Friday, March 30, 2018

Hawaii Legislature passes assisted suicide bill, Senate committee advances pared down budget, top lawmakers endorse Hanabusa, medical marijuana bill would prevent firing of those testing positive, not guilty pleas in Kealoha trial, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2018 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Ohia lehua captures the raindrops ©2018 All Hawaii News
State officials' message to Merrie Monarch Festival goers: Don't take the Ohia. Hawaii News Now.

A bill to legalize medically assisted death for terminally ill patients now awaits Gov. David Ige’s signature to become law after the state Senate today passed the measure. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Legislature Passes Medical Aid In Dying. The bill cleared its final hurdle in the Senate by a wide margin and is now headed to the governor for his signature. Civil Beat.

Hawaii lawmakers approved legislation Thursday that would make it the latest liberal-leaning state to legalize medically assisted suicide. Associated Press.

Medical aid-in-dying passes Senate, heads to governor. KHON2.

The Hawaii Senate on Thursday voted 23-2 to pass House Bill 2739 titled “Our Care, Our Choice Act.” Maui Now.

Sen. Breene Harimoto, D, Pearl City, Aiea, Halawa, has been diagnosed with lung cancer. He made the announcement Thursday on the Senate floor at the State Capitol as he cast his vote against "Our Care, Our Choice," Hawaii's medical-aid-in-dying bill. KHON2.


Senate Ways and Means Committee Chairman Donovan Dela Cruz criticized Gov. David Ige’s proposed budget for next year as an example of “overspending” as Dela Cruz released his own budget proposal Thursday totaling $14.3 billion. Star-Advertiser.

Top leaders at the Hawaii State Legislature are throwing the full power of their legislative offices behind Colleen Hanabusa in her bid to unseat David Ige for the governor’s office. Civil Beat.

The Hawaii State Senate confirmed Russell Suzuki as Hawaii attorney general on Thursday via unanimous vote. Hawaii News Now.

A bill to allow out-of-state marijuana patients to buy their medicine at local dispensaries and prohibit employers from firing workers with cannabis cards who test positive for the drug passed out of a key committee Thursday. Star-Advertiser.

Medical marijuana cardholders from out of state may soon be able to purchase the drug in Hawaii, if a bill at the state Legislature continues to move forward. Pacific Business News.

After Nearly 20 Years, Legislature Rethinks Payday Lending. The state’s growing demand for payday loans is no surprise given the high cost of living in the islands. But with interest rates as high as 459 percent, lawmakers are demanding greater regulation. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii’s visitor industry tries to improve nuclear response. It’s possible that Hawaii’s visitor industry could achieve its seventh record-setting year in a row in 2018, provided that the state doesn’t fall victim to a natural or man-made disaster like a nuclear attack. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii’s hotel industry hosted an emergency preparedness workshop today as a follow-up to the state’s false missile alert earlier this year. Hawaii Public Radio.

Shipping Company Prepares for the Next Disaster. Hawaii Public Radio.

In light of evolving natural resource concerns and the needs of managers and people, the DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife is proposing updates to rules regulating activities within Hawaii’s Forest Reserve System. DOFAW is now inviting input and comments. Information hearings will be held across the state in April. Big Island Now.

Outrigger Hotels and Resorts said Thursday it has named Jeff Wagoner to be its new president and chief executive officer. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaiian Airlines has relinquished its usual top position as the most punctual carrier in the country. Star-Advertiser.


Kealohas, Accused Cops Plead Not Guilty To Newest Charges. Federal prosecutors added three new charges in the corruption case involving the former police chief and his deputy prosecutor wife. Civil Beat.

'We are not guilty': Ex-police chief says he looks forward to day in court. Hawaii News Now.

"We plead not guilty because we are not guilty," said former Honolulu Police Chief, Louis Kealoha, moments after he entered a not guilty plea in federal court Thursday. KITV.

Retired police chief Louis Kealoha and his deputy prosecutor wife Katherine were back in federal court this morning to answer to more charges. They pled not guilty. KHON2.

HECO: More Than Half Of Us Will Be Driving Electric Vehicles By 2045. The state’s largest power utility is preparing for a surge in ownership of EVs during the next 30 years. Civil Beat.

Oahu led all Islands in tourism gains in February as total visitor spending surged nearly 13 percent to $1.52 billion, according to preliminary statistics released Thursday by the Hawaii Tourism Authority. Pacific Business News.

The Lanikai Pillbox hiking trail will remain open after all, the state said in a news release today. Star-Advertiser.

Fleetwood Mac bassist John McVie has sold his Honolulu home for $5.4 million, according to Mansion Global. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii Island

Council wants voters to weigh in on future raises. A charter amendment is unnecessary, Salary Commission officials told the County Council on Wednesday, because the commission is changing its administrative rules to add more transparency to the way it doles out raises.  West Hawaii Today.

The head of the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands said a group that started an “Aloha Safety Checkpoint” on beneficiary lands along the Maunakea Access Road this week did so without permission. Tribune-Herald.

The Hawaii County Department of Water Supply took the first step toward augmenting its existing staff by proposing the addition of 19 new positions at the Water Board’s monthly meeting Tuesday in Hilo. West Hawaii Today.

Mayor Kim: Hilo Farmers Market Info “Wrong And Misleading”. Big Island Video News.

A bill that would take $30,000 from the Geothermal Relocation and Community Fund and in order to provide access to computers and Wi-Fi at the Pahoa Community Center was panned by testifiers on Wednesday before the council voted 6-3 to advance the measure to second reading. Big Island Video News.


Maui County Council Budget and Finance Committee Chairman Riki Hokama did not get specific on projects or budget items he would support or object to in Mayor Alan Arakawa’s proposed $820 million fiscal 2019 budget, but he said the council should look into completing projects already on the books, as well as filling current staff vacancies, before creating new jobs and craft a budget allowing for flexibility for a new administration. Maui News.

Students from a number of schools walked out of class in a show of resistance against the placement of the state flag. One of the biggest protests happened on Maui at Hana High School, which also attracted members of the community. KITV.

