Showing posts with label General Excise Tax. Show all posts
Showing posts with label General Excise Tax. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 4, 2024

Green signs 'historic' tax cut bills, Kilauea eruption pauses, Maui Council tackles resolution opposing Space Force telescopes, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Gov. Josh Green Gives Final Approval To Income Tax Break He Hopes Will Make Hawaii Affordable. The Governor also signed a bill that exempts medical services reimbursed by Medicare, Medicaid, and TRICARE from the state’s General Excise Tax.  Gov. Josh Green signed the largest income tax cut in state history into law on Monday, giving final approval to a measure that should deliver bigger paychecks for many of Hawaii’s working people as early as the beginning of next year. Civil Beat. Hawaii Public Radio.  Big Island Now.  Star-Advertiser.  Tribune-Herald.  Hawaii News Now. KHON2.  KITV4.  Big Island Video News.

Governor declares emergency to avoid loss of phone, internet services for Hawaiian Home Lands households. Hawai‘i Gov. Josh Green on Friday signed an emergency proclamation to avoid loss of telecommunications services for many Hawaiian Home Lands households across the state. Big Island Now.

Hawaiian Home Lands Broadband Customers Say The Service Has Been Bad For Years. State regulators and the governor stopped the communications company from cutting off phone and internet services over the weekend. Civil Beat.

Telecom service can’t last, Sandwich Isles founder says. Sandwich Isles Communication founder Albert Hee said Monday that despite the company’s lack of resources, services have continued for about 1,500 customers on Hawaiian home lands because of Gov. Josh Green’s emergency proclamation Friday evening to prevent the loss of telecommunications services. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

DHHL Has Big Plans For More Homes. But It Needs A Lot More Money. The department and its developers are pushing for a mixed bag of financing and housing options. But not everyone is happy with proposals for more rentals. Civil Beat.

Hawaii’s Department of Health is investigating the Badia brand seasonings after food inspectors in New York confirmed elevated levels of lead.  Hold off on using Badia ground ginger and cinnamon products. Hawaii News Now.

73 public schools to offer summer meals to children under 18. Thanks to the Seamless Summer Option (SSO) program, two meals will be served Monday through Friday at 73 participating schools, excluding state-observed holidays. KHON2.


Uncertainty over Honolulu rail leadership could put funding in jeopardy. The Federal Transit Administration on Monday warned that leadership uncertainty at the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation could jeopardize another $250 million in federal money needed by the city’s rail system. Star-Advertiser.

City land donation proposed for Kailua Hawaiian homesteads project. For the third time in two decades, city officials are seeking to make residential use out of a large parcel of vacant city land in Kailua. Star-Advertiser.

New injunction is sought to stop Haiku Stairs’ removal.
The Friends of Haiku Stairs have filed a new legal motion meant to stop the city’s planned demolition of the World War II-era staircase, above Haiku Valley and the H-3 freeway, in Kaneohe. Star-Advertiser.

NOAA: Post-mortem exam confirms monk seal pup attacked by dog. Federal wildlife officials today said a post-mortem exam confirms a newborn monk seal pup born on Oahu’s North Shore died from injuries due to a dog attack. Star-Advertiser. KHON2.  KITV4.

Hawaii Island

Kīlauea eruption within Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park has paused.
The eruption that began southwest of Kīlauea’s summit at approximately 12:30 a.m. has paused. However, activity in this region remains dynamic and could change quickly, according to a press release from Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.  Big Island Now. Big Island Video News.  Star-Advertiser.  KITV4.

DHHL To Bring Wi-Fi Hotspots To Puʻukapu Pastoral Leases
. SIC broadband customers in Puʻukapu who have been without service since April 2024 will be eligible for the AT&T Wi-Fi hotspot distribution. Big Island Video News.

Police, fire, National Guard, others stage exercise at Hilo school today.
Waiakea High School will take on the appearance of Ground Zero today — but rest assured, this is only a drill. Tribune-Herald.


Maui Council Hears Opposition To Proposed Space Force Telescopes On Haleakala. The council will vote on a resolution on Wednesday to officially oppose construction of up to seven telescopes on the dormant volcano. More than 20 people from Hawaii to Tahiti urged the Maui County Council on Monday to oppose the military’s plan to build more telescopes atop Haleakala, the Valley Isle’s highest peak at 10,000 feet. Civil Beat. Maui Now.

73 public schools, including eight in Maui County to offer summer meals to children.
The Hawaiʻi State Department of Education announced today that 73 public schools will serve meals free of charge over the summer to children ages 18 and younger – regardless of public school enrollment status – through its summer food service program. The list includes five schools on Maui and three on Molokaʻi. Maui Now.


PMRF honors Hawaiian place name as Major’s Bay becomes Waiapua‘a Bay. The US Navy’s Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kekaha formally changed a recreation area at its military base to its Native Hawaiian place name during a sign unveiling ceremony on Friday, May 31, as  Major’s Bay officially became Waiapua‘a Bay.  Kauai Now. Garden Island.

State to ‘closely monitor’ cruise ships after large liner appeared too close to Na Pali Coast.
The state is putting cruise ship operators on notice after the large liner Celebrity Edge appeared to come too close to Kauai’s Na Pali coast a month ago. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Thursday, July 20, 2023

Pilot shortage impacting Hawaii travel, Blangiardi signs Honolulu tax relief bills, Maui approves general excise tax surcharge, syphilis cases spike, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

National pilot shortage is impacting Hawaii travel. A national pilot shortage is here, according to aviation analysts, and it is starting to impact Hawaii. Local airlines are looking to hire pilots but whether the islands have enough resources to train them could be in question. KHON2. Hawaii News Now.

Lawyer who accessed governor’s private info regains access to electronic system. A Maui defense attorney had his electronic filing privileges restored by the state after he was locked out of accessing a system used by about 1,500 criminal justice partners for pulling personal information from four parking tickets paid by Gov. Josh Green. Star-Advertiser.

