Thursday, May 26, 2022

Support wanes for Hawaii missile defense system, Honolulu Police Department withheld arrest records on chief's son, Kauai ex-councilman sentenced to 20 years for meth ring, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Hawaii missile informational session ©2022 All Hawaii News

Hawaii’s Congressional Leaders Back Off Missile Defense System. After years of arguing in favor of a nearly $2 billion missile defense radar – first on Oahu, then on Kauai – Hawaii’s congressional delegation is backing away from the project. Civil Beat.

Multi-million dollar project aims to beef up security at state facilities targeted by crime
. The state said tension during the COVID pandemic caused some state facilities to be targets of crime. KHON2.

Endangered species’ habitats not protected, group says. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was put on notice Wednesday that it is being sued for failing to designate and protect critical habitat for 49 endangered species found nowhere else but Hawaii. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.

UH Study: Hawaiʻi’s COVID Models, Responses, Lessons Learned. The study, written by a group from the Hawaiʻi Pandemic Applied Modeling Work Group chaired by University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa faculty member Victoria Fan and which included UH-Mānoa researchers, examined different COVID-19 prediction models followed by subsequent policy decisions and lessons learned from the process. Big Island Now.

Surge in Hawaii’s COVID-19 cases continues for 9th consecutive week. The Hawaii Department of Health on Wednesday reported the state’s seven-­day average of new COVID-19 cases at 1,098 over the past week, representing the ninth consecutive weekly increase. The state’s average positivity rate, meanwhile, jumped to 18.3% from 16.9% May 18.  Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Health Department reports 5 more coronavirus-related deaths, 8,924 new infections
. By island, there were 6,475 new infections reported on Oahu, 1,102 on Hawaii Island, 772 on Maui, 443 on Kauai, 18 on Molokai and 11 on Lanai. Another 103 infections were reported out of state. DOH Director Dr. Libby Char has said the average daily case counts are likely five to six times higher than reported, given that results from home test kits are not officially tallied. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.


Honolulu Police Department defends actions following arrest of new police chief’s son. The Honolulu Police Commission is seeking an explanation from police leadership about why the felony arrest of newly appointed Police Chief Arthur “Joe” Logan’s 36-year-old son was initially concealed from the media and public. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Navy to get violation notice for over-pumping its only Oahu drinking water source
. The state Commission on Water Resource Management will issue a notice of violation to the Navy for over-pumping its Waiawa shaft ― in a situation that environmentalists call worrisome. Hawaii News Now.

Oahu’s ERs are overrun with patients, but COVID is only part of the reason
. A combination of staffing shortages and overall high patient volume are also contributing to Oahu’s packed ERs. Hawaii News Now.

Oʻahu Summer Fun Program will require keiki to wear face masks indoors. Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi says the move is a precautionary measure as new COVID cases continue to rise in the state. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii Island

County pays $135,000 to settle defamation lawsuit. Hawaii County has agreed to pay $135,000 to settle a defamation lawsuit filed by two former employees who said former county officials besmirched their reputations by telling a newspaper they’d been fired. West Hawaii Today.

Ige Releases $700K For Kolekole Bridge Work. A project to rehabilitate the Kolekole Stream Bridge in East Hawaiʻi received a financial boost from the governor’s office. Big Island Now.

Kalanianaole school play court clears final environmental hurdle
. All systems are go for a new covered play court at Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole Elementary and Intermediate School in Papaikou. Tribune-Herald.


Mayor Victorino asks for “respectful masking” as COVID-19 case counts rise. Maui Mayor Michael Victorino is calling for the public to use “respectful masking” and practice “COVIDsense” amid a rise in hospitalizations on Maui. Maui Now.

Hawaiian Cement looks to expand quarry by 45 acres.
After hours of comparing reports and asking questions over drainage and future plans, the Maui Planning Commission Tuesday afternoon gave the go-ahead to Hawaiian Cement to increase the size of its quarry in Puunene by more than 45 acres. Maui News.

Maui Fire Department welcomes new $2.5M helicopter with added safety features. Maui County has upgraded its rescue and firefighting capabilities with the arrival of a new $2.5 million helicopter with enhanced safety and hoisting features. Star-Advertiser.

Large Nāpili house should not have gotten green light, Maui council member says. In the latest chapter for a controversial house that towers over other homes in Nāpili, Maui County Council Member Tamara Paltin said her investigation shows the developer shouldn’t have gotten a key exemption that allowed construction to bypass public input. Maui Now.


Ex-Kauai Councilman Sentenced To 20 Years For Leading Meth Ring. Arthur Brun was a sitting Kauai County Council member when he led a methamphetamine ring supplied by an infamous prison gang. Civil Beat.  Hawaii Public Radio. Garden Island. Hawaii News Now.

Retaliation Accusations Could Sink Biden’s Nominee For US Marshal In Hawaii. Michael Contrades was a defendant in a federal lawsuit that settled for $1.8 million and included a provision that he stay away from the Kauai Police Department until his alleged victim no longer worked there. Civil Beat.

Judges appointed, Meyers to the District Court of the Fifth Circuit. Gregory H. Meyers has been appointed to the District Court of the Fifth Circuit, replacing retired Judge Edmund Acoba. He is currently employed with Meyers &Meyers, LLC. Garden Island.

Governor Ige wrapping up his final term, visit Kauai Chamber meeting. Gov. David Ige spoke on a wide range of subjects Wednesday during his final Kaua‘i Chamber of Commerce Governor’s Luncheon as governor. Garden Island.

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Hawaii names ohia lehua official endemic tree, UH reinstates indoor masking, state misses out on $200M to feed children, more news from all the Hawaiian islands

copyright 2022 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Ohia lehua designated official Hawaii State Endemic Tree. State lawmakers passed Senate Bill 2059 during this year’s Legislative session to designate the tree, and Gov. David Ige Tuesday signed the bill into law at a ceremony at Washington Place. Star-Advertiser. Garden Island. KHON2.

