Showing posts with label Carleton Ching. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Carleton Ching. Show all posts

Monday, November 16, 2015

Ige seeks EPA waiver on pollutants, Caldwell fund-raises in Washington while on city trip, prevailing wage rule snarls rail work, Maui cemetery work halted, groups want NextEra-Hawaiian Electric documents published, state issues media guidelines for Mauna Kea, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Ige 2015 Japan trip
Gov. Ige and Mrs. Ige briefed by on-site engineer of the Tidal Power Plant, courtesy photo
Gov. David Ige is asking the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to postpone or waive new regulations that restrict the amount of mercury and other toxic pollutants that Hawaii’s power plants can release into the air, arguing that the rules will distract from Hawaii’s push to convert to clean energy. Star-Advertiser.

Gov. David Ige returned Thursday from his second official trip to Asia, where he continued to promote tourism, intercultural student exchange and collaboration on renewable-energy technology. Star-Advertiser.

Sierra Club, Friends of Lanai and other groups are calling on the state Public Utilities Commission to post online the transcripts of the upcoming 12-day evidentiary hearing on the proposed $4.3 billion sale of Hawaiian Electric Industries to NextEra Energy. Civil Beat.

Hawaiian Electric Co. has unveiled new voluntary time-of-use rates for residential customers aimed at encouraging the use of power during times when solar and wind resources are most productive, the Honolulu-based utility said Friday. Pacific Business News.

Several key lawmakers said they plan to introduce legislation in the coming session to address concerns about the state’s oversight of physicians and other licensed professionals. Star-Advertiser.

Carleton Ching has a new job, just not the one he had been expecting earlier this year. Ching will take the position of director of land development for the University of Hawaii on Nov. 30, the university announced Friday. Civil Beat.

Carleton Ching has been selected as the director of Land Development for the University of Hawaii. His appointment will be effective on Nov. 30. Garden Island.

In response to protests against the Na‘i Aupuni election for Native Hawaiian self-governance, the nonprofit organizing the voting process is emphasizing that the end result is not predetermined. Garden Island.

Pidgin, the local lingua franca that emerged so the people of many different ethnicities who toiled on sugar plantations could converse with each other, now is recognized as one of Hawaii’s official languages by the U.S. Census Bureau. Tribune-Herald.

It seems like someone flipped the storm off-switch in the Central and Eastern Pacific basins. However, meteorologists say, the threat of a hurricane could be far from over despite the season’s ending slated for Nov. 30. West Hawaii Today.


The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transit has encountered other complications in its dealings with Hawaiian Electric Co., beyond the 50-foot clearance requirement: HECO’s union contract with its employees does not meet the requirements of the Davis-Bacon Act, which requires that laborers and mechanics on federally funded construction projects must be paid the prevailing local wage. Star-Advertiser.

The “most significant risk” today to Honolulu’s rail project is a complex knot of technical challenges involving power lines along the transit route that could dramatically increase costs and delay the project, according to an outside consultant that monitors the project for the federal government. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell says $250 million out of $1.5 billion dollars will not be given to the project until the Honolulu City Council approves the general excise tax surcharge extension. But KHON2 found out the rail meeting wasn’t the only thing on his agenda during his trip to Washington, D.C.

Only a few tents and shacks are visible from the dirt parking lot that borders the Waianae Boat Harbor, where more than 200 people have found a relatively undisturbed refuge on the rocky edge of the Leeward Coast. The true size of Oahu’s oldest and now largest homeless encampment is obscured by a heavy cover of overgrown kiawe trees and thick underbrush. Civil Beat.

Plans are advancing to improve a major road in Kalaeloa. An agreement would transfer a portion of Franklin D. Roosevelt Avenue from the state Department of Transportation to the Hawaii Community Development Authority, which would be tasked to improve the road based on the city’s standards. Roosevelt Avenue from West Perimeter Road to Enterprise Street would then be dedicated to the city upon completion of the improvements. Star-Advertiser.

City and state officials are making efforts to extend traffic camera coverage past Kapolei as residents call for solutions to the traffic backlog on Farrington Highway in Waianae. Star-Advertiser.

Voting is open for the representatives running for the Maunalua Bay Recreation Advisory Committee. KITV4.


A new hospital or free-standing emergency facility in North Kona, more programs for the homeless and a hard look at alternative ways to structure the state’s utilities — those are just some of the plans West Hawaii lawmakers will discuss at a legislative outlook to be held in Kailua-Kona Thursday. West Hawaii Today.

There are hundreds of acres of state land just across the highway above Kona International Airport that would make a convenient home for a new Kona hospital — one which could serve a teaching function. That’s according to Naalehu Rep. Richard Creagan, a retired physician who says he has the support of House leadership for pursuing the funds it would take to build such a facility. West Hawaii Today.

Two West Hawaii lawmakers are taking the state Department of Health to task for saying it is beyond the agency’s purview to launch mobile dengue testing units that could go deep into rural areas and ferret out the disease. West Hawaii Today.

The state Dept. of Health confirmed on Saturday, Nov. 14, that there were 49 cases of dengue fever on Hawaii Island, up 11 from Friday, Nov. 13. KHON2.

The Department of Land and Natural Resources is conducting aerial eradication of feral ungulates in four Maui state forest reserves — and that’s making some hunters on the Big Island and Maui uneasy. Tribune-Herald.

State Issues New Guidelines On Media’s Mauna Kea Access. The Department of Land and Natural Resources says it wants to keep everyone safe, but some First Amendment advocates worry the guidelines go too far. Civil Beat.

Maui Pacific Solar installed a 100-kilowatt, $376,000 photovoltaic project at the Gemini Observatory atop Mauna Kea in early September, a project that took about six weeks to complete, according to an announcement from the observatory. Maui News.

Hilo isn’t the only county recycling facility experiencing overflows as Big Island residents increasingly embrace recycling rather than landfilling their waste. West Hawaii Today.

Board members for a neighborhood association in North Kona’s Nalani Street subdivision have become a mini-water department, reading the single meter and allotting shares of the bill to residents in some 30 homes. They’re also the collections department, collecting the checks and making sure everyone pays his or her fair share. West Hawaii Today.


Construction work at the Maui Veterans Cemetery has come to a halt after the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs was found to be noncompliant with federal historic preservation laws, a state attorney said. Maui News.

The Maui County Liquor Control Commission will go through the formal selection process to find the next director of the Department of Liquor Control. Maui News.

Maui candidates vying for three seats to a constitutional convention to draft a document allowing Native Hawaiians to govern themselves spoke about their vision and skills to about 50 people Wednesday night at the Queen Lili'uokalani Children's Center. Maui News.

The Maui Department of Public Works will be closing down a portion of Central Avenue in Wailuku for one day only on Nov. 23, 2015. The repairs are slated for Central Avenue between Loke and North streets. Maui Now.


