Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Marijuana decriminalization dies in Legislature, audit blasts foster care system, longtime Oahu cattle ranch gives way to development, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii Senate Kills ‘De Facto’ Weed Legalization. The full state Senate on Monday killed the last chance this legislative session to make marijuana use more lenient by increasing amounts of possession while reducing fines. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Big Island Video News.  KHON2.

Ratepayers could see higher bills as HECO pays off Maui wildfire damage costs. Despite sizable public opposition, lawmakers are racing to finalize a bill that could pass the costs of the Maui wildfires onto ratepayers.  Hawaii Public Radio.

On Earth Day, rooftop solar program grants awarded. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Monday, coinciding with Earth Day, that a state agency nicknamed Hawaii’s Green Bank will receive a $62.5 million grant for a program that provides low- and moderate-income households with loans to acquire rooftop solar and energy storage systems. Star-Advertiser. Big Island Now.  KHON2.

Governor Appoints Advisers For Climate Resilience, Marine Affairs. Charles "Chip" Fletcher, the interim dean of the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology, was appointed the special advisor for climate and resilience. Oceanography professor David "Dave" Karl was tapped to chair the governor's Advisory Committee on Marine Affairs.  Hawaii Public Radio. Civil Beat.

State Failed To Comply With Laws For Licensing Foster Homes And Put Children At Risk. A new report by the Hawaii State Auditor found that one main category of foster homes often failed to meet time limits for licensing and the state wasted money on a contractor and missed out on federal payments. Civil Beat.  Hawaii News Now.     


Corruption Defendant Dennis Mitsunaga Jailed For Alleged Witness Tampering For Duration Of Trial. Dennis Mitsunaga is currently facing federal charges that he conspired with his associates to bribe former Honolulu prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro.  Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.  KHON2.

City touts ‘sustainable’ projects near Skyline. Monday’s media event highlighted the release of the Mayor’s Office of Climate Change, Sustainability and Resiliency’s 2024 Annual Sustainability Report for Oahu. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

Longtime Oahu cattle ranch forced to close down. Ranch operators said they were given 180 days to leave after the property was bought by Utah developer Woodbury Corporation, under the name Oahu Property Owner. KITV4.

Navy Declines To Identify Its Pearl Harbor Water Quality Experts. A Navy team that has been investigating the cause of ongoing water quality complaints around Pearl Harbor is allegedly made up of experts in the field, but the Navy won’t say who they are.  Civil Beat.

Dozens of drivers arrested, jailed for DUI despite test results showing no alcohol in their system. Over the last two years, dozens of Oahu drivers have been arrested for operating a vehicle under the influence with breathalyzer results of 0.00 — meaning no alcohol showed as present in their system, HNN Investigates has found. Hawaii News Now.

Citations issued for trespassing closed Haiku Stairs.
Police issued on Saturday and Sunday 60 warnings and eight trespassing citations, but that changed Monday. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.  KHON2.

Hawaii Island

Public Meetings Set On Pōhakuloa Training Area EIS Draft Two.
Meetings will be held in Hilo and Waimea as the Army invites comments on the second draft environmental impact statement for its proposed land retention at Pōhakuloa Training Area. Big Island Video News.

Big Island house built on wrong lot faces additional obstacle. The case of a house built on the wrong lot is set to return to court this week on Hawaii Island. KITV4.

DOH shuts down Waikoloa restaurant due to rat infestation
. The state Department of Health issued a red “Closed” placard and immediately shut down Ocean Club at Hali‘i Kai on Friday due to an active rodent infestation, contaminated food products and unsanitary conditions within the facility. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News.  Big Island Now.

Learn more about the 4 finalists for chancellor at Hawai‘i Community College. The candidates will participate in a final round of interviews that include a public forum for each candidate Hawaiʻi CC–Pālamanui and Hawaiʻi CC’s Manono campus next week. Big Island Now.


Maui County’s Property Tax Base Increases Despite Lahaina Fire. The council is mulling proposed tax increases to raise 10% more revenue from property taxes next year. Civil Beat.

Oprah Winfrey and Dwayne Johnson pledged $10M for Maui wildfire survivors. They gave much more.  The Entertainment Industry Foundation, a longtime nonprofit that helps celebrities administer charitable work and that managed the distribution of the funds, said it raised almost $60 million.  Associated Press.

The Water’s In, The Roads Are Pretty Good, The Sewer’s Getting There But Lahaina Recovery Is Still A Ways Off. The county plans to open a recovery permitting center on Monday. Civil Beat.

Maui Fair Alliance cancels 98th Maui Fair in 2024, announces intent to dissolve after years of service. The Maui Fair was last held in October 2019 several months before Hawaiʻi’s first COVID-19 case was confirmed in the islands. Maui Now.


Court records reveal Līhuʻe manʻs alleged threatening letter to Kauaʻi council member ahead of court appearance. A Līhu‘e man accused of leaving a “threatening note” on the desk of a Kaua‘i County Councilman is scheduled in District Court on Tuesday for a status review hearing, while the county prosecutor confirmed the office has transferred the case to Honolulu due to a conflict of interest. Kauai Now.

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