Friday, April 29, 2022

Legislature passes Hawaiian homestead funding, Cayetano apologizes for comments on Hawaiian language, Honolulu not conserving water, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Children play at Hawaiian Home Lands campsite ©2022 All Hawaii News
Historic Hawaiian homestead funding approved. The state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands is a couple of short steps away from receiving a record $600 million largely to produce a few thousand homesteads for Native Hawaiians. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Thousands Of Hawaiians Could Lose Phone And Internet Service Amid Bankruptcy Dispute. Sandwich Isles Communications has been changing locks, barricading doors and welding gates shut to keep out Hawaiian Telcom employees in a bitter feud over bankruptcy fallout. Civil Beat.

Former Gov. Ben Cayetano apologizes for Facebook post. Former Gov. Ben Caye­tano apologized this week after receiving harsh blowback and lessons in Hawaiian history and language when he questioned why he never knew any Native Hawaiian classmates who were beaten in school for speaking Hawaiian. Star-Advertiser.

Democratic Rep. Kai Kahele will retire from Congress, source says. Democratic Rep. Kai Kahele of Hawaii is retiring from Congress at the end of his term, a source familiar with the matter told CNN. The congressman has been telling colleagues that he intends to run for governor. CNN.

Legislative conflicts put Hawaii Tourism Authority funding at risk. State House and Senate conferees left HTA funding out of House Bill 1600 when approving their final version of the state’s $17 billion supplemental budget for the upcoming fiscal year Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

Attempt to ban drone fishing questioned by some Maui, Neighbor Isle fishers. SB 2065 would prohibit the possession or use of unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, in Hawaiʻi waters for fishing, unless permitted by the state Department of Land and Natural Resources. Maui Now.

Crisis on the streets: Stemming the tide of inbound homeless. Once travel quarantine, testing and vaccination rules were lifted, the floodgates opened for all kinds of travelers. KHON2.

Big budget surplus means more taxpayer help for Hawaii nonprofits — and the people they serve. State lawmakers are ready to approve a budget that includes nearly $50 million in grants to private groups and organizations around the state. Hawaii News Now.

Growing push seeks to prevent the state from taking millions in benefits from foster kids. Over the past four years, Hawaii has taken more than $1.5 million from kids living in foster care in the form of Social Security payments and survivor’s benefits. There are close to 3,000 children in Hawaii’s foster care system. On average, the state received Social Security payments on behalf of 37 youth a year between 2018 and 2021. Those benefits during that time period totaled close to $1.5 million. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Health Department detects two new omicron mutants. The Hawaii Department of Health in its variant report published Wednesday afternoon confirmed the presence of two descendants of BA.2 — BA.2.12 and BA.2.12.1. Star-Advertiser.


Green Lawns And Pools: Honolulu’s Biggest Water Users Struggle To Conserve. Despite calls to use 10% less water, the Honolulu Board of Water Supply says it hasn’t seen a significant drop in usage. Civil Beat.

Honolulu Police Chief Finalists Will Face The Public In TV Interview. The Honolulu Police Commission hopes to announce the city’s next police chief by early June. Civil Beat.

A Starbucks in Mililani could become the first unionized location in Hawaiʻi. The staff at the Mililani Town Center Starbucks won’t know if they have the votes to unionize until next week, but one organizer, Nate Jaramillo, is cautiously optimistic. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii Island

Round 3 for tax credit plan: Council members to discuss giving a $250 offset to qualifying homeowners. A proposed $250 tax credit for qualifying homeowners will be discussed once again at a County Council committee hearing next week. Tribune-Herald.

Lawmakers delay Mauna Kea decision. State House and Senate lawmakers Thursday delayed approval of the Mauna Kea governance bill, saying it continues to be a work in progress. Star-Advertiser.

Commission says county erred in sewer bills. The county was in error 23 years ago when it started charging owners of a historic home on Alii Drive two sewer fees instead of one, the county Environmental Management Commission said Wednesday. West Hawaii Today.


Budget bill passes with funds for multiple Maui County projects. The Senate and House of Representatives’ money committees have approved the state budget bill, which includes funding for Maui hospital expansion, a new school in Central Maui and axis deer management. Maui News.

Even Apartment Dwellers Could Cash In On This Huge Lanai Solar Project. The planned 10,000-panel project is expected to meet the majority of the island’s current energy needs. Civil Beat. Maui Now.


New COVID death ‘somber reminder’ pandemic persists. A 70-year-old Kaua‘i man has died of COVID-19 and local case numbers have more than doubled, Mayor Derek Kawakami reported Thursday. Garden Island.

Showrunner John Wells sells Kilauea ranch for $22.5M. The creative force behind hit TV shows like “ER,” “The West Wing” and “Shameless” parted ways with 237 acres of North Shore property this week. Garden Island.

Effort afoot to populate petrels on Moku‘ae‘ae. Last week, workers from the state Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Forestry and Wildlife, the Kaua‘i Endangered Seabird Recovery Project and volunteers from Archipelago Research and Conservation, took the first steps to create a new colony of band-rumped storm petrels on Moku‘ae‘ae. Garden Island.

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Conference committee proposes record $8.7B state budget, minimum wage hike still undecided, Hawaii transitioning from pandemic emergency, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Lawmakers Lay Out A Record-Setting $8.7 Billion State Budget.
House and Senate negotiators also gave preliminary approval Wednesday to a $6 billion construction budget that funds new schools on Maui and Oahu. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser.

Friday deadline looms for Hawaii lawmakers to raise minimum wage. Supporters rallied in events across the islands to urge lawmakers to agree on a final version by Friday. If they do not agree on terms, the measure will be killed. The sticking point has been how much the raises will be and how fast they will be implemented. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Lawmakers Reach Agreement On Cash Bail Reform. A measure to let people accused of nonviolent misdemeanors go free without bail will be put to a final vote in the House and Senate next week. Civil Beat.

