Showing posts with label Lt. Gov. Sylvia Luke. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lt. Gov. Sylvia Luke. Show all posts

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.

Thursday, July 27, 2023

ACLU sues over Honolulu homeless sweeps, Gov. Green bails out Lt. Gov. Luke's budget overruns, feds probe for money laundering in state real estate transactions, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Lawsuit claims Honolulu’s homeless policies are unconstitutional.  Honolulu’s homeless sweeps and other “anti-houseless” laws should be ruled illegal and unconstitutional because they violate Hawaii’s state constitutional prohibitions against cruel and unusual punishment, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday in Oahu Circuit Court by the American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.  KITV4.

Hawaii LG Sylvia Luke Needed Bailout From Governor, Documents Show. Just before the close of the fiscal year, Gov. Josh Green stepped in with a $49,000 solution to a budget problem that threatened to expose Lt. Gov. Sylvia Luke to possible liability and removal from office. Civil Beat.

Feds Closely Watching Local Property Deals For Signs Of Money Laundering. Real estate purchases by anonymous shell companies can distort appraisals and tax assessments. The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, a branch of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, has begun requiring title companies on Oahu, Maui, Big Island and Kauai to report the identities of the true owners for all-cash purchases of residential real estate exceeding $300,000.  Civil Beat.

Businesses, residents demand more clarity on how new ocean recreation fee will be used. The state is preparing to collect a new $1 fee from every customer of commercial vessels, watercraft and water sports equipment operators. Hawaii News Now.

Law Enforcement Standards Board Inches Toward Hiring Key Staff. The board charged with overseeing police statewide still can’t develop standards, leaving Hawaii the only state unable to certify its law enforcement officers. Civil Beat.

Angelo named as Hawaii’s Consumer Advocate.  The state has named Michael S. Angelo executive director of the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs’ Division of Consumer Advocacy. Angelo assumed the position on July 17. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Defense Contractors Likely To Get Probation For Campaign Violations. Clifford Chen and Lawrence Lum Kee, formerly of Navatek LLC, were indicted along with their boss, Martin Kao, after making illegal donations to a senator's reelection efforts. Civil Beat.


EPA hosting public meeting to create new community group for Red Hill defueling.  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is hosting a community meeting Thursday night in Salt Lake, joined by Navy officials, to share more information about the formation of the “Community Representation Initiative.” Hawaii News Now.

HPD’s newly converted fleet of pickups taken off patrols after safety concerns surface.  In June, Honolulu police converted 10 Chevy Colorados into the department’s newest patrol vehicles. The trucks were purchased during the pandemic using COVID relief funds. Hawaii News Now.

Planners OK more mixed-use development in Halawa.  The Honolulu Planning Commission voted Wednesday to recommend rezoning 227 acres around Skyline’s Halawa station to allow for more development of mixed-use business, residential and affordable housing sites near the state’s planned New Aloha Stadium Entertainment District. Star-Advertiser.

Former site of Stadium Bowl-o-Drome will be new home for DHHL’s first rental project. The 23-story building in Moiliili will include 278 affordable apartments exclusively for beneficiaries of the Hawaiian Home Lands program. Hawaii News Now.

Developer renews plan for homes below Koko Crater.  A developer has revived plans to extend a subdivision of million-dollar homes in Hawaii Kai onto land zoned for preservation after making similar efforts twice before in recent decades. Star-Advertiser.

Nearly 300 tsunami hazard road signs installed across Oahu. The city says this is part of phase 2 of its project to alert people where the danger zone begins and ends. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Council votes to change process for ag land tax assessments.  An effort to offer Big Island commercial farmers a better break on their taxes took a new form Wednesday. Tribune-Herald.

UH reaches agreement with hackers in Hawaii Community College ransomware attack.  The University of Hawaii has reached an agreement with those responsible for a ransomware attack on the Hawaii Community College network. Tribune-Herald. Hawaii News Now.

Board hearing over TMT construction is postponed.  Land Board Chair Dawn Chang has formally declared she can be fair and unbiased in the matter despite having previously worked for the University of Hawaii and the Department of Land and Natural Resources in matters related to the Mauna Kea summit and its astronomy uses. Star-Advertiser.


Roadway along rural Alelele Point reopens 3 months after rockfall.  Maui County’s roadway along rural Alelele Point in East Maui reopened Tuesday, nearly three months after a rockfall forced emergency work to remove rock debris and stabilize the cliffside.  Maui News.

Outrigger finalizes acquisition of Kāʻanapali Beach Hotel; welcomes Maui Brewing Co. restaurant this summer. Outrigger Resorts & Hotels finalized its acquisition of the iconic Kāʻanapali Beach Hotel on Wednesday. The 11-acre, 432-room property is now rebranded as Outrigger Kā‘anapali Beach Resort.  Maui Now.

School bus routes modified to handle driver shortage. Some Maui public school students will head to campus on modified or consolidated routes, similar to last school year, as the island deals with a shortage of 29 bus drivers, the state Department of Education said.  Maui News.


Kaua‘i Bus to offer free passes to high school students this upcoming school year.  With ongoing staffing shortages for school bus drivers, the state will partner with counties for the second year in a row to provide transportation for students attending Hawai‘i public schools. Kauai Now.

