Showing posts with label Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi. Show all posts

Thursday, March 14, 2024

House OKs $1B for wildfires in $11B budget, Water Commission could become autonomous, coffee labeling bill advances, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Despite pushback, bill to give Water Commission more autonomy advances. Senate Bill 3327 SD1 HD1 proposes to separate the Water Commission from the Department of Land and Natural Resources to minimize conflicts of interests between the two agencies. The bill would also grant the agency its own authority to declare emergencies, retain independent legal counsel, and levy fines. Hawaii Public Radio. Maui Now.

State House OKs $1B in wildfire expenses in $11B budget bill. The Hawaii House of Representatives on Wednesday unanimously passed its draft of an updated state budget crafted to cover immense Maui wildfire recovery costs while maintaining fundamental services and important projects. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.  Maui Now.  Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

 HECO SEC filing: Top exec paid $1.47M in 2023. Parent company Hawaiian Electric Industries braces for financial challenges posed by the Maui fires, which cost it $19M last year.   It's suspended dividend payouts to shareholders, but at the same time, it's also given its top executives a "golden parachute" should they get fired. KITV4.

Decision to extend the retirement age of Hawaiʻi judges could be left to voters. Voters may be asked if judges can remain on the bench for a few years longer. Judges are required to retire at 70-years-old. But lawmakers are considering putting it to voters to increase the retirement age to 75 years old. Hawaii Public Radio.

Proposed coffee labeling bill moves from House to Senate committees for hearing. After 12 years of pushing for stricter coffee labeling laws, Rep. Nicole Lowen is finally seeing traction this year in the State Legislature with her House bill that outlines a phased approach to increasing the amount of locally grown coffee in products required for a Hawai‘i-grown label. Big Island Now.

Some Abusive Parents Homeschool Their Kids. Should Hawaii Do More To Screen Them? Sen. Kurt Fevella, a Republican from Ewa Beach, has submitted a resolution calling on the Department of Education to conduct wellness visits on all children who are taken out of school to be homeschooled.  Civil Beat.

Hawaiʻi Releases Targeted Violence Prevention Strategy Plan.
The release of a “first-in-the-nation” Targeted Violence Prevention Strategy Implementation Plan was announced by the Hawaiʻi Department of Law Enforcement. Big Island Video News.


Mayor to deliver State of City address today. Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi,  nearing the end of his four-year mayoral term, might single out achievements his administration made in the past year to curb what he had referred to in his 2023 address as “wicked problems” facing Oahu. Star-Advertiser.

Potential jurors in bribery trial undergo questioning from attorneys. Attorneys in the bribery trial involving Honolulu’s former prosecutor — are now questioning potential jurors — as they work to get a jury seated for trial. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Manoa tragedy sparks concern over a rise in domestic-violence killings. The killing of a wife and three kids by a husband, who then took his own life, in Manoa Sunday morning was likely the third domestic-violence killing in Hawaii in three months and the fourth high-profile domestic violence case. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii Public Radio.

Pieces of a sailboat that ran aground in Waikiki are still stuck on the reef. DLNR’s Division of Aquatic Resources says there are a few damaged coral colonies, but the vessel primarily impacted non-coral reefs. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Mayor Roth’s 2024 State Of The County Address Set For March 22. Mayor Mitch Roth will deliver the speech from Kona this year, alongside his cabinet. The address is scheduled for 1 p.m. on Friday, March 22nd, at the West Hawaiʻi Civic Center Pavilion. Big Island Video News.

New Maunakea Authority Holds Community Meeting. MKSOA board members explained to those in attendance the history and purpose of the authority, which is currently in a period transition, as the management duties of the University of Hawaiʻi are slowly transferred to MKSOA. Big Island Video News.

Waipi‘o Valley Road Emergency Rules Continued. The extended rules continue the prohibition of all pedestrians, uncovered vehicles, and horseback access, but allows for certain exceptions. Big Island Video News.

BISAC unveils two Narcan vending machines in Hilo. The Big Island Substance Abuse Council is making the machines operational 24/7, safely situated outside of its Hulihia Ke Ola Detox Clinic at the corner of Hoku Street and Derby Lane and its outpatient facility on Waianuenue Avenue across from the Hilo Public Library. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Now.


Hawaii Delegates Urge FEMA To Include COFA Citizens In Wildfire Aid. The action follows the recent passage of renegotiated Compacts of Free Association included in a federal spending package. Civil Beat.

FEMA Is Struggling To Move Maui Fire Survivors Into Homes Before Its Hotel Program Ends. The agency needs to rapidly pick up the pace, but it must figure out how to overcome hurdles with inspections, pets, background checks and location. Civil Beat.

Maui's Lisa Paulson selected among USA Today's Women of the Year. Lisa Paulson, the Maui Hotel and Lodging Association Executive Director, was recently named one of USA Today’s 2024 Women of the Year for her leadership during the Lahaina wildfire. On Aug. 8 and in the days after, Paulson led a group of tourism managers on a mission to evacuate over 12,000 tourists from the Valley Isle.  Hawaii Public Radio.


