Showing posts with label Kilauea Volcano. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kilauea Volcano. Show all posts

Monday, June 3, 2024

Kilauea erupts, Hawaii seaweed touted to reduce cattle methane emissions, Honolulu mulls gift ban bill, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Cattle Are A Major Source Of Greenhouse Gas Emissions. Hawaii Seaweed Could Change That. Local businesses are getting big funding boosts to help make farmed algae part of the solution in addressing the amount of methane cattle produce. Civil Beat.

 Kilauea erupting as alert level raised to red. Kīlauea erupts; fissures active likely about a mile south of caldera, within Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park. Big Island Now.  Star-Advertiser.
 Big Island Video News. . Hawaii News Now.  KHON2.

Established Hawaii business groups question fledgling chamber. The head of the Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii says a new organization called the Chamber of Sustainable Commerce has generated confusion among some island businesses and does not represent traditional business interests. Star-Advertiser.

PUC orders halt to phone, internet service disconnections for 1,500 Hawaiian Home Lands households.  The state Public Utilities Commission has ordered Sandwich Isles Communications not to cut phone and internet service to about 1,500 Hawaiian Home Lands households statewide. Hawaii News Now.

State chief information officer retiring. State Chief Information Officer Doug Murdock retired from public service Friday, Gov. Josh Green announced.. Murdock served as CIO since January 2019. Star-Advertiser.

Big Island senator assigned new interim chair Senate Committee.
Sen. Herbert M. “Tim” Richards III (Senate District 4, North Hilo, Hāmākua, Kohala, Waimea, Waikoloa, North Kona) will be the interim Chair of the Senate Committee on Hawaiian Affairs. Big Island Now.

New members appointed to Hawaiian Homes Commission. Renown waterman and Maui activist Archie Kalepa was appointed to represent the Valley Isle, effective immediately.  Gov. Josh Green also appointed Lawrence Lasua, former president and CEO of Moloka‘i Community Federal Credit Union, effective July 1. Star-Advertiser.

Falck protests EMS contracts for Maui, Kauai going to AMR. The company that initially won the state contracts for emergency medical services for Maui and Kauai counties and then lost it in a rebidding process is formally contesting awarding of the work to International Life Support, dba American Medical Response, or AMR. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

Council advances gift ban bill for Honolulu city and county employees.
A Honolulu City Council measure to prohibit city and county employees from accepting gifts from lobbyists or other third-party sources in relation to their official duties is nearing final approval. Star-Advertiser.

Tweaks To Honolulu’s Land Use Law Could Jeopardize Kahuku’s Controversial Wind Farms. Repairs may soon be needed, but those could run into legal trouble as the City Council considers new restrictions. Civil Beat.

Honolulu Has Been Fighting Over Illegal Vacation Rentals Since The 1970s. Whether tourists destroy neighborhoods or provide a critical financial lifeline to residents is an argument that goes back a generation. Civil Beat.

Tensions at HART leave future of rail leadership in doubt. Lori Kahikina’s future as the CEO and executive director of the city’s rail project — and the future of the project itself — has been thrown into doubt with six months left on her contract and relations continuing to break down between her and the chair of the board that oversees the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation. Star-Advertiser.

Navy’s Red Hill tank ventilation rattles some residents. Navy Closure Task Force-Red Hill announced on its mobile app last week that the state Department of Health had approved its plans to begin cleaning operations and venting of the facility’s Tank No. 8. Star-Advertiser.

City land donation proposed for Kailua Hawaiian homesteads project. For the third time in two decades, city officials are seeking to make residential use out of a large parcel of vacant city land in Kailua. Star-Advertiser.

Working group formed as lead testing continues near Marine rifle range. The Marine Corps Puuloa Range Training Facility in Ewa Beach has been in continuous operation for more than a century. But in recent years complaints about noise and concerns about environmental effects of the shooting range have put it under increasing scrutiny from the surrounding community. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

UH observatory removed from Mauna Kea; CSO will be next.
The Hoku Kea Observatory, the University of Hawaii’s educational telescope, was the first of five Mauna Kea observatories slated for removal as part of the university’s Maunakea Comprehensive Management Plan and, as of the end of May, was the first to be completely removed from the summit. Star-Advertiser. Tribune-Herald.  Big Island NowKHON2.

Court rejects access road claim: Justices rule DOT erred when it designated thoroughfare to Maunakea a state highway. The Hawaii Supreme Court on Thursday ruled the state Department of Transportation’s 2018 designation of Maunakea Access Road as a public highway “took almost all property rights” from the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands. Tribune-Herald. Hawaii News Now.


ROD fight continues: Experts hope to limit spread by preventing injuries to trees. While the fight against Rapid ‘Ohi‘a Death continues throughout Hawaii, scientists have shifted their focus to managing ungulates and other invasive species. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Help for Maui’s fire-impacted businesses trickles down slowly. It’s been more than nine months since the Maui wildfires, but thousands of Maui business owners who applied for the Maui Bridge Grant or a Small Business Administration disaster loan are still waiting. Star-Advertiser.

Lahaina Fire Sparks Bitter Business Disagreement Over Who Is Responsible For Rebuilding. One issue in the case of West Maui Center is whether insurance should cover both the landlord's and the tenant's loss. Civil Beat.

FEMA Is Canceling Some Of Its Direct Leases To House Maui Fire Survivors. The property owners are now scrambling to figure out what to do with their units which sat empty for months at the expense of taxpayers. Civil Beat.

Will We Recognize Lahaina Once It’s Rebuilt? A Maui Lawmaker Ponders The Question. Angus McKelvey says the state government needs to do more to prevent a massive sell-off of land. Civil Beat.

Kauai

Property tax rate hikes approved by Kauaʻi County Council. Resolution No. 2024-31 proposes to create a tiered system for real property tax rates for the 2024 to 2025 fiscal year, where more expensive properties are placed into a higher tax rate.  Kauai Now.

Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Senate President Kouchi investigated by FBI; Legislature socks away $435M for contingencies, retirement fund; Kilauea unrest prompts closures, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii Senate President Ron Kouchi’s Ties To A Convicted Businessman. Milton Choy recorded meetings with Kouchi as part of an FBI investigation but there's been no evidence revealed that the senator committed any wrongdoing. Senate President Ron Kouchi was for years among Milton Choy’s close allies, giving the recently convicted businessman access to the inner circle of Hawaii’s politicians where Choy could try to influence legislation, a Civil Beat investigation into Choy’s political dealings uncovered. Civil Beat.