Ige Extends Emergency SNAP Benefits Through July. The governor has signed a second emergency proclamation, extending the provision of federally increased allowances under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Civil Beat.

Health officials say lifted restrictions are not only driving up COVID cases, but also the flu. Health officials said flu cases are higher than it has been compared to the last couple of years when strict public health measures were in place. Hawaii News Now.

University of Hawaii reinstates indoor masking. Amid the statewide COVID-19 surge, Hawaii’s public schools have reported a ninth straight week of increases in campus cases, and the University of Hawaii, starting today, is reinstating an indoor mask requirement across its 10- campus system. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.

Hawaii public schools may need to prepare for shootings, says head of state board. Hawaii’s public school system has no specific policy requiring schools to prepare teachers or students for an active-shooter scenario. However, the head of the state Board of Education said Tuesday that the time has come to consider one. Star-Advertiser.

Report: Hawaiʻi missed out on $200 million in federal funding to feed children since 2000. Since 2000, Hawaiʻi has missed out on more than $200 million in federal funding for the state’s school meal programs, according to a new joint report released Tuesday. Maui Now. KITV4.

State sees banner year for tax revenues, but faces highly uncertain future. The state Council on Revenues expects a strong end to this fiscal year. But there are concerns for fiscal year 2023, which starts in July. The council projects Hawaiʻi will end the current fiscal year with a 28% growth in tax revenues over FY 2021.  Hawaii Public Radio.

New Hawaii State Hospital faces more delays. State health officials say they face additional delays in moving patients into the Hawaii State Hospital’s new, 144-bed psychiatric facility, after assuring state lawmakers in early April that all the patients would be moved in by this month. The state Department of Health now says the target date is the end of June. Star-Advertiser.

Native Hawaiians Face High Rates Of Diabetes. That Means More Need For Dialysis. The number of dialysis centers in the islands is increasing to meet the need as more patients suffer from kidney failure. Civil Beat.


Oahu rail recovery plan advances at City Council. The new rail recovery plan that would notably shorten the route and delay the construction of the Pearl Highlands parking garage advanced out of the Honolulu City Council Transportation, Sustainability and Health Committee on Tuesday. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Creation of Honolulu urban trail part of $14 million tourism recovery plan. The Hawaii Tourism Authority is working on a plan to spend $14 million in COVID-19-era federal funding from the Economic Development Administration that includes development of a Honolulu urban trail that would use virtual reality and other smart features to connect people to points of interest and businesses along the path. Star-Advertiser.

Mandatory water restrictions this summer now appear avoidable. The Board of Water Supply thinks mandatory water restrictions might be avoidable this summer. It’s a promising development for residents who were bracing for forced restrictions and developers who were warned their projects could have been delayed by the Navy’s tainted water crisis. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Federal Aviation Administration moves to strip local freight carrier’s certification.
The Federal Aviation Administration announced Tuesday that it has proposed to revoke the air carrier certificate of Honolulu- based cargo airline Rhoades Aviation Inc. for what the agency called “numerous alleged safety violations.” Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Council matchups shaping up: 2 weeks before filing deadline, two incumbents have no challengers
. Of the nine County Council seats up for election this year, all but two incumbents have drawn challengers, with just two weeks remaining before the June 7 filing deadline. West Hawaii Today.

County seeks info about four torched Elderly Activities Division vehicles. Mayor Mitch Roth issued a statement Tuesday condemning the actions an arsonist or arsonists who on Sunday torched four Department of Parks and Recreation vehicles. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News. Big Island Now. Hawaii News Now

Drought unlikely to stop little fire ants. Pest species like little fire ants will likely not be deterred by the drought conditions expected for much of the island this summer. Tribune-Herald.


Kuʻikahi Village’s plans for 202 workforce homes in Wailuku moves ahead. Kuʻikahi Village Project, which aims to build 202 workforce housing units on about 15 acres in Wailuku, cleared a significant hurdle recently.  Maui Now.

Maui Is Reconsidering What Constitutes ‘Affordable’ When It Comes To Housing. Even if families qualify for loans, monthly costs can be so high that they struggle to hold on to their homes in the long term. Civil Beat. Maui News.

Conservation-minded steward sought as future buyer for Maui’s Hāna Ranch. Bio-Logical Capital today announced it is seeking a new conservation-minded buyer to steward Hāna Ranch, a 3,600-acre working cattle ranch in east Maui. Maui Now.

Longtime Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustee Colette Machado dies at 71. Former Office of Hawaiian Affairs Chair Colette Ma­chado of Molokai was remembered Tuesday as a passionate warrior driven to public service and dedicated to the betterment of the Native Hawaiian community. Star-Advertiser. Maui Now.


Boulders block beach-goers near Burns Field. State Department of Transportation personnel have blocked vehicle access to the perimeter road at Port Allen Airport (also known as Burns Field), upsetting residents who recreate on the facility’s makai side. Garden Island.

Wilcox Emergency Department updates completed. Dr. Monty Downs, retired following 50 years of service to Wilcox Health and the first emergency room doctor at Wilcox Medical Center, said the first emergency room was just an 18-foot-by-18-foot room with a stretcher, not a gurney, in the middle. Garden Island.

Officials hold blessing for new emergency department at Wilcox Medical Center. The $5.1 million renovation project includes two trauma resuscitation suites and several specialized care rooms, along with a dedicated behavioral health room equipped with state-of-the-art technology. Star-Advertiser.

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Logan named new Honolulu Police chief, Ige signs bill giving high school journalists press freedoms, PUC rejects biomass power plant, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Retired Maj. Gen. Arthur ‘Joe’ Logan is named new Honolulu police chief. Retired Maj. Gen. Arthur “Joe” Logan will take command of 2,000 sworn officers and civilian staff and manage an annual budget of more than $300 million at a time when violent crime is at a three-year high through April. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Associated Press. Hawaii News Now. KHON2. KITV4.

