Showing posts with label Keith Kaneshiro. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Keith Kaneshiro. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Housing top of mind for Legislature, DHHL, Maui to allocate $13M police COVID hazard pay, Green lobbies Washington for aid for Lahaina, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Almost 12,000 affordable homes in Hawaii could be lost over next 20 years, study says. AARP Hawai‘i commissioned the study from Washington, D.C.-based Smart Growth America, and is scheduled to brief two legislative committees today on results. Star-Advertiser.

DHHL changes $600M spending plan to prioritize acquired land development. The state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands is making last-minute changes to its spending plan for the $600 million the agency needs to encumber by the end of June.  Hawaii Public Radio.

Why The State’s Housing Working Group Is Being Dissolved. The Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corp. is taking over for the Build Beyond Barriers Working Group. Civil Beat.

Maui costs may lead to budget cuts for state departments
. There are serious budget cuts on the table for state departments. In a memo, the Chairman of the Senate’s Ways and Means Committee asked department heads to propose 10% and 15% budget reductions to cover soaring costs from the Maui wildfires. KHON2.

Gov. Josh Green lobbies for more federal aid for Lahaina. Green said his visit with the nation's top leaders paid off because the feds have agreed to pay more than $40 million to get people out of hotels and into condos. KITV4.

On eve of roll-out, fund for wildfire deaths still awaits legislative approval. The Governor’s “One Ohana Fund” aims to pay $1.5 million each to families of people who died or were seriously injured in the Maui wildfire. Hawaii News Now.

Statewide survey shows strong public support for protecting natural resources. A statewide survey commissioned by the Care for ‘Āina Now coalition, formerly known as the Hawai‘i Green Fee Coalition, shows strong support for state funding of legislative bills to fund natural resource stewardship, the coalition announced. Maui Now.

Measure calls for homeless triage center.  A homeless triage center would be established within the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division of the state Department of Health under a proposal advancing at the state Legislature. Star-Advertiser.

Hawai‘i lawmakers to hold public hearing on vicious dog bill. Bills that would increase the penalties for owners whose dogs have seriously injured or killed someone are moving through the State Legislature with a public hearing scheduled this morning in the Senate Judiciary Committee. Big Island Now.

State measure to help combat invasive two-line spittlebug.
The State House of Representatives Committee on Finance took up a measure on Thursday to fund mitigation and control of the two-lined spittlebug, an invasive pest that has destroyed thousands of acres of pasture land on the Big Island. West Hawaii Today.


Federal Judge Says He’ll Rule Soon On Motions In Kaneshiro Bribery Case. The trial against former Honolulu prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro and those accused of trying to bribe him with campaign donations, including businessman Dennis Mitsunuaga, is currently scheduled for March 12.  Civil Beat.

HART board to consider scrapping internal audit. Plans to scrap a previously sought top-down internal review of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation are expected for review today. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu police fire 3 officers in Makaha crash case. Three Honolulu Police Department officers awaiting trial for allegedly causing a high-speed chase and crash and covering it up in Makaha in September 2021 were fired by the department. Star-Advertiser.

Green ‘super concerned’ about petroleum-based detections in water at 7 Hawaii schools. There’s growing concern after seven public schools in the Pearl Harbor area showed detections of petroleum-based chemicals. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Big Island cable market could see fresh face. The state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs will hold public meetings in Hilo and Kailua-Kona today to solicit feedback about a plan by Hawaiian Telcom to enter the island’s cable television market. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News.


Maui settles COVID hazard pay grievance with police for $13 million.
Less than a month after an arbitrator ruled that thousands of state workers were owed COVID-19 hazard pay for their efforts during the pandemic, the County of Maui settled a grievance with the Maui Police Department for about $13 million. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.  KHON2.

No high levels of bacteria found off of West Maui in five months following Lahaina wildfire. Ocean water quality samples taken from seven sites off the Lahaina burn zone showed no high bacteria levels five months after the Aug. 8 wildfires, according to the 2023 Blue Water Task Force water quality report released by the Surfrider Foundation Hawaiʻi. Maui Now.

Maui police arrest 13-year-old for alleged threat at Kalama; Investigation remains active at Baldwin and ʻĪao schools. A 13-year-old girl was arrested for Terroristic Threatening in connection with an alleged threat at Kalama Intermediate School.  Police say an investigation revealed the teen was responsible for the Kalama threat and she was arrested at approximately 3:20 p.m.  Civil Beat. Maui Now.  KITV4.


Big crowd turns out for Waimea Town Celebration. Hundreds of people collected at the Waimea Product Fair under the shade of the old sugar mill to wrap up the 47th Waimea Town Celebration over the weekend. Garden Island.

Friday, February 23, 2024

Economists predict slow but stable growth, Kaneshiro corruption case expands to contract killing allegations, Buttigieg rides the rail, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

UHERO: ‘Resilient’ US Economy, Return Of Tourists Bolster Hawaii’s Outlook. UHERO Executive Director Carl Bonham said Thursday at a news conference to discuss UHERO’s first-quarter forecast that “the overall picture is one of sort of continued growth but much, much slower and, going forward, even slower growth.” Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Education Department braces for severe budget cuts.
State education officials say that between a new round of possible state budget cuts on top of a looming “federal fiscal cliff,” they are are bracing for a triple punch to the funding of Hawaii’s public school system. Star-Advertiser.