Haiku residents were opposed overwhelmingly to a new zip-line operation at a community meeting Wednesday night called by its developer who already has racked up more than a half a million dollars in fines running another zip line in the region. Maui News.

Longer Stays on Maui Boost Visitor Spending in February. Maui Now.

Renovation begins on Waiehu Municipal Golf Course’s back nine greens starting April 16, the County of Maui Department of Parks and Recreation announced Thursday. Maui Now.


Bus stop ‘angel’ arrested. For more than a year, El Aina Danine lived at the bus stop fronting the Kapaa Neighborhood Center. She slept there. She ate there. She read there. She fed chickens there. Garden Island.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Experts study snorkel safety, Honolulu council strikes 'in lieu' fees for affordable housing, Fukumoto announces congressional bid, tourists average $600 nightly for luxury hotels, $100M highway money for Maui, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Hawaii snorkel ©2018 All Hawaii News
In the last five years, 90 people have died in snorkeling related activities, according to the state Department of Health. And a rise in that number has prompted experts to try to figure out why. Hawaii News Now.

Several dozen stakeholders — including lifeguards, tour boat operators, doctors and members of the tourism industry — convened at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort on Wednesday to discuss the prevention of snorkel-related drownings among visitors in Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii visitors were willing to pay, on average, nearly $600 a night to stay in a luxury property last month, which hotel executives say was one of the most remarkable months for Hawaii hotel performance in nearly three decades. Star-Advertiser.

New tax benefits likely overstated for Hawaii’s poorest. The state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, which issued a report with the estimate March 12, now says it probably overestimated the average savings for 92,030 Hawaii taxpayers earning up to $10,000 under the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Star-Advertiser.

State Rep. Beth Fukumoto, who garnered national attention for leaving the GOP, announced Thursday she’s running for Congress. Hawaii News Now.

She Was An ‘R,’ Now She’s A ‘D’ — And Running For Congress. State Rep. Beth Fukumoto hopes to ride anti-Trump sentiment to Capitol Hill. Civil Beat.

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz has a big idea. He wants to eliminate student debt for any one who needs a loan to attend a public college or university. Civil Beat.

Medical Aid In Dying: A Long Journey From No To Yes For These Lawmakers. More than a decade of life experiences and listening changed the minds of Hawaii legislators on an emotional issue that often divides people by faith and values. Civil Beat.

State lawmakers will hear a bill today that would cap the number of standardized tests students take at four per school year. House Bill 2117 says limiting the assessments would help “promote real-world learning experiences for Hawaii’s children.” Tribune-Herald.

A bill nearing a final vote in the state Legislature would require counties to dispose of abandoned vehicles on public roads within 10 business days of abandonment. Tribune-Herald.

The Cable Television Division of the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs issued a decision and order keeping ‘Olelo’s community-access channels in their current locations until 2036, it was announced Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.


Caldwell likely to sign affordable housing bill. A new citywide affordable housing policy won final approval Wednesday from the Honolulu City Council. Star-Advertiser.

The City Council unanimously approved a resolution Wednesday that urges the mayor to address concerns about a plan to eliminate beachfront parking at Ala Moana Regional Park. Hawaii News Now.

A bill creating a monthly $5 charge for curbside trash pickup cleared its first hurdle at the Honolulu City Council on Wednesday but still has a long way to go. Star-Advertiser.

US prosecutors want one corruption trial against former Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha, his deputy prosecutor wife Katherine, three current officers, and one former police major. KITV.

Board of Water Supply seeks public feedback on proposed rate increases. KHON2.

The water is rising. Is Hawaii's largest public works project ready? Hawaii News Now.

Formerly homeless vets get a fresh start at West Oahu complex. Hawaii News Now.

Complete Streets community events slated for Kaneohe, Kailua, Pearl City. KHON2.

Firefighters have determined a Makiki fire in which a 49-year-old man was found dead last week was intentionally set, a Honolulu Fire Department spokesman said. Star-Advertiser.

FBI investigates Waipahu church for alleged human trafficking. Hawaii News Now.

Kapiolani Community College narrows search for chancellor to 3 finalists. Hawaii News Now.

More than 150 employers were on hand today for this year’s Star-Advertiser Career Expo. Hawaii Public Radio.

Employers search for rare ‘diamonds’ in rough job market. With the state sporting a February unemployment rate of 2.1 percent, the lowest in the country, more than 160 companies and organizations on Wednesday hoped to attract workers who are already employed to the Career Expo 2018 held at the Neal Blaisdell Center. Star-Advertiser.

Target is voluntarily recalling nearly 250 frozen food items sold at its Ala Moana location. The company says the products affected may be spoiled and can cause serious illness, if consumed. KITV.

Hawaii Island

Council eyes using portion of geothermal royalties to get internet access at Pahoa Community Center. Tribune-Herald.

Local TV Is Getting Bigger and Bolder. Na Leo TV has greatly expanded its staff, facilities and its presence on the island. Civil Beat.

A Hawaii Island doctor accused of prescription fraud changed his plea to guilty to some of the various charges he was indicted on last year. West Hawaii Today.


Maui Expected to Get $100M in Federal Highway Funds. The public is invited to learn about proposed federal transportation projects for Maui at four community workshops in April. Maui Now.

United States District Court Judge J. Michael Seabright sentenced 32-year-old Cody Joslin to 18 months in prison today, March 28, 2018, for theft of funds from the US Department of Veteran’s Affairs. Maui Now.


A bill proposing the $5.6 million purchase of land in Hanalei by the County of Kauai was moved forward at Wednesday’s County Council meeting. Garden Island.

People should think twice about jumping into the water at Koloa Landing right now, according to the Kauai chapter of Surfrider and the state Department of Health, as a brown plume was seen there Tuesday afternoon. Garden Island.

Anyone interested in being an extra in one of Hollywood’s upcoming action/adventure movies being filmed on Kauai can audition to be part of the cast or crew on Saturday. Garden Island.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Economic disparities in Pacific Islander races, Obama statue posed, Hee's messy divorce fodder in gubernatorial race, Tsutsui endorses Hanabusa, affordable housing in Honolulu, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2018 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Kayaking in Hawaii ©2018 All Hawaii News
Although Hawaii has a reputation as a “racial paradise” and Asian-Pacific Islanders are often considered a single racial category, there are huge differences in socioeconomic well-being among Hawaii’s various Asian and Pacific Islander communities. Civil Beat.

The Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism released a report on Tuesday, March 27, 2018, which shows the different lifestyles among the 14 top race groups in Hawaii. Big Island Now.

Report: Hawaii has ‘diversified culture’. Garden Island.

State on high alert after hackers target 2 agencies in 'phishing' attack. So-called "phishing attacks" targeted state computers over the holiday weekend, officials confirm. Hawaii News Now.

A state Senate committee in Hawaii is calling for a statue of former President Barack Obama to be erected in the state where he was born. The Senate Judiciary Committee voted unanimously Tuesday for a resolution requesting that the Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts commission the statue. Associated Press.

Super PAC attacks Hee using divorce filings. Former state Sen. Clayton Hee, who recently announced he is running for governor, was accused of verbal and physical abuse by his former wife Lyla Berg in 1989 divorce filings, according to state court records.  Star-Advertiser.

Former Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui announced Tuesday that he will be endorsing U.S. Rep Colleen Hanabusa for governor in the upcoming election. Hawaii News Now.

Ige's former lieutenant governor backs Hanabusa. KHON2.

Former Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui raised the arm of U.S. Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa and declared her the next governor of Hawaii to resounding cheers Tuesday evening outside her new campaign headquarters at the Old Kahului Shopping Center. Maui News.

A bill that allocates transient accommodations tax revenues to Kauai, Hawaii and Maui counties from July 1 through Dec. 31, 2030 passed through the House of Representatives Tuesday with 44 out of 51 votes in favor of the bill. Garden Island.

The state House passed a bill Tuesday increasing the counties’ share of transient accommodations tax revenue. Tribune-Herald.

While a bill that would restructure the management of the state’s airports is nearing passage, supporters of the bill fear it is missing terms that would allow it to better serve its purpose. Tribune-Herald.

Parasite spread by feral cats threatens native wildlife, strengthening calls for action. Hawaii News Now.


The Honolulu Board of Water Supply is proposing to raise the price of municipal water over the next four years and have larger users in single-family homes shoulder more of the increase that’s being sought to keep up with expenses. Star-Advertiser.

Developers and homebuilders would no longer be able to pay cash “in-lieu” fees under a new affordable-housing policy that’s scheduled for a final vote of the Honolulu City Council today. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Affordable Housing Bill Advances Without "In Lieu of Construction Fee". Hawaii Public Radio.

Updated Honolulu Housing Bill Seeks The Middle Ground. Councilwoman Kymberly Pine made concessions to housing advocates and developers alike in hopes that the measure will pass the full council Wednesday. Civil Beat.

HART: "We don't need $44M from Mayor Caldwell". The Honolulu City Council Budget Committee reviewed the Mayor’s nearly 3.5 billion dollar operating and construction budget for 2019 today. Hawaii Public Radio.

Holo card will be used to pay fares for TheBus, TheHandi-Van and, eventually, rail. The city Tuesday unveiled Oahu’s first Holo transit smart card, lauding it as a significant technological upgrade and step closer to Honolulu’s goal of multimodal transportation. Star-Advertiser.

Goodbye, bus passes. New 'HOLO' cards to be used for buses, rail. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu officials debuted “Holo,” the city’s new smart-card pass Tuesday, a program that should eventually give public transit users another option besides cash or passes to ride TheBus, the Handi-Van and, years from now, the rail system. Civil Beat.

Say goodbye to the old bus passes. The city and county of Honolulu unveils how people will pay for transit, and more, in the future. KITV.

Police raid building in Liliha, gaming machines removed. KHON2.

A two-month project to rehabilitate the Lanikai pillboxes will begin Wednesday, barring access to hikers for at least 60 days. Hawaii News Now.

Tripler nurse accused of stealing 8,500 pills from hospital. KHON2.

Hawaii Island

The county’s biggest budget to date drew little public interest Tuesday evening, with no people coming out to talk about the $515.7 million spending plan at an evening public hearing. West Hawaii Today.

Futuristic Spaceport Gets Chilly Big Island Reception. Some lawmakers have proposed issuing special revenue bonds to help SpinLaunch build a facility on Hawaii Island for catapulting satellites into space. Civil Beat.

The water woes in North Kona have subsided, to a degree, but members of the Hawaii County Water Board explained it may be a while before they’re alleviated in full. West Hawaii Today.


Five individuals have pulled papers for the 8th District House seat (representing Kahakuloa, Waihee, Waiehu, Puuohala, Wailuku, Waikapu), to fill the post being vacated by longtime Representative Joe Souki of Maui. Maui Now.

West and South Maui Sen. Roz Baker has taken out nomination papers for re-election to the 6th Senatorial District seat she has held since 2002. Maui News.

By scheduling five firefighters per work crew, instead of a minimum of four, Maui County’s Department of Fire and Public Safety is saving approximately $4.5 million annually in overtime pay, according to a recent external audit reviewed Tuesday by council members. Maui News.

The Neighbor Islands’ resident population percentages have grown incrementally since 2000 while Oahu’s share, while still dominant, has shrunk by 3 percentage points, U.S. Census Bureau data released last week show. Maui News.

The Maui District Health Office of the Department of Health, located at the Wailuku State Office Building, will undergo renovations beginning Monday, April 2. Maui Now.


Cab fare hikes proposed. The Kauai County Council is scheduled to meet today. Garden Island.

A bellstone believed by some to be missing from a sacred site on Kauai apparently isn’t missing at all, according to the state. It’s at the Kauai Museum. Garden Island.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Voter approval of Ige, Caldwell, drop in poll; Obama spotted on island; iconic farmers market changing; biofuel farm mulled for Molokai, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2018 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Hilo Farmers Market ©2018 All Hawaii News
County gets tough after iconic Hilo Farmers Market fails to fix code violations. Tribune-Herald.