Hawaii lawmakers aim to enlarge ‘rainy day’ and retirement funds. House and Senate negotiators during a Friday evening meeting agreed to appropriate a $300 million deposit into the state’s emergency and budget reserve fund, also known as the “rainy day” fund, and $135 million into a trust fund to pay for future retirement benefits of Hawaii government workers. Star-Advertiser.

HECO's future remains uncertain as governor attempts to revive securitization bill. As of Sunday, neither the spokesperson for the Senate nor the governor's office had any updates on the status of the bill. No additional hearings had been scheduled for the bill on Monday morning.  Hawaii Public Radio.

Car Insurance, Speed Cameras And Slow Drivers Caught Lawmakers’ Attention This Session. The cost of auto insurance could soon be going up for thousands of Hawaii drivers. Other bills  lawmakers advanced this year will make changes in the rules of the road, including a measure to use cameras to ticket speeding motorists and another to require that slow-moving drivers on two-lane highways pull over and let the cars behind them pass. Civil Beat.

Nonprofits seek help as poverty in Hawaii hits 15%. Child &Family Service put out a call to action to other nonprofits Monday to join it in the battle to fight the harmful effects of poverty in Hawaii, where an estimated 15% of families are living below federal poverty guidelines. Star-Advertiser.

Education bills advance to full House and Senate. House and Senate conference committees plan to forward a host of education-­related bills this week to the full House and Senate for final approval, including a statewide registry that would document and share all school staff misdeeds, along with other bills to ease qualifications for teacher licenses in Hawaii and provide more funding for Hawaiian immersion education. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii is known for its macadamia nuts. Lawmakers want to keep it that way. The stakes are high for Hawaii’s 600-plus macadamia nut farmers, many of whom have small operations. Combined, they produced $62.7 million in nuts in 2021, just ahead of coffee in value and second only to seed farms that research genetically engineered corn. Associated Press.

Legislation would fund programs to help control the feral chickens. A pair of bills on the verge of passing the state Legislature would allocate $50,000 to each of the state’s four counties in order to develop management programs to address the growing feral chicken population — which, the bills argue, present not just a public nuisance but a legitimate public safety concern. Tribune-Herald.

Cancellation of ‘NCIS: Hawaii’ deals big blow to fans — and to Hawaii’s economy. After three seasons, the TV series “NCIS: Hawaii” that employed some 400 people will air its final episode in about a week. Hawaii News Now.

Oahu

Families Testify In Red Hill Trial How Fuel Made Them Sick As Feds Express Doubt. Witnesses testified they became extremely ill after drinking the Navy's contaminated water. Government attorneys countered their exposure was brief. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii Public Radio. KHON2.  KITV4.

Former Deputy Prosecutor Says He Had Probable Cause To Charge Honolulu Architect With Theft.
Jacob Delaplane testified in the ongoing bribery trial of former Honolulu prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro about the theft charges he filed against Laurel Mau in 2014. Civil Beat.

Inmate missing after court transport was chased off jail property by corrections officers: Sources. An Oahu Community Correctional Center inmate was somehow lost during a court transport Friday afternoon and then told to leave the jail property when corrections officers didn’t know who he was. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Hawaii Island

Yagong, county settle lawsuit over legal fees: Ex-council chairman sought more than $300K. Dominic Yagong filed the suit in 2022 seeking reimbursement of almost $306,000 in legal fees he said he incurred successfully defending himself against a defamation lawsuit. Tribune-Herald.

Closures In Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park Expanded Due To High Seismicity. In the late afternoon, the National Park Service expanded the closures to include the Chain of Craters Road from the intersection at Crater Rim Drive.  Big Island Video News. Tribune-Herald.  Big Island Now.  Hawaii News Now.  KHON2.

County Looks To Acquire ʻAnaehoʻomalu Coastal Lands. The County of Hawaiʻi could be looking to acquire 27-acres of land in the area of ʻAnaehoʻomalu, a parcel on the South Kohala coast that was identified late last year as a top priority for preservation.  Big Island Video News.

Nearly 5 tons in tires removed from Kailua Bay.
  The ocean floor is littered with nets, old car parts, barrels, derelict fishing gear, glass and plastic bottles and trash in general. Big Island Now.

Maui

Air Force proposes facility consisting of up to seven telescopes at Haleakalā on Maui. The Department of the Air Force is proposing to construct and operate the Air Force Maui Optical and Supercomputing Site Small Telescope Advanced Research (AMOS STAR) facility on the island of Maui. Maui Now.

Maui fire compensation fund deadline is extended. Families who lost a loved one in the deadly Aug. 8 Maui wildfires — or victims who suffered serious injuries — now have until May 31 to register for the One ‘Ohana Fund, which offers them financial compensation. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

Maui Food Bank says distribution demand is up 65% since August wildfires
. Since the Maui wildfires devastated communities more than eight months ago, Maui Food Bank has seen a staggering rise in the demand for food. Hawaii Public Radio.

New County Recovery Permit Center now open in Kahului. The new County of Maui Recovery Permit Center officially opened its doors in Kahului on Monday, providing a vital resource for those who are looking to rebuild in fire-affected areas in Lahaina and Kula as they navigate the permitting process and take the next step toward returning home. Maui Now. Maui News.  KITV4.

Fine for 2023 Maui yacht grounding skyrockets to $1.8M.  The parties that damaged coral and live rock near Honolua Bay with a yacht in early 2023 were originally fined $117,000. Now they're on the hook for $1.8 million. Hawaii Public Radio. Maui News.

MHS transports 50 cats to Silicon Valley.
After taking in more than 880 displaced animals from the August 8, 2023, wildfires, Maui Humane Society is continuing to face capacity challenges with cats rescued from the Lahaina burn zone.  Maui News.

Kauai

BLNR approves public auction of Wailua land parcel despite overwhelming opposition. Despite concerns over cultural preservation and climate change, a small plot of state-owned land in Wailua, Kauaʻi, near the old Coco Palms Resort, will be put up for public auction. Hawaii Public Radio.

Construction work on tap for recreational areas. A couple of County of Kaua‘i recreational areas are being closed in order for maintenance work to be done ahead of the summer season. Garden Island.

Monday, April 29, 2024

House-Senate negotiators agree on biggest tax cut yet, COVID hazard pay cost jumps to $449M, second round of health-care debt forgiveness begins, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii residents could see biggest tax cut yet. Hawaii taxpayers could be seeing phased state income tax cuts that over eight years amount to the biggest reduction in state history. A measure approved by House and Senate negotiators Friday,  House Bill 2404, would double the standard deduction for the 2024 tax year and then keep raising it every two years through 2030. Star-Advertiser.