Raising awarenes for developmental disabilities. Volunteers with the Hawai‘i State Council on Developmental Disabilities took to Rice Street fronting the historic County Building to raise awareness about the potential of people with developmental disability on Wednesday. Garden Island.

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Legislature tackles wildfire prevention, patient ratios, clean elections, fireworks, recreational marijuana; ex-Sen. English to get early prison release; Miske trial resumes, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Lawmakers Are Working On Ways To Whack Hawaii’s Fire-Fueling Weeds. Senators have signaled an early willingness to spend state money on mowing down Hawaii’s invasive grasses as they consider a bevy of bills geared toward avoiding another deadly wildfire.  Civil Beat.

Federal order releases former senator Kalani English from prison early. English’s sentence was supposed to be 40 months from Aug. 2022, but now he will be getting out after 32 months. He pleaded guilty to Honest Services Wire Fraud in Feb. 2022, after trading cash and other gifts for a draft on cesspool and wastewater policy with a businessman. KHON2.

Bill for ‘clean elections’ has widespread public support. Senate Bill 2381 is a so-called “clean elections” bill that would establish a system for candidates in state and county public elections to be eligible for a certain amount of public financing, beginning in 2028. Tribune-Herald.

State Senate bill covers a key issue expressed by nurses who have gone on strike.
Members from the Hawai‘i Nurses’ Association testified during a hearing about the need to establish and enforce staff-to-patient ratios at health care facilities across the state. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii Public Radio.

Senate Committee to hear testimony on bill to legalize recreational marijuana. The discussion on legalizing marijuana begins as members of the State Senate take up the matter during a public hearing this morning during a joint Health and Human Services and Judiciary committees meeting. Big Island Now.

Legislators look to ban consumer fireworks statewide. There are efforts to significantly reduce consumer fireworks throughout the state, proposed law seeks to only allow fireworks at permitted cultural events. KHON2.

Kaniela Ing Faces More Charges Of Campaign Spending Violations. The former state lawmaker could be penalized more than $18,000 for failure to keep financial records and filing false reports. Civil Beat.

Hawaiʻi to build out housing services with Medicaid under new federal program.
The Housing and Services Partnership Accelerator supports states that are using Medicaid funds for programs that help people secure and maintain stable housing. Hawaii Public Radio.

HECO conducting utility pole audit on Maui, Oʻahu and Hawaiʻi Island. Hawaiian Electric Co. is conducting an inventory audit of attachments on utility poles throughout Maui, and Oʻahu and Hawai‘i Island as well, according to an announcement. Maui Now.


Blangiardi announces reelection bid for Honolulu mayor
. Four years to the day from his announcement that he would run for his first political office, Mayor Rick Blangiardi announced Monday that he’ll seek reelection. Star-Advertiser. KHON2.  KITV4.

Attorney for HPD officer in crash disputes witness claims, says he wasn’t intoxicated. An attorney representing the Honolulu police officer reportedly seen tossing what appeared to beer bottles from his department-subsidized vehicle following a crash last month in Wahiawa is adamant Tyson Chun was not driving intoxicated and is innocent of any wrongdoing. Hawaii News Now.

Miske Trial Resumes After Weeklong Recess Due To Juror Illness. Sara Tufele, who has a child with one of Miske's former top associates, testified that she felt threatened after her boyfriend began cooperating with authorities. Civil Beat. KITV4.

Murdered child’s guardians face life without parole as lawmakers consider child welfare reforms. After three people were charged with the child abuse and neglect murder of 10-year-old Geanna Bradley, there are renewed calls to toughen the program designed to protect children in the foster care system. Hawaii News Now. KHON2. KITV4.

Labor-trafficking case against couple is dismissed.
Oahu Circuit Judge Shanlyn Park dismissed labor- trafficking felony charges against a Palolo couple accused of bringing a woman and her then 15-year-old daughter from Guam to Hono­lulu in 2021, beating and forcing them to perform work, locking the girl in their apartment and taking their passports and money. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Kona Airport begins runway repairs, closing overnight operations. Starting Tuesday, the state Department of Transportation will close the Kona airport for 15 consecutive nights to conduct runway repairs. Hawaii Public Radio.

Animal Control recruitment, staffing ‘probably our biggest issue,’ administrator says.
Matthew Runnels, administrator of the recently created Animal Control and Protection Agency, made a presentation Tuesday to the County Council’s Communications, Reports and Council Oversight Committee about finding his agency’s footing since it took over the county’s animal control duties in July. Tribune-Herald.


Maui County Finance Director, Scott Teruya on administrative leave with pay. County officials could not provide details on the reason behind the action.  Maui Now.

Board to oversee rebuilding on Maui is proposed. A proposal to facilitate rebuilding fire-ravaged Lahaina, perhaps with new land-use rules and funding governed by a community- based board, is slated for discussion Wednesday at the state Legislature. Star-Advertiser.

Lahaina Death Trap: The Night Fire Engulfed Kuhua Street. A third of the fire's victims died on a narrow dead-end street in central Lahaina, unable to access an alternative route to safety. Civil Beat.