Senate WAM Committee advances bills on wildfire emergencies, workforce development. The Hawaiʻi State Senate Committee on Ways and Means advanced several bills aimed at addressing key priorities for the Senate, including legislation covering areas of wildfire preparedness and workforce development. Maui Now.

Funding bill to settle claims against the state advances. The House Committee on Finance on Thursday passed an appropriations bill to cover payments for claims against the state, its officers and employees. Tribune-Herald.

Class-Action Lawsuit Targets Aggressive Cosmetic Vendors. The Hawaii Office of Consumer Protection is notifying victims of aggressive cosmetic salespeople that they may be entitled to join a class-action lawsuit aimed at recouping money spent on unwanted purchases. Civil Beat.


Feds Are Confident Honolulu Rail Is Finally Moving In The Right Direction. U.S. Transportation Secretary Peter Buttigieg expressed strong support Thursday for Honolulu’s long-struggling Skyline rail line and even took a ride along the partially opened system, part of his daylong tour of transit, harbor and airport infrastructure projects across Oahu. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.  KITV4.

Defendant in public corruption case now part of a contract killer investigation. The FBI is investigating an alleged murder for hire plot targeting a federal judge and the special prosecutor involved in the upcoming public corruption trial involving Keith Kaneshiro, Honolulu’s longest serving prosecuting attorney, and employees of a politically connected engineering firm. Hawaii News Now.

Ala Wai harbor parking contract being contested.
The state Department of Land and Natural Resources and Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation today are expected to submit requests to the Board of Land and Natural Resources to deny three petitioners’ requests to hold contested case hearings. Star-Advertiser.

Community members react to possible new plans for Pali Lanes in Kailua.
Developer and property owner Alexander & Baldwin proposed redevelopment plans for a registered Hawaii Historic Landmark, Pali Lanes, which closed down over two years ago. KITV4.

Police focus on stopping smash-and-grab burglaries. The Honolulu Police Department says it is meeting with some success in ongoing operations to thwart smash-and-grab burglaries across Oahu, which have been on the uptick over the past few months. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now. KHON2. KITV4.

Hawaii Island

HVNP seeks public input for Kilauea summit plan. The National Park Service announced Thursday that it is developing a Kilauea Summit Area and Corridor Management Plan, a document that eventually will allow the NPS to better manage the transportation infrastructure around and within the park to reduce frequent traffic delays. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News.  Big Island Now.

County Clears Encampments At Kona Community Aquatic Center. County officials conducted another park rules enforcement operation in Kona on Thursday morning. Six individuals accepted offers for housing and other services. Big Island Video News. Big Island Now.

Possible Unexploded Ordnance Found Off Waikoloa Road. On Thursday afternoon, police said they were coordinating with the U. S. Army Explosive Ordnance Division for disposal of the 75 mm projectile. Big Island Video News. Big Island Now.

Big Island astronomers laud success of lunar mission. Hawaii astronomers were over the moon Thursday after a private commercial company’s spacecraft made the first successful American moon landing in more than 50 years. Tribune-Herald.


Group asks for extension of emergency protections for tenants facing evictions. A group rallying to help secondary victims of the August wildfires is asking Gov. Josh Green to extend protections for tenants facing evictions from landlords seeking more lucrative rental income tied to subsidized housing for displaced fire survivors. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now.

New MEMA head shares goals for the agency in first media interview. In his very first news interview as Maui’s recently installed top emergency management official, Amos Lonokailua-Hewett outlines his vision for the future of disaster response in the county.  KITV4.

War Memorial Gym gets major facelift. The gym is to be upgraded into a category-five-rated hurricane shelter.  Maui News.

New School Will Welcome Lahaina’s Hawaiian Immersion Students In April. A temporary campus being built to replace the destroyed King Kamehameha III Elementary School will also accommodate Hawaiian immersion students. Civil Beat.


Arson reported at multiple Kaua‘i parks; officials advise public to be vigilant. Trees at Lydgate Beach Park, ‘Anini Beach Park and Anahola Beach Park were recently found burned. Kauai Now.

Friday, February 16, 2024

Hawaii insures coral reef to guard against climate change, new Maui Emergency Management head says agency shouldn't take the lead in emergencies, Miske cousin testifies about chemical attack at nightclub, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

More Ocean Area Will Be Covered Under Hawaii’s New Coral Reef Insurance Policy. The novel approach to protecting reefs is expanding as state officials consider the more ways to guard against climate change. Civil Beat.

Bill proposes moving Hawaii school construction oversight back to DOE. Just as the state has been trumpeting its opening 13 public preschool classrooms well in advance of its Ready Keiki plan to open 50 to 80 by August, a bill is advancing to repeal the relatively new state School Facilities Authority and move all school construction back again to the state Department of Education, and the authority’s founding executive director has abruptly resigned. Star-Advertiser.

Measure seeks to grant autonomy to state Water Commission following the fires. A proposal currently advancing in the Legislature aims to strengthen the State Water Code and safeguard the Commission on Water Resource Management from outside influence. Hawaii Public Radio.

