Thursday, September 28, 2023

HI-EMA: use sirens to warn of fire, Congressional inquiry today on Lahaina fire cause, Kona coffee brand wins in court, Hokulea returning to pay Maui tribute, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

HI-EMA clarifies that sirens can be used to warn of fire. A review of outdoor warning siren protocols following the Lahaina fire disaster has led the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency to reiterate that fire is indeed one of the hazards that can prompt siren activation. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

Congressional inquiry to focus on the cause of the deadly Lahaina fire. Members of Congress today will attempt to get to the bottom of what led to the deadly Lahaina firestorm — including questions that to date have gone largely unanswered about the timeline of what happened Aug. 8, Hawaiian Electric Co.’s electrical grid, and wildfire mitigation measures. Star-Advertiser. KHON2.

An old car tire, burnt trees and a utility pole may be key in finding how the Maui wildfire spread.
Though findings of a cause are not expected for months, the focus on Hawaiian Electric’s role in managing brush in its right-of-way could strengthen claims of negligence against the utility, which is facing an onslaught of lawsuits blaming it for failing to proactively cut electricity in the face of high-wind warnings, upgrade its power poles and clear foliage from around its lines. Associated Press.

Nominees announced for Hawaii State Supreme Court vacancies: Vladimir Devens, of the Law Offices of Vladimir Devens LLC. Lisa Ginoza, state Intermediate Court of Appeals chief judge. Summer Kupau-Odo, Oahu District Court judge. Karen Nakasone, state Intermediate Court of Appeals associate judge. Catherine Remigio, Oahu Circuit Court judge. Clyde Wadsworth, state Intermediate Court of Appeals associate judge. Star-Advertiser.

Lassner setting goals for final 15 months as UH president
. University of Hawaii President David Lassner says that when he recently announced that he’ll retire in late 2024 and wrote that meanwhile “anyone who expects me to act like a ‘lame duck’ will be sorely disappointed,” he did not mean that as any metaphorical shot fired across the bow of certain state lawmakers who have publicly said they want him to resign. Star-Advertiser.

Hokule‘a announces return to Hawaii due to Maui wildfires. The Hokule‘a has made a major change to its sail plan — an unexpected return home to Hawaii in late December before continuing its circumnavigation of the Pacific. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii Public Radio. Kauai Now.


Council’s Tulba seeks more film studios for Oahu. On Tuesday, Augie Tulba introduced Bill 59, which would, if adopted, provide greater real property tax incentives for eligible film studio facilities to locate on the island. Star-Advertiser.

New Wahiawa civic center to emerge from rich history. The $76 million Wahiawa Civic Center on the California Avenue site of the old one is scheduled to open in mid-2026 and reunite state and city functions, said state Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz (D, Mililani-Wahiawa- Whitmore Village). Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. KHON2.

Hawaii Island

Another legal win for Kona coffee. In another win for Kona Coffee Farmers, a Washington federal judge Thursday approved convenience store chain MNS Ltd.’s (ABC Stores) $12 million settlement over claims that the chain sold products that were falsely advertised as authentic Kona coffee. West Hawaii Today.

Hawai‘i County Council gives nod to measures that will further Big Island broadband connectivity initiatives. The Hawai‘i County Council wants all Big Island residents to have equitable access to high-speed internet connectivity and recently moved ahead with four measures aimed at getting the county closer to that goal. Big Island Now.

Another delay for lower Puna. The restoration of roads and waterlines in lower Puna is delayed yet again after a federal agency told Hawaii County earlier this week it needs to review comments from the community.  Tribune-Herald.

Mayor Holds Town Hall In Pāhoa. The Roth administration took questions from the public on various topics, including alternate routes, housing, geothermal permitting, and eruption recovery projects. Big Island Video News.


West Maui tourism to return in phases. Maui Mayor Richard Bissen on Wednesday announced the staggered reopening of tourism in West Maui, starting Oct. 8 with the northernmost resort area of Kapalua. Star-Advertiser.

Tourism Executives Campaign To Bring Needed Visitors To Maui. With West Maui's famous resorts set to re-open to travelers Oct. 8, local residents are telling their own stories to convince visitors to come back. Civil Beat.

West Maui residents call on county council to put tourism second in Lahaina’s future. Hundreds of West Maui residents jammed into a hotel ballroom in Kaanapali on Wednesday to share their vision for rebuilding Lahaina with the Maui County Council. Hawaii News Now.

Lahaina’s Filipino Community Mourns The Loss Of 9 Family Members. Those who died included store employees, a janitorial service worker and a pair of dishwashers who worked hard to take care of their families, friends recalled. Civil Beat.

Maui Fire Survivors Plead With County Council For Help And Accountability. Struggling with financial and emotional stress, community members sought rent and property tax relief and voiced concerns over school evacuation routes. Civil Beat.


Police await DNA results from human teeth found in Kalalau.  More than 8 months after roughly a dozen partially decomposed teeth were discovered near the Kalalau trail, the Kaua‘i Police Department says the investigation is still ongoing — as DNA results have yet to be obtained. Garden Island.

Kaua‘i County Agency on Elderly Affairs symposium to focus on fraud and scam prevention.
Kaua‘i County will host its 5th annual Agency on Elderly Affairs symposium on Oct. 4 at the Kaua‘i War Memorial Convention Hall in Līhu‘e. Kauai Now.

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