Showing posts with label Katherine Kealoha. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Katherine Kealoha. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Senate panel to discuss banning land sales to foreigners, Maui police issue after-action report on wildfire response, 2.2k plaintiffs file new Red Hill lawsuit, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

A bill is being proposed to the Senate on Tuesday to decide whether foreigners should be banned from purchasing land in Hawaii.  Senator Brenton Awa introduced SB2617 and said it’s about creating affordable housing for local people. KHON2.

Lawmakers introduce bill allowing counties to regulate tobacco sales. Lawmakers are considering a measure to repeal a 2018 state law known as Act 206 that preempts county tobacco sales measures. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hearing today on drunken driving bill.
State House Bill 1935 would, if passed, reduce the BAC threshold for drunken driving charges from the current 0.08% to 0.05%, which would be tied with Utah for the lowest in the nation. Tribune-Herald.

Lawmakers look to fund resources for substance abuse issues.
The state has already received about $19 million from settlements with opioid distributors and manufacturers to address substance abuse, but most of that money has not been spent. Hawaii Public Radio.

Lawmakers to discuss adding funding to University Hawai‘i budget to expand a scholarship program.  Lawmakers are looking to add $19 million to the University of Hawai‘i’s annual budget to fund the expansion of a community college scholarship to university students at Mānoa, Hilo and West O‘ahu. Big Island Now.

Bill this session would create a sustainable food systems working group for the state. A bill currently in the state Legislature proposes the creation of a working group to improve local agriculture, food resilience and access to healthy food across Hawaiʻi. Hawaii Public Radio.

Schools plan changes as hungry students describe unappetizing lunches. The push for more local fresh food is only at about 6 percent of DOE food served right now, with a goal of 30% by 2030. KHON2.

State psychiatric hospital overcrowded with patients who don’t have medical needs.
Hawaii’s only hospital that offers secure treatment for people with mental illnesses is overcrowded — mostly with people who do not medically need hospitalization. Hawaii News Now.


New Red Hill suit with 2,200 plaintiffs claims contamination of Navy water continues. Attorneys claim the Navy failed to warn residents after the 2021 fuel spills sickened thousands of people. They also allege plaintiffs are battling lingering illnesses and the water contamination hasn’t gone away. Hawaii News Now.

Ex-city prosecutor, co-defendants want key evidence excluded from corruption trial. Among the topics the defense does not want brought up before the jury: Details about tax returns, campaign contributions and disgraced ex-deputy city Prosecutor Katherine Kealoha. Hawaii News Now.

University of Hawaii selects film studio developer for West Oahu. The University of Hawaii is expected to announce today that it has selected a private developer to design, build, finance and operate a more than $100 million film and television production studio planned next door to UH West Oahu’s campus in Kapolei. Star-Advertiser.

Renewed push afoot to restore and preserve Honolulu’s Chinatown. Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi said while there are challenges with the homeless, streets are cleaner, the River of Life relocated, more police are out patrolling, seven new surveillance cameras are up, and a major improvement project is slated for the area next to Cultural Plaza known as “river walk.” Hawaii News Now.

Council scrutinizes city’s tree planting program.
Honolulu Council member Radiant Cordero is concerned the city’s stated goal to plant 100,000 trees by 2025 has fallen short of its mark. Star-Advertiser.

Proposed wave pool draws opposition from groups of ʻEwa residents and Native Hawaiians. Plans for another artificial wave pool on the south shore of Oʻahu are raising concerns and a legal challenge from a group of ʻEwa Beach residents and Native Hawaiian cultural practitioners. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii Island

New Hawaiʻi County Human Resources Director Named. Sommer Tokihiro was named to fill the position formerly held by Waylen Leopoldino, who departed the job on June 30, 2023. Big Island Video News.

Hilo Wastewater Treatment Plant Project Draft EA Published. The draft Environmental Assessment says the project is anticipated to cost approximately $300 million to construct. Big Island Video News.

Kona judge calls HMSA contracts ‘unconscionable’. A Kailua-Kona judge on Friday ruled that contract terms and conditions the state’s largest health insurer imposes on doctors and patients are “unconscionable” and “unenforceable.” Tribune-Herald.

New proposal aims to advance study on alternate traffic routes between Puna and Hilo. Hawaiʻi County councilmembers will have another opportunity to advance plans to alleviate traffic congestion in the rapidly growing district of Puna on Hawaiʻi Island. Hawaii Public Radio.


Communications key to improving response, Maui police say in after-action report.  The Maui Police Department released 32 recommendations and preliminary findings from an internal review of its response to the Aug. 8 high winds and wildfires that left 100 dead and 7,000 people homeless. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Associated Press. Maui Now.  Hawaii News Now.  KHON2.  KITV4.

Final resting place for Lahaina fire debris needs public input.
As the cleanup of Lahaina steadily ramps up, Maui County officials are asking the community to help decide the final resting place for an estimated 300,000-400,000 tons of contaminated ash and debris. Maui News.

Program to send young Maui fire victims to Japan. The Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii is preparing to send a cohort of youths affected by the Maui wildfires to Japan as a part of their new program called TOMODACHI Kibou for Maui, an initiative being carried out in partnership with TOMODACHI Initiative and Odyssey Japan. Star-Advertiser.


Mirah Horowitz is named new Kaua‘i Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals president. Horowitz previously served as the executive director of the Kaua‘i Humane Society from October 2018 through October 2020. Garden Island.

Friday, May 19, 2023

Three Hawaii beaches in top 10 ranking, Gov. Green helps rescue driver, Craig Angelos named UH athletic director, Katherine Kealoha loses bid to be released from prison, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Oahu, Maui and Kauai crack top 10 in 2023 national beach rankings. Hawaii placed three beaches on the list, more than any other state. Those locations were Duke Kahanamoku Beach on Oahu, Wailea Beach on Maui and Poipu Beach on Kauai. Associated Press.

Tourism, construction still Hawaii’s recession buffers. Economist: It’s ‘hard to be pessimistic’ amid positive signs in the local economy. Despite heightened risks, Hawaii economists believe the state is still likely to avoid an outright recession due to tourism and construction activity softening the hit. Maui News.

