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

Monday, June 10, 2024

Hawaii Technology Development Corp. awards $7.5M in grants, Waikiki beachgoers urged to take valuables into the water with them, Maui mayor pushes back against Air Force telescope plan, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Agency Gives Out Grants Worth Millions In Effort To Diversify Hawaii Economy. The Hawaii Technology Development Corp. refocuses on its core mission after a 2023 legislative session filled with drama and intrigue. Last week, the HTDC announced it had awarded 99 Small Business Innovation Research grants totaling $5.7 million for a range of companies to promote economic development. HTDC awarded another 62 grants totaling $1.8 million to support manufacturers, mostly food processors, brewers and distillers. Civil Beat.

1 in 5 Hawaii residents experience domestic violence, new study finds.
A new study by the Hawaii State Coalition Against Domestic Violence aims to raise awareness of the prevalence of intimate-partner violence in Hawaii and the hurdles to seeking help that survivors face. Star-Advertiser.

First-term state lawmaker Sen. Brenton Awa stands out as unconventional. Hawaii’s 76-member Legislature has eight Republican lawmakers, yet one of them in a certain respect has been a minority of one. Star-Advertiser.

Gov. Green signs bill into law, making Kimchi Day official
. Gov. Josh Green signed House Bill 1950 into law last month, designating Nov. 22 as “Kimchi Day” in Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.


Honolulu City Council votes to add additional $8M to pandemic hazard pay. The federal government gave the city $1.9 billion through the American Rescue Plan to alleviate the burden caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Hawaii Public Radio.

Keith Kaneshiro describes prosecution as a grudge. Former prosecuting attorney Keith Kaneshiro said the federal investigation against him, prominent political donor Dennis Mitsunaga and four others began with a grudge and consumed eight years before a jury acquitted them in less than two days. Star-Advertiser.

North Shore Homeowners Face Fines Of Nearly $1 Million For Fighting Erosion Illegally. As the shoreline shrinks, some residents do everything they can to protect their homes — even breaking the law. Civil Beat.

New pilot project will help deter crime from popular Oahu scenic spots. The Honolulu City Council recently approved a resolution allowing the police department to use portable surveillance trailers with cameras, speakers and blue lights at these sites to deter crime. KHON2.

Low-income rental tower mostly vacant after October opening. Hawaii has long been in the throes of an affordable-­housing crisis, yet eight months after the opening of a rental apartment high-rise built at 1192 Alakea St. for people age 55 and older with low incomes, more than half the units are still vacant. Star-Advertiser.

U.S. Army looks to renew major land leases on Oahu. The United States Army is looking to renew major land leases on Oahu and the public has the opportunity to weigh in on the plan. KHON2.

Lawsuit Filed Over Oahu Jail Suicide. The family of a 21-year-old woman who hanged herself while in prison at the Oahu Community Correctional Center has sued the state corrections department, alleging the agency failed to provide adequate mental health treatment despite two previous suicide attempts. Joycelyn Simeona says that the department's failure to provide her daughter with mental health services led directly to her suicide. Civil Beat.

Amid theft concerns, HPD urges beachgoers to bring valuables into the water with them. At a Waikiki Neighborhood Board meeting in April, HPD reported more than 160 thefts in the area that month. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Public meetings for 2025-2029 Consolidated Plan begin next month. The Consolidated Plan serves as a blueprint ensuring communities receiving federal U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development assistance address the housing and related needs of low- and moderate-income families. Big Island Now.

Future of Prince Kuhio Plaza still in limbo.
The chairman of the Hawaiian Homes Commission last month told the manager of Prince Kuhio Plaza that if a 40-year lease extension the mall is seeking is to be granted, PKP and its parent company, Brookfield Properties, will have to improve its benefits package for Native Hawaiians. Tribune-Herald.

County seeks to obtain land for Pohoiki Road widening via eminent domain. The manager of a pair of parcels in lower Puna is resisting a plan by Hawaii County to seize portions of that land in order to begin reopening Pohoiki Road. Tribune-Herald.


Maui Can’t Seem To Keep A County Finance Director On The Job. The lack of stability in a key position has some council members concerned. Civil Beat.

Maui mayor pushes back against proposed new telescopes atop Haleakala. Maui Mayor Richard Bissen is taking a stand against building seven new telescopes on Haleakala, sendig a letter to the Air Force saying the county does not support the proposed “AMOS-STAR” project due to significant pushback from residents. Hawaii News Now.

Council votes to close Holomua Road amid fears of wildfire in Pāʻia. Maui County Council members set aside concerns about displacing two dozen homeless people from Holomua Road and the possibility of a legal challenge, and they decided Friday to restrict public access to a lower portion of the road and close its upper section. Maui Now.

How A Grassroots Lahaina Fundraiser Found A Better Way To Help Fire Survivors. Internet campaigns can raise a lot of money quickly, but survivors who don't have a strong online presence might miss out. Civil Beat.

Maui's Kamehameha Day Parade to be relocated from Lahaina. This year’s Kamehameha Day Parade on the Island of Maui is being relocated from Front Street to Kaʻahumanu Avenue in Central Maui. Hawaii Public Radio.

Conservation fence protects endangered seabirds at Molokai preserve. A new, 5,600-foot-long conservation fence at Mokio Preserve now keeps seabirds safe from predators on Molokai, according to the nonprofit American Bird Conservancy and Molokai Land Trust. Star-Advertiser.


Navy, NASA want to renew Kaua‘i leases – West Side locals show support, opposition. Representatives of the US Navy and NASA entered the Kaua‘i community last week – soliciting questions, comments and concerns during a three-night run of public scoping sessions held at locations across the Garden Isle. Kauai Now.

Kauai nonprofit touts agroforestry and breadfruit to combat food insecurity. Kauai nonprofit is trumpeting tropical agroforestry as a way to solve food insecurity. The largest breadfruit agroforest in the state is run by The Breadfruit Institute at The National Tropical Botanical Garden. KITV4.

Monday, May 20, 2024

Ethics Commission to renew push for lobbying transparency laws; Kaneshiro, co-defendants found not guilty in corruption trial; HECO execs get raises despite tumultuous year, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Ethics Commission to reintroduce 2 bills to improve transparency.  The executive director of the state Ethics Commission plans to again push for two bills in the next legislative session designed to provide greater transparency about relationships between lawmakers and lobbyists. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaiian Electric Shareholders Overwhelmingly Supported Exec Pay Raises In 2023. Hawaiian Electric Industries investors saw their stock’s value plummet, their dividends disappear and the once-credit worthy company’s bond rating cut to junk status in 2023. But that didn’t stop the investors from supporting raises for the company’s top executives.  Civil Beat.

