Showing posts with label Hoopili development. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hoopili development. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Hawaii population growth slows, contempt motion filed in Native Hawaiian election, Hoopili development approved, rich and famous vacation on Maui, Obama climbs Honolulu trail, corrections officers charged with smuggling drugs, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2015 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Awaiting theBus © 2015 All Hawaii News
Hawaii’s population grew by about 11,000 people in 2015 to more than 1.43 million, an increase of a little less than 1 percent. Star-Advertiser.

The Native Hawaiian self-governance campaign run by Na‘i Aupuni came under attack once again Tuesday as foes formally asked the U.S. Supreme Court to block its election end run. Star-Advertiser.

The plaintiffs in Akina v. Hawaii on Tuesday filed a motion for civil contempt at the U.S. Supreme Court, naming Nai Aupuni, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission and other defendants. Civil Beat.

Opponents of a now-canceled election are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to stop efforts to send all of the candidates to a convention for Native Hawaiian self-governance. Associated Press.

A definition in the interim administrative rules for medical marijuana dispensaries posted this month could cost Kauai dispensary investors millions of dollars in utility and construction costs. Garden Island.

Commentary: What has it meant to Hawaii, in the last seven years, to be the birthplace of the 44th president? Star-Advertiser.

Some people on the Koko Head Crater Trail got an unexpected thrill Tuesday morning as they met President Obama while on a hike. KHON2.


Hawaii’s highest court cleared the way Tuesday for a controversial master-planned Hoopili community with 11,750 homes on 1,526 acres of prime farmland on Oahu’s Ewa plain. Star-Advertiser.

In a 4-1 ruling, the Hawaii Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected a challenge to a state Land Use Commission decision that allowed for the development of more than 1,500 acres of prime farmland on Oahu. Civil Beat.

D.R. Horton - Schuler Homes’ long-planned 11,750-home master-planned Hoopili project in Ewa in West Oahu is moving ahead after the Hawaii State Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Texas developer, saying that the state Land Use Commission properly reclassified the 1,525 acres for the project from agricultural to urban, according to a ruling Tuesday. Pacific Business News.

Rail officials have awarded Nan Inc. — not Watts Constructors — the contract to build the final trio of stations along rail’s first 10 miles, even though Watts had submitted the lowest bid for that work. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation awarded the contract for the Kamehameha Highway Stations group to Nan, Inc. on Tuesday. Pacific Business News.

Five corrections officers -- including two supervisors -- are accused of smuggling drugs and other contraband to inmates at Oahu Community Correctional Center, the state's largest jail, sources told Hawaii News Now.

The University of Hawaii at Manoa’s student-run radio station will install a new transmitter and antenna on Tantalus on Oahu in January. The new equipment will increase the station’s power from 3,000 watts to 7,000 watts and extend its reach to more than 870,000 listeners. Pacific Business News.

A federal jury has concluded the state and its Transportation Department’s airports division discriminated against a former Honolulu International Airport employee by not doing enough to stop her from being sexually harassed by a co-worker. Associated Press.

The owner of Affordable Casket and Moanalua Mortuary was sentenced Tuesday and immediately began serving 30 days in prison for stealing from customers. Hawaii News Now.

The University of Hawaii men's basketball team was put on three years of probation Tuesday by the NCAA after an investigation found former coach Gib Arnold violated ethical conduct rules and provided false or misleading information. Associated Press.


Two of the most problematic county boards and commissions — the Board of Ethics and the Transportation Commission — are finally on their way to being filled following months of missed meetings because of a lack of a quorum. West Hawaii Today.

The number of cases of dengue fever on Hawaii Island continues to climb. Yesterday the Hawaii Department of Health confirmed 170 cases locally acquired since September. Hawaii Public Radio.

Ohia wilt, also known by the more disturbing moniker “rapid ohia death,” so far has claimed hundreds of thousands of Hawaii’s most iconic tree. Today, the state Department of Land and Natural Resources and its state and federal partners are expected to announce a new awareness campaign tasked with spreading the word about ohia wilt and how Hawaii residents can do their part to slow the disease’s spread. Tribune-Herald.

Some holiday traditions on Hawaii Island are being reconsidered in light of a newly identified disease killing mature ʻōhiʻa trees. For example, the annual Native Species Wreath Making Workshop hosted by the Department of Land and Natural Resources on December 19th went ʻōhiʻa-free this year, due to the onset of Rapid Ohia Death, or ROD. Big Island Video News.


Gov. David Ige's supplemental budget for the 2016 Legislature contains some big ticket items for Maui County, including $29 million for the widening of Hana Highway in Kahului, $8 million for improving a holding room area and gates at Kahului Airport and $4 million for the lengthening of the Lanai Airport runway. Maui News.

Officials are working to get a $6 million project to expand Maui’s only cemetery for veterans back on track before burial space runs out. Associated Press.

The "regulars," Oprah Winfrey and Jennifer Aniston, currently are on the island, based on jets parked at Kahului Airport. Maui News.

With an average daily rate of $412, Wailea had the highest hotel room rate in Hawaii during the Christmas period, a survey from said Monday. Maui News.


The Young Brothers Community Advisory Board distributed more than $17,000 to eight Kauai nonprofits Monday afternoon at the Nawiliwili Port. Garden Island.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Council ethics scandals mar $6B Honolulu rail, 11,750-unit Hoopili development projects, 8 more arrested on Mauna Kea, new federal judge named, Molokai coconut grove protected, Kamehameha statue spear recovered, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2015 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Honolulu Hale © 2015 All Hawaii News
Separate efforts to halt the city’s $6 billion rail project and the 11,750-unit Ho‘opili development project in West Oahu started Tuesday in different forums. City ethics laws require Council members who have a direct or indirect interest in pending legislation to disclose such interests publicly before voting on them. Star-Advertiser.

Abigail Kawananakoa, a descendant of Hawaiian royalty and millionaire heiress to the James Campbell estate, filed a lawsuit Tuesday that could pose some problems for Honolulu’s $6 billion commuter rail line that’s slated to open in 2019. Civil Beat.

A report conducted by The Friends of Makakilo, Inc. shows that all nine of Honolulu’s City Council members owe their seats, in large-part, to businesses that profit from real estate development. The organization is using the report to ask the City Ethics Commission to take a look at the council votes that went into two of the most lucrative development projects in the history of Hawaii: Honolulu Rail and the accompanying Hoopili housing development. Hawaii Independent.

Honolulu attorney Clare E. Connors was nominated to the federal bench, replacing Chief Judge Susan Oki Mollway in U.S. District Court in Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.

A Honolulu attorney has been nominated by President Barack Obama to serve as a U.S. District Court judge in the Hawaii District. Clare E. Connors has been an attorney at the law firm of Davis Levin Livingston in Honolulu since 2011, where her practice focuses on civil litigation. Civil Beat.

The Hawaii Department of Education is seeking to purchase 1,000 portable air conditioner units on short delivery notice to address its short-term crisis in trying to alleviate heat problems in its classrooms across the state, according to public documents. Pacific Business News.