Lawmakers adopt resolution apologizing for ban on Hawaiian language in schools. The state Legislature has adopted a resolution that apologizes to Native Hawaiians for a law that effectively banned the use of the Hawaiian language in schools. Hawaii News Now.

Hawai‘i Supreme Court Diminishes the Power of Non-Compete Clauses. An employment attorney says the ruling, which follows a national trend, should persuade business owners and employers to review non-compete agreements.  Hawaii Business Magazine.

Mounting speculation about a Kahele run for governor triggers ‘grand chess game’. Freshman Congressman Kai Kahele isn’t talking about it, but there’s growing anticipation that he’ll run for governor ― and he hasn’t denied it. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii transitioning from COVID-19 emergency, but pandemic continues. Gov. David Ige announced Wednesday that the state’s response to COVID-19 is transitioning from an emergency mode to public health management. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Now. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Hawai‘i records 11 new coronavirus-related deaths, 3,370 new infections. The state’s average positivity rate, meanwhile, jumped to 9.1%, up from 7.1% last week. It is the sixth week in a row that DOH has recorded an increase in the positivity rate. Star-Advertiser.


$96 million federal grant to replace Mokapu Elementary. The state is receiving a $96 million federal grant to help replace Mokapu Elementary School because of “capacity and facility condition deficiencies,” Marine Corps Base Hawaii announced this week. Star-Advertiser.

Prosecutor declines to charge HPD corporal following domestic violence arrest in Kaneohe
. Cpl. Roland Masao Kam, 49, was arrested April 17 on suspicion of misdemeanor abuse of a family or household member, second- degree unlawful imprisonment and interference with reporting an emergency or crime, according to the Honolulu Police Department. Star-Advertiser.

HPD Officers Involved In Makaha Crash Want Public-Paid Attorneys. A contested case hearing will be held to determine if two HPD officers accused of causing a serious crash will get a city-funded legal defense. Civil Beat.

One less candidate in the running for the next Honolulu police chief. The next step will be three days of testing, which starts on May 9. The commission expects to pick the next chief by June. KITV4.

Inside The ‘Frantic’ Push To Shorten Rail And Keep Its Federal Funding. Project officials stress that they’re still fully committed to getting rail to Ala Moana, but it’s still not clear financially how that would happen. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Island

Meeting about PTA lease extension draws mostly opponents. The U.S. Army found few supporters at a Monday public discussion about whether part of the Pohakuloa Training Area should remain under Army control. Tribune-Herald.

Thirty Meter Telescope Project Names New Executive Director. Robert P. Kirshner succeeds Edward C. Stone as executive director of TIO, or TMT International Observatory LLC. Big Island Video News.


Panel pulls requirement for N. Kīhei affordable housing project so it can move ahead. Saying that a much-needed affordable housing project in North Kīhei shouldn’t be held up over county roadway requirements, Maui Planning Commission on Tuesday morning voted to pull the condition, allowing Hale Kaiola to move full-steam ahead. Maui Now. Maui News.

Maui hospital system still reliant on funds from government. Maui Memorial Medical Center and its health care affiliates in Kula and on Lanai continue to struggle financially six years after the state turned over the cash-strapped hospital system to Kaiser Permanente in a bid to save the state tens of millions of dollars annually. Star-Advertiser.

‘We Cannot Afford To Be Careless’: Lahaina Residents Want More Water Oversight. Locals are asking state regulators to do more to protect the supply of water for future generations. Civil Beat.


State grants $230M for Kaua‘i capital projects. The state budget that was approved Wednesday by a conference committee made up of representatives from both houses appropriated a historic $230 million for capital improvement projects on Kaua‘i. Garden Island.

New Wainiha center design addresses community concerns
. Planners unveiled the Wainiha Community Resilience Center’s final design Wednesday, reviewing changes made since preliminaries were presented to the public two years ago. Garden Island.

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Hawaiian homestead litigation settled, Honolulu mayor signs bill curbing short-term rentals, Maui mulls property tax cuts for homeowners, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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State settling 23-year litigation over Hawaiian homesteads for $328 million. Leona Kalima and two other named plaintiffs filed the lawsuit in state court alleging that the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, overseer of a 203,000-acre federally created land trust, had breached its fiduciary duty by not awarding homestead lots on a timely basis to qualified applicants, who must be at least half Hawaiian and can receive house, farm or pastoral lots under 99-year leases that cost $1 a year. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii Public Radio. Associated Press. Big Island Now.  Maui Now. Hawaii News Now. KHON2. KITV4.

Hawaii Supreme Court: State Must Release ‘Explosive’ 2016 Report On State Auditor. The Attorney General’s investigative report details wrongdoing by then-State Auditor Jan Yamane and her top assistants. Civil Beat.

Search for Hawaii public schools superintendent is down to 7 candidates. The search for the next new permanent superintendent of Hawaii’s massive public school system is down to seven candidates, and the state Board of Education has released a revised timeline, plus a proposed selection process meant to increase transparency and shed light on how the finalists would solve problems and lead. Star-Advertiser.

Raking It In: Hawaii’s Federal Delegation Brought More Than $265 Million To The State. Fiscal year 2022 was the first budget cycle in more than a decade in which lawmakers were able to secure funding for pet projects in their states and districts. Civil Beat.

Ex-Sen. Jill Tokuda to challenge U.S. Rep. Kai Kahele for Congress. Former state Sen. Jill Tokuda — who had been running for lieutenant governor in the upcoming Aug. 13 Democratic primary — disrupted state and federal races Tuesday by filing federal election papers to run for the congressional seat held by U.S. Rep. Kai Kahele. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.  

Pandemic modeling group: Daily COVID case count in Hawaii likely 7 times official figure. COVID infections are on the rise in Hawaii, but home testing means it’s hard to get a true picture of the daily case count. Hawaii News Now.


