Showing posts with label Hurricane Iselle. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hurricane Iselle. Show all posts

Friday, August 29, 2014

Big bucks pouring into GMO battle, homeless tent city planned for Sand Island, Supreme Court dismisses election challenge, Abercrombie to appeal FEMA rejection, group appeals Thirty Meter Telescope ruling, hospital layoffs loom, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

photo courtesy University of Hawaii
University of Hawaii GMO researcher James Brewbaker, courtesy photo
The Hawaii Farm Bureau Federation is planning a $400,000 public relations campaign to generate support for farmers and persuade voters to support genetic engineering in agriculture. Civil Beat.

The Hawaii Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed a primary election challenge by the American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii, which had alleged that six voters on Hawaii island had been deprived of their constitutional right to vote by the state's actions in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Iselle. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii Supreme Court sided with the state today and dismissed an election challenge launched by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of Big Island voters who were unable to cast ballots on Aug. 9 due to Tropical Storm Iselle. Civil Beat.

The state Supreme Court has rejected an ACLU lawsuit on behalf of voters in Puna. The American Civil Liberties Union and six Puna voters say they were denied their right to vote because the election was held when conditions after Tropical Storm Iselle made it impossible for them to leave their homes. Hawaii News Now.

The Hawaii Supreme Court rejected a lawsuit seeking to allow voters on the storm-damaged Big Island to vote. The court said in an opinion released Thursday that it didn’t have jurisdiction to grant the relief sought by the American Civil Liberties Union with the lawsuit. Associated Press.

The financially strapped Hawaii Health Systems Corporation, which runs 13 state hospital facilities across Hawaii, announced Thursday it will lay off less than one percent of its workforce, but warned more layoffs may be looming. Hawaii News Now.

Dozens of people who work for Hawaii’s public hospital system are expected to receive official notices within the next week that they are going to be laid off. The Hawaii Health Systems Corporation said Thursday that it is implementing a system-wide reduction in force, eliminating positions as early as mid-December, to help address a $48 million shortfall for fiscal 2015. Civil Beat.

The U.S. Department of the Interior’s recent hearings in Hawai‘i revealed a number of those testifying believe the U.S. government does not have jurisdiction over these islands. The Interior Department hearings are a starting point for a broader discussion this coming Tuesday at the William S. Richardson School of Law. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii tourism officials are courting about a dozen airlines not currently serving Hawaii, which they hope will some day set up shop here. Star-Advertiser.

A federal judge in Hawaii says she won't consider approving $2.4 million in settlements for hundreds of Thai farm workers until the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission holds a news conference clarifying that the agreements are still subject to court approval. The EEOC is planning a news conference in Honolulu on Friday to comply with the order. Associated Press.


The city is negotiating with the state to use vacant property at Sand Island as a temporary site for Oahu's homeless individuals and families to set up tents and receive help from service providers, Caldwell administration officials told members of the City Council Zoning and Planning Committee Thursday. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu’s homeless may have a new housing option — tents on Sand Island. Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s administration has been working to procure a parcel of land on the small island off of Honolulu Harbor as a temporary housing solution for the street homeless population. Civil Beat.

State Rep. Calvin Say's residency in the district he represents and his ability to continue to represent that district in Hawaii’s state House is being threatened in state Circuit Court. Hawaii Reporter.

Hawaiian Electric Co. President and CEO Dick Rosenblum defended the utility's proposed rate changes Thursday, including the $55 minimum rate for all customers and higher monthly charge for new solar owners. Star-Advertiser.

The USS Missouri Memorial Association, Inc., is looking at new markets to generate revenue to pay for improvements and maintenance for the Battleship Missouri Memorial in Pearl Harbor, and has hired a sales manager within the past year to focus on the China and Japan visitor markets for one of Hawaii's most popular visitor attractions. Pacific Business News.

Members of the City Council on Thursday continued to explore Honolulu's nascent paid ride-sharing industry and openly asked whether it should be up to the city or state to impose regulations similar to the rules required of the city's 1,500 taxicab drivers. Star-Advertiser.

There could be fewer moderate-priced homes in the Ward Village master-planned community in Kakaako if the state approves a request from project developer Howard Hughes Corp. Star-Advertiser.

The books and computers are ready, but more than three years after construction began, students at Waialua Elementary School still can’t use their new library and media center. Construction began in Jan. 2011. Now, there’s a $3.3 million building on campus that looks ready to use, but sits empty. KHON2.


The state plans to appeal a decision by the Federal Emergency Management Agency denying a request for a major disaster declaration that would provide federal aid to assist in the recovery from damage inflicted by Tropical Storm Iselle. Star-Advertiser.

Mayor Billy Kenoi said he is “very disappointed” by the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s decision to deny the state’s request for a major disaster declaration in the wake of Tropical Storm Iselle. Tribune-Herald.

Six Kona Community Hospital employees are among 34 Hawaii Health Systems Corp. workers set to lose their jobs by December. HHSC Acting President and Chief Executive Officer Alice Hall said the number of affected employees is lower than some workers expected, based on HHSC officials’ warnings after seeing how much funding the state Legislature provided for this year. West Hawaii Today.