Maui Police Are Tackling A 30% Job Vacancy Rate By Opening A New Recruiting Center. Officers want to show their personal investment in potential hires as the department tries to fill the empty positions. Civil Beat.


DLNR to auction off leases for west Kaua’i cabins. Annual leases for seven cabins in the Kōke’e recreation residence community will be auctioned to the public in mid-April by the state Department of Land and Natural Resources. Kauai Now.

Southwest flight safely lands on Kaua‘i following fistfight midair. Southwest officials say flight 1288 landed safely as scheduled and local authorities met the aircraft upon arrival. Kauai Now.

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.


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 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.


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.

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.

Friday, August 4, 2023

FBI rescues 11 potentially trafficked children in Hawaii, Mauna Kea telescope suspends operations after cyberattack, Hurricane Dora now a Category 4, no AC for many Hawaii classrooms as school year begins, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

FBI recovers 11 missing children in Hawaiʻi, rescues 200 victims of sex trafficking nationwide. The Federal Bureau of Investigation recently announced the results of "Operation Cross Country," a nationwide sweep targeting sex traffickers. The effort involved local police departments, non-profit groups and more. Hawaii Public Radio.

New Hawaii BOE Chairman Brings Corporate Expertise To The Table. Veteran businessman Warren Haruki says he accepted the position to help students in the public school system. Civil Beat.

Thousands of Hawaii classrooms still need air conditioning. As students get ready for the new school year, the state’s Department of Education facilities staff are busy making updates to campuses across the state; but the DOE is still ways away from reaching its goal of installing air conditioning units in the majority of public school classrooms. KHON2.

Increase in Hawaii COVID cases points to late-summer wave. The state Department of Health on Wednesday reported a seven-day daily average of 115 new cases, reaching triple digits for the first time since mid-May. The average positivity rate was about 12% statewide, roughly double what it was in mid-May. Star-Advertiser.

Dora strengthens to Category 4 hurricane. Dora, located about 2,050 miles east of the Big Island, is moving west at 18 mph and this general motion is expected to continue during the next several days. Dora’s winds have decreased to near 130 mph with higher gusts. Star-Advertiser.

Enhanced security screening at the Hawaii State Capitol has been delayed again due to electrical and installation requirements, the state announced Wednesday.  Maui News.

Hawaiian Airlines announces route suspensions amid recalled engine inspections.  Hawaiian Airlines announced Thursday it will be altering its flight schedule for the next couple months after some of its engines have been recalled for inspections. Hawaii News Now.

Second Pasha ship powered by natural gas now serving Hawaii
. Hawaii is now being regularly supplied with goods delivered on two cargo ships powered by natural gas instead of higher­-emissions fuel. Star-Advertiser.


Fundraising For Mayor’s 2024 Campaign Is Off To A Slow Start. Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi has close to $600,000 in his war chest with just over a year to go until the next election, according to his most recent disclosure to the state Campaign Spending Commission.  Civil Beat.

Honolulu Rail Is Still Waiting For The Feds To Release Large Chunks of Money. HART had hoped $125 million would quickly be released last year to help fund the $10 billion project but now expects that money won't arrive until December. Civil Beat.

Honolulu Liquor Commission Selects New Administrator. The Honolulu Liquor Commission voted in Sal Petilos as its new administrator Thursday. Petilos had originally been nominated to join the commission itself, but the nomination was deferred because he did not meet the state requirement that county liquor commissioners must have lived in the county for the last three years. Civil Beat.

Waikiki Community Center matching savings to help residents.  The Waikiki Community Center over the next three years will provide a dollar-for-­dollar savings account match for low-income kupuna and financially struggling working families who earn too much to qualify for traditional aid programs like food stamps. Star-Advertiser.

No longer hidden from view, homeless encampment in Kalihi draws concern. DeCorte Neighborhood Park is hidden in the Kalihi Valley neighborhood, which means a homeless encampment there has been allowed to grow. At a meeting at the park Thursday evening, residents aired their concerns and frustrations about that encampment — and the people it has attracted. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Hawaii Island

Mauna Kea telescope suspends operations following attempted cyber attack. A Mauna Kea telescope has paused operations after an attempted cyber attack threatened its computer systems on Wednesday. The telescope — known as the Gemini North — had its system immediately shut down following the attempted attack, The National Science Foundation said. Hawaii News Now.

Long-awaited draft EA puts county one step closer to reopening Puna roads cut off by lava.  Nearly five years after the end of the 2018 Kilauea eruption, a long-delayed environmental report about the reopening of Pohoiki Road and other lower Puna roads inundated by lava finally was published Thursday. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News.

Kohala Swimming Pool to reopen this month after being closed nearly 2 years.  After being closed for almost 2 years because of numerous system failures in the pump room, the Kohala Swimming Pool at Kamehameha Park in Kapaʻau will reopen Aug. 12. Big Island Now.

Honokohau Harbor drainage project begins.  Work began Monday at Honokohau Small Boat Harbor on the boat wash down area to improve drainage. West Hawaii Today.

Food Basket clears part of Hilo site that will house ag campus.
  The Hawaii Island Food Basket has started clearing a portion of its 24.5 acres of land meant for an agricultural innovation campus in Hilo. Tribune-Herald.


