Showing posts with label Council on Revenues. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Council on Revenues. Show all posts

Thursday, May 30, 2024

HECO unveils power shutoff plan for wildfires, Turtle Bay sale rebrands as Ritz-Carlton, food insecurity grows, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaiian Electric lays out initial plan for wildfire prevention power shutoffs. About 48,000 Hawaiian Electric customers on four islands should start preparing for power shutoffs possibly lasting several hours to a few days under a new effort to prevent wildfires during high-risk weather conditions. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.  Tribune-Herald.  Big Island Video News. Maui Now.  Hawaii News Now.  KITV4.

Hawaii Council On Revenues Trims Its State Tax Collection Estimate.
The Council on Revenues is projecting that state government will have about $65 million less to spend this fiscal year than lawmakers and Gov. Josh Green’s administration had anticipated during the past legislative session. Civil Beat.

Hawaii bills address two very different uses for AI.
Hawaii is preparing for the advent of artificial intelligence through a pair of proposed laws on the verge of passage. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii Foodbank shares concerns over food insecurity. Nearly one in three households in the state experienced food insecurity last year, and in 29% of households with children, at least one child faced food insecurity, according to the Hawaii Foodbank’s 2023 report released Wednesday. Star-Advertiser. Tribune-Herald. KITV4.

Feeding Kids Can Be Tough For Some Hawaii Charter Schools. Without state funding, principals say they need to find creative solutions to offer lunches to their students. Civil Beat.

COVID is on the rise in Hawaii; possible summer wave ahead. Health officials on Wednesday reported an average positivity rate of 10.5%, up from 8.5% the previous week. On May 1, the average positivity rate was at 4.3%. The seven-day average reported Wednesday reached 100 per day, double what it was mid-May. Star-Advertiser.

Virginia Beck reflects on 20 years of engaging the public in the legislative process. Virginia Beck has been the head coordinator at the Public Access Room for nearly 10 years, and has worked there for almost 20. She will retire at the end of the week. Hawaii Public Radio.


Turtle Bay Resort sold and to be rebranded as Ritz-Carlton. A Maryland-based lodging and real estate investment firm said Wednesday that it has entered into an agreement to acquire the 450-room Turtle Bay Resort and nearby land for at least $680 million. Star-Advertiser.

Blangiardi signs resolution creating standalone Ocean Safety Department. Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi signed a resolution creating a standalone Ocean Safety Department in a ceremony at Honolulu Hale on Wednesday afternoon. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

City salaries resolution closer to 2024 ballot. The Honolulu City Council resolutions urging voter-approved charter amendments to overhaul how the city pays its employees were reduced to one this week. Star-Advertiser.

City cannot recoup $12.5M from man facing gun, drug charges. The 38-year-old man awarded $12.5 million after he sued the city following injuries suffered in a 2021 police pursuit appeared in court Wednesday to face federal charges that he used a ghost gun while selling methamphetamine in Waianae. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Judge Orders New Environmental Review Of West Oahu Wave Pool.
A judge has halted plans for an artificial wave pool until developers can revise an environmental assessment to address concerns raised by Native Hawaiians and others who say the project is unnecessary in the birthplace of surfing and a waste of water. Associated Press.

‘Honolulu is the safest place to visit in the world’ . According to a survey conducted by Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection, Honolulu is the safest place to visit in the world. KHON2.

Hawaii Island

Hawaiʻi Food Insecurity Highest On Big Island, Report Finds. Food insecurity rates were reported to be the highest of Hawaiʻi island (40%), followed by Maui (31%) and Oʻahu (28%). Big Island Video News.  Big Island Now.


FEMA seeks over 20 long-term positions on Maui.  FEMA is on a hiring spree to fill nearly two dozen long-term positions on Maui. Departments include media relations, IT, and digital communications. Hawaii News Now.

Red Cross Regional CEO Was Fired After Standing Up For Maui Wildfire Survivors, Lawyer Says. Former Hawaii Red Cross CEO Diane Peters-Nguyen was fired from the nonprofit disaster relief organization in early May after she called for reforms and urged the organization to stop prodding Maui wildfire victims to move off-island, her attorney says.  Civil Beat.

Maui Fire battalion chief charged with sexually assaulting minor. Prosecutors on Wednesday charged a veteran Maui Fire Department battalion chief with first-degree sexual assault and continuous sexual assault of a minor under 14 years old. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Maui’s police chief defends pricey night-vision chopper request.
Maui Police Chief John Pelletier wants to invest $24 million over the next decade on a helicopter program that he says will improve safety in the county.  Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Maui Fire Survivor Gets Kicked Out Of Emergency Shelter In Hotel While Away On A Work Trip. The Lahaina businesswoman had made prior arrangements with the Red Cross but says she's not inclined to fight its decision since the program is winding down anyway. Civil Beat.


DLNR says it found no evidence cruise ship violated state rule. The Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources today said it failed to find any evidence that a Celebrity Cruise Lines ship violated state rules while sailing off Kauai’s Na Pali Coast earlier this month. Star-Advertiser. Kauai Now.

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.

Thursday, May 18, 2023

Preschool program ahead of schedule, under budget, tax collections take downturn, 5th Honolulu pleads guilty to taking bribes to expedite building permits, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

‘Just the beginning’: State ahead of schedule, under budget on ambitious Ready Keiki preschool program. The state on Wednesday signed the first 11 contracts for Ready Keiki preschool program at a cost of about half previous estimates. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Hawaii tax collections turned red in April. The state Council on Revenues at a Monday meeting projected that Hawaii tax collections for the fiscal year ending June 30 will slip 1%. Star-Advertiser.