Hawaii counties differ in approach to regulating vacation rentals. Senate Bill 2919, which became Act 017 when Gov. Josh Green signed it May 3, makes it possible for county lawmakers to “regulate the time, place, manner, and duration in which uses of land and structures may take place.” Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii coffee wins greater protection from Legislature after epic struggle. House Bill 2298, if enacted, will require that by July 1, 2027, roasted, instant and ready-to-drink coffee contains at least 51% of coffee grown in a region of Hawaii if the product package uses the name of the region — such as Kona, Kau, Waialua, Molokai, Maui and Kauai — in a blend with foreign coffee. Star-Advertiser.

Clash over labeling of Hawaii mac nut products results in split legislation. Hawaii lawmakers sent a bill to Gov. Josh Green that, if enacted, would disclose to consumers, starting Jan. 1, 2026, whether macadamia nuts grown in Hawaii are actually in some packaged foods that suggest the nuts are locally grown. Star-Advertiser.

Search for UH president’s replacement to begin soon. The search for the successor to University of Hawaii President David Lassner officially will begin in late May following the Board of Regents’ approval of the job description and leadership profile. Star-Advertiser. Big Island Video News.

‘No Easy Answers’ For How To Keep Hawaii’s Smallest Public Schools Open And Thriving.
Principals at small schools say they need more money to adequately serve students, but some state leaders say school consolidation and closures could be the answer. Civil Beat.


Jury returns swift not-guilty verdict in corruption trial of Kaneshiro, Mitsunaga.  Former Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney Keith Kaneshiro, prominent Hawaii businessman Dennis Mi­tsunaga and four Mitsu­naga &Associates executives were found not guilty on all counts in their pay-to-prosecute conspiracy trial in federal court Friday. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.  Hawaii Public Radio.

‘No Evidence To Convict’: Jury Foreman Explains Acquittal In Kaneshiro, Mitsunaga Trial.
Prosecutors presented only circumstantial evidence that left room for reasonable doubt, a juror said. Civil Beat.

Big increase in homeless families on Oahu puts more keiki at risk.
The latest census of Oahu’s homeless population showed a 19% increase in homeless families since January 2023, including 635 children who can suffer lifelong consequences. Star-Advertiser.

This Alternative Method Of Demolishing Structures Could Help Honolulu Avoid A Landfill Crisis. Honolulu is considering how to promote deconstruction and re-use of the materials from buildings that are being torn down, an idea that has already caught on in other cities. Civil Beat.

The Miske Trial: How An Accused Crime Boss Fooled The State To Get A Motor Vehicle Dealer License. When he ran into hurdles because of his criminal background, court testimony shows, he simply lied or fabricated a non-existent entity. Civil Beat.

UH Manoa ranked in top 2.5% globally of 20,000 universities. The University of Hawaii at Manoa was ranked 511 on the Global 2000 list by the Center for World University Rankings, which measured key areas such as education, employability, faculty and research. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Hawaiʻi Supreme Court will decide if farmland can be used for short-term rentals. The Rosehill petitioners argued that if agricultural land from 1976 in the county was allowed to be rented for less than 31 days, then the new 2019 law was more restrictive. That meant the agricultural landowners that were operating STRs before 2019 could be grandfathered in. Hawaii Public Radio.

Bill would change how corporation counsel is selected. Two council members have proposed making the council the sole appointing authority for the position, a move that left some of their fellows excited and others skeptical during a Tuesday meeting of the council’s Committee on Governmental Operations and External Affairs. Tribune-Herald.

Michael Konowicz announces candidacy for Hawai‘i County representing Kohala Districts. Michael Konowicz of Waikōloa announced his candidacy for Hawai‘i County’s District 9 representing North and South Kohala residents. Big Island Now.


Why Was The Maui County Finance Director Fired? The absence of former finance director Scott Teruya, which has never been explained, was felt during the county's about-to-conclude critical budget deliberations. Civil Beat.

Another telescope controvery is brewing, this time on Maui. The U.S. Air Force wants to build seven more telescopes on the summit of Haleakala to help better track the growing number of objects whizzing about in space. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.

Maui County issues first rebuilding permit for wildfire survivors. The Maui County Recovery Permit Center, which opened three weeks ago to facilitate permitting for August wildfire survivors, has issued its first building permit to a Lahaina couple to rebuild their destroyed home. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

Kaiāulu o Kūkuʻia affordable housing waitlist opening; lottery planned. A waiting list opens next month for the Kaiāulu o Kūku′ia affordable apartment project located on Keawe St. in West Maui.  Maui Now.

Public to discuss new site for destroyed Lahaina school. The state Department of Education will hold a community meeting Tuesday to discuss options for a permanent site for the King Kamehameha III Elementary School campus, which was damaged beyond repair in the Aug. 8 wildfires on Maui. Star-Advertiser.

Maui seeks contractor to review MEMA’s Aug. 8 response.
County officials are seeking an outside agency to review the response of the Maui Emergency Management Agency during the Aug. 8 wildfires because they said the department currently has only two full-time employees. Star-Advertiser.

Committee authorized $193,274 fine to settle with EPA over county violations of Safe Water Drinking Act. Violations took place in seven different county owned properties with high capacity cesspools. Maui News.


Kauai apartment residents challenge DHHL as eviction looms.
Residents at an apartment complex in Kapaa, Kauai, are rallying to fight the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands’ proposed acquisition of their building, which they say would evict about 300 current residents in over 80 units. Star-Advertiser.

Lawa‘i still cleaning up from flood debris. Between 25 and 30 volunteers, including about a dozen from the U.S. Coast Guard came from as far away as Kapa‘a and toiled to clear the two ditches in the Lawai Valley Estates that were originally put in as drainage aids when the land was used for growing pineapples. Garden Island.

Fern Holland begins second campaign for Kauaʻi County Council. Fern Ānuenue Holland has officially launched her 2024 campaign for a seat on the Kauaʻi County Council, outlining a candidacy that would prioritize affordable housing, agriculture production, drug rehabilitation, and tourism management during a discussion at her first fundraising event at Anahola Marketplace earlier this week. Kauai Now.

Friday, May 17, 2024

Hawaii expects slow summer tourist season; new law allows open carry of switchblades, butterfly knives; $100M Benioff donation aids Straub expansion, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Rosy U.S. summer travel forecast excludes Hawaii. U.S. Transportation Security Administration officials say they are preparing for the highest passenger volumes ever seen at airport security checkpoints nationwide during the peak summer travel season, which begins Memorial Day weekend and runs through Labor Day. Jack Richards, president and CEO of Pleasant Holidays, said summer bookings to Hawaii are still down 28% from 2023. Keith Vieira, principal of KV &Associates, Hospitality Consulting, estimates that hotel bookings to Hawaii for summer are down about 10% to 12% compared with last summer. Star-Advertiser.

