Monday, July 1, 2024

Navies from 29 countries train around Hawaii during RIMPAC, HART board violated Sunshine Law, HECO asks PUC for fee increases to cover Maui wildfire costs, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Navies train in Hawaii during RIMPAC as ocean turns into mock battlefields. The biennial Rim of the Pacific, the world’s largest recurring naval exercise, is underway in Hawaii and San Diego, bringing together 40 warships from 29 countries. Exercises are scheduled June 26 to Aug. 2, in and around the Hawaiian Islands.  Star-Advertiser.

Congress looks to continue Coast Guard’s Pacific expansion. The Coast Guard is slated to continue solidifying its Pacific footprint with new funds from Congress as the service plays an increasingly prominent role in Washington’s regional strategy. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaiian Electric system upgrades to buffet electric bills. Hawaii’s largest electric utility, Hawaiian Electric Co., is seeking regulatory approval for a second “exceptional” investment project where it intends to recover costs from ratepayers who stand to have their bills affected by incremental, long-lasting small increases.  Star-Advertiser.

Governor Signs 13 Bills For Native Hawaiian Beneficiaries, Culture. Governor Josh Green on Friday signed 13 bills into law, renewing the state’s commitment to the Hawaiʻi Department of Hawaiian Homelands, as well as Native Hawaiian education, cultural practices and traditions, and stewardship.   Big Island Video News. Hawaii News Now.

Bill on traffic violations may face governor’s veto.
If it becomes law, House Bill 2526 would increase the penalty for a third or subsequent offense involving unauthorized driving or operation of motor vehicles to a class C felony and authorize the court to order the forfeiture of the vehicle used in the offense. Star-Advertiser.

First Amendment Groups Oppose Veto Of Bill To Limit Governor’s Power To Cut Off Electronic Media In Emergencies. Hawaii’s governor warns of the need to respond to possible violence generated by social media in times of crisis. But journalists and attorneys fear violation of constitutionally protected free speech. Civil Beat.

Gov. Green Makes Appointments To Boards And Agencies. They include Christine Sakuda as Hawaii's chief information officer. Green also appointed Barbara Polk and Danton Wong to serve on the Campaign Spending Commission, Andrew Pereira to the Stadium Authority and Debbie Cabebe to the Hawaii Community Development Authority Pulehunui. Civil Beat.


Former HART Board Members Violated Sunshine Law By Discussing Consulting Contract In Private. Ultimately, Colleen Hanabusa turned down the lucrative consulting contract in favor of rejoining the unpaid board as public scrutiny grew. Three key board members overseeing Honolulu’s Skyline transit construction violated state open meeting laws when they traded emails about hiring Colleen Hanabusa to a lucrative consultant contract before discussing the proposal in an open meeting, the Office of Information Practices ruled last week. Civil Beat

Skyline marks first anniversary, anticipates more stations opening in next 18 months. A year after it opened to the public, Honolulu’s Skyline rail system continues to see a mix of more than 1 million commuters, first- timers, lookie-loos and tourists who are already anticipating four more stations that are scheduled to open in the next 18 months — including into and out of Daniel K. Inouye International Airport. Star-Advertiser.

City Council’s affordable rental housing bill advances. A bill meant to give private developers of affordable rental housing greater financial incentives to build is moving forward — but with a change to post-construction grant amounts meant to spur completion of more units above or below 300 square feet in size. Star-Advertiser.

City taking over Biki bikeshare system.
Starting Monday, the City and County of Honolulu is officially taking over management of the Biki bikeshare system — marking a major change since its launch in 2017. Star-Advertiser.

Star-Advertiser will now use the mail to deliver newspapers in Waikiki.
In a letter, Aaron Kotarek, senior vice president of audience and operations for the Star-Advertiser, wrote that beginning July 1, the company will partner with the U.S. Postal Service to deliver the paper to readers in Waikiki. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

For Chief Judge Kim, retirement is ‘rehirement’. Today will be the last day on the bench for Third Circuit Chief Judge Robert Kim, four years to the day after being named the Big Island’s chief administrative jurist by Hawaii Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald. Tribune-Herald.

Hilo roundabout gets funding
. A project to build a traffic roundabout in downtown Hilo has received more than $17 million in federal funding. Tribune-Herald.

Unrest escalates at Kīlauea; more than 500 earthquakes rock upper East Rift Zone.
Hundreds of earthquakes are occurring in Kīlauea's upper East Rift Zone, prompting an overnight status report from the USGS.. Scientists say “any substantial increases in seismicity and/or deformation could result in a new eruptive episode, but there are no signs of an imminent eruption at this time.” Big Island Video News. Big Island Now.  Hawaii News Now.


Another Suicide At The Maui Jail Leaves A Grieving Family To Conclude ‘Something Is Wrong’.
Artrina De Lima's death is the sixth suicide at the Maui jail in the past four years. That is more than the total number of known suicides at all other Hawaii correctional facilities during that time. Civil Beat.

Bill To Designate Lahaina As A National Heritage Area Gets Congressional Hearing. The governor, Maui mayor, cultural leaders from West Maui and others say such a designation would help Lahaina recover and celebrate its past. Civil Beat.

Kahikolu Project on Maui targets axis deer and widespread environmental impacts. Prolific herds of hungry axis deer continue to wreak havoc in Maui County, damaging farm crops, overgrazing livestock pasture lands, threatening fragile watersheds and even encroaching in heavily urbanized areas like Kahului Airport’s runways and baggage claim areas. Maui Now.


Kīlauea roundabout being constructed on Kūhiō Highway. The Hawai‘i Department of Transportation is notifying drivers of a $12 million roundabout being constructed on Kūhiō Highway in Kilauea, which is planned to be completed late next year.  Kauai Now.

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