Thursday, November 30, 2023

Smith confirmed as Hawaii federal judge, microplastics found in human placentas, snowfall on Mauna Kea, Zoom testimony returns to Kauai County Council, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

US Senate Confirms Miske Prosecutor To Federal Bench.  The U.S. Senate voted Wednesday to confirm Micah Smith as a federal judge for the U.S. District Court of Hawaii. Smith, a Kauai High School graduate, is an assistant U.S. attorney, who early in his career worked as a law clerk for former Supreme Court Justice David Souter.  Civil Beat. Garden Island.

State aims to cut unsheltered homelessness in half by 2026. There are around 6,500 homeless individuals in the state, according to last year's Point in Time Count, which provides a snapshot of the homeless population. More than 4,000 of those individuals live in unsheltered areas like beaches, parks or sidewalks. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii state Capitol soaked due to leaking reflecting pool. Lawmakers earlier this year appropriated $33.5 million to repair and renovate the pools after appropriating $9.8 million in 2021 for the more than $30 million job. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Should Use Artificial Intelligence To Improve Fire Forecasts, Researchers Say. University of Hawaii researchers are pushing to kickstart the second phase of a yearslong project to help the state better forecast wildfires by using artificial intelligence. Civil Beat.

Retirement savings program unlikely to start before 2025.  Established by a bill signed by then-Gov. David Ige in 2022, the Hawaii Retirement Savings Program is intended to help Hawaii residents prepare for the future by allowing them to enroll in a state-managed individual retirement plan. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii Prison Oversight Meetings Are Missing A Key Player — The Prisons Director. Tommy Johnson told the oversight coordinator that neither he nor his staff will attend the meetings, though they'll engage in other ways. Civil Beat.

UH researchers’ study sheds light on prevalence of microplastics. Pregnant women in Hawaii are very likely to have plastic fragments in their placentas, University of Hawaii researchers have discovered, raising further concerns about the long-term health implications of microplastics. Tribune-Herald. KITV4.


HART OKs federal agreement to fund rail. The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation’s board of directors Wednesday approved a federal plan to fund the city rail line’s ongoing construction to a planned station in Kakaako. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.

Rail construction causes Kalihi street to be closed through July. All lanes of Kohou Street are now closed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, due to rail construction. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Honolulu planes to be diverted to another runway November 29 through December 8 due to construction, warn of possible delays. The Hawai‘i Department of Transportation (HDOT) will divert all aircraft arriving and departing at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL) to Runway 26L from 5 p.m. Wednesday, November 29 through Friday, December 8 due to ongoing remediation work on Runway 8L. KITV4.

Safety concerns at Puuloa Range in Ewa Beach addressed. State Rep. Rose Martinez and U.S. Marine Corps officials said Wednesday that they have come to a “mutually agreeable consensus among all involved parties” regarding potential lead poisoning of soil around the Marines’ Puuloa Range Training Facility in Ewa Beach. Star-Advertiser.

Health Department says PFAS detected in Waialua water system. The Hawaii Department of Health reports that perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, have for the first time been detected in water samples collected from a water system in Waialua. Star-Advertiser.

Navy video shows no widespread reef damage from plane in Kaneohe Bay.
Underwater video taken of a Navy P-8A Poseidon plane sitting in Kaneohe Bay shows two points of the plane resting on coral reef but no extensive damage. Star-Advertiser.

Large boulders come crashing down in east Honolulu amid drenching rains.
Large boulders, including one about the size of a compact car, crashed down in an Aina Haina community on Wednesday morning amid heavy rains. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Snowfall Closes Hawaiʻi Summit Access Roads. A layer of snow closed the road up to Maunakea on Wednesday, as a Winter Weather Advisory remains in effect for Hawaiʻi island summits. Big Island Video News. Big Island Now.

Lawmakers tour progress of upgrades at Kona Community Hospital. Two West Hawai‘i state lawmakers on Wednesday were given a guided tour by hospital leaders of upgrades underway at Kona Community Hospital on the Big Island. Big Island Now.

HVNP takes steps to protect nesting nene. Parts of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park have been closed to give a couple of nene parents some space. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News.  Big Island Now.


‘We are trying’: In wake of subpoenas, Maui’s mayor defends response to state investigation
. HNN Investigates has obtained copies of three subpoenas issued to Maui County as part of the investigation into the devastating fires. In an interview Wednesday, Mayor Richard Bissen said they are doing their best to cooperate, but experts say if that was true, subpoenas should not be necessary. Hawaii News Now.

Input invited on the role of tourism in supporting Maui’s recovery.  The Hawai‘i Tourism Authority will hold a community meeting to discuss proposed actions for tourism in support of Maui’s recovery. The meeting will be held at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center’s Morgado Hall on Monday, Dec. 4, from 5:30 to 7 p.m.  Maui Now.

Proposal offers tax incentive for short-term rentals that house displaced residents. Maui County Mayor Richard Bissen is proposing a bill that would offer tax exemptions for short-term rental owners who house residents displaced by the Aug. 8 wildfires.  Maui News. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Maui officials on standby to stop heavy rains from sending ash into storm drains. Maui officials were on standby Wednesday to prevent ash from August's deadly wildfire in Lahaina from flowing into storm drains after forecasters said a winter storm could bring heavy rain and strong winds to the island. KITV4.


Commentary:  Zoom testimony returns to Kaua‘i County Council. The Kaua‘i County Council is once again accepting remote public testimony “live” via the internet. Members of the public must sign up via email to testify no later than noon on the day prior to the meeting. Garden Island.

Lydgate Campground to close Dec. 6.  The Department of Parks and Recreation is announcing that the area surrounding the Lydgate Campground will be closed on Wednesday, Dec. 6, from 6 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Kauai Now.

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Red Hill working group seeks $750M in military remediation, governor proposes Maui tax breaks, short-term rental ban as 850 Lahaina fire victims displaced by tourists, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii Officials Demand Navy Clean Up Red Hill Fuel Spilled Since The 1940s. A coalition of public officials say that as much as 2 million gallons of petroleum threatens Oahu's drinking water and that it could cost $750 million to clean up. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser. Maui Now.  KHON2.  KITV4. Hawaii News Now. Spectrum News.

Full Red Hill Water Alliance Initiative report can be found here.

Hawaii Governor Wants To Entice Maui Property Owners To Rent To Fire Victims. Gov. Josh Green is proposing using taxpayer and private funds to build new housing and to pay home owners well above market value if they rent long term. Short-term rentals would simply be banned. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser.