State takes closer tax look at cash-based businesses. Some businesses may not report all their sales or income to the State Tax Department. That can be a problem for ones that deal mainly with cash. KITV4.

Hawaii housing units increase as population declines, census data reports. Hawaii’s housing shortage eased somewhat with the addition of 6,071 housing units from 2020 to 2022, with help from the state’s declining population, according to new U.S. Census Bureau estimates. Star-Advertiser.

Governor lists accomplishments, wish list at in-person town hall. 
Nearly six months into his term, Gov. Josh Green wanted to use his first in-person town hall appearance to highlight the progress that’s been made since he took office. Hawaii News Now.


Ex-city official pleads guilty to taking cash bribes. Jocelyn Godoy, the fifth city employee who took cash bribes to move plans through the city Department of Planning and Permitting entered a plea of guilty Wednesday as part of an agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.

Honolulu Council revisits proposal to tax houses that sit empty on Oʻahu. Members of the Honolulu City Council’s recently assembled real property taxation working group met Tuesday to talk over proposals that could affect more than 130,000 island households. Hawaii Public Radio.

Honolulu City Council to offer 50% property tax break to businesses impacted by rail construction. The rail is preparing to welcome riders for the grand opening of the first phase of the project in June, but construction along Dillingham Blvd. further down the line is still years from completion. KHON2.

Oʻahu Business Recovery Grant portal closes following short-lived reopening. The Chamber of Commerce of Hawaiʻi and the City and County of Honolulu reopened the Oʻahu Business Recovery Grant portal on Monday, and closed it shortly after.  Hawaii Public Radio.

Despite accelerated timeline, military’s Red Hill plan doesn’t account for up to 400,000 gallons of fuel. The Department of Defense has released an ambitious timeline for defueling the underground Red Hill facility, saying that crews will begin emptying the tanks in October. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

A Rough-And-Tumble Oahu Park Is Finally Getting Some Love As Rail Opening Looms. Community input is helping resuscitate Makalapa Neighborhood Park. Civil Beat.

Kaneohe Bay Pollution Is Prompting Congressional Attention. Hawaii delegation wants to get money to upgrade a failing wastewater treatment plant. Marine Corps Base Hawaii needs to upgrade its aging wastewater treatment plant after being fined nearly $250,000 last year for discharging high levels of fecal bacteria into the popular bay. Civil Beat.

Humane Society to open second Oahu location. The Hawaiian Humane Society is opening its second facility — the Kosasa Family Campus at Ho‘opili — on Saturday in Ewa Beach with a grand opening celebration. Star-Advertiser. KHON2. KITV4.

Hawaii Island

Council kicks ag bills down the road. The future of a property tax break for farm owners is uncertain after Hawaii County Council members discussed Wednesday whether to scrap a bill that would overhaul the process. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaiʻi County Council gives favorable recommendation to new sustainability office.  A bill that would create a new cabinet-level Office of Sustainability, Climate, Equity and Resilience moved a step forward Tuesday with a favorable recommendation by the Hawaiʻi County Council’s Governmental Operations and External Affairs Committee. Big Island Now.

Hawaii County Police Department implements year-round recruitment for Police Officers. The decision to accept applications throughout the year aims to make it more convenient for aspiring police officers to join the force. Hawaii News Now.

Waipiʻo Valley Road Rockfall Work Set For May 22. County officials estimate Waipiʻo Valley Road will be temporarily closed from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, Monday to Friday for approximately six weeks, as crews work to address potential rockfall hazards in the area. Big Island Video News.


Input sought on plan that calls for fewer air tours at Haleakala. The draft air tour management plan would authorize up to 2,412 air tours per year on a defined route within the air tour management plan planning area. On average, there were 4,824 air tours per year reported at Haleakala National Park from 2017 to 2019. Maui News.

Three new doctors join Kaiser Permanente Hawaiʻi on Maui, Oʻahu. Jennifer Villa, MD, joins the behavioral health department at Kaiser Permanente Maui Lani Medical Office. Maui Now.


Seabird restoration project begins at critical Kaua‘i cultural site. Several governmental, cultural and conservationist groups have teamed up to restore seabird populations at Nu‘alolo Kai, one of Kaua‘i’s most significant cultural and historic sites. Garden Island.

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Tax breaks, legal pot, abortion rights, transparency bills advance as Legislature reaches midpoint, Supreme Court rules taxpayers not liable for Kealoha legal fees, Kilauea eruption pauses, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Tax Breaks, Legal Pot, Abortion Rights Get The Green Light At The Hawaii Legislature — So Far. House and Senate lawmakers voted Tuesday to advance an array of tax breaks for hard-pressed, low-income Hawaii residents, but left many of the difficult details for later. Civil Beat. Garden Island.

Hawaii’s Budget May Be Smaller Than Expected This Year, Council Says. Hawaii is likely to collect about $328 million less in revenue than previously anticipated during this fiscal year, the Council on Revenues said Tuesday.  Civil Beat.

Hawaii Senate passes abortion protections bill. Advocates of a woman’s right to an abortion celebrated Tuesday’s passage of a state Senate bill protecting health care workers who perform abortions across the islands, including procedures performed on women coming in from out of state. Star-Advertiser. Tribune-Herald. KITV4.