Special Interest Money Fuels Hawaii Delegation’s Leadership PACs. Hawaii Congressman Kai Kahele continues to raise money from corporate donors, lobbyists and political action committees for his federal campaign committee despite a gubernatorial campaign promise not to do so for his state campaign, federal campaign finance reports filed last week show. Civil Beat.

Hawaii student journalists now protected from unlawful censorship.
Hawaii public school and college students now have the same freedom of press protections as working journalists after Gov. David Ige signed a new law into effect Monday. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Associated Press. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News. Big Island Now. Hawaii News Now.

Ige Appoints Appoints 2 State Ethics Commissioners. Wesley Fong was reappointed while Robert Hong fills a vacancy. Civil Beat.

Richard ‘Dickie’ Wong, a ‘street kid’ who became Hawaii’s Senate president, dies at 88. Richard “Dickie” Wong, who rose from humble roots to become president of the state Senate and chairman of the powerful Bishop Estate’s board of trustees, has died. Hawaii News Now.


COVID surge to culminate in June, University of Hawaii researchers forecast. The Hawaii Pandemic Applied Modeling Work Group, a voluntary partnership of epidemiologists and data scientists, on Monday said it expected daily, new reported cases in Honolulu to peak at 3,500 to 4,000 sometime in the first three weeks of June. Star-Advertiser.

Public advised to avoid Kewalo Basin Harbor after wastewater discharge. State officials are warning the public to stay out of the waters of Kewalo Basin Harbor due to a wastewater discharge caused by a clogged sewage line. Star-Advertiser.

City prepares for return of in-person Memorial Day ceremony at Punchbowl. As Memorial Day approaches, the city and officials at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl are making preparations to once again honor veterans in person. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Public Utilities Commission rejects Big Isle biomass plant again. The state Public Utilities Commission on Monday placed another roadblock in front of a $520 million biomass plant that would burn trees to generate electricity on Hawaii Island. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii Public Radio. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News. KITV4.

Mayor Mitch Roth calls for ‘mindful masking’ as COVID-19 case counts rise. By “mindful masking,” Roth said in a news release that masking is strongly encouraged when in large gatherings, grocery stores, indoor gathering places, aboard public transportation, and in bars and restaurants when not actively eating and drinking. Star-Advertiser. Big Island Now.

Naniloa hotel dispute still not resolved. The Edward C. Olson Trust has until November to serve legal documents to a pair of business partners the trust is suing over two Banyan Drive development projects. Tribune-Herald.


Discussion begins on South Maui CPAC selection and application process. Discussion will begin on the selection and application process for the South Maui Community Plan Advisory Committee or “CPAC” on Wednesday at the Planning and Land Use Committee meeting. Maui Now.

Ige Proclaims Second Axis Deer Emergency Period For Maui. Gov. David Ige’s second emergency proclamation empowers the county and state to better address the problems facing the drought-stricken county. Civil Beat.

Hawaii officials mourn ‘sudden passing’ of former OHA Trustee Colette Machado. Molokai’s Colette Machado, a former Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustee for 24 years, has died, local officials said Monday. Maui News. KHON2.


Opposition to airport master plan takes off.
The new Lihu‘e Airport Master Plan appears set for a rocky landing, as public opposition mounts against the long-term development strategy. Garden Island.

Monday, May 23, 2022

Convention center leaking, first negative ads surface in gubernatorial race, Oahu care home shut down, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Window washers on Hawaii Convention Center ©2022 All Hawaii News

Legislature denies Hawai‘i Convention Center $64 million needed for rooftop repairs. State legislators gave the Hawai‘i Convention Center less than a quarter of its $64 million request to fix a leaky rooftop terrace deck, which is creating hundreds of thousands of dollars of damage and potentially costing the center new bookings. Star-Advertiser.

Limits on renewable energy could become Hawaii law. A bill passed by the Legislature earlier this month and awaiting action by Gov. David Ige aims to amend the state’s energy policy so that it prevents more than 66.67% of power being generated from all combined intermittent sources such as wind, waves and sun. Star-Advertiser.

Coalition criticizes Hawaii telehealth bill. A coalition of social workers, psychologists and other medical professionals is urging Gov. David Ige to veto a bill that could restrict telehealth appointments for mental health services, which soared during the pandemic. Star-Advertiser.

Disabled Voters Are Hoping To Improve Hawaii’s Elections Process This Year. A statewide panel as well as four county committees, all made up of people with disabilities, will begin making recommendations to county and state elections offices. Civil Beat.

Hawaii to get up to $62 million for its small businesses. A state agency soon will sprinkle millions of dollars in seed capital around to Hawaii small businesses under a federally funded program aimed at job creation and economic recovery. Star-Advertiser. Big Island Now.

Bill would OK extensions on ag land leases. Farmers whose land leases are set to expire within the next 15 years will be able to apply for extensions under a bill passed this session by the state Legislature. Tribune-Herald.

Green air, sea, ground transportation goals set by state with new bill. Senate Bill 3311 HD2 sets up the Hawaiʻi Clean Transportation Initiative, which establishes a goal in law to achieve zero-emissions, clean transportation throughout the state. Maui Now.

Loophole ruins ban on flavored tobacco, health advocates say. The latest version of House Bill 1570 would prohibit the sale or distribution of all flavored tobacco products, including those with menthol, in Hawaii starting Jan. 1. In addition, the bill prohibits the mislabeling of products as nicotine-free. Star-Advertiser.

Is It Time For Hawaii To Renegotiate Its Relationship With The Military? At Kahoolawe, Makua Valley, Pohakuloa and elsewhere, activists defending the interests of Hawaiians and the environment have protested the U.S. military for decades. Civil Beat.

First negative ads in race for governor air, but political experts think they’ll backfire. A newly formed Super PAC has begun running negative ads featuring the local comedy duo “Da Braddahs” attacking Lt. Gov. Josh Green’s credentials as a physician. Hawaii News Now.