Environmental Working Group’s Fire-Related Recommendations Die In Legislature. Bills to provide funding for long-term air and water quality monitoring failed to pass as a new study cites growing health concerns from the fires. Civil Beat.

Amid mounting legal challenges, Hawaii allows open carry of formerly banned blades. As of Monday, it is no longer illegal in Hawaii to carry a dangerous weapon in public — and switchblade and butterfly knives are no longer banned. The governor signed HB 2342 into law Monday without fanfare, making it immediately legal to openly carry weapons that were banned in public until now. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii’s unemployment rate in April remains steady at 3.1%. Hawaii’s unemployment rate held at 3.1% in April for the fourth consecutive month even as nonagricultural jobs decreased by 1,500 from March. By comparison, the national jobless rate rose to 3.9% from 3.8%. Star-Advertiser.


Honolulu City Council OKs stand-alone Ocean Safety Department. The City Council voted unanimously in favor of the city’s Resolution 103, which seeks an executive action to quickly create a new public-safety sector. Currently, the city Ocean Safety and Lifeguard Services Division is under the larger Honolulu Emergency Services Department. Star-Advertiser.

Jury deliberating fate of ex-city Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro, campaign donors in bribery trial. Jury deliberations are now underway in the public corruption trial of former Honolulu prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro and five campaign donors. Hawaii News Now.

Spate of heavy rains prompts increased scrutiny of Oahu dams, reservoirs. Records show there are a total of 13 dams and reservoirs on Oahu. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.  Star-Advertiser.

Benefactor Marc Benioff lauds Straub expansion as ‘new beginning’.
The Benioffs' $100 million gift is considered the largest donation to Hawaii Pacific Health, which operates Straub, and together with the $50 million donation to Hilo Benioff Medical Center, is considered one of the largest single private donations in Hawaii history. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

200 surveillance cameras to be installed in downtown Pāhoa
. The Hawai‘i County Council on Wednesday voted 9-0 to adopt Resolution 487, which grants $65,000 in county geothermal relocation and community benefits funds through the Hawai‘i County Planning Department to the Pāhoa Lava Zone Museum for the purchase, installation and maintenance of 25 surveillance systems, each consisting of 8 cameras, in downtown Pāhoa. Big Island Now.

New Signage At Mauna Kea Park Honors Legacy Of Gilbert Kahele. Hawaiʻi County officials and the Kahele ʻohana marked the occasion on what would have been the late-senator's 82nd birthday. Big Island Video News.


Council Committee advances bill to allow more space for secondary farm dwellings. The Maui County Council’s Housing and Land Use Committee voted 8-1 Wednesday to recommend passage of a bill to allow a 500-square-foot increase in the size of secondary farm dwellings in agricultural districts on Maui and Lānaʻi. Maui Now.

Maui Wildfire Insurance Losses Estimated At $3 Billion So Far. The first wildfire case to be heard by a Maui jury is to be determined by a coin toss next week. Civil Beat.

Study shows almost 75% of Maui wildfire survey participants have respiratory issues. A University of Hawaiʻi study examining the health effects of last year's deadly wildfires on Maui found that up to 74% of participants may have difficulty breathing and otherwise have poor respiratory health, and almost half showed signs of compromised lung function. Associated Press. Maui News.

Maui April unemployment rate drops to 4.3%. The non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for Maui Island was 4.3% in April 2024, compared to 4.9% the previous month, and 2.6% at the same time in 2023. Maui Now.


Heavy rains result in high bacteria levels at 8 beaches, streams. Eight of 18 sites tested for water quality monthly were found with high bacteria amounts in May. Kauai Now.

UH farmer training program holding open house on Kauaʻi. A University of Hawai’i beginner farmer training program is hosting an open house at its Kauaʻi site on June 1 and is encouraging interested participants to register.  Kauai Now.

Friday, May 10, 2024

Legislature appropriates $750M for public schools, personal income and GDP expected to drop, defense takes stand in Kaneshiro corruption trial, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii Lawmakers Spent Big On Public Schools This Year. State lawmakers gave the Hawaii Department of Education an infusion of almost $750 million during the recent legislative session to support school facilities, professional development for teachers, student mental health and other initiatives. Civil Beat.

Personal income in Hawaii might contract this year.  The University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization expects Hawaii’s real personal income will slow below 1% this year and that real gross domestic product will drop from 3.6% growth in 2023 to 1.5%.  Star-Advertiser. Kauai Now.

Hawaii bill exempts certain medical services from general excise tax. A Senate bill exempting private health care providers from general excise taxes for services to patients with Medicaid, Medicare and TRICARE has made it to the governor’s desk. Star-Advertiser.

Legislature passes bill to combat invasive species. The Hawaii State Legislature voted unanimously to pass a bill that appropriates nearly $20 million toward the battle against invasive species, sending it to the governor’s desk for consideration. Star-Advertiser. Kauai Now.

Disbarred attorney who served time in federal prison lands seat on prestigious state board. A disbarred attorney who spent time in federal prison has been confirmed to a prestigious state board. Stacy Moniz is representing the union point of view on the state Labor Board. Hawaii News Now.

Grand Jury Tapes Show Mitsunaga Employees Struggled To Explain Donations To Kaneshiro. Employees of a prominent Honolulu engineering firm had a hard time explaining their generosity toward former county prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro when they were questioned by the feds in 2021.  Civil Beat.

Kaneshiro bribery trial continues as McDonald takes the stand. One of the defendants in the bribery trial involving former Honolulu prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro took the stand Thursday in his defense. KHON2.

The Price Of Police Misconduct Claims In Honolulu Is Going Up.
Experts say large payouts, like the $12.5 million settlement approved in March, do not usually lead to systemic change. Civil Beat.

State closes unofficial ‘back way’ to the Haiku Stairs. Second lawsuit filed to stop removal of Haiku Stairs. For the second time in less than a year, the Friends of Haiku Stairs has filed a lawsuit to stop the city from demolishing the more than 3,900 steps that lead to the top of the Koolau Range in Kaneohe. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.  KHON2.

Highgate picks up Kaimana Beach Hotel management agreement. Highgate confirmed Wednesday that Highgate Hawaii has signed a hotel management agreement with the property’s owners Tsukada Global Holdings, led by Masayuki Tsukada; and an affiliate of BlackSand Capital, led by Chairman and CEO B.J. Kobayashi. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

1,200-foot ti leaf lei draped across Pololū Valley to symbolize protection from overdevelopment. A 1,200-foot-long ti leaf lei made by the Kohala community on Hawaiʻi Island was draped across Pololū Valley over the weekend. It's a symbol of protection from increased development — and of community solidarity. Hawaii Public Radio. Big Island Video News.