Car dealership inventory increasing as demand remains high.
Those in the market for a new car may have better luck finding a car that meets their needs, dealerships said car inventory is improving while the ticket price on cars is on a downward trend. KHON2.

Hawaiian monk seal population continues to increase
. Hawaiian monk seal populations have grown to an estimated 1,605 in 2022, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. This number is up from an estimated 1,564 in 2021.  Spectrum News.


Mayor Insists City Didn’t Downplay Health Concerns Over Kailua Sewage.
Blangiardi and the state health director pushed back against assertions made by state clean water supervisors monitoring the situation. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

Vacant Homes Would Be Taxed At Higher Rate Under Possible City Plan. Honolulu officials are considering ways to boost city income and expand the pool of rental housing by raising the property taxes on homes that have been left vacant by their owners. Civil Beat.

Katherine Kealoha Fails In Effort To Get Out Of Prison.  A request from disgraced former Honolulu prosecutor Katherine Kealoha to end her 13-year prison sentence early has been officially rejected. In a ruling on Wednesday, U.S. District Court Judge J. Michael Seabright denied Kealoha’s petition. Civil Beat. KHON2.

HPD Investigation Of Makaha Cops Is Wrapping Up, Commission Told. More than a year and a half after four police officers allegedly ran a car full of people off the road, the Honolulu Police Department is just about done with its investigation of the incident.  Civil Beat.

New homeless facility that long sat idle will soon house medical respite beds. In a major development, the city says it’s on track to open a medical respite facility for the homeless in early June inside an Iwilei housing project that’s been sitting empty for more than a year. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Craig Angelos approved as next Hawaii athletic director. Craig Angelos is the new University of Hawaii at Manoa athletic director, starting June 5, after he was approved by the UH Board of Regents today at Honolulu Community College. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.  KHON2.

Oil-fired power plant proposed for conversion. Hawaiian Electric is seeking to redevelop an 85-year-old power plant in Pearl City as part of meeting a state goal for a 100% renewable energy supply by 2045. Star-Advertiser. Associated Press.

What will replace Pali Lanes? 2 years after its closure, the answer remains unclear. It’s been nearly two years since an iconic Kailua landmark closed its doors for good. That’s got community members wondering what the future of Pali Lanes actually looks like. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Hawai‘i County Council approves first reading of $1.19 billion budget for FY 2023-24.
During a special meeting on Thursday, the Hawai‘i County Council approved the first reading of the County’s proposed fiscal year 2023-24 operating and capital budgets that total nearly $1.19 billion. Big Island Now.

Gov. Green, others help driver in overturned vehicle on Big Island. Green was traveling on Waikoloa Road to attend the Waikoloa Solar + Storage ribbon-cutting ceremony when he and his security detail saw an overturned vehicle sometime before 10 a.m. Star-Advertiser. Big Island Now.  Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

AES opens its newest solar plus storage site amid Hawaiʻi's push for renewables. The AES Corporation has started operating its Waikoloa Solar + Storage Project, capable of generating up to 30 megawatts and storing 120 megawatt-hours. Hawaii Public Radio. West Hawaii Today.

CSO Decommissioning Delay Due To Mirror Removal. Officials say CSO is finalizing the design of a special cradle that can carry the telescope mirror down the mountain. Big Island Video News.


MPD plan: Recruiting, community relations among top priorities. Around 42 percent of Maui County residents said they have a favorable impression of the Maui Police Department, while 24 percent saw the department unfavorably, according to a survey of 402 residents included in MPD’s recently released strategic plan. Maui News. Maui Now.

Nexamp to provide update on two Upcountry shared solar projects. Nexamp will host two virtual community meetings to provide updates on two Upcountry shared solar projects–Piʻiholo Road Solar and Makawao Solar. Maui Now.


Marriott hiring for several positions on Kaua‘i. Positions are available at The Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas, Marriott’s Kauai Beach Club, Marriott’s Kauai Lagoons – Kalanipu’u and Marriott’s Waiohai Beach Club properties. Kauai Now.

Thursday, February 2, 2023

Honolulu settles Kealoha corruption lawsuit for $2.85M, lawmakers may limit campaign contributions during legislative session, bills seek to rehire employees who bucked COVID protocols, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii Lawmakers May Limit Their Own Political Fundraising. Last year, legislators banned fundraising events during legislative session. This time, they may ban campaign donations during sessions. Civil Beat.

Is Hawaii Government Effective? It’s Hard To Tell. Are we growing more of our own food? Is the state reducing the number of applicants on the Hawaiian Home Lands waitlist? Are we rehabilitating more inmates and reducing jail overcrowding? It’s hard to find measurable, objective data that would sufficiently answer all of these questions and the dozens of others facing policymakers in Hawaii even though state agencies are required to report on their “measures of effectiveness” every year in mandatory variance reports. Civil Beat.

Lawmaker apologizes for comparing housing chief to the devil, but doubles down on DHHL criticism. Two days after Gov. Josh Green accused state Sen. Kurt Fevella of harassing his staff, the Ewa Beach lawmaker is apologizing. But he isn’t backing down from his criticisms of the Green Administration’s housing plans for Hawaiians. Hawaii News Now.

Bills call for rehiring state workers who defied vaccine mandate. Two bills introduced by Republican legislators would require state agencies to rehire and give back pay to employees who resigned or were terminated for refusing to be vaccinated or undergo weekly testing for COVID-19. Star-Advertiser.

Bill adding a teacher to the state Board of Education advances.
House Bill 556 proposes adding a teacher and a school administrator representative on the state Board of Education — both in nonvoting capacities. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawai‘i Environmental Legislative Caucus introduces visitor ‘green fee’ bill. The state Legislature’s Environmental Legislative Caucus has introduced a bill that could create more than $400 million in annual funds for environmental protections by charging visitors entrance fees for visiting certain state recreational sites. Garden Island. KHON2.

