Showing posts with label 2024 elections. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 2024 elections. Show all posts

Monday, May 13, 2024

Accessory dwelling units proposed, state Supreme Court to consider vacation rentals on ag land, wildfire threat continues, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Divisive accessory dwellings bill raises concerns about packed neighborhoods. SB 3202 has been described by proponents as an innovative and bold strategy to help relieve a chronic short supply of affordable housing statewide. But the measure also attracted heavy public opposition and was described by one lawmaker as one of the worst products to come out of Hawaii’s Legislature. Star-Advertiser.

Incumbents are favored in lackluster election cycle. Hawaii Republican and Democratic Party primary elections often provide the most drama in a state dominated by Democrats. But this year only a couple of primary races scheduled for Aug. 10 are generating interest outside their district boundaries — notably a rematch between House Speaker Scott Saiki and Kim Coco Iwamoto to represent Ala Moana-Kakaako-­Downtown. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Lawmakers Had Big Ideas For How To Prevent Another Lahaina. Few Became Law. A House working group found a long list of things Hawaii needs to do to protect itself from fire, but many of those recommendations will fall to the new state fire marshal to implement. Civil Beat.

Conditions ripe in Hawaii for another fire disaster. In its latest seasonal outlook, the National Interagency Fire Center says the lee sides of the islands will experience “above average significant potential” for wildfires this month through at least August. Star-Advertiser. Tribune-Herald.  Maui News. KITV4.

Bills Would Increase Protection For Hawaiian Burial Sites.
Hawaii has some of the strongest laws in the United States governing historic burial locations, but lawmakers say more needs to be done to protect privately owned historic areas. Civil Beat.

Measures to fine illegal hikers for rescue fail. State lawmakers’ legislative attempts to seek reimbursement from hikers who are rescued after trespassing onto closed trails were stalled once again this year. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaiʻi nursing workforce has improved over last few years, according to new report.  There was a 31% increase in the number of advanced practice registered nurses and an 18% rise in registered nurses, according to a 2023 Nursing Workforce Supply Report released this week. Hawaii Public Radio.

Agricultural declaration forms on airplanes could soon be digital.
The state Legislature passed Senate Bill 2079 this session to allow the process to become completely electronic. Forms would be sent to travelers before they even board. Hawaii Public Radio.


Cameras could enforce speed limits on Oahu. Senate Bill 2443 directs DOT to enforce speed limits using cameras at 10 intersections where the agency already has cameras citing drivers running red lights. Star-Advertiser.

Trash company plagued with staffing shortages. Missed and delayed trash pickups by a private refuse company that brought pests and foul odors to housing complexes across the island were the result of ongoing staffing shortages. Star-Advertiser.

The Miske Trial: Witnesses Describe Bank Transactions. "Structuring" can be evidence of a racketeering conspiracy, the first and overarching charge against Mike Miske. Civil Beat.

‘Semisub’ owner convicted of defrauding investors, using funds on homes and psychics. A federal jury on Thursday convicted a Hawaii man for his role in a decade-long scheme to defraud investors of more than $28 million in connection with his company, “Semisub,” a tour boat that lowers itself to give passengers underwater views. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

STVRs on ag land goes before state high court. The Hawaii Supreme Court will on Thursday hear oral arguments in a five-year-old case challenging a 2019 Hawaii County ordinance limiting the establishment of short-term vacation rentals on land zoned as agricultural.  Tribune-Herald.

Pohoiki project moves ahead: BLNR approves permit to dredge channel
. The ramp, the sole boat launch in Puna, has been unusable since 2018, when the eruption of Kilauea deposited a roughly 11.6-acre black sand beach across the mouth of the ramp. Tribune-Herald.

Shipman looks for new space for Keaau Farmers Market vendors. W.H. Shipman Ltd. says it has “identified a couple temporary spots” for the Keaau Farmers Market and intends to have space available by June 1 so the vendors of the popular market can continue to sell fruits and vegetables to the Keaau community. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii Island’s Natural Population Drop Signals An Ominous Economic Trend. The natural decrease isn't the same as a population decline. The cause of the Big Island's natural decrease, demographer Karl Eschback said, appears to be that older people and retirees are moving to the island, while younger adults are moving away and not coming back. Civil Beat.


Maui County Reveals Plan To Hire Experts To Assess How It Responded To Wildfires. The Maui Emergency Management Agency will be evaluated again after a state report already documented communication breakdowns. Civil Beat.

Council committee to receive presentation on draft of county’s first official wetland map. A draft of Maui County’s first official wetland map will be presented to the Agriculture, Diversification, Environment and Public Transportation Committee by the Department of Planning on Monday at 1:30 p.m. Maui News.

Land Board approves purchase of Māʻalaea Mauka watershed lands.
The Board of Land and Natural Resources unanimously approved a proposal for the state to purchase nearly 257 acres at Pōhākea, also known as Māʻalaea Mauka, for $8.22 million. Maui Now.

Maui Planning Commission to hear further public testimony on Ledcor Maui draft EIS.
A project to build as many as 975 homes, including workforce housing, in the master-planned Wailea Resort community and a neighboring lot in Kīhei has begun drawing fire from opponents who say the Ledcor South Maui project’s draft environmental impact statement is inadequate. Maui Now.

Displaced Lahaina ʻohana moves into 1st completed modular home in Kahului — with more to come. Ke Ao Maluhia will be completed this summer. The $9 million project is a collaboration between the state, county, Hawai‘i Community Foundation, Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement and other agencies. Hawaii Public Radio.


Residents of a Kauaʻi condo are unsure about relocation plans following DHHL purchase. Condominium residents of the Courtyards at Waipouli Apartments on Kauaʻi are concerned that they will be displaced once the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands acquires the property. Hawaii Public Radio.

Public meeting set for Kaneka Street project
. The meeting will be held at the Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School cafeteria on May 16 and will cover Kaneka Street’s existing configuration and current safety concerns, along with plans to add sidewalks and bike lanes. Garden Island.

Yearslong black slime ‘nightmare’ now in court; Kaua‘i homeowners ‘fatigued’.  Six years have passed since three families purchased their first homes on Kaua‘i – and began an ordeal they claim has yet to end. Kauai Now.

Thursday, April 25, 2024

Air Force proposes 6 new telescopes on Maui's Haleakala, DLNR chairwoman on the hot seat, Big Island residents defend Benioff, Honolulu Ocean Safety chief suspended, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Head of DLNR defends her leadership amid calls to resign, including from several lawmakers. Dawn Chang, the head of the Department of Land and Natural Resources defended her leadership Wednesday amid criticism of her handling of challenging issues and calls for her resignation. Hawaii News Now.