Weddings in Hawaii rebounding after COVID slowdown. In the first quarter of 2022, the state Department of Health recorded 4,466 marriages, up 54% from 2,908 in the same three months of 2021, according to preliminary data, and not too far off from the 4,661 marriages in the first quarter of 2020, before the pandemic hit. Star-Advertiser.

Rent prices continue to rise sharply across the state . The median price of renting a place to live in Hawaiʻi has climbed nearly 13% between 2019 and 2022, according to Stessa, an online property management platform that analyzed federal government data. Hawaii Public Radio.


Health Department shuts down Waipahu care home after patients found unattended. The Waipahu Community Care Foster Family Home has been ordered to shut down after health officials found that patients were left unattended, the Department of Health said. Star-Advertiser.

State to spend $26M to fix the aging Wahiawa Dam, acquire Lake Wilson. The state Legislature appropriated the money this session to repair the 116-year-old earthen dam and acquire its irrigation system. As part of that deal, Dole Food company will turn the 325-acre lake over to the state. Hawaii News Now.

Judge Says Lawsuit Against Department Of Agriculture Can Go Forward. Hooah Farms has been called a model for Oahu, but the owners want out of the Kahuku Agricultural Park, saying the park’s manager can’t be trusted. Civil Beat.

State lawsuit claims 2 brothers improperly profiting from public roads in Kakaako and Waikiki. The state Department of the Attorney General is suing brothers Calvert and Cedric Chun, who do business as the Kakaako Land Co., seeking reimbursement for alleged fraudulent collecting of money for the private use of public streets in Waikiki and Kakaako. Star-Advertiser.

This New Downtown Driver Testing Site Has The Highest Failure Rate On Oahu. Driving instructors say traffic congestion and certain routes can make some testing sites more difficult than others. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Island

Charter proposals seek to fine-tune mayor’s administration. Two council members are looking to fine-tune the structure of administrative offices to better respond to constituent concerns. West Hawaii Today.

Thousands of building permits set to expire next month. Nearly 7,000 Hawaii County building permits will expire at the end of the month. After the rollout last July of the county’s Electronic Processing and Information Center — a long-in-the-works online building permitting software — the county is now capable of enforcing expiration of permits under the county code. Tribune-Herald.

How A Wellness Company Is Saving Sandalwood On The Big Island. A former ranch in South Kona is being transformed from a grassland back to a native sandalwood forest by a Utah-based essential oils and aromatherapy company. Civil Beat.


Digital zoning map proposed to rezone 13 parcels consistent with their use. A proposed bill to adopt amendments to the Maui Digital Zoning Map for approximately 13 parcels that are currently zoned P-1, M-1, PK, R-2 and R-3 will be considered by the Planning and Sustainable Land Use Committee on Wednesday, May 25, at 1:30 p.m.  Maui Now.

Next phase of Lahaina bypass sidelined after dip in rental car funds. The Lahaina Bypass 1C project was scheduled for construction in federal fiscal year 2023 using $70 million of state funds from the rental car surcharge, which was reduced by the pandemic. Maui News.

Recently retired police lieutenant returns to department. A Maui Police Department lieutenant who retired more than eight months ago has been rehired and is being assigned to be acting captain of the Molokai Patrol Division. Maui News.


New Report Reveals How The Kauai Police Chief Found Himself In Trouble For Racist Remarks. A newly released investigative report into racist remarks by Kauai Police Chief Todd Raybuck provides new details about circumstances leading to the suspension of the chief in April 2021. Civil Beat.

Friday, May 20, 2022

Hayashi tapped for schools superintendent, Espinda found dead from self-inflicted gunshot, Honolulu police chief candidates vie for top spot, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Interim Keith Hayashi chosen as Hawaii public schools superintendent. After an extraordinarily long and sometimes contentious state Board of Education meeting Thursday, former Waipahu High School Principal Keith Hayashi, who has been serving as state interim superintendent of Hawaii public schools since August, was selected from among three finalists to continue as the permanent state superintendent. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii Public Radio. Hawaii News Now. KHON2. KITV4.

Nolan Espinda, former head of Hawaii’s Department of Public Safety, dies. Nolan Espinda, who retired as DPS director in 2020 amid criticism over the department’s handling of COVID-19 outbreaks in Hawaii prisons, was found dead at Kailua Beach of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Hawaii commits to clean transportation future. With the passing of Senate Bill 3311, the state would give itself a goal to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions across all modes of transportation. It also would establish working groups consisting of both public and private stakeholders that would promote clean interisland transportation and electric vehicle adoption. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii electric-vehicle sales charged ahead in first quarter.
Hawaii made significant progress in the first quarter to distance itself from fossil fuels as the state reached double digits in electric vehicle registrations. Star-Advertiser.

$80 Million For Hawaiʻi Water Issues Passed By House Committee. The State of Hawaiʻi is “positioned to receive” $80 million for water and wastewater issues through federal legislation moving through the U.S. House. Big Island Video News.

Honolulu and Maui counties’ COVID-19 risk rank rises.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday bumped Honolulu and Maui counties from the yellow, medium-risk community level to the red, high-risk community level for COVID-19. Honolulu and Maui counties join Kauai County, which last week was classified as a high-risk community due to high case rates and limited hospital capacity. Hawaii County remains yellow. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Hawaii Health Department says keiki ages 5-11 now eligible for COVID-19 boosters. The Hawaii Department of Health today said it is adopting guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in recommending boosters for keiki ages 5 through 11. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.


Candidates for Honolulu Police chief participate in public forum. Repairing the Honolulu Police Department’s reputation, providing more information to the media, increasing patrol staffing, addressing officer wellness and stopping the surge of violent crime were among the issues addressed by the candidates during the 90-minute live forum televised Thursday night on PBS Hawaii’s “Insight” program. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now. KHON2. KITV4.

HPD statistics reveal low closure rates especially for property crimes. A vast majority of criminal cases investigated by the Honolulu Police Department (HPD) do not result in an arrest. KITV4.