Bill seeks lifeguards for tour boats. A bill that would require certified lifeguards on boats that take tourists onto the water for snorkeling and other activities is again making its way through the state Legislature. West Hawaii Today.

Law would stop vendors from prematurely setting up shop on the beach. Senate Bill 67 would prohibit resort and commercial vendors from setting up equipment on public beaches or public land, unless a customer is present. This would be for items such as rented beach chairs, umbrellas, surfboards, kayaks and non-motorized water equipment. Hawaii Public Radio.

Lawmakers seek solution for Hawaiian burial sites at risk of coastal erosion. Hawaiʻi lawmakers are considering a bill that would strengthen protections of Hawaiian burials or iwi along the islands’ coastlines. Hawaii Public Radio.

Discussion stresses importance of limiting light pollution. Environmental and astronomical experts are urging residents throughout the state to reduce outdoor lighting in order to prevent the spread of light pollution. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii COVID-19 positivity rate at 4.7%; 11 more deaths recorded.
The Hawaii Department of Health on Wednesday reported 766 new COVID-19 infections over the past week, bringing the total number of cases since the start of the pandemic to 377,743. Star-Advertiser.


$2.85M settlement with city reached in Puana lawsuit. $2.85M settlement with city reached in Puana lawsuit. The City and County of Honolulu has settled a civil lawsuit with Gerard Puana, the victim of the Kealoha corruption and bribery scandal, in the amount of $2.85 million. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now. KHON2. KITV4.

House reestablishes Red Hill working group amid continuous concern. The state House of Representatives has reestablished a House Special Committee on Red Hill this session. Hawaii Public Radio.

A public charter school on UH land “caught off guard” about possibly having to move. The principal at the University Lab School says their relationship with the University of Hawaii dates back all the way to the 1930s. Still, a recent comment by UH President David Lassner is alarming some parents and teachers who are wondering if that relationship will continue. Hawaii News Now.

Anti-crime programs need time to work, Honolulu prosecutor says. Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney Steve Alm confirmed Wednesday that his office continues its anti­-crime efforts, albeit slowly, in known trouble spots like Waikiki, Chinatown and even into the Leeward areas of Oahu. Star-Advertiser.

In wake of Memphis case, commission grills HPD chief about slow discipline for officers accused of wrongdoing. HPD Chief Joe Logan said Wednesday he doesn’t have the power to immediately discharge a police officer, which raised even more questions about police discipline at a Honolulu Police Commission meeting Wednesday afternoon. Hawaii News Now.

22 Honolulu police officers disciplined in 2022. Twenty-two police officers were disciplined last year in connection with 14 incidents including covering up a cellblock beating, and failing to report a barricade incident before fatally shooting the suspect, according to the Honolulu Police Department’s annual report to the state Legislature. Star-Advertiser.

1,700 Oahu parking meters now accepting payment via phone app. About 1,700 parking meters on Oahu have been configured to accept parking payments via a phone app, the City and County of Honolulu’s Department of Transportation Services announced. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

‘It’s Ridiculous’: Public Grows Frustrated By Lack Of Fresh Water At Popular Big Island Beach. DLNR has tried to fix the waterline at least 40 times over the past four years at Hapuna Beach. Civil Beat.

National Park Superintendent John Broward Retires. Broward was Superintendent of Kaloko-Honokōhau and Puʻuhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park, as well as a former Chief Law Enforcement Ranger for HVNP. Big Island Video News.


Shift in council power changes committee roles. With the new dynamics on the Maui County Council that put the “progressive” members in the minority, high-profile council committees such as budget and affordable housing once held by the progressives are now under new leadership. Maui News.

Council to consider resolution protecting traditional and indigenous birth attendant practices.
The council will consider Resolution 23-38 at its meeting on Friday, urging the State Legislature to enact a statute permanently exempting birth attendants from state licensure requirements, Council member Keani Rawlins-Fernandez announced. Maui Now.

Two Maui County lawmakers named to panel overseeing $600M in DHHL funds. Central Maui Rep. Troy Hashimoto will chair a working group tasked with oversight of the $600 million provided to the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands to address its beneficiary waiting list. Maui News.

Some appear to be flouting new rules for commercial bike tours on Maui. New rules started Wednesday to limit Maui’s famous cycling tours down Haleakala. Hawaii News Now.


Kaua‘i county council chair Rapozo calls for simpler tax code. After a four-hour county Finance Department presentation before the Kaua‘i County Council on Wednesday, Council Chair Mel Rapozo called for a streamlining of the tax system. Garden Island.

Marine debris contributed to death of sperm whale found at Lydgate Beach on Kaua’i. Researchers at the Health and Stranding Lab spent 15-hours trying to find clues about the death of a 56-foot-long sperm whale that washed up Friday on the reef in front of Lydgate Park on Kaua’i. Kauai Now. KITV4.

Friday, November 4, 2022

Climate change brings Hawaii more rainbows, Honolulu cops violate body cam rules, new black hole discovered, Pacific garbage patch shifts away from Kauai, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2022 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
UH Study: Expect to see more rainbows due to climate change. The Hawaiian Islands, already called the “Rainbow Capital of the World,” are predicted to experience a few more days with rainbows per year due to climate change. The scourge that threatens the health and livelihood of humans and other life on the planet will increase opportunities to see rainbows, according to a study led by researchers at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. Maui Now. Kauai Now. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Interior Department seeking input on new Hawaiian consultation process. The U.S. Department of the Interior plans to hold two meetings — one next week and another in December. It’s part of the federal government’s plan to require formal consultation with Native Hawaiian communities on issues that impact them. Hawaii Public Radio.

Why Parents Want ‘More Of A Voice’ In Hawaii’s Education System. Stakeholders are cautiously hopeful that the state’s new plan for public education will reflect their feedback this time around. Civil Beat.

Department of Education braces for increased electricity bills. In the past, Hawaiʻi’s public schools have gone before legislators asking for help to pay the power bills. It’s likely schools will ask for an emergency appropriation due to surging electricity rates. Meanwhile, Gov. David Ige has rolled out adding 1,200 more air conditioners to cool down classrooms. Hawaii Public Radio.


