Showing posts with label Ebola. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ebola. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Vacation rentals proliferate in Hawaii, DLNR scales back Obama protection, body cameras for Kauai police, Maui family sues state over sexually abused foster children, Hawaii County buys Ebola gear, snowy Mauna Kea predicted, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2014 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Waikoloa ocean and mountain view © 2014 All Hawaii News
Thousands of illegal vacation rentals have been allowed to proliferate throughout the islands, likely contributing to a reduction in state tax revenue and a tightening of local rental markets, a new report by the Hawaii Tourism Authority suggests. Civil Beat.

A recent study commissioned by the Hawaii Tourism Authority has identified tens of thousands more home-based vacation rentals advertised online than the agency thought were available. The HTA said the home-based rentals now represent 25 percent of all lodging units, with hotels accounting for 50 percent. Time shares and condo hotels contribute 12 percent each. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii Health Connector is allowing residents more time to sign up for health insurance coverage that would begin Jan. 1. The original deadline to enroll for coverage that begins at the start of the new year was Dec. 15, but they've extended the deadline to noon on Dec. 31. Associated Press.

Local telecomunications executive Albert Hee appeared in U.S. District Court on Tuesday to face federal tax evasion and tax fraud charges. Hee pleaded not guilty. Hee is the president of Sandwich Isles Communications, which along with its two subsidiaries provides telephone and high-speed Internet service to customers living on Hawaiian homelands. Star-Advertiser.


As hundreds of Hawaii law enforcement officer take part in President Obama's security detail on Christmas and New Year's Day, one state agency will be conspicuously absent. Hawaii News Now has learned that the Department of Land and Natural Resources has pulled back its ocean safety officers for those two key dates because it does not want to pay for overtime.

Hawaiian Electric Co. is asking Hawaii regulators for more time to negotiate an updated power purchase agreement with AES Hawaii, the owner and operator of the state's only coal-fired power plant, as well as the single-largest generating plant on Oahu. Pacific Business News.

The city has sent its real property assessment notices for 2015, and the total assessed valuation of all taxable real property on Oahu has increased from $200.74 billion to $214.90 billion, an overall increase of 7.1 percent. Hawaii Independent.

Local communities struggling to battle crime are in danger of losing the money they depend on to carry on the fight. The Weed and Seed program — overseen by the U.S. Department of Justice — can be found in areas including Ewa and Ewa Beach, Waipahu and in an area that combines the communities of Kalihi, Palama and Chinatown. KHON2.

A coconut crab that somehow made its way to Oahu is causing concern about whether there could be others around. Star-Advertiser.

An outbreak of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus appears to have spread on Waianae pig farms. Star-Advertiser.

Derrick DePledge, the state government and politics reporter for the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, is leaving the newspaper. Civil Beat.

A California real estate investment firm, which owns the 2,742-acre Dillingham Ranch on Oahu's North Shore that was founded more than a century ago by Hawaii railroad tycoon Benjamin Franklin Dillingham, plans to develop 934 acres of the Waialua ranch into a 91-lot agricultural subdivision at a cost of $30 million. Pacific Business News.


County Finance Director Nancy Crawford, who had a hand on the county purse strings for two mayors, is retiring at the end of the month. West Hawaii Today.

The Hawaii County Fire Department was given permission Tuesday to purchase better equipment to protect emergency medical services workers from the Ebola virus, even though the equipment will cost more than that offered by the lowest bidder. West Hawaii Today.

It’s weather Santa would approve of. The Big Island’s two summits are braced for Hawaii’s answer to that proverbial howling nor’easter — with wind gusts to 90 mph expected to drive up to a foot of snow hard into the mountain faces by today. Temperatures on the peaks were forecast to dip to a frosty 23 degrees tonight, according to the Mauna Kea Weather Center. West Hawaii Today.

The June 27 lava flow, after stalling less than a half-mile from businesses just in time for Christmas, is giving merchants a much appreciated holiday reprieve. Tribune-Herald.


The state Department of Human Services is facing a lawsuit after placing two minors in the custody of a foster parent who sexually assaulted them from 2009 to 2011. Maui News.

A pilot project on Maui that allows primary care physicians to send photos of suspicious moles, lesions and rashes to dermatologists for evaluation has been expanded to all patients of Kaiser Permanente. Maui News.

Watching whales from the shoreline will have a unique spin this year—and you can win a prize. Starting now through mid-May, Pacific Whale Foundation will have trained naturalists stationed at key points along Maui’s coastline to help nature enthusiasts locate and learn about whales from the shore. Maui Time.


The Kauai Police Department could become the first law enforcement agency in the state to use body cameras next summer. The department plans to buy 141 cameras for $134,000 and begin using them by June or July, Police Chief Darryl Perry said. Star-Advertiser.