Maui Rejects Proposal Allowing Chicago Company To Drill For Water In Kula. Free Market Ventures had offered to drill one or more deep water wells and sell the water to the county for 30 years for use by Upcountry residents. Civil Beat.

Hawaiian Electric completes work on West Maui transmission line, including installation of 70 new steel poles. A critical transmission line that serves as a back-up route of power to approximately 11,000 customers in West Maui is now online after Hawaiian Electric rebuilt the line along former routes in the Lahaina area with new steel and wood poles and electrical equipment.  Maui Now.

Department of Health: Lead screening finds no evidence of widespread lead exposure from Maui fires
. While wildfire ash contains significant concentrations of lead, the screening results do not indicate evidence of widespread human exposure to toxins in the ash, according to a department news release. Maui Now.


Portion of Wawae Road in Kalāheo closed until further notice. Following recent rains and the flooding event in April, the portion beneath Wawae Road continues to erode, compromising the roadway’s stability. Kauai Now.

Thursday, May 9, 2024

FEMA spending millions on empty buildings for Maui fire survivors, AG Lopez acting governor, government wraps up case in Kaneshiro bribery trial, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Attorney General Anne Lopez serving as acting governor.  Lt. Gov. Sylvia Luke served as acting governor from the evening of May 4 through Tuesday evening when Hawaii Attorney General Anne E. Lopez is serving as acting governor from the evening of May 7 until Gov. Josh Green’s return May 9.  Green has been in California since May 4 to attend the Milken Institute Global Conference. Maui News.

Deadline effectively set for Justice Department to decide on Alaska-Hawaiian deal. The DOJ said it would decide within 90 days of the two airlines declaring substantial compliance with the DOJ's second and presumably final document request.  Hawaii Public Radio.

Campaign Spending Commission Fines Kaniela Ing Another $18,000.  The Campaign Spending Commission fined former state Rep. Kaniela Ing $18,000 Wednesday for failing to make records available to the commission and falsifying nearly two dozen campaign finance reports during his time as a state representative from 2012 to 2018.  Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser.


‘Follow the money’ witness wraps up government’s case in Kaneshiro trial. After 22 days of testimony, the government rested its case in the federal bribery trial against ex-city Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro and his co-defendants. Hawaii News Now.

Will Honolulu reach its goal to drop emissions by 45% in the next year?  Ben Sullivan, the deputy director for the Office of Climate Change, Sustainability and Resiliency, said that Honolulu is on track to achieve closer to a 15% reduction, which is well below the stated goal. Hawaii Public Radio.

City outlines wildfire preparations on Oahu.
In the wake of the deadly Aug. 8 Maui wildfires, the City and County of Honolulu says it’s begun efforts to better respond to future wildfire threats on Oahu. Star-Advertiser.

Federal witnesses defend Navy’s Red Hill response.
Government witnesses are taking the stand this week to defend the Navy’s response to the Red Hill water crisis and sow doubts about the severity of the contamination as a federal mass tort lawsuit on behalf of affected families continues. Star-Advertiser.

Residential development planned for former St. Francis School campus. The 11.2 acre campus on the east side of Manoa Valley is already zoned for residential use. The Avalon Group purchased it for $23.5 million and wants to turn it into Aria Lane Manoa, with 76 single-family homes and 26 townhomes. Prices haven’t been set yet. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Growing Demand Puts Pressure On Honolulu’s Sports Fields.
Sports leagues are proliferating while the number of fields remains stagnant. One solution: Letting leagues play on school fields during off-hours. Civil Beat.

Plans to redo Paradise Cove at Ko Olina revived.
  New development partners are advancing a previously delayed plan to revitalize one of Hawaii’s oldest and most popular tourist attractions, Paradise Cove Luau. Star-Advertiser. KHON2.

Hawaii Island

Public clashes with Army over PTA lease.  During a public comment meeting at 'Imiloa Astronomy Center in Hilo on Wednesday, Big Islanders continued to urge the U.S. Army to abandon the Pohakuloa Training Area instead of extending its lease of state land. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News.  KITV4.

Visitor spending on Hawaii Island leaps to $854.2 million in the first quarter.
Visitor spending on Hawaii Island leaped to $854.2 million in the first quarter from $741.1 million in the first quarter of 2023 and from $646.4 in the first quarter of 2019, according to a monthly report from the state of Hawai‘i Department of Business, Economic Development &Tourism. Tribune-Herald.


FEMA Is Still Spending Millions On Hundreds Of Empty Housing Units For Maui Fire Survivors
. The agency has found available housing but is struggling to get people to move in. On Friday, it ends its support for the emergency hotel program. Civil Beat.

County issues RFP for After-Action Report of Maui Emergency Management Agency’s coordination of the Aug. 8 wildfire. Maui Mayor Richard Bissen announced the County of Maui has issued a Request for Proposals to conduct an After-Action Report assessing the coordination of Maui County Emergency Management Agency’s response to the Maui Wildfires that occurred in August 2023. Maui Now.

Residents invited to offer feedback on draft South Maui Community Plan at May 14 meeting. The Maui Planning Commission will review the latest draft for the South Maui Community Plan during a public meeting from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 14, 2024. Testimony will be accepted. Maui Now.

New Maui Ethics Board Member Instructed Not To Participate Due To Legal Dispute. The short-handed panel desperately needs more members, but a lawsuit is pending over the county's selection process. Civil Beat.


US Navy, NASA seek continued use of lands at Pacific Missile Range Facility, Kōkeʻe park. The U.S. Navy and NASA want to continue using more than 8,000 acres of state land on Kaua‘i after existing real estate agreements expire in 2027 and 2030. Kauai Now.

Visitor spending tops $700 million in first quarter on Kaua‘i. Total visitor spending surged to $719.4 million in the three-month period ended March 31, compared with $660.9 million in the three-month period ended March 31, 2023, and $481.9 million in the three-month period ended March 31, 2019. Garden Island.

Tuesday, May 7, 2024

Hawaii Tourism Authority sued over snorkeling dangers after long flights, temporary restraining order halts destruction of Haiku stairs, contested case hearing slows Punaluu black sand beach development, Civil Beat a Pulitzer finalist for Maui fire coverage, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Michigan family files lawsuit against Hawaii tourism authority over snorkeling dangers after long flights. A Michigan family filed a lawsuit against the Hawaii's Tourism Authority, and other visitor groups, because they don't warn tourists about potential dangers of snorkeling soon after flying. KITV4.

Hawaii Pushes To Ensure High Schoolers Learn About Money Management. The Department of Education wants to include financial literacy in students' individual transition plans for career planning. Civil Beat.