Driving in Kauai is a challenge, that’s no secret — and the county’s transportation department wants to hear your ideas for solutions in a series of open-house meetings it’s holding this week. Garden Island.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Ige withdraws Ching DLNR nomination, House passes $25.7B budget, NextEra wants Hawaiian Electric sale fast-tracked, De-Occupy Honolulu awarded $80k in police raids, Obama friend buys Magnum P.I. home, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy Hawaii Senate majority
Red shirts in Senate gallery against Ching nomination, courtesy Hawaii Senate Majority
After nearly two months of "grueling" scrutiny and relentless vocal opposition, Carleton Ching's high-profile and ill-fated nomination to head one of the most important state agencies in Hawaii was pulled Wednesday just moments before the Senate was to vote on it. Star-Advertiser.

Senators’ 11th-Hour Decisions Doomed Ching Nomination. UPDATE: Gov. David Ige withdrew his controversial nomination for the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources when it became clear the votes weren't there for confirmation. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige has withdrawn his nomination of Carleton Ching to lead the Department of Land and Natural Resources. The governor informed the Senate of his decision Wednesday. Associated Press.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige on Wednesday withdrew his nomination of Castle & Cooke Hawaii executive Carleton Ching to be the next head of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources. Pacific Business News.

Governor David Ige withdrew his controversial nomination for chair of the State Board of Land and Natural Resources today. Hawaii Public Radio.

Ige and Ching
Moments before the Hawaii State Senate was set to begin voting Wednesday on Governor David Ige's controversial nomination to lead the Department of Land and Natural Resources, Ige withdrew his nomination. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige has withdrawn his nomination of Carleton Ching to lead the Department of Land and Natural Resources. KITV4.

It’s back to the drawing board for Gov. David Ige as he decides who will lead the state’s Department of Land and Natural Resources. Ige withdrew his nomination for Carleton Ching Wednesday, just days after he said he was standing by his controversial pick. KHON2.

Eight lessons from the Carleton Ching nomination. Governor Ige instigated a political crisis by nominating a developer's lobbyist to watch over Hawaii's natural resources. Hawaii Independent.

Opinions from local representatives and conservation groups were split after Gov. David Ige on Wednesday withdrew his nomination of Carleton Ching to lead Hawaii’s Department of Land and Natural Resources. Garden Island.

The state House of Representatives on Wednesday forwarded to the Senate a $13.3 billion general fund budget for the next two fiscal years. The spending plan calls for a $6.5 billion budget in fiscal 2016, which begins July 1, and $6.8 billion in fiscal 2017. Star-Advertiser.

The House voted unanimously Wednesday in favor of its draft of the overall state budget, a $25.7 billion spending plan for the next two years. The Senate Ways and Means Committee, chaired by Jill Tokuda, will take up House Bill 500 and make whatever changes it sees fit before sending it to the full Senate for its approval. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Legislature in Session? Time to Raise Campaign Money! Reps. Luke, Johanson, Nakashima and Nishimoto will be at Mandalay Wednesday night passing the hat for re-election. Civil Beat.

The public may get to see the financial disclosures statements of certain state board members a year earlier than expected. The Hawaii State Ethics Commission agreed Wednesday to send a memo out to board members later this week letting them know that their financial disclosure statements for 2014 will be released if they file a short-form report this year. Civil Beat.

A bill to restore $6 million in funding for Hawaii's state preschool subsidy program is still moving through the state Legislature. Senate Bill 64, which has crossed over to the state House of Representatives, would restore funding for the Preschool Open Doors program for the next two fiscal years. Pacific Business News.

Florida-based NextEra Energy Inc. wants the state to move fast on approval of its proposed $4.3 billion purchase of Hawaiian Electric Industries and has objected to a suggestion the decision be delayed until June 3, 2016. Star-Advertiser.


De-Occupy Honolulu Lawyers Awarded $80,000 in Fees, Expenses. The court ruling stems from HPD raids in Thomas Square in 2012, where protestors and property was seized. Civil Beat.

A company with ties to a close friend of President Barack Obama has bought a historic oceanfront mansion in Waimanalo used as a setting for the 1980s TV detective show "Magnum, P.I." Star-Advertiser.

Moanalua Gardens will start charging entrance fees to help offset maintenance and operational costs. Star-Advertiser.


More than 100 shoppers lined the outside of Malama Market on Wednesday in Pahoa in anticipation of the grocery store’s grand reopening. It’s been an inconvenient three months since the market closed its doors in response to the approach of the June 27 lava flow, they said, and the reopening is an important sign that life in Pahoa could be returning to normal. Tribune-Herald.

Attorney Brian DeLima is requesting funds for private legal counsel to represent Jody Buddemeyer, the Hawaii Police Department officer who authorities say struck and killed a Michigan man riding his bicycle in South Kohala. Tribune-Herald.

Kailua-Kona keiki will soon have new digs in which to practice their flips, pops and slides. Two Hawaii County Council members dipped into their district contingency funds Wednesday to give a planned skate park a $50,000 boost. West Hawaii Today.


Maui Now has learned that the Boys & Girls Clubs of Maui terminated a worker with the Makawao branch after discovering that she had posted unauthorized video of children sending messages to convicted murderer Jodi Arias on social media.

A Maui County Council committee has recommended changing the name of Iao Stream to Wailuku River. Maui News.

A bill making its way through the state Legislature would overturn a long-standing law that prohibits all commercial activity on or around Kahoolawe. Maui News.


State Department of Transportation officials say commuters traveling through Wailua and Kapaa may have to wait a little longer before larger projects to improve congestion along Kuhio Highway come to fruition. Garden Island.

That grumbling isn’t from an empty stomach. Some local parents say they aren’t happy that the price of Hawaii school lunches could increase in the fall semester. Garden Island.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Legislature kills homeless bill of rights; Ching confirmation, House budget votes today; school lunch increase coming; Supreme Court rules travel sites must pay state taxes; UH athletics director short-listed; Ige visits Big Island; more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2015 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Homeless in Hawaii © 2015 All Hawaii News
The House Committee on Human Services deferred a bill on Tuesday that would create a “Houseless Bill of Rights,” designed to ensure homeless would be protected from discrimination and afforded certain rights, such as access to restrooms, public spaces, the ability to vote and to sleep in a legally parked car. Civil Beat.

After nearly two months of intense scrutiny and vocal opposition to his nomination, Carleton Ching — and the general public — will learn Wednesday whether he's to lead the state Department of Land and Natural Resources. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii state Senate has scheduled a vote on Gov. David Ige's nominee to lead the Department of Land and Natural Resources. The Senate will take up the nomination of Carleton Ching on Wednesday. Associated Press.

House to vote on state budget Wednesday. House version of governor’s budget gives UH control of own spending. KITV4.

Student lunch prices are expected to go up by 25 cents in the fall to $2.75 for high-schoolers and to $2.50 for elementary and intermediate students. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii educators are embracing with varying degrees of enthusiasm the new standardized tests that debuted in schools this month. Star-Advertiser.