Hilo Farmers Market has been ordered by Hawaii County to take down all of its existing tarps and tents because of fire safety and zoning violations. KITV.

Former President Barack Obama is on Oahu following an Asia-Pacific trip that included stops in Japan, Singapore, New Zealand, and Australia. KHON2.

Voter approval numbers for Gov. David Ige and Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell have declined in the last two years, according to the latest Honolulu Star-Advertiser poll. Star-Advertiser.

Gov. David Ige plans on pushing his administration’s accomplishments to the forefront of his campaign over the next four or five months, saying he’s been “too humble” about his successes. Garden Island.

Five in 7 Hawaii voters support efforts at the state Capitol to legalize medical aid in dying for terminally ill patients, according to the latest Hawaii Poll by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, which found consistent support across younger and older voters, men and women, and ethnic groups statewide. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii lawmakers call for tougher laws, penalties for child care providers. Under the bill, House Bill 2528, any adult relatives who help daycare operators care for children will be required to get a criminal background check. Hawaii News Now.

Should electric and hybrid car owners pay more to register their cars? It's a proposal being considered by state lawmakers to help fix our highways. KHON2.

Electric utility companies largely unprepared for anticipated EV boom, report says. Though Hawaii has one of the highest EV adoption rates in the county, the total number of battery-powered cars represents less than 1 percent of all passenger vehicles in the state. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii’s inventory of vacation rental units increased 35 percent to 23,000 from 2015 to 2017, according to a report by The Hawaii Appleseed Center for Law and Economic Justice. Pacific Business News.

Some of Hawaii’s major labor unions are gearing up for a tough year ahead. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii’s Medical Pot Program Struggling To Get Its Act Together. The licensing and inspection programs remain very short-staffed, but pot shop owners are pleased by the state’s recruitment efforts. Civil Beat.


Oahu voters overwhelmingly support a ban on so-called monster houses, according to the latest Hawaii Poll. Star-Advertiser.

Waikiki condo seeks to ban short-term rentals.  fierce battle is brewing at Waikiki Lanais over whether the condominium board has the right to ban short-term vacation rentals at the 160-unit building where the practice has been going on for decades. Star-Advertiser.

Lawmakers asked to approve sale of Kakaako property for new wastewater facility. A public hearing will be held Tuesday on a resolution to approve the sale of land on Forrest Avenue and Ala Moana Boulevard. KHON2.

Cure Oahu begins cannabis sales. Hawaii’s fifth dispensary began pakalolo sales Friday, with a steady flow of medical marijuana patients registering and visiting the Kapahulu retailer. Star-Advertiser.

The number of solar permits issued on Oahu rose in February for the second straight month after declining for two years in a row. Star-Advertiser.

Cardax Inc.’s first full year of revenue from its new anti-inflammatory product produced robust results. The Honolulu-based company, which launched ZanthoSyn in August 2016, was scheduled to announce today that it generated $610,323 in sales last year compared with $35,258 from its product’s limited release the year before. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu-based accelerator Blue Startups is partnering with Singapore-based venture capital investment platform Hatcher+ to co-invest in its startups. Pacific Business News.

No one was hurt today after a helicopter with four people on board made an emergency landing in a softball field at Koko Head Neighborhood Park. Star-Advertiser.

Mariota expanding role as philanthropist with Motiv8 Foundation. Hawaii News Now.

Monday marked the state holiday celebrating the birthday of a Hawaiian Alii, also known as a citizen prince, Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole. Many gathered to pay tribute to the Hawaiian monarch at the Royal Mausoleum in Nu'uanu for Kuhio day honors. KITV.

Hawaii Island

Activists erect makeshift checkpoint. About two dozen people calling themselves “kanaka rangers” held an unauthorized checkpoint Monday along the Maunakea Access Road. Tribune-Herald.

With Puu Huluhulu visible in the distance, a group of Hawaiian Home Lands beneficiaries set up an “Aloha Safety Checkpoint” by the Mauna Kea Access Road on Prince Kūhiō Day, part of the next phase of “Aina Mauna Solution”. Big Island Video News.

Group gathers on Kuhio Day to demonstrate alleged DHHL mismanagement. KITV.

Turns out the county’s affordable housing requirements can be pretty affordable for developers. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii County is looking to establish a Hilo counterpart to the proposed Village 9 homeless site in Kailua-Kona, although plans are still in preliminary stages. Associated Press.

A proposal to fund a cardiac care unit at Hilo Medical Center has nearly made it through both chambers of the state Legislature. Tribune-Herald.


Report: 1 in 7 homes in county a vacation rental. Vacation rental group is disputing statistics. Maui News.

A Maui man who asserted his right to speak Hawaiian in court instead of English, has been granted a Hawaiian language interpreter. Maui Now.

County special use permit sought for Jaws zipline project. Haiku community meeting scheduled for Wednesday. Maui News.

County to remove hundreds of dead eucalyptus trees on Maui. The eucalyptus trees along Piiholo Road will be trimmed down to two-foot stumps to reduce the risk of injury or accident. Hawaii News Now.

Crews from the Maui County Department of Public Works began emergency tree removal along Piiholo Road. Maui Now.


The Department of Public Safety is looking to fill several vacancies throughout the state for the position of adult correction officer. Garden Island.


New Molokai Ranch Plans Pitched To A Development-Wary Island. An energy company has proposed buying the 55,000 acre ranch, which has been idle since 2008, to farm organic biofuels. Civil Beat.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Hanabusa has 20-point lead over Ige in poll, Green leading Lt. Gov. race, Kim and Chin tied in #HI01, public strongly favors Thirty Meter Telescope, Maui mayor pushes $900M budget, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

2018 gubernatorial election Democratic primary
David Ige, Colleen Hanabusa
U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa has a 20-percentage-point lead over incumbent Gov. David Ige less than five months away from the Democratic primary, with 47 percent of likely Democratic voters saying they would vote for Hanabusa if the election were held today, according to a new Hawaii Poll by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Star-Advertiser.

According to a new poll by the Star-Advertiser, Hawaii voters may be leaning towards electing a new governor. Hawaii News Now.