It Looked Bad In The Beginning, But Maui Did Not Suck Up All The Money In The State Budget. Thanks to a large starting surplus of cash and a surge in support from the federal government, the state is managing the huge costs of the Maui fire — for now. Civil Beat.

House-Senate conference committee passes Hawaii vacation rentals bill. The full House and Senate will now consider the question of whether to allow each county to determine how — if at all — to regulate short-term vacation rentals on their islands, including the possibility of outlawing them. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

Doctors urge lawmakers to get rid of general excise tax on health care. On top of the rising costs of medicine, providers said the general excise tax is killing their businesses and making it harder for patients to get care. KITV4.

State ranks among best for quality Pre-K programs; however, near bottom for access.
A new national report has revealed that Hawaiʻi is one of just five states to meet 10 out of 10 research-based quality benchmarks for pre-kindergarten programs. However, it ranks 44th for enrollment of 4-year-olds and 31st for 3-year-olds. Maui Now.

Sea level rise could make tsunamis more destructive.
Is Hawaiʻi prepared? Certain agencies have already started to incorporate sea level rise into disaster planning. Hawaii Public Radio.


Ocean Safety chief placed on administrative leave, city says. John Titchen, Honolulu’s Ocean Safety and Lifeguard Services Division chief since 2018, has been placed on administrative leave without pay effective Tuesday, but Mayor’s Office provided little information as to why Titchen was suspended nor offered any details into a “pending investigation” involving the 5-1/2-year Ocean Safety division leader. Star-Advertiser. KHON2.

Bee Habitat Destruction, Albatross Death Could Lead To $3 Million In Fines. Several North Shore property owners face more than $3 million in state fines for destroying a critical native bee habitat — pushing two of those bee species closer to extinction — and for installing an unpermitted fence that contributed to the killing of a nesting Laysan albatross. Civil Beat. Big Island Now.

Investigation of alleged beating by HPD officers is ongoing. An internal investigation is ongoing nearly five months after Honolulu police allegedly hit a man  Opens in a new tabwith a car before beating him and his son during a New Year’s Day manhunt and shootouts Opens in a new tab with an attempted murder suspect. Star-Advertiser.

Neighborhood Boards To Get Active Shooter Training After Alarming Incident At Meeting . Members of the Kalihi-Palama board said they were upset by what turned out to be a man breaking a glass window, sparking a conversation about safety. Civil Beat.

Repairs on 2 Oahu bridges begin next week. Construction on Rainbow Bridge over Anahulu Stream in Haleiwa will last for approximately one year, and work on the Dillingham Boulevard Bridge over Kapalama Canal in Iwilei will last for around four months. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

City seeks 500 employees to run its annual Summer Fun program. The Honolulu Department of Parks and Recreation is looking for approximately 500 staff members to accommodate 10,000 keiki for its summer program. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii Island

These Big Island residents felt an NPR article about Marc Benioff didn't tell the whole story. Russell Subiono talked to several people who championed Benioff's philanthropy and felt the NPR piece did not tell the whole story. Interviewees included former Hawaiʻi County Mayor Harry Kim and Big Island residents Shardae Lopez, Jessie Grace, Nancy Carr Smith, and Frank and Laura Sayre. Hawaii Public Radio.

HECO's Call To Conserve Power On Hawaiʻi Island Ends, Generators Back Online. Three units with a combined generating capacity of up to 53 megawatts have been repaired ahead of schedule and are back online, Hawaiian Electric announced. Big Island Video News. Big Island Now. Hawaii News Now.  KHON2.

Lawmakers sign off on settlements: State to pay more than $1.5M in two Big Island cases. The state, with legislative approval, is set to pay out more than $1.5 million in settlement money for two high-profile cases on the Big Island. West Hawaii Today.

HPP lot owner cross-examined in house snafu case. Attorneys for a developer and construction company that in 2022 built a house on the wrong lot in Hawaiian Paradise Park on Wednesday cross-examined the lot’s owner, who they’re suing for unjust enrichment. Tribune-Herald.

Kolekole park reopens.
Kolekole Gulch Park closed in 2017 after extensive lead contamination was found in the park’s soil, stemming from lead paint used in the overspanning Kolekole Stream Bridge. Tribune-Herald.

Brittany Anderson to seek District 1 seat on Hawai‘i County Council. One of the owners of a family farm on the Big Island’s Hāmākua Coast is throwing her hat into this year’s race for Hawai‘i County Council. Big Island Now.


Air Force proposing to build six new telescopes on Maui's Haleakala. The Department of the Air Force this week unveiled plans to construct at least six telescopes on the mountain to "provide precise and timely data to address rising threats and increasing dependence on space-based systems," a representative from the agency told Island News in an email.  KITV4.

Maui News moves to print weekly, digital daily. The 124-year-old newspaper announced it will print only on Thursday, while ramping up digital output effective June 6. Maui News. Hawaii News Now.

Vacation rentals evicted from Kīhei Marketplace redevelopment plans. A redevelopment project to beautify the rundown Kīhei Marketplace ran into strong community opposition Tuesday before the Maui Planning Commission with dozens of testifiers irked about plans for 13 transient vacation rentals. Maui Now.

Will The Maui Fires Help Or Hurt Candidates In This Year’s Election? Voters burned out of Lahaina can still cast ballots as if they were still living there. Maui County elections workers have a few months to track down thousands of people displaced by last summer’s catastrophic wildfires before ballots start going out in late July. Civil Beat.

State to create 450 interim units to house fire survivors ineligible for federal aid. Gov. Josh Green has announced a new partnership with HomeAid Hawai‘i to build 450 units for Maui wildfire survivors who were not eligible for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Hawaii Public Radio. Maui News.

Dozens of vehicles to be towed from Kahului harbor next month. An estimated 54 trucks and cars, many inoperable, will be towed from the state’s Kahului Harbor on May 6, according to a Department of Natural Resources (DLNR) press release. Maui News.


La‘akea Chun joins Kaua‘i Charter Commission. The Kaua‘i Charter Commission has a new commissioner in La‘akea Chun following the unanimous approval from the Kaua‘i County Council on Wednesday during its scheduled meeting at the historic County Building. Garden Island.

Friday, March 29, 2024

Population exodus costing the state millions, Hawaiian-Alaska airlines' merger delayed, finalists named for Aloha Stadium contract, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Exodus of Hawaii residents cost the state $185 million in tax revenue. Department of Taxation researcher Seth Colby reported the state lost $185 million in general excise and income taxes, about $61.8 million a year, because thousands of residents moved away.  KITV4.

