Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Checks arrive for Kona coffee farmers in lawsuit settlement, Legislature mulls banning campaign contributions during session, state seeks to centralize law enforcement, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Coffee beans on drying floor in Hawaii ©2022 All Hawaii News

Kona coffee labeling settlements top $15.25M.
Kona coffee farmers have each begun receiving their share of a $13.1 million settlement reached in a 2019 class action lawsuit against retailers that falsely labeled commodity coffee beans as premium “Kona” coffee. West Hawaii Today.

‘Shock And Anger’ Over Legislative Bribery Cases Could Lead To Limits On Campaign Fundraising. The Legislature is considering a bill to ban legislators from holding fundraisers during session. Civil Beat. KHON2.

Some Hawaii Agencies Are Pushing A Bill That Would Limit Public Access To Government Records. House Bill 2303 would roll back a Hawaii Supreme Court ruling that opened up many records to the public, including draft documents and records that show how an agency came to a decision. Civil Beat.

3 nominees on short list to fill OHA Board of Trustees vacancy. The list includes Maunakea educator and activist Lanakila Mangauil, county housing specialist Kaloa Robinson, and Native Hawaiian attorney and former OHA trustee Mililani Trask. Hawaii Public Radio.

Lawmakers seek land transfer to help move Hawaiian Homelands beneficiaries off waitlist. A bill that would transfer land owned by the University of Hawaii to the state Department of Hawaiian Homelands is moving forward in the state Legislature. Hawaii News Now.

Pre-Fab Construction Could Be One Solution To Hawaii’s High Cost Of Housing. The entire structure of a home can go up in days using structural insulated panels, so why are we hardly using it? Civil Beat.

University of Hawaiʻi Reports Record Graduation Rates
. UH campuses across the state "achieved record highs in important graduation and retention metrics for the academic year 2020–21", officials say. Big Island Video News.

Feb. 21, 2022 COVID-19 update: 206 new infections in Hawaiʻi. The count includes 26 cases on Maui, 47 on Hawaiʻi Island, 18 on Kauaʻi, one on Molokaʻi, one on Lānaʻi, and seven out of state.  There are 106 new COVID-19 cases on Oʻahu. Maui Now.

Oahu

State envisions 240-acre parcel as future home of emergency response hub.
The state is pushing for a new facility that would bring emergency agencies together to one location in central Oahu. Hawaii News Now.

Push to drain Red Hill fuel tanks touches off relocation questions. As the Navy faces increasing pressure to drain the tanks at its Red Hill fuel storage facility, the question of where the fuel could be relocated is moving to the forefront. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu To Pay Millions More In Case Of Police Chase Gone Wrong. The fatal crash caused the deaths of three people and injured others. Civil Beat.

Community leaders seek to ban chronic criminals from returning to Waikiki, other resort areas. Community leaders are backing a proposal that would ban chronic criminals who break the law in Waikiki from returning to the tourism district. If the bill is passed, the same rules would apply to other business and resort districts. Hawaii News Now.

Paradise Beverages fined $75K for polluting Waiawa Stream.
One the state’s largest distributors of alcoholic beverages was fined $75,000 for polluting Waiawa Stream with expired alcohol, carbonated beverages and vehicle maintenance pollutants, according to the state Department of Health. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii Public Radio.

On-time graduation rates at UH Manoa at record high.
The “on time” graduation rate at the University of Hawaii at Manoa in 2021 reached its highest level in history, with 39.7% of first-time, full-time freshmen earning their degrees in four years, according to data released by the university.  Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu preschool closure will worsen early education shortage, advocates say. For nearly four decades, Seagull Schools' Early Education Center has sat on the corner of Beretania and Alapai Streets in downtown Honolulu. Hawaii Public Radio.

Parents fear temporary closure of Lahainaluna boys’ dorm could become permanent
. Lahainaluna High School’s boys’ dormitory is temporarily shutting down because of staff shortages. But families, who worry this may become permanent, are pushing to keep the dorms open. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Council members attend NACo conference. Four Hawaii County Council members returned from last week’s National Association of Counties conference brimming with ideas for new county initiatives and optimism for another infusion of federal money. West Hawaii Today.

Officials: New gym for Papaaloa a top priority. State Rep. Mark Nakashima said Monday a new county gymnasium in Papaaloa is the top capital-improvement priority in his district. Tribune-Herald.

Maui


Web page established for new Maui County Department of Agriculture.
Maui County has set up a new web page as part of the formation of the new County Department of Agriculture. Voters approved a Maui County Charter amendment in November 2020 for establishment of the department, which will officially launch in July 2022. Maui Now.

Updated West Maui Community Plan and map now available to view on County website. The plan is designed to be user-friendly with graphics and pictures. A web-based map with zooming and clickable features is included to enable users to more easily view the adopted community plan map. Maui Now.

Maui Seaside Hotel in Kahului to be converted to ‘upscale’ Hilton
. Located at 100 W. Kaahumanu Ave. next to Maui Beach Hotel, Maui Seaside is a 181-room limited-service hotel with a restaurant and swimming pool. It was founded in 1956. Maui Now.

Nisei veterans center opens new resource pavilion.
Standing in front of the completed Stanley Izumigawa Resource Center Pavilion at the Nisei Veterans Memorial Center, board Chairperson Kyoko Kimura said she was “overwhelmed” by the moment. Maui News. Maui Now.

Kauai

Hawaiian homestead nonprofit purchases rental property. The Homestead Community Development Corporation announced Sunday its purchase of a six-unit apartment building on Halenani Street in Lihu‘e, with the goal of keeping the housing affordable. Garden Island.

Fishers get new FADs along island’s windward side. Six fish-aggregation devices (FADs) were installed off Kaua‘i last week, restoring the local portion of a statewide buoy array to nearly full strength. Garden Island.

Seminar addresses commercial activities on state, county lands.
The Kaua‘i Visitors Bureau and the state Department of Land and Natural Resources sought to clarify rules and regulations associated with work on public lands during a virtual seminar. Garden Island.

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