Lawmakers may set new requirement for EV charging in state buildings. House Bill 1829 would require that at least 25% of parking stalls be EV charger-ready in any new state building construction. Hawaii Public Radio.

Gender Inequalities Persist In Hawaii High School Sports 6 Years After Locker Room Scandal. A class-action lawsuit over problems at Campbell High School has been settled, but the state still has a lot of work to do to comply with a federal anti-discrimination law. Civil Beat.


Defendant in cases against former Honolulu prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro May Pose Danger To Others, Probation Officer Says. Sheri Jean Tanaka, a defendant in a high-profile Honolulu corruption case may be a “danger” to others or the community, and the court should reconsider the terms of her pretrial release, her probation officer said on Thursday.  Civil Beat.

Miske cousin testifies alleged crime boss ordered him to release chemical into nightclub. Kaulana Freitas also explained his role in a chemical attack at the District Nightclub in 2017, saying he released what he believed was tear gas in the club after Miske ordered him to do so. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu city job openings about 2,500, officials say. In May, DHR Director Nola Miyasaki told the Star- Advertiser that city staffing vacancies remained at 2,500 — a number down from over 3,000 vacancies the year prior. In 2022, Mayor Rick Blangiardi’s administration took measures to quash the six-month wait time it took to fill an average city and county employee position. Star-Advertiser.

After years of delays, redevelopment of Mayor Wright Housing gets the go-ahead. The Hawaii Public Housing Authority announced Thursday that the city’s Planning and Permitting Department has approved plans to redevelop Mayor Wright Housing. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.  KITV4.

New housing development could be coming to St. Francis School property. The property, which is zoned for residential use, was purchased for $23 million according to brokerage firm CBRE. And the developer is looking to build a slew of single family homes to be purchased for roughly $2 million a piece. KHON2.

Newest tiny-home kauhale is blessed on Middle Street
. Ho‘okahi Leo — or “a community with one voice” — was built using units relocated from Hawaii’s first “medical respite kauhale,” which went up temporarily in 2023 near the governor’s mansion and across from The Queen’s Medical Center as a pilot project for discharged homeless patients too frail to heal properly on the street. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii Public Radio.  KHON2.

Experts: Major changes at Wahiawa General will have health care impacts islandwide. Come spring, all inpatient services at Wahiawa General Hospital will be suspended — once Queen’s Health System takes control of the hospital. The reason: Health officials say the aging facility is in such disrepair, it’s not worth investing the money to fix. Hawaii News Now.

Lack of trucks delays refuse and recycling collection on East Oʻahu.
City and County of Honolulu officials didn't explain why there was a lack of collection vehicles, but assures the pick-ups will be made over the next couple of days. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii Island

Hawaiʻi County Democrats Elect Interim Chair. Pono Kekela was elected Interim Chair of the Hawaiʻi County Committee of the Democratic Party of Hawaiʻi at its first Quarterly meeting of 2024. Big Island Video News. Big Island Now.

Camera on Maunakea captures image of blazing space debris. A fiery object seen over Maunakea last week is believed to have been the remains of a falling satellite, astronomers say. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii County urges state to stiffen penalties for negligent dog owners.  On Hawaii Island, a county resolution will be heard next Wednesday morning that supporters hope will lead to stiffer penalties for dangerous dog owners who are negligent. KITV4.


New MEMA Administrator says agency shouldn’t take the lead in future emergencies. Lonokailua-Hewett said he sees MEMA as a coordinating and supporting agency instead. The Administrator for the Maui Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) says he doesn’t believe MEMA should take the lead in future emergencies. Hawaii News Now.

Maui Mayor Mum On Why He Placed County Finance Director On Paid Leave.
Scott Teruya has led the department for the past five years but has been off the job since Feb. 2. Civil Beat.

Proposal advances for special board control in rebuilding Lahaina.
Two Senate committees voted unanimously to advance Senate Bill 3381 to a third and final Senate committee where passage is expected ahead of a full Senate vote and potential consideration in the House of Representatives. Star-Advertiser.

$53M Maui Airport Industrial Center breaks ground, opening set for 2025. R.D. Olson Development held a groundbreaking recently of the Maui Airport Industrial Center project, located on a 6.3 acre parcel in Kahului near Costco at 250 Lauo Loop.  Maui Now.

Obstetrician shortage on Maui addressed.
HMSA’s immediate, short-term solution for expectant Maui moms impacted by the obstetrician shortage included arranging travel and appointments for them to receive care on Oahu with Queen’s physicians.  Maui News.

Maggie Batangan named MEO Chief Administrative Officer. Maggie Batangan has been named to the newly created Chief Administrative Officer position for the nonprofit Maui Economic Opportunity. Maui News.


Wailua Heritage Trail pau, for now.
A joint effort between the County of Kaua‘i, Hawai‘i Tourism Authority, Kaua‘i Visitor Bureau, Hawai‘i Department of Land and Natural Resources and Royal Coconut Coast Association (RCCA) resulted in the expansion of the Wailua Heritage Trail to a full 3-mile route. Garden Island.