1st phase of Liloa extension could be ready in 2027. County recently received $25M in federal funding for project. Maui County officials anticipate that by 2027, the first phase of a north segment of the long-awaited Liloa Drive extension — which aims to provide an alternative to busy Piilani Highway and South Kihei Road — will be operational in Kihei.  Maui News.

Senate WAM Committee delves into priorities during recent site visit to Maui and Molokaʻi.  The schedule featured vigorous discussions that gave Senators an opportunity to convene Cabinet members and private sector leaders to learn more about the status of critical and urgent statewide and regional initiatives, according to a Hawaiʻi State Senate recap.  Maui Now.


June home sales highest of year on Kaua‘i. Single-family home sales on Kaua‘i hit the highest level of the year in June, marking a rare bright spot for a housing market struggling to rightsize itself in the post-pandemic era. Garden Island.

Disaster relief effort aims to help Philippines.  Mayor Derek S.K. Kawakami and other county employees joined leaders of the Filipino community, including the Kaua‘i Philippine Cultural Center, in soliciting relief funds to help the Filipino people that were impacted when Super Typhoon Egay impacted Northern Luzon on July 23. Garden Island.

Kaua‘i War Memorial Convention Hall auditorium closed through first week of September.  The Department of Parks and Recreation is announcing that the Kaua‘i War Memorial Convention Hall auditorium is estimated to be closed through the first week of September due to construction. Kauai Now.

Wednesday, August 2, 2023

Money flows to lawmakers during legislative session, Honolulu mayor rejects Alaska homeless, COVID-19 sends Maui council back to remote meeting, another Big Isle death from dog packs, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Ban On Fundraisers? Hawaii Legislators Continued To Rake In Campaign Cash During Session. Many found ways to raise big donations even though a new law was intended to limit the influence of special interest money. Civil Beat.

Alaska mayor’s plan to send homeless to warmer cities gets pushback in Hawaii. The mayor of Alaska’s largest city says he’s planning to send some of the state’s homeless to warmer cities, citing a lack of shelter space as winter approaches. The program is already getting pushback, including from Honolulu’s mayor. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii DOE Has Changed Up Its Teacher Recruitment And Early Results Are Promising. The department has made 690 local and 277 out-of-state hires to start the school year.  There are around 300 vacant positions in the system now, compared to over 1,000 vacancies at the start of the last school year. Civil Beat.

US Department of Energy funding to support state renewable energy network.  The U.S. Department of Energy named 67 winners for its Energizing Rural Communities Prize. One of them is Shake Energy Collaborative in Hawaiʻi. Hawaii Public Radio.

Department of Hawaiian Home Lands struggling to fill dozens of vacancies. The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands is positioned to build thousands of homes, but it's the positions behind the desk that first need to be filled. KITV4.

UH sets new record in extramural funding with $515.9 million. For a second year in a row, the University of Hawaii has set a record in extramural funding, pulling in $515.9 million for fiscal year 2023 and surpassing its prior peak by $10.9 million, UH officials announced. Star-Advertiser.

Visitors spent $2B in June, mostly on Maui and Oahu. Neighbor Island visitor spending through first half of 2023 outpacing 2019. Visitors to Hawaii spent $2 billion in June — more than any other month during the record-breaking year before the pandemic — with nearly three-quarters of that total coming from tourists on Maui and Oahu.  Maui News.

Ambitious public housing plan focuses on creating thousands of new units — quickly.  The state’s public housing authority plans to build more than 10,000 affordable units over a decade. Past projects may have failed to build enough housing, but the executive director of the Hawaii Public Housing Authority told Hawaii News Now the $6.6 billion plan is different. Hawaii News Now.


New city traffic study finds 7 in 10 drivers failed at yield for pedestrians at busy intersection. Hawaii Kai residents are calling for safer crosswalks. The plea comes following a new city traffic study conducted at nine areas with high traffic incidents. Researchers found 71% of drivers failed to yield for pedestrians at the intersection of Lunalilo Home Road and Kaumakani Street in east Oahu. Hawaii News Now.

Audit finds improvements in city hiring shortfalls. An audit into the city’s 2,458 job vacancies is revealing an outdated system and lengthy hiring process. As a result, the city is making improvements to the system. KHON2.

King Tide Leads To New Release Of Partially Treated Wastewater Near Pearl Harbor. The military said water in the area remained safe to use but warned another discharge may occur as ocean conditions persist. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser.  Spectrum News.

Invasive Species Are Rampant On Oahu And Stakeholders Are Calling Out DOA. The department said it is taking an "all-hands-on-deck approach" to the issue. Civil Beat.

Hawaiʻi could see a big hurricane season, but most homes aren't ready.
  Two-thirds of the single-family homes on Oʻahu, an island of 1 million people that's home to Honolulu, have no hurricane protections. Associated Press.

Powering O‘ahu 24/7 for 60 Years. Behind the scenes at the Kahe Power Plant, which opened in 1963 and still generates firm power to supplement solar- and wind-generated electricity. Hawaii Business magazine.

