Showing posts with label Marc Benioff. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Marc Benioff. Show all posts

Friday, May 17, 2024

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Hawaii Island

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

Thursday, April 25, 2024

Air Force proposes 6 new telescopes on Maui's Haleakala, DLNR chairwoman on the hot seat, Big Island residents defend Benioff, Honolulu Ocean Safety chief suspended, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Head of DLNR defends her leadership amid calls to resign, including from several lawmakers. Dawn Chang, the head of the Department of Land and Natural Resources defended her leadership Wednesday amid criticism of her handling of challenging issues and calls for her resignation. Hawaii News Now.

It Looked Bad In The Beginning, But Maui Did Not Suck Up All The Money In The State Budget. Thanks to a large starting surplus of cash and a surge in support from the federal government, the state is managing the huge costs of the Maui fire — for now. Civil Beat.

House-Senate conference committee passes Hawaii vacation rentals bill. The full House and Senate will now consider the question of whether to allow each county to determine how — if at all — to regulate short-term vacation rentals on their islands, including the possibility of outlawing them. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

Doctors urge lawmakers to get rid of general excise tax on health care. On top of the rising costs of medicine, providers said the general excise tax is killing their businesses and making it harder for patients to get care. KITV4.

State ranks among best for quality Pre-K programs; however, near bottom for access.
A new national report has revealed that Hawaiʻi is one of just five states to meet 10 out of 10 research-based quality benchmarks for pre-kindergarten programs. However, it ranks 44th for enrollment of 4-year-olds and 31st for 3-year-olds. Maui Now.

Sea level rise could make tsunamis more destructive.
Is Hawaiʻi prepared? Certain agencies have already started to incorporate sea level rise into disaster planning. Hawaii Public Radio.


Ocean Safety chief placed on administrative leave, city says. John Titchen, Honolulu’s Ocean Safety and Lifeguard Services Division chief since 2018, has been placed on administrative leave without pay effective Tuesday, but Mayor’s Office provided little information as to why Titchen was suspended nor offered any details into a “pending investigation” involving the 5-1/2-year Ocean Safety division leader. Star-Advertiser. KHON2.

Bee Habitat Destruction, Albatross Death Could Lead To $3 Million In Fines. Several North Shore property owners face more than $3 million in state fines for destroying a critical native bee habitat — pushing two of those bee species closer to extinction — and for installing an unpermitted fence that contributed to the killing of a nesting Laysan albatross. Civil Beat. Big Island Now.

Investigation of alleged beating by HPD officers is ongoing. An internal investigation is ongoing nearly five months after Honolulu police allegedly hit a man  Opens in a new tabwith a car before beating him and his son during a New Year’s Day manhunt and shootouts Opens in a new tab with an attempted murder suspect. Star-Advertiser.

Neighborhood Boards To Get Active Shooter Training After Alarming Incident At Meeting . Members of the Kalihi-Palama board said they were upset by what turned out to be a man breaking a glass window, sparking a conversation about safety. Civil Beat.

Repairs on 2 Oahu bridges begin next week. Construction on Rainbow Bridge over Anahulu Stream in Haleiwa will last for approximately one year, and work on the Dillingham Boulevard Bridge over Kapalama Canal in Iwilei will last for around four months. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

City seeks 500 employees to run its annual Summer Fun program. The Honolulu Department of Parks and Recreation is looking for approximately 500 staff members to accommodate 10,000 keiki for its summer program. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii Island

These Big Island residents felt an NPR article about Marc Benioff didn't tell the whole story. Russell Subiono talked to several people who championed Benioff's philanthropy and felt the NPR piece did not tell the whole story. Interviewees included former Hawaiʻi County Mayor Harry Kim and Big Island residents Shardae Lopez, Jessie Grace, Nancy Carr Smith, and Frank and Laura Sayre. Hawaii Public Radio.

HECO's Call To Conserve Power On Hawaiʻi Island Ends, Generators Back Online. Three units with a combined generating capacity of up to 53 megawatts have been repaired ahead of schedule and are back online, Hawaiian Electric announced. Big Island Video News. Big Island Now. Hawaii News Now.  KHON2.

Lawmakers sign off on settlements: State to pay more than $1.5M in two Big Island cases. The state, with legislative approval, is set to pay out more than $1.5 million in settlement money for two high-profile cases on the Big Island. West Hawaii Today.

HPP lot owner cross-examined in house snafu case. Attorneys for a developer and construction company that in 2022 built a house on the wrong lot in Hawaiian Paradise Park on Wednesday cross-examined the lot’s owner, who they’re suing for unjust enrichment. Tribune-Herald.

