Monday, April 11, 2022

Congressman Kahele shuns Washington for Hawaii, House-Senate Mauna Kea showdown looms, Maui officials get 5% raises, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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U.S. Rep Kai Kahele ©2022 All Hawaii News

Has US Rep. Kai Kahele Given Up On Washington? The Hawaii congressman, who hasn’t been to the nation’s capital since January, has been having other members cast his votes for months. Civil Beat.

Working in Legislature gives Sylvia Luke a leg up in lieutenant governor’s race. State Rep. Sylvia Luke has a clear advantage over the four other candidates running for lieutenant governor as the only one currently serving in elected office and, especially, as chairwoman of the powerful House Finance Committee. Star-Advertiser.

Big state budget proposal moves forward with anticipated record surplus. The state Senate is ready to vote on a draft budget that increases spending — thanks to higher than expected revenues that have resulted in a big surplus. Lawmakers said a lot of the anticipated record surplus will go toward restoring critical programs and services, many of which were stalled during the COVID lockdown. But some watchdog groups are cautioning against boosting the budget too quickly. Hawaii News Now.

State budget proposal has significant allocations for child welfare programs. The state Senate Ways and Means Committee approved a version of Gov. David Ige’s proposed fiscal year 2022-2023 operating budget on Thursday. Hawaii Public Radio. Maui News.

Patients Are Dying Before They Can Get Help To Kill Themselves. Advocates hope House Bill 1823 will lower barriers to medically assisted suicide by making it easier for  doctors to prescribe medications and lowering wait times. Civil Beat.

A group of chemicals found in nonstick cookware and firefighting foam could soon be banned from some products in Hawaii as a growing body of research shows they’re polluting the environment and suspected of causing health problems, including cancer. Hawaii House Bill 1644 would prohibit the manufacture and sale of certain items that contain PFAS: wraps and liners, plates, food boats and pizza boxes. Civil Beat.

For the first time in more than two years
, The Pride of America Cruise ship has relaunched their inter-island sailings. Hawaii DOT officials say for the initial trips, the Norwegian Cruise liner will only be at 50% capacity, which is just over 1,000 passengers and crewmembers aboard. Hawaii News Now.

Oahu

Hot, dry summer could bring mandatory water restrictions on Oahu. If conditions continue to trend drier going into the hotter summer months, water customers from the Aiea-Halawa area to Hawaii Kai could face mandatory water restrictions and the potential for periods of low water pressure and water outages due to the problems linked to the Red Hill crisis. Star-Advertiser.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin reaffirms pledge to defuel Red Hill. U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin reiterated Thursday the Defense Department’s pledge to defuel the Red Hill fuel storage facility, but did not give a timeline for doing so. Hawaii Public Radio.

Students, staff at schools affected by Red Hill fuel leak remain wary of tap water. The caution tape finally has been stripped off nearly all the sink faucets and drinking fountains at Red Hill Elementary School, now that the fuel contamination warnings have been lifted. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu developers face fallout from the Navy’s Red Hill water crisis. The potential water shortage facing urban Honolulu is already threatening to hold up hundreds of units of affordable housing, new residential and commercial projects in Kakaako and a major environmental upgrade to a sewage treatment plant, among other planned developments — a predicament that could have far-reaching effects on the island’s economy. Star-Advertiser.

Upstart company wants to establish garbage-to-energy power plant to rival Oahu’s power facility. An upstart Hawaii company aims to establish a second garbage-to-energy power plant on Oahu using technology proclaimed as superior to the city’s long-running H-POWER facility. Star-Advertiser.

City: New modular complex could be model for future affordable housing projects. The complex is made out of modular units built in Canada. Two years ago, the City Council urged leaders to consider this kind of construction to speed up the process. Hawaii News Now.

Why More Apartment Buildings May Not Be The Answer To Oahu’s High Housing Costs. A Canadian asset management company is stepping into a void with more than 1,000 apartments built or planned for Honolulu. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Island

Sticker shock: Businesses beg for property tax relief. Hawaii Island business groups, facing steep increases in property values, are clamoring for relief from taxes set forth in a record high $689.9 million budget proposed by Mayor Mitch Roth. West Hawaii Today.

State House and Senate on a collision course over future of astronomy on Mauna Kea. Change to Maunakea bill gives joint authority to UH, new state entity. After a Friday meeting of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, House Bill 2024, which is intended to transfer authority of the Maunakea summit lands to a newly formed state entity, passed with additional amendments that allow the University of Hawaii to retain control of astronomy on the Big Island. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News. Hawaii News Now.

Army seeks input on PTA lease. The U.S. Army is requesting public feedback on a draft environmental impact statement that will determine whether part of the Pohakuloa Training Area will remain under Army management. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News.

Waipio Valley Road Closure Prompts Community Organizing, Legal Action. The road closure, which took many by surprise, has provoked emotional divisions among diverse groups of people who use the valley. Civil Beat.

Maui

Panel awards pay raises to mayor, council. Five percent salary increase to take effect July 1. Reversing a decision four months ago to defer pay raises for the mayor and County Council, the Maui County Salary Commission voted Friday to give 5 percent salary increases to the elected officials. Maui News.

Two longtime West Maui politicians aim to change course. Cochran shifts from county to state politics, McKelvey pulls papers for state Senate. Two longtime West Maui politicians are looking to head in a new direction, with one venturing from county to state politics and the other hoping to move from the state House to the state Senate. Maui News.

Hula advocates urge full support for Maui’s proposed Hālau of ʻOiwi Art. Many of the more than 50 people who testified during a budget committee meeting on Friday voiced support for funding of Hālau of ʻŌiwi Art, a center dedicated to the study, practice, celebration and perpetuation of hula and various ‘ōiwi arts connected to hula. Maui Now.

Maui County seeking applications for Recycling Grant Program. The Maui County Environmental Protection and Sustainability Division is soliciting grant applications for the recycling grant program for fiscal year 2023. Maui Now.

Health officials shut down Lahaina restaurant after seeing cockroaches, a cat and a rat. The Hawai‘i Department of Health’s Food Safety Branch has issued a red “closed” placard and shut down a restaurant in Lahaina due to pests, food debris, grease accumulation and more. Hawaii Public Radio.

Kauai

Slight bump in homelessness.
The Point-in-Time Count, conducted by Bridging the Gap, a coalition of agencies working to end homelessness on the neighbor islands, showed that there were 444 homeless individuals on island — a 5% increase over the 424 in 2020. Garden Island.

Kamokila future is up in the air as eviction looms. With an eviction deadline approaching, the future of the Kamokila Hawaiian Village in Wailua is hanging in the balance. Garden Island.

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