Showing posts with label 2023 Legislature. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 2023 Legislature. Show all posts

Monday, August 21, 2023

Biden to tour Lahaina today, 114 confirmed dead, 850 missing, Maui County Council to begin rebuilding plan Tuesday, Legislature may hold special session on fires, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

President Biden and first lady to tour Lahaina disaster zone.  President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden arrive today on a grief-stricken Maui, where the number of wildfire deaths is expected to rise considerably above the 114 being reported and loved ones need answers about the fate of an estimated 1,000 still missing. Star-Advertiser. Maui Now.  Hawaii News Now.  Spectrum News.

Schatz: Biden Visit To Lahaina ‘Forces Action’. U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz said the priority ahead will be making sure that Lahaina and Hawaii are not forgotten when the world's attention moves on. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

In online address, Hawaiʻi governor vows ‘Lāhainā will rise again’. Hawaiʻi Governor, First Lady Address Maui Wildfire Response. Governor Josh Green, M.D., and First Lady Jaime Kanani Green gave an update on the coordinated response to the Maui wildfires during a live broadcast on Friday. Big Island Video News. Kauai Now.  KITV4.

Hawaii Legislature May Hold Special Session On Maui Fires.
For now, House and Senate leaders say it's premature to schedule one. But the disaster may well warrant convening to pass spending and statutory measures. Civil Beat.

Maui mayor: New FBI-vetted list puts number of missing in Lahaina at 850.
Teams armed with cadaver dogs have searched about 85% of the town. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaiʻi State Department of Land and Natural Resources names interim water deputy.
Dean Uyeno, a 25-year-long staffer with the Commission on Water Resource Management, has been assigned on a temporary basis as the interim Water Deputy with the Hawaiʻi State Department of Land and Natural Resources. Maui Now.

Maui Mayor: Replacing Emergency Management Chief Will Take Time. Pending a search for a permanent replacement, the No. 2 official at the agency is in charge. Civil Beat.

State Told Maui Emergency Office It Should Consider Sounding Sirens Before Fire Spread.
Before a fire swept through Lahaina, killing at least 114 people, Hawaii state emergency management personnel sent a “reminder” to their counterparts at the Maui Emergency Management Agency that the island’s all-hazard siren system “could be used” if needed. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.

Maui fire will reshape Hawaiian Electric. Hawaiian Electric — and the state’s power utility sector in general — may be in store for reconstruction in the aftermath of the massive disaster as state leaders, regulators and litigators push for change and accountability. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaiian Electric ends week at 58% plummet. Hawaiian Electric Industries Inc. shares notch the worst weekly drop in at least four decades on concern it may be responsible for the fires that ravaged the island of Maui, with Wells Fargo’s analyst warning the possible liabilities could be large enough to wipe out the value of its utility arm. Star-Advertiser.

Job losses mount in Maui, but anti-tourism could block recovery.
Since the wildfires, Maui is experiencing a sharp rise in initial unemployment claims, which hit 6,663 from Aug. 9-17, according to state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations spokesperson William Kunstman. Star-Advertiser.

Senior Managers At Hawaii State Hospital Fired In Major Shake-Up. Three top managers at the Hawaii State Hospital are being terminated from their jobs and were abruptly escorted off the hospital campus Thursday morning in a move to “restructure” the facility’s management team. Dr. Bimmie Strausser, HSH associate administrator, was escorted off the property by staff from the state Attorney General’s office along with Director of Nursing Lani Tsuneishi and HSH Operations Administrator Anthony Fraiola, according to staff at the facility. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser.


Charter amendments would address raises for elected officials.
A Honolulu City Council member who recently received a 64% pay raise says key amendments need to be made to the city’s constitution to ensure future pay hikes for top elected and appointed officials cannot be rejected by an overwhelming vote of the Council or the mayor. Star-Advertiser.

Bill to ban flavored tobacco products advances.  The Honolulu City Council voted unanimously Aug. 9 to advance Bill 46 that intends to ban flavored tobacco products — including electronic cigarettes and other vaping devices — which contain “a characterizing flavor or that imparts a cooling or numbing sensation during consumption of a tobacco product,” the bill reads. Star-Advertiser.

HART still waiting for $125 million. After more than a decade, the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation waits for the final portion of a $1.55-billion funding agreement that since 2014 has been held up at the federal level due to years of cost overruns and delays to the build out of the city’s rail line. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Hirono, Tokuda visit Food Basket ag campus, stress need for sustainable food. U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono and U.S. Rep. Jill Tokuda visited Hilo for a ceremony celebrating the Hawaii Island Food Basket’s new agricultural campus. Tribune-Herald.

Puna police officer arrested on suspicion of burglary, assault. A 31-year-old Puna patrol officer suspected of illegally entering a Ka‘u home early Tuesday morning and assaulting a 20-year-old man remained in custody late Friday afternoon as police detectives investigated the case. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News. Big Island Now.

Uncle Billy’s demolition slated for early next year; officials unsure about future of property.
The 148-room hotel closed in 2017 and has been a blight on the Waiakea Peninsula ever since, becoming the site of squatters, drug use, vandalism, fires and other crimes. Tribune-Herald.

‘Bruddah Waltah’ Aipolani dies at 68; ‘Father of Hawaiian Reggae’ suffered from liver cancer. Singer-guitarist Walter Aipolani, better known as Bruddah Waltah, died Thursday after a long battle with liver cancer. He was 68. Tribune-Herald. Star-Advertiser.


Make Your Voice Heard At This Week's Maui County Council Session.
The council has scheduled a meeting Tuesday that offers the public a chance to get involved in the daunting task of planning for the future. Civil Beat. Maui News.

Lahaina’s Large Immigrant Community Is Facing A Unique Struggle In The Fire’s Aftermath. Losing important documents is a real problem while fear and mistrust of government agencies has inhibited some from seeking aid, experts say. Civil Beat.

What Saved The ‘Miracle House’ In Lahaina? The historic structure on Front Street is the last house standing in a neighborhood reduced to rubble. Michael Wara, the director of the Climate and Energy Policy Program at the Stanford Wood Institute for the Environment, said it was likely the Millikins’ decision to dig out the existing landscaping directly surrounding the house and replace it with river stones that made the biggest difference.  Civil Beat.


Outrigger Resorts & Hotels to acquire Kauaʻi Beach Resort & Spa. The transaction to purchase the 25-acre beachfront property with 350 guest rooms is expected to close on Aug. 22, 2023.  Kauai Now.

Kauaʻi vacation rental occupancy for May down 14% from a year ago. The occupancy for Kauaʻi vacation rentals in May was 51.7%, which is down 1.1% from a year ago and 28.2% lower than May 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic struck. Kauai Now.

Thursday, August 3, 2023

Costly TSA line-skipping service coming to Hawaii, more legislative power plays exposed, nude 'Zoom-bomb' forces meeting cancellations, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Airport security line-skipping service coming to Hawaii airports, but some urge caution. The high-tech security company called “CLEAR” has made a deal with the state Department of Transportation to serve Honolulu and Maui airports. At 53 airports across the country, CLEAR representatives — called “ambassadors” — approach travelers facing long security lines and offer to help them jump the line. They pitch a 60-day free trial followed by an automatic $189 annual charge to travelers’ credit cards. Hawaii News Now.

Death Of Hawaii Tech Agency Funding Is A Blow For Diversification. Gov. Josh Green stopped senators from axing a tech agency board member; now small businesses must pay the price.  Business accelerators, small manufacturers and firms researching and developing new technologies are assessing a potentially rocky path over the next year after a bill to provide grant funds for economic development died following a fractious legislative session. Civil Beat.

Second OHA trustee supervises daughter in violation of new nepotism law. A second Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustee who supervises her daughter has been looking for a new position for her to comply with Hawaii’s new anti-nepotism law that applies to all state employees except the state Legislature and Judiciary. OHA Trustee Luana Alapa, who was elected in 2020 to represent Molokai, supervises her daughter, who works as an aide. Star-Advertiser.

More permit requirements coming for gun users in Hawaii starting in '24. Gun advocates are calling it another roadblock to legal gun ownership. In order to buy a handgun in Hawaii you'll need to get a permit by either taking a handgun safety class or a hunter's ed class. KITV4.

‘Zoom-bomb’ forces cancellation of 2 public meetings.  Full nudity during an online public meeting is what caused the Hawaii School Facilities Authority to cancel an agenda meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 1. The executive director called the incident a “Zoom-bomb.” KHON2.

Gov. Green, Department of Human services appoint new DHS 2nd Deputy Director
. Governor Josh Green and the Department of Human Services have appointed Trista Speer to serve as the 2nd Deputy Director for the Hawai‘i Department of Human Services, where she joins Director Cathy Betts, and Deputy Director Joseph Campos II in their respective leadership roles. Big Island Now.

Hawaii Hansen’s disease cases remain steady. Hawaii still records new cases of Hansen’s disease every year, but the numbers have remained steady, according to health officials. Star-Advertiser.

3 Hawaiʻi leaders selected for Obama Foundation program. Whitney Aragaki is a teacher leader at the state Department of Education. Aragaki was named the 2022 Hawaiʻi State Teacher of the Year. Ashley Mariko Johnson is the founder of Mohala Eyewear. The inclusive eyewear brand also sends girls to school by donating to Room to Read. Scott Nishimoto is the executive director of Ceeds of Peace, a non-profit with a mission to raise peacebuilding leaders. Hawaii Public Radio.


HPD approves 409 concealed-carry licenses, making headway on backlog.  The Honolulu Police Department approved 409 concealed-carry weapon licenses for 599 firearms through Wednesday, and officers hope to clear the current list of applicants by August, according to Police Chief Arthur “Joe” Logan. Star-Advertiser.

HPD Chief’s Decision On Cops In Makaha Pursuit Case Remains A Mystery. Honolulu Police Chief Joe Logan has decided what discipline to mete out to the four officers charged with felonies for their alleged role in a 2021 pursuit in Makaha that injured six people, but he has yet to make it public. Civil Beat.

Council amends planning department permit backlog bill. A measure meant to temporarily increase the use of outside professionals at the city’s Department of Planning and Permitting and reduce the months-long backlog of building permit applications was amended to focus on tenant improvements, small solar projects and affordable rental housing developments. Star-Advertiser.

Future looks brighter for two Waikiki commerical landmarks. Two Waikiki commercial landmarks, T-Galleria by DFS and the Kyo-ya Restaurant site, are in various stages of reopening and poised for further development. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Is Hu Honua’s Energy Future Tied To Hydrogen? Newly reissued county permits and the mayor's recent remarks have left Big Island community members wondering what's next. The idled tree-burning power plant, also known as Honua Ola Bioenergy, has been coming back into compliance with more than dozen county permits even after the state Supreme Court rejected its proposal to sell power to Hawaiian Electric. Civil Beat.

Tokuda visits Hilo, talks story with curious residents. What began as an event to help East Hawaii residents file federal paperwork became an impromptu town hall with a U.S. congresswoman Wednesday. Tribune-Herald.

Queen’s Health System acquires land in N. Kona. The Queen’s Health System and Lanihau Properties, LLC jointly announced Tuesday that Queen’s has acquired a 31.15-acre parcel of land at Honokohau Nui (West Hawai‘i Business Park) in Kailua-Kona. West Hawaii Today.

An especially cruel twist of fate’: Daughter of fatal dog attack victim called father ‘an animal lover’.  Shannon Matson, daughter of Bob Northrop, said Wednesday on Facebook that her father was walking to a friend’s house when the fatal attack occurred on the Outrigger Drive roadway. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News.


Maui County tightens regulations for air and replica guns. A new ordinance tightening up regulations on air and replica guns in Maui County will go into effect on Nov. 1. KHON2.

Maui County buys Trask building for $3.8 million. Maui County has completed the $3.8 million purchase of the David K. Trask Jr. building next to the county’s Kalana O Maui building in Wailuku, as part of ongoing efforts to cut millions of dollars it pays each year for rent, the county said Tuesday.  Maui News.

Molokaʻi residents encouraged to attend meeting on Destination Management. The Hawai‘i Tourism Authority, Maui Visitors and Convention Bureau, and Moloka‘i task force are encouraging the public to attend its upcoming community meeting on Aug. 15, at the Mitchell Pauʻole Community Center in Kaunakakai from 5:30-7:30 p.m.  Maui Now.

New broiler chicken program brings Molokaʻi closer to sustainability goals.  The eggs came before the chickens for Sustʻāinable Molokaʻi’s education and food sovereignty programs.  Hawaii Public Radio.


Kaua‘i Office of Economic Development accepting proposals for Innovation Grants. The intent of this grant program is to deploy innovation on island in the areas of small business, technology, transportation, agriculture, local manufacturing, creative industries, workforce development, circular economies, tourism destination management and product development.  Kauai Now.

Kauaʻi Humane Society at risk of losing no-kill status.  The shelter is able to accommodate about 150 animals, but currently has more than 400.  To keep its no-kill status, the humane society needs to maintain a 90% positive outcome rate over a calendar year. Hawaii Public Radio.

Tunnels Beach on Kaua‘i ranks on ‘Best Beaches in the World’ list. Big 7 Travel put Tunnels, also known as Makua, at No. 21 on its list, describing Tunnels as the “ultimate snorkeling spot, with the picturesque backdrop of Mount Makana and lush jungles.” Kauai Now.

Wednesday, August 2, 2023

Money flows to lawmakers during legislative session, Honolulu mayor rejects Alaska homeless, COVID-19 sends Maui council back to remote meeting, another Big Isle death from dog packs, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Ban On Fundraisers? Hawaii Legislators Continued To Rake In Campaign Cash During Session. Many found ways to raise big donations even though a new law was intended to limit the influence of special interest money. Civil Beat.

Alaska mayor’s plan to send homeless to warmer cities gets pushback in Hawaii. The mayor of Alaska’s largest city says he’s planning to send some of the state’s homeless to warmer cities, citing a lack of shelter space as winter approaches. The program is already getting pushback, including from Honolulu’s mayor. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii DOE Has Changed Up Its Teacher Recruitment And Early Results Are Promising. The department has made 690 local and 277 out-of-state hires to start the school year.  There are around 300 vacant positions in the system now, compared to over 1,000 vacancies at the start of the last school year. Civil Beat.

US Department of Energy funding to support state renewable energy network.  The U.S. Department of Energy named 67 winners for its Energizing Rural Communities Prize. One of them is Shake Energy Collaborative in Hawaiʻi. Hawaii Public Radio.

Department of Hawaiian Home Lands struggling to fill dozens of vacancies. The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands is positioned to build thousands of homes, but it's the positions behind the desk that first need to be filled. KITV4.

UH sets new record in extramural funding with $515.9 million. For a second year in a row, the University of Hawaii has set a record in extramural funding, pulling in $515.9 million for fiscal year 2023 and surpassing its prior peak by $10.9 million, UH officials announced. Star-Advertiser.

Visitors spent $2B in June, mostly on Maui and Oahu. Neighbor Island visitor spending through first half of 2023 outpacing 2019. Visitors to Hawaii spent $2 billion in June — more than any other month during the record-breaking year before the pandemic — with nearly three-quarters of that total coming from tourists on Maui and Oahu.  Maui News.

Ambitious public housing plan focuses on creating thousands of new units — quickly.  The state’s public housing authority plans to build more than 10,000 affordable units over a decade. Past projects may have failed to build enough housing, but the executive director of the Hawaii Public Housing Authority told Hawaii News Now the $6.6 billion plan is different. Hawaii News Now.


New city traffic study finds 7 in 10 drivers failed at yield for pedestrians at busy intersection. Hawaii Kai residents are calling for safer crosswalks. The plea comes following a new city traffic study conducted at nine areas with high traffic incidents. Researchers found 71% of drivers failed to yield for pedestrians at the intersection of Lunalilo Home Road and Kaumakani Street in east Oahu. Hawaii News Now.

Audit finds improvements in city hiring shortfalls. An audit into the city’s 2,458 job vacancies is revealing an outdated system and lengthy hiring process. As a result, the city is making improvements to the system. KHON2.

King Tide Leads To New Release Of Partially Treated Wastewater Near Pearl Harbor. The military said water in the area remained safe to use but warned another discharge may occur as ocean conditions persist. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser.  Spectrum News.

Invasive Species Are Rampant On Oahu And Stakeholders Are Calling Out DOA. The department said it is taking an "all-hands-on-deck approach" to the issue. Civil Beat.

Hawaiʻi could see a big hurricane season, but most homes aren't ready.
  Two-thirds of the single-family homes on Oʻahu, an island of 1 million people that's home to Honolulu, have no hurricane protections. Associated Press.

Powering O‘ahu 24/7 for 60 Years. Behind the scenes at the Kahe Power Plant, which opened in 1963 and still generates firm power to supplement solar- and wind-generated electricity. Hawaii Business magazine.

Hawaii Island

Police: Ocean View man killed by dogs in ‘horrific attack’.  Hawaii island police are investigating the death of a man who was reportedly attacked by four dogs in the Hawaiian Ocean View Estates subdivision Monday morning. Star-Advertiser. Tribune-Herald.  Big Island Video News.  KHON2. KITV4.

Look South of Hilo for Affordable Homes in Hawai‘i. Hawai‘i Island’s overall median price has been relatively steady this year, but the lowest priced deals – including many inexpensive vacant lots – can often be found in Puna. Hawaii Business magazine.

DHHL awards 15 subsistence-ag lots in Panaewa.  Fifteen Department of Hawaiian Home Lands beneficiaries became the first to be awarded subsistence-agricultural lots Saturday at the Keaukaha Elementary School gymnasium. Tribune-Herald.


Maui County Council meeting to be held remotely Friday due to COVID-19 cases.  Due to several cases of COVID-19 within the Legislative Branch, Council Chair Alice L. Lee determined that Friday’s council meeting will be held remotely via Bluejeans. Maui Now.

NOAA announces $17M for infrastructure improvements at Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary.  The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will invest $17 million from the Inflation Reduction Act in Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary to improve the climate resilience of the Kīhei, Maui visitor and community center.  Maui Now.

Betty’s Beach Cafe in Lahaina to reopen after inspection
.  The state Department of Health Food Safety Branch has allowed Betty’s Beach Cafe in Lahaina to reopen after closing it last week due to a cockroach infestation. Star-Advertiser.


State suspends bus services at four Kaua‘i schools amid driver shortage.  Kapa‘a High School, Kapa‘a Middle School, Kapa‘a Elementary School and Hanalei Elementary School will see canceled services on Kaua‘i. Garden Island.

Waimea middle school principal removed from position. The principal of Waimea Canyon Middle School has been removed from her position in the midst of increasing complaints from parents, teachers and students. Garden Island.

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Queen Liliʻuokalani’s royal standard returned, Hannemann front-runner for tourism board, millions in pork sent home by legislative leaders, more news from all he Hawaiian Islands

Queen Liliʻuokalani’s illegally seized Royal Standard back at her Honolulu home after 130 years. The Royal Standard of Queen Lili’uokalani, Hawai‘i’s last reigning monarch, was returned July 24, 2023 to her Washington Place home and placed on public view for the first time in 130 years, since it was illegally seized in 1893. Big Island Now. Star-Advertiser.  Civil Beat. Big Island Video News.  KHON2.

Hannemann is front-runner for HTA board seat. The composition of the beleaguered Hawaii Tourism Authority board is set to change again, and former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann is considered the front-runner to secure Gov. Josh Green’s latest appointment. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Senate President Showers Kauai With Pork Projects In New State Budget. An analysis of the Hawaii Legislature's capital improvement projects shows that the districts of top leaders and neighbor island lawmakers got lots of money.  Civil Beat.

New BOE Chair Haruki urges priority on keeping more graduates home. In his first meeting as the new chair of the state Board of Education, Warren Haruki said Monday that he believes the board is poised to bring about significant progress at the islands’ public schools, and urged strong leadership and changes so that more graduates can stay in Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaiʻi sees first school meal reimbursement rate increase in 40 years.  Hawaiʻi’s reimbursement rate for school meals and other federal child nutrition programs has been increased to 30% above the continental US rates, which is projected to bring an additional $8 million a year to Hawaiʻi to support healthy meals for children. Maui Now.

Miske associate pleads guilty, cooperates with government.
An alleged co-conspirator of reputed Hawaii crime boss Michael Miske pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit kidnapping Monday after he allegedly set up the kidnapping and assault of an accountant who owed his friend’s father $900,000. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.


Rezoning near Halawa rail station on Oahu to be reviewed. The Honolulu Planning Commission is being asked to rezone 227 acres around Skyline’s Halawa station to allow for mixed-use development and affordable housing sites near what will become the state’s New Aloha Stadium Entertainment District. Star-Advertiser.

Search for answers continues in deaths of 2 divers on Oahu. Two free divers were spearfishing at a popular diving spot on Oahu’s North Shore for the first time with a group of work friends early Sunday morning when they went missing for hours and were later found unresponsive. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

 Waikiki church resumes free meal distribution despite mayor’s opposition.   Saint Augustine By The Sea said Mayor Rick Blangiardi asked the church to stop the food line at the side gate on Ohua Avenue after some had complained the free food attracts problems.  Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu Star-Advertiser Is Cutting More News Staff. At least four editorial staff members have accepted a buyout. Four editorial employees, Vicki Viotti, Dave Segal, Jason Kaneshiro and Sophie Cocke, have accepted a voluntary buyout offer and have either left the paper or will be leaving at the end of the month. Civil Beat.

Old Waialua Sugar Mill smoke stack being torn down.
Work began on Monday to take down the old Waialua Sugar Mill smoke stack -- the one that towers over the former plantation town and has served as a landmark, even after the mill closed in 1996.  KITV4.

Hawaii Island

Pohoiki Boat Ramp restoration takes step forward. A final environmental assessment for a plan to dredge the sandbar which formed in front of the boat ramp during the 2018 Kilauea eruption was released Sunday. Tribune-Herald.

Army Corps of Engineers to host public meeting about proposed plan for former Waikōloa Maneuver Area’s Section 15.  The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – responsible for managing restoration efforts at the former Waikōloa Maneuver Area in South Kohala on the Island of Hawai‘i – will host a public meeting on Aug. 12 about the Final Proposed Plan for the Sector 15 Munitions Response Site. Big Island Now.

Keaau library project advances.  According to a final environmental assessment published Sunday, the project is not anticipated to have any significant impact on the local environment, nor has the scope of the project changed substantially since a draft EA was published in May. Tribune-Herald.


Sunshine Law Complaint Leads To Revote On Changes To Maui Shoreline Rules.
Concerns were raised that planning department staff would be given even more discretion over reducing or waiving fines. The Maui Planning Commission will vote again Tuesday on rules that govern development and construction projects along Maui’s coastlines after the county failed to include some written testimony on the matter prior to decision making. Civil Beat.

Comment period begins on development of a new Central Maui Wastewater Reclamation Facility.
  An Environmental Impact Statement Preparation Notice has been filed for the proposed development of a new Central Maui Wastewater Reclamation Facility and onsite Soil Aquifer Treatment basin in Waikapū. Maui Now.

Maui News staffers win 9 Excellence in Journalism awards.  The Maui News staff members earned nine honors at the Hawaii Society of Professional Journalists Excellence in Journalism awards last week.  Maui News.


Worker shortage leads to suspension of Kapaa school bus services. The Hawaii Department of Education has sent out letters to Kapaa Elementary and High School parents notifying them that school bus service will be suspended until further notice. KHON2.

Study indicates human sewage across Kaua‘i’s waters.  A newly published report detected sucralose — an artificial sweetener commonly found in manufactured foods — throughout Kaua‘i’s streams and rivers, indicating nearly islandwide water contamination by human sewage. Garden Island.

Monday, July 24, 2023

Settlement inked for Hawaiians on homeland wait-list, health care system earns top rating, nepotism law delayed, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Landmark settlement approved for Native Hawaiians who spent decades on DHHL waitlist. Plaintiffs in a nearly 24-year-old class-action lawsuit against the state over Hawaiian homestead claims should begin to receive their share of a $328 million settlement in September, after a final approval in court Friday. Star-Advertiser. Kauai Now.  Hawaii News Now.

Public comment sought on Hawaiian Home Lands block grant spending.  DHHL has issued a new report on how much it spent on Native Hawaiian housing under the Native American Housing Assistance and Self Determination Act. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii State Agencies Work To Implement New Nepotism Law. The new law against hiring, supervising or contracting with relatives doesn't apply to the Legislature or the court system. The Hawaii State Ethics Commission is delaying enforcing the state’s new nepotism law to give state employees more time to comply with the new guidelines. Civil Beat.

Lawmakers Set Up The State Prison Commission. Now They Don’t Want To Pay For It. The Correctional System Oversight Commission has provided the public with an unprecedented window into the operations of Hawaii's troubled prisons and jails. Civil Beat.

People are leaving Hawaii in droves. Can these solutions help more stay? Hawaii has now entered seven straight years of population decline, and as housing and other living expenses continue to rise, more people may have to make the tough decision to leave. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii’s health care system receives top scores. Hawaii once again ranked among the best states overall when it comes to its health care system, just behind Massachusetts, in an extensive analysis of 58 metrics that assess access to care, health outcomes, quality, costs, reproductive care and women’s health. Star-Advertiser.

Public Hearings Set For Hawaiʻi “Ocean Stewardship Fees”.  Hearing dates have been set for proposed rules to govern the requirement that all commercial vessels operating in Hawaiʻi collect a $1 dollar ocean stewardship user fee from each passenger carried or customer served. Big Island Video News. Maui Now.

Agencies seek to designate areas as critical habitat for green sea turtles. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Serv­ice and NOAA Fisheries are proposing to designate more than 2,000 acres of nesting and basking beaches in Hawaii as critical habitat for the threatened green sea turtle. Star-Advertiser.


Waikiki church resuming lunch ministry after pause to appease city safety concerns.  Free hot meals for the needy at St. Augustine by the Sea Catholic Church in Waikiki will resume Monday on church grounds in a move to appease Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi and others who urged that the social ministry be discontinued due to public safety concerns. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu triples homeless cleanup crew efforts. The city has tripled its workforce that clears homeless encampments across Oahu every day and night — Monday through Friday — with some cleanups on weekends. Star-Advertiser.

City, state ‘public carry’ laws caught in the crosshairs. Honolulu and the state both recently enacted laws establishing “sensitive places” where the “public carry of firearms” is prohibited, but the measures conflict when it comes to how properties that do allow guns on the premises are required to communicate that to their customers. Star-Advertiser.

Congress members seek registry to track health effects of Red Hill. Members of Hawaii’s congressional delegation have introduced bipartisan legislation that would require the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to set up a new registry to track and collect health data from people who were exposed to tap water laced with jet fuel from the Navy’s Red Hill fuel facility in 2021. Star-Advertiser.

Downtown Honolulu landscape is shifting for workers, residents, shoppers and visitors.  Commercial real estate brokerage firm Colliers International has reported that from 2020 to 2022, Oahu’s office market — largely concentrated downtown — lost over 240,000 square feet of occupied space, driven mainly by around 9,900 lost office jobs at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, followed by a partial rebound of about 5,800 jobs by the end of last year. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii developer is asked to do more for evicted residents. An official letter requesting that a local developer provide greater assistance to more than 100 residents facing eviction at a Moiliili rental complex due to the pending construction of a 43-story condominium tower at the same site has been sent by the Honolulu City Council chair. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Keeping it in the family: Farmers using state land laud new law regarding lease extensions. Big Island farmers are praising a bill that Gov. Josh Green recently signed into law extending lease renewals for up to 30 years in certain agriculture parks on the neighbor islands. Tribune-Herald.

Latest Round Of TMT Arguments Delayed By Land Board. The Hawaiʻi BLNR says oral arguments scheduled for July 28 concerning the Thirty Meter Telescope have been deferred. Big Island Video News. Tribune-Herald.

More than two dozen people on Big Isle sought after vanishing between 2021 and 2023.  There currently are 25 open missing person investigations involving Big Island residents who vanished between 2021 and 2023, according to the Hawaii Police Department. Tribune-Herald.

MISSING IN PARADISE: Children of HPP man, 76, hopeful public can help find him.  Saturday marked six months of searching for William Bishop, 76, who went missing around 2:30 p.m. on Jan. 22 near his home in Hawaiian Paradise Park. Tribune-Herald.


Fine urged for damage caused by yacht off Maui.  The state Department of Land and Natural Resources is recommending a “conservative” fine of about $117,000 for the yacht owner responsible for damaging coral and live rock at Maui’s Honolua- Mokuleia Bay Marine Life Conservation District. Star-Advertiser.

MEO wins 5-year county contract for bus paratransit service.  Maui County has awarded another $4.2 million, five-year contract to Maui Economic Opportunity to continue to operate the Maui Bus Americans with Disabilities Act paratransit service, the nonprofit announced Thursday. Maui News.

Seniors On Lanai Are Facing ‘Heartbreaking’ Choices In Their Quest To Age At Home.
Efforts are underway to improve the resources available, but there are currently few options for people in need of significant care. Civil Beat.


Kilauea gets new preschool classroom.  Several state officials were at Kilauea School on Thursday, where they visited a new preschool classroom set to open next month as part of Lt. Gov. Sylvia Luke’s Ready Keiki initiative. Garden Island.

Thursday, July 13, 2023

Hawaii schools not prepared to prevent violence, Green talks sustainability in UN keynote address, group sues over state plan to release bioengineered mosquitoes to save rare birds, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii’s public schools lag in violence prevention, experts say.  Hawaii’s public schools are lagging behind severely on student monitoring to prevent school shootings, with only one out of the state’s 295 public and public charter schools operating a “behavioral intervention threat-assessment team” that meets national best practices, some local and national experts said this week. Star-Advertiser.

5 More Bills Become Law Without Governor’s Signature. 
The 5 new laws "are more beneficial than objectionable," the Office of the Governor says, and reflect strong stakeholder support. Big Island Video News.

Green highlights Hawaii’s sustainability plans in keynote address at UN meeting.  Gov. Josh Green delivered a keynote address in New York on Wednesday as he headed up a panel focusing on sustainable development at the United Nations. Hawaii News Now.

Review finds work still needed to reach Hawaiʻi’s 2030 sustainability goals. According to the state’s second Voluntary Local Review, the islands are on track to meet targets on renewable energy and energy efficiency, but not for clean transportation, with a goal of reducing petroleum usage to 165 million gallons per year. The most recent data shows 472 gallons per year were used. Big Island Now.

Plan to save native birds by targeting mosquitoes faces new legal challenge.
After years of planning and studies, DLNR’s Division of Forestry and Wildlife is ramping up its program to reduce mosquitoes that harm native bird species. But now, a non-profit is asking a judge to halt the process. Hawaii News Now.

Report examines ‘long COVID’ in Hawaii. Reports of “long COVID-19” are rising throughout Hawaii, especially among Native Hawaiians and Filipinos, according to a new report from the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization, or UHERO. Tribune-Herald.


Council votes to require overdose drug for Oahu bars.  Honolulu will mandate that about 850 bars, nightclubs and restaurants serving alcohol in the city be required to have naloxone nasal spray on hand to counteract opioid-­related overdoses. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.  KITV4.

Honolulu City Council Delays And Defers Liquor Commission Nominations.  Two nominees don't currently meet state residency requirements. Civil Beat.

Court Rules In Favor Of Hawaii Charter School In ‘Strip Search’ Lawsuit. A circuit court judge sided with Kapolei Charter School and its director Wanda Villareal who claimed a 2019 search of three students accused of smoking cannabis and vaping on a field trip was lawful. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.   Star-Advertiser.

HPD recruit hospitalized in serious condition after accidentally shooting himself. A Honolulu Police Department recruit accidentally shot himself at the academy on Wednesday. Hawaii News Now.

Prominent Honolulu Condo Directors Pay $600,000 To Settle Retaliation Claim. The case pitted a retired Army colonel against executives with leading developers MacNaughton and the Kobayashi Group.The directors of a landmark Honolulu condominium have agreed to pay $600,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by a fellow director who alleged he faced retaliation for raising concerns about the condo board. Civil Beat.

Residents say affordable housing is still out of reach. Hawaii’s housing crisis drummed up emotions during the Wednesday, July 12 Honolulu City Council Meeting. Many residents testified on plans for affordable housing and said those developments are still far beyond their reach.  KHON2.

Workers strike at Oahu nursing home
. Staff at Oahu Care Facility, a Honolulu nursing home, went on strike Wednesday to demand higher wages and better working conditions. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.  KHON2.  KITV4.

Hawaii Island

Female Inmate’s Case Raises Concern About Prolonged Pretrial Detainment At Hilo Jail. Henrietta Stone, 65, has been locked up since 2017 while the court determines if she is mentally fit. A woman accused in the death of her 9-year-old granddaughter has been held in the Hilo jail for six years without trial while her mental condition is evaluated, the second case of its kind to surface publicly in recent weeks. Civil Beat.

Wetter-than-normal trend continues for S. Kona, but in East Hawaii, June was abnormally dry.  The Kona coffee belt experiences its rainy season when most of the rest of the state experiences its dry season, starting in May and extending into the summertime. Tribune-Herald.

Rare sighting of a humpback whale off Kona. While Hawai‘i’s waters are home to a variety of whale species year round, including short-fin pilot whales and false killer whales, the more photographed humpback whales are almost never seen in Hawaiian waters this time of year.  Big Island Now. KHON2.


EV chargers coming to Maui under federal program. The Puunene Park and Ride is poised to be one of the first in the state to receive electric vehicle chargers through the multibillion-dollar National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure program, which is part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Maui News.

Maui County reopens Alelele Point access with limited hours.  The road has been closed since May 10 due to safety concerns from rockfall. It connects the communities of Kīpahulu and Kaupō. Hawaii Public Radio. Maui News.

Hawaiʻi Land Trust awarded $803,700 grant for Waiheʻe Coastal Dunes & Wetlands Refuge.  The funds will be used at the 277-acre Waiheʻe Coastal Dunes and Wetlands Refuge on Maui.  It will also fund restoration of taro fields and the fishpond at Kapoho, which is located within the refuge.  Maui Now.


Only five ‘akikiki left on Kaua‘i and their chances of survival are slim.
Only five of the native Hawaiian honeycreeper species, ʻakikiki, are left in the wild and chances of saving them are growing increasingly dire by the day, according to state officials.  Kauai Now. KHON2.

‘Stop it now’: Residents call for stricter review of $200M luxury development planned for Poipu. Kauai activists have been trying to stop a $200 million luxury condo development in Kiahuna for years. Separately, another home is being built nearby just feet from a heiau. Hawaii News Now.

Tuesday, July 11, 2023

Inaugural summit to strengthen Japan-Hawaii ties, Honolulu OKs property tax breaks, Green criticized for water bill veto, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii, Japanese leaders to share ideas at inaugural summit. Hundreds of senior government officials and business and civic leaders from Japan and Hawaii are expected to attend an inaugural summit celebrating the ties between the two countries this month in Waikiki. Star-Advertiser.

DOD's Kathleen Hicks tours Navy shipyard prior to slated $6B military construction. Upgrades in the Navy’s shipyard on Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam are underway. More than $6 billion in military construction will occur in Hawaiʻi over the next five years, Department of Defense Deputy Secretary Kathleen Hicks said.  Hawaii Public Radio.

Gov. Josh Green is criticized for vetoing ‘critical’ water bills. Gov. Josh Green has come under fire for vetoing a couple of bills that environmentalists say were needed to deter and respond to drinking water crises such as the one triggered by the Red Hill fuel leaks. Star-Advertiser.

DOE welcomes dozens of teachers from the Philippines into Hawaii classrooms.  The state Department of Education says it will begin the school year with about 300 teacher vacancies ― so the 80 teachers welcomed from the Philippines on Monday is significant. Hawaii News Now.

State plans rapid rollout of raised pedestrian crosswalks, citing encouraging new data
. The state is planning a rapid expansion of raised pedestrian crosswalks following new data that shows the traffic measures are working to reduce crashes on Hawaii’s roads. Hawaii News Now.

Kamehameha Schools trustees want a fresh review of existing selection process.
In May, the current KS Board of Trustees petitioned the court to perform a fresh review of the process, which has been in place for the last 22 years. Hawaii Public Radio.


Honolulu City Council OKs property tax relief measures.  The Honolulu City Council has approved two real property tax relief measures aimed at helping homeowners and the island’s vulnerable residents. Star-Advertiser.

Proposed City bill to penalize lies made to inspectors.  The Honolulu City Council will be introducing a measure this week proposing to penalize people for making false statements to a city official which could be penalized as a misdemeanor offense. KHON2.

In bid to combat crime, city hires private security guards to patrol Waikiki after dark. Private security teams are being used to patrol Waikiki at night as part of a new city effort designed to target crime in the state’s no. 1 tourist destination. Hawaii News Now.

Initial paid rail ridership more than doubles after revision.
The number of passengers paying to ride the Skyline rail system for the initial five days after free fares ended July 4 has leaped to 18,329 from 8,127 because passengers who transferred from TheBus were not originally counted as train riders, the city Department of Transportation Services said Monday. Star-Advertiser. KITV4.

Navy gives BWS green light to test its wells after initially denying request.  In a major development, the Navy will allow the Board of Water Supply to test the drinking water at the military’s Red Hill shaft after denying the request months ago. Hawaii News Now.

DHHL project breaks ground in West Oahu as part of push to ease housing crisis. The Department of Hawaiian Homelands broke ground Monday on the third phase of construction at Kauluokahai — a Native Hawaiian master-planned community coming to Kapolei. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii’s Aging Population Is Straining EMS Services. Expanding This Program Could Help. Efforts to address the nonemergency needs of Honolulu's homeless community could provide a model for helping seniors with minor medical issues. Civil Beat.

Miske’s Half-Brother Wants Release To House Arrest Pending Trial. During a hearing in federal court on Monday, prosecutors and defense attorneys sparred over a motion asking the judge to reconsider a 2021 ruling that has kept John Stancil, the half-brother of accused racketeering boss Michael J. Miske Jr., behind bars pending trial. Civil Beat.

Could building a new racetrack stall illegal street racing? Racing enthusiasts are still waiting for a new racetrack nearly a decade after the last one closed. Many said building a new park would cut down on illegal street racing but according to the city, there are still many roadblocks that need to be worked out before it can happen. KHON2.

Hawaii Island

Big Island’s Waikoloa Village Has Growing Pains. Residents Want The County To Step Up. Neglected parks, a dangerous main intersection and a single road in and out are just some of the challenges. Civil Beat.

Final EA Published For Keaukaha Panaʻewa Farmers Association Hub. The Keaukaha Panaʻewa Farmers Association is moving forward with the development of a Resilience and Agriculture Innovation Hub. Big Island Video News.

Lawmakers seek funds to widen street, improve its intersection with Kilauea Ave.  Among three requests for federal funding drafted by Hilo Rep. Richard Onishi earlier this year was a proposal for $25 million that would be used to widen Puainako between Highway 11 and Kawili Street in an effort to reduce congestion on the heavily used road. Tribune-Herald.


Maui Council committee to receive presentation on road usage charge project. A Maui Council committee will hear a presentation Tuesday on a proposed road usage charge pilot project, a method to pay for infrastructure such as roads and bridges based on miles driven instead of gallons of gas purchased. Maui Now.

Lawsuit claims MPD recruit who nearly died suffered from ‘Beat Down’ hazing ritual. A Maui police recruit who nearly died during a training exercise last year has filed suit, alleging she was put through a hazing ritual called “Beat Down Friday.” Hawaii News Now.

Final credits roll for Maui’s Consolidated Theatres. The decades-old Consolidated Theatres in Queen Ka’ahumanu Center showed its final movie Sunday night as the longtime cinema brought operations to a close. Maui News. Maui Now.


Climate Action Forum on reclaiming Coco Palms wetlands.  Local environmental groups Zero Waste Kaua‘i, Kaua‘i Climate Action Coalition and the Surfrider Foundation Kaua‘i Chapter – which make up the Kaua‘i Climate Action Forum – will discuss “Building Climate Resilience” by reclaiming the Wailuanuiaho’āho Wetlands, also known as Coco Palms Resort, at its July 12 online forum. Kauai Now.

