Wednesday with the first of three rodenticide bait drops in the latest effort to eradicate rats on a tiny island off Niihau. Star-Advertiser.

The clouds cleared around Kauai and Niihau Wednesday morning and the Lehua Island restoration project began. Garden Island.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources began aerial application of rodenticide today in an attempt to control the rat population at Lehua Island, an area managed as a State Seabird Sanctuary. Maui Now.


Molokai Planning Commission Chairman Rob Stephenson said Tuesday that he hasn’t made a decision yet on how he’ll respond to the calls for him to step down from his post. Maui News.

Building a new police station in Kaunakakai, capping vacation rentals on Molokai’s east end and finding ways to ease tax burdens on kuleana land owners are just some of the goals for Molokai as the island’s updated community plan nears completion. Maui News.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Rail funding unresolved as deadline nears, poison drop begins on Lehua, Honolulu defers high-rise sprinkler bill, electric rate hike for Big Island, fray over Maui bus driver shortage, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2017 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Hawaii state Capitol © 2017 All Hawaii News
State lawmakers have until Friday to file paperwork to call a special session to deal with rail next week. But it's not clear if they will also take up a bill to fund pay raises for University of Hawaii Faculty or the United Public Workers. KITV.

Honolulu Rail Transit: Potential 16% Savings: The State Legislature is currently looking at ways to allow for the funding of the 8.2 billion dollar Honolulu Rail Transit System. Hawaii Public Radio.

Two of the highest-­ranking military commanders in Hawaii and the Pacific were in Asia on Tuesday for an exercise geared toward war on the Korean Peninsula and to deal with an alarming four U.S. Navy ship accidents this year in the western Pacific — including two fatal collisions in nearly as many months. Star-Advertiser.

Rich outside investors are offering to pay in full, in cash to purchase real estate in Hawaii. It’s something that’s made home-buying more difficult for the middle and working class. KHON2.

Hawaii car and light-truck registrations were flat in the second quarter, but the overall trend remained upward with new vehicle registrations poised to rise for the seventh year in a row. Star-Advertiser.

Abigail Kawananakoa’s mental health has become the focus of an ongoing legal battle over who should have control of her $200 million Campbell Estate fortune. Civil Beat.

Young Brothers Ltd. said that its interisland cargo volumes increased slightly in the second quarter of 2017, up 1.2 percent compared to the same period of 2016. Pacific Business News.

Young Brothers Limited announced that intrastate cargo volumes between Honolulu and six Neighbor Island ports increased slightly in the second quarter of 2017, up 1.2 percent compared to the same period of 2016. Garden Island.


Honolulu City Council members Tuesday signaled they may be backing away from requiring more than 350 older residential buildings on Oahu to be retrofitted with sprinkler systems within five years. Star-Advertiser.

Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s bill to retrofit sprinkler installations in older residential high rises remains in limbo until a newly formed advisory committee presents its fire safety recommendations. Star-Advertiser.

The Council Public Health, Safety and Welfare Committee voted to advance Bill 70, banning smoking in vehicles when there are minors present. Star-Advertiser.

As the search for a permanent Honolulu Police Chief continues, some city leaders think the mayor should be given more power to decide who will fill the spot. Hawaii News Now.

Commercial and industrial swaths of Kalihi in urban Honolulu would be redeveloped into mixed-use housing projects and new businesses along with recreational areas under a “vision plan” state officials unveiled Tuesday. Star-Advertiser.

Could Kalihi be the new Kakaako? With plans to move the aging Oahu Community Correctional Center currently in the works, Gov. David Ige has had his eye on upgrading the neighborhood, especially with plans for the rail to pass through. KHON2.

The Hawaii Sierra Club has filed a lawsuit against the Department of Health, arguing the agency should have updated rules ensuring the safety of underground storage tanks. Civil Beat.

Imagine Waikiki without its world-renowned beach. That’s a future that’s possible this century, scientists say. Hawaii News Now.

Marine life artist Wyland and Hawaiian Airlines have reached an agreement regarding their recent legal battle over the ownership of two Hawaii whale murals. Pacific Business News.