Deals abound as Hawaii tourism remains soft. The daily count of visitors in Hawaii and their daily spending dropped in February — the seventh monthly decline in a row since the Aug. 8 Maui wildfires, according to preliminary statistics released Thursday by the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism. Star-Advertiser. KHON2.

DOJ wants more time, information on Hawaiian, Alaska merger. Antitrust regulators want more time to review Alaska Airlines’ proposed takeover of Hawaiian Airlines. According to stock filings by the carriers, they’ve agreed to extend by another 90-days the Department of Justice’s window to scrutinize the merger.  KHON2.

Bill moving through Legislature aims to increase densities in urban areas. Hawaii’s urban housing density could more than triple under a new zoning proposal sailing through the state Legislature. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaiʻi Democrats release verified vote count of party presidential primary and pledged delegate allocation. On March 16 and March 23, 2024, the Party-run Presidential Primary Committee of the Democratic Party of Hawai‘i met at the Party HQ, located in Honolulu, to recount the votes cast at the caucus style 2024 PPP held at 57 locations statewide on Wednesday, March 6, 2024. Maui Now.

Legacy of Patsy Mink celebrated with new U.S. quarter. U.S. Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii) on Thursday announced the official release of the Patsy T. Mink quarter, which is part of the U.S. Mint’s American Women Quarters Program for 2024. Tribune-Herald. Maui Now.


Finalists selected for Aloha Stadium district contract. Two teams were announced Thursday as finalists for the job of developing, building, operating and maintaining the New Aloha Stadium Entertainment District, or NASED. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.  KHON2.

HECO could be fined for power outages in Mililani meant to prevent wildfires. The Commission continues to closely monitor HECO’s performance to ensure that electrical services are safely and reliably provided to customers. These outages may be counted against HECO’s reliability performance and subject to financial penalties at the end of the year, a Public Utilities Commission spokeswoman said. KHON2.

Emails At Bribery Trial Show Alleged ‘Courtship’ Between Mitsunaga And Kaneshiro Reps. After former Honolulu prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro and businessman Dennis Mitsunaga met in 2012, they developed a relationship that involved lunch at an upscale Honolulu restaurant, a New Year’s party and numerous chummy emails exchanged between their representatives, according to testimony and evidence presented to a jury on Thursday.  Civil Beat.

Red Hill defueling task force ends mission.
Two years after the Pentagon agreed it would remove fuel from its underground Red Hill fuel storage facility and shut it down, the military task force charged with removing fuel stored in the Navy’s underground Red Hill facility has officially concluded its mission. Star-Advertiser. Associated Press.  Hawaii News Now.

The Job Of Preserving Oahu’s Historic Sites Is Complicated By The Push For Development. The island's new historic preservation commission takes on a 'gargantuan' and controversial task. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Island

Buildings in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park damaged during 2018 eruption set for dismantling. The National Park Service said Thursday that the former Jaggar Museum and two buildings used by the U.S. Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcano Observatory – the Okamura Building and the Geochemistry Annex – will be dismantled starting Monday, April 8. Big Island Video News. Big Island Now.

Laʻaloa Bay Beach Park reopens unveiling signage, walkways, protective buffer for cultural sites. Laʻaloa Bay Beach Park in Kailua-Kona reopened Thursday after several months of renovating the space, including reducing the size of the original parking lot and realigning rock walls to establish a protective buffer around the Haukālua Heiau and other culturally significant features. Big Island Now.

A glut of puppies: Shelters work to find homes for increasing number of young dogs. Cute faces mask a sad story as animal shelters in Hawaii County continue to take in dozens of  mixed-breed puppies every month. Tribune-Herald.


Maui’s Housing Crisis Only Got Worse After The Fires. Will This New Department Help? The Department of Housing is scheduled to launch July 1, and not a moment too soon with the destruction of about 5,700 homes in the Aug. 8 wildfires pushing rent and home prices to new heights and forcing some residents to sleep in cars and tents or leave the island. Civil Beat.

State buys former Maui Sun Hotel from Haggai Institute for fire survivor and workforce housing. The newly renamed Hale ʻO Lāʻie has 175 guest rooms in its current configuration. Maui Now.

OHA Kanaaho Grant aimed at providing relief to Native Hawaiian Lahaina and Kula residents affected by wildfire. Under the program, a one-time $9,000 grant can be awarded to eligible homeowners who experienced hardship; and a one-time $4,000 grant can be awarded to eligible renters who experienced hardship. Maui Now. KITV4.

Lahaina group seeks phase-out of vacation rentals. 
Members of Lahaina Strong flew to the state Capitol on Thursday for the second time this legislative session to urge passage of either of two House and Senate companion bills that would give counties the option to phase out short-term vacation rentals on their islands. Star-Advertiser. KITV4.


Coco Palms restoration underway.
Reef Capital Partners, which acquired the Coco Palms following the previous owner defaulting on its loan, announced the start of the removal of the dilapidated hotel structures as part of the restoration of Coco Palms following more than three decades of inaction by prior owners. Garden Island.

Escaped Kauai Inmate Dies In Alleged Hit-And-Run Incident.
The Hawaii Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation on Thursday announced that an escaped inmate on the Garden Island died from injuries sustained in an alleged hit-and-run. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser.  Kauai Now.

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Green touts tourism on Japan trip, state arts funding, free school meals in jeopardy, second phase of Honolulu Skyline on track, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Gov. Green in Japan to help boost tourism. Gov. Josh Green, who is in Japan this week meeting with Japanese officials and business leaders, is working on lowering barriers to travel between Japan and Hawaii through a “Travel Corridor” that expands Global Entry, beefs up biometric screening and pursues “preclearance” status. Star-Advertiser. Maui Now.

Hawaii State Arts Programs Could Be On The Chopping Block In The Legislature This Year.
A 59-year-old program that pays for art in public spaces is facing significant changes and budget cuts under a bill being considered Tuesday in the Senate. Civil Beat.

Legislative deadline looms over universal free school meals bill. A bill to provide universal free school meals in Hawaiʻi is once again in jeopardy at the state Legislature. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii Corruption Offenders Are Getting Reduced Sentences — With One Notable Exception.
Changes to federal sentencing guidelines mean dozens of Hawaii prisoners, including those in high-profile corruption cases, are now eligible for early release. Civil Beat.

Lawmakers Advance Bill To Stabilize Soaring Insurance Costs For Condo Owners. Hawaii lawmakers are seeking to stabilize Hawaii’s condominium insurance market against sharply rising premiums and a declining availability of hurricane insurance that has sent ripples through Hawaii’s housing market. Civil Beat.

Dangerous dogs bill advances: Measure would create harsher penalties for their owners.
A proposal to strengthen state laws regarding vicious dogs will reach another milestone today following weeks of overwhelming public support. Tribune-Herald.

