Showing posts with label HECO. Show all posts
Showing posts with label HECO. Show all posts

Monday, February 26, 2024

Green kills affordable housing working group, HECO looking to shareholders, rate payers to shoulder Maui fire costs, De Fries tapped to lead Mauna Kea stewardship authority, Hawaiian Airlines welcomes first Dreamliner, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Gov. Green kills controversial Hawaii housing group. Gov. Josh Green on Friday abolished his controversial, seven- month Build Beyond Barriers Working Group intended to accelerate the development of affordable housing across the islands. Star-Advertiser.

Who Will Pay For Maui Fire Property Damage? Look For A ‘Fund 2’ Hawaiian Electric Industries' president and chief executive has said the company may look at "shareholder contributions" and new fees on customers to help cover claims. Civil Beat.

Senate WAM advances bills on ag, environment, workforce development, education and housing. The Hawaiʻi State Senate Committee on Ways and Means on Friday advanced several bills aimed at addressing key priorities for the Senate. These bills cover areas of supporting the local agriculture industry, protecting the environment against invasive species, building the workforce for the future through public education, and addressing the affordable housing shortage. Maui Now.

Bill to require citations for misdemeanors, including DUI, draws criticism at the legislature. House Bill 1601 would require officers to basically write a ticket for misdemeanors, petty misdemeanors and violations. But misdemeanors include crimes like driving under the influence and domestic abuse. Hawaii News Now.

These proposed bills will charge hikers for their rescues. ‘It needs to happen this year,’ hiker rescue bills moving through house and senate. Lawmakers estimate there are about 1,000 rescues every year costing taxpayers $1,000 to $2,500 per helicopter rescue. KHON2.

Senate bill seeks testing, data, during brown water beach days.
Under current protocol, DOH issues brown water advisories after visual detection following heavy rain events, but does not actually sample or test waters at affected beaches. Star-Advertiser.

Paid family leave bill gains support from advocates seeking 'basic safety net' for workers. The program is an insurance-based model -- both employers and employees would pay into a state trust fund through payroll deductions which would pay a percentage of the wages for people who take paid family leave for up to 12 weeks. Hawaii Public Radio.

License plates considered for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. A renewed call to create special license plates to honor veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars remains alive under Senate Bill 2731, which was carried over from last legislative session. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii digital equity plan undergoes federal review. A plan aiming to ensure universal internet access and reduce the “digital divide” in Hawaii is now undergoing federal review by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, which would provide funding to the state for community programs and projects dedicated to improving digital equity. Star-Advertiser.

Vice presidential possibility adds to Tulsi Gabbard’s mystique. Former U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s name on the short list of Donald Trump’s candidates for vice president only adds to the enigmatic political career of a former rising star of the Democratic Party who later denounced Democrats and sued Hillary Clinton for $50 million for defamation. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaiian Airlines welcomes its first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft. The arrival of Hawaiian Airlines’ first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner marks a milestone in the airlines’ 94-year history and a major investment in the future for the local carrier as it heads toward combining with Alaska Airlines. Star-Advertiser.

German military coming to Hawaii. The German military is planning a series of deployments to the Pacific this summer, and is looking at possibly setting up a permanent military liaison position in Hawaii at U.S. Indo-Pacific Command as it refines its regional strategy. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii-based ‘Indo-Pacific Support Cutter’ focused on Oceania is on its first Pacific deployment.  The nearly 40-year-old ship set sail in January  for its first Pacific deployment, heading south into the high seas where members of its crew boarded fishing vessels to look for signs of illegal fishing. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu


City Officials to discuss whether Ocean Safety should split from Emergency Medical Services. For years, it has fallen under Honolulu Emergency Services Department, but a City Council hearing on Wednesday, Feb. 28, will discuss if the question should be on 2024’s ballot for the people to decide.  KHON2.

HPD revamps policing programs to aid recruitment. In its ongoing struggle to fill over 400 vacancies, the Honolulu Police Department is looking to train young people interested in law enforcement to fill its future ranks. Star-Advertiser.

This Navy Admiral Is In Charge Of Closing Red Hill.
Rear Adm. Marc Williams has the "daunting task" of safely shuttering a massive 80-year-old fuel depot. Civil Beat.

Kapalama Container Terminal is almost built; that only took about 30 years. A new container terminal in Kalihi Kai is finally nearing completion after about three decades of planning, funding, and building it. KITV4.

Hawaii Island

Executive Director Named For Mauna Kea Oversight Authority. John De Fries is a former president and chief executive officer of the Hawaii Tourism Authority. Civil Beat. Tribune-Herald.

Maunakea Authority seeks exemption to open meetings law during management transfer. Hawaiʻi lawmakers have advanced a bill that would allow the Maunakea Stewardship and Oversight Authority an exemption to the open meetings, also known as the Sunshine Law, during its transition period. Hawaii Public Radio.

Most insurance-related bills to help those in Lava Zones 1, 2 have stalled. Efforts in the state Legislature to forestall an impending explosion of property insurance costs in lower Puna appear to have largely petered out. Tribune-Herald.

Possible ‘Safe Space’ site draws concerns. Hilo residents’ concerns about the possibility that a government-sanctioned homeless camp could be created near Wailoa River State Recreation Area are premature, Hawaii County and state officials said last week. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Maui Has Become A Popular Stop For Federal Dignitaries Since The Lahaina Wildfire
. The spotlight from the Aug. 8 fires has presented Maui with opportunities to advocate for resources from high-ranking federal officials who continue to visit the island. Civil Beat. Maui News.

Draft environmental impact statement for Wailea development published; includes workforce housing. Although zoned for 2,137 residential units, the Ledcor Maui project proposes construction of a maximum of 975 residential homes, which includes the resort community’s first workforce housing units.  Maui Now.

Converting Maui vacation rentals to longer-term housing causing frustration for owners. A part-time Maui couple’s decision to convert their vacation rentals into longer- term housing for Maui fire survivors followed weeks of frustration, cancellations by repeat loyal visitors over whether they are welcome on the Valley Isle and the threat by Gov. Josh Green to shut down Maui’s short-term rental market. Star-Advertiser.

This Tiny Section Of Front Street Survived The Lahaina Fire And Now Is Coming Back to Life.
The iconic Old Lahaina Luau and other businesses that didn't burn are beginning to reopen, bringing back jobs and signaling the town is beginning to recover. Civil Beat.

Draft environmental assessment ready for Kūlanihāko‘i High School overpass project. The Hawai‘i Department of Education published a draft environmental assessment Friday, reaching a project review milestone and paving the way for a planned $16 million pedestrian overpass spanning Pi‘ilani Highway. Maui Now.