Hawaii Island

Police: Ocean View man killed by dogs in ‘horrific attack’.  Hawaii island police are investigating the death of a man who was reportedly attacked by four dogs in the Hawaiian Ocean View Estates subdivision Monday morning. Star-Advertiser. Tribune-Herald.  Big Island Video News.  KHON2. KITV4.

Look South of Hilo for Affordable Homes in Hawai‘i. Hawai‘i Island’s overall median price has been relatively steady this year, but the lowest priced deals – including many inexpensive vacant lots – can often be found in Puna. Hawaii Business magazine.

DHHL awards 15 subsistence-ag lots in Panaewa.  Fifteen Department of Hawaiian Home Lands beneficiaries became the first to be awarded subsistence-agricultural lots Saturday at the Keaukaha Elementary School gymnasium. Tribune-Herald.


Maui County Council meeting to be held remotely Friday due to COVID-19 cases.  Due to several cases of COVID-19 within the Legislative Branch, Council Chair Alice L. Lee determined that Friday’s council meeting will be held remotely via Bluejeans. Maui Now.

NOAA announces $17M for infrastructure improvements at Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary.  The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will invest $17 million from the Inflation Reduction Act in Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary to improve the climate resilience of the Kīhei, Maui visitor and community center.  Maui Now.

Betty’s Beach Cafe in Lahaina to reopen after inspection
.  The state Department of Health Food Safety Branch has allowed Betty’s Beach Cafe in Lahaina to reopen after closing it last week due to a cockroach infestation. Star-Advertiser.


State suspends bus services at four Kaua‘i schools amid driver shortage.  Kapa‘a High School, Kapa‘a Middle School, Kapa‘a Elementary School and Hanalei Elementary School will see canceled services on Kaua‘i. Garden Island.

Waimea middle school principal removed from position. The principal of Waimea Canyon Middle School has been removed from her position in the midst of increasing complaints from parents, teachers and students. Garden Island.

Monday, June 26, 2023

Green signs 18 government anti-corruption bills, journalist shield law, announces potential veto list; Honolulu Mayor Blangiardi signs $3.4B budget and $350 property tax rebate, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Gov. Josh Green signs batch of government reform bills. These bills, passed by the Legislature earlier this year, include one requiring Hawaii legislators to disclose relationships with lobbyists, one prohibiting campaign donations by lobbyists to elected officials during or close to legislative sessions and one enhancing criminal penalties for public corruption offenses. Star-Advertiser. Big Island Video News.  Big Island Now.

Green signs bill protecting the work of journalists. Gov. Josh Green on Friday signed into law a measure that brings back and makes permanent protections to prevent reporters from being forced by state courts to disclose confidential  information or sources. Star-Advertiser.

Governor Announces Intent To Veto 11 Bills. Certain bills related to water code penalties, ocean recreation commercial permits, and education are all under threat of veto. Gov. Josh Green plans to veto 11 bills passed by lawmakers this year, including one related to the controversial Hawaii Technology Development Corp. and another that he says could discourage the building of new housing.  Civil Beat. Big Island Video News.  Big Island Now.  Maui News.

Tourism plans extend beyond stewardship contract, CNHA says. The Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement got a seat at the tourism table when it secured a multiyear, $27 million contract for stewardship services from the Hawaii Tourism Authority. Star-Advertiser.

Hussey leaving post as CEO of Office of Hawaiian Affairs.  Office of Hawaiian Affairs Ka Pouhana/CEO Sylvia Hussey announced she will be leaving the organization June 30, at the end of the fiscal year, “to focus on her personal and ‘ohana health.” Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Big Island Video News. Maui News.


Mayor Rick Blangiardi approves Honolulu’s $3.41B budget. The mayor also formally adopted the city’s one-time $350 tax rebate that will be granted to nearly 152,000 qualifying homeowners with an active home exemption on their 2023 assessment, regardless of property value. Star-Advertiser. KITV4.

Inside Honolulu’s Six-Decade Fight Over Rail: It’s Always Been ‘Boondoggle Or Boon’. Proposals for an elevated rail system on Oahu date back to the 1960s. Now, at least part of a modern-day rail line is finally about to open to the public. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser. KHON2.

Judge nixes bid to depose Pacific Fleet chief in Red Hill lawsuit. A federal judge decided Friday to quash an attempt to make the commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet sit for a deposition in a civil lawsuit brought by military and civilian families whose drinking water was contaminated with jet fuel from the Navy’s Red Hill fuel facility in November 2021. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.

Board OK’s removal of Doris Duke breakwater.  The state Board of Land and Natural Resources has given the green light to demolish the Diamond Head Breakwater, a wall of large boulders that juts out into the ocean, creating a protected cove fronting Doris Duke’s Shangri La estate. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.  KHON2.

Kaimuki residents protest ‘monster home’ construction.  An appeal by a builder of so-called monster homes in Kaimuki drew the anger of about 15 Kaimuki residents outside the city’s Mission Memorial Auditorium who beat on a drum and waved signs that read, “Kaimuki against monster homes” and “Be a good neighbor” at a hearing of the city’s Building Board of Appeals on Friday. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

Popular Koko Crater hike to close temporarily.  The city plans to close the Koko Crater stairs for four days this month to replace the viewing platform at the top. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Waste proposal draws doubts: Board presented with information on trash conversion technology. A company’s proposal to convert Big Island waste into energy, concrete and more raised eyebrows Friday at a Hawaii County Environmental Management Commission meeting. Tribune-Herald.