Bill advances allowing pedestrians to safely jaywalk. Legislators appear willing to make jaywalking legal across the islands — when safe — arguing in a Senate bill that pedestrians’ judgments are better at reducing injuries and deaths than traffic lights and traffic markings. Star-Advertiser.

UH Hopes To Retain Authority Over Construction Projects. University of Hawaii officials are pushing for passage of a bill that would reinstate the authority of the UH president over construction and related professional services. Civil Beat.

Advocates rally for stalled ‘clean elections’ bill
. More than a dozen advocates from the Clean Elections Hawaii Coalition gathered Monday at the state Capitol rotunda to urge legislators to reconsider implementing a comprehensive public financing program for Hawaii’s political candidates, commonly referred to as “clean elections.” Star-Advertiser. KITV4.

2 Finalists Will Interview For Top Job At Law Enforcement Standards Board. The candidates for the position of administrator of the Hawaii Law Enforcement Standards Board will have their final job interviews in public, the board determined during a meeting Monday.  Civil Beat.

Longtime Hawaii Public Safety Official Ted Sakai Dies at 77.
Former Hawaii Department of Public Safety Director Ted Sakai died Monday after a long struggle with lung cancer, corrections officials said. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

Big Island Press Club celebrates retired judge, dishonors Hawai‘i emergency administrator.
The Big Island Press Club has awarded its annual meritorious Torch of Light Award to retired Intermediate Court of Appeals Judge Daniel Foley, and its Lava Tube Dishonor Award to Hawai‘i Emergency Management Agency Administrator Col. (Ret.) James Barros. Big Island Now.


Honolulu Council could receive 3% salary hike. The proposed pay jump comes less than a year after the city’s top elective panel received a controversial 64% salary increase while the Honolulu mayor’s nearly 12.6% pay jump ultimately surpassed similar compensation granted to Hawaii’s governor. Star-Advertiser.

Second segment of Skyline gets one step closer to test phase as track work gets underway. Work is happening on the rail tracks that Skyline is not yet using between Aloha Stadium and Middle Street. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu Police Department plans to buy neighboring property to its headquarters. HPD currently leases several off-site office spaces and warehouse properties for evidence and vehicle storage. KITV4.

‘We can’t sit idly,’ Mayor Blangiardi addresses affordable housing
. Mayor Rick Blangiardi announced the creation of the Department of Housing and Land Management, which combines the Office of Housing with the Department of Land Management. KHON2.

Acid attack suspects plead not guilty in ‘murder for hire’ case. Two men, charged Tuesday in a superseding indictment for the Jan. 23 “murder for hire” acid attack on Chinese-language teacher Danying Zhang, pleaded not guilty this morning to all charges including conspiracy to commit attempted first-degree murder and/or attempted second-degree murder and/or first-degree assault. Star-Advertiser. KHON2.

Hawaii Island

More housing, hotels for Kona: Lili‘uokalani Trust plans to develop nearly 70 acres. A draft environmental assessment for the Lili‘uokalani Trust Makalapua Project details plans for a mixed residential/hotel/commercial development on land adjacent to the Old Kona Industrial, Kona Commons and Old Kona Airport Park. West Hawaii Today.

Breeani Kobayashi announces candidacy for Big Island mayor.
Hilo native Breeani Kobayashi has announced her candidacy for Hawaiʻi County mayor, joining Kimo Alameda and current mayor Mitch Roth in the 2024 race for leadership of the Big Island. Big Island Now.

Experts: Take rat lungworm disease seriously. Franny Brewer, program manager at Big Island Invasive Species Committee, hosted an information session Saturday in Hawaiian Paradise Park about rat lungworm as part of BIISC’s education series. Tribune-Herald.


Hawaiʻi Attorney General to release ‘Phase One’ report on Maui wildfire investigation, April 17.  The Phase One report analyzes how the fire incident unfolded, based on science, during the first 24 to 72 hours of the fire and its aftermath, and includes a comprehensive timeline of events. Maui Now.

Over 60 subpoenas served in probe of Maui disaster response. The findings from the first phase of a state investigation into how government agencies handled the Maui wildfires that destroyed Lahaina and killed at least 101 people have been delayed and won’t be released until April, but 64 subpoenas have been issued in the probe since November. Star-Advertiser. Associated Press.

5 more candidates check out nomination papers for Maui County Council seats. Since early February, five new candidates have checked out nomination papers from the Hawaiʻi Office of Elections for Maui County Council seats. Maui Now.

Company buys historic Maui sugar mill, 300 acres with eye toward potential redevelopment. An Oahu-based construction company has bought the Puunene Mill on Maui. The new owner, Nan Chul Shin, purchased approximately 300 acres from Alexander & Baldwin in Central Maui last Thursday. Hawaii News Now.

New fishing rules for Kīpahulu are based on traditional practices, driven by community. Kīpahulu on Maui is now officially home to Hawaiʻi’s third community-based subsistence fishing area. Hawaii Public Radio. Maui News.


Pacific Biodiesel expands fuel crop project to Kauaʻi, eyes building 2nd refinery. For close to three decades, Pacific Biodiesel has been plugging away in Hawaiʻi using crops for fuel and recycling cooking oil waste from restaurants. Hawaii Public Radio.

Friday, March 15, 2024

House panel spikes publicly funded elections bill, cesspool owners could face pollution fees, mayors on Oahu and Kauai deliver 'state of' addresses, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

House Panel Spikes Bill To Publicly Fund Hawaii Elections. A bill supporters believed could bring transformational change to Hawaii elections was unanimously rejected Thursday by the House Judiciary and Hawaiian Affairs Committee. Civil Beat.

Why Hawaii’s Strong Sunshine Law Is Burning Some Public Officials. Government accountability advocates say that proposed changes are not needed because the nearly 50-year-old law is not that difficult to follow. Civil Beat.

Ing is given more time in campaign spending case. Former state House Rep. Kaniela Ing has until April 24 to prove that campaign spending documents he filed are accurate, allowing him to potentially avoid an additional $18,250 in fines — on top of the $22,000 in fines he’s already been assessed for the same documents. Star-Advertiser.

Counties Could Start Charging You Pollution Fees In 2025. Collected fees would go toward helping convert cesspools by Hawaii’s 2050 deadline. Cesspool owners could be charged a monthly rate equivalent to sewage rates starting in 2025, per a state bill that recently passed the halfway milestone in the Legislature. Civil Beat.

Hawaii residents oppose measure targeting cockfighting. A state proposal to impose greater criminal penalties relating to cockfighting drew outcry from residents Thursday. Tribune-Herald.

