Showing posts with label Maui wildfires. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Maui wildfires. Show all posts

Thursday, April 18, 2024

HECO faces $5B in potential lawsuit liabilities, AG report cites lack of communication in Lahaina wildfire, military in battle for land lease renewal, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

The Days Of The Army Leasing Land In Hawaii For $1 Are Likely Over. A recent Board of Land and Natural Resources meeting included a measure that would have let the state appraise close to 30,000 acres of land to recalibrate the Army’s rent across Oahu and Big Island. Those leases were signed in 1964 for $1 and expire in 2029. Civil Beat.

Analysts share how the Maui fire reports could affect HECO's future. Hawaiian Electric could face close to $5 billion in potential liabilities from lawsuits filed over the fires, according to Capstone, a consulting firm that studies utilities under stress for its investor clients.  Hawaii Public Radio.

AG’s Report Shows Lack Of Communication Prevented Help For People Trapped In Lahaina Fire.
The Attorney General's much-anticipated report provides new insight into the fire response but does not address the cause of the fire. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser.  Hawaii Public Radio. Associated Press.  Maui Now. Hawaii News Now. KHON2. KITV4.

‘Good government’ bills headed to Green’s desk. The full House on Wednesday sent 10 “good government” bills, as it called them, to Gov. Josh Green — but none will lead to any sweeping ethics, campaign spending or other reforms to change the way the Legislature does business. Star-Advertiser.

Senate Confirms Green’s Nominees To Board of Education. Former state Rep. Roy Takumi will now lead the volunteer board tasked with setting policy and overseeing Hawaii's public school system. Civil Beat.


Rail Chief’s Lastest Evaluation Raises Questions About Whether She Has A Future With Rail. HART CEO Lori Kahikina's annual evaluation was quite critical, citing a lack of progress in filling key positions and "limited transparency" with the rail board of directors. Civil Beat.

Proposals to prevent another big pay hike move forward at city council. Several proposals are moving ahead at the Honolulu City Council that could change how — and how big — salary increases are made for city employees, including council members themselves. Hawaii News Now.

Fireworks sparklers, fountains to make a comeback? Honolulu City Council bill pushes to lift ban. For the last 14 years, ground fireworks have been banned on Oahu. KHON2.

$250,000 Settlement Approved For Honolulu Police Detective. HPD Detective Maile Rego sued in 2021, claiming she suffered retaliation after accusing the department of failing to issue a timely Amber Alert. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.

Fateful Car Wreck Takes Center Stage At Miske Trial As Alleged Murder Victim’s Girlfriend Testifies. Michael Miske is accused of conspiring to kidnap and kill Johnathan Fraser in 2016. Fraser disappeared in July of that year, and his body has never been found. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu mayor signs bill raising legal age to buy herbal cigarettes. Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi has signed a city bill banning the sale of herbal cigarettes to anyone under 21 years old. Hawaii Public Radio.

Ocean Safety sector draws support, criticism. Those for and against contending city resolutions to transform Honolulu’s 277-member Ocean Safety Division into a full-fledged city department voiced their concerns during the City Council’s meeting Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

Safe & Sound Waikiki program sees major reduction in crime. Crime in most categories, including violent ones, has dropped by double digits in Waikiki since Safe & Sound Waikiki started 18 months ago to address community concerns over mounting criminal activity and increased homelessness. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.  KITV4.

Hawaii Island

Another blackouts warning from HECO; lawmakers seek investigation. Hawaiian Electric again is urging Hawaii Island customers to conserve energy this evening to avoid power outages. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News. Big Island Now.

FBI searches 2 locations in Kona; investigation underway. Early Wednesday morning, FBI agents conducted search warrants at two different locations in Kailua-Kona. It is unknown what the warrants were for or if any arrests were made. Big Island Now.

Hawaiʻi County Council lends financial support to upcoming Hala Festival 2024, other community initiatives. The festival wasn’t the only community event, program or project that got a boost Wednesday. Big Island Now.

Public Meeting On Proposed Pāhoa Library, Transit Hub Location. The meeting is being held to discuss the findings of the Draft Environmental Assessment for the library and transit hub, and offer an opportunity for feedback. Big Island Video News.


Komar Maui Properties files for injunction against Maui County eminent domain action. An affiliate of Komar Investments on Wednesday filed a complaint in Federal District Court for declaratory and injunctive relief against Maui County’s impending eminent domain action for acquisition of a 20-acre parcel next to the Central Maui Landfill in Puʻunēnē.  Maui Now.

The Maui Ethics Board Has So Few Members That It’s Struggling To Even Meet. Members are seeking additional funding and dedicated staff so they can more effectively do their job. Civil Beat.

PFAS detected in Maui Business Park system
. PFAS (perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances) have been detected in water samples collected at the Waiʻele Wells 1 and 2 Chlorinator, Maui Business Park water system (Public Water System HI0000261, owned by Maui Business Park Phase II Association) in Kahului of the island of Maui. Maui Now.


Kauai County says weekend flooding caused significant damage to 157 houses. Kauai property owners who are impacted may qualify for government aid. Hawaii News Now.

Playground construction, ADA renovations scheduled at Waimea Athletic Field. The playground, skateboard half-pipe, ADA parking stalls and ADA walkway near Kaumuali‘i Highway will be closed from April 29 to June 1, weather permitting. Kauai Now.

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Lawmakers push utilities to reduce wildfire risk, animal cruelty bills die, no tax breaks for the wealthy, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii lawmakers push electric utilities to reduce wildfire risks. The state Legislature appears poised to create a new way for Hawaii electric utilities to pay for wildfire risk mitigation that reduces the cost possibly passed onto ratepayers in an effort to help prevent another tragic fire in the state. Star-Advertiser.

1,100 Pieces Of Testimony Against A Bill Went Missing For Days. The Bill Passed And Then The Opponents’ Letters Showed Up. Hundreds of Lahaina fire victims came out strongly against a bill that could allow HECO to impose a new fee on customers to help prevent wildfires. Civil Beat.

Taxes, Housing And Fighting Chickens Are Up For A Vote As The Hawaii Legislature Heads Into The Home Stretch. Lawmakers also hope to put a question securing same-sex marriage on the ballot this fall. Civil Beat.

Hawaii lawmakers debate estate tax breaks for family businesses. State lawmakers killed a bill that would give wealthy families a break on estate taxes, but kept alive a different estate tax bill that would cut the costs of passing along some family businesses. KITV4.