Honolulu City Council approves bill to streamline building permitting process. The measure replaces a notary requirement with an online form that property owners can submit to affirm they have no pending fines or penalties with the city. Hawaii Public Radio.

Honolulu Police Department body-worn camera violations rise. There were 95 violations of the Honolulu Police Department’s policies on use of body-worn cameras this year through September, nearly doubling the 58 total reported in 2021 in a review of administrative investigations as the department deliberates discipline that goes beyond counseling. Star-Advertiser. KHON2.

Meth remains Oahu’s top overdose killer. Methamphetamine continues to be the most deadly drug on Oahu, in contrast to a national trend of soaring deaths related to fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid, according to a new state dashboard that tracks metrics related to substance abuse and mental health disorders. Star-Advertiser.

Katherine Kealoha claims to have told prosecutors who stole her infamous mailbox. Nearly a decade after the infamous mailbox theft at the Kealohas’ Kahala home, Katherine Kealoha revealed in a court filing that she knows who did it ― and told prosecutors. Hawaii News Now.

Hundreds of Aloha Stadium artifacts sold at auction. A state agency unloaded over 500 items from Aloha Stadium including seat backs and pieces of artificial turf at an auction that ended Wednesday evening ahead of a still-uncertain plan to replace the 47-year-old facility in Halawa. Star-Advertiser.

Election prep underway: Take a tour of the sorting facility for Oahu’s mail-in ballots. With the general election Tuesday, county and state elections officials are already busy sorting mail-in ballots as they prepare to count votes. City Elections Administrator Rex Quidilla gave HNN a tour of the county’s sorting facility at Honolulu’s airport. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Astronomers discover closest black hole to Earth using Maunakea telescope. A team of astronomers using the Gemini North Telescope on Maunakea detected a black hole only 1,600 light-years from Earth, about one-third of the distance away from the previous known closest black hole. Tribune-Herald.

County Council and housing office divided on how to use new funding for homeless problem. When it comes to tackling homelessness on the Big Island, there is a divide between the Hawai‘i County Council and the Hawai‘i County Office of Housing and Community Development about how to spend an estimated $9 million through the end of next June to address the islandwide problem. Big Island Now.

Affordable housing project advances: Council panel agrees with exemptions for 229-unit project. An affordable housing project in Waikoloa got nine thumbs up Tuesday, signaling an easy approval when the County Council meets later this month to take a final vote on the plan. West Hawaii Today.

Council OKs zoning applications for Honokaa housing development. Lehua Villages is a pair of planned subdivisions in Honokaa which together would offer 40 new lots for single-family housing, half of which would be available at the county’s affordable housing rates. Tribune-Herald.

Husband Sues Pit Bull Owners For Wrongful Death After Wife Dies From Dog Attack. The lawsuit also seeks damages from the landlord of the property from where the animals had evidently escaped. Civil Beat.

A Big Island Business Group Is Putting On A Drag Show Despite The Handful Of Haters. A flurry of emails from people expressing concern about a drag show this weekend on the Big Island will not succeed in canceling the event, organizers said. Civil Beat.


Maui Looks To Crackdown On Companies Selling Shares Of Second Homes. A County Council measure would expand the definition of timeshare to include stays of up to 180 days to try to limit multiple owners from buying into vacation homes. Civil Beat.

Maui proposes major improvements to Lahaina’s Front Street. Decades of exposure to salt air and crashing waves have taken their toll on two seawalls and scenic walkways in Lahaina town that have served as a backdrop for countless photos. Star-Advertiser.

9.5-acres at ʻŌpelu Point in Kīpahulu, Maui is now protected in perpetuity. Mayor Michael Victorino and the Office of Climate Change, Resiliency, and Sustainability awarded a grant of $2.5 million from the Open Space, Natural Resources, Cultural Resources, and Scenic Views Preservation Fund to Kīpahulu ʻOhana for the acquisition of ‘Ōpelu Point. Maui Now.

Former Maui police officer sentenced to 10 years for attempted child enticement. Brandon Charles Saffeels, 38, a former Maui Police Department officer, was sentenced today to 10 years in prison and a 15-year term of supervised release following that prison term for attempted child enticement. The sentencing comes a year after he was ordered to serve two and 1/2 years for offering to sabotage a Kahului woman’s drunk driving case in exchange for sex. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Union PAC shifts attention to Maui races amid contentious debate over development. “Be Change Now,” a PAC controlled by the Carpenters Union, is dominating spending in key council races in a county where slow-growth and development interests often clash. Hawaii News Now.

Incumbent council member Sugimura, challenger Hocker face off once more for Upcountry seat. After going unchallenged in the 2020 election, incumbent Council Member Yuki Lei Sugimura is defending her seat against progressive-endorsed candidate Jordan Hocker. Maui News.


Shifting Garbage Patch means less marine debris on Kaua‘i. As the location of the garbage patch shifts amid changing ocean currents, the amount of debris washing up on island has fallen dramatically. Garden Island.

Construction of Kapa‘a roundabout continues; more lane closures scheduled. Construction of a roundabout at the intersection of Mailihuna Road, Hau‘a‘ala Road and Kawaihau Road in Kapa‘a continues and additional lane closures are planned next week to accommodate the work. Kauai Now.

Friday, July 29, 2022

Tourism spending up, Katherine Kealoha wants out, gas prices drop, school starts Monday, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2022 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
On a black sand beach in Hawaii ©2022 All Hawaii News
 Hawaii visitor count drops but spending exceeds pre-pandemic levels U.S. arrivals to Hawaii softened in June. Arrivals from Hawaii’s top market for visitors — the U.S. West — were up 10% compared with June 2019, but they were down 4.5% from June 2021, the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism reported Thursday. Star-Advertiser. Big Island Now. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii hotels finish fiscal year strong, lead nation in key revenue measures.
Hotels in the islands ended the 2021-2022 fiscal year with another strong month in June. Hotel revenues aren't only surpassing 2019 numbers — they're leading the nation. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii drivers start to see some relief at the pump. The average price for a gallon of unleaded gas in Hawaii is now $5.48, down about 11 cents from last week, AAA Hawaii reports. Hawaii News Now.

