Showing posts with label Gov. Josh Green. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gov. Josh Green. Show all posts

Monday, November 13, 2023

$176.6M in state projects redirected to Maui, first chief data officer hired, Hawaii has biggest jump in unvaccinated children, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii Projects Statewide Will Go To Maui Fire Response Instead. A state budget memo highlights trade-offs the public will make to support the state's response to the Aug. 8 fires. Some $172.6 million previously appropriated for numerous public purposes such as Hawaii Convention Center roof repairs, state parks renovations and agricultural warehouses will instead be used for Maui wildfire responses, according to a memo from Gov. Josh Green to his department heads. Civil Beat.

Specific project transfers in Gov. Josh Green's budget revisions outlined here.

Some Parts Of HECO’s New Wildfire Strategy Were Already In Play. The utility has been replacing copper wires with aluminum ones for years. Civil Beat.

State of Hawaiʻi Enterprise Technology Services names new chief data officer. Rebecca Cai has been named to the critical role of chief data officer for the State of Hawai‘i Office of Enterprise Technology Services. Cai most recently served as the Chief Data Officer for New York State’s Office of Information Technology Services and has 24 years of digital, data, analytics, and decision intelligence experience in the private sector. Maui Now.

U.S. child vaccination exemptions hit record; Hawaii sees biggest jump. In the last decade, the percentage of kindergarteners with medical exemptions has held steady, at about 0.2%. But the percentage with nonmedical exemptions has inched up, lifting the overall exemption rate from 1.6% in the 2011-2012 school year to 3% last year. Hawaii saw the largest jump, with the exemption rate rising to 6.4%, nearly double the year before. Associated Press.

More than 800 enroll in program aimed at physician retention. Hundreds of doctors statewide have applied for a state program to defray their student loans as part of a plan to alleviate Hawaii’s doctor shortage. Tribune-Herald.

Pacific Gateway Center designated as Immigrant Resource Center for Maui, Kaua‘i and O‘ahu. Pacific Gateway Center has been designated as the Immigrant Resource Center for the counties of Maui, Kaua‘i and O‘ahu, in partnership with Parents & Children Together.  Maui Now.


Professional self-certification law aims to cut DPP permit delays. The City is taking steps to resolve long delays in the building permit process, a temporary professional self-certification law for certain developments was recently passed as a way to speed up the permit application time, but some in the building industry see it as a last resort.  KHON2.

‘High Likelihood’ Of More Delays In Critically Important Honolulu Rail Work. Relocating utilities along Dillingham Boulevard has been a complex problem from the start.  Civil Beat.

Opponents Of Shark’s Cove Development Plan Are Pitching An Emergency Services Center Instead.
Some residents hope that the city's plans for a new emergency services center on Oahuʻs North Shore can align with their goal to stop a commercial development there. Civil Beat.

Mililani Mauka blaze signals troubling change for Hawaii wildfires. A wildfire burning in a remote Hawaii rainforest is underscoring a new reality for the normally lush island state just a few months after devastating wildfires leveled Lahaina and killed at least 99 people. Associated Press.

Service members sue government over Red Hill water crisis. A group of military serv­ice members has filed a lawsuit against the federal government over their exposure to jet fuel-tainted water in 2021 during the Red Hill water crisis on Oahu. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Mayor’s Waipi‘o Valley Road Emergency Rules Extended.
All pedestrians, uncovered vehicles, and horseback access to the Waipiʻo Valley Road remains prohibited, with limited exceptions. Big Island Video News.

Drought conditions intensify on Big Island
; water haulers are backlogged with orders. Severe drought now covers more than half the state and more than 85% of the Big Island and Maui. Tribune-Herald.

Community to discuss draft EA for North Kawaihae Small Boat Harbor. The Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation is hosting a public meeting on Nov. 13 to discuss the draft Environmental Assessment for the North Kawaihae Small Boat Harbor improvements project on Hawaiʻi Island. Big Island Now.

Officials determine Kaumana Caves safe to reopen.
A popular lava tube in Hilo is safe to reopen after a rockfall, according to county officials and geologists. Tribune-Herald.


Maui wildfire relief fund receives over 1,000 applications. Nonprofit Maui Economic Opportunity has received over 1,000 applications for its Maui Relief TANF program, the organization said in a news release Thursday. Star-Advertiser.

County set to open two more residential zones in Lahaina. Restrictions will be lifted from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday and Tuesday for Zones 8C and 9C, which include Aki Street, Hauola Place, Kaili Place, Kamamalu Street, Keone Street, Kopili Street, Kuhua Street, Lahainaluna Road, Puiki Place, Kale Street, Mela Street and Paeohi Street. Maui News.

West Maui tourism restart brings broader business recovery.
Arrivals to Maui plummeted 57% to 94,221 visitors in September, while spending plunged 52.6% to $203.2 million, according to preliminary data from the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism. Star-Advertiser.

Good Samaritans abound in Maui fire relief work. About 10 miles from Lahaina’s burned core, rotating volunteers operating out of a field camp in Kapalua over the past few months have been providing spiritual, emotional and physical help for evacuees of Maui’s deadly Aug. 8 wildfires. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.


Legislators get firsthand look at projects on Kaua‘i.
Members of the House Finance Committee and the Kauai legislative team recently visited the Garden Island to view firsthand several projects and programs, which are supported by the Hawai‘i Legislature. Garden Island.

Kauai Estate To Close 3 Illegal Cesspools. Kukuiolono Park Trust Estate,
which operates Kukuiolono Park and Golf Course in Kalaheo, has agreed to close its three large cesspools as part of a settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the EPA said.  Civil Beat.