Civil Defense officials will call for an evacuation should a worrisome lava flow approaching neighborhoods near Pahoa appear to be within five days of encroaching on populated areas. Such a possibility is still a long way off, however, Hawaiian Volcano Observatory Scientist-in-Charge Jim Kauahikaua told a packed house Thursday night at the Pahoa Community Center. Tribune-Herald.

Scientists with U.S. Geological Survey say steam was spotted rising above a crack extending east beyond the end of the lava pad, suggesting that lava was once again advancing within a crack below ground. Hawaii News Now.

Four Big Island residents denied a contested case hearing for the Thirty Meter Telescope’s sublease are taking the issue to court. Tribune-Herald.


There was no clear consensus this week on how a federal judge's ruling against a Kauai County pesticides and bioengineered crops bill would affect a Nov. 4 vote on an initiative measure calling for a moratorium on genetically modified crops and activities in Maui County. Maui News.

The public is being asked weigh in on a proposed Maui affordable housing project for seniors. The Maui County Land Use Committee has scheduled a site inspection and meeting next week to consider the proposed Hale Mahaolu Ewalu Senior Residential Housing Project. Associated Press.

Maui Memorial Medical Center administrators said this week that they do not anticipate cutting staff positions other than those associated with the closure of the hospital's adolescent behavioral health unit, Molokini II, at least for now. Maui News.

A fever chart for Maui Electric Co.'s customer bills from 2014 to 2030 shows monthly residential prices dropping from the current average, nearly $230 per month, to a bit more than $160 per month in 2030. Maui News.

A former officer with the Maui Police Department filed a lawsuit alleging disability discrimination against the County of Maui and former Police Chief Gary Yabuta following the officer’s termination in December 2013, after 13 years of service. Maui Now.


Garden Isle greenbacks. A look at the money being spent in Kauaʻi County’s legal battle to preserve Ordinance 960, regulating pesticides and GMOs. Hawaii Independent.

Arguing tax reform. Residents sound off, officials explain why changes were necessary. Garden Island.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Hanabusa concedes election, albizia trees targeted for eradication, DOE wants to cut special ed budget, VA listens to vets' healthcare woes, teachers doing well under new evaluations, medical marijuana task force to hit the road, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2014 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Albizia tree felled by Tropical Storm Iselle © 2014 All Hawaii News
One alien tree species — the albizia — has been fingered in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Iselle as the primary culprit for leaving Puna a quagmire of damaged houses, blocked roads, downed power lines and blackouts. But scientists warn the "albizia monster" is not confined to Puna. Rather, stands of this towering, graceful Indonesian native — described as the fastest growing tree in the world — have taken off across the state. Star-Advertiser.

Albizias may be most menacing on Oahu where they loom over major highways. Arborists say the city would look much like Puna if a hurricane were to hit. Hawaii News Now.

Today, Senator Schatz met with Mayor Kenoi’s cabinet, HELCO, State Senator Ruderman, Director of Civil Defense Darryl Oliveira, representatives from the Big Island Invasive Species Council and the U.S. Forest Service, to begin the process of developing a hazard mitigation plan for albizia on the Big Island. Civil Beat.

U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa will not challenge her narrow loss to U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz in court. She conceded the election to Schatz late Tuesday. Civil Beat.

U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa said Tuesday that she will not legally challenge her Democratic primary loss to U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz, but the congresswoman urged the state Legislature to look into the election process to ensure every vote counts. Star-Advertiser.

U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa said Tuesday she will not file a legal challenge of her Democratic primary loss to U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz for the seat once held by the late Sen. Daniel Inouye. Tribune-Herald.

Opinion: With less than nine weeks before early voting begins in the general election, it’s looking like former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann’s role in the governor’s race could be reduced to that of the “spoiler,” with the only lingering suspense around the question of whether his losing cause will suck more votes away from David Ige or Duke Aiona. Civil Beat.

The election may be over, but many questions still remain regarding how the office of elections handled the state’s primary. Later this week, the state Elections Commission will take up the issue during a public meeting on Friday. Hawaii Public Radio.

Chief Elections Officer Scott Nago will likely be in the hot seat Friday as the state Elections Commission takes a look back at this month’s primary. The review is hosted following each election, but the commission is expecting to hear an earful of complaints surrounding the response to Tropical Storm Iselle and for the discovery of about 800 misplaced ballots on Maui following voting Aug. 9. Tribune-Herald.

High-ranking U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs officials from Washington, D.C., and Hawaii on Monday heard directly from island veterans about their long list of frustrations that include delays and the high cost of getting VA medical treatment on Oahu. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii veterans complained to U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono on Tuesday about the reams of bureaucracy that often prevent them from getting timely access to health care and other services. Civil Beat.

The Hawaii Health Connector, which was expecting its funding to end on Dec. 31, now says it can continue using federal grant money throughout 2015. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Department of Education officials told school board members Tuesday that they want to cut $9.15 million from the roughly $326 million in general-fund special education spending because of a likely reduction in state tax revenues. The proposed cut represents a 2.8 percent reduction. Civil Beat.

Roughly 1 in 6 Hawaii public school teachers were deemed highly effective for the 2013-14 academic year under the state's newly implemented teacher evaluation system, while most educators were rated as effective. Star-Advertiser.

Despite concerns from some Kauai and statewide teachers about the burden of a teacher effectiveness program implemented during the past school year, results show that the teachers were doing their jobs well under the new program. Garden Island.