Legalized adult recreational marijuana bill passes Senate. A bill that would legalize adult recreational use of cannabis in Hawaii passed its final state Senate floor vote Tuesday. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News.

GET bill clears state Senate. The state Senate voted 25-0 to pass Senate Bill 1035, which would exempt medical providers treating Medicare, Medicaid and TRICARE patients from the state’s general excise tax. Tribune-Herald.

Some essential workers push for their own collective bargaining groups at the Legislature. The state has always been leery of the creation of new collective bargaining units for public employees, and with four measures up at the state Legislature this session, those decisions are at the table again. Hawaii Public Radio.

Lawmakers consider boosting wages for childcare providers amid critical shortage. Underpaid early childhood education providers are abandoning the profession at an alarming rate in what experts call a red flag for the economy. Hawaii News Now.

Voters Support Nearshore Water Protection Despite State Scrapping 30×30 Goal, Polling Finds
. Four out of five voters are supportive of stricter fishing regulations, according to a poll commissioned by The Nature Conservancy. A recent poll commissioned by conservation groups found Hawaii’s voters support more protective measures for nearshore waters, despite the Department of Land and Natural Resources recently scrapping the “30×30” marine management goal in response to what it said were community concerns. Civil Beat.

Thousands Of Hawaii ID Cards Were Misprinted In February, State DOT Says.
The state Department of Transportation announced in a press release Monday that it discovered an error on licenses and ID cards. The “Hawaii” text in the top left corner was misprinted due to hardware used by the state’s license vendor. The misprinted cards show “Hawaii” in plain sans-serif typeface instead of a script typeface. Civil Beat. Hawaii Public Radio. Maui News.  Garden Island.


Ex-HPD chief not entitled to city-funded attorney, high court finds. The state Supreme Court has reversed a decision that Louis Kealoha was entitled to taxpayer-funded legal representation while on trial for the scandal he was involved in as chief of the Honolulu Police Department. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii Public Radio. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu Medical Examiner backlog of reports causing death certificate delays
. The Honolulu Medical Examiner is working on an 877 report backlog dating back three years ago and 400 reports have been completed so far. KHON2.

Kakaako Makai bill is rejected again. A bid by the state Office of Hawaiian Affairs to permit residential development on land it owns in Kakaako Makai has been blocked at the Legislature. Star-Advertiser.

$600 A Month In Kakaako Gets Seniors Mold, Shocks And The Smell Of Death. Maintenance problems at a state-owned apartment building for seniors underscore another challenge in providing affordable housing. Civil Beat.

Housing project for formerly incarcerated women opens.
Mohala Mai, meaning to “blossom forth,” is Oahu’s first permanent, supportive housing project for formerly incarcerated women. Star-Advertiser. KHON2.

Ex-athletic director allegedly used nonprofit to pay bills. A 2021 investigation by Mililani High School officials into allegations of theft from the athletic booster club revealed that then-athletic director Glenn S. Nitta Opens in a new tab allegedly used the nonprofit’s money to pay $364,709 for personal expenses, including gambling in Las Vegas; business, car and student loans; credit cards; and a Chinese dinner on New Year’s Eve. Star-Advertiser.

Plans to convert sports courts on Oahu for pickleball receives pushback
. In order to add nearly 70 pickleball courts to Oahu, the city says it plans to convert some tennis courts, like the ones at Kilauea District Park, to make room for the pickleball courts, but some are saying it will have a negative impact on children. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Kilauea volcano activity pauses after 61 days.  Lava is no longer flowing on the Halemaumau Crater’s floor, where all recent eruptive activity has been confined, the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said in a statement. Star-Advertiser. Tribune-Herald.  Big Island Video News. Hawaii News Now.

Tax relief measure aimed at helping farmers advances. The measure would modify the county’s tax code to allow agricultural properties with residences built on them to qualify for the county’s homeowner tax exemption. Tribune-Herald.

Cockfight in Kona: New info revealed. Hawaii Island revealed more information Tuesday about a cockfight Saturday in South Kona that drew an estimated 800 to 1,000 people to the illegal event. West Hawaii Today.


Couple sues Maui snorkeling firm after being left behind. A Hayward, Calif., couple is suing a Maui snorkeling operator, along with the boat captain and other unnamed defendants, for abandoning them in waters off Lanai while on a snorkelng tour during their 2021 honeymoon. Star-Advertiser.

Speed limit reduction along Kaʻahumanu Avenue takes effect March 22
. The Hawaiʻi Department of Transportation notifies Maui motorists of a speed limit change on Kaʻahumanu Avenue (Route 32) between Kainani Street/Lunalilo Street and Mile Marker 1.96 (vicinity of Mile Marker 2). The speed limit will be reduced from 45 mph to 35 mph in both directions. Maui Now.

Larry Ellison’s Company Helps Hawaii Find Housing For Key Mental Health Hire
. A state mental health agency has filled a key position on Lanai, restoring in-person social services to patients with severe psychiatric conditions amid a housing crisis that had forced two prior applicants to pull out of the job because they could not find an affordable place to live.  Civil Beat.


Kaua‘i North Shore schools top list of religious vaccine exemptions.
Students on the North Shore of Kaua‘i are among the most likely in Hawai‘i to opt out of routine vaccinations for religious reasons, data from the state Department of Education shows. Garden Island.