Hawaii Will Pay $60K To An Inmate Who Suffered A Broken Jaw In 2019 Maui Jail Riot. The riot did millions of dollars in damage to the state facility, and the inmate required surgery for his injuries. Civil Beat.

Kauai


Kaua‘i firefighters extinguish structure fire in ‘Ele‘ele Sunday. According to a preliminary report, fire personnel arrived at a fully engulfed structure at approximately 12:50 a.m. First responders later extinguished the fire, and cleared the scene at approximately 12:20 p.m. after putting out the last remaining hot spots. The estimated cost to rebuild is $20 million. Kauai Now.

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

State budget in crisis as Maui fire cost rises to $600M, Legislature could force HECO restructuring, support ebbs for legalizing marijuana, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Bad News For The Budget: Maui Fire Costs Could Top $600 Million This Year Alone. Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz is raising red flags about mounting costs as his Ways and Means Committee considers emergency appropriation measures. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser.

Proposed HECO Bailout Bill Could Force The Utility Company To Restructure. Claims against the company from the Maui wildfires are expected to be substantial and the Legislature is considering ways to help with those costs. Civil Beat.

House marijuana debate shows softening support for legalization in Hawaii.
While a sweeping bill to legalize adult use of marijuana is moving through the state Senate, the state House is struggling to pass a bill to increase how much marijuana someone can possess without a criminal penalty. Hawaii News Now.

Job demand for college degree growing in Hawaii, report finds. The proportion of U.S. jobs requiring postsecondary preparation continues to inch upward, and by 2031 in Hawaii, 70% of job openings will require some type of education and/or training beyond high school, says a report from researchers at Georgetown University. Star-Advertiser. Kauai Now.  KITV4.

Task force would detail Hawaii dental needs. Following a 2022 funding victory by Hawaii dentists that restored Medicaid dental coverage for more than 200,000 adults, the Hawaii Dental Hui now wants to create an oral health task force to take a comprehensive look at oral care needs around the state. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii gets an upgrade in coral reef insurance
. When The Nature Conservancy took out the insurance policy for Hawaii reefs in 2022, it was the first to do so in the United States — a move to counteract the increasingly destructive potential of hurricanes and tropical storms due to climate change. Star-Advertiser.

Nearly $31M in federal funding will go toward airport improvements. The Hawai‘i Department of Transportation was awarded $30.6 million for improvements, with $22 million for the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Honolulu and $8.6 million at the Kahului Airport on Maui. Hawaii Public Radio.

Oahu

Push to reinvigorate Downtown is going in the ‘right direction’ but still faces obstacles. The push to reinvigorate Downtown Honolulu and Chinatown is underway. Lawmakers and residents said it looks promising, but admit several obstacles remain. KHON2.

Nurses and Kapiolani Medical Center agree to invite federal mediator to bargaining table. Kapiolani Medical Center and their nurses have been going back and forth to negotiate new contracts since September 2023, some working without a contract since Dec. 1, 2023. KHON2.

Hawaii Island


Administrative order between EPA, county aims to improve aging sewage plants. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Hawaii County have drafted an agreement detailing a series of improvements the county must make to its wastewater systems by 2035, or face penalties. Tribune-Herald.

Hawai‘i Island police chief seeks council help to grow department by adding additional positions. Hawai‘i Island police chief believes he will come close to filling the department’s 89 vacant sworn officer positions in the next couple of years with his new recruiting efforts but is looking to Hawai‘i County Council for some help. Big Island Now.

Maui


Maui County Committee Tosses Mayor’s Picks for Boards and Commissions. Citing a missed deadline by Mayor Richard Bissen, the committee decided to select its own nominees for government panels. Some question the authority to do so. Civil Beat.

Campaign seeks to bring visitors back to Maui. The Hawaii Tourism Authority has launched a new public service campaign, “Makaukau Maui,” which seeks to tell visitors that while historic Lahaina remains closed after the deadly Aug. 8 wildfires, accommodations on West Maui are open and residents are ready to welcome them back. Star-Advertiser.

These Maui Architects Say They Can Help Lahaina Rebuild Faster And Cheaper. Homeowners in Lahaina face multiple hurdles before they can begin rebuilding, but architects say that preapproved designs could be an important part of the process. Civil Beat.

Temporary housing project for fire survivors breaks ground in West Maui. One of Maui’s first temporary housing projects since the devastating wildfires last August officially broke ground on Monday. The Kapalua Village Temporary Housing Support Project provides housing for West Maui employees impacted by the disaster. Hawaii News Now.

Kauai

Firefighters statewide practice wildfire suppression using flames on Kaua‘i. Two dozen federal, state and county firefighters gathered in south Kaua‘i to participate in ignition training on former agriculture lands. Kauai Now.

More than 2,000 pounds of derelict fishing gear removed from Kaua‘i coastline. Over the course of the three days, 30 volunteers helped remove more than 2,000 pounds of derelict fishing gear from Po‘ipū coastline, hauling away three truckloads of the marine debris. Kauai Now.

Thursday, February 15, 2024

Power outages require costly fixes, state now allows cryptocurrency exchanges, Legislature tackles artificial intelligence, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Frequent power outages need costly combo of fixes. A combination of equipment failure, winter weather, variations in renewable energy, and even planned maintenance are to blame. HECO says they’re investing in upgrades, but customers and some lawmakers are fed up. KHON2.

Legislature tackles artificial intelligence. A number of AI-related bills are moving through the state Legislature this week, each one proposing some degree of state control over the future of the rapidly advancing technology. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii opens its doors to Cryptocurrency Trading, embracing the digital financial frontier. The State Division of Financial Institutions decided that cryptocurrency exchanges in Hawaii do not have to comply with the state’s money transmitter law, which had required the exchanges to hold cash reserves equal to their digital assets. KITV4.

Judge rules HMSA contracts are ‘unconscionable’ in lawsuit from doctors and patients. A court ruling against Hawaii’s biggest health insurer, Hawaii Medical Services Association, could give Hawaii doctors more freedom in making medical decisions. A Big Island judge has ruled the insurer’s contracts with its doctors are “unconscionable” and unenforceable. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii’s Still-Struggling Police Standards Board Could Add More Cops To The Oversight Panel. Civil rights advocates say that expanding the board with more police appointments will diminish input from community members. Civil Beat.