Wednesday, February 7, 2024

Trump could be banned from Hawaii ballot, more than 2k testify on bill prohibiting foreign land buys, judge allows Maui mosquito release, shaka could become official state gesture, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Bill to ban candidates for insurrection passes first hearing.  A bill that could bar former President Donald Trump from appearing on November’s Hawaii election ballot received considerable pushback Tuesday from his supporters, some of whom came to the state Capitol dressed in patriotic wear. Star-Advertiser.

Foreigners would be banned from buying property in Hawaii under new proposed bill. More than 2,000 people submit testimony for a bill prohibiting foreigners from purchasing any type of land in Hawaii. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Hawaii lawmakers consider overruling regulator on solar energy program rates. A pair of bills sought by the rooftop solar industry seek to increase rates that residential and business rooftop solar system owners receive for helping Hawaiian Electric balance its power needs on Oahu, Maui, Molokai, Lanai and Hawaii island under a program approved by the state Public Utilities Commission in December and scheduled to begin March 1. Star-Advertiser.

Legislators look at bills to improve and maintain Hawaiʻi's irrigation systems. The state Legislature is considering several bills that would fund or improve Hawaiʻi’s irrigation systems to support local agriculture. Hawaii Public Radio.

‘Harm to students registry’ bill is intended to halt predators. A measure to establish a “harm to students registry” of Hawaii school employees and volunteers found to have committed sexual abuse, physical assault or other harassment against children, and to revoke the teaching licenses of educators who resign or retire in lieu of termination, has been advanced by two state Senate committees. Star-Advertiser.

Testifiers overwhelmingly support BAC reduction, committee vote deferred. A parade of testifiers Tuesday urged the state House Transportation Committee to lower the legal intoxication threshold for motorists from 0.08% blood alcohol content to 0.05%. Tribune-Herald.

Lawmakers aim to ban gas powered mopeds to help quiet the noise. Mopeds. To some they are cheap and convenient, but others said they are too noisy. There are several bills targeting mopeds this legislative session. KHON2.

Measure to be heard today aims to make the shaka the official state gesture. The state Legislature will be hangin’ loose today as lawmakers discuss whether to make the shaka the official “state gesture” of Hawaii. Tribune-Herald.


Group appeals ruling for Haiku Stairs’ removal. The legal battle continued this week to save 4,000 feet of steel steps built on a sheer ridgeline above Kaneohe from a City and County of Honolulu demolition project. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu housing market starts year on upswing.
Data from sales of previously owned homes in January shows a gain in volume for the first time in two years for single-family houses and 19 months for condominiums. Star-Advertiser. KHON2.

Kaneshiro Bribery Trial Delayed By New Judge. The pay-to-play corruption case against Honolulu’s former prosecuting attorney will be delayed following the sudden appointment of a new judge who is grappling with a flurry of legal motions, including some that are hidden from public view.  Civil Beat.

Sick juror delays trial of alleged Hawaii crime lord Miske. After 17 days, the trial of alleged Hawaii crime lord Michael J. Miske Jr. is on break until Feb. 12 because a juror fell ill, according to federal court documents. Star-Advertiser.

Families Stopped Paying Rent During The Red Hill Water Crisis. Now Their Landlord Wants To Collect. Their houses lacked usable water after the Red Hill leaks, but their landlord has referred the debts for rent and utilities to a collection agency. Civil Beat.

Oʻahu's new crisis center offers insight to gauge next steps in mental health legislation. The state Department of Health will soon expand its care options to include a behavioral health crisis center for people suffering from severe mental illness. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii Island

Hawai‘i County Council presents resolution urging lawmakers to increase penalties for vicious dog attacks. Hawai‘i County Council gave a favorable recommendation to a resolution urging state lawmakers to increase fines and penalties for dog owners whose animals attack a person.  Big Island Video News. Big Island Now.

Five students suspended following altercation at Hilo High School. A Hilo High School administrator was injured and taken to a hospital “as a precaution” after a police officer collided with her during a student brawl Tuesday morning, authorities said. Big Island Now. Star-Advertiser.  Hawaii News Now.


Judge rejects attempt to stop mosquito release.
The project aims to save rapidly diminishing native Hawaiian honeycreeper forest birds from extinction, but a Maui-based group called Hawaii Unites went to court to stop it, describing the effort as an experiment that could go wrong and that needs more study. Star-Advertiser.

MPD After-Action Report omits evacuation plan recommendations. The preliminary after-action report offers 32 recommendations how to improve MPD’s response to disasters. Not a single recommendation addressed improving evacuation routes or acknowledging how road closures hindered the evacuation. KITV4.

$4.9 million county grant sought to cover rising building costs for Kīhei housing project. ʻĀina Lani Pacific is seeking a Maui County grant of more than $4.9 million to help pay for steeply rising construction costs projected for the developer’s 28-home Kilohana Makai project in Kīhei. Maui Now.

New Planning Director Will Guide Maui Through Lahaina Rebuilding And Affordable Housing Crisis. Kate Blystone takes over a department reeling with low morale, a backlog of permits, a staffing shortage and other issues while dealing with the fire recovery. Civil Beat.

Bills To Monitor Maui’s Air And Water Quality After The Lahaina Disaster Are Moving Forward
. The measures aim to keep that effort going after the debris removal from the wildfires ends. Civil Beat.


Kaua‘i County officials hold groundbreaking for Puhi Road Rehabilitation Project. 
This phase of the project will continue the improvements from Kaneka Street to Haleukana Street. The scope of work includes road repaving, drainage improvements, restriping, updating signage, installing sidewalks, curbs, and gutters, and road widening to provide on-street parking in some areas. Kauai Now.

Comments for proposed affordable housing development in Puhi accepted until Feb. 21. This proposed housing development would include up to 60 multi-family affordable units as well as include a planned education center on County-owned land in Puhi. The proposed project seeks to accommodate a blend of affordable incomes. Kauai Now.

Friday, January 26, 2024

$120M undersea fiber cable to connect islands, government employees push to telework, Green introduces almost 340 bills, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

University of Hawaii undersea fiber cable to connect islands. State officials Thursday announced a $120 million project to build a submarine optical fiber cable system that will connect the Hawaiian Islands and expand high-speed broadband internet access. Star-Advertiser. Kauai Now. Big Island Now.

Almost 340 bills are introduced to Hawaii lawmakers by the governor. Gov. Josh Green has given state lawmakers a lot to contemplate with a package of proposed legislation comprising close to 340 bills. Star-Advertiser.

Government workers union urges senators to support teleworking for state employees. Given the state's high worker vacancy rate, the Hawaiʻi Government Employees Association is urging lawmakers to better support teleworking for government employees. Hawaii Public Radio.

Lawmakers are ensuring all Hawaii public schools have working fire alarms. A report said Hawaii's public schools still have a backlog of work to address when it comes to fire safety. KITV4.

Senate committee defers bill requiring police to undergo racial and implicit bias training. A Senate committee on Wednesday deferred a measure that would have required police commissions to create programs on cultural competency, implicit bias, and racial and ethnic sensitivity. Hawaii Public Radio.

New bill would create go-between position for HOAs, Hawaii residents. Ensuring homeowners associations are being fair to their residents is the goal of a new proposal in the State Legislature that would create a government position as a go-between for HOAs and concerned tenants. KHON2.

New bill would make the ‘shaka’ an official state gesture. The story of aloha starts with a shaka! A newly introduced bill is looking to make the shaka an official state gesture. KHON2.

Air travelers in Hawaiʻi advised of potential flight delays due to military exercise. The Hawai‘i Department of Transportation advises air travelers of potential flight delays due to the Sentry Aloha fighter exercise that is being hosted by the Hawai‘i Air National Guard through the end of January. Maui Now.

ACLU of Hawaiʻi names Salmah Rizvi as next executive director
. The American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaiʻi has selected Salmah Rizvi to replace outgoing Executive Director Scott Greenwood. Hawaii Public Radio.


Alaska Judge Will Take Over Kaneshiro Bribery Case. An experienced federal judge in Alaska will temporarily preside over a high-profile Honolulu corruption case after a local judge recused himself from the matter this week.  Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser.

HPD ‘failing’ to communicate with public, mayor says. Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi “could not be anymore dissatisfied” with what he called the Honolulu Police Department’s “failing” communication efforts, saying officers don’t get to make up their own rules about what the public needs to know. Star-Advertiser. KHON2.

Man With Knife Fatally Shot By HPD Officer In Waianae.  A man who police say was brandishing a knife and walking in the middle of Farrington Highway on Thursday was shot and killed by police in the second fatal officer-involved shooting so far this year. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.  KHON2.  KITV4.

What do Oʻahu's latest power outages mean for grid reliability?  One week into the New Year, Hawaiian Electric had to cut power to Oʻahu customers because it didn't have enough electricity to meet the demand. It was the first power shortfall event on Oʻahu since 2015. Hawaii Public Radio.

Honolulu Council urges more action from the city to fight invasive species.
Oʻahu lawmakers want more to be done about invasive species, and they say the city needs to play a bigger role. Hawaii Public Radio.

New Queen’s command center is unveiled. The Aukahi Command Center is a centralized hub offering real-time data on the location and number of admitted patients, beds occupied per unit and estimated time of discharges and transfers at Queen’s facilities. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Proposed short-term rental rules on Big Island met with overwhelming opposition. Proposed changes to regulations for short-term rentals on the Big Island, those of 180 days or less also called transient accommodation rentals, sparked about four hours of impassioned testimony during a meeting Tuesday of the Hawai‘i County Council Policy Committee on Planning, Land Use and Development. Big Island Now.


The Army Corps Is Ready To Clean Up The Lahaina Burn Zone. But It Needs Permission From Property Owners. Most of the commercial businesses have yet to submit a right-of-entry application to the county, and hundreds of forms turned in by residents were incomplete. Civil Beat.

Hawaiian Electric Is Replacing Wood Poles Lost In August Fires With Steel. The community wants more changes to make the grid safer, such as burying lines underground. Civil Beat.

Salvage Operations Planned For Pair Of Vessels Aground Off Maui. A former Navy vessel released an oily sheen into the water while a passenger ferry apparently missed channel markers and ended up stuck. Civil Beat.


Kaua‘i is helping choose the next leader of its only college; meet the first two candidates. Thursday saw candidates Mark Lausch and Margaret Sanchez – who has served as interim chancellor of Kaua‘i Community College since January 2023 – field questions from faculty, staff, students and community members at back-to-back meetings held in the Kaua‘i campus Fine Arts Auditorium. Kauai Now.

