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.

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