‘Unpaid Heroes’: Momentum Grows For Comprehensive Paid Family Leave In Hawaii. Covid revealed how vulnerable many are when a family member needs serious care. But business groups and some unions oppose cost burdens. Civil Beat.

Educational worker safety bill advances but removes increased harassment penalties. Tougher penalties for those who harass public and charter school employees are on the table this legislative session by increasing harassment penalties for educational workers to a misdemeanor.  KHON2.

The Packed Hawaii State Hospital May Soon See A Surge In Patients From A Private Facility. Health officials are seeking $14 million in emergency funding to try to improve security and reduce the patient population at the Hawaii State Hospital, but the psychiatric facility may soon have to make room for an influx of even more patients from the privately run Kahi Mohala facility. Civil Beat.

Bill to legalize recreational marijuana in Hawaiʻi makes progress in the Senate. Although the Attorney General’s office does not support marijuana legalization, it provided guidance to the Legislature on how the bill should be crafted. Hawaii Public Radio. Tribune-Herald.  Big Island Now.

Bill regulating invasive species suggests sizable investment from the state. Senate Bill 3237 would primarily create a plant nursery license, designate dozens of pest species for eradication, add rules for imported goods and give the state Department of Agriculture more power to stop the movement of infested goods. Hawaii Public Radio.

Public art funding faces obstacles at the Legislature with proposed budget cuts. While several measures in the Legislature this session could provide more support to Hawaiʻi's art community, one proposal may cut funding from a state agency that runs the public art museum. Hawaii Public Radio.

Former Rep. Ing facing another $18K in fines. Investigators for the state Campaign Spending Commission on Wednesday recommended that former state Rep. Kaniela Ing be fined another $18,250 — in addition to the nearly $22,000 that he already had been fined — for 24 campaign spending violations. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

Honolulu Permitting Office Making Progress While Delays Persist, Audit Says. Permit review times at the troubled permitting office are worse than before, but the department has taken steps to improve its processes.  Civil Beat.

Pearl Harbor survivor Sterling Robert Cale dies at 102. Sterling Robert Cale, a Pearl Harbor survivor who served the United States throughout World War II, and also in Korea and Vietnam, and then met thousands of visitors as a volunteer at the Pearl Harbor National Memorial, died Jan. 20 at his home in Aiea. He was 102. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

Military begins sampling soil at Puuloa Range. Two days of soil sampling got under way at Puuloa Range Training Facility in Ewa Beach early Wednesday morning, three months after the military, state and community finalized a plan to address concerns regarding potential lead poisoning of the soil. Star-Advertiser.

Navy developing follow-up water monitoring plan. The creation of the plan comes after the Navy gathered a team of “drinking water experts” two weeks ago to investigate the origin of low-level detections of total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH) in the Joint Base-Pearl Harbor Hickam water system, following an influx of tap water and air quality complaints from residents. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.  Hawaii News Now.

Health officials have confirmed five cases of whooping cough, or pertussis, among members of one household visiting Hawaii from the U.S. mainland. One child from the household was hospitalized, and all five cases were unvaccinated, according to the Hawaii Department of Health. The family stayed at a hotel on Oahu. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Bills Advanced To Help Restore Kahaluʻu Beach Park In Kona. Measures in the State House and Senate that will help fund the restoration project are being heard in committee. Big Island Video News.

Owner of Discount Fabric Warehouse chain dies at 65. Businessman. Outdoorsman. Visionary. Philanthropist. Those are words that have been used to describe Bill Miller, the owner of Discount Fabric Warehouse — a statewide business empire he built starting in 1995. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Beyond Lahaina: Some Lawmakers Want A New Development Plan For All Of West Maui. The state would take over governance of land use and development in much of West Maui, a much more far-reaching plan than just the rebuilding of Lahaina, under a bill speeding through the Senate.  Civil Beat.

Contention billows from Lahaina rebuilding board bill.  Enthusiasm and concern clashed Wednesday at the Legislature over a proposal to establish an elected community board under a state agency to govern Lahaina’s rebuilding from fiery ruins. Star-Advertiser.

Kennedy recounts recent visit to Lahaina in aftermath of wildfire.
Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. on Wednesday eleased a video documenting his visit to Lahaina, where he went to see firsthand the devastation from the wildfire that destroyed much of the historic town six months ago.  Maui Now.

Debris removed from 100th residential property in Lahaina Wildfire Disaster Area. Debris and ash removal was completed on the 100th residential property in the Lahaina Wildfire Disaster Area on Wednesday, (Feb. 14) 30 days after the work began in Lahaina, county officials said. Maui Now.

Aikanaha project bill submitted for $14 million Affordable Housing Fund loan. A bill has been submitted to the Maui County Council that would pave the way for loan of up to $14 million from Maui County for the 212-unit Aikanaha low-income rental housing project in Waikapū. Maui Now.

Kauai

Public hearing: Bill funding invasive parakeet removal on Kaua‘i draws widespread support.
A bill allocating $150,000 to establish a one-year pilot program to reduce the population of the birds on the Garden Isle was met with overwhelming approval Wednesday during a public hearing held by the Hawai‘i House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture and Food Systems. Kauai Now.

Tourists set new mark for spending in December. Visitor spending shattered the $200 million barrier and set a new high for the month of December, despite a decrease in the number of tourists coming to the island of Kaua‘i. Garden Island.

Monday, February 5, 2024

Interior Department issues new Hawaiian language guidance, Green pushes climate fee, Saiki, Roth out-raising challengers, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Department of the Interior releases new guidance to honor, elevate Hawaiian language. A comprehensive new Departmental Manual chapter underscores the Department’s commitment to further integrating Indigenous Knowledge and cultural practices into conservation stewardship. Kauai Now.

Full text of new Department of the Interior chapter can be found here.

Bill to raise Hawaii DOE superintendent pay cap sparks controversy. Hawaii DOE Superintendent Keith Hayashi currently makes $240,000 a year. A bill would raise that cap to $350,000, but there’s no shortage of frustration when talking about pay increases for government officials. Hawaii News Now.

Lawmakers consider bills to address childcare staffing shortages. SB 2603 and its companion bill, HB1964, would require the Department of Human Services to establish a childcare subsidy and bonus program for workers caring for children six weeks to 3 years old. KITV4.

Hawaii’s Governor Wants To Finally Get A Climate Fee Passed, But Will It Be Enough? The state is falling short by hundreds of millions of dollars each year to protect its environment, conservationists say. The new proposal would raise about $70 million annually. Civil Beat.