Lawmakers consider making the ‘shaka’ Hawaii’s official gesture. A pinky and thumb extended with the remaining fingers curled down: That’s the “shaka” in Hawaii. Associated Press.

Fire alarm systems still out of commission at 15 Hawaii schools
. A new inventory of fire alarms at all 258 of Hawaii’s regular public schools plus six public charter schools has found 15 schools’ fire alarm systems to be inoperable, and replacements for most will take three to 10 months, according to state Department of Education officials. Star-Advertiser.


Honolulu mayor touts efforts on housing, public safety and homelessness. Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi delivered his fourth State of the City address Thursday evening and focused on his administration’s stated priorities of housing, public safety and homelessness. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.  Hawaii News Now.  KHON2. KITV4.

Fentanyl overdoses are rising islandwide, but key hotspots offer insight into possible solutions. There’s an area in Downtown Honolulu where first responders are seeing the majority of Oahu’s drug overdoses. Honolulu’s fentanyl triangle is just one of at least a half dozen hotspots where a significant number of drug overdoses are occurring. Hawaii News Now.

He’s not Barack or ‘The Rock.’ He’s a Rock … but you can call him Bretman. At the State Capitol on Wednesday, lawmakers recognized an Ewa Beach native who has become one of the world’s most popular social media influencers. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Hawaii Island

Hawaiʻi Water Service Laterals To Be Inspected For Potential Lead.
Inspectors will soon be checking water service laterals for select Hawaiʻi island customers to comply with federal rules on lead and copper. Big Island Video News.


HI-EMA announces new housing eligibility policy for Lahaina fire-displaced residents. The Hawaiʻi Emergency Management Agency (HI-EMA) has unveiled a new policy regarding the eligibility of housing services for individuals and families who were displaced by the August 2023 Lahaina fires. Maui Now.

After the fires, a Maui community tries a novel approach to keep homes in local hands. Community land trusts have emerged in a handful of other places recovering from disasters, like Houston and the Florida Keys after both places were hit by hurricanes.  Hawaii Public Radio.

Urgent repairs called for at Māʻalaea Small Boat Harbor Ramp. The Maui County Council has unanimously adopted a resolution urging the state Department of Land and Natural Resources to repair the Māʻalaea Small Boat Harbor Ramp. Maui Now.

Lahaina Cannery to reopen on Monday. Lahaina Cannery was renovated extensively in 2023, with new decor throughout the shopping complex and an updated food court area with new seating, foliage and an entertainment stage. Star-Advertiser.

Mokulele Airlines Seeks Federal Aid To Stabilize ‘Unprofitable’ Lanai Service. The company has no plans to cancel its Lanai service, but it needs taxpayer-funded support as a work-around to raising ticket prices. Civil Beat.


Kawakami touts plans for increased disaster preparedness in State of the County speech. In his sixth State of the County address since taking office, County of Kaua‘i Mayor Derek S.K. Kawakami laid out a sweeping plan for the island as he navigates a final term in office. Garden Island. Kauai Now.

Kaua‘i Resilience Center meeting tonight
– weeks after ‘Ele‘ele fire reminded island ‘paradise is a myth’. The recent destruction of an affordable housing project on the West Side of Kaua‘i is a stark reminder that disaster can strike at any time – even in paradise. Kauai Now.

Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Schools superintendent $250k salary cap may be eliminated, Hawaii Republicans clinch Trump nomination, Coco Palms Resort cleared to rebuild, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Schools superintendent salary cap bill advances. A proposal to remove the $250,000 salary cap for the state superintendent of Hawaii’s public schools and allow the amount to be set by the state Board of Education passed out of a divided state House Education Committee on Monday, despite opposition via dozens of pieces of testimony and “no” votes by two former teachers on the committee. Star-Advertiser.

Trump clinches nominations over other candidates in Hawaii’s Republican presidential caucus.
Preliminary results revealed that Former President Donald Trump is in the lead as the Republican presidential nominee with 3,506 votes cast, which was 97% of the vote. Hawaii News Now. Star-Advertiser.

More Defendants Could Stay Out Of Prison Through Expanded Electronic Monitoring Program. Smartphone technology has led to a boom in digital surveillance of pretrial and post-conviction populations nationwide, but also raised privacy and civil rights concerns. Civil Beat.

Lawmakers consider changes to state criminal record expungement process. The idea is to have the state initiate the expungement process instead of the current situation where people must submit an application and pay a fee of $35 for the first expungement, and $50 for subsequent requests. Hawaii Public Radio.


Jury selection begins in alleged pay-to-prosecute conspiracy.
More than 70 potential jurors filled every seat in the federal courtroom Tuesday where former Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney Keith Kaneshiro, businessman Dennis Mitsunaga and others face charges that they conspired to bribe Kaneshiro with campaign contributions to prosecute a former Mitsunaga employee. Star-Advertiser.

Disgraced former HPD Chief wants out of prison early.
  Disgraced former Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha filed a petition to reduce his sentence by 16 months following a change in federal sentencing guidelines. KHON2.

Kailua Residents Decry Sad State Of Historic City-Owned Estate. A classic kamaaina beachside home is falling into decay, and Kailua residents are organizing to try to preserve it. Civil Beat.

Fishpond purchase gives Waipā community protection from development. Halulu Fishpond, which sits on a quarter-acre of land along Hanalei Bay, is now the property of the Waipā Foundation.  Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii Island

New Hawaiian Homes Projects Planned On Big Island. During a March 11th, 2024 informational briefing on the ACT 279 Working Group, Hawaiian Homes chair Kali Watson gave an update on various projects under consideration, including many on the island of Hawaiʻi. Big Island Video News.

Richardson’s gets a face-lift: Park improvements, renovated ocean center unveiled. Richardson Ocean Park and Center is open and fully accessible to the public after 19 months of construction. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News.  Big Island Now.

Pololū stewardship efforts provide catalyst for statewide expansion. A sensitive sites stewardship program in Kohala on Hawaiʻi Island has become a model for communities across the state. Hawaii Public Radio.

Nearly 120,000 acres set aside on Hawaiʻi Island to protect endangered species. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has designated 119,326 acres of federal, state, private and public lands as a critical habitat for 12 endangered species. Hawaii Public Radio.

Assessment details plans for old Hilo hospital renovations. A plan to renovate the old Hilo Memorial Hospital continues apace after a draft environmental assessment for the project was published last week. Tribune-Herald.

Waikoloa Village closer to getting a roundabout. A new traffic roundabout in Waikoloa Village is one step closer to becoming a reality after Friday’s release of a draft environmental assessment with an anticipated finding of no significant impact. West Hawaii Today.