On Wednesday, August 20, KHON2 will host a telethon to raise money for the American Red Cross, Hawaii State Chapter.


The HPD isn't calling it a ticket quota, but critics say it sure sounds like one. Hawaii News Now has learned that an email was sent to about 20 Honolulu police officers listing how many citations need to be issued.

Some University of Hawaii at Manoa faculty members called for no confidence votes against the Board of Regents and UH President David Lassner Tuesday for their decision to fire UH Manoa Chancellor Tom Apple last month. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu is famous for golden sand beaches and big waves. But the city's warehouse district, called Kakaako, is famous for a different sort of attraction. You won't find kitschy Hawaiian souvenir shops or hordes of tourists here, but you will find a thriving urban arts scene, with colorful street murals so big they stretch across walls and sometimes entire sides of buildings. Associated Press.

A free housing summit will be held Saturday to provide valuable information to military veterans and active duty members on government homeownership programs. Star-Advertiser.

The operators of Hawaii chef and restaurateur Peter Merriman’s Monkeypod Kitchen will take over the Jimmy Buffet’s at the Beachcomber restaurant, which closes at the end of this month, Outrigger Enterprises Group said Tuesday. Pacific Business News.

A dramatic decrease in apparel prices kept Honolulu inflation tame and helped drop the consumer price index below the U.S. rate for the first time in 11 years. Star-Advertiser.


Almost half the state’s 13,115 medical marijuana patients live on Hawaii Island, but it took a request by state Sen. Will Espero for a medical marijuana task force to schedule a public hearing here. Espero, D-Ewa, prevailed upon the Medical Marijuana Dispensary Task Force at its Aug. 12 meeting to include a Hilo meeting in addition to the six scheduled for Oahu. West Hawaii Today.

A state senator is questioning the results of a Hawaii County Council race after the primary election held in storm-damaged areas of the Big Island. State Sen. Russell Ruderman says he plans to file a complaint with the Hawaii Elections Commission at a meeting Friday. Associated Press.

Workers performing a preliminary damage assessment for the Federal Emergency Management Agency completed Tuesday surveying homes in Puna hit hard by Tropical Storm Iselle. However, approval of federal relief could be a week or more away, as FEMA must also perform an assessment of damage to public infrastructure such as roads and bridges. Tribune-Herald.

U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard says federal officials have wrapped up their assessment of damage on the Big Island from Tropical Storm Iselle and are close to submitting their report to Gov. Neil Abercrombie. Associated Press.

Members of the 100th Infantry Battalion, the 442nd RCT and the Military Intelligence Service ushered guests through an expansive exhibit of photographs and documents at the Hawaii Community Federal Credit Union’s Kaloko branch. West Hawaii Today.


The 60-unit Hale Kai O Kihei condominium complex would be assessed a fine and administrative costs of $760 and pay for an independent appraisal to use nearly 3,150 square feet on public land. Maui News.

A proposed 31-acre baseyard and light industrial subdivision project in Waikapu received initial approval Tuesday from the Maui County Council. Maui News.

Despite the attention and controversy generated by anti-GMO (genetically modified organisms) activists in the months leading up to the August primary, their candidates gained little traction in the recent primary election. Both locally and statewide, most who opposed GMOs went down to defeat in partisan races or trailed by a wide margin in non-partisan races.Maui Weekly.

Two paragliders were apprehended at Haleakalā National Park today — one for illegally launching and landing in critical endangered species habitat, and the other for attempting to launch, park officials said. Maui Now.


Transforming an old sugar cane road in Lawai Valley — one in use for more than 100 years — into a Biodiversity Trail was what Chipper Wichman called an “audacious dream.” For the National Tropical Botanical Garden, however, it was an important one. Garden Island.

County to review Hanapepe Road. Garden Island.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Calls renewed for Election Chief Nago's ouster, University of Hawaii seeks money for sports, huge Hoopili project advances on Oahu, Kauai mulls separate ag research land tax, Puna Iselle recovery slow, 20 want to be Maui's top cop, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2014 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Hawaii Chief Elections Officer Scott Nago © 2014 All Hawaii News
At least two state senators are calling for the dismissal of the chief elections officer over his handling of the postponed election in the storm-ravaged Puna District and the mishandling of a memory card that led to the late discovery of about 800 absentee ballots on Maui. Elections chief Scott Nago will get a chance to discuss both issues, as well as his office's overall performance in the 2014 primary, at a meeting of the state Elections Commission on Friday. Star-Advertiser.

State Office of Elections officials said Monday that a post-election audit showed that a memory card containing the results of 800 mail-in ballots on Maui was inadvertently not fed into the state Office of Elections system. Maui News.

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz says he directly thanked President Barack Obama in a phone call for his support during the Democratic primary. Associated Press.

Athletic director Ben Jay is still seeking $3 million in state aid for the University of Hawaii’s cash-strapped sports program, but on Monday evening he backed away from threats of cutting football or other sports if the money isn’t forthcoming. Star-Advertiser.

University of Hawaii at Manoa Athletics Director Ben Jay said Monday that UH athletics programs — including the men's football team — are in jeopardy because of a $1.5 million to $3 million shortfall, and the state Legislature maybe the only remedy, a member of the university's Board of Regents told Pacific Business News.