‘We’re Winging It Right Now’: Hawaii State Hospital Struggles Despite $160M Upgrade. Construction of a state-of-the-art psychiatric hospital was supposed to mark a new era in worker and patient safety. Instead, a familiar set of problems emerged. Civil Beat.

Jeff Bezos donates $5M to fight homelessness in Hawaii. Jeff Bezos donated $5 million to two nonprofits in Hawaii — Ka Mana O Na Helu on Oahu and Neighborhood Place of Puna — that help houseless families, according to a news release. Spectrum News.

Hurricane season was average but deadly. The 2023 hurricane season officially draws to a close Thursday, extending to five years a run of average to below-average Central Pacific hurricane seasons. Star-Advertiser.


$125M approved for ‘Skyline’ as leaders look toward major expansions.
A new rail funding agreement could free up in federal money to help build the line through town. With more federal funding approved to get the Honolulu Skyline to Kaka’ako, leaders are dreaming of future extensions all the way to Kahala. Hawaii News Now.

City rental, utility relief program reopens in December. The City and County of Honolulu’s Rental and Utility Relief Program will temporarily reopen for applications in December, starting this Saturday. The reopening is for new applicants only. Star-Advertiser.

Special Education Teacher Accused In Sexual Abuse Case. A lawsuit filed Tuesday alleges that a special education teacher at Kaiser High School sexually abused and molested a 14-year-old student over a period of several months. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Island

Hilo Medical Center gets $1M grant. Hilo Medical Center will receive $1 million to alleviate a shortage of health care workers in East Hawaii. Tribune-Herald.

Glenwood Park reopens after four years
. Glenwood Park, located on Highway 11 in Mountain View, was closed in March 2019 after a 3,000-gallon water tank, which supplies water to the park’s restrooms, was stolen. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Now.


Mayor Bissen proposes bill amendment to make short-term rentals available for displaced wildfire survivors. Mayor Richard Bissen submitted to the County Council a bill to amend a section of the County Code in an effort to immediately increase the inventory of housing available to survivors of the August wildfires. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now.

Hundreds of wildfire evacuees prepare to relocate again as West Maui tourism rebounds
. Some 850 Lahaina evacuees will move out of three Kaanapali hotels starting Wednesday into other properties — a harsh reality of tourism’s return to West Maui. Hawaii News Now.

23 acres of north shore Maui coastline to be focus of management plan in the new year. In early 2024, the County of Maui Department of Parks and Recreation will begin working on a management plan for 23 acres of newly acquired county land on Maui’s north shore, which includes Wawau Point, often referred to as “Baby Beach.” Maui Now.

First Major Rains Of Wet Season May Test Runoff Measures In Lahaina. County, state and federal agencies say steps have been taken to mitigate the threat of toxic runoff entering the ocean. Civil Beat.

Plug Pulled On Solar Farm Planned For South Maui. Paeahu Solar was proposed five years ago but faced opposition from local residents. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser.

Maui Disaster Area residential restrictions lifted for Zones 11B, 11D, 11E, 11F and 13D. County of Maui Disaster Area Restrictions will be lifted for owners and residents beginning Friday and Saturday, Dec. 1-2, for Zones 11B, 11D, 11E, 11F and 13D. Maui Now.


'We're on the right track': Hāʻena's community subsistence fishing area sees positive results. An experiment in community-based fishery management on Kaua‘i’s north shore appears to be working, according to a five-year assessment by University of Hawaiʻi researchers. Hawaii Public Radio.

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Attorney General subpoenas Maui agencies in fire probe, state minimum wage rising to $14, shorter Skyline OKed for federal funding, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Maui Agencies Subpoenaed After Holding Up Fire Investigation, AG Says. Three Maui County departments were served subpoenas Monday after not meeting the timelines with a state investigation into their response to the Aug. 8 wildfires that killed 100, left 7,500 homeless and caused $5.5 billion in damage.  Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Maui Now.  Hawaii News Now.  KHON2.  KITV4.

Minimum wage to get boost: Hourly rate will rise to $14 in January under 2022 law. Minimum-wage employees in Hawaii will get a pay hike of nearly 17% to kick off the new year. Tribune-Herald.

State Sen. Maile Shimabukuro, First Elected 20 Years Ago, Won’t Seek Reelection.
Shimabukuro, whose District 22 Senate seat represents Ko Olina, Nanakuli, Maili, Waianae, Makaha and Makua on Oahu, made the announcement Monday. Civil Beat.


Plan for shorter Skyline wins OK for federal funding
. A federal agency helping pay for Honolulu’s rail system has agreed to release funding it has been withholding over concerns about past city handling of the grossly delayed and over-budget project. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.

Water Board adopts rate hike of over 50%.
  The agency’s board of directors Monday voted 5-1, with board member Gene Albano abstaining, to approve a new 5-1/2-year water rate schedule that will see higher rates phased in, with the first 10% increase kicking in Feb. 1 and the next 10% hike to occur July 1. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. KITV4.

Honolulu Fire Department official wants to add 2 helicopters, 3 pilots
. The Honolulu Fire Department's aviation manager wants to beef up the department’s ability to fight fires and make rescues. Hawaii Public Radio.

Navy plane in bay has ‘full integrity,’ no sign of fuel leak
. A week after a Navy P-8A slid into Kaneohe Bay while trying to land in rainy weather, the Navy rear admiral in charge of extracting the plane said all of the more than 2,000 gallons of fuel on board had been safely removed, while apologizing for not better updating the public and media. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.

The Miske Files: An Officer Gets Caught In The Crossfire. The feds were investigating Mike Miske and the Kealohas at the same time. Sgt. Al Lee ended up in the middle of both. Civil Beat.

Trial Of Officers Charged In Makaha Pursuit Continued To June 3. Four Honolulu police officers are accused of pursuing a car until it crashed and leaving the scene. Civil Beat.

$20,000 worth of fireworks found stashed in 92-year-old woman’s carport.  With New Year’s Eve celebrations right around the corner, illegal fireworks are already a hot commodity — and a growing headache for law enforcement. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

$8M demolition of decaying Uncle Billy’s hotel to start
.  The $8 million demolition of the dilapidated former Uncle Billy’s hotel in Hilo is set to commence with asbestos abatement work starting next week. Star-Advertiser. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News. Big Island Now.