Hundreds Of Hawaii Island Residents Protest Proposed Housing Project In Punaluu. A battle is brewing on the Big Island over a proposed development in Punaluu, a stretch of black sand beach and ponds along the rugged Kau coastline that’s popular among locals, tourists, fishermen and many others. Civil Beat.


Lahaina Wildfire Victims Fund Has 17 Applicants So Far. It's still not clear how much information about the fund or its applicants will be made public although settlements will be filed in court. Civil Beat.

Over 1,000 Maui fire survivors planning to sue Kamehameha Schools, state and utility companies. The attorneys for more than 1,000 Maui fire survivors believe they know exactly where the first flames broke out. They also explained who they think shares the blame. Hawaii News Now.

Maui Council Member Johnson touts county’s new law promoting reclaimed and recycled water. Ordinance 5592 also establishes the county Water Use and Development Plan as a guiding document for the development of reclaimed water infrastructure and alternative water sources, encouraging the departments of water supply and environmental management to collaborate in maximizing efficient use of water resources. Maui Now.

Maui’s Gladys Baisa remembered as a trailblazer, pioneer for women leaders. Former Maui County Council Chair Gladys Baisa left a legacy of leadership in Maui County government and with Maui Economic Opportunity Inc., which she led as chief executive officer from 1983 to 2005. She died Monday morning. She was 83. Maui Now.

Mixed feelings: Old Lahaina Lūʻau employees ready to make new memories as it reopens. Sitting between scorched Lahaina Town and unscathed Lahaina Canary Mall, the Old Lahaina Lūʻau reopens to tourism for its first time since the Aug. 8 wildfire. Maui Now.


Regulators reject petition to revoke permits to rebuild Kauai's Coco Palms Resort. The Kauai Planning Commission rejected a petition Tuesday from a group of residents who were asking the commission to revoke permits issued to the owners of the Coco Palms Resort property. KITV4. KHON2.

Nearly $17M in federal funding headed to Garden Isle. Nearly $17 million in federal dollars is heading to Kaua‘i to fund a variety of projects ranging from the Kauaʻi War Memorial Convention Hall, an educational center at the Kawai‘ele State Waterbird Sanctuary, affordable housing and a fern propagation lab at the National Tropical Botanical Garden. Kauai Now.

Waimea Public Library gets $10,000 national grant. The Waimea branch of the Hawai‘i State Public Library System, better known to people as the Waimea Public Library, has received a $10,000 grant to help better serve people with disabilities, the Library Development Services announced on Friday. Garden Island.

Tuesday, March 12, 2024

State revenue council forecasts 4% growth, NSF sets May deadline to choose Giant Magellan or Thirty Meter telescope, Maui wildfire lawsuits to stay in state court, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Council On Revenues Anticipates 4% Growth This Year Despite Maui Fire Problems. State tax collections are holding up despite the impact of the deadly Maui wildfire, and will continue to grow at the brisk clip of 4% or more this year and next year, according to a state panel of experts. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Republicans could lock up Trump’s nomination tonight. Hawaii Republicans will gather at 35 locations around the islands tonight to determine how many delegates will cast ballots for presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump, the only Republican still running for president. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.

Public invited to inaugural Environment Day at the state Capitol. Eighteen local organizations are gearing up to convene at the state Capitol today for the first-ever legislative Environment Day.  Hawaii Public Radio.


Kaneshiro-Mitsunaga Bribery Case Puts ‘Pay To Play’ On Trial. Allegations of impropriety have dogged Dennis Mitsunaga for years. A jury will decide whether the money he allegedly funneled to the city prosecutor constitutes a criminal conspiracy. Civil Beat.

City’s nearly 2,500 vacancies lead budget talks. A formal review of Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi’s proposed $3.63 billion operating budget for the 2025 fiscal year, which begins July 1, prompted discussion over the city’s nearly 2,500 worker vacancies. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaiʻi Convention Center takes 2nd attempt at securing funds to fix leaky roof. This year, lawmakers are being asked for the $64 million again to finally fix the roof.  Hawaii Public Radio.

Dedication ceremony for new battery energy storage facility in West Oahu
. A special dedication ceremony was held for one of the world’s largest battery energy storage facilities located in Leeward Oahu. The new Kapolei Energy Storage facility, located on eight acres near Kalaeloa Boulevard, includes 158 Tesla Megapack batteries. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Hawaii Island

Dueling telescope proposals considered by NSF.
The National Science Board, in a Feb. 27 statement, gave the National Science Foundation until May to decide how to choose between two competing proposals for the telescope -- the Giant Magellan Telescope at Las Campanas in Chile and the Thirty Meter Telescope currently planned for Mauna Kea. New York Times.

Building Permit Delays Expected Due To Software Issue
. A recent software update is causing intermittent service disruptions for the County of Hawaiʻi’s EPIC building permit system.  Big Island Video News. Big Island Now.

Hawaii Ag Department proposes releasing wasps on Hawaii Island to save macadamia nuts trees. The Parasitoid Metaphycus is a small wasp found in Australia. It is about 0.8 millimeter, about the size of a sesame seed or smaller. The wasp doesn’t sting or bite, so most people won’t even notice it is there. KITV4.

BLNR issues temporary changes to Hawaiʻi Island hunting rules. The changes say that for two years, many hunting areas will have increased bag limits for pigs, goats and sheep. Some areas will also have expanded hunting periods. Hawaii Public Radio.

Rezoning request approved for Manono Street lot. Despite outcry from neighbors, the Windward Planning Commission approved a request by Big Island developers to rezone a property at the corner of Manono and Lanikaula streets in order to demolish the two dilapidated single-family homes and an abandoned small engine repair shop currently on the site and develop a retail building in their place. Tribune-Herald.


Maui Wildfire Cases Will Stay In Maui State Court.
Hawaiian Electric Industries on Monday lost its bid to remove the cases to federal court. At least 90 lawsuits related to the Maui wildfires against Hawaiian Electric Industries, Spectrum, Kamehameha Schools and other defendants will be sent back to Maui state court, where they were originally filed, a federal judge ruled Monday. Civil Beat. KHON2.

Lawsuit calls Olowalu fire debris site cultural, environmental threat. Claiming environmental and cultural damages, two Maui residents are suing the county over the temporary disposal site in Olowalu that is currently storing debris from the Lahaina fire. KITV4.

Eminent domain proposal for Central Maui Landfill expansion sent to Council committee. Maui County Council members were sharply divided Friday over a proposal to use Maui County’s condemnation power of eminent domain to obtain a nearly 20-acre former quarry next to the Central Maui Landfill for the final disposal of toxic Lahaina fire ash and debris. Maui Now.