Bill to increase penalties for unlicensed driving remains in the Legislature. A bill with harsher penalties for drivers without valid licenses is alive in the state Legislature — but some want more to be done. Hawaii Public Radio.

Bill advances to give condo owners a new way to buy into rooftop solar. The Hawaiʻi Senate is considering a bill to create a Solar Hui Program, allowing multi-family property owners to pay into a collective investment fund that would go towards energy projects and loans.  Hawaii Public Radio.

State senators fail to pass animal cruelty bills. The state Senate on Tuesday passed dozens of bills on mandatory third reading, a key step before becoming law, but senators rejected one contested measure that aimed to combat an increase in animal cruelty cases in Hawaii. Star-Advertiser. KHON2.

Frequent Turnover At Hawaii’s Education Board Is Weakening School Oversight. A lack of institutional knowledge among board members and staff is limiting the BOE's effectiveness and leaving it open to legislative interference, education advocates say. Civil Beat.

Ongoing inspections find more inoperable fire alarm systems at Hawaii public schools. Amid ongoing efforts to bolster safety at public schools, inspectors are finding more Hawaii campuses with inoperable fire alarms. Hawaii News Now.

Few people have successfully expunged their marijuana possession records. The Hawaiʻi Criminal Justice Data Center says about 12,000 records could qualify for expungement. Over the last four years, only two people have been able to clear their criminal records. Hawaii Public Radio.


Defense In Kaneshiro Bribery Trial Probes Architect About Side Jobs At Mitsunaga & Associates.
During its cross-examination of Laurel Mau, the defense focused on her use of company time and resources to conduct side jobs it says were unauthorized. Civil Beat.

‘For us taxpayers, that’s a good thing’: City eyes $8.6 million expansion for HPD headquarters. The Honolulu Police Department has a plan to add some much-needed space to its Alapai Headquarters. A half-acre property right next door could solve several problems. Hawaii News Now.

AES launches Oahu solar project.
AES Hawai‘i is launching the West Oahu solar-plus-­storage project in Kapolei, which will produce enough energy to reduce Oahu’s use of fossil fuels by 750,000 barrels of oil and the associated pollution and greenhouse gases emitted over its lifetime. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu permitting office cites Hawaiian lūʻau for being in a residential area. The operator of a lūʻau in a residential area of Honolulu said he plans to continue his business despite city officials ordering him to stop. Hawaii Public Radio.

Several H-1 freeway repair projects scheduled for the week
. The Hawaii Department of Transportation said there are several improvement projects taking place on the H-1, including viaduct repairs near the airport off-ramp. KHON2.

Hawaii Island

Flurry of legal action in case involving home built on wrong property. Both Hilo Circuit Court judges have bowed out from hearing a case involving a California woman sued by a developer whose contractor mistakenly built a house on her lot in Hawaiian Paradise Park. Tribune-Herald.

Waiakea High math teacher receives $25,000 award
. Rory Inouye, a 35-year-old Waiakea High School class of 2007 alumnus and math teacher, was awarded a $25,000 Milken Educator Award in Hilo on Tuesday. Star-Advertiser. Big Island Now.

State confirms 2 cases of whooping cough on Hawaii Island. Hawaii Department of Health officials said today that it is investigating two confirmed cases of pertussis — also known as whooping cough — along with eight probable cases. Star-Advertiser. Big Island Video News. Big Island Now.

Kolekole Gulch Park set to reopen end of April. The 5.5-acre park has had a rough several years, having first been closed for three years in 2017 when parts of the park were found to contain lead-contaminated soil stemming from lead-based paint used on the overspanning Kolekole Bridge. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News.  Big Island Now.


Council extends Kula water deal timeline, requests community meeting, compares financial analyses. After a community meeting in Pukalani on March 27, concerns arose about the timeframe for assessing a 30-year water purchase agreement for drilling one to four wells in Kula. Maui Now.

Mold forces Maui County prosecutors to relocate temporarily.
As if fighting for justice weren’t tough enough, now attorneys and staff in the Maui County Department of the Prosecuting Attorney have a new foe: an infestation of mold in their Old Wailuku Courthouse offices. Maui Now.

SBA approves $300M for Maui wildfire relief. The Small Business Administration has approved over $300 million in federal disaster assistance loans for Hawaii businesses and residents affected by the August wildfires on Maui, the organization announced Monday. Star-Advertiser.

Foodland Farms Lahaina will reopen 8 months after devastating wildfires. 8 months after the devastating Maui wildfires, Foodland Farms Lahaina will reopen Wednesday. Hawaii News Now. Maui News.


Fentanyl task force following Big Island blueprint coming to Kaua‘i. The County of Kaua‘i is planning on launching a fentanyl task force in the coming weeks, inspired by a model implemented on the Big Island nearly three years ago. Kauai Now.

Thursday, March 28, 2024

Green projects rosier state budget, no ban on Maui vacation rentals; Senate advances $19B supplemental budget, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Rosier state budget picture projected by Gov. Green. Gov. Josh Green reassured the public and Hawaii’s Legislature on Wednesday that Maui wildfire response and recovery expenses shouldn’t overwhelm state finances. Star-Advertiser.

Governor’s spending plan for the State
. The governor’s latest spending plan for the State includes skipping a $300 million deposit into the state’s retirement and benefit trust fund. KHON2.

Hawaii Senate Committee’s Spending Plan Includes Hundreds Of Millions For Maui Fire Costs. Senators also gave preliminary approval to a $19 billion supplemental budget bill to pay for state government operations for the coming year year. Civil Beat.

State Digital Equity Plan approved. The Department of Commerce National Telecommunications and Information Administration accepted Hawaii’s 293-page Digital Equity Plan on Tuesday after it underwent federal review. Star-Advertiser.


DPP launches more tech to speed permit process. To solve the months-long delay to obtain a building permit, the city Department of Planning and Permitting announced new technological initiatives it hopes will improve the speed at which the city issues them to the public. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.

Attorney for alleged victim takes stand in bribery trial against former city prosecutor. There were fireworks on day four of a bribery trial against ex-city Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro and campaign donors from a high-profile engineering firm. Hawaii News Now.

EPA’s integrity is questioned for withholding Red Hill tests. In early March the Navy notified the Environmental Protection Agency that it had detected “unvalidated test results” finding high levels of total petroleum |hydrocarbons, or TPH, in water samples taken from an on-base school and a home in the Aliamanu Military Reservation — both of which had their water systems flushed. Star-Advertiser.