University of Hawaii athletics director Ben Jay says he needs another $3 million to keep the sports programs going and without a better financial plan the school may have to resort to cutting programs, including the Rainbow Warrior football team. Hawaii News Now.

Just seven years after earning a spot in the storied Sugar Bowl, could the University of Hawaii football team be in danger of elimination? On Monday, UH athletics director Ben Jay revealed to university president David Lassner and the Board of Regents that it could be a possibility if the athletics department does not get help. KHON2.

The Hawaii Department of Education has spent $26 million since 2013 on new Common Core materials that have some teachers worried about instructional flexibility and others nervous about the hasty implementation of a new learning model. Civil Beat.


The long-anticipated rezoning request for the huge Hoopili project in West Oahu was submitted to the city Department of Planning and Permitting this month. Project plans call for up to 11,750 homes on 1,289 acres of agricultural land surrounded by Kapolei, Ewa, Waipahu and Kunia. The Hoopili master plan also proposes 3 million square feet of commercial space, five schools and 159 acres of commercial farms. Star-Advertiser.

For Kihei de Silva, the Kawainui-Hamakua Complex Master Plan is a chance to reclaim part of Kailua. The state plan to build pathways and facilities around the marsh in windward Oahu has attracted fierce resistance from many Kailua residents who fear it would open the door to commercializing Hawaii’s largest wetland. Civil Beat.


U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard says federal officials have wrapped up their assessment of damage on the Big Island from Tropical Storm Iselle and are close to submitting their report to Gov. Neil Abercrombie. Associated Press.

Hawaii County Civil Defense reports Monday evening that Puna Geothermal Venture’s Pohoiki plant in Puna is in the process of returning to operation after shutting down Aug. 7 as Tropical Storm Iselle approached the Big Island. West Hawaii Today.

A total of 1,419 Hawaii County residents visited the Disaster Assistance and Recovery Centers (DARCs) organized, set up and ran by the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency from Aug. 14 to 15 at the Pahoa Community Center and from Aug. 16 to 17 at the Mountain View Gym. Hawaii News Now.

It’s been 11 days since Kapoho’s Vacationland Hawaii subdivision was devastated by Tropical Storm Iselle, and neighbors there say they need more guidance and help as they continue to clean up their homes and the popular tide pools around them. At a special meeting of the neighborhood association, residents discussed Monday their concerns with government agency representatives from Civil Defense, the state Department of Health, the University of Hawaii at Hilo and others. Tribune-Herald.

A West Hawaii County Council member says council meetings have lost transparency to the public because some council members have been using a parliamentary maneuver to stifle debate. West Hawaii Today.

Kona Pacific is the first public school in Hawaii to offer breakfast in the classroom to all of its students, regardless of their ability to pay. West Hawaii Today.

While this month’s primary election saw three council incumbents sail smoothly into another two-year term, and another two go unchallenged, the political winds were not as favorable for two lawmakers — state Sen. Malama Solomon and state Rep. Faye Hanohano — who both fell to challengers. Tribune-Herald.

A former employee of the county Department of Finance Vehicle Registration and Licensing Division has pleaded not guilty to embezzling from the county. Tribune-Herald.

Project coordinators say a plan to revitalize Lahaina's harbor area would make it safer and cater to "pedestrians first." Maui News.

The Maui Police Commission received nearly 20 applications from those seeking to become the county’s next police chief. Associated Press.

The Maui Police Commission continues work to narrow the field of applicants, following an Aug. 12 application deadline for the department’s top job. Maui Now.

The Maui Police Department has received its accreditation renewal for another three years from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies. Maui News.

Maui County continues to assess damages sustained in the aftermath of Tropical Cyclone Iselle, as the state works toward compiling a final estimate to be used in determining qualification for federal funding assistance. Maui Now.


The Kauai County Council will revisit a bill on Wednesday aimed at taxing the island’s crop research land separate from other agricultural land. Introduced by Councilman Tim Bynum, Bill 2456 would establish “agronomics” as a new and separate real property tax class and exclude lands used primarily for crop research or parent seed production from the county’s definition of “agricultural use.” Garden Island.

More changes could be on the tax horizon. And visitor industry officials and some Kauai residents say that a proposed Kauai County Council bill to establish a new tax class for timeshare properties could have negative consequences on the island’s economy. Garden Island.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Lawsuits likely as Hanabusa-Schatz U.S. Senate Democratic contest to be decided Friday, officials say more polls should reopen, GMO foes flounder at polls, Maui highest, Kauai lowest, voter turnout, big profits for HECO electric company, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2014 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Hawaii Island voting © 2014 All Hawaii News
U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, who’s trailing in the too-close-to-call Hawaii Democratic Senate primary against incumbent Brian Schatz, warned Monday of voting “irregularities” in precincts crippled by a massive tropical storm last week and said she’s speaking with campaign lawyers about a potential recourse. Politico.

Elected officials at the state and county level are crying foul over the selection of only two Puna precincts for a special election, when many voters in precincts from Pahoa to Volcano were unable to get to the polls Saturday in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Iselle. Hanging in the balance is a close contest between U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz and U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa for the Democratic nomination for Senate, as well as a state House and County Council race. West Hawaii Today.

What about those blocked from polls, but not in delayed precincts? KHON2.