State prevails in $1M dispute over installation of fire alarm systems at 8 public schools
. A Circuit Court judge has ruled in favor of the Hawaiʻi Department of Education in a $1 million lawsuit relating to the installation of fire alarm systems at eight public schools throughout the the state. Big Island Now.

State urges expanded screening, treatment of syphilis as cases increase.
  As the number of cases of syphilis in women and newborns continues to increase throughout the state, the Hawai‘i Department of Health is urging enhanced screening in health care interactions other than prenatal care, saying the situation is alarming and requires immediate attention. Big Island Now. Star-Advertiser.

‘Calvin’ response assessed; public reminded that Hurricane season runs through Nov. 30.  Governor Josh Green, M.D., praised Hawai‘i’s handling of former Tropical Storm Calvin and cautioned that the storm was just the first challenge in a hurricane season that lasts through November. Maui Now. Garden Island.  Hawaii News Now.

Division of Aquatic Resources to hold hearings on ocean stewardship fee. The state Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Aquatic Resources is hosting a series of hearings to gather public input on a user fee that commercial vessel operators will have to collect from each passenger carried or customer served next year. Garden Island.

A Hawaii soldier receives the Army’s highest peacetime honor for valor.  Spc. Rene Rodriguez, a 22-year-old Army medic from El Paso, Texas, was given a standing ovation from the crowded theater as he accepted the Soldier’s Medal in recognition for saving a woman’s life last year in Wahiawa when he intervened to stop a man from beating her. Star-Advertiser.


New Honolulu tax credits aim to assist homeowners. Relief is coming for homeowners. Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi signed two measures into law on Wednesday, July 19. KHON2. KITV4.

Nearing end of sentences, ex-cops in Kealoha scandal moved to halfway house. Derek Hahn and Ming-Hung ‘Bobby’ Nguyen have been moved to Sacramento to serve out the remainder of their time in a halfway house. A federal jury found them guilty of conspiracy in June 2019 in what’s known as the “mailbox trial.” Hawaii News Now.

Navy Wastes 2 Billion Gallons Of Water During Red Hill Cleanup. Regulators required the Navy to make a plan for reusing the water but never required them to act on it. Civil Beat.

Developers Are Betting Big On Honolulu’s Business District. Will It Pay Off?. The investment mirrors a countrywide trend toward downtown revitalization efforts. Civil Beat.

Abuse victim of Makaha church elder entitled to $40M, judge says
. A victim of childhood sexual abuse by an elder of the Makaha congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses is entitled to $40 million in damages, a Circuit Court judge has ruled. Star-Advertiser.

Bill would waive late fees to limit abandoned cars
. To prevent more abandoned vehicles from appearing on Oahu’s public streets and roadways, a proposed city ordinance seeks to waive certain motor vehicle taxes, fees and penalties for those unable to pay them after a five-year period. Star-Advertiser.

Bargaining begins after nurses end seven-day walkout at 82-bed care facility.  A day after nurses and certified nurses assistants ended a seven-day strike at Oahu Care Facility, both sides returned to the bargaining table in a bid to reach a new deal.  Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Calvin passes Big Island with no major damage. Tropical Storm Calvin came and went without causing any significant damage, Gov. Josh Green and Hawaii island Mayor Mitch Roth said at a news conference Wednesday. Star-Advertiser. Big Island Now.

Kailapa Hawaiian Homestead Under Water Conservation Notice. The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands is urging Kailapa residents to conserve water following notification of malfunctioning water wells in north Hawai‘i.  Big Island Video News.

Governor signs emergency proclamation for Uncle Billy’s hotel.  The process to demolish the former Uncle Billy’s Hilo Bay Hotel will be sped up by an emergency proclamation issued Tuesday by Gov. Josh Green. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Now.


Maui Raises General Excise Tax To Pay For Housing Infrastructure. The 0.5% surcharge takes effect next year. The council voted 8-0 on Tuesday to adopt a 0.5% surcharge on top of the state’s 4% GET, starting Jan. 1. Civil Beat. Maui News.  Hawaii News Now.

Mahi Pono Fined Nearly $10K For Causing Dust In Central Maui. Several residents had complained last year about the cloud of dust that occasionally blanketed Central Maui. Civil Beat. Maui Now.


Reminder: Kauaʻi Island Utility Cooperative meeting Thursday night. Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative members are invited to attend the cooperative’s annual meeting on July 20 at the Kauaʻi Philippine Cultural Center in Puhi. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m., and the meeting will start at 6:00 p.m. Kauai Now.

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Legislature kills tax breaks on food and medicine, teacher and doctor retention falls, Senate to vote on bill legalizing recreational marijuana, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii lawmakers kill excise food tax exemption, but other proposed relief lives on. The proposal to end Hawaii’s 4.5% excise tax on food and medicine has died at the state Legislature, but there is still millions of dollars in income tax relief still on the table as the 2023 session nears its midpoint. Hawaii News Now.

Key state Senate vote today on measure aimed at physician retention. A bill that would exempt medical providers from the state’s general excise tax for treating Medicare, Medicaid and TRICARE patients will be voted on today in the Senate. Tribune-Herald.

Report: Teacher Turnover Increases In Hawaii. Hawaii saw a 12.3% uptick in turnover of public school teachers during the 2021-2022 academic year compared with the school year that began in fall 2017, according to an employment report by the state Department of Education. Civil Beat.

Bill To Legalize Weed Set For Vote In Hawaii Senate.
Senate Bill 669 would allow residents to grow, consume and sell less than 1 ounce of cannabis within the state of Hawaii. It also establishes taxes for cannabis sales.  Civil Beat.

Tax to fund affordable housing advances in state Legislature. Senate Bill 362, Draft 2, which raises the conveyance tax on property sales over $2 million, has survived committee (a feat that only one in 10 bills achieve) and is set for a final floor vote in the Senate this week. Garden Island.