Kolekole park reopens.
Kolekole Gulch Park closed in 2017 after extensive lead contamination was found in the park’s soil, stemming from lead paint used in the overspanning Kolekole Stream Bridge. Tribune-Herald.

Brittany Anderson to seek District 1 seat on Hawai‘i County Council. One of the owners of a family farm on the Big Island’s Hāmākua Coast is throwing her hat into this year’s race for Hawai‘i County Council. Big Island Now.


Air Force proposing to build six new telescopes on Maui's Haleakala. The Department of the Air Force this week unveiled plans to construct at least six telescopes on the mountain to "provide precise and timely data to address rising threats and increasing dependence on space-based systems," a representative from the agency told Island News in an email.  KITV4.

Maui News moves to print weekly, digital daily. The 124-year-old newspaper announced it will print only on Thursday, while ramping up digital output effective June 6. Maui News. Hawaii News Now.

Vacation rentals evicted from Kīhei Marketplace redevelopment plans. A redevelopment project to beautify the rundown Kīhei Marketplace ran into strong community opposition Tuesday before the Maui Planning Commission with dozens of testifiers irked about plans for 13 transient vacation rentals. Maui Now.

Will The Maui Fires Help Or Hurt Candidates In This Year’s Election? Voters burned out of Lahaina can still cast ballots as if they were still living there. Maui County elections workers have a few months to track down thousands of people displaced by last summer’s catastrophic wildfires before ballots start going out in late July. Civil Beat.

State to create 450 interim units to house fire survivors ineligible for federal aid. Gov. Josh Green has announced a new partnership with HomeAid Hawai‘i to build 450 units for Maui wildfire survivors who were not eligible for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Hawaii Public Radio. Maui News.

Dozens of vehicles to be towed from Kahului harbor next month. An estimated 54 trucks and cars, many inoperable, will be towed from the state’s Kahului Harbor on May 6, according to a Department of Natural Resources (DLNR) press release. Maui News.


La‘akea Chun joins Kaua‘i Charter Commission. The Kaua‘i Charter Commission has a new commissioner in La‘akea Chun following the unanimous approval from the Kaua‘i County Council on Wednesday during its scheduled meeting at the historic County Building. Garden Island.

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Legislature advances vacation rental regulation, cesspool fees, groundbreaking held for $80M Benioff Medical Center, demolition of Haiku Stairs to begin, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Bills toward short-term rental regulation are in final stages of the legislative process. Two measures that would allow counties to begin phasing out non-conforming use permits for transient vacation rental units passed out of both of their chambers. It would give counties more control over short-term rentals. Hawaii Public Radio.

Cesspools are sending raw sewage into the ocean. Could a fee get people to convert? The state Legislature is considering a new fee on cesspools as part of a plan to end massive sewage leaks into the ground and ocean. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii lawmakers aim to avert ‘early’ DHHL funding lapse. The state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands appears set to receive extra time to use $600 million appropriated by the Legislature in 2022. Star-Advertiser.

Ban On Biocontrols That Threaten Hawaiʻi Forage Grass Urged In Resolution. The discussion comes as the state considers all the different tools that can be deployed to reduce the invasive grasses that increase fuel loads and the risk of wildfire in Hawaiʻi. Big Island Video News.

Rising insurance rates on the horizon for Hawaii residents following Maui fires. Insurance rates have been rising for island residents, and those costs are expected to keep going up. KITV4.

Mufi Hanneman recognized at this year’s Celebrate a Legacy in Tourism Gala
. For his significant and long-term contributions to Hawaii’s tourism industry, Mufi Hannemann has been chosen to receive this year’s ‘Legacy in Tourism Award’. KHON2.

Akebono, a pioneering giant and ‘proud Hawaiian’ in sumo, dies at 54. Hawaii sports legend Akebono Taro, who made history when he became the first non-Japanese-born sumo wrestler to reach the sport’s highest title, has died. Hawaii News Now. Star-Advertiser. KHON2. KITV4.


Mayor Officially Begins Process Of Giving Ocean Safety Its Own Department. After years of lifeguards pushing for their own department, Mayor Rick Blangiardi began the process to officially give it to them by July 2026. Civil Beat.

North Shore residents fight plans for shopping center, ask for first responder hub instead. Opponents of a planned shopping center near Sharks Cove on Oahu’s North Shore are urging the city to keep talks going with the developer. KHON2.

First school-based health center in country opens at Waipahu High
. The Academic Health Center represents a partnership between the state Department of Education and Hawaii Pacific Health, which will provide health care services to the community while offering high school students hands-on training from medical professionals. Star-Advertiser.

New mental health crisis center is already diverting patients from ERs, but has room to grow. The Behavioral Health Crisis Center is taking in patients nearly every day, but the numbers are far below capacity in the initial month of operation. Hawaii News Now.