The U.S. Senate Democratic primary battle between Sen. Brian Schatz and Rep. Colleen Hanabusa could be decided Friday as election officials open a polling place for voters of two storm-damaged precincts in Puna. Tribune-Herald.

Several thousand voters in Puna on Hawaii island will get the rare opportunity Friday to settle a close election, but U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, who trails U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz in the Demo­cratic primary for Senate, questioned whether holding the vote so soon is realistic. Star-Advertiser.

An answer to the question “Who won Hawaii’s U.S. Senate race?” is likely to come Friday, according the State Elections Office. The plan is to run an election at Keonepoko Elementary School for the two Puna precincts on the Big Island that were closed because of Tropical Storm Iselle. Civil Beat.

Both Hanabusa and Schatz are already on the Big Island. Schatz was helping unload supplies in Nanawale and met with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Army National Guard today. Hanabusa took an aerial tour of the damage. Hawaii News Now.

Two voting precincts in the region hardest hit by Iselle were closed during Saturday's primary, affecting some 8,000 registered voters, who would be able to cast their ballots on a new voting day to be held Friday, the Office of Elections said Monday. The emotional Democratic contest between U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz and U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa is still too close to call. Associated Press.

A special walk-in election will be held Friday for Big Island residents who were unable to vote in Saturday’s primary due to damage from Tropical Storm Iselle. That decision is drawing criticism from folks in Puna, who originally thought they would have 21 days to mail in an absentee ballot. Hawaii Public Radio.

Chief Election Officer Scott Nago, in consultation with the State Attorney General, Department of Defense and the Office of the County Clerk, announced today that an election will be held on Friday, August 15th at Keonepoko Elementary School for the two polling places whose election was postponed due to Hurricane Iselle. Hawaii Reporter.

Hawaii’s Primary Election Turnout Likely Near All-Time Low This Year. Preliminary numbers show it to be about 41 percent of registered voters. Civil Beat.

Opinion: A Pidgin Guide to Neil Abercrombie’s Downfall. The Hawaii governor's blunt talk may have been the straight truth but his bedside manner left much to be desired. Civil Beat.

Hawaiian Electric Co. reported a profit of $34.2 million in the second quarter, a $5.5 million increase from the same time period last year, mainly due to its recovery of costs for clean energy and reliability investments, the Honolulu-based utility said Monday in its latest earnings report. Pacific Business News.

After the heavy rains and high winds of two rare, large storms, Hawaiian botanists are hoping the islands’ rarest plants have come through unscathed. Hawaii Reporter.

State Rep. Mark Takai displayed solid support from Kapolei to Mili­lani to Hawaii Kai as he cruised to the 1st Congressional District's Democratic nomination Saturday night over six other candidates. Star-Advertiser.

Officials with the city have apparently reached an agreement with the United Public Workers union that would allow paramedics and emergency medical technicians to work longer, four-day weeks. Star-Advertiser.

The marble shrine room wall at the USS Arizona Memorial inscribed with the names of 1,177 sailors and Marines killed in the Dec. 7, 1941, attack will be undergoing replacement over two months, possibly starting in early September, officials said. Star-Advertiser.

The Matson container ship Manukai, with master John Blomindale, leading a crew of 22, docked at Sand Island Pier 22, carrying three survivors of a disabled sailboat rescued from hurricane seas.  Star-Advertiser.


As clean-up and power restoration efforts continue in the wake of Tropical Storm Iselle, assessment of the cyclone’s damage, especially in Puna, has just begun, according to the county. Tribune-Herald.

Forget Tropical Storm Iselle. The people of Hawaii island's storm-ravaged Puna district have since singularly focused their anger on the forests of fast-growing and foreign albizia trees that fell like giant pick-up sticks on their homes and across power lines, keeping them in the dark and without water since Iselle blew through the Big Island five days ago. Star-Advertiser.

Puna Still Struggles as Politicians Parachute In. The rural Big Island community was hit hardest by Tropical Storm Iselle, and now it's the focal point of the race for U.S. Senate. Civil Beat.

Deep in the seaside jungle of Government Beach Road, the Leo family has been stuck behind a pile of fallen albizia trees since Tropical Storm Iselle hit Puna on Friday morning. On Monday, help arrived. Hawaii County, the Hawaii National Guard, and community volunteers helped dig a path to freedom for the family. Big Island Video News.

Stunning video was taken by drones over the Puna area that gives a closer look into the damage left behind by Iselle. KITV4.

Electricity. Water. Ice. Cellphones. These are some of the staples of modern life that residents in lower Puna say they took for granted until Tropical Storm Iselle thrashed their communities. Tribune-Herald.

Only one Hawaii Island candidate made it to the runoff in the race for an at-large seat on the Office of Hawaiian Affairs Board of Trustees. West Hawaii Today.

Kamehameha Schools officials are proposing demolishing the Keauhou Beach Hotel from the top down. West Hawaii Today.


Maui County had the lowest primary election voter turnout in the state Saturday, with only 32.2 percent of the county's 85,581 registered voters casting ballots in person or by absentee. Maui News.

Maui County continues to have the lowest voter turnout in the state with just 32.2% of the county’s 85,581 registered voters turning out to cast ballots. Maui Now.