Thursday, November 9, 2023

Green announces Maui wildfire fund modeled after 911, audit blasts Honolulu's use of Covid relief money, Skyline train stalls, blocking crossing, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

$150 Million Fund Is Established For Families Of Maui Wildfire Victims. The fund is the start of what Gov. Josh Green described as a multi-part plan to compensate survivors and help them rebuild. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii Public Radio.  Maui Now. Hawaii News Now.  KHON2. KITV4.

Wildfire prevention prioritized in upcoming legislative session. Emergency preparedness is expected to be a major topic in next year’s legislative session, from management of the land to reduce wildfires to taking a closer look at how homes are built, the House of Representatives was tasked with taking a closer look at ways to mitigate the dangers. KHON2.

Residents urged to get updated flu, COVID shots. In Hawaii, an estimated 98,738 doses of the updated vaccine have been administered, according to DOH data from voluntary reports up to Wednesday, which is nearly 7% of the state’s population. Star-Advertiser.

State officials say the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service will provide $5 million for the planting of 75,000 trees. $5 million in federal funds is headed to Hawaiʻi for forest enhancement, state officials say. The new grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, or USDA NRCS, is under the Regional Conservation Partnership Program. Big Island Video News.


Audit Finds Honolulu’s Covid Relief Spending ‘Flawed And Unenforced’.
The City and County of Honolulu’s Covid-relief response included millions of dollars of questionable spending going to potentially ineligible businesses and official vehicles while struggling households were turned away, the city auditor said in a report released Wednesday. Civil Beat.

Passenger Screen Gate Alarm Triggered Skyline Train To Stall, City Says.
Because the train stopped at a track crossing, other trains weren't able to get around it. Civil Beat. KHON2.

Hearing canceled over Ala Wai harbor parking. Opponents claiming a state-level agency intends to end free recreational parking at the popular, state-controlled Ala Wai Small Boat Harbor hoped to make their voices heard at an official meeting today. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

Nine Honolulu men cited for illegally fishing in marine life conservation district. Nine men were cited by DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement officers for illegal fishing in the Pūpūkea Marine Life Conservation District on Saturday. Big Island Now. KITV4.

Hawaii Island

Lawmakers tour Big Island ahead of legislative session.  Lawmakers tour Big Island ahead of legislative session. Members of the state Senate Ways and Means Committee have been holding discussions across Hawaii Island this week to help guide future decisions and budget appropriations during the upcoming legislative session. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii lawmakers working on solutions to dearth of home insurance in lava zones. There's a home insurance crisis erupting on the Big Island, and two state lawmakers from that area are working to fix it. The last private insurer for lava zones one and two is planning to leave this market next August. KITV4.

As drought conditions worsen, water restrictions loom on Hawaii Island. Intensifying drought conditions are expected to peak early next year, prompting officials in most counties to warn residents that conservation efforts are ahead. Hawaii News Now.

Affordable housing project for kupuna opens in Pahoa.  The project is described by its owners and managers, Hope Services Hawaii, as a “community of 12 prefabricated modular homes and resource center, serving as affordable housing for kupuna.” Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii lawmakers working on solutions to dearth of home insurance in lava zones. There's a home insurance crisis erupting on the Big Island, and two state lawmakers from that area are working to fix it. The last private insurer for lava zones one and two is planning to leave this market next August.  KITV4.

Parade set for Nov. 25. The Downtown Hilo Christmas Lights Parade committee is looking for morep parade participants before the annual holiday procession hits the street later this month. Tribune-Herald.


Deadline Extended For Maui Fire Survivors Seeking Federal Assistance. County officials hosted the first in a series of public meetings to update residents on wildfire recovery efforts and improve communication. Civil Beat.

Maui declares Stage 2 water shortage. The Maui County Department of Water Supply declared a Stage 2 water shortage Wednesday. The shortage prohibits Upcountry residents from using water for “irrigation, watering lawns, washing vehicles or other nonessential activities,” according to a county news release. Star-Advertiser. Maui News. Maui Now.

Schatz: ‘A Lot Of People Are Going To Be Forced To Leave Maui’. Hawaii’s senior senator worries that victims of the wildfires will leave the islands. He wants the federal government to help make sure that doesn’t happen. Civil Beat.

Pink water at Keālia Pond on Maui likely due to halobacteria growth from high salinity. Preliminary analysis suggests that the color change appears to be the result of a single-celled organism called halobacteria. Officials with the US Fish and Wildlife Service say halobacteria are “salt-loving organisms” found in high salinity water bodies.  Maui Now. Hawaii News Now.  KHON2.

Another memorial planned for lives lost in Lahaina fire.
The passage of time was evident Wednesday at the scores of crosses that form a Lahaina memorial on the hillside above the destroyed town. Star-Advertiser.


County of Kaua‘i launches online reporting tool for road issues. As part of the County of Kaua‘i’s Land Information Management System project, the Department of Public Works and Information Technology Division created an application that provides the public with the ability to confirm the location of a reported County of Kaua‘i road issue on an interactive map. Kauai Now. KHON2.

Lihu‘e Airport traffic holds up in October. A total of 62,216 passengers deplaned domestic flights in October, compared with 72,450 in October 2022, according to data compiled by the state of Hawai‘i’s Department of Business, Economic Development &Tourism. Garden Island.

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Lawsuit dropped after Green revises housing proclamation, Maui releases 2018 wildfire after-action report, Hawaii County officials in line for raises, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Gov. Josh Green revamps housing proclamation. Gov. Josh Green on Tuesday issued a third emergency proclamation to stimulate development of affordable housing, satisfying plaintiffs who withdrew a lawsuit they had filed over concerns that Green’s proclamation removed safeguards on protecting the environment, cultural resources and government transparency. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

 Hawaii Bribery Scandal Casts A Shadow Over Lahaina’s Ruins. For years, a local businessman paid off officials in exchange for lucrative contracts. The system he exploited has been left largely unchanged. An examination of one of the state’s largest bribery cases reveals a county procurement system that may be ill-equipped to handle the millions of dollars it will spend following the devastating wildfires on Maui.  Civil Beat.