State eyes vacant Windward Oahu campus for DOH offices, crisis center. Hawaii Pacific University’s iconic Windward Oahu campus could become a new home for the state Health Department and a mental health crisis center. Hawaii News Now.

Haiku Stairs’ demolition to begin late April, city says. The city says demolition of the more than 3,900 steps leading to the top of the Koolau Range, above Haiku Valley and the H-3 freeway, will begin at the end of April. Star-Advertiser. KITV4.

City looking to hire 500 to staff Summer Fun program. The Honolulu Department of Parks and Recreation is once again looking to hire hundreds of workers for its annual Summer Fun program at 60 sites across Oahu. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Blessing marks start of Hilo Benioff Medical Center expansion project
.  The $80 million expansion project will add a new wing to the center, including a 19-bed intensive care unit, and 36 additional hospital beds. Star-Advertiser. Tribune-Herald.  Big Island Video News.

Benioffs bolster fire department fleet. After nearly losing their home to a fire a few years ago, the Benioffs asked the Sayre Foundation what the couple could do to help the fire department. Since then, the couple has purchased three Big Dog fire trucks, two tanker fire trucks and eight brushfire trucks. Tribune-Herald.

‘Kauhale Initiative’ garners support from Hilo crowd.
Hilo residents were widely enthusiastic Tuesday night during a meeting about a state project to develop communities of tiny homes for the Big Island’s homeless population, despite misgivings about where those communities could be built. Tribune-Herald.

Mayor Mitch Roth presents 2024-2025 budget to Hawaiʻi County Council
. The mayor’s $888 million operating budget is up 6.6% from last year. It says $30.5 million of that bump would go to salary increases for employees. Hawaii Public Radio. Big Island Now.

Work to decommission 2 Maunakea telescopes to resume.
The University of Hawaii’s Hoku Kea Observatory and Caltech’s Submillimeter Observatory have been slated for decommissioning and removal from the mountain for years, although the process for both observatories has been slow. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Now.

Death Of Foster Child Leads To $750,000 Settlement Pending Approval By Legislature
. Fabian Garett-Garcia died on July 25, 2017, and his caregivers told authorities he was injured by accident when he fell on his face from a 3-foot-high bench while wearing virtual reality goggles at the foster home in Waimea. Civil Beat.


Aunty Carol Lee Kamekona files to run for Maui County Council in Kahului district. Carol Lee has become the first candidate to file the paperwork for the Kahului seat, according to a press release from Kamekona.  Maui News.

Judge Issues two orders against Maui County Council appointee to planning commission. Second Circuit Court Judge Kelsey Kawano issued a writ of quo warranto Monday against Danny Ray Blackburn, asking him to appear before the Second Circuit Court on April 17 to show what authority he has to participate as a Maui County Planning Commissioner, according to court documents. Maui News.

Council Budget Committee hears the pain of Lahaina wildfire survivors. Eight months to the day after a wildfire swept through Lahaina town, Maui County Council members heard the anguish of residents struggling to rebuild their lives after the disaster that claimed at least 101 lives and leveled their beloved historic town. Maui Now.

Skyrocketing Maui rent shrinks housing options for wildfire survivors. Some 1,100 households — or 2,768 individual evacuees — were still living in 11 Maui hotels as of Friday. Star-Advertiser.

A Low-Income Housing Complex Is Ready To Rebuild After Lahaina Fire. It Just Needs $36M. The developer of the 89-unit project is the first to obtain building permits in the burn zone. Now the county and state are being asked to pick up the cost of what insurance didn't cover. Civil Beat.


Jobless rate falls to 2.5 percent in February on Kaua‘i. A robust labor market turned up the heat in February, as it added hundreds of jobs across key sectors of the island economy in the final full month of the winter tourism season. Garden Island.

Hawaiian monk seal returned to Kaua‘i waters after veterinary team removes ingested hook and fishing line. An 8-month-old Hawaiian monk seal was safely returned to Kaua‘i waters after a veterinary team at the Big Island’s marine mammal hospital removed an ingested hook and fishing line from the animal’s esophagus. Kauai Now. Garden Island.

Wednesday, March 6, 2024

Legislature balks at tapping into $1B carryover funds in budget crisis, Senate rejects Nahale-a for second Regents term, more than 36k could have marijuana possession records expunged, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaiʻi's reserve funds are there for emergencies. Why are senators afraid to use them? State senators have been reluctant to approve funds to fill a shortfall in the major disaster fund of more than $400 million.  At the center of this conflict is $1 billion from carryover funds, or leftover projected revenue, that has not been assigned anywhere. Hawaii Public Radio.