Many Hawaii voters are still undecided on who should be the state’s next lieutenant governor, but state Sen. Josh Green of Hawaii island has an early edge in the crowded race, according to the latest Hawaii Poll. Star-Advertiser.

Kim, Chin tie in race for U.S. House. Veteran lawmaker Donna Mercado Kim and Lt. Gov. Doug Chin are in a near tie in the race to represent urban Honolulu in the U.S. House, according to the latest Hawaii Poll, which shows the two front-runners each attracting roughly 30 percent of likely Democratic primary votes. Star-Advertiser.

Most see homeless problem getting worse. Registered island voters, in general, do not believe Hawaii’s homeless problem has improved over the last year, and 62 percent support the idea of so-called “safe zones” for homeless people to live without fear of getting swept. Star-Advertiser.

Nearly 20 years after Hawaii legalized medical marijuana, a slim majority of local residents support full legalization for recreational use of the federally illegal drug. Star-Advertiser.

A proposal to legalize medically assisted death for terminally ill patients cleared its last major hurdle at the state Legislature on Friday, paving the way for a full vote by the Senate, where the bill is expected to pass comfortably. Star-Advertiser.

The Last Committee: Medical Aid In Dying Bill Now Goes To Full Senate. The measure has been fast-tracked through the Hawaii Senate after coming over from the House earlier this month with additional safeguards. Civil Beat.

DOH Food Safety Branch says placard program working but hand-washing still an issue. It appears the state Dept. of Health's color-coded placard program is working, but even after three years since its launch, the number one problem is getting employees to wash their hands. KHON2.

Paying the Price of Technology Failures. High-profile failures of local government technology often make headlines in Hawaii. But there’s an everyday cost to those failures that are paid by businesses and citizens around the state. Hawaii Public Radio.

About 1 in 24 homes in Hawaii is a vacation rental, which is contributing to the state’s shortage of affordable housing, according to a report by an advocacy group. Associated Press.

State begins training Hawaiian language interpreters for courtrooms. Over the weekend, the state became one step closer to ensuring Hawaiian language interpreters are available for all courtrooms. Hawaii News Now.

Coast Guard crews located eight people in a life raft in waters hundreds of miles away from Hawaii Island Sunday. The Coast Guard says the eight people were part of the crew from a commercial fishing vessel named The Princess Hawaii. Hawaii News Now.


A bill that would allow for a limited number of new bed-and-breakfast permits to be issued on Oahu while establishing stiffer fines for unlawful vacation rentals soon will go before the City Council. Star-Advertiser.

A hotel and condominium tower on Kapiolani Boulevard and mostly modest-priced homes on farmland in Waialua are a step closer to being developed after a Honolulu City Council committee vote Thursday. Star-Advertiser.

Biki has increased the size of four existing Biki stops and installed two brand new ones. Hawaii News Now.

Oahu students lend voices as marches across country publicly decry gun violence. Star-Advertiser.

Students, teachers, parents march through downtown Honolulu to end gun violence. An estimated 5,000 people converged on the state Department of Education and then back to the state capitol. KHON2.

City and County of Honolulu offices will be closed Monday, March 26, 2018, in observance of Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalaniana‘ole Day, a state holiday. KITV.

Hawaii Island

On the eve of a court ruling that could determine the fate of the Thirty Meter Telescope in Hawaii, public support for the stalled $1.4 billion project has never been stronger. Star-Advertiser.

Kim says balanced budget isn’t enough. West Hawaii Today.

Creation of Hilo homeless facility in ‘very preliminary’ stages. Roy Takemoto, an executive assistant to Mayor Harry Kim, told the Tribune-Herald last week that the county is in the initial stages of acquiring access to two adjoining land parcels at the old airport in Hilo — located about 850 feet from Access Road — where it is looking to possibly erect tents and domes. Tribune-Herald.

There are opposite takeaways from this week’s sudden closure of Hawaii’s only homeless, government-sanctioned “ohana zone,” Camp Kikaha in Kailua-Kona. Star-Advertiser.

The County of Hawaii has ordered Hilo Farmers Market to remove the tarps and the tents that have been its primary structures for over 33 years or face $4,000 in fines for each day they remain in place. Big Island Now.

Pace of Kolekole Beach Park lead testing frustrates residents. State officials are going out to bid for more soil sampling at Kolekole Beach Park, which closed almost a year ago due to lead contamination. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii Island’s natural beauty and seemingly endless opportunities for adventure have earned it a spot among TripAdvisor’s top destinations in the United States. West Hawaii Today.


Maui County Mayor Alan Arakawa is asking the Valley Isle's council members to approve a $900 million budget for fiscal year 2019. The mayor is also proposing a new three-tiered progressive property tax structure, which he said would allow rate adjustments to generate the revenue required to maintain services and infrastructure. Pacific Business News.

Mayor’s final budget proposal calls for $820 million for fiscal year 2018-19. Spending would increase by $114.8 million, or 16.3%, over current period. Maui News.

Mayor Alan Arakawa’s budget proposes a tiered scheme for property taxes designed to increase income from second homes and investment properties, a growing trend that many say aggravates Maui County’s housing crisis. Maui News.

Maui County fiscal 2018-19 budget highlights. Maui News.

The Budget and Finance Committee received Mayor Arakawa’s proposed fiscal year 2019 budget today and will begin its review with committee meetings commencing on March 29. Maui Now.

Five Wailuku residents have checked out nomination papers to seek the Central Maui 8th House District held by two-time speaker and longtime Rep. Joe Souki. Maui News.


Prince Kuhio Park expands. Tom Shigemoto of A&B Properties announced that the deed for 16 additional acres to the existing five-acre Prince Kuhio Park is nearly done, and turnover of the land to the Royal Order should be complete by year’s end. Garden Island.

You can now get a digital camera to help out with whale and dolphin research on Kauai, but there are only five available so the waiting list could be long. Garden Island.