A push to charge for rescues on hikers blatantly ignoring rules. Senate Bill 786 would charge an individual who ignores warning signs, leave a trail to get to a prohibited area, or go on an illegal hike. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaiʻi's economic growth could surpass the national average, DBEDT says. In their latest report, the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism predicted Hawaiʻi to have a better economic outcome than the national average. Hawaii Public Radio.

Lobbying continues for midwifery licensing bill at state Capitol. A bill to define licensure laws for traditional birth attendants died in the state House of Representatives last week, but some members of the public haven’t given up hope.  Hawaii Public Radio. Hawaii News Now.


Budget committee chair seeks longer-term solutions within Blangiardi's $4.5B proposal. The Blangiardi administration is proposing a $3.4 billion operating budget and a $1.09 billion Capitol Improvement Plan budget. Both are roughly a 6% increase from the previous year.  Hawaii Public Radio.

HPD seeking budget increase amid recruitment efforts. The staffing woes continue at the Honolulu Police Department with 360 police officer positions remaining unfilled. KHON2.

Honolulu Emergency Services proposal for new Ocean Safety, ambulance facilities. The Honolulu Emergency Services Department is proposing a 17.6% budget increase for fiscal year 2024. KHON2.

Median sales price for Oahu single-family homes stays under $1M. The median sales price of previously owned single-family homes on Oahu stayed below the $1 million mark for the second month in a row, and days on the market nearly quadrupled — signs that the local housing market is continuing to soften amid high inflation, relatively high mortgage rates and concerns about a looming U.S. recession. Star-Advertiser.

Surviving bill would give OHA $6M for an environmental study on Kakaʻako Makai. The Office of Hawaiian Affairs said it is not receptive to reopening the 2012 ceded lands settlement with the state because it is not giving up its Kakaʻako Makai lands. Hawaii Public Radio.

Native Hawaiian protesters who are ‘tired of waiting’ stage protest to claim DHHL lands. This week, the group began placing signs on vacant Department of Hawaiian Home Land parcels in Waianae and Kalaeloa, “reclaiming” the land for beneficiaries. Hawaii News Now.

Gov. Josh Green simplifying Aloha Stadium P3 plan. Gov. Josh Green has decided to pursue an alternate path for redeveloping Aloha Stadium in which a private partner would develop and operate a new stadium wholly or largely paid for by the state. Star-Advertiser.

Council chair: Law needs to be changed to fix flawed Waikiki Safe and Sound program. Critics complain there are no immediate consequences for repeat offenders caught violating Waikiki’s Safe and Sound program. Now, the district’s councilman is calling on the courts for help. Hawaii News Now.

Ex-Mililani athletic director surrenders in theft case. The former Mililani High School athletic director and baseball coach accused of stealing more than $400,000 from the school’s Athletic Booster Club Inc. surrendered to state Sheriff’s deputies this morning. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Official Reports Of Drug Use At Hawaii’s Largest Prison Are Challenged By Staff. Staff allege that the number of inmates who tested positive at the Halawa Correctional Facility is higher than official figures. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Island

Nene’s death sparks call for action in Keaukaha. Nonprofits and native bird enthusiasts are pleading with government officials for help mitigating traffic in Keaukaha after a nene was killed by a driver last weekend. Tribune-Herald.

Maui’s ‘Dolphin Dave’ cited for harassing dolphins, humpback whale at Hawaiʻi Island state park.
A 65-year-old Maui man is accused of actively pursuing an adolescent humpback whale and dolphins inside Kealakekua Bay State Historical Park.  Big Island Video News. Big Island Now.

800 attend Big Island cockfight; four men charged with firearms, drug offenses. Four men were arrested for firearms offenses on March 4 while at a cockfight in Kealakekua, where drugs and illegal firearms were recovered, along with U.S. currency and two vehicles for forfeiture, according to Hawaiʻi Island police. Big Island Now. Star-Advertiser. KHON2.

Lease dispute escalates over state land in Hilo. Legal challenges against the state by a Hilo business owner whose lease agreement is in jeopardy could heat up after a hearing Friday. Tribune-Herald.


Excavation starts at site of fuel spill atop Haleakalā. Excavation for cleanup of the Haleakalā fuel spill site began March 2, 2023, at the Maui Space Surveillance Complex following approval of a work plan.  Maui Now.

DLNR pursues owners for costs to remove yacht from Maui reef. The nominee to run the state Department of Land and Natural Resources plans to go after the owners of an illegally moored yacht that broke free, leaked fuel and damaged 20 species of coral near a Maui marine life conservation district. Star-Advertiser.

Contract negotiations for Maui County hospital workers continue, but talks break down. Negotiations between Kaiser’s Maui Health System and the United Public Workers union for a new contract for nearly 500 health care workers continued Monday, but talks broke down after just two hours, officials said. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Lanai Water Utility Seeks Significant Increase In Rates. The Lanai Water Co. is seeking a rate increase that would add $76.78 to the average customer’s monthly bill, which now is $18.75. Civil Beat.

350 still without power; initial outage impacted 6,900 customers from Pukalani to Hāna, Maui. Approximately 6,900 customers from the Pukalani to Hāna area experienced the outage starting around 6:40 a.m. Maui Now.


Scrap metal not accepted at Līhuʻe refuse transfer center March 6-10.  The Līhu‘e refuse transfer station will not be accepting residential scrap metal for recycling from March 6 to 10 due to equipment issues. Kauai Now.

Monday, February 6, 2023

Legislators advance repeal of excise tax on groceries, some health care; battle ensues over loosening development rules for affordable housing, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2022 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Lawmakers eye tax relief proposals as residents grapple with rising costs for medical care, groceries. Hawaii lawmakers began giving preliminary approval to major tax breaks Friday, including repealing the excise tax on groceries and on doctors who serve low-income and elderly patients in small clinics. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii’s Affordable Housing Law Sparks Battles At The Capitol. At a time when housing is a priority for the island state, some lawmakers are pushing back against a law that eases development. Civil Beat.