When it Comes to Social Media, David Ige Plays It Safe. The Hawaii governor’s online presence is professional and thorough, but are there ways he could improve his “brand” to govern more effectively? Civil Beat.

Commentary: Lobby the Legislature, and there’s a healthy degree of transparency. Lobby the governor, or department directors or their deputies, and the activities never see the light of day. Civil Beat.


A Circuit Court jury awarded about $27 million Tuesday in special and punitive damages to Ewa Beach homeowners who filed a class-action lawsuit against Haseko over a marina dispute, saying the developer violated a consumer protection law. Star-Advertiser.

A Hawaii jury has awarded Ewa Beach homeowners about $27 million in a lawsuit against a developer trying to build a recreational lagoon instead of the marina it originally planned. Associated Press.

There were only three tents for a cleanup crew to dismantle when the city made good on Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s promise to begin clearing out the Kakaako homeless encampment Tuesday. Star-Advertiser.

City officials cleared an area on the outskirts of one of Honolulu’s largest homeless encampments on Tuesday. Associated Press.

Sand Island homeless facility to be ready by end of the year. City plans to have all 25 containers ready for move-in by December. KITV4.

Construction defects may be to blame for the flooding problems at University of Hawaii’s West Oahu’s campus, which opened just three years ago.  Hawaii News Now has learned taxpayers will have to pay nearly a quarter of a million dollars for drainage improvements to stop a persistent flooding threat to the school’s library.

An oceanography professor and director of the University of Hawaii’s Center for Microbial Oceanography: Research and Education is among the winners of the 2015 Balzan Prize, an international award that honors achievements in the humanities, natural sciences and culture, as well as peace-focused endeavors. Star-Advertiser.

Groundbreaking for construction of the $25 million first phase of the Culinary Institute of the Pacific at Diamond Head on Tuesday marked the beginning of a new era in culinary education in Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.


Law enforcement officers arrested eight protesters of the Thirty Meter Telescope early this morning at a camp near the Mauna Kea Visitors Center on Hawaii Island, according to officials with the State Department of Land and Natural Resources. Seven women, ranging in ages from 26 to 65, and one 23 year old man were arrested for allegedly being present in the overnight restricted area along Mauna Kea Observatory Access Road, outlined in the emergency rule passed by the Board of Land and Natural Resources and signed by Governor Ige. Hawaii News Now.

Eight people were arrested early this morning atop Mauna Kea. The Department of Land and Natural Resources tells us it was the second round of arrests under the 120-day-long emergency rule signed by Governor Ige. KHON2.

Members of the Hawaiian community celebrated the finding of a long spear tip snatched from the King Kamehameha statue in Hilo during the holiday weekend as police continued to search for clues to explain the vandalism. Detectives found the six-foot-long ‘ihe Tuesday in overgrowth along the banks of a channel leading to the Wailoa River. Tribune-Herald.

The slaughter last week of Ernest the goat, the beloved mascot of Volcano Garden Arts, is raising awareness of the problem of roving packs of dogs around the island, and in the process, raising money for the Hawaii Island Humane Society. West Hawaii Today.


The West Maui Taxpayers Association will host a meeting to discuss housing needs for the unsheltered, houseless and homeless Sept. 16 at the Lahaina Civic Center. Maui News.

St. Louis-based Charter Communications, Inc. wants to merge with Time Warner Cable, a deal valued at $78.7 billion. That move potentially affects Oceanic Time Warner’s 200,000 or so customers in Hawaii, since the merger will transfer Time Warner’s cable TV franchises over to Charter. As a result, the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (DCCA) is holding a series of public hearings on this franchise transfer. The first one for Maui County takes place tomorrow, Sept. 8. MauiTime.


Students in Sue Schott’s Kekaha Elementary fourth-grade class try to stay focused on learning in a classroom where the heat index has been in the low 100s since late August. Garden Island.


With help from the community, the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands has cleaned up Molokai's historic Kapuaiwa Coconut Grove and taken steps to put up a fence to protect the area from pollution and "disrespectful behavior." Maui News.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Hawaii blocks access to Mauna Kea visitor's center and summit as protests continue, state Supreme Court rules against marijuana initiative, Hawaii worst state to do business, Honolulu pushes for general excise tax hike for rail, Maui residents fight sugarcane burning, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy Big Island Video News
Mauna Kea TMT blockade, courtesy Big Island Video News
Construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope remained on hold for a second straight day Thursday after two rock altars were discovered on the access road leading to the Mauna Kea summit. Star-Advertiser.

Police named the 12 individuals arrested and charged Wednesday with obstructing Mauna Kea Access Road while protesting the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope. Tribune-Herald.

The boulders and rock walls were cleared Thursday, but the road to the top of Hawaii’s tallest mountain remained inaccessible to the public following a dramatic protest against the Thirty Meter Telescope the day before. Tribune-Herald.

Despite a handful of arrests, officers and protesters treat each other well. But this week’s attempt to resume construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope gets off to a rocky start with boulders strewn across the mountain road, forcing its closure. Civil Beat.

Mauna Kea's summit access road, visitor's center remain closed indefinitely. Hawaii News Now.

Boulders cleared, Mauna Kea road remains closed. Hawaii Independent.

Protesters arrested while preventing construction from resuming on a giant telescope have returned to the Hawaii mountain they say they’re protecting from desecration. Associated Press.

The gravel road leading to the summit of Mauna Kea has been cleared of boulders, however the road has been temporarily closed until further notice. Big Island Video News.

VIDEO: Mauna Kea TMT Showdown – Part 1 of 3. Big Island Video News.

VIDEO: Mauna Kea TMT Showdown – Part 2 of 3. Big Island Video News.

VIDEO: Mauna Kea TMT Showdown – Part 3 of 3. Big Island Video News.

The Office of Mauna Kea Management is working on a set of rules that will for the first time give the office legal tools to govern public and commercial access on the mountain. Associated Press.

What happened on the mountain top Thursday took some state officials by surprise, but according to the state's top lawyer, the decision about access sits squarely at the University of Hawaii. KITV4.

Hawaii has ranked as the worst state to do business for the second time in three years, according to CNBC’s annual America’s Top States for Business ranking. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii: Sun, Surf and Suicides. The islands seem to be part of a phenomenon one expert dubbed “suicide tourism,” in which some people seek out final-destination spots in well-known places. Civil Beat.

U.S. Census Bureau released the 2014 state and county population information Thursday, including estimates broken down by age, sex, the five major race groups and Hispanic origin between April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014. Civil Beat.


The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation estimated that the city would have to raise the median property tax bill by 5.6 percent to cover the existing project’s massive shortfall. How to finance that $900 million shortfall and whether to extend the half-percent surcharge were major issues at the Legislature this year, and Gov. David Ige is now considering whether to sign a bill to extend the excise tax surcharge for Oahu residents for five years to cover the rail project’s cost overruns. Star-Advertiser.

The state has a constitutional obligation to protect productive farmland, Hawaii Supreme Court justices were told Thursday during oral arguments in a lawsuit challenging a land reclassification for D.R. Horton’s 11,750-home Hoopili development. Civil Beat.