The county will begin relocating the Poipu lifeguard tower on Tuesday morning. The tower will be moved 75 yards east of its current location. Garden Island.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Federal budget one of the best for Hawaii, unemployment hits 28-year low, driver's license document loss no privacy threat, Honolulu prosecutor takes over Big Island cop case, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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WWII vet with Pohakuloa Marines. Military spending is big part of new budget. ©2018 All Hawaii News
Federal budget bill is ‘best by far for Hawaii’ in years. A $1.3 trillion government spending bill will add millions in funding for Hawaii in an appropriations package approved by Congress that is a rebuke to spending cuts sought by President Donald Trump. Star-Advertiser.

New Federal Budget Deal Has Lots Of Goodies For Hawaii. While President Trump’s proposed cuts would have hurt the Aloha State, a new budget deal increased funding for many programs. Civil Beat.

Hawaii stands to benefit from the $1.3 trillion bipartisan spending bill that was reached by congressional members on Wednesday night, according to U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz. Pacific Business News.

Congress has approved a $1.3 trillion dollar omnibus spending bill that boosts funding for several programs in Hawaii. Hawaii News Now.

Press release: Sen. Schatz: Federal Funding for Hawaii to Increase. Big Island Now.

Hawaii’s number of unemployed fell to its lowest level in more than 28 years as the jobless rate in February held at 2.1 percent for the fifth month in a row. Star-Advertiser.

Ige Administration: House Budget Cuts Go Too Far. Several department heads and the University of Hawaii urged the Senate to restore Gov. David Ige’s proposed spending increases. Civil Beat.

Report: Out-of-State Buyers, Vacation Rentals Squeeze Local Housing Market. A new report estimates that a quarter of homes sold in Hawaii during recent years were bought by non-residents. Civil Beat.

With today the deadline for bills to move to their final committees, only one of the dozens of marijuana bills introduced this year in the state Legislature remains in discussion. Tribune-Herald.

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustees Thursday held off any disciplinary action against CEO Kamanaopono Crabbe and instead decided to delve further into claims of financial improprieties that may be linked to the agency’s director. Star-Advertiser.

OHA: No Decision on CEO Contract. The Office of Hawaiian Affairs Trustees met today in closed session to deliberate about the future of their only employee. Hawaii Public Radio.

Growing corruption probe leads OHA board to debate ousting CEO. Hawaii News Now.

Former Hawaii Governor Defends OHA. A critical management audit of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs is continuing to ripple. Hawaii Public Radio.

Computer crash destroys documents of 66,500 Hawaii driver’s license holders. A city contractor disclosed Thursday that it can’t retrieve scanned images of documents with personal information — including Social Security cards and birth certificates — for 66,500 people statewide who were issued licenses or state ID cards last year between Feb. 25 and Sept. 15. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Can’t Access 66,000 Personal Documents After System Crashed. Some birth certificates, passports, and other documents can’t be retrieved because of a vendor’s computer malfunction. Civil Beat.

66,500 people affected by driver's licensing vendor hard disk crash. KHON2.


New Charges Issued In Kealohas’ Corruption Case. The updated indictment adds a former Honolulu police captain to the alleged general criminal conspiracy. Civil Beat.

Kealohas’ mailbox was altered, according to a new indictment. A federal grand jury returned the new indictment Thursday. Star-Advertiser.

A new indictment filed in federal court Thursday adds three new criminal charges to the case against retired Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha and his deputy prosecutor wife, Katherine. KHON2.

Will Creating More Jobs In Kapolei Ease Traffic Congestion? A bill in the Legislature would offer tax incentives to businesses that open in Oahu’s “second city.” Civil Beat.

Mobile Showers Just the Beginning. For more than 7,000 Hawaii residents experiencing homelessness, that hot shower has been a luxury...until now. Hawaii Public Radio.

North Shore community members want a new police station in the area. KITV.

No plan to replace lost parking stalls if new bike lanes go up in Kakaako. Concern from some residents in Kakaako after the City revealed Thursday night that it will not replace the parking stalls that would be lost by adding new protected bike lanes to the area. KHON2.

The U.S. Coast Guard plans to step up patrols off Waikiki this weekend as it and other state and federal agencies try to discourage large flotillas of partying college students on spring break. Star-Advertiser.

With spring break coinciding with Prince Kuhio day this year, public safety officials are preparing for large crowds at beaches across the state. Ocean safety crews are stepping up patrols at Waikiki Beach to accommodate an anticipated large number of beach goers. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Students Organize Four ‘March For Our Lives’ Rallies. A series of events around Oahu on Saturday will showcase youth-led organizing for anti-gun violence. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Island

Hawaii County reached a new milestone last year when its population broke 200,000, according to U.S. Census estimates. Tribune-Herald.

The state Department of the Attorney General has recommended the Honolulu Prosecutor’s Office review a case naming a former Hawaii County police officer as a person of interest in the theft of drug evidence. West Hawaii Today.

The Keaukaha Elementary School Cafeteria was packed on Wednesday night as Hilo residents had their chance to hear about a controversial bill that would dramatically alter the way Mauna Kea is managed. Big Island Video News.


A historic decision made by the Hawaii Commission on Water Resource Management protects instream flows at four West Maui streams–Ukumehame, Olowalu, Launiupoko and Kauaʻula. The decision was made at the conclusion of a half-day-long hearing in which more than three dozen people testified. Maui Now.

While students across Hawaii protested against gun violence last Wednesday, two teens at Hana High School kick started a protest of their own: switching out positions of the school's flags, so the state flag flew above the American one. KITV.

Businesses brace for three-month Waiehu golf course partial closure. The back nine holes of the Waiehu Municipal Golf Course are scheduled to close April 16 for three months to allow its greens to be dug up and be replanted with saltwater-tolerant grass. Maui News.


Many of the 150 people left Wednesday’s meeting on a possible “second city” on the Westside with more questions than answers. Garden Island.

Megahouse project draws ire. North Shore residents voiced their opposition to a construction project during a hearing at the Kapaa Public Library Wednesday night. Garden Island.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Former House Speaker Souki denies wrongdoing in sexual harassment case, full text of his statement; Big Island official loses lawsuit over sexual harassment complaint, no taxpayer attorney for Honolulu former police chief, trespassers ousted from Coco Palms land, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy photo
Joe Souki, courtesy photo
Former House Speaker Joseph Souki said the accusations of sexual harassment against him are all three to eight years old, and he has “absolutely no memory of ever acting in inappropriately with any woman at any time, as a member of the House or in a private setting.” Star-Advertiser.