HECO apologizes after new safety measures leave thousands of Mililani residents in the dark.  Hawaiian Electric Company recently made changes to improve safety in areas with a wildfire risk, such as Mililani. However, for residents, that has meant more power outages within the last month. Hawaii News Now.

New Rule Helps Hawaii’s Agriculture Department Stop The Spread Of Little Fire Ants. The interim rules have been signed by the Department of Agriculture in a bid to curb the spread of the stinging ants on Oahu. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Island

Merrie Monarch Festival clinches top spot in USA Today’s list of best cultural celebrations. The Merrie Monarch Festival has been voted as USA Today’s Best Cultural Festival in the nation. A panel of experts put together the list of 20 exceptional nominees. Hawaii News Now.

Legal battle brewing after house built on wrong HPP lot.
A woman who purchased a vacant lot in Puna was surprised to find out a $500,000 house was built on the property by mistake. Associated Press.

Hawai‘i Army National Guard Dedicates New Facility In Hilo.  The new Combined Support Maintenance Shop #2 facility at the Keaukaha Military Reservation was celebrated on Wednesday. Big Island Video News.


No need for ban on short-term rentals in West Maui, Gov. Green says. There will be no need for a ban on short-term rentals in West Maui to get the remaining 3,109 survivors of the Aug. 8 wildfires out of hotels and into long-term housing, Gov. Josh Green said Wednesday ahead of what could have been a moratorium starting Monday. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Associated Press. Maui Now.  KHON2.  KITV4.

Maui to receive $35 Million in federal funding for senior housing. The Hawai’i Public Housing Authority will receive more than $35 million in federal funding to rebuild and restore federal public housing facilities that were damaged and destroyed during the Maui fires last year, according to a press release from senator Brian Schatz. Maui News.

How Much Should People Know About A School’s Safety Plan? The Department of Education is at odds with the teachers union and some Lahaina parents over how much information the public should have access to when it comes to safety plans. Civil Beat.


Community groups reach legal settlement with KIUC, state on West Kaua‘i hydro project. In a settlement reached between West Kauaʻi community groups, the State, and Kauaʻi Island Utility Cooperative, the utility has agreed to withdraw its environmental assessment and “finding of no significant impact” for its proposed hydro project called the West Kauaʻi Energy Project. Kauai Now.

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Senate panel faults utilities commission for failing to investigate Maui wildfire cause, EPA completes Red Hill inspection, half of Kauai waters tested show fecal presence, electricity shortage on Big Island, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Lawmakers say PUC 'failed to investigate' causes of Maui wildfires. A resolution put forward by state Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz says the Public Utilities Commission has failed to effectively investigate the causes of the August 2023 Maui wildfires. The resolution says that the PUC is bound by law to investigate the causes of any accident related to the operations of Hawaiʻi's utilities "which results in loss of life."  Hawaii Public Radio.

DBEDT establishes Military and Community Relations Office. The Hawai‘i Department of Business Economic Development and Tourism has established a Military and Community Relations Office which will focus on effective collaboration and transparency between the State of Hawai‘i, county governments, the community and the US Department of Defense. Maui Now.

DHHL waitlisters to benefit from new down payment assistance program. The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands has partnered with homestead nonprofit, Hawaiian Lending & Investments, to provide direct assistance to beneficiaries looking to construct, or purchase, a home on Hawaiian Home Lands. Maui Now. KHON2.


City to pay $12.5M to Makaha crash driver. The city agreed to pay $12.5 million to the driver of a car that crashed in September 2021 in Makaha during a pursuit by Honolulu police officers who allegedly left the scene only to return and act like nothing happened. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.

Proposed Council raises draw public concern. The Honolulu Salary Commission’s recommendation last week for a 3% or greater pay boost for the mayor, managing director, all nine members of the City Council and other appointed, high-level city officials drew a measure of public criticism Monday. Star-Advertiser.

EPA completes Red Hill inspection, says Navy task force ready to take over shutdown.  The EPA says Joint Task Force Red Hill is ready to let the Navy take over the shutdown of the bulk fuel storage facility. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Kai Neighborhood Board discussed East Honolulu beach park closures. Several Hawaii Kai residents showed up at the neighborhood board meeting concerned about the possibility of overnight park closures at all beaches in their area. KITV4.

Model arrested in bribery, obstruction case.
A model was arrested after she tried to bribe a federal agent to help convince a judge to let her boyfriend out of Honolulu’s Federal Detention Center while he awaits trial on ammunition charges. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Hawaiian Electric: ‘Tight supply of electricity’ on the Big Island through April. Company spokeswoman Kristin Okinaka said the energy provider’s largest independent power producer, Hamakua Energy, has gone offline, leaving the power grid with a significant deficit of power. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News.  Big Island Now.  KITV4.

Grassroots group is concerned about high volume of people visiting beaches in Keaukaha. Volunteers with Waiʻuli We Count, a grassroots-led data collection effort, said more  than a million people enjoy the beach parks in the coastal community of Keaukaha on Hawaiʻi Island every year. Hawaii Public Radio.

State Is Moving Ahead With Wailoa Harbor Dredging Project After Receiving Funding.
The Department of Land and Natural Resources said in a news release Monday that it has wanted to dredge the harbor for several years but it didn’t receive funding to do so until last year’s legislative session. The funds were released in January. Civil Beat. Big Island Now.

Hilo Travelers Advised To Plan Ahead For Merrie Monarch Festival. The 61st annual Merrie Monarch Festival will begin on Easter Sunday (March 31) and continue until Saturday, April 6.  Big Island Video News.


Maui Mayor Unveils $1.7 Billion Budget To Help County Navigate ‘Daunting Journey’ Ahead. Mayor Richard Bissen delivered his $1.7 billion proposed spending plan for fiscal year 2025 to the Maui County Council on Monday, a 34% increase over the current budget due to the ongoing recovery from the destructive Aug. 8 fires. Civil Beat. Maui Now.  KITV4.

New Deputy Planning Director named by county. Ana Lillis, a former planner in the Zoning Administration and Enforcement Division, has been named Deputy Director of the County of Maui Department of Planning. Lillis’ official start date is April 1, according to a press release. Maui News.

