Showing posts with label Michael Miske. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Michael Miske. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

House committees punt housing density plans back to counties, lawmakers mull tax breaks, last USS Arizona survivor dies at 102, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Housing density bill curtailed. A proposal to increase housing density statewide was substantially cut Monday after lawmakers chose to leave the matter to the counties. The measure attracted lengthy testimony, both positive and negative, during a Monday joint meeting of the House committees on Housing, Water and Land, and Judiciary and Hawaiian Affairs. Tribune-Herald.

As deadline looms, lawmakers evaluating best use of limited money for tax breaks. Lobbying for tax breaks is in high gear at the state Capitol. That’s because Gov. Josh Green last week said costs for Maui’s recovery are lower than expected, making limited tax relief possible.  Hawaii News Now.

State Senate wants to establish renewable fuel working group to study local production. State senators are asking stakeholders from across the energy industry to convene a working group to figure out the best way to ramp up local production of renewable fuels.  Hawaii Public Radio.

HECO rolls out program for customers to streamline rooftop solar energy programs.
“Smart Renewable Energy” represents the next step in Hawaiian Electric’s push to bring more customer-sited renewable energy resources onto the grid as Hawai‘i strives to achieve its clean energy goals. Maui Now.

Hawaii Senate bill seeks to toughen penalties for speeding in school zones.
A bill is moving through the legislature that will allow harsher fees and penalties for those who speed in a school zone. KITV4.

Lou Conter, last survivor of the USS Arizona, dies at 102. Lou Conter, the last survivor of the USS Arizona, died Monday morning at his home in Grass Valley, Calif., at the age of 102. Star-Advertiser. Associated Press.Hawaii News Now.

OHA selects Hailama Farden as Senior Director of Hawaiian Cultural Affairs. The newly created position will be responsible for creating recommendations and institutionalizing OHA’s culture ensuring that a Hawaiian worldview and practices are incorporated into all lines of business. Maui Now.

Sanctuary Ocean Count, Great Whale Count conclude for 2024 humpback whale season. Data collected during the Sanctuary Ocean Count and Great Whale Count combined with other research efforts can help reveal trends in humpback whale occurrence within and amongst whale seasons. Big Island Now.


Navy Whistleblower Pursued Fraud Case Against Red Hill Contractors, Unsealed Documents Show. Newly unsealed court documents show that federal authorities spent the past two years investigating but ultimately declined to pursue a Navy whistleblower’s claim that private contractors helped cause the dire fuel leaks at the military’s Red Hill fuel storage facility by fraudulently cutting corners on their work there. Star-Advertiser.

High Fives And Hugs: Witness Describes Friendly Relationship Between Mike Miske And HPD Officers. A government witness in the trial of accused crime boss Miske told jurors he asked HPD for help after Miske threatened him. Instead, officers at Miske's business told him to get lost, he says. Civil Beat.

Court records: GPS data to be presented at trial will show officers drove past crash scene after pursuit. Court records show the city Prosecutor’s Office plans to employe location tracking technology in the trial against four HPD officers charged in connection with a 2021 chase and crash that seriously injured six people. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu police officer shortage imperils public safety, union says.
The State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers is urging the Honolulu Police Department and county leadership to address a shortage of 437 officers that leaves areas of Oahu with “limited to no coverage” several days a week. Star-Advertiser.

Public Comment Requested For Oahu’s Near-Term Infrastructure Projects. The Oahu Metropolitan Planning Organization announced Monday that it is seeking public comment to determine which local infrastructure projects get federal funding over the next three years.  Civil Beat.

Hawaii Island

A new name for Hawaii Island? A state board considering it. The Board on Geographic Names is considering it — and could take a key vote this week. Hawaii News Now.

Hu Honua Pushes PUC To Take Action On Hawaiʻi Island Power Crisis. Hu Honua takes aim at Hawaiian Electric's "monopolization of the firm power generation market on the Big Island", and wants the Public Utilities Commission to help bring the bioenergy facility online. Big Island Video News. KITV4.

Planning Commission to mull housing-related bills. A trio of Hawaii County Council bills that would change how transient accommodations and ‘ohana housing units are regulated will go before the Windward Planning Commission on Thursday. Tribune-Herald.

EPA addresses pollution violations involving wastewater treatment plants on Hawaiʻi Island. The US Environmental Protection Agency entered into an Administrative Order on Consent with the County of Hawai’i to ensure pollution discharge requirements are met at the Hilo, Pāpa‘ikou, and Kula‘imano Wastewater Treatment Plants in accordance with the Clean Water Act. Maui Now.