Housing market ends year on bright note. A rough housing cycle ended on a bright note, as transactions for single-family residences popped in the final month of the year on the island of Kaua‘i. Garden Island.

Thursday, January 25, 2024

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Hawaii Island

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

Monday, January 15, 2024

Hawaii creates recreational fishing license, new ocean fee; Legislature sets session priorities, feral chickens targeted, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

New Fishing Rules Approved By Hawaiʻi Land Board. New recreational and commercial fishing rules have been approved by the Hawaiʻi Board of Land and Natural Resources, which include the establishment of a non-resident recreational fishing license and a license for commercial marine vessels. Big Island Video News. Big Island Now.  KHON2.

New ocean stewardship fund established: $1 will be charged for each customer of commercial vessels, tours. A bill passed into law in 2021 establishing an ocean stewardship special fund became effective Jan. 1. All operators of commercial vessels, water craft, or water sports equipment that are required to have a commercial operator permit are now mandated to charge a $1 user fee from each customer for the fund. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii lawmakers eye help for Maui, housing and ethics ahead of 2024 session. The rebuilding of Lahaina from the tragic Maui wildfires and shortage of homes for thousands of survivors have put into sharper focus the need in Hawaii for affordable housing to help keep local residents from moving to the mainland — issues that will weigh heavily as state lawmakers convene Wednesday for the opening of the 2024 legislative session. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.  Associated Press.  Hawaii News Now.

Ginoza, Devens Sworn In As Hawaii Associate Justices. Lisa M. Ginoza and Vladimir P. Devens are officially associate justices of the Hawaii Supreme Court. Civil Beat. 

Ryan Kanaka‘ole Named Hawaiʻi Department of Land and Natural Resources First Deputy. Governor Josh Green on Friday announced his nomination of Ryan Kanaka‘ole, who is currently a Deputy Attorney General, to fill the DLNR position that is being vacated by Laura Kaʻakua, who is moving to the Hawaiʻi Department of Transportation. Big Island Video News.

Feral chicken legislation again to be reviewed. The state Legislature once again will consider bills to tackle a feral chicken problem that continues to generate complaints while some people continue to feed them. Star-Advertiser.

Office of Hawaiian Affairs faces large staffing shortage ahead of 2024 legislative session. The Office of Hawaiian Affairs is facing a large staff shortage going into this legislative session with nearly one-third of its positions currently unfilled, according to its new CEO Stacy Ferreira. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaiian homestead leaders gather at 36th annual convention. The convention  covered an array of topics including Act 80, which would lower the minimum Hawaiian blood quantum requirement for successorship of Hawaiian home lands to one thirty- second, as well as conversations over the spending of funds allocated under Act 279, and the various challenges around reducing the 29,000-person waitlist. Star-Advertiser.


Board of Water Supply rejects $75M offer to reopen Halawa Shaft. The BWS says the Nov. 29 proposal by the state Department of Health, in partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, to tap into a portion of the $400 billion Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for money to reopen the Halawa Shaft is premature. Star-Advertiser.

City Council pushes for public access to first responder radio transmissions.
The island-wide police chase of an armed suspect on Oʻahu on New Year’s Day has prompted calls to the City and County of Honolulu to give the public more access to first responders’ radio communications. Hawaii Public Radio.

Residents left scrambling after West Oahu affordable housing complex announces closure
. Scores of Leeward Oahu residents who were once homeless are worried they’ll soon be living on the streets again after they say the management of  Ulu Ke Kukui in Maili announced its closure. Hawaii News Now.

City conducts hearing on proposed amendments to Affordable Housing Requirement Rules
.  The Honolulu Department of Planning and Permitting held a public hearing to discuss affordable housing requirements on Friday. KITV4.

Three long-delayed Oahu public housing redevelopment projects took big steps forward last week and could produce 554 new homes in 2026 and 911 more in 2028. Star-Advertiser.

Sunset Beach homeowners fined about $1M for unauthorized work. The homeowners, whose properties both on Ke Nui Road front Sunset Beach, were fined by the Board of Land and Natural Resources Friday on the recommendation of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources’ Office of Conservation and Coastal Lands. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Jury pool whittled down as public corruption trial for ex-city prosecutor nears
. Keith Kaneshiro, Dennis Mitsunaga, Terri Otani, Aaron Fujii, Chad McDonald and attorney Sheri Tanaka are charged with multiple counts, including conspiracy to defraud the government and conspiracy against rights of citizens. Hawaii News Now.

Miske’s Daughter-In-Law Agrees To ‘Fully Cooperate’ In Last-Minute Plea Deal. Delia Fabro-Miske's agreement with prosecutors leaves only two defendants in the federal trial as jury selection continues. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Alameda officially launches campaign to oust Roth.  More than 100 community members crowded the sidewalk in front of the King Kamehameha statue in Hilo on Saturday to support Kimo Alameda and his candidacy for Hawaii County mayor. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Now.

Big Island traffic fatalities plummet in 2023. Big Island roads saw a significant decrease in traffic fatalities in 2023 compared to 2022, from 34 official traffic deaths to 16, a 53% drop. Tribune-Herald.

2023 drier than normal for much of the island. December brought rainfall to most of the windward Big Island, but most of the gauges islandwide registered less than the average amount of precipitation for the final month of the year. Tribune-Herald.