1 of 3 bills to repeal Hawaii Tourism Authority advances
. Three bills are seeking to repeal the embattled Hawaii Tourism Authority this legislative session, which may prove one of the more contentious for the agency since state lawmakers gave it life in 1998. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii Public Radio.

New Hawaii DBEDT director getting down to business.  On a whiteboard in the top-floor corner office in Hono­lulu’s historic No. 1 Capitol District building, several objectives are charted out that could have big implications for Hawaii’s economy. Star-Advertiser.

Partial public financing for elections could see boost, with substantial benefits for OHA. Hawai‘i lawmakers are considering legislation that would boost the amount of partial public financing available to candidates for the first time since the mid-1990s. Hawaii Public Radio.

Bill proposes making Native Hawaiian language a required course
. A recently introduced bill in the Legislature would make Native Hawaiian language classes a required course in Hawaii public schools for grades elementary through high school, just as English is a required course. Star-Advertiser.

A generational ban on tobacco? Senate Bill 148 proposes the ban on tobacco for anyone born on or after Jan. 1, 2003. The ban includes traditional cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco, e-cigarettes and vapes. Tribune-Herald.

Empty shelves for kids’ medicines continue. Many retail drugstores have bare shelves in the over-the-counter cold medicine area, particularly for the most popular brands of fever- and pain-reducing medication for children under 12. Star-Advertiser.


Council growing impatient waiting for Honolulu housing plan. Honolulu Council Chair Tommy Waters is frustrated: For two years he’s asked, waited and asked again for Mayor Rick Blangiardi’s administration to divulge a previously promised housing plan as well as a strategy on dealing with a growing homeless population on the island. Star-Advertiser.

Waitlist opening for rent subsidy program. The City and County of Honolulu is opening its waitlist for the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program, which provides rental assistance to eligible households with funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Hawaii News Now.

Battle over Kakaako housing continues on Oahu
. For nearly two decades in urban Honolulu, an ideological battle line over housing has been fixed along Ala Moana Boulevard dividing mauka and makai segments of Kakaako. Star-Advertiser.

Farmers interested in Savio’s Waialua ag condo project. More than 100 people turned out Sunday to hear about Orchard Plantation, a farming project by Peter Savio, which will offer local farmers the opportunity to own fee-simple land in Waialua. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Tackling teacher shortages: Bill aims to ease licensing process for out-of-state educators.  As of June 2022, the state Department of Education reported Hawaii County was short 196 classroom teachers, with 41 vacancies in the Hilo-Waiakea complex, 50 in the Ka‘u-Keaau-Pahoa complex, and 105 in the Honokaa-Kealakehe-Kohala-Konawaena complex. Tribune-Herald.

Few Big Island schools have undergone vulnerability assessments meant to ID campus weaknesses. Despite an increase in threats reported at state Department of Education schools, just 14 of 41 Big Island campuses have completed a vulnerability assessment since 2017. Tribune-Herald.

‘An incredible partnership’: School-Based Health Centers open in West Hawaii.  Hawaii Island Community Health Center has launched School Based Health Centers to provide care on-site in three local schools.  West Hawaii Today.

The Tragic Life And Death Of A Hilo Homeless Woman. The woman who died in a Banyan tree fire last month was once an award-winning coffee farmer. But she struggled with mental illness. Civil Beat.


Prosecutors Seek Nearly A Decade In Prison For ‘Brazen’ Maui Official Who Took Bribes. Stewart Stant, a former Maui environmental director who pleaded guilty to taking nearly $2 million in bribes, directed more than $19 million worth of sole-source contracts for improvements to Maui’s wastewater system to H2O Process Systems between 2012 and 2018. Civil Beat.

Maui Council Confirms Lutey As Clerk. The Maui County Council confirmed Moana Lutey, the county’s former top attorney, as clerk in a 9-0 vote. Civil Beat. Maui News.

Fuel spill reignites debate over military’s land lease. Mayor visits Haleakala, calls for community engagement. Maui News. Hawaii News Now.

Maui firefighter dies after being sucked into storm drain. 24-year-old Tre’ Evans-Dumaran died Saturday after he was swept into a storm drain on Jan. 27 while responding to flooding in Kihei. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

Predator-proof fence installation begins at Kanahā Pond State Wildlife Sanctuary. Work is currently underway to replace an old, rusty fence that surrounds the sprawling Kanahā Pond State Wildlife Sanctuary on Maui. The old fending is being replaced with predator-proof fencing to keep rats, cats, mongoose, and dogs from attacking ground-nesting birds.  Maui Now. Maui News.


U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to assess too-short levees on Kaua‘i, but timeframe unknown.
Kaua‘i Mayor Derek Kawakami said he made headway with military brass last month – nearly one year after hundreds of West Side households were required to purchase flood insurance due to subpar levees constructed decades ago by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Kauai Now.

Kaua‘i housing market state’s most expensive.
A calendar year that featured some eye-popping real estate transactions cemented the County of Kaua‘i as the priciest place for a single-family home in the Hawaiian Islands. Garden Island.

Median home price hits $1.6M in December.  Sales of single-family homes tumbled on Kaua‘i in December 2022, a scenario that played out in each of the previous months of the housing cycle. But the slowdown in transactions didn’t cool prices. Garden Island.

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Governor's new homelessness emergency comes with rules; tourist fee, general excise tax plans scaled back; judge ends aquarium fishing ban, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

The state's homelessness proclamation isn't new, but now has a few 'rules'.  This isn't the first time a Hawaiʻi governor has issued an emergency proclamation on homelessness. However, Gov. Green's coordinator says this could be the first with cultural and environmental limitations. Hawaii Public Radio.

