Friday, September 29, 2023

Congressional committee grills Hawaiian Electric, utility regulators; Honolulu seeks tougher standards for emergency manager, tourism tumbles in fire aftermath, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

House panel questions actions of HECO, PUC. Testifying under oath Thursday before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce’s Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, Shelee Kimura, president and CEO of Hawaiian Electric,  said  the 132-year-old utility has a team investigating exactly what happened with the utility poles and power lines that went down amid high winds brought on by Hurricane Dora. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.  Hawaii Public Radio.  Associated Press.  Maui Now.  Hawaii News Now.  KHON2.

Tourism tumbles for Hawaii in aftermath of Maui fires. Visitor arrivals and spending for the state fell in August as visitor arrivals to Maui plummeted nearly 58% and spending fell 49% after the devastating Aug. 8 Lahaina wildfire — the worst natural disaster in state history and the deadliest U.S. wildfire in over a century. Star-Advertiser.


Minimum Qualifications Proposed For Honolulu Emergency Manager. A draft charter amendment would require at least five years of experience for the job. Civil Beat.

Navy censures officers for ‘leadership failings’ on Red Hill. The Navy has sent letters of censure to three retired admirals and seven Navy captains regarding “leadership failings” that it says set the stage for the 2021 Red Hill water crisis. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.  Hawaii Public Radio.  Hawaii News Now.

Search For Gunman Prompts Lockdown At Army’s Schofield Barracks. Authorities arrested the suspect after lifting the shelter-in-place order,. Civil Beat. Star-AdvertiserHawaii News Now.  KHON2.

Micronesian Tenants Fight Back Against ‘Terrible’ Apartment Conditions. Advocates call for the state's landlord-tenant code reformed to better protect tenants from "unscrupulous" landlords. Civil Beat.

Deadline for filing Oahu home exemptions looms. The deadline for qualified homeowners on Oahu to file a home exemption with Honolulu’s Real Property Assessment Division is this Monday. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Paid parking to begin at Coconut Grove. Another lot in Kona will be charging for parking starting October 1, making free parking in Kailua Village scarce. West Hawaii Today.


More assistance with insurance for Maui fire victims needed, advocates say. Lahaina fire survivors without renter’s or property owner’s insurance — and even those with insurance — received no assurances Thursday that the state can help them recover their losses anytime soon. Star-Advertiser.

Maui’s Fire Victims Are Frustrated By Insurance Hassles, Financial Delays. Numerous people showed up at a state Senate hearing on Maui where lawmakers urged state agencies to do more to protect consumers. Civil Beat.

High Water Bills Surprise Kula Residents Who Helped Fight Wildfires.
Maui's top water official said the county will be lenient on a case-by-case basis and may offer relief but can't forgive all the bills because it needs the revenue. Civil Beat.

More Lahaina fire zones to open for reentry. Three more residential zones in areas burned by the deadly Aug. 8 Lahaina wildfire are being opened for reentry by property owners and residents. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

Lahaina parents, teachers call for safety monitoring for students.  Many West Maui families and educators doubt that the three Lahaina public schools reopening in October are as safe as officials say, and they want to see stronger monitoring for toxic substances and emergency and evacuation plans set up well before students and employees return, according to numerous testifiers at an emotional public meeting Thursday. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.

Maui tomato farmer says Aug. 8 storms caused a 'complete nosedive' in production
. Joel Winicki and his family live in Olinda. They own and operate Maui Grown Tomatoes, with their main farm in HaŹ»iku. Hawaii Public Radio.


Council approves support staff funding
. A budget allotment for the seven Kauai County Council members of $100,000 for personal support staff sparked heated debate in Wednesday’s finance committee meeting, with the majority of council members accepting the funding. Garden Island.

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