Dangerous waves up to 40 feet on the way to Kauaʻi, Niʻihau starting Wednesday morning. The forecast is for dangerously large breaking waves building to 30 to 40 feet along north-facing shores and waves of 20 to 30 feet along west-facing shores of Niʻihau and Kauaʻi. Kauai Now.

Friday, March 11, 2022

Electricity expected to jump 10-20%, state has extra $450M in taxes to spend this fiscal year, government transparency commission meets in secret, more news from all the Hawaiian islands

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HECO electric plant ©2022 All Hawaii News

Council Anticipates Big Budget Boost But War In Ukraine Dampens Economic Future. The Council on Revenues raised growth of projected tax collections this year from 15% to 21%. State lawmakers could have about $450 million more to spend on the state budget for the last four months of this fiscal year, which ends June 30. Civil Beat.

Rise in electricity bills ahead, Hawaiian Electric Co. warns. Hawaiian Electric Co. warned customers Thursday that electricity bills will climb higher over the next few months due to the rising prices of petroleum driven by the U.S. sanction on Russian oil. The utility is forecasting residential bills will rise about 10% for Oahu customers, and about 20% for those in Maui County and on Hawaii island, heading into the summer. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Big Island Video News. Big Island Now. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now.

This New Hawaii Commission Is Aimed At Open Government. So Why Has It Been Meeting In Secret? A commission tasked with making recommendations for government transparency and accountability has so far been meeting behind closed doors but the commission’s chairman says it will open its meetings after delivering an interim report to state lawmakers later this month. Civil Beat.

Hawaii House Proposes 48 New Positions To Beef Up Child Welfare Services. A proposed $8.3 billion state budget for next year would beef up staffing and funding for the struggling state Child Welfare Services agency in the wake of an alleged murder of a 6-year-old girl on Oahu last year. Star-Advertiser.

Public workers’ union announces endorsement in race for governor. Hawaii’s largest union of public workers has announced their endorsement in the race for Hawaii’s next governor. HGEA, Hawaii’s Government Employees Association, endorsed current Lieutenant Governor Josh Green on Thursday. Hawaii News Now.

Gov. Ige looks back at 2 years of COVID restrictions. The state’s mask mandate comes to an end in two weeks and Gov. Ige is reflecting on decisions made during the pandemic. Hawaii Public Radio.


Oahu residents are asked to reduce water use.
The Honolulu Board of Water Supply on Thursday called on all Oahu water users to voluntarily reduce consumption by 10% — a consequence of the loss of a key source of city water in the aftermath of Navy water contamination by fuel from its Red Hill fuel storage facility. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Kahikina Poised To Get $25K Bonus For First Year As Rail Director. HART board members contemplated what message that bonus might send to the public, however, as rail faces a severe financial crisis. Civil Beat.

Survey of Oahu’s homeless returns. After a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19, more than 300 volunteers dispersed across Oahu on Thursday morning to record the number of unsheltered homeless people for the annual Point-in-Time count. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii Public Radio.

UH Manoa Engineering Faculty Cast Vote Of ‘No Confidence’ In College Dean. Provost Michael Bruno said he will meet with engineering faculty members in the coming weeks to continue discussing complaints about Dean Brennon Morioka’s leadership. Civil Beat.

Bad Blood Between Crime Boss And His Son’s Friend Started Over Stolen Watch, Plea Says. A year before Mike Miske blamed Jonathan Fraser for the fatal car accident that killed Miske’s son, he had Fraser beaten for stealing a gold Rolex, the agreement says. Miske is accused of later ordering Fraser’s murder. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Island

No consensus on Waipio closure
. Nobody could agree on a middle ground during a community discussion Wednesday evening about the closure of Waipio Valley Access Road. Tribune-Herald.

Planning Committee advances Waikoloa timeshare project. An array of promised community benefits was enough Tuesday to propel a Waikoloa Beach Resort timeshare project out of a County Council committee with a positive recommendation. West Hawaii Today.


Mike Molina launches mayoral campaign. Maui County Councilmember Mike Molina, who currently holds the Makawao-Haʻikū-Pāʻia residency seat, submitted his nomination form to the County Clerk’s office on Wednesday, signaling the start of his Mayoral campaign.  Maui Now.

Master-planned community headed to contested case.
A mediation ordered by the Maui Planning Commission last month between Honua’ula representatives and intervenors Maui Tomorrow and Ho’opo-nopono O Makena, has failed, attorneys on both sides said during a commission meeting Tuesday afternoon. Maui News.

Alaula Builders selects 40 Maui families in Kīhei workforce housing lottery. Hale Kaiola is located in North Kīhei and will consist of 40 duplex homes with a yard starting at $395,000.  Maui Now.

Management plan may result in fewer air tours above Haleakala. Federal officials are working to develop an air tour management plan for Haleakala National Park that will likely result in fewer air tours within a half-mile of the park. Maui News.


Council unanimously approves polarizing ‘cat bill’. The Kaua‘i County Council adopted debated legislation forbidding the feeding of feral cats on county property, in a unanimous vote on Wednesday. The ban on feeding, which complies with the Kaua‘i Seabird Habitat Conservation Plan, triggered protest from individuals and “community cat” groups. Garden Island.

Key player in Kauai councilman's drug trafficking ring reaches plea agreement. Orlando Manguchei was one of the 11 suspects indicted in the incident involving former councilman Arthur Brun, who already agreed to serve a 15-year prison sentence. KITV4.