Green pledges new approach to state government. Gov. Josh Green added new details to a range of ideas including how to add more tourist fees to access state parks and trails while renewing his promise that his administration will be transparent and “nimble.” Star-Advertiser.

Governor’s ‘green fee’ plan scaled back to target park, trail and beach users. In bills introduced to the Legislature by his office, the governor’s proposal is now for what could be called a “paradise passport,” targeting only people who visit “a state-owned park, beach, forest, trail, or other state-owned recreational natural areas.” Hawaii News Now.

Tax breaks urged for ALICE families: Gov. Green pivots from GET reform efforts. Removing the general excise tax on food and medicine might not be the best way to help struggling Hawaii residents, Gov. Josh Green said Monday. Tribune-Herald.

Lawmakers Want More Information Made Public On Inmate Deaths In State Prisons And Jails. House and Senate measures would require corrections officials to announce each prisoner death on a website, and include information on what caused each fatality. Civil Beat.

Upping the ante: State lawmakers introduce several gambling bills. A raft of gambling-related bills have been introduced in the state Legislature and have passed first readings on their respective chamber’s floors. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii arrivals hit 9.25M in spite of Japan drop-off. Hawaii ended 2022 with less than 90% of the visitor arrivals that it had in the pre-pandemic 2019, mostly because of the drop in international visitors, especially from Japan, which is historically Hawaii’s top international market. Star-Advertiser.

Feds award Hawaii Title I schools $73 million. Hawaii’s Title I public schools, which serve a disproportionate number of students living in poverty, will get $73 million in added federal funding for the 2023-2024 school year — an increase of $15 million over 2022. Star-Advertiser.

Researchers Hope Hawaii Lawmakers Fund Cancer Research This Year. A new study would seek to get to the bottom of why Native Hawaiians, Filipinos and Pacific Islanders face high rates of many cancers. Civil Beat.

Hawaiʻi researchers' work could change life expectancy of mesothelioma patients. Michele Carbone and Haining Yang, both doctors leading a team of UH researchers, received several grants for the project — including a $2.6 million grant from the National Institutes of Health in 2019. Hawaii Public Radio.

Jim Leahey was the golden voice of Hawaii sports. Leahey, who was considered the “voice of University of Hawaii sports” during a six-decade broadcasting career, died on Monday morning at The Queen’s Medical Center. He was 80. Star-Advertiser. Big Island Now. Maui Now.  Kauai Now.  Hawaii News Now. KHON2.  KITV4.


New Hawaii Governor Plans A Tougher Stance On Red Hill. Environmental advocates want the Green administration to demand more from the Navy. Civil Beat.

Former police chief prevails in defamation suit brought by ex-SHOPO president. A jury on Monday sided with former Police Chief Susan Ballard in a defamation suit. The suit was brought by Tenari Maafala, who stepped down as president of the police union in 2018. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Under pilot, some repeat law-breakers in Chinatown are being given a choice: Jail or treatment. Under a pilot project, treatment is approved by the court before a judge ever rules on the case. The idea is to get homeless drug addicts into residential drug treatment programs right after they’re arrested. Hawaii News Now.

A new development offers affordable land for small farms on the North Shore. Developer Peter Savio is launching a new agricultural project called “Orchard Plantation,” which provides 155 acres of Waialua orchard land. Hawaii News Now.

Avalon Group buys Downtown Honolulu building; to convert part of it into housing. Avalon Group said Monday that its newly-acquired 378,000-square-foot Davies Pacific Center office building along Bishop Street will be converted to a mixed-use development with up to 120,000-square-feet of office and retail uses and the balance will be converted into up to 400 workforce and market-rate residential units. KITV4.

Marine biologists near end of 5-year study on health of Hanauma Bay. The University of Hawai‘i Institute for Marine Biology is winding up a five-year visitor capacity study on Hanauma Bay on Oʻahu. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii Island

Ban on West Hawaii aquarium fish collecting ends. An Oahu Circuit Court judge lifted an injunction Monday that effectively ends a five-year ban on aquarium fish collection in the waters of West Hawaii. Star-Advertiser. West Hawaii Today. Big Island Video News.  Big Island Now.

Pōhakuloa Training Area receives funding to protect and restore native plants and species.
The U.S. Army Garrison-Hawai‘i, Pōhakuloa Training Area, located between Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa in the Saddle Road region, will receive $1.3 million for its Nāpu‘u Natural Resource Protection: Mitigating Rare Plant Impacts project. Big Island Now.


County council fails to override Victorino’s vetoes. Former mayor had nixed bills on housing resale rules, cultural overlay map. With a new majority on the Maui County Council, members failed to override two vetoes by former Mayor Michael Victorino, who prior to the end of his term opposed a bill relating to deed restrictions and the resale of workforce housing and another measure to establish a cultural overlay map for the county. Maui News.

‘A Sleepover For County Council’: Marathon Maui Meeting Raises Concerns About Public Participation. In the wake of a tumultuous, 18-hour long meeting in which residents said they felt “disenfranchised” and held “hostage” while waiting to have a say in their local government’s decision-making process, the new Maui County Council chair says she’s planning to change up the rules to make it easier to testify.  Civil Beat.

Kanahā Pond on Maui to get predator-proof fencing to protect nesting habitats. Pono Pacific Land Management was recently awarded a contract by the state to install 8,000 linear feet of an anticipated 14,785-foot predator-proof fence at Kanahā Pond State Wildlife Sanctuary on Maui. Maui Now.

3 days of downpours bring 23.61″ of rain to Puʻu Aliʻi, Molokaʻi, up to 15″ to parts of Maui. Crews on Maui continued to assess flooding and saturation from three days of heavy rainfall. Maui Now. Maui News.


