Tuesday, June 27, 2023

EV drivers face new road usage fee, Maui newspaper up for sale, more than 50% of Native Hawaiians now live outside the state, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

EV drivers could see a new road usage charge. Senate Bill 1534, passed out of the 2023 legislative session will create a mileage-based road usage charge that will impact all electric vehicles first. Drivers will pay based on how much they use the roadways. KITV4.

COVID ‘whistleblower’s’ firing headed to arbitration. A former COVID-19-era epidemiological specialist who was fired from the state Health Department after saying “contact tracers” were woefully understaffed and overworked under dangerous conditions faces an arbitration hearing in July, followed by a possible trial over her lawsuit alleging wrongful dismissal. Star-Advertiser.

Special Interests Spent More To Lobby The Hawaii Legislature This Year. More than 300 organizations spent almost $5.6 million total on lobbying this legislative session, according to records filed with the Hawaii State Ethics Commission.  Civil Beat.

Hawaii to receive $150M for rural broadband access. Nearly $150 million in new federal funding for high-speed internet access is coming to Hawaii — a major boost to ongoing efforts to ensure broadband and internet service to households across the state, particularly in rural areas. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.  Hawaii News Now.

Lawmakers look to increase Coast Guard’s Pacific footprint.  A $91.5 billion bill making its way through Congress funding programs under the U.S. Department of Homeland Security includes provisions to continue supporting an increased U.S. Coast Guard presence in the Pacific. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Foster Kids Are Sleeping In Hotels And State Offices
. They Have Nowhere Else To Go. There aren't enough foster homes, especially for kids with the biggest challenges. Civil Beat.

Leaving for Las Vegas: Reaching out to Native Hawaiians.  Trying to make it in Hawaii is becoming increasingly difficult — so impossible for some that more than 50% of Native Hawaiians are now living outside of the state. Star-Advertiser.

Native Hawaiians share experience of mainland living. Native Hawaiians and former Hawaii residents who live on the mainland talked with the Honolulu Star-Advertiser about their lives, joys and challenges far away from Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.


Honolulu Rail Spent $100 Million To Relocate Utilities. Much Of It May Have Been A Waste. Some cash spent on Honolulu utility relocation work under a rail contract with Nan Inc. went to mobilization costs, or to work in areas beyond the end of the rail line. Civil Beat.

Rail eminent domain dispute heads to Hawaii high court.  The Hawaii State Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments involving the Texas- based developer Howard Hughes Corp., doing business here as Victoria Ward Ltd., and the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation’s 2018 condemnation of about 2 acres containing roughly 25 parcels owned by the developer — from Cooke to Kamakee streets. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Board of Water Supply will invest more than $43M for a new reservoir in Waiawa.  The Honolulu Board of Water Supply will invest $43.5 million for a new reservoir in Waiawa. Environmentalists say the project could help ease the strain caused by the Red Hill water crisis. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu couple arrested in connection with fatal mass overdose; fentanyl distribution ring exposed.  A Honolulu couple has been arrested in connection with a suspected mass overdose incident in Waikiki that left two people dead and three others hospitalized in early June, according to a federal criminal complaint filed Monda. Hawaii News Now.

Thousands cited for running the red, the few who contest it are unsuccessful. According to numbers by the Department of Transportation, since the red light safety camera pilot program started in November 2022, a total of 6,311 citations have been issued at all 10 of the locations. KHON2.

Bishop Museum announces settlement with former CEO, president. The Bishop Museum has reached a settlement in the dispute with former President and CEO Melanie Ide. In January, after a months-long investigation, the museum’s board of directors voted unanimously to terminate Ide, General Counsel Barron Oda, and Vice President of Operations, Planning and Program Management Wesley “Kaiwi” Yoon. Hawaii Public Radio.

This North Shore Community Wants Stronger Protection Against Disasters, Climate Change. Hauula's efforts to build a resiliency hub may get a boost from a FEMA grant supporting more rural areas. Civil Beat.

More Funding Means More Lifeguard Coverage On Oahu. The new budget includes money for 18 new lifeguard positions and extended hours, with an emphasis on the Leeward Coast. Civil Beat.

Kamaaina to get reservations-free entry to Hanauma Bay.  The Honolulu Department of Parks and Recreation said all Hawaii residents with valid photo identification, such as a Hawaii driver’s license or school ID, in July will be able to enter the nature preserve for free during hours of operation from 6:45 a.m. until 1:30 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday, without either, thanks to additional staffing. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Debate over manta ray tours continues. A decade-long discussion over potential rules and regulations for manta ray tours will continue after Gov. Josh Green stated his intent to veto a bill that would have altered the permitting process. Tribune-Herald.

New Mass Transit administrator named. Hawaii County has announced the appointment of Victor Kandle as the new Mass Transit Agency administrator. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Now.

PTA change of command set for Wednesday.  U.S. Army Lt. Col. Kevin Cronin to leave after two years as commanding officer of Pohakuloa Training Area. Tribune-Herald.

Naniloa given OK for new loan aimed at avoiding foreclosure. After repeated rejections, the owners of the Grand Naniloa Hotel in Hilo secured approval Friday from the Board of Land and Natural Resources for a new mortgage to pay off the business’ current one. Tribune-Herald.

Aunty Sally Kaleohano’s Lūʻau Hale In Hilo To Reopen.  The facility was being utilized by the State Department of Health and the Hawai‘i County Civil Defense Agency for the past two years. Big Island Video News.


Ogden Newspapers exploring options for new ownership of The Maui News.  The Ogden Newspapers announced Monday that it is exploring options for the possible sale of their Maui Publishing group and is planning to accept offers from interested parties over the next few weeks.  Maui News.

Hawaiian Electric invites Maui community to offer input on renewable generation plans. Hawaiian Electric will hold a community meeting on July 11 to receive comments on its proposal to build new generating units that can run on a variety of renewable fuels, including biofuels. Maui Now.

In partnership with Job Corps, MPD launches new program to help at-risk youth. The Maui Police Department is partnering with Hawaii Job Corps Center to help at-risk teens and young adults. Hawaii News Now.


Tenants facing eviction hope state will convert Kauaʻi’s Waipouli apartments to affordable housing. Affordable housing advocates continue efforts for Waipouli apartments.   Affordable housing advocates held a second press conference in the Kintaro restaurant parking lot last week, urging the state government to purchase the Courtyards at Waipouli apartments and secure all 82 units as affordable housing for 60 years. Garden Island. Kauai Now.

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