Bills would regulate short-term rentals. A bill that seeks to give the counties the power to control short-term rentals — even phase them out— is moving in the state Legislature. Other bills under consideration are geared to encouraging better regulation of short-term rentals, or providing incentives to convert them into longer-term housing. Star-Advertiser.

House Speaker Well Funded In Rematch With Persistent Opponent. Scott Saiki has 10 times the amount of cash in his campaign war chest compared with Kim Coco Iwamoto. Civil Beat.

Wildfire issues take center stage among Hawaii lawmakers. Predicting wildfires using artificial intelligence, banning new overhead high-voltage power lines and paying for catastrophic fire property losses could be in Hawaii’s future depending on state lawmaker decisions this year. Star-Advertiser.

HECO-Backed Bill Would Help Protect Utilities From Litigation Over Wildfire Damage. Utilities, insurers, large landowners and the state would pay into a "wildfire relief fund" to help pay for property damage claims. Civil Beat.

HECO’s Board Chair Is Suing His Own Utility Over The Maui Fires. Timothy Johns has recused himself from some HECO decisions, as an activist shareholder calls for overhauling HECO's board. Civil Beat.

Hawaii’s New $120M Undersea Cable Project Is A ‘Serious Poke’ To Shake Up The Market.
The state will retain a 20% ownership interest in the interisland network, which will compete with Hawaiian Telcom. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Lawmakers Consider Banning Excessive Delirium As A Cause Of Death. The term already isn't being used by the Medical Examiner's Office and most doctors, officials said. But advocates want to ban it officially. Civil Beat.

Hawaii retail market faced exodus, but some are optimistic
. Times are tough for those in retail, but some retailers are still forging ahead with the opening of new stores, with hopes of betters times to come. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

HART mulls scrapping internal audit. A plan to scrap a previously sought top-down internal review of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation is underway. Star-Advertiser.

29 Honolulu police officers disciplined in 2023.
Twenty-nine Honolulu police officers were disciplined in 2023 in connection with 28 incidents, including covering up police pursuits that ended in crashes and acquiring parts to build a ghost gun. Star-Advertiser.

Navy water system sees increase in tap water, air quality complaints.
The Navy is responsible for maintaining water quality, as the water purveyor for the water system, and is therefore primarily responsible for water testing, under regulatory oversight by the state Department of Health and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Star-Advertiser.

Backlog of repairs plagues UH Manoa student housing as officials try for revitalization. Serious plumbing problems are a major reason the 656-bed Hale Wainani apartments are considered by UH officials to be at risk of becoming the next aging UH student housing complex to be closed, following the neighboring 530-bed Hale Noelani apartment complex, which has been shuttered and silent for nearly seven years. Star-Advertiser.

New housing development planned at former Saint Francis School campus. Saint Francis School closed its doors in 2019, and developer Avalon Group has bought the property for $23.35 million, according to brokerage firm CBRE. Star-Advertiser.

Concerns rising for Oahu's homeless kupuna. The city and state are working together to find more health care and social service workers to help homeless people on the streets and develop the most appropriate course of treatment. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Big Island Mayor Outpaces Lone Challenger In Election Fundraising. Mitch Roth's war chest is tens of thousands of dollars larger than that of rival candidate Kimo Alameda with nine months to go before the election. Civil Beat.

‘Safe Spaces’ plan underway: County officials eyeing possible sites for homeless camps
. Homeless individuals could begin congregating in Hawaii County-authorized “Safe Spaces” in Hilo and Kailua-Kona under a new housing initiative. Tribune-Herald.

National park launches volcano summit makeover
. Nearly six years after the 2018 Kilauea eruption landed crippling blows to the buildings and roads of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, the National Park Serv­ice has launched a $28 million project to rehabilitate the summit area of Kilauea Volcano. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii Public Radio.

Maui

Bill seeks to expedite rebuilding of homes and businesses in Lahaina and Upcountry Maui. Bill 21 (2024), submitted by the county’s Department of Public Works, would amend the Maui County Code in an effort to broaden the applicability of emergency-repair provisions and clarify the review and approval procedures for emergency-repair permits.  Maui Now.

Developer selected for proposed ʻUkiu Energy biofuel-powered generator project on Maui
. The ʻUkiu Energy 40-megawatt (MW) biofuel-powered generator proposed by Ameresco Inc. is aimed at helping to move Hawai‘i closer to its clean energy goals, while adding critical grid reliability with firm renewable energy.  Maui Now.

Kaiser to open temporary West Maui Clinic in Kaanapali.
Kaiser Permanente recently announced plans to open a temporary West Maui Clinic on the grounds of the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort in Kaanapali.  Star-Advertiser.

HECO, Maui County may be sued for harm to seabirds from streetlights and power lines
. The Conservation Council for Hawaiʻi and the American Bird Conservancy, represented by Earthjustice, submitted notice this week that they may file a lawsuit seeking to "put an end to HECO's and the County's illegal conduct," according to a statement.  Hawaii Public Radio.

Kauai

Vidinha Stadium to temporarily close for repairs
. Director of Parks and Recreation Pat Porter said the repairs are needed to extend the life of track. Track users, including the Kaua‘i Interscholastic Federation, may continue to use it until the main track and field replacement projects get underway. Kauai Now.

Connecting to Kaua‘i’s endangered forest birds. Mayor Derek S.K. Kawakami issued a Makahiki o na manu proclamation dedicating the year to raising awareness about native forest birds. Garden Island.

Friday, February 2, 2024

Lawmakers mull statewide vacation rental ban, HECO cleared to spend $190M to harden electric grid, money pouring in to campaign coffers, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

A Statewide Ban On Vacation Rentals? The Idea Is Gaining Steam After The Maui Fires. Lawmakers are considering making it easier for counties to do away with short-term rentals altogether. Currently, 5.5% or 30,000 of Hawaii’s 557,000 total housing units operate as short-term rentals, according to the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization’s “Hawaii Housing Factbook,” published in June. Civil Beat.

Hawaiian Electric Gets The Green Light On Its $190 Million Resiliency Plan To Harden The Grid. State energy regulators have given their conditional approval to a five-year, $190 million plan by Hawaiian Electric to retool some of the most vulnerable parts of its grid as the company looks to address wildfire dangers and other threats related to climate change. Civil Beat. Tribune-Herald.  KHON2.

Hawaiian Electric says to prepare for outages ahead of severe weather. Hawaiian Electric is urging customers to prepare ahead of time for the heavy rains and winds forecast to hit most of the state on Friday and Saturday. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaiian, Alaska leaders tout airline deal. The top executives of Hawaiian and Alaska airlines said their companies are moving forward on an upcoming merger that they characterized as pro-consumer and pro-competitive because it allows them to compete more effectively in an industry dominated by larger carriers Delta, United, American and Southwest, which together make up 80% of the U.S. market. Star-Advertiser. Maui Now.

