Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Legislature seeks to improve Farm to School program, Honolulu prosecutor wants big raise, Election Day may be out as a state holiday, Clintons visit Kilauea Volcano, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Bills to improve DOE’s Farm to School program moving forward. A host of bills moving through the state Legislature represent the latest effort in an ongoing movement to bring healthier, locally sourced meals to Hawaii’s public schools. Star-Advertiser.

A $500 State Tax Credit For School Supplies? Hawaii Teachers Say That’s A Good Start. Out-of-pocket expenses from pencils to lesson plans are a fact of life for educators. Civil Beat.

‘Life is not a standardized test’: Effort underway to change student assessments in Hawaii. Standardized tests measure a student’s ability to recognize and recall information, but when it comes to analyzing and applying what is learned in the classroom, a new type of testing called authentic assessments is gaining traction. Tribune-Herald.

Election Day May Soon Be Out As A State Holiday. Instead, Hawaii would establish a new holiday honoring native peoples on the second Monday of each October. Civil Beat.

Free Menstrual Products Proposed For State Buildings. Senate Bill 891 needs to clear a hearing in the Senate Ways and Means Committee by Friday to advance. Civil Beat.

Regulators Seek Public Input On Energy Projects In Hawaii. The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission is seeking public input in an effort to create social and economic fairness in the state’s energy system.  Civil Beat.

Lawmakers show support to expand solar access for low-income households. House Bill 949 earmarks funds for a solar energy storage system loan program. Hawaii Public Radio.

Biggest change in a century coming for HECO customers. A new pilot program rolling out in the summer is meant to save customers money, but it could cost some folks more. It’s called time of use, and it will change how much your electricity costs depending on when you use it. KHON2.

Visitor arrivals in Hawaii stronger than expected. Visitor arrivals in January recovered to almost 97% of 2019, and international arrivals hit their highest monthly level since the pandemic — but maintaining that momentum likely will hinge on arrivals from Japan recovering in time to offset the loss of some U.S. visitors if a U.S. recession materializes. Star-Advertiser.

Gov. Green declares 2023 the 'Year of Kāhuli' to bring awareness to endemic snails. What used to span over 750 species of snails, has dwindled to about 300 — due to habitat loss and invasive predators. Hawaii Public Radio.


Prosecuting attorney seeks pay raises. Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney Steve Alm wants a 17% pay raise. The pay increase requested by the Department of the Prosecuting Attorney for its elected leader would make Alm’s salary the same as a state Circuit Court judge’s, according to a Feb. 27 letter the department sent to the Honolulu Salary Commission. Star-Advertiser.

Mayor throws his weight behind big tax break for company proposing film studio on Oahu. Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi said a plan to build a new film studio in west Oahu will not only create high-paying jobs but will help diversify the island’s economy. Hawaii News Now.

With property taxes set to rise, Honolulu seeks advice on how to protect low-income families. To help guide policy, the Honolulu City Council on Tuesday got advice from Maui County, where over the last several years owner-occupants and homes with long-term tenants have received relief. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu Fireworks Cases Almost Always Get Dismissed. Here’s What We Found About Why They Fizzle. A Civil Beat analysis shows 94% of citations are dropped, but the records paint a portrait of where police try to crack down and the alleged perps. Civil Beat.

Oahu coastal property setbacks could increase. Coastal property owners would be required to locate large homes and buildings farther back from the shoreline to protect public beaches and sensitive coastal ecosystems under a bill that unanimously passed the Honolulu City Council in February and is awaiting a decision by Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi. Star-Advertiser.

Puuloa Shooting Ranges To Be Moved Away From Shoreline. The U.S. Marine Corps said on Monday that four short-distance firing ranges at its Pu’uloa Range Training Facility will be moved inland to address concerns about erosion and potential lead contamination.  Civil Beat.

Wrongful death lawsuit filed in woman’s brutal killing just steps from police station. The estate of a woman who was brutally beaten to death at a bus stop just outside the Kapolei Police station has filed a wrongful death suit against the city. Hawaii News Now.

At a cost of $40M, large new wave pool on Oahu nearing completion. A standing wave pool being built in Ewa Beach is set to open next month, but not everyone is giving it a warm welcome. The “LineUP” at Wai Kai was originally scheduled to open this month. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Safer routes for all: Bill aims to revive program that improves safety of pedestrians. A transportation program aimed at improving the safety of Hawaii’s roads and sidewalks could return to the Big Island under a new bill in the state Legislature. Tribune-Herald.

Big Island tabbed for $73 million of DHHL’s $600 million. The Big Island’s share of $600 million appropriated to the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands last year will be divided between two projects, according to the plan outlined in a report by the department. Tribune-Herald.

Lawmakers debate funding demands for ‘safety net hospitals’ as one facility issues stark warning. Lawmakers are responding to an HNN investigation into failing infrastructure that’s threatening the future of Kona Community Hospital. They must now decide whether to hand over nearly $19 million for emergency repairs. Hawaii News Now.

Could an independent animal control agency help Hawaiʻi Island? The Hawaiʻi County Council is working with the administration to establish an independent animal control agency. Hawaii Public Radio.

Clintons trek around Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park during Big Island visit. The Clintons visited the park with their daughter Chelsea and her family, along with a security team. Big Island Now. Hawaii News Now.


Visitor Industry on Maui experiences continued recovery in January. There were 228,743 visitors to Maui in January 2023, up nearly 25% from the 183,278 visitors who arrived in January 2022, and down -2% from the 233,422 visitors who came in January 2019. Maui Now.

Green grants available for small-scale innovative environmental projects on Maui. The County of Maui Department of Environmental Management is soliciting grant applications for the Environmental Protection & Sustainability Division Grants Program, which includes a new Green Grants Program for small-scale innovative environmental initiatives or demonstration projects as well as the continuation of the Recycling Grants Program that the department administers. Maui Now.

Fuel tanks, aging DOT baseyard to get upgrades. Storage tanks not passing inspection and ‘need to be replaced as soon as possible’. Maui News.

Waiehu Municipal Golf Course to begin pilot online reservations program starting March 15. County of Maui Department of Parks and Recreation staff will be at the golf course during the week of March 6 to assist golfers in setting up accounts for the online registration process. Maui Now.


Visitor arrivals to Kauaʻi in January rebound to pre-pandemic level. Visitors spent $1.89 billion in Hawai’i during January 2023, which is 35 percent more than January of last year and 17% more than in pre-pandemic January 2019. Kauai Now.

Anahola Granola earns big state award. Anahola Granola was one of more than 25 honored at the 23rd annual Hawai‘i Entrepreneur Awards held Friday evening at Wai‘alae Country Club on O‘ahu. Garden Island.

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