Maui Electric crews restored power to all customers Sunday evening after crews worked around the clock since late Thursday to repair and replace electrical equipment damaged by Tropical Storm Iselle's heavy rain and strong winds. Star-Advertiser.

Profits nearly doubled for Alexander & Baldwin from $5 million to $9.2 million, thanks to recent acquisitions and improvements in the company's development and sales and leasing segments, according to A&B's second-quarter report, which was released last week. Maui News.


Kauai County Councilmen Mel Rapozo and Ross Kagawa, the lone members to oppose the county’s controversial GMO disclosure bill last year, are now more popular than ever among voters. Civil Beat.

Some believe the hot-button issue of genetically modified crops and pesticide use played a role in Saturday’s primary election results, while others say apparent trends in the voting have more to do with where candidates call home. Garden Island.

County of Kauai had the highest primary election turnout rates, according to preliminary state election reports. It is that fact that, some county officials and election watchers say, can be partly attributed to several important factors, including the debate on genetically modified organisms and pesticides and tax raises. Garden Island.

The Kauai County Real Property Assessment Division is offering assistance to residents who want to understand changes to their real property tax bills. Star-Advertiser.

The Kapaa Business Association wants the public to add its voice to providing a solution for traffic through the Kapaa and Wailua corridor. Garden Island.

NASA will return to Kauai next year for more tests of technology that could be used in flights to Mars. Associated Press.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Now that's cold. With hurricanes looming, thief takes off with Hawaii Island's only Red Cross truck.

courtesy American Red Cross
American Red Cross pickup truck, updated photo.

With Hurricanes Iselle and Julio looming, an American Red Cross truck was stolen Wednesday night from the relief organization’s office in Hilo, Hawaii.

“How can anyone be so callous to steal a truck in a time of a disaster?” Barney Sheffield, Red Cross disaster coordinator for the island, wondered to the Hawaii Tribune-Herald.

Volunteers discovered the vehicle was missing this morning as they arrived to prepare for the arrival of Hurricane Iselle. The truck is the Red Cross’ only vehicle on the island and used to tow its supply trailer.

Now, that's cold.

Update: The truck was recovered by police at 9 a.m. Friday, after the storm has passed. Big Island Video News.

Weakened Iselle makes landfall on Hawaii Island, price-gouging, power outages hamper primary voting, election plans, GMO money in campaign, more news

NOAA National Weather Service composite
Hurricanes Iselle and Julio NOAA national Weather Service composite
Iselle has been downgraded to a tropical storm and the center of tropical storm Iselle made landfall at about 2:30 a.m. Friday along the Kau coast on the Big Island, about 5 miles east of Pahala.  Iselle is the first tropical storm to hit the state in 22 years. Meanwhile, Hurricane Julio, a Category 3 storm, is about 1,000 miles behind in the Pacific. Julio’s track and intensity remains the same, veering north of the islands. Exact impacts are unknown, but the storm is expected to reach the vicinity of the islands on Sunday and Monday. KHON2.

Iselle weakened rapidly off the Kau Coast and slowed its westward motion just before it moved over the Big Island and Maui early Friday morning, bringing strong winds and heavy rains. Star-Advertiser.

At the same time Iselle is wreaking havoc on the Hawaiian Islands, Hurricane Julio continues to churn in its wake, offering a real threat to deliver a rare double whammy of destruction on the state. Star-Advertiser.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s administration is threatening to fine store owners if they price gouge people who are trying to stock up on water and other supplies in preparation for Hurricanes Iselle and Julio. Civil Beat.

The state Office of Consumer Protection has received more than 20 complaints of price gouging from consumers, most involving the sale of bottled water. Star-Advertiser.

Reports from Hawaii island and Maui as Iselle delivers heavy rains and winds. Star-Advertiser.

What Do Hawaii Lieutenant Governors Do? Not very much at all. But it pays $114,420 and nine people are running for the office in Saturday's primary. Civil Beat.


Faceless corporations, political action committees and ordinary citizens have poured $2.77 million into the race to represent urban Oahu in Congress for the next two years. Civil Beat.

The Democratic Party of Hawaii canceled post-election unity rallies on neighbor islands, but as of Thursday still planned to hold its Oahu event as a pair of tropical storms threatened to bring heavy rain and high winds to all islands for the next few days. Star-Advertiser.

University of Hawaii President David Lassner fielded a broad spectrum of questions at a downtown Hono­lulu forum Thursday, sharing thoughts on everything from the public perception of the institution to infrastructure improvements. Star-Advertiser.


The power supply and the geothermal plant in Puna proved to be among the first casualties of Iselle as it bore down on the Big Island Thursday night. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii County Civil Defense issued an alert from an uncontrolled release of hydrogen sulfide steam at the Puna Geothermal Venture plant in Pohoiki. Star-Advertiser.

The National Weather Service says the center of the system has made landfall along the Ka'u Coast of Hawaii Island early Friday morning. Tropical storm conditions are expected to continue to spread to the islands of Maui County later this morning. The National Weather Service says that swells generated by Iselle will continue to build through Friday, possibly becoming damaging along some coastlines. Hawaii News Now.

Iselle has weakened to a tropical storm but continues churning toward the Big Island, according to the National Weather Service. In a bulletin posted around 11:30 p.m. on Thursday, the NWS said tropical storm conditions, including heavy rain and high winds, are impacting East Hawaii. Tribune-Herald.