Hawaii county mayors crack down on short-term rentals, pledging neighborhood restoration. Now with the power to revoke permits, county mayors are moving aggressively to shut many of them down. KITV4.

Woman charged for alleged theft of more than $44,000 in IBEW union members’ dues. Attorney General Anne Lopez announced criminal charges against a woman for the alleged embezzlement of approximately $44,367 in union dues from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local Union 1186. Maui Now. Star-Advertiser.


Corruption Defendant Dennis Mitsunaga Injured In Jailhouse Fall, Delaying Trial
. A high-profile bribery trial involving businessman Dennis Mitsunaga and former Honolulu prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro was delayed on Monday after Mitsunaga sustained an injury in custody, his attorney said.  Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.

Settlement over Liquor Commission lawsuit is rejected. An offer by the city to settle a 2021 federal lawsuit alleging anti-gay discrimination by investigators working for the Honolulu Liquor Commission has been rejected. Star-Advertiser.

Friends of Haiku Stairs halt removal of popular, but prohibited, hiking trail. A temporary restraining order has been filed by the Friends of Haiku Stairs in an attempt to keep the city from their removal. KHON2.

Oahu housing market improves with year-over-year gains. The single-family home market had bigger gains, with a 26% jump in sales to 262 in April from 208 a year earlier, and a 10% rise in the median sale price to $1,100,000 from $999,995. Star-Advertiser.

Man who received $12.5M settlement from HPD arrested for gun crimes. Officers booked Jonaven Perkins-Sinapati Saturday afternoon for allegedly firing a gun out of a moving vehicle in Kaneohe. Hawaii News Now.

Biki’s Balancing Act: The Bike Share Company Is Raising Rates While Trying To Attract More Riders. Biki's Honolulu ridership has been steadily declining over the past few years, and its leadership wants to reinvest in the system to draw in more riders and start adding e-bikes. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Island

Punalu‘u project stalled: Proposed Black Sand Beach Development On Big Island Hits Rocky Shores. The Windward Planning Commission granted petitions for a contested case hearing over a developer's plans to build 225 units along a remote strip of coastline. Civil Beat. Tribune-Herald.  Big Island Video News.  Big Island Now.

Star Alameda, wife of mayoral candidate dies. Star Alameda, wife of Hawaii County mayoral candidate Kimo Alameda and a career educator, died Friday. She was 54. Tribune-Herald.

National Science Foundation to decide on billions in funding for Thirty Meter Telescope. The National Science Foundation has until September to decide on advancing the Thirty Meter Telescope to the final design stage. The TMT is competing against a telescope project in Chile for limited NSF funding.  Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaiian Name Given To New Astronomy Instrument On Maunakea.  ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi students at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo have named a new instrument that will be used at the Canada-France-Hawaiʻi Telescope on Maunakea. Wenaokeao, meaning “earliest glow of light,” was given after extensive research by high school students. Big Island Video News.


Notices of Maui homeless sweep lacking information cited by state Supreme Court. Notices of an ongoing homeless sweep at Maui’s Kahului Boat Harbor by the state Department of Land and Natural Resources lack the same information that was cited by the Hawaii Supreme Court in a challenge to Maui County’s homeless sweeps. Star-Advertiser.

A judge is forcing Hawaiʻi to give wildfire investigation documents to lawyers handling lawsuits. A judge on Friday forced the Hawaiʻi attorney general's office to turn over to lawyers involved in the hundreds of lawsuits over last summer's Maui wildfires all documents, interviews and data collected by the outside team hired to investigate the disaster. Associated Press.

Candidates file nomination papers, aim to help with Maui’s housing crisis. Two candidates for public office are testing political waters and saying they aim to help address Maui’s housing crisis, especially in the wake of the August wildfires. Maui Now.

Expeditions Maui-Lānaʻi Ferry expands to three round trips per day; continues to adjust following wildfires. The Expeditions Maui-Lānaʻi Ferry is expanding service with three round trips per day, seven days a week, starting the week of June 3, 2024. Maui Now.

Civil Beat Named Pulitzer Finalist For Maui Fire Coverage. Civil Beat’s reporting exposed critical flaws in the state and county’s emergency preparedness and response, including the absence of Maui’s top emergency management official, the county’s lack of transparency overall and the history of failures in ecological management that laid the foundation for the disaster.  Civil Beat.


County and hotel developer respond to recent wastewater spills at Coco Palms. Two recent wastewater spills at the Wailua Coco Palms sewer pump station, expected to accommodate a 350-room hotel currently under construction, have added to public opposition to the development. However, county officials and the hotel developer assert that the sewer issues are not linked to the hotelʻs construction.  Kauai Now.

Niumalu Bridge on Kaua‘i closed till further notice. Following the flooding event in April, Kaua‘i County consultants inspected county bridges across the island and determined that the Niumalu Bridge was unsafe for motorists, prompting an immediate shutdown. Kauai Now.

Friday, May 3, 2024

Green creates climate advisory team, Bissen touts plan to eliminate 7k vacation rentals on Maui, Mitsunaga corruption trial witness describes thousands in 'straw man' campaign contributions, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Governor announces Climate Advisory Team to develop climate resilience policy, forms team to address disasters and climate change.  Gov. Josh Green announced Thursday that he is forming a Climate Advisory Team to spearhead policy efforts that include securing funding to mitigate disaster risks and impacts from climate change as well as tackling still-pending issues stemming from the Aug. 8 Maui wildfires. Star-Advertiser. Big Island Now. KHON2.

Controversial urban development bill narrowly passes final floor vote. Senate Bill 3202 would allow two accessory dwelling units, or ADUs, to be built on residential properties.  Hawaii Public Radio.

Senate and House pass bills to improve language access in Hawaiʻi .
The bills came after advocates have been raising concerns about the need for more language interpreters in the event of natural disasters. Hawaii Public Radio.

Lawmakers Want State To Make Public The Names Of Companies That Sell Infested Plants. The agriculture department will likely receive $20 million for biosecurity this year. Civil Beat. Hawaii Public Radio.  KITV4.

Legislature passes bill supporting value-added production across Hawaiʻi
. In a landmark move aimed at bolstering economic resilience and promoting local industries, the Hawaiʻi State Legislature has successfully passed HB2144 HD1 SD2 CD1, a bill focused on expanding value-added production throughout the Aloha State.  Maui Now.

Coffee labeling bill passes.  A bill over 30 years in the making has cleared legislative hurdles and is being sent to Gov. Josh Green for his signature. The bill, introduced by Rep. Nicole Lowen, came on the heels of Act 222 in 2022 which required an independent study to assess the economic impact of Hawaii’s coffee labeling laws on local coffee farmers and the industry. West Hawaii Today.


