Friday, October 4, 2019

Construction boom, workforce shrinks, student scores lag, rail costs soar, Maui to ban commercial park activity on Sundays, HECO wins $638.5M Army contract, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Construction cranes dot Kakaako skyline ©2019 All Hawaii News
Construction industry spending will continue at around $9 billion until 2021, report finds. It’s a good time to be working in Hawaii’s construction industry. It’s so good that concerns are being raised about a labor shortage being on the horizon if some exceptionally big planned projects go forward. Star-Advertiser.

What’s up with Hawaii’s incredible shrinking civilian labor force? State figures for August put the civilian labor force in Hawaii at 656,800 people. That’s down by more than 20,000 from the same month in 2018. Hawaii News Now.


Test scores stall for Hawaii students. The academic performance of Hawaii public school students stagnated this year, with the proficiency rate in math staying flat and slight dips in language arts and science. Star-Advertiser.

How ‘Green Fees’ Might Offset The Hidden Costs Of Tourism In Hawaii. A growing number of tourism hot spots, ranging from Mallorca to Bhutan to New Zealand, are imposing new taxes and fees on visitors. Civil Beat.

Young Brothers faces customer, regulatory hurdles with 34% rate hike ask. Interisland cargo carrier Young Brothers says it needs an unprecedented 34 percent rate hike to survive. What could this mean for residents, businesses and the future of the more than century-old shipper? KHON2.

US Gives Limited Approval To Hawaiian-Japan Airlines Venture. Hawaiian officials expressed disappointment that the preliminary decision doesn’t give the two airlines with full antitrust immunity. Associated Press.


HECO wins $638.5M Army contract. Hawaiian Electric Co. announced Thursday it has been awarded a $638.5 million contract to own, operate and maintain the electrical distribution system for the Army’s 12 installations on Oahu. Star-Advertiser.

HECO Wins $639M, 50-Year Contract As Army Privatizes Its Electric System. Hawaiian Electric Co. Inc. has been awarded a contract to own and  operate the electrical system for the U.S. Army's Oahu installations, a deal valued at $638.5 million over 50 years, the company said in a release Thursday. Hawaii Public Radio.


Honolulu Rail’s West Side Station Costs Are Soaring. The HART board is poised to approve an $18 million deal to resolve about 150 construction claims. Civil Beat.

Major rail preparation work to kick off on Dillingham Blvd. next month. Rail officials say construction on Dillingham Boulevard is about to accelerate dramatically ― with hundreds of workers on the strip up to 20 hours a day. Hawaii News Now.

People unpaid and underpaid for rail move wait for make-good; Dillingham construction starts Nov. 12. KHON2.


Acting prosecutor’s truth questioned after defending Katherine Kealoha’s actions. Did the head of the Honolulu prosecutor’s office lie to a city council committee? Hawaii News Now.

The Sun Is Setting On One Of Hawaii’s Last Legacy Estates. The Damon Trust spans much of the island’s modern history, with roots back to the Hawaiian Kingdom. Civil Beat.

Heart Disease May Be Linked To Pesticide Exposure. A new finding has emerged from historic data from the Kuakini Medical Center Honolulu Heart Program, which began to track the health of about 8,000 Japanese American men on Oahu in the mid 1960s: pesticide exposure may increase the risk for heart disease and stroke. Civil Beat.

Invasive thrifts spread on Oahu, prompting officials to call for drastic measures. Worried that an invasive insect will ravage Oahu’s native naio population as it did on Hawaii island, state officials are now urging people to remove healthy naio trees from their gardens before they become infected. Star-Advertiser.


A suspected brothel in St. Louis Heights is raided by authorities. Authorities zeroed in on a St. Louis Heights home suspected of operating as a brothel. Hawaii News Now.

Investigators carry out search warrant at St. Louis Heights residence suspected of operating as a brothel. Investigators with the Department of the Prosecuting Attorney carried out a search warrant Wednesday, October 2, 2019 at a residence on St. Louis Heights suspected of operating as a brothel. KITV.

St. Louis Heights residence investigated after prostitution complaints. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Despite delays caused by hot lava rock, Highway 132 could reopen next month. Paving on the reconstructed portion of Highway 132 has been completed, and the county Department of Public Works anticipates opening the road in November. Tribune-Herald.

HVO scientists explain how lava flows cool. The lava flows near Highway 132 could take decades to completely cool down, according to scientists. Tribune-Herald.

Hu Honua Bioenergy, the company that plans to burn trees to produce energy using the refurbished and refitted Pepe╩╗ekeo power plant, is actively courting the community for support, as environmental activists continue to fight the project. As Hu Honua, aka Honua Ola Bioenergy, drills deeper injection wells, the company juggles DOH, PUC approvals and neighborhood improvement projects. Big Island Video News.

Stepped-up DKI Highway enforcement nets 591 citations, six arrests. Officers assigned to the Thirty Meter Telescope protester blockade and encampment on Maunakea Access Road issued 591 traffic citations and arrested six suspects for 10 offenses on Daniel K. Inouye Highway between Sept. 26-Oct. 2, police said Thursday. Tribune-Herald.

Kona Pool Scheduled to Reopen This Month. Kona Aquatics Center is set to reopen this month after it was forced to close indefinitely for repairs in March. Big Island Now.


County to halt all commercial activity at parks Sundays, holidays. New permit restrictions to take effect in about 30 days. Maui News.

State Acquires Land Under Maui’s Front Street Apartments. The move could help preserve affordable units for about 250 tenants. Civil Beat.

State Acquires Land Under Maui’s Front Street Apartments. Gov. David Ige announced Thursday that the state has completed its transaction to acquire the land under Front Street Apartments on Maui. Maui Now.

State buys land under Maui apartment complex in bid to keep it affordable. The state purchased the land for $15 million. Hawaii News Now.

New bridge over Wailuku River mulled by County Council. Council members say new crossing needed to advance housing projects. Maui News.


Historic County Building illuminated for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The Historic County Building at night is lit with pink lights through October, in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Garden Island.

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