Monday, May 15, 2023

Proposed catch limits irk fishers, 30 years of Hawaii-Taiwan sister-statehood, $2M settlement in women's prison sex abuse case, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Proposed fishing changes draw ire. Dozens of fishermen and environmentalists on Friday spoke out against proposed new fishing regulations by the state Department of Land and Natural Resources. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii, Taiwan mark 30 years of sister-state relationship. This year marks the 30th anniversary of Hawaii’s sister-state relationship with Taiwan – a democratically self-ruled island claimed by China. State lawmakers passed resolutions this session to establish a Hawaii-Taiwan Friendship Task Force and support Taiwan participation in international forums like the World Health Organization’s annual assembly, scheduled to meet May 21st. Hawaii News Now.

Minimum Hawaiian coffee labeling requirements could change. The state Department of Agriculture is requesting proposals to study the economic impact of changing Hawaiʻi coffee labeling requirements. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawai‘i lawmakers passed two energy efficiency policies last week, supporting Hawai‘i’s goal to achieve a 100% clean energy and carbon-free future. Bills will transition the state from selling fluorescent light bulbs to more efficient Light-Emitting Diode (LED) bulbs beginning in January 2025 and set a minimum level of energy and water efficiency for certain household appliances sold in the state. Kauai Now.

Discord among Hawaii GOP lawmakers lingers. This year’s legislative session started with a dispute between the state’s two Republican senators over who would be named Senate minority leader, and ended with a quarrel between a Republican representative and other members of the House GOP caucus. Star-Advertiser.

Former Hawaii Executives Plead Guilty To Sending Illegal Donations To US Sen. Susan Collins. The Republican senator from Maine was the beneficiary of more than $200,000 in illegal campaign donations made by a Hawaii defense contractor. Clifford Chen and Lawrence Lum Kee both worked for Navatek, an engineering firm that was doing research and development for the Navy and had satellite offices located in Collins’ home state of Maine. Civil Beat.

Hawaii’s new DBEDT boss James Tokioka has a wealth of experience. James “Jimmy” Kunane Tokioka became director of the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism on May 5, and he brings a considerable mix of business and government experience to the job. Star-Advertiser.

This State Investigator Has A Long History Of Questionable Behavior. And He’s Still At It. Bobby Aiu, the ex-husband of Sen. Donna Kim, disregarded procedures at the DEA, blasted his bosses to the governor, dressed down members of the public and even sued his brother over a horse. Civil Beat.

In about-face, state agrees to pay women’s prison sex assault victims $2M in settlement. The state has agreed to pay $2 million to six former and current inmates who were sexually assaulted by adult correctional officers at the Women’s Community Correctional Center. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii bankruptcies go up 29% on heels of rising rates. Bankruptcy cases in April hit a monthly high for the year, as rising interest rates and high inflation finally appear to be stretching thin the finances of Hawaii consumers. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii ‘survival budget’ hits $104,052, report finds. A new Aloha United Way report on Hawaii families experiencing financial instability estimated the annual “household survival budget” for a family of four in 2021 at $104,052. That’s up 15% from 2018 when the amount needed to cover essentials such as housing, food and health care was placed at $90,828. Star-Advertiser.


Kailua Bay continues battle for clean waters. The beach faces multiple challenges: When there is heavy rain, sewers overflow through waterways into the ocean, prompting warnings of potential pathogens from the state Department of Health. Also, effluent from one of the city’s oldest wastewater plants empties into the ocean at Kailua Bay. Star-Advertiser.

Resident Only Parking Zones May Expand Across Oahu. City officials are considering allowing residents to petition for a restricted parking zone system on local streets. Civil Beat.

Honolulu Police Department takes hands-on approach to hiring process. In the struggle to fill more than 370 vacancies in an increasingly competitive job market, the Honolulu Police Department is banking on greater oversight of its hiring to find enough qualified recruits to wear the uniform. Star-Advertiser.

Plan to retain affordable housing in high-rise moves forward. A city plan to retain affordable housing at a 32-story high-rise in Chinatown by using a private development partnership and hundreds of millions of dollars in tax-exempt bonds moved forward last week. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Central Fire Station operations to move as building plagued by mold, structural issues. The Hawaii Fire Department will move operations this summer from its Central Fire Station in downtown Hilo to a midtown building on Kilauea Avenue so the 90-year-old station can undergo long-overdue repairs. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News.

Hawaiʻi County 911 fire dispatchers having own crisis with severe shortage of workers. On Thursday, in the windowless communication center at Hawai‘i police headquarters in Hilo — with the din of ringing phones, radio chatter and talking people — seven dispatchers answered emergency call after emergency call from around the island. Big Island Now.


Community Groups Are Trying To Learn Just How Clean — Or Dirty — Maui’s Beaches Really Are. The public is filling in the gaps because the government lacks the resources to regularly test most beaches. Civil Beat.

Maui fishers cited for illegally entering wildlife sanctuary off Lanai. Four Maui fishers were cited for illegal entry into the Moku Naio islet Seabird Sanctuary, also known as Shark Fin Rock, off the coast of Lanai. Star-Advertiser. Maui Now.

County increases Summer PALs seasonal employee salaries to boost recruitment. Hourly wages will be increased to a range of $20 an hour to $31.63 an hour, depending on the position. Maui News. Hawaii News Now.


Kaua‘i county budget draft finalized. The Kaua‘i County Council finalized the county’s draft budget on Friday, including additional decreases to the Homestead tax rate and new funds for the Kaua‘i Police Department, in an uncharacteristically noncombative council meeting. Garden Island.

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