Monday, February 18, 2019

Economy slows, pension assets decline, bills would build condos on state land, turbulent hearing for Maui mayor appointees, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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The state’s economy is expected to grow at a slower pace in the next few years, but a benchmark 10 million tourists could visit by the end of the year — and inflation-­adjusted visitor spending could surpass a peak that hasn’t been reached since 1989. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii automobile sales running out of gas. Hawaii consumers are putting the brakes on buying new automobiles. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii’s largest public pension fund is facing an uphill battle to reach its fiscal-year investment target after its assets declined more than $1 billion during the October to December quarter amid a market collapse. Star-Advertiser.

Despite emotional testimony from gun control advocates, House lawmakers put the brakes on a proposed “red flag” law for Hawaii that is intended to keep firearms away from people who may pose a danger to themselves or others. Star-Advertiser.

Bills call for building condos on state land. Hawaii lawmakers introduced at least eight bills at the Legislature this session, including two at the request of Gov. David Ige, offering variations on the leasehold condo idea. Star-Advertiser.

A court ruling in support of a state law requiring all new homes be built with solar water heaters has led to a temporary halt to exemptions allowing installation of gas water heaters instead. Star-Advertiser.

Commentary: Squirreling Away Money At The DOT. The state agency wants to raise fees and taxes even as if fails to spend what it already has. Civil Beat.


HART Answers Questions About Federal Subpoena. The U.S. Department of Justice has subpoenaed more than 30,000 documents from the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation. Hawaii Public Radio.

Rail Project Faces Grand Jury Probe Just As It Pushes For Federal Funds. News of a criminal investigation arrives as Honolulu looks to seal the deal on the release of $744 million from the Federal Transit Administration. Civil Beat.

Here's what is open and closed for Monday, Feb. 18, on Presidents Day. KITV.

Buyer offers $1.3M cash for Kealohas’ former home. The lender foreclosing on the home of retired Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha and his former deputy prosecutor wife, Katherine Kealoha, said the Realtor handling the sale has a $1.3 million cash offer and is asking the court to approve the sale. Star-Advertiser.

Kealohas’ Hawaii Kai House Gets $1.3 Million Cash Offer. With a buyer in hand, the lender wants a federal judge to approve the sale. Civil Beat.

For the second time in as many months, a developer failed to win community support for a predominantly affordable high-rise housing project planned for the area near Aloha Stadium. Star-Advertiser.

Waialae-Kahala master plan updates to be discussed. Changes in the Waialae - Kahala area, where a gas station and businesses had to close, buildings came down, and construction has begun. KHON2.

The transfer of the last privately owned piece of Waimea Valley to a nonprofit cultural conservation group was marked Saturday with a blessing and dedication ceremony. Star-Advertiser.

Safe driving advocates continue to plead lawmakers for stricter rules on drunk driving following tragic Kakaako incident. KITV.

The deadly crash that killed three pedestrians in Kakaako Jan. 28 continues to raise calls for personal and government action against drunken driving. Star-Advertiser.

Native oysters are returning to Pearl Harbor — but they aren’t for eating.Instead, their purpose is cleaning. Hawaii News Now.

Struggling grocery co-op Kokua Market devises rescue plan. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Public hearing set for general excise tax hike. An increase in the county’s surcharge on the state general excise tax has been endorsed by state legislative leaders, most of the County Council and Mayor Harry Kim. West Hawaii Today.

The island’s newest County Council members are finding the job takes more time than they expected, and the three freshmen have mostly put aside their former occupations to channel their energy into their government work. West Hawaii Today.

The Senate Committee on Ways and Means will consider a bill Tuesday morning that would authorize the issuance of up to $50 million in special-purpose revenue bonds to assist in the development of the Kona Jet Center at the south end of the Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keahole. West Hawaii Today.

More trails open at HVNP. A bit more of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park has become accessible. Tribune-Herald.

Work begins on Korean War memorial. An obelisk dedicated to the Big Island’s Korean War dead will stand in Wailoa Park after a decade of waiting. Tribune-Herald.


The Maui County Council on Friday heard from approximately 75 testifiers in a sometimes heated and emotional public hearing on the confirmations of 11 department director appointees of Mayor Michael Victorino. Maui News.

Maui County residents will have a chance to share their ideas on transportation projects at the Maui Metropolitan Planning Organization’s open house Saturday. Maui News.

More than 250 participants over four nights planned for West Maui’s future at community design workshops, held Feb. 4 to 7, 2019, according to county officials. Maui Now.

The Summit District of Haleakala National Park is reopened for visitors to enjoy the beauty of the area. Maui Now.

Single-family home sales drop on Maui. Single-family home sales on Maui dropped in January, compared to a year ago, while the median price rose 3.5 percent and condominium sales and prices both rose by single digits. Pacific Business News.


U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson on Thursday awarded $74 million to hundreds of public housing authorities across the country, including $567,460 to six public housing agencies in Hawaii and Guam. The Kauai County Housing Agency was slated to receive $132,000. Garden Island.

While the Wai Koa Loop Trail has been popular for years with residents and visitors alike, now it’s an official and ongoing fixture on the North Shore. Garden Island.

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