Community Meeting Set To Re-Envision Waiākea Peninsula. A public meeting to be held Monday, December 4, will gather community input on the Banyan Drive waterfront and other redevelopment projects. Big Island Video News. Big Island Now.

Pohoiki Boat Ramp Dredging Project Permit Application Posted. The latest issue of The Environmental Notice included a Conservation District Use Application, as well as a Coastal Zone Management notice, concerning the Pohoiki Boat ramp dredging project. Big Island Video News.


The Controversial Developer Looming Over West Maui’s Water Conflict. Peter Martin spent decades guzzling water around Lahaina. Then came the fire. Civil Beat.

Mental Health Services For Youth On Maui Receive A Funding Boost. The money will support schools, multiple community partners and nonprofits, but more will be needed. Civil Beat. Maui Now.

Lahaina, Kula disaster recovery community update meetings canceled this week due to kona low forecast. The weekly Disaster Recovery Community Update Meetings for Kula residents at 6 p.m. Tuesdays and for Lahaina residents at 5:30 p.m. Wednesdays are canceled this week due to the kona low weather forecast. Maui Now.


Kaua‘i officials urge residents to be vigilant as severe weather may occur starting Tuesday. County of Kaua‘i officials are urging the public to be vigilant due to potential severe weather conditions starting Tuesday and continuing through Thursday. Kauai Now.

Monday, November 27, 2023

Raises, positions added at top of school bureaucracy, North Korea satellite reported spying on Hawaii, Ala Wai flood plan hits $1B, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Top Leadership Of Hawaii School System Continues To Grow — And So Does Their Pay. Student enrollment numbers continue to fall even as the number of superintendents gets larger. Civil Beat.

North Korea has a satellite spying on Hawaii and Guam.
A security expert explains why we should care. Last week, North Korea released photos of leader Kim Jung Un looking at photos of Pearl Harbor, Hickam Air Force Base and military bases on Guam it claims were taken by the satellite. Hawaii News Now.

New CEO at OHA Explains Why She Took the Job and Her Goals for Serving the Native Hawaiian Lāhui. Stacy Kealohalani Ferreira joined the Office of Hawaiian Affairs on Nov. 1 after serving as budget chief for the state Senate and in several roles at Kamehameha Schools. Hawaii Business Magazine.

State Legislature working group tackles wildfire prevention in Hawaiʻi. The working group will digest all the testimony and issue a final report on Dec. 15, in time to draft legislation for the upcoming 2024 legislative session that starts Jan. 17.  Big Island Now.

Former State Sen. Whitney Anderson Dead At 91.
He served in the Hawaii Legislature for 20 years. Whitney Anderson, who was the Hawaii Senate Minority Leader from 1997 until 2000, died Saturday in Waimanalo. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser.

Training And Staffing Issues Surround Death Of A Nurse At Hawaii State Hospital. The killing of Justin Bautista, a licensed practical nurse at the Hawaii State Hospital, has raised questions as to what exactly was expected of him in a typically lower-skilled role he had held for four years. Civil Beat.

Commentary: A Baby's 'Bizarre' Death Exposes Hawaii’s Penchant For Secrecy In Child Welfare Cases. It took extensive digging and luck to find the kind of information about the unpublicized case that's readily available on other states' websites and is crucial to improving the child welfare system. Civil Beat.


Water Board to vote on rate hike of over 50%. If adopted by the agency’s board of directors, a new 5-1/2-year water rate schedule will see higher rates phased in, with the first 10% increase kicking in Feb. 1 and the next 10% hike to occur July 1. Star-Advertiser.

Latest plan for Ala Wai flood control reaches $1B.  The Army Corps of Engineers and the city have unveiled the latest proposal to protect Waikiki and neighboring communities against a potential flooding disaster. Star-Advertiser.

Navy working to speed up upgrades at Pearl Harbor sewage plant. The Navy is ramping up efforts to complete upgrades to its troubled wastewater plant at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-­Hickam as the facility ages. Star-Advertiser.

Flight data recorder recovered from Navy plane in Kaneohe Bay. The flight data recorder of a large U.S. Navy plane that overshot a runway and ended up in the water near Honolulu this week has been recovered as the military continues to plan for the aircraft’s removal. Associated Press. Hawaii News Now.

Navy plane still resting in shoal of Kaneohe Bay.  The Navy war plane that slid off a runway at Marine Corps Base Hawaii a week ago while trying to land in rainy weather continues to rest in shallow water about 100 feet off the runway, with at least two points of the 42-foot-high P-8A sitting on coral reef. Star-Advertiser.

The Miske Files: When Two Cops Refused To Let A Blown-Off Traffic Stop Slide. Documents in the federal case against Mike Miske alleging murder and organized crime activities tell the story of how two Honolulu police officers got caught up in what would turn out to be a much bigger case. Civil Beat.

HPD looks to recruit more women to bolster staffing. There are 240 women serving the city as police officers, about 13% of the department’s more than 1,800 officers, up from 212, or about 12%, in 2015.  Star-Advertiser.

Close encounter between police ATV and kids on beach raises questions about training, resources. There are growing concerns about training for HPD officers after a close encounter on a North Shore beach involving children and officers patrolling on ATVs. Amid a shortage of officers, the recent incident on Oahu’s North Shore is also prompting questions about how resources are being used. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

County measure would allocate $17M to affordable housing projects. Under a bill currently pending discussion by the County Council, $17.3 million will be distributed via the county’s newly formed Affordable Housing Production Program between a series of projects in East and West Hawaii to create 1,176 new affordable housing units. Tribune-Herald. KITV4.

Aquarium fishing ban sought: Groups urge DLNR to draft new rules.  Big Island environmental groups hope to end the commercial aquarium fishing industry in Hawaii once and for all next month. Tribune-Herald.

National Park Units Seek Public Input On Draft Accessibility Plans. Draft Accessibility Plans are in the works for Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park, Puʻuhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park, and Puʻukoholā Heiau National Historical Site. Big Island Video News.


Council committee to discuss new procurement process for emergency-medical services
. Council member Shane M. Sinenci announced that the Water Authority, Social Services and Parks Committee will receive a presentation from the state Department of Health Monday at 9 a.m. on the new procurement process for emergency-medical services in Maui County. Maui Now.

Deadline approaching for Maui wildfire victims. The deadline for people and businesses affected by the deadly Aug. 8 Maui wildfires to apply for federal assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency and U.S. Small Business Administration is Dec. 11. Star-Advertiser.