Kohala Councilwoman Margaret Wille, pummeled by attack ads from a Honolulu political action committee, has received a late-campaign $4,000 shot in the arm from genetically modified food opponents. West Hawaii Today.


A flood advisory has been issued for the Island of Maui until 4:30 a.m. Maui Now.


With stormy weather bearing down, the county Elections Division urged registered voters to take advantage of a final early voting opportunity Thursday. County Elections Administrator Lyndon Yoshioka said 3,763 people walked in to vote. Another 7,111 mail-in absentee ballots were processed as of Thursday. Garden Island.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Hurricanes Iselle, Julio churn toward Hawaii, Democrats call off statewide rally, government, schools close Thursday, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Central Pacific Hurricane Center
Hurricane Iselle track 5 a.m. August 7 Central Pacific Hurricane Center
At 5 a.m. on Thursday morning, Hurricane Iselle was located about 305 miles east-southeast of Hilo and was moving west-northwest at 15 miles per hour. It had maximum sustained winds of 80 miles per hour, weakened slightly from the 2 a.m. forecast, with higher gusts of up to 98 miles per hour. Iselle remains a Category 1 hurricane. Hawaii News Now.

After Hurricane Iselle surprised forecasters Wednesday by gaining strength, it may now become the first hurricane to make landfall in Hawaii since Iniki 22 years ago. Star-Advertiser.

Hurricane Iselle, the first hurricane that could hit the Big island in more than 20 years, was steadily churning toward Hilo and expected to make landfall Thursday. Civil Beat.

A hurricane warning has been issued for the Big Island and surrounding waters, according to the Central Pacific Hurricane Center.  A tropical storm warning is also in effect for Maui County and Oahu. KITV4.

Hawaii residents were furiously stocking up on essentials as two hurricanes churned toward the islands Wednesday and weather officials asked the whole state to prepare for flash flooding. Associated Press.

Democrats, concerned about the approaching storms, have called off their traditional election eve rally on Friday in Hilo. For more than a half century, Democratic candidates have gathered at the Mooheau Bandstand in Hilo for a get-out-the-vote event the night before elections. Star-Advertiser.

State officials have released a list of emergency shelters in preparation for Hurricane Iselle. Officials say the shelters are a last resort if you have absolutely no place else to go, or if your home is not in a safe place. If you need to go to a shelter- bring emergency supplies with you. Hawaii Public Radio.

Central Pacific Hurricane Center
Hurricane Iselle
 All of Hawaii’s major utilities are working to make sure their customers have what they need to ride out the storms. KHON2.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie today signed an emergency proclamation in anticipation of the arrival of two tropical cyclones in Hawaii. Hurricane Iselle is forecast to impact the state Thursday evening through late Friday. Hurricane Julio is a few days behind Iselle and may impact the islands as soon as Sunday. Hawaii Reporter.

Hawaii’s governor is an incredibly powerful office, able to appoint more than 1,000 people to important executive offices, boards, and commissions. Hawaii Independent.

The race for the Democratic nomination for Hawai’i Governor is headed to the finish line Saturday.   If the initial tally of votes are close, meaning they are split down the middle, the neighbor island electorate will likely decide who the winner will be. Hawaii Public Radio.


As two hurricane-strength storms approach Oahu, the city has no comprehensive emergency plan in place for the densely populated, low-lying area of Waikiki, and a "statewide" plan addresses only Oahu. Civil Beat.

Honolulu officials are collaborating with emergency service providers and others to ensure Oahu's homeless population is well-informed about hurricane shelters and shuttle service as back-to-back storms approach. Star-Advertiser.

The Department of Emergency Management advises Oahu residents that the following American Red Cross hurricane shelters will be available and open for evacuees on Thursday, August 7 at 10:00 p.m. Hawaii Reporter.

Hawaii retailers ready for whatever two hurricanes — Iselle and Julio — will bring. Pacific Business News.

Amid continued protests from University of Hawaii at Manoa students seeking the reinstatement of fired Chancellor Tom Apple, Board of Regents Chairman Randy Moore says he fully supports the decision made a week ago to terminate Apple two years into a five-year appointment. Star-Advertiser.


The Big Island should brace for a pasting of rain and wind, and the leeward side is no exception. West Hawaii Today.

Eight people gathered Wednesday at the State Building in Hilo to announce they will request the state Attorney General’s Office investigate alleged voting and tax irregularities by Tiffany Edwards Hunt, who is running for the County Council District 5 seat. Tribune-Herald.

The Hawaii County Council unanimously agreed Wednesday to ask the state Board of Agriculture to deny a local dairy the ability to sell milk at a lower wholesale price. West Hawaii Today.


The mayor’s office announced that it will be sending home all non-emergency county employees at noon on Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014, with the possible exception of county elections employees. Maui Now.


The County of Kauai is finalizing a list of potential shelter sites for people looking to bunker down if forced from their homes by hurricanes Iselle and Julio. Garden Island.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Hawaii's early voting push intensifies with Hurricane Iselle, Tropical Storm Julio, looming, GMO labeling candidates listed, ethnicity in politics, HECO gets no-bid contracts for Oahu solar, state cracks down on ride-sharing, legislative reshuffle could help counties' TAT chances, super Pac funding on Maui, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy NOOAA national Weather Service
Hurricane Iselle 5 a.m. Aug. 6 courtesy NOAA National Weather Service
Party leaders urged residents to take advantage of early voting this week as storm preparations continue for tropical weather systems headed toward the islands ahead of Saturday's primary election. Star-Advertiser.