EPA inspects 18.5 miles of sewer lines in Lahaina.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Monday said it has finished inspecting sanitary sewer lines in Lahaina following the Aug. 8 wildfires. Star-Advertiser.


Mayor Kawakami to address Kaua‘i in State of the County address. Mayor Derek S.K. Kawakami will address the people of Kaua‘i in the State of the County Address on Thursday. Kauai Now.

Construction of Kauai luxury condo on hold after backlash from activists. Construction of a luxury vacation condo on a Kauai cultural site is now on hold for 10 days. On Monday, a judge ordered a temporary work stoppage for Kauanoe O Koloa, a 279-unit project located next to the Kiahuna Golf Course. Hawaii News Now.

Monday, March 11, 2024

Green signs into law bill clarifying mandatory recounts, 80 wildfire detection sensors to be deployed statewide, 5 dead in Manoa murder-suicide, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Green signs mandatory election recount bill into law. The first bill of the 2024 state Legislature session to be signed into law is intended to clarify the conditions necessary for mandatory recounts in state and county elections. Star-Advertiser.

800 bills still alive at state Legislature’s halfway point. State legislators appear willing to spare the Hawaii Tourism Authority from what had been all-but-certain death last year, but at the midway point of this legislative session have failed to restore HTA’s funding that they eliminated last session. Star-Advertiser.

Push To Increase Auto Insurance Coverage Could Raise Costs For Hawaii Consumers. Two bills being considered by the Legislature would increase the legally required minimum liability coverage, which could boost the cost of premiums. Civil Beat.

New Bill Seeks To Remove Power To Suspend Electronic Media During Emergency. House Bill 2581 (HD 1) has already been passed through the State House and will be heard in the Senate Committee on Public Safety and Intergovernmental and Military Affairs on Monday, March 11.  Big Island Video News.

Hawaiʻi Bill Increases Penalties For Arson During Red Flag Warning
. A bill making its way through the State Legislature will increase criminal penalties for starting a fire during a Red Flag Warning period in Hawaiʻi. Big Island Video News.

Green Names New Director For Human Services Department. Ryan Yamane is a former Hawaii legislator who is deputy director of the Department of Human Resources Development. Civil Beat. Hawaii Public Radio.

Wildfire detection sensors to be deployed on Maui and around Hawaii. Eighty Beta wildfire sensor units will be installed statewide — 20 units each for Maui County, Hawaii County, Kauai County and the City and County of Honolulu — by April 8. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.

Federal funds help speed up modernization at Hawaii airports. Five major airport runway projects totaling more than $520.7 million are moving forward at Hawaii airports this year due to an increase in federal dollars made possible by new types of grant programs, some of which provide multiple awards for a single project. Star-Advertiser.

Congress Restores Federal Benefits To COFA Migrants As Part Of $7.1 Billion Aid Deal. Migrants from Palau, the Marshall Islands and Micronesia lost access to numerous federal assistance programs in the 1990s under Clinton-era welfare reforms. Civil Beat. Maui Now.


Federal trial of Keith Kaneshiro, Dennis Mitsunaga set to begin. A trial to determine whether former Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney Keith Kaneshiro, prominent political donor Dennis Mitsunaga and others engaged in legal campaign financing or a pay-to-prosecute scheme starts Tuesday in U.S. District Court. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

Council urges transparency at city Building Board of Appeals. The Honolulu City Council chair is urging the city Building Board of Appeals to give greater public transparency over its case decisions. Star-Advertiser.

The Miske Trial: A Honolulu Used Car Dealer Gets Roughed Up. Testimony continues in the organized crime and murder trial of Honolulu businessman Mike Miske with government witnesses describing violent behavior by the alleged crime boss. Civil Beat.

Blangiardi relaunches city food drive. Mayor Rick Blangiardi relaunched the City Employees’ Hawaii Foodbank Food and Fund Drive on Wednesday after it paused operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. Star-Advertiser.

A&B still weighing options for historic Pali Lanes building.
More than 2-1/2 years since it was vacated, plans for the Pali Lanes building in Kailua remain unknown, with most of the approximately 1.6-acre property fenced off. Star-Advertiser.

5 dead in Manoa murder-suicide. Honolulu police said a Manoa man fatally stabbed his wife and their three children in their home Sunday morning before killing himself in Hawaii’s worst mass homicide since the Xerox shooting in 1999 when seven people were gunned down at a Nimitz Highway business. Star-Advertiser. Associated Press.  Hawaii News Now. KHON2.  KITV4.

Hawaii Island

Rainbow Drive Renovation, Housing Project Detailed In Draft EA. The 34 Rainbow Drive Draft Environmental Assessment / Anticipated Finding of No Significant Impact details the plans to renovate the existing Old Hilo Memorial Hospital building next to the Wailuku River, as well as the proposal to develop affordable rental housing units and supportive services on the remaining 24.947-acre property.  Big Island Video News. KITV4.

Future Roundabout At Waikōloa Road, Paniolo Ave Examined In Draft EA. A planned roundabout at the entrance of Waikoloa Village is examined in a newly published Draft Environmental Assessment, and the public comment period is now open. Big Island Video News.

Hāmākua farmers switch tomato crop for edible hibiscus. Susan Hamilton and her husband own the Hawaiian B Natural Farms and have been growing tomatoes hydroponically in Hāmākua for the past 16 years. Last fall, they decided to switch gears to grow the edible Roselle Hibiscus after they were unable to bring workers back to help with the tomato crop following the COVID-19 pandemic. Big Island Now.


This State Agency Transformed Kakaako. Should It Do The Same For Lahaina? The Hawaii Senate unanimously passed a bill to turn over much of West Maui to the Hawaii Community Development Authority, despite growing opposition to the idea. Civil Beat.

Maui County May Use Eminent Domain To Acquire Land For Final Dump Site Of Lahaina Fire Debris. The property owner and local partners had been working on a private venture to develop the land into a new construction and demolition landfill facility. Civil Beat.

Council Grills Volunteers Before Approving Funding For Central Maui Housing Projects. Support for the two affordable housing projects was approved unanimously after several heated meetings about the selection committee's process. Civil Beat.

Maui Island unemployment at 6.2%, Maui County at 5.9% in January 2024. The non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for Maui Island was 6.2% in January 2024, compared to 5.8% the previous month, and 3% at the same time in 2023. Maui Now.

People With Limited English Lost Money And Help In Lahaina Response.
Advocates say it took too long for federal agencies to understand Maui's unique language needs after the wildfires, and that the state must be better prepared. Civil Beat.

Hawaii’s health industry addresses Maui’s maternal care crisis. For many expecting mothers on Maui, an obstetrician is difficult to find. Star-Advertiser.