The Hawai’i Supreme Court heard oral arguments today in the case challenging the 12-thousand home Ho’opili development project in Ewa. Hawaii Public Radio.

The Howard Hughes Corp. has changed its plans for a Kakaako residential project back to a mostly affordable for-sale condominium tower after requesting a Hawaii agency approve the project as a rental development. Pacific Business News.

The Bikeshare Hawaii program got a big boost when the state and city pledged $1 million each to help put an estimated 1,700 bicycles on Oahu roads next year. Star-Advertiser.

A 14-year police veteran and a former reserve officer are facing federal charges in connection with assaults in September on two gambling house patrons at the hands of another officer. Star-Advertiser.


The Hawaii Supreme Court on Thursday snuffed out proponents’ hopes of enforcing a voter-approved ballot initiative making adult personal use of marijuana on private property the lowest law enforcement priority of Hawaii County. West Hawaii Today.


It was a packed house Thursday night at the Kihei Community Center as residents concerned about cane burning met with the Department of Health and Hawaiian Commercial and Sugar Company. KHON2.

A long-awaited high school stadium on Maui finally has the green-light. It certainly seems to have been on the fast track since there’s resolution. KHON2.

Bus drivers at Maui Economic Opportunity voted to form a union Tuesday night, an official with Hawaii Teamsters Local 996 said Wednesday. Maui News.


A public meeting to discuss Kauai’s housing shortage started with a bit of irony: so many people showed up that several were turned away due to lack of space. Garden Island.

Next month, a public hearing is set for a measure that would require hikers in need of rescue — who disregard warnings — to pay the county for recovery missions. Garden Island.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Hawaii sets stage for movie theaters for disabled, prostitutes charged for sex assault, Honolulu cop to be fired for fondling breasts at traffic stop, huge Hoopili development approved, county ethics board may struggle to hear Kenoi case, Maui spending scrutinized, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy office of the governor
Gov. David Ige, supporters, at movie bill signing, courtesy photo
Most movie theaters in Hawaii will be required to provide open captioning for hearing-impaired people in at least two movie showings per week per movie under a bill signed into law by Gov. David Ige on Wednesday. The new law is the first of its kind in the nation, and also requires companies that operate theaters in two or more locations in Hawaii to provide an "audio description" of any motion picture for the blind if that feature is offered by distributors. Star-Advertiser.

While the measure might not affect Kauai theaters in the immediate future, it was a topic close to  Rep. James Tokioka’s heart. Garden Island.

A panel of state lawmakers spent the better part of a day last March listening to Hawaii nonprofits and others take advantage of the three minutes they were each allotted to make their case for government grant money. Silence ensued for the next six weeks and then a list of winners — a sliver of those who had applied — was announced without explanation as to why some charities were selected over others. Civil Beat.

If there were any lingering doubts, Gov. David Ige dropped hints Wednesday he is likely to sign bills allowing for the privatization of state-owned medical facilities in Maui County and providing state funds to acquire land at Turtle Bay to protect it from development. Star-Advertiser.

Newly anointed state Senate President Ron Kouchi announced a new lineup of committee chairs Wednesday, clearly rewarding those who supported ousting Donna Mercado Kim on Tuesday while putting others out to pasture. Civil Beat.

The state Senate announced a new organization Wednesday under Senate President Ron Kouchi that shuffled the leadership of some committees, but left the most powerful committee posts in the hands of the same three senators. Star-Advertiser.

On his first full day as the first Kauai resident to lead the state Senate, Ron Kouchi vowed to put the people and interests of The Garden Island at the forefront of every legislative decision.

Hawaii lawmakers have put the state at the front of a national discussion over the future of ethanol in gasoline by passing a bill that puts an end to a requirement that the corn-based additive be mixed into fuel sold in the state. The move comes as Congress faces pressure to review a federal mandate that calls for ethanol and other renewables in the nation’s fuel supply. Associated Press.

Researchers at the University of Hawaii have put a price tag on at least one health-related complication from volcanic emissions, in one of the first studies to examine the economic impacts of a pollution source that is not man-made. Civil Beat.

Since its summit erupted in 2008, Kilauea Volcano has increased health care costs statewide by approximately $6.3 million, new research shows. Timothy Halliday, an associate professor of economics at the University of Hawaii at Manoa and co-author of the study, said it is the first time a dollar figure has been calculated for the damage associated with Kilauea’s emissions. Tribune-Herald.


The landscape-altering Ho‘opili development project won a 9-0 final approval from the Honolulu City Council on Wednesday, paving the way for up to 11,750 new homes on the Ewa Plain over the next few decades. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu City Council has approved a bill to rezone nearly 1,300 acres in West Oahu to make way for a 11,750-home community by developer D.R. Horton. The vote was unanimous. Civil Beat.

The Honolulu City Council cast its final vote today on a planned 12-thousand unit housing project in West O’ahu. Hawaii Public Radio.

The City Council unanimously voted on Wednesday to approve Bill 3, which would rezone 1,289 acres of agricultural land in West Oahu for the controversial Hoopili project by developer D.R. Horton. KITV4.

A plan to expand the city's existing sit-lie law was approved 7-2 by the Honolulu City Council on Wednesday, despite lingering worries that it may not pass constitutional muster. Council members Brandon Elefante and Kymberly Pine, who have consistently opposed all sit-lie measures, voted against Bill 6. Star-Advertiser.

A Mainland investment group is putting up almost the entire development cost of $34 million for the long-planned Waikiki Landing mixed-use project at Hawaii’s Ala Wai Small Boat Harbor, the attorney for the developer confirmed. Pacific Business News.

The Honolulu Police Department plans to fire an officer accused of fondling an underage girl's breasts during a traffic stop, sources told Hawaii News Now Wednesday.

Honolulu police worked with two federal agencies to conduct an undercover operation that led to the arrest of 16 women last week in the latest crackdown on prostitution and illegal massage parlors. But instead of arresting the women and charging them with prostitution, the women were charged with fourth-degree sexual assault — a misdemeanor. Star-Advertiser.

About a dozen women arrested over the weekend in a Honolulu prostitution sting at massage parlors won't be charged with prostitution. Instead, they face the more severe charge of sex assault. Associated Press.

The state is paying $900,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by the parents of a 3-year-old boy who died when a pickup truck crossed Farrington Highway in Nanakuli and crashed into their vehicle. Star-Advertiser.

King Street bike path design flaw creates handicap parking problems. Hawaii News Now.


Hawaii County will pay travel expenses but not legal fees for a deputy corporation counsel to come from Maui to advise the Board of Ethics on charges against Mayor Billy Kenoi, following a vote Wednesday by the Hawaii County Council. But it remains to be seen whether the Board of Ethics, down to just three members from its legal complement of five, will be able to hear the case when it meets Wednesday. West Hawaii Today.

Despite concerns over how much a county contractor may charge residents for compost, the County Council on Wednesday gave the Department of Environmental Management the go-ahead to pursue a new green waste program. West Hawaii Today.