Lawmakers raised concerns Tuesday about a new $2 million State Capitol fire alarm system that has suffered false alarms since it went into service in January, replacing an old system that was plagued with false alarms. Hawaii News Now.

The Senate Public Safety Committee on Tuesday passed a bill that would eliminate any requirement for an individual making a domestic violence claim against a police officer to do so through a sworn, written complaint. Civil Beat.

Editorial: Police Reform: High Hopes Dim as Session Unfolds. A month ago, prospects for making key changes in policing seemed bright. Only two significant bills are still breathing, and even their fates are far from certain. Civil Beat.

The Hawaii Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that nine online travel companies, including Expedia, Orbitz, Priceline and Travelocity, must pay the state tens of millions of dollars in back taxes for selling Hawaii hotel rooms over the Internet. Pacific Business News.

The Hawaii Supreme Court ruled today that nine online travel companies, including Expedia, Orbitz, Priceline and Travelocity, owe up to tens of millions of dollars in back taxes to the state for selling Hawaii hotel rooms over the Internet, the state Department of the Attorney General announced. West Hawaii Today.

The Hawaii Supreme Court decided Tuesday that nine popular online travel companies will pay the state a portion of $247 million in general excise taxes assessed since 2000. Star-Advertiser.

Expedia Inc., Orbitz LLC and several other online travel companies owe the state of Hawaii up to tens of millions of dollars in back taxes as a result of a state Supreme Court ruling, Hawaii's attorney general said Tuesday. Associated Press.


The FBI says the Honolulu police officers under investigation for an alleged assault at an illegal gambling house lied in their reports about the incident, according to federal court records. Star-Advertiser.

Police officers could end up donning body cameras under a proposal in Hawaii state Legislature that would enable the Honolulu Police Department to begin a pilot program. Associated Press.

University of Hawaii at Manoa Chancellor Robert Bley-Vroman plans to select the campus' new athletics director by the end of the month. The university said Tuesday a search committee has officially submitted its recommendations for the new athletics director to Bley-Vroman. Associated Press.

Two local candidates with experience working with the finances of sports, David Matlin and Keith Ame­miya, have emerged as the favorites to become the next University of Hawaii athletic director. Star-Advertiser.

Sources: Committee submits one name for UH athletics director, chancellor considers another. KHON2.

More than half of the state’s residents live in Honolulu, O’ahu’s urban core.  State lawmakers are attempting to address the needs of a growing population living in condominiums. Hawaii Public Radio.

According to a report by the Honolulu Liquor Commission, more than $1 billion of booze was sold on Oahu in fiscal year 2014. KITV4.

Sale of ‘Magnum P.I.’ home may be tied to President Obama. KHON2.

Hawaii families with low incomes recently began to benefit from the legacy of Hansen's disease patients and their friends who boldly but unsuccessfully tried to save their sanctuary in Pearl City more than 30 years ago. The newest affordable apartment building on the site of Hale Mohalu was dedicated in a ceremony Tuesday. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency, formerly state Civil Defense, is asking for the public to keep an eye out for vandals at outdoor siren warning system sites.  A siren sounded at Kahe Point early Wednesday morning was due to vandalism. Star-Advertiser.

North Shore heiau center of desecration allegation. Hawaii News Now.


A plan to expand county enterprise zones into conservation areas worries County Council members, who on Tuesday postponed a vote on continuing the zones, even though several have already expired.West Hawaii Today.

Gov. David Ige says he is excited about what the future has in store for the Big Island. On Tuesday, his third visit to Hawaii Island in 2015, Ige toured the Pacific Biodiesel facility in Keaau and attended a groundbreaking ceremony for the new Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting Facility at Hilo International Airport. Tribune-Herald.

A relocated harbor office and new paved areas at Kawaihae Harbor are making for safer and smoother movements of cargo at Pier 2. But what to do about a small boat harbor exposed to winter storm damage remains unclear. Gov. David Ige, District 4 state Sen. Lorraine Inouye and Hawaii Department of Transportation officials were among the dignitaries on hand Tuesday to dedicate the $7 million Pier 2 project. West Hawaii Today.

The state Department of Transportation broke ground Tuesday on a new, $18.8 million Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting Facility, or ARFF, at Hilo International Airport. Tribune-Herald.

As the Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy prepares to begin construction of its new permanent building on the University of Hawaii at Hilo campus, one Big Island legislator is asking whether the school should be here at all. Tribune-Herald.


The Maui County Land Use Committee will review the proposed Downtown Kīhei Project on Wednesday, March 18, at 1:30 p.m. in the Council Chamber. Maui Now.


The State Department of Agriculture released a report finding pesticide levels near Waimea Canyon Middle School to be safe, but pesticide-regulatory advocates aren't buying it.  Hawaii Independent.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Waikiki beach erosion worries Hawaii tourism officials, agency head seeks Medicaid audit, Senate deadlocked on Ching confirmation, Maui dancing definition unclear, affordable housing bill advances, urine test at issue in ACLU lawsuit, lack of notice on Oahu racetrack bill irks opponents, Trans-Pacific Partnership spurs protests, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2015 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Waikiki beach © 2015 All Hawaii News
Winter waves have eroded more of Waikiki Beach this season, worsening a chronic problem that state officials say will take millions of dollars to combat over the next decade. Star-Advertiser.

They're calling it an "erosion hotspot." The Department of Land and Natural Resources say a rare weather condition is what's causing erosion at parts of Waikiki Beach. KITV4.

The 25-member state Senate appeared deadlocked Monday over the confirmation of Carleton Ching to lead the state Board of Land and Natural Resources. Some sources place the count at 12 to 12, with one senator's stance unknown and with a few senators likely to flip-flop before this week's expected vote. Star-Advertiser.

When Hawaii’s 25 state senators decide whether to confirm Gov. David Ige’s nomination of Carleton Ching as head of the Department of Land and Natural Resources, the vote will likely be as much about inside politics as personal convictions. Civil Beat.

The new director of the state Department of Human Services is requesting an audit of her agency's $144 million Medicaid eligibility system, known as Kolea. Star-Advertiser.

A House panel passed a bill to provide more affordable housing for working families and Hawaii’s most vulnerable, calling for general obligation bonds that would be used to develop homes including micro-housing units. Associated Press.

A state House panel passed a bill to provide more affordable housing for working families and Hawaii's most vulnerable, calling for general obligation bonds that would be used to develop homes including micro-housing units. Star-Advertiser.

A proposed law that would make it illegal for state employees to take any official action that might directly affect a business that their extended family has a financial interest in will have a tough time clearing the House. Civil Beat.

Last Thursday House Finance Chair Sylvia Luke requested—and the Speaker granted—a waiver of the 48-hour notice requirement for an agenda that included a giveaway of $100 million in bonds to unabashedly promote a motorsport center on parkland determined eligible to be declared a National American Battlefield by the National Park Service. Disappeared News.