DHHL proposes 10 legislative measures to reduce its housing waitlist. The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands is considering legislation to reduce its waitlist, which currently includes more than 28,000 Native Hawaiian beneficiaries. Proposals boast everything from general excise tax exemptions for DHHL developments to allowing in-house historic preservation reviews of homeland projects. Hawaii Public Radio.

33 states, including Hawaii, sue Meta over alleged harm to kids’ mental health. Dozens of U.S. states, including Hawaii, California and New York, are suing Meta Platforms Inc. for harming young people and contributing to the youth mental health crisis by knowingly and deliberately designing features on Instagram and Facebook that addict children to its platforms. Associated Press. Civil Beat.

Researchers coring into ancient reefs off Hawaii seek to mend fences after uproar. UK-based researchers taking samples of the ocean floor off Hawaii Island don’t appear to be breaking any rules, but they are drawing criticism. Hawaii News Now.


Impaired-driving arrests on Oahu top 1,500. As of Oct. 3 there were 1,574 arrests for operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant, compared with 1,587 at the same time in 2022, HPD reported. Star-Advertiser.

Relief in the works for businesses affected by Dillingham rail construction.
Rail construction keeps hurting businesses in Kalihi, but the city is still trying to figure out how to provide them with financial aid. Hawaii News Now.

Trial begins for Hawaii couple accused of stealing dead babies’ identities. According to prosecutors, Walter Glenn Primrose and Gwynn Darle Morrison are the real names of the couple who have been fraudulently living for decades under stolen identities Bobby Fort and Julie Montague. Associated Press.

Hawaii Island

Hawaii County officials could be next to receive pay raises. The Hawaii County Salary Commission has not adjusted pay for executive, elected or appointed officials since March 2018. Meanwhile, employees covered by collective bargaining have received raises over the years. KHON2.

Army set to conduct large-scale exercise.
Tropic Lightning Soldiers from the Army’s 25th Infantry Division will participate in the Joint Pacific Multinational Readiness Center, an Army training operation to be held on the Big Island and Oahu primarily from Nov. 1 through Nov. 10. Tribune-Herald.

Ex-assistant police chief charged with numerous offenses. Mitchell Kanehailua Jr., 57, of Hilo was arrested Sunday morning and charged Monday evening with violating a restraining order, first-degree attempted burglary, third-degree assault and third-degree attempted assault. Tribune-Herald. Star-Advertiser. Big Island Now.

North Kawaihae Small Boat Harbor Breakwater Improvements Planned. The Hawaiʻi DLNR is seeking to improve the small boat harbor's damaged main breakwater to better withstand winter swells. Big Island Video News.


Panel is urged to restore West Maui stream flows.
Some 200 people packed Tuesday’s meeting of the state Commission on Water Resource Management on Maui, many of them urging the restoration of stream flows in the Lahaina area. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.

State House members to tour Lahaina’s Mala Wharf. Members of the state House Finance Committee plan to visit Maui’s Soil &Water Conservation District today and Lahaina’s Mala Wharf on Thursday. Star-Advertiser.

Maui Report On 2018 Lahaina Fire Failed To Address Issues That Reappeared Five Years Later.
Community criticism about a lack of emergency alerts, sirens and fire prevention didn't make it into the report. A report on the shortcomings of Maui County’s response to a 2018 fire failed to address many problems identified by residents at the time, according to a copy of the document released Tuesday.  Civil Beat. KITV4.

2 years ago, Maui County-funded commission sounded the alarm about wildfire risks. A 2021 report from a publicly-funded commission identifies key solutions to the wildfire risk threatening Maui, but it’s unclear if Maui County acted on the findings. Members of the commission say there was never any government follow-up. Hawaii News Now.

Oprah And Dwayne Johnson’s Relief Fund Has Paid Out $19 Million.
The People’s Fund of Maui established by Oprah Winfrey and Dwayne Johnson will disburse its second round of $1,200 payments this week. Civil Beat.


Kaua‘i sewer credit applications accepted from Nov. 1 to Jan. 2.
  Qualified sewer customers shall be granted a monthly credit of $24 per month for 2024. Kauai Now.

Kapa‘a community celebrates $750K renovation of Boys & Girls clubhouse. The building serves 100 keiki and provides a safe place to go after school with meals they can count on, caring mentors who believe in them and meaningful life experiences empowering them to discover their great futures. Kauai Now.

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Ginoza, Devens nominated to state Supreme Court, Waikiki hoteliers resist sea level legislation, Maui mayor accelerates tourism plan, DOH cancels ambulance contract, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Green Nominates Ginoza, Devens To Hawaii Supreme Court. Gov. Josh Green on Monday named Vladimir Devens, a Honolulu lawyer from a prominent political family, and Lisa Ginoza, chief judge of Hawaii’s Intermediate Court of Appeals. Both nominations are subject to state Senate confirmation, a process that is expected to be completed no later than Nov. 21. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser. Big Island Video News.  Kauai Now.  Hawaii News Now.  KHON2.

Maui County Will Release Its After-Action Report From The 2018 Lahaina Fire ‘Soon’.
State emergency officials have said they never received the report, which could have offered guidance on how to prevent the Aug. 8 blaze. A much sought-after report that analyzes a 2018 Lahaina fire will be released to the public “soon,” Maui Mayor Richard Bissen’s spokeswoman Mahina Martin said Monday.  Civil Beat.

