Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Public slams Ala Wai flood plan, Senate shoots down prison purchase, marijuana decriminalization advances, another federal agency probing rail, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Along the Ala Wai ©2019 All Hawaii News
Flood control plan for Ala Wai strongly opposed at meeting. Controversy over a $345 million project to lessen flood risks at the Ala Wai Canal by building a wall around the canal and huge flood control structures in the upper reaches of the watershed drew hundreds to a Tuesday town hall meeting in Manoa. Star-Advertiser.

Hundreds attended a community meeting in Manoa Tuesday to hear from various city, state and federal agencies about a controversial flood risk management project proposed for the Ala Wai. Hawaii News Now.

Community members gather for input on Ala Wai Flood Management Project. The City and County of Honolulu has big plans to prevent a major flooding incident in Waikiki through the Ala Wai Flood Risk Management Project. KHON2.

Residents of Makiki, Palolo, and Manoa voice concerns over controversial Ala Wai flood mitigation plan. Plans to prevent catastrophic flooding of the Ala Wai Canal are met with protests. KITV.

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Senate Shoots Down Proposal To Buy Underused Federal Prison. A House bill sought to save money and lessen overcrowding in state facilities by pushing to acquire the Federal Detention Center. Civil Beat.

One idea to reduce overcrowding in the state’s jails was shot down Tuesday by the state Senate. The state House proposed buying the 1,200 bed Federal Detention Center near the Honolulu airport. Hawaii News Now.

A bill to decriminalize marijuana is one step closer to becoming law. Senate lawmakers Tuesday voted to ease the penalties for people caught with small amounts of recreational marijuana. Hawaii News Now.

A measure to decriminalize possession of marijuana in small amounts is moving forward at the State Legislature. House Bill 1383 would make possessing three grams or less of cannabis a misdemeanor. It would also establish a fine, and expunge prior convictions for possession of three grams or less from criminal records. Hawaii Public Radio.

Anti-plastic proposals face hearings today. Senate Bill 522, which would ban the sale, use or distribution of plastic utensils, beverage bottles, straws, polystyrene food containers and more successfully passed through its first committees in the state House after crossing over from the Senate. Another bill, Senate Bill 367, would prohibit just the sale of polystyrene food containers statewide, and has been similarly successful. Tribune-Herald.

Water diversion bill now with Senate. Several grassroots groups on Kauai and throughout the state are targeting Kauai legislators, asking them to kill a bill that would extend temporary water diversion permits for large corporations. Garden Island.

Outdated Technology Hampers Investigations Into Hawaii Professionals. The state agency charged with overseeing thousands of licensees is finally switching to an updated complaints management system. Civil Beat.

Hawaiian Airlines urged to return outsourced call-center jobs to isles. The state House Labor Committee unanimously approved a draft resolution Tuesday urging Hawaiian Airlines to return 200-plus call center jobs it has outsourced to the Philippines. Star-Advertiser.

Lawmakers to Hawaiian Airlines: Move your call center back to the islands. The House Labor Committee Tuesday unanimously approved a draft resolution admonishing the carrier and calling on it to return those 200-plus jobs to the islands. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Supreme Court: Giant Law Firm OK To Set Up Shop Here. In a ruling based on the court’s own rules, the justices said multistate law firms can operate in Hawaii. Civil Beat.

A sea of orange flooded the Capitol with a message: Help feed Hawaii’s kupuna.  Hundreds participated in the 17th Annual March for Meals at the State Capitol Tuesday morning. Hawaii News Now.

A march Tuesday called on the State to set aside more money for senior services.  "Kupuna Care" is a state-funded program providing meals and services for seniors who cannot leave their homes. KITV.

The online forum Stolen Stuff Hawaii will attempt to flex its political muscles next month with a rally at the state Capitol. Star-Advertiser.

Tours and transportation company Roberts Hawaii has announced that President and Chief Operating Officer Percy Higashi will retire in June and executive vice president Roy Pfund will step into the role. Pacific Business News.

Oahu

Bill curbing Waikiki parades and block parties advances. A bill to restrict parades and block parties in Waikiki won initial approval Tuesday from the City Council Transportation Committee. Star-Advertiser.

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.

U.S. DOT Inspector General looking into rail concerns. The Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Transportation is inquiring about claims by a former quality manager for a Honolulu rail contractor who alleges he was fired last year after he complained about flaws in construction of columns and shafts that support the airport segment of the rail line. Star-Advertiser.

City Council Advances Short-Term Rental Regulations. Members of the Honolulu City Council’s Planning Committee advanced two measures that would represent a sweeping change to the way short-term rentals are regulated on Oahu. Hawaii Public Radio.

Short-term vacation rentals on Oahu could soon be regulated. A City Council committee moved a bill forward Monday that would cap the amount of residents allowed to rent out rooms on their properties to 4,000 units on Oahu. KITV.

1-year later, Kauhale Kamaile offers stability, hope for homeless families in Waianae. Tuesday marked the first anniversary of the opening of the city’s 16-unit Kauhale Kamaile project along Farrington Highway, across from Waianae High School. Star-Advertiser.

Solar permits issued on Oahu continued their downward trend and plunged 20 percent in February. There were 156 solar permits issued by the City and County of Honolulu compared with 194 in the year-earlier period. Star-Advertiser.

Kaneohe home sales outpace Windward Oahu neighbor Kailua. Sales of single-family homes in Kaneohe jumped by 75 percent last month, compared to February 2018, as prices remained unchanged, while sales in the adjacent Windward Oahu market of Kailua-Waimanalo declined by 14 percent. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii Island

Puna Geothermal Venture will host a community meeting Friday to address status of restarting the power plant and access through its “pioneer road.” Tribune-Herald.

Roundabout projects on Hwy 130 could be ‘shovel ready’ by August. The state Department of Transportation started the consultation process for future improvements to Highway 130. Tribune-Herald.

Local officials, businesses celebrate Southwest Airlines’ arrival to Hawaii. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Maui Mayor Michael Victorino today announced his appointment of Lori Tsuhako as Director of the Department of Housing and Human Concerns and Linda Munsell as Deputy Director. Maui Now.

Closing arguments heard in Maui Lani ancestral site case. Complaint by Maui resident argues that project has disturbed about 180 burials. Maui News.

Work progresses on senior rental housing project. Work continues on the the $34 million, 165-unit Kahului Lani senior affordable rental housing development in Kahului. Maui News.

Public Safety Director Travels to Maui to Survey Riot Damage at MCCC. Maui Now.

Inmate: Broken phones a starter for ‘riot’ at jail. Smoke-filled modules, locked cells, flames to the ceiling at MCCC. Maui News.

Kauai

Mayor Derek S.K. Kawakami reflects on plans. He had announced an operating budget of $242 million and a capital budget of $36 million — a precipitous one-year uptick until the realization that the new half-percent increase in the general excise tax — which is expected to produce $24 million in new revenue — will be earmarked for roads and transportation. Garden Island.

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