Green, BISAC tout medical kauhale for Hilo.  The concept for a medical kauhale for homeless people in Hilo originally came from the Big Island Substance Abuse Council, or BISAC. Tribune-Herald.

State gun permits drop: Hawaii County sees registration decrease of 7.9% in 2022. In Hawaii County, there were 4,510 applications processed last year, a decrease of 7.9% from the 4,899 applications processed in 2021. Tribune-Herald.

Budget cuts leave boat ramp in limbo.  The state project to reopen the Pohoiki Boat Ramp regained, then promptly lost, $35 million in funding this month after gubernatorial budget cuts. Tribune-Herald.

Land Acquisition To Expand Hilo Harbor Open For Comment.  The draft environmental assessment for the Hilo Harbor Private Lands Acquisition and Development has been published for public review. Big Island Video News.


Former Mayor Arakawa, Kalo Farmers Among 6 Chosen For New East Maui Water Board. The County Council's selections marked the culmination of a weekslong power struggle over control of the board that will help shape the region's future. Civil Beat. Maui News.

Phase II response work begins at fuel spill site atop Haleakalā. Phase two of the spill response efforts at the Maui Space Surveillance Complex began on June 20, 2023. This comes after 700 gallons of diesel fuel spilled at the Maui Space Surveillance Complex Jan. 29 into Jan. 30, 2023.  Maui Now.

Environmental groups raise alarms as illegal dumping in West Maui continues to grow.  Despite recent crackdowns by the county, they said that illegal junkyards at Ukumehame and Cut Mountain have gotten larger in recent months. Hawaii News Now.


Plan To Save Kauai Forest Birds With ‘Mosquito Birth Control’ Published. State officials are seeking public comment on a plan to bring the world's first attempt at landscape-scale mosquito control to Kauai. Civil Beat. Garden Island.  Kauai Now.

Jobless rate falls to 2.5 percent on Kaua‘i.  The unemployment rate in the County of Kaua‘i moved within spitting distance of pre-pandemic lows last month, largely because of robust hiring in the accommodation sector ahead of the summer tourism season. Garden Island.

Residents in Kauai pushing for the state to lower their rent as they can no longer afford the price increase.  Since 2019, residents have been working to convince the state to lower their rent so it can be affordable again. This came after rent increased after the 10-year affordable housing plan ended.  KITV4.

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

First Honolulu rail segment slated to open in July, mayors on Oahu, Big Island and Kauai mayors hold state of the county addresses, EPA proposes water standards for PFAS, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Residents will soon have the chance to ride the rail this year, according to Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi. The  rail project is on track for an interim opening this July. The opening will allow service from East Kapolei to the Aloha Stadium. KHON2. Hawaii News Now.

Tourism industry hopes to cash in this spring break, but visitor forecast remains unclear.  The Hawaii Tourism Authority said visitor numbers for March are trending back to normal. Last year, the islands saw nearly 800,000 visitors during spring break. That was up 40% from 2021. Before the pandemic, Hawaii saw nearly 1 million visitors in the same month. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii’s New Deputy Economy Chief Has A Powerful Business Partner In The Senate. The business partner of a powerful senator is on his way to being confirmed as deputy director for Hawaii’s economic development agency. Dane Wicker, a former chief of staff to Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz and co-owner of Kilani Brew with the senator, cruised through a Senate committee hearing on his nomination Tuesday.  Civil Beat.

‘Forever Chemicals’ Have Been Found In Hawaii’s Environment.  In move that could have a big impact in Hawaii, EPA proposes water standards for PFAS.  Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.

Auditor calls out OHA for lax and risky real-estate planning.  The Office of Hawaiian Affairs has been building its real estate portfolio over the past couple of decades to the point where it is now the 13th-largest landowner in Hawaii with holdings valued at more than $421 million.  Star-Advertiser.

UH sex misconduct bill tackles growing problem. A proposal to require the University of Hawaii to ramp up prevention of sexual violence, and support for survivors, is moving through the state Legislature as incidents on college campuses in Hawaii persist at a level the measure calls “pervasive.” Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii bill would name limu kala as state seaweed. Limu kala, a type of seaweed that is endemic to Hawaii, would become the state limu if House Bill 819 is passed. Star-Advertiser.

Bill aims to underscore threat of coffee leaf rust. Hawaii farmers battling a devastating parasite might not get much relief from proposed legislation that would formally declare coffee leaf rust an invasive fungal disease. Tribune-Herald.


Mayor Blangiardi vows to address city’s ‘wicked problems’.  During his third State of the City address, Mayor Rick Blangiardi vowed Tuesday to address some of Oahu’s most intractable “wicked problems” by easing homelessness, reducing traffic through better-coordinated signal lights, and overhauling the city’s troubled Department of Planning and Permitting. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.  Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Massive first responder campus could include hotel, helipad and much more.
The plan to consolidate state, federal and county first responders is already underway. The land is located in Central Oahu, Mililani, and is currently an Albezia forest with two plots one 150 acres and the other 93 acres respectively — not far from Wheeler Army Airfield.  KHON2.