State to pay $449M for government worker pandemic hazard pay. The state will have to pay $449 million to compensate government employees for coming to work during the COVID-19 pandemic. The cost is about $150 million over previous estimates by the Department of Budget and Finance. Hawaii Public Radio.

New round of debt forgiveness begins for Hawaii healthcare professionals.  Gov. Josh Green, in partnership with the University of Hawaii’s John A. Burns School of Medicine, the Healthcare Association of Hawaii and the state Department of Health, developed the Healthcare Education Loan Repayment Program (HELP) to pay off up to $50,000 for each of two years as long as health care providers commit to accepting public insurance for at least 30% of their patient care claims. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii lawmakers reduce financial grants.
Hawaii’s Legislature approved $30 million in grants this year to around 150 applicants amid a challenging budgetary picture that included the need to appropriate roughly $1 billion for Maui wildfire response and recovery work. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaiʻi is one step closer to having a state fire marshal. Lawmakers in conference committee, one of the final legislative hurdles, have passed Senate Bill 2085 to establish a dedicated fire marshal who will direct statewide efforts to prevent and respond to fires. Hawaiʻi is the only state without one. Hawaii Public Radio.

Governor approves broadband equity access and development state match plan. Governor Josh Green approved the use of $33 million in state funds for the state match plan for the Broadband Equity Access and Development (BEAD) grant program on Friday, April 27. Eight programs will be funded with this grant which will have a statewide impact on ensuring Hawai‘i’s goal toward universal broadband access.  Big Island Now.

Frequent Withdrawals Of Nominees Hinder Green’s Efforts To Fill Boards And Commissions. More than 10% of the governor’s nominees have been pulled back this year. Civil Beat.

Governor Backs Effort To Stem The Tide Of Invasive Species In Hawaii. The biosecurity measure is one of two key pieces of legislation that will strengthen the efforts of the Department of Agriculture. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Tourism Agency campaign targets U.S. market. Hawaii’s hotel booking pace is in the red through December, but legislative funding has allowed the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority to support a new multimillion dollar marketing campaign aimed at U.S. visitors. Star-Advertiser.

Flat Golden Week foretells a sluggish Japan tourism recovery in Hawaii. Golden Week, the traditional peak Japanese travel season, is better this year than last, but it isn’t the gold mine that it once was because Hawaii is losing ground to competing destinations during this holiday period and beyond. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii child abuse cases decrease, according to 2023 statistics. Last year, 1,800 total cases were reported — a decrease of over 300 reported the year before. Hawaii News Now.

Oahu

Trial starts today in federal lawsuits over military jet fuel leak. 17 relatives of U.S. military members suing the United States over the leak from the World War II-era storage tanks. The 17 are considered “bellwether” plaintiffs representing more than 7,500 other military family members, civilians and service members in three federal lawsuits.  Associated Press.

Officers posted outside Mayor’s office after alleged heated discussion with Ocean Safety chief.  Honolulu police officers are posted outside the Mayor’s office at Honolulu Hale after an alleged heated discussion between the Mayor and the Division Chief of Ocean Safety. John Titchen was put on unpaid administrative leave this week. Hawaii News Now.

Ocean Safety Task Force members critical of process. Some who served on Mayor Rick Blangiardi’s Ocean Safety Task Force to help form the new public safety department say they were fed up with the outcome. Star-Advertiser.

Financial woes plague state’s free dental clinic. After serving Hawaii’s low-income population for over 20 years, the state’s only free dental clinic might be forced to close its doors this summer. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Hawaiʻi Volcanoes Road, Cabins Closed Due To Sharp Increase In Earthquakes. Hilina Pali Road is closed on the Upper East Rift Zone, where 250 earthquakes have occurred in the past 24 hours. Big Island Video News. KHON2.

Union Says Big Island Wastewater Plants Are Dangerously Understaffed. It's not uncommon for a lone worker to be responsible for operating sewage treatment facilities that have been plagued with problems. Civil Beat.

Draft EIS: PTA lease extension could have adverse impact. A draft environmental impact statement released earlier this month about the Army’s proposal to renew its lease on up to 22,750 acres of state land at Pohakuloa Training Area indicated that granting the extension could have an adverse impact on Hawaiian cultural practices and environmental justice. Tribune-Herald.

A solution for insurance crisis? Some Puna residents pursue member-owned insurance cooperative. After most of the recently proposed legislative solutions have failed, Puna residents are hoping they can solve their district’s impending housing insurance crisis. Tribune-Herald.

Light at the end of the tunnel for Hakalau park. The long-closed Hakalau Beach Park will reopen more than a decade after being shut to the public according to a state Department of Transportation document. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Missing Maui County documents complicate Lahaina fire probe. Missing Maui Emergency Management Agency documents make it “difficult to make a complete and accurate accounting” of activities inside the Emergency Operations Center on Aug. 8 when fires killed 101 people, burned 6,721 acres and left 8,000 people homeless, according to the state attorney general.  Star-Advertiser.

37 Fires Along One Maui Road This Year Alone Have Residents Of Nearby Town On Edge. In the aftermath of the Lahaina tragedy, officials are stepping up efforts to protect Paia and other areas considered at high risk.  Civil Beat.

Emergency slope repairs will close remote Alelele Point roadway 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays starting May 1.  A portion of remote county roadway at Alelele Point near Mile Marker 39 will be closed to all traffic, with the exception of emergency vehicles, between 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday starting May 1, 2024, due to an emergency slope repair project on the makai side of the road, according to a County of Maui Department of Public Works announcement today. The road closure is expected to last five months, the department said. Maui Now.

Rebuilding Lahaina: Homeowners In The Seaside Town May Get A Reprieve From Coastal Zone Rules. Shoreline setbacks or a retreat from the water so far aren't getting much traction under state and county planning efforts. Civil Beat.

Kauai

Storm damage assessment process continues on Kaua‘i. Local, state and federal officials will embark on a process aimed at validating damage data from heavy rainfall and subsequent flooding earlier this month on the island. Garden Island. Kauai Now.

Thursday, February 1, 2024

Legislature mulls recreational marijuana, payoffs to Hawaiian Homes beneficiaries, cats in prison; Kilauea volcano alert level raised, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Various marijuana measures introduced in Legislature.  At least three new bills relating to adult use of recreational cannabis have been introduced in the state Legislature. Tribune-Herald.

New bill would allow inmates to foster cats in prison. Inmates behind bars may soon have an unexpected cellmate. A new senate bill would allow inmates to foster cats while in prison.  KHON2.

Lawmakers advance bill that offers Hawaiian homestead beneficiaries cash instead of a lease.
Hawaiʻi lawmakers have advanced a measure that would allow the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands to provide cash awards to beneficiaries on the waiting list in place of a lease. Hawaii Public Radio.

Deep fake videos from artificial intelligence spur push for crackdown ahead of Hawaii elections. In the islands, there’s a push to force political campaigns to tell voters when they use fake imagery. Ultimately Hawaii lawmakers want to keep images out of politics. Hawaii News Now.

Thousands of HGEA members entitled to COVID pay.
Gov. Josh Green and the state Legislature will have to figure out how to pay for an estimated $120 million to $150 million in retroactive hazard pay due to 7,800 unionized public workers who faced health risks at Hawaii public schools during the COVID-19 pandemic. Star-Advertiser.

Inferno cost Hawaii farmers $23.1M, USDA says.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated damage and economic loss for Hawaii farmers from the August wildfires and wind amounted to $23.1 million. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

City Council to discuss railing inspection requirements after close call at Waikiki hotel.
Broken concrete and rusty rebar still exposed on the fifth floor of the Moana Surfrider in Waikiki after a portion of the railing came crashing down to the beach below Tuesday. KHON2.

Honolulu Police Fired For Buying Gun Parts, Domestic Violence And Not Activating Bodycam. In all, 37 officers had disciplinary actions finalized last year and another 31 had grievances pending or in arbitration, according to a legislative report. Civil Beat.

Family, Friends Of Homeless Man Killed By Police In Makaha Want Answers. His mother says Brandan Maroney was likely in distress when police confronted him and a mental health professional could have helped deescalate the situation. Civil Beat.

Miske top associate: Alleged crime boss ordered assaults, surveillance.
One of alleged crime boss Mike Miske’s top associates was back on the stand Wednesday morning in federal court. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Hawaiʻi Public Radio chief José A. Fajardo to step down in July.
José A. Fajardo will be stepping down from his role as Hawai‘i Public Radio’s president and general manager on July 31, due to his ongoing battle against amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a fatal neurodegenerative disease with no known cure. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii Island

HVO raises Kilauea alert level amid unrest. According to an HVO report Wednesday, increased earthquake activity and ground inflation was detected beneath Kilauea’s summit south of the caldera region early Wednesday morning, which indicates the subsurface movement of magma. Tribune-Herald. Star-Advertiser. Big Island Video News.

Second try at Puna alternate route study. One week after the Hawaii County Council shot down $1 million in state funds to investigate alternate traffic routes into Puna, a new council bill is trying to run it back. Tribune-Herald.

Hawai‘i County announces second-round recipients for Kīlauea Recovery Grant Program. Out of 38 applications initially requesting $10.6 million, 16 organizations were chosen. Big Island Now.

Maui

Permanent Lahaina debris site narrowed to three locations.  Two West Maui locations and the Central Maui Landfill have been chosen as the finalists for the permanent disposal site for the ash and debris from the Lahaina wildfire. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

Leftover debris from government cleanup leaves Kula residents to finish the job.
The government said it's finished with fire debris cleanup in Upcountry Maui. Twenty homes and more than a thousand acres burned there. But residents say the cleanup isn't nearly complete. Hawaii Public Radio.

One of two stolen Lahaina signs is returned. One of the two stolen large redwood Lahaina signs was returned last week following reports of community dismay and a plea to get the signage back where it belongs, according to the Lahaina Restoration Foundation.  Maui Now.

Kauai

Proposed condo acquisition on Kauai stirs controversy. The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) is considering purchasing the Courtyards at Waipouli for what would be the first-ever condo purchase on Kauai to help alleviate a nearly 30,000 beneficiary waitlist. KITV4.

Kaua‘i Bus adjusts routes to accommodate student commuter hours. The Kaua‘i Bus is adjusting its scheduled routes to improve service to the public and accommodate student commuter hours. Kauai Now.

Eggs-quisite translocation: Laysan albatross eggs moved from Pacific Missile Range Facility, Barking Sands.  Since 2005, the environmental team at the missile range facility on Kaua‘i has worked with the Bird Aircraft Strike Hazard Initiative to conduct the annual Laysan Albatross Translocation Program. Kauai Now.

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Lawmakers mull Maui recovery plan, Honolulu water utility seeks $1.2B from Navy over Red Hill leaks, restless Kilauea prompts closures, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Lawmakers Discuss Draft Report On Maui Business And Jobs Recovery. Hawaii lawmakers should look beyond construction and tourism for job creation, consider on-site solar and battery storage as a way to safely rebuild Maui’s power grid and press Congress to provide pandemic loan forgiveness to businesses affected by fires, concerned citizens on Tuesday told the Hawaii House of Representatives Jobs and Business Working Group. Civil Beat.

Maui Wildfire Lawyers Try To ‘Manage The Unmanageable’.
With billions of dollars at stake and the potential for thousands of lawsuits, lawyers are trying to bring order to the chaos of litigation sweeping into Hawaii courts. Civil Beat.

Senate Confirms Ginoza, Devens To Hawaii Supreme Court.
The terms are for 10 years and subject to renewal before mandatory retirement at age 70. By a unanimous vote, 21 members of the Hawaii State Senate on Tuesday confirmed Lisa Ginoza and Vlad Devens to serve on the state’s highest court. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser.

Total Force Integration in the Pacific makes history with Hawai‘i’s largest airdrop. Total Force Integration in the Pacific makes history with Hawai‘i’s largest airdrop. Joint Forces from across the United States and the Pacific participated in a large-scale joint training exercise Nov. 1-10 that included the largest airdrop in Hawai‘i history. Kauai Now.

State health department extends AMR ambulance contract for Kauaʻi and Maui. The current contract for ground ambulance transportation on Kauaʻi and Maui counties has been extended through the end of September 2024. Hawaii Public Radio.

After 15-year pause, state resumes free pesticide takeback program for businesses.
Accepted substances include insecticides, fungicides, boric acid, antifoulants, swimming pool treatments and more. Items such as explosive materials, motor oil, paint, and fertilizers will not be accepted. Hawaii Public Radio.

Oahu

Honolulu Water Utility Demands Navy Pay $1.2 Billion For Red Hill Costs. Whether or not the Navy pays up, water users are likely to pay higher rates in the coming years. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.  KHON2. KITV4.