Hawaii Island has most traffic fatalities in state.
This time last year Hawaii island was at five traffic deaths, as of April 1, 2024, they’re at 14. KHON2.

Hualālai Deepwell Goes Offline, Kona Water Restriction Notice In Place
. North Kona customers that a mandatory 25 percent Water Restriction Notice with two deepwells offline. Big Island Video News. Big Island Now.

Waikoloa Road Rehabilitation project ongoing. Work continues on the Waikoloa Road Rehabilitation, which extends from Mamalahoa Highway to Queen Ka‘ahumanu Highway. Tribune-Herald.


Hawaii Governor Will Take ‘Unilateral Action’ To Restore Historic Wetland In Lahaina. With legislative efforts dead this session, Native Hawaiian leaders remain encouraged by what they're hearing from elected officials and seeing on the ground. Civil Beat.

Maui Council Wrestles With ‘Tough Questions’ As It Begins Reviewing $1.7B County Budget. The county needs to ensure it is spending its own money wisely while asking for hundreds of millions of dollars in outside funding to rebuild Lahaina. Civil Beat.

State acquires former hotel to house Maui fire survivors. Between 350 and 450 Maui wildfire survivors in early May should begin moving into a former hotel in Kihei now owned by the state. Star-Advertiser.

Wai Now: Public forum sparks debate on Upcountry water well development. Members of the Upcountry community gathered to discuss a possible public-private partnership aimed at incrementally building one to four water wells in Kula, Maui. Maui Now.


Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge sets opening date for long-awaited viewpoint. The Hanalei refuge is the oldest of Kauaʻi’s three national wildlife refuges.  Hawaii Public Radio.

Monday, March 11, 2024

Green signs into law bill clarifying mandatory recounts, 80 wildfire detection sensors to be deployed statewide, 5 dead in Manoa murder-suicide, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Green signs mandatory election recount bill into law. The first bill of the 2024 state Legislature session to be signed into law is intended to clarify the conditions necessary for mandatory recounts in state and county elections. Star-Advertiser.

800 bills still alive at state Legislature’s halfway point. State legislators appear willing to spare the Hawaii Tourism Authority from what had been all-but-certain death last year, but at the midway point of this legislative session have failed to restore HTA’s funding that they eliminated last session. Star-Advertiser.

Push To Increase Auto Insurance Coverage Could Raise Costs For Hawaii Consumers. Two bills being considered by the Legislature would increase the legally required minimum liability coverage, which could boost the cost of premiums. Civil Beat.

New Bill Seeks To Remove Power To Suspend Electronic Media During Emergency. House Bill 2581 (HD 1) has already been passed through the State House and will be heard in the Senate Committee on Public Safety and Intergovernmental and Military Affairs on Monday, March 11.  Big Island Video News.

Hawaiʻi Bill Increases Penalties For Arson During Red Flag Warning
. A bill making its way through the State Legislature will increase criminal penalties for starting a fire during a Red Flag Warning period in Hawaiʻi. Big Island Video News.

Green Names New Director For Human Services Department. Ryan Yamane is a former Hawaii legislator who is deputy director of the Department of Human Resources Development. Civil Beat. Hawaii Public Radio.

Wildfire detection sensors to be deployed on Maui and around Hawaii. Eighty Beta wildfire sensor units will be installed statewide — 20 units each for Maui County, Hawaii County, Kauai County and the City and County of Honolulu — by April 8. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.

Federal funds help speed up modernization at Hawaii airports. Five major airport runway projects totaling more than $520.7 million are moving forward at Hawaii airports this year due to an increase in federal dollars made possible by new types of grant programs, some of which provide multiple awards for a single project. Star-Advertiser.

Congress Restores Federal Benefits To COFA Migrants As Part Of $7.1 Billion Aid Deal. Migrants from Palau, the Marshall Islands and Micronesia lost access to numerous federal assistance programs in the 1990s under Clinton-era welfare reforms. Civil Beat. Maui Now.


Federal trial of Keith Kaneshiro, Dennis Mitsunaga set to begin. A trial to determine whether former Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney Keith Kaneshiro, prominent political donor Dennis Mitsunaga and others engaged in legal campaign financing or a pay-to-prosecute scheme starts Tuesday in U.S. District Court. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

Council urges transparency at city Building Board of Appeals. The Honolulu City Council chair is urging the city Building Board of Appeals to give greater public transparency over its case decisions. