Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Honolulu seeks to borrow another $210.5M for rail construction, Interior Secretary Haaland to visit Hawaii, court cuts water diversion from Maui streams, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

City seeks $210.5M in bonds to fund rail construction. During a Honolulu City Council Committee on Budget meeting Tuesday, the city advanced three related resolutions — 122, 124 and 125 — requesting the Department of Budget and Fiscal Services to issue and sell a series of general obligation bonds toward finishing the nearly $10 billion, 18.9-mile rail line, which runs from East Kapolei to the Kakaako area, where HART says the last of 19 stations is planned to be completed by 2031. Star-Advertiser.

Secretary of the Interior to visit Hawaii as part of Biden’s ‘Investing in America’ tour.  Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland will visit Hawaii as part of the Biden administration’s “Investing in America” tour. The tour is part of a larger agenda to generate $470 billion in clean energy and private sector manufacturing investments. Hawaii News Now.

Rigging The System: The Martin Kao Case Offers An Inside View Of Pay-To-Play Politics. The former Hawaii defense contractor has pleaded guilty to a series of federal crimes related to PPP fraud and illegal campaign donations. Court records detail how he tried to get away with it. Civil Beat.

Final Budget Leaves UH Treading Water On Key Programs And Improvements. The final legislative budget will likely leave the University of Hawaii several hundred million dollars short of its request for fiscal years 2024-2025. The end result will have very clear consequences for the UH community.  Civil Beat.

Visitors paid more, stayed less at Hawaii hotels in May.  Hawaii’s hotel industry had pretty stable business in May compared with a year earlier, according to a survey report released Tuesday. Star-Advertiser.

Fecal bacteria found at a number of Hawaii beaches. Hawaii's beaches not only have hazards like rough surf conditions or aggressive water life, some may have a hidden danger: fecal bacteria. KITV4.

Firearm Permit Applications Down For 2nd Straight Year In Hawaii. The most common permit denial reason listed was due to being a current or former medical marijuana patient. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.


Inflation adds $16M and a year to UH student center development.  A new student center at the University of Hawaii at Manoa will cost $16 million more than expected and open about a year later than first scheduled, and officials say inflation and pandemic-related delays are to blame.  Star-Advertiser.

Ex-Mililani athletic director pleads no contest to theft charges. The trial for the former athletic director accused of stealing more than $360,000 from the Mili­lani High School athletic booster club that he and his immediately family managed pleaded no contest to all charges Tuesday morning. Star-Advertiser.

City and state to pay $130K to settle gun owner’s lawsuit. The lawsuit by Michael Santucci alleged that the HPD seized his guns and that it held up his permit application in 2021 because he wrote down on his firearms questionnaire that he had recently received mental health counseling. Hawaii News Now.

Riding Skyline may be a 'learning curve' for some. Here's what officials want you to know. The public opening of the Honolulu rail, Skyline, is just 10 days away and according to those who've spent years on the project, it's one of a kind. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii Island

Ransomware attack strikes Hawaii Community College. Hawaii Community College has been struck with a ransomware attack, and security measures are being increased to protect digital assets, University of Hawaii officials said Tuesday. Star-Advertiser. Tribune-Herald.  Hawaii News Now.  KHON2.

Bill regarding Kalanianaole Street pushed to future council meeting.  A proposed speed limit reduction along Kalanianaole Street is on hold as Hawaii County officials determine how best to protect nene in the area. Tribune-Herald.


Maui's $1.07B budget invests in affordable housing for residents.  The budget invests 8% of real property tax revenues to the county's Affordable Housing Fund, up from 3% in years prior.   The budget features a decrease in tax rates for resident-occupied homes assessed at $3 million or less. Hawaii Public Radio.

Court cuts East Maui water diversions again. The state’s Environmental Court has lowered the amount of water that Alexander & Baldwin and East Maui Irrigation can take from East Maui streams by about 9 million gallons per day, the latest decision in a longstanding battle over diverted water for farming and other uses. Maui News. Maui Now.  Hawaii News Now.

Council to appoint East Maui Regional Community Board members Friday. The Water Authority, Social Services and Parks Committee, chaired by Sinenci, recruited and vetted East Maui Regional Community Board applicants following approval of a charter amendment by 64% of the voters at the Nov. 8 election.  Maui Now.

It’s Still Unclear Who Will Fill The DHHL Seat On The New East Maui Water Board. As the council moves to vote later this week, the member recommended by DHHL may have to wait for Hawaiian Homes Commission approval. Civil Beat.


Kauai Mayor highlights budget for fiscal year. Kauai County Mayor Derek Kawakami  has done a bit of traveling recently – to the Philippines, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, and Hawai‘i on Hill.  KHON2.

Kaua‘i: last week to apply for Kupu ‘Āina Corps. Kupu is actively seeking host sites and participants to work in sustainability-focused sectors like renewable energy, sustainable agriculture, and climate adaptation on Kaua‘i. Kauai Now.


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