While requests for millions of dollars in renovations at Big Island schools were scrapped, lawmakers signed off on a project that will give future baseball and softball players at Waiakea High School an opportunity to perfect their swings in a new — and costly — batting cage. The cost to Hawaii taxpayers: $450,000. Tribune-Herald.


Money misspent on Maui could lead to more questions from authorities in the wake of KHON2’S Always Investigating report, and others may have crossed the line masking personal expenses as county costs.

An estimated $172 million in Capital Improvement Project funds has been secured for various projects in Maui County under the state budget passed by the legislature this week. The largest single item was a $38 million appropriation for expansion and improvements to Kahului Harbor. Maui Now.

Maverick Helicopters opened its Maui operations last month and celebrated its new location with a Lei Day soiree. MauiTime.


Jade Fountain-Tanigawa was appointed Kauai County Clerk Wednesday. Fountain-Tanigawa replaces former County Clerk Ricky Watanabe, who retired April 30 following more than 30 years of service to the county. Garden Island.

Three days of fiery testimony on federally proposed changes to the humpback whale sanctuary concluded in Lihue Wednesday with 50 residents voicing their opinions. Garden Island.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Office of Hawaiian Affairs sheds support of Thirty Meter Telescope, ethanol to be removed from gasoline, road construction lags, no Obama library for Hawaii, huge Honolulu housing project advances, Ellison's airlines cuts back, new deal for Turtle Bay, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2015 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Hawaii Island's Saddle Road © 2015 All Hawaii News
State lawmakers are poised to scrap the long-standing mandate that gasoline sold in Hawaii must be mixed with ethanol, with House and Senate negotiators agreeing Thursday to a bill that would abandon the ethanol requirement at the end of this year. Star-Advertiser.

A Hawaii News Now investigation revealed hundreds of millions of dollars in federally funded highways projects have been stuck in the state bureaucracy for years, delaying badly needed improvements and the creation of construction jobs. A federal review found it takes three to four times as long for the average federal highway project to get started in Hawaii, compared to other states. Hawaii News Now.

A bill that would ban sex trafficking passed out of conference committee in the Hawaii Legislature on Thursday afternoon. Senate Bill 265 which would replace the charge of first-degree “promoting prostitution” with the term “sex trafficking.” Civil Beat.

Switching gender on birth certificates could get a lot easier for transgender people in Hawaii. A proposal to allow people to change gender on their birth certificates without having to undergo surgery cleared a legislative hurdle Thursday, sending the bill to the full Legislature for a vote on the brink of a legislative deadline. Star-Advertiser.

Environmental groups oppose gutting of environmental funds. 15 environmental groups have written an open letter to the State House and Senate finance committee chairs urging them not to appropriate money from, or modify in an any way, several vital environmental funds. Hawaii Independent.

It’s truth time for Hawaii’s medical marijuana bill. With the clock ticking on the current legislative session, House and Senate leaders are working today to forge an agreement on legislation to set up a statewide system of medical marijuana dispensaries. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii could get an influx of $469.7 million for military construction and infrastructure investment as part of the National Defense Authorization Act. Associated Press.

Two units of the Hawaii Government Employees Association that include about 14,400 public workers have ratified a new two-year contract with the state and counties. Last week the union halted contract ratification voting for bargaining Units 3 and 4 after HGEA learned negotiators for the Hawaii State Teachers Association won larger across-the-board raises and a larger bonus than HGEA had negotiated for those units. Star-Advertiser.

It was always considered a long shot, but now it looks official: Honolulu will be missing out on the Barack Obama Presidential Library and Museum. Civil Beat.

President Barack Obama has chosen Chicago to host his future presidential library, two individuals with knowledge of the decision said Thursday. The University of Chicago's victory marks a letdown for the other three schools on the shortlist: the University of Hawaii, New York's Columbia University and the University of Illinois at Chicago, a public school that proposed building the library on Chicago's West Side. Star-Advertiser.

Island Air, the Hawaii interisland airline owned by Oracle Corp. co-founder Larry Ellison, will cut its workforce by 20 percent, close its operations on Kauai and cancel delivery of new aircraft in the short term as the airline works to reposition itself as the second largest airline in the Islands, the airline’s CEO said Thursday. Pacific Business News.


Ho‘opili, the largest housing project to go before the Honolulu City Council in at least two decades, is one vote away from going to the mayor's office for consideration. Star-Advertiser.

A bill to rezone land in West Oahu for 11,750 new homes has cleared a major hurdle. The Honolulu City Council Zoning and Planning Committee voted to approve the measure Thursday after hours of debate and public testimony. Civil Beat.

A year after former Gov. Neil Abercrombie announced a historic $48.5 million deal to preserve 665 acres at Turtle Bay Resort in perpetuity, Gov. David Ige unveiled a new $45.5 million agreement that would protect less North Shore land, cost Honolulu taxpayers more money but save the state $5 million. Civil Beat.

A rejiggered plan to preserve much of Turtle Bay Resort from development was put into firm place Thursday. Star-Advertiser.

The Governor joined lawmakers and environmental group leaders to announce a tentative agreement today on funding for the purchase of conservation lands at Turtle Bay. Hawaii Public Radio.

A group of senators charged with investigating Sen. Brickwood Galuteria plans to recommend that he be allowed to keep his seat despite a complaint alleging he doesn’t actually live in his district of Kakaako and committed tax fraud. Civil Beat.

New rules for collecting aquarium fish are in effect for Oahu waters. The rules, put in place last month, include new limits on nets used to collect marine life, daily commercial bag limits, commercial size limits and a prohibition on the taking of some fish species. Star-Advertiser.

New changes are coming to the new cycle track on King Street. Starting next week, 13 traffic signals designed especially for bicyclists will be installed. The city will also start removing parking spaces next month, an effort Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell believes will make the bike lane safer. Hawaii News Now.

A plan to expand Oahu's sit-lie ordinance is advancing quickly through the Honolulu City Council despite warnings that it may be illegal. Star-Advertiser.

Federal, state and city officials broke ground for a new joint traffic management center that was supposed to be completed in 2012. Associated Press.

Every time you shell out rail tax on all your Oahu purchases, not all of that money goes to the transit project. The state skims a fee off the top, and that has amounted to more than $163 million already. Where does it all go? KHON2.


Trustees for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs on Thursday voted to rescind support for building a giant telescope near the summit of Mauna Kea, but did not outright oppose the project. Associated Press.

Sending what they described as a strong message to those with oversight of the Mauna Kea summit, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustees voted Thursday to rescind their support of the Thirty Meter Telescope. Star-Advertiser.

After listening to nearly four hours of testimony, members of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs Board of Trustees voted Thursday to rescind their 2009 vote to support building the Thirty Meter Telescope near the summit of Mauna Kea. However, before passing the resolution they removed wording that said OHA actually opposes the telescope project. Civil Beat.

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs have rescinded their support for the development of the Thirty Meter Telescope atop Mauna Kea, changing their 2009 stance on the controversial project. But the board stopped short of opposing the telescope entirely. Hawaii Public Radio.

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs voted 6-1 Thursday to rescind its 2009 support for construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope near the summit of Mauna Kea. KITV4.

