Friday, December 30, 2022

Elections, eruption, corruption among 2022 highlights, Honolulu searches for landfill site, Maui police shoot, kill reported suicidal man, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2022 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Mauna Loa eruption over Hilo ©2022 All Hawaii News
Elections, eruptions and corruption top Hawaii stories for 2022. Once again the COVID-19 pandemic and the Red Hill water contamination crisis grabbed their fair share of headlines, but federal, state and county elections and a slew of federal corruption cases that shook public trust in government institutions were running topics throughout 2022.  Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii lost notable people in 2022, but their legacies live on.
  From a royal Hawaiian heiress, to a world-renown kumu hula, Hawaii bid a fond aloha to a number of notable people in 2022. Hawaii News Now.

Gov. Josh Green announces 7 more appointments.  Hawaii Gov. Josh Green has announced seven more appointments for his administration, including new Deputy of the Department of Human Resources Development Ryan Yamane, Deputy of the Department of Transportation’s Airports Division Jimmy Tokioka and the first Director of Wellness and Resilience Tia Roberts Hartsock. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.  Big Island Now.  Maui Now.  Kauai Now.

New COVID-19 testing requirement further delays Chinese tourism to Hawaii. Next week also marks the start of China’s massive “chunyun” migration event when hundreds of millions of people travel in and out of China for Lunar New Year family reunions. That 40 day travel period could be a global super spreader event if precautions aren’t taken. Hawaii News Now.

As year ends, pause in economic growth expected. Surging construction demands, recovery of tourism may help skirt harsh recession. Hawaii’s economic growth will hit a pause in the new year, but the state still looks likely to escape a harsh recession with the return of international travelers fueling the tourism industry and rising construction demands. Maui News.

Be mindful: Fireworks celebrations can impact veterans and pets.
New Year’s Eve can be a stressful time for veterans suffering from PTSD and pets who are sensitive to loud noises as fireworks blanket neighborhoods with a barrage of bangs. West Hawaii Today. Garden Island.


Potential landfill sites on Oʻahu may require a bill modification to make progress. The city had until this week to come up with a site for a new landfill for Oʻahu’s trash, but state lawmakers then passed a bill which added constraints on conservation land and residential areas.  Hawaii Public Radio.

Concealed-carry weapon license issued on Oahu.
  The first concealed-carry weapon license was issued in Honolulu on Thursday as police work their way through about 600 applications from citizens seeking to bear arms in public. Star-Advertiser.

New Red Hill health clinic on Oahu off to a rocky start.  Military families had been told by the Defense Health Agency Region Indo-Pacific that they could begin booking appointments Tuesday by calling the TRICARE Nurse Advice Line and that appointments would be scheduled starting Jan. 3. Star-Advertiser.

Police step up staffing, enforcement on Oahu to usher in 2023.  Honolulu police are increasing staffing on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day and encouraging partygoers to drive sober, abide by fireworks laws and not park on the side of the freeway to watch pyrotechnics. Star-Advertiser.

Frustrations grow over Kaaawa recreation center left run down, unused for years.
  The Swanzy Beach Park recreation building has been closed for the last five year due to staffing issues. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Burian named acting chief — for less than three weeks.  The Hawaii County Police Commission on Thursday unanimously selected Assistant Police Chief Andrew Burian to be the Big Island’s acting chief of police until Honolulu police Maj. Benjamin Moszkowicz is sworn in Jan. 17 as the department’s chief. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Now.

Waikoloa Solar + Storage Project To Begin Full Operations By April 2023.  The solar and battery storage project is now being tested up to 85% of its capacity, and will generate 42.2 megawatts when fully operational. The largest solar and battery storage project on Hawaiʻi island is on schedule to begin full operations by April 2023, or earlier. Big Island Video News.


Maui police fatally shoot armed man.  At around 7 p.m., Maui Police Department officers responded to a report of a suicidal male, age 29, at a Kahului residence. Star-Advertiser. Maui Now.  Hawaii News Now.

How One Hawaiian Family Battled In Court For 20 Years To Reclaim Ancestral Land
. In Kauaula Valley, one family is working to show others what it takes to reclaim ancestral lands. Civil Beat.

Maui Health ends COVID-19 community vaccination lobby clinic.  The final clinic date at the Maui Memorial Medical Center lobby was Friday, Dec. 16, 2022.  Maui Now.

Funding bill includes $13M for Kaupo Ranch acquisition. Nearly $13 million in additional funding for the possible purchase of Kaupo Ranch for the National Park Service is included in the omnibus funding bill recently passed by Congress, Hawaii U.S. Rep. Ed Case announced Wednesday. Maui News.


Public input sought in Kaua‘i Food Access Plan. Malama Kaua‘i is hosting four Community Food Access Meetings, starting Jan. 4, 2023, to focus on how to increase local food access and create sustainable food systems on Kaua‘i. Garden Island. Kauai Now.

Thursday, December 29, 2022

Legislative leaders skeptical of Green's agenda, HPD chief signs first license to carry firearm, GOP lawmaker to introduce 'Don't Say Gay' bill, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Gov. Green’s agenda faces early resistance from Legislature’s leaders. Despite securing an overwhelming mandate from voters in last month’s general election, Gov. Josh Green is already getting pushback from the leaders of the state House and Senate on the eve of the upcoming legislative session. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.

Vog hurting Hawaii student test scores, study reveals.  Vog from Hawaii’s volcanoes might be hurting students’ ability to think and reason, as indicated by lower test scores, according to a new study by researchers from the University of Hawaii and University College London. Star-Advertiser. Tribune-Herald.

Hawai'i lawmaker looks to introduce bill similar to Florida's 'Don't Say Gay' law. Hawai'i's public school teachers are currently required to teach students about healthy relationships, sexual health, and sexuality. Parents may also decide to have their student opt out of instruction considered controversial. KITV4.

