Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Hawaii tourism depends on vacation rentals, Honolulu council leadership questioned in election dispute, new laws in effect, Molokai mule trail closed, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Addicted To Airbnb: Hawaii’s Tourism Economy Depends On Illegal Vacation Rentals. While calls for a crackdown on short-term rentals grow louder, their rapid expansion accounts for a big chunk of the recent growth in the state’s largest industry. Civil Beat.

When the final numbers roll in for 2018, it's likely to be another record year for visitor arrivals to Hawaii. But as people consider what that sector may look like in 2019 and beyond, there may be a developing niche: medical tourism. Hawaii Public Radio.

Medical aid in dying law takes effect. For the first time, certain terminally ill patients in Hawaii will have the right to end their lives, but it won’t be easy. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Medical Aid In Dying Law Now In Effect, Guidance Issued. Big Island Video News.

Fake service dogs, foam food containers and equal pay: These laws took effect Jan. 1. Hawaii News Now.

New laws address pay gap, sexual assault. Beginning today, employers are prohibited from asking prospective hires about their salary and wage history under a new law that seeks to help bridge the gap between how much men and women earn. Star-Advertiser.

Employers in Hawaii no longer will be allowed to inquire about prospective employees’ salary histories thanks to a law passed in July. Tribune-Herald.

Some road shoulders to open for motorcycles. In the new year, motorcyclists in Hawaii might have their travel time reduced by a law that will designate the shoulders of some roads as traversable by motorcycle. Tribune-Herald.

Lawmakers: After a noisy start to the new year, it’s time to crack down on illegal aerials. Hawaii News Now.

Commentary: No, Killing A Special Fund Doesn’t Kill People. Some state agencies need to understand that the money in these funds isn’t “their” money. It comes from taxpayers. Civil Beat.

Oahu

Three topics sure to grab headlines in 2019 are the city’s rail project as construction moves through the congested downtown corridor; the housing crisis as policy makers wrestle with vacation rental laws and monster home rules; and the federal investigations involving Honolulu’s former police chief, his ex-prosecutor wife and the city prosecutor.  Star-Advertiser.

Council leadership remains in question. City Council members and their aides on Monday were trying to figure out ways to deal with the possibility that Councilman Trevor Ozawa may not be sworn in for a new term on Wednesday, the same day he had been expected to be voted Council chairman by his colleagues. Star-Advertiser.

On the eve of inauguration day for the Honolulu City Council, there's a big question mark hanging over the District 4 seat. The Supreme Court is weighing in after an opponent filed a challenge. With that Supreme Court decision pending, and the race not certified, Councilman Trevor Ozawa may not be sworn into office. KHON2.

Honolulu City Councilman Trevor Ozawa may miss being sworn in to another term on Wednesday along with his colleagues if the Hawaii Supreme Court is still undecided on a legal challenge to his election win. Civil Beat.

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The state attorney general is opposing a change made to Abigail Kawananakoa’s trust that ensures her wife will receive $40 million and all of her personal property. Star-Advertiser.

Community leaders in Leeward Oahu are voicing opposition to the Palehua Wind project proposed for the Waianae range above their homes. Star-Advertiser.

Watch your water bills. That's the warning from some Pearl City residents who caught the Board of Water Supply billing them for more water than they used. KHON2.

Hawaii Island

The owner of the Hilo Farmers Market submitted plans last month for permanent canopies over the open-air market in an attempt to comply with the county’s fire, building and zoning codes. Tribune-Herald.

The long-discussed East Hawaii Organics Facility will be constructed on the north side of the W.H. Shipman Business Park in Keaau, and will have no significant impact according to the final environmental assessment document published for the project. Big Island Video News.

A discharge of about 66,000 gallons of partially treated wastewater was discharged into the ocean this weekend at the county’s Kulaimano wastewater treatment plant in Pepeekeo. Tribune-Herald.

The Vog Is Gone — For The First Time In Decades. Kilauea didn’t just stop spewing lava. It ceased emissions that have been constant since 1983. Civil Beat.

Maui

Since securing support from her colleagues, Council Member Kelly King has been the de facto chair of the incoming Maui County Council, making decisions on the inauguration ceremony, proposing committees and even moving into the chair’s office on Monday. Maui News.

A year of climate and political change 2018. Storms of all persuasions, even an actual firestorm, descended upon the county. Maui News.

Unlike past government shutdowns, Haleakala National Park is still open. Access to most areas continues, services limited. Maui News.

Maui County’s purchase of 262 acres of A&B agriculture land in the lower Pulehu/Omaopio area of Kula has closed escrow, according to information released today by the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development. Maui Now.

Maui County purchases 262 acres from Alexander & Baldwin. Maui County closed on a $6 million purchase of 262 acres of Alexander & Baldwin’s agriculture land in the lower Pulehu/Omapio area on Monday. Pacific Business News.

Kauai

Reopening the Road to Haena. This past April, Kuhio Highway on Kauai’s North Shore was devastated by heavy flooding. Road repairs are now nearing completion. Hawaii Public Radio.

Though the U.S. Navy recently announced it was moving forward with testing and training in the Hawaii-Southern California training area, the public still has a chance to weigh in on some other pending training. Garden Island.

Molokai

A steep trail to the remote Kalaupapa settlement in Hawaii has been closed indefinitely after a landslide took out a bridge along one of the switchbacks. Associated Press.

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