Senate rejects Nahale-a for second UH regent term.  A deeply divided state Senate voted 13-12 on Tuesday to deny University of Hawaii Board of Regents Interim Chair Alapaki Nahale-a a second five-year term on the board, as critics cited what they saw as his lapses in accountability and leadership on such crucial issues as the worsening disrepair of some Manoa campus housing.  Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Big Island Video News.

Last-ditch effort afoot to kill housing bill aimed at boosting density in residential areas.
The current language in SB3202 says it will “allow for at least two additional dwelling units, which shall be considered accessory to any dwelling unit or residential unit duly permitted by ordinance.” Hawaii News Now.

Thousands In Hawaii With Arrest Records For Marijuana Posession Could Have Them Expunged. Over 36,000 people in Hawaii arrested for possessing less than 3 grams of marijuana before that offense was decriminalized in 2019 could have all or part of their criminal records expunged at no cost if legislation to amend the state’s criminal statutes succeeds. Civil Beat.

Hawaii lawmakers consider bill allowing telehealth access for those seeking gender-affirming care.
A bill at the legislature is creating serious controversy. House Bill 2079 aims to expand telehealth access to people seeking gender-affirming health services. But some believe the bill is a violation of parental rights. KITV4.

Commentary: Hawaii May Finally Move In The Right Direction On Parental Rights In Child Welfare Cases. Two bills already approved by their respective houses aim to correct a longtime shortcoming, though it remains to be seen if it's the right approach. Civil Beat.

Commercial real estate investment from foreign and out-of-state sources is lagging. Investment in Hawaiʻi fell for the second year in a row, according to Colliers International, which tracks money changing hands in real estate. Hawaii Public Radio.

Nearly $400 Million In Federal Earmarks For Hawaiʻi Non-Profits Listed
. U.S. Senator Brian Schatz says he has secured $394 million in new congressional directed spending to boost local non-profits. Big Island Video News.


State House tees up bill to kill Aloha Stadium redevelopment. The state House of Representatives on Tuesday passed a bill to scuttle the redevelopment project in favor of building a less costly stadium on the University of Hawaii at Manoa campus. Star-Advertiser.

HPD officer accused of ignoring plea for help before woman’s brutal murder is fired. There are new developments in the case of a woman brutally beaten to death two years ago on the steps of the Kapolei Police Station. Hawaii News Now.

Navy to extend testing of its water system. The Navy announced this week that it will continue monitoring its Oahu water system, which serves 93,000 people, for the next year after a surge in complaints about water and air quality in homes on the military waterline. Star-Advertiser.

City Council considers new Ocean Safety Department. During the City Council’s Committee on Budget meeting Tuesday, the way forward — to stand up, staff, fund and perhaps have public oversight over a larger sector — caused uncertainty among Mayor Rick Blangiardi’s ​administration as well as the Council. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

The clock is ticking for Maunakea authority. The transition of control over the summit of Maunakea has been slow going over the past year, but could speed up soon. Tribune-Herald.

Hilo Medical Center to be renamed, marking Benioffs’ $50M charitable investment. A $50 million investment in Hilo Medical Center by Salesforce Chairman and CEO Marc Benioff and his wife, Lynne, will be used to launch a family birthing center and help the hospital complete its expansion of the intensive care unit. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Now.

A bit more free parking for the public in Kailua-Kona: Council resolution paves the way for 14 more stalls. The Hawaii County Council Committee on Legislative Approvals and Acquisitions on Tuesday passed resolution 442 authorizing the acceptance of a quitclaim of a “remnant road reserve” from the state Board of Land and Natural Resources. West Hawaii Today.

Testifiers on Hawai‘i County Council resolution promoting world peace demanded inclusion of Gaza cease-fire. A resolution affirming the Hawai‘i County Council’s commitment to seek and promote peace, diplomacy and civil discourse while demonstrating the values of understanding, cooperation and peaceful co-existence with aloha created some civil — and at one point uncivil — discourse Tuesday. Big Island Now. Big Island Video News.


Temporary Housing Construction Protected As Green Revises Wildfire Proclamation Again. Gov. Josh Green signed the 10th emergency order to address the aftermath of the Maui wildfires with amendments focused on affordable housing for displaced families. Civil Beat. Maui Now.

Mayor Richard T. Bissen, Jr. will present State of the County Address March 15 at Castle Theater. Mayor Bissen will speak on the County’s response and recovery efforts after the devastating August 2023 wildfires, as well as plans to address critical housing needs, economic recovery and the rebuilding of Lahaina town. Maui News.

County Auditor: Department of Finance was ill-prepared to begin collecting millions in TAT payments. Maui County’s Department of Finance was under-staffed and ill-prepared to collect transient accommodations tax money beginning in November 2021 when a state law allowing the county to tap millions of visitor-generated revenue went into effect, according to a report by the Office of the County Auditor. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now.