Violence Against Women Act amended to support Native Hawaiians. President Joe Biden signed an amendment to the Violence Against Women Act on Wednesday, allowing Native Hawaiians access to resources from organizations supported under the act. Star-Advertiser.

After 122 days on strike, little hope for deal in sight for Kaiser mental health workers. Those on the picket lines say many of them are going into debt and are having to dip into their savings and retirement funds. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii records 1,095 new COVID-19 cases, 3 more deaths.  The state’s average positivity rate increased to 7.1% compared with 5.9% the previous week. Star-Advertiser.


Oahu sees a big dip in fireworks permits, but don’t expect a quiet night
.  It’s the week between Christmas and New Year’s, which means many Oahu neighborhoods are hearing occasional explosions despite laws prohibiting the use of fireworks outside a few hours surrounding New Year’s Eve. Star-Advertiser.

HPD chief signs Oahu’s first license to carry a concealed firearm. Rules for concealed carry permits were changed following a Supreme Court ruling that broadened gun rights. HPD said there are 56 applications (for 40 applicants) pending review. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Red Hill defueling process resumes after remediation of toxic fire suppressant. Defueling the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility has resumed this week following a four-week pause, according to the U.S. Navy's Joint Task Force - Red Hill team. Hawaii Public Radio.

On Oahu’s North Shore, state celebrates a rare success story in battle against illegal seawalls. In the fall, homeowner Joshua VanEmmerik created an unpermitted concrete and rebar berm to support a house as erosion threatened to undermine it. Hawaii News Now.

‘Steward’ of remote West Oahu beach to fight charges against him in court. Samson Souza is charged with harassment and terroristic threatening for the way he’s been treating outsiders. Hawaii News Now.

Preventing Prison Rapes: The Fight For Video Cameras At Hawaii’s Women’s Prison Continues.
Lawyers for current and former inmates who were sexually assaulted at the women’s prison in Kailua years ago are again asking a federal court judge to order the state to finally install cameras in the control booths at the prison, where they say many of the assaults occurred. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Island

County receives $2M state homelessness grant. Hawaii County has been awarded a $2 million grant from the state Ohana Zone funds to further homelessness relief programs on the island. West Hawaii Today.

Change of Heart pilot program ends after just $300 diverted from panhandlers.  Signs for the pilot program to divert spare change from panhandlers to nonprofits cost taxpayers $1,533, with funding coming from the Hawaii County Office of Housing and Community Development. West Hawaii Today.


New Maui County Clerk Will Earn More Than Mayor.  Moana Lutey is in line to become the next Maui County clerk at a salary of nearly $157,000. Civil Beat.

Agawa, Aoki and Takamori selected as directors under Bissen administration. Mayor-elect Richard Bissen announced the appointments of directors to three more departments within his administration. Maui Now. Maui News.

DOT: Soil, groundwater at Maui airport pit contaminated with ‘forever chemicals’.  Following soil testing, the state has confirmed the presence of so-called “forever chemicals” at a Kahului Airport firefighting training pit. Hawaii News Now.


Kauai utility seeks 9.42% rate increase. Kauai Island Utility Cooperative has asked the state Public Utilities Commission for a 9.42% rate increase that would boost the monthly bill for the average residential customer using 500 kilowatt-hours a month by roughly $19. Star-Advertiser. Kauai Now. Hawaii News Now.

Multiple agencies work to free honu trapped between boulders on Kauai. Multiple wildlife agencies and even the fire department were called to Nawiliwili Harbor on Kauai after reports of a turtle trapped between large boulders. Hawaii News Now.

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Hawaii travelers stranded in Southwest Airlines schedule meltdown, Green renews emergency proclamation for air ambulance services, Kauai plans massive multi-source energy project, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Travelers scramble to get home after Southwest Airlines cancels thousands of flights. Hawaii travelers impacted by winter flight cancellations.  Major U.S. airlines broadsided by the massive weekend winter storm that swept across large swaths of the country had largely recovered heading into Monday, except for Southwest, where problems have continued to snowball. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.  KHON2.  KITV4.

Southwest cancels more flights, draws federal investigation. Southwest Airlines scrubbed thousands of flights again Tuesday in the aftermath of the massive winter storm that wrecked Christmas travel plans across the U.S., and the federal government said it would investigate why the company lagged so far behind other carriers. Associated Press.

Green extends emergency proclamation in response to air ambulance accident. The extension of the emergency proclamation allows the state to continue providing staffing and aircraft needed to ensure availability of emergency transportation for critically ill medical patients.  Tribune-Herald. Big Island Now. Maui Now.  Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

COVID impact to linger: Schools chief says it will be years before students recover academically.  It could take three to five years for students to fully recover behaviorally and academically from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to state Department of Education Superintendent Keith Hayashi. Tribune-Herald.

UH Study: Local farmers struggle with depression in Hawaiʻi. Hawaiian farmers 45 years old or younger are going into 2023 facing unprecedented mental stress, with a recent University of Hawaiʻi study finding 48% have experienced depression and 14% have struggled with suicidal thoughts.  Big Island Now.

Critical habitat to be declared for threatened iiwi bird.  Hawaii’s most iconic forest bird, the iiwi, will receive an added level of federal protection as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Tuesday that it plans to designate more than 275,000 acres as critical habitat for the threatened honeycreeper. Star-Advertiser.


Honolulu to issue 4-year licenses for kupuna.  Starting Tuesday, Oahu residents between 72 and 79 years old will have to renew their driver’s license only every four years. Residents in that age range — more than 75,000 — currently have to renew every two years. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Critics sound off after Navy paves toxic foam spill area while still awaiting test results. In an update posted on Tuesday, military officials said that they have “successfully” removed the contamination and paved over the excavated areas. Hawaii News Now.

Troubled Beijing developer sells Kapolei land. Some 484 acres of land in Kapolei have been sold at a loss by a financially distressed Beijing-based developer that, at one point, wanted to create a residential development of 2,500 “upscale homes” including a lake for stand-up paddleboarding, swimming and other water activities. Star-Advertiser.

Commercial activities to resume at Hanauma Bay on Jan. 4.  Entry for licensed motor vehicle carriers, commonly referred to as tour vehicles, and permitted scuba/snorkel guides will once again be allowed in the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve beginning next year. Maui Now.

Inquiry into board of Bishop Museum is sought. An art dealer and an anthropologist have filed a complaint with the state Department of the Attorney General accusing Bishop Museum’s board of directors of breaching their fiduciary duties and squandering the museum’s charitable assets. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Officials urge safety as fireworks sales take off ahead of New Year’s festivities.  It’s that time of year when blowing off fireworks will light the Big Island skies Saturday night, although not everyone is excited about the long-held tradition. West Hawaii Today.


Bissen Announces More Appointments To Maui Administration. Maui County Mayor-elect Richard Bissen has announced a number of new picks to head departments in his administration, many of whom are already serving under the leadership of Mayor Michael Victorino. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.

State taking steps to address PFAS impacted soil at Kahului Airport Fire Training Pit.  The Hawaiʻi Department of Transportation is taking steps to address per- and polyfluoroalkyl substance (PFAS) impacted soil in the vicinity of the Kahului Airport Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting Training Pit.  Maui Now. Hawaii News Now.


West Kaua’i Energy Project clears environmental regulatory hurdle.  The West Kauaʻi Energy Project is an innovative pumped-storage hydro and irrigation project, coupled with solar and battery storage, that is being undertaken by the Kauaʻi Island Utility Cooperative and its renewable energy partner, AES.  Kauai Now.

Fireworks season starts with a bang.
County officials remind people that fireworks and firecrackers may only be ignited on private property between 9 p.m. on Dec. 31, and 1 a.m. on Jan. 1. Garden Island.

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

School safety a priority in new budget request, Honolulu delays landfill decision again, trust in government down, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Buses, School Safety And Student Lunches All On The Agenda For Legislative Education Committees. Advocates hope that with a near $2 billion surplus and an influx of new faces, the Legislature will open its purse strings for Hawaii’s public education system. Civil Beat.

Hawaii state pension fund starts fiscal year with small loss.
It was another turbulent quarter for financial markets, but the state’s largest public pension fund weathered the wild ride with minimal damage. As inflation surged and the Russia-Ukraine war intensified, the Hawaii Employees’ Retirement System pension fund’s investments dipped just 1.4% in the first three months of its new fiscal year. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaiʻi Senate committee releases public briefings schedule for state budget.  The purpose of these briefings is to provide the space for state and county agencies to present their budget requests to the Ways and Means committee prior to the start of the 2023 legislative session.  Big Island Now.

Survey: Visitor satisfaction in Hawaiʻi continues upward trend, rivals pre-pandemic levels. Overall satisfaction among visitors from Hawai‘i’s primary North American markets has continued its upward trend since the beginning of the year to rival pre-pandemic levels, state officials said. Maui Now. Big Island Now.

Honoring lives lost to COVID-19 in Hawaii.  As the pandemic stretches beyond its third year, Americans continue to die from a virus that has turned the world upside-down, shaken up the economy and kept people apart. Star-Advertiser.


Blangiardi to ask for more rent, utility help for Oahu residents. Mayor Rick Blangiardi plans to ask the City Council for an additional $33 million through federal funding to help Oahu renters with financial help to cover their rent and utility costs in the first three months of 2023 to help keep them housed. Star-Advertiser.

City Delays Landfill Decision, Again.  Facing a year-end deadline for a decision on a controversial landfill, city officials announced Friday that they had decided to seek a two-year extension on the timeline while they look for a replacement location. Civil Beat. Hawaii Public Radio.

Judge: City could be held liable for Kealohas’ crimes, potentially costing millions. A federal judge ruled that the City and County of Honolulu could be held liable for the crimes committed by former Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha and his estranged wife former Honolulu Deputy Prosecutor Katherine Kealoha. Hawaii News Now.

Trust in Honolulu government is down, survey finds.
In January 2021 the National Community Survey found that trust in city government had fallen to 17% from a high of 30% in 2014. Star-Advertiser.

Problems frustrate people relying on Oahu’s TheHandi-Van.  The vans take 5,000 users on almost 78,000 rides each month, according to DTS data. The service has 207 paratransit vehicles in various conditions. Star-Advertiser.

Navy requests 'closure-in-place' plan for Red Hill underground fuel tanks.  An independent contractor has recommended a closure in place for the Navy Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility, an estimated $119 million project that'd take about three years once the facility is defueled. Hawaii Public Radio. Star-Advertiser.

OHA Takes Another Shot At Lifting Residential Ban In Kakaako Makai. The Office of Hawaiian Affairs has spent at least $7 million in the last decade on what have so far been fruitless attempts to redevelop 30 acres in Kakaako Makai received as part of a land settlement with the state in 2012. Civil Beat.

Officials study repairs for Hawai‘i Convention Center. For years water has been penetrating the center’s rooftop terrace deck, causing water intrusion into other parts of the building where there are now cracks, rust and calcium leaching from the concrete. Star-Advertiser.

University of Hawaii esports program scoops top prize. The esports program at the University of Hawaii at Manoa is continuing its meteoric rise by being named the best collegiate esports program of the year at the recent Esports Awards in Las Vegas. Star-Advertiser.