Kauaʻi Community College begins chancellor search.  Margaret Sanchez was appointed interim chancellor on Jan. 3, 2023 after the previous chancellor, Joseph Daisy, retired in December 2022. Kauai Now.

Tour companies host free sightseeing event at Kikialoa Small Boat Harbor.  Tour companies at Kikialoa Small Boat Harbor gave free Napali Coast sightseeing tours to more than 200 Kaua‘i residents on Wednesday, July 26, launching what organizers say will be an annual event for locals. Garden Island.

Monday, June 19, 2023

Luke finds cash to cover shortfall, slow rebound expected for Japanese tourists, Southwest to end Kona, Kauai nonstop mainland flights, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii LG Sylvia Luke Finds Cash To Cover Shortfall: ‘I Expect Better Of Myself’. Following a wave of public criticism, Lt. Gov. Sylvia Luke says that her office will likely avoid a previously forecasted budget shortfall that threatened to put her in legal jeopardy.  Civil Beat.

State Agriculture Corp. Gets New Board Leadership. Warren Watanabe, a seasoned agricultural advocate, has been elected to lead the Agribusiness Development Corp.’s board of directors. The election at a meeting Thursday, comes as part of a leadership shakeup for the ADC following the unexpected death of long-time executive director James Nakatani in April.  Civil Beat.

Green shaking up education, UH, tourism boards.
New members of the boards that oversee lower and higher public education and the Hawaii Tourism Authority are being named by Gov. Josh Green after soured relationships with the state Legislature resulted in lackluster financial support, including proposals to not fund the HTA and even abolish it. Star-Advertiser.

‘Slow gradual rebound’ expected for Japan visitors to Hawaii. Hawaii arrivals from Japan, once forecast to make a quicker rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic, now are not expected to return to pre-pandemic 2019 levels until the end of next year. Star-Advertiser.

Southwest ending nonstop flights Sept. 5 between Los Angeles and Kauaʻi, Big Island airports. On Sept. 5, the day after Labor Day, Southwest Airlines will end its daily nonstop flights between Los Angeles and two Hawaiʻi airports: Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport on the Big Island and Līhuʻe Airport on Kaua‘i. Kauai Now.

Women in Hawaii not receiving adequate prenatal care.  The  state has ranked last in recent years when it comes to women obtaining adequate care, defined as initiating care in the first four months of pregnancy and making it to an appropriate number of doctors appointments. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii’s Struggle To Provide Health Care For Rural Islands Nearly Turned Tragic For This Expectant Mom. For months the fragility of a vital air link endangered the health of people across rural Hawaii. The state is still trying to fix it. Civil Beat.

Hawaiian Telcom Wins A $37M Grant To Install Undersea Cables To Improve Broadband Service. The new federal funding would provide additional fiber links between the islands to make service more reliable, and to reach unserved rural communities. Civil Beat.

State adjusts eligibility requirements for Homeowner Assistance Fund program
.  It allows qualified households to receive mortgage assistance or financial relief from certain expenses, such as property taxes or association fees. Hawaii Public Radio.

Ocean users advised to avoid research drones, buoys. Ocean users are cautioned to keep far from three uncrewed Saildrone Explorer research vessels that have been deployed around the Hawaiian Islands to help look for signs of climate change. Star-Advertiser.


Council lowers tax rate for owners of second homes used for rentals.  The Council voted unanimously June 7 to approve Resolution 33, which is expected to lower the city’s real property tax rate for the first million dollars of value of Residential A properties and, in so doing, reduce taxes by $500 under that two-tier taxpaying class. Star-Advertiser.

A $900 Towing Fee?
Concerns Are Being Raised Over Honolulu’s New Towing Contract. Insurance companies have balked at reimbursing drivers, calling the prices unreasonable. Civil Beat.

Work completed for Coast Guard at new Honolulu dry dock.  Over the weekend, Pacific Shipyards International wrapped up its biggest maintenance project yet at its Honolulu Harbor facility, where shipyard workers over 90 days put the Coast Guard’s CGC Kimball, one of the service’s large national security cutters, through its first dry dock maintenance period. Star-Advertiser.

E. coli detected in Windward Oahu water source.  The Board of Water Supply has detected E. coli bacteria in the BWS Kahaluu Tunnel, officials said. Board of Water Supply officials the water from this source is safe to drink because it is routinely disinfected before it reaches customers, so there is no action required by customers. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Thanks to millions in federal aid, city eyes expansion of homeless camp program. The city’s HONU camp is currently set up in Maili, but the mobile program has been moving around the island since 2019. City officials are looking to expand the program with a new, $3.4 million grant. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Judge to appoint ‘special discovery master’ in Boy Scout wrongful death suit.  An ongoing dispute over the disclosure of documents in a civil lawsuit brought by the family of an 11-year-old Boy Scout killed last August by the accidental discharge of an AK-47 semi-automatic rifle at Camp Honokaia near Honokaa has led a judge to order the appointment of a special master to oversee the discovery process. Tribune-Herald.

Kapapala Ranch land transfer deal could move 7,000 acres to forest reserve. Some 7,000 acres of pasture land in Ka‘u could become part of the Kapapala Forest Reserve as two state agencies bury a 20-year-old bureaucratic hatchet. Tribune-Herald.

Big Island manta ray tour operators mixed about proposed rules, possible new law.  For more than a decade, with more and more manta ray tour companies converging at two small viewing areas off the West Hawai’i coast, ocean advocates and some tour operators have been concerned about safety and the preservation of the marine resource. Big Island Now.