Hawaii lobbyist wants her DEA statements suppressed.
A veteran lobbyist who pleaded not guilty to federal charges that she used a Wisconsin veterinarian’s identity to import large quantities of opioids for a mobile clinic run by her nonprofit organization wants the statements she made to two U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents suppressed. Star-Advertiser.

Environmental concerns arise as U.S. Navy plane sits in Kaneohe Bay. A large U.S. Navy plane remained in Kaneohe Bay Tuesday,  the morning after it overshot a runway and landed in the water, raising concern about environmental damage and questions over how the military would remove the aircraft. Associated Press. KHON2.

Blaisdell Arena reopens after $9 million renovation.
The Neal S. Blaisdell Center Arena reopened Tuesday morning with a blessing ceremony after a $9 million renovation that began in May.  Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Restless Kilauea prompts closures.
Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park expanded area closures Tuesday after Kilauea Volcano began showing increased signs of unrest in the upper East Rift Zone. Star-Advertiser. Tribune-Herald.

Wanted individuals arrested during Big Island warrant sweep. An inter-agency warrant sweep conducted in the Hilo and Puna districts Nov. 15 through Nov. 17 resulted in the arrest of 18 wanted individuals for a total of 28 outstanding warrants. Big Island Now.

State to introduce legislation to address fairness in permit selection at Kahaluʻu surf spot. The state Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation plans to introduce legislation again in 2024 to try and address the issue of fairness when issuing permits for surf instruction companies to operate at the popular Kahaluʻu Bay surf spot on Hawaiʻi Island. Maui Now.

Maui

Housing Shortage for Maui Fire Survivors Puts Focus On Short-Term Rentals.
State and county leaders are considering measures, voluntary and otherwise, to help bring more vacation units into longer term service for displaced families. Civil Beat.

Free Thanksgiving meals available on Maui. Prior to the fires, Maui Food Bank served about 17,000 people per month. In the months following the fires, the organization served 27,163 people in August, 30,577 in September and more than 40,000 in October and November. December is expected to be around the same, the nonprofit said. Star-Advertiser.

$40M emergency stormwater capture system to be installed in Lahaina.
The Hawaiʻi Department of Transportation, County of Maui, and the Federal Highway Administration is installing an emergency stormwater capture system in Lahaina to reduce the environmental impact from silt, ash and other disaster debris potentially entering storm drainage systems. Maui Now.

Uniting community with federal, state and local leaders for Lahaina’s long road to recovery. Rebuilding Lahaina remains at the forefront for state and city leaders, as well as community advocates. Hawaii News Now.

Nonprofit to develop Kahului project with 300 housing units. Transit hub, civic complex, housing will make up Kahului Civic Center. Maui News.

Community ownership now protects over 8 acres in Hāna from future development. More than 8 acres of Hāna land will now be protected for preservation and cultural stewardship in perpetuity because of a partnership purchase. Hawaii Public Radio.

Kauai

How a massive all-granite, hand-carved Hindu temple ended up on Kauai. It is the only all-granite, hand-carved Hindu temple in the West built without power tools or electricity, and it’s nestled on one of the smaller islands in Hawaii surrounded by lush gardens and forests. Associated Press.

Thursday, October 19, 2023

Green to meet with Biden next week on Maui recovery fund, El Nino drought to continue well into 2024, new landfills eyed for Oahu and Maui, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

‘Recovery and humanitarian’ fund for Maui fire victims’ families planned.  Gov. Josh Green plans to announce details of a new “recovery and humanitarian fund” for families that lost loved ones or were injured in the Aug. 8 Lahaina wildfire.  Green plans to meet with President Joe Biden at the White House next week, along with meetings with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and HaCivil Beat.waii’s congressional delegation. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now.

Biden: $3.5B to strengthen nation’s electric grid after Maui fires. The Biden administration on Wednesday announced $3.5 billion for 58 projects across the country to strengthen electric grid resilience as extreme weather events such as the deadly Maui and California wildfires continue to strain the nation’s aging transmission systems. Associated Press. Maui Now.

Hawaii drought to continue into 2024, NOAA says. Due to El Nino conditions, Hawaii’s current drought is expected to continue well into next year, and possibly even into the 2024 dry season, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecast. Star-Advertiser. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News. Big Island Now.

Navy hospital ship stops on Oahu ahead of Pacific mission
.  The U.S. Navy hospital ship USNS Mercy is in Hawaii this week as it prepares for a deployment to several Oceania islands as part of the Navy’s Pacific Partnership program. Star-Advertiser.

2 Different Nonprofits Are Paying This CEO Hefty Salaries. She Says She Works Full Time For Each One. Denise Yamaguchi's two nonprofits have also gotten more than $1 million in grants from the Legislature in recent years. Civil Beat.

Oahu

4 possible Oahu landfill sites under scrutiny, city official says
.  Four alternate sites to replace the 34-year-old Waimanalo Gulch Sanitary Landfill in Kapolei could include federally owned properties in West Oahu and on the Windward side, a top city official says. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.

Arrests Of 4 Police Officers On Domestic Violence Charges Raise Concern. Honolulu Police Chief Joe Logan called it an "anomaly" that four officers were arrested in a two-week period. Civil Beat. KHON2.

Honolulu bill offering tax incentives to build film studios is postponed. The Honolulu City Council on Tuesday put the brakes on a bill that would provide tax incentives for property owners who want to build film studio facilities on O'ahu. Hawaii Public Radio.

Army combat exercise to temporary close Dillingham Airfield. Tropic Lightning Soldiers from the 25th Infantry Division will participate in the Joint Pacific Multinational Readiness Center drill, which includes blank ammunition and simulated explosions. Hawaii News Now.

Waikīkī Aquarium releases 150 tagged pāpio into the wild. The Waikīkī Aquarium is partnering with the Oceanic Institute of Hawai‘i Pacific University to release some fish. KHON2.

Health Department shuts down Meatheads food truck in Kakaako.
The state Health Department today issued a red placard to the Meatheads food truck in Kakaako, shutting it down until water is available for employees to wash their hands. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Seismic activity increases at Kilauea; HVNP closes two trails. Continued unrest at Kilauea volcano has led Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to close more trails to the public. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Now.  Hawaii News Now.

UH Hilo set to lead $6.6 million National Native Language Resource Center. The U.S. Department of Education has granted $6.6 million to launch the National Native American Language Resource Center (N-NALRC), a consortium led by the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo. KITV4.