Congress pushes HECO, PUC for more answers on Maui fire. What did HECO know, and when did they know it, about the fire risk on Maui and the dangerous fire conditions forecast for Aug. 8? Those are among questions from Congress as their investigation doubles down. KHON2.

Experts: Wildfire recovery could take a decade, cost more than Maui County’s entire budget.  A delegation of Hawaii lawmakers and nonprofit leaders is in Washington, D.C. this week — to advocate for more funding and remind people that the recovery has only just begin. Hawaii News Now.

DOH Cancels Upcoming Ambulance Contracts In Kauai And Maui Counties. The Hawaii State Department of Health announced Monday that it had ended its upcoming $58.9 million contract for ground ambulance services with Falck Northwest Corp., scheduled to begin servicing Kauai and Maui counties in December.  Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser.  Kauai Now.  KHON2.  KITV4.


Waikiki hoteliers, industry resist sea level legislation. Due to concerns over sea level rise, a Honolulu City Council resolution seeks greater regulation over the inspection and maintenance of Waikiki’s shoreline hotels. Star-Advertiser.

Land board blocks effort to move sand from ancient West Oahu beach to Waikiki. The Board of Land and Natural Resources is blocking an effort to use sand from an ancient Leeward Oahu beach to replenish the Waikiki shoreline. Hawaii News Now.

Over 16 million gallons of fuel removed from Red Hill in first week, military says.
Over 16 million gallons of fuel were removed from the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility during the first week of defueling, as of Friday afternoon, according to the military. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii Island

2nd Man Is Exonerated In The Dana Ireland Murder Case.
A Hilo Circuit Court judge on Monday reversed the convictions of a man who pleaded guilty to the kidnapping and killing of a woman visiting the Big Island in 1991, saying that new DNA evidence “clearly exonerate” Shawn Schweitzer and his brother, Albert Ian Schweitzer. Civil Beat. Tribune-Herald. KHON2.

Participants sought for Hawaiʻi project to evaluate Kona, Kaʻu coffee labeling, production. Guild Consulting is seeking participants from diverse Kona and Kaʻu coffee stakeholders for a series of surveys, focus groups and interviews that will take place in mid-November. Big Island Now.

Kahaluʻu Surf School Permits Going To Lottery.  Ocean waters commercial use permits to operate surf schools at Kahaluʻu Bay will be determined by a lottery in November. Big Island Video News.


All Of Maui Except Lahaina Will Be Open To Tourists Starting Next Week. The county is accelerating the timeline for visitors and others to return to the island's west side following the Aug. 8 fires. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser.  Hawaii News Now.

How Tourists Escaped A Fiery West Maui After The Blaze. Even as the fires in Lahaina were still burning, even before top state officials knew the magnitude of the disaster, a handful of tourism managers on Maui moved quickly to orchestrate an airlift of some 12,000 visitors off the island and out of harm’s way.  Civil Beat.

AG’s Office Investigating Illegal Rent Increases And Evictions On Maui. Hawaii Attorney General Anne Lopez announced Monday her office is investigating reports of rent hikes and evictions on Maui following the Aug. 8 fires. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser.

Lāhainā fire victims struggle to make mortgage payments on destroyed houses. Monthly mortgages are still due as many homes have burned to the ground, leaving some Lāhainā residents worried as state officials said rebuilding the town could take three years. Hawaii Public Radio.


Portuguese man o’ war spotted on south-, west-facing shores Monday.
Ocean Safety Bureau officials have spotted Portuguese man o’ war in waters off Po‘ipū to Kekaha on Monday. Kauai Now.

Monday, October 23, 2023

Green to announce 2 new state Supreme Court justices today, Blangiardi signs flavored tobacco ban, search on for 2018 Maui wildfire after-action report, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Governor Green to name two Supreme Court Justices. The Hawaii Supreme Court is about to get two new justices who will be announced Monday, Oct. 23. They will replace retired justices Michael Wilson and Paula Nakayama.The judicial selection commission chose six finalists to submit to the governor. KHON2.

Hawaii Officials Learned Little From A 2018 Fire That Foreshadowed Lahaina. The state says it has no "after action review" of the earlier blaze and if Maui County ever completed its version, it was never widely disseminated. Civil Beat.

Taking fuel away from fire on Hawaii landscape is a tall challenge. According to a 2018-19 assessment by the Hawai‘i Wildfire Management Organization, about 350 miles of landscape alteration statewide was needed to reduce high wildfire risk.  Star-Advertiser.

Toxic runoff could threaten reefs off Lahaina. Bolstered by a $200,000 National Science Foundation rapid-response grant, Andrea Kealoha, a faculty member with the University of Hawaii at Manoa Department of Oceanography, and a team of UH researchers are gearing up to sample the coral reefs near Lahaina to assess the impact of the toxic ash from the fire. Star-Advertiser.

Homestead Leases For Native Hawaiians Held Up Pending Ruling On Potential Plaintiff. A historic $328 million class action settlement for thousands of Native Hawaiians who waited decades for homestead leases on ancestral lands has been held up indefinitely as the Hawaii Supreme Court sorts out an appeal by a beneficiary who has been left out of the settlement. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Developers Settle Lawsuit Over Lack Of Accessibility Features. Five housing developments on Maui and Oahu were found to be in violation of the Fair Housing Act. Fifteen Hawaii developers have agreed to settle a lawsuit for $120,000 after the Justice Department accused them of failing to build multiple housing complexes with required accessibility features for people with disabilities. Civil Beat.

Survey finds decline in driver courtesy on Hawaii roadways. More than two-thirds of 435 island drivers surveyed by First Insurance Co. of Hawaii over the summer said their fellow drivers are less courteous today than five years ago. Star-Advertiser.