Feline TNR programs ending at 2 island sites. AdvoCATS representatives said they recently received communication from Kamehameha Schools that it was terminating the trap/neuter/return, or TNR, programs for homeless cats at two of its properties on the Big Island, Keauhou Shopping Center and above the Lako gas station in West Hawaii. West Hawaii Today.


Maui Ethics Board: You Can’t Keep Those $400 Koa Digging Sticks.
County officials should give back the pricey koa digging sticks they received at a recent groundbreaking ceremony for a housing development in West Maui, the Maui Board of Ethics says. Civil Beat.

Maui residents are looking at a possible islandwide tax increase. A bill that would increase the state general excise tax in Maui County is scheduled for a hearing at the county council meeting. If approved, the GET on Maui would go up by half a percent. KITV4.

Council close to appointing East Maui water board
. A previous mayor, a former Mahi Pono official, kalo farmers, lineal descendants of East Maui and experts in water and irrigation are all vying for seats on a newly created 11-member community board that will help guide policy for East Maui water use.  Maui News.

Kalaupapa park remains closed 3 years after pandemic shutdown.  The park, in conjunction with the state Department of Health, normally allows limited access — 100 people a day — via authorized tour operators in a move to protect the lifestyle and privacy of the Hansen’s disease patients who still live in the settlement. Star-Advertiser.


Kaua‘i Mayor Derek S.K. Kawakami signs 2024 fiscal year budget. The spending blueprint, which consists of an operating budget of $311.4 million and a capital improvement budget of $87 million, reflects the administration’s continuing focus on infrastructure. Garden Island.

Kaua‘i County identifies new potential landfill site.  Kaua‘i County is moving to build a second landfill site in Kekaha, Department of Public Works Solid Waste Division officials said, as the division’s head suggested the island’s existing site will likely shut down years before another could open. Garden Island.

Kaua‘i County sewer rate increase goes into effect on July 1. Kaua‘i residents are reminded that the county’s sewer rate will increase by 11% starting July 1, 2023.  Kauai Now.

Friday, June 9, 2023

Luke exceeds budget with staff raises, Green aids 3rd medical victim in less than a month, tax break for Oahu homeowners, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii Lt. Gov. Sylvia Luke Has Already Overspent Her Budget — On Staff Raises. The overage comes as Luke, the former longtime House Finance chair, is poised to more than double her office budget to more than $2.3 million for the next fiscal year. Civil Beat.

Gov. Green comes to aid of passenger ejected from pickup bed.  Gov. Josh Green, a medical doctor, treated another victim of a traffic accident today when a 25-year-old Kauai man was ejected from the back of a pick-up truck and suffered an apparent concussion while traveling in front of Green’s vehicle.  It was the third time the governor has come to a victim's aid since May. Star-Advertiser.

It’s a first for the state. The transportation department’s “Freeway Service Patrol” is now sponsored by GEICO. It’s a first for the state. The transportation department’s “Freeway Service Patrol” is now sponsored by GEICO. KHON2.

Luke: Despite progress, domestic violence survivors still grapple with stigma, lack of support. Hawaii has made progress in addressing domestic violence and broadening support to survivors, but there’s most work to be done, Lt. Gov. Sylvia Luke told advocates Thursday. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Gas strike forcing several businesses to close. The ongoing Hawaii Gas strike is beginning to take its toll on local businesses that are being forced to close because of interrupted service. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

Officials warn of Hawaii wildfire risks with extended drought. Drought conditions are expected to kick in later this summer and last longer than usual, extending the high fire risk, according to National Weather Service forecaster Derek Wroe. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii Public Radio.  Tribune-Herald.  Big Island Now. Hawaii News Now.


Council approves $350 rebate for owner-occupants and say they’re just getting started. The $3.4 billion budget passed by the Honolulu Council on Wednesday night included a $54 million tax break for owner-occupant property owners. Hawaii News Now.

Electronic filings of building permits to be required. Beginning July 1, the city’s Department of Planning and Permitting will require all building permits needing plans and all building permit applications for commercial projects to be submitted only through its electronic plan review system. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Rail: Trains, Tracks And Base Yard To Be Officially Turned Over To The City.
The transfer of billions of dollars in assets clears the way for the Department of Transportation Services to open the Honolulu rail system to the public on June 30.  Civil Beat. KITV4.

Honolulu Conspiracy Trial Pushed To October 2024. Ex-city attorney Donna Long, former managing director Roy Amemiya and former Honolulu Police Commission chair Max Sword stand accused of improperly executing a retirement payout to disgraced police chief Louis Kealoha in 2017.  Civil Beat.

After nearly 5 years of repairs, Pearl City public pool finally reopens. The Pearl City District Park pool reopened for public use Thursday after being closed for nearly five years due to numerous improvements. Hawaii News Now.

King Kamehameha Day celebrations kick off today. The holiday celebrates the legacy of King Kameha­meha I, who is known for unifying the Hawaiian Islands under a single governance in 1810. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now

Hawaii Island

State judge rules officer accused of harassment can’t carry firearms. A state judge has ruled that a Hawaii County police officer who pulled a gun on a Big Island man in a police station parking lot cannot carry firearms. Hawaii News Now.

Kilauea advisories lowered as eruption resumes, wind vortex forms. Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientists lowered Kilauea’s alert level from warning to watch and aviation advisory code from red to orange. Star-Advertiser. Big Island Now.

Kona Community Hospital moves forward on supplemental wastewater treatment facility. According to the DEA, KCH is proposing a redundant wastewater treatment system with a capacity of 50,000 gallons-per-day (gpd) to supplement its existing 50,000-gpd system, which requires a shutdown to perform critical repair and maintenance.  West Hawaii Today.

Weekend events in Hilo, Kona to honor King Kamehameha I. The event will start with the ceremonial ho‘okupu and lei draping beginning at 9 a.m. Sunday at the statue on Kamehameha Avenue. Tribune-Herald.


Committee to discuss general excise tax and Central Maui’s wastewater facilities. Maui County Council’s Budget, Finance and Economic Development committee will meet June 9 at 9 a.m. to discuss the county’s new authority on general excise tax. Maui Now.

Shoreline advocates block machines at Kā’anapali Beach, seek community input on dune restoration. The groups want the state to issue a stop work order, expressing concern saying cumulative impacts of multiple resorts “stockpiling sand” in front of hotels covers up encroaching dirt fill and vegetation that they say is causing the steep erosion scarp.  Maui Now.

Maui County Is Trying To Bring Relief To Farmers And Ranchers During Times Of Drought. Amid forecasts of less available water, officials want to ensure food producers have enough for their crops and livestock. Civil Beat.

Long-awaited farmland on horizon for lessees. More than 30 years ago, 58 native Hawaiian beneficiaries were selected by the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands for leases on Molokai and have been waiting to occupy their agricultural lots ever since. Maui News.

Maui County waitlist reopening for Section 8 rent subsidy program. The County of Maui is reopening its waitlist for the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program that provides rental assistance to eligible low-income households with federal funding from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. Maui Now.


Green signs law for community-based concessions in state parks. This Revamped State Park On Kauai Is A Case Study For Beating Overtourism, Officials Say. New crowd control and parking enforcement measures at Haena could help bring special places back into balance statewide. Civil Beat. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News.  Hawaii News Now.

Road closures for King Kamehameha Day Parade on June 10. The King Kamehameha Day Parade will be held in downtown Lihu‘e on Saturday. The parade starts at 9:30 a.m.  Garden Island. Kauai Now.

Thursday, May 18, 2023

Preschool program ahead of schedule, under budget, tax collections take downturn, 5th Honolulu pleads guilty to taking bribes to expedite building permits, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

‘Just the beginning’: State ahead of schedule, under budget on ambitious Ready Keiki preschool program. The state on Wednesday signed the first 11 contracts for Ready Keiki preschool program at a cost of about half previous estimates. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Hawaii tax collections turned red in April. The state Council on Revenues at a Monday meeting projected that Hawaii tax collections for the fiscal year ending June 30 will slip 1%. Star-Advertiser.

State takes closer tax look at cash-based businesses. Some businesses may not report all their sales or income to the State Tax Department. That can be a problem for ones that deal mainly with cash. KITV4.

Hawaii housing units increase as population declines, census data reports. Hawaii’s housing shortage eased somewhat with the addition of 6,071 housing units from 2020 to 2022, with help from the state’s declining population, according to new U.S. Census Bureau estimates. Star-Advertiser.

Governor lists accomplishments, wish list at in-person town hall. 
Nearly six months into his term, Gov. Josh Green wanted to use his first in-person town hall appearance to highlight the progress that’s been made since he took office. Hawaii News Now.


Ex-city official pleads guilty to taking cash bribes. Jocelyn Godoy, the fifth city employee who took cash bribes to move plans through the city Department of Planning and Permitting entered a plea of guilty Wednesday as part of an agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.

Honolulu Council revisits proposal to tax houses that sit empty on Oʻahu. Members of the Honolulu City Council’s recently assembled real property taxation working group met Tuesday to talk over proposals that could affect more than 130,000 island households. Hawaii Public Radio.

Honolulu City Council to offer 50% property tax break to businesses impacted by rail construction. The rail is preparing to welcome riders for the grand opening of the first phase of the project in June, but construction along Dillingham Blvd. further down the line is still years from completion. KHON2.

Oʻahu Business Recovery Grant portal closes following short-lived reopening. The Chamber of Commerce of Hawaiʻi and the City and County of Honolulu reopened the Oʻahu Business Recovery Grant portal on Monday, and closed it shortly after.  Hawaii Public Radio.

Despite accelerated timeline, military’s Red Hill plan doesn’t account for up to 400,000 gallons of fuel. The Department of Defense has released an ambitious timeline for defueling the underground Red Hill facility, saying that crews will begin emptying the tanks in October. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

A Rough-And-Tumble Oahu Park Is Finally Getting Some Love As Rail Opening Looms. Community input is helping resuscitate Makalapa Neighborhood Park. Civil Beat.

Kaneohe Bay Pollution Is Prompting Congressional Attention. Hawaii delegation wants to get money to upgrade a failing wastewater treatment plant. Marine Corps Base Hawaii needs to upgrade its aging wastewater treatment plant after being fined nearly $250,000 last year for discharging high levels of fecal bacteria into the popular bay. Civil Beat.

Humane Society to open second Oahu location. The Hawaiian Humane Society is opening its second facility — the Kosasa Family Campus at Ho‘opili — on Saturday in Ewa Beach with a grand opening celebration. Star-Advertiser. KHON2. KITV4.

Hawaii Island

Council kicks ag bills down the road. The future of a property tax break for farm owners is uncertain after Hawaii County Council members discussed Wednesday whether to scrap a bill that would overhaul the process. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaiʻi County Council gives favorable recommendation to new sustainability office.  A bill that would create a new cabinet-level Office of Sustainability, Climate, Equity and Resilience moved a step forward Tuesday with a favorable recommendation by the Hawaiʻi County Council’s Governmental Operations and External Affairs Committee. Big Island Now.

Hawaii County Police Department implements year-round recruitment for Police Officers. The decision to accept applications throughout the year aims to make it more convenient for aspiring police officers to join the force. Hawaii News Now.

Waipiʻo Valley Road Rockfall Work Set For May 22. County officials estimate Waipiʻo Valley Road will be temporarily closed from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, Monday to Friday for approximately six weeks, as crews work to address potential rockfall hazards in the area. Big Island Video News.


Input sought on plan that calls for fewer air tours at Haleakala. The draft air tour management plan would authorize up to 2,412 air tours per year on a defined route within the air tour management plan planning area. On average, there were 4,824 air tours per year reported at Haleakala National Park from 2017 to 2019. Maui News.

Three new doctors join Kaiser Permanente Hawaiʻi on Maui, Oʻahu. Jennifer Villa, MD, joins the behavioral health department at Kaiser Permanente Maui Lani Medical Office. Maui Now.


Seabird restoration project begins at critical Kaua‘i cultural site. Several governmental, cultural and conservationist groups have teamed up to restore seabird populations at Nu‘alolo Kai, one of Kaua‘i’s most significant cultural and historic sites. Garden Island.

Tuesday, April 4, 2023

HECO launches electric grid plans, Oahu school may be named after Obama, ex-lawmaker seeks reduced sentence in bribery case, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaiian Electric seeks public comment on draft Integrated Grid Plan. The draft plan for its island grids was filed with the Public Utilities Commission, outlining steps the company will take in the coming years to ensure its system will achieve net zero carbon emissions and use 100% local, renewable resources. Maui Now.

Ex-Hawaii lawmaker in bribery case seeks 15-month sentence. Ty J.K. Cullen, the former vice chair of the state House Committee on Finance who pleaded guilty to taking bribes from a wastewater executive is asking a judge to sentence him to 15 months in federal prison, citing his yearlong “substantial assistance” with the U.S. Department of Justice’s public-corruption investigation. Star-Advertiser.

First wave of pre-K classes planned to open ahead of schedule.  Eleven free preschool classrooms for 3- and 4-year-olds are scheduled to open a year ahead of schedule in August to help low-income families across the islands, Lt. Gov. Sylvia Luke said Monday. Star-Advertiser.

Efforts to fund public after-school programs cut short by lawmakers
. Despite overwhelming support at the Legislature this session, the Senate Ways and Means Committee deferred House Bill 69 on Thursday. It was the last surviving measure that would have provided additional funding to public after-school programs.  Hawaii Public Radio.

Sick and tired of that road racket? Bills to muffle mufflers advance at state Capitol. Lawmakers say they are getting a lot of noise about noise this year ― and are responding with new technology and police tactics. Hawaii News Now.

Spiraling housing prices spark worry about Hawaii’s future. Currently, housing construction is not keeping up with demand. Only 1,000 to 2,000 new housing units are being built in Hawaii each year. Those numbers are dwarfed by the 50,000 new units a 2019 state-commissioned study estimated would be needed by 2025. Associated Press.

Visitors to Hawaii would be charged $50 to visit state parks, other areas. Senate Bill 304 would require nonresidents aged 15 or older to obtain an environmental license to visit state parks or other “natural areas on state land.”  Tribune-Herald.

Hawai‘i Tourism Authority launches new site to share Destination Management progress. The Hawai‘i Tourism Authority has launched a new website, “Holomua,” an online platform for sharing collective updates and progress on each of its community-based Destination Management Action Plans. Big Island Now Big Island Video News.


In ‘hard to compete’ labor market, city to test flexible work schedules and telework options. The city is launching a pilot program in an effort to entice more workers and fill thousands of vacancies Among the options being promoted: Telework and flexible schedules for many employees. Hawaii News Now.

Rain causes leaks, disruptions at Hawai‘i Convention Center.  Heavy rain that caused pockets of flash flooding in the southern and eastern areas of Oahu on Sunday soaked through the Hawai‘i Convention Center roof, affecting the Kawaii Kon event and removing another five meeting rooms from service. Star-Advertiser.

In heavy rains, an upstream dumping problem triggers a trashy situation on exclusive Kahala Beach. Shopping carts, clothes, and other debris littered Kahala Beach on Monday following heavy rains over the weekend. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu Rail Cost On The Rise As Electric Hookups To Customers Along The Line Are Factored In. More than $700 million in contracts were awarded to relocate utilities in the urban area, but that did not include transformers or electrical lines to homes and businesses. Civil Beat.

City readies for opening of Kapolei to stadium rail segment. The Honolulu Department of Transportation Services is gearing up to take over the coming rail line this year — handling ridership, fares and bolstering the system’s security. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Senate considers name change for local elementary school. The Senate Committee on Education heard testimony from those both in support of and against the name change of Noelani Elementary School to President Barack Obama Noelani Elementary School. KITV4.