The chairwomen of the Hawaii Republican Party and the Democratic Party of Hawaii today issued a joint call for voters to cast their ballots early to ensure their safety as Hurricane Iselle and Tropical Storm Julio bear down on the state. Iselle could threaten the eastern coast of Hawaii Island as soon as Thursday and Julio may bring dangerous conditions on Saturday. West Hawaii Today.

Abercrombie Implores Supporters to Get Out the Vote. Upbeat at his final campaign rally before Saturday's primary, Hawaii governor recalls that no one expected him to win 40 years ago, either. Civil Beat.

Hawaii candidates who support GMO labeling , pesticide disclosure and restriction. Hawaii Reporter.

Ethnicity as a common denominator in Hawai’i elections is not as pronounced as it once was in the 1950s and 60s. But as Hawaii Public Radio’s Wayne Yoshioka reports, ethnicity is still viewed as an important characteristic in local political races.

Hurricane Iselle is weakening. The eye is not as apparent and the storm is not as symmetrical as it was 24 hours ago. KHON2.

Hawaii island, Maui County and Oahu are under a tropical storm watch and the entire state is covered by a flash flood watch as two hurricanes east of Hilo Wednesday pack a potential one-two punch of heavy rain, high surf and powerful winds.Star-Advertiser.

The Central Pacific Hurricane Center has issued a Tropical Storm Watch for Oahu as weakening Hurricane Iselle continues on its path towards the Hawaiian islands. Forecasters issued a Tropical Storm Watch for the Big Island of Hawaii earlier Tuesday and Maui County late Tuesday. Hawaii News Now.

Hurricane Iselle continues to churn menacingly from the east, weakening as it encounters Central Pacific wind shear and cooler waters but still is expected to be capable of unleashing flash flooding, tropical storm-force winds and ocean surge starting Thursday afternoon in Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.

Hurricane Iselle continues to make its way toward the Hawaiian islands and is expected to weaken to a tropical storm by the time it hits the Big Island and Maui County on Thursday before it progresses across the archipelago Friday. Civil Beat.

State officials are closing scores of recreation areas that could be affected by rising streams, flash flooding, falling trees or high surf touched off by the arrival of tropical storm Iselle. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii is used to preparing for tropical storms — stock up on water, toilet paper and other essentials and wait. But actually getting hit with systems like the two approaching the islands? Not as much. Associated Press.

Hawaii Disaster Team Ready for Anything. With a hurricane and tropical storm approaching the islands, local emergency personnel are training for widespread casualties. Civil Beat.

Hawaii hotels are preparing for Hurricane Iselle and Tropical Storm Julio, which are expected to bring heavy rain and strong winds to the Islands starting Thursday, by testing generators, stocking up on bottled water, first aid kits, flashlights and other supplies, as well as canceling reservation fees for guest and setting aside rooms for employees. Pacific Business News.


Hawaiian Electric Co. may now move ahead with contract negotiations with six solar energy developers on Oahu whose projects total 210 megawatts after state regulators approved the state’s largest electric utility’s request to forgo the competitive bidding process for the projects. Pacific Business News.

The Hawaii Department of Transportation is cracking down on two ride services that entered the Oahu market in June, ordering them to stop picking up and dropping off passengers at Honolulu International Airport. Civil Beat.

Criminal proceedings against an aerial advertising company and the pilot it hired to fly banners over Oahu will be held later this month. Star-Advertiser.

Students call for investigation into Apple’s termination. ASUH and GSO have sent a letter to Governor Abercrombie requesting a formal investigation into the firing of Tom Apple. Hawaii Independent.

Lawyers for the state and murder defendant and federal agent Christopher Deedy told the jury in closing arguments of the U.S. State Department special agent's retrial Tuesday that they do agree on several points. Star-Advertiser.


Upcoming leadership changes in the state Legislature could be good news for counties seeking to increase their share of hotel taxes, the Hawaii County Council learned Tuesday at a meeting with several state legislators. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii County’s battle against the little fire ant will get a little more bite with a unanimous vote Tuesday by the County Council Finance Committee to accept $375,000 from the state Department of Agriculture and the Hawaii Invasive Species Council. West Hawaii Today.

Kamehameha Schools officials have taken another step toward demolishing the shuttered Keauhou Beach Hotel. West Hawaii Today.

County emergency responders were busy preparing Tuesday as Hurricane Iselle and Tropical Storm Julio continued their march toward Hawaii. Tribune-Herald.


Maui County Council candidate Ka'ala Buenconsejo has the backing of two super political action committees based in Honolulu that independently have spent more than $130,000 in mailers, radio ads and media consultation for the first-time political candidate seeking to unseat Elle Cochran for the West Maui residency seat. Maui News.

Maui Continues Preparations for Iselle’s Stormy Weather. Maui Now.


Visitor industry officials on Kauai say they are worried that recent property tax rate hikes approved by the Kauai County Council will deal a blow to one of the island’s main economic drivers: tourism. Garden Island.