Deadline for Maui County Agriculture Micro Grant nears, Nov. 30.
Maui Economic Opportunity reminds small farmers and ranchers that the application deadline for the Maui County Agricultural Micro Grant Program 4.0, which offers up to $25,000 in grants, is about a week away.  Maui Now.


Kaua‘i-born Hawaiian monk seal returned to Garden Isle waters after 5 months in Kona mammal hospital. A 7-year-old female Hawaiian monk seal was returned to its home in Kaua‘i waters after five months of treatment at the Kona mammal hospital for kidney stones, possible pneumonia and a fractured canine tooth that had become infected. Kauai Now.

Friday, November 24, 2023

Hawaii seeks to limit barriers for Japanese tourists, new Supreme Court justice helped put Green in office, huge surf could peak at 50 feet, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Green wants to make it easier for travelers to visit from Japan. State leaders want to make it easier for tourists from Japan to visit Hawaii by creating a pre-­clearance program allowing travelers from the country to save time at the Honolulu airport by completing immigration, customs and agricultural inspections before departure. Associated Press.

Special fares and chartered flights aim to reignite Japanese tourism to Hawaii. As the state’s visitor arrival numbers recover post-COVID, the Japanese market is a critical piece that’s still missing. Hawaii News Now.

New Hawaii Justice Recently Held A Top Position In The Super PAC That Helped Put Gov. Green In Office. Vladimir Devens, who on Tuesday was unanimously confirmed by the Hawaii State Senate to fill one of two vacancies on the Hawaii Supreme Court, was a director of Be Change Now from April 2019 until April 2023, according to business registration filings with the state. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Will Be Stuck With Its Outdated Unemployment System At Least 3 More Years. The antiquated computer mainframe that caused so many problems with unemployment insurance claims during the Covid-19 pandemic will need to stay in use several more years, even though the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations hoped to be finally rid of it last year. Civil Beat.

Huge warning-level surf for most north and west shores. A large northwest swell will bring huge and dangerous waves that could peak at 40 to 50 feet for most north and west facing shores into Friday. A high surf warning has been issued until 6 a.m. Saturday for the north and west-facing shores of Niihau, Kauai, Oahu and Molokai, and the north shores of Maui. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii law enforcement community opposes state’s plan to legalize recreational marijuana. Hawaii’s Law enforcement community, led by Honolulu Prosecutor Steve Alm, is lining up against the attorney general’s plan to legalize recreational marijuana. Hawaii News Now.

‘Bad actor’ nurseries targeted by officials over little fire ant infestations. Sharon Hurd, state Board of Agriculture chair, told a state Senate informational briefing Wednesday that the department is seeking court orders to enter the properties of the offending nurseries and will seek to quarantine any infested plants. Star-Advertiser.


How Hong Kong and Singapore could inspire Hawaii’s transit-oriented development plans. Experts say Hawaii’s housing crisis isn’t just about construction. Public services, schools, commutes — they all play a role. That’s why a Hawaii housing delegation made certain to ride the rail on their recent trip to Asia. Hawaii News Now.

Alleged Waianae gang leader remains detained. A 46-year-old Waianae man accused of coordinating chicken fights, running illegal game rooms and selling methamphetamine will be detained before trial, a U.S. magistrate judge ruled Wednesday as prosecutors continue to argue that he presents a danger to the community. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

Waianae Cockfighting ‘Pavilion’ Once Hosted Hundreds. Now It’s Quiet. Six Waianae residents are facing gambling charges in a federal case some community members say shows the extreme side of cockfighting. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Island

Hawaiʻi County Parks Seek Mobile Vending Stand Operators. The Hawai‘i County Department of Parks and Recreation is inviting operators to submit bids for lease concessions to operate at five County parks. Big Island Video News. Big Island Now.

Chain Of Craters Road Reopens After “Brief Seismic Crisis”. 
The National Park Service announced the reopenings as unrest and seismicity return to normal levels in Kīlauea volcano’s upper East Rift Zone. Big Island Video News.

Neighborhood Place of Puna awarded $2.5 million to help East Hawai‘i families. Neighborhood Place of Puna, a family-focused nonprofit, has received a $2.5 million grant from Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos’ Day 1 Families Fund — the largest private gift in the organization’s history. Big Island Now.


Wailuku rental housing project nears completion. Demand far outstripped supply for nearly 200 affordable rental apartments under construction on Maui that were offered to lucky applicants this week via lottery. Star-Advertiser.

Maui fire relief housing program calls for help. Gov. Josh Green and the Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corp. are renewing their call for homeowners to offer their unoccupied rooms, units or houses to help Maui wildfire survivors. Star-Advertiser.

Housing Shortage for Maui Fire Survivors Puts Focus On Short-Term Rentals. Mayor Richard Bissen called for "shared sacrifice" but said a moratorium on vacation rentals would likely bring costly legal challenges and unintended consequences. As the search for housing for thousands of people displaced by the Maui wildfires becomes more desperate, officials are mulling proposals to incentivize long-term rentals and enable counties to convert more short-term rentals into units for locals, even though past efforts to do so have had limited success. Civil Beat. Hawaii Public Radio.

West Maui vacation rentals plunged in October.
The availability of short-term vacation rentals in West Maui was 49.1% lower in October compared with the year before, with Maui struggling to find long-term housing for survivors of the Aug. 8 wildfires. Star-Advertiser. Maui Now.


High surf warning extended for north- and west-facing shorelines of Kaua‘i, Ni‘ihau. According to the National Weather Service in Honolulu, surf of 25 to 35 feet is forecast in the warning areas. Surf will likely reach warning levels and hold through the day Friday. Kauai Now.

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Lawmakers mull Maui recovery plan, Honolulu water utility seeks $1.2B from Navy over Red Hill leaks, restless Kilauea prompts closures, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Lawmakers Discuss Draft Report On Maui Business And Jobs Recovery. Hawaii lawmakers should look beyond construction and tourism for job creation, consider on-site solar and battery storage as a way to safely rebuild Maui’s power grid and press Congress to provide pandemic loan forgiveness to businesses affected by fires, concerned citizens on Tuesday told the Hawaii House of Representatives Jobs and Business Working Group. Civil Beat.

Maui Wildfire Lawyers Try To ‘Manage The Unmanageable’.
With billions of dollars at stake and the potential for thousands of lawsuits, lawyers are trying to bring order to the chaos of litigation sweeping into Hawaii courts. Civil Beat.