Booze Battle Heats Up As Judge Slaps Liquor Commission Critic With Court Order. Controversies surrounding the beleaguered Honolulu Liquor Commission have taken an unusual turn, with a commission investigations supervisor obtaining a temporary restraining order against a critic who the supervisor says has bombarded the agency with public records requests.  Civil Beat.

Mayor confirms Waipahu District Park pool reopening date. Mayor Rick Blangiardi announced in a town hall meeting on March 30 that the pool is scheduled to reopen to the public on Monday, May 1. KHON2.

Hawaii Island

Army official addresses PTA, concerns about China in the Pacific. Maj. Gen. Joe Ryan, commanding general for the Army’s 25th Infantry Division in Hawaii, provided updates about the Pohakuloa Training Area on Monday at an event held by the Hawaii Island Chamber of Commerce. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaiʻi County IT Director Moves To Civil Defense Position. Information Technology Director Scott Uehara has accepted a position within the Hawaiʻi County Civil Defense, where he will focus on emergency communications systems. Big Island Video News.

False active shooter call prompts lockdown of 3 Hawaii schools. Waiakea High, Waiakea Intermediate School and Waiakea Elementary School were placed on lockdown as a precautionary measure due to the seriousness of the call. Star-Advertiser. Big Island Video News.  Big Island Now. Kauai Now.  Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii County finalists named for UH Board of Regents seat. The finalists for the Hawaii County seat are Michael Miyahira, Kona Moran, Alapaki Nahale-a and Steven Pavao. Tribune-Herald.


Bill seeks a carrying capacity study for Mākena State Park due to increased visitors. The state House Finance Committee will hear a bill this week that requests a carrying capacity study for Mākena State Park, also known as Oneloa Beach. Maui Now.

Finding of No Significant Impact for Puʻunēnē Ave. road widening and improvement project
. The project aims to increase roadway safety and capacity by adding two additional vehicle lanes and shared shoulders.  Maui Now.

Protectors of ancestral remains rail against planned expansion of Maui luxury resort. The Grand Wailea, a Waldorf Astoria Resort, has been wanting to expand for years. But protectors of ancestral bones, or iwi kupuna, say enough already. Hawaii News Now.


Kaua‘i Fire Department seeking $450k to reduce drownings. If secured, the funds would pay for an additional 12 full-time lifeguards, and would allow the department to safeguard all monitored beaches 10 hours a day, seven days a week, through a new “Dawn to Dusk” program. Garden Island.

Understanding alcohol use disorders is key to prevention. A proclamation by Mayor Derek Kawakami states the importance of learning about the behavioral and physical signs of alcohol addiction, child abuse and neglect, and sexual assault, and in working to reduce the incidence of these public health crises from taking place on Kaua‘i. Garden Island.

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Biden to create new Pacific marine sanctuary, huge raises approved for Honolulu officials, first set of ethics reform bills sent to governor, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hokule‘a and Hikianalia to sail on 4-year voyage. The Polynesian Voyaging Society announced Tuesday that the Hokule‘a is scheduled to embark June 15 on a 43,000-nautical-mile journey circumnavigating the Pacific. Star-Advertiser. Big Island Video News. Hawaii News Now.

Biden To Create New Marine Sanctuary In Pacific. President Joe Biden announced Tuesday that he would expeditiously expand and increase environmental protections for a group of remote atolls and islands in the Central Pacific and the nearly 777,000 square miles of waters around them. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser. Big Island Now. Kauai Now.  Hawaii News Now.

Bills on campaign contributions, lobbying, gifts pass Hawaiʻi Legislature; headed to governor. House Speaker Scott K. Saiki introduced HB99, HB137 and HB142 that were recommendations made by the Commission to Improve Standards of Conduct, which was established by the House in 2022. Big Island Now. Maui News. Kauai Now.

Hawaii Senate President Remains Mum On The Turmoil In His Caucus. Sen. Ron Kouchi isn't talking about whether longtime members of his caucus are bullying their peers over a political appointment. Civil Beat.

Bill could track drivers’ mileage, tax them by the mile. With more electric vehicles hitting the roads, revenue from the state’s fuel tax is dropping, which is money that’s supposed to help repair Hawaii’s roads. Now, a bill is moving through the legislature looking to replace the state fuel tax with a road usage charge program. KHON2.

Required active shooter training in schools could become a reality for Hawaiʻi. House Bill 1329 would require the state education department to develop and implement an active shooter training program in all schools. Hawaii Public Radio.

State Senate Bill that would charge outlaw hikers for their rescues moves forward. A measure that would allow county first responders to charge outlaw hikers for the cost of their rescue passed with amendments out of the the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. Senate Bill 786 will now be heading to the House Finance Committee. KITV4.

Lt. Gov. Sylvia Luke seeks solutions to 'antiquated' office duties. Without a secretary of state, the lieutenant governor's office takes on some necessary, core functions. Namely, the office has three statutory functions: facilitating name changes, certifying international documents called apostilles, and processing administrative rules. Hawaii Public Radio.


Panel endorses pay raises for top Honolulu officials. The Honolulu Salary Commission on Tuesday recommended pay boosts of 12.5% and greater for the city’s mayor and department heads and a 60.2% pay jump for the leader of the Honolulu City Council. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now. KHON2. KITV4.