Number Of Homeless People Counted In Oahu Survey Drops 11%. Oahu saw a decrease overall in this year’s Point-in-Time Count of homeless people, with the number of people in shelters dropping 24% and the number of those unsheltered increasing by 0.4% compared with the count in 2020. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. KHON2.

HART Pays Nearly $1 Million To Compensate 24 Parties Short-Changed By Rail Relocation. The Honolulu agency overseeing rail construction has determined that its prior history of shoddy relocation payments ultimately short-changed 24 businesses and tenants displaced by the future rail line to the tune of $883,000. Civil Beat.

Waikiki Aquarium to require face masks in alignment with University of Hawaii policy. The Waikiki Aquarium said wearing face masks is once again required at its facility, effective immediately, in alignment with University of Hawaii policy. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Council takes first stab at budget. Hawaii County Council members seem to prefer a cautious approach to county spending, despite a budget windfall that has Mayor Mitch Roth proposing a $779.7 million spending plan, a 27.8% increase over the current year. West Hawaii Today.

UH regents OK amendments to Maunakea plan. The University of Hawaii’s Board of Regents on Thursday approved a supplement to UH’s management plan for Maunakea, despite potentially losing jurisdiction over the mountain before the end of the decade. Tribune-Herald.

Solutions sought to help protect Pololu Valley. The state Department of Land and Natural Resources is working with Hawi community members to protect Pololu Valley from overuse. Tribune-Herald.


County mayoral candidates tackle South Maui issues. Five candidates have filed to run so far in crowded mayor’s race Climate change, cesspools and ocean pollution, and homelessness in South Maui are among the issues that Maui County mayoral candidates plan to tackle if elected. Maui News.

Kaiser mental health clinicians during Maui strike: ‘They pushed us to this’. Organized by the National Union of Healthcare Workers that represents Hawai’i Kaiser’s 58 mental health providers, the demonstration is being called the Aloha State’s largest mental health strike. Maui Now.

Red placard issued to restaurant in Lahaina, Maui. The Hawai‘i Department of Health’s Food Safety Branch issued a red placard and shut down China Bowl Asian Cuisine Restaurant, located at 2580 Kekaa Dr, #116, Lahaina on Maui. Maui Now.


Council introduces bill expanding size of guest houses on Kaua‘i. A bill introduced at County Council on Wednesday would increase the maximum size of guest houses, a move intended to make a dent in the ongoing housing crisis on island. Garden Island.

No-cost health services return to Kauaʻi in June. The “Tropic Care” program is run by the state Department of Health’s Kauaʻi District Health Office, the County of Kauaʻi and the U.S. military. Hawaii Public Radio. Garden Island.

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Below average hurricane season predicted, masks urged as COVID soars, Korean firm bids on Makaha Valley, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Below-average hurricane season predicted for Central Pacific region. The Central Pacific Hurricane Center on Wednesday predicted that the region will see two to four tropical cyclones during the hurricane season that starts June 1. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Now. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now.

Health officials urge masking, boosters as COVID-19 cases surge in Hawaii. On Wednesday the DOH reported the state’s seven-day average for new cases had climbed to 925 — up from 722 on May 11, and marking the eighth consecutive weekly increase. The state’s average positivity rate, meanwhile, jumped to 16.9%, up from 14.3% last week. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii Public Radio. Hawaii News Now. Maui Now.

Kaiser Permanente’s Hawaii mental health clinicians strike. Kaiser Permanente’s Hawaii mental health clinicians launched a three-day strike Wednesday amid stalled contract negotiations. Star-Advertiser. West Hawaii Today.

Governor: Japan’s tough COVID restrictions hindering Hawaii tourism rebound. Gov. David Ige recently traveled to Japan and he says many Japanese want to come to Hawaii, but returning to Japan is a huge hassle due to COVID. Hawaii News Now.

New partnership uses technology to prove origins of Hawaiʻi coffee — and stop counterfeits. The Hawaiʻi Coffee Association has signed an agreement with product traceability company Oritain to build a statewide coffee origin database. Hawaii Public Radio.


A Look At The 4 Finalists For Honolulu’s Police Chief. The four finalists — Scott Ebner, Mike Lambert, Joe Logan and Ben Moszkowicz — are set to answer questions from the public during a televised forum Thursday on PBS Hawaii, marking the first time the community will hear from the men still in the running to lead the city’s police force of nearly 2,000 officers. Civil Beat. KITV4. Star-Advertiser.

Korean firm bids to buy Makaha Valley resort site. A South Korean conglomerate branching into the resort business has made a bid to buy much of Makaha Valley where development plans linked with golf superstar Tiger Woods fizzled in recent years. Star-Advertiser.

This Honolulu Architect Admitted To Bribery. But He Still Has His License. Despite pleading guilty to a job-related felony, William Wong was able to renew his license for another two years. Civil Beat.

Honolulu Mayor Says A New Mask Mandate Is A ‘Possibility’. Honolulu Mayor Rick Blackgirdi said Wednesday that he might consider implementing a mask mandate after the Covid-19 case count rose for the eighth week in a row. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.

Man, 28, who refused to wear mask, convicted of felony for punching Waikiki security guard, 71. An Oahu Circuit Court jury on Tuesday found a 28-year-old man, who refused to wear a mask at a COVID-19 testing site, guilty of second-degree assault in the beating of a 71-year-old security guard. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

Investigation Shows Hawaii Prison Officials Tried To Cover Up Errors Leading Up To An Inmate’s Death. The internal affairs report claimed staff had been trained in suicide prevention policies, and a guard made the required cell checks. Neither was true, and an inmate died. Civil Beat.

City worker who may have been exposed to radiation hired attorney days before his death. A city maintenance worker who may have been exposed to radiation while fixing a tire on a garbage truck hired a high-profile attorney just 10 days before his death. The development comes as investigations into Charles Kuailani’s cause of death continue. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Affordable housing measures pass, fail: Council approves new programs, but not charter amendment to pay for them. A bill adding eligible programs for county housing funds was passed on final reading Wednesday by the County Council, but a companion measure proposing a charter amendment to lock in funding was shot down by a council majority. West Hawaii Today.

