Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Four dead in military contractor helicopter crash off Kauai, former Big Island councilman sentenced to 46 months for embezzlement, bribery, Hirono tours Red Hill, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

A helicopter crash Tuesday at the Navy’s Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai killed four civilian contractors. A PMRF spokesman said the Sikorsky S-61N helicopter, one of two contracted by the facility, crashed at about 10 a.m. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Associated Press. Big Island Now. Maui Now. Garden Island. Hawaii News Now. KHON2. KITV4.

Hawaii Senate panel passes ban on fundraisers during session.
The Hawaii Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday passed a bill that would ban lawmaker fundraisers during the legislative session, one of several measures aimed at addressing corruption after two former legislators pleaded guilty in connection with a bribery scandal. Associated Press. KITV4.

Heidi Haunani Tsuneyoshi running for governor as Republican.
First-term Honolulu Councilwoman Heidi Haunani Tsuneyoshi — a frequent critic of the city’s troubled rail project who represents parts of Central Oahu, the North Shore and the Windward side — announced Tuesday that she is running for governor as a Republican. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.

Want To Run For Office? Filings Begin March 1.
The Hawaii Office of Elections’ candidate deadline is June 7. Civil Beat.

Navy expects 27 countries to attend RIMPAC this summer. A Navy news release said 42 ships, five submarines, more than 170 aircraft and nearly 25,000 personnel are expected to participate in RIMPAC in waters off Hawaii and San Diego. Star-Advertiser.

Last defendant sentenced in scheme to defraud Hawaii housing programs. The last participant in a scheme that defrauded local housing programs of more than $100,000 was sentenced in Hawaii’s U.S. District Court on Tuesday. The scheme ran from approximately April 2015 to August 2017 and involved four people, all of whom have now been sentenced for their participation, including IHS housing specialist Leopoldo Bitte, Jr. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

There Are Widespread Reports of Sex Trafficking, So Why No Convictions? Although state agencies have received hundreds of reports of sex trafficking in Hawaii in recent years, state prosecutors have failed to convict a single person of the crime since legislators formally outlawed the practice in 2016, a review of state and local records found. Civil Beat.

Double the time: Lawmakers consider stiffer penalty for some drunken drivers in fatal crashes. A measure that would impose a stiffer penalty on a person convicted of first-degree negligent homicide while driving under the influence of an intoxicant passed its only committee hearing Friday. West Hawaii Today.

The Nature Conservancy announces new Conservation Director. The Nature Conservancy, Hawai‘i and Palmyra has named Trevor Taylor as Director of Conservation. Maui Now.

Queen’s, Kaiser Permanente ease visitor restrictions amidst declining COVID-19 cases. Both The Queen’s Health Systems and Kaiser Permanente Hawaii have eased visiting guidelines as daily coronavirus cases and positivity rates in the state continue to decline. Star-Advertiser.

Feb. 22, 2022 COVID-19 update: 150 new infections in Hawaiʻi. Todayʻs count includes 10 cases on Maui, 26 on Hawaiʻi Island, 14 on Kauaʻi, 0 on Molokaʻi, three on Lānaʻi, and one out of state.  There are 96 new COVID-19 cases on Oʻahu. Maui Now.

Oahu

Oahu's COVID-19 restrictions coming to an end on March 5, Blangiardi says.
The days of carrying a COVID-19 vaccination card or negative test result to go out on the town will soon be over -- Safe Access Oahu will sunset on March 5. KITV4.

U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono calls for closing the Navy’s Red Hill fuel storage facility through the state permitting process.
U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono defended her decision Tuesday not to sign onto a congressional bill that would mandate the permanent shutdown of the Navy’s Red Hill fuel facility, telling reporters that she was focused instead on a state permitting process that could accomplish the same goal, but faster. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.  Hawaii News Now.

Commission considers adjustment to property tax exemptions. The Oahu Real Property Tax Advisory Commission is considering changes to the city’s property tax rates and exemptions — notably, for historic homes, for-profit child care centers and primary residences. Star-Advertiser.

Council chair: Media access to emergency scanners a matter of public safety. City Council Chair Tommy Waters wants to restore the news media’s ability to listen in when first responders are called to emergencies. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Higa sentenced to 46 months in prison. Former County Councilman and Na Leo TV CEO Stacy Higa was sentenced Tuesday to 46 months in prison for embezzling from AmeriCorps and also for offering a bribe in return for federal coronavirus relief funds. West Hawaii Today. Star-Advertiser. Big Island Now. Hawaii News Now. KHON2. KITV4.

Council bill would require EV charging stations for new parking lots. A Hawaii County Council member hopes to legally require developers to include electric vehicle charging stations in new parking lots. Tribune-Herald.

HPD looking for recruits for ‘rewarding career’. Starting salary for a police officer is $65,652 a year, with benefits including paid holidays, vacation, sick leave, military leave, health insurance, group life insurance, a uniform and equipment stipend, automobile subsidy and retirement. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Now.

Maui

Major 670-acre housing project in Wailea aims to move ahead; groups intervene. A long-debated master planned community proposed for 670 acres in Wailea called Honuaʻula sought the next phase of county approval today — but two groups are challenging it. Maui Now.

Final assessment for Honokowai project released. Plan calls for hundreds of residential homesteads, multifamily residential units. The state Department of Hawaiian Homelands has published its final environmental assessment for its Honokowai Homestead Community Master Plan, which will include hundreds of residential homesteads, multifamily residential units and subsistence agricultural homestead lots on nearly 800 acres in West Maui. Maui News.

A plan to beautify a shoreline parcel on Maui has hit yet another obstacle. A lot near Kahului Harbor is finally cleared of homeless and ready for food trucks thanks to a local nonprofit organization. But it’s got a pretty foul neighbor — a sewage discharge station. Hawaii News Now.

Kauai

Waitlists, affordability obstacles in Hawai‘i housing crisis
. Hawai‘i leaders met Tuesday to address the public about the state’s on-going housing crisis, recommending a multi-pronged approach to address rising home costs. Garden Island.

Princeville resort part of state’s ‘regenerative tourism’ push. The Cliffs at Princeville resort is donating a portion of guests’ bills to local conservation efforts through a new partnership with the hotel-booking website Kind Traveler. Garden Island.



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