Thursday, February 29, 2024

Report IDs brownwater discharge sites, billionaire Benioff on Hawaii Island land-buying spree, midwives sue state over right to practice, Maui selects dumpsite for fire debris, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Chronically polluted beaches in Hawaii continue trend, Surfrider report finds. The nonprofit’s 2023 “Hawaii Water Quality Report” found that stream mouths, beaches with freshwater outlets, and bays without much circulation typically have higher bacteria levels. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii Public Radio.

Lawmakers: Cracking down on illegal vacation rentals won’t solve housing crisis.
Lawmakers trying to find solutions to the decades-old vacation rental conflict say the answer is not cracking down on illegal rentals, but getting owners to walk away from lucrative rental businesses operating legally. Hawaii News Now.

Senate Bill Would Boost Salary Cap For Hawaii Schools Chief To $300K
. Lawmakers have to address the superintendent's pay range this year before the current law expires. Civil Beat.

Bill seeking to crack down on drunk driving advances; SB2384 proposes lowering the legal BAC to 0.05%. Senate Bill 2384, which proposes to lower the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) for driving from 0.08% to 0.05%, was passed by the Senate Judiciary Committee. Maui Now.

Owners might face felony charges in dog attacks. Owners of vicious dogs that cause serious injury or death would face felony charges instead of petty misdemeanors under proposed legislation. Star-Advertiser.

Bill meant to combat overcrowding in jails stalled. A bill that would have required police to give out citations instead of arrests for certain misdemeanor crimes has stalled. The judiciary committee decided Wednesday the bill addressing overcrowded jails– will not move forward. KHON2.

Hawai‘i state law restricting midwives challenged in court. The Center for Reproductive Rights and the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation filed a case in the First Circuit Court of Hawai’i challenging a new Midwifery Restriction Law that is preventing pregnant people in Hawai’i from using skilled midwives for their pregnancies and births, as they have for generations. Maui News. Hawaii Public Radio.

State seeks input on proposed changes to forest stewardship program rules. The state’s Forest Stewardship Program provides technical advice as well as financial assistance on a cost-share basis so private landowners can more effectively manage, protect and restore important natural resources on their properties. Big Island Now.

Hawaiian Electric delays launch of new solar, energy storage programs one month to make refinements. Hawaiian Electric will postpone the launch of its new rooftop solar and energy storage programs by one month while the company makes changes approved by the Public Utilities Commission, the company announced. Maui Now.


Kaneshiro trial won’t be postponed despite investigation into threat against judge. An upcoming bribery trial against Honolulu’s former top prosecutor won’t be delayed despite an ongoing investigation into allegations that a defendant threatened the judge who had been presiding over the case, which prompted his unexpected recusal last month.The trial of former Honolulu prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro and those accused of bribing him will begin next month. Associated Press. Civil Beat.

Honolulu Salary Commission looks at creating a compensation schedule to retain city workers. The Honolulu Salary Commission wants to give councilmembers and top department officials a 3.59% raise for the upcoming fiscal year. Hawaii Public Radio.

Council adopts ‘monster homes’ measure. Cracking down on those who build so-called monster homes on Oahu is the purpose of a new city measure the Honolulu City Council unanimously adopted Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu’s On The Hook For Another $100K Defending Ex-Cops Sued Over Makaha Crash. The officers, who were fired this month by the Honolulu Police Department, are also facing criminal charges. Civil Beat.

A Bar Fight Could Cost A Former Miske Co-Defendant His Kaneohe Home. A federal judge who reviewed a video of the fight says there is no doubt that Michael Buntenbah attacked a man in a bar in January, violating the conditions of his bail. Civil Beat.

Long road to completion may be nearing end for a Maili highway bridge project. When work began to fix the Maipalaoa Bridge on Farrington Highway in Maili, it was considered to be one of the most dangerous bridges in the state. The work is still ongoing nearly nine years later. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

A tech billionaire is quietly buying up land in Hawaii
. No one knows why. Marc Benioff, the CEO and co-founder of San Francisco-based Salesforce, one of the world's largest software companies, which owns the popular messaging service Slack and is worth nearly $300 billion. He also owns Time magazine. National Public Radio.

Pending OK, new BI cable provider could come online by March. Hawaiian Telcom applied in December for a 15-year cable television franchise in Hawaii County, which, if approved, would make the company the second cable provider cleared to operate on the island, after Spectrum. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park Visitation Increases In 2023. The National Park Service says 1,620,294 people visited the park in 2023, a nearly 2.5% increase from the year before. Big Island Video News.


Central Maui Property Chosen As Permanent Dump Site For Lahaina Fire Debris. More traffic is expected but survey results found the community prioritized its distance from the ocean, schools and homes. Civil Beat. Maui Now. Star-Advertiser.  Hawaii News Now. KHON2.  KITV4.

‘That’s A Lot Of Money’: Maui Council Signs Off On Funding For Private Security In Lahaina Burn Zone. Members grilled officials over the cost of staffing 63 guards at 13 checkpoints, and the administration said the next contract will go out to bid. Civil Beat.

A $1.5M settlement offer for Lahaina fire victims and families opens this week.
Here's what to know. Those who lost loved ones in the Lahaina fire will be able to apply for a $1.5 million settlement on Friday. However, the state Legislature has not yet approved the funds for the program. Hawaii Public Radio.


Hawai‘i lawmakers vow to tackle homelessness, housing shortages at Līhu‘e community meeting. At a town hall meeting in Līhu‘e on Monday, State Coordinator on Homelessness John Mizuno vowed that Hawai‘i’s rates of homelessness would be cut in half by 2026, as he, along with State Rep. Luke Evslin and Hawai‘i House Majority Leader Nadine Nakamura presented upcoming strategies for combating homelessness and housing shortages across the Garden Isle and state. Kauai Now.

Kaua‘i Fire to partner with Red Cross to install free smoke alarms as part of pilot program. The Kaua‘i Fire Department Fire Prevention Bureau is partnering with the Kaua‘i Red Cross to visit Garden Isle homes and install free smoke alarms in Kaumakani. Kauai Now.

Betty Bell, Kauai medical pioneer who ‘touched many lives,’ dies at 96. A woman who quite literally helped build the framework of medical care for Garden Island residents has died. Betty June Bell died on Feb. 18 at the age of 96. Hawaii News Now.

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