New warning sirens will be tested across Oahu. The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency will test new or upgraded warning sirens this week at six locations on Oahu. The tests will sound various alert tones which will be audible in the surrounding area, but there is no hazard, and members of the public need not take any action. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Mayor Mitch Roth stresses clean energy and housing in State of the County address. 
Aging infrastructure, affordable housing and clean energy are just some of the top priorities this year for Hawaiʻi County Mayor Mitch Roth. Hawaii Public Radio. Big Island Now.

Heavy snow won’t delay removal of observatories.
Two Maunakea observatories are still scheduled to be removed within a year, despite snowier-than-normal conditions. Tribune-Herald.

Holualoa reacts to initial cleanup of mold-infested school. Cleaning has begun at Holualoa Elementary following several press conferences related to problems with molds, rats and other unsanitary conditions on campus. Tribune-Herald.

Record rainfall swamps spots on Big Island in February, including 56 inches at one site.  Just three Big Island rain gauges measured less than 100% of their average rainfall for February, with several spots in Kaʻū and on the windward side of the island recording rain totals up to nearly six times greater than average.  Big Island Now.


Investors Sue Maui Yacht Owner For More Than $2M After Honolua Bay Grounding. In a lawsuit filed Monday, attorneys for Kevin and Kimberly Albert of New Mexico, who provided the financing for the Nakoa, accused Jim Jones and his wife of taking the yacht on a personal trip to Honolua Bay without permission, which they said violated their sales agreement.  Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.

Nonprofits working to find medical respite for homeless cancer patients on Maui. One of the challenges is at the intersection of cancer and homelessness: finding a safe environment for patients to undergo treatment. Hawaii Public Radio.


Kawakami proposes budget to address Kauaʻi infrastructure, development. With soaring revenues,  Mayor Derek Kawakami continues his promise to invest in infrastructure and development, while opting to pay off debts and decrease some residential taxes in the upcoming fiscal year budget. Hawaii Public Radio. Garden Island.  Kauai Now.  KITV4.

Probation sought for ex-U.S. worker in $35,000 theft case. Probation should be the sentence for a former U.S. Department of Interior Fish and Wildlife employee who pleaded guilty to theft of government money and property in connection with $35,000 in personal purchases charged to a government credit card over a four-year period, his attorney argued. Star-Advertiser.

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

School safety a priority in new budget request, Honolulu delays landfill decision again, trust in government down, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Buses, School Safety And Student Lunches All On The Agenda For Legislative Education Committees. Advocates hope that with a near $2 billion surplus and an influx of new faces, the Legislature will open its purse strings for Hawaii’s public education system. Civil Beat.

Hawaii state pension fund starts fiscal year with small loss.
It was another turbulent quarter for financial markets, but the state’s largest public pension fund weathered the wild ride with minimal damage. As inflation surged and the Russia-Ukraine war intensified, the Hawaii Employees’ Retirement System pension fund’s investments dipped just 1.4% in the first three months of its new fiscal year. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaiʻi Senate committee releases public briefings schedule for state budget.  The purpose of these briefings is to provide the space for state and county agencies to present their budget requests to the Ways and Means committee prior to the start of the 2023 legislative session.  Big Island Now.

Survey: Visitor satisfaction in Hawaiʻi continues upward trend, rivals pre-pandemic levels. Overall satisfaction among visitors from Hawai‘i’s primary North American markets has continued its upward trend since the beginning of the year to rival pre-pandemic levels, state officials said. Maui Now. Big Island Now.

Honoring lives lost to COVID-19 in Hawaii.  As the pandemic stretches beyond its third year, Americans continue to die from a virus that has turned the world upside-down, shaken up the economy and kept people apart. Star-Advertiser.


Blangiardi to ask for more rent, utility help for Oahu residents. Mayor Rick Blangiardi plans to ask the City Council for an additional $33 million through federal funding to help Oahu renters with financial help to cover their rent and utility costs in the first three months of 2023 to help keep them housed. Star-Advertiser.

City Delays Landfill Decision, Again.  Facing a year-end deadline for a decision on a controversial landfill, city officials announced Friday that they had decided to seek a two-year extension on the timeline while they look for a replacement location. Civil Beat. Hawaii Public Radio.

Judge: City could be held liable for Kealohas’ crimes, potentially costing millions. A federal judge ruled that the City and County of Honolulu could be held liable for the crimes committed by former Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha and his estranged wife former Honolulu Deputy Prosecutor Katherine Kealoha. Hawaii News Now.

Trust in Honolulu government is down, survey finds.
In January 2021 the National Community Survey found that trust in city government had fallen to 17% from a high of 30% in 2014. Star-Advertiser.

Problems frustrate people relying on Oahu’s TheHandi-Van.  The vans take 5,000 users on almost 78,000 rides each month, according to DTS data. The service has 207 paratransit vehicles in various conditions. Star-Advertiser.