Biomass power plant blaze causes $500K in damage on Kaua‘i. A structure at a biomass power plant burst into flames in an industrial area on Friday afternoon causing an estimated $500,000 in damage. Garden Island.

Public input sought on ‘Anini Beach Park improvements.
Kaua‘i County’s Department of Parks and Recreation and its consultant, Community Planning & Engineering, will conduct a public information meeting for proposed improvements to ‘Anini Beach Park boat wash down and trailer parking area. Kauai Now.

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Tulsi Gabbard on Trump veep list, state Senate panel seeks 10%-15% contingency cutbacks from administration as Maui mayor asks for $402M, same-sex marriage measure advances, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Trump says he’s considering former Hawaii congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard as running mate. Former President Donald Trump revealed Tuesday that he’s considering former Hawaii Congresswomen Tulsi Gabbard as his running mate. She sought the democratic presidential nomination in 2020 before dropping out of the party in 2022. Hawaii News Now.

Maui Makes A Big Ask As Rising Wildfire Recovery Costs Prompt Talk Of State Budget Cuts. The Senate asked the state budget director to develop contingency plans for imposing state spending cuts of 10% and 15%. Civil Beat.

Maui Mayor Bissen requests $401M from state for Lahaina rebuild, recovery.  Mayor Richard Bissen made a plea to the state for $401.75 million over the next three years to help Lahaina rebuild and recover.  The request was made before the Senate Ways and Means Committee on Tuesday, on behalf of the people of Maui County. Maui Now. KHON2.

State considers nearly $1 billion in wildfire recovery costs. The nearly $1 billion potential expense was presented to the Senate Ways and Means Committee during a roughly five-hour briefing by state and Maui County administration leaders to help the panel shape the state budget a little over six months after the Aug. 8 disaster that destroyed most of Lahaina and killed at least 101 people. Star-Advertiser.

Lawmakers consider state constitutional amendment to protect same-sex marriage.
  A section in the Hawaiʻi State Constitution threatens marriage equality for same-sex couples. Now, lawmakers are considering a constitutional amendment to remove it. Hawaii Public Radio.

Legislation would require disclosure of labor standards from renewable energy developers. Developers would be required to attest to the Hawaiʻi State Energy Office that their employees are properly trained, licensed, and receive benefits like health care and retirement. Hawaii Public Radio.

Gov. Green travels to attend National Governors Association 2024 winter meeting
. While there, Gov. Green will participate in solution-driven conversations and bipartisan collaboration on the most pressing policy issues facing the states and territories.  Maui Now.

Researchers record 170 Hawaiian monk seal pups born in Northern Hawaiian Islands last year.
Researchers documented 170 new Hawaiian monk seal pups born in 2023 around the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument during their annual field camp. Big Island Now.

Outback Steakhouse shutters 3 locations, pulls out of Hawaii.
The Florida-based company closed down its restaurants at the end of the day Sunday, reportedly with short notice, leaving customers and employees stunned. Star-Advertiser.


Honolulu ethics panel mulls gift prohibition for all city employees. The Honolulu Ethics Commission plans today to discuss a long-considered proposal to prohibit city employees from accepting gifts, including cash or alcohol, related to their official duties. Star-Advertiser.

City Faces Legal Bill After Losing Short-Term Vacation Rental Battle. The City Department of Planning and Permitting, corporation counsel, and other defendants have agreed to pay the Hawaii Legal Short-Term Rental Alliance $292,514.27 for attorneys’ fees and $619.07 costs,  after a federal judge struck down the city's 90-day minimum short-term rental law. Civil Beat.

City and County of Honolulu seeks new chief information officer. The department is responsible for delivering IT services to its employees, as well as Oʻahu residents, businesses and visitors. Hawaii Public Radio.

$1.9M in forfeitures collected from illegal gambling operations on Oahu. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Hawaii announced that the latest forfeiture has raised the amount to more than $1.9 million the United States has obtained in forfeitures from an illegal gambling business running at least nine illegal game rooms on Oahu as a result of a joint criminal and civil investigation. Star-Advertiser.

Speeders could be cited using Red-Light Safety Cameras. Fewer people are running red lights at intersections due to the Red-Light Safety Camera Pilot Program, according to the transportation department.  KHON2.

Veteran journalist Emme Tomimbang remembered as ‘dear, caring storyteller,’ dies at 73.
  Emme Tomimbang Burns — a pioneer in Hawaii radio and television, successful multimedia businesswoman and ardent supporter of the local Filipino community — died Monday while undergoing emergency open-heart surgery at The Queen’s Medical Center. Star-Advertiser. Big Island Now.  Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Boyfriend of drowning victim claims inadequate response by police, fire.
The boyfriend of a 29-year-old Keaau woman who drowned early Sunday morning after slipping and falling into the ocean off a sea cliff in Hawaiian Paradise Park alleges she died because of an inadequate response by police and fire rescuers. Tribune-Herald. Hawaii News Now.

County wastewater resolution advances. Hawaii County officials believe they are capable of repairing the island’s ailing wastewater infrastructure before a series of deadlines mandated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Tribune-Herald.

DWS: Hilo tap water safe to drink despite discoloration.
The Hawaii County Department of Water Supply said Tuesday the tap water for its Hilo customers remains safe to drink after the isolated discovery of turbid or discolored water. Tribune-Herald. KHON2.


Campaign seeks to bring visitors back to Maui. The Hawaii Tourism Authority has launched a new public service campaign, “Makaukau Maui,” which seeks to tell visitors that while historic Lahaina remains closed after the deadly Aug. 8 wildfires, accommodations on West Maui are open and residents are ready to welcome them back. Star-Advertiser.

DOH: Lahaina monitoring and sampling report shows good ambient air quality. The first Ambient Community Air Sampling Reports for Lahaina, issued by the Hawaiʻi Department of Health, confirm good ambient air quality for the period of Jan. 13-24, 2024.  Maui Now. Hawaii News Now.

Haggai Institute affordable housing proposal headed to Maui County Council for review.
During last year’s legislative session and before the wildfire disaster, the state set aside $45 million to transform the Haggai Institute, the former 216-room Maui Sun Hotel, into affordable and teacher workforce housing, and preschool classrooms. Maui Now.


Kupuna testify against purchase of Kauai apartments for DHHL beneficiaries. More controversy over the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) latest strategy to reduce its almost 30,000 beneficiary waitlist. KITV4.

Community meeting scheduled to discuss boat ramp design at Kikiaola. Kikiaola Small Boat Harbor users are invited to attend a community meeting on Feb. 27 to discuss proposed designs for a new boat ramp and loading dock. Kauai Now.