Should the state increase the unemployment compensation? Some said it’s needed to offset the high cost of living, especially after the Maui wildfires. Others fear it would only encourage apathy. KHON2.

Preschool subsidies expand to Hawaii families over income limit.
An estimated 2,000 more preschool children across the state are expected to receive early childhood education through subsidies made possible after the Legislature in 2023 increased funding to $50 million from $12 million to expand the “Preschool Open Doors” program, Lt. Gov. Sylvia Luke announced Thursday. Star-Advertiser.

Lawmakers push back on state's $2M request to fight youth-led climate change lawsuit. Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Karl Rhoads would rather see the money go toward implementing policies that reduce emissions. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hirono Posts Solid Fundraising Numbers In Reelection Bid. More than six months out from primary day, U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono has nearly $1.8 million in campaign cash and faces no Democrat in the Aug. 10 contest and a relatively unknown Republican in the Nov. 5 general election. Civil Beat.

Oahu

Campaign Donations Roll In For Honolulu Mayor’s Reelection Bid. Mayor Rick Blangiardi received about $289,000 in campaign donations during the second half of last year, more than the combined total received by the five council members up for reelection in 2024. Civil Beat.

‘Big win’: City gets long-awaited federal funds to help build rail line to Kakaako. With the stroke of a pen, $744 million will be released to finish Honolulu’s rail system all the way to Kakaako. Mayor Rick Blangiardi signed an amended Full Funding Grant Agreement on Thursday. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Miske Defense Calls Key Government Witness A Career Criminal Who ‘Fooled Everybody’.
  A lieutenant of alleged Hawaii crime boss Michael J. Miske Jr. was an oxycodone addict who sold methamphetamine while on federal probation and working as an informant for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, defense attorneys established Thursday. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Removal Of Buildings Underway At Summit Of Kīlauea Volcano.  Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is preparing to demolish the landmark Jaggar Museum. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video NewsBig Island Now.

Hilo rezoning request draws opposition from neighbors. The Windward Planning Commission on Thursday discussed, but made no decision regarding, a proposal by Big Island developers to rezone a property at the corner of Manono and Lanikaula streets to allow for the construction of an approximately 5,000-square-foot one-story building to be used for unspecified retail purposes. Tribune-Herald.

Maui


Maui Has Yet To Launch A Covid-Era Housing Program That Could Provide $24 Million In Relief To Fire Survivors. County council members want the Bissen administration to take advantage of the federal money before it's too late.  Civil Beat.

A popular tavern becomes the first business to reopen on Lahaina’s main street. Mala Ocean Tavern is the first business on Front Street to reopen after the devastating fires nearly six months ago. Front Street is known as “ground zero” because most of the businesses on the famous street in Lahaina were destroyed. Hawaii News Now.

Maui County officials unveil three potential permanent Lahaina debris disposal sites
. Two West Maui locations and the Central Maui Landfill are under consideration as permanent disposal sites for an estimated 400,000 cubic yards of ash and debris to be removed from Lahaina wildfire burn zones. Maui Now.

Maui visitor arrivals up to highest levels in five months; December spending down. Maui visitor arrivals were up in December to the highest levels in the nearly five months since the August Lahaina wildfire disaster, according to preliminary statistics from the Hawaiʻi Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism. However, the month’s Valley Isle arrivals of were 24.8% less than December 2022 and 28.7% less than December 2019. Maui Now.

Kauai

West Kauaʻi to address pollution at Kīkīaola Small Boat Harbor in settlement with community groups. Community groups Nā Ki‘ai Kai and Surfrider Foundation, represented by nonprofit environmental law organization Earthjustice, have settled with the County of Kauaʻi and the Department of Health to clean up pollution from drainage ditches discharging into the ocean along West Kaua‘i, including the Kīkīaola Small Boat Harbor. Kauai Now. KITV4.

Thursday, January 25, 2024

Food production a Senate priority, Saiki supports public election financing bills, lawmakers mull HECO lawsuit bailout bills, judge recuses himself in Kaneshiro corruption case, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

State lawmakers dish out their food and agriculture priorities for the legislative session. Agriculture and food security have been a priority since the start of the legislative session last week. They were a large part of Senate President Ron Kouchi’s opening remarks. Hawaii Public Radio.

DOE's Farm to School program moves forward with growing support from state leaders. 
The goal of the state Department of Education program is to use local agriculture to feed students. Hawaii Public Radio.

Saiki supports bills for full public financing of political campaigns.  House Speaker Scott Saiki has thrown his support behind an effort for full public financing for political candidates starting in 2028, which proponents say would reduce the temptation for political corruption and perhaps lead to a new generation of younger elected officials who aren’t beholden to special interests and corporations. Star-Advertiser. Maui Now.

Hawaii Lawmakers Are Considering Ways To Help HECO Pay Maui Fire Costs. Hawaiian Electric says proposed legislation is not intended to shift any lawsuit settlements to consumers. Civil Beat.

Lawmakers weigh big funding asks to tackle wildfire, climate change mitigation. Recovery from the the Maui wildfires is a priority, but so is climate change and lawmakers grilled the state attorney general Wednesday about a lawsuit filed by children. Hawaii News Now.

‘Abusive’ Lawsuits, Early Child Care Lead Hawaii Women’s Caucus Package Of Bills. The bipartisan group of legislators finds joining forces helps get measures passed at the Legislature.  Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser.

Many 'emergency hire' teachers brought in to fight Hawaii's teacher shortage
. Gov. Josh Green is requesting more than $125 million in the state budget for public education. Green said his administration has helped reduce the state's teacher shortage by more than 50% in the past year. KITV4.

Oahu

Judge Backs Out Of Honolulu Corruption Case At Last Minute. U.S. District Court Judge Michael Seabright filed a one-sentence order on Wednesday morning declaring his recusal from the case against former Honolulu prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro and local businessman Dennis Mitsunaga. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser.  KHON2.  KITV4.

Council approves federal agreement to fund rail. A critical hurdle to getting a long-awaited injection of cash for Honolulu’s lumbering rail project was crossed Wednesday when the Honolulu City Council signed off on its end of an agreement for federal funding. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Businesses Hurt By Rail Construction Could Get Relief But Hurdles Remain. The City Council approved an effort to jump-start an existing fund, but it's unclear where the money will come from. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.

