Tuesday, April 2, 2024

House committees punt housing density plans back to counties, lawmakers mull tax breaks, last USS Arizona survivor dies at 102, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Housing density bill curtailed. A proposal to increase housing density statewide was substantially cut Monday after lawmakers chose to leave the matter to the counties. The measure attracted lengthy testimony, both positive and negative, during a Monday joint meeting of the House committees on Housing, Water and Land, and Judiciary and Hawaiian Affairs. Tribune-Herald.

As deadline looms, lawmakers evaluating best use of limited money for tax breaks. Lobbying for tax breaks is in high gear at the state Capitol. That’s because Gov. Josh Green last week said costs for Maui’s recovery are lower than expected, making limited tax relief possible.  Hawaii News Now.

State Senate wants to establish renewable fuel working group to study local production. State senators are asking stakeholders from across the energy industry to convene a working group to figure out the best way to ramp up local production of renewable fuels.  Hawaii Public Radio.

HECO rolls out program for customers to streamline rooftop solar energy programs.
“Smart Renewable Energy” represents the next step in Hawaiian Electric’s push to bring more customer-sited renewable energy resources onto the grid as Hawai‘i strives to achieve its clean energy goals. Maui Now.

Hawaii Senate bill seeks to toughen penalties for speeding in school zones.
A bill is moving through the legislature that will allow harsher fees and penalties for those who speed in a school zone. KITV4.

Lou Conter, last survivor of the USS Arizona, dies at 102. Lou Conter, the last survivor of the USS Arizona, died Monday morning at his home in Grass Valley, Calif., at the age of 102. Star-Advertiser. Associated Press.Hawaii News Now.

OHA selects Hailama Farden as Senior Director of Hawaiian Cultural Affairs. The newly created position will be responsible for creating recommendations and institutionalizing OHA’s culture ensuring that a Hawaiian worldview and practices are incorporated into all lines of business. Maui Now.

Sanctuary Ocean Count, Great Whale Count conclude for 2024 humpback whale season. Data collected during the Sanctuary Ocean Count and Great Whale Count combined with other research efforts can help reveal trends in humpback whale occurrence within and amongst whale seasons. Big Island Now.


Navy Whistleblower Pursued Fraud Case Against Red Hill Contractors, Unsealed Documents Show. Newly unsealed court documents show that federal authorities spent the past two years investigating but ultimately declined to pursue a Navy whistleblower’s claim that private contractors helped cause the dire fuel leaks at the military’s Red Hill fuel storage facility by fraudulently cutting corners on their work there. Star-Advertiser.

High Fives And Hugs: Witness Describes Friendly Relationship Between Mike Miske And HPD Officers. A government witness in the trial of accused crime boss Miske told jurors he asked HPD for help after Miske threatened him. Instead, officers at Miske's business told him to get lost, he says. Civil Beat.

Court records: GPS data to be presented at trial will show officers drove past crash scene after pursuit. Court records show the city Prosecutor’s Office plans to employe location tracking technology in the trial against four HPD officers charged in connection with a 2021 chase and crash that seriously injured six people. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu police officer shortage imperils public safety, union says.
The State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers is urging the Honolulu Police Department and county leadership to address a shortage of 437 officers that leaves areas of Oahu with “limited to no coverage” several days a week. Star-Advertiser.

Public Comment Requested For Oahu’s Near-Term Infrastructure Projects. The Oahu Metropolitan Planning Organization announced Monday that it is seeking public comment to determine which local infrastructure projects get federal funding over the next three years.  Civil Beat.

Hawaii Island

A new name for Hawaii Island? A state board considering it. The Board on Geographic Names is considering it — and could take a key vote this week. Hawaii News Now.

Hu Honua Pushes PUC To Take Action On Hawaiʻi Island Power Crisis. Hu Honua takes aim at Hawaiian Electric's "monopolization of the firm power generation market on the Big Island", and wants the Public Utilities Commission to help bring the bioenergy facility online. Big Island Video News. KITV4.

Planning Commission to mull housing-related bills. A trio of Hawaii County Council bills that would change how transient accommodations and ‘ohana housing units are regulated will go before the Windward Planning Commission on Thursday. Tribune-Herald.

EPA addresses pollution violations involving wastewater treatment plants on Hawaiʻi Island. The US Environmental Protection Agency entered into an Administrative Order on Consent with the County of Hawai’i to ensure pollution discharge requirements are met at the Hilo, Pāpa‘ikou, and Kula‘imano Wastewater Treatment Plants in accordance with the Clean Water Act. Maui Now.

Hawaii Island has most traffic fatalities in state.
This time last year Hawaii island was at five traffic deaths, as of April 1, 2024, they’re at 14. KHON2.

Hualālai Deepwell Goes Offline, Kona Water Restriction Notice In Place
. North Kona customers that a mandatory 25 percent Water Restriction Notice with two deepwells offline. Big Island Video News. Big Island Now.

Waikoloa Road Rehabilitation project ongoing. Work continues on the Waikoloa Road Rehabilitation, which extends from Mamalahoa Highway to Queen Ka‘ahumanu Highway. Tribune-Herald.


Hawaii Governor Will Take ‘Unilateral Action’ To Restore Historic Wetland In Lahaina. With legislative efforts dead this session, Native Hawaiian leaders remain encouraged by what they're hearing from elected officials and seeing on the ground. Civil Beat.

Maui Council Wrestles With ‘Tough Questions’ As It Begins Reviewing $1.7B County Budget. The county needs to ensure it is spending its own money wisely while asking for hundreds of millions of dollars in outside funding to rebuild Lahaina. Civil Beat.

State acquires former hotel to house Maui fire survivors. Between 350 and 450 Maui wildfire survivors in early May should begin moving into a former hotel in Kihei now owned by the state. Star-Advertiser.

Wai Now: Public forum sparks debate on Upcountry water well development. Members of the Upcountry community gathered to discuss a possible public-private partnership aimed at incrementally building one to four water wells in Kula, Maui. Maui Now.


Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge sets opening date for long-awaited viewpoint. The Hanalei refuge is the oldest of Kauaʻi’s three national wildlife refuges.  Hawaii Public Radio.

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