Joe Souki: I’m Sorry But I Don’t Remember Doing It. The 84-year-old longtime Maui lawmaker insisted Wednesday he’s never acted badly toward women even though he’s resigning. Civil Beat.

A former speaker of the Hawaii House of Representatives will resign by next week to resolve sexual harassment allegations brought by several women, the latest case of an elected official being forced from office over misconduct. Associated Press.

Former state House Speaker Joe Souki will resign as part of a settlement over sexual harassment complaints, but maintains he didn't do anything wrong. Hawaii News Now.

Accused of sexual harassment, long-time Maui lawmaker Joe Souki announced his resignation. KITV.

Speaker Emeritus Rep. Joe Souki is stepping down as a result of sexual harassment claims made against him. KHON2.

A kiss, a hug lead to former House speaker’s downfall. Souki admits ‘inappropriate and unwelcome’ contact with several women. Maui News.

Rep. Joe Souki, D–Wailuku, who was first elected to the Hawaii House of Representatives in 1982, will resign from the House no later than Mar. 30, pay a $5,000 penalty, issue a public apology and not accept any public office for two years. MauiTime.

The Hawaii State Ethics Commission has concluded its investigation into allegations of sexual harassment by former House Speaker Joseph Souki who will be forced to resign from public office next week. Pacific Business News.

Full text of Ethics Commission Souki settlement here.

Full text of Souki's statement here.

Lawmakers accused of sexual harassment remain under wraps. Rep. Joe Souki’s resignation to resolve sex harassment complaints has focused renewed attention on the behavior of state legislators, especially in light of the #MeToo movement nationally. Star-Advertiser.


The Office of Hawaiian Affairs Board of Trustees is scheduled to meet behind closed doors today to discuss the contract of CEO Kamanaopono Crabbe. Star-Advertiser.

DOE Official Slapped With Ethics Fine Is Reassigned. Suzanne Mulcahy, who was an assistant superintendent on the central leadership team, was shifted to an interim principal position. Civil Beat.

The state House Finance Committee passed a bill Wednesday that includes an amendment that would prohibit the use of chlorpyrifos beginning Jan. 1, 2019, but provides an exemption for farmers for a three-year period if they provide public disclosure. Garden Island.

Airport authority bill may be catalyst for state procurement code changes. Pacific Business News.

State, Counties Weigh Options for Abandoned Vehicles. Complaints about junked cars in neighborhoods across the state hit a crescendo last year. Hawaii Public Radio.

Legislation to ban tobacco products on all 10 University of Hawaii campuses and raise the cigarette tax to the highest in the nation is closer to becoming law. Star-Advertiser.

Should smoking be banned at the University of Hawaii? The school already has rules against smoking at Manoa and Kapiolani Community College but lawmakers want to expand the ban across all of UH's campuses. KITV.

In the minutes after the false missile alert went to all Hawaii phones, fear and disbelief quickly turned to anger as residents learned that the warning about an inbound ballistic missile had been sent in error, newly released 911 calls show. Hawaii News Now.

The Honolulu Police Department released recordings of a handful of 911 calls made after a false missile alert was sent to cell phones across the state earlier this year. KHON2.

Real estate foreclosures declined in Hawaii for a fourth consecutive year in 2017, according to statistics from the state Judiciary. Star-Advertiser.

Suddenly predatory mice are attacking nesting albatross on Midway Atoll – the largest albatross colony in the world — prompting a plan by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to remove the “house mouse” population using rodenticide and trapping. Star-Advertiser.


Former Police Chief Louis Kealoha won't get a taxpayer-funded attorney to defend him in court in a civil lawsuit over the alleged mailbox frame-up. Hawaii News Now.

The City will not be paying for an attorney to defend retired Honolulu police chief Louis Kealoha in a civil suit involving his stolen mail box. KHON2.

University of Hawaii researchers are teaming up with a farm on Oahu’s west side to study how people’s connection with the land affects their health. Civil Beat.

The public is advised to stay out of the Waimalu Stream following a spill of raw sewage. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

A 12-year-old chapter in Hawaii County’s political history has closed with an appellate court order and a former county official deciding not to pursue further litigation. At issue was an appeal by former County Council chairman and Hilo mayoral candidate Stacy Higa, who sued the county for legal malpractice after an employment complaint alleged he sexually harassed an aide. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii Island Mayor Harry Kim is asking for help from the state to expedite the emergency shelter aspect of the proposed Village 9 homeless site off Kealakehe Parkway in Kailua-Kona. West Hawaii Today.

After two years of use, a program that allows Hawaii residents to text 911 in case of emergency has seen little use on Hawaii Island. Tribune-Herald.


Hawaiian Sovereignty Protest Gets Hana Student Suspended. A high school student was disciplined for rearranging the school flagpole to fly the Hawaiian flag above the U.S. flag. Civil Beat.

A Haleakala telescope protester who asserted his right to speak in the Hawaiian language in court earlier this year was granted an interpreter Wednesday in Wailuku District Court. Maui News.

Complaint Inspection Finds No Violations at KFC Kahului. Maui Now.


Five people were removed from two parcels of state land Wednesday morning. No one was cited or arrested. Garden Island.

Two dozen officers from the DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement, the Kaua‘i Police Department and State Sheriffs removed five people from two parcels of DLNR land this morning, Wednesday, March 21. Big Island Now.

Coco Palms Battle Is A New Front In An Old War. More protesters were removed from an encampment near the iconic resort Wednesday as Kauai officials fend off esoteric legal claims. Civil Beat.