A bill requiring a greater commitment to farming in order to receive substantial property tax benefits will be back before the County Council Finance Committee on Tuesday. West Hawaii Today.

Construction of the $22.3 million Pahoa District Park, once paused due to the June 27 lava flow, restarted last week, Hawaii County officials said. The county gave the go-ahead to resume grubbing and grading work following a downgrade in the lava flow threat March 25 and consultation with Hawaiian Volcano Observatory and Civil Defense. Tribune-Herald.

What course should the state’s most popular national park take over the next two decades? The question is at the heart of a draft general management plan released for public comment today by Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The public has 60 days to weigh in on the three scenarios presented by the National Park Service. West Hawaii Today.


A half-dozen testifiers commented Wednesday evening on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's draft management plan to expand the size and to include multiple species in the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary. Maui News.

The Waikapu Country Town project that calls for hundreds of homes took a first step toward realization Wednesday after the state Land Use Commission gave its approval for developers to prepare an environmental impact statement. Maui News.

As the number of shark attacks in Maui continues to climb, researchers at the University of Hawaii are trying to figure out the reason. Associated Press.


A group of Kauai citizens is currently seeking County Council action to place a proposal on the 2016 ballot to change our county’s governing structure to a council-manager system and replace the mayor-council system now in effect. Garden Island.

Five days before the first of two public hearings on Kauai about federally proposed changes to the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, fishermen, activists, surfers and scientists gathered at Port Allen Harbor Wednesday to spread the word that they have the power to shut down the changes if they make loud and strong their collective voice. Garden Island.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Medical marijuana dispensaries, super PACs, budget on Legislature's plate, no free trips for teachers, state investigating Lhaina boatyard, Ige mum on tax increase, Hawaii County mayor under investigation, NASA flying saucer to test parachute off Kauai, sandbar booze ban could be permanent, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2015 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Interior of Hawaii state Capitol © 2015 All Hawaii News
The Hawaii Legislature is heading into its final month and lawmakers are making deals in hopes of keeping their most important bills alive. The committees that handle the money have thick agendas this week as they plow through every proposal that results in spending or revenue. Associated Press.

The state Senate Committee on Public Safety, Intergovernmental and Military Affairs (PSM) amended a House bill aimed at mitigating hazardous situations by inserting word-for-word language from a separate measure which sought to ease restrictions on news media covering events, such as the June 27 lava flow. And it did it to a bill sponsored by none other than the very House representative who refused to give the media access measure a hearing. Tribune-Herald.

New financial disclosure database puts latest government officials' disclosures on one easy-to-read website. Civil Beat.

Deadline Looms for Ige to Pick New DLNR Chair. With the Carleton Ching appointment behind him, the governor has until Monday to nominate someone else if the Senate is to confirm him or her this session. Civil Beat.

Teachers who organize educational trips for students should not travel free as chaperones, courtesy of the tour company, according to new advice from state Ethics Commission attorneys. The directive flies in the face of longstanding practice in Hawaii's public schools and quickly ran into resistance. Star-Advertiser.

Ten years ago frustrated Hawaii residents waved signs, held town hall meetings and raised a chorus to demand a war on "ice" — crystal methamphetamine. Today, while the problem doesn't make the headlines it used to, officials say crystal meth, or ice, continues to torment Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission is shaking up the way Hawaiian Electric Co. makes money by limiting costs that are simply passed through to customers without appropriate regulatory scrutiny, according to public documents filed this week. Pacific Business News.

A local businessman with University of Hawaii athletics fundraising ties was arrested for theft and money laundering. Patrick Oki, age 45, was picked up by authorities just before 11 a.m. Sunday at the Honolulu International Airport. He’s the managing partner of PKF Pacific Hawaii, a company that provides auditing, accounting, and advising services. KHON2.

Police arrested the managing partner of local accounting firm PKF Pacific Hawaii on Sunday on suspicion of first-degree theft and money laundering. Star-Advertiser.

In our series this week “Trashing Paradise” we’ve been looking at a number of issues involving waste in Hawaii, and many of them differ from island to island. Hawaii Public Radio.


Hawaii Gov. David Ige isn’t saying whether he will approve or veto any extension of a General Excise Tax surcharge that is being earmarked for Honolulu’s $6 billion rail project. But he does acknowledge that he’s worried an estimated $910 million shortfall in construction costs will continue to balloon. And he’s not sure taxpayers should be penalized for potential mismanagement. Civil Beat.

The Senate Ways and Means Committee is scheduled Monday to discuss a proposed draft of a bill that would instruct the state Department of Land and Natural Resources to engage in buying Alii Place, a 25-story building Ewa of the state Capitol on the edge of downtown Honolulu. The price could be close to $90 million. And that doesn't include the land under the building. Star-Advertiser.

The state is currently paying more than $10 million to rent private office space in downtown Honolulu. Some lawmakers believe money can be saved by buying a downtown high-rise office building. Hawaii News Now.

The electronic door locking systems for the state's largest prison have begun to fail after 28 years of use, and prison officials plan to replace them next year with a new high-tech, $9.9 million security system. The state plans to move about 250 inmates from Halawa Correctional Facility to a prison on the mainland early next year to clear out portions of Halawa so work can start on the replacement of the obsolete Hawaii locking system. Star-Advertiser.

For the last three years the state has banned drinking alcohol on certain weekends at Ahu O Laka, or the Kaneohe Sandbar. Now the time has come for the Department of Land and Natural Resources to decide whether to make that rule permanent. Hawaii News Now.

Developers of the 11,750-home Hoopili project in West Oahu say they are OK with being required to offer more homes at lower prices as sought by Hono­lulu City Council members. Star-Advertiser.

According to HPD records, Sergeant Anson Kimura was arrested and released Sunday on suspicion of second degree assault. The incident happened Friday morning when it is said Kimura shot a 40-year old woman in the torso at King's Sports Bar. KITV4.

A Honolulu deputy prosecutor and former state legislator has been arrested on suspicion of operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Associated Press.


A state attorney general investigation and an ethics complaint are following this week’s revelations that Mayor Billy Kenoi regularly used a county-issued credit card for personal purchases ranging from a $1,200 surfboard to visits to Honolulu hostess bars.West Hawaii Today

Hawaii County finance officials had warned Mayor Billy Kenoi several times that his personal purchases on a county credit card were improper, but the spending practice did not stop until December 2013 when he charged $892 at a Honolulu hostess bar, the finance director says. Star-Advertiser.

A new sound study shows that the proposed Kona Motorsport Park won’t be a noise nuisance to its neighbors. The park, which has been in discussions for two decades now, won’t become reality until a number of hurdles are cleared. But Paul Maddox, president of the Hawaii Racing Association, said the study should help convince detractors who worry their peace of mind will be ruined by engine noise. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii County Councilman Greggor Ilagan has drafted legislation that he says will bring clarity to a county ordinance dealing with neighborhood watch signs. Tribune-Herald.


The state has started an investigation into a Lahaina boatyard’s practice of collecting storage fees from boaters near the Mala boat ramp. The Department of Land and Natural Resources is investigating whether the owner of the Mala Boat Yard is allowed to collect rent from boaters under his revocable month-to-month lease with the state. Associated Press.

