Thursday, March 14, 2019

Big raises for state officials, cost of living a concern in poll, Big Island hikes general excise tax, many months before lava victims get to go home, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Big Pay Raises Coming For Lawmakers And Top State Execs. The commission proposed that the governor’s salary would increase from $158,700 to $189,480 by 2024. Top agency executives, such as the attorney general, would see their wages increase from $154,812 to $188,400 during the same time period. The salaries of  state representatives and senators would rise from $62,604 to $83,052. Civil Beat.

Advocates urge larger minimum wage hike. The Senate Committee on Labor will hold a public hearing today regarding a bill that would increase minimum wage rates throughout the state. Tribune-Herald.

Homelessness, cost of living cited as major concerns in Hawaii. Some 45 percent of Hawaii voters live in homes where someone is considering moving away — or has already left the islands — typically because of the cost of living, according to a new poll of voters conducted for Pacific Resource Partnership. Star-Advertiser.

Poll: Hawaii residents say they’re buckling under strain of state’s high cost of living. The biggest takeaway from the survey is simple: While the overall economy in the islands might be doing well, the personal economies of Hawaii’s residents appear to be faltering. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Projects Could be Defunded to Pay for Border Wall. More than $300 million in funding for military construction projects in Hawaii could potentially be diverted to pay for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. Hawaii Public Radio.

State Deputy Sheriffs Still Aren’t Accredited — 8 Years After the Law Required It. All four county departments already have the accreditation, which sets standards regarding use of force, weapons, training and officer conduct. Civil Beat.

Should Hawaii get rid of safety checks? According to one state lawmaker, they're a waste of time. KITV.

The state Department of Education said it uses about 1 million pounds of beef in student meals annually throughout its 256 schools, and most of it is from animals raised locally. Only Oahu and Hawaii Island schools serve a portion of their beef not from local sources. Star-Advertiser.

737 Max grounding strands 2 jets in Hawaii; an expert sees little long-term impact on isles. Star-Advertiser.

Thirty Meter Telescope protests were held in Hawaii and on the mainland Wednesday as part of Mauna Kea Awareness Day organized by those who oppose the $1.4 billion project. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

Oahu homeless debris equal to 184 school buses. City officials hope to fill four more positions to enforce the city’s stored property and sidewalk nuisance ordinances — or what Mayor Kirk Caldwell calls “some of the dirtiest work in the City and County of Honolulu” cleaning up homeless encampments. Star-Advertiser.

Department of Facility Maintenance has collected more than 4.6 million pounds of material from city streets and parks. KITV.

Names, Ranks And Salaries Of Honolulu Cops Are Still Secret. Legal challenges from Hawaii’s police union have prevented the public release of the identities of almost 2,000 sworn officers. Civil Beat.

HPD officers working overtime as officer vacancies look to be filled. The Honolulu Police Department recently released their operating budget, and as of February, they have about 253 officer vacancies to fill. KHON2.

City Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro has placed himself on paid leave amid a federal criminal investigation, but sources say he has returned to the office at least twice in the last five days. State Attorney General Clare Connors says she's concerned about reports that city Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro is showing up at the office while on paid leave. Hawaii News Now.

One judge approves sale of Kealohas’ home; another reschedules their fraud trial. A federal judge on Wednesday approved the sale of the Mariners Cove home belonging to former Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha and his wife, former city deputy prosecutor Katherine Kealoha. Less than an hour later, another federal judge set an Oct. 21 trial date for the Kealohas on bank fraud charges. Star-Advertiser.

Judge Approves $1.3 Million Sale of Kealohas’ Hawaii Kai Home. Meanwhile, the second scheduled trial on bank fraud charges against the couple was pushed back to October. The first trial in the corruption scandal was earlier pushed back to May. Associated Press.

As Deadline Looms, HART May Not Fully Comply With Federal Subpoena. The Honolulu rail agency’s board hasn’t yet consulted with its attorneys on whether to give investigators its closed-door meeting records. Civil Beat.

Lifeguards work in deteriorating towers as brand new ones sit unused. City lifeguards are raising alarms over towers they say are in disrepair. Hawaii News Now.

USS Arizona Memorial site getting name change again. The new official name for the National Park Service unit, which became law on Tuesday, is the Pearl Harbor National Memorial. Star-Advertiser.

The number of undergraduate applications to the University of Hawaii at Manoa this year shattered the previous record set last year. The UH Manoa Office of Admissions reports it received nearly 19,000 undergraduate applications, a 33-percent jump over last year’s record number. KHON2.

Oahu luxury home sales decline in February. Sales of luxury homes on Oahu that sold for $1.5 million or more declined slightly in February, compared to a year ago, while the median price of those homes fell 20 percent to $1.9 million. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii Island

Hawaii County residents and visitors will have to dig a few more pennies out of their pockets for goods and services starting Jan. 1, after the County Council on Wednesday passed a half-cent general excise tax surcharge, replacing the one-quarter percent approved last year. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii County anticipates completing a temporary road over lava-covered portions of Highway 132 by September or October. The estimated schedule was posted on the county’s eruption recovery website Tuesday. Tribune-Herald.

Temp Road For Lava-Covered Highway 132 By “September-October 2019” Big Island Video News.

Hawaii County Council members pressed county administrators Wednesday for details on how they will spend $60 million in disaster aid following last year’s Kilauea eruption. Council members, during a lengthy discussion with Mayor Harry Kim and other county officials, repeatedly noted the county’s credibility is on the line with the Legislature, as well as their constituents, regarding how it uses those recovery funds, in addition to the $22 million already granted by Gov. David Ige. Tribune-Herald.

As the Hawaii County Council moves to accept millions in state eruption recovery funds ahead of final legislative approval, resident continue to push for road recovery. Big Island Video News.

Two airlines confirmed to have used Boeing 737 Max aircraft to fly to the Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keahole said they’re making arrangements to minimize disruptions following federal regulators’ decision to ground the planes nationwide. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Mayor Michael Victorino voiced his support for a state House water bill, an underpass to Kihei high school and the Wailuku Civic Complex in his inaugural State of the County address on Tuesday night. Maui News.

The chair of the Maui County Council is hoping for more collaboration between Mayor Mike Victorino's office and the council. Hawaii Public Radio.

The majority of the 14 testifiers at a Maui County Council committee meeting Tuesday expressed support for Mayor Michael Victorino’s appointment of former Council Member Don Guzman as Maui County Prosecuting Attorney. Maui News.

Kahana Bay condos aim to fight erosion with beach nourishment plan. A new beach nourishment proposal could help restore a shrinking shoreline along the coast of West Maui — and end a fierce fight over a seawall that’s currently under construction. Hawaii News Now.

Inmates Still Agitated, Overcrowding Likely Source of Monday’s Riot at MCCC. Maui Now.

Kauai

The Kauai County Council entertained a loaded agenda Wednesday that included a look at the schedule of islandwide road resurfacing and repairs. Garden Island.

State of the County address by Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami on Thursday morning. KHON2.

A Kauai company is suing the Board of Land and Natural Resources over a million dollars worth of sand. A lawsuit filed in Fifth Circuit Court last month alleges the BLNR did not hold up its end of a contract with O. Thronas Inc., a Lawai concrete company, that claims it overpaid the board by more than $1 million in a contract to remove sand from BLNR-owned land in Waimea. Garden Island.

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