Hirono to take Boys & Girls Club of Maui CEO to State of the Union. U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono will take Boys &Girls Clubs of Maui CEO Kelly Maluo-Pearson as her guest for President Joe Biden’s 2024 State of the Union address, she announced Tuesday. Star-Advertiser.

The State Is Close To Buying This Old Hotel For Maui Fire Survivors And Longterm Affordable Housing. Council approval is needed for the mayor to complete agreements with the state before the closing can occur on the $38 million property with 175 furnished guest rooms. Civil Beat.


Kaua‘i home sales, prices rebound. A dormant housing market awoke from its slumber to start the new year, as home sales and prices rebounded with eye-opening gains in January. Garden Island.

Learn more about homeownership on Hawaiian Home Lands during weekend workshop. Hawai‘i Community Lending, a nonprofit mortgage lender, will host the Pilina Kaiāulu Workshop in Kapa’a from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  Kauai Now.

Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Development regulations could be scaled back to build more housing, arts face funding loss, Senate vote today on Regent Nahale-a, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii Lawmakers May Roll Back Development Rules To Speed Housing Projects. Certain new housing developments in Hawaii would be exempt from lengthy environmental and historic reviews in an attempt to build more units faster under bills that appear likely to pass key legislative votes this week. Star-Advertiser.

Building regulations drive up Hawaii condo prices by 58%. Hawaii’s building regulations drive the cost of condominium development up 58%, the highest in the nation, according to a report released Monday by the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization. Star-Advertiser. Kauai Now.  KHON2.

AARP and Hawaiʻi housing agency disagree over possible loss of affordable homes. An AARP Hawaiʻi/Smart Growth America report about the potential danger of losing affordable housing in Hawaiʻi has triggered a defensive response from the Hawaiʻi Housing Finance and Development Corp., which is responsible for increasing and preserving the state’s supply of low- and moderate-income housing. Maui Now.

Support for Nahale-a as UH regent swells before vote. Following a flurry of eleventh-hour meetings and negotiations Monday at the state Capitol, state senators are set to vote today on whether to confirm embattled University of Hawaii Board of Regents Chair Alapaki Nahale-a for a second term as a regent. Star-Advertiser.

Lawmakers envision state visitor app to help manage tourists. The problem of too many people in too few precious places has led to targeted tactics — like reservation requirements, traffic controls and public service videos, which rarely reach a wide audience, according to state House Tourism Chair Rep. Sean Quinlan. Hawaii News Now.

Several bills could impact funding for the state arts agency. Nearly midway through the 2024 legislative session, at least four bills relating to culture and the arts are still alive.  Hawaii Public Radio.

Lawmakers advance bill to increase penalty for dangerous dog attacks
. Supporters say the bill would hold dog owners accountable and allow the police to impound dangerous dogs. Critics argue that determination should be made in a court of law. Hawaii Public Radio.

‘The Kids Feel Miserable’ But There’s No End In Sight For Hawaii’s School Bus Shortage. Lawmakers are weighing several proposals to address the lack of school bus drivers, but it's unlikely that any routes will be restored next year. Civil Beat.

What to expect in Hawaiʻi's Democratic presidential caucuses. Hawaiʻi Democrats will hold a presidential preference vote on Wednesday as President Joe Biden moves closer to securing the delegates needed to clinch the nomination for a second term in the White House. Associated Press.

GOP presidential caucus to be held March 12.
The 2024 Hawai‘i Republican Presidential Caucus will held on Tuesday, March 12. Garden Island.

Marc and Lynne Benioff donate $150M to 2 Hawaii hospitals. The gift — considered one of the largest single private donations in Hawaii’s history — will connect Hawaii Pacific Health with Hilo Medical Center and UCSF Health. It resulted from more than a year of collaboration among the three entities. Star-Advertiser.


One Way To Ease Honolulu’s Building Permit Backlog: Pay Workers More. The beleaguered Department of Planning and Permitting, which is drowning in more permit applications than it can process, is getting by on the backs of a low-wage workforce with high turnover.  Civil Beat.

Proposed city Ocean Safety Department under review. A proposed resolution urging that Honolulu’s lifeguard and ambulance services be broken up in order to create a brand new city department is expected to be reviewed today by the City Council’s budget committee. Star-Advertiser.

Entire attorney staff at key domestic violence nonprofit leave, citing internal conflict. Seven staff attorneys at the Domestic Violence Action Center have quit in recent months and tell Hawaii News Now that they all left for the same reason — because other staff were allowed to provide legal advice to clients. Hawaii News Now.