Leeward Community College Has Big Plans For Training A New Generation Of Food Innovators. Leeward Community College is aiming to make its newest facility, the Wahiawa Value-Added Product Development Center, a hub for local food innovation that will embolden young people to try their hand at food entrepreneurship. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Island

New police chief talks Big Island issues.  When Honolulu Police Maj. Benjamin Moszkowicz is sworn in on Jan. 17 as chief of the Hawaii Police Department, he’ll be Big Island’s first top cop who wasn’t born in Hawaii and the second who didn't come up through the county police department ranks. Tribune-Herald.

CDP action committees revived: County seeks Kona and Puna members in particular. Some 18 months after the county called a halt to filling citizen boards that advise the government on planning and design because the administration wanted to take a hard look at how the boards can best be used, the county has filled some of the regional boards but is actively searching for volunteers for the Kona and Puna boards in particular. West Hawaii Today.

County fights civil rights charges: Man claims he as wearing an ankle monitor when accused of Puna kidnapping, rape. A Waimea man currently serving time for attacking a Waikoloa man with a knife is suing the county and two police officers in federal court for arresting him on charges he kidnapped, tortured and raped a Puna woman while he was allegedly wearing a pretrial ankle monitor he claims demonstrated his innocence. West Hawaii Today.

Hospitals get new CEO: Clayton McGhan to oversee operations in Kona and Kohala.  Clayton McGhan, who has been the interim CEO since May when former CEO Jim Lee’s contract was not renewed, was appointed permanently into the position following a Dec. 9 vote by the Hawaii Health Systems Corp. West Hawaii Regional Board of Directors. West Hawaii Today.

Plan would move four endangered bird species to Big Island. Critically endangered forest birds on Maui and Kauai could find new homes on the Big Island, according to a plan by the U.S. Department of the Interior. Tribune-Herald.


Maui County Council sets meeting Jan. 2 to decide chair, committees and other items.  Maui County Council will hold an organizational meeting to establish its officers and standing committees, adopt procedural rules and appoint staff for the 2023-2025 term at 2 p.m. Jan. 2. Maui Now.

Maui MPO releases draft Transportation Improvement Program Revision No. 8. The Maui Metropolitan Planning Organization, Policy Board released draft Revision No. 8 to its federal fiscal years 2022-2025 Transportation Improvement Program for public comment. The draft may be reviewed online at: Maui Now.

Maui Has A New Plan To Prevent Desecration Of Significant Cultural Sites. After more than a dozen meetings, hours of emotional public testimony and back and forth with a number of local departments, Maui County is now on its way to becoming the first in the state to create an interactive map, or “cultural overlay” in the county’s jargon, to allow anyone to search the historical and cultural legacy of a property. Civil Beat.

Honokōwai Beach project by resort group aims to restore shoreline after severe erosion.  A group of hotel landowners is saying it’s a race against time to restore and preserve Honokōwai Beach in West Maui, a popular spot for beachgoers, shoreline fisherman, spear fishers, divers, snorkelers, swimmers, surfers and paddlers. Maui Now. KITV4.

State plans to expand Maui captive bird facility to cost $5M. The state is looking to expand its captive bird facility on Maui in a move to support a federally funded campaign to save critically endangered Hawaiian forest birds. Star-Advertiser.

Maui food truck issued red placard due to cockroach infestation. The state Department of Health’s Maui Food Safety Branch announced Saturday it had posted a red “closed” placard “to protect public health” at the Thai Mee Up Kula 2 food truck due to a cockroach infestation. Star-Advertiser. Maui Now.


Moody’s assigns Aa2 issuer rating to county.  The County of Kaua‘i’s finances are in good shape as it navigates its way through a post-pandemic era rocked by sky-high inflation and rising interest rates. Garden Island.

Japanese visitors traveling under the signing of the Sister State Agreement.  Preparations to greet the first group of Japanese traveling under the signing of the Sister State Agreement between Yamaguchi Prefecture and Hawai‘i are in full swing by members of the Kaua‘i Yamaguchi Kenjin Kai, and the community. Garden Island.

Friday, December 23, 2022

Almost $1B in earmarks for Hawaii, new aircraft coming to Marine Corps Base Hawaii, endemic birds threatened with extinction, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

National report highlights dire situation for Hawaiʻi’s endemic birds. The report paints a grim picture — nearly half of Hawaiʻi’s 73 endemic birds have gone or are thought to be extinct. And 33% are either endangered or threatened.  Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii Tourism Authority seeks separate bids for U.S. tourism pact.  The Hawaii Tourism Authority board voted Thursday to take its U.S. tourism contract to a third procurement and solicit bids for two distinct contracts: one to handle brand marketing and the other for destination management. Star-Advertiser. KHON2.

New aircraft to be stationed at Marine Corps Base Hawaii. New KC-130J refueling aircraft are expected to begin operations in 2023 with a total of 15 ultimately arriving by the 2026 fiscal year. Two MQ-9 Reaper drones are also expected to arrive in 2023, replacing the smaller RQ-21 surveillance drones that have flown out of the base for the past four years.  Star-Advertiser.

Sens. Schatz, Hirono announce nearly $1B in federal funding for Hawaii projects. Hawaii U.S. Sens. Brian Schatz and Mazie Hirono on Thursday announced that they had collectively secured nearly $1 billion in federal funding for a wide range of Hawaii projects. Star-Advertiser.


Oahu homeowners balk after property tax assessments soar. Andrew Kawano, director of the city Department of Budget and Fiscal Services, said the city will look into a one-time tax credit or increased exemptions for homeowners. Hawaii News Now.

Red Hill report cites dangers of removing underground tanks. A cheaper and safer alternative would be to leave the tanks in the ground and not try to fill them in, according to a report produced by Jacobs Government Service Company for the Navy and submitted to the Hawaii Department of Health on Thursday. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii Public Radio.

