Thursday, December 13, 2018

Psychiatric hospital employees cleared in killer's escape, state shorted in federal funds, CIO stepping down, pilot rescued in military 'Sentry Aloha' crash, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Hawaii only state shut out of federal DOT grants. The federal Department of Transportation will disburse some $1.5 billion to fund 91 infrastructure projects around the country — none in Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.

State information chief Todd Nacapuy resigning at year’s end.  Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii’s Chief Information Officer Is Stepping Down. The state’s top technology official, Todd Nacapuy, was appointed by Gov. David Ige in 2014. Civil Beat.

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Hawaii State Hospital workers cleared in killer’s escape. The Hawaii State Hospital employees who were put on paid leave and suspected of possibly helping dangerous psychiatric patient Randall Saito make an infamous escape to Maui and California using cash and fake identifi­cation have been cleared and face no discipline, state officials announced Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

State Hospital Employees Won’t Be Disciplined For Patient’s Escape. Attorney General Russell Suzuki said no employee aided Randall Saito in the killer’s 2017 escape, but that hospital security was lax. Civil Beat.

State Hospital Staff Cleared of Wrongdoing in Randall Saito 2017 Escape. Hawaii Public Radio.

No state employees disciplined after investigation into admitted killer’s escape. Hawaii News Now.

State concludes no Hawaii State Hospital employee responsible for Randall Saito's escape. KHON2.

AG investigation concludes Hawaii State Hospital staff did not assist escapee Randall Saito. The AG and the Hawaii Department of Health held a press conference Wednesday to discuss the closure of investigation of Randall Saito’s escape from Hawaii State Hospital. KITV.

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Pilot rescued after small military training plane crashes off Oahu. Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam officials said in a statement that the jet was being operated by a civilian contractor flying in conjunction with the Hawaii Air National Guard’s “Sentry Aloha” exercises, which are scheduled through Dec. 19. Star-Advertiser.

Military exercises to resume as officials investigate cause of offshore fighter jet crash. Multiple agencies will meet Thursday morning to determine who will handle the investigation and salvage efforts following a fighter jet crash off Honolulu that seriously injured a pilot. Hawaii News Now.

Pilot Survives After Plane Crashes Into Ocean Near Honolulu Airport. The pilot was a civilian contractor for the Hawaii Air National Guard taking part in an exercise called Sentry Aloha. Associated Press.

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Hawaiian Airlines to offer cheaper seat option starting in 2019. Starting 2019, a fourth tier will be added: the addition of Main Cabin Basic. It's a bare-bones version: no ticket changes or standby; seats are assigned after check-in, and though you can earn HawaiianMiles, travelers who choose this option will not be eligible for bonus miles. KHON2.

The owners and officers of a Japanese-flagged fishing vessel were charged Tuesday with smuggling and trafficking 962 shark fins into and out of Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.

Ag tech and resource management offer opportunities for Hawaii-Israel collaboration. When it comes to agricultural technology and resource management, Hawaii is finding a partner in collaboration nearly halfway around the world. West Hawaii Today.

Oahu

Honolulu Police Corruption Probe Now Includes Katherine Kealoha’s Brother. A federal grand jury continues to expand its investigation, now delving into prescription pain medications that were seized during a 2015 drug raid. Civil Beat.

Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro is free to disclose that he is a target of a federal investigation into government corruption and owes it to the people who elected him to do so, several criminal defense attorneys told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

Experts: Kaneshiro Can Talk About Federal Investigation If He Wants To. There’s no rule that prohibits Honolulu’s elected prosecutor from telling the public whether he is the target of a Justice Department probe. Star-Advertiser.

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Private Guards Help Keep The Homeless From Camping In Parks. Calling it a success, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell is extending a program in which the guards shuttle between nine parks. Civil Beat.

First of its kind renewable gas facility opens on Oahu. The purpose is to turn sewage into energy and hopefully eliminate the need for nearly 15,000 barrels of oil per year. KITV.

Opening of Hawaii’s first Daiso in Pearl City draws hundreds. The 5,000-square-foot Japanese discount store at the Pearl City Shopping Center is the first of three or four planned on Oahu by HouseMart, the parent company of Ben Franklin Crafts and Ace Hardware, which has an exclusive licensing agreement to open Daiso stores in Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

The county Board of Ethics is trying to add teeth to what has historically been a paper tiger, more than a decade after the County Council gave it authority to fine public officials who violate the ethics code. West Hawaii Today.

A Kalapana woman is headed to jail for failing to complete court-ordered community service stemming from a 2017 case of vandalism atop Maunakea. West Hawaii Today.

It’s not often that Hawaii Island gets to hear directly from top United States Cabinet officials when major legislation gets a vote in Washington D.C., but that’s what happened on Wednesday as Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue took questions on the passage of the 2019 Farm Bill. Big Island Video News.

Progress continues on the new Puna Kai shopping center in Pahoa, which is set to open next fall, months after original plans intended. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Central Maui’s inland sand in decline. Off-island exports have fallen since 2006, report says. Nearly 2 million tons of sand have been removed from Central Maui since 2006, leaving it either depleted or very soon to be depleted and unable to replenish the island’s beaches that need some 158,000 tons of sand, according to a new study released Tuesday on sand availability in the county. Maui News.

Council takes no action after day of public testimony.  Nearly 50 people testified before the Maui County Council on Tuesday during a meeting that featured a packed agenda, including more funding for the Wailuku civic complex and bills to construct a parking lot in Kihei and relating to sand mining. Maui News.

Planning panel rejects Paia Inn permit, again. The Maui Planning Commission voted once more to deny a hearing officer’s report and special use permit for the Paia Inn, a decision that Paia Inn attorney Terry Revere said was expected to be appealed in circuit court. Maui News.

A Zipline company in Haiku and the County of Maui have reached an agreement to end a dispute over permits and subsequent notices of violation. Maui Now.

County agrees to allow zipline to continue. Haiku neighbors plan to file suit to block operation. Maui News.

Kauai

Erosion sets back beach, road work. An ongoing million-dollar project to fix Weke Road and the surrounding Black Pot Beach Park area is already starting to erode now that the winter’s big swells have arrived. Garden Island.

County officials are reminding the public that the solid waste staging area located at Kepuhi Point is open on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Garden Island.