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Tax revenue forecast brightens, teachers union files grievances over COVID protocols, Oahu median home price tops $1M, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Hawaii dawn ©2021 All Hawaii News

New Hawaii climate technology fund to be unveiled. Hawaii-founded Elemental Excelerator plans to unveil a $60 million early-stage venture capital fund today called Earthshot Ventures that will be the first climate technology fund with roots in the state. The fund, which will invest in both hardware and software companies, is being launched to support entrepreneurs tackling climate change. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii panel boosts general fund tax revenue forecast. The Council on Revenues on Tuesday raised its forecast for Hawaii’s general fund tax revenues, saying it now expects revenues to increase by 6.3% during the current fiscal year instead of 3%. Associated Press.

Here’s How Native Hawaiian Groups Are Using $38 Million In Federal Funds. Native Hawaiians have been hit hard by the latest surge in the coronavirus and still have among the lowest vaccination rates. Civil Beat.

State Teachers Union Files Actions Over Covid Test Mandate, Safety Protocols.
The union representing Hawaii’s 13,500 public school teachers has filed a pair of grievances against the Department of Education over the implementation of the state’s Covid-19 testing mandate and “unsafe and changing working conditions” in classrooms, according to a release issued on Tuesday. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.

New vaccine-or-test rules at Hawaii workplaces, including state and county offices, are making it harder for people to get tested if they actually feel sick. But they also seem to be increasing the state’s vaccination rate. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii health official warns of more COVID-19 deaths in coming weeks.
Acting state epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Kemble says there is a lag between identifying cases and seeing hospitalizations and deaths. KITV4.

Mu variant detected in Hawaii, but threat is low now. The mu variant of the coronavirus, which may be better at evading protections offered by the available vaccines, has been found in nearly every state, including Hawaii, where its prevalence is second only to Alaska, according to data from Scripps Research. Star-Advertiser. Maui Now. KHON2.

New COVID case averages dropping.
The state’s average daily number of new COVID-19 cases has dropped to 706 over the past seven days, according to the state Department of Health. Garden Island.

Hawaii sees 499 new coronavirus cases, bringing statewide total to 68,764. The new confirmed and probable infection count by island includes 364 new cases on Oahu, 38 on Maui, 50 on Hawaii island, 45 on Kauai and two Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state. Star-Advertiser.


Oahu’s median home sale price tops $1 million for the first time.
For the first time ever, a monthly median sale price for single-family homes on the island breached the million-dollar mark — hitting $1,050,000 in August, according to Honolulu Board of Realtors data released Tuesday. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu prepares for ‘Safe Access Oahu’ rollout. Starting on Monday, Sept. 13, workers and customers at gyms, restaurants and movie theaters will be required to show proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID test. KHON2.

COVID surge strains Oahu’s EMS service, forcing some patients to wait for an ambulance. Prior to the pandemic, Honolulu EMS would respond to an average of 250 calls a day. Over the past month, call volume has jumped 32%. That means EMS crews are being dispatched to an additional 80 calls every day. Hawaii News Now.

Months After Delivery, Portable Cells Sit Unused At Oahu Correctional Center.
Two containers that are supposed to be used as medical isolation cells at the state’s largest jail are sitting unused more than eight months after they were delivered because prison officials discovered the jail’s aging electrical system cannot accommodate the extra load of the new cells. Civil Beat.

Honolulu Prosecutor Argues Against Further Inmate Releases. The prosecutor and corrections officials say the releases aren’t needed to reduce the spread of Covid-19 because inmates now have access to vaccines. Civil Beat.

Increased police enforcement leads to calmer Labor Day weekend. For the first time in five years no one died or was critically injured on Oahu in a Labor Day weekend car crash following islandwide efforts by Honolulu police to curtail impaired driving and encourage compliance with COVID-19 gathering restrictions. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Hawaiʻi County Warns Of Service Delays Due To COVID Surge. Officials say affected divisions include Building, Solid Waste, Vehicle Registration and Licensing, Traffic, and Parks Maintenance. Big Island Video News. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Saddle Road extension shelved. Construction of the road was put “on hold” in fall 2020 after state funding sources dried up and the extension effort was not awarded a federal grant. The state had hoped to draw money from the rental car surcharge fund for the project, but without tourism, the account has seen little revenue. West Hawaii Today.

County Council targets financial literacy. Council members voted Tuesday during a meeting of the Government Operations, Relations, and Economic Development Committee in favor of a nonbinding resolution urging the state Legislature to encourage the state Department of Education to develop a public school curriculum focused on better preparing keiki for the financial realities of adult life. Tribune-Herald.

HPD to retain authority over animal control. The Hawaii Police Department likely will retain responsibility for animal control throughout the county for at least the next year, Police Chief Paul Ferreira said. Tribune-Herald.

Police: Victim of dog attack in HPP dies. Police say the 85-year-old woman bitten by multiple dogs on Aug. 14 in Hawaiian Paradise Park died Sunday at Hilo Medical Care Intensive Care Unit, where she had been since the dog attack. West Hawaii Today.


Maui “Safer Outside” Rules Includes Vaccine Guidelines at Eateries. County officials are calling Maui’s new set of rules “Safer Outside.” It includes the previously announced vaccine guidelines for eateries, and newly announced reduction in capacity for commercial recreational boating, ground transportation, and commercial tour operators. There will also be no spectators at indoor or outdoor sporting events. Maui Now. KHON2. KITV4.