Hawai‘i Convention Center grapples with recurrent vandalism.
The Hawai‘i Convention Center completed a $225,000 exterior camera installation project just in time to catch footage linked to the shattering of one of its soaring glass windows, worth about $25,000. Star-Advertiser.

High rise proposed in one of Honolulu’s most congested neighborhoods sparks backlash. This lower Manoa neighborhood is no stranger to residential high-rises, with several already built right across from Punaho School. Hawaii News Now.

Grounded sailboat in pieces off Waikiki. The Coast Guard said after search and rescue operations were completed Sunday, pollution responders assessed the scene, and found no signs of diesel or petroleum product in the water. Star-Advertiser. KHON2.

Hawaii Island

Man with loaded sawed-off shotgun, rifle arrested in Bayfront Soccer Fields parking lot. A 32-year-old Puna man, Nainoa Kaluhiwa, has been arrested and charged for being in possession of a loaded, sawed-off 12-gauge shotgun and a rifle of unknown make and model after police contacted him while seated within a vehicle parked in the parking lot at the Bayfront Soccer Fields in Hilo on Feb. 29. Big Island Now.

Prep work begins for HVNP roundabout.
Work to prepare for the installation of a traffic roundabout just beyond the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park entrance began Monday. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News.  Big Island Now.

Ka‘ū Stewards Complete ‘Āina-based Education Training Program. The non-profit Ka ‘Ohana o Honu‘apo facilitated the Ka‘ū Hoa Pili ‘Āina program, funded by the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority. Big Island Video News.


EPA Completes Nighttime Inspections Of Sewer Lines In Lahaina. The operation involved debris clearing as well as use of a robotic camera to assess the lines. Civil Beat.

Maui County seeks owners of 21 unclaimed vehicles salvaged from Lahaina wildfire zone. The County of Maui is seeking the owners of 21 intact vehicles that were removed from the Lahaina wildfire disaster zone for debris cleanup progression. Maui Now.

MPD's new cold case detail dedicated to finding those still missing after Lahaina fire. Since its inception in November, the Maui Police Department's very first cold case unit located seven people.  KITV4.

Hāna groups issue advisory against visiting Waiʻoka and Kaihalulu in East Maui. The group Hoʻomakaukau Maui Hikina – “East Maui Ready” Leadership (EMR) is issuing a standing advisory requesting that both Waiʻoka and Kaihalulu areas of East Maui be avoided when looking for recreational spots to visit.  Maui Now.

Only safe house for boys on Maui closes due to staff shortage. The Salvation Army made the difficult decision to close its Family Intervention Services Kanehoalani in Wailuku last week until it can find adequate staffing. Hawaii News Now.


Mālama Kaua‘i, Moloa‘a farmers open ʻĀina Center to increase local food production. Kaua‘i moved closer to fulfilling its nickname of the Garden Isle last week, with the grand opening of the $3.2 million ʻĀina Center in Moloa‘a on Feb. 26. Kauai Now.

Thursday, February 29, 2024

Report IDs brownwater discharge sites, billionaire Benioff on Hawaii Island land-buying spree, midwives sue state over right to practice, Maui selects dumpsite for fire debris, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Chronically polluted beaches in Hawaii continue trend, Surfrider report finds. The nonprofit’s 2023 “Hawaii Water Quality Report” found that stream mouths, beaches with freshwater outlets, and bays without much circulation typically have higher bacteria levels. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii Public Radio.

Lawmakers: Cracking down on illegal vacation rentals won’t solve housing crisis.
Lawmakers trying to find solutions to the decades-old vacation rental conflict say the answer is not cracking down on illegal rentals, but getting owners to walk away from lucrative rental businesses operating legally. Hawaii News Now.

Senate Bill Would Boost Salary Cap For Hawaii Schools Chief To $300K
. Lawmakers have to address the superintendent's pay range this year before the current law expires. Civil Beat.

Bill seeking to crack down on drunk driving advances; SB2384 proposes lowering the legal BAC to 0.05%. Senate Bill 2384, which proposes to lower the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) for driving from 0.08% to 0.05%, was passed by the Senate Judiciary Committee. Maui Now.

Owners might face felony charges in dog attacks. Owners of vicious dogs that cause serious injury or death would face felony charges instead of petty misdemeanors under proposed legislation. Star-Advertiser.

Bill meant to combat overcrowding in jails stalled. A bill that would have required police to give out citations instead of arrests for certain misdemeanor crimes has stalled. The judiciary committee decided Wednesday the bill addressing overcrowded jails– will not move forward. KHON2.

Hawai‘i state law restricting midwives challenged in court. The Center for Reproductive Rights and the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation filed a case in the First Circuit Court of Hawai’i challenging a new Midwifery Restriction Law that is preventing pregnant people in Hawai’i from using skilled midwives for their pregnancies and births, as they have for generations. Maui News. Hawaii Public Radio.