Senate Confirms Ginoza, Devens To Hawaii Supreme Court.
The terms are for 10 years and subject to renewal before mandatory retirement at age 70. By a unanimous vote, 21 members of the Hawaii State Senate on Tuesday confirmed Lisa Ginoza and Vlad Devens to serve on the state’s highest court. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser.

Total Force Integration in the Pacific makes history with Hawai‘i’s largest airdrop. Total Force Integration in the Pacific makes history with Hawai‘i’s largest airdrop. Joint Forces from across the United States and the Pacific participated in a large-scale joint training exercise Nov. 1-10 that included the largest airdrop in Hawai‘i history. Kauai Now.

State health department extends AMR ambulance contract for Kauaʻi and Maui. The current contract for ground ambulance transportation on Kauaʻi and Maui counties has been extended through the end of September 2024. Hawaii Public Radio.

After 15-year pause, state resumes free pesticide takeback program for businesses.
Accepted substances include insecticides, fungicides, boric acid, antifoulants, swimming pool treatments and more. Items such as explosive materials, motor oil, paint, and fertilizers will not be accepted. Hawaii Public Radio.


Honolulu Water Utility Demands Navy Pay $1.2 Billion For Red Hill Costs. Whether or not the Navy pays up, water users are likely to pay higher rates in the coming years. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.  KHON2. KITV4.

Hawaii lobbyist wants her DEA statements suppressed.
A veteran lobbyist who pleaded not guilty to federal charges that she used a Wisconsin veterinarian’s identity to import large quantities of opioids for a mobile clinic run by her nonprofit organization wants the statements she made to two U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents suppressed. Star-Advertiser.

Environmental concerns arise as U.S. Navy plane sits in Kaneohe Bay. A large U.S. Navy plane remained in Kaneohe Bay Tuesday,  the morning after it overshot a runway and landed in the water, raising concern about environmental damage and questions over how the military would remove the aircraft. Associated Press. KHON2.

Blaisdell Arena reopens after $9 million renovation.
The Neal S. Blaisdell Center Arena reopened Tuesday morning with a blessing ceremony after a $9 million renovation that began in May.  Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Restless Kilauea prompts closures.
Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park expanded area closures Tuesday after Kilauea Volcano began showing increased signs of unrest in the upper East Rift Zone. Star-Advertiser. Tribune-Herald.

Wanted individuals arrested during Big Island warrant sweep. An inter-agency warrant sweep conducted in the Hilo and Puna districts Nov. 15 through Nov. 17 resulted in the arrest of 18 wanted individuals for a total of 28 outstanding warrants. Big Island Now.

State to introduce legislation to address fairness in permit selection at Kahaluʻu surf spot. The state Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation plans to introduce legislation again in 2024 to try and address the issue of fairness when issuing permits for surf instruction companies to operate at the popular Kahaluʻu Bay surf spot on Hawaiʻi Island. Maui Now.


Housing Shortage for Maui Fire Survivors Puts Focus On Short-Term Rentals.
State and county leaders are considering measures, voluntary and otherwise, to help bring more vacation units into longer term service for displaced families. Civil Beat.

Free Thanksgiving meals available on Maui. Prior to the fires, Maui Food Bank served about 17,000 people per month. In the months following the fires, the organization served 27,163 people in August, 30,577 in September and more than 40,000 in October and November. December is expected to be around the same, the nonprofit said. Star-Advertiser.

$40M emergency stormwater capture system to be installed in Lahaina.
The Hawaiʻi Department of Transportation, County of Maui, and the Federal Highway Administration is installing an emergency stormwater capture system in Lahaina to reduce the environmental impact from silt, ash and other disaster debris potentially entering storm drainage systems. Maui Now.

Uniting community with federal, state and local leaders for Lahaina’s long road to recovery. Rebuilding Lahaina remains at the forefront for state and city leaders, as well as community advocates. Hawaii News Now.

Nonprofit to develop Kahului project with 300 housing units. Transit hub, civic complex, housing will make up Kahului Civic Center. Maui News.

Community ownership now protects over 8 acres in Hāna from future development. More than 8 acres of Hāna land will now be protected for preservation and cultural stewardship in perpetuity because of a partnership purchase. Hawaii Public Radio.


How a massive all-granite, hand-carved Hindu temple ended up on Kauai. It is the only all-granite, hand-carved Hindu temple in the West built without power tools or electricity, and it’s nestled on one of the smaller islands in Hawaii surrounded by lush gardens and forests. Associated Press.

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Supreme Court nominees appear to be shoo-ins, COVID vaccinations low as hospitalizations spike, Navy plane slides into Kaneohe Bay, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Gov. Josh Green stands with Supreme Court nominees Lisa Ginoza and Vlad Devens before the Hawaii state seal
Hawaii Senate Panel Approves Supreme Court Nominees. Backed by overwhelming public testimony in support of their nominations, the state Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday voted unanimously to approve Lisa Ginoza and Vlad Devens to serve on the Hawaii Supreme Court. Civil Beat.

Interest in COVID vaccines subsides as holidays approach.
As of Wednesday, state Department of Health data showed only an estimated 107,720 people, or roughly 7.6% of Hawaii’s population, received the updated COVID- 19 vaccine. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii hotel bookings dip as travel demand weakens.
Total room nights on the books statewide as of Nov. 5 compared with the same time in 2022 were up 3.9% in November, down 3.3% in December, up 0.5% in January, down 5.6% in February and then flat to down all the way to October, which was off 26.8%, according to HVCB’s analysis of TravelClick Data. Star-Advertiser.

Suspect In Fatal Stabbing Of Nurse Pleads Not Guilty.
The judge ordered Tommy Carvalho to continue to be held without bail because he poses a “serious risk of danger to the community.” Civil Beat.

Panel rejects plant transportation rules. A controversial revision of state rules regarding interisland transportation of plants was rejected Friday by Hawaii Department of Agriculture’s Advisory Committee on Plants and Animals. Tribune-Herald.


Navy plane with 9 aboard slides into Kaneohe Bay. A Navy plane overshot a runway and splashed into Kaneohe Bay on Monday, but authorities said all nine people aboard made it safely to shore with no injuries. Associated Press. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.  KHON2. KITV4.