Mayor Rick Blangiardi signs short-term rental bill. A new short-term rental proposal became law Tuesday after Mayor Rick Blangiardi signed a measure that would notably lengthen the minimum stay in most cases to three months from 30 days — making Honolulu among the toughest cities in the country for vacation rentals. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii Public Radio. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

City to offer interest-free loans to help residents cover home down payments. Those eligible must be earning 80% or below of the area median income, which is just over $77,000 for a couple and roughly $96,600 for a family of four. Hawaii News Now.

Several Oʻahu private schools report receiving bomb threats via email. The emails were identical and appeared to be sent from the same address. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii Island

Mauna Kea proposal now pushes University of Hawaii away from oversight. A proposed draft compromise creates an 11-member Mauna Kea Stewardship and Oversight Authority with responsibility over the entire mountain, including the astronomy precinct. Star-Advertiser. Tribune-Herald.

Water bills to increase. Water rate increases are on tap for Big Island customers, with consecutive 9.5% increases in standby and usage charges this year and next. West Hawaii Today.

New barracks unveiled at PTA: Project is part of a $210 million effort to improve the Army facility. The result of a $17 million contract, the 10 new barracks replaced the Quonset huts originally constructed as easy-to-assemble, temporary buildings during the early 1950s. Tribune-Herald.


Proposals call for tax cuts for some homeowners. Council budget committee to hold public hearing this week as it mulls ratesMaui County families who reside in their own home could potentially see property tax cuts under proposals being hammered out in the budget in the coming weeks. Maui News.

The Maui County Council will hold a public hearing on property tax rates at 6 p.m. Wednesday. Here are the current property tax rates compared with Mayor Michael Victorino’s proposals for fiscal year 2023 and the council’s Budget, Finance and Economic Development Committee draft proposed rates. Maui News.

50,000 more Hawaiʻi locations getting ultra fast internet, including on Lāna‘i and Moloka‘i. Fioptics is delivered on Hawaiian Telcom’s fiber network that goes all the way to a home or business. A fiber-optic cable is made of thin strands of flexible glass fibers, each smaller than the width of a human hair.  Maui Now.


Increased KPD budget proposed. Kaua‘i Police Department Chief Todd Raybuck presented the proposed KPD budget before the Police Commission Friday, requesting an increase of more than $1.4 million over last year. Garden Island.

University of Hawaii releases study on devastating Kauai rainfall in 2018. The storm came with no warning at all and destroyed or damaged more than 500 homes. It also caused about $180 million worth of damage. KHON2.

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Tourist reservations required for Diamond Head, Hawaii has nation's highest hotel rates, Hawaii CEO pay rises 20%, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Atop Diamond Head ©2022 All Hawaii News
Diamond Head to require reservations for tourists. As part of efforts to reduce congestion and visitor impacts at the iconic Diamond Head State Monument, the state Department of Land and Natural Resources will require out-of-state residents to make reservations to visit the popular site starting May 12. Star-Advertiser. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now.

Proposal for $300 tax rebate still alive in Legislature. A potential $300 tax rebate for most Hawaii taxpayers faces one final hurdle in the state Legislature. Tribune-Herald.

New contracts give most Hawaii public union workers pay raises. At least 12 of the 15 collective bargaining units representing state and county workers in Hawaii have ratified contracts, according to information from the unions involved. Star-Advertiser.

The average childcare worker makes about $12 an hour. This bill aims to change that. State lawmakers are close to passing two measures aimed to addressing the shortage of qualified childcare workers. Hawaii News Now.

In another sign of economic rebound, average Hawaii CEO pay rose 20% last year. A Hawaii News Now review of company proxy statements filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission shows that the top executives of Hawaii’s largest publicly traded companies received an average pay increase of more than $750,000 in 2021. Their average take-home pay: $4.5 million. Hawaii News Now.

Ige’s Education Board Nominees Are A Step Closer To Confirmation. The full Senate must still vote to approve the two incumbents and three new members for a three year term. Civil Beat.

Bill to provide free period products at public schools advances.
Senate Bill 2821 would require the department of education and charter school commission to provide products such as tampons and pads at all school campuses. Members of the senate and house education committees met Friday to discuss a final version of the bill. Hawaii Public Radio.

Legislation would give landlords the OK to question tenants about assistance animals. Landlords and other property managers would be allowed to question the validity of assistance animals under a new bill passed by the state House and Senate on April 21. This would include therapy, comfort and other emotional support animals. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii’s Prison Oversight Commission Finally Gets A Staffer — 3 Years Later.
The lack of staff has effectively hobbled the work of the Hawaii Correctional Systems Oversight Commission. Civil Beat.

Waters: Hawaii Needs Congressional Rep In It For the Long Run. As one-term U.S. Rep Kai Kahele weighs a run for governor, Honolulu City Council Chair Tommy Waters said Hawaii deserves a federal representative who will live and work in Washington, D.C. for the next 20 years. Civil Beat.

Alaska Airlines to suspend Anchorage-Hawaii nonstop flights during summer, fall. Alaska Airlines says its canceling nonstop flights between Anchorage and Honolulu during the summer and fall, primarily because of limited staffing. Associated Press.

Cruise ship on Hawaii-San Francisco trip suffers COVID-19 outbreak. The San Francisco Department of Public Health confirmed there were 143 passengers aboard the Ruby Princess cruise ship who tested positive for the coronavirus during a round trip from San Francisco to Hawaii and back that ended April 11. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii hotels fetched nation’s highest daily rates in March. The occupancy rate at Hawaii hotels in March was fifth best among the nation’s top tourism markets for the first quarter in a strong rebound from 2021’s pandemic-­related downturn. Star-Advertiser.


