Thursday, January 19, 2023

Legislature opens with optimism, Russian spy ship spotted off Hawaii coast, parents sue Boy Scouts over child's shooting death at camp, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii Legislature Opens With Show Of Goodwill By Green, Lawmakers. Tax relief, mental health woes and an affordable housing crisis top the agenda for the 2023 session. House and Senate leaders used their opening day speeches to float proposals to enhance a state tax break for working families known as the earned income tax credit. House members also pledged to do more to help persons suffering from mental illness. Civil Beat. Associated Press. Star-Advertiser. Big Island Video News.  Big Island Now. Garden Island.  Hawaii News Now.  KITV4.

Hawaii Gov Signals He'll Sign Ethics Reform Bills That Land On His Desk.
Putting pressure on lawmakers, Gov. Josh Green said Wednesday that he is strongly inclined to approve major parts of a package of government reform legislation if they are approved by the Hawaii Legislature. Civil Beat. KITV4.

House Speaker Saiki's opening remarks for the 2023 legislative session. House Speaker Scott Saiki stood before both newly-elected and long-time legislators on Wednesday to outline the issues he would like representatives to work on over the next four months. Hawaii Public Radio.

Advocates press Hawaii lawmakers for change.
  Hundreds of people descended upon the grounds of the state Capitol for opening day at the Legislature Wednesday, many of them pushing for the change they want to see in the islands. Star-Advertiser.

Teachers seek opportunity to sit on the Hawaiʻi Board of Education again.
The Hawaiʻi Board of Education consists of 11 members — including lawyers, former education administrators, and even a former U.S. diplomat. However, the board doesn't actually have any teachers on it.  Hawaii Public Radio.

Fentanyl Test Strips Save Lives.
Why Are They Illegal In Hawaii? State Sen. Joy San Buenaventura plans to introduce a bill this session to decriminalize the test strips as Hawaii confronts more overdoses. Civil Beat.

Feeding feral chickens could bring $500 fine. A bill that would fine anyone $500 for feeding feral chickens is the latest attempt to lower the count of chicken complaints across the state. Star-Advertiser.

Coast Guard releases video of Russian ships in Hawaii waters. The Coast Guard announced Wednesday that it has been tracking what it believes is a Russian intelligence-gathering ship over “recent weeks” off the coast of the Hawaiian Islands and released video of the ship refueling at sea with another Russian vessel. Star-Advertiser. West Hawaii Today. Big Island Video News.  Big Island Now. Maui Now. Kauai Now.  KHON2.

Matson’s earnings plunge as shipping demand wanes. The state’s largest ocean freight transportation company said after the market closed Wednesday that volume from Hawaii, China, Alaska and Guam all declined from the year-earlier period. Star-Advertiser.

Former Chief Investigator Sues Hawaii Attorney General’s Office. Daniel Hanagami took on some of the state's high profile white collar and public corruption cases in the early 2000s. The state’s former chief investigator is suing the state Department of the Attorney General over allegations that the department discriminated against him because of his age when it fired him last year. Civil Beat.

Hawaii’s COVID variant report detects ‘Kraken’ in 3 counties.  Hospitalizations of COVID-19 patients are ticking up following the holidays, with an average of 94 per day over the past week, according to data from the Healthcare Association of Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.

Hawai‘i Covid-19 positivity rate at 6.8%; 5 more deaths recorded. The state Department of Health today reported 1,068 new Covid-19 infections over the past week, bringing the total number of cases since the start of the pandemic to 375,925. DOH also reported five more deaths, bringing the state’s Covid death toll to 1,775. The state’s average positivity rate declined to 6.8% compared with 7.5% the previous week. Star-Advertiser. KITV4.


Residents critical of Red Hill agreement. Top officials from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Navy weathered a barrage of criticism from residents who crowded a town hall meeting Wednesday evening to discuss a proposed regulatory agreement relating to the defueling of the military’s Red Hill fuel facility. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

Ex-Defense Contractor Pleads Not Guilty To Mortgage Fraud In Hawaii. Former defense contractor Martin Kao indicated on Wednesday he plans to fight a new federal charge accusing him of lying on the mortgage application for his Kahala home. Civil Beat.

Hawaii woman gets 2 years for illegal lobbying of Trump. In addition to 24 months in prison followed by three years on federal probation, U.S. District Judge Leslie E. Kobayashi fined Lum Davis $250,000 and levied a $100 special assessment. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

UH gets big grant aimed at bolstering diversity SPED teacher ranks. A $1.6 million grant was awarded to the University of Hawaii at Manoa College of Education’s Department of Special Education to increase and retain more well-prepared bilingual/multilingual teachers of color. Hawaii News Now.

Over 400 citations issued from Oahu red light cameras. The Department of Transportation said 416 vehicles were photographed since the State started using cameras to catch red-light runners in November 2022. KHON2.

Paramedics have a warning for Hawaii drivers: Tailing ambulances isn’t just inconsiderate, it’s dangerous. Emergency medical crews say drivers trying to get ahead in traffic are using ambulances to clear the way. That’s a crime. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

4 former HCCC correctional officers sentenced in beating of inmate. Four former correctional officers with the Hawaii Community Correctional Center have been sentenced for assaulting an inmate and conspiring to cover up the abuse for years. Star-Advertiser. Big Island Now.  Kauai Now.  KHON2.

Parents of Hilo boy killed by assault rifle sue Boy Scouts of America. The lawsuit names as defendants: the Boy Scouts of America and the Boy Scouts of America Aloha Council, and a Honolulu-based group that oversees Scouting in the State of Hawai‘i, the U.S. territories of American Samoa, Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. Big Island Now. Hawaii News NowKITV4.

State eyes purchase in North Kohala for PONC preservation. Residents can nominate sites around the Big Island to be acquired and preserved through Hawaii County’s Public Access, Open Space, and Natural Resources Preservation Commission. Tribune-Herald.


Solar project proposed for Piiholo. A solar panel energy project that could service more than 500 homes in the Piiholo area and lower electric cost for customers is being proposed off of Makawao Avenue just north of Piiholo Road.  Maui News.

Five tons of marine debris removed from Kahoʻolawe. An estimated five tons of marine debris was airlifted this morning from Kaho‘olawe to Maui, with most of it destined for recycling as “new life” products, according to the state Department of Land and Natural Resources. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now.


Former Waimea instructor Victor Aguilar sentenced for sexual assault.  Former Waimea High School JROTC instructor Victor Aguilar pleaded no contest to one charge of sexual assault in the second degree on Wednesday for taking advantage of his underage student. Garden Island.

Conservation-based summer program accepting applicants on Kaua‘i. Kupu, a leading conservation and youth education nonprofit in the State of Hawai‘i, is preparing to host its 2023 Hawai‘i Youth Conservation Corps Summer Program. Kauai Now.

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