Wilcox Medical Center on Kaua‘i renovating Emergency Department waiting room.  Wilcox Medical Center in Līhu‘e – the largest medical center on Kaua‘i – will be renovating its Emergency Department waiting room. Work is anticipated to take approximately one week and will conclude by July 19. Kauai Now.

Monday, July 10, 2023

National parks more popular, Green signs last round of bills, apparent homicide in Oahu jail, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Visitor numbers show Hawaii’s national parks continue to enthrall. Attendance this year at the state’s three major national park sites is on track to surpass 2019 visitor totals, before the COVID-19 pandemic virtually shut down tourism to the islands.  Star-Advertiser.

Gov. Josh Green signs 13 bills into law. Gov. Josh Green signed 13 bills at the state Capitol that aim to improve care for kupuna, encourage awareness and adaptability for disabled individuals, and make access to technology easy for those who are multilingual. Star-Advertiser. Tribune-Herald.  Hawaii News Now.

Green signs coffee bills into law.  Gov. Josh Green on Wednesday signed two coffee bills into law — one aimed at labeling practices for coffee crops originating in Hawaii and the other that will expand the fight against blights affecting the iconic crop. West Hawaii Today. Big Island Video News.

Land And Power 2023: How One Influential Hawaii Senator Is Using Public Agencies To His Advantage. A decade after his controversial Public Land Development Corp. was dissolved in the face of a public outcry, Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz is using other agencies to buy and develop land. Civil Beat.

Pools at Hawaii state Capitol might stay dry. The  state Department of Accounting and General Services has more than $40 million in legislative appropriations to perhaps vanquish all the trouble by fixing leaks, along with structural damage and electrical problems they have caused, and possibly convert the water features into waterless platforms resembling pools. Star-Advertiser.

New regents chair sees great things ahead for University of Hawaii.  As the University of Hawaii is at a critical crossroads as an “indigenous serving institution” — co-manager of the cultural flashpoint that is Mauna Kea, keeper of a long-beleaguered athletics program, political victim of severe budget cuts and a governance tug of war and more — revving at its center is Alapaki Nahale-a, the newly elected chair of the UH Board of Regents. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii Public Radio.

Two new members join the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority Board of Directors. Two new members of the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority Board of Directors were appointed by Governor Josh Green, M.D. Hawaiian Airlines’ Blaine Miyasato and the Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism’s James Kunane Tokioka fill seats for four-year terms that expire June 30, 2026. Maui Now.

Hawaii Kava Growers Hope To Convince Food Regulators It’s Safe To Eat. The plant is the focus of new studies about its potential therapeutic benefits. Civil Beat.

Hawaii’s Cesspool Crisis Has A Long History. It’s Not Over Yet.  Concerns about the proliferation of cesspools and their impact on nearshore waters and our drinking water supply date back more than a century.  Civil Beat.

Rising debt steers Hawaii consumers toward bankruptcy. 
Hawaii bankruptcies continue to remain historically low, but local attorneys say the number of monthly filings belie the reality that many consumers are in financial straits. Star-Advertiser.


Federal grant awards Hawaiʻi $4M to update climate action plan. The funding comes from the EPA's Climate Pollution Reduction Grant program. Hawaii Public Radio.

HPD investigating apparent homicide at OCCC after inmate found dead in cell. Honolulu police have opened a murder investigation after an inmate at the Oahu Community Correctional Center was found dead in his cell on Thursday night. Hawaii News Now.

For 45 years IHS has provided aid to homeless in innovative ways. Forty five years ago this month, what is now the Institute for Human Services opened Hawaii’s first and what has become its largest homeless shelters, playing a critical role in recent years as the exploding homeless population gave the state at one point the ignoble distinction of having the highest per capita rate of homelessness in the country. Star-Advertiser.

Parts of east Oʻahu shoreline to be designated to Kaiwi Coast State Park. 
On Thursday, Gov. Josh Green stood from the Makapuʻu Lighthouse Lookout to sign Senate Bill 1254, which establishes a pathway to designate lands from Makapuʻu to Wawamalu as part of a state park. Hawaii Public Radio.

Stricter rules sought for popular Oahu beach recently marred by illegal parties.  A popular beach on Oahu’s east side that was spotlighted during the pandemic for illegal parties could be getting tougher rules and regulations. It’s part of plans to make the Kaiwi Coast a state park. Hawaii News Now.

Former HPD chief Lee Donohue dedicated 40 years to the force. Former Honolulu Police Chief Lee D. Donohue died Sunday morning at Straub Medical Center following an extended illness. He was 80 years old. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.  KHON2.  KITV4.

Hawaii Island

‘We have skin in the game’: Hilo Harbor land acquisition plans questioned by community, businesses.  Keaukaha community members expressed concerns Wednesday night over the state’s plans to acquire almost 10 acres of privately owned land near the entrance to Hilo Harbor. Tribune-Herald.

Police investigate Hilo tax preparer who allegedly left customers in limbo.  Detective Paul Mangus recently confirmed that the Hawaii Police Department’s East Hawaii Criminal Investigations Section has received “at least 20” complaints and is investigating the tax preparer Hilo Income Tax Service and its enrolled agent, Michele Slone. Tribune-Herald.


Maui County’s tax surcharge proposal passes first reading.  With some calling it a hard decision, Maui County Council members gave the first of two required approvals Friday to adopt a surcharge on top of the state’s general excise tax to fund housing infrastructure in the county.  Maui News.

Bill to regulate air and replica guns nears final passage.  A bill that would limit air and replica guns in certain public spaces was passed on first reading by the Maui County Council on Friday.  Maui News.

Biden Officials Had To Charter A Plane So They Wouldn’t Get Stuck On Molokai.
The group didn't trust Mokulele Airlines' scheduled flights, underscoring the difficulties island residents have accessing health care and other services. Civil Beat.


Blessing held for Kalaheo water project.  The county Department of Water and contractor Hawaiian Dredging Construction Company, Inc., held a blessing to commence the Kalaheo Water Systems Improvements Project late last month. Garden Island.

Emergency repairs planned for Wainiha bridge.  Kūhiō Highway (Highway 560) will be intermittently closed at the Wainiha double bridges while emergency repairs are made to Wainiha Bridge No. 2 early this week. Kauai Now.

Friday, July 7, 2023

New state laws address highway safety, driver's licenses, shoreline protection; Honolulu rail CEO wants tax extended, Kauai managing director moves to Schatz' office, beers created from rice, ti root, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaiʻi Roadway Safety Bills Signed Into Law. Seven bills relating to roadway safety in Hawaiʻi were signed into law by Governor Josh Green on Thursday, during a ceremony on Oʻahu. Big Island Video News. Big Island Now.

A new law makes driver license renewal easier.
You will eventually be able to renew your driver’s license online or by mail. It was a bill that Governor Josh Green, M.D. signed into law on Thursday, July 6. KHON2.