Kauai is set to receive one of the 30 deputy sheriffs that graduated Friday in a ceremony on Oahu. Garden Island.

With the annual return of humpback whales to the Hawaiian Islands comes a need for fresh sets of eyes to monitor their behavior. Registration is now open for the 2015 Sanctuary Ocean Count, themed “Keep Calm and Count Whales.” Garden Island.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Lava enters farmland -- schools, roads, polling places threatened, Health Department mum on Ebola hospitals, Schatz lobbies for less ahi protections, record big bucks in GMO fight, tourism up, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Courtesy Ena Media Hawaii & Blue Hawaiian Helicopters
Lava flow Tuesday Oct. 28 Courtesy Ena Media Hawaii & Blue Hawaiian Helicopters
Kilauea’s June 27 lava flow claimed its first structure Tuesday morning as it continued to carve a jagged black scar through the green Pahoa landscape, set on a collision course with Pahoa Village Road. Tribune-Herald.

After traveling a circuitous 13.5-mile route over four months from Kilauea Volcano, the threat from a river of lava suddenly became real Tuesday when it destroyed its first structure on Hawaii island, took on a utility pole wrapped in untested, anti-lava technology, blackened the sky after setting tires on fire and led Hawaii County police to abandon their Pahoa substation. Star-Advertiser.

Lava ignites tire fire, while Governor Abercrombie tours the flow front. Big Island Video News.

Lava flow advances; 40-50 homes in projected impact path. Hawaii News Now.

courtesy Hawaii Volcano Observatory
courtesy Hawaii Volcano Observatory
One structure has been destroyed as the July 27th lava flow picked up speed, moving through private property. As of 5:30 p.m., scientists say the flow was 340 yards from Pahoa Village Road and about 985 yards from Highway 130. KITV4.

Lava is expected to slither past properties across the street from Jeff and Denise Lagrimas' home on Hawaii's Big Island as it works its way to the ocean. Associated Press.

Hawaii County Civil Defense eruption and lava flow information Update for Tuesday, October 28 at 6:15 p.m. The flow continues to remain active and has advanced approximately 45 yards since this 1:30 this afternoon and is currently approximately 370 yards from Pāhoa Village Road. KHON2.

Hawaii Chief Election Officer Scott Nago said today that voters assigned to Pahoa Community Center (district and precinct 04-03) who live north of the lava flow are instructed to vote at Hawaiian Paradise Community Center (district and precinct 04-01) on general election day. Civil Beat.

The state is asking Pahoa voters who could be impacted by the June 27 lava flow to plan on casting their votes at an alternate site. Tribune-Herald.

Keonepoko Elementary became the first public school to close as a result of the June 27 lava flow. As the flow continued its advance, students and staff gathered for one final assembly Tuesday to bid farewell to the 23-year-old school and help keiki with the transition, said Principal Brandon Gallagher. Tribune-Herald.

Teachers' and students' laughter, tears and aloha marked the last day before the approaching lava flow breaks up Keonepoko Elementary School. Star-Advertiser.

As lava continues to snake through the Pāhoa area,  most local residents are feeling anxious.   And the adults in a family need to address not only their own concerns but also the fears of their keiki. Hawaii Public Radio.

Health officials have reversed course and won't be identifying the hospitals they have designated as Ebola facilities due to fears of stigmatizing the medical centers. Officials said last week that they had designated four Oahu hospitals whose staff will receive intensive training to handle the disease that has killed thousands in West Africa. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii will not impose mandatory quarantines for returning healthcare workers who have treated Ebola patients in West Africa. Hawaii News Now.

The latest Hawai’i Campaign Spending Commission report is out. And the leading candidates running for Governor are expressing mixed feelings about so-called Super Political Action Committees or PACs spending millions on local campaign ads. Hawaii Public Radio.

“No” on No. 4. That is the consensus of 50 percent of voters surveyed in a new Civil Beat poll. Only 34 percent are in favor of amending the state constitution to allow the state to use public funds to help pay for privately run early education programs.

Early learning advocate The Good Beginnings Alliance has spent more than a half-million dollars on television ads to lobby support for a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow spending public funds on private preschool programs, according to the latest round of campaign-finance reports. Star-Advertiser.

Commentary:  A last-minute debate has flared up in recent weeks over one of five proposed constitutional amendments on the general election ballot. Amendment 2, if approved by voters, would authorize the state “to issue special purpose revenue bonds and use the proceeds from the bonds to assist agricultural enterprises on any type of land.” Civil Beat.

Hawaii High School Confidential: Where All Politics Is Truly Local. Civil Beat asked the 2014 candidates why their schooling plays such a part in their campaigns and what kind of kids they were.