Honolulu Mayor Signs Bill To Ban Flavored Tobacco. Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi signed the so-called trigger law on Friday, but the ban won’t take effect unless state lawmakers agree to give counties the authority to regulate such products. Civil Beat.

Film studio measure gets city, state support. A Honolulu City Council measure to boost Oahu’s economy by attracting eligible film studios through real property tax incentives is receiving a boost from city and state officials. Star-Advertiser.

Successful turnout for Oahu gun buyback program.
  State officials partnered with Honolulu police Saturday to create two safe spaces on Oahu that accepted 494 unwanted firearms in exchange for Foodland gift cards, no questions asked. Star-Advertiser. KHON2.

Two More Miske Defendants Plead But Without Agreement To Cooperate. The pleas leave only accused racketeering boss Mike Miske and three other defendants as part of the case. Civil Beat.

Hawaii civil rights pioneer Amy Agbayani honored with Women of Impact Award. Originally from the Philippines, the 80-year-old activist and lobbyist is a familiar face at the state Capitol and out in the community. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Big Isle home sales decline. Soaring interest rates have cooled the Big Island real estate market, with sellers and buyers alike reconsidering transactions. Tribune-Herald.

Public asked to be on the lookout for invasive beetles. Coconut rhinoceros beetle grubs have been found at a home in Waikoloa Village, state Department of Agriculture officials said Friday. It’s the first discovery of the invasive beetle on the Big Island. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News.

Retired Police Commander Arrested In Kona. Former Hawai‘i Police Department Assistant Chief, Mitchell Kanehailua Jr., was arrested Sunday for violating a restraining order. Big Island Video News. Big Island Now.

Army Corps of Engineers hosting public meetings for WMA Program munition response sites. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, responsible for managing restoration efforts at the Former Waikoloa Maneuver Area in South Kohala on the Island of Hawai‘i, is holding two public meetings Oct. 25 to present the remedial investigation plans for Munitions Response Sites Sector 16 and Sector 17. Big Island Now.


Maui Democrats seek to fill state Senate seat.  The Maui County Democratic Party will begin accepting applications on Monday for nominees to fill the seat of outgoing state Sen. Gilbert Keith-Agaran. Maui News.

Evacuees live nomadic life after Maui wildfire as housing shortage intensifies and tourists return
. Some are bouncing from hotel room to hotel room, in some cases to make way for the return of tourists who are crucial to the local economy. Many are struggling to find places to rent amid a housing shortage — and steep prices — that plagued the island even before the fire wiped out an estimated 3,000 homes and apartments in Lahaina. Associated Press. Hawaii News Now.

Lahaina Was Grappling With Rising Inequality Before The Fires. People in Lahaina were more likely to live in overcrowded homes and struggle with issues like language access. Lahaina on the eve of the Aug. 8 fires was a community of extremes. A place where business was booming and people were struggling to survive. Civil Beat.

Maui Strong Fund Gets $4 million Boost. The Oak Foundation's donation increased the fund's value to $146.6 million. Civil Beat.

Cultural Monitors Help Assure Lahaina Fire Cleanup Is Done With Respect. Federal agencies are relying on West Maui locals to identify cultural and archeological artifacts in the ruins of August's deadly wildlife. Civil Beat.

Maui teachers focus on students’ ‘fire feelings’ as well as academics. In a packed Maui Preparatory Academy classroom, teacher Sarah Risser is reading aloud to her first graders when she notices one tiny girl winding a strand of hair tightly around her finger. Risser asks her to stop, saying it makes her nervous that pulling the hair might stop blood flow to that body part. Star-Advertiser.


Residents clash with Coco Palms developer at community meeting in Wailua. The developers aiming to restore the once-renowned Coco Palms Resort held a community meeting on Wednesday night that quickly collapsed, as Kaua‘i residents effectively shut down the presentation from the project’s ownership team within minutes.  Garden Island.

Legendary Alakoko fishpond wall undergoes restoration effort. The waters of Hule‘ia River were muddied on Saturday, as more than a thousand people toiled to place rock after rock along the 600-year-old Alakoko fishpond wall. Garden Island. Kauai Now.

Thursday, October 19, 2023

Green to meet with Biden next week on Maui recovery fund, El Nino drought to continue well into 2024, new landfills eyed for Oahu and Maui, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

‘Recovery and humanitarian’ fund for Maui fire victims’ families planned.  Gov. Josh Green plans to announce details of a new “recovery and humanitarian fund” for families that lost loved ones or were injured in the Aug. 8 Lahaina wildfire.  Green plans to meet with President Joe Biden at the White House next week, along with meetings with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and HaCivil Beat.waii’s congressional delegation. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now.

Biden: $3.5B to strengthen nation’s electric grid after Maui fires. The Biden administration on Wednesday announced $3.5 billion for 58 projects across the country to strengthen electric grid resilience as extreme weather events such as the deadly Maui and California wildfires continue to strain the nation’s aging transmission systems. Associated Press. Maui Now.

Hawaii drought to continue into 2024, NOAA says. Due to El Nino conditions, Hawaii’s current drought is expected to continue well into next year, and possibly even into the 2024 dry season, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecast. Star-Advertiser. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News. Big Island Now.

Navy hospital ship stops on Oahu ahead of Pacific mission
.  The U.S. Navy hospital ship USNS Mercy is in Hawaii this week as it prepares for a deployment to several Oceania islands as part of the Navy’s Pacific Partnership program. Star-Advertiser.

2 Different Nonprofits Are Paying This CEO Hefty Salaries. She Says She Works Full Time For Each One. Denise Yamaguchi's two nonprofits have also gotten more than $1 million in grants from the Legislature in recent years. Civil Beat.