Conservationists see gains, but still struggle to find long-term funding  Hawaiʻi has made great strides in protecting its natural resources. For instance, 10 watershed partnership organizations now work to maintain over 2 million acres — nearly half of the state's total land area — across five islands.  Hawaii Public Radio.

Campaign finance deadline missed by 30 Hawaii candidates, incumbents. Some 30 political candidates — including incumbents — failed to file mandatory financial disclosure statements by Monday’s deadline and will be fined $50 ahead of the Aug. 13 party primary elections, according to the state Ethics Commission. Star-Advertiser.

Suspected Russian spy from Kapolei held without bail; investigators find coded messages, invisible ink kit. A U.S. defense contractor and his wife charged with fraudulently living for decades under the stolen identities of two dead infants told family they were going into the witness protection program before abruptly abandoning their house and leaving Texas about 40 years ago, a federal prosecutor said today. Associated Press. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Ahead of new school year, educators are hopeful, anxious ― and ready to make up for lost time. Teachers hope that more than ever, this school year will focus on learning. Educators and staff members are back on campus prepping for the new school year, which starts Monday. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Monkeypox Misconceptions: The virus isn’t only an LGBTQ+ concern, officials say. Gay, bisexual and transgendered individuals have been labeled “high risk” when it comes to catching monkeypox because a number of cases have been linked back to those social circles. However ,the DOH says the virus is not solely a sexually transmitted disease and can infect anyone. Hawaii News Now.


Target date for new Aloha Stadium is now 2026
. The money is now available, but construction of the new Aloha Stadium in Halawa won’t start until at least a year from now. Star-Advertiser.

Public weighs in on new plan to control flooding in the Ala Wai watershed. The City and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is trying again on plans to prevent major storm flooding from the Ala Wai watershed into Waikiki. The Corps presented seven preliminary plans, which included 51 different flood management measures, at a meeting Thursday night at the Ala Wai Golf Course Club. Hawaii News Now.

Katherine Kealoha requests release from custody. In a letter to District Court, Katherine Kealoha requested that she be released from custody for ineffective counsel. KHON2.

Despite worsening drought, water use decreasing on Oahu. The good news is that water consumption is down 5% on Oahu, according to the Honolulu Board of Water Supply, and it appears likely that mandatory water restrictions will not be necessary this summer. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi announces restart of city’s outdoor dining program. Bill 27 which was unanimously approved by the Honolulu City Council earlier this month, allows restaurants to apply for a one-year permit to operate dining service on the sidewalk directly outside of its storefront. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

TheBus Is Trying To Recover Riders Lost During The Pandemic.
Why Not Cut Fares? A sustained fare cut isn’t part of a campaign next month to boost ridership. City transportation leaders say the move could hurt Oahu’s existing bus service. Civil Beat.

Former Makiki Community Library to be revamped as a community center. The former library building at Makiki District Park will be renovated to be a community center. The Makiki Community Library has been closed since 2018. Hawaii Public Radio.

Nonprofit purchase deal protects Paiko Ridge in perpetuity. A large swath of Paiko Ridge in East Honolulu will now be protected from development, thanks to a deal brokered by Livable Hawaii Kai Hui to purchase the land from its owner. Star-Advertiser. KITV4.

Hawaii Island

Strong June for tourism: 157,443 visited Big Island last month, despite surging prices. After years of COVID-induced stagnation, Hawaii visitor rates have all but recovered, with June arrivals nearly matching prepandemic numbers. Tribune-Herald.

State extends deadline for Mauna Kea panel. Gov. David Ige and leadership from the state Senate and House of Representatives have extended the application deadline for seats on the Mauna Kea Stewardship and Oversight Authority to Aug. 8. Star-Advertiser. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Now. Hawaii News Now.

Board to discuss UH teaching telescope planned for Halepohaku. A planned installation for an educational telescope at Halepohaku on Maunakea is on schedule to be completed some time in 2024. Tribune-Herald.

Police, fire unaware of any emergencies missed due to telecommunications outage. While data is still being collected on any 911 calls that were missed— and how many individuals may have been affected — police said that they were unaware of any emergency situations that were missed due to fiber optic issues. West Hawaii Today.

Pilot Whistleblower Hotlines up and Running to Report Suspected Fraud. Keeping government accountable includes having policies and procedures in place to allow tips and complaints to be made and follow-up investigations and audits to happen, when warranted, as quickly and efficiently as possible. Big Island Now.

Candidates Seeking Big Island House Seat Differ On Style, Campaign Fundraising. Incumbent Chris Todd and his opponent, Shannon Matson, have a lot in common but there are some things that set them apart. Civil Beat.

IRONMAN To Return To Kona in 2023 With Two-Day Format. Race organizers today announced that the 2023 VinFast IRONMAN® World Championship triathlon will continue with a two-day format in Kailua-Kona, on October 12 & 14. This year, for the first time in the 40-plus year history of the event, and a pandemic-related hiatus from Kona, the 2022 VinFast IRONMAN World Championship will take place over two days in Kona on October 6 & 8. Big Island Video News.


Journal article documents sunscreen runoff from beach showers in Hawaiʻi as an environmental threat. In advance of Maui County’s ban on reef-damaging chemical sunscreens taking effect on Oct. 1 of this year, Councilmember Kelly Takaya King announced she and Councilmember Tamara Paltin have co-authored a scientific journal article documenting that sunscreen washed off at beach showers in Hawai‘i pollutes the environment at levels that pose a threat to shore and marine ecosystems. Maui Now.

County-state agreement opens door for more public parking at popular Keawakapu Beach
. Beach flare-ups over parking may cool off with a new plan to put in more public stalls at popular Keawakapu in South Maui. Maui Now.

Three federal earmarks for Maui County advance out of US Senate Appropriations Committee.
Proposed federal earmarks for three Maui County projects, including $11 million for the Hālau of ʻŌiwi Art planned for Wailuku town, have successfully moved out of the US Senate Appropriations Committee. Other earmarks include $1.4 million to help Maui County renovate the former GTE Hawaiian Tel Building for the County’s Emergency Operations Center and $180,000 for Maui Police Department’s project to expand radio communications in West Maui. Maui Now.