Navy requests 'closure-in-place' plan for Red Hill underground fuel tanks.  An independent contractor has recommended a closure in place for the Navy Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility, an estimated $119 million project that'd take about three years once the facility is defueled. Hawaii Public Radio. Star-Advertiser.

OHA Takes Another Shot At Lifting Residential Ban In Kakaako Makai. The Office of Hawaiian Affairs has spent at least $7 million in the last decade on what have so far been fruitless attempts to redevelop 30 acres in Kakaako Makai received as part of a land settlement with the state in 2012. Civil Beat.

Officials study repairs for Hawai‘i Convention Center. For years water has been penetrating the center’s rooftop terrace deck, causing water intrusion into other parts of the building where there are now cracks, rust and calcium leaching from the concrete. Star-Advertiser.

University of Hawaii esports program scoops top prize. The esports program at the University of Hawaii at Manoa is continuing its meteoric rise by being named the best collegiate esports program of the year at the recent Esports Awards in Las Vegas. Star-Advertiser.

Leeward Community College Has Big Plans For Training A New Generation Of Food Innovators. Leeward Community College is aiming to make its newest facility, the Wahiawa Value-Added Product Development Center, a hub for local food innovation that will embolden young people to try their hand at food entrepreneurship. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Island

New police chief talks Big Island issues.  When Honolulu Police Maj. Benjamin Moszkowicz is sworn in on Jan. 17 as chief of the Hawaii Police Department, he’ll be Big Island’s first top cop who wasn’t born in Hawaii and the second who didn't come up through the county police department ranks. Tribune-Herald.

CDP action committees revived: County seeks Kona and Puna members in particular. Some 18 months after the county called a halt to filling citizen boards that advise the government on planning and design because the administration wanted to take a hard look at how the boards can best be used, the county has filled some of the regional boards but is actively searching for volunteers for the Kona and Puna boards in particular. West Hawaii Today.

County fights civil rights charges: Man claims he as wearing an ankle monitor when accused of Puna kidnapping, rape. A Waimea man currently serving time for attacking a Waikoloa man with a knife is suing the county and two police officers in federal court for arresting him on charges he kidnapped, tortured and raped a Puna woman while he was allegedly wearing a pretrial ankle monitor he claims demonstrated his innocence. West Hawaii Today.

Hospitals get new CEO: Clayton McGhan to oversee operations in Kona and Kohala.  Clayton McGhan, who has been the interim CEO since May when former CEO Jim Lee’s contract was not renewed, was appointed permanently into the position following a Dec. 9 vote by the Hawaii Health Systems Corp. West Hawaii Regional Board of Directors. West Hawaii Today.

Plan would move four endangered bird species to Big Island. Critically endangered forest birds on Maui and Kauai could find new homes on the Big Island, according to a plan by the U.S. Department of the Interior. Tribune-Herald.


Maui County Council sets meeting Jan. 2 to decide chair, committees and other items.  Maui County Council will hold an organizational meeting to establish its officers and standing committees, adopt procedural rules and appoint staff for the 2023-2025 term at 2 p.m. Jan. 2. Maui Now.

Maui MPO releases draft Transportation Improvement Program Revision No. 8. The Maui Metropolitan Planning Organization, Policy Board released draft Revision No. 8 to its federal fiscal years 2022-2025 Transportation Improvement Program for public comment. The draft may be reviewed online at: Maui Now.

Maui Has A New Plan To Prevent Desecration Of Significant Cultural Sites. After more than a dozen meetings, hours of emotional public testimony and back and forth with a number of local departments, Maui County is now on its way to becoming the first in the state to create an interactive map, or “cultural overlay” in the county’s jargon, to allow anyone to search the historical and cultural legacy of a property. Civil Beat.

Honokōwai Beach project by resort group aims to restore shoreline after severe erosion.  A group of hotel landowners is saying it’s a race against time to restore and preserve Honokōwai Beach in West Maui, a popular spot for beachgoers, shoreline fisherman, spear fishers, divers, snorkelers, swimmers, surfers and paddlers. Maui Now. KITV4.

State plans to expand Maui captive bird facility to cost $5M. The state is looking to expand its captive bird facility on Maui in a move to support a federally funded campaign to save critically endangered Hawaiian forest birds. Star-Advertiser.

Maui food truck issued red placard due to cockroach infestation. The state Department of Health’s Maui Food Safety Branch announced Saturday it had posted a red “closed” placard “to protect public health” at the Thai Mee Up Kula 2 food truck due to a cockroach infestation. Star-Advertiser. Maui Now.


Moody’s assigns Aa2 issuer rating to county.  The County of Kaua‘i’s finances are in good shape as it navigates its way through a post-pandemic era rocked by sky-high inflation and rising interest rates. Garden Island.

Japanese visitors traveling under the signing of the Sister State Agreement.  Preparations to greet the first group of Japanese traveling under the signing of the Sister State Agreement between Yamaguchi Prefecture and Hawai‘i are in full swing by members of the Kaua‘i Yamaguchi Kenjin Kai, and the community. Garden Island.