Bill to fund OHA land repairs dies. The Office of Hawaiian Affairs criticized state House of Representatives leadership Tuesday for not hearing a bill appropriating $65 million to repair harbor infrastructure on land in Kakaako the Legislature gave OHA in 2012 to settle a $200 million debt. Star-Advertiser. KHON2.

Special meeting on New Aloha Stadium. On Wednesday, the Stadium Authority will hold a special meeting to discuss Gov. Josh Green’s new plan for the project. KHON2.

Mayor Rick Blangiardi kicks off town hall series in Ewa. Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi hosted a town hall Tuesday night at Ewa Makai Middle School, where he committed to a site visit at Makakilo Drive following calls from residents to extend the road and alleviate local traffic congestion. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

Closure of last big downtown retailer, Walmart, prompts fears.
First the downtown Walgreens closed about a year ago, followed six months later by the shuttering of the neighborhood Longs, and now the last major retailer, Walmart, plans to shut its doors after April 21 — leading to fears that the Fort Street Mall area will become a magnet for even more crime, homeless activity and graffiti. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.  KHON2.

A man in need of medical treatment spent days on a sidewalk right outside Queen’s Medical Center. Good Samaritans have been helping 59-year-old Timothy Walker, who’s been on the sidewalk outside the Queen’s Medical Center ER for the past week — surrounded by flies and ants. Hawaii News Now.

Red-light safety camera to issue warnings at Kapiolani intersection. The red-light safety camera at Kapiolani Boulevard and Kamakee Street — the intersection where a teen was fatally struck by a pickup truck — begins issuing warnings on Wednesday, according to state officials. Star-Advertiser. KITV4.

A large care home wants to move into a tiny neighborhood. Residents aren’t happy. Residents along Kaneohe Bay are raising alarms about a planned care home that they say looks like a monster home. But the developer says it’s a mischaracterization — and that he scaled down the project to meet community opposition. Hawaii News Now.

Pint-Sized Plants Could Be Our Secret Weapon In Fight Against Invasive Beetle. Hawaii’s invasive species experts announced in January that Oahu had lost its fight to eradicate the coconut rhinoceros beetle, after years of trying to keep their expansion at bay. Civil Beat.

Behind the conversion of a Bishop Street high-rise from offices to housing. The building at 1132 Bishop St. is in the home stretch — now The Residences at Bishop Place. It's still home to the federal bankruptcy courthouse, but the floors above are largely apartments for rent. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii Island

Council takes action on sewage plant. A Hawaii County Council committee on Tuesday recommended passage of a bill that would split a rehabilitation project for the Hilo Wastewater Treatment Plant into two phases. Tribune-Herald.

2 Hawai‘i police detectives involved in fatal shooting in Kona to return to full duty. Two Hawai‘i police officers involved in a fatal shooting 11 days ago of a 32-year-old man in Kailua-Kona were cleared to return to full duty on Tuesday, although two separate investigations are still underway, according to Hawaiʻi Police Chief Ben Moszkowicz. Big Island Now.

Two High-Altitude Balloons To Be Launched On Hawaiʻi Island. The Sierra-Nevada Corporation and World View will be launching the balloons near Waimea between March 23 and 25. Big Island Video News. KHON2.

Kohala agriculture event invites Hawaiʻi Island farmers to plan their future. Members of an agricultural community on Hawaiʻi Island will gather this week to discuss the future of sustainable farming and ranching. Hawaii Public Radio.

Pacific Tsunami Museum reopens: ‘Through stories, we can teach people how to survive’.  The Pacific Tsunami Museum has reopened for visitors and locals alike with a change of leadership and plans for new exhibits. Tribune-Herald.


Housing, water, deer and controversial high school discussed in Maui State of the County address. Mayor Richard Bissen said with just 78 days in, his team is focused on “common-sense priorities” which include water, affordable housing, infrastructure, economic diversification and protecting our environment. Hawaii News Now.

Bissen delivers State of the County address tonight, Budget presentation on Friday. Mayor Bissen’s proposed budget highlights his administration’s priorities of water, housing, infrastructure, economic diversification and environment. Maui Now.

Maui Council tradition of evening budget meetings returns starting March 30. The Budget, Finance and Economic Development Committee will hold evening meetings throughout the county to receive community input on the fiscal year 2024 budget from March 30 through April 13. Maui Now.

New Kihei High School Will Finally Open Under Deal With Governor, Maui Mayor Says. Maui Mayor Richard Bissen announced Tuesday that he has reached a deal with Gov. Josh Green that will allow a long-awaited high school in Kihei to open. Civil Beat.

Sust’āinable Molokaʻi's new food box program connects local farmers to kūpuna. A new program on Molokaʻi offers residents the opportunity to support kūpuna and local farmers at the same time.  Hawaii Public Radio.


Swimming through sewage — study shows high bacteria count in Kaua‘i waters. Environmental organization Surfrider Kaua‘i’s Blue Water Task Force found large amounts of bacteria in several of Kaua‘i’s waters this month, suggesting that ongoing concerns over fecal contamination of the Garden Island’s streams and beaches are far from over. Garden Island. Kauai Now.

Kaua‘i jobless rate tumbles to 3.0 percent. Local businesses continued to beef up employment rosters to start the year, in turn sending the jobless rate on Kaua‘i to its lowest level for the month of January since the pre-pandemic era. Garden Island.