State seeks input on proposed changes to forest stewardship program rules. The state’s Forest Stewardship Program provides technical advice as well as financial assistance on a cost-share basis so private landowners can more effectively manage, protect and restore important natural resources on their properties. Big Island Now.

Hawaiian Electric delays launch of new solar, energy storage programs one month to make refinements. Hawaiian Electric will postpone the launch of its new rooftop solar and energy storage programs by one month while the company makes changes approved by the Public Utilities Commission, the company announced. Maui Now.


Kaneshiro trial won’t be postponed despite investigation into threat against judge. An upcoming bribery trial against Honolulu’s former top prosecutor won’t be delayed despite an ongoing investigation into allegations that a defendant threatened the judge who had been presiding over the case, which prompted his unexpected recusal last month.The trial of former Honolulu prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro and those accused of bribing him will begin next month. Associated Press. Civil Beat.

Honolulu Salary Commission looks at creating a compensation schedule to retain city workers. The Honolulu Salary Commission wants to give councilmembers and top department officials a 3.59% raise for the upcoming fiscal year. Hawaii Public Radio.

Council adopts ‘monster homes’ measure. Cracking down on those who build so-called monster homes on Oahu is the purpose of a new city measure the Honolulu City Council unanimously adopted Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu’s On The Hook For Another $100K Defending Ex-Cops Sued Over Makaha Crash. The officers, who were fired this month by the Honolulu Police Department, are also facing criminal charges. Civil Beat.

A Bar Fight Could Cost A Former Miske Co-Defendant His Kaneohe Home. A federal judge who reviewed a video of the fight says there is no doubt that Michael Buntenbah attacked a man in a bar in January, violating the conditions of his bail. Civil Beat.

Long road to completion may be nearing end for a Maili highway bridge project. When work began to fix the Maipalaoa Bridge on Farrington Highway in Maili, it was considered to be one of the most dangerous bridges in the state. The work is still ongoing nearly nine years later. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

A tech billionaire is quietly buying up land in Hawaii
. No one knows why. Marc Benioff, the CEO and co-founder of San Francisco-based Salesforce, one of the world's largest software companies, which owns the popular messaging service Slack and is worth nearly $300 billion. He also owns Time magazine. National Public Radio.

Pending OK, new BI cable provider could come online by March. Hawaiian Telcom applied in December for a 15-year cable television franchise in Hawaii County, which, if approved, would make the company the second cable provider cleared to operate on the island, after Spectrum. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park Visitation Increases In 2023. The National Park Service says 1,620,294 people visited the park in 2023, a nearly 2.5% increase from the year before. Big Island Video News.


Central Maui Property Chosen As Permanent Dump Site For Lahaina Fire Debris. More traffic is expected but survey results found the community prioritized its distance from the ocean, schools and homes. Civil Beat. Maui Now. Star-Advertiser.  Hawaii News Now. KHON2.  KITV4.

‘That’s A Lot Of Money’: Maui Council Signs Off On Funding For Private Security In Lahaina Burn Zone. Members grilled officials over the cost of staffing 63 guards at 13 checkpoints, and the administration said the next contract will go out to bid. Civil Beat.

A $1.5M settlement offer for Lahaina fire victims and families opens this week.
Here's what to know. Those who lost loved ones in the Lahaina fire will be able to apply for a $1.5 million settlement on Friday. However, the state Legislature has not yet approved the funds for the program. Hawaii Public Radio.


Hawai‘i lawmakers vow to tackle homelessness, housing shortages at Līhu‘e community meeting. At a town hall meeting in Līhu‘e on Monday, State Coordinator on Homelessness John Mizuno vowed that Hawai‘i’s rates of homelessness would be cut in half by 2026, as he, along with State Rep. Luke Evslin and Hawai‘i House Majority Leader Nadine Nakamura presented upcoming strategies for combating homelessness and housing shortages across the Garden Isle and state. Kauai Now.

Kaua‘i Fire to partner with Red Cross to install free smoke alarms as part of pilot program. The Kaua‘i Fire Department Fire Prevention Bureau is partnering with the Kaua‘i Red Cross to visit Garden Isle homes and install free smoke alarms in Kaumakani. Kauai Now.

Betty Bell, Kauai medical pioneer who ‘touched many lives,’ dies at 96. A woman who quite literally helped build the framework of medical care for Garden Island residents has died. Betty June Bell died on Feb. 18 at the age of 96. Hawaii News Now.