Waihou Spring Forest Reserve reopens to public following damage from August fires. The damage has kept crews busy at the Department of Land and Natural Resources’ Division of Forestry and Wildlife over the last seven months. Hawaii Public Radio. Maui News.

Temporary school called ‘small miracle’ after Lahaina fire. Glancing at the new temporary school on a grassy slope in Pulelehua, Maui, casual onlookers might perceive a simple cluster of boxy modular buildings hurriedly erected in just over three months, but Gov. Josh Green calls the school’s rapid construction “a small miracle” in the wake of a disaster, and he and others also see the beginnings of healing and hope. Star-Advertiser. Maui Now.  Hawaii News Now.  

Shrine symbolizes healing and unity for Maui students.  It took serious coordination for students from H.P. Baldwin High School and King Kekaulike High School to lift and carry a “mikoshi,” or portable shrine, on their shoulders through the streets of Waikiki as part of the recent Honolulu Festival’s Grand Parade. Star-Advertiser.

FEMA Gave This Family A House In The Lahaina Burn Zone. Then They Found Out It Might Not Be Safe. Randy Dadez says the agency moved his family into a house that Maui County's map clearly shows lacks clean water. Civil Beat.

Bidding price expected to take centerstage as companies vie for rural air service contract. Multiple airlines are bidding for the federal contract to provide service to one of Hawaii’s rural communities. Hawaii News Now.


Half of Kauai’s tested waters polluted. A monthly analysis of streams, rivers and surf spots across the island found high concentrations of enterococcus bacterium, a federally recognized indicator of fecal presence in water, at a number of locations. Garden Island.

Historic $7.3M grant awarded to nonprofit Hale Halawai ʻOhana O Hanale dedicated to North Shore flood mitigation projects. The Hale Halawai ʻOhana O Hanalei, a leading nonprofit organization dedicated to serving Kauaʻi’s north shore community will take on the role of administering and distributing an unprecedented grant through the Kauaʻi Emergency Management Agency. Kauai Now.

Kauaʻi inmate seriously injured in a hit-and-run soon after his escape from jail. An inmate's escape on Kauaʻi was short-lived when a vehicle hit him as he was running away on a highway early Friday, authorities said. Hawaii Public Radio.

Friday, March 22, 2024

Legislature could allow more houses on smaller lots, fund proposed to shield HECO from lawsuits, 4 Hawaii newspapers part of bankruptcy sale, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Bills propose more housing on smaller lots. The legislation aims to override county zoning for minimum lot sizes so that multiple homes can be built on lots as small as 2,000 square feet, compared with common minimum lot sizes of 3,500 to 10,000 square feet typically for one house.  Star-Advertiser.

Lawmakers consider creation of fund to shield HECO, others from future fire-related suits. While facing potentially billions of dollars in damages from the Maui wildfire, Hawaiian Electric is proposing a $1 billion fund to pay for damages from a future fire catastrophe. Hawaii News Now.

Designer is commissioned to convert state Capitol pools to waterless feature. The long-troublesome reflecting pools at the state Capitol will be permanently dried up and converted to an artistic landscape with elements resembling water from around Hawaii designed by Native Hawaiian artist Solomon Enos. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii Public Radio. 

Would a clean fuel standard help Hawaiʻi reduce transportation emissions? Hawaiʻi lawmakers are looking at another way to clean up transportation by lowering the amount of carbon in the fuel itself. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii newspapers part of bankruptcy sale. Carpenter Media Group announced the completion of its acquisition of U.S. and Canadian publisher Black Press Media in a stock purchase together with Canadian financial partners Canso Investment Counsel Ltd. and Deans Knight Ltd. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.


Honolulu Council alarmed over state’s urban density bills.  At a special meeting Thursday morning of the Council’s Committee on Planning and the Economy, the panel voted to recommend passage of Resolution 65 — introduced by Chair Tommy Waters and Vice Chair Esther Kia‘aina — to express “strong concerns” relating to these active “urban density bills” and the potential for unchecked housing development on Oahu. Star-Advertiser. KHON2.  KITV4.

Day 2 Kaneshiro, Mitsunaga trial: Government calls on former Mitsunaga employees. Trial continues for former Honolulu Prosecutor, Keith Kaneshiro, and former businessman, Dennis Mitsunaga, and his associates. KHON2.

Salary commission recommends raise for medical examiner — the city's highest paid employee. The Honolulu Salary Commission wants to give the city’s chief medical examiner a $400,000 salary for the next fiscal year — and a similar salary to the deputy medical examiner. Hawaii Public Radio.

Racetrack, landfill top the concerns as new round of Honolulu mayor's town hall sessions begins. A packed house greeted Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi at Kapolei High School as he kicked off a second year of town halls being held across Oahu. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Potential landfill in central Oahu draws criticism, while space for one is limited. The Land Use Commission told city officials they have until 2028 to shut down Waimanalo Gulch landfill in West Oahu after it grew in size and raised concerns from Leeward coast residents. KHON2.

Hawaii Ethics Commission Fines Former Athletics Director Glenn Nitta $274K. The largest administrative fee ever levied by the Hawaii State Ethics Commission stems from allegations of theft and embezzlement of funds belonging to the Mililani High School Athletic Booster Club. Civil Beat. KHON2.

Hawaii Island

Investigation underway into cause of fire at Pahoa restaurant. The Hawaii County Fire Department is investigating the cause of a blaze that burned through a popular eatery in Pahoa on Tuesday night. Hawaii News Now.


Bill to establish Lele Community District Board expected to stall in state House. A controversial bill to establish a nine-member Lele Community District Board for decision-making in rebuilding Lahaina has passed the state Senate, but it will not advance in the House, according to West Maui Rep. Elle Cochran. Maui Now.

A Number Of Investigations Have Been Launched Into The Maui Fires. Investigations into the causes of the Maui wildfires are entering a new phase, as government officials prepare to release reports in April and lawyers for fire victims accelerate their own inquiries previously stalled in the face of procedural maneuvers by defendants. Civil Beat.

Reports of respiratory issues near Lahaina burn zone put new spotlight on air quality monitoring. There is growing concern about air quality in West Maui following reports of respiratory issues plaguing some people downwind of the Lahaina burn zone. Hawaii News Now.

Planned housing site for fire survivors spurs concerns about runoff, drainage. Some Kahului residents fear a future housing site for fire survivors will make their drainage problems worse. They are calling on county officials to fix the issue to prevent a flooding disaster. Hawaii News Now.