A Lahaina business is under investigation for collecting storage fees from boaters on land leased from the state near the Mala boat ramp for more than three decades. Maui News.

Haleakala National Park is celebrating the kick-off of a national public awareness and education campaign celebrating the centennial anniversary of the National Park Service. Haleakala joins parks, programs and partners across the country to launch the website, marking the milestone Park Service anniversary in 2016. MauiTime.

Schools weigh attendance against risk of spreading lice. Maui News.


A NASA flying saucer will be sent aloft by balloon from Kauai in June in a second test of braking technology intended for use in landings on Mars. Star-Advertiser.

A recent initiative completed by the Kauai Civil Defense Agency is a signage project that directs people along evacuation routes and guides them safely out of evacuation zones. Along island roads, 128 tsunami advisory signs were placed. Garden Island.

A Kauai man is among Gov. David Ige’s nominations to the University of Hawaii Board of Regents. The appointments are subject to confirmation by the Senate. David Iha, Kauai County, will serve upon confirmation through June 30, 2017. Garden Island.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Hawaiian Airlines cuts legroom, chief elections officer could face reviews, Honolulu committee advances Hoopili development, snubs Malaekahana, new charter school approved, Maui hospital denied, Kaui forest to be burned for fuel, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2015 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Hawaiian Airlines interior © 015 All Hawaii News
Hawaiian Airlines passengers won't be able to recline their seats on any interisland flights by the end of this year. The state's largest carrier said Thursday it is retrofitting the 18 Boeing 717 aircraft it uses on interisland routes with new lightweight seats that will reduce legroom by about an inch under a reconfiguration and allow the airline to add five to 10 more passengers on each flight. Star-Advertiser.

The state's chief elections officer would have to undergo a performance evaluation after each general election under a plan approved by the state Senate. The bill, SB 622, requires the Elections Commission to provide the written performance evaluation to the Legislature. Associated Press.

Despite concerns from the departments of Health and Human Services, Hawaii lawmakers are pushing forward bills that would help the adult care-home industry make more money while potentially compromising the quality of services provided to those most in need. Civil Beat.

A bill that would make an exception for married couples who do not receive Medicaid to live together in the same Community Care Foster Family Home is advancing through the state House of Representatives. Star-Advertiser.

As a mark of respect for the late former state Rep. Diana “Mele” Carroll, Gov. David Ige has ordered that the flags of the United States and State of Hawaii shall be flown at half-staff at all state offices and agencies, as well as the Hawaii National Guard, from sunrise to sunset Friday to recognize services held on Oahu and Sunday, which is the day services will be held on Maui. West Hawaii Today.

The commercial solar energy market in Hawaii has turned into a race of sorts, a race for businesses to get their systems in place before a federal tax credit sunsets at the end of 2016. Pacific Business News.


The City Council Zoning and Planning Committee gave a preliminary thumbs up Thursday to one landscape-changing development scheme and a thumbs down to another one. A rezoning request for D.R. Horton Schuler Division's 11,750-home Hoo­pili project in West Oahu advanced 5-0. But Hawaii Reserve Inc.'s plan to develop a section of Malaekahana, between Laie and Kahuku, appears to be in serious jeopardy. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu City Council Zoning and Planning Committee approved a planning document for the North Shore on Thursday but amended it to remove a highly controversial new residential community at Gunstock Ranch in Malaekahana. Civil Beat.

Ho’opili, a major residential and commercial project on O’ahu cleared its first major hurdle today following the completion of public testimony before a Honolulu City Council Committee. Hawaii Public Radio.

A Honolulu City Council committee has advanced a proposed development in West Oahu. The council’s zoning committee gave the green light Thursday for Hoopili’s next step. KHON2.

One controversial housing development has hit a major roadblock, while another in Kapolei has been given the green light to go ahead.The Honolulu City Council's Zoning Committee approved Bill 47 without including Envision Laie, a proposal that would have included nearly 900 new homes at Malaekahana in the Koolauloa section of Windward Oahu. Hawaii News Now.

After more than four hours of testimony Thursday, the City Council’s Zoning and Planning Committee approved the removal of language from the Koolau Loa Sustainable Communities Plan that could have paved the way for 875 homes to be built on land at Malaekahana. KITV4.

Oahu communities roundly oppose Malaekahana development. At a press conference today, the opposition to Malaekahana development expressed their reasons for supporting zoning chair Ikaika Anderson's proposed amendments to Bill 47. Hawaii Independent.

Elected leaders at Honolulu Hale and the state Capitol have been watching closely to see how their colleagues across Punchbowl Street will respond to rail's budget crisis. Now at least one Hono­­lulu City Council member appears concerned that his chamber might have waited too long to weigh in on a rail tax extension. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Pacific Health, the state's largest medical provider, is exploring a purchase of all or part of the financially struggling Wahiawa General Hospital. Star-Advertiser.

Opinion: Oahu General Plan Provides Diversification and Sustainability. The Oahu General Plan is not perfect but it provides land-use diversification and sustainability for our small island home. Civil Beat.


The state’s only new charter school is set to open its doors in Ka‘u in July, following unanimous approval of its facilities Thursday by the Windward Planning Commission. West Hawaii Today.

Just over a year after North Hawaii Community Hospital merged with The Queen’s Health Systems, the Waimea facility is adding new equipment, rebuilding a management team and laying groundwork for stabilizing its workforce. Efforts to recruit badly needed doctors are also moving ahead, although more slowly than many would like, the hospital’s president Ken Graham told West Hawaii Today in an interview.

Christina (Tina) Neal has been chosen to serve as the new scientist-in-charge of the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. Neal succeeds Jim Kauahikaua, who served in the position for the past 10 years. West Hawaii Today.

The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory's new scientist-in-charge is coming to Hawaii from Alaska where she has been mapping and studying active Alaskan volcanoes for more than two decades. Garden Island.

Home prices on Hawaii's Big Island rose by single digits in February, while sales of condominiums rose and sales of single-family homes fell, according to data released by Hawaii Information Service on behalf of Hawaii Island Realtors. Pacific Business News.


A Maui County Council committee decided Thursday to re-examine rules and guidelines in the county's transportation contract for residents with disabilities with Maui Economic Opportunity amid recurring complaints from riders. Maui News.

The state Health Planning and Development Agency has ruled against Regency Namakua's application to build a 40-bed skilled nursing and intermediate-care facility at the Maui Research and Technology Park in Kihei. Maui News.

Second Circuit Judge Joseph Cardoza and District Court Judge Adrianne Heely will hear Maui County's environmental cases when the new statewide environmental court program comes on line beginning July 1. Maui News.


Legal costs and fees to defend County of Kauai officials in two lawsuits filed by county employees totaled a little more than half a million dollars before settlements were reached, according to documents obtained by The Garden Island.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources and private partners have launched a $1 million-plus project that aims to remove 15,000 tons of burned pine and eucalyptus trees, many of them dead and standing hazards, and then replant with healthy hardwoods, including a large section of natives such as koa. As part of the project, the logs will be hauled off to Kauai's new $90 million Green Energy biomass plant, where they will be burned to generate electric power. Star-Advertiser.

