Monday, July 8, 2024

Study recommends replacing state tourism authority with nonprofit, Big Island law would curtail short-term vacation rentals, South Korean president visiting Oahu, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Study recommends replacing Hawaii Tourism Authority with new governance model. A contractor that the Hawaii Tourism Authority paid $294,400 to conduct a tourism governance study has found that HTA should restructure to a community-driven nonprofit rather than a government entity under the state Legislature.  Star-Advertiser.

State SNAP, EBT benefits delayed due to surge in applications, staff vacancies.
The Department of Human Services says nearly a quarter of positions for workers who process applications have not been filled. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Schools Have A Major Shortage Of Vice Principals — And It’s Getting Worse
. Last year nearly a third of vice principal positions in the state were either vacant or filled by educators who didn't meet the certification requirements for the job. Civil Beat.

Gov. Green signs bills to enhance disaster preparation, response. Gov. Josh Green on Friday signed a series of bills to enhance the state’s response to fires and other emergencies and disasters in the wake of the Aug. 8 Maui wildfires that killed at least 102 people and destroyed 3,971 properties, most of them homes. Star-Advertiser.

Gov. Green signs bills to enhance public safety. Gov. Josh Green on Friday signed into law two bills increasing penalties for unauthorized driving and establishing offenses of habitual violent crime. A third bill regarding traffic and public safety enacted into law implements a pilot program for speed enforcement cameras. Star-Advertiser.

South Korean president Yoon Suk Yeol to visit Honolulu this week. South Korea President Yoon Suk Yeol will be on Oahu this week to meet with top U.S. military officials before flying to Washington, D.C., to deliver a keynote address at the 2024 NATO Public Forum.  Star-Advertiser.

Former Hawaii governors urge Biden to quit race. Three former Hawaii Democratic governors — John Waihee, Ben Cayetano and Neil Abercrombie — on Saturday called for President Joe Biden to withdraw his bid for a second term following Biden’s poor debate performance against former President Donald Trump just over a week ago. Star-Advertiser. KHON2.  KITV4.


Honolulu Ethics Commission Says Number Of Complaints Has Dropped. The Honolulu Ethics Commission saw a spike in complaints after high-profile corruption cases, but now the number has fallen below the average. Civil Beat.

New Development Begins On Former Turtle Bay Resort Land Near Kahuku Point. The area was the focus of decades of political and legal efforts to preserve sensitive habitat that includes 5 miles of coastline. Civil Beat.

Honolulu ranks toughest to flip homes in U.S., report says. The median price for previously owned single-family homes rose 6.7% in June to $1.12 million from $1.05 million, while sales gained 4% to 258 from 248, according to a monthly report released Saturday by the Honolulu Board of Realtors. Star-Advertiser.

An Oahu Teacher’s Futile Apartment Hunt Shows How Bad The Rental Market Is. Housing policy advocates say Helen Lau's story is all too common amid Honolulu's housing crisis. Civil Beat.

Startup ventures to test Japanese vertical wind turbine technology in the islands. A Hawai‘i-based startup with ties to Japan is bringing state-of-the-art Japanese clean energy technology to Kaka‘ako Makai in Honolulu, to study its feasibility in the islands by operating its one wind turbine for research and demonstration purposes. Big Island Now.

Hawaii Island

Three short term vacation rental measures go back before County Council
. A trio of contentious measures revamping where and how short-term vacation rentals are allowed to operate on Hawaii Island are heading back to the County Council. Tribune-Herald.

County sets up temporary homeless camp. While a more permanent shelter is scheduled to open next to the Salvation Army on Ponahawai Street in August, the county on Friday set up an array of tents on a lot just down the street. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News.


Maui Faces Uncertainty Over The Future Of Its Energy Grid.
As HECO tries to get new clean energy projects going, island leaders are discussing whether to make it mandatory to bury more power lines safely below ground. Civil Beat.

HECO retiring 35% of firm generators on Maui by 2028, replacing with renewable energy.
This major overhaul is driven by state environmental regulations and difficulties in sourcing parts for aging generators, many of which have become obsolete. Maui Now.

Maui to receive $5M for hybrid electric buses. The Hawai‘i Department of Transportation will receive $5 million in federal funding to buy hybrid electric buses to replace older diesel models on Maui, according to a Wednesday news release. Hawaii Public Radio.

Repair Or Retreat? An Ocean-Battered Maui Condo Complex Grapples With An Uncertain Future. Two of Kahana Sunset's six buildings are teetering near the water's edge while battling sinkholes and shaky foundations. It's now in the county's hands to decide what to do. Civil Beat.


Visitor spending climbs 26.6 percent in May on Kaua‘i. A slight drop in the number of visitors to the island of Kaua‘i in mid-spring was countered by a hefty increase in spending, as tourists continued to pump huge sums of money into the local economy while on holiday. Garden Island.

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