Thursday, July 4, 2024

Traffic crashes increase, federal grant to remove obstacles to housing production, indoor air quality sends 90 Honolulu city employees to work from home, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Traffic crashes increase. The Hawaii Police Department’s Traffic Services Section reviewed all updated crashes, according to a news release, and found 498 major crashes so far this year, compared with 429 the same time last year, a 16% increase.  Star-Advertiser.

Gov. Josh Green signs Hawaii agriculture bills into law.  Gov. Josh Green on Wednesday signed 11 agriculture-related bills to protect Hawaii’s biosecurity, preserve the safety of the state’s food systems and safeguard local farmers and producers through fair labeling. Star-Advertiser. Tribune-Herald.

Green: Hawaii awarded new federal grant aimed at removing obstacles to housing production. Gov. Josh Green and U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz announced $6.6 million in federal funds for Hawaii as part of an effort to build and preserve more affordable housing. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Gov. Josh Green says Biden was ‘sick and exhausted’ before debate.
Gov. Josh Green said he came away from a conference call Wednesday with President Joe Biden and other Democratic governors feeling like the president was a “different individual” from the one in the distressing performance during the 2024 election debate.  Star-Advertiser. New York Times.

Hawaii sheriff policies changing amid ongoing harassment cases.
New details revealed about allegations in harassment case against deputy sheriffs. Deputy Sheriff William Gary’s case involves accusations of him making derogatory comments about gay people toward a deputy sheriff, an inappropriate photo on a state computer, and an incident where he allegedly shoved the deputy. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

UHERO report highlights ocean-based industries to diversify the economy. Water-based industries featured in the report include boat building, harbor operations and water transportation, given Hawaiʻi's strong existing ties to the ocean. But fishing and aquaculture in particular could have the highest potential to add to the state’s economy. Hawaii Public Radio. Big Island Now.


Indoor air quality concerns force nearly 100 employees at Honolulu Hale to work remotely. The city Office for Corporation Counsel is now locked with signs on the door directing people to call instead of visiting. On May 10, all 90 employees in the office were notified by email that they were to “collect everything they need to telework” until further notice. Hawaii News Now.

Coral Colonies Severely Damaged Off Kewalo Basin, Divers Say
. Local conservationists and scuba divers say they found coral colonies off Kewalo Basin “obliterated” last week after commercial divers warned them to stay away because diving there would be dangerous during their work. Civil Beat.

How the Supreme Court's sit-lie ban could impact Honolulu's homeless enforcement. Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that municipalities can enforce sit-lie and camping ordinances against homeless people, even if there aren't enough shelter beds available.  Hawaii Public Radio.

Tow company remains silent on overcharges. A city-contracted tow company has not responded in the wake of the city’s decision that it must refund more than $650,000 in extra fees to hundreds of registered vehicle owners on Oahu or see its annual, three-year contract with the city terminated. Star-Advertiser.

City Ordered To Partially Halt Haiku Stairs Dismantling As Lawsuit Appeal Continues
. The order allows the city to remove stair sections only if they were already separated from the mountain. Civil Beat.

Miske Defense Rests After Casting Doubt On Alleged Crime Boss’s Involvement In Conspiracy.
Michael Miske's defense attorneys highlighted a lack of forensic evidence linking him to crime scenes and brought up possible alternative explanations for the disappearance of Johnathan Fraser, whom Miske is accused of conspiring to have killed. Civil Beat.

Lawsuit Against DOE Questions Suspension Of Student For Bringing A Nerf Gun To School. Stevenson Middle School initially suspended nine students in January for having toy guns that were considered a threat to campus safety. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Island

Harry Kim Endorses Kobayashi For Mayor. Former Hawaiʻi County Mayor and Civil Defense director Harry Kim has endorsed Breeani Kobayashi for mayor.  Big Island Video News.

Petitioners appeal decision regarding Lee Loy. Petitioners who sought to disqualify Hawaii County Councilwoman Sue Lee Loy from running for the state House District 2 seat are appealing Hawaii Chief Election Officer Scott Nago’s decision that she is eligible to run. Tribune-Herald.

Removal of Caltech observatory completed. Caltech released a statement Tuesday announcing that all of the observatory’s facilities have been removed from the summit nearly nine years after it ceased operations at the end of 2015. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News.

Military aircraft alert for Hawaii Island.  The public is advised that depending on weather, jet engine and aircraft noise may increase over Pohakuloa Training Area and West Hawaii from July 8 through Aug. 2 as military aircraft participate in the 2024 Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise. Tribune-Herald.

People reliant on powered medical devices urged to plan for outages
. West Hawaii residents who are dependent upon electrical medical devices are strongly advised to make plans for potential power outages this summer. Tribune-Herald.

How ‘ōkolehao, an alcoholic spirit made of tī root, could change the liquor industry. Hawaiʻi's first-ever alcoholic spirit made from the root of the tī plant may soon get a boost in popularity from a Big Island brewery.  Hawaii Public Radio.


Maui County wrestles with collecting transient accommodations taxes. The County Auditor’s report shows that, for fiscal year 2022, the county recognized over $56.9 million in Maui County TAT on its financial statements. But, as of June 30, 2022, only $40 million was deposited into the county’s treasury. Maui Now.

Over 30 rebuilding permits have been issued after the fire. Here’s how some Lahaina homeowners did it. The process of getting a rebuilding permit has been fast for some residents, but factors like the design and location can also impact the timeline. Maui Now.

Hawaiian Nonprofit Gets State Permit After Losing Office In Lahaina Fire. The organization Na Aikane o Maui operated a cultural center in Lahaina but its previous permit expired one day after the Aug. 8 wildfire. Civil Beat. Hawaii Public Radio.


Kaua‘i is most limited in diversifying its economy compared to all counties in state, UHERO report reveals. In a tourism-concentrated economy, University of Hawaiʻi Economic Research Organization, also known as UHERO, released the report Tuesday, which looks at ways the state could diversify as tourism revenue has shown inconsistent and slow growth for the past 30 years. Kauai Now.

Opponents of Coco Palms redevelopment hail a court ruling, but it may not stop the rebuilding. The long saga of Coco Palms on Kauai may be heading back to court after a three-judge panel canceled a foreclosure deal that led to the current redevelopment. Hawaii News Now.

Strong start to summer travel season at Lihu‘e Airport. A busy start to the summer travel season at Lihu‘e Airport saw more passengers arriving via domestic flights and longer wait times for people leaving the island of Kaua‘i. Garden Island.

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