Testimony shifts to alleged kidnapping in Miske trial.
A former employee of Michael J. Miske’s businesses testified Wednesday that his boss used violence to get his way and helped him coordinate the kidnapping of an accountant. Star-Advertiser. KHON2KITV4.

Honolulu emergency agency leaders revive official who collapsed at City Council hearing.
Honolulu Emergency Services Department Director Jim Ireland, Honolulu Fire Department Chief Sheldon Hao, and Honolulu Police Department Deputy Chief Rade Vanic and Acting Major Mikel Kunishima were attending the hearing when a 60-year-old testifier identified as Hawaii Community Development Authority Chairperson Brian Lee “became unresponsive,” according to a news release. Star-Advertiser. KHON2.

Turkish Coffee Or Universal Khaki? Another Honolulu Condo Dispute Goes To Court. The lawsuit alleges the condo board has resurrected old dispute to retaliate against owner. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Island

Dozens express strong opposition to County Council’s short-term rental measure.
A proposal to rewrite how Hawaii County regulates short-term vacation rentals led to hours of backlash from residents accusing the County Council of overreach. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News.

Big Island Council Rejects $1 Million From State To Plan A Lower Puna Traffic Relief Route. Council members voted 6-2 to decline the state funding after hearing hours of emotional testimony from residents on Hawaiian Home Lands in Panaewa and Keaukaha.  Civil Beat. Big Island Now.  KITV4.

State to get $74.6M to fix Nanue, Hakalau bridges.
Hawaii will receive $74.6 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation for the rehabilitation of the Nanue and Hakalau bridges on Hawaii Island. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News.

Maui

Last-Minute Bill Introduced To Support Long-Term Maui Wildfire Exposure Study. Hawaii lawmakers are being asked to pony up funds to support a comprehensive study of residents affected by the Aug. 8 fires. Civil Beat.

State legislature introduces Maui County Council’s proposal for paid family leave
. Maui County Councilmember Gabe Johnson announced the introduction of state legislation seeking to mandate access to paid family leave for state and county employees. Maui Now.

Staffing shortage results in delay of management plan for Maui north shore parcels. The department had anticipated beginning the area’s management plan in early 2024 with the help of a consultant; however, due to unexpected staffing changes over the last month, the project start date will be postponed to later this year.  Maui Now.

Kauai

PETA condemns Zuckerberg’s ‘cockamamie cattle project’ on Kauai. Animal rights group PETA has launched a national empathy campaign following Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement that he started a cattle-raising operation on his Kauai property. Star-Advertiser.

Mayor Kawakami outlined top Kaua‘i priorities to Hawai‘i Congressional Delegation during visit to Washington D.C. Mayor Derek S.K. Kawakami traveled last week to Washington, D.C., to participate in the U.S. Conference of Mayors 92nd Winter Meeting. Kauai Now.

Kaua‘i Economic Development Board breaks ground on renovation project. The high tech workforce development program involves classes and certification of areas, including digital animation, Native Hawaiian storytelling, Unreal Engine Training, a CID Creative Lab or music ideation program and Game Dev HQ. Garden Island.

Monday, November 20, 2023

Marcos describes Pacific tensions during Honolulu visit, Maui fire lawsuit defendant seeks change of venue, 22% raises mulled for Big Island officials, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Tensions in Pacific ‘more dire,’ Marcos says in Waikiki speech. Philippine President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.  arrived Saturday in Honolulu for a stop on the way back to Manila after attending the 2023 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in San Francisco. He spent Sunday morning with Adm. John Aquilino, the U.S. military’s top commander in the Pacific, to discuss concerns about Chinese military encroachment in waters and reefs that the Philippines has claimed for generations. Star-Advertiser. Associated PressHawaii News Now.

Protesters show up for Marcos visit to Hawaii. About 25 protesters gathered Saturday outside the doors of the Hawai‘i Convention Center waiting for the arrival of visiting Philippine President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., where he was scheduled to attend a large dinner gathering. Star-Advertiser.

Spectrum Seeks To Move Lahaina Fire Case To Honolulu Court. The vast majority of Lahaina fire victims are not citizens of Maui or even Hawaii, a major internet and cable TV provider is arguing, in a move that could prevent a Maui jury from determining whether the company and other utilities were liable for the Aug. 8 fires. The outcome could have broad implications for the wildfire litigation, which consists of more than 65 separate lawsuits, with more being filed continually. Civil Beat.

U.S. fire official warns of risks for Hawaii, strain on firefighters. A top federal fire official warned that Hawaii’s firefighters are under considerable strain and that Hawaii residents need to be aware of the risks and begin making fire survival plans for themselves and their communities as the risks become more evident. Star-Advertiser.

Maui wildfire recovery costs prompt state spending cuts. Gov. Josh Green recently informed leaders of all state agencies that he is using his emergency power to redirect $173 million in appropriations for about two dozen projects and programs, including long-overdue repairs to a leaky Hawai‘i Convention Center roof, so that the state can cover near-term costs responding to the biggest disaster in recent Hawaii history. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii’s State-Run Psychiatric Hospital Is So Crowded Patients Sleep In Conference Rooms. The killing of a nurse last week happened outside the main secure facility, but it cast a spotlight on concerns about staff safety. Civil Beat.

Inclusion Of Special Education Students Still Eludes Hawaii Schools. Hawaii DOE wants more special education students in general education classrooms, but staffing and limited resources make implementation a challenge. Civil Beat.

OHA approves $6M for Hawaiian-focused charter schools. Public charter schools that serve Native Hawaiian students are getting a boost in funding to help with curriculum and facilities maintenance. Hawaii Public Radio.

Oahu

Crime on Oahu down overall, but hot spots persist. Sharing the latest crime statistics last week, Honolulu Police Department Deputy Chief Keith Horikawa told the Honolulu Police Commission that HPD has started a data dashboard — an online searchable display of updated crime statistics, clearance rates, shootings involving officers, crime mapping and other comparable data. Star-Advertiser.

Red Hill Texts Show Navy Officials Worried About Groundwater Months Before Crisis. The messages, released as part of a lawsuit, also document a commander drastically underestimating the volume of the first of two spills. Civil Beat.

The Honolulu Liquor Commission’s New Administrator Plans Changes. New administrator Sal Petilos assumes the helm as the commission faces staff shortages, a backlog of license applications and a federal lawsuit. Civil Beat.

State proposes Waiahole bridge substitute. The replacement proposal comes following structural deficiencies on the bridge, which is located on Kamehameha Highway in Waiahole Valley, south of Waiahole Valley Road. Star-Advertiser.