Dead sperm whale removed from Kaua’i beach; buried at undisclosed location.
  A disappearing act of colossal proportions has taken place at on the East Side of Kaua‘i, after county, state and federal personnel worked through the weekend to remove a 120,000-pound sperm whale from Lydgate Beach Park — and bury it at an undisclosed location. Kauai Now. Star-Advertiser.

Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kaua‘i receives funding for invasive species. Pacific Missile Range Facility Barking Sands is set to receive funding for detection and management of high-impact aquatic and terrestrial invasive species. Kauai Now.

County property taxes due soon. County Department of Finance officials said in a press release that the second installment of real property taxes for the 2022-23 tax year is due on Feb. 20. Garden Island.


Friday, January 27, 2023

Youth climate change lawsuit has day in court, legislators mull Aloha Stadium plans, long-delayed Kona homeless project to begin construction, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Kids pack courtroom to support youth climate change lawsuit against Transportation Department. Attorneys representing 14 Hawaii youths appeared in court Thursday to argue in favor of a lawsuit that claims the state Department of Transportation is violating their client’s state constitutional rights by not doing enough to stem the emissions that are contributing to climate change. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.  KITV4.

Hawaii Needs To ‘Double Down’ On Biosecurity, Experts Say. State lawmakers are asked to find a little more funding now to save a lot more money later in order to protect the islands' fragile ecosystems and ag lands. Civil Beat.

Gov. Green's plan focuses on 'targeted' taxes, strays from repealing general excise tax. The plans outlined in Green’s tax reforms would be expansive. It would change the state's income tax by increasing personal exemptions to inflation and increasing the standard deduction to $5,000 for single filers and $10,000 for joint filers.  Hawaii Public Radio.

Bills seek GET exemptions: Some focus on medical services in an effort to easy physician shortage. This year in the state Legislature, there are roughly two dozen House bills and another two dozen Senate bills targeting the general excise tax, many of which request exemptions. Tribune-Herald.

Does The Office Of Hawaiian Affairs Need To Be More Representative? Candidates for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs board of trustees would need to win their island districts rather than run a statewide election under a pair of bills that advanced Thursday with preliminary approval from the Senate Hawaiian Affairs Committee. Civil Beat.

Over $1B was appropriated for Native Hawaiians last year. Now it needs to be used. Last year’s legislative session shaped up to be a big year for Native Hawaiian issues at the capitol, with more than $1 billion appropriated to Native Hawaiian projects and initiatives. Hawaii Public Radio.

Women's Legislative Caucus backs bills for working mothers and survivors of abuse.  The Hawaiʻi Women’s Legislative Caucus introduced their bill package Wednesday morning, which includes efforts to combat human trafficking, domestic violence and instill better lactation services across the islands. Hawaii Public Radio.

UH graduate assistants’ fight to unionize reaches high court. A years-long struggle by University of Hawaii graduate assistants for the right to unionize and collectively bargain for better wages and working conditions has progressed further than ever before, with their case now being considered by the Hawaii Supreme Court. Star-Advertiser.


New Aloha Stadium finish date unchanged, planner says. The requests for proposals for construction of the new Aloha Stadium won’t be out by the end of this month as previously expected, but that in itself won’t change the project’s completion date, a key state planner said Thursday. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Ex-prison guard charged with sex abuse of 3 female inmates. Mikael Salvador Rivera, 45, of Kapolei pleaded not guilty at his arraignment, held Thursday at Honolulu federal court, on charges of six counts of sexual abuse by threats and 11 counts of sexual abuse of a ward. Star-Advertiser.

Former police union head breaks down on stand in defamation trial. The former head of the state police union broke into tears on the witness stand Thursday when he talked about the false allegations that he padded his overtime. Tenari Maafala said he experienced mental “anguish” as a result of the false accusations involving former HPD chief Susan Ballard. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Ordered An Acupuncturist To Stop Practicing. Three Years Later, He Still Was. Mike Hashimoto, an architect of the state's regulation of acupuncture, asked the state to intervene in a billing dispute last year despite his agreement to not treat patients. Civil Beat.

Construction starts for new healthcare campus. Buildings are being demolished to make room for the Straub Medical Centers’ new, state-of-the-art healthcare campus. KHON2.

Hawaii Island

Homeless project housing begins.
The much-needed and long-planned Kukuiola Emergency Shelter and Assessment Center moved a step closer to fruition Thursday with a groundbreaking and blessing ahead of the start of mass grading of the site in Kailua-Kona. That first phase, as currently outlined, will include 16 emergency shelter units, a congregate kitchen area, restrooms, parking and other amenities. West Hawaii Today. Big Island Now. Hawaii News Now.  KITV4.

The hunt for unknown male in Ireland case. Hawaii County’s police chief and prosecuting attorney issued separate statements late Thursday afternoon saying they will be steadfast in their quest to bring to justice the man who left DNA on several pieces of key evidence in the 1991 rape and murder of Dana Ireland.  Tribune-Herald. Big Island Now. KHON2.  KITV4.

Hilo Car Rental Company Fined For Large Capacity Cesspools. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced a settlement with Enterprise Rent-A-Car and Truck to resolve a claim of violations of the Safe Drinking Water Act. Big Island Video News. Big Island Now.


Ex-lover receives life for murder of Maui woman. Nine years and 14 days after 46-year-old Moreira Monsalve’s disappearance, a Maui Circuit Court judge sentenced her ex-boyfriend Bernard Brown on Thursday to life imprisonment with the possibility of parole for killing the Maui mother of three. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

Nightly closure of Piʻilani Highway for Kīhei roundabout paving, Jan. 30-Feb. 1.  The Hawaiʻi Department of Transportation will close Piʻilani Highway nightly in both directions between Kaonoulu Street and Piʻikea Avenue from 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 30, through 5 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 1. Maui Now.