A short-term reduction on the alcohol federal excise tax has bolstered Kauai-based Koloa Rum Company’s 2017 financials and allowed for bonuses to its 33 employees. Pacific Business News.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Former House Speaker Souki ousted in sexual harassment settlement, Ige's homeless budget decimated as model camp closed, big tobacco tax hikes advance, plus much more top political and government news from all the Hawaiian Islands

official portrait
Former House Speaker Joe Souki, official portrait
Former House Speaker Joseph Souki will be required by the Hawaii State Ethics Commission to resign from office next week to resolve a complaint involving accusations from multiple women who allege they were the targets of his unwanted advances that included sexual comments, touching and kissing, according to people familiar with the agreement. Star-Advertiser.

Former Hawaii House Speaker Forced Out Over Sexual Harassment. Several women had filed ethics complaints against Joe Souki, a longtime lawmaker from Maui. Civil Beat.

Veteran Maui lawmaker and former Speaker Joe Souki will resign from the state Legislature later this month, following a state Ethics Commission settlement of a sexual harassment complaint against him. Maui News.

Long-time lawmaker and former house speaker Joe Souki of Maui will resign from his legislative post amid a state Ethics Commission settlement over allegations of sexual harassment. Maui Now.

House Harassment Policy Puts Speaker In Charge Of All Complaints. The internal process for resolving sexual harassment complaints in the House doesn’t anticipate what happens if the speaker is the one being accused. Civil Beat.

Souki accuser is moved by other women’s stories of harassment at state Capitol. Star-Advertiser.

Read full text of Souki settlement here.


House members have decimated Gov. David Ige’s budget request for programs benefiting the homeless and that prioritize finding permanent housing, and instead want to spend $30 million to create an unknown number of zones sanctioned for homeless encampments across the islands. Star-Advertiser.

Bill Allows Fines For Those Who Falsely Claim To Have Service Animals. People increasingly bring untrained animals into public accommodations claiming they are service animals, say measure supporters. Civil Beat.

Teachers push to reduce standardized testing for Hawaii public schools. Rally planned today. KHON2.

Smokers may soon be paying more for cigarettes — a lot more. The House Health and Human Services Committee passed Senate Bill 2843 with amendments on Tuesday to significantly increase the state tobacco licensing fee. Hawaii News Now.

The House Health &Human Services committee on Tuesday passed Senate Bill 2843 SD1 with amendments to increase the annual license fee for tobacco wholesalers and dealers from $2.50 per year to $500 per year. The measure also raises the tax on cigarettes and little cigars from 16 cents per cigarette or little cigar to 22.5 cents each, or $3.20 per pack to $4.50 per pack. Garden Island.

Proposed Bill Would Prohibit Smoking on All UH Campuses. Maui Now.

Hawaii workers would have access to several weeks of paid time off for the birth or adoption of a child or to care for a family member under proposed legislation advancing in both the House and Senate. Star-Advertiser.

The NRA Is Giving Hawaii Schools A Lot Of Money. Most of the National Rifle Association dollars flowing to schools throughout the country pay for competitive shooting programs. Civil Beat.


The former police chief and his deputy prosecutor wife are refusing to cooperate with a lawsuit they initiated against the Honolulu Ethics Commission. Hawaii News Now.

A contentious plan for a widened Ala Moana Regional Park pedestrian promenade — which would result in the elimination of parking stalls along the makai side of Ala Moana Park Drive — may be on the way out. Star-Advertiser.

It's Your Money: City shells out tens of millions of dollars in overtime pay.  According to a new audit, the city paid $66.41 million to cover extra hours on the clock last fiscal year. KHON2.

Dole Food Co. Inc. has agreed to pay a fine for failing to close two large-capacity cesspools at a private beach park in Waialua on Oahu’s North Shore. Under the terms of a settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Dole will pay a $145,000 fine for violating the federal Safe Drinking Water Act. Star-Advertiser.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday said reached a settlement with Dole Food Co. Inc. for failing to close two large-capacity cesspools at its Puuiki Beach Park property on Oahu. Pacific Business News.

Dole Foods has reached a settlement with the Environmental Protection agency after it failed to close two large cesspools at Puuiki Beach Park. Hawaii News Now.

State: Burial backlog at veterans cemetery better, but long-term fixes needed. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Hawaii County on Tuesday closed Camp Kikaha in the Old Kona Industrial Area, a temporary homeless encampment located adjacent to HOPE Services Hawaii, after operating the site for more than seven months. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii County Closes Its ‘Safe Zone’ Homeless Experiment. For seven months Kailua-Kona’s 1-acre government sanctioned homeless encampment sheltered about 25 people. Civil Beat.

Camp Kikaha For Kona Homeless Closes Down. An emergency proclamation enabling the camp has since expired, and the County is no longer allowed to continue operations at the site. Big Island Video News.

A temporary homeless shelter on the big island is closed and the homeless have been moved out. KHON2.


The Hawaii County Prosecutor’s Office will not handle a case involving a Hawaii police officer as a person of interest in a missing drug evidence investigation within the department. West Hawaii Today.

Mac nut company to buy back shares in going private. Royal Hawaiian Orchards LP announced Monday that it will remove its partnership shares from trading on an over-the-counter stock exchange following a move to buy out many small shareholders. Star-Advertiser.

Tons of debris removed from Ka'u shores. Ten volunteers from the Hawaii Wildlife Fund gathered 11.6 tons of seaborne waste from Ka'u shores before shipping it March 4 to Oahu for recycling. Tribune-Herald.


A state panel voted Tuesday to set new flow levels for four West Maui streams — this time without the decadeslong legal battles that have characterized the fight over East Maui streams. Maui News.


Nishimura files for County Council. Leadership from the heart for Kauai residents is why Kapaa resident Wally Nishimura has filed to run for Kauai County Council. Garden Island.

The Kauai Department of Public Works, Wastewater Management Division is advising residential and commercial sewer customers located in Eleele, Hanapepe and Waimea of an incorrect address printed on the remittance envelope included in their sewer bills dated March 15, 2018. KHON2.

Kauai rally part of nationwide call for gun reform. Garden Island.


Billionaire Oracle Corp. cofounder Larry Ellison this week launched his latest startup, which will focus on automated, hydroponic indoor food production. Los Angeles-based Sensei plans to build 10 greenhouses, totaling 200,000 square feet, on the Hawaiian island of Lanai. Ellison owns 98 percent of the island. Pacific Business News.