Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Woman escapes fine in monk seal encounter, big raises for veteran teachers, new charges in affordable housing credit scam, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

 

Swimmer attacked by monk seal won’t be fined. State officials Monday said they will not fine a woman whose close encounter with an endangered Hawaiian monk seal mother left her with injuries Sunday morning in Waikiki. Star-Advertiser.  Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Feds ask judge to dismiss lawsuit questioning validity of dolphin swim ban. Federal officials have asked a judge to dismiss a lawsuit contesting the validity of a rule banning swimming with Hawaiian spinner dolphins. West Hawaii Today.

High inflation is top issue for Hawaii voters. More than two-thirds of Hawaii voters have altered their household spending due to high inflation, and half want a state gas tax suspension, new Hawaii Poll results suggest. Star-Advertiser.

Majority of Hawaii voters think homelessness has increased. A majority of Hawaii voters participating in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s Hawaii Poll indicate they have seen no improvement in homelessness in the islands, with 67% saying the problem has gotten worse over the past 12 months. Star-Advertiser.

Diversifying The Economy: Governor Contenders Would Boost Ag, Small Business. Vicky Cayetano wants a permanent 50% excise tax cut for small businesses, while Josh Green is proposing new government subsidies to support Hawaii agriculture. Civil Beat.

Top candidates for governor differ on specifics, but agree housing crisis must be addressed. The leading Democratic candidates for governor agree the housing crisis — with its low inventory and burdensome regulations — isn’t solvable overnight. But they do support some immediate measures and all support some form of a housing emergency declaration. Hawaii News Now.

Newcomers Are Leading In Campaign Donations For OHA Elections. Will It Matter? A prominent Thirty Meter Telescope supporter and attorney emerged as the leader in the field in campaign donations for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs board of trustees race. But political observers say incumbents have the advantage of name recognition so traditionally have not needed to raise as much. Civil Beat. Hawaii Public Radio.

Teacher salary change in Hawaii sparks ‘unretirements’. Salaries are being raised by $7,700 to $26,000 for those thousands of educators for whom salary “step movements” occasionally have been held back by the state in economically lean years.  Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

UH receives record $505M in extramural funding. The University of Hawaii has topped half a billion dollars in outside funding for the first time in its history, officials announced Thursday. The 10-campus system hit a record $505 million in fiscal year 2022, which ended June 30. Hawaii News Now.

Ige travels to Idaho to attend governors’ conference, lead roundtable discussion. Issues such as land use, rural healthcare, wildfire events, cyber security, transportation and droughts will be discussed at the event. Hawaii News Now.

Ige’s about-face on air tour bill creates challenges for industry. The measure, which became law as Act 311 upon Ige’s signature July 12, also establishes the Air, Noise and Safety Task Force. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii Will Create A New Office Dealing With Trauma. The Office of Wellness and Resiliency will be temporarily housed in the governor’s office. A new state agency tasked with helping people who deal with childhood trauma and other mental health issues will soon be up and running. Civil Beat. Maui Now.

Hawaii Department of Health to begin taking vaccine appointments for those at high risk of catching monkeypox. The Hawaii Department of Health today announced monkeypox vaccination appointments will be available starting Wednesday for adult residents at higher risk of monkeypox infection or severe illness. Star-Advertiser. Big Island Video News. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Oahu

Rail project satisfies audit recommendations. The current administration overseeing the city’s troubled rail project satisfactorily addressed nine recommendations made by the city auditor dating back to 2019 to control cost overruns, delays and other issues, according to a report released Monday. Star-Advertiser.

To help reduce backlog, Ala Moana Satellite City Hall to offer passport services. For the first time, passport applications can be processed at Ala Moana Satellite City Hall. It’s part of a pilot program to help reduce application backlog. The new service will begin in August and will only be available by appointment-only. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Housing case broadens: Two Hilo attorneys, Pahoa businessman charged. Federal court documents outlining charges against two Hilo attorneys and a Pahoa businessman claim the trio, and a county official who has already pleaded to wrongdoing, fraudulently obtained almost $11 million in land and affordable housing credits over a six-year-plus period — without building any affordable housing. Tribune-Herald. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Big Island Video News. Big Island Now. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Inaba seeks audit of housing credits at issue in federal probe. Amid a growing corruption scandal, North Kona Councilman Holeka Inaba believes the county’s use of affordable housing credits deserves a deeper look, and he’s sponsored a resolution asking the county auditor to do just that. West Hawaii Today.

Land board OK’s updates to Maunakea plan. A Hawaiian activist on Friday said she plans to seek a contested case hearing after the Board of Land and Natural Resources voted to approve updates to the University of Hawaii’s Maunakea management plan. Tribune-Herald.

NELHA Innovation Center, Visitor Center Posts Final EA. A new Innovation Center for NELHA, and Hale Wawaloli Visitor Center for the Hawaiʻi Ocean Science and Technology Park, are planned for the Kona shoreline. Big Island Video News.

Maui

Negotiations begin with new developer of Lānaʻi Solar project. Hawaiian Electric has selected a new developer, DG Development & Acquisition, LLC, to build and maintain Lānaʻi Solar, the largest utility-scale renewable energy project on Lāna‘i and the island’s first to offer the shared solar program. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now.

Kauai

With ballot boxes set up, Kaua‘i voters can make their primary election decisions. With ballots mailed out Friday and drop boxes set up throughout the island Monday, Kaua‘i residents can now make election choices that will shape policy on the most-important issues of the day, from housing to COVID-19. Garden Island.

Input sought on Mahelona new master plan. Last Thursday, a crowd of approximately 50 people who live in the surrounding area attended a special meeting organized by state Rep. Nadine Nakamura at Samuel Mahelona Memorial Hospital’s auditorium to discuss the new master plan for the 34-acre Mahelona campus. Garden Island.

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