Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Hawaii telescopes help with first black hole image; Legislature mulls vacation rental tax, minimum wage, tax credits; Maui corporation counsel resigns after arrest, homeless count mixed, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration
First black hole PC: Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration
Hawaii telescopes help create first image of black hole. “It’s a historic moment,” declared Jessica Dempsey, deputy director of the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope, one of two Mauna Kea observatories that joined six others from across the globe to collect the imaging data two years ago. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii telescopes play key role in creating first image of black hole. Two of the world’s most powerful telescopes atop Mauna Kea played a key role in producing the first image ever made of a black hole. Hawaii News Now.

Two telescopes located at the top of Maunakea helped to capture the very first image of a black hole, and a renowned Hawaiian language and cultural practitioner helped name it. Big Island Video News.

Proclamation by Gov. David Ige celebrating Hawaii's role in the discovery. Governor's Office.

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Hawaii closer to forcing Airbnb to collect taxes on rentals. Hawaii lawmakers eager to gather tax revenue from the state’s flourishing, yet mostly unpermitted, vacation rental sector today passed legislation that would require websites like Airbnb to collect and pay taxes on behalf of short-term rental hosts. Associated Press.

Hawaii lawmakers hope a recent ruling will play in their favor in regulating vacation rentals. There is a new push to start taxing thousands of illegal vacation rentals in Hawaii. A recent court ruling means this could be a breakthrough year. Hawaii News Now.

Minimum Wage Increase Among Hundreds Of Bills Moving Forward. But there was no action on a controversial measure — stymied for now — that would allow continued diversion of stream water. Civil Beat.

Minimum Wage: How High Is Too High? A university economic think tank ponders the most effective level for a minimum wage. Civil Beat.

Ige having a rough year at the Legislature. With the state Legislature entering the final weeks of the 2019 session, this is shaping up to be a notably lousy year for Gov. David Ige. Star-Advertiser.

As confirmation looms, lawmakers grill Public Safety director. Just two days before the Senate Public Safety Committee will make a decision about his reconfirmation, Public Safety Director Nolan Espinda faced tough questions from lawmakers trying to dig deeper into last month's riot at the Maui Community Correctional Center. Hawaii News Now.

Nolan Espinda was back in the hot seat as lawmakers try to find out more about recent high profile incidents under his watch. KHON2.

Film industry officials say productions may not come to Hawaii amid tax credit cap. In January, the law changed, putting a cap on the amount of tax credits productions can claim. This is currently set at $35 million dollars. KHON2.

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Neighbor island homelessness drops 2%. While homelessness overall was down on the neighbor islands, a snapshot from January shows a wide range for each county compared with the data collected in 2018 — from a wild 51% increase on Kauai to a 21% drop on Hawaii Island to a 1% decrease on Maui. Star-Advertiser.

Big Swings In Homelessness on Kauai, Hawaii Island. New homeless count numbers are out. Civil Beat.

Recent Point In Time Count Reveals Overall Decline In Neighbor Island Homelessness. Hawaii Public Radio.

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Hawaii Agribusiness Development Corp. to face audits: Bill ties corporation funding to a look at the books. West Hawaii Today.

Oahu

Ozawa-Waters votes continue to increase. The City Clerk’s Office reported that as of 4 p.m. Tuesday it had received 29,785 votes via mail while 301 walked into Honolulu Hale to cast their ballots. Votes are being collected through Saturday, when the envelopes are opened and the ballots counted. Star-Advertiser.

Nearly 30,000 Have Voted In Special Election For City Council. The long campaign for the right to represent East Honolulu finally ends Saturday for Trevor Ozawa and Tommy Waters. Civil Beat.

More than 30,000 ballots already cast in special election for city council. Hawaii News Now.

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Honolulu Police Corruption: ‘Don’t Try To BS’ The Judge. U.S. District Court Judge J. Michael Seabright is known for his intelligence, fairness and outstanding legal ability. Civil Beat.

Trial of former HPD officer delayed as more info tied to Kealoha is sought. The swirling Katherine Kealoha scandal leads to another delay in the DUI trial of former Honolulu Police Sergeant, Albert Lee. Hawaii News Now.