Sashimi or sustainability. Which is more important? For U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz, it appears to be sashimi, especially if it means fresh ahi for the holidays. Civil Beat.

Hawaii’s longline fleet may be rejoicing over a new opportunity to catch ahi, but a coalition of environmental groups are not on board with the increased catch. West Hawaii Today.

A record 57 tons of marine debris was captured by this year's annual National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration cleanup expedition to the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, including the largest net ever removed from the area, an 11.5-ton monster large enough to fill up a 20-foot shipping container. Star-Advertiser.

The global system of submarine telecommunication cables that support our connected world is deaf, dumb and blind to the external ocean environment and represents a major missed opportunity for tsunami warning and global climate monitoring, according to University of Hawaii scientists and a United Nations task force. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii visitor spending for the month of September reached $1.08 billion, a 1.4 percent increase from the same month a year ago, and visitor arrivals reached 622,163, a 4.1 percent increase, according to the latest statistics released Tuesday by the Hawaii Tourism Authority. Pacific Business News.

Spending and arrivals rose in September as Hawaii tourism remained slightly ahead of the three-quarters pace set during the record years of 2012 and 2013. Star-Advertiser.

A Japanese deputy mayor died this weekend after being pulled from the water in Waikiki, one day after accomplishing his task of establishing a sister-city relationship in the islands, Honolulu officials said Tuesday. Star-Advertiser.

An award-winning educator known as "Mr. Pearl City" will be honored Wednesday for his volunteerism and community leadership with the renaming of a site as the Shigeo Ushiro Neighborhood Park. Star-Advertiser.

Residents of Honolulu have been engaging in extra-marital affairs in record numbers according to new data from Hawaii Reporter.


Forward Progress, a Honolulu-based political action committee allowed by law to raise and spend unlimited amounts, has pumped more than $100,000 into a campaign to elect Ron Gonzales for County Council District 9, eclipsing threefold the money he raised on his own. West Hawaii Today.

Opinion: Media reports about the health study commissioned by Mayor Billy Kenoi remind us that advancing geothermal energy must go hand in hand with public safety and well-being. Civil Beat.


Seed companies and their allies have raised nearly $8 million to defeat a Maui County voter initiative that seeks to temporarily ban GMO farming, according to reports filed with the Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission on Monday. Civil Beat.


So far this year, incumbent Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. outraised his challenger Dustin Barca by more than $10,000 and outspent him by more than $100,000, according to the latest round of campaign reports released Monday. Garden Island.

Residents living along the island’s Royal Coconut Coast say they are wary of recent changes to current plans for a large timeshare resort near Coconut MarketPlace in Waipouli. Garden Island.

Visitors to Kauai are in the mood to spend money. Lots of money. Through the first nine months of the year, visitors spent around $1.1 billion on The Garden Isle, a 5.8 percent increase over the same time frame last year. And that was despite fewer people — 844,814, a drop of 1.1 percent from 2013 — coming to Kauai through September. Garden Island.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Honolulu City Council members clueless about ethics code, 46,000 seniors to lose Medicare Advantage coverage, Royal Hawaiian wins award, micro-apartments for Kakaako, Ebola scare a wake-up call, Ellison may close both Lanai Four Seasons for renovations, Native Hawaiian government to be postponed again, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy photo
Royal Hawaiian Resort courtesy photo
The Royal Hawaiian, A Luxury Collection Resort in Waikiki, was named Best Historic Resort at the annual Historic Hotels of America 2014 Awards of Excellence gala Thursday in Washington, D.C.  Star-Advertiser.

Pollution in Hawaii is giving turtles deadly tumors, a new study found. Researchers at Duke University, the University of Hawaii and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have determined that nitrogen runoff is polluting the algae that turtles eat, causing them to develop tumors in their eyes, flippers and internal organs. Civil Beat.

A group of organizations leading the process of building a Native Hawaiian government is considering postponing the election of officers until June. The board of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs heard the news at a meeting Thursday. Associated Press.

With the voter registration deadline approaching, the number of registered voters has ticked upward on neighbor islands and dipped on Oahu compared with figures tallied two years ago. The deadline to register to vote in the general election is Monday. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii Medical Service Association plans to discontinue its five Medicare Advantage plans for 46,000 seniors on Dec. 31. The state's largest health insurer, which covers the bulk of Hawaii's Medicare population, estimates it lost about $64.1 million last year on its plans -- called Akamai Advantage -- due to higher-than-expected medical claims as well as lower federal Medicare reimbursements. Star-Advertiser.

