Friday, November 3, 2023

Public Utilities Commission slow to investigate HECO role in Maui wildfires, some good news in public school test scores, Ferreira named OHA CEO, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Utility Regulators Are Still Waiting To Take A Hard Look At Hawaiian Electric. The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission has been conspicuously passive since the August fires that killed at least 99 people, destroyed much of Lahaina, including its power distribution system, and spawned dozens of lawsuits blaming Hawaiian Electric Industries for starting the fires.  Civil Beat.

Draft legislative wildfire reports available for public review.  Six legislative working groups in Hawaii’s House of Representatives have filed draft reports with recommendations on issues stemming from the Aug. 8 Maui wildfire disaster. Star-Advertiser.

Why Hawaii became a hotbed of legal activism to protect the climate. A series of legal cases show how Hawaii has become uniquely fertile ground for environmental legal action, fueled by a long tradition of decolonization advocacy, specifically enshrined environmental rights and a rich Pacific Island heritage that is imminently threatened by global warming impacts — such as the devastating wildfires that ripped through Maui in August. The state’s courts have moved decisively while other US courts quibble over jurisdiction and technical legal barriers in climate lawsuits. Bloomberg.

Some Hawaii Students See Gains In Learning Since The Pandemic. Traditionally underserved students have made significant improvements in areas such as math, reading and graduation rates since the end of the pandemic, according to data released by the Hawaii Department of Education on Thursday.  Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser. Maui Now.

Court ruling bans state from enforcing certain sensitive places for concealed carry.  A few months after Hawaii passed its sensitive places law for concealed carry, a court ruling is now restricting the state and city from enforcing the rules. KHON2.

Who is Stacy Ferreira? Meet the new CEO at the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. Trustees with the Office of Hawaiian Affairs have chosen Stacy Ann Kealohalani Ferreira, former budget chief with the Senate Ways and Means Committee, to serve as the new chief executive officer.  Hawaii Public Radio. Kauai Now.

Lawmakers, advocates call on military to do more to address violence against Native Hawaiian women.
Advocates and lawmakers are calling on the military to bolster their response to a state-commissioned report on violence against Hawaii women and girls.  Hawaii News Now.

Coast Guard cutter returns to Honolulu.
The Honolulu-based Coast Guard National Security Cutter CGC Kimball returned home Wednesday from an 85-day deployment that saw it assisting with Maui fire relief efforts and monitoring fisheries in the Arctic Circle. Star-Advertiser.

In wake of ‘horror stories,’ lawmakers push for rapid response to little fire ants.
Lawmakers are getting fired up about the spread of little fire ants and believe industry pressure is delaying potential new rules aimed at stopping their spread. Hawaii News Now.


As Red Hill defueling progresses, military briefs Hawaii lawmakers on plans and commitments. Emptying underground Navy fuel storage tanks at Red Hill crossed a midway point Wednesday, and several state lawmakers received a briefing from military officials Thursday about the job and future cleanup work. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Officials Release A Draft Of The City’s Strategy To Adapt To Climate Change. They're seeking more input this month from communities across Oahu before they finish the plan. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.

Firefighting resumes as Mililani Mauka fire grows to 1,100 acres. The wildland fire in remote mountains above Mililani Mauka continues for a fourth day, and has now burned about 1,100 acres, according to the Honolulu Fire Department. Star-Advertiser. KITV4.

Honolulu City and County aims to make recycling easier for Oahu residents. The Honolulu City Council yesterday unanimously approved a bill which will allow residents to recycle more materials from homes like cardboard boxes, containers and food waste. KITV4.

The Hawaii Herald To Shutter Operations Dec. 1.
The 43-year-old newspaper serves the local Japanese American community. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

TMT work progresses: Project awaiting ‘necessary steps’ from the feds. Work continues around the world on the Thirty Meter Telescope’s various systems despite no sign of a new construction date on Maunakea. Tribune-Herald.

Most Of Hawaiʻi Island Under Severe Drought. With just 1.36 inches of rain, Hilo Airport broke the record, set back in 1962, for the minimum total monthly rainfall for the month of October. Big Island Video News.

Local divers collect and reattach broken coral along Hawaiʻi Island coastline
. A new community-led initiative is working to restore coral reefs along the Kona coast of Hawaiʻi Island. The project, called Kanu Koʻa, is supported by The Nature Conservancy and the Kaʻūpūlehu Marine Life Advisory Committee. Hawaii Public Radio. Big Island Video News.


Lahaina Harbor cleanup estimated to finish around early December. The U.S. Coast Guard has removed 79 vessels inside and outside of Lahaina Harbor and is looking to have its cleanup of fire damage and debris done around early December, although it could take longer, an official said Wednesday. Maui News.

600 Maui businesses have closed since the wildfires, and hundreds more are on the brink. New data shows a continued drop in visitors — and revenue — on Maui as the island’s economy struggles to recover from the catastrophic wildfires. Hawaii News Now.

Foreclosure Moratorium Extended For Some Maui Homeowners
. Fire survivors with FHA loans on destroyed or damaged properties can breathe a little easier for the next few months. Civil Beat. Maui Now.

ACLU wants Maui homeless sweeps to end. The American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii this week demanded that Maui County stop homeless sweeps that were pending at county parks near wildfire- ravaged Lahaina. Star-Advertiser.

Public comment sought at meeting about creation of Maui County wetlands map. Maui residents can provide public comment about the creation of a comprehensive Maui County wetlands map during a meeting on Nov. 8 at the Maui Ocean Center Sphere in Māʻalaea.  Maui Now. Maui News.


Kīlauea Elementary on Kaua‘i exceeds statewide academic trends. From school year 2021-22 to 2022-23, scores for language arts increased by 14 points to 62%, math increased by 16 points to 49%, and science increased by 35 points to 67%. Kauai Now.

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