Defendant In Honolulu Corruption Case Gave Politicians Thousands In Illegal Straw Donations, Niece Says.  Terri Ann Otani, who worked for Mitsunaga & Associates Inc.,  is now on trial for participating in a scheme to bribe former Honolulu prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro with campaign donations so he would pursue a case against a former Mitsunaga firm employee. Civil Beat.

Honolulu Council eyes $27M for city worker hazard pay. The Honolulu City Council plans to earmark $27 million in federal funds to repay eligible, unionized city workers employed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Star-Advertiser.

Attorney blasts HPD’s investigation of alleged Jan. 1 beating.
An attorney for the father and son allegedly hit with a Honolulu police van and beaten by  Opens in a new tabup to 12 officers during an islandwide New Year’s Day manhunt for an attempted murder suspect Opens in a new tab said HPD has not identified or interviewed any of the officers involved. Star-Advertiser.

Waianae coast residents air crime concerns at mayor's town hall.
Hundreds of Waianae Coast residents jammed Mayor Rick Blangiardi’s latest town hall meeting, with crime on the top of their minds. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu ranks 29th on clean energy progress among US cities. The nonprofit American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy parsed through municipal energy policies and programs to create the 2024 City Clean Energy Scorecard.  Hawaii Public Radio.

New Hawaii Charter School Wants To Prep Kids For A Future Where AI Is ‘Central In Our Lives’. The opening of Kulia Academy in Kalihi comes at a time when many other schools in the state are grappling with how to incorporate artificial intelligence into classroom lessons and address possible misuse of the technology. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Island

Windward Planning Commission gives short-term rental bill ‘thumbs-down’.  The Windward Planning Commission gave Hawaiʻi County Council Chair Heather Kimball’s short-term rental bill a thumbs-down on May 2 by sending an unfavorable recommendation to the County Council.  Multiple members of the commission viewed the bill as “government overreach.”  Big Island Now.

2024 Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament Cancelled Due To Low Participation. The planned 62nd annual Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament in Kona has been cancelled, organizers announced this week, due to low world-wide participation. Big Island Video News.

More than 1,600 earthquakes recorded on Kīlauea since late April.
USGS Issues Statement On Kīlauea Volcano As Unrest Increases. Kīlauea was not erupting as of 12:15 a.m. Friday morning, but a sharp increase in seismicity on the upper East Rift Zone overnight prompted an information statement from the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.  Big Island Video News. Big Island Now.

Hilo Macy’s store safe for now despite more downsizing by the retailer. The Macy’s store in Hilo’s Prince Kuhio Plaza will remain open for the foreseeable future, according to spokesperson for the national retailer. Tribune-Herald.


Bissen quick to offer bill to regulate Maui vacation rentals. Maui Mayor Richard Bissen wasted no time in proposing a county bill that would phase out 2,200 vacation rentals in West Maui apartment districts by July 1, 2025 — and eventually all 7,000 units in apartment districts across Maui. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii Public Radio.  Maui News.  Maui Now.  KHON2.

Gov. Green approves $385.4M emergency appropriations for Maui wildfire relief.
Gov. Josh Green signed Senate Bill 582 into law on Thursday, allocating $385.4 million in emergency appropriations to support relief efforts on Maui, following the Aug. 8, 2023 wildfires.  Maui Now. Hawaii News Now.

Environmental Groups Sue Maui Resort Over Endangered Seabird Injuries. Despite a settlement reached two years ago, Hawaiian petrels continue to be harmed by bright lights at Grand Wailea in violation of federal law, plaintiffs allege. Civil Beat. Maui Now.


Haʻena residents challenge AT&T cell tower plans. Kaua’i County Council members held a briefing on AT&T’s plan to place a 5G cell tower on a house lot in Ha’ena during a committee meeting on Wednesday, May 1, as community residents filled the chambers to speak out against the proposed construction. Kauai Now.

Embattled Kauai police chief accused of ‘punishing’ officers who found his lost service gun. A month after embattled KPD Chief Todd Raybuck lost his loaded service weapon, the two officers who found it are formally accusing him of retaliation. Hawaii News Now.

Big drop in passenger count at Lihu‘e Airport. The number of people getting off domestic passenger flights at Lihu‘e Airport dropped to its lowest level for the first full month of spring since the COVID-19 pandemic. Garden Island.

Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge officially opens on Kaua‘i. Kauai’s new self-guided refuge completes the trifecta for Kauai’s wildlife refuges on the island — Hanalei, Huleia, and Kilauea Point — all managed by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in partnership with the Hawai‘i Department of Transportation. Garden Island.

Wednesday, May 1, 2024

HECO seeks $250M line of credit, mulls asset sales, after Legislature rejects bailout bill; RFK Jr. wins access to Hawaii ballot; $1B pledged for new fiber links in Pacific, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

$1B is pledged for undersea internet cables. The Pacific Connect Initiative will create new fiber links between Hawaii and other Pacific regions. Civil Beat. Tribune-Herald.  Big Island Now.

Lawmakers Rejected A Bill To Bail Out HECO. Now What?  Hawaiian Electric Co. is seeking expedited regulatory approval to sell utility assets to obtain a $250 million line of credit to improve its financial stability.  Civil Beat. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaiian Electric readies plan for cutting power during wildfire risks. Hawaiian Electric Co. is preparing to roll out its plan for proactive power shutdowns for areas at high risk for wildfires during extreme weather. The utility hopes to launch its Public Safety Power Shutoff plan at the end of the month, with a targeted implementation date of July 1. Star-Advertiser.

RFK Jr. wins ballot access fight in Hawaii. The Democratic party of Hawaii will not appeal the decision to allow independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy  to appear on the Hawaii ballot this November. KITV4.

Lingering softness in arrivals to Hawaii threatens summer season. Visitors to Hawaii exceeded the expectations of some tourism industry officials in the first quarter, but results were still weak and are worsening for the peak summer season and beyond. Star-Advertiser.

Growing cruise industry latest in Hawaii’s tourism economy
. March 2024 saw a 40 percent increase in visitorship with over 12,000 people compared to 8,000 people who came in March of 2023. KHON2.

‘Do the right thing’: Hawaii wrongful imprisonment law isn’t working for 2 in high-profile cases. Two Hawaii men who were wrongly convicted and put behind bars for years are hitting another brick wall trying to win compensation. Their next stop may be the governor’s office. Hawaii News Now.


Ex-Honolulu Investigator Tells Jury He Swore To Facts In Theft Case He Had ‘No Idea’ About. Five people associated with a local engineering firm are accused of bribing former prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro to pursue a bogus theft case. Civil Beat.