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Green ups budget more than $1B in response to Maui fire disaster, metal detectors added to state Capitol, Zuckerberg plans underground shelter at new Kauai home, Benioff donates 282 acres for affordable housing, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Governor wants to add more than $1 billion to budget. Green: New Budget Helps Maui But Doesn’t Neglect Housing, Mental Health. The governor revives the idea of a 'green fee' levied on tourists that would help offset the impact of climate change. The recovery from the Aug. 8 Maui wildfire will cost state government about $500 million in the year ahead. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.  Associated Press.  Big Island Now.  Hawaii News Now.  KITV4.

Governor's full 167-page Budget in Brief can be found here.

Hawaii’s Business Records Agency Makes It Hard To Find Information On People. The agency used to do the search itself for free if you knew to call and ask. Now, you have to pay $1,000 a month for a subscription to look up a person's name on the public database. Civil Beat.

BLNR approves new rules for catching and selling nearshore reef fish.
The state Board of Land and Natural Resources last week unanimously voted to accept changes that regulate the fishing of manini, kole, kala and uhu in Hawaiʻi. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii congressman calls for moratorium on ‘destructive’ deep sea mining. U.S. Rep. Ed Case, a Democrat representing Hawaii's 1st Congressional District,  has introduced legislation calling for a ban on deep sea mining in U.S. and international waters. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii tourism industry expects soft holiday season
. Hawaii travel sellers say tourism across the Hawaiian Islands, which was softening even before the devastating Aug. 8 Maui wildfires, is not likely to set any holiday records. Star-Advertiser.

Hawai‘i Tourism Authority awards contract for Island Visitor Education and Brand Management Support Services. The Hawai‘i Tourism Authority, which is working among communities to manage tourism in a sustainable manner, has awarded a contract for island-based visitor education and brand management support services for Hawaiʻi Island, Maui, Molokaʻi, Lānaʻi, Oʻahu and Kauaʻi. Maui Now.

State Capitol ups its security.
The next time you visit, be prepared to have to go through metal detectors. The new system was installed Monday afternoon at three entrances — two at the rotunda elevators and one at the chamber level. KHON2.


HPD chief says he’s ‘not aware of all the facts’ in alleged mishandling of crash involving officer. Honolulu Police Chief Joe Logan appeared on a local live radio show. The case centers around Honolulu Police Cpl. Vasai Isala Jr. Hawaii News Now.

New initiative is launched to save coconut trees from invasive beetles. The Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center and its nonprofit, Elepaio Social Services, held a blessing Monday morning at their new coconut nursery as they introduced a new initiative to save coconut tree species from the invasive coconut rhinoceros beetle. Star-Advertiser.

Hale Vietnam fined again for stiffing workers on overtime, tips. The owners of a Vietnamese restaurant in Kaimuki were fined by the U.S. Department of Labor for the second time in eight years after they kept a portion of employees’ tips and failed to pay overtime wages totaling nearly $60,000. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Proposed registry of property owners aims to curb squatting. Owners residing outside of the county would need to designate an agent who lives or maintains a permanent office on the island and submit the agent’s information instead. Tribune-Herald.

Hawai‘i County names interim administrator to newly created office.
Hawaiʻi County has selected Bethany Morrison as the Interim Administrator of the newly established Office of Sustainability, Climate, Equity, and Resilience. Big Island Now.

Benioffs donate 282 acres to Hawaii Island nonprofit. The Hawaii Island Community Development Corp., a Hilo-based nonprofit organization, announced Monday that it has received a major land and cash donation for affordable housing at Ouli in North Hawaii. Tribune-Herald.

Waikoloa Maneuver Area Cleanup Reaches Milestone. A final Record of Decision for Munitions Response Site Sector 15, or Pu‘ukapu, marking the end of response actions at the 11,200-acre former defense site. Big Island Video News. Big Island Now.


SBA to open a Disaster Loan Outreach Center Dec. 19 at the Kahului Library. Even though the federal deadline to apply for wildfire damage or losses has passed, Hawaiʻi residents and businesses have been granted a 45-day grace period, until Thursday, Jan. 25, to submit SBA loan applications for physical property damage caused by the wildfires. Maui Now.


Mark Zuckerberg’s Hawaii compound includes a 5,000 sq. ft. underground shelter. Meta founder Mark Zuckerberg is spending a reported $270 million building the ultimate home in Hawaii. Zuckerberg’s super compound sits on 1,400 acres of land on the Koolau Ranch on Kauai, complete with top-notch security and a 5,000-square-foot underground shelter that’s packed with its own food and energy supplies. Atlanta Journal-Constitution. KHON2.

Update: Aliomanu Road work postponed until further notice; new start date to be announced. The Department of Public Works and its contractor Earthworks Pacific, Inc., announced that road work on Aliomanu Road will be postponed until further notice.  Kauai Now.