Two Brun associates sentenced. As former county council member turned drug kingpin Arthur Brun awaits transfer to a mainland prison, associates Steven Keli‘ikuli and Orlando Manguchei were sentenced to prison terms this week. Garden Island.

A host of candidates at Kaua‘i Chamber of Commerce mayor’s lunch. This is an election year, and the audience boasted a host of candidates for various offices. Garden Island.

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Honolulu police reforms proposed, Kealoha doctor brother convicted on 38 counts of opioid distribution, school reverses lei ban, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Honolulu Ballot Proposals Would Reshape Police Oversight. The charter amendments need support from six of nine City Council members to be added to the November ballot. Civil Beat.

State Rep. Sharon Har skirts question about why she went out during COVID-19. State Rep. Sharon Har has yet to explain to a special House committee why she was out at night during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021 while taking prescription medication for a respiratory ailment, drank alcohol and was subsequently arrested — and later acquitted — of drunken driving. Star-Advertiser.

Positive COVID-19 tests on the rise as Hawaii’s free testing program comes to an end
. On Wednesday, the state’s weekly average positivity rate rose to 7.1% — up from 4.9% the previous week and 4.0% the week prior to that, according to the state Department of Health.  Star-Advertiser.

Hawai‘i reports 17 new deaths, 1,736 Covid-19 infections in past week. There are 1,212 coronavirus cases on O‘ahu, 150 on the Big Island, 88 on Kaua‘i, three on Lana‘i, 206 on Maui, seven on Moloka‘i, and 70 diagnosed out of state. Hawaii News Now.


Commission Recommends Prosecution In Falsified Campaign Donations Case. Developer Timothy Lee allegedly reimbursed his employees for thousands of dollars they gave to candidates in 2020. The executive of a company leading development in the Ala Moana area could be facing criminal penalties over allegations that he made illegal donations to Honolulu mayoral candidates in 2020. Civil Beat.

World champ big wave surfer Makua Rothman files papers to run for City Council. Rothman is making a bid for the seat held by Heidi Tsuneyoshi, who is now running for governor as a Republican. Hawaii News Now.

HFD says new $12M helicopter will make rescues safer. The Honolulu Fire Department is asking the City Council for funds to purchase a new helicopter. KHON2.

Wahiawa Nursing Home Will Close Its Doors In July. The staff of the Wahiawa Nursing and Rehabilitation Center will help about 60 residents find new homes, officials said. Civil Beat.

Leilehua High School reverses ban on lei giving at graduation ceremony. The school was under fire for banning lei, saying the decision was based on COVID restrictions. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Despite uptick in COVID cases, some parents say it’s time to move beyond masks in classrooms. Dozens of parents and children signs in front of the state office building in Wailuku on Wednesday morning. They want the state Department of Education to remove its mask mandate for public school classrooms. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Hawaii Island

Gas tax cut stalls at council. The final measure of a tax-trimming trifecta — a move to cut the gas tax by 10 cents a gallon — stalled Wednesday in the County Council. West Hawaii Today.

Army study won’t recommend altering Hilo breakwater. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers initiated a second study in 2021 to determine whether opening a breach in the breakwater would demonstrably improve the bay’s water quality. That study, however, determined that it would not. Tribune-Herald.

Katherine Kealoha’s Brother Convicted Of Running Prescription Drug Ring. Dr. Rudolph B. Puana, 50, of Waimea was found guilty in federal court Wednesday of 38 counts of distributing and dispensing oxycodone, one count of distributing or dispensing fentanyl “outside the course of professional practice and without a legitimate medical purpose,” and conspiracy to distribute or dispense the drugs. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Big Island Now. Hawaii News Now.


As wastewater soils ocean, Māʻalaea injection wells fuel debate over who’s liable. Wastewater is leaking from archaic Māʻalaea condominiums injection wells, damaging ocean reef and other natural habitats.  Maui Now.

Maui Judge Tells Irrigation Company To Temporarily Restore Water. A Maui County judge on Tuesday told Launiupoko Irrigation Co. that it needs to restore running water to families in Kauaula Valley after the private water company cut it off before the Easter weekend without notice. Civil Beat.

Cleanup underway to remove 175 abandoned vehicles from remote Kanaio area of Maui. Approximately 175 abandoned derelict cars and trucks are being removed from a remote area of Kanaio on Maui over the next three weeks, according to the state Department of Land and Natural Resources. Maui Now. KITV4.

Maui parents, students rally against DOE mask rules. Saying that masks should be a choice, about 50 to 75 people rallied in Wailuku this morning against the state Department of Education’s indoor mask mandate. Maui Now.


Most-polluted test site in April is Moloa‘a Stream. The Blue Water Task Force has released its April test results. Garden Island.

Protesters want to ‘let children breathe’.
An anticipated group of more than three dozen people was expected at a sign-waving rally decrying the required wearing of face masks by school students in an indoor setting Wednesday. Garden Island.

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Honolulu looks to hotel tax to prop up rail budget, Kilauea threat level lowered, state seeks to hold on to FEMA nurses, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy HART
Honolulu rail station PC:HART

How to shore up rail project’s budget? HART wants visitors to foot some of the bill. Should tourists help fund the rail project? The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation is among those exploring the idea, which would use hotel room tax revenues to help shore up the budget for the embattled project. Hawaii News Now.

HART officials have no answers for Oahu rail’s door, wheel, track problems. Rail officials continue to search for a solution for too-thin wheels on too-wide track but have yet to receive interest on a contract offer that had a Sept. 24 deadline for bids to fix the problem. Star-Advertiser.

Former MMA star, Hilo native BJ Penn announces run for governor of Hawaii.
BJ Penn, a native of Hilo, announced his run for Hawaii governor Monday on Instagram. He says he plans to remove all new federal and state COVID-19 mandates that have "been hurting our economy, residents, and ohana." KITV4.

Air Force might look at Hawaii for updated radar aircraft. Hawaii didn’t get 18 Navy P-8 Poseidon maritime aircraft a number of years ago as planned, but it would be a great location for another 737 derivative, the E-7 Wedgetail airborne early warning and control platform, according to one missile defense expert. Star-Advertiser.

Commission Moves DHHL Legislative Proposals Forward. The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands has prepared legislative proposals to be recommended for inclusion in the Governor’s next legislative package following a solicitation for public input. Maui Now.

Hundreds of Hawaii parents on waitlists for afterschool child care services. At least 2,600 children in critical need of afterschool care are currently on A+ Afterschool program waitlists across the state due to severe staffing shortages. KITV4.

Green Calls For Quicker End To Hawaii Covid-19 Restrictions. Vaccinated residents would be allowed to attend events so long as they wear masks under a new policy being proposed by the lieutenant governor. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser. Tribune-Herald.

As mainland relief nurses near the end of their contracts, experts warn some hospitals are still very full. Over the next two weeks, contracts will expire for 247 traveling nurses and respiratory therapists deployed to Hawaii over the summer. Now negotiations are underway to keep many of those mainland healthcare workers on island ― at least a little while longer. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

State defends its decision to release fewer details daily on COVID fatalities.
Some Hawaii public health researchers are decrying the state’s decision to release less information daily about COVID fatalities in Hawaii, citing staffing issues. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii records 3 new coronavirus-related deaths, 195 additional infections. The new confirmed and probable infection count by island includes 118 new cases on Oahu, 16 on Maui, 40 on Hawaii Island, 14 on Kauai and seven Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state. Star-Advertiser.


Puana’s attorney files motion to restrict use of select language during upcoming trial. Katherine Kealoha’s brother is getting ready for his drug trial, and wants to control the language used by prosecutors. Dr. Rudy Puana’s attorney filed a motion Monday asking a judge to forbid the terms “opioid crisis” and “opioid epidemic” from being used during the trial because it could taint his client. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu To Pay $10 Million To Family Of Man Killed By Driver Fleeing Police. Three people died, and four others were injured, in the 2019 crash. The driver is now in prison. Civil Beat. KHON2.

Attorney blames police officer’s grudge for Makaha crash that left 6 injured. An attorney is blaming a long-running grudge by an HPD officer for the Makaha crash that seriously injured six people last month. Hawaii News Now.

Supply shortage limits availability of at-home COVID test kits. Supply issues prompted the Honolulu Fire Department to announce there will be no at-home COVID test kits available until next week. Hawaii News Now. Star-Advertiser. KHON2. KITV4.

Bikeshare firm poised to survive but faces challenges.
Bikeshare Hawaii Executive Director Todd Boulanger said Monday that Biki’s survival is no longer threatened, thanks to a bump in ridership over the summer. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Hawaiian Volcano Observatory lowers Kilauea alert level as eruption expected to stay within crater. The eruption, which started Wednesday, has been confined to Halemaumau Crater within Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, and HVO officials said there’s no indication of any activity migrating elsewhere on the volcano. Star-Advertiser. Tribune-Herald. West Hawaii Today. Big Island Video News. Big Island Now.

The University of Hawaii is hosting what it calls a “virtual public forum” in which the public can ask questions via email about UH’s draft Maunakea Master Plan. The event will be livestreamed between 5-7 p.m. Wednesday on UH’s YouTube channel at Tribune-Herald.

Solar farms: Public invited to weigh in on two large West Hawaii projects.
Two large solar farms could come to the West Hawaii coast, thanks to projects contemplated by the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands. West Hawaii Today.

Police, county and state crews clear homeless campsite in Kona.
Seven Hawaii Police Department Community Policing officers along with six state and county roads division employees spent Friday morning clearing a homeless camp site on Kuakini Highway in Kailua-Kona. The camp, located across from Coconut Grove Marketplace in Historic Kailua Village, had been occupied for just two weeks by a 55-year-old man who suffers from bipolar disorder and Tourette’s syndrome. West Hawaii Today.

No response yet to Olson Trust lawsuit. There has been no public response yet to a lawsuit by the Edmund C. Olson Trust against a developer who sought to redevelop two properties on Banyan Drive in Hilo. Tribune-Herald.


Applications Sought for Molokaʻi, Lānaʻi and E. Maui Conservation Planning Committee. Each appointee to the Molokaʻi, Lānaʻi and East Maui seats must be full-time residents of the community plan area. Full-time residents are defined as one who resides in their residency area for at least 90 consecutive days. Maui Now.

Demand slows for Maui rental cars after earlier shortage. Demand for rental cars on Maui is slowing down after a shortage of vehicles sent prices soaring when more tourists returned amid the pandemic. Maui News. Associated Press.


Kauaʻi voters will go to the polls to elect a new prosecuting attorney.
A special primary election will be held on Dec. 18. If there are two or more candidates, the top two vote-getters will advance to a special general election on Feb. 26. Hawaii Public Radio.
Kauai’s First Prosecutor Candidate Files For Special Election. Rebecca Like describes herself as a reform-minded candidate who would work to continue former prosecutor Justin Kollar’s legacy. Civil Beat.

Recycling rules often go unheeded, surveyors say. Residents are confused, skeptical and critical of dirty recycling facilities, according to Zero Waste Kaua‘i. Garden Island.

$4.9 million in CIP funds released for Kaua‘i. Nearly $5 million in funding was released for capital improvement projects across Kaua’i in recent months, the majority of which was dedicated to upgrading and renovating sports facilities on the island, the Office of Gov. David Ige announced last month. Garden Island.

Travelers arrested on Kauaʻi for fake COVID test results. Local authorities arrested two people from California for submitting fake COVID-19 test results to avoid a mandatory traveler quarantine meant to curb the virus' spread in Hawaiʻi. Associated Press.

Who Is Killing The Monk Seals On Molokai? At least two of the six endangered seals found dead on Molokai so far this year were killed by humans. Civil Beat.