The city adding more pedestrian safety measures. Dozens of pedestrians have died on Honolulu roadways so far this year. Officials said they are working on safety counter measures to prevent more senseless deaths. KHON2.

Kalakaua Avenue Bridge in ‘poor’ condition, city says. A nearly 100-year-old bridge built over the Ala Wai Canal will undergo significant repairs over the coming year, the city says. Star-Advertiser.

Halawa Prison Electrical Problems Leave Inmates Sitting In The Dark. Electrical problems at the state’s largest prison have caused outages throughout the facility that left about 20% of the cells without power at one point last month, and it is unclear when the outages started or when they will be fixed. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Island

Hawaiʻi Volcanoes NP Cancels Presentations Due To COVID Hospitalizations. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention on November 11 reported a 733.3% increase in Big Island hospital admissions of confirmed COVID-19 from the prior week, jumping from 7.5 (admissions per 100,000 population) to 37.2. Any number over 20.0 is considered “High”. Big Island Video News.

Mayor Roth signs Bill 72, establishing preference for local families.  The bill adds language defining three types of qualified applicants for affordable housing: a “qualified resident,” a “qualified returning student,” and a “qualified worker.”  Big Island Video News. Tribune-Herald.

East Hawaii Island vendors scramble over Dec. 1 enforcement blitz. Street vendors on Hawaii Island have been warned to stay off of Highways by the State Department of Transportation (HDOT). Some could face fines starting Dec. 1 for highway vending. KITV4.

Litigation rekindled over wood-burning Big Isle power plant. An on-and-off effort by the owner of an idle Hawaii island renewable energy power plant to obtain damages in federal court from Hawaiian Electric is on again and seeks over $1 billion. Star-Advertiser.


New Maui Office Begins Navigating The ‘Complex Landscape Of Recovery’. The county is seeking staff and nearly $21 million for the Office of Recovery, while getting advice from other communities that were devastated by wildfires. Civil Beat.

Rebuild or leave? Lahaina's immigrant families struggle to have hope. It's been more than three months since the fire, and many of Lahaina's immigrant communities are facing the dilemma of deciding whether to wait and rebuild or leave their homes forever. Roughly one-third of Lahaina's population is foreign-born, according to U.S. Census figures.  Hawaii Public Radio.

Disaster Area Restrictions lifted Nov. 24-25 for residents & business in Zones 5G, 7F, 7G. County of Maui Disaster Area Restrictions will be lifted for owners and residents with vehicle passes from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. beginning Friday and Saturday, Nov. 24-25, in Zones 5G, 7F and 7G. Maui Now.

Kula Hospital named in U.S. News and World Report’s ‘Best Nursing Homes’.
Kula Hospital was among the 19 percent of skilled nursing facilities that earned a “high performing rating,” the highest possible achievement, and has an overall rating of 5 out of 5.  Maui News.


Kaua‘i hotel room rates climb in September. The average daily rate for a room was $398 in September, according to the Hawai‘i Hotel Performance Report published monthly by the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority. That was up 9.7 percent from September 2022 and a hefty 67.0 percent from pre-pandemic September 2019. Garden Island.

Brown Water Advisory issued for Wailuā Bay, Lydgate Beach Park. Heavy rain has resulted in stormwater runoff entering into coastal waters. Kauai Now.

Monday, November 20, 2023

Marcos describes Pacific tensions during Honolulu visit, Maui fire lawsuit defendant seeks change of venue, 22% raises mulled for Big Island officials, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Tensions in Pacific ‘more dire,’ Marcos says in Waikiki speech. Philippine President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.  arrived Saturday in Honolulu for a stop on the way back to Manila after attending the 2023 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in San Francisco. He spent Sunday morning with Adm. John Aquilino, the U.S. military’s top commander in the Pacific, to discuss concerns about Chinese military encroachment in waters and reefs that the Philippines has claimed for generations. Star-Advertiser. Associated PressHawaii News Now.

Protesters show up for Marcos visit to Hawaii. About 25 protesters gathered Saturday outside the doors of the Hawai‘i Convention Center waiting for the arrival of visiting Philippine President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., where he was scheduled to attend a large dinner gathering. Star-Advertiser.

Spectrum Seeks To Move Lahaina Fire Case To Honolulu Court. The vast majority of Lahaina fire victims are not citizens of Maui or even Hawaii, a major internet and cable TV provider is arguing, in a move that could prevent a Maui jury from determining whether the company and other utilities were liable for the Aug. 8 fires. The outcome could have broad implications for the wildfire litigation, which consists of more than 65 separate lawsuits, with more being filed continually. Civil Beat.

U.S. fire official warns of risks for Hawaii, strain on firefighters. A top federal fire official warned that Hawaii’s firefighters are under considerable strain and that Hawaii residents need to be aware of the risks and begin making fire survival plans for themselves and their communities as the risks become more evident. Star-Advertiser.

Maui wildfire recovery costs prompt state spending cuts. Gov. Josh Green recently informed leaders of all state agencies that he is using his emergency power to redirect $173 million in appropriations for about two dozen projects and programs, including long-overdue repairs to a leaky Hawai‘i Convention Center roof, so that the state can cover near-term costs responding to the biggest disaster in recent Hawaii history. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii’s State-Run Psychiatric Hospital Is So Crowded Patients Sleep In Conference Rooms. The killing of a nurse last week happened outside the main secure facility, but it cast a spotlight on concerns about staff safety. Civil Beat.

Inclusion Of Special Education Students Still Eludes Hawaii Schools. Hawaii DOE wants more special education students in general education classrooms, but staffing and limited resources make implementation a challenge. Civil Beat.

OHA approves $6M for Hawaiian-focused charter schools. Public charter schools that serve Native Hawaiian students are getting a boost in funding to help with curriculum and facilities maintenance. Hawaii Public Radio.


Crime on Oahu down overall, but hot spots persist. Sharing the latest crime statistics last week, Honolulu Police Department Deputy Chief Keith Horikawa told the Honolulu Police Commission that HPD has started a data dashboard — an online searchable display of updated crime statistics, clearance rates, shootings involving officers, crime mapping and other comparable data. Star-Advertiser.

Red Hill Texts Show Navy Officials Worried About Groundwater Months Before Crisis. The messages, released as part of a lawsuit, also document a commander drastically underestimating the volume of the first of two spills. Civil Beat.

The Honolulu Liquor Commission’s New Administrator Plans Changes. New administrator Sal Petilos assumes the helm as the commission faces staff shortages, a backlog of license applications and a federal lawsuit. Civil Beat.