North Shore residents propose hub for first responders in place of a long-planned retail development. North Shore residents propose hub for first responders in place of a long-planned retail development. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Hawaii Island

Pay hikes of more than 22% recommended for county administrators. Under a proposal by the county Salary Commission, those individuals would receive a 22.44% pay increase, effective Jan. 1, 2024, and another 5% effective July 1, 2024. Tribune-Herald.

Honua Ola sues Hawaiian Electric for $1B. Honua Ola Bioenergy is seeking more than $1 billion in damages from Hawaiian Electric Industries Inc., claiming in federal court that the electric utility has used monopolistic measures to keep Honua Ola’s completed but idle biomass power plant from going online. Tribune-Herald.

‘It’s a huge punch in the gut’: Surf school lottery ends with three of four permits awarded to one owner. Emotions were running high Friday at Makaeo Pavilion as the Department of Land and Natural Resources held a lottery to determine which four surf schools could operate at Kahalu‘u Beach. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Regenerative tourism seen as key to future of Hawaii’s visitor economy.
A vibrant rainbow burst from the clouds as Kamalei and Cierra Kawa‘a performed at the Haleki‘i-Pihana Heiau — the first stop on a tour of historical and cultural sites on Maui during the 22nd annual Native Hawaiian Convention in a showcase of what regenerative tourism looks and feels like from a Native Hawaiian perspective. Star-Advertiser.

State proposes public hunting area in Kanaio.
The state is seeking to establish a mixed-used public hunting area in Kanaio that it hopes could help reduce axis deer herds and allow for the construction of firebreaks on the southeast slope of Haleakala where fire potential has increased in recent years, according to state documents. Maui News.

Hana nonprofit acquires more land in mission of preserving East Maui coast. A Hana-based nonprofit has completed the purchase of 8.6 acres of Hamoa lands for permanent cultural preservation and stewardship, the latest step in the organization’s long-term plan to preserve 150 acres of East Maui coastal lands. Maui News.

New Wailuku parking garage set to open next month with 393 stalls. A blessing ceremony was held Friday for the new Wailuku parking garage, as the contractor handed off the new facility to the County of Maui. The four-story, 393-stall parking structure is scheduled to open in early December.  Maui Now.

Kauai

Rainy season affecting water quality on Kaua‘i.
The Surfrider Foundation has released its Nov. 11 water quality results for the island, with its senior scientist attributing higher than average bacteria levels at many of the tested sites to the beginning of the rainy season. Garden Island.

Brush fire scorches 10 acres in Hanapepe, put out by firefighters, landowner. Multiple firefighting personnel from the Hanapepe and Kalaheo stations responded around 6:45 p.m. to the scene of the brush fire, which was located on property owned by Gay &Robinson. Garden Island. Kauai Now.

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Looming federal shutdown threatens holiday tourism season, state psychiatric patient arrested in fatal stabbing of staffer, some public schools lack fire alarms, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Potential government shutdown could hit heart of Hawaii’s economy. As Congress gets closer to their Friday deadline to pass a budget, a potential government shutdown threatens Hawaii's tourism industry. The state's top industry could be greatly impacted with the staffing of air traffic controllers.  KITV4.

Hawaii holiday travel is expected to be soft. The latest tourism data from the state  Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism for September showed that some 651,286 visitors came to the Hawaiian Islands, down 7.4% from September 2022. Arrivals to Maui plummeted 57% to 94,221 visitors in September, according to the DBEDT data. Star-Advertiser.

Not Acceptable’: Why So Many Hawaii Schools Lack Fire Alarms.
A recent report from a House working group highlights the lack of working fire alarm systems and other safety precautions in some public schools. Civil Beat.

Hawaiian Electric tallies $20.4M in early disaster costs from Maui wildfires. Hawaiian Electric has shared a glimpse of expenses from the Aug. 8 Maui wildfires while vowing to vigorously contest litigation blaming the company for the disaster. Star-Advertiser.

Firefighters battle blazes across Hawaii. Amid continuing hot weather, drought and strong tradewinds, firefighters across the islands are continuing to battle wildfires. Star-Advertiser.

Gov. Josh Green and First Lady Jaime Kanani Green headed to Japan
on Sunday to meet with Japanese government officials and key business stakeholders, his office announced. Green will thank Japan’s government for its $2 million contribution to Hawaii in the aftermath of the Maui wildfire disaster, promote made-in-Hawaii products, and invite the return of Japanese visitors to Hawaii’s shores. Maui News.

Hawaii Voters Could Be Asked To Amend Constitution On Marriage Equality. A section of the state's Bill of Rights still gives the Legislature the power to limit marriage to opposite-sex couples. Civil Beat.

National Climate Report Lands As Hawaii Grapples With Wildfire Threat.
It features a new focus on Indigenous knowledge to combat the islands' climate challenges. Civil Beat.

Oahu

Patient at state psychiatric facility arrested in fatal attack on staff member. Man, 29, fatally stabbed at State Hospital in Kaneohe. Honolulu Emergency Medical Services officials say a 29-year-old man was fatally stabbed late Monday afternoon at the Hawaii State Hospital in Kaneohe. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now. KHON2. KITV4.

Court battle underway as Red Hill families accuse Navy leaders of destroying evidence. A federal judge heard arguments Monday in Honolulu on legal claims that Navy leaders lied and destroyed cellphone evidence after the Red Hill fuel leaks. The government insists that’s not true. Hawaii News Now.

Pig farmer prevails in appeals court.
A 56-year-old Waianae Coast pig farmer prevailed both in a state appeals court and district court over a landlord who took steps to evict him. The court rulings pave the way for Matthew Reyes to return to the 1.75-acre portion of the 5-acre Maili property on Paakea Road and continue to farm. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Kona Vistas heads back to planning commission. A long-delayed and controversial $170 million West Hawaii housing project is returning to the Leeward Planning Commission in January after months of cultural review. Tribune-Herald.

‘Super prime’ land in Keauhou sold for just over $4M. A privately owned global real estate firm headquartered in San Diego has sold a 24.5-acre parcel of undeveloped land within the Keauhou Resort to a Los Angeles-based real estate developer and investor. Tribune-Herald.

Hilo Tsunami Museum in Danger of Closing. It's a race against time for those who want to preserve Hilo's Tsunami Museum, an educational site which raises awareness of what occurred during the Big Island's deadliest natural disaster.  KITV4.