HART board chair confident rail will get to Ala Moana. Colleen Hanabusa, chair of the Board of Directors for the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation, said she still believed the train will ultimately run to Ala Moana Center and possibly even the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. Hawaii Public Radio.

Another HPD commander prepares to leave as search for police chief drags on. There’s another major leadership change at the Honolulu Police Department as the search for a new chief drags on and crime is on the rise. The department’s third-in-command, acting Deputy Chief Lisa Mann, will retire June 1. Hawaii News Now.

With water restrictions possible, BWS eyes worsening drought with concern. With three public water wells shut down because of the Navy’s tainted water crisis, water restrictions this summer are a real possibility. And on Monday, Board of Water Supply members learned the weather is making the situation worse. Hawaii News Now.

Makiki man is convicted of trafficking underage girls. Marquis Green, who was 30 at the time of his crimes and claimed a Makiki address, was found guilty of two counts of sex trafficking, one count of first-degree sexual assault and one count of misdemeanor assault for trafficking a 15-year-old local girl in Waikiki in 2013, charging $150 per half-hour or $200 per hourlong encounter, according to court documents. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Amid progress in Chinatown, mayor hopes to focus revitalization efforts in Waikiki. Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi says the city is making progress in its effort to revitalize Chinatown ― and he’s hoping to turn his sights on Waikiki next. Hawaii News Now.

Schofield Barracks soldiers helped shape new Army policies for parents. Two Schofield Barracks soldiers played a key role in crafting reforms in how the Army handles pregnant soldiers and new parents. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Affordable housing measures advance to council. A pair of bills moving through the County Council will carve out 1% of property tax revenues each year and dedicate the money to an expanded range of programs to increase affordable housing. West Hawaii Today.

County, mayor sued over Waipi‘o road closure. A community organization has filed a lawsuit against the county, Mayor Mitch Roth and Public Works Director Ikaika Rodenhurst, alleging the closure of Waipi‘o Valley Road to all but a handful of people is unlawful. Tribune-Herald.


Thousands Of Houses Are Empty On Maui.
Would Higher Taxes Change That?. An estimated 15,000 housing units — about 1 in 5 throughout all of Maui County — are vacant, according to 2020 census estimates. Civil Beat.

Maui lawmakers propose restrictions on vans, campers tourists are renting as lodging. There's a growing trend on Maui -- people are leasing out cars and campers for visitors to stay in. KITV4.

Major police bust on Maui fuels concerns about use of ‘ghost guns’.
The Maui Police Department’s Crime Reduction Unit and its Special Response Team raided a home in Kihei on Thursday morning and found crystal meth, fentanyl, heroine and other illegal drugs. They also discovered a 3D printer and parts needed to make ghost guns. Hawaii News Now.

409 citations, 41 warnings, and 2 arrests during MPD distracted driving campaign. The Maui Police Department’s Traffic Division issued a total of 195 citations for use of a mobile electronic device while driving during the department’s distracted driving awareness campaign last week. Maui Now.


Plan approved for Wi-Fi in parks. The County Council unanimously approved a request to receive and expend $50,000 in state funds for a program providing 24/7 public internet access at seven parks throughout the island. Garden Island.

Monday, April 25, 2022

Child abuse increases, Legislature won't curtail session fundraising, group seeks apology for Hawaiian language ban, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Keiki paddleboarding in Hawaii ©2022 All Hawaii News

State finds increase in sexual, physical abuse of children. A state program has found there were more child abuse cases in Hawaii in 2021 than in 2020, attributed in part to COVID-19 but also to increased awareness and reporting. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.  KITV4.

Hawaii lawmakers pan suggested ban on campaign contributions during legislative sessions. Hawaii lawmakers don’t seem inclined to pass legislation this year that would fulfill a special commission’s recommendation to outlaw campaign fundraising during the legislative session. Star-Advertiser.

Some approved Hawaii legislative bills have already become law. As Hawaii’s 2022 legislative session approaches its scheduled end on May 5, the number of approved bills sent to Gov. David Ige for action is building. Star-Advertiser.

Apology sought for 90-year ban on speaking Hawaiian in schools. House Concurrent Resolution 130, which is written in both Hawaiian and English, also acknowledges the consequences of the law that made English the only language allowed in schools. Star-Advertiser.

Mauna Kea debate continues as lawmakers discuss related bills.
Up for discussion are joint committee bills to establish an oversite committee over the mountain. Meanwhile a report on how much money astronomy generates for the Big Island, came out Sunday. KITV4.

The Aha Moku Advisory Committee given new life. A state advisory committee tasked with giving Native Hawaiians a voice in the management of environmental, fisheries and cultural resources is poised to get back to business after being stalled for years due to political infighting and lack of funding. Civil Beat.

Resolution seeks to make Filipino course mandatory for high school students. A required course in Filipino history, culture and identity could be coming to all Hawaii public high schools, according to a resolution passed earlier this month by the state Legislature. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii ranked most expensive state to live in. A new study by World Population Review ranked the states with the highest and lowest cost of living. KHON2.

Hawaii doctors prescribing antiviral pills for COVID. Doctors in Hawaii are now prescribing antiviral pills for the treatment of sympto­matic patients with mild to moderate COVID-19, but they must be considered at high risk and meet other criteria. Star-Advertiser.

Package tour travelers return for Golden Week, marking Japan tourism recovery for Hawaii. Package tours from Japan, which have been absent in Hawaii for the past two years of the pandemic, are returning in time for the start of Golden Week on Friday. Star-Advertiser.


Feds Agree To Stop Fighting Order To Drain Red Hill. The federal government is submitting to the state’s environmental oversight authority, an Earthjustice attorney said. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu rail board still hung up on confidentiality agreement. Six of the 12 board members who oversee the city’s rail project have not signed mandated confidentiality agreements but only one has been excluded from private board discussions, including again on Friday. Star-Advertiser.