Red Hill fuel spread through water quickly, expert testifies. Water system experts testified Tuesday on the second day of a class-action lawsuit against the U.S. government that tests may have missed contamination in the critical early days of the Red Hill fuel crisis. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii Public Radio.  Hawaii News Now.

Lifeguards want new department with oversight, HGEA poll finds. City and County of Honolulu lifeguards unanimously supported creating a new Department of Ocean Safety but overwhelming rejected Mayor Rick Blangiardi’s proposal on how to do that, according to a poll taken by their union. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Big Island Affordable Housing Production Open For Proposals May 1st. Nonprofits, for-profit organizations, and community land trusts can submit proposals to create "sustainable, inclusive, and affordable housing solutions" for residents. Big Island Video News.

Manono Street project clears another hurdle
. Despite some misgivings, a Hawaii County Council committee has approved a plan to redevelop a derelict Hilo residential lot. Tribune-Herald.

County Council gives favorable recommendation to resolution aimed at protecting nearly 30 acres in Pu‘uanahulu. The Hawai‘i County Council on Tuesday bolstered efforts to preserve and protect the cultural and natural resources on a nearly 30-acre parcel on the west side of the Big Island for education, gathering and cultural practices. Big Island Now.


New housing projects give hope to some Maui fire survivors
.  Ka La‘i Ola is expected to provide 450 interim homes for wildfire survivors who did not qualify for any type of federal aid. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.  Maui Now.  Hawaii News Now.

Trees for Lahaina. Marriott’s Maui Ocean Club Launches Garden in Support of Lahaina reforestation. Maui News.


Median home price leaps to $1.6 million in March on Kaua‘i.
  The median price of a single-family home on Kaua‘i was easily the highest among the four major islands and more than $1 million higher than median price on Hawai‘i Island, which was the lowest in the same period. Garden Island.

BLNR awards disputed Coco Palms state land to developer over nonprofit group. The state Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR) granted two contested state-owned parcels of Wailua land to the developer of the Coco Palms Resort, denying the application of a nonprofit organization opposed to the development at a recent meeting. Kauai Now.

Friday, April 26, 2024

HECO bailout bill stalls, utility seeks to divest itself of American Savings Bank; Legislature finds $1B for Maui wildfire recovery; Blangiardi heads to Washington in search of homeless funding, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

HECO’s Bill To Raise Money From Customers For Wildfire Mitigation Has Stalled. The utility wanted to add a fee of up to 5% to customers' bills to finance the program, but a key Senator balked. The governor has stepped in to try to save it. Civil Beat. Hawaii Public Radio.

Report: Hawaiian Electric Is Looking To Sell American Savings Bank. The report comes as alternative efforts to raise cash have stalled in the Legislature. Civil Beat.

About $1B arranged for Maui wildfire expenses. Lawmakers Vote To Provide More Than $800M In New Recovery Money For Maui on top of $200 million committed by Gov. Josh Green.  Members of the House and Senate also agreed to create a new position for a state fire marshal to promote fire safety. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser.  Maui Now.

Hawaii legislators face deadline to avoid repeat of ‘chaos’. House and Senate legislators negotiating changes are under pressure to approve final bills by 6 p.m. tonight to avoid what Senate President Ron Kouchi called “the chaos” that surrounded the end of 2023’s session. The 2024 Legislature adjourns in a week, on May 3. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii taxpayers will cough up $18M for state workers’ mistakes, misbehavior. Hawaii taxpayers are on the hook for more than $18 million this year to settle lawsuits filed by dozens of people and companies. Lawmakers, frustrated over repeated failures, did try to make some departments pay the cash themselves. Hawaii News Now.

State lawmakers close to increasing penalties on dog attacks. There could be tougher penalties for dog owners if their dog seriously bites or attacks a person, lawmakers say stricter laws are needed as communities have been dealing with severe, even deadly attacks.  KHON2.

Bill Aims To Reduce Unauthorized Hunting In Hawaii. The legislative proposal would make hunting guides obtain written permission from landowners before leading tours on private lands. Civil Beat.

AAA: Hawaiʻi gas prices continue to increase.  Gas prices statewide continue to increase slowly, according to the AAA Hawaiʻi Weekend Gas Watch. The statewide average price for regular unleaded is $4.81, three cents higher than last week. The national average gas price is $3.66, one cent lower than last week. Maui Now.

Hawaii restaurant inspection reports not easily available: ‘That’s a problem’. There have been at least seven red placards issued to local restaurants since 2024 began but there is no easy way to access the inspection reports that prompted them. KHON2.


Mayor Blangiardi heads to Washington, D.C. to advocate for more homeless funding. Mayor Rick Blangiardi leaves Friday for Washington D.C. To meet with officials from the Biden administration where he’s expected to ask for more federal funding to help tackle homelessness in Honolulu. KHON2.

HART receives $125M in federal funding.
The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation on Thursday announced $125 million in long-awaited federal funding to aid in the ongoing construction of the nearly $10 billion Skyline project. Star-Advertiser.

Skyline fleet is now complete with delivery of 20th train.
All 20 trains for the Honolulu rail, officially called Skyline, are now on Oʻahu. The final train arrived at Honolulu Harbor on Wednesday.  Hawaii Public Radio.

Navy: Recent Elevated Petroleum Levels In Pearl Harbor Water Are False Positives. Chlorine in water samples skewed the results, the Navy says. Residents fear their drinking water remains unsafe. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser.  Hawaii News Now.

Officials meet, discuss Makua Valley military training sites. U.S. Rep. Jill Tokuda joined community members Thursday in tours and meetings with officials at military sites on Oahu’s Leeward side.  Star-Advertiser.

Defense paints key witness in Kaneshiro bribery trial as a liar.  Retired HPD officer Rudy Alivado was back on the stand Wednesday for cross-examination in the high-profile bribery trial involving Honolulu’s former city prosecutor and employees of a politically-connected engineering firm. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Developer testifies why he sued lot owner over HPP house mistake. Paul Fujinaga, partners with John Mendonca in Keaau Development Partnership, said that no surveyor was brought in to ensure that the contractor, PJ’s Construction, built the house on the one-acre lot on 8th Avenue owned by the developer instead of on the adjoining vacant parcel owned by Annaleine “Anne” Reynolds. Tribune-Herald.


Maui Strong Fund Providing $40M To Help House Fire Survivors.
The Hawaii Community Foundation is providing a $40 million grant through its Maui Strong Fund to support construction of the state’s $115 million, 450-unit Ka La’i Ola interim housing development for fire survivors, the foundation announced Thursday. Civil Beat.

Lahaina Seniors Wanted A Normal Year. The Fires Changed Everything.
Students at Lahainaluna High School say they're searching for normalcy after the pandemic moved their freshman year online and the fires disrupted their senior year. Civil Beat.