Fixes slated for Wailoa boat harbor: $3.2M allocated for the project.
The harbor, which is one of the only functioning boat launches in East Hawaii after the blockage of the Pohoiki Boat Ramp during the 2018 Kilauea eruption, has not been dredged for years, leading to a buildup of sediment in the mouth of the harbor. Tribune-Herald.


Maui Council OKs Olowalu As Dump Site For Lahaina Wildfire Waste. The Maui County Council voted 6-2 on Friday to approve the Olowalu site to temporarily store an estimated 400,000 tons of debris and toxic ash from the Aug. 8 wildfire in Lahaina.  Civil Beat. Maui Now.

Maui Has A Bunch Of Community Plans But A Patchy Record Of Following Them. A fresh community plan for South Maui is outlining a vision for some of the last areas available for growth in Kihei. Civil Beat.

Significant finds made at Lahaina’s historic sites.  Numerous artifacts have been recovered by  Lahaina Restoration Foundation, which serves as steward for 14 historic sites in Lahaina. Star-Advertiser.

Kīpahulu to become third community-based subsistence fishing area. The remote Kīpahulu area on the southeast side of Maui will become the third Community-Based Subsistence Fishing (CBSFA) area in Hawai‘i, following previous designations of Hā‘ena on Kaua‘i and Miloli‘i on Hawai‘i Island. Maui Now.

Maui Has An Axis Deer Problem. So The State Has Put A Price On Their Tails. Landowners will get paid for killing the deer as part of a new animal control program run by the Department of Land and Natural Resources. Civil Beat.

Sudden Deluge Does Little To Move The Needle On Maui Drought
. The disruptive storm forced many roads and schools to close. But it wasn't enough to erase Maui's persistent drought. Civil Beat.


Man wanted in connection with assault on Kaua‘i police officer turns himself in. Kaua‘i police say 24-year-old Travis Bonachita of Kōloa, who was wanted in connection with an assault on a police officer, was taken into custody. Kauai Now.

Serving the houseless at Martin Luther King gathering. The Kaua‘i Soto Zen Temple will be hosting a Martin Luther King Jr. birthday gathering on Monday from 1 to 4 p.m. Garden Island.

Friday, December 22, 2023

Schools superintendent to reorganize department following $2B construction fund backlog, Kaneshiro bribery trial set, Red Hill fuel lingers in water, volcano air tours limited, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

With $2B in unspent construction money, schools Superintendent Keith Hayashi pledges to overhaul process. Hawaii’s school superintendent is promising to reorganize his department to deal with a huge backlog of school construction projects. Hawaii News Now.

Leadership roles in limbo as Hawaii Tourism Authority preps for Legislature. The Hawaii Tourism Authority has less than a month to shore up uncertainties surrounding its budget, leadership for the agency and for some key contractors before the state Legislature convenes its 2024 session. Star-Advertiser.

Prisons Director And Corrections Commission Agree To Keep Talking And Meeting.
After a brief impasse, Department of Public Safety Director Tommy Johnson is once again participating in meetings. Civil Beat.


Judge denies ex-city prosecutor’s last ditch effort to have public corruption case thrown out. A bribery trial is set to begin in February for Keith Kaneshiro, Honolulu’s longest-serving city prosecutor, and his campaign donors from an engineering firm. Hawaii News Now.

Petroleum From Red Hill Leaks May Be Lingering In Pearl Harbor Drinking Water. A new EPA report lends credence to complaints that residents say were otherwise falling on deaf ears. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser. KITV4.

State crews continue slope assessment following Pali Highway landslide. Pali Highway’s townbound lanes remains closed following a landslide Wednesday, and state officials say assessments of the slope are ongoing. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.  KITV4.

Hawaii Island

HVNP air tours limited: New management plan puts substantial restrictions on overflights.
Air tours above Hawaii Volcanoes Natural Park will be cut by nearly 90% under a long-awaited new Air Tour Management Plan. Tribune-Herald.

Telescope removed from Caltech Submillimeter Observatory atop Maunakea; decommissioning paused until spring. The Leighton telescope has been taken out of the Caltech Submillimeter Observatory and removed from Maunakea on the Big Island for shipment to Chile for re-use. Big Island Now.

$18M federal grants slated for Big Island road and sidewalk safety improvements. The Big Island is slated to receive a share of more than $18 million in federal grants to the State of Hawaii from the U.S. Department of Transportation for projects to improve safety on roads and sidewalks. West Hawaii Today.


County of Maui launching online portal to improve public records request process.
The County of Maui aims to make it easier for residents to request and receive public records in accordance with Hawai’i law, thanks to software technology modernization, the county Department of the Corporation Counsel announced Thursday. Maui Now.

Maui lawmakers outline latest measures aimed at averting wildfires. During a press conference Thursday, Maui county council members discussed three bills they hope will help prevent wildfires on the island.  KITV4.

Maui Starts Building Temporary Landfill For Wildfire Ash And Debris Despite Public Concerns. The county has proposed making Olowalu the permanent site to store 400,000 cubic yards of contaminated material but the mayor will make the final decision. Civil Beat.

