Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Hawaii wins 3 of 10 TripAdvisor top spots, ballot issues plague Honolulu election, pay raises for state, Kauai, volcano alert lowered, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Hawaii makes TripAdvisor top 10 Travelers' Choice Destinations in the U.S. Three Hawaii islands were named among the top destinations in the country to travel to. According to TripAdvisor, Maui was the second top choice, followed by Oahu at third, and the Big Island as 10. KHON2.

HDOT audit finds discrepancies. The Hawaii Department of Transportation’s Highways Division in fiscal year 2018 did not review capital improvement projects in a timely manner, incorrectly classified federal expenditures and violated cash management requirements by drawing funds from a federal agency prior to paying a subcontractor, according to a report issued by the Hawaii State Auditor’s Office. Garden Island.

Our Care, Our Choice Act Part 2: Some patients are pushing to get the law changed. The assisted suicide bill passed in the Legislature and became law, in order for patients to get their life-ending prescription they need to request it from their doctor on three separate occasions. KITV.

State commission proposes pay raises for elected officials. Some leading lawmakers are supporting new recommendations by the state Salary Commission that would grant all members of the Legislature raises of 10 percent in 2021 and would further boost lawmakers’ salaries in additional steps over the following three years. Star-Advertiser.

Recruitment begins today for Conservation and Resource Enforcement Officers to fill vacancies across the state.  The positions do not require any previous law enforcement experience, however, there are limited spaces available. Maui Now.

Public Safety admits less-lethal options are on hand — but not for use in the field. The state has purchased at least 35 less lethal guns and eight pepperball guns in the last two years. But none of the less lethal options are available for use by deputies on patrol. Hawaii News Now.

Amid growing concerns that a new crisis is brewing between China and Taiwan, independence-leaning Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen is in Honolulu for an always controversial yet short visit. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

Residents report more ballot abnormalities in hotly contested City Council race. The special election for east Honolulu’s City Council seat is causing confusion after several ballots were mailed to people who no longer live in Hawaii. Hawaii News Now.

Rocky start to Special Election mail-in ballots raises eyebrows with some voters. Residents we spoke to are concerned because if extra ballots were to be in the hands of the wrong person, there might be an opportunity for some to vote twice. KHON2.

'Gross incompetence or worse’: Rail purchase of reinforced steel questioned. The federal grand jury that’s investigating the rail project is looking into how the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation spent millions of dollars to buy reinforced steel. Hawaii News Now.

Some West Oahu residents push for a bypass road to help ease traffic troubles. The alternate route would also be a lifeline in times of accidents or emergencies. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

We’re another day older and deeper in debt. The lyrics to the song made famous by Tennessee Ernie Ford continue to hold true today, as Hawaii County finds its debt load continuing to creep upward. West Hawaii Today.

Kilauea volcano is now the quietest it has been in about four decades. The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory lowered the volcano’s alert level Tuesday from “advisory” to “normal,” noting it has returned to a noneruptive, background state following last year’s lower East Rift Zone eruption. Tribune-Herald.

Today, the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory officially lowered the Kilauea Volcano Alert Level for ground-based hazards from ADVISORY to NORMAL, and the Aviation Color Code from YELLOW to GREEN. Big Island Video News.

Project leaders review draft EIS for wastewater treatment plant with public. West Hawaii Today.

Kona Pacific fights back against commission’s findings. A Kealakekua charter school is demanding the state commission that oversees charter schools rescind a vote kicking off a process that could close the school. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino proposed Monday a $781 million no-frills budget for the next fiscal year, which includes property tax, trash pickup and water rate increases; additional property tax money for affordable housing; and opening the Central Maui Landfill one Sunday per month, but it contains no new major capital improvement initiatives. Maui News.

Maui Car Rental Facility, Electric Train on Schedule to Open May 15. A major project at Maui’s Kahului Airport in less than two months from completion. Maui Now.

New Paia Elementary building up for environmental review. Structure would be located at the front of the school next to the cafeteria. Maui News.

Kauai

The county’s top officials might be getting a raise. Kauai County Councilmembers today will consider a proposal to increase their own salaries along those of 30 county executives, including the mayor, the managing director, the police and fire chiefs. Garden Island.

A federal jury on Friday awarded over $700,000 in damages to a Kauai resident who sued Wilcox Memorial Hospital after an incident in which hospital employees injected the man against his will with a high-dose cocktail of strong antipsychotic drugs that left him incapacitated for months after the incident. Garden Island.

Kauai Family Demands New Policies, Protections for Kuleana Landowners. In the wake of a closely watched kuleana land auction of part of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg's estate last week, one faction of the family caught up in the property dispute is calling for change. Hawaii Public Radio.

Coco Palms resort for sale again. Coco Palms, featured in the 1961 Elvis Presley movie “Blue Hawaii,” has been closed since Hurricane Iniki slammed into Kauai in 1992, causing extensive damage to the property. Star-Advertiser.

Coco Palms Resort is up for sale again. The property is owned by Coco Palm Hui LLC, who had planned to re-open the resort after it closed due to damages caused by Hurricane Iniki. KHON2.

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