Thursday, March 21, 2019

Orchid industry in decline, Legislature rejects plastic ban, new allegations in Zuckerberg Kauai land dispute, Hirono pays up, HPD chief gets high marks, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Orchid show in Hilo ©2019 All Hawaii News
Orchid Industry in Decline. Statewide the production of flowers and other nursery products are worth more than $77 million, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Orchids make up almost 20 percent of that value. But the state’s orchid industry has been struggling in recent years. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii legislative committees reject plastics ban proposals. Two Hawaii legislative committees have rejected proposals that would have banned a variety of plastics used by the food service industry. Associated Press.

Are Hawaii Legislators Paid Too Much? It depends on who you compare them to. Compensation for lawmakers varies widely from state to state. Civil Beat.

Lyon contract scandal leaves Hawaii government officials scrambling. State and city agencies have been canceling or suspending contracts with Honolulu-­based Lyon Associates in the wake of a federal corruption probe involving the civil engineering firm whose president recently pleaded guilty to bribing government officials in Hawaii and Micronesia to obtain more than $10 million in contracts over the past decade. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii leads nation in union membership. Hawaii once again led the country in union membership with 139,000 unionized workers in 2018, 23.1 percent of wage and salary workers across the islands, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Pushes Bank Of America To Resolve Multimillion-Dollar Dispute. The company left the islands in 1997, but it had already been ordered to make $180 million in loans, partially because of discrimination against Native Hawaiians and Filipinos. Civil Beat.

The Hawaii Department of Transportation is thinking about switching drivers from a gas tax fee to a mileage fee, as a way to get more funding to fix our roads. Wednesday night was the first of many public meetings on the proposal. KHON2.

Here’s how to share your thoughts on the state’s plan to tax drivers by the mile. A controversial idea to charge Hawaii drivers based on how much they drive is now open to public input. The state Department of Transportation is starting a series of community meetings on the potential road usage charge. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii’s young people joined a national campaign against flavored tobacco Wednesday, marching from Aloha Tower to the state Capitol to take their message to lawmakers. Star-Advertiser.

Students Rally in Opposition to Teen Vaping. Hawaii Public Radio.

Execs with Xbox, 3Sixty Duty Free to advise Hawaii's Mana Up accelerator. Mana Up has added an executive with Microsoft’s Xbox video game business and an executive with 3Sixty Duty Free, an inflight duty-free retailer to the Hawaii-based product accelerator’s team of advisors. Pacific Business News.


Honolulu Police Chief Susan Ballard won high marks in her first annual review from her bosses at the city Police Commission. Star-Advertiser.

HPD Chief gets a good review for time on the job in new review system. Hawaii News Now.

Great annual review for Honolulu Police Chief Susan Ballard. KHON2.

Chief Ballard gets good marks in first evaluation. The full evaluation will be available to the media and the public Thursday. KITV.

HPD Chief Ballard Says Allegations Of Doctored Test Scores Are Unfounded. The chief told the Honolulu Police Commission Wednesday the city settled the case for $550,000 for financial reasons. Civil Beat.


EVs costing state millions, blamed for airport parking congestion. The state is losing out on millions of dollars each year in annual parking revenues because electric vehicles get to park at the airport for free. Hawaii News Now.

Flying for spring break? Don’t count on airport parking. If you’re traveling off­-island during the busy spring break period, you might want to consider getting dropped off at Honolulu airport instead of parking there due to a parking crunch, state officials said. Star-Advertiser.

Bill to fund repairs on Pali Highway moving forward. A House committee approved the bill which would provide up to $15 million for landslide clean-up and rockfall mitigation. KHON2.

Work is continuing on stabilizing the slope above the Pali Highway along the Old Pali Road. An emergency proclamation was issued Feb. 22, designating the location of the Pali Highway landslides a disaster area and providing relief for related damage and losses. Star-Advertiser.

A private utility company in California with operations in Hawaii has agreed to acquire former Navy water and wastewater systems serving Kalaeloa. California Water Service Group announced the deal Tuesday. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono made good on her word to donate her salary during the partial federal shutdown with a donation to The Food Basket, Hawaii Island’s Food Bank. The Democrat on Wednesday presented a check to The Food Basket Executive Director Kristin Frost Albrecht that’ll cover the purchase of enough rice to feed 450 families. West Hawaii Today.

Residential subdivision proposed for Puueo. A major Hawaii Island landowner is seeking to subdivide 39 acres of former sugar fields in Puueo for a residential development. Tribune-Herald.

Puna boat ramp study added to capital budget. Another bill to provide funding for a Puna boat ramp feasibility study appears dead for the legislative session. But the Legislature might still allocate the funds through the capital budget. Tribune-Herald.

Although there were no "new announcements", executives representing Southwest acknowledged the desire to bring affordable options for air travel to the Hilo-side of the Big Island. Big Island Video News.

The United States Postal Service is considering the relocation of services from the Kamuela Post Office, and the community will have the chance to comment on the proposal. Big Island Video News.


Officials ‘pleased’ with mayor’s housing nominee Lori Tsuhako. Linda Munsell named second in command. Maui News.

Water Restoration Advocates Critical of Kahoma Stream Management. Maui Now.

Thousands of o'opu die after stream dries up. Water diversions kept the stream dry for close to a 130 years.  Efforts community groups, made to bring water back now down the drain. KITV.

16 More MCCC Detainees Tranferred to Halawa, 5 Returned to Maui. Maui Now.

16 more MCCC inmates transferred to Halawa Correctional Facility. Sixteen more inmates have been identified in the March 11 riot at Maui Community Correctional Center. Star-Advertiser.

More inmates transferred to Halawa Correctional Facility in wake of last week's disturbance. KHON2.

500 indigenous scholars on Maui for conference. It is first time research event held in Hawaii. Maui News.


New allegations in Zuckerberg dispute. Several people with ancestral claims to the disputed land parcels on Mark Zuckerberg’s 700-acre North Shore estate are accusing a corporation controlled by the Facebook CEO of using deceitful, high-pressure sales tactics while attempting to convince them to sell their families’ shares in the land. Garden Island.

County asks court to stop vacation rental. A month after filing a lawsuit against a local real estate developer for using his vacation home as a short-term rental property, the Kauai County Planning Department is taking on the billionaire founder of Oakley. Garden Island.

Invasive annihilation. From brown tree snakes to coqui frogs, parakeets and mongoose, miconia and common rush, Kauai has a list of invasive species that have taken root, and is planning to prevent other species from arriving. Garden Island.

The Enduring Appeal Of Hippies. A remake of a documentary evokes nostalgia for a different time when an enclave of free spirits sprang up on Kauai’s north shore. Civil Beat.

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