Options Expanding For Displaced Maui Families Struggling To Find Housing. A philanthropic partnership led by the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement is offering a direct leasing program and increased stipends for hosts. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now.  KHON2.


State intends to declare traffic emergency zone on Kaua‘i due to instability of slope by ‘Opaeka‘a Falls Scenic Lookout. A traffic emergency zone designation allows the state to expedite procurement and permitting to take action to construct improvements to protect access to the state road. Anyone wishing to comment on the designation may do so through a virtual public meeting to be conducted within 24 hours of the designation. Kauai Now.

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Economy expected to dip, federal judge says Kaneshiro corruption case to proceed, swastikas painted along H-1 as synagogue threats investigated, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Aftermath of Maui wildfires weighs down Hawaii economy. The state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism revised its economic growth projection upward to 1.9% for 2023, and lowered its projection for 2024 from 1.5% to 1.3.%.  Star-Advertiser. Tribune-Herald. Maui Now.

Hawaii Education Department Takes ‘Big First Step’ To Increase Local Food In Schools. Advocates are cautiously optimistic the DOE's recent request for information will result in more local ingredients included in school lunches. Civil Beat.

Hawaii corrections oversight commissioner steps down.  Ted Sakai, a  Hawaii Correctional System Oversight Commission stepped down on Dec. 4 to tend to his health. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.

Authorities probe threat to bomb Hawaii synagogues. Police and federal agents are asking the public to remain vigilant while they investigate antisemitic graffiti and a threat made on the third day of Hanukkah to detonate hidden explosives “inside of every Hawaii synagogue.” Star-Advertiser. KITV4.

Search for a new University of Hawaiʻi president set to begin soon. The Board of Regents has approved the search for a new leader of the University of Hawaiʻi as outgoing President David Lassner prepares to retire at the end of 2024. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaiian Electric begins contract negotiations on 15 renewable energy projects. Hawaiian Electric is looking at 15 new renewable energy projects on Oʻahu, Hawaiʻi Island and Maui as the company retires older fossil-fueled plants. Hawaii Public Radio. Maui Now.

Hawaiʻiʻs Millerbird no longer listed as critically endangered after successful relocation. With decades of conservation work paying off, Hawai‘i’s Millerbird that is also known as Ulūlu has been downlisted to Endangered status after being listed as Critically Endangered since 2000. Maui Now.


Prosecutors In Keith Kaneshiro Case Did Not Step Over The Line, Judge Rules. A federal judge said that the case can proceed, rejecting accusations of prosecutorial misconduct against Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Wheat and his team. Civil Beat.

Law enforcement: Illegal fireworks sales are fueling organized crime.
In hopes of making a safer New Year’s on Oahu, the state is launching an amnesty program for unwanted illegal fireworks.  Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Honolulu Homeowners: Property Assessments Are Coming Soon. Values increased 0.3% on average across Oahu, far less than the 13.3% average increase last year. Civil Beat.

Swastikas spray-painted along the H-1 spark outrage and conversation to address hate speech
. Along the H-1 highway by the Barber’s Point exit, one of the many places that have a swastika along with the star of David graffitied onto signs. Those symbols can be seen for about 10 miles along the H-1 heading into town. Hawaii News Now.

West Oahu health center boosts security with artificial intelligence amid rising crime
. Amid the increase in violent crimes in Leeward Oahu, the Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center has installed a weapons detection system in its Emergency Department.  Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Mayor Signs Bill 66 To Expedite Residential Solar Permits. Hawaiʻi County Mayor Mitch Roth has signed Bill 66, a measure that will “expedite the process of permitting solar electric systems, bringing about cost reductions for homeowners and bolstering the clean, green energy transition” on Hawaiʻi Island, officials say. Big Island Video News. Big Island Now.


Hawaiʻi Supreme Court oral argument scheduled for lawsuit challenging Maui houseless sweeps
. The Hawaiʻi Supreme Court has scheduled an oral argument on Dec. 14, 2023, for the lawsuit against Maui County challenging a September 2021 houseless sweep at Amala Place near Kanahā Beach Park. Maui Now.

Maui Mayor’s Enhanced Security Detail Could Be Funded By Federal, Wildfire Funds. The estimated cost for overtime and travel expenses for the detail was $110,000, though the Public Safety Department said it was still tallying the bill. Civil Beat.

FEMA closing Kahului Disaster Recovery Center this Friday. The Kahului Disaster Recovery Center on Maui is closing at 6 p.m. this Friday, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Star-Advertiser.

Elevated levels of toxins found in Lahaina ash, test results show. The state Department of Health on Sunday released laboratory results showing ash from homes in Lahaina contain elevated levels of toxics including arsenic, lead, antimony, cobalt and copper.  Star-Advertiser.


Student changes on agenda for community council meeting. Lori Ann Cabebe, the Kaua‘i High School PCNC Coordinator, announced a school community council meeting on Dec. 14 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Kaua‘i High School cafeteria. Garden Island.

Kaua‘i fishpond access preserved for community. Trust for Public Land, Waipā Foundation, the County of Kaua‘i and the State of Hawai‘i have announced the purchase and transfer of ownership and stewardship of a quarter-acre of land in the Waipā ahupua‘a along Kauaʻi’s north shore. Kauai Now. Hawaii News Now.