Making progress to reach goal, city completes a third of conservation actions. Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi released the city’s annual sustainability report on Friday in recognition of Earth Day. The city’s goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 45% in the next three years. And so far, more than a third of conservation actions have been completed. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Homelessness up on Hawaii Island; 1 in 3 unsheltered individuals considered ‘chronically homeless’. A total of 837 homeless people were counted during this year’s count, with 300 identifying as “chronically homeless,” which mean having been continuously homeless for at least one year, according to the report released last week by Bridging the Gap Hawaii. West Hawaii Today.

Satellite-dish array proposed for Ka‘u: Project would be used to search for fast radio bursts from space. The Academia Sinica Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics will request a special permit to operate an array of 10 satellite dishes on a one-half acre rural lot in Wood Valley. Tribune-Herald.

‘Great big party house’ irks neighbors: Illegal short-term vacation rentals pop up in residential neighborhoods. A group of Kailua-Kona homeowners says a loophole in the county vacation rental law is allowing illegal short-term rentals to flourish in what once were quiet neighborhoods. West Hawaii Today.

Hilo housing facility looks to break ground by September. Hawaii Island Veterans Memorial Inc. will break ground on a 92-unit housing facility on Kawili Street across from the University of Hawaii at Hilo for seniors, veterans and veterans’ spouses “between June and September,” said project chairman Bob Williams. Tribune-Herald.

Captain Cook Name Change Resolution Stalls In Senate. Senate Committee on Public Safety, Intergovernmental and Military Affairs deferred a measure to re-designate the census-designated place as Ka‘awaloa. Big Island Video News.


To tackle overtourism, Maui considers cap on visitor accommodations. The Maui County Council is looking at ways to crack down on overtourism in response to the visitor boom it experienced last year. Council members say they want to better regulate the industry this year, so it doesn’t happen again. Hawaii News Now.

Bill on licensing requirements for electric gun sellers mulled. The Maui County Council is considering a bill to establish licensing requirements for sellers of electric guns, while a federal lawsuit challenges the delay in licensing and additional requirements proposed for sellers. Maui News.

Unexploded ordnance washes ashore on Lānaʻi, Army contacted for response. Personnel from the state Department of Land and Natural Resources contacted police after locating a piece of unexploded ordnance, which they said washed onshore at Hulopoʻe Beach Park on Lānaʻi.  Maui Now.

11 unclaimed remains at Maui forensic facility. The Maui Police Department currently has 11 unclaimed bodies at its forensic facility in Wailuku, according to police. Officials are requesting assistance in contacting family members of the deceased. Maui Now.


This West Kauai Beach Is Growing So Why Move Inland? Kauai County is testing the idea of property swaps to get residents to move away from the coastline but on this coastal stretch the issue isn’t so clear. Civil Beat.

Army to honor educators on Teacher Appreciation Day. In the weeks leading up to Teacher Appreciation Day, Tuesday, May 3, the U.S. Army Recruiting Station Kaua‘i is partnering with several local organizations to honor and celebrate teachers. Garden Island.

Friday, April 22, 2022

Legislature wants to shield hula from exploitation, Honolulu mulls more regulation over vacation rentals, Har cleared of misuse of office during DUI arrest, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2022 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Lawmakers support resolution to protect hula amid ‘exploitation’ concerns. Many of the world’s finest hula dancers are gathered in Hilo this week for the 59th annual Merrie Monarch Festival. But hula also took centerstage at the state Capitol on Thursday, where lawmakers are considering a resolution to protect its integrity. Hawaii News Now.

How The Decline In Lab Testing Is Complicating Efforts To Track Covid. As the pandemic enters its third year, more people are taking at-home tests or none at all. But coronavirus cases are still rising. Civil Beat.

BOE OKs requests to reduce class time: More than 200 noninstructional days authorized statewide. The state Board of Education voted unanimously Thursday to approve more than 200 requests from schools for noninstructional days, decreasing the number of hours students will spend in the classroom for the 2022-2023 school year. Tribune-Herald.

Free summer school to help students bounce back. The DOE universal screener testing revealed that in the fall and winter of the 2021-2022 school year, almost a fourth of all elementary students were failing English. Though things improved slightly in English in the second quarter, more of them failed math. KHON2.

Isabella Kalua’s Death Has Yet To Trigger A Clear Plan To Bolster Child Protection. The end of this year’s legislative session is just days away, and lawmakers say they still haven’t seen a clear plan for improving Hawaii’s child welfare system. Civil Beat.

Biden Nominates Ex-KPD Officer To Lead US Marshals Office In Hawaii. President Joe Biden announced Friday that he is nominating Michael Contrades, a former deputy police chief in Kauai, to lead the U.S. Marshals Office in Hawaii. Civil Beat.

Hawaii lawmaker will not face additional punishment following DUI acquittal. State Rep. Sharon Har will not face additional charges for her conduct during an arrest on suspicion of drunk driving. A House Special Committee said it found no evidence that the Makakilo lawmaker misused her office during her arrest. Hawaii News Now. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.


Council Budget Committee advances new tax classification for short-term rentals. The Honolulu City Council Budget Committee has given initial approval to a measure that would adjust the property tax rate for legal short-term rentals, which in its current form could mean relief for some owners and a hike for others. Star-Advertiser.

Permitting overhaul may mean faster build times for homeowners. The city's Permitting Director - Dean Uchida - said today during a Honolulu City Council Committee Meeting that it's in the process of revamping the entire permitting system, which has been notoriously slow. KITV4.

FBI warning about threat to Honolulu’s mayor prompted additional officers at city hall. A witness against suspected crime boss Mike Miske was indicted by a federal grand jury Thursday for allegedly making social media threats to a DLNR official and his family. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu ranked in top 25 cleanest cities for air pollution. Honolulu is ranked #3 in the top 25 cleanest cities in the country, and officials at the American Lung Association credit both the success to the island's trade winds and the increase of residents switching over to electric cars. KITV4.