4 possible Oahu landfill sites under scrutiny, city official says
.  Four alternate sites to replace the 34-year-old Waimanalo Gulch Sanitary Landfill in Kapolei could include federally owned properties in West Oahu and on the Windward side, a top city official says. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.

Arrests Of 4 Police Officers On Domestic Violence Charges Raise Concern. Honolulu Police Chief Joe Logan called it an "anomaly" that four officers were arrested in a two-week period. Civil Beat. KHON2.

Honolulu bill offering tax incentives to build film studios is postponed. The Honolulu City Council on Tuesday put the brakes on a bill that would provide tax incentives for property owners who want to build film studio facilities on O'ahu. Hawaii Public Radio.

Army combat exercise to temporary close Dillingham Airfield. Tropic Lightning Soldiers from the 25th Infantry Division will participate in the Joint Pacific Multinational Readiness Center drill, which includes blank ammunition and simulated explosions. Hawaii News Now.

Waikīkī Aquarium releases 150 tagged pāpio into the wild. The Waikīkī Aquarium is partnering with the Oceanic Institute of Hawai‘i Pacific University to release some fish. KHON2.

Health Department shuts down Meatheads food truck in Kakaako.
The state Health Department today issued a red placard to the Meatheads food truck in Kakaako, shutting it down until water is available for employees to wash their hands. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Seismic activity increases at Kilauea; HVNP closes two trails. Continued unrest at Kilauea volcano has led Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to close more trails to the public. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Now.  Hawaii News Now.

UH Hilo set to lead $6.6 million National Native Language Resource Center. The U.S. Department of Education has granted $6.6 million to launch the National Native American Language Resource Center (N-NALRC), a consortium led by the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo. KITV4.

Endless problem: Houseless evicted on private property on Ali‘i Drive donʻt move far.
In late September, about 30 people at a houseless camp – some of whom have lived there for at least a year – were asked to vacate private land next to Coconut Grove Marketplace along Ali‘i Drive in Kailua-Kona on the Big Island. Big Island Now.

Bill Prohibits Parking On Aliʻi Drive At Kahaluʻu Beach Park. A Hawaiʻi County Council committee on Tuesday advanced a bill dealing with parking issues along certain portions of Aliʻi Drive that front Kahaluʻu Beach Park.  Big Island Video News.


Nonprofit head: Maui trying to bury 2018 wildfire report that offers insight into government inaction. The head of the West Maui Improvement Foundation says Maui officials are trying to bury an after-action report that documents the county’s emergency response to another disastrous wildfire that swept through part of Lahaina back in 2018. Hawaii News Now.

New landfill to be built on Maui for debris from Lahaina’s burn zone. Federal and county officials have confirmed that a new landfill will be built on Maui, exclusively for debris from Lahaina’s burn zone. Hawaii News Now.

Council to consider real property tax exemption for Maui wildfire victims. Survivors who lost their homes in the fires won’t have to pay property taxes under a new bill before the Maui County Council. Bill 95 announced Wednesday that it provides exemptions for homeowners, short-term rental owners, and hotels that house people displaced by the disaster. Hawaii News Now.

Mayor Bissen to host community budget meetings for Fiscal Year 2025. Mayor Richard Bissen and his administration will host community budget meetings throughout Maui County starting next week for residents to share their priorities and provide input on the budget for Fiscal Year 2025, which begins July 1, 2024. Maui Now.

Site aims to match residents with housing they can afford. Median market rents advertised for homes on Maui are around $700 to $1,500 higher per month than what families say they can actually afford. According to Maui Hale Match, the median market rent for a two-bedroom home is $3,495. Families looking to rent a place of this size say they can afford $2,400, which is a difference of $1,095. Maui News. Hawaii Public Radio.

Maui United Way distributes $7M in $1,000 payments to 7,000+ fire survivors.  Maui United Way forged a rapid partnership with Honolulu-based Aloha United Way to construct a comprehensive process for reviewing intake forms for the program.  Maui Now.

King Kamehameha III and Princess Nāhiʻenaʻena Elementary reopen on shared campus. Lahaina’s two elementary schools reopened to hundreds of students today on a shared campus that faculty and staff from both schools have worked hard to make as inviting and familiar as possible for their communities impacted by the August wildfires. Maui Now. Star-Advertiser.


State energy office, KIUC receive federal support for innovative technology development projects. Two technology demonstration projects proposed by the Hawai‘i State Energy Office in partnership with Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative will receive more than $17.9 million in funding through the Grid Resilience and Innovation Partnerships Program. Kauai Now.

Princeville library to receive a $7 million makeover. A yearlong renovation project at the Princeville Public Library will shutter the facility beginning Monday, Oct. 30. Garden Island.

Free, collapsible water jugs to be distributed. The County of Kaua‘i Department of Water will be distributing free collapsible water jugs along with other water conservation tools and prizes on Saturday during the weekly Grove Farm Market that starts at 9:30 a.m. at the Puhi open field. Garden Island.

Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Green sticks to Maui tourist reopening plan despite petitions, personal attacks; EPA approves Red Hill defueling plan, UH cloning pioneer Ryuzo Yanagimachi dies at 95, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii Governor Sticks To Reopening West Maui To Tourists Next Week. A group of local activists and politicians delivered a petition with more than 14,000 signatures to Gov. Josh Green’s office on Tuesday, imploring him to put off reopening West Maui to tourism. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser. Associated Press. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Governor’s absence fuels anger at West Maui anti-tourism rally. Governor: People threatening him are calling his personal cell, targeting his kids. The governor and First Lady Jaime Green say racist threats and harassment aimed at them increased after the wildfires and are even being sent directly to the governor’s personal cell phone. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Hawaii’s Aquaculture Industry Is Set To Boom But It Needs State Help. Sales of Hawaii’s aquaculture products jumped by 12% in 2022 and production has more than tripled in the past 20 years, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, bucking the statewide trend of declining agriculture. Civil Beat.