Thursday, December 22, 2022

Federal funds to Hawaii more than double, Kahele bill would lower blood quantum for home lands, COVID cases, deaths remain steady, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Health Experts: Flooding, Sea Level Rise Could Release Chemicals At Hundreds Of Hawaii Sites. Rising seas and increased flooding could eventually release, spread and mix together a host of chemicals contaminating more than 800 sites across Hawaii, exposing the public to more potential health risks linked to climate change, local health experts warned lawmakers on Wednesday. Civil Beat.

Hawaiʻi projected to receive over $500M in federal funds for military, housing and more
. Sen. Brian Schatz announced Wednesday that he has secured more than $530 million for Hawaiʻi in congressionally directed spending — an increase of more than double than last fiscal year's amount. Hawaii Public Radio. Hawaii News Now.

Kahele Introduces Bill Lowering Blood Quantum For Home Lands.
In the waning days of the current lame-duck congressional session, U.S. Rep. Kai Kahele introduced a bill to lower the blood quantum for successors of Hawaiian Home Lands lessees, making it easier for those on homesteads to pass their land leases and homes on to their children or spouses. Civil Beat. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News.  Maui Now. KITV4.

Lt. Gov. Sylvia Luke sees both sides of how to build the state budget. Before she was lieutenant governor, Sylvia Luke served as the state House of Representatives Finance Committee chair, dealing intimately with the state’s budget. Hawaii Public Radio.

Could bolstering public preschool create more affordable housing? That’s the hope Hawaii’s education system is moving on two major goals: Finding classrooms for thousands of new preschool children and building more housing to attract and keep teachers. Now, there’s an effort to fulfill both challenges ― in the same buildings. Hawaii News Now.

What to know about the upcoming 32nd Hawaiʻi State Legislature session. The deadlines for the 2023 Regular Session have been established and the legislative calendar has been published.  Big Island Now.

Hawaii hotel occupancy decline signals continued slowdown
. About 30% of Hawaii’s hotel rooms were unoccupied in November — giving credence to the slowdown Hawaii’s hoteliers begin anticipating from late summer.  Star-Advertiser.

Hawaiian Air CEO apologizes to frustrated passengers as strong winter storm threatens more delays. Travelers in Hawaii and nationally are encountering mounting delays and cancelations in the wake of a winter storm that impacted the state and as a “bomb cyclone” threatens extreme cold across much of the mainland. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Hawai‘i reports 1,189 Covid cases, 10 deaths. The new cases bring the state's total to 371,103. The statewide test positivity rate is 5.9% The state death toll rose to 1,758. KHON2. KITV4. Star-Advertiser.

Shelter dog finds a home after Gov. Josh Green’s news conference.  In less than 72 hours, Sweetie the poi dog went from a kennel at the Hawaiian Humane Society to putting her paws on the desk of Gov. Josh Green to finding her forever home after she was adopted Wednesday by a family with two excited children. Star-Advertiser.


Honolulu Police Department looks to expand 3-day workweek. The three days a week, 12 hours a day work schedule is returning to the Hono­lulu Police Department in the summer following a nine-month pilot project that showed increased patrol staffing and improved morale, Chief Arthur “Joe” Logan told police commissioners Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

EPA Proposes New Red Hill Settlement With Navy To Protect Drinking Water. The Navy already had a regulatory agreement with the EPA when it contaminated the water last year, but little progress had been made.  Civil Beat. KITV4.

Waikiki fisheries area will be closed in 2023. The management area encompasses the nearshore waters between the Ewa wall of the Waikiki War Memorial Natatorium and the Diamond Head Lighthouse, from the high-water mark on shore to a minimum seaward distance of 500 yards, or to the edge of the fringing reef if it’s beyond 500 yards. Star-Advertiser. KHON2.

Massive Kalihi home under construction draws flurry of complaints ― and new city scrutiny. The city says it plans to issue notices of violations to the owners of a massive home in Kalihi that includes eight bedrooms, four kitchens and two wet bars. Hawaii News Now.

Houseless camps on Oahu endure winter storms, as advocates try to help. Large rocks and whatever items are available, that's what those living off of Farrington Highway have been using to try to secure tents and belongings from the heavy winds. KITV4.

Hawaii Island

Council delays forming Hilo business group. A proposed Business Improvement District for Hilo was kicked down the road Wednesday after the Hawaii County Council voted to postpone the matter until March. Tribune-Herald.


Investigation Into Maui Monster House Dies In Committee. A Maui County Council committee investigating why a developer was allowed to illegally build a monster house in Napili has effectively ended the probe, saying the lone bid to handle the matter was too expensive. Civil Beat.

Visitor arrivals still hovered below pre-pandemic levels in October. Visitor arrivals to Maui in October still did not reach pre-pandemic levels, but spending did increase nearly 14 percent from October 2019. Maui News.


Millions in federal dollars coming. A federal spending bill will channel more than $500 million to the state of Hawai‘i, with millions of dollars designated for programs and projects on Kaua‘i. Garden Island.

Kaua‘i activists talk trash, recyclables, as island’s only landfill maxes out. At current rates, the landfill, located in Kekaha on Kaua‘i’s West Side, will reach maximum capacity by January 2027 – just five years from now. Kauai Now.