Endless problem: Houseless evicted on private property on Ali‘i Drive donʻt move far.
In late September, about 30 people at a houseless camp – some of whom have lived there for at least a year – were asked to vacate private land next to Coconut Grove Marketplace along Ali‘i Drive in Kailua-Kona on the Big Island. Big Island Now.

Bill Prohibits Parking On Aliʻi Drive At Kahaluʻu Beach Park. A Hawaiʻi County Council committee on Tuesday advanced a bill dealing with parking issues along certain portions of Aliʻi Drive that front Kahaluʻu Beach Park.  Big Island Video News.

Maui

Nonprofit head: Maui trying to bury 2018 wildfire report that offers insight into government inaction. The head of the West Maui Improvement Foundation says Maui officials are trying to bury an after-action report that documents the county’s emergency response to another disastrous wildfire that swept through part of Lahaina back in 2018. Hawaii News Now.

New landfill to be built on Maui for debris from Lahaina’s burn zone. Federal and county officials have confirmed that a new landfill will be built on Maui, exclusively for debris from Lahaina’s burn zone. Hawaii News Now.

Council to consider real property tax exemption for Maui wildfire victims. Survivors who lost their homes in the fires won’t have to pay property taxes under a new bill before the Maui County Council. Bill 95 announced Wednesday that it provides exemptions for homeowners, short-term rental owners, and hotels that house people displaced by the disaster. Hawaii News Now.

Mayor Bissen to host community budget meetings for Fiscal Year 2025. Mayor Richard Bissen and his administration will host community budget meetings throughout Maui County starting next week for residents to share their priorities and provide input on the budget for Fiscal Year 2025, which begins July 1, 2024. Maui Now.

Site aims to match residents with housing they can afford. Median market rents advertised for homes on Maui are around $700 to $1,500 higher per month than what families say they can actually afford. According to Maui Hale Match, the median market rent for a two-bedroom home is $3,495. Families looking to rent a place of this size say they can afford $2,400, which is a difference of $1,095. Maui News. Hawaii Public Radio.

Maui United Way distributes $7M in $1,000 payments to 7,000+ fire survivors.  Maui United Way forged a rapid partnership with Honolulu-based Aloha United Way to construct a comprehensive process for reviewing intake forms for the program.  Maui Now.

King Kamehameha III and Princess Nāhiʻenaʻena Elementary reopen on shared campus. Lahaina’s two elementary schools reopened to hundreds of students today on a shared campus that faculty and staff from both schools have worked hard to make as inviting and familiar as possible for their communities impacted by the August wildfires. Maui Now. Star-Advertiser.

Kauai

State energy office, KIUC receive federal support for innovative technology development projects. Two technology demonstration projects proposed by the Hawai‘i State Energy Office in partnership with Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative will receive more than $17.9 million in funding through the Grid Resilience and Innovation Partnerships Program. Kauai Now.

Princeville library to receive a $7 million makeover. A yearlong renovation project at the Princeville Public Library will shutter the facility beginning Monday, Oct. 30. Garden Island.

Free, collapsible water jugs to be distributed. The County of Kaua‘i Department of Water will be distributing free collapsible water jugs along with other water conservation tools and prizes on Saturday during the weekly Grove Farm Market that starts at 9:30 a.m. at the Puhi open field. Garden Island.



Thursday, October 12, 2023

McKelvey appeals to Biden to help Maui fire victims keep their homes, all but one of known fire victims identified, more Kakaako trees to be felled in latest rail plan, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

State senator for Lāhainā requests President Biden's help to avoid foreclosures. State Sen. Angus McKelvey, who represents West and South Maui, has asked President Biden to help residents who lost their homes in the fires but still face mortgage payments. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii grapples with ‘rampant’ unemployment fraud, delaying aid to wildfire survivors. Hawaii Labor Director Jade Butay said Wednesday of 2,200 applications for federal disaster unemployment assistance, 500 have been approved. There is also a backlog of applications for regular unemployment — with 15,161 filed since the fires with 8,731 currently being paid. Hawaii News Now.

Catalytic converter theft drops dramatically with new law. Catalytic converter theft has gone down dramatically. Officials said a new law that took effect this year makes it a lot harder to sell the precious metals. KHON2.

Oahu

Council to pick Office of Council Services director. The Honolulu City Council will hold a special meeting today toward the selection and appointment of a new director for the Office of Council Services. Star-Advertiser.

Commercial tanker pulls into Pearl Harbor for Red Hill defueling.  The first fuel tanker that the military will use to drain the Navy’s underground Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility arrived at Pearl Harbor early Wednesday morning. Star-Advertiser. KHON2.

Rail Changes Planned For Kakaako Mean Fewer Trees, More Buses. The city’s latest plans for the Honolulu rail line would sacrifice more trees than originally planned in the downtown area and convert a segment of Halekauwila Street into a bus-only traffic corridor, according to a recent city filing. Civil Beat.

Gift cards for guns: State to hold firearm buyback program at 2 Oahu locations. The state Department of Law Enforcement is offering $200 gift cards in exchange for automatic weapons, semi-automatic rifles, and ghost guns. Gift cards of $100 will be swapped for handguns, rifles, shotguns, bump stocks, and Glock switches. Hawaii News Now.

Historic royal palms in Wahiawa threatened by invasive rhino beetle.  It’s against the law to harm the historic palms that line Royal Palm Drive in Wahiawa, as they are protected by the city’s Exceptional Tree Program. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Kilauea set for repeat of ’74? Eruption at southern summit area could begin at any time.  An eruption at the summit of Kilauea volcano could begin with little warning, the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reported Wednesday. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News.

Event enumerates Big Island wildfire preparedness strategies. Wildfire preparedness is top of mind for the Big Island, and Hawaii County has a bevy of strategies up its sleeve to ensure that its residents are insulated from the risk fires pose.  Tribune-Herald.

‘Focus on healing’: Innovative hospital partnership aims to offer respite to those on the streets. Hope Services Hawaii has taken some of its shelter space and transformed it into a small medical respite facility providing homeless people with a safe place to heal after they’re discharged from the hospital. Hawaii News Now.

Expert: Fighting little fire ants ‘a forever job’ on the Big Island. As the war against the invasive ant continues across all four counties, the state Department of Land and Natural Resources and Hawaii Invasive Species Council are asking residents to take samples of ant populations on their properties and send them into local labs to help determine how the destructive insects are spreading. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Maui County Council to take action Oct. 12 on bill about alternative fire debris removal program. Bill 86, prepared by Maui Mayor Richard Bissen’s administration and currently pending approval by the County Council, would serve as an initial step in defining the process for property owners who choose to remove fire debris under an alternative program.  Maui Now.