While some residents support Maui County’s vaccine order for businesses, some say it’s unfair. With Maui County to require vaccine cards to be inside of certain establishments, some businesses find the mandate unfair while some residents said it makes them feel safer. Hawaii News Now.

Online platform to help farmers sell locally. Maui homesteader tapped to operate ‘Amazon-style’ distribution system. Maui News.

Health Department issues red placard to Maui pizza restaurant. Officials said the restaurant would have to remain closed until it complies with requirements, including more frequent professional pest control treatments, along with a monitoring and treatment plan for both cockroaches and rodents, and thorough cleaning of all areas underneath and on top of kitchen equipment. Star-Advertiser. Maui Now.


Special December Election Set To Replace Kauai’s Prosecutor. Kauai Prosecutor Justin Kollar, who steered the county’s criminal legal system away from mass incarceration, is retiring later this month. Civil Beat.

County’s homebuyer program list expands with Kapa‘a property. The county’s Homebuyer Program is looking to add more inventory with a purchase of property in Kapa‘a. With the Molo Street buy, the county will effectively be adding to the dwindling affordable housing market. Garden Island.

Only one COVID citation issued during Labor Day weekend. Department of Parks &Recreation officials responded to gatherings at beach parks, where they issued warnings, county officials said. Garden Island.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Hawaii outdoor mask mandate lifted, economic outlook rises, University of Hawaii mulls fully open campuses, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands


Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash
Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

Gov. Ige Eliminates Mask Mandate for Outdoors, Allows Ocean Sports Competitions. Gov. David Ige announced Tuesday people will no longer have to wear masks outdoors, effective immediately, as COVID-19 cases decrease and more people get vaccinated. The governor said he would maintain a requirement that people wear masks indoors. The same rules will apply regardless of whether someone is vaccinated. Associated Press. Star-Advertiser. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News. Big Island Now. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now. KHON2. KITV4.

State Panel Forecasts Better Economic Outlook For Hawaii. Adjustments to Hawaii’s projected tax revenues could mean state government hauls in $450 million more than previously predicted. Civil Beat. Associated Press.

University of Hawaii floats plan to reopen campuses to public, end telework policy. The University of Hawaii has made tentative plans to reopen its campuses to the public Tuesday and phase out its pandemic telework policy, with all staff back on campus Aug. 3. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii teachers’ $2,200 bonuses may be in jeopardy. The governor is under pressure to veto the $2,200 bonuses that legislators voted to give every public school teacher, but hefty pay “differentials” for classroom teachers in shortage areas are on track for next year. Star-Advertiser.

Grand jury mix-up puts dozens of state felony cases at risk. A Judiciary spokesperson for the state Judiciary said 60 cases total were impacted by the mix-up and additional precautions have been taken to prevent similar situations from occurring. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii reports 23 new COVID cases; no additional fatalities. Of the new cases, 16 were on Oahu, two on Hawaii Island, one on Kauai, and one on Molokai. There were also three residents diagnosed out-of-state. Hawaii News Now.


Ex-Honolulu Police Department officer, Derek Wayne Hahn, bound for prison pending appeal. A former Honolulu police lieutenant must report to prison next week to serve a 3-1/2-year sentence in Hawaii’s biggest ever corruption case after a U.S. judge denied his request to remain free while he appeals his conviction. Associated Press.

City plans to revitalize Chinatown, but business owners say crime is the biggest issue. Earlier this month, Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi said he has a plan to fix major problems in Chinatown and efforts include beautification and security. Hawaii News Now.

Sierra Club raises new questions about Navy’s cleanup of Red Hill fuel leak. Citing data from the state Department of Health, the Sierra Club said they believe the reason for a spike in contaminants is because the leak was not properly contained. Hawaii News Now.

TheBus to modify, discontinue more than a dozen routes. The discontinued routes include Route 80A (Hawaii Kai Park and Ride Express – University) Route 80B (Upper Aina Haina Express); and Route 235 (Kahala Mall — Waialae Iki). Star-Advertiser. KITV4.

New Hawaii State Veterans Home Is Being Built On Land Designated For Affordable Housing
. Construction crews broke ground on the 120-bed residential and treatment facility last month on a long-vacant lot in Kapolei. Civil Beat.

Small Oahu Landowners Say They Were Blindsided By Ag Land Plan. The state Land Use Commission has scheduled two days of hearings beginning Wednesday to try to sort through Honolulu’s plan for designating Important Agricultural Lands. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Island

Wanted: Good foster parents for some troubled kids. Catholic Charities Hawaii is seeking therapeutic foster parents on Hawaii Island to provide specialized foster care for emotionally and behaviorally challenged youths ages 5-19. Tribune-Herald.

Water Board creates operations superintendent position. A shortage of qualified administrators has hit home for the county Department of Water Supply, which on Tuesday was given permission to add a superintendent position to its operations division to help shoulder the load. West Hawaii Today.

Ag Theft Leads to Regulations Legitimate Producers Need to Know
. Due to the increasing reports of agricultural theft on Hawai’i Island, the Hawai’i Police Department on Tuesday, May 25, issued a reminder to the public that there are regulations set in place. Big Island Now.


Concerns persist over market-rate units in Larry Ellison project. Pulama Lana‘i is proposing 150 units with 76 affordable, 74 market-rate. A high number of market-rate units, proximity to a sewage treatment facility and lack of options to buy are among the concerns of community members for a 150-unit rental home project proposed by Pulama Lana’i. Maui News.

