Monday, September 12, 2022

UH donations rise 65%, black market weed still buyers' choice, hospitals work toward price transparency, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Donations to University of Hawaii rise 65% to record $165 million. Donations to the University of Hawaii rocketed to a record of nearly $165 million in the latest fiscal year, with UH officials saying the 65% increase over the year before was spurred by a strong economy, improved strategy and the community’s growing confidence in the state’s public university system. Star-Advertiser.

2022 Elections: There’s A Bumper Crop Of Republicans This Year. Facing a perpetually dominant Democratic force, the party managed to more than double its number of candidates this cycle compared to recent years, in large part thanks to state chair Lynn Finnegan’s efforts to make candidate recruitment a key focus for the Hawaii Republican Party. Civil Beat.

Hawaii union set spending record on political campaign that didn’t work. New primary election spending reports show the Carpenter’s Union PAC broke all records trying to keep Sylvia Luke from the lieutenant governor’s office, including ads many called a smear. Hawaii News Now.

Supreme Court ruling could allow violent offenders to go free. More fallout Friday over a state Supreme Court ruling that dismissed a high-profile murder case. Dozens of other violent felony cases are expected to also be thrown out, with suspects likely freed. Prosecutors are calling for the Legislature to immediately address the issue, and lawmakers are looking at their options. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Hawaii achieves record aquaculture sales with room to grow. The 2021 sales total represents a 20% increase over the $66.6 million in sales for 2020, according to a report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Service.  Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii bankruptcies rise as streak of falling cases ends.
For the first time in 16 months, statewide bankruptcies increased from the year-earlier period as filings jumped 21.8% in August. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii-Made Aloha Wear Is A Surprising — And Lucrative — Cottage Industry. But as Hawaii’s garment workers age and retire, young aloha shirt and apparel makers must scramble to keep production in the islands. Civil Beat.

Black Market Weed Is Still The Buyer’s Choice Over Legal Marijuana In Hawaii. A new state report estimates only about 20% of the marijuana sold in Hawaii last year came from local marijuana dispensaries, and blames “market structure and regulation” for driving consumers to buy from illegal growers and sellers. Civil Beat.

Hawaii hospitals move toward price transparency. A report released in August by PatientRightsAdvocate.org, which advocates for health care price transparency, concluded that a year and a half after the law went into effect, none of the 10 hospitals in Hawaii that it evaluated were fully compliant. Star-Advertiser.

Former employee says Department of Education hasn’t done enough to protect against threats. It was frightening enough for then-state Department of Education Communications Director Lindsay Chambers to be the target of one school parent’s repeated furious calls and voicemails to the DOE, including some that contained intimidating, vulgar and racist language, and that indicated Chambers and her husband were being surveilled. Star-Advertiser.

Group releases guide on abortion rights, services in Hawaii. The Hawaii Abortion Collective has released the state’s first comprehensive resource guide for information on abortion rights and services. Tribune-Herald.

Oahu

Police Raises Approved by Honolulu City Council. The raises will cost Honolulu taxpayers $136.7 million over the three years, according to the resolution approved by the council, but State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers says the increased wages are long overdue. Civil Beat.

Federal Judge Denies Katherine Kealoha’s Request For Bail. Imprisoned former Honolulu deputy prosecutor Katherine Kealoha appeared in court Friday as part of her bid to overturn her corruption conviction. U.S. District Court Judge Michael Seabright denied a request for bail but delayed decisions on her appeal and a challenge to an assistant U.S. attorney who prosecuted her case. Civil Beat.

The ‘FCKBLM’ License Plate Holder Says Honolulu Is Violating His Free Speech Rights. Edward Odquina has filed a lawsuit against the City and County of Honolulu for revoking a license plate officials issued and later decided was offensive. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Parched: Some Parts of Big Island Broke Records For Lowest August Rainfall Totals. Rainfall totals for last month recorded by rain gauges on the island were mostly below average, with many at less than 50% of average, according to the monthly precipitation summary prepared by Kevin Kodama, senior service hydrologist with the National Weather Service in Honolulu. Big Island Now.

Hawaii Fire Department to get new medical helicopter thanks to donation via Daniel R. Sayre Memorial Foundation. The air ambulance, expected to arrive sometime in the spring, will replace the 30-year-old Chopper 2 based out of the South Kohala Fire Station. Hawaii County’s other helicopter, Chopper 1, which is not outfitted for medical transport, is housed at the Waiakea Fire Station in East Hawaii. West Hawaii Today.

A Hawaiʻi Correctional System Oversight Commission report details issues found during an August 25th tour of the "egregiously overcrowded" facility. A September 2 report by the Hawaiʻi Correctional System Oversight Commission – released outside of its regular meeting “due to serious and immediate concern involving the safety of those who work and live at Hawaiʻi Community Correctional Center” – provides details on the observations made by Oversight Coordinator Christin Johnson and Commissioner Ted Sakai during a tour of HCCC on August 25th. Big Island Video News.

BLNR nixes possible sale of former Country Club Condominium Hotel. The state will not sell the former Country Club Condominium Hotel to a new owner, even as it seeks a new tenant for the property. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News.

Maui

Newly inaugurated telescope is already in high demand
. The Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope is the world’s most powerful solar telescope and has produced many firsts, such as the first images of the sun’s chromosphere, the area of the sun’s atmosphere above the surface. Maui News.

New unit to track crime hotspots, streamline prosecution of cases. A new Crime Strategies Unit in the prosecutor’s office will use data to track crime hotspots and trends, then identify the offenders driving the activity, in an attempt to reduce crime in the community. Maui News.

‘A big mess’: Frustration grows as school bus driver shortage impacts students, parents on Maui. A recent loss of school bus drivers leads several routes in Lahaina being cut — eight routes to be exact. Hawaii News Now.

Maui May Crack Down On Haleakala Bike Tours That Crowd Narrow Roads Down The Mountain. If the council decides to make it a law, commercial bike tours down the iconic volcano would be banished from some Kula roadways. Civil Beat.

Maui Nui Ahupuaʻa signage project installs first Kula Uka sign in the Moku ʻO Kula. Since the summer of 2019, Maui Nui Ahupua‘a Project’s project coordinator/designer Vernon Kalanikau has been working with the Upcountry community to gather moʻolelo (stories, legend, history) to help design signs representing each of the 17 ahupua‘a in Kula Uka in the Upcountry area in the Moku ʻO Kula. Maui Now.

Kauai

Still no long-term damage in revised West Kaua‘i Energy Project environmental assessment. The latest draft of the West Kaua‘i Energy Project environmental assessment says that the project would have no significant negative environmental impact. Garden Island.

Most Kauaʻi Gauges Receive Near or Above Average Rainfall Totals in August. August also is normally the peak month for tropical cyclone activity in the central North Pacific basin, but there were no tropical cyclones the entire month. Kauai Now.

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