DHHL breaks ground on Kaʻu water system improvements. Improvements by the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands to an existing Hawaii County Department of Water Supply system in Kaʻu will soon connect pastoral homestead lessees in the Kamaʻoa Homestead to water service. Tribune-Herald.

Sniffing out COVID: Schools take part in pilot program starring Cobra the canine. Three Hawaii Island public charter schools have a new tool for detecting COVID-19 on campus — an 8-year-old Belgian Malinois named Cobra. Tribune-Herald.

As COVID cases climb, HMC sees increase in keiki infections. As COVID-19 cases rise throughout Hawaii for the eighth consecutive week, Hilo Medical Center reported a significant increase in pediatric cases. Tribune-Herald.


Maui Charter Commission to review final report and voter guide. The Maui Charter Commission will meet this Thursday,  May 19, to review and approve its Draft Final Report detailing eleven proposed amendments to the County Charter.  Maui Now.

With funds running dry, temporary Maui homeless shelter to shut down. A temporary homeless shelter on Maui is out of money and may soon be out of time as it prepares close down its services. Wahi Hoomalu O Wailuku off Waiale Road is Maui’s temporary homeless shelter. Hawaii News Now.


‘Save Koloa’ sues county, condo developer. Local nonprofits are suing Kaua‘i County and a mainland property developer, escalating controversy surrounding a planned condominium complex on the island’s South Shore. Garden Island.

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

New law bans gubernatorial moonlighting, LANPAC resumes in Hawaii, Waters to stick with Honolulu City Council position, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Law bans side jobs for next Hawaii governor. A new law that goes into effect just before the November general election prevents Hawaii’s next governor from holding a second job, forcing future employment decisions for Democratic candidates Lt. Gov. Josh Green, an emergency room physician, and Congressman Kai Kahele, who flies for Hawaiian Airlines and serves in the Hawaii Air National Guard. Vicky Caye­tano, a business entrepreneur and former first lady, already has stepped aside from her previous role as head of Hawaii’s largest commercial laundry service. Star-Advertiser.

Ige weighs in on the race to replace him and ‘concerning’ frustration with government. The pandemic unleashed frustration with government and Ige acknowledges gaps between the state and county, but he defends his polices and the role of government. Hawaii News Now.

Gov. Ige discusses his final months in office, the bail reform bill, and his trip to Japan. Gov. David Ige has just over six months left in office. December 5 is his last day as governor. One of his biggest tasks left is to make a decision on the bills that were passed by the Legislature. KITV4.

Ige’s Japan visit draws international travel momentum. Ige said, “My commitment to the Prime Minister was that we would do everything we could to support expanding travel to implement or help them implement testing requirements so that we could increase travel between Hawaii and Japan.” KHON2.

The Board of Education is preparing to select the next Department of Education superintendent in front of the public. The finalists for the superintendent position are Darrel Galera, a long-time education leader in Hawaii; Caprice Young, president of an education consulting group in Los Angeles; and interim Superintendent Keith Hayashi, who has led the department since Aug. 1. Civil Beat.

New leader of Hawaiʻi teachers union has over 40 years of experience in education
. The Hawaiʻi State Teachers Association board of directors has chosen Ann Mahi as its new executive director. She starts Aug. 1. Hawaii Public Radio.

As opposition grows over bail reform bill, advocates say many fears are unfounded. Business owners are pressuring the governor to veto a bill that would eliminate bail for certain defendants, but some advocates worry that misinformation is clouding the debate. Hawaii News Now.

Pacific is back at center stage as LANPAC resumes after hiatus.
The Association of the U.S. Army on Tuesday kicked off LANPAC 2022, a conference focused on armies and military land power around the Pacific. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

Suit alleges agency’s failure to protect sharks. A lawsuit filed Tuesday accuses the National Marine Fisheries Service of failing to do its job in protecting the threatened Western and Pacific oceanic whitetip shark. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.


Tommy Waters to stay on Honolulu City Council. Council Chair Tommy Waters will not seek the Congressional seat representing rural Oahu and the neighbor islands but will not rule out a future run, he announced today. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.

4 finalists for HPD chief to take viewer questions on public affairs show.
In an unusual forum, the finalists for the job will take viewer questions live on a PBS Hawaii public affairs show called “Insights,” a weekly show with each episode addressing a different topic. On Thursday night, all four finalists to be HPD’s new leader will be on the show that airs at 7:30 pm. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu leaders seek to improve public safety and homelessness. Honolulu Council Chair Tommy Waters is co-hosting a virtual town hall meeting about safety in Waikīkī on May 26. Panelists include Honolulu Prosecutor Steve Alm and Honolulu Police Department Maj. Randall Platt. Hawaii Public Radio.

Ex-officials to face jury after losing bid for bench verdict. Three former city officials accused of conspiring to defraud the government by structuring a $250,000 retirement settlement for former Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha will face a jury trial in October after their attempt to have a federal judge decide the case was unsuccessful. Star-Advertiser.

FBI looking for information about explosive device found near H-2 freeway. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is asking for help identifying suspects and circumstances surrounding the discovery of an improvised explosive device near the H-2 freeway. Star-Advertiser. KITV4.

Officials considering radiation poisoning as possible cause of death for city worker. Multiple investigations are underway to determine if a Honolulu city maintenance worker died of radiation poisoning. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Despite reservations, sunscreen ban advances. Hawaii County Council members gave tentative approval Tuesday to a ban on the sale of all but two kinds of sunscreen on the Big Island on the condition that county attorneys can prove the ban is enforceable. Tribune-Herald.

Property assessment cap postponed: Administration warns measure could lead to East-West inequities. A bill capping property assessments could lead to an unfair balance between East Hawaii and West Hawaii, administration officials warned the County Council Finance Committee as a bill aiming to put a 15% ceiling on most commercial classes of property was postponed for the second time. West Hawaii Today.