Maui Police Commision votes to allow former chief to retire in ‘good standing’. Despite being caught on camera fleeing the scene of an accident, former Maui Police Chief Tivoli Faaumu is now allowed to retire in good standing. Hawaii News Now.

Virtual Climate Change Town Hall for South Maui Scheduled for June 3. The town hall is an opportunity for the public to learn about how climate change is affecting the South Maui community and the strategies to deal with those effects that could be included in the South Maui Community Plan. Maui Now.

Online Public Hearing for Proposed Firing Range Rules at Ukumehame on June 9. Proposed amendments of the Maui County Code for the use and operation of the Maui Firing Range at Ukumehame will be discussed during an online public hearing on Wednesday, June 9 at 5:30 pm. Maui Now.

Kahoolawe restoration project to benefit land and sea.
The Kahoolawe Island Reserve Commission has launched a 14-month campaign to restore the Hakioawa Watershed and protect the island’s windward nearshore waters and reefs. Star-Advertiser.


2 levels added to tier system. If the state hits a vaccination rate of 70%, Kaua‘i will lose its tier system and mandated restrictions, according to the county’s latest tier chart from Mayor Derek Kawakami. Garden Island. KITV4.

Solid-waste plan up for review. The latest draft of the county’s Integrated Solid Waste Management Plan, which outlines goals and objectives for one of the county’s most pressing issues of waste disposal, is now up for public review. Garden Island.

TGI editor returning to mainland. After six years of writing for The Garden Island newspaper, including a year as editor of this publication, this is my last week at TGI. Garden Island.

Friday, January 8, 2021

Green seeks halt to social gatherings amid COVID-19 spike, forecasters predict $300M revenue bump, NTSB says pilot in 2019 crash inadequately trained, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

from Facebook video
Lt. Gov. Josh Green with Jan. 7, 2021, update PC:Facebook 

 No gatherings for 2 weeks, Lt. Gov. Josh Green says. Lt. Gov. Josh Green on Thursday called for Hawaii residents to avoid all social gatherings for two weeks, immediately, as the number of new confirmed COVID-19 cases hit a record high for the new year. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Officials Ask Residents To Stay Home To Reverse COVID-19 Spike. As COVID-19 cases in the islands signal another surge, state officials are calling on residents to stop seeing people outside of their households. Civil Beat.

COVID cases spike 322, Lt. Gov. Green urges everyone to avoid gatherings. Hawaii saw the highest single-day increase in COVID-19 cases in several months with 322 new cases on Thursday, Jan. 7, bringing the statewide total since the pandemic began to 22,631. There are currently 1,831 active cases. KHON2.

As vaccine rollout continues, Hawaii grapples with increase in COVID-19 cases. Green said the case count is directly linked to social gatherings over the Christmas and the New Year’s holidays. He’s asking the public to refrain from any kind of get-togethers for the next two weeks. Hawaii News Now.


Economy expected to recover faster. Hawaii’s COVID-19 hobbled economy is outperforming previous dire predictions and is expected to generate nearly $6.3 billion in tax revenue for the fiscal year that ends in June, although still down 6.5% from last year, the state Council on Revenues plans to tell Gov. David Ige. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Will Collect More Taxes Than Expected, State Panel Says.
The state Council on Revenues says Hawaii will collect $300 million more in taxes this year than previously projected. Civil Beat.

When will Hawaii’s economy turn the corner? New data says not yet. The Council on Revenues revised its forecast for state revenue, predicting a decline smaller than its previous report. It could ease budget-cutting pressure on the governor and the Legislature. Hawaii News Now.

Tourism leads to less pessimistic tax forecast for Hawaii.
The council said it expects general fund tax revenue to decline 6.5% during the 12 months ending in June, less than the 11% drop it had projected in September. KITV4.

Remote Participation Poses Challenges For Legislative Session. Much of the state legislature’s business during the upcoming five month session will be conducted remotely, which is already creating technical challenges. Hawaii Public Radio.


Man who ran for office in Hawaii among ‘Proud Boys’ who stormed US Capitol. Nick Ochs is founder of “Proud Boys Hawaii,” a far right extremist group, and lost the race for the House seat in Waikiki in November. Hawaii News Now.

Proud Boys Hawaii founder involved in U.S. Capitol mayhem. A Republican candidate who unsuccessfully ran for a seat in the state Legislature in 2020 posted a photo of himself inside the U.S. Capitol during Wednesday’s riot that shocked the nation, interrupted the Electoral College vote confirming Joe Biden’s election, and resulted in five deaths. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii lawmakers call for Trump’s impeachment. Hawaii’s congressional delegation Thursday joined a growing number in Congress in calling for the impeachment of President Donald Trump for inciting Wednesday’s armed insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Star-Advertiser.

Members Of Hawaii Delegation Call For Immediate Removal Of Trump. Freshman Congressman Kai Kahele and U.S. senators Brian Schatz and Mazie Hirono said it’s time to get rid of the president after his supporters attacked police and stormed the U.S. Capitol building. Civil Beat.

Hawaii’s congressional delegation backs effort to remove Trump from office. All four members of Hawaii’s congressional delegation have joined a growing number of lawmakers who say President Trump should be removed from office. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii congressional delegation joins calls for president’s removal from office. Hawaii’s congressional delegation joined in the calls for President Donald Trump to be removed from office following upheaval Wednesday in Washington, D.C. Tribune-Herald.

Hawai‘i lawmakers respond to Capitol riot. Garden Island.