A controversial brand of alcohol could be headed to Hawai'i this summer, if state legislators don't outlaw it. It's called Palcohol -- a powdered form of alcohol meant to be mixed into water. Hawaii News Now.


Removing asbestos and lead paint from the second-floor offices of the Honolulu City Council could cost taxpayers $50 million or more — and that's without any additional cosmetic work, the city buildings chief told the Council Budget Committee last week. Star-Advertiser.

City officials will host a transit-oriented development meeting at Aloha Stadium on Tuesday to discuss future development in Halawa along Oahu's rail line. Hawaii News Now.

Opinion: Mayor Caldwell, Save Ala Moana Park for the Regular People. It's a bit disconcerting when high-priced consultants are hired to consider ways to rejuvenate the park, even if the local residents are being told they're in charge. Civil Beat.


On Saturday, protesters lined the Queen Kaahumanu Highway outside the Waikoloa resort, where delegates were reported to be behind closed doors, negotiating the terms of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. This feature story explores what is known about the TPP – mostly gathered from document leaks – and how the proposed economic treaty has had a connection with Hawaii from the beginning. Big Island Video News.

Protesters of Trans-Pacific Partnership lined Queen Kaahumanu Highway near Waikoloa Beach Road. The Aloha Aina “Day of Action” against TPP and for home rule, sovereignty, democracy and transparency was held Saturday. West Hawaii Today.

A Kailua-Kona woman suing Hawaii County over its pre-employment medical examination policy started her job as a legal clerk Monday after a federal judge issued a temporary restraining order preventing the county from requiring that she submit a urine sample. Tribune-Herald.

A federal judge says a woman who moved to Kailua-Kona from Oregon to accept a job with the Hawaii County prosecutor does not have to provide a sample of her urine before she can start work. Star-Advertiser.

School resource officers will be added to Waimea and Keaau middle schools by the new school year, thanks to a $250,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice. West Hawaii Today.

Thieves stole almost $10,000 worth of tents, equipment and tools late last week from the West Hawaii Veterans Cemetery, leaving supporters at a loss as they plan for their traditional Memorial Day services. West Hawaii Today.

The Big Island Press Club has awarded its annual Lava Tube dishonor to Scott Nago, the state’s chief elections officer, for “lack of communication” during the 2014 primary election. Civil Beat.


The Hawaii state Legislature is considering a bill that would force all the county Liquor Control departments to define “dancing.” Known as SB 868, the bill was introduced by 14 state Senators including Maui’s own J. Kalani English, Roz Baker and Gil Keith-Agaran. MauiTime.

Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa took an optimistic view in his state of the county address last week. Hawaii Public Radio.

The Maui County Land Use Committee will review the proposed Downtown Kīhei Project on Wednesday, March 18, at 1:30 p.m. in the Council Chamber. Maui Now.

Merchants in Lahaina's historic district have mixed feelings about updated sign guidelines recently approved by the Cultural Resources Commission that are awaiting Mayor Alan Arakawa's signature. Maui News.

The Lahainaluna High School boarding program that began 179 years ago will continue next school year, despite declining enrollments and reductions in programs and funding in recent years, according to a state Department of Education official. Maui News.

A federal judge sentenced the owner of an Asian food market on Maui to a six-month jail term Monday for taking from her employees back-overtime money owed to them and for lying to the U.S. Department of Labor about it. Star-Advertiser.


Kauai Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. will admit that the County of Kauai was in a tough place last year. Reserve funds were low. The county’s share of the transient accommodations taxes was capped for the third consecutive year. Garden Island.

Major shifts will take place over the next month within Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr.’s administration as some longtime county employees retire and new ones join the ranks. Garden Island.

The redevelopment of the Coco Palms Resort on Kauai is, in a way, not about architecture, but more about respecting and bringing back the culture and history of the iconic resort, the architect for the project told Pacific Business News.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Tulsi Gabbard's plan to stay in U.S. House changes state political dynamic; budget, open-government bills in state Legislature, voter turnout up, invasive species feared from Japan tsunami, Hong Kong investment capital, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2015 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Tulsi Gabbard campaigns in 2012 file photo © 2015 All Hawaii News
Scratch all the talk that Tulsi Gabbard might challenge Brian Schatz for his U.S. Senate seat in 2016. Schatz, the senator from Hawaii, is co-hosting a fundraiser for the representative of Hawaii’s 2nd Congressional District next month. Civil Beat.

U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii was eyed as a rising political star even before she was elected to Congress in 2012 — she spoke at the Democratic National Convention that year just weeks after winning a primary election. But her profile on the national stage has risen to a new level in recent months. Civil Beat.

Krishna Cult Rumors Still Dog Tulsi Gabbard. The Hawaii congresswoman’s national rise is inviting closer scrutiny of her family ties to a fringe sect. Civil Beat.

The Hawaii House of Representatives is poised to pass a state budget that includes slightly less spending than what was requested by the governor, who had warned that there was no extra money for increases to programs in the upcoming two years. The House Committee on Finance combed through the budget and recommended $12.7 billion in spending for fiscal year 2016, which begins July 1, and $13.1 billion in 2017. Associated Press.

Open-meetings advocates make gains at Capitol. A state Senate bill would have public boards report about private decisions. Associated Press.

Opinion: How good a friend do you have to be before you can tell your buddy "no"? When the full state Senate votes on the nomination of Carleton Ching as chairman of the Board of Land and Natural Resources, it will also be weighing its very real friendship with Gov. David Ige. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii’s voter turnout last year ranked it at No. 32 across the country. That’s up from the No. 36 position we held in 2010, according to a new analysis from Nonprofit VOTE. All told, Hawaii had a turnout of 36.5 percent among citizen eligible voters in 2014. Civil Beat.

Debris from the Japanese tsunami four years ago is still washing up on Hawaii shores and elsewhere around the Pacific. And there's still fears that invasive species hitching a ride on the debris could become established where they've washed up. Hawaii News Now.

Hong Kong’s Commissioner
to the United States says more investment capital from his home city could be headed for Hawai‘i. Hawaii Public Radio.


More than half of the buyers in The Howard Hughes Corp.'s first two luxury condominium towers in Honolulu are from Hawaii, with the remaining buyers from Japan, Canada, China, Korea, Australia and the Mainland, the Texas-based developer said Friday in a letter to its shareholders. Pacific Business News.

A hairy green-leaf Cyanea with a brilliant purple flower — is being recognized as the state's newest species described to science. The researchers named the rare find Cyanea konahuanuiensis, which pays homage to the place it was found: near the summit of the 3,150-foot Kona­hua­nui, the tallest peak in the Koolau Range in East Oahu. Star-Advertiser.

Demolition of elementary classrooms at Punahou School is the latest project of Re-use Hawaii, a nonprofit organization that tears down buildings and sells the salvageable materials. Star-Advertiser.