Hilo man pleads guilty to COVID-19 relief fraud.
A Hilo man pleaded guilty to wire fraud today after he submitted fake payroll documents and tax forms to qualify for $937,575 in COVID-19 relief funds. Carey Mills, 43, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Derrick K. Watson to a single-count information, charging him with wire fraud. Star-Advertiser. Big Island Now. Hawaii News Now.


Maui County Council shaves property taxes for owner-occupied homes. Council voted 6-0 on Friday, with members Shane Sinenci, Kelly King and Mike Molina absent and excused, to set real property tax rates for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1. Maui Now.

Application deadline extended for Director and Deputy of new Agriculture Department.
Annual salary for the Director was increased from $90,000 to $114,000 and from $70,000 to $102,600 for the Deputy Director. The new application deadline is on Monday, May 30, 2022. Maui Now.

‘Traffic nightmare’: Maui residents brace for construction of state’s first multi-lane roundabout. A big change is coming to South Maui — literally paving the way for the future Kihei High School. After years of planning, construction is now underway on Hawaii’s first multi-lane roundabout. Hawaii News Now.


Former Kauai police clerk charged with computer fraud, theft. A Kauai grand jury has indicted a former clerk of the Kauai Police Department on charges of computer fraud and theft involving alleged misconduct of funds collected on behalf of the state. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.  Big Island Now. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

A Judge Took Away These Kids For Good — Until A Higher Court Found A Mistake. It looked at first like a typical Hawaii child protection case. Someone contacted the state Child Welfare Services branch in 2018 to report that a couple on Kauai were doing drugs and couldn’t take care of their two sons. Civil Beat.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Federal grants drive honeycreeper protection, mosquito control, climate study; hemp farmers fight red tape, Maui jail riot study still not released, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Janice Wei National Park Service
Apapane honeycreeper PC:Janice Wei National Park Service
Campaign to save Hawaiian honeycreepers gets funding boost. A multiagency campaign to save Hawaii’s imperiled honeycreepers got a significant shot in the arm Monday with the announcement of a $14 million influx of federal funds. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Big Island Video News. Big Island Now. Maui Now. Garden Island. KITV4.

$20M Federal Grant Supports State-wide Climate Resilience. The National Science Foundation has awarded the University of Hawaiʻi’s Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research a five-year $20-million grant. Big Island Video News. Maui Now. Garden Island.

Hawaiʻi receiving $14 million in federal funding to combat invasive mosquitoes. More than $14 million in federal funding from the US Department of the Interior will go to conservation programs to tackle invasive mosquitoes in the State of Hawaiʻi as a priority distribution from the $1.2 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Package enacted last year. Maui Now.

Hemp Farmers Are Fed Up With Government Regulations Hampering The Industry’s Potential. After exhausting their savings and losing hope for more meaningful legislative relief, some hemp producers in Hawaii may ditch the crop altogether. Civil Beat.

Harsher penalties urged for car thieves. A bill that would double the maximum possible sentence for stealing a vehicle is only one of several crime bills currently under consideration by Gov. David Ige. Tribune-Herald.

Local government complaints office is dealt more work abuse amid pandemic. The state Office of the Ombudsman has welcomed complaints about state and county administrative agencies in Hawaii for over 50 years, but the past two have been extraordinary. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii has lowest monthly starting salaries: Study. WalletHub, a free credit score website, ranked cities based on different metrics like availability on entry level jobs, monthly average salary, annual job growth, workforce diversity, share of workers in poverty and more. KHON2.


‘Water waste’ complaints quadruple as calls for conservation continue. Since the initial call went out March 9, after three well were shut down amid the Navy’s water contamination crisis, BWS officials say their phones have been ringing off the hook with residents reporting so-called water wasters. Hawaii News Now.

Oahu violent crime at 3-year high, Honolulu Police Department report finds. Homicides, robberies, assaults and rape cases on Oahu are at three-year highs, according to 2022 Honolulu Police Department counts through April, elevating concern among police and federal law enforcement officials using data and crime prevention tactics to contend with threats to public safety. Star-Advertiser.

Recipients reaching limits on assistance from Honolulu rent and utility program.
Honolulu Hale’s efforts to distribute upward of $225 million in pandemic- related federal funding through its Rental and Utility Relief Program have been underway for over a year — and recipients are now beginning to hit set limits for financial assistance. Star-Advertiser.

City and County of Honolulu expands COVID-19 testing as demand increases. The City and County of Honolulu will once again offer free COVID-19 testing for Oahu residents at its Mobile Lab at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport seven days a week, as demand for increases during the current rise in coronavirus cases. Star-Advertiser.

HART to receive $500,000 for environmental assessments along rail line. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will pay half a million dollars for Honolulu’s rail authority to conduct environmental assessments along the rail line. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii officials resume postponed aerial drop to eradicate coqui frogs in Waimanalo. The Hawaii Department of Agriculture Monday resumed plans to drop a citric acid solution over a remote mountain area of Waimanalo as part of efforts to eradicate invasive coqui frogs. Star-Advertiser. KITV4.

Supreme Court Orders Judge To Revist Sealed Case Dispute. The Civil Beat Law Center for the Public Interest has asked Circuit Court Judge Gary Chang to unseal names of defendants in a case, restore a complaint the judge removed and lift a gag order imposed on the center. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Island

Report: Hawaii County tops in construction hurdles.
It’s more difficult to get a construction project rolling in Hawaii County than anywhere else in the nation, according to a report released last month. West Hawaii Today.

County Council eyes tougher sunscreen law. A state law took effect last year that banned the sale of sunscreens that contain two specific chemicals, but a proposed Hawaii County law would go further and ban selling all sunscreens except those containing two different substances. Tribune-Herald.

This Stunning Big Island Valley Is Drawing Bigger Crowds — And Controversy. Pololu Valley, located along the North Kohala coast, is defined by forested cliffs that descend dramatically to a legendary black sand beach. Civil Beat.


