Friday, February 22, 2019

Public hearings set for harbor fee hikes, Ige named to defense council, another subpoena for Honolulu rail authority, pay increases planned for Maui mayor and council, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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People who use any of Hawaii’s small boat harbors, offshore moorings, landings or wharfs will have a chance to comment on new proposed fees and rules at a series of five public hearings to be held around the state in early March. KHON2.

White House Picks Hawaii Governor Ige For Council. Governor David Ige has been appointed co-chair of the Council of Governors, a defense-related body consisting of five Democrats and five Republicans. Big Island Video News.

A yearlong operation to crack down on the diversion of pharmaceutical drugs in California, Nevada and Hawaii has resulted in 41 doctors having their licenses or U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration registrations to prescribe controlled substances taken away and the seizure of $3.1 million. Five  of the 41 licenses or registrations taken away were from Hawaii medical professionals. The Hawaii operation also resulted in the execution of five search warrants and seven arrests. Star-Advertiser.

Seven arrested, five search warrants served in year-long federal drug operation. US Attorney for Hawaii Kenji Price warns the public that while the federal operation may officially be ending, his office will still be vigilantly prosecuting medical workers who break the law. KITV.

Legislation to negotiate for the acquisition of the Federal Detention Center is moving rapidly through the Legislature, but the idea still faces big obstacles. Civil Beat.

US Supreme Court Ruling Boosts Hawaii Effort To Limit Property Forfeiture. Hawaii’s policy for seizing property has long been criticized because it can affect people who are only suspected in crimes, sometimes not even charged. Civil Beat.

Hawaii attorney Isaac Moriwake was recently named the new managing attorney for Earthjustice’s Mid-Pacific office in Honolulu, succeeding Paul Achitoff, who recently retired. Maui Now.

Hawaii ocean cargo transportation firm Matson Inc. increased its revenue last year but earned less profit because of a huge tax benefit the year before. Matson on Thursday reported earning $109 million last year on $2.2 billion of revenue. That compared with a $232 million profit on $2 billion of revenue a year earlier. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation has been served with a new grand jury subpoena seeking information about payments made to tenants and property owners who were relocated to make way for the $9.2 billion Honolulu rail project. Star-Advertiser.

Feds Are Investigating HART’s Relocation Payments. The criminal probe widens as the Honolulu rail agency is served with its second subpoena, this time seeking records concerning payments to property owners along the rail route. Civil Beat.

HART Second Federal Subpoena Covers Relocation Move. A federal investigator is expected to visit Honolulu next month as part of a developing grand jury probe into the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation, the agency charged with building the city's rail project. Hawaii Public Radio.

Another HART subpoena, targeting overpayments to move out of rail's way. HART has received a second subpoena, this time from the federal Department of Transportation OIG, collecting documents for a grand jury looking into relocation payments and real estate acquisition management, for people and companies that had to move out of rail's right of way. KHON2.

'Hold on to your pocketbooks!' says city council chair after second subpoena to HART. The head of the city council says this second subpoena further erodes public confidence on the rail project and could cost taxpayers even more money. KHON2.

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Embattled city prosecutor was denied access to officer-involved shooting scene. Embattled city Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro was denied his usual crime scene access in Mililani on Wednesday night after HPD officers shot and killed a 26-year old man. Hawaii News Now.

Katherine Kealoha Says She’s Mentally Unfit To Stand Trial But The Judge Disagrees. Newly unsealed court records show how the former city prosecutor and her attorney tried to have her declared mentally incompetent. Civil Beat.

Some 400 potential jurors will be called for first of 3 trials against the Kealohas. A federal judge on Thursday rejected Louis and Katherine Kealoha’s effort to have fraud, conspiracy and obstruction charges against them thrown out. Hawaii News Now.

Two Honolulu Police Shootings In Less Than A Day, One Of Them Fatal. The fatal shooting involved a man who attempted to ram an officer with his truck in Mililani, police said. Hours later, officers shot a suspect in Waikele. Civil Beat.

The closure of Pali Highway due to multiple landslides is affecting foot traffic for some Kailua businesses, but mostly it’s an inconvenience for those who live and work in the area. Star-Advertiser.

A Virginia-class attack submarine, one of the most valuable Navy warships in the era of “great power” competition with China and Russia, served as a platform for the U.S. Pacific Fleet Submarine Force’s change of command Thursday at Pearl Harbor. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Hilo landfill closer to closure. The state Department of Health is seeking public comment on a draft permit for closure of the Hilo landfill. Tribune-Herald.

Sometime in 2019, the South Hilo Sanitary Landfill will close. And that will only be the beginning, says the Hawaii County Environmental Management director. Big Island Video News.

The County Council passed Bill 12 on final reading on February 20, appropriating $170,355 in private donations into a 2018 lava disaster relief account, earmarked for specific projects in Puna. Big Island Video News.

Opportunity Zones: A federal program designed to boost investment in low-income communities could unlock a windfall for businesses in some of the nation’s poorest regions, but without much oversight written into the law, it’ll take those communities’ residents, stakeholders and policymakers working together and with investors to make it work. West Hawaii Today.

A preliminary map released this week by the U.S. Geological Survey shows the thickness of lava flows from Kilauea volcano’s most recent eruption. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Pay hikes for mayor, council on agenda. The county Salary Commission will be meeting at 8:30 a.m. Friday to discuss possible salary adjustments for the mayor and County Council. Maui News.

The Maui Salary Commission plans to discuss and take possible action on salary increases for Maui County Council members and the Mayor during a special meeting set for 8:30 a.m. Friday in the Mayor’s Conference Room. Maui Now.

After once being proposed as a “megamall” in north Kihei and undergoing many revisions thereafter, the embattled Piilani Promenade project may revert back to its original form — as a commercial and light industrial subdivision. Maui News.

Kauai

Managing mangrove. Makaloa is now growing in a wetland behind the pavilion at Niumalu Beach Park, a slender reed that’s traditionally been used for basket- and mat-weaving. Garden Island.

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