Navy says it has cut irrigation use by 50% amid water shortage. The Navy says it is doing its part to conserve water on Oʻahu in response to a request from the Board of Water Supply. Hawaii Public Radio.

Oahu North Shore property owner says he will fight $92K fine. State conservation officials are seeking to impose a $92,000 fine against a North Shore property owner for violating state laws by moving large amounts of sand in front of his two beachfront homes to shield them from coastal erosion and refusing to remove broken sandbags, rocks, concrete rubble and other debris that they say he stacked along the public beach. Star-Advertiser.

As housing prices on Oahu hit record highs, families grapple with rising rents. Prices for single-family homes on Oahu hit a new record high last month and are up more than 21% from last year, according to the Honolulu Board of Realtors. Hawaii News Now.

Oahu Nonprofits To Get $4.5M To Address Housing And Financial Woes. The 17 organizations will work together to help solve critical problems facing the island’s working families. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Island

Plans for bridge work unveiled: Weight limit on Kolekole could be lifted in June. Kolekole Bridge is on track to reopen to heavy truck traffic by June, state officials said Thursday. Tribune-Herald.

Planning Commission Defers Extension Request for Subdivision Proposal off Ali‘i Drive. The commission voted 6-0 on Thursday, April 21, to have Hawai‘i One first meet with the Cultural Resource Commission to ensure there aren’t any historical, burial or cultural concerns by that body or neighbors. Big Island Now.

Funds sought for demolition of Uncle Billy’s. The state Department of Land and Natural Resources Land Division is seeking money from the Legislature to demolish the former Uncle Billy’s Hilo Bay Hotel building. Tribune-Herald.


‘Ration Your Water’: A Plantation-Era Water System On Maui is Maxed Out. Families who rely on a Maui stream as their only source of running water found their supply suddenly dry. Civil Beat.

Water to be restored to five Molokai streams. Flow standards set for the waterways that were often dry for almost a century. Water will be restored to five streams on Molokai that for more than a century were almost fully diverted and often dry, according to the state Department of Land and Natural Resources. Maui News.

After outcry, Maui’s Baldwin High reverses ban on lei-giving at graduation. A significant reversal for graduating seniors who have endured years of pandemic restrictions, Baldwin High School recently repealed its ban on lei-giving at this year’s graduation ceremony. Maui Now.


Weekly COVID cases rising on Kaua’i. COVID-19 cases are rising on-island, statewide and nationally, the County of Kaua‘i reported Thursday. Garden Island.

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Honolulu police reforms proposed, Kealoha doctor brother convicted on 38 counts of opioid distribution, school reverses lei ban, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Honolulu Ballot Proposals Would Reshape Police Oversight. The charter amendments need support from six of nine City Council members to be added to the November ballot. Civil Beat.

State Rep. Sharon Har skirts question about why she went out during COVID-19. State Rep. Sharon Har has yet to explain to a special House committee why she was out at night during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021 while taking prescription medication for a respiratory ailment, drank alcohol and was subsequently arrested — and later acquitted — of drunken driving. Star-Advertiser.

Positive COVID-19 tests on the rise as Hawaii’s free testing program comes to an end
. On Wednesday, the state’s weekly average positivity rate rose to 7.1% — up from 4.9% the previous week and 4.0% the week prior to that, according to the state Department of Health.  Star-Advertiser.

Hawai‘i reports 17 new deaths, 1,736 Covid-19 infections in past week. There are 1,212 coronavirus cases on O‘ahu, 150 on the Big Island, 88 on Kaua‘i, three on Lana‘i, 206 on Maui, seven on Moloka‘i, and 70 diagnosed out of state. Hawaii News Now.


Commission Recommends Prosecution In Falsified Campaign Donations Case. Developer Timothy Lee allegedly reimbursed his employees for thousands of dollars they gave to candidates in 2020. The executive of a company leading development in the Ala Moana area could be facing criminal penalties over allegations that he made illegal donations to Honolulu mayoral candidates in 2020. Civil Beat.

World champ big wave surfer Makua Rothman files papers to run for City Council. Rothman is making a bid for the seat held by Heidi Tsuneyoshi, who is now running for governor as a Republican. Hawaii News Now.

HFD says new $12M helicopter will make rescues safer. The Honolulu Fire Department is asking the City Council for funds to purchase a new helicopter. KHON2.

Wahiawa Nursing Home Will Close Its Doors In July. The staff of the Wahiawa Nursing and Rehabilitation Center will help about 60 residents find new homes, officials said. Civil Beat.

Leilehua High School reverses ban on lei giving at graduation ceremony. The school was under fire for banning lei, saying the decision was based on COVID restrictions. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Despite uptick in COVID cases, some parents say it’s time to move beyond masks in classrooms. Dozens of parents and children signs in front of the state office building in Wailuku on Wednesday morning. They want the state Department of Education to remove its mask mandate for public school classrooms. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Hawaii Island

Gas tax cut stalls at council. The final measure of a tax-trimming trifecta — a move to cut the gas tax by 10 cents a gallon — stalled Wednesday in the County Council. West Hawaii Today.

Army study won’t recommend altering Hilo breakwater. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers initiated a second study in 2021 to determine whether opening a breach in the breakwater would demonstrably improve the bay’s water quality. That study, however, determined that it would not. Tribune-Herald.

Katherine Kealoha’s Brother Convicted Of Running Prescription Drug Ring. Dr. Rudolph B. Puana, 50, of Waimea was found guilty in federal court Wednesday of 38 counts of distributing and dispensing oxycodone, one count of distributing or dispensing fentanyl “outside the course of professional practice and without a legitimate medical purpose,” and conspiracy to distribute or dispense the drugs. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Big Island Now. Hawaii News Now.


