Monday, March 4, 2019

Super Golden Week, Southwest ticket sales are encouraging signs for Hawaii tourism, Honolulu, Hawaii county mayors up budgets, aquarium industry scrutinized, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Major tour companies and legacy air carriers for Hawaii’s Japan tourism market are reporting double-digit gains for this year’s “Super Golden Week,” a 10-day period of consecutive national holidays. Star-Advertiser.

After much anticipation, Southwest begins selling tickets for Hawaii flights. The low-cost carrier on Monday began selling tickets for Hawaii flights, with first flights — between Oakland and Honolulu — on March 17. Hawaii News Now.

Here’s What’s Not Passing The Hawaii Legislature This Year. On Tuesday the Hawaii Legislature is set to act on hundreds of bills as lawmakers near the halfway mark of the 2019 session. Civil Beat.

Gut And Replace Resurfaces At Hawaii Legislature. The Senate Ways and Means Committee altered the contents of several bills with little public notice, including one that would raise taxes and another that affects Big Island disaster relief. Civil Beat.

The state Senate Ways and Means Committee gutted and replaced at least two bills on Friday, including one affecting disaster relief for Hawaii County and another relating to a helicopter tax credit. Tribune-Herald.

A bill that would shine a brighter light on county police misconduct across the state is making its way through the state Legislature. House Bill 285, if enacted into law, would require Hawaii’s four county police chiefs to disclose in annual reports to the state Legislature the identity of an officer upon an officer’s suspension or discharge from a county police department. Tribune-Herald.

A bill passing through the state Legislature may spell the end for plastic bottles, styrofoam food containers and more across the state. Senate Bill 522 sets a lofty goal to ban the sale, use or distribution of plastic beverage bottles, utensils, stirring sticks, straws and polystyrene foam containers anywhere in the state by 2023. Tribune-Herald.

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Timeline of the battle over Hawaii reef fish. Environmental and industry advocates have been battling for years over whether the state should end the commercial collection of aquarium fish from Hawaii reefs. The fight led to a court decision that banned the use of fine-mesh nets — the main tool of fish collectors — until an environmental review is completed. Star-Advertiser.

Yellow tang project holds promise for Hawaii’s popular, iconic fish. Star-Advertiser.

The way fish are handled stirs debate in aquarium trade. The belief by some that fish do experience pain contributes to the debate over whether the state should end Hawaii’s aquarium trade. Star-Advertiser.

Fishing village wants more DLNR enforcement on aquarium trade. Star-Advertiser.

Aquarium trade still triggers fierce debate, even dividing a fishing village. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

Higher tax rates are in store for owners of Oahu resort/hotel and higher-end resident “investment” properties, but the tax rate would stay the same for those who live in their own home, according to the budget plan for the coming fiscal year unveiled Friday by Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell. Star-Advertiser.

Mayor Kirk Caldwell rolled out his $2.83-billion operating budget proposal today for Fiscal Year 2020, which begins July 1st.  He said real property and motor vehicle taxes are expected to bring in 120-million more but other taxes must go up to fund his spending plan. Hawaii Public Radio.

If you own a hotel, an investment home or a trash can, the mayor wants to charge you more. Hawaii News Now.

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Losing A Beachfront Home Isn’t Just A Rich Person’s Problem. As the sea level rise exacerbates coastal erosion, many longtime middle-class residents are struggling to protect their properties. Civil Beat.

A Palolo hillside neighborhood is shifting, leading to structural problems. Some residents say the only thing they can do is evacuate once their homes fall apart, even after continuous complaints to the city. KITV.

‘Deplorable’ hotel puts leasehold in jeopardy. Run-down. Terrible. Total dump. Those are guest descriptions of the Hawaiian Ebbtide Hotel.  Star-Advertiser.

A state lawmaker says he's had questions about the Public Safety Department's policies even before the recent fatal shootings by state sheriffs, that includes the OCCC inmate shot and killed after escaping Friday. KHON2.

Judge seeks more information on Kealoha’s cancer claim, trial delay request. Federal Judge John Michael Seabright will decide if the trial should be pushed back. On Friday, he said he’d need more information on Kealoha’s health and has set a hearing for Monday so Kealoha’s doctor can elaborate. Hawaii News Now.

Katherine Kealoha Says She Needs Cancer Treatment, Wants Trial Delayed. The defense lawyer for the former city prosecutor says in new court filings that Kealoha must seek immediate treatment. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Island

Kim proposes 10.7% budget hike, 35 new police positions. Thirty-five new police personnel, including 10 officers each for Ka‘u and Puna, nine new sergeants and six dispatchers, along with body cameras and computer upgrades, play center stage in a $573.5 million budget proposed Friday by Mayor Harry Kim. West Hawaii Today.

Mayor Harry Kim has submitted the first draft of his proposed operating budget for Fiscal Year 2019-20, proposing a 10.7 percent increase compared to last year. Big Island Video News.

Council pushes open Sunshine Law with secret budget meeting, discussions off agenda. A behind-the-scenes workshop and attempts to get commitments from colleagues on an item not on the agenda are two ways the County Council pushed the limits of the state Sunshine Law in recent weeks, as an especially tight county budget hangs in the balance. West Hawaii Today.

Proposed rules for vacation rentals received a frosty reception Friday evening during a public hearing in Hilo. Tribune-Herald.

Testifiers Speak Out On Short Term Vacation Rental Rules. Big Island Video News.

Bill would give BI second water specialist. Water quality monitoring on Hawaii Island will get a boost under a bill that passed the state House of Representatives on Thursday. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

The County Council member who upset former Mayor Alan Arakawa in the bid for the Kahului residency seat is proving just as unpredictable in her new job. Freshman Council Member Tasha Kam has emerged as the swing vote in the first major test the new council has faced this term — the vetting of Mayor Michael Victorino’s 11 director nominees. Maui News.

Six Historic Bridges on Hana Highway Identified as High Priority. The Department of Transportation, in partnership with the Federal Highway Administration, holds the first in a series of public meetings to discuss a project to improve six of the historic bridges along the Hana Highway (Route 360) located between Huelo and Hana town in east Maui. Maui Now.

MECO says customers will not pay for unused power from solar farms. Credits from construction delays will offset costs in 2018. Maui News.

Maui Electric Co. produced 38 percent of power used in 2018 through renewable sources, up from 34 percent in 2017, the utility’s parent company, Hawaiian Electric Cos., said Tuesday. Maui News.

Kauai

Hope for endangered seabirds. During the four-day annual meeting of the Pacific Seabird Group last week at the Aqua Kauai Beach Hotel near Lihue, 10 researchers detailed the results of programs aimed at reducing the deaths of endangered and threatened native Hawaiian seabirds. Garden Island.

Ha Coffee Bar is hosting a climate-change conversation 5:30 to 7 p.m. Thursday, featuring Victoria Keener speaking on how Kauai is adapting to predicted impacts of climate change. Garden Island.

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