Leeward Community College Has Big Plans For Training A New Generation Of Food Innovators. Leeward Community College is aiming to make its newest facility, the Wahiawa Value-Added Product Development Center, a hub for local food innovation that will embolden young people to try their hand at food entrepreneurship.  Civil Beat.

Shopping cart theft is a costly headache for retailers, but the city is helping to fight back.  City crews have collected 4,823 stolen shopping carts so far this year, most in urban Honolulu and many from Walmart and Sam’s. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Mauna Loa, Kilauea share same ‘plumbing,’ new study suggests.  Scientists for the first time have mapped out the deep underground plumbing of Hawaii’s active volcanoes by locating and plotting hundreds of thousands of earthquakes over a 3-1/2-year period. Star-Advertiser.

Kalanianaole Street project tops $24M.
The rehabilitation of Kalanianaole Street in Hilo came with a greatly expanded price tag following nearly five years of delays and construction. Tribune-Herald.

Over 600 Without Power Past Christmas, Hawaiian Electric Says.  About 650 customers in the Ahualoa and Kukuihaele area remain without power, and “will not have their service restored until after Christmas, possibly not until the middle of next week” due to impacts from the recent kona low storm, the Hawaiian Electric company reports. Big Island Now. KHON2  Big Island Video News.

‘A high priority’: Green pledges major relief for one of Hawaii’s most overcrowded hospitals. Gov. Josh Green has set aside $50 million to fund a much-needed bed expansion project at Hilo Medical Center. It’s one of several priorities outlined in Green’s first executive budget, specifically aimed at improving healthcare. Hawaii News Now.


2023-2025 council inauguration slated for Jan. 2 at Kalana O Maui.  Maui County Council Chair Alice L. Lee announced that the inauguration of the Maui County Council for the 2023-2025 term, will be held Jan. 2 at 10 a.m. in the Council Chamber on the 8th floor of the Kalana O Maui building. Maui Now.

$15.3M in congressionally directed spending for Maui, includes $11M for Hālau of ‘Oiwi Art.  Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino announced today that the County of Maui will receive $15.3 million in congressionally directed spending thanks to the determination of US Senator Brian Schatz, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development.  Maui Now.

Maui County Climate Plan Would Slash Greenhouse Gas Emissions And Boost Disaster Preparedness. The 267-page Climate Action & Resiliency Plan details dozens of ways the county can act in partnership with other organizations like Hawaiian Electric, renewable energy developers, state energy regulators and local nonprofits and businesses to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 76% community-wide by 2050. Civil Beat.

Roundabout closer to completion.
The second southbound lane of the Kihei roundabout opened Wednesday and there were no issues reported as of Wednesday afternoon, a state Department of Transportation spokeswoman said.  Maui News.


Anahola Regional Plan update approved by Hawaiian Homes Commission. At its December meeting, the Hawaiian Homes Commission approved the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands’ update of the Anahola Regional Plan for Kaua’i. Kauai Now.

Thursday, December 22, 2022

Federal funds to Hawaii more than double, Kahele bill would lower blood quantum for home lands, COVID cases, deaths remain steady, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2022 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Surf ©2022 All Hawaii News
Health Experts: Flooding, Sea Level Rise Could Release Chemicals At Hundreds Of Hawaii Sites. Rising seas and increased flooding could eventually release, spread and mix together a host of chemicals contaminating more than 800 sites across Hawaii, exposing the public to more potential health risks linked to climate change, local health experts warned lawmakers on Wednesday. Civil Beat.

Hawaiʻi projected to receive over $500M in federal funds for military, housing and more
. Sen. Brian Schatz announced Wednesday that he has secured more than $530 million for Hawaiʻi in congressionally directed spending — an increase of more than double than last fiscal year's amount. Hawaii Public Radio. Hawaii News Now.

Kahele Introduces Bill Lowering Blood Quantum For Home Lands.
In the waning days of the current lame-duck congressional session, U.S. Rep. Kai Kahele introduced a bill to lower the blood quantum for successors of Hawaiian Home Lands lessees, making it easier for those on homesteads to pass their land leases and homes on to their children or spouses. Civil Beat. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News.  Maui Now. KITV4.

Lt. Gov. Sylvia Luke sees both sides of how to build the state budget. Before she was lieutenant governor, Sylvia Luke served as the state House of Representatives Finance Committee chair, dealing intimately with the state’s budget. Hawaii Public Radio.

Could bolstering public preschool create more affordable housing? That’s the hope Hawaii’s education system is moving on two major goals: Finding classrooms for thousands of new preschool children and building more housing to attract and keep teachers. Now, there’s an effort to fulfill both challenges ― in the same buildings. Hawaii News Now.

What to know about the upcoming 32nd Hawaiʻi State Legislature session. The deadlines for the 2023 Regular Session have been established and the legislative calendar has been published.  Big Island Now.

Hawaii hotel occupancy decline signals continued slowdown
. About 30% of Hawaii’s hotel rooms were unoccupied in November — giving credence to the slowdown Hawaii’s hoteliers begin anticipating from late summer.  Star-Advertiser.

Hawaiian Air CEO apologizes to frustrated passengers as strong winter storm threatens more delays. Travelers in Hawaii and nationally are encountering mounting delays and cancelations in the wake of a winter storm that impacted the state and as a “bomb cyclone” threatens extreme cold across much of the mainland. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Hawai‘i reports 1,189 Covid cases, 10 deaths. The new cases bring the state's total to 371,103. The statewide test positivity rate is 5.9% The state death toll rose to 1,758. KHON2. KITV4. Star-Advertiser.

Shelter dog finds a home after Gov. Josh Green’s news conference.  In less than 72 hours, Sweetie the poi dog went from a kennel at the Hawaiian Humane Society to putting her paws on the desk of Gov. Josh Green to finding her forever home after she was adopted Wednesday by a family with two excited children. Star-Advertiser.


Honolulu Police Department looks to expand 3-day workweek. The three days a week, 12 hours a day work schedule is returning to the Hono­lulu Police Department in the summer following a nine-month pilot project that showed increased patrol staffing and improved morale, Chief Arthur “Joe” Logan told police commissioners Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

EPA Proposes New Red Hill Settlement With Navy To Protect Drinking Water. The Navy already had a regulatory agreement with the EPA when it contaminated the water last year, but little progress had been made.  Civil Beat. KITV4.

Waikiki fisheries area will be closed in 2023. The management area encompasses the nearshore waters between the Ewa wall of the Waikiki War Memorial Natatorium and the Diamond Head Lighthouse, from the high-water mark on shore to a minimum seaward distance of 500 yards, or to the edge of the fringing reef if it’s beyond 500 yards. Star-Advertiser. KHON2.

Massive Kalihi home under construction draws flurry of complaints ― and new city scrutiny. The city says it plans to issue notices of violations to the owners of a massive home in Kalihi that includes eight bedrooms, four kitchens and two wet bars. Hawaii News Now.

Houseless camps on Oahu endure winter storms, as advocates try to help. Large rocks and whatever items are available, that's what those living off of Farrington Highway have been using to try to secure tents and belongings from the heavy winds. KITV4.

Hawaii Island

Council delays forming Hilo business group. A proposed Business Improvement District for Hilo was kicked down the road Wednesday after the Hawaii County Council voted to postpone the matter until March. Tribune-Herald.


Investigation Into Maui Monster House Dies In Committee. A Maui County Council committee investigating why a developer was allowed to illegally build a monster house in Napili has effectively ended the probe, saying the lone bid to handle the matter was too expensive. Civil Beat.

Visitor arrivals still hovered below pre-pandemic levels in October. Visitor arrivals to Maui in October still did not reach pre-pandemic levels, but spending did increase nearly 14 percent from October 2019. Maui News.


Millions in federal dollars coming. A federal spending bill will channel more than $500 million to the state of Hawai‘i, with millions of dollars designated for programs and projects on Kaua‘i. Garden Island.

Kaua‘i activists talk trash, recyclables, as island’s only landfill maxes out. At current rates, the landfill, located in Kekaha on Kaua‘i’s West Side, will reach maximum capacity by January 2027 – just five years from now. Kauai Now.

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Mountains topped with snow make a winter wonderland, federal money flows to Red Hill, Honolulu rail, teachers unsure how to take bonus holiday leave, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

It’s a Winter Wonderland on Big Island’s Maunakea; but roads are unsafe. The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Center for Maunakea Stewardship expects the road to the summit will remain closed for at least the next couple of days.  Big Island Video News.

Video shows snow atop Haleakalā; Summit remains closed to the public. An accumulation of snow was observed along the roadsides near the summit of Haleakalā Tuesday.  Maui Now.

Feds Ramp Up Efforts To Save Hawaii’s Endangered Forest Birds In A Race Against Time. Federal wildlife officials aim to direct some $14 million from the new Bipartisan Infrastructure Law toward the urgent, ongoing effort to save 12 native Hawaiian forest bird species battered by avian malaria and headed toward extinction. Civil Beat.

Gov. Josh Green’s offer of 2 extra days off confuses Hawaii teachers.
While Gov. Josh Green has gifted state employees with two extra days of paid time off work for the holidays, Hawaii’s 12,600 public school teachers are still unsure how they’ll benefit since contractually they are already on vacation during the schools’ winter break. Star-Advertiser.

Good news for your budget: Economists predict a rapid drop in inflation for Hawaii next year. Carl Bonham, of the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization, said the global war on recession is already having traction in the islands. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii hotels offering local deals during slow holiday season.  Typically, Christmas to New Year’s is oversold at Hawaii hotels with occupancy above 100% and sky-high room rates. This year Hawaii’s festive season, especially on Oahu, is not delivering, with a few hotels even reporting occupancy as low as 40% in the days leading up to Christmas. Star-Advertiser.


Congress set to give another $1 billion for Red Hill.  Congress is poised to allocate another $1 billion to shutting down the Navy’s Red Hill fuel facility. The funding is expected to cover major repairs to the facility’s pipelines and other infrastructure that will facilitate the safe draining of approximately 104 million gallons of fuel from aging underground tanks, as well as remediating the soil and groundwater that’s been polluted by past fuel spills. Star-Advertiser.

Schatz Snags Another $64 Million For Honolulu Rail Project. Hawaii’s senior senator, who sits on the Appropriations Committee, says he’s secured more money for the beleaguered project, which is years behind schedule and massively over budget. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.

Graveyard Shift: Honolulu Pays Police $1 Million In Overtime To Guard Morgue Trailers. The city is paying up to five times the cost of private security but says it’s worth it. Civil Beat.

Oʻahu's free COVID testing program ends Dec. 30.  For nearly two years, the City and County of Honolulu, in partnership with the National Kidney Foundation of Hawaiʻi, operated a testing site at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Honolulu. Then came other sites, such as at Honolulu Hale and Kapolei Hale. Hawaii Public Radio.

Oahu nonprofit aims to build $25M ‘resilient’ hurricane community shelter. Oahu’s storm shelters, which are mostly Hawaii schools, are not built to withstand a powerful hurricane. Hawaii News Now.

HPU researching types of limu to clean up effluent from fish ponds. Hawai‘i Pacific University is using a federal grant for research on seaweed — or limu — that could potentially lead to commercial-scale cultivation. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii Island

Kudos for KOA: Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport takes No. 2 spot in analysis of 100 busiest airports.  Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keahole was ranked by Forbes Advisor as the second-best airport for holiday travel in the nation, the financial media outlet announced last week. West Hawaii Today.

Delay sought in affordable housing trial. A co-defendant in a federal criminal case involving alleged fraudulent use of Hawaii County affordable housing credits is seeking a postponement of the trial. Tribune-Herald.


Maui nearshore water initiative seeks ocean advocates for new team.  The Hawaiʻi Department of Land and Natural Resources has launched a first-of-its-kind community effort to manage Maui’s marine resources. DLNR’s Division of Aquatic Resources is looking for about 20 Maui residents to join its navigation team. Hawaii Public Radio.

Plane crash victim loved adventures and travel.
A nurse aboard a Hawaii Life Flight plane that went missing off Maui was remembered as funny and passionate about her job, as a private search was underway for the medical transport aircraft. Maui News. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.


Kaua‘i will break ground on 400 new affordable housing units in 2023.
  Over the course of 2023, the County of Kaua‘i and its private development partners expect to break ground on 400 new affordable apartments and homes that will eventually house more than 1,000 people. Garden Island.

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Green's first budget targets health care, administration looks at housing crisis, $17M for Native Hawaii broadband project, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Green’s First Budget Proposal Focuses On Hawaii’s Health Care System.  State Spending in Gov. Josh Green’s first year is expected to increase about $666 million over the current fiscal year, which ends in June. General fund expenditures of $9.1 billion this fiscal year are estimated to rise to more than $9.8 billion in the 2024 fiscal year, which begins July 1. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser.  Kauai Now.  Hawaii News Now. Maui Now.

The FB 2023-25 Executive Biennium Budget. Budget in Brief. Hawaii Department of Budget and Finance.

Full budget documents can be found here.

Here’s How The Green Administration Plans To Tackle Hawaii’s Housing Shortage. Converting vacation rentals into homes, targeting areas with infrastructure already in place for new construction, and collaborating with counties and private business are some of the options on the table. Civil Beat.

New Hawaii housing director focuses on easing affordable-housing process.
The state’s new chief housing coordinator, Nani Medeiros, has a poster-size graphic on her office wall that represents the many thoughts she has about how to add more affordable housing across the islands by working with the counties to eliminate unnecessary regulations, offering incentives to builders, updating outdated state rules and getting incoming state directors to think about how their disparate departments can contribute to the goals. Star-Advertiser.

Native Hawaiian communities to get $17M to expand broadband. The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands will receive nearly $17.3 million in federal funds from the U.S. Department of Commerce to expand high-speed internet access in Native Hawaiian communities, U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz announced Monday in a news release. Star-Advertiser. Tribune-Herald.  Maui Now.  KHON2.

The state plans to manage nearshore waters — and local fishermen want a 'seat at the table' .  The state Department of Land and Natural Resources has a plan to manage more than a quarter of Hawaiʻi's nearshore waters — but some local fishermen fear it will add more restrictions to gathering rights. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaiʻi Emergency Management holding virtual workshop for hazard mitigation plan. The Hawai‘i Emergency Management Agency is holding a virtual workshop on Dec. 20, asking members of the public to help it build a safer Hawai‘i. Kauai Now.

Winter storm batters state with heavy rains and strong winds. Heavy rains and strong winds battered parts of the state Monday as a powerful winter storm moved over the islands, triggering power outages, bringing down trees and closing roads. Hawaii News Now.


Hawaii delegation demands federal probe into Red Hill leaks. Hawaii’s congressional delegation today called for an independent investigation into the release of toxic fire suppressant chemicals at the Navy’s Red Hill fuel storage facility, writing in a letter to Gene Dodaro, the comptroller general of the Government Accountability Office, that “the recent events in Hawaii demonstrate the need for a thorough audit to ensure that Hawaii’s people, land, water and ocean are all protected.” Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.

Trace levels of PFOS detected in water system near Waipio. The Hawaii Department of Health today said trace levels of Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid – or PFOS — were recently detected in water samples collected from the Kipapa Acres water system in Central Oahu. Star-Advertiser.

Businessman wants Hawaii residents to help name his beef. Idaho billionaire Frank VanderSloot, owner of Honolulu Meat Co. LLC, whose humble beginnings in northern Idaho include milking cows and sleeping in an attic, offered to change the name printed on his retail beef business from Kua ‘Aina and Kua ‘Aina Ranches. He’s holding a community contest to rename the firm. Star-Advertiser.

Storm damage closes city facilities, public pool.  Crews are beginning to clean up after a winter storm barreled over the state. The city said it got about 38 calls for downed trees or branches. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Green wants $50M for HMC: Hospital expansion among new governor’s top funding requests. Gov. Josh Green is seeking $50 million for the expansion of Hilo Medical Center’s Intensive Care Unit and Medical Surgical Unit. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Now.

Hilo man arrested after illegal planting of coconut palms in East Hawai‘i recreation area. A Hilo man was arrested on Sunday after attempting to plant 165 keiki coconut palms in the middle of the Wailoa River State Recreation Area. This is the fourth time over the past nine years Gene Tamashiro has been cited or arrested for leading the planting of the so-called “Kanaka Garden.” Big Island Now. Tribune-Herald. KITV4.


Business Owners Sue Maui County After Racking up $1.2 Million In Fines. Paia Gelato’s 15-year permitting saga is an example of broader challenges facing the planning department. Civil Beat.

Hazardous conditions along Hāna Highway, travel restricted to local traffic. Continuing stormy conditions throughout Maui County have resulted in unsafe driving conditions along Hāna Highway.  Maui Now.


Surf is up: Dangerously large breaking waves of 30 to 40 feet for Kaua’i and Ni’ihau. The very strong breaking waves and powerful currents can impact coastal properties, infrastructure and vulnerable coastal roadways.  Kauai Now.

Monday, December 19, 2022

Severe turbulence injures 36 on Hawaiian Airline flight, search called off for Hawaii Life Flight workers who crashed off Maui, shelters open as severe storm approaches, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

36 treated after Hawaiian flight hits severe turbulence. Thirty-six people on a Hawaiian Airlines flight required medical treatment and 11 were seriously injured Sunday as part of a “mass casualty emergency” caused by weather-related turbulence. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now. KHON2. KITV4.

Residents urged to prepare for power outages, possible damage as cold front moves in
. The National Weather Service warns a powerful cold front in Hawaii from Sunday through Tuesday could cause significant damage. Hawaii News Now.

Virtual briefing planned for Hawaiian Homelands. The Association of Hawaiians for Homestead Lands, a federal office of the U.S. Department of the Interior, is hosting a virtual national briefing about the beneficiary $600 million spending plan for the State of Hawaiʻi’s Act 279.  The briefing will be held via Zoom on Dec. 21 from 6 to 8 p.m.  Kauai Now.

Hawaii Medicaid enrollment up 40% since start of pandemic.  The number of Hawaii residents on Medicaid has jumped 40% since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Half of the state’s children and about one-third of the total population are now covered by the government health insurance program for people with low income. Star-Advertiser.

A Gag Order In A Foster Death: When Child Welfare Secrecy Goes Too Far. The child welfare system is shrouded in secrecy to protect children. Does it also block scrutiny and reform? Civil Beat.


Ala Wai flood plans approach final form. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the city last week unveiled their latest flood risk management planning efforts during a virtual online workshop. The project has been narrowed to three action proposals.  Star-Advertiser.

No Car? No Problem.
Car Rentals Cater To Honolulu Residents Who Don’t Really Need One. As more companies compete to offer short-term car-renting options, living without a car in Honolulu could get easier and bring down the cost of living. Civil Beat.

Honolulu police recruits on pace to exceed retirements.  The number of recruits working their way through the Honolulu Police Department’s training regimen is on pace to exceed the number of officers retiring this year as the department works to fill 375 vacancies. Star-Advertiser.

EPA takes action on 2021 Kailua sewage plant discharge to prevent future spills. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has entered into a consent order with the city over the discharge of millions of gallons of wastewater from the Kailua Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant in 2021. Hawaii News Now.

Work to restore Waimanalo beach near estate tied to Obama faces hurdles.  As 2020 drew to a close, developers of an oceanfront estate in Waimanalo tied to former President Barack Obama were awaiting a critical decision from the City and County of Honolulu. Star-Advertiser.

Wastewater discharged in Pālolo Stream
. The location is below Waiʻalae Avenue to the Ala Wai Canal. The discharge took place at 3110 Waiʻalae Avenue. KHON2.

Hawaii Island

Moszkowicz selected as Big Island police chief. The Hawaii County Police Commission has selected Honolulu Police Maj. Benjamin Moszkowicz as the new top cop for Hawaii Island.  West Hawaii Today. Civil Beat. Hawaii Public Radio. Tribune-Herald.  Big Island Now.

‘My life changed’: Property owners appeal steep increases in taxes. More than twice as many property owners appealed their tax assessments this year than last year, according to the 2022 report of the county Real Property Tax Board of Review. West Hawaii Today.

Maunakea telescope to gather data while Mauna Loa observatory is down. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Mauna Loa Observatory lost power two weeks ago after lava from Mauna Loa cut off the sole access road to the facility. That observatory collected atmospheric measurements for more than six decades that allow scientists to track global climate change through carbon dioxide measurements. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News.  Big Island Now.

Kalanianaole Street finally reopens to both lanes of traffic.  After nearly five years, Kalanianaole Street is now open to both lanes of traffic. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News.

Kona Royal Vistas condo/apartment project heads to Cultural Resources Commission. A long-dormant $170 million Kona project has returned to the Leeward Planning Commission, who on Thursday heard more than 20 residents express their concerns before punting the project to the county Cultural Resources Commission after a four-plus-hour meeting. West Hawaii Today.


Coast Guard suspends search for missing aircrew off Maui.  The U.S. Coast Guard has suspended its active search for the missing three-person Hawaii Life Flight crew whose aircraft disappeared off Maui on Thursday night. Star-Advertiser. Kauai Now.  Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Shelters open in Central and South Maui, Flooding closes road between Kīpahulu and ʻUlupalakua. As of 7 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 18, 2022, emergency shelters have opened in Central and South Maui at: War Memorial Gym, (700 Halia Nakoa St., Wailuku); and Kamaliʻi Elementary School Cafeteria, (180 Alanui Ke’Alii Dr., Kīhei). Maui Now. KHON2.

Maui County Considers Leasing Land On Lanai That Larry Ellison ‘Won’t Have A Say In’. The opportunity for a leaseholder change on 100 undeveloped acres could revive long stalled plans for a promised agricultural park on Lanai. Civil Beat.

Maui residents vow to pursue legal action over massive Nāpili home. Nāpili residents said they will take legal action against the county after the Maui County Council failed to follow through on an investigation into approvals for a massive Nāpili home. Maui Now.

County acquisition of Lahaina Crossroads Apartments is final. Mayor Michael Victorino announced today that the County of Maui’s acquisition of the Lahaina Crossroads Apartment Building on Luakini St. is final.  Maui Now.


Kaua‘i graduates 16 new Emergency Medical Technicians.  Sixteen new emergency medical technicians are now ready to help save lives after graduating on Thursday night at Kaua‘i Community College. Garden Island.

Pacific Media Group to expand on Kaua‘i with purchase of KFMN
. Hawai‘i-based Pacific Media Group, which owns and operates 17 radio stations throughout the state, plans to expand and add one more station to its roster. Big Island Now.