As wastewater soils ocean, Māʻalaea injection wells fuel debate over who’s liable. Wastewater is leaking from archaic Māʻalaea condominiums injection wells, damaging ocean reef and other natural habitats.  Maui Now.

Maui Judge Tells Irrigation Company To Temporarily Restore Water. A Maui County judge on Tuesday told Launiupoko Irrigation Co. that it needs to restore running water to families in Kauaula Valley after the private water company cut it off before the Easter weekend without notice. Civil Beat.

Cleanup underway to remove 175 abandoned vehicles from remote Kanaio area of Maui. Approximately 175 abandoned derelict cars and trucks are being removed from a remote area of Kanaio on Maui over the next three weeks, according to the state Department of Land and Natural Resources. Maui Now. KITV4.

Maui parents, students rally against DOE mask rules. Saying that masks should be a choice, about 50 to 75 people rallied in Wailuku this morning against the state Department of Education’s indoor mask mandate. Maui Now.


Most-polluted test site in April is Moloa‘a Stream. The Blue Water Task Force has released its April test results. Garden Island.

Protesters want to ‘let children breathe’.
An anticipated group of more than three dozen people was expected at a sign-waving rally decrying the required wearing of face masks by school students in an indoor setting Wednesday. Garden Island.

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Shikada confirmed as attorney general, feds may allow shortened train route, COVID cases ticking up, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Holly Shikada confirmed as top law enforcement officer. A 33-year veteran of the state Department of the Attorney General was confirmed by Hawaii senators Tuesday to stay on as the agency’s leader and top state law enforcement officer. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii COVID cases see upward trend 5 weeks in a row. For the past five weeks Hawaii has seen a steady increase in 7-day average daily case counts which is causing some Hawaii residents to continue wearing their masks despite the lifted mandate. KHON2.

Hawaii Tourism Plan Focuses On Marketing, Not Management. The Hawaii Tourism Authority’s $35 million tourism marketing and management contract will guide how the state presents itself to U.S. travelers. Civil Beat.

Pandemic continues to hurt Hawaii public school students’ grades, attendance. Pandemic gaps in academic grades worsened slightly in multiple areas during the second quarter of the school year, while problems with learning and attendance persisted, according to new state Department of Education data. Star-Advertiser.

Senate accused of ‘punitive’ funding plan for University of Hawaii. The state Senate’s budget proposal to give the University of Hawaii a $275 million funding increase comes with strings attached, including a $100,000 pay cut for the UH West Oahu chancellor and eliminating the positions of communications director and director of the Office of Equal Employment. Star-Advertiser.

Conservative Group Targets Kahele Over Possible Ethics Violations. The Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust says the congressman was clearly attending political events in Hawaii instead of casting votes in person in D.C. Civil Beat.


HART head: Federal authorities appear receptive to ending rail project in Kakaako. A plan to pause rail construction at South Street rather than building to Ala Moana Center could be gaining traction with the federal government. Lori Kahikina, CEO of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation, said she received a letter in December from Federal Transit Administration officials saying they were open to amending the Full Funding Grant Agreement, which calls for the rail to build 21 stations and 20 miles of guideway. Hawaii News Now.

The ‘Lost Tower’: Why Howard Hughes Has A Love-Hate Relationship With Rail. The city has spent several years and millions of dollars fighting the developer in court over land for rail. Now, the transit system might not reach the Hughes Kakaako properties. Civil Beat.

As part of long-term monitoring program, DOH reviews Navy water samples. In the wake of the Navy’s tainted water crisis, the state Department of Health is now reviewing water samples from the first month of a long-term monitoring program at Pearl Harbor. Hawaii News Now.

UH Manoa looks to upgrade security cameras. University of Hawaii at Manoa officials are looking to up security on campus which includes possibly installing a centralized security camera system for its Department of Public Safety. KHON2.

Honolulu tops national list for solar energy generation. For a third consecutive year, Honolulu tops a national survey for solar energy production per person. That’s according to the eighth annual Shining Cities report, released Tuesday from the advocacy group Environment America. Hawaii Public Radio.

City expands free COVID testing for Oahu residents amid continued demand. Honolulu airport COVID-19 testing site again open on Wednesdays. The City and County of Honolulu announced today it is reopening Wednesdays at its free COVID-19 testing program for all Oahu residents at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Hawaii Island

Tax breaks postponed: Council wants more information before voting on tax credit, assessment cap. With the specter of California’s Proposition 13 hanging over the room, the County Council Finance Committee on Tuesday postponed a measure that would have capped increases in property values for most commercial classes. West Hawaii Today.

Fire chief ‘generally agrees’ with critiques of audit. After a less than glowing county audit of the Hawaii Fire Department last month, Fire Chief Kazuo Todd hopes to turn the department around over the next several years. Tribune-Herald.

A treasured gym’s looming demolition puts a rural Big Island community on edge.
A rural Big Island community is rallying to save a treasured piece of its history. The Papaaloa gym is set to be demolished soon. Hawaii News Now.

Expert: Night is Becoming Less Dark, And That’s Not a Good Thing. Members of the Hawai‘i County Council on Tuesday, April 19, heard about a valuable economic and cultural resource that is slowly disappearing on the Big Island — the darkness of night. Big Island Now.

Federal case against Big Island doctor goes to jury. A jury is deliberating the fate of Hawaii island doctor and brother of jailed former Deputy Prosecutor Katherine Kealoha, accused of writing opioid prescriptions for pills that were sold or traded for cocaine. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.


Maui County launched online planning and permitting system; no more paper applications. On April 18, Maui County launched MAPPS — Maui’s Automated Planning and Permitting System, a new web-based software designed to support planning and permit processing. Maui Now.

Community input sought on Lānaʻi Skate Park preliminary designs. The Department of Parks and Recreation is requesting community input on preliminary Lānaʻi Skate Park conceptual designs. These designs come from community input in an online survey in October 2021.  Maui Now.