Members of the Koolau Loa Neighborhood Board could not reach an agreement over who should fill a vacancy for Hauula District at last month’s meeting. Hawaii Independent.


Protesters plan to make their presence known at the Waikoloa resorts this weekend, where the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade negotiations are underway. Big Island Video News.

A U.S. Geological Survey geochemist has confirmed that the ongoing eruption at Kilauea Volcano gets its supply of lava from two small sources beneath the earth's crust, not one large one. Star-Advertiser.

A 1,000-acre swath of South Kona mauka forestland has been placed under protection from development. The land, located in the Kaawaloa Forest between 2,300 and 4,300 feet in elevation, is rare native wet forest with a diversity of indigenous plants, trees and birds, said Greg Hendrickson, real property administrator for Hokukano Ranch, the property owners. West Hawaii Today.


While Maui County officials mull what to do about erosion to an unprotected section of South Kihei Road, they are wrestling with forces of nature - rising sea levels and El Nino. Maui News.

A standing-room-only crowd of residents voiced concerns about a proposed leach field at Kapueokahi, or Hana Bay, during a community meeting Thursday. Maui News.

Maui’s real estate market is continuing to show signs of returning to normalcy, following the upheaval of the recession several years ago that left in its wake widespread foreclosures and short sales in Maui County. Maui News.


Kauai County officials say they have done their fair share of listening over the past year. During that time, one key theme arose consistently when the county's finances were discussed. Garden Island.

Two incumbents and a former member won seats to the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative Board of Directors on Saturday. Dennis M. Esaki, Karen Baldwin and Patrick Gegen outpaced the eight-candidate field in the election that started Feb. 19. Garden Island.

Serious problems nearly shut down the Civil Air Patrol’s Hawaii Wing. Civil Air Patrol Regional Commander Col. Brian Bishop met with CAP members on Oahu, Maui, Hawaii Island and Kauai last week to listen to concerns regarding the squadrons that have experienced unease recently. Garden Island.

County looks to expand Black Pot Beach Park. Garden Island.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources is seeking applicants to serve on an advisory council for Kokee State Park. The nine-member council advises the department on issues related to the management of Kokee and Waimea Canyon state parks. Garden Island.

Kauai’s South Shore will become a miniature underwater video observatory, offering a fish-eye-view of coral, marine life — and a possible swimmer or two — in a grant-funded pilot project geared to help students learn more about the underwater world. Garden Island.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Senate panel rejects Ching, state economy grows, homeless targeted at Honolulu airport, Ways and Means chair Tokuda has a side job, Kauai dairy opponents prepare lawsuit, NELHA brings in the bucks, secret Trans-Pacific Partnership meetings held, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2015 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Tourists in Waikiki © 2015 All Hawaii News
The state Council on Revenues adjusted its projection of state tax collections upward by about $55 million for the current year on Thursday, but House Finance Chairwoman Sylvia Luke said she will still budget cautiously because the state is still spending more money than it takes in. Star-Advertiser.

Lower oil prices, a strong construction market and a thriving tourism industry prompted the Hawaii Council on Revenues to slightly upgrade its fiscal forecast for the state Thursday. Civil Beat.

Following a grueling day-and-a-half of tough questions and tense discussion, a Senate committee Thursday rejected Gov. David Ige's choice of Carleton Ching as chairman of the state Board of Land and Natural Resources. Star-Advertiser.

Gov. David  Ige couldn’t save his nominee, Carleton Ching, to head the state Department of Land and Natural Resources from rejection as Senate Water and Land Committee members voted against recommending his approval. Civil Beat.

The Senate Committee on Water and Land rejected the nomination of Carleton Ching to chair the Department of Land and Natural Resources Thursday afternoon. Hawaii News Now.

A panel of Hawaii lawmakers is recommending that the Senate should reject Gov. David Ige’s nominee to lead the Department of Land and Natural Resources. Members of the Senate Committee on Water and Land voted 5-2 to recommend rejecting nominee Carleton Ching on Thursday. Associated Press.

Senate committee rejects Carleton Ching nomination on 5-2 vote. Members cite Ching’s lack of understanding, expertise. KITV4.

The state Senate Committee on Water and Land voted Thursday against Gov. David Ige’s controversial nomination to lead the Department of Land and Natural Resources. KHON2.

The Senate unanimously confirmed two more of Gov. David Ige's Cabinet members on Thursday: Douglas Chin as state attorney general and Nolan Espinda as director of the Department of Public Safety. Star-Advertiser.

Sen. Jill Tokuda, the chairwoman of the state Senate's powerful Ways and Means Committee, which plays a key role in deciding who gets state funding, has been serving as a paid consultant for the Daniel K. Inouye Institute. Star-Advertiser.

The House Finance Committee cut about $72 million this week from the University of Hawaii's budget request for the upcoming fiscal year. Star-Advertiser.

Gov. David Ige has nominated Keith "Keone" Downing, Ulalia Woodside and Christopher Yuen to the seven-member Board of Land and Natural Resources. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii Congressional Delegation has announced that the U.S. Department of Education will allocate more than $47 million in Title I, Part A Grants to local educational agencies in Hawaii, Honolulu, Kauai and Maui counties for the 2015-2016 school year. Maui Time.

Hawaiian Telcom's earnings fell 24.8 percent in the fourth quarter as it invested in its infrastructure to add more customers for its television and high-speed Internet services. Star-Advertiser.

Opinion: Adult Care Online Reports: Comforting The Afflicted. A reporter's persistence helped pressure the Department of Health to live up to its statutory obligation to post adult care home inspections. Civil Beat.


Soil tests on an empty plot of land on Sand Island where Mayor Kirk Caldwell has proposed relocating up to 100 homeless people indicate that the area is safe for human habitation, according to Fenix Grange, a supervisor in the Hawaii Department of Health’s Hazard Evaluation and Emergency Response Office. Civil Beat.

A major change is coming to make Honolulu International Airport safer and more secure. It has to do with publicly accessible areas, where many people have been sleeping or camping out overnight. KHON2.


The Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority’s economic impact on Hawaii increased significantly from 2010 to 2013, University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization researchers found. West Hawaii Today.

A new analysis of the economic impact of NELHA’s Hawaii Ocean Science and Technology Park at Keahole Point on Hawaii Island finds that the total economic impact of the park has surged by 40 percent between 2010 and 2013. The Economic Research Organization at the University of Hawaii (UHERO) report says the benefit to the greater Hawaii economy was $123 millio in 2013. Civil Beat.

A company owned by garbage hauler Pacific Waste Inc. is moving forward on long-held plans to build a waste conversion system in West Hawaii. BioEnergy Hawaii LLC announced Thursday that it is negotiating for land near the West Hawaii Sanitary Landfill at Puuanahulu for a resource recovery site. West Hawaii Today.