Nationwide emergency alert test set for Wednesday on phones, TV.  The test is slated to start at 8:20 a.m. Hawaii Time Wednesday. Associated Press. Hawaii Public Radio.  Big Island Now.

Hawaii DOE Names 2024 State Teacher Of The Year.
The Department of Education recognized Jackie Freitas for her dedication to her students and colleagues at Leilehua High School. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser.

University of Hawaii cloning pioneer Ryuzo Yanagimachi dies at 95. Ryuzo Yanagimachi, a renowned University of Hawaii fertility researcher who created the technique to develop the world’s first cloned mouse, died last week at the age of 95. Star-Advertiser.


EPA approves Navy’s Red Hill defueling plan. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Tuesday that it has approved the military’s plan to defuel the Navy’s underground Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility, set to begin Oct. 16. Star-Advertiser.

New Vacancy Opens On Honolulu Salary Commission. David Hayakawa resigned from the volunteer commission last week due to his appointment to the First Circuit District Court. Civil Beat.

Honolulu Responds To ACLU Homelessness Lawsuit. Two months after the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against the City and County of Honolulu over its policies on homeless encampments, the City has responded saying the allegations won’t hold up. Civil Beat.

Lawsuit-generating Palolo roadway reopens. Over a period of years, a Palolo Valley neighborhood reportedly suffered a slow but inexorable underground landslide that caused its roads to buckle, its hills to erode, its houses to slide, its waterlines to break and burst, and its retaining walls to crack and crash into neighboring properties. Star-Advertiser.

Queen’s specialized nurses picket for better contract. Dozens of specialized nurses held a picket Monday evening at The Queen’s Medical Center to express their frustration over lack of progress in their third month of contract negotiations. Star-Advertiser.

Waianae-Castle prep football game canceled following threats. A football game between Castle and Waianae high schools that was scheduled for Friday has been canceled to “prioritize the safety and well-being of our students,” the principals of both schools announced in a joint letter. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.  KHON2.  KITV4.

Hawaii Island

Hawaiʻi County Managing Director To Retire At End Of 2023. Managing Director Lee Lord has announced that he will retire at the end of the year to assist in caring for aging family members.  Big Island Video News. Big Island Now.

County settles suit over concealed-carry permit application. Hawaii County has come to an agreement with the plaintiff in a federal lawsuit who argued the county’s requirement he sign a waiver of liability for a background check as part of the concealed-carry firearms permit application violates his constitutional right to privacy. Tribune-Herald.

Council members mull plan to allow county to fix streets in private subdivisions — with caveats. A plan to allow Hawaii County to conduct maintenance on private subdivision roads received some tentative support Tuesday from County Council members. Tribune-Herald.

Hawai‘i County conducts park rules enforcement at Honl’s Beach. The Hawaiʻi County Department of Parks and Recreation, in coordination with the Hawaiʻi Police Department, the Office of Housing and Community Development, and various other State agencies and nongovernment service providers, conducted a park rules enforcement effort at Honl’s Beach in Kailua-Kona. Big Island Now.

Pepeekeo land eyed for preservation. A large tract of land along the Pepeekeo coast is being considered for Hawaii County acquisition and preservation. Tribune-Herald.

Mayor Holds Town Hall In Pāhoa.
Mayor Mith Roth and his administration met with the Puna community in Pāhoa on Tuesday night, in a continuation of his ongoing town hall series that is being held across Hawaiʻi island. Big Island Video News.


State says it will likely take months before commercial boats can launch out of West Maui.
Mala Warf is the only remaining boat ramp in west Maui following the Aug. 8 fires. The Mala ramp is in the burn zone and is currently closed to the public, but the state says it hopes to reopen it within the next 30-60 days. Hawaii News Now.

Maui police raise county’s official wildfire death toll to 98
. Maui police updated the county’s official fire death toll to 98 on Tuesday, four days after a Lahaina woman’s family confirmed she had died from injuries sustained in the Aug. 8 wildfire. Star-Advertiser. Maui Now.

New Housing Program Launched To Assist Lahaina Fire Survivors. The $4 million pilot program will provide participants $375 per month per displaced person they house. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now.  Star-Advertiser. KITV4.  Civil Beat.

Owners at large Maui hotel-condo say they’re being forced to evict wildfire evacuees
. The state is investigating the Honua Kai Condominium Association, one of the largest hotel-condominiums in West Maui after some owners alleged they were being forced to evict wildfire evacuees. Hawaii News Now.

Restrictions to be lifted for Zones 2A, 2B and 2F including parts of Malo and Malalani streets, Kalani, Kekai and ʻĀinakea roads. Disaster area restrictions will be lifted on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 6 and 7, for owners and residents of Zones 2A, 2B and 2F. This includes parts of Malo St., Kalani Rd., Kekai Rd., ʻĀinakea Rd., and Malanai St. Maui Now. KITV4.

Could West Maui’s Old Cane Haul Road Have Helped More People Escape The Fire? A longstanding project to convert the alternate path into a paved trail and evacuation route has been stuck in "perpetual planning." Civil Beat.


Clean Energy series tackles potential waste incineration this Thursday, Saturday. The Kaua‘i County Council is considering pyrolysis, gasification and direct combustion of the island’s waste. Kauai Now.