Some gun enthusiasts fear new homes could threaten Maui’s only shooting range
. Some Maui gun owners fear the development of new homes could threaten the island’s only shooting range. Ukumehame Firing Range is the only legal public shooting range on the Valley Isle. Hawaii News Now.

County seeks input on resiliency hubs for disaster response. The Maui County Office of Climate Change, Resiliency and Sustainability will hold four community talk story sessions to discuss the formation of resiliency hubs aimed at responding to disasters in Maui County. Maui News.

Former Maui police officer enters guilty plea to attempted child enticement. A former Maui police officer pleaded guilty in federal court today to trying to lure a 13-year-old girl into a sexual relationship with promises of money and shopping trips. Star-Advertiser. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.


The Beach House restaurant expansion sees opposition. The proposed expansion of The Beach House restaurant became the subject of debate at last week’s Planning Commission meeting, with many neighbors voicing their opposition to the idea. Garden Island.

Hurricane hardening happening at Kapa‘a school. Structures at Kapa‘a Middle School are months away from becoming community hurricane shelters. Garden Island.

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Masks now optional at airports, airlines, public transportation, still required at public schools, Blangiardi to sign short-term vacation rental limits, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2022 All Hawaii News
Honolulu airport pre-COVID ©2022 All Hawaii News

Hawaii Airports, Airlines And Public Transportation Drop Mask Mandates. Masks will no longer be required at Hawaii’s airports and on public transportation after a federal judge struck down a national mandate that had been extended through May 3.  Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii Public Radio. Tribune-Herald. Hawaii News Now.

Indoor masking to continue in Hawaii public schools through end of school year. Indoor masking to protect against COVID-19 will continue to be required at all Hawaii public schools through the end of the school year, state schools interim Superintendent Keith Hayashi has confirmed. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.

Local COVID modeling group projects new variant will not cause hospitalization surge. The Hawaiʻi Pandemic Applied Modeling Group, or HiPAM, is projecting that a new subvariant of COVID will not produce a surge in hospitalizations like other strains before it. A COVID-19 omicron variant hybrid called XE has been detected in Hawaiʻi. Hawaii Public Radio.

Working class tax credit still alive. After taking a long, winding path through the Legislature, a bill making the Earned Income Tax Credit permanent and refundable has made it through both the House and the Senate, though disagreements over amendments mean that the bill will now go before a conference committee. Garden Island.

Bill to ban use of drones for fishing moves forward. Senate Bill 2065, which would prohibit the use of the “unmanned aerial vehicles” on, in or near state waters to take aquatic life, passed out of the House of Representatives on April 8 and will be discussed in conference hearings. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii officials pursue stronger deterrents for illegal game rooms. A proposal before state lawmakers would elevate misdemeanor gambling offenses associated with game room activity to felonies. Star-Advertiser.

No One Is Raising Money Yet To Run Against Kahele, Case Or Schatz. Contributions to Kahele fell off in the first quarter of 2022 while Case saw more donations to his campaign and Schatz continued to bring in significant sums. Civil Beat.

Honolulu City Council Chair Tommy Waters Eyes Run For Congress. He has pulled papers for the 2nd Congressional District seat in case it becomes open. Civil Beat.


Mayor Rick Blangiardi to sign short-term rental bill, return to work after recovering from COVID-19. Mayor Rick Blangiardi said he plans to sign a measure that would tighten rules for short-term rentals on Oahu as he announced he would return to Honolulu Hale today after testing positive for COVID-19 last week. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. KHON2.

No salary increase this year for Council members, mayor and department heads. The mayor and City Council members will not get salary increases this year after a unanimous vote Monday by the Honolulu Salary Commission. Star-Advertiser.

Helicopters to drop citric acid solution over remote Waimanalo area to eradicate coqui frogs. Helicopters will spray a citric acid solution over a remote mountain area of Waimanalo on Wednesday in an attempt to eradicate invasive coqui frogs, according to the state Department of Agriculture. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Council to talk taxes: Breaks for drivers, homeowners and businesses on agenda this week. Resolutions lowering gas taxes by a dime a gallon and granting homeowners a $250 credit on their property taxes, as well a bill capping property values for other classes of property, will all be considered by the council today and Wednesday. West Hawaii Today.

Construction on Phase 2 of Bayfront Trails begins. Work on the second phase of the Hilo Bayfront Trails project began Monday after years of delay. The first phase of the project was completed in 2016, and connected Mooheau Park, Pauahi Street, the Bayfront canoe hale, and the Bayfront soccer fields. Tribune-Herald.

Closing arguments to begin in trial of prominent doctor accused of drug crimes. Closing arguments are set to begin Tuesday morning in the federal drug trial against prominent Big Island physician Rudy Puana. Puana’s attorneys will get one last chance to convince jurors he was not illegally dealing drugs. Hawaii News Now.


Plans for warehouse in Maui Business Park move forward. Despite concerns over drainage and runoff, a 20,000-square-foot warehouse to be located near Costco in Kahului received approval of a special management area use permit on Tuesday. The Maui Planning Commission granted West Maui Construction Holdings LLC the permit to develop the warehouse building and conduct improvements on approximately 4.7 acres in the Maui Business Park at 72 Lauo Loop. Maui News.

Cat colony at the Grand Wailea resort may be eradicated amid lawsuit. The nonprofit Earthjustice recently filed a lawsuit against the resort, sighting lighting problems for endangered seabirds at the Grand Wailea. KITV4.


Driver licensing, motor vehicle registration offices close early this week. The county Finance Department’s divisions of motor vehicle registration and driver licensing are closing at 3 p.m. all this week to accommodate staff training for a planned integration project. The integration project involves the combination of both the drivers licensing and motor vehicle registration divisions into one, full-service Department of Motor Vehicles. Garden Island.