Monday, May 27, 2024

HECO casts blame on Maui in wildfire lawsuit rebuttal, affordable housing incentive bill could nullify county rules, state may increase water testing, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii Moves To Improve Water Testing At Popular Beaches. Advocates have been pushing the state for years to increase how often it tests popular swimming and surfing beaches for harmful bacteria. Civil Beat.

Conflict Of Interest? Some Hawaii Lawmakers Work For Or Even Own Companies That Get State Contracts. An examination of current state legislators’ business interests found that at least a dozen sitting lawmakers are paid by or even own entities that have won more than $56 million in government contracts since 2006. Businesses they're tied to have won contracts in construction, consulting and trash collection. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Legislature aims to alter affordable-housing program, possibly at expense of counties.  The Legislature passed a bill, which if enacted, would give developers credits for affordable units completed under a state program that already has incentives that include exemptions to general excise taxes, county development fees, height limits and density in return for making at least 50% or 60% of a project affordable for moderate-income households. Star-Advertiser.

Survey says isle residents support expanding renewable energy in Hawaiʻi. More than 90% of island residents support more alternative energy in the Hawaiian Islands, according to a survey commissioned by the Ulupono Initiative and released during the 11th Annual Hawaiʻi Energy Conference on Maui. Maui Now.

National Guard commander Hara to retire this year.
Maj. Gen. Kenneth Hara, who has served as head of the state Department of Defense since 2019, will step down from his position and retire from the military this fall after 40 years of military service. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

DHHL Tells Beneficiaries To Ditch Sandwich Isles Communications Service. The state is urging Hawaiian homelands beneficiaries to dump Sandwich Isles Communications as their telephone and internet provider and switch to Hawaiian Telcom or Spectrum. Civil Beat. Big Island Video News.  Maui News.

BOE policy aligns with press freedoms for student journalists. Exactly two years after former Gov. David Ige signed a law supporting student journalists and their press freedoms, the state Board of Education has clarified school censorship policy, requiring  school officials to articulate their reasons for censoring student work, aligning its policy with Ige’s student journalism law that’s intended to protect student journalists from legal actions. Star-Advertiser.


Oahu homeless with mental issues could be assessed involuntarily. Homeless people displaying mental health issues could be taken off the street against their will and brought in for assessment at a 3-month-old behavioral center in Iwilei if a new bill becomes law. Star-Advertiser.

Ex-CIA Officer Accused Of Spying For China Pleads Guilty In A Honolulu Courtroom. A former CIA officer and contract linguist for the FBI accused of spying for China for at least a decade pleaded guilty Friday in a federal courtroom in Honolulu. Associated Press.

Growing popularity of e-bikes prompts safety concerns. Community members report that children on e-bikes are zipping around on sidewalks, roadways and through neighborhoods, sometimes popping wheelies along the way, and often without wearing helmets. At the same time, accidents involving e-bikes are on the rise, according to the Honolulu Emergency Serv­ices Department. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

‘Serving the people,’ The Queen’s Medical Center-Wahiawa Emergency Room blessed.
  The Queen’s Health System blessed the Emergency Department at The Queen’s Medical Center-Wahiawa on Friday, May 24, celebrating better air conditioning and technology. KHON2.

Hawaii Island

DLNR on dredging Hilo's Wailoa Small Boat Harbor this summer. Last week the state Department of Land and Natural Resources put a bid out to dredge Hilo’s Wailoa Small Boat Harbor. It hopes to begin work by June 17 to provide relief to boaters from the buildup of sediment that has made the harbor almost impassible at times.  Hawaii Public Radio.

Demolition of historic Jaggar Museum begins.
Demolition began this month at the Thomas A. Jaggar Museum, ending a six-year period of disuse after the facility was critically damaged during the 2018 Kilauea eruption. Tribune-Herald.

HPP lot owner said to be seeking nearly $1.4M. A California woman being sued by a developer whose contractor mistakenly built a house on her Hawaiian Paradise Park lot in Puna is seeking more than $1.3 million in damages, according to both the developer and Hawaii County. Tribune-Herald.


Hawaiian Electric Co. Says It’s Maui County’s Fault Fire Destroyed Much Of Lahaina. Hawaiian Electric Industries and its utility subsidiaries are fighting back against Maui County with a court filing alleging that failures by the county, and not the company, allowed wildfires to ravage Lahaina in August, killing 101 people and causing an estimated $5 billion in damage. Civil Beat.

Behind Maui's Minatoya List: a look at short-term rentals affected by county proposal. There are nearly 14,000 legal short-term rentals in Maui County. Nearly half are part of what's known as the Minatoya List — a collection of units in apartment-zoned districts that county officials say used to be largely workforce housing.  Hawaii Public Radio.

Maui Boards May Soon Be Able To Get Back To Business With Settlement Agreement
. A legal dispute that for weeks has ensnared a string of appointments to Maui County boards and commissions is about to come to a close with a deal that would correct the process used to fill vacant seats, according to people involved in the settlement.  Civil Beat.

Council supports closures of Holomua Road for public safety in Pāʻia. Maui County members voted 9-0 on Tuesday to approve a bill on first reading to close the mauka portion of Holomua Road above the entrance to old Maui High School to address concerns about brush fires and other public safety issues. Maui Now.

Lahaina Property Owners Urged To Apply For Building Permits As Soon As Possible. The urgency to apply comes despite residents' concerns that Lahaina's infrastructure is yet to be rehabilitated. Civil Beat.


State awards ambulance contracts to American Medical Response following protests. The Hawai‘i State Department of Health has made its decision on ground ambulance services for Kauaʻi and Maui following its restarted procurement process, awarding contracts to longtime service provider American Medical Response (AMR), which will now be doing business as International Life Support, Inc. Kauai Now.

Garden Island newspaper moving. As of Tuesday, May 28, the business office and newsroom will be located in the Haleko Building at 2970 Haleko Road, Suite 205, Lihu‘e. Garden Island.

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