Sixteen Live Sheep Freed From Alleged Poachers At PTA. Five cited, fined for attempting to poach sheep. Four Big Island residents and one Oahu resident were cited and fined Thursday for attempting to poach 16 sheep on Daniel K. Inouye Highway. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News. Big Island Now.

Maui

Texas Developer Seeks $50 Million From Maui County To Build Affordable Housing. Dallas-based real estate developer Paul Cheng has already received $18 million in county subsidies for his Pulelehua housing development. Civil Beat.

Thousands of Maui property owners haven’t yet given government permission to clear debris. About 900 Maui property owners who saw their homes destroyed in the catastrophic wildfires have given the government permission to remove debris. But thousands more have yet to sign right-of-entry forms. Hawaii News Now.

MEO handling fire grants for businesses with $300,000 revenues or less. The Maui Business Bridge Grant that provides financial support to businesses directly or indirectly impacted by the August wildfires began accepting applications today, Nov. 13, with Maui Economic Opportunity working with establishments of $300,000 in gross revenue or less. Maui Now.

Brush fire burns 35 acres, 70% contained; Maui Veterans Highway now OPEN. According to the County of Maui, multiple fire crews and Air 1 responded to the blaze, which was fed by 20-25 mph winds. Maui Now. KHON2.

Maui Wellness Group, LLC gets approval as medical cannabis retail dispensary. The Hawai‘i State Department of Health has issued a formal notice to proceed for Maui Wellness Group, LLC, dba Maui Grown Therapies after it passed its final on-site inspection for its fourth retail facility.  Maui Now.

Kauai

The Kaua‘i Marathon shares $25K with four groups. The YWCA of Kaua‘i, Kaua‘i Independent Food Bank, Kaua‘i Humane Society and the Kaua‘i Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals received awards. Garden Island.

Friday, November 10, 2023

Veterans Day honors those who serve, Green names Rep. Hashimoto for state Senate, Honolulu gay bar alleges death threat from liquor control board, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

State House lawmaker transfers to Senate. Gov. Josh Green picked Rep. Troy Hashimoto (D, Wailuku- Waikapu) to fill an empty seat in the Senate following the recent resignation of Sen. Gil Keith-Agaran (D, Wailuku-Kahului-Waihee). Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Maui Now.

Hawaiian Electric Has Ample Cash For Now But Few Answers To Key Questions. An earnings call with investors highlighted uncertainties surrounding Hawaii's electric utility and its parent following the Maui wildfires. Civil Beat.

The Power Was Out Before The Fires Started. Then Hawaiian Electric Flipped The Switch
. In congressional testimony, Hawaiian Electric President and CEO Shelee Kimura confirmed what some already suspected — that the utility re-energized its lines just before an early morning fire. Civil Beat.

‘The era of complacency is over’: Wildfire planning agency swamped by requests for help. A Hawaii wildfire management nonprofit says only a few communities in the state have prepared for wildfires and now more than 100 are lining up to get protected. The small organization was practically ignored before Maui’s wildfire disaster. Hawaii News Now.

State working group calls for improvements to food reserves and disaster response. A state working group wants Hawaiʻi to improve its food reserves, support backyard farming and fill in the gaps in supply distribution to bolster its disaster response. Hawaii Public Radio.

Oahu

Military Members File Lawsuit Over Red Hill Water Contamination. Active service members are challenging a rule that insulates the government from liability for their injuries. Civil Beat.

Honolulu Gay Bar Steps Up Dispute With Liquor Commission. Scarlet Honolulu and Gay Island Guide cited an alleged death threat in requesting a temporary restraining order. The commission's counsel denied the allegation. Civil Beat.

HPD probe launched into handling of officer-involved crash that left motorcyclist injured.  Records reveal a Honolulu police officer arrested for driving under the influence and crashing into a utility pole seven years ago recently slammed his subsidized vehicle into the back of a motorcyclist, seriously injuring the rider. Hawaii News Now.

COVID relief funds mishandled, Honolulu auditor says. Honolulu exposed $387 million in federal COVID-19 relief money it received in 2020 to fraud, waste and abuse as it dispensed business and household relief funding during the pandemic, the Office of the City Auditor says. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Maunakea eyed for registers of historic places. At a Thursday meeting of the Maunakea Stewardship and Oversight Authority board, Ku‘upua Kiyuna, legal specialist for nonprofit Huliauapa‘a, told the board her organization has filed nominations for a portion of Maunakea, including the mountain’s summit, to be listed as a “traditional cultural property and district” on the National Register of Historic Places and the Hawaii Register of Historic Places. Tribune-Herald.

Bridge Stabilization Near Honoliʻi Beach Park Set To Begin. A bridge along the Honoliʻi Stream will undergo stabilization work next week, and officials warn of some changes to traffic patterns around Honoliʻi Beach Park. Big Island Video News.

Maui

Search For Lahaina’s Missing Spurs Creation Of Cold Case Unit. Two members of a task force specializing in forensic analysis will be assigned to the new detail that will reexamine dozens of unsolved cases. Civil Beat.

State to buy former Kihei hotel to house fire evacuees. A state agency received board approval Thursday to buy the former 229-room Maui Sun Hotel as part of a plan to turn the property into apartments for people who lost homes in the Aug. 8 disaster, which destroyed most of Lahaina. Star-Advertiser.

Groundbreaking, blessing held for 223-unit Hale O Piʻikea affordable housing in Kīhei. Situated in the southeast portion of the Kīhei Downtown Project, the development aims to address the pressing need for affordable housing. The project will provide 223 affordable rental housing units for individuals, kūpuna, and families whose incomes fall at or below 60% of the area median income. Maui Now.

Upcountry Maui Is Entering The Next Phase Of Fire Recovery.
But Anxiety Persists. Kula residents readily acknowledge their losses are nowhere near the level experienced by Lahaina wildfire survivors but they share many of the same frustrations. Civil Beat.

Worsening water shortage in Upcountry Maui puts Kula Hospital at risk. A dire warning for Upcountry Maui residents -- cut water use by 20% or put Kula Hospital and 80 long term care patients at risk. Hawaii News Now.

Kauai

Nonprofit details ‘youth mental health crisis’ on Kaua‘i. The head of a community initiative for youths detailed how high schoolers and middle schoolers on the island are “really struggling” with issues, including poor mental health, substance abuse and loneliness, in a presentation to Kaua‘i County Council members this week. Garden Island.

More than 70 volunteers renovate U.S. VETS Barber’s Point.
Home Depot volunteers picked up some gloves and tools at U.S. VETS Barber’s Point to renovate its facilities in honor of Veteran’s Day. KHON2.