Kauai Is Making A Blueprint To Meet ‘Huge Desire’ For Local Food. Confronted with the question of how to boost local food access, dozens of Kauai farmers, ranchers, community leaders and concerned residents have underscored two critical needs: farm worker housing and connecting farmers to farmable land.  Civil Beat.

Kaua‘i Island Energy Cooperative unveils habitat conservation plan.  The Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative has released a nearly $265 million Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) entailing a 50-year strategy to minimize its impact on threatened wildlife. Garden Island.

Former Kaua‘i prosecutor sues county for wrongful termination. The former Kaua‘i deputy prosecutor, who was fired after lodging a complaint against a judicial nominee, is suing the County of Kaua‘i for wrongful termination, defamation, and violation of free speech rights. Garden Island.

Friday, January 13, 2023

Legislative panels question Land Board appointee, University of Hawaii admins, eggflation benefits local producers, Bishop Museum fires execs, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Green’s controversial pick to head Land Board goes before lawmakers to make her case. Members of the Senate Ways and Means and Water and Land committees questioned Dawn Chang about the Green Administration’s plan to invest $100 million in climate change initiatives, vacancies in the DLNR’s enforcement division and enforcement actions in its Boating Division. Hawaii News Now.

Senators take UH to task over spending. The University of Hawaii, already smarting from Gov. Josh Green’s changes to its requests to increase its biennial budgets, got no sympathy from state senators demanding more accountability on UH spending and leadership during a contentious meeting Thursday. Star-Advertiser.

Could Hawaiʻi feasibly repeal its general excise tax on food and medicine? Gov. Josh Green has pledged to repeal the GET on food and some medicines in campaign promises and during his inaugural speech, but some are critiquing the choice — including influential lawmakers. Hawaii Public Radio.

Medical cannabis rules in Hawaii might be relaxed.  Armed with a long-awaited task force report, state lawmakers are expected to take up measures this year that would add protections and expand access to medical cannabis, including a bill that would require health care providers to allow terminally ill patients to smoke or ingest the drug at their facilities and a bill that would give registered medical cannabis users job protections. Star-Advertiser.

Local egg farmers reaping the benefits of higher-priced mainland eggs. While prices are surging for mainland eggs, more people are now buying local. An Avian flu outbreak on the mainland has created a level playing field for local egg farms. KITV4.

Still some sticker shock at isle grocers, even with inflation cooling. Anyone who’s gone grocery shopping lately knows there’s still a lot of sticker shock going on — with many examples on the neighbor islands. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii’s Farms Are Small And Hard To Sustain. Can Tax Incentives Help? A suite of bills to boost agriculture is set to be introduced this coming legislative session with the goal of bringing Hawaii closer to other states when it comes to helping farmers. Civil Beat.

False missile alert rattled Hawaii nerves 5 years ago.  The episode spread not only panic, but ultimately anger across the islands. State officials apologized and promised a full review. State and federal hearings and multiple investigations and reports criticized HI-EMA and recommended changes. Star-Advertiser.


3 Bishop Museum executives are fired by board.  Bishop Museum is looking for its fourth CEO in the past seven years after the board of directors voted unanimously Wednesday to fire three top executives following a six-month probe into the work environment at the 15-acre campus in Kalihi. Star-Advertiser. KHON2. KITV4.

Honolulu buys 48 vans for TheHandi-Van fleet. The City and County of Honolulu announced the purchase of 48 more gas-powered vans for TheHandi-Van, the city’s under­resourced paratransit service, that should arrive in August. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.  KHON2.

Task force: State has lost battle to eradicate coconut rhinoceros beetle on Oahu. The head of the state’s Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle Task Force says the state has lost the battle to eradicate the pests on Oahu ― and is now moving resources toward preventing its spread to other islands. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu Zoo euthanizes 2 Sumatran tigers with kidney disease. The City and County of Honolulu today said that it had euthanized Seattle, a 15-year-old male, on Jan. 5 and Chrissie, a 23-year-old female, on Tuesday. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.  KHON2.

Hawaii Island

New Mauna Kea Board Asks Legislature To Approve $28M For Transition. The panel is gearing up to assume control of the mountain from the University of Hawaii in 2028, but it’s just getting started. Civil Beat.

Banyan Tree Wasp Infestation Highlights Urban Decay In Hilo Waterfront. The plight of some 50 banyan trees near downtown Hilo puts a spotlight on Banyan Drive’s deeper, longstanding troubles. Civil Beat.

Speed limit on 5.5-mile stretch of Volcano Road to be reduced to 35 mph. The speed limit on Volcano Road (Route 11) between South Road and Pszyk Road, and through Kurtistown and Mountain View in East Hawaiʻi, will be reduced to 35 mph in both directions, announced the Hawaiʻi Department of Transportation. Big Island Now. Star-Advertiser.

Input wanted for skate park. The Hawaii County Parks and Recreation in January 2022 announced plans to build the Hilo Skate Park with private partnerships and initial county funding for the planning process. Tribune-Herald.


New Community Solar Projects Slated For Molokai Could Lower Bills. A pair of solar plus battery energy projects will move forward on Molokai, pending the approval of state utility regulators. Civil Beat. Maui Now.

DOE lacking Maui County approval to open new Kihei high school. A new $120-million high school for South Maui is scheduled to open next week. However, the state has yet to meet all the requirements. Hawaii News Now.

Blessing and unveiling held for 100-foot mural on Church Street in Wailuku. A blessing was held this week for a 100-foot mural titled “Mōhala I ka wai ka maka o ka pua,” translated as “Unfolded by the water are the faces of the flowers.” Maui Now.


A Sweeping Plan To Reinvent Kauai’s Oldest Hospital Is ‘Getting Close To The Vision’. The projected $400 million project on the 34-acre property would upgrade the medical facility while creating a civic hub around schools, pubic safety and affordable housing. Civil Beat.

