Thursday, April 25, 2024

Air Force proposes 6 new telescopes on Maui's Haleakala, DLNR chairwoman on the hot seat, Big Island residents defend Benioff, Honolulu Ocean Safety chief suspended, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Head of DLNR defends her leadership amid calls to resign, including from several lawmakers. Dawn Chang, the head of the Department of Land and Natural Resources defended her leadership Wednesday amid criticism of her handling of challenging issues and calls for her resignation. Hawaii News Now.

It Looked Bad In The Beginning, But Maui Did Not Suck Up All The Money In The State Budget. Thanks to a large starting surplus of cash and a surge in support from the federal government, the state is managing the huge costs of the Maui fire — for now. Civil Beat.

House-Senate conference committee passes Hawaii vacation rentals bill. The full House and Senate will now consider the question of whether to allow each county to determine how — if at all — to regulate short-term vacation rentals on their islands, including the possibility of outlawing them. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

Doctors urge lawmakers to get rid of general excise tax on health care. On top of the rising costs of medicine, providers said the general excise tax is killing their businesses and making it harder for patients to get care. KITV4.

State ranks among best for quality Pre-K programs; however, near bottom for access.
A new national report has revealed that Hawaiʻi is one of just five states to meet 10 out of 10 research-based quality benchmarks for pre-kindergarten programs. However, it ranks 44th for enrollment of 4-year-olds and 31st for 3-year-olds. Maui Now.

Sea level rise could make tsunamis more destructive.
Is Hawaiʻi prepared? Certain agencies have already started to incorporate sea level rise into disaster planning. Hawaii Public Radio.


Ocean Safety chief placed on administrative leave, city says. John Titchen, Honolulu’s Ocean Safety and Lifeguard Services Division chief since 2018, has been placed on administrative leave without pay effective Tuesday, but Mayor’s Office provided little information as to why Titchen was suspended nor offered any details into a “pending investigation” involving the 5-1/2-year Ocean Safety division leader. Star-Advertiser. KHON2.

Bee Habitat Destruction, Albatross Death Could Lead To $3 Million In Fines. Several North Shore property owners face more than $3 million in state fines for destroying a critical native bee habitat — pushing two of those bee species closer to extinction — and for installing an unpermitted fence that contributed to the killing of a nesting Laysan albatross. Civil Beat. Big Island Now.

Investigation of alleged beating by HPD officers is ongoing. An internal investigation is ongoing nearly five months after Honolulu police allegedly hit a man  Opens in a new tabwith a car before beating him and his son during a New Year’s Day manhunt and shootouts Opens in a new tab with an attempted murder suspect. Star-Advertiser.

Neighborhood Boards To Get Active Shooter Training After Alarming Incident At Meeting . Members of the Kalihi-Palama board said they were upset by what turned out to be a man breaking a glass window, sparking a conversation about safety. Civil Beat.

Repairs on 2 Oahu bridges begin next week. Construction on Rainbow Bridge over Anahulu Stream in Haleiwa will last for approximately one year, and work on the Dillingham Boulevard Bridge over Kapalama Canal in Iwilei will last for around four months. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

City seeks 500 employees to run its annual Summer Fun program. The Honolulu Department of Parks and Recreation is looking for approximately 500 staff members to accommodate 10,000 keiki for its summer program. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii Island

These Big Island residents felt an NPR article about Marc Benioff didn't tell the whole story. Russell Subiono talked to several people who championed Benioff's philanthropy and felt the NPR piece did not tell the whole story. Interviewees included former Hawaiʻi County Mayor Harry Kim and Big Island residents Shardae Lopez, Jessie Grace, Nancy Carr Smith, and Frank and Laura Sayre. Hawaii Public Radio.

HECO's Call To Conserve Power On Hawaiʻi Island Ends, Generators Back Online. Three units with a combined generating capacity of up to 53 megawatts have been repaired ahead of schedule and are back online, Hawaiian Electric announced. Big Island Video News. Big Island Now. Hawaii News Now.  KHON2.

Lawmakers sign off on settlements: State to pay more than $1.5M in two Big Island cases. The state, with legislative approval, is set to pay out more than $1.5 million in settlement money for two high-profile cases on the Big Island. West Hawaii Today.

HPP lot owner cross-examined in house snafu case. Attorneys for a developer and construction company that in 2022 built a house on the wrong lot in Hawaiian Paradise Park on Wednesday cross-examined the lot’s owner, who they’re suing for unjust enrichment. Tribune-Herald.

Kolekole park reopens.
Kolekole Gulch Park closed in 2017 after extensive lead contamination was found in the park’s soil, stemming from lead paint used in the overspanning Kolekole Stream Bridge. Tribune-Herald.

Brittany Anderson to seek District 1 seat on Hawai‘i County Council. One of the owners of a family farm on the Big Island’s Hāmākua Coast is throwing her hat into this year’s race for Hawai‘i County Council. Big Island Now.


Air Force proposing to build six new telescopes on Maui's Haleakala. The Department of the Air Force this week unveiled plans to construct at least six telescopes on the mountain to "provide precise and timely data to address rising threats and increasing dependence on space-based systems," a representative from the agency told Island News in an email.  KITV4.

Maui News moves to print weekly, digital daily. The 124-year-old newspaper announced it will print only on Thursday, while ramping up digital output effective June 6. Maui News. Hawaii News Now.

Vacation rentals evicted from Kīhei Marketplace redevelopment plans. A redevelopment project to beautify the rundown Kīhei Marketplace ran into strong community opposition Tuesday before the Maui Planning Commission with dozens of testifiers irked about plans for 13 transient vacation rentals. Maui Now.

Will The Maui Fires Help Or Hurt Candidates In This Year’s Election? Voters burned out of Lahaina can still cast ballots as if they were still living there. Maui County elections workers have a few months to track down thousands of people displaced by last summer’s catastrophic wildfires before ballots start going out in late July. Civil Beat.

State to create 450 interim units to house fire survivors ineligible for federal aid. Gov. Josh Green has announced a new partnership with HomeAid Hawai‘i to build 450 units for Maui wildfire survivors who were not eligible for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Hawaii Public Radio. Maui News.

Dozens of vehicles to be towed from Kahului harbor next month. An estimated 54 trucks and cars, many inoperable, will be towed from the state’s Kahului Harbor on May 6, according to a Department of Natural Resources (DLNR) press release. Maui News.


La‘akea Chun joins Kaua‘i Charter Commission. The Kaua‘i Charter Commission has a new commissioner in La‘akea Chun following the unanimous approval from the Kaua‘i County Council on Wednesday during its scheduled meeting at the historic County Building. Garden Island.

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