State proposes Waiahole bridge substitute. The replacement proposal comes following structural deficiencies on the bridge, which is located on Kamehameha Highway in Waiahole Valley, south of Waiahole Valley Road. Star-Advertiser.

North Shore residents propose hub for first responders in place of a long-planned retail development. North Shore residents propose hub for first responders in place of a long-planned retail development. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Hawaii Island

Pay hikes of more than 22% recommended for county administrators. Under a proposal by the county Salary Commission, those individuals would receive a 22.44% pay increase, effective Jan. 1, 2024, and another 5% effective July 1, 2024. Tribune-Herald.

Honua Ola sues Hawaiian Electric for $1B. Honua Ola Bioenergy is seeking more than $1 billion in damages from Hawaiian Electric Industries Inc., claiming in federal court that the electric utility has used monopolistic measures to keep Honua Ola’s completed but idle biomass power plant from going online. Tribune-Herald.

‘It’s a huge punch in the gut’: Surf school lottery ends with three of four permits awarded to one owner. Emotions were running high Friday at Makaeo Pavilion as the Department of Land and Natural Resources held a lottery to determine which four surf schools could operate at Kahalu‘u Beach. West Hawaii Today.


Regenerative tourism seen as key to future of Hawaii’s visitor economy.
A vibrant rainbow burst from the clouds as Kamalei and Cierra Kawa‘a performed at the Haleki‘i-Pihana Heiau — the first stop on a tour of historical and cultural sites on Maui during the 22nd annual Native Hawaiian Convention in a showcase of what regenerative tourism looks and feels like from a Native Hawaiian perspective. Star-Advertiser.

State proposes public hunting area in Kanaio.
The state is seeking to establish a mixed-used public hunting area in Kanaio that it hopes could help reduce axis deer herds and allow for the construction of firebreaks on the southeast slope of Haleakala where fire potential has increased in recent years, according to state documents. Maui News.

Hana nonprofit acquires more land in mission of preserving East Maui coast. A Hana-based nonprofit has completed the purchase of 8.6 acres of Hamoa lands for permanent cultural preservation and stewardship, the latest step in the organization’s long-term plan to preserve 150 acres of East Maui coastal lands. Maui News.

New Wailuku parking garage set to open next month with 393 stalls. A blessing ceremony was held Friday for the new Wailuku parking garage, as the contractor handed off the new facility to the County of Maui. The four-story, 393-stall parking structure is scheduled to open in early December.  Maui Now.


Rainy season affecting water quality on Kaua‘i.
The Surfrider Foundation has released its Nov. 11 water quality results for the island, with its senior scientist attributing higher than average bacteria levels at many of the tested sites to the beginning of the rainy season. Garden Island.

Brush fire scorches 10 acres in Hanapepe, put out by firefighters, landowner. Multiple firefighting personnel from the Hanapepe and Kalaheo stations responded around 6:45 p.m. to the scene of the brush fire, which was located on property owned by Gay &Robinson. Garden Island. Kauai Now.

Friday, November 17, 2023

UH enrollment ticks up, state worst for early lung cancer diagnosis, $360k stolen from Kamehameha Schools campus, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

UH enrollment sees uptick, community colleges lead the way. The University of Hawaii says enrollment at its 10 campuses is up 1.2% for this fall semester compared to the fall semester of last year — the largest increase in enrollment since 2010. Star-Advertiser. KHON2.

Hawaii Mayors Discuss Housing Crisis At Native Hawaiian Convention. Hawaii’s four county mayors took the stage Thursday at the 22nd Native Hawaiian Convention, taking place on Maui, for a panel to discuss their approaches to Hawaii’s housing crisis. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.

House Committee Briefed On Opioid Settlement Funds.
A Hawaiʻi State House committee briefing was held at the Capitol on Wednesday, to provide lawmakers with an update on various initiatives to be supported by opioid lawsuit settlement funds.  Big Island Video News.

Hawaii Elections Commission Selects New Chair. The nine-member commission that advises Hawaii’s chief election officer on matters relating to elections has new leadership. Michael Curtis will replace Scotty Anderson early next month. Civil Beat.

Agriculture Department to discuss rules for invasive species. Concerns over how to control damaging invasive species, including little fire ants, continue to intensify as the state Department of Agriculture discusses rules for the pests. Star-Advertiser. Garden Island.

Hawaiʻi among worst states for early lung cancer diagnosis, treatment. In the American Lung Association's newest “State of Lung Cancer” report, the state was ranked as the worst in the nation for diagnosing lung cancer early, when the survival rate is greater. Just over 20% of cases are diagnosed early, compared to nearly 27% nationally. Star-Advertiser.


HART board approves eminent domain filing for Kalihi property. The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation’s board of directors Thursday approved filing an eminent domain against one family’s industrially zoned property in Kalihi. Star-Advertiser.

Aloha Stadium redevelopment draws competitors. At least three viable teams will compete to develop, build, operate and maintain a new Aloha Stadium and construct real estate in the adjoining New Aloha Stadium Entertainment District, state officials said Thursday. Star-Advertiser.

The Fate Of The North Shore’s Airfield Is Once Again Up In The Air. State transportation officials warn they will have to close Dillingham Airfield if negotiations with the Army, which owns the land, are unsuccessful. Civil Beat.

After nearly 2 decades, state fixes numerous leaking pipes at Dillingham Airfield. Since finishing the repairs at the end of October, the airfield has gone from using about 100,000 gallons a day to 57,000 gallons. That means they’re saving about 1.3 million gallons of water per month. Hawaii News Now.

Civilians at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam say big rent hikes may price them off-base. Hickam Communities provides on-base housing to nearly 2,000 active duty military personnel at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. There are also more than 400 civilian residents, and some of them feel like they’re living their own version of being priced out of paradise. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Hawaiʻi County Council takes first step to award $17.3M to seven affordable housing projects.
Millions of dollars aimed at expanding the availability and affordability of housing on the Big Island are one step closer to being put into action after the Hawaiʻi County Council on Wednesday approved the first reading of a measure awarding more than $17.3 million to seven housing projects. Big Island Now.

County Council passes bill easing requirements for PV systems
. Homeowners will be able to install solar power systems more easily under a new bill passed Wednesday by the Hawaii County Council. Tribune-Herald.