Increased fines, drones to protect Hawaii shorelines . Governor signs measures to boost coastal management, enforcement.  Gov. Josh Green signed a handful of bills Thursday related to coastal protection. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

In fight against erosion, new legal weapon targets homeowners who go rogue. As ocean levels rise, new rules give the state more power to keep people from breaking the law to protect their properties from erosion. Hawaii News Now.

Preschool educators stipend program finally launches.  Despite a two-year wait to fully launch Hawaii’s first public stipend program for early-childhood educators, state officials are hopeful that it will make big strides toward solving a chronic and severe shortage of teachers and caregivers for keiki ages 0 to 5. Star-Advertiser.

DOE spent $168M on bell and alarm system, but more than half of schools still don’t have it. More than half of Hawaii’s 255 public schools rely on aging bell, alarm and P.A. systems due to delays in installing promised high-tech upgrades. Hawaii News Now.

Civil rights attorney to file class action against Hawaii education, health departments. A Honolulu attorney says he's a few weeks away from filing a class action lawsuit against the state over special education services. KITV4.

President’s commission meeting in Hawaii OKs broad set of recommendations. For the first time, the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders convened for its quarterly meeting outside of Washington, D.C. Star-Advertiser.

Native Hawaiians discuss housing challenges with U.S. HUD Secretary.  The visit served as an opportunity for HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge, U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono, U.S. Rep. Jill Tokuda and HUD Regional Administrator Jason Pu to listen to the struggles, successes and valuable feedback shared by the community.  Big Island Now.

Hawaii, Honolulu score $4M for climate action plans. The funding — $1 million to Honolulu and $3 million to the state — was announced Thursday in Honolulu by Environmental Protection Agency Regional Administrator Martha Guzman. Star-Advertiser.

83,000 Hawaii homes dispose of sewage in cesspools. Hawaii has 83,000 cesspools — more than any other state — and about 20% are less than 0.6 mile from shore. Six years ago, Hawaii mandated the removal of all cesspools by 2050. Associated Press.


Honolulu City Council trio needed to reject 64% pay raises in writing. In the days leading up to the controversial start of the salary increases for Hono­lulu’s top elected and appointed officials, Council members Augie Tulba, Andria Tupola and Radiant Cordero were each required to submit a memorandum to the city stating their rejection to the expected $44,400 pay bump — to $113,304 from $68,904. Star-Advertiser.

Businessman Accused Of Bribing Honolulu Prosecutor Points Finger At Feds. 
If convicted of bribing former prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro, the 79-year-old Dennis Mitsunaga could go to prison for the rest of his life.  Civil Beat.

Rail CEO looks to extend the system — by extending rail surcharge.
Mostly with money from the half percent general excise tax, HART has spent about $5 billion so far to get the first 11 miles up and running, construct most of the way from Pearl Harbor to Middle Street and begin utility work on the final segment to Kakaako. Hawaii News Now.

Rail Contractor Sues HART Over Construction Delays.
Contractor STG is seeking more than $99 million in damages, and says HART "has only itself to blame." The contractor hired to build the 5-mile airport segment of the Honolulu rail line is suing the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation, alleging HART’s failure to address problems with the relocation of utilities along the line has caused expensive construction delays. Civil Beat.

Rail ridership falls as paid service begins.  The first day of paid rail ridership saw a drop in interest, as expected, with only 1,245 passengers boarding Skyline trains. Star-Advertiser. KITV4.

State agrees to purchase and maintain Wahiawā Irrigation System, Lake Wilson.  Gov. Josh Green signed a bill Wednesday that requires his office to negotiate the purchase of Wahiawā Dam, Lake Wilson, and its associated spillways and irrigation ditches.  Hawaii Public Radio.

Kaiwi coast scenic area on Oahu could become state park.  Hawaii might have a new state park by this time in 2024 covering about 340 acres of mostly natural coastal land in East Oahu. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu housing market cooled off in June.  The median price for single-family home resales stabilized in June but remained above seven figures at $1,050,000. That was down 4.5% from $1.1 million a year ago and off 5.3% from $1,109,000 in May, according to data released Thursday from the Honolulu Board of Realtors.  Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

County Council approves creation of Office of Sustainability, Climate, Equity and Resilience. The Hawai‘i County Council on Wednesday approved the creation of a cabinet-level Office of Sustainability, Climate, Equity and Resilience — and a new section of county code to govern it — that will lead the County’s efforts to ensure the island can withstand the effects of climate change. Big Island Now.

Council rejects plan for downtown Hilo. A proposal to create a Business Improvement District to revitalize downtown Hilo has been decisively killed after pushback from area business owners. Tribune-Herald.

Big Island Wants To Use Opioid Settlement Money To Open Its First Detox Facility. Hawaii County will receive $489,000 in opioid settlement funds this year and just over $100,000 annually thereafter through 2038, Mayor Mitch Roth announced Thursday.  Civil Beat. Tribune-Herald.  Big Island Now.  Hawaii News Now.

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.

Keaukaha speed limit change advances. A proposal to reduce the speed limit on Kalanianaole Street is closer to reality after passing a Hawaii County Council committee Wednesday. Tribune-Herald.


For the second month in a row, visitor arrivals slowed. In May, there were 240,407 visitors to Maui, down 2.8 percent compared to May 2022 when there were 247,280 visitors, and down 4.5 percent versus May 2019 when there were 251,665 visitors, according to the state Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism. Maui News.

Can’t Afford To Junk Your Car? Maui Will Tow And Recycle It For Free. Officials estimate 2,500 vehicles are abandoned each year in the county. Civil Beat. Maui Now.

Kamehameha Schools acquires thousands of acres at Kaupō Ranch and Hāmākualoa, Maui. Kamehameha Schools announced today its acquisition of more than 4,500 acres of land from Kaupō Ranch Ltd. on southeastern Maui for approximately $21 million.  Maui Now.


Matsuyama named Kauaʻi County’s managing director, replacing Dahilig who joins U.S. Sen. Schatz’ office.  Kauaʻi native Reiko Matsuyama has been appointed as the new managing director of the County of Kaua‘i by Mayor Derek S.K. Kawakami. Kauai Now.

And so we wait': Kauaʻi doctor underscores dialysis needs on island.  The capacity of dialysis treatment on Kauaʻi is critical, according to a local doctor. Dr. Raymond Petrillo, Kauaʻi’s sole kidney doctor, operates his private practice, Island Kidney Care, in Lihuʻe and Waimea.  Hawaii Public Radio.

Rice beer on tap on Rice Street. Rice grower Jerry Ornellas said when the first batch of Jerry’s Rice Beer — the name assigned to the rice-based beer by the Kaua‘i Beer Company — went online on Monday, it was the first time in more than 60 years that Kaua‘i-grown rice was used commercially. Garden Island.