Hawaii’s doctor shortage has worsened after COVID-19 pandemic. A study out of the John A. Burns School of Medicine said, the state is about 1,000 physician positions short when compared to other continental U.S. states, and COVID-19 played a part. KHON2.

Military To Expand COVID-19 Vaccinations After Early Success In Hawaii. A small shipment to Tripler earlier this week was meant to test supply chains as the Pentagon gets set for more widespread vaccinations. Civil Beat.

Hawaii National Guard Turns Plane Into ‘Mobile Vaccination Clinic’. Honolulu-based troops transported and administered vaccines to national guardsmen on neighbor islands as they continue pandemic response operations. Civil Beat.

HAWAII VIRUS TRACKER — Jan. 7: 322 New COVID-19 Cases. Among the new cases were 213 on Oahu, 56 on Maui, 18 on the Big Island, one on Kauai, and 34 residents diagnosed out of state. Civil Beat.


Navy pursuing double-wall steel tank system at Red Hill. The Navy on Thursday laid out plans for a “double- wall stainless steel” tank system at the Red Hill fuel farm — accelerating its goal of providing secondary containment to keep the aged tanks where they are in the face of criticism directed at a less comprehensive proposal to prevent fuel spills. Star-Advertiser.

NTSB seeks flight instructor monitoring after deadly North Shore crash. Federal safety investigators said today that the pilot of a skydiving plane that crashed in 2019 on the North Shore, killing all 11 people on board, had not received training to become a competent pilot. Associated Press.

NTSB calls for better monitoring of flight instructors, says Mokuleia plane crash pilot was “inadequately trained”. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) says inadequate training of a pilot contributed to the death of 11 people in a skydiving plane crash in Mokuleia in 2019. KHON2.

Legal battle brewing over portion of proceeds from sale of Kealohas’ home. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of Louis and Katherine Kealohas’ foreclosed home could pit a financial institution against two of their victims. Hawaii News Now.

Raised crosswalks to be installed on Farrington Highway in Nanakuli, speed limit reduced to 30 mph. State transportation officials said today that two new, raised pedestrian crossings — also known as speed tables — will be installed on Farrington Highway in Nanakuli in response to two recent, deadly collisions there. Star-Advertiser.

Hundreds get COVID-19 vaccine at Hawaii’s largest assisted living facility. Hawaii Kai Retirement Community, the largest assisted living facility in the state, is starting to vaccinate its staff and residents against COVID-19. Hawaii News Now.

On stopping illegal fireworks, HPD says ‘we do as much as we can’. The Honolulu Police Department says they received about 2,000 calls regarding illegal aerial fireworks in the days leading to New Year’s Eve. But out of those calls, just 45 citations were issued and there was just one arrest. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Commission approves application for construction of 5G cell tower. The Windward Planning Commission on Thursday approved an application for the construction of a 5G cellular tower on a rural lot near Leilani Estates. Tribune-Herald.

Sustainability summit set for March 4. A sustainability summit, bringing in experts to brainstorm with elected officials and the public, is one of seven campaign promises Mayor Mitch Roth made for his first 100 days in office. West Hawaii Today.

Goodfellow Bros. Cited, Fined After Sewage Discharge into Reed’s Bay. The notice of violation includes a requirement for Goodfellow Bros., LLC to provide a report that describes how spills will be prevented in the future and pay a penalty of $25,000. Big Island Now.

Kanaka Garden Uprooted Again
. State Park officials estimate several hundred plants were pulled from the ground, and were trucked to the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo School of Tropical Agriculture. Big Island Video News.

State uproots ‘kanaka garden’ at Wailoa park. An early morning operation Thursday to uproot a “kanaka garden” planted earlier this week by Hawaiian sovereignty activists was a multi-agency response, according to the state Department of Land and Natural Resources. Tribune-Herald.

Puna Strong Grant Program Launches. Hawai‘i County Mayor Mitch Roth and the Hawai‘i Community Foundation on Thursday announced the launch of the Puna Strong grants program with funding from the County’s Kīlauea disaster recovery funds and HCF’s Hawai‘i Island Volcano Recovery Fund. Big Island Now.


Maui Surge Largely Attributed to Post-Holiday Community Spread; Harbor Lights Cluster Rises to 84. The 56 new COVID-19 cases in Maui County today are being attributed in large part to post-holiday community spread, according to county officials who consulted with the Hawaiʻi State Department of Health. Maui Now.

Maui Police Seize 177 Pounds of Illegal Aerial Fireworks Valued at $12,000. Patrol Districts throughout Maui County received 99 calls for fireworks violations during the holiday enforcement effort. Maui Now.


LUC continues HoKua Place case. The state Land Use Commission met this week to discuss three motions relating to an intervention in the matter to rezone 96 acres of agricultural land to urban district land. Garden Island.

Beach erosion is Zoom meeting topic. The Zoom meeting announcement continued by noting that 70% of Kaua‘i’s beaches are eroding, and over the last century 3.7 miles of beach have been lost. Garden Island.

Kaua'i District Health Office coordinating vaccination dates and times with DOE, independent schools, and charter schools. The Department of Health’s Kauai District Health Office is coordinating vaccination dates and times with DOE schools, independent schools, and charter schools. KITV4.


Maui Police Confirm COVID-19 Case in Employee at Molokaʻi District. The Maui Police Department reports an employee who works out of the Molokaʻi District tested positive for COVID-19. Maui Now.