Lack of lavatories leads to unsightly problem at historic Pali lookout. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

The state Public Utilities Commission issued an interim order Tuesday granting a 3.4 percent increase to Hawaii Electric Light Co.’s base rate. Tribune-Herald.

The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission has tentatively approved Hawaii Electric Light Co.’s first rate increase in more than six years. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii County Department of Water Supply is planning to overhaul its testing and inspection processes of incoming deep well equipment in the wake of several premature failures that have led to a water crisis in North Kona. West Hawaii Today.

Traffic along a portion of Queen Kaahumanu Highway will transition to the newly paved makai section Wednesday night as part of the ongoing widening project. West Hawaii Today.


An ongoing shortage of school bus drivers on Maui has turned into a heated exchange of words in recent days between Department of Education officials and the bus vendor that lost some of the island’s bus routes to a competitor last year. Civil Beat.

US Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) sat down for a one-on-one interview at Maui Now to discuss congressional updates during a visit to Maui on Tuesday.  Prior to the interview, Sen. Schatz held a town hall meeting at the Binhi At Ani Filipino Community Center in Kahului that drew an estimated 100 people. Maui Now.

The Department of Planning is getting back on track to update Maui island’s six regional plans, but this time it’s coming with a dose of budgetary realism and more input from county departments, according to Deputy Director Michele Chouteau McLean. Maui News.

Irrigation system work continues at Waipuilani Park in Kihei but the parking lot, restrooms and tennis courts will remain open during the current phase of work. Maui News.

An informational briefing on the conveyance of 3 acres of state land to the county near the Lahaina Civic Center will be held from 6 to 7 p.m. Thursday at the center social hall. Maui News.


The Lehua Island restoration project has been given the green light and the first round of poison-laced bait could be dropped as soon as 6 this morning. Garden Island.

An ongoing rat problem on Lehua Island is prompting the DLNR to go ahead with plans to bait the island with rat poison. But some are worried that could pose a health risk to other animals on the island. Hawaii News Now.

James Jasper Enterprises, the owner of the Anchor Cove Shopping Center on Kauai, is planning to expand the Lihue property and add a new oceanfront restaurant with outdoor seating, as well as a new market or convenience store. Pacific Business News.

The Kauai Police Department recently launched a new, online, crime-mapping program called LexisNexis Community Crime Map, which replaces the former program, RAIDS Online. Garden Island.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Military feeds Hawaii economy, Army identifies crew lost in Black Hawk crash, PETA asks Omidyar to cease Kauai dairy plans, Honolulu rail special session nears, mumps hits Big Island school, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2017 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Pearl Harbor aerial view © 2017 All Hawaii News
Military Buildup Is A Boost For Pearl Harbor Shipyard. Amid rising tensions in Asia, hundreds of workers are being hired and aging dry dock facilities are being replaced. Civil Beat.

Hawaiian Dredging Construction Co. Inc. on Monday was awarded a contract of more than $60.6 million from the U.S. Department of Defense for the construction of two facilities at the Marine Corps Base Hawaii at Kaneohe Bay. Pacific Business News.

Cultural access to military training grounds in Mākua Valley began in a court battle between the military and the native Hawaiian community. Nearly two decades later, the cultural access program has begun to foster a transformation in mutual understanding and relationship building. Hawaii Public Radio.

Officials announced Monday that they have suspended the search for five Army soldiers who were in a helicopter crash during offshore training in Hawaii last week. Associated Press.

Army families in North Carolina, Alabama, Texas, Kentucky and Tennessee on Monday received the news they had been dreading: The search for the crew of a downed Black Hawk helicopter off Kaena Point on Oahu had ended with no recoveries. Star-Advertiser.

The Army said they are committed to recovering the remains of the missing aviators. After five days of searching, only four helmets were recovered. KITV.

Legislators eye Honolulu general excise tax surcharge extension plus increase in transient accommodations taxes for rail. Star-Advertiser.

Why Hotels Will Likely Get Stuck With Honolulu Rail Tab. State lawmakers also want a thorough audit of the beleaguered project. Civil Beat.

