Monday, April 2, 2018

Powerful senator's private business tied to legislative actions, Ige blasts 'backroom deals,' Kenoi discloses cancer battle, famed Molokai mule trail in legal dispute, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

humpback whale breach Kohala Sail & Sea Michael Faughn
Whale count: Nearly 3 dozen spotted in just 15 minute time frame. Hawaii News Now.

State senator’s actions highlight gaps in ethics laws. Senate Ways and Means Committee Chairman Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz recently supported a bill to take more than $40 million away from the Hawaii Tourism Authority, a state agency that had denied the private company where he works an estimated $3.5 million worth of contracts over the last year or so. Star-Advertiser.

Ige Fires Back: Hawaii Doesn’t Need ‘Backroom Deals’. The governor says legislative leaders who now support Colleen Hanabusa are using their political power to manipulate the voters. Civil Beat.

House Finance Chairwoman Sylvia Luke berated Gov. David Ige and some of his department heads over conflicting testimony and tepid support for a proposal to set up a state-managed paid family leave program for Hawaii workers. Star-Advertiser.

A Senate bill making its way through the state Legislature would boost funding to improve state-owned trails across Hawaii and promote hiking safety and etiquette. Star-Advertiser.

‘Kaulana’s Law’ for fatal hit-and-run cases awaits floor vote. Star-Advertiser.

Early college program expands dramatically. Encouraging Hawaii’s public school students to chart their career and college paths as early as freshman year appears to be bearing fruit, according to a report released today. Star-Advertiser.

State studies ways to help ex-inmates find jobs. In 2016 Hawaii had a recidivism rate of about 63 percent, according to a study by the Attorney General’s Office. Star-Advertiser.

Requiring athletic trainers at every school makes Hawaii a national model. A state law enacted 25 years ago has helped make countless Hawaii student athletes healthier — and is also paying dividends that could someday be felt nationally or even worldwide. Star-Advertiser.

Marshallese in Hawaii struggling with poverty, according to new report. Extreme racial disparities exist among Hawaii’s population, with a growing number of immigrants from the Pacific islands living in poverty. Star-Advertiser.

A Hawaii-based nonprofit is disputing a report by the Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, which analyzed the impacts of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, saying the state agency left out “crucial details of federal tax law.” Pacific Business News.

Hurricanes and tsunamis get a lot more attention, but wildfires are one of the state's most common threats. Hawaii Public Radio.

Nene could be off the endangered species list in a year. KITV.


Expect the Honolulu Police Department to gradually begin rolling out body cameras for officers by the end of the summer, Chief Susan Ballard said this week. Star-Advertiser.

How ‘Blind Faith’ Led To Hawaii’s Biggest Police Corruption Scandal. Federal public defenders quickly unraveled a case about the alleged theft of a mailbox. How did  U.S. attorneys miss the clues? Civil Beat.

A ceremony is scheduled for the $1.5B USS Daniel Inouye. Irene Hirano Inouye, the widow of U.S. Sen. Dan Inouye, will participate in a keel-joining ceremony — a major milestone in the life of a Navy ship — in May in Bath, Maine, as work progresses on the $1.5 billion destroyer named for the Medal of Honor recipient and legendary Hawaii lawmaker. Star-Advertiser.

Gov. David Ige on Friday had his second sit-down this month with the leader of one of Oahu’s largest homeless encampments following the governor’s March 13 pledge not to sweep Pu‘uhonua o Waianae, located next to the Waianae Small Boat Harbor. Star-Advertiser.

City Has No Aloha For A Waianae School Crosswalk. The Waianae parents and community leaders are flabbergasted that the city painted over their crosswalks. Civil Beat.

Nalo Farms to restructure for survival. Dean Okimoto of Nalo Farms in Waimanalo has made a difficult decision to sell his prime farm site, 2.5 acres passed to him by his parents, and transfer a lease on 14 acres of nearby state land to his leading farmworkers to keep Nalo Farms operating with him as a minority partner. Star-Advertiser.

Goat cheese and former Navy housing mix on a North Shore farm. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Former Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi announced in a Facebook post Thursday that he is battling a rare, aggressive cancer. Tribune-Herald.

Former Big Island Mayor Billy Kenoi wrote a lengthy Facebook message to friends, family, clients and students that a rare form of bone cancer he was diagnosed with three years ago has recently returned with a vengeance. Star-Advertiser.

Aina Lea developer prevails in federal taking case. A federal jury sided with a South Kohala developer, agreeing that a state Land Use Commission’s decision to reclassify more than 1,000 acres at Aina Lea was a constitutional taking of the property without just compensation. West Hawaii Today.

Police chief says proposed budget lacks funding to reinforce Puna, Ka'u districts. Tribune-Herald.

Council throws another $4M into Lono Kona. When bids for the Lono Kona sewer project came in earlier this year, the county tossed them out, hoping for a better deal. West Hawaii Today.

A Senate committee amended a bill authorizing a $25 million special purpose revenue bond for a small electrical satellite launch facility in response to strong opposition from Ka'u residents. Tribune-Herald.

Kanaka Rangers: It’s Time To Move Forward With Hawaiian Homesteads. The state is decades behind in awarding land to Native Hawaiians on Mauna Kea and elsewhere under the state homestead act. Civil Beat.

As funding cuts loom, GVS Accelerator hopes first major release inspires continued support. West Hawaii Today.

Vendors Are Dripping In Hilo As Farmers’ Market Weathers Political Storm. Tarps and tents that keep products and sellers dry have been ordered removed by county officials. Civil Beat.

Paddle boarder was alongside his dad when shark bit him. A stand-up paddle boarder is still fighting for his life after a shark attack in Kona waters Saturday morning. Hawaii News Now.


The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday, for the second month in a row, dealt Maui County a setback in the legal defense of its Lahaina sewage treatment plant injection wells. Star-Advertiser.

While Maui County is pursuing projects to reuse its wastewater, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has denied the county’s request for a full-panel review of its Feb. 1 decision that the county violated the Clean Water Act by pumping treated wastewater into injection wells at its Lahaina Wastewater Reclamation Facility since the early 1980s. Maui News.

Search for Souki’s successor begins. The resignation of two-time speaker of the House and longtime Wailuku Rep. Joe Souki has kicked off the official search for his successor, at least for the rest of his term this year. Maui News.

A grand deal: Grand Wailea to be sold April 17. The amount of the sale is reportedly the second highest paid for a hotel in the U.S. Maui News.


A roundabout is being proposed for the Kuhio Highway and Mailihuna Road intersection in Kapaa. Garden Island.

Feds: Removing shipwrecks good for reefs. The remnants of the 1800s freighter Pele lie off the coast of Kauai’s South Shore, and though there’s not much of her left, shipwrecks like Pele could offer answers to coral research. Garden Island.


Larry Ellison’s high-tech indoor hydroponic agricultural partnership, which is projected to grow vegetables for sale cheaper than imported produce, will open late this year, according to a filing with the state Public Utilities Commission by the Oracle Corp. founder’s Lanai utility companies. Maui News.

Molokai mule ride company evicted from trail land. Landowner says that tour operators continued to refuse to negotiate a lease. Maui News.

Lease dispute aims to put a stop to famed Molokai mule rides. The family business that provides mules rides and escorted hikes on the cliffside Kalaupapa Trail has been evicted following a lease dispute with the owner of the land it must access to provide the popular activities. Star-Advertiser.

Arguably one of the most unique things to do in Hawaii, the Molokai mule ride down to Kalaupapa could soon be a thing of the past if the two-year long legal dispute between R.W. Meyer and Kalaupapa Rare Adventures isn't resolved. KHON2.

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