BioEnergy Hawaii LLC, a Kailua-Kona based developer of waste treatment and alternative energy systems, plans to build a $50 million facility on the Big Island that will divert about 70 percent of the solid waste destined for the landfill and convert it to recyclable materials, the company said Thursday. Pacific Business News.

A community forum was held in Hilo Wednesday night on the subject of the Trans-Pacific Partnership – a proposed regional regulatory and investment treaty involving twelve countries throughout the Asia-Pacific region currently in negotiations. This week, those negotiations are reportedly being conducted, behind closed doors, at the posh Waikoloa resorts. Big Island Video News.

Hawaii County has broken ground on a project aimed at easing traffic on Kinoole Street while providing a new route between the University of Hawaii at Hilo campus and the downtown area. Tribune-Herald.

Over 10,000 acres of native forest in South Kona are being protected from development under an agreement between landowners and the state and federal governments. The state Department of Land and Natural Resources said Thursday previous landowners had won county approval to build 500 residential lots and an Arnold Palmer golf course on the land. Associated Press.

Parking has never been an easy or safe thing at the head of the Kaawaloa Trail where Napoopoo Road meets Highway 11 in Captain Cook. West Hawaii Today.


A nascent Maui-based line of vegan, organic, gluten-free, soy-free and GMO-free food products has proliferated around the state and now is expanding to California. Star-Advertiser.

Civil Air Patrol pilots and former members called for the reinstatement of the now-disbanded 57th Kahului squadron during a heated town hall meeting on Monday at its former Kahului Airport headquarters. Maui News.


Oregon-based environmental attorney Charlie Tebbutt filed a notice of intent to sue those behind the proposed $17.5 million, 578-acre dairy in Mahaulepu Valley. The notice includes eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and says it is for ongoing violations of the federal Clean Water Act. Garden Island.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Senate panel grills Ching over DLNR post, House passes $6.5B budget, firearm registrations drop, Maui cancels GMO update, Hawaii council chairman cleared on ethics complaint, lawmakers raise money during legislative session, merger prompts rail contract cancellation, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

screen shot March 11 2015
Gov. David Ige, DLNR nominee Carleton Ching, Senate committee screen shot
Carleton Ching listened for hours Wednesday as dozens of unhappy environmentalists argued he is not qualified to lead the state Department of Land and Natural Resources and its 900 employees. Star-Advertiser.

Nearly eight hours into a Senate committee confirmation hearing on whether to recommend approving the nomination of Carleton Ching to head the Department of Land and Natural Resources, Sen. Sam Slom lobbed the Castle & Cooke lobbyist a classic interview question: “Why should we hire you?” Civil Beat.

A Hawaii Senate panel took up Gov. David Ige’s nomination of Carleton Ching to lead the Department of Land and Natural Resources, but decided after a nine-hour hearing that it still had too many questions for the nominee to take a vote. Associated Press.

Carleton Ching, Gov. David Ige's controversial nominee to head the Department of Land and Natural Resources, went before the Senate Water and Land Committee today, amid heavy opposition. Hawaii News Now.

Governor David Ige's choice to head up the Department of Land and Natural Resources got an earful of criticism Wednesday. The confirmation hearing for Carleton Ching featured what one lawmaker called "unprecedented opposition." KITV4.

It’s been an all-day session at the State Capitol as senators begin to decide whether or not to confirm Gov. David Ige’s controversial nomination to lead the Department of Land and Natural Resources. For roughly eight hours before the state Senate Committee on Water and Land Wednesday, people testified for and against Carleton Ching as chairman. KHON2.

Live Blog: Carleton Ching confirmation hearing. Hawaii Independent.

A proposed budget of $6.5 billion in general funds was approved by the House Finance Committee on Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

For the second time in two years the Hawaii Legislature has failed to pass a measure that would set minimum training standards for law enforcement officers and create a certification process that would help keep bad cops off the force. Civil Beat.

The number of firearms registered in Hawaii last year decreased after several years of steady increases. The state attorney general's office said Wednesday about 48,000 firearms were registered during 2014. That's a 20.5 percent decrease from the previous year's record high of about 61,000. Associated Press.

Gun dealers in Hawaii say an ammunition shortage, especially for .22-caliber bullets, continues even as firearm permit applications declined in 2014 — the first drop for the islands in eight years. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii’s Department of the Attorney General said Wednesday that firearm permits dropped significantly last year. Civil Beat.

The Department of Health has started posting on its website the inspection reports for community care family foster homes and adult day care centers, moving the agency into compliance with a state law. Civil Beat.

A cooling-off in visitor satisfaction levels from mostly international travelers, coupled with unfavorable exchange rates, could throw off industry growth enough to fall short of 2015 targets. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii's tourism is looking at another strong year, but the state's largest industry is vulnerable to issues like the price of oil and currency valuation, the Hawaii Tourism Authority said Wednesday. Pacific Business News.

It should be a swell happy hour at Ferguson’s Irish Pub in downtown Honolulu on Wednesday night. That’s where Hawaii state Reps. Richard Onishi, Bert Kobayashi, Takashi Ohno, Nicole Lowen, Justin Woodson and Richard Creagan will be. Suggested donations start at $50. Civil Beat.

A multimillion-dollar rail contract is getting the ax because two companies, AECOM and URS, merged last fall. Both have rail contracts with URS paid $63 million to watch over the $99 million in various jobs AECOM is doing, including designing some rail stations and guideway sections. KHON2.

A bill aimed at cracking down on illegal vacation rentals on Oahu picked up a preliminary approval from the Honolulu City Council on Wednesday as did two other bills that would open up the number of residential properties that may include a second dwelling unit. Star-Advertiser.

As it turns out, the state Attorney General's Office did receive two complaints from the state Campaign Spending Commission in November about the 2012 mayoral campaign activities of the Pacific Resource Partnership's political action committee, despite assertions earlier this week from the Attorney General's Office that it was never given the cases. Star-Advertiser.

The military will briefly close most gates to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam while troops conduct an exercise. Base officials say the gates will close for about 15 minutes starting at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday. Associated Press.


The Hawaii County Board of Ethics plans to investigate lobbying activity by the Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawaii, even as it cleared County Council Chairman Dru Kanuha on Wednesday of any wrongdoing. West Hawaii Today.

A $55 million appropriation to build a new judiciary complex in North Kona has cleared the state House of Representatives. West Hawaii Today.

Legislation to fund salaries and equipment for ocean safety officers at the state beach advanced out of the House of Representatives on Wednesday. Rep. Cindy Evans, D-Kohala, North Kona, said the proposal got a boost at the Capitol from a Hawaii County Council resolution calling for services at the increasingly crowded but often dangerous North Kona bay. West Hawaii Today.

Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems is building a “Lunar Sidewalk” project in Hilo. Fronting the tennis courts mauka of Lincoln Park on Kinoole Street, will feature three different slabs made from experimental volcanic basalt materials that one day could be used to build structures and pavement on other worlds. Tribune-Herald.