Public frustrated over rail's price tag, management ... but they still want to see it finished. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii’s new school superintendent says she’s not going to tell school leaders how to do their jobs or second-guess decisions they’ve made about what’s best for students. Civil Beat.

Hawaii hotel executive Elliot Mills has been named to a five-year term on the board of trustees for Kamehameha Schools, the educational trust supported by a multibillion-dollar endowment. Star-Advertiser.


The Sierra Club is suing the state Department of Health over leaks from the Navy’s fuel storage facility at Red Hill. Star-Advertiser.

The city is expected to begin work on an $85.7 million sewer rehabilitation project in Nuuanu Valley next summer. Civil Beat.

A Honolulu City Council Committee will conduct a public hearing Tuesday on a bill to retrofit older high rises with fire sprinkler systems. Hawaii Public Radio.

Honolulu Police Commissioner Loretta Sheehan sent a letter Monday to HPD's Acting Chief Cary Okimoto, saying the public has a right to know about the termination of Darren Cachola, a former sergeant, who is trying to get his job back. Hawaii News Now.

Abigail Kawananakoa’s former attorney and now trustee of her $200 million estate formally asked the court Monday to appoint a neutral party to investigate the legal issues and circumstances surrounding the Campbell Estate heiress and to authorize independent medical examinations. Star-Advertiser.

The city Monday added Pacific Street in Iwilei and several areas from Victoria to McCully streets to the long list of commercial areas where people can no longer sit or lie. Star-Advertiser.

Pearl City High School is reaching out to the community for help controlling the population of feral cats that call the school grounds home. KHON2.

The erosion at Kuhio Beach in Waikiki has reached a new level. KHON2.

Ala Moana Center plans to add another collection of dining establishments at Hawaii’s largest shopping mall in October with the opening of what it is calling The Lanai @ Ala Moana. Star-Advertiser.

After Waikiki's Shore Bird Restaurant and Beach Bar at the Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort closes its doors on Sept. 30, the hotel will refresh the space and quickly open a new restaurant, called the Reef Bar and Market Grill. Pacific Business News.

After 38 years, Waikiki's popular 'Shore Bird' restaurant set to close. Hawaii News Now.

The number of luxury homes in escrow at the end of July increased 14 percent from last year, according to Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties, offsetting decreases in activity that occurred in May and June. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii Island

Water usage restrictions applied to all of North Kona banning residential irrigation and the recreational washing of boats and vehicles will persist for at least two more months. West Hawaii Today.

A statewide mumps outbreak has hit a Ka‘u classroom. West Hawaii Today.

A Hilo businesswoman who filed a lawsuit last year against Hilo Lanes Inc., claiming its owners reneged on a signed deal to sell the property to her, has added a defendant to her lawsuit — the parent company of Cost-U-Less, the business next door to the long-vacant bowling alley. Tribune-Herald.

Sunday's passing storm brought rain and thunder, and apparently some snow, to the Big Island of Hawaii. Big Island Video News.


The Haiku Community Association will host a public meeting from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the Haiku Community Center for a panel discussion of a proposal to amend the Paia-Haiku Community Plan. Maui News.

Armstrong Development recently held a topping off ceremony at its Keala o Wailea development on Maui, marking a milestone in construction as the roof was added to the seventh and final building. Maui Now.


PETA urges Ebay founder to call off plans for Kauai dairy farm. In a letter to eBay's founder Pierre Omidyar, an animals rights group called upon the billionaire to scrap plans for a Kauai dairy farm citing environmental and animal safety concerns. Hawaii News Now.

Pierre Omidyar’s plan to put an industrial dairy farm on Kauai has been detailed in national rags, and most recently an Aug. 13 article in The New York Times gave some space to the controversy. The dairy is being proposed as a 699-cow operation that could be expanded to a herd of 2,000 pregnant dairy cows on about 557 acres in Mahaulepu Valley near Poipu. Garden Island.

The Kauai County Housing Agency Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program will be accepting applications for its Section 8 HCV waiting list during the open period from 8 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 6, to 4 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 8. Garden Island.

KCC enrollment rises. Classes begin same day as eclipse. Garden Island.