Kauai homeowners sue home construction company over alleged construction defects. Christie Volkmer bought a newly-built home on Kauai from D.R. Horton in 2018. Two years later, she and her family noticed something wrong with their water system. KITV4.

Volunteers sought to cleanup Morgan’s Ponds. The County of Kaua‘i Department of Parks and Recreation opened Lydgate Beach Park and the Kamalani Playground area to the public on Thursday. Garden Island.

Pacific Biodiesel plants its first Kauaʻi sunflower field, modeled after Maui’s. While Pacific Biodiesel is headquartered on Maui, it has nearly 100 employees statewide, including 50 who work at its biodiesel refinery on Hawaiʻi Island. Maui Now.

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Green pledges to sign vacation rental bill; House, Senate reach budget agreement; Maui mayor seeks twice what lawmakers allotted for wildfire recovery, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Gov. Green pledges to sign short-term rentals bill. Gov. Josh Green on Tuesday pledged to sign a bill into law that would give each county clear authority over vacation rentals — including the possibility of banning them — if it arrives on his desk, as expected. Star-Advertiser.

Proposed State Budget Includes Money For Public School Raises, Geothermal Exploration. The budget would also provide millions of dollars in extra support to the Hawaii State Hospital. House and Senate negotiators reached agreement Tuesday evening on a $19.21 billion state budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1 that includes raises for public school vice principals and extra money for small and rural public schools. Civil Beat.

Hawaii’s Ambitious Renewable Energy Plan Is Threatened By HECO’s Uncertain Future. New projects are on hold as the electric company's credit rating sags. Hawaii’s renewable energy sector is stepping up support for policies aimed at financially bolstering Hawaiian Electric Co., which has been battered by accusations that the utility started the fire that killed 101 people and burned down much of Lahaina in August. Civil Beat.

Lawmakers consider a property damage compensation fund for future fires.
The measure would allow stakeholders to pay into a wildfire relief fund that would compensate property owners in the instance of another wildfire. That would include government entities like the state, large property owners with over 1,000 acres of land and share-holder utility companies such as Hawaiian Electric. Hawaii Public Radio.

Several invasive species measures are nearing the legislative finish line. A measure to fund the state Department of Agriculture with about $20 million for port inspectors, pest control workers and other biosecurity personnel around the state is still alive and could pass through conference hearings this week. Separate bills to support efforts against coconut rhinoceros beetles, little fire ants and other species are also set to move on. Hawaii Public Radio.

State looking at reducing parakeet population with one-year pilot program. The state wants to declare war on another invasive species — parakeets — that have been spreading disease, decimating native fruits, and stripping fruit trees on Kauai, among other harms. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Tourism Authority board chooses former Honolulu mayor as new leader. Tuesday, the state senate voted to approve former Honolulu mayor Mufi Hanneman as HTA’s board chair.  Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Hawaiian Airlines boosts revenue but loses $137.6M in first quarter. Hawaiian Holdings Inc., the parent company of Hawaiian Airlines, improved revenue and continued investments during the first quarter, but deepened losses as it grappled with rising operating costs and other headwinds while pursuing a merger with Alaska Airlines. Star-Advertiser.


Nearly 3.6% pay hike adopted for mayor, Council. The Honolulu Salary Commission Tuesday adopted a nearly 3.6% pay boost for the mayor, managing director, the nine-member City Council and other appointed, high-level city officials for the city’s fiscal year 2025 salary schedule, which begins July 1. Star-Advertiser.

HPD applications increase after $25K bonus announcement. A $25,000 bonus for new Honolulu Police Department recruits is an unprecedented incentive for the department, the goal was to attract more people into the force, and according to the department, it is working.  KHON2.

Dennis Mitsunaga’s ‘Ninja’ Testifies That ‘It Felt A Little Wrong’ To Contact Witness In Corruption Case. Mitsunaga, charged in the federal bribery trial of former Honolulu prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro, is accused of attempting to manipulate a witness's testimony. Civil Beat. KITV4.

'Our superhero’: Girlfriend of alleged Miske murder victim says she won’t stop looking for answers. The woman whose boyfriend was allegedly murdered by Mike Miske finished her testimony in federal court Monday and was finally free to tell her story in public. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Red Hill Families Describe Litany Of Harms From Tainted Water In Lead-Up To Federal Trial. In the trial starting Monday, the U.S. Department of Justice will question whether they were exposed to jet fuel and, if so, whether it was enough to account for their illnesses. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Island

Nene gosling likely died from disease carried by feral cats. The nene gosling that died last month in Lili‘uokalani Park and Gardens in Hilo likely was killed by toxoplasmosis, an infection spread in the feces of feral cats, according to the state Department of Land and Natural Resources. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Now.

Traps catch invasive coconut rhinoceros beetles in Waikoloa. The destructive beetles pose a serious threat to palm trees and culturally important plants in Hawaii. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser.  Tribune-Herald.  Big Island Now.  Hawaii News Now.

Federal lawsuit against Roth, others on hold pending legal question. Hilo attorney Pueo Kai McGuire's federal lawsuit against Hawaii County, Mayor Mitch Roth, county Prosecutor Kelden Waltjen, Deputy Prosecutor Kate Perazich and former Deputy Prosecutor Sylvia Wan that accuses them of malicious prosecution is on hold — for now.  Tribune-Herald.


Maui mayor seeks more funding to cover Lahaina disaster costs. Maui County Mayor Richard Bissen, just shy of two weeks before the end of this year’s legislative session and after all public hearings on bills, asked House and Senate leaders to appropriate $125 million instead of $63.6 million to Maui County for wildfire recovery work pending in a bill. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

Kaulana Mahina workforce housing apartments celebrates grand opening in Central Maui.  The event comes at a time when the chronically undersupplied housing market on Maui has been further impacted by the devastating fires of last August. Maui Now.


Friend of jailed Kaua‘i artist accused of threatening a councilman speaks out following court hearing. A Kauaʻi resident has voiced support for a local artist in jail on $100,000 bail after allegedly threatening County Councilman Bill DeCosta in January, following a court hearing on Tuesday, April 23.  Kauai Now.

Kauai County to extend beach lifeguard hours. Starting next month, hours at guarded beaches will be from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., according to the county’s Ocean Safety Bureau, an additional two hours from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. currently. Star-Advertiser.

Kauaʻi Habitat for Humanity expands affordable housing to island's north shore. The organization acquired six lots in Kīlauea that it plans to offer up to low-income homeowners in the next month or so. Hawaii Public Radio.

Wiwo‘ole Project takes root in Lihu‘e. The project consists of transitional housing for individuals and families trying to escape domestic violence and sexual assault. Garden Island.