Thousands of HMSA members may be in for a surprise. HMSA is ending its Medicare plan for thousands of residents next year. Coverage through HMSA’s Akamai Advantage is ending December 31, 2014 and if customers don’t choose a new plan before then, they could lose their prescription drug coverage and more. KHON2.

Though the state has ruled out what was feared to be Hawaii's first Ebola case, health officials are on high alert for possible new cases reaching the islands. Star-Advertiser.

How Did We Handle Hawaii’s Ebola Scare? What can we learn from a week when the deadly virus from Africa was discovered in the U.S. and inspired fears it had reached Oahu? Civil Beat.

The State of Hawai‘i has approximately 90,000 cesspools, the majority of which pose potential health risks to residents via water contamination. The Department of Health is proposing changes to its administrative rules that would begin to reduce the number of cesspools in the state through infrastructure upgrades. Hawaii Independent.

A state plan for homeowners to get rid of their cesspools the next time a property sells is receiving pushback. KITV4.


The two longest-serving members of the Honolulu City Council, who are now caught up in an ethics investigation, claim they had no idea they were not allowed to accept free meals from lobbyists and they're asking for clarification of the rules. The city Ethics Commission is investigating if it was illegal for four former council members as well as current members Ann Kobayashi and Ikaika Anderson to accept pricey meals from lobbyists with business before the council. Hawaii News Now.

Mayor Kirk Caldwell and state officials are working on a plan to allow the city to take over the law enforcement role at Waikiki's Fort DeRussy Beach, where homeless campers are taking advantage of a jurisdictional loophole to avoid being cited for violating city regulations. Star-Advertiser.

As the City and County of Honolulu has begun enforcing a new law banning homeless from sitting or lying on sidewalks in Waikiki, more homeless are spending their nights at the Honolulu International Airport. State transportation officials say there's nothing they can do about it because there are no law against sleeping at the airport. Hawaii News Now.

While Kakaako is better known for luxury condos than affordable housing, the growing urban district in Honolulu could soon see a new kind of residence: tiny studio apartments no bigger than 300 square feet, or about 15 by 20 feet. Civil Beat.

A credit-rating agency has added a negative tinge to its outlook on bonds sold by Hawaii Pacific University last year to finance the redevelopment of parts of the Aloha Tower Marketplace retail complex in downtown Honolulu for university use. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu police will not release the full surveillance video showing an off-duty sergeant assaulting his ex-girlfriend as initially planned. The full video was supposed to be shown to everyone at a briefing on Tuesday, but some lawmakers did not like that idea and decided to watch it at a later time in private. Now, they won’t get that chance. KHON2.

When it comes to key policy issues facing the city of Honolulu, not a lot separates the two attorneys running for the District 4 Honolulu City Council race. Civil Beat.

How Safe Has the Honolulu Rail Project Been? Worker injury rates have been well below state and national average. But concerns remain over excavation procedures. Civil Beat.


Hawai'i County Civil Defense officials say a breakout upslope of the Puna lava flow has advanced another 100 yards since overtaking the stalled leading edge on Wednesday. Hawaii News Now.

A breakout on the lava flow encroaching on Pahoa advanced ahead of the former flow front Thursday, according to Hawaii County Civil Defense. The breakout advanced about 100 yards between daily overflights, according to Civil Defense. Tribune-Herald.

One of the concerns of Hawaii County officials and residents is how the recent and current disasters —Tropical Storm Iselle and the lava flow —will affect Hawaii Island's economy. Hawaii Public Radio.

Big Island health care facilities remain on the lookout for Ebola symptoms following the announcement Thursday that state health officials determined a patient in isolation on Oahu was not carrying the deadly virus. Tribune-Herald.


A gubernatorial debate hosted by the Maui Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce is slated for this morning. Associated Press.

Though Maui County is not currently in a state of drought, Upcountry reservoir levels dipped low last month, prompting water department officials to call for a 10 percent voluntary cutback on Upcountry water usage for the next two to three months. Maui News.


A former member of the Kauai Police Commission is being sentenced for running a sports gambling business. Bradley Chiba is scheduled to be sentenced Friday in federal court in Honolulu. Associated Press.

Some Kauai residents are at odds over proposed changes to state Department of Health regulations that would prohibit new cesspools from being built and require existing ones to be upgraded when properties are sold. Garden Island.

An anticipated revival in construction could boost Kauai’s economy and compensate for a projected decline in tourism. That was the message from economist Dr. Jack Suyderhoud, who spoke at First Hawaiian Bank’s 40th Economic Outlook Forum Thursday at Kauai Beach Resort. Garden Island.


Larry Ellison’s Four Seasons Resort Lanai at Manele Bay and The Lodge at Koele, the two major resorts on the island, may be closed at the same time next year as renovations take place at one of the properties. Pacific Business News.