The state has started cutting down trees on 300 acres of Kauai forest reserve that were scorched by wildfire in 2012 and sending the wood to be processed at a new biomass-to-energy plant. Associated Press.

The median price of a single-family home on Kauai shot up by more than 46 percent in February as the median price on the North Shore passed $1 million, according to data released by Hawaii Information Service on behalf of the Kauai Board of Realtors. Pacific Business News.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Hawaii Sunshine Law under attack, Kauai seed company lays off workers, pesticide disclosure bill advances, Omidyar slips in billionaire rankings, Oahu debates farms versus housing, schatz lawsuit dismissed, more government and political news from all the Hawaiian Islands

photo courtesy Robert Harris
Hawaii Legislature opening day 2015, courtesy Robert Harris
There are six new members serving their first term in the State House of Representatives.  They are referred to as the “Freshman Class.” Hawaii Public Radio.

Elected officials from Maui County are urging the Legislature to relax the state's open-meetings law in a way that would allow several County Council members to attend community or private meetings and discuss Council business during those meetings. Star-Advertiser.

The longstanding debate on pesticide disclosure is playing out in the state Legislature as lawmakers consider a measure that seeks to make current, voluntary reporting guidelines mandatory. Garden Island.

Pierre Omidyar, the eBay founder who lives in Honolulu, saw his ranking on Forbes magazine's list of the world's richest people slip this year, while Larry Ellison, the billionaire executive chairman and chief technology officer of Oracle Corp. who owns the island of Lanai in Hawaii, held on to his No. 5 spot. Pacific Business News.

A legal challenge to Brian Schatz’s 2012 appointment to the U.S. Senate has been dismissed. Judge Derrick Watson of the District of Hawaii ruled Feb. 23 that Hamamoto v. Abercrombie is moot, as the plaintiffs waited too long to bring their case. Civil Beat.

Hawaii is seven months into the state’s food safety rating program and nearly half the restaurants on Oahu have been inspected. But a website to notify the public which restaurants have passed inspection is still in the works. KHON2.

The albizia was first brought to Hawaii for reforestation and it has now become the enemy. This year, it takes one of the top 10 spots on the state's worst invasive species list. KITV4.

Kaiser Permanente Hawaii's profits jumped in the fourth quarter of 2014 to $1.4 million, compared to $200,000 in the same quarter the year before, as it gained more members. Pacific Business News.


Most of a 6.5 percent increase in Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell's operating budget will be earmarked for no-frills, essential, "fiscal stability" initiatives like catching up on mandatory contributions for the government employees health fund, paying off more debt and shoring up the rainy day fund. Star-Advertiser.

Mayor Kirk Caldwell is emphasizing fiscal austerity in his 2016 fiscal year budget, which includes reductions in capital spending and no new taxes or fees. Civil Beat.

Although the city’s proposed operating budget of $2.28 billion for fiscal year 2016 increases spending by 6.5 percent, Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s proposal doesn’t contain any new revenue enhancers. KITV4.

Mayor Caldwell is on the mainland so managing director Roy Amemiya went over the budget highlights. He says the greatest challenge the city faces is $1.7 billion in unfunded liabilities for retiree health benefits. The budget earmarks $50 million dollars for that. KHON2.

2015 State of the City Address. Transcript of Mayor Caldwell's third state of the city address. Hawaii Independent.

Honolulu officials are poised to approve a long-planned development that would replace nearly 1,300 acres of prime farmland in West Oahu. No one really knows if this is a problem for a state that ships in at least 85 percent of its food from the mainland, because no one really knows how much usable farmland is left. The most recent city study was conducted by a consultant who has also worked for the project developer. Civil Beat.

Residents, labor union members and farmers packed a room at Kapolei Hale Monday night and debated whether Hoo­pili, a proposed 1,554-acre development plan by D.R. Horton-Schuler Homes, should be built on prime agricultural land between Ewa and Kapolei. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu City Council Zoning and Planning Committee intends to consider a planning document for the North Shore on Thursday that includes a highly debated proposal to allow a new residential community in Malaekahana. Civil Beat.

City Council to decide the fate of Malaekahana. Zoning committee chair Anderson will introduce amendments that would kill most of the controversial proposed “Envision Laie” development on the rural northeast coast of Oahu. Hawaii Independent.

Opinion: Stop the Malaekahana Development. The City Council should put the brakes on a proposal to expand urban boundaries and build another North Shore town. Civil Beat.

The University of Hawaii at Manoa announced Monday that it will officially ban smoking on campus, effective July 1, becoming the second smoke-free campus in the state after Kapiolani Community College. Star-Advertiser.

A pension fund for workers in Australia has become part-owner of Hawaii's largest shopping center. AustralianSuper bought a 25 percent interest in Ala Moana Center from Chicago-based General Growth Properties Inc. for $907 million Friday. Star-Advertiser.

President Barack Obama has officially renamed the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies in Waikiki as the Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu Police Department is changing one way they identify suspects in cases. Following a nationwide trend, HPD is changing the photo lineup policy.  It's an effort to prevent falsely identifying suspects. Hawaii News Now.


The same names keep recirculating on county boards and commissions, due in part to a shortage of volunteers willing to step up. And even after drawing upon all the familiar faces, Mayor Billy Kenoi still has 25 to 30 openings to fill. West Hawaii Today.

The Hawaii Board of Land and Natural Resources approved Friday a pair of lease extensions for Uncle Billy’s Hilo Hotel and the Country Club condominiums. Tribune-Herald.

A 485-acre tract of North Kohala land on the road to Pololu Valley is set to be sold. The stretch of pasture and forest land is in a north Texas bankruptcy court, where a hearing on a possible sale and offer of $2.87 million is set to be considered by a judge March 18. West Hawaii Today.


The State Commission on Water Resource Management begins a contested case hearing today on a petition to amend interim instream water standards for 27 streams in East Maui. Maui Now.


A Kauai seed company let 23 employees go on Monday. Syngenta AG, a global Swiss agrochemical company with a research center in Kekaha, laid off workers at all levels. Garden Island.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Hawaii mourns death of Maui state representative, Honolulu council blocks bus money for rail, Aldrich named state librarian, huge Hoopili housing project advances, Maui council nixes county prosecutor reappointment, counties seek greater share of hotel tax, game commission shot down, REIT tax killed, more news from all the Hawaiian islands

copyright 2015 All Hawaii News
Hawaii Rep. Mele Carroll, file photo © 2015 All Hawaii News
Former state Rep. Diana "Mele" Carroll, who was elected to six terms in the House of Representatives and was remembered for supporting issues of the underdogs, died Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

Former Hawaii state Rep. Mele Carroll died early Wednesday after battling cancer. She was 50 years old. Fighting back tears, House lawmakers took a moment of silence to acknowledge their colleague’s untimely death during their floor session in the afternoon. A black ribbon marked her empty seat. Civil Beat.