All but 1 of 98 known Lahaina fire victims have been identified. The names of two more people who died in the Aug. 8 Lahaina wildfire were released Wednesday by Maui police, leaving only one of the known 98 fatalities yet to be identified. Star-Advertiser. Maui Now.  KHON2.

Maui Disaster Relief Fund suspends new applications after overwhelming response. The Maui Disaster Relief Fund is suspending new applications after already receiving an overwhelming response of more than 1,500 applications. Maui Now.

EPA air sampling data shows good air quality following wildfires in Lahaina and Kula. EPA tested for metals including lead and arsenic, asbestos, particulate matter, and 42 compounds called volatile organic compounds. Maui Now.

Misperceptions, different occupancies hurting Maui hotel workers. Hotels in West Maui are fuller than others across Maui but the combination of wildfire evacuees and workers from the American Red Cross, Federal Emergency Management Agency and other relief organizations means some tourist-oriented hotel operations are shuttered and reduced, affecting hotel workers — many of whom rely on tips. Star-Advertiser.

Lahaina Teachers Have To ‘Start From Scratch’ As Schools Prepare To Reopen. Educators are prioritizing social-emotional learning and mental health amid uncertainties of what the next quarter will bring. Civil Beat.

Kauai

Kaua‘i police officials earn ‘Officer of the Year’ awards.  The Hawai‘i State Law Enforcement Official Association honored KPD Officer Jason Scalzo as a 2021 Officer of the Year, KPD Officer Kalani Apilado for 2022 and KPD Lt. Philip Banquel for 2023. Garden Island.

Tuesday, October 10, 2023

Water deputy reinstated following Lahaina wildfire controversy, military set to empty Red Hill fuel tanks Oct. 16, Kilauea volcano getting ready to rumble, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Kaleo Manuel reinstated as state Water Commission head.  The state Commission on Water Resource Management reinstated First Deputy Kaleo Manuel on Monday, nearly two months after he was reassigned following accusations by a land owner that he delayed access to water during the deadly Aug. 8 Lahaina fire. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.  Maui Now. Hawaii News Now. KHON2. KITV4.

Hawaii House And Senate Take Different Paths In Response To Wildfires.
House members are divided into working in groups aimed at proposed legislation. Senators will propose individual ideas to a caucus meeting next month. Civil Beat.

State flooded with complaints about out-of-state attorneys soliciting Maui wildfire survivors. The tragic level of death and destruction on Maui has attracted a feeding frenzy of attorneys trying to sign up victims for lawsuits. Some of them are now under investigation for practicing without a Hawaii license or improper advertising. Hawaii News Now.

University of Hawaiʻi-led projects secure $800,000 in grants for post-wildfire research
. Four University of Hawaiʻi-led projects received a total of approximately $800,000 in expedited RAPID grants from the National Science Foundation in the wake of the deadly Maui wildfires. Maui Now.

Oahu

Film studios bill passes first reading in Council. Bill 59, if adopted, would provide greater real property tax incentives for eligible film studio facilities to move here — at least those willing to spend at least $100 million toward local improvements. Star-Advertiser.

Military sets date to begin emptying fuel from Red Hill underground storage facility
. Military officials say they hope to begin emptying the Red Hill storage facility of fuel on Oct. 16, pending final state Health Department approval. Joint Task Force - Red Hill plans to empty about 104 million gallons of fuel from the Red Hill underground facility. Hawaii News Now.

This Waianae Condo Development Has Lost Hundreds Of Thousands Of Dollars To Embezzlement. Condo association officials won't say who might have stolen the money, which appears to have disappeared over time and through phony invoices for work that was never performed. Civil Beat.

State-of-the-art emergency shelter facility in the works for Windward Oahu. A new state-of-the-art emergency shelter is in the works on the Windward side of Oahu. It comes with a big price tag, but residents and officials said safety should be priceless. KHON2.

Hawaii Island

Kilauea shows continued ‘signs of unrest’; parts of Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park remain closed. The area just south of Kilauea volcano’s summit continues to show signs of unrest, and inflation remains at about its highest level in more than five years and has nearly returned to the level seen just before the last eruption on Sept. 10, the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reported Monday. West Hawaii Today. Big Island Now.  Big Island Video News.

Street medicine team expands to Big Island, covering lots of ground to meet plenty of need
. On Hawaii Island, officials estimate about half of the homeless population need psychiatric services. And data shows the island’s homeless population is growing — jumping 45% in just five years. Hawaii News Now.

Conference brings medical professionals, lawmakers, others together to discuss health care crisis
. A myriad of stakeholders came together Thursday for the Hawaii Island Health Care Conference at the Westin Hapuna Beach Resort to discuss the state of health care in Hawaii County. West Hawaii Today.

Seven Animal Control Officers Receive Badges. Work on the build out of the Animal Control and Protection Agency continues on Hawaiʻi island, with the announcement that seven animal control officers have completed training and were part of an inaugural badging ceremony on Friday. Big Island Video News. Big Island Now.

Maui

West Maui phased tourism reopening is off to quiet start. Hotels from Kapalua to Kahana are officially open to visitors, but they’re not exactly packed.  Star-Advertiser. Hawaii Public Radio.  Associated Press. Maui News.

Maui Mayor Gives EPA The Go-Ahead To Seal Down Lahaina’s Toxic Ash With Soiltac. With the rainy season approaching and Lahaina students poised to return to class next week, a sense of urgency has grown over how and when to temporarily glue down tons of toxic ash from the August wildfires that consumed the West Maui town. Civil Beat. Maui Now.

Maui Police Release Latest List Of Missing People From Fires.  On Friday the Maui Police Department posted the seventh list of the names of individuals who have been reported unaccounted for or missing — there are 10 total — following the Lahaina wildfire disaster Aug. 8. Civil Beat.

A studio for $3,000 a month? Skyrocketing Maui rents leave wildfire evacuees alarmed. At a Senate briefing in Lahaina last month, State Senators and Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs officials said they were unaware this was happening. Hawaii News Now.

Deadline now Oct. 25 for nonprofits, government to apply for Hawaiʻi fires’ disaster assistance. The Federal Emergency Management Administration has extended the deadline to Oct. 25 for private nonprofits and government organizations seeking public assistance funding for the Hawai‘i wildfire disaster. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now.

Kauai

Fire prevention is every day on Kaua‘i. This week is Fire Prevention Week on Kaua‘i, states a proclamation presented to the Kaua‘i Fire Department on Monday morning. Garden Island.

Median home price hits new high on Kaua‘i. A staggering leap in the median price of a home on Kaua‘i vaulted the housing market into rarefied air in August. Garden Island.

Friday, October 6, 2023

Senate committee mulls Hawaii nominees to US District Court, Native Hawaiian Convention moved to Maui, Hawaiian Electric liability insurance a small fraction of damages, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaiʻi nominees to US District Court considered at Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. Micah Smith, an assistant U.S. attorney, and Judge Shanlyn Park, State of Hawaiʻi court judge, were introduced by US Sen. Brian Schatz on Thursday to the US Senate Judiciary Committee during a hearing to consider their nominations to the US District Court for the District of Hawai‘i. Maui Now. Kauai Now.

22nd Annual Native Hawaiian Convention moved to Maui to ‘uplift local voices’.
  In a significant decision aimed at amplifying the voices of the people of Maui, the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement has chosen to relocate its highly anticipated 22nd Annual Native Hawaiian Convention from Oʻahu to Maui.  Maui Now. KHON2. KITV4.

Hawaiian Electric’s insurance is fraction of potential fire claims. Hawaiian Electric has $165 million in annual general liability insurance, according to a filing with state regulators, compared with the $4.9 billion in potential claims estimated by research firm Capstone. Bloomberg News.

Hawaii school board OK’s requests for bigger operating, facilities budgets. The state school board on Wednesday approved requests to the state Legislature for an additional $198.2 million for the Hawaii public schools’ operating budget and an added $273 million for capital improvement projects for next fiscal year. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii’s Ag Corp. Is Putting Up Remainder Of Its Land For Lease. Just over 3,000 acres of unused land owned by the Agribusiness Development Corp. will soon be up for lease, as it opens up the remainder of its land portfolio.  Civil Beat.

Interim rule restricts movement of palms from Oahu. A new interim rule restricting the interisland movement of palms and other plant materials in Hawaii is now in place to help contain the destructive coconut rhinoceros beetle. Star-Advertiser. Maui News. Hawaii News Now.

Oahu

EPA declares end to consent degree requiring upgrades at Kapolei landfill. The Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday announced the completion of required upgrades to the Waimanalo Gulch Sanitary Landfill, ending a dozen years of federal scrutiny and oversight aimed at bringing Oahu’s only municipal landfill into compliance with laws designed to protect public health and natural ecosystems. Star-Advertiser.

Council bans sale of flavored tobacco products. The Honolulu City Council on a split vote Wednesday passed a measure to prohibit sales of flavored tobacco products in an effort to keep them out of the hands of Oahu’s youth. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii Island

Earthquake rates increase overnight beneath Kīlauea summit region. The area just south of Kīlauea’s summit is showing signs of elevated unrest as earthquake rates beneath the region increased overnight from less than 10 earthquakes per day to over 140 earthquakes in the last 24 hours, according to Hawaiian Volcano Observatory on Thursday. Big Island Now.

Police: Increased presence at Keaau High School after social media threat. Police have initiated a first-degree terroristic threatening investigation after being informed of an anonymous threat made involving Keaau High School. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News. Big Island Now.  KITV4.

Hawaiʻi County’s new animal control director used to care for frogs, elephants, gorillas. Veterinarian technician Matthew Runnells has worked at prestigious zoos, including Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park in Florida, providing care to dart frogs, African elephants and a 345-pound gorilla who needed a pacemaker. Big Island Now.

Maui

The Maui Fires Have Put A $31 Million Hole In This Year’s County Budget. Council members will consider the mayor's plan to fill the gap, which includes proposed cuts to the fire department. Civil Beat.

State Investigation Into Maui Fires Has Been Quietly Moving Along. Now It’s Going Public. The large number of deaths makes understanding what happened in Lahaina a national concern, investigators say. Civil Beat.

Former MPD assistant chief: Agency didn’t follow its own ‘all hazard’ plan in Lahaina disaster. Nearly two months after a ferocious fire tore through Lahaina, a recently retired Maui police commander is raising doubts about whether the Maui Police Department followed its own emergency action plan during the disaster. Hawaii News Now.

Concerns Grow Over How To Control Toxic Ash As Re-Entry To Lahaina Picks Up. The Environmental Protection Agency is awaiting county approval to deploy Soiltac, a dust suppressant with glue-like qualities that the agency says is safe to use. Civil Beat.

High-tech surveys off Lahaina begin as ‘catastrophic’ impact to reef, near-shore waters feared. The devastation in Lahaina isn’t just above ground. And researchers say the waters and reefs off the town could be impacted for years to come. Hawaii News Now.

Disaster Area Restrictions lifted at Zones 3A, 3B & 3C for parts of Wahikuli, ʻĀinakea and Fleming roads. Disaster area restrictions will be lifted on Monday and Tuesday, Oct. 9 and 10, for owners and residents of Zones 3A, 3B and 3C. This includes parts of Wahikuli, ʻĀinakea and Fleming roads. Maui Now. KHON2.

Minimal tourists expected for West Maui reopening. People both supporting and criticizing Sunday’s official planned reopening of tourism to West Maui should not expect an “onslaught” of visitors. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii Public Radio.

The tourism industry wants visitors to educate themselves before heading to West Maui. Lahaina is still off limits. That’s the message to visitors ahead of West Maui’s tourism reboot Sunday.  Hawaii News Now.

DOE outlines safety plan as Lahaina schools set to reopen. As Lahaina’s three remaining public schools open to teachers today for the first time since the Aug. 8 wildfire, and their students return on a staggered schedule starting Oct. 16, state education officials announced that a new “safety plan” has been created in case of emergencies and evacuations, 300 air filters are being distributed to classrooms and offices, and each campus will have a “designated administrator” responsible for daily monitoring of air quality. Star-Advertiser.

Kauai

Kaua‘i County Council debates ambulance contract controversy. The Kaua‘i County Council passed a resolution urging the state Department of Health (DOH) to continue with a longtime emergency service provider on Wednesday, Oct. 4, amid protests surrounding the decision to switch to a new provider. Garden Island.

Domestic passenger solid in September at Lihu‘e Airport. The number of people getting off domestic passenger flights at Lihu‘e Airport inched past 63,000 in September, which was enough to mark the second highest total for the month at the transportation hub. Garden Island.