A hearing scheduled for Friday to update council members on litigation arising from a initiative passed by voters to impose a moratorium on farming genetically modified organisms has been canceled by the Maui County Council's Committee of the Whole. Maui News.

A bill allowing the Maui region of Hawaii's state-owned hospitals to enter into a partnership with a private business passed the state House of Representatives Tuesday morning and is on its way to the Senate. Pacific Business News.

Civil Air Patrol pilots and former members called for the reinstatement of the now-disbanded 57th Kahului squadron during a heated town hall meeting on Monday at its former Kahului Airport headquarters. Maui News.

A preliminary allocation of $4,925,038 in federal funds have been announced for local educational agencies in Maui County. Maui Now.

The Kauai County Council on Wednesday voted down a proposal that would freeze the real property taxes for qualified homestead properties that received substantial increases last year. Garden Island.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Cayetano files FEC complaint on 2012 election, possible measles on Maui, Ige mulls first 100 days, most oppose Ching at DLNR, officials still optimistic about Obama library, snow delays Thirty Meter Telescope construction, laser beam could shine atop Haleakala, Hawaii County changes land purchase rules, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2015 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Hawaii farmers market © 2015 All Hawaii News
Lawmakers Struggle to Boost Hawaii’s Food Production. The Hawaii Legislature is looking at easing restrictions, reconfiguring taxes and mandating recommendations from past studies to decrease dependence on imports. Civil Beat.

It's the measuring stick that all governors face, the first 100 days of a new administration. It often sets the tone for the years that follow. So what does Gov. David Ige think of his early performance? KITV4.

A controversial nominee is defending his ability to lead the Department of Land and Natural Resources. In a newly-released questionnaire, Carleton Ching responds to growing concerns about his experience and a potential conflict of interest. Hawaii News Now.

Testimony against Carlton Ching nomination running 9-1. Controversial appointment draws close to 1,000 pieces of testimony. Hawaii Independent.

Hawaii fell in its national rank for rooftop solar as residential installations slowed because of Hawaiian Electric Co.'s backlog of system approvals, a new study showed. Hawaii's ranking for residential rooftop photovoltaic installations plunged to fifth in the nation last year from the second spot in 2013, despite 2014 marking the largest year to date for national growth in solar installations and a consistent national increase of home solar across the U.S., according to data from GTM Research, a division of Greentech Media that provides solar market analysis. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii officials say they remain optimistic Honolulu will end up with at least a part of the Barack Obama presidential library despite recent signs that the president's foundation is working with Chicago to help put its best foot forward. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii lawmakers are on track to add new insurance requirements to the ride­ sharing services Uber and Lyft. The bill, Senate Bill 1280, attempts to address what many see as an “insurance gap.” Civil Beat.

Hawaii's retail trade industry reported sales of $18.9 billion in 2012, according to data recently released by the U.S. Census. Pacific Business News.

Astronomy in Hawai’i generates more than 88 million dollars in revenue for all 4 counties.   That, according to UH Economic Research Organization.   Now, the state also has an opportunity to pioneer in the next generation of space communications technology. Hawaii Public Radio.

An endangered or threatened species listing may be warranted for the common thresher shark, the National Marine Fisheries Service says. West Hawaii Today.

A retired state Supreme Court justice and his wife have endowed a new scholarship at the University of Hawaii's law school. The university announced Monday the scholarship by Simeon Acoba Jr. and his wife, Carolyn Acoba, will go toward tuition payments at the law school, with a preference for students who attended public high schools. Associated Press.


Former Gov. Ben Cayetano has escalated his battle against the political action committee that opposed his unsuccessful anti-rail 2012 mayoral campaign by filing a federal complaint alleging campaign law violations by the current chief of staff to U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz and others. Star-Advertiser.

Former Hawaii Gov. Ben Cayetano is taking his fight with the Pacific Resource Partnership to the Federal Election Commission, and this time he’s dragging U.S. Sens. Brian Schatz and Mazie Hirono into the mix. Civil Beat.

State lawmakers are considering whether to require the University of Hawaii Board of Regents lease or sell the UH Cancer Center campus in Honolulu's Kakako neighborhood. Pacific Business News.

The Western Association of Schools and Colleges has extended the University of Hawaii at West Oahu's accreditation for seven years and removed a so-called "notice of concern" imposed in 2012 just before the university welcomed students to its new Kapo­lei campus. Star-Advertiser.

Even though it paid $1 million dollars to settle federal criminal charges over one of the Hawaii's worst-ever environmental spills, Matson Inc. still faces a state civil investigation into damages to coral and other natural resources. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu’s director of planning and permitting is contemplating the creation of a new rural land development standard to make it easier and less expensive to build new homes in rural parts of Oahu. That is among many ideas George Atta is exploring as he ponders ways to address the needs of a growing population without changing Oahu’s urban boundaries. Civil Beat.

The U.S. Department of Labor says a restaurant at Ala Moana Center illegally required servers to share tips while paying them less than minimum wage. The department announced Monday 68 employees at Tsukiji Fish Market restaurant are owed nearly $50,000 in tips and more than $5,000 in back wages. Associated Press.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige will participate in a town hall Thursday with residents of Aiea and Pearl City. It’s set for 7-8:30 p.m. at Pearl Ridge Elementary School Cafeteria. Civil Beat.


Frustrated by recent end runs by the Hawaii County Council, the commission charged by the county charter to prioritize public land for open space purchase is tightening the rules. The Public Access, Open Space and Natural Resources Commission on Monday changed the rules to require properties to earn at least 50 percent of the criteria points to be placed on the priority list for purchase. West Hawaii Today.

A Kailua-Kona woman who applied to be a legal clerk for Hawaii County contends she should not have had to disclose her medical history and undergo a physical examination and drug test before she starts the government job. Rebekah Taylor-Failor filed a class-action lawsuit Monday in U.S. District Court against the county, claiming the county's pre-employment requirements violate her constitutional rights against illegal searches and seizures, and invasion of privacy. Star-Advertiser.

The start of construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea is being delayed by blizzard conditions on the mountain’s summit. Tribune-Herald.

The state is moving forward with plans to construct a much-anticipated science and technology building that will provide enhanced classroom space for middle school pupils in Waimea. The 25,177-square-foot building will provide nine modern science classrooms and laboratories for students, according to a draft environmental assessment released Saturday for the $12.7 million Waimea Middle School project. West Hawaii Today.

The building that has been home to the Hawaii Tribune-Herald for more than six decades is up for sale. The 24,000-square-foot facility, located at 355 Kinoole St. in downtown Hilo, has an asking price of $4.25 million.

The owners of the Hilo Naniloa Hotel are aiming to show off their completed renovations as early as November, nearly two years after they acquired the Banyan Drive hotel, according to plans submitted to the state Department of Land and Natural Resources. Tribune-Herald.


Health officials are investigating a possible new measles case on Maui, but say there are no “confirmed” cases so far for 2015. Maui Now.