Council Wildfire Resolution Amended After Volunteer Firefighter Concerns. At Wednesday’s Hawaii County Council meeting held in Kona, a resolution was passed strongly urging the mayor to increase funding and capacity for the Hawaiʻi Fire Department to proactively mitigate potential wildfire impacts. Big Island Video News.

Kamehameha Schools Hawaii campus reports large internal theft to police
. Kamehameha Schools Hawaii filed a police report Thursday alleging a former employee stole more than $360,000 from the Keaau campus. Tribune-Herald. KHON2.  KITV4.


Legislators Call For Additional Safety Measures For Lahaina Schools.
The DOE said they would not make emergency response plans available to the public at this time. Civil Beat.

Work to drain underground parking garage in Lahaina begins, along with MPD search
. The  US Environmental Protection Agency started work to drain an underground parking garage located on Front Street in Lahaina that has remained flooded since the fire of Aug. 8.  Maui Now.

8.6 acres at Hāmoa, Maui forever protected for cultural preservation, stewardship. Ke Ao Hāliʻi, a Hāna-based nonprofit community organization, in partnership with the County of Maui, State of Hawaiʻi, and Hawai‘i Land Trust, has completed the purchase of 8.6 acres of Hāmoa lands for permanent cultural preservation and stewardship. Maui Now.

KWC Management Closes Acquisition of Montage Kapalua Bay. Located at the edge of Namalu Bay, Montage Kapalua Bay is situated on 24 acres. The cliffside resort welcomes travelers with 146 residential-style, multi-bedroom suites, four restaurants, a children’s program, Paintbox, and a spa, as well as a collection of privately owned residences. Maui Now.


Food banks holding distribution events. The two food banks on the island of Kauai will be holding food distribution events over the next couple of days. Garden Island.

Thursday, November 16, 2023

Legislature faces more lobbying disclosure measures, psychiatric hospital stabbing suspect has violent record, fed crack down on Oahu cockfighting, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii Ethics Panel To Push For More Disclosure Of Lobbyists. Bills would expand definition of lobbying to include the executive branch and require legislators to reveal more financial relationships. Civil Beat.

Former Patient Indicted In Fatal Stabbing Of Nurse.
Tommy Kekoa Carvalho, 25, who was discharged from the Hawaii State Hospital in August and living in a transitional residential program, is accused of killing Justin Bautista, a 29-year-old licensed professional nurse who had worked at the hospital for four years.  Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.  KHON2.

Suspect in fatal nurse stabbing pleaded guilty last year to assaulting mental health worker. A former Hawaiʻi psychiatric hospital patient indicted Wednesday on a murder charge in the stabbing death of a nurse at the facility had pleaded guilty to a 2020 assault of a state mental health worker, court records show. Associated Press. Civil Beat.

Hawaii construction firm buys Grace Pacific.
One of Hawaii’s largest infrastructure companies engaged in road paving, rock quarrying and other things has been acquired by local construction firm Nan Inc. Star-Advertiser.


Illegal Oahu game rooms a hot topic at town hall meeting. In its effort to shut them down, the Honolulu Police Department has uncovered illegal game rooms all over Oahu. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

Alleged ‘Westside’ gang leader pleads not guilty. Honolulu Residents Face Federal Charges Over Cockfighting Operation. Six Honolulu residents were arrested on federal charges for conspiracy and the operation of an illegal gambling business, according to a U.S. Department of Justice press release. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser.  Hawaii News Now.

HPD crackdown nets on West Oahu crime nets scores of arrests.
Deputy Chief Keith Horikawa told police commissioners Wednesday that homicides are up by 80% and weapons offenses are up by 42% in the district covering Ewa to Makaha. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu seeks ability to lower speed limits with fewer restrictions. By default, residential speed limits are 25 mph, but Honolulu City Council Vice Chair Esther Kiaʻāina wants it reduced to 15 mph. Hawaii Public Radio.

Three Gallons Of Fuel Leaked During Red Hill Draining Effort, Admiral Says. None of the fuel made contact with the environment, according to the leader of the defueling team. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Island

Judge denies motion to modify bail for former assistant police chief. Deputy Attorney General Elyse Oyama filed a motion to modify bail conditions and prevent Mitchell Kanehailua from obtaining documents, audio and body camera evidence.  West Hawaii Today.

FEMA issues final EA for Puna road restoration project; construction could start early next year. A large-scale Hawaii County project to repair roads and water lines damaged and destroyed by the 2018 Kilauea eruption has been progressing to the beat of a federal drum, with the go-ahead for the work resting solely with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which is contributing 75% of the cost. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaiʻi County Council resolution urges protection, preservation of sacred Kumukahi. As a sign of commitment to lineal descendants and residents of Puna, the Hawai‘i County Council passed a resolution on Wednesday that reinforces its promise to protect and preserve one of the state’s most sacred sites, Kumukahi. Big Island Now.


Couch-Surfing Housing Program Promoted By Maui County Faces Hurdles. Potential tax liabilities for hosts and evolving housing options are obstacles to participation. Civil Beat.

EAH Housing to develop 303 affordable housing units as part of Kahului Civic Center. The project includes a transit hub, civic center component, and 303 affordable housing units. Maui Now.

EPA processing hundreds of thousands of lithium-ion batteries from Maui fires for recycling in Nevada. In a desolate area of Olowalu, at a temporary hazardous materials staging site set up by the US Environmental Protection Agency, workers wearing flame retardant clothing and respirators have been crushing hundreds of thousands of lithium-ion batteries with a drumroller. Maui Now.

Protecting water crucial to Lahaina’s recovery, panel says. Native Hawaiian Convention continues with focus on key community issues. Bringing back a canopy of trees that shaded Lahaina, using reclaimed water for irrigation and farming, and placing more of West Maui water resources into public hands are some of the goals that one Native Hawaiian community leader wants to see to improve the water situation on the island’s west side. Maui News.

Maui’s only domestic violence hotline sees calls for help double since wildfires. Calls to Women Helping Women Maui went up from 250 a month to more than 550. The agency said the numbers are stabilizing, but the cases are becoming more serious. Hawaii News Now.


Kaua‘i OED accepting proposals for FY24 Agriculture Farm Expansion Grants Program. The County of Kaua‘i’s Office of Economic Development has opened a request for proposals for its Agriculture Farm Expansion Grants Program for fiscal year 2024. This is the first year the Office of Economic Development has offered a competitive grant strictly for the support of agriculture expansion efforts. Kauai Now.