Plane lost power before Līhu‘e Airport crash. The revelation comes from a preliminary report filed by the National Transportation Safety Board, which states the plane’s pilot – reportedly a member of the Civil Air Patrol joined by his young son – described a lack of power to the control tower before his Beechcraft Model 77 Skipper descended into a fence at the edge of the airport property. Kauai Now. Hawaii News Now.

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Senate panel grills Hawaiian Homes leaders over spending priorities, Green finds lack of legislative support for tax-cut plan, attorney general won't re-prosecute Mauna Kea protesters, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

New Hawaiian Home Lands leader grilled over priorities to spend $600M.  Members of the Ways and Means Committee and Hawaiian Affairs Committee on Tuesday gave a sometimes scathing reaction to an agency budget presentation from new DHHL Director Ikaika Anderson flanked with support from longtime agency staff. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. 

DOE slow to assess schools’ vulnerabilities to violence. Even though school shootings and mass shootings nationwide have hit historic levels — with a record-high 51 school shootings that killed or injured 140 people in 2022 — fewer than half of Hawaii’s 258 public school campuses have been evaluated for vulnerabilities to targeted violence, and department officials say it will take three more years for them to finish. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Candidate Green promised dramatic tax reform. Now Gov. Green is seeking compromise. As a candidate, Gov. Josh Green repeatedly promised a dramatic tax reform ― eliminating the 4.5% excise tax on food and drugs. But after lawmakers have said that was probably unrealistic, he’s floating potential compromises. Hawaii News Now.

 ‘Where’s The Hammer?’ Hawaii Prosecutors Dodged Public Discipline For 40 Years Despite Misconduct. Prosecutors sometimes cross the line. But for a host of reasons, the Hawaii Supreme Court does not sanction them. Civil Beat.

Feds Collected $2 Million From Criminal, Civil Debtors Last Year.
Hawaii’s U.S. Attorney’s office secured over $2 million owed in criminal and civil cases last year, U.S. Attorney Clare Connors announced on Tuesday. An additional $7.5 million was collected from the owners of the defunct Oahu Sugar Company due to historical pesticide contamination. Civil Beat. Maui Now.

Applicants Sought For Elections Commission. Hawaii Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald is looking for qualified people to fill a seat on the state Elections Commission. The unexpired term of William Dean from the County of Hawaii will expire on June 30, 2024. Civil Beat.


‘The Eddie’ a no-go as conditions change. 
Organizers of the Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational canceled today’s event due to changes in wind and swell conditions on Oahu’s North Shore. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii Public Radio.  Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu prosecuting attorney on balancing crime enforcement and outreach. Identifying crime and prosecuting criminals is only one part in working to make an area safer, according to Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney Steve Alm.  Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii Hospital Giant Reaches Tentative Deal With Nurses. Nurses at Straub Medical Center got a New Year’s gift this week in the form of a tentative agreement that union leaders say includes provisions that will make working easier for caregivers and provide better treatment for patients. But it remains to be seen whether the concessions will be enough to sway the 400-member union. Civil Beat.

Kakaako shoppers, businesses grapple with traffic ‘madness’ as road repairs continue. Businesses and consumers say the city’s sinkhole repairs in Kakaako and other road repair projects are turning the area into a hard-to-navigate maze. Hawaii News Now.

Red Hill moms demand congressional hearing on Navy’s fuel-tainted water. Two moms who were sickened during the Red Hill fuel-tainted water crisis more than a year ago are on Capitol Hill, demanding a congressional hearing on potential long-term health impacts. Hawaii News Now.

Death Penalty Phase Begins For Hawaii Prisoner In Arizona. Miti Maugaotega Jr. was convicted of murdering a fellow inmate in the Arizona prison where they were both being held. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Island

Attorney general declines to re-prosecute 38 Mauna Kea activists. State Attorney General Anne Lopez is declining to re-prosecute the people — primarily Native Hawaiian activists — who were charged in 2019 for obstructing Mauna Kea Access Road while protesting the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope. Star-Advertiser. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News. Big Island Now.  Hawaii News Now.  KHON2.

Hilo siren taken offline after 2 false alarms. Civil Defense Administrator Talmadge Magno confirmed Tuesday that one faulty siren — near the intersection of Kanoelehua Avenue and Banyan Drive, across from Ken’s House of Pancakes — was the cause of both incidents. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News.

Affordable housing complex on schedule. Construction of the Hale Na Koa ‘O Hanakahi housing project began in November after years of planning, and will eventually offer 92 single-bedroom units of affordable housing for Big Island seniors on Kawili Street across from the University of Hawaii at Hilo campus. Tribune-Herald.

‘Perfect storm’ hits Kona coffee: Crop faces a ‘devastating’ drop in production, price hike. The combination of drought, coffee leaf rust fungus and the continued presence of the coffee berry borer — a beetle that infests and destroys coffee cherries on the tree — has created what the president of the Kona Coffee Farmers Association described as “a perfect storm” that resulted in a significant drop in coffee production. Tribune-Herald.


One of priciest home sales in Maui history, Mākena mansion sells for $32.76M. The 7,400-square-foot home known as “Mākena Modern” at 4572 Mākena Road was the highest listed property sale recorded on Maui, according to listing agent Chelsea Dimin of Compass.  Maui Now.

Training underway for humpback whale disentanglements. A team of highly trained state and federal individuals met up in December in waters off of Maui to fine tune their skills in humpback whale disentanglements.  Maui Now.


Kaua‘i democratic party accepting applications for Jimmy Tokioka’s statehouse seat. The Democratic Party of Kaua‘i announced Monday night that it is accepting applications for the role vacated by longtime state Rep. Jimmy Tokioka, who recently accepted a job as state Department of Transportation Airports Division deputy director in the administration of new Gov. Josh Green. Garden Island.

Opponents Of West Kauai Energy Project Want More Environmental Scrutiny. The solar-charged hydro power concept would be the first of its kind in world. Civil Beat.