The U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory is proposing to develop a $3 million orange laser beam aimed at helping scientists see better through a telescope atop Haleakala. Maui News.

A federal judge will hear arguments over how a lawsuit challenging Maui's ban on the cultivation of genetically modified organisms should proceed while state lawmakers consider bills that could affect the outcome of the case. U.S. District Court Judge Susan Oki Mollway is scheduled to hold a hearing in federal court in Honolulu on Tuesday. Associated Press.

The Department of Parks and Recreation District Permit Offices will be closed for several days in March and the first week of April as the department implements a new software permitting system. Maui News.


The public is invited to attend the State of the County address by Mayor Bernard Carvalho, Jr. on Monday. The mayor will provide an overview of his fiscal year 2016 budget submittal. Garden Island.

A Kauai County spokeswoman is headed for a new job as community outreach manager for global agribusiness company Syngenta. Beth Tokioka's last day with the county will be Monday. She starts a week later at Syngenta on Kauai. Associated Press.

J Robertson, chair of the Kauai Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, will be the interim director of the Kauai Chamber. Garden Island.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Hawaii gets an A in education; new tests begin today; Legislature mulls rail tax, medical marijuana dispensaries, hospitals; OHA mum on geothermal money trail; Maui sugar cane burning continues; more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy Hawaii Department of Education
Hawaii classroom, courtesy state Department of Education
The U.S. Department of Education is giving Hawaii a flawless progress report on reforms that replaced provisions of the federal No Child Left Behind law. The report, obtained by The Associated Press, shows that Hawaii received the highest mark of “meeting expectations” for all categories of monitoring. Only a handful of states achieved such high scores, the department said.

Starting tomorrow, schools across the state will begin a new wave of standardized tests. They're called the Smarter Balanced Assessments and they're part of the national Common Core standards approach. Hawaii Public Radio.

Crucial decisions on medical marijuana dispensaries, the future of Hawaii's public hospitals and a tax to fund Honolulu's financially struggling rail project hang in the balance as the Hawaii Legislature approaches a major deadline. All bills must pass out of their chamber of origin this week, and those that don't make the deadline will die. Associated Press.

Former Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie says that he never expected to be an elected official, and that if he hadn't run for the state's top public office, he was going to retire after his decades-long run as a U.S. congressman, he told Pacific Business News this week in an exclusive interview.

The state’s chief elections officer would have to undergo a performance evaluation after each general election under a plan approved by the state Senate. Associated Press.

Last month, in what has become an annual discussion point, state senators introduced a bill that would make it illegal, starting Jan. 1, for GMO food to be sold in the state unless it bears a label that reads, “This product contains a genetically engineered material, or was produced with a genetically engineered material.” Garden Island.

The Hawaii House voted Friday to keep its longest-serving member after a first-of-its-kind panel was convened to examine his residency and recommended that he stay. The chamber’s voice-vote decision regarding Rep. Calvin Say stemmed from a challenge over whether the Democrat lives in the district he represents. Associated Press.

Opinion: The “Lobbyist on Lanai” left a community torn apart by Big Wind. Carleton Ching's involvement with the proposed "Big Wind" project on Lanai flies in the face of the governor's empty statement that Ching "brings communities together." Hawaii Independent.

Opinion: Buffer Zones: Protecting Paradise From Restricted Use Pesticides. This is not an agricultural issue, it is a health issue. Hawaii needs to put in place pesticide buffer zones and other protective measures. Civil Beat.

NOAA aims to prevent capture of whale sharks. New regulations prohibit catching the gentle giants in specialized fishing nets. Star-Advertiser.


The biggest Army exercise in Hawaii in over a decade just wrapped up, with about 5,000 soldiers playing both friend and foe as the fictional nation of Ari battled another government and Islamic extremists across a made-up Asia-Pacific archipelago. Star-Advertiser.

Saving Waikiki Beach — At Least for Now. The city hopes to raise $600,000 annually from local businesses to combat chronic erosion, but some are balking at the proposal. Would the efforts merely stave off the inevitable? Civil Beat.

The Institute for Human Services, with support from the state’s visitor industry, has started running a shuttle between Waikiki and its Iwilei shelter to help the tourist district’s unsheltered homeless residents get on the fast track to housing. Star-Advertiser.

Five companies submitted bids this week to build the three rail stations in the Farrington Highway Station Group, which consists of the West Loch Station, the Waipahu Transit Center Station and the station at Leeward Community College. Hawaii Independent.

The union that represents HandiVan drivers believes disgruntled customers should be able to call the mayor, city manager or Transportation Service Department with their complaints.The management believes otherwise. Hawaii News Now.

A former school accounting clerk arrested last month for theft and money laundering allegedly used a Halau Lokahi Charter School bank card to rack up more than $5,200 worth of purchases — including several dozen rolls of design-printed duct tape — that were shipped to her Aiea home, according to court records obtained by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.


Less than two weeks after Hawaii Electric Light Co. selected Ormat Technologies to build the Big Island’s next geothermal power plant, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs is declining to answer questions regarding its investment in a company that submitted a competing bid, claiming that information is confidential. Tribune-Herald.

Thanks to Hilo resident Dan Marks, the United States may be on its way to a Constitutional Convention. The states have been asking to convene one for years. And as Marks found out, all he had to do was ask the right person to start counting. Big Island Video News.

Two federal assistance programs are holding up money for Native Hawaiian housing on parts of Hawaii Island because of unexploded World War II bombs and other munitions that have not been cleaned up. Associated Press.

A winter weather advisory remains in effect until 6 p.m. Monday for the Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea summits, the National Weather Service reports. Up to 1 inch of new snow is expected to fall above 12,500 feet in elevation, forecasters said. The temperature will be in the lower 20s and visibility could be reduced to less than one-half mile at times. West Hawaii Today.


A dispute over the height of a Maalaea landfill has led to a warning letter from Maui County, the shutdown of the facility and a request for a ruling Tuesday from the Maui Planning Commission. Maui News.

Maui County Council members will take up Monday morning a bill that aims to provide "uniformity and parity" in agricultural real property tax assessments, according to an announcement from Budget and Finance Committee Chairman Riki Hokama. Maui News.

Sugar cane smoke will soon rise again over Maui as the state Department of Health continues its annual practice of approving a permit to burn fields without holding a public hearing, despite persistent requests of opponents who worry the widespread smoke endangers the health of island residents. Civil Beat.

A community meeting to address planned improvements to the Hāna Bay septic system is scheduled to take place on Thursday, March 12, 2015. Maui Now.

A Maui County Council committee will review a proposed resolution urging the state Board on Geographic Names to change the name of Iao Stream to Wailuku River. Maui News.


A group of four Kauai County officials charged with trimming costs say they have identified close to $400,000 in salary and benefit savings for next year’s budget. Garden Island.

As the draft conservation plan and environmental assessment nears the end of its public comment period, officials at Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge are already talking about changes they want to see. Garden Island.