City to test scheduling bulky trash pick-ups to solve illegal dumping problem. Curbside bulk trash dumping is an ongoing issue in many neighborhoods. KHON2.

Almost a year after damage from record rainfall and flooding forced its closure, Aina Haina Public Library reopened Tuesday. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu home sales drop in March. The number of homes and condominiums sold on Oahu dropped last month, compared to March a year ago, while the median price of a single-family home rose 3 percent, according to statistics from the Honolulu Board of Realtors. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii Island

Residents speak out on possible road usage charge. While some residents say they could see how an idea for a road usage charge could work as a “revenue neutral replacement” for the existing state fuel tax that helps fund state road projects, not all of them are so confident in the state’s ability to manage such a switch. West Hawaii Today.

Annual Point In Time Count shows decrease in homelessness on Big Isle. While homelessness statewide decreased only slightly, homelessness on the Big Island dropped from 869 to 690 this year, a substantial decrease. Tribune-Herald.

Homeless Count Results Revealed On Hawaii Island. The Big Island experienced the largest overall decrease with a 21% drop in homelessness, according to data collected during the annual Point in Time Count conducted in January. Big Island Video News.

Council set to settle Waimea rezoning. With the planning director saying “yes” and the Leeward Planning Commission saying “no,” it’s up to the County Council to decide if a Waimea property owner can split a 10-acre plot in two. West Hawaii Today.

Big Island homes sales drop by double digits in March. Home sales on Hawaii’s Big Island fell by double digits in March, compared to a year ago, while the median price of a condominium declined and single-family home prices remained flat, according to statistics from Hawaii Information Service on behalf of Hawaii Island Realtors. Pacific Business News.

Maui

Maui County attorney resigns from post following abuse allegations. Maui County Corporation Counsel Patrick Wong resigned today after allegations of abuse of a household member, the Office of Mayor Michael Victorino announced. Star-Advertiser.

Maui corporation counsel embroiled in domestic violence scandal resigns. Maui County’s top civil lawyer resigned Tuesday amidst the swirling controversy from his recent domestic violence arrest, a county spokesperson said. Hawaii News Now.

Wong Resigns, Lutey Named Maui Corporation Counsel. Mayor Michael Victorino announced today his nomination of Moana Lutey to serve as corporation counsel for the County of Maui, replacing Patrick Wong, who submitted his resignation today. Maui Now.

Maui Mayor Names Deputy Corporation Counsel To Head Office. Moana  Lutey, a county deputy corporation counsel, was nominated to the top post after the resignation of Patrick Wong and a decision by the state attorney general's office to drop domestic abuse charges against Wong. Hawaii Public Radio.

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Affordable rents for tenants extended with stay. Rents at Front Street Apartments will remain affordable beyond an August deadline and possibly into next year, said an attorney for the renters who are fighting efforts by developers to raise rents to market levels. Maui News.

Maui condo sales, prices jump in March. Condominium sales on Maui jumped last month, along with the median price, compared to March of last year, while single-family home sales declined and the median price rose by 5 percent, according to statistics from the Realtors Association of Maui. Pacific Business News.

Kauai

Homeless count rises. A January survey found Kauai’s homeless population rose 51 percent from 2018, but officials behind the report say that’s due to improved planning and execution, not more homeless moving here. Garden Island.

Number of homeless living on Kauai streets nearly doubled since last year. Hawaii News Now.

Kauai Humane Society seeks $1.2M budget. With a room full of staff and board members behind her, Kauai Humane Society Executive Director Mirah Horowitz asked the Kauai County Council on Tuesday for a $110,000 increase in funding. Garden Island.

Nearly one year after record floods hit Kauai's North Shore highway set to reopen. Nearly one year after record floods wrecked the only way in and out of Kauai's north shore, tensions are high as the state prepares to reopen the highway. KITV.

Kauai single-family home price drops as condo prices jump 18%. The median price of a single-family home on Kauai fell 17 percent last month as the number of homes dropped by more than 50 percent, compared to a year ago, while the median price of a Garden Island condominium rose by 18 percent despite fewer sales, according to statistics from Hawaii Information Service on behalf of Kauai Island Realtors. Pacific Business News.

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