Former county council candidate in legal trouble. Wally Nishimura, who allegedly abused a teenage family member earlier this year, appeared in Fifth Circuit Court on Tuesday, at which a date was set for him to either accept a guilty plea or head to trial. Garden Island.

KCC staff, volunteers work to keep Kauaʻi honey bees free of disease. Some of the state’s last honey bee colonies without disease are on Kauaʻi, and beekeepers are trying to keep it that way. Hawaii Public Radio.

Friday, September 22, 2023

Census shows most Native Hawaiians now live outside Hawaii, Green vows Maui residents won't be displaced by tourists, school enrollment flat, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

US Census shows majority of Native Hawaiians now live outside of Hawaii. According to the 2020 Census, 46.7% of Native Hawaiians or part Hawaiians lived in Hawaii, compared to 55% in 2010. Hawaii News Now.

Green Promises West Maui Residents Won’t Be Displaced By Tourism’s Return
. Officials say visitor demand to the Valley Isle is very low and Lahaina fire survivors will continue to be housed in area hotels as needed. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser.  Tribune-Herald.  Big Island Video NewsMaui Now.  Hawaii News Now.

University of Hawaii report details ‘heavy blow’ to Maui’s economy after fires.
Wildfires have delivered a “heavy blow” to Maui’s economy and will exert costs on the county and state that will last well into the future, according to a University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization report released today. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Maui Now.  Garden Island.

Maui to host PGA Tour opener in January, 5 months after deadly fires. The PGA Tour is returning to Maui to start the new season with the Sentry Tournament of Champions at Kapalua, five months after deadly wildfires destroyed nearby Lahaina and killed at least 97 people. Associated Press.

Little change in enrollment at Hawaii public schools
. The number of students enrolled is 167,649, compared with an enrollment of 168,634 students at the start of last school year — a difference of 0.6%, the DOE said in a new release. Star-Advertiser. Maui Now.

Regaining public trust could be an uphill battle for the state Water Commission. After 12 hours of deliberation and public testimony at the monthly meeting of the state Commission on Water Resource Management (CWRM), it was clear that regaining the public's trust could be an uphill battle for Commission Chair Dawn Chang and Gov. Josh Green. Hawaii Public Radio.

Native Hawaiian churches urge investigation into missionary role in federal boarding schools. The history of Christianity in Hawaiʻi is a complicated one. And now parts of that history have led to an investigation by the United Church of Christ.  Hawaii Public Radio.

Reduced light and caution urged during turtle nesting season.  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other agencies are asking the public to be on the lookout for turtles on local beaches this nesting season, which began in mid-April and continues through September but can last as late as December. Star-Advertiser.


Honolulu Police Chief Had A Good 1st Year But There’s ‘Room To Grow,’ Eval Says.
The police commission largely praised Chief Joe Logan's job performance but said he can do better with communications. Civil Beat.

City to hold public hearing on proposed rule changes for shore water events. Shore water events include surf contests, canoe regattas, triathlons and swim races. Hawaii News Now.

Criminals beware: New Chinatown camera system boasts next-level surveillance. Phase one of the city’s upgraded Chinatown surveillance system is now online. It boasts state-of-the-art capabilities like 360-degree coverage, on-screen tracking and much more. KHON2.

Bidding Deadline For The Last Major Honolulu Rail Contract Is Extended. HART blamed state licensing delays, but the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs says there is no backlog. Civil Beat.

State agency disputes HART CEO’s comments over delays.  The state agency that licenses construction industry contractors says recent claims that the Maui wildfire disaster has caused long delays within its application system that have hampered the progress of the Skyline project to Kakaako are unfounded. Star-Advertiser.

Prosecutor handling Hawaii Loa murder case is fired. Honolulu Prosecutor Steve Alm this week fired the deputy prosecutor handling the case against the man accused of murdering a Hawaii Loa Ridge resident and concealing the body in a cement-filled bathtub. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Kailua Post Office suffering from lack of cleaning. The local President of the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) Branch 5516 that represents letter carriers assigned to the Kailua-Kona Post Office says the lack of janitorial services has created unsightly and unhealthy work conditions. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaiʻi County Provides Resource Hub For Displaced Maui Residents. In tandem with Governor Green’s announcement on finding longer-term housing options for displaced Maui residents, the County of Hawaiʻi unveiled a virtual resource hub to assist. Big Island Video News.

Paving work starts on Waikōloa Road next week. Work on the long-awaited $26 million Waikōloa Road Rehabilitation Project is a reason to celebrate for many people. Big Island Now.


Passes to Maui disaster zone now available. Thirty-six street addresses are included in the first residential zone to reopen to property owners and residents who will be able to see for themselves the destruction left behind by the deadly Aug. 8 Lahaina wildfire. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.  Maui News.  Maui Now.

Hawaiian Electric begins restoration work in Lahaina at request of Maui Emergency Operations Center.  The work will restore power to wastewater pumps and telecommunication services and improve electrical service reliability to surrounding residents and neighborhoods. Maui Now.

How a Maui PD officer worked with community to open an evacuation route. Alfredo Malapira is grateful to the Maui County PD officer who acted decisively on Aug. 8, opening a closed off route leading to Old Stuart Road (off of Keawe Street), at the urging of the community. KITV4.


Corteva Agriscience grants awarded to local schools. The schools — King Kaumuali‘i Elementary School, Kalaheo Elementary School, Kaua‘i High School and Waimea Canyon Middle School and Waimea High School — all received their Corteva Agriscience grant moneys as part of the $35,000 total awarded by Corteva Agriscience for 2023. Garden Island.

Kaua‘i led counties in hotel performance last month, new report shows. Kaua‘i hotels came out on top last month, according to the Hawai‘i Hotel Performance Report published by the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority. Kauai Now.