Friday, January 13, 2023

Legislative panels question Land Board appointee, University of Hawaii admins, eggflation benefits local producers, Bishop Museum fires execs, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Green’s controversial pick to head Land Board goes before lawmakers to make her case. Members of the Senate Ways and Means and Water and Land committees questioned Dawn Chang about the Green Administration’s plan to invest $100 million in climate change initiatives, vacancies in the DLNR’s enforcement division and enforcement actions in its Boating Division. Hawaii News Now.

Senators take UH to task over spending. The University of Hawaii, already smarting from Gov. Josh Green’s changes to its requests to increase its biennial budgets, got no sympathy from state senators demanding more accountability on UH spending and leadership during a contentious meeting Thursday. Star-Advertiser.

Could Hawaiʻi feasibly repeal its general excise tax on food and medicine? Gov. Josh Green has pledged to repeal the GET on food and some medicines in campaign promises and during his inaugural speech, but some are critiquing the choice — including influential lawmakers. Hawaii Public Radio.

Medical cannabis rules in Hawaii might be relaxed.  Armed with a long-awaited task force report, state lawmakers are expected to take up measures this year that would add protections and expand access to medical cannabis, including a bill that would require health care providers to allow terminally ill patients to smoke or ingest the drug at their facilities and a bill that would give registered medical cannabis users job protections. Star-Advertiser.

Local egg farmers reaping the benefits of higher-priced mainland eggs. While prices are surging for mainland eggs, more people are now buying local. An Avian flu outbreak on the mainland has created a level playing field for local egg farms. KITV4.

Still some sticker shock at isle grocers, even with inflation cooling. Anyone who’s gone grocery shopping lately knows there’s still a lot of sticker shock going on — with many examples on the neighbor islands. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii’s Farms Are Small And Hard To Sustain. Can Tax Incentives Help? A suite of bills to boost agriculture is set to be introduced this coming legislative session with the goal of bringing Hawaii closer to other states when it comes to helping farmers. Civil Beat.

False missile alert rattled Hawaii nerves 5 years ago.  The episode spread not only panic, but ultimately anger across the islands. State officials apologized and promised a full review. State and federal hearings and multiple investigations and reports criticized HI-EMA and recommended changes. Star-Advertiser.


3 Bishop Museum executives are fired by board.  Bishop Museum is looking for its fourth CEO in the past seven years after the board of directors voted unanimously Wednesday to fire three top executives following a six-month probe into the work environment at the 15-acre campus in Kalihi. Star-Advertiser. KHON2. KITV4.

Honolulu buys 48 vans for TheHandi-Van fleet. The City and County of Honolulu announced the purchase of 48 more gas-powered vans for TheHandi-Van, the city’s under­resourced paratransit service, that should arrive in August. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.  KHON2.

Task force: State has lost battle to eradicate coconut rhinoceros beetle on Oahu. The head of the state’s Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle Task Force says the state has lost the battle to eradicate the pests on Oahu ― and is now moving resources toward preventing its spread to other islands. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu Zoo euthanizes 2 Sumatran tigers with kidney disease. The City and County of Honolulu today said that it had euthanized Seattle, a 15-year-old male, on Jan. 5 and Chrissie, a 23-year-old female, on Tuesday. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.  KHON2.

Hawaii Island

New Mauna Kea Board Asks Legislature To Approve $28M For Transition. The panel is gearing up to assume control of the mountain from the University of Hawaii in 2028, but it’s just getting started. Civil Beat.

Banyan Tree Wasp Infestation Highlights Urban Decay In Hilo Waterfront. The plight of some 50 banyan trees near downtown Hilo puts a spotlight on Banyan Drive’s deeper, longstanding troubles. Civil Beat.

Speed limit on 5.5-mile stretch of Volcano Road to be reduced to 35 mph. The speed limit on Volcano Road (Route 11) between South Road and Pszyk Road, and through Kurtistown and Mountain View in East Hawaiʻi, will be reduced to 35 mph in both directions, announced the Hawaiʻi Department of Transportation. Big Island Now. Star-Advertiser.

Input wanted for skate park. The Hawaii County Parks and Recreation in January 2022 announced plans to build the Hilo Skate Park with private partnerships and initial county funding for the planning process. Tribune-Herald.


New Community Solar Projects Slated For Molokai Could Lower Bills. A pair of solar plus battery energy projects will move forward on Molokai, pending the approval of state utility regulators. Civil Beat. Maui Now.

DOE lacking Maui County approval to open new Kihei high school. A new $120-million high school for South Maui is scheduled to open next week. However, the state has yet to meet all the requirements. Hawaii News Now.

Blessing and unveiling held for 100-foot mural on Church Street in Wailuku. A blessing was held this week for a 100-foot mural titled “Mōhala I ka wai ka maka o ka pua,” translated as “Unfolded by the water are the faces of the flowers.” Maui Now.


A Sweeping Plan To Reinvent Kauai’s Oldest Hospital Is ‘Getting Close To The Vision’. The projected $400 million project on the 34-acre property would upgrade the medical facility while creating a civic hub around schools, pubic safety and affordable housing. Civil Beat.

Plane lost power before Līhu‘e Airport crash. The revelation comes from a preliminary report filed by the National Transportation Safety Board, which states the plane’s pilot – reportedly a member of the Civil Air Patrol joined by his young son – described a lack of power to the control tower before his Beechcraft Model 77 Skipper descended into a fence at the edge of the airport property. Kauai Now. Hawaii News Now.

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