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Case not dismissed against 3 police officers charged with killing teen, Feds: prosecutor Kealoha spread cocaine on husband Honolulu police chief's desk, COVID cases continue climb, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Honolulu Police Officer Zackary Ah Nee, front, followed by Officers Christopher Fredeluces and Geoffrey Thom enter Judge Domingo's courtroom after a short recess, Tuesday, July 20, 2021, in Honolulu. Pool photo by Cory Lum/Honolulu Civil Beat.

Judge denies motion to dismiss charges against 3 Honolulu Police Department officers in fatal shooting of teen. An Oahu District Court judge Tuesday denied a motion to dismiss murder and attempted murder charges against three Honolulu police officers in connection with the April 5 fatal shooting of unarmed 16-year-old Iremamber Sykap, who had methamphetamine in his system and was at the wheel of a stolen car that had allegedly been involved in a violent, two-day crime spree. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Hawaii Officials Are Making A Cybersecurity Push To Keep Federal Contracts Flowing. Federal agencies are moving toward stricter enforcement of cybersecurity requirements for companies seeking government contracts. Civil Beat.

House Foreign Affairs Committee Votes To Increase US Engagement In The Pacific. A measure that would expand U.S. influence in Pacific Island nations has cleared a key committee in the House of Representatives as lawmakers move to boost America’s competitiveness with China. Civil Beat.

Shrinking military, students could affect reapportionment.
The number of nonresident military families and students to be extracted from population counts before state House and Senate seats are allocated to islands is down significantly from the 2010 census, a factor that could affect the distribution of legislative seats for the coming decade. West Hawaii Today.

Ige: Indoor masking, social distancing to continue. Gov. David Ige said Tuesday it’s not yet time to roll back government-imposed coronavirus-related restrictions on restaurants and other businesses. Tribune-Herald. KHON2.

Health Department revising school guidance with the virus on the rise in Hawaii. The state Department of Health is revising its public school guidance for on-campus learning as COVID-19 is surging again and schools are set to open in less than two weeks. Star-Advertiser.

3% of Hawaii’s COVID cases are among vaccinated people, Lt. Gov. Green says.  Health officials insist this is now a “pandemic of the unvaccinated” after most cases reported were in unvaccinated individuals. However, a small number of vaccinated individuals are still contracting COVID-19. According to Hawaii’s Lt. Gov. Josh Green, about 3% of the recent cases have been in those who got the shot. Hawaii News Now.

Infection rate among Hawaii’s unvaccinated now as high as it was for entire state during pandemic’s peak. From hospitals to pop-up clinics and pharmacies across the state, it’s easier than ever to get a COVID vaccine. But despite extraordinary access, 40% of Hawaii residents remain unvaccinated ― and the virus is spreading quickly among them. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii marks 6th consecutive day of triple-digit cases with 100 new coronavirus infections. Today’s new confirmed and probable infection count by island includes 75 new cases on Oahu, six on Maui, 15 on Hawaii Island, one on Kauai and three Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state. Star-Advertiser.


Anthony Aalto Moves Closer To Replacing Joe Uno On HART Board.
If the full City Council approves it at a later meeting, Aalto, an Oahu-based investigative journalist, documentarian and former Sierra Club Oahu Group chair will replace Joe Uno, a construction-cost estimator who’s called for a pause to rail construction at Middle Street. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser.

The Kealohas, Cocaine Parties And Oxycodone. In an upcoming criminal trial, Katherine Kealoha’s brother, Rudolph Puana, is accused of running a prescription drug ring out of his Big Island pain clinic. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.

Haiku Stairs’ removal advances at City Council. The stairs have been hotly debated for years, with nearby residents upset by traffic and other disturbances, and hikers hoping for legal access to the Stairway to Heaven. Star-Advertiser. KHON2.

Kaimuki Wants To Return The Queen Theater To Its Former Glory. Years of neglect prompted the Honolulu City Council, at the neighborhood’s request, to propose buying the historical building from a reclusive property owner. Civil Beat.

Disabled Kailua Tenants Say New Parking Rule ‘Makes Things Tough’ For Them. A new law passed by the Legislature two years ago forbids the use of disability placards to park in metered stalls. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Island

Hawaii County reinstates testing program. Amid a recent increase in positive cases throughout the state, Hawaii County has reinstated its free community COVID-19 testing program. West Hawaii Today.

Shuttle service for Maunakea on hold, ‘not dead’. Although the Maunakea Visitor Information Station reopened last week after a year of COVID-related closure, a proposed shuttle service to the popular destination will not happen anytime soon. Tribune-Herald.

HIHS Shelters to Reopen to Public in August. The Hawai‘i Island Humane Society is slated to reopen its two animal shelters to the public in August. Big Island Now.


Maui measure that would’ve put a moratorium on new hotel construction vetoed. Maui Mayor Mike Victorino vetoed a bill that would have temporarily halted construction of new hotels and resorts in Maui County. Victorino said Bill 60, which would set up a 2-year moratorium, did not address short-term rentals or bed-and-breakfast establishments. Hawaii News Now. Maui Now. KITV4.

Dozens of Maui Residents Rally for Affordable Housing. Dozens of Maui residents held a rally for affordable housing as the county's median home price tops $1 million and the county council considers a new affordable housing plan. Associated Press. KITV4.

OHA Board Chair: Water Use Permit Application on Molokaʻi Would Enable 171 New Homestead Service Connections. Office of Hawaiian Affairs Board Chair Carmen “Hulu” Lindsey of Maui released a statement today discussing the upcoming Department of Hawaiian Home Lands water use permit application on Molokaʻi. Maui Now.


Kawakami talks tourism, tax, traffic at Chamber luncheon. Mayor Derek Kawakami tackled the island’s ongoing tourism boom and a slew of other topics Tuesday during the Kaua‘i Chamber of Commerce’s Seventh annual Mayor’s Luncheon. Garden Island.

Amidst car shortage, county launches transportation resource website. The county Office of Economic Development announced the launch of a new website aimed at informing both visitors and residents of various transportation options available on Kaua‘i. Garden Island.