Three years later, report on Maui jail riot still not released. More than three years after a riot that caused millions of dollars in damage, the Maui Community Correctional Center is set to undergo major repairs. But a final report on the incident has yet to be released to the public. KHON2.

Comments now accepted on latest listing of federal transportation projects for Maui. The Maui Metropolitan Planning Organization is now accepting public comments on its Federal Fiscal Year 2022-2025 Transportation Improvement Program Revision #5. Maui Now.

Maui Fair is canceled for a third year in a row
. That hasn’t happened since WWII. The fair won’t be coming to Maui this year — and that’s leaving many residents and vendors disappointed. Hawaii News Now.


Kaua‘i Community College celebrates in-person graduation. About 120 students elected to take the walk to receive their appropriate degrees or certificates from a specially created stage before an audience of several hundred people spread out over the area behind the Performing Arts Center. Garden Island.

Monday, May 16, 2022

Hawaii tax rebates could hit bank accounts this year, GOP announces candidates, Army may close road in Fort DeRussy redevelopment, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Photo by 金 运 on Unsplash
Photo by 金 运 on Unsplash
Hawaii tax rebates to be expedited if enacted July 1. State government administrators are opting to diverge from a historical practice of delivering special legislative tax rebates through a following year’s tax return, and instead are preparing to issue direct bank deposits and checks in the next few months if Senate Bill 514 clears a legal and technical review by Gov. David Ige’s administration. Star-Advertiser.

Lower Electric Bills Or More Jobs? Hawaii Grapples With A Green Economy. Lawmakers did an abrupt — and secretive — about-face as the session ended when they revamped a bill putting limits on some renewable energy sources. Civil Beat.

Lawmakers award Hawaii nonprofits nearly $50M. Hawaii’s 2022 Legislature may long be mainly remembered for appropriating hundreds of millions of dollars for high-profile needs, but many smaller worthy causes also received extraordinary funding this year. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Police Standards Board Finally Gets Some Money From Lawmakers. Hawaii is the last state in the country to set up minimum qualifications for its law enforcement officers. Civil Beat.

Junked Vehicles: How One Hawaii Lawmaker Turned A Good Idea Into Reality. A freshman legislator saw four of his bills addressing abandoned vehicles pass the 2022 Hawaii Legislature. Here’s how he did it. Civil Beat.

Final pick for permanent Hawaii public schools superintendent expected Thursday.
The job is huge, and there is much at stake. As the nation’s only statewide school district, Hawaii’s is widely considered the 10th largest in the nation, with 171,000 students and 42,600 employees in 257 regular public schools and 37 charter schools, and an annual operating budget of more than $2 billion. The salary is up to $250,000 per year, less than many comparable mainland positions. Star-Advertiser.

Report Cites Mistreatment Of Students At Native Hawaiian Boarding Schools. Hawaiians fared somewhat better than students at Indian boarding schools on the mainland, a new federal investigation shows. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser.

GOP introduces candidates for 2022 election season at state convention. Although Hawaii is a heavily democratic state, there are well-known candidates willing to take the risk of running for governor. Hawaii News Now.

A Major Solar Farm Developer Is Pulling Out Of Maui And Oahu Projects. Inflation and supply chain disruptions have made the utility-scale solar projects too costly, but the developer is hopeful it’s only a delay. Civil Beat.

DLNR to hold additional meetings on use of lay nets. The new rules proposed in December limited the use of lay nets, requiring a $25 permit for the use and possession of them, and mandated that the nets be attended at all times. Tribune-Herald.


Closure of Kalia Road proposed for redevelopment of Fort DeRussy in Waikiki. The Army has proposed a long-range plan to close a broad swath of Kalia Road in Waikiki as part of the redevelopment of the Fort DeRussy Complex, igniting concerns that it will cause gridlock and significantly increase bus commute times for workers in the state’s busiest tourism district. Star-Advertiser.

Former city prosecutor’s top assistants return to testify in public corruption probe. Federal prosecutors appear to be re-focusing their efforts to charge Honolulu’s former city Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro as part of a sprawling public corruption probe. Hawaii News Now.

State shows ‘disturbing’ fuel contamination plume maps from Red Hill spills. Six months after the Navy’s tainted water crisis went public, the state has released new maps showing the underground movement of the contamination. Hawaii News Now.

Attorneys for alleged Hawaii crime boss ask judge to compel evidence disclosure. Attorneys for Michael Miske have accused federal prosecutors of ignoring the rules of discovery and not producing evidence — including text messages that show the parents of the man allegedly murdered at the order of the accused crime boss believed their son’s pregnant girlfriend and her father were responsible for his disappearance. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

The public’s turn: Council seeks input on budget increase, tax rollback. Property values are up dramatically, there’s a record high $779.7 million budget in the works and the County Council, for the first time in decades, is considering lowering the tax rates. West Hawaii Today.

Palila habitat fence slated for expansion. Another five miles of fencing around a portion of Maunakea is slated for construction this year, which will almost, but not quite, enclose the upper slopes of the mountain after more than 10 years. Tribune-Herald.


New property tax rates approved with cuts for some homeowners. Saddled by deadlines, the Maui County Council on Friday approved property tax rates for the next fiscal year, even as several members expressed a need for a more thorough review of property tax rates and policy. Maui News.

Panel sets higher pay for first agriculture director. After initially setting lower amounts, the Maui County Salary Commission voted Friday to increase annual salaries for the director and deputy director of the new county Department of Agriculture to $114,000 and $102,600, respectively. Maui News.


Kaua‘i county council shuts down vacation rental tax. By a 4-3 vote, the County Council voted down a measure Friday that would have increased the tax rate on vacation rental units and used the funding for affordable housing. Garden Island.

Masks Recommended Indoors On Kauai Due To ‘High’ Covid Risk, CDC Says. Masks are recommended in indoor public spaces and on public transportation on Kauai as the number of positive Covid-19 cases per 100,000 people on the island exceeds 540 people. Civil Beat. Garden Island.