The word “mele” in Hawaiian evokes a song or dance, but at a somber floor session of the Hawaii House of Representatives, “mele” was chosen as the Hawaiian word of the day to honor a former colleague. Hawaii Rep. Mele Carroll, who represented Lanai, Molokai and parts of Maui in the Hawaii House of Representatives for nearly a decade, died Wednesday morning surrounded by family, a spokeswoman for the House majority said. She was 50 years old. Associated Press.

The Hawaii House of Representatives on Wednesday announced the passing of former state House Representative Diana "Mele" Carroll. She died at 3:50 a.m. on Wednesday, February 18, with her family at her side. Hawaii News Now.

A black ribbon marked the vacant seat where Mele Carroll used to represent her beloved Maui. KITV4.

Former Maui state House Rep. Mele Carroll was remembered Wednesday as a tireless representative for her district, a great listener and for a calm and mellow demeanor that won over constituents. Maui News.

State House Representative Diana “Mele” Carroll passed at 3:50 a.m. on Wednesday, February 18, 2015 with her family at her side. At this time services are pending and will be announced at a later date. Hawaii Independent.

Former State Representative Diana “Mele” Carroll of Maui passed away at 3:50 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2015, according to an announcement from the state House of Representatives. Maui Now.

The adult care home industry supported a bill Wednesday that would increase the number and types of facilities subject to having their state inspection reports posted on the Department of Health’s website. A House panel ended up scrapping the plan, but the industry’s willingness to support an expansion of the online posting of inspection reports represented a remarkable turnaround from two years ago when care home operators strongly opposed the idea. Civil Beat.

With state lawmakers in session weighing decisions on government spending, the state Department of Health sent out a message urging the protection of millions of dollars in tobacco settlement funds earmarked for smoking prevention programs. Star-Advertiser.

A Hawaii Senate panel is planning a confirmation hearing to take up Gov. David Ige's pick to lead the Department of Land and Natural Resources. The Senate Committee on Water and Land will hold the hearing on Carleton Ching's nomination on March 11. Associated Press.

The Senate Committee on Water and Land announced today that the confirmation hearing for the controversial appointment of Carleton Ching as Director of the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) will be held on Wednesday March 11 at 10 a.m. in room 229. Hawaii Independent.

A bill moving through the Hawaii House would enable people to switch the gender identification on their birth certificates without getting gender-reassignment surgery. Instead, they would provide a statement from a licensed medical or mental health provider. The bill advanced out of the House Committee on Health on Wednesday. It now moves to the Judiciary Committee. Associated Press.

A bill to create a statewide game management advisory commission appears to be dead for this legislative session after missing a deadline to be heard by its second committee. The commission would advise the state Board of Land and Natural Resources on hunting matters and be responsible for developing a five-year game management plan, in addition to other duties. Tribune-Herald.

A state Senate panel has watered down a bill that sought to remove a long-standing income tax break for real estate investment trusts that own more than $13 billion worth of property in Hawaii. The Senate Ways and Means Committee voted Wednesday to amend Senate Bill 118 to ask the state to simply study the issue and report back to the Legislature in December. Civil Beat.

Hawaii ranks as one of the top states in the country when it comes to providing the most solar energy jobs per capita, yet the state lost about 400 jobs in this sector in 2014 when comparing the previous year, according to a new report. Pacific Business News.

Stacey Aldrich has been named state librarian to oversee Hawaii's system of 50 public libraries. Previously, Aldrich served as state librarian of California and as deputy secretary for the Office of Commonwealth Libraries of Pennsylvania. Star-Advertiser.

The Board of Education announced a new State Librarian on Wednesday. Stacey Aldrich will take over the position, which was held by Richard Burns prior to his retirement in December 2014. Big Island Now.


The proposed 1,554-acre Hoopili housing project cleared a hurdle Wednesday with a unanimous first-reading approval from the Hono­lulu City Council. Bill 3, D.R. Horton-Schuler Division's request for 11,750 housing units, would rezone what are now largely farm lands between Ewa and Kapolei, the largest residential project to be considered by the Council in at least two decades. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu’s lush agricultural past and increasingly urban future were juxtaposed on both sides of Punchbowl Street on Wednesday as City Council members at Honolulu Hale and legislators at the Capitol discussed the fate of farmland in Hawaii. Civil Beat.

A new Honolulu City Council resolution directs that all federal "bus funds" be removed from the financial plan guiding construction of the island's cash- strapped rail project. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu City Council has voted to place city bus funds off limits for the rail transit project. Due to increased construction costs, delays and lower tax revenues, the price tag for the rail transit project has ballooned by $500 million to $700 million. Hawaii News Now.

The City Council voted 8-1 Wednesday to remove $210 million in federal bus funds from the rail project's official financial plan. KITV4.

The Honolulu City Council is working to ensure millions of dollars used to maintain city buses and HandiVans will not go toward rail. Concerned about the financial struggles of the rail project, council members are making a move to protect funds for other services. KHON2.

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz wants Honolulu’s 20-mile commuter rail line to get built, but he says it will be up to local officials to find a way to pay for it. The $6 billion project has a projected shortfall of up to $910 million, and Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell has been asking state lawmakers to increase taxes to bridge the gap. There’s worry that construction could come to a stop by this summer if new money isn’t found. Civil Beat.

Honolulu City Councilman Ikaika Anderson says time may be running out to save Haiku Stairs as the Board of Water Supply prepares to set aside $500,000 to study the possible removal of the once-popular Windward Oahu attraction, which gives hikers sweeping views of the Koolau mountain range. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu City Council is considering two bills to provide funding to maintain Waikiki Beach. Hawaii Public Radio.

A city councilman is trying to clean up the parks by keeping drug dealers out. KHON2.


The Hawaii County Council continued to push Wednesday for a greater county share of the short-term lodging tax, approving two nonbinding resolutions to send to the state Legislature. West Hawaii Today.

A recycling company is suing the county for $5.4 million, alleging it breached a contract for the removal and disposal of scrap metal from the Hilo and Kona landfills. The lawsuit was filed Wednesday in Hilo Circuit Court by Honolulu attorneys James Bickerton and Steven Tannenbaum on behalf of Big Island Scrap Metal LLC, the parent company of Island Recycling and Atlas Recycling Centers. Tribune-Herald.

No more Hilo Hattie in Hilo. Tribune-Herald.

A U.S. Forest Service plan to convert an old schoolhouse in Puuanahulu into a science and education center is off the table. Instead, the federal agency plans to pursue build-out of the facility at an old landing strip site located within the 38,800-acre experimental Puu Waawaa dryland forest. West Hawaii Today.

Homelessness on Hawaii Island is a challenging issue requiring creative solutions that combine compassion, sustained effort, collaboration of resources and knowledge, county Managing Director Wally Lau said during Wednesday’s Rotary Club of Kona Sunrise meeting. West Hawaii Today.


Five Maui County Council members changed their votes to "no" on reappointing John D. Kim as Maui County's prosecuting attorney Wednesday after receiving distressed "phone calls and face-to-face" visits from former and current employees who criticized Kim's leadership. Maui News.

We look at what state and local government is doing to alleviate their employee parking in Wailuku Town. MauiTime.