1,600-unit Hoʻonani Village affordable rental housing project gets an early preview.  Members of the Maui County Council’s Housing and Land Use Committee received a presentation Wednesday on conceptual plans for the 1,600-unit Hoʻonani Village multifamily rental and commercial complex in Puʻunēnē. Maui Now. KITV4.

April 9 is deadline to appeal 2024 Real Property Assessment. The County of Maui Real Property Assessment Division encourages property owners to carefully review the 2024 real property assessment notices that were delivered to property owners last week. Maui Now.


The Hawaii DOE Has Defaulted On Rent Owed To Another State Agency. The Department of Education has been planning to build a "mega kitchen" that would eventually go to the Agribusiness Development Corp. But it has yet to pay the security deposit. Civil Beat.

Kaua‘i County Council approves development plan to grow affordable housing in Kapa‘a. Kaua‘i County Council unanimously approved a proposed plan to redevelop an affordable housing community in Kapa‘a, which is expected to grow the inventory from 36 to more than 100 homes for kamaʻāina. Kauai Now.

Single-family home price tops $1.4 million on Kaua‘i. A woozy housing market that couldn’t find its footing last year appears to be on firmer ground in 2024, as evidenced by stronger sales and loftier home prices. Garden Island.

Hawai‘i Tourism Authority releases February Hotel Performance Report. The Hawai‘i Tourism Authority has announced that revenue per available room for Kaua‘i hotels increased nearly 9% in February, when compared to the same month last year, in line with the upward trend the agency has reported for the state as a whole.  Kauai Now.

Thursday, March 14, 2024

House OKs $1B for wildfires in $11B budget, Water Commission could become autonomous, coffee labeling bill advances, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Despite pushback, bill to give Water Commission more autonomy advances. Senate Bill 3327 SD1 HD1 proposes to separate the Water Commission from the Department of Land and Natural Resources to minimize conflicts of interests between the two agencies. The bill would also grant the agency its own authority to declare emergencies, retain independent legal counsel, and levy fines. Hawaii Public Radio. Maui Now.

State House OKs $1B in wildfire expenses in $11B budget bill. The Hawaii House of Representatives on Wednesday unanimously passed its draft of an updated state budget crafted to cover immense Maui wildfire recovery costs while maintaining fundamental services and important projects. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.  Maui Now.  Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

 HECO SEC filing: Top exec paid $1.47M in 2023. Parent company Hawaiian Electric Industries braces for financial challenges posed by the Maui fires, which cost it $19M last year.   It's suspended dividend payouts to shareholders, but at the same time, it's also given its top executives a "golden parachute" should they get fired. KITV4.

Decision to extend the retirement age of Hawaiʻi judges could be left to voters. Voters may be asked if judges can remain on the bench for a few years longer. Judges are required to retire at 70-years-old. But lawmakers are considering putting it to voters to increase the retirement age to 75 years old. Hawaii Public Radio.

Proposed coffee labeling bill moves from House to Senate committees for hearing. After 12 years of pushing for stricter coffee labeling laws, Rep. Nicole Lowen is finally seeing traction this year in the State Legislature with her House bill that outlines a phased approach to increasing the amount of locally grown coffee in products required for a Hawai‘i-grown label. Big Island Now.

Some Abusive Parents Homeschool Their Kids. Should Hawaii Do More To Screen Them? Sen. Kurt Fevella, a Republican from Ewa Beach, has submitted a resolution calling on the Department of Education to conduct wellness visits on all children who are taken out of school to be homeschooled.  Civil Beat.

Hawaiʻi Releases Targeted Violence Prevention Strategy Plan.
The release of a “first-in-the-nation” Targeted Violence Prevention Strategy Implementation Plan was announced by the Hawaiʻi Department of Law Enforcement. Big Island Video News.


Mayor to deliver State of City address today. Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi,  nearing the end of his four-year mayoral term, might single out achievements his administration made in the past year to curb what he had referred to in his 2023 address as “wicked problems” facing Oahu. Star-Advertiser.

Potential jurors in bribery trial undergo questioning from attorneys. Attorneys in the bribery trial involving Honolulu’s former prosecutor — are now questioning potential jurors — as they work to get a jury seated for trial. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Manoa tragedy sparks concern over a rise in domestic-violence killings. The killing of a wife and three kids by a husband, who then took his own life, in Manoa Sunday morning was likely the third domestic-violence killing in Hawaii in three months and the fourth high-profile domestic violence case. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii Public Radio.

Pieces of a sailboat that ran aground in Waikiki are still stuck on the reef. DLNR’s Division of Aquatic Resources says there are a few damaged coral colonies, but the vessel primarily impacted non-coral reefs. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Mayor Roth’s 2024 State Of The County Address Set For March 22. Mayor Mitch Roth will deliver the speech from Kona this year, alongside his cabinet. The address is scheduled for 1 p.m. on Friday, March 22nd, at the West Hawaiʻi Civic Center Pavilion. Big Island Video News.

New Maunakea Authority Holds Community Meeting. MKSOA board members explained to those in attendance the history and purpose of the authority, which is currently in a period transition, as the management duties of the University of Hawaiʻi are slowly transferred to MKSOA. Big Island Video News.

Waipi‘o Valley Road Emergency Rules Continued. The extended rules continue the prohibition of all pedestrians, uncovered vehicles, and horseback access, but allows for certain exceptions. Big Island Video News.

BISAC unveils two Narcan vending machines in Hilo. The Big Island Substance Abuse Council is making the machines operational 24/7, safely situated outside of its Hulihia Ke Ola Detox Clinic at the corner of Hoku Street and Derby Lane and its outpatient facility on Waianuenue Avenue across from the Hilo Public Library. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Now.


Hawaii Delegates Urge FEMA To Include COFA Citizens In Wildfire Aid. The action follows the recent passage of renegotiated Compacts of Free Association included in a federal spending package. Civil Beat.

FEMA Is Struggling To Move Maui Fire Survivors Into Homes Before Its Hotel Program Ends. The agency needs to rapidly pick up the pace, but it must figure out how to overcome hurdles with inspections, pets, background checks and location. Civil Beat.

Maui's Lisa Paulson selected among USA Today's Women of the Year. Lisa Paulson, the Maui Hotel and Lodging Association Executive Director, was recently named one of USA Today’s 2024 Women of the Year for her leadership during the Lahaina wildfire. On Aug. 8 and in the days after, Paulson led a group of tourism managers on a mission to evacuate over 12,000 tourists from the Valley Isle.  Hawaii Public Radio.


Raising awarenes for developmental disabilities. Volunteers with the Hawai‘i State Council on Developmental Disabilities took to Rice Street fronting the historic County Building to raise awareness about the potential of people with developmental disability on Wednesday. Garden Island.

Friday, March 8, 2024

House passes $11.3B state budget that devotes $1B to Maui wildfire losses, DOE steps up construction projects to encumber funding, last known Pearl Harbor attack survivor laid to rest, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

$11.3B state budget advances with a focus on Maui recovery.  Finance Chair Rep. Kyle Yamashita explained that the committee tried to balance funding both Maui recovery and important state functions, with about $1 billion going to Maui wildfire costs. Hawaii Public Radio.

Details on the proposed state budget, HB1800, can be found here.

DOE Says It Can Step Up Spending To Save Construction Projects. The Department of Education is planning to significantly increase its spending on construction in the next three and a half months in an effort to reduce the amount of funding it is set to lose at the end of June because of delays in getting projects off the ground. Civil Beat.

Hawaii students’ learning loss from COVID may cut wages 3.7% lifetime. The learning loss that Hawaii students suffered during the COVID-19 pandemic is expected to lower their lifetime earnings by an average of 3.7%, spurring a 1.2% loss in Hawaii’s gross domestic product, or $31.3 billion in present value, according to a new report by the Hoover Institution of Stanford University released Thursday. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Feds seized more than $6 million in Hawaii in ’23
. The U.S. Department of Justice more than tripled the amount of money collected through criminal and civil actions by adding $6.64 million to government coffers in fiscal year 2023. Star-Advertiser.

Changes To Hawaii’s Home Battery Program Could Hinder Its Clean Energy Transition. A revision in how much homeowners are paid for the electricity they send to the grid could keep them from participating at all. Civil Beat.

Catastrophes are driving up condo insurance rates in Hawaii and nationwide. A ripple effect across the country is showing up in the condo fees for nearly 200,000 Hawaii residents, and experts say catastrophes are driving up their insurance rates. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Human Services Director Stepping Down In May.  Cathy Betts, director of the Hawaii Department of Human Services is leaving her post to become executive director of the Hawaii State Bar Association. Civil Beat.

Hawaii’s last Pearl Harbor survivor laid to rest. Sterling Robert Cale, 102, the last known Pearl Harbor attack survivor living in Hawaii was laid to rest Thursday alongside his late wife at the Hawaii State Veterans Cemetery in Kaneohe. Star-Advertiser.

Deaths of young dolphin, humpback calf highlight importance of responsible boating in Hawaiʻi waters. Within the span of just a few weeks in February, a Hawaiian spinner dolphin yearling and humpback whale calf stranded dead in Hawaiʻi, both suffering injuries consistent with being struck by a vessel. Big Island Now.


University of Hawaii housing repair plans axed, records show
. University of Hawaii officials trying to learn how the Hale Noelani student housing complex ended up shuttered for seven years have discovered that although some top UH leaders have said they regret being unaware too long of its closure, preliminary work and permit applications actually were initiated and later canceled by the student-housing program in the past few years. Star-Advertiser.

 Honolulu City Council checks on improvements to building permit process.
Inadequate staffing, onerous regulations, manual procedures, and outdated technology. On Thursday, the Honolulu City Council focused on the city's backlog problem at the Department of Planning and Permitting. KITV4.

Navy Says Indications Of Petroleum In Pearl Harbor Water May Be ‘False Positives’. More than two years after fuel contaminated Pearl Harbor’s drinking water, residents remain at odds with the Navy about whether the water is clean. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.

Malfunction sends eastbound Skyline train in the wrong direction. More than 30 passengers heading into town suddenly found themselves going backward. The City’s Transportation Services Director Roger Morton said this was the programmed response for the rail system. KHON2. KITV4.

Bill to bolster native fish hatchery would help keiki 'bring the ʻanae back to Waiʻanae'
. Hawaiʻi lawmakers have advanced a measure to bolster a native fish hatchery program in Waiʻanae that would produce pua, or juvenile mullet, for fishponds and stock enhancement. Hawaii Public Radio

State-run health care center opens in Iwilei.
Located in an industrial area of downtown Honolulu where homeless people live in tents or shacklike structures erected on city sidewalks, the stand-alone Behavioral Health Crisis Center  at 806 Iwilei Road will provide short-term “compassionate mental health care," according to the state Department of Health. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

No decision on Punalu‘u Village. Dozens testified before the Windward Planning Commission, which met to decide whether to grant a special management area permit to developer Black Sand Beach LLC. The permit would allow Black Sand Beach to build a roughly 225-unit “residential and commercial community,” called Punalu‘u Village, on a 147-acre parcel. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News.  Big Island Now.

Downtown Hilo roadwork nears completion. Excavation and reconstruction of sections of Kilauea Avenue and Keawe Street in downtown Hilo are set to be complete at the end of next week.  Tribune-Herald.

Snow Covers Hawaiʻi Summits As Winter Weather Advisory Continues. Rangers reported the road to the summit of Maunakea was closed at the mid-level Visitor Information Station, due to snow and icy roads causing hazardous driving conditions. Big Island Video News.


Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority discusses Maui marketing plan amid lower visitor numbers. The Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority is mapping out its marketing plan to deal with softening visitor numbers since the wildfires. That includes a campaign to welcome visitors back to the Valley Isle — Mākaukau Maui. Hawaii Public Radio.

Attorneys claim new evidence in search for spark that set off Lahaina inferno. Maui attorneys representing wildfire survivors are sharing new details of how they believe the fire started last August. One of the attorneys is a victim himself. Hawaii News Now.

Maui releases trove of emails offering new insight into wildfire response. After six months of submitting records requests, HNN Investigates finally obtained hundreds of emails belonging to the former head of Maui County’s Emergency Management Agency Herman Andaya during a key period. Hawaii News Now.

Maui Office of Recovery announces interim housing projects for Lahaina wildfire survivors.
Mayor Richard Bissen and officials from the County’s Office of Recovery announced temporary modular home group housing projects being planned in coordination with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the State of Hawaiʻi and private developers to provide an estimated 4,000 interim housing units for wildfire survivors. Maui Now.

Preliminary data shows impacts of wildfire on Lahaina coastal waters. Preliminary data on coastal water quality monitoring in West Maui was presented Wednesday at a public speaker series featuring Andrea Kealoha, Ph.D., an assistant professor of Oceanography at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. Maui Now.


Hanalei nonprofit wants to transform former church into housing for teachers, lifeguards. A nonprofit organization has taken possession of the Church of Latter Day Saints ward in Hanalei – and it has big plans for the three-quarter-acre plot on the North Shore of Kaua‘i. Kauai Now.

Thursday, March 7, 2024

Senate passes same-sex marriage protections, Green seeks $362M emergency Maui funding, bills advance loosening building codes to spur development, federal judge to decide venue for Maui fire lawsuits, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Repeal of Legislature’s authority over same-sex marriages considered. The state Senate will now consider a House bill calling for a constitutional amendment to repeal the Legislature’s authority to limit marriage to opposite-sex couples. Star-Advertiser. Big Island Now.

Legalized gambling likely dead, recreational marijuana still alive. State House and Senate bills to allow a lottery, casino, online gambling and bets on fantasy sports never gained traction to make it to this week’s midpoint of the legislative session, while the effort to legalize adult recreational marijuana use survived in the Senate but, once again, faces an uncertain fate in the House. Star-Advertiser.

Key deadline at the state Legislature determines which measures move forward. Thursday is a major crossover deadline at the state Legislature to clarify which measures are moving ahead with a chance at becoming law. Hawaii Public Radio.

Green quantifies emergency funding request related to Maui fire disaster.
Gov. Josh Green has told the Legislature he needs a $362 million emergency funding appropriation he believes is needed to pay Maui wildfire recovery costs through June 30. Star-Advertiser.

Building Code Groups Caution Hawaii Lawmakers Against ‘Deeply Abnormal Response To A Disaster’.  Developers are urging the Legislature to pass a bill this session that would slow down the pace of updating building codes in Hawaii to reduce costs and increase the number of homes that can be built. Civil Beat.

State Senate passes bill to decriminalize jaywalking. SB2630 allows pedestrians to cross streets if there’s no immediate danger of causing a crash.The bill also mandates fines of at least $100 for any driver caught speeding. Hawaii News Now.

Joe Biden easily wins Hawaii Democratic presidential caucuses. President Joe Biden handily won the Demo cratic Party of Hawaii’s caucus Wednesday night, but “uncommitted” equaled nearly 30% of the votes tallied. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

Tourism holding back state’s growth. Visitor arrivals to Hawaii are not expected to fully recover until 2027, according to the latest economic forecast from the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism. Star-Advertiser.

Ex-Public Safety training officer J. Marte Martinez gets probation for false transcripts. A Circuit Court judge Wednesday sentenced the former Department of Public Safety’s once top-ranking training officer to a year of probation and a suspended 30-day jail sentence to run concurrently for falsifying her academic transcripts. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.  KHON2. KITV4.


Red Hill task force removes last ‘residual fuel’.  After months of work, on Wednesday the military task force charged with removing the fuel from the Navy’s underground Red Hill storage facility announced it had extracted the last of the “accessible residual fuel” from the facility. Star-Advertiser.

‘Forever Chemicals’ In Red Hill Groundwater Warrant More Investigation, Regulators Say. The problem goes beyond a high-profile spill of firefighting chemicals in 2022, officials said. Civil Beat.

City Council agrees to settlement for family of man fatally shot by police. The city council has approved a $525,000 settlement for the family of a 26-year-old man shot to death by police in Mililani in 2019. Hawaii News Now.

5 men sentenced for illegal fishing in protected area off Oahu's North Shore. On Wednesday, a judge sentenced five of nine men cited for illegal fishing in the Pupukea Marine Life Conservation District last November. The DLNR says DJ Derno, Jason Sewell, Kerman Kaman, Anson Giden, and Jackson Nithan must complete 50 hours of community service and pay fines of up to $1,000 each. Hawaii News Now.

All Staff Attorneys At One Of Hawaii’s Largest Domestic Violence Organizations Have Quit. With no attorneys on staff, former employees say millions of dollars in grant funding awarded to the Domestic Violence Action Center for legal services could be at risk. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Island

‘It’s been like a shell game’: Ka‘u residents offer strong opposition to Punalu‘u Village project. The Windward Planning Commission today will discuss an application by developer Black Sand Beach LLC for a special management area permit that would allow it to build a roughly 225-unit “residential and commercial community” on a 147-acre parcel in Punalu‘u. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News.

Hawai‘i County Council adopts funding measure for Puna Alternate Routes Study. The Hawai‘i County Council on Wednesday voted 8-0, with Kaʻū Councilwoman Michelle Galimba absent, to adopt Bill 131 by approving its second and final reading. The measure provides $2 million for the Hawai‘i County Department of Public Works to complete a Puna Alternate Routes Study. Big Island Now.

Changes In Store For Hawaiian Beaches Park
. The Hawaiʻi County Council advanced a measure on Wednesday that will change the name of Kahakai Park in the Hawaiian Beaches subdivision to Waiakahiʻula, and some archaeological features found in the park will be preserved. Big Island Video News.


Federal Judge Hears Arguments Over Whether Lahaina Fire Cases Should Stay With Maui Courts. An army of lawyers converged on Honolulu’s federal court Wednesday to argue over a question that will have a major impact on lawsuits related to the Maui wildfires that destroyed much of Lahaina in August. Civil Beat. KHON2.  KITV4.

Maui County seeks to expedite permits for private developers. Maui County’s interim housing plan, which includes developments funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the state and the county, was announced Wednesday evening at the county’s weekly disaster recovery community update meeting at the Lahaina Civic Center. Star-Advertiser.

2 Temporary Group Housing Sites To Be Built In Lahaina For Maui Fire Survivors. The separate FEMA and state projects will be built on one undeveloped property that had been slated for decades as a residential development. Civil Beat.

Maui TANF fire relief expanded to individuals, households without children. Individuals and households impacted by the Maui wildfires—including those without dependent children—may be eligible for Maui Relief TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) Program assistance with housing, car, utility, clothing and school supply payments in a major expansion of the program. Maui Now.


Kauaʻi Island Utility Cooperative to receive federal funding to expand solar energy production. Kauaʻi Island Utility Cooperative is among the first five cooperative utilities in the nation selected to move forward in the U.S. Department of Agriculture awards process for the Powering Affordable Clean Energy program. Kauai Now.

Kaua‘i to get millions in federal funding. Sen. Brian Schatz announced on Tuesday that he secured $394 million in new congressional directed spending, known commonly as earmarks, in the first half of this year’s government funding bill. Garden Island.

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Tulsi Gabbard on Trump veep list, state Senate panel seeks 10%-15% contingency cutbacks from administration as Maui mayor asks for $402M, same-sex marriage measure advances, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Trump says he’s considering former Hawaii congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard as running mate. Former President Donald Trump revealed Tuesday that he’s considering former Hawaii Congresswomen Tulsi Gabbard as his running mate. She sought the democratic presidential nomination in 2020 before dropping out of the party in 2022. Hawaii News Now.

Maui Makes A Big Ask As Rising Wildfire Recovery Costs Prompt Talk Of State Budget Cuts. The Senate asked the state budget director to develop contingency plans for imposing state spending cuts of 10% and 15%. Civil Beat.

Maui Mayor Bissen requests $401M from state for Lahaina rebuild, recovery.  Mayor Richard Bissen made a plea to the state for $401.75 million over the next three years to help Lahaina rebuild and recover.  The request was made before the Senate Ways and Means Committee on Tuesday, on behalf of the people of Maui County. Maui Now. KHON2.

State considers nearly $1 billion in wildfire recovery costs. The nearly $1 billion potential expense was presented to the Senate Ways and Means Committee during a roughly five-hour briefing by state and Maui County administration leaders to help the panel shape the state budget a little over six months after the Aug. 8 disaster that destroyed most of Lahaina and killed at least 101 people. Star-Advertiser.

Lawmakers consider state constitutional amendment to protect same-sex marriage.
  A section in the Hawaiʻi State Constitution threatens marriage equality for same-sex couples. Now, lawmakers are considering a constitutional amendment to remove it. Hawaii Public Radio.

Legislation would require disclosure of labor standards from renewable energy developers. Developers would be required to attest to the Hawaiʻi State Energy Office that their employees are properly trained, licensed, and receive benefits like health care and retirement. Hawaii Public Radio.

Gov. Green travels to attend National Governors Association 2024 winter meeting
. While there, Gov. Green will participate in solution-driven conversations and bipartisan collaboration on the most pressing policy issues facing the states and territories.  Maui Now.

Researchers record 170 Hawaiian monk seal pups born in Northern Hawaiian Islands last year.
Researchers documented 170 new Hawaiian monk seal pups born in 2023 around the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument during their annual field camp. Big Island Now.

Outback Steakhouse shutters 3 locations, pulls out of Hawaii.
The Florida-based company closed down its restaurants at the end of the day Sunday, reportedly with short notice, leaving customers and employees stunned. Star-Advertiser.


Honolulu ethics panel mulls gift prohibition for all city employees. The Honolulu Ethics Commission plans today to discuss a long-considered proposal to prohibit city employees from accepting gifts, including cash or alcohol, related to their official duties. Star-Advertiser.

City Faces Legal Bill After Losing Short-Term Vacation Rental Battle. The City Department of Planning and Permitting, corporation counsel, and other defendants have agreed to pay the Hawaii Legal Short-Term Rental Alliance $292,514.27 for attorneys’ fees and $619.07 costs,  after a federal judge struck down the city's 90-day minimum short-term rental law. Civil Beat.

City and County of Honolulu seeks new chief information officer. The department is responsible for delivering IT services to its employees, as well as Oʻahu residents, businesses and visitors. Hawaii Public Radio.

$1.9M in forfeitures collected from illegal gambling operations on Oahu. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Hawaii announced that the latest forfeiture has raised the amount to more than $1.9 million the United States has obtained in forfeitures from an illegal gambling business running at least nine illegal game rooms on Oahu as a result of a joint criminal and civil investigation. Star-Advertiser.

Speeders could be cited using Red-Light Safety Cameras. Fewer people are running red lights at intersections due to the Red-Light Safety Camera Pilot Program, according to the transportation department.  KHON2.

Veteran journalist Emme Tomimbang remembered as ‘dear, caring storyteller,’ dies at 73.
  Emme Tomimbang Burns — a pioneer in Hawaii radio and television, successful multimedia businesswoman and ardent supporter of the local Filipino community — died Monday while undergoing emergency open-heart surgery at The Queen’s Medical Center. Star-Advertiser. Big Island Now.  Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Boyfriend of drowning victim claims inadequate response by police, fire.
The boyfriend of a 29-year-old Keaau woman who drowned early Sunday morning after slipping and falling into the ocean off a sea cliff in Hawaiian Paradise Park alleges she died because of an inadequate response by police and fire rescuers. Tribune-Herald. Hawaii News Now.

County wastewater resolution advances. Hawaii County officials believe they are capable of repairing the island’s ailing wastewater infrastructure before a series of deadlines mandated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Tribune-Herald.

DWS: Hilo tap water safe to drink despite discoloration.
The Hawaii County Department of Water Supply said Tuesday the tap water for its Hilo customers remains safe to drink after the isolated discovery of turbid or discolored water. Tribune-Herald. KHON2.


Campaign seeks to bring visitors back to Maui. The Hawaii Tourism Authority has launched a new public service campaign, “Makaukau Maui,” which seeks to tell visitors that while historic Lahaina remains closed after the deadly Aug. 8 wildfires, accommodations on West Maui are open and residents are ready to welcome them back. Star-Advertiser.

DOH: Lahaina monitoring and sampling report shows good ambient air quality. The first Ambient Community Air Sampling Reports for Lahaina, issued by the Hawaiʻi Department of Health, confirm good ambient air quality for the period of Jan. 13-24, 2024.  Maui Now. Hawaii News Now.

Haggai Institute affordable housing proposal headed to Maui County Council for review.
During last year’s legislative session and before the wildfire disaster, the state set aside $45 million to transform the Haggai Institute, the former 216-room Maui Sun Hotel, into affordable and teacher workforce housing, and preschool classrooms. Maui Now.


Kupuna testify against purchase of Kauai apartments for DHHL beneficiaries. More controversy over the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) latest strategy to reduce its almost 30,000 beneficiary waitlist. KITV4.

Community meeting scheduled to discuss boat ramp design at Kikiaola. Kikiaola Small Boat Harbor users are invited to attend a community meeting on Feb. 27 to discuss proposed designs for a new boat ramp and loading dock. Kauai Now.