Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Big Island man free after 25 years in prison for rape, murder he didn't commit, youth sue state over climate change, tourism agency seeks to curb visitors' bad behavior, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Big Island man free after decades imprisoned for murder, rape he didn’t commit. Judge overturns Ian Schweitzer’s conviction in Dana Ireland’s rape, murder. A judge on Tuesday ordered that a Puna man who spent 26 years of his life behind bars for perhaps the most notorious murder in Hawaii’s history “be released from his shackles immediately.” Tribune-Herald. Star-Advertiser. Associated Press.  Big Island Now.  Hawaii News Now. KHON2. KITV4.

How A Longtime Politician Became The Chair Of The House Finance Committee. Rep. Kyle Yamashita, who is known for his quiet nature, is leading one of the most powerful committees in the Legislature. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Ag Director Plans To ‘Go Big’ If Confirmed. The department's funding has become cause for concern after losing a special revenue stream. Lawmakers say they are listening, but they expect the next director to ask for more. Civil Beat.

Freshman lawmakers aim to rebuild Hawaii’s GOP. Freshman state Sen. Brenton Awa — who is embroiled in a stalemate with the Senate’s only other Republican over who will lead their two-member caucus — wants to reinvigorate and rebrand Hawaii’s Republican Party by helping disenfranchised, working-class families in his rural district on the Windward side of Oahu. Star-Advertiser.

Fourteen young people in Hawaii who are plaintiffs in a climate change lawsuit against the state are preparing for their day in court. Ranging between the ages of 8 to 20, they call the case Navahine v. Hawaii Department of Transportation. Hawaii News Now.

HTA: ‘Room for improvement’ in efforts to discourage bad behavior among visitors. The Hawaii Tourism Authority is responding to incidents bad behavior among visitors that have gone viral on social media. And they’re acknowledging the need for more education. Hawaii News Now.

DOE: $2.4B in repair, deferred maintenance backlog. From roofing to interior and exterior construction, the Department of Education said its price tag for repairs and deferred maintenance has climbed to a hefty amount. KHON2.

Why School Enrollment Declines Are A ‘Significant Concern’ In Hawaii. Hawaii is on track to have fewer students enrolled in state-run schools by 2027 than at any point since the early years of statehood.  Civil Beat.

This program has diverted scores of mentally ill people from jail to treatment.
It’s also saved millions. A program that pushes mentally ill defendants into community treatment instead of jail has saved taxpayers millions of dollars — and it’s still just in the testing phase. Advocates, judges and lawmakers say the results prove it’s time to beef up the program. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Report condemns Hawaii’s policies on sale of flavored tobacco products. Hawaii received an “F” grade for its policies on flavored tobacco products, according to the American Lung Association’s annual State of Tobacco Control report. Tribune-Herald.


New Park Rangers To Serve As Beach Sleuths. A set of mobile cops will fan out across Oahu's parks, looking for the rogue operators that are driving residents crazy. Civil Beat.

Handi-Van to improve service under DOJ deal. Following a public complaint over the inability to easily book rides on the city’s prime paratransit service, the U.S. Department of Justice announced Tuesday it entered into a settlement agreement with the City and County of Honolulu to improve the operations of TheHandi-Van. Star-Advertiser. KHON2.

Secretary of the Army addresses Red Hill concerns, but residents remain dissatisfied. The Secretary of the Army is on Oahu connecting with military members to try to improve their quality of life, but some Red Hill families were not satisfied. Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth is in Hawaii to focus on aging infrastructure and quality of life issues. Hawaii News Now.

Former Kamehameha Schools head appointed Bishop Museum interim CEO.  Former Kamehameha Schools Bishop Estate CEO Dee Jay Mailer has been appointed interim president and CEO of Bishop Museum. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Bill to require County Council approval of time extensions postponed. A bill that would require County Council authorization of time extensions to zoning ordinances was temporarily set aside Tuesday after an amendment to the measure. West Hawaii Today.

Bills would limit BLNR’s power over lease extensions. Big Island lawmakers are hopeful they can get a struggling program to revitalize parts of Hilo back on track. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaiʻi Land Trust names new steward, educator for Māhukona on Big Island.
Keone Emeliano has joined the Hawaiʻi Land Trust as the Māhukona steward and educator.  Māhukona on the Kohala Coast of the Big Island is the center for traditional navigation for the entire Pacific Ocean. Big Island Now.


2 arrested, others rally outside Waiehu land at center of Native Hawaiian ownership debate. Two people were charged with trespassing while others rallied holding signs Tuesday outside Waiehu land at the center of an ownership dispute between Native Hawaiians and nonprofit Maui Economic Opportunity Inc. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now.  KHON2.

$198,000 grant allows for launch of Native Hawaiian Owner-Builder project on Molokaʻi. Hawai‘i Community Lending announced grant awards totaling $1.3 million that aim to increase economic stability on Moloka‘i by helping the island’s native Hawaiian community to actualize affordable homeownership.  Maui Now.

Feeding and careless driving cause undue risk to nēnē population on Maui. A female nēnē was struck and killed by a passenger truck on Haleakalā Highway near the Dairy Road/Keolani Place junction in Kahului last Tuesday, according to state officials.  Maui Now.

Attorney: judge’s decision in case involving HNN is a win for First Amendment. A federal judge has ruled HNN Chief Investigative Reporter Lynn Kawano doesn’t have to provide Maui County attorneys with information she gathered while covering the case of a Maui police officer who is now behind bars. Hawaii News Now.


Kaua‘i planning commission meeting sparks Coco Palms revelations. After an eye-opening hearing on Tuesday, the County of Kaua‘i Planning Commission ruled in favor of Coco Palms hotel developers and shut down a petition to void their permits due to lack of progress. Garden Island. Kauai Now.

Nagramada appointed head of Island School. Nancy Nagramada will assume the head of school duties at Island School effective July 1, states an announcement by the school. Garden Island.

Kaua‘i public schools to receive $3.1M in federal funds. A federal funding mechanism that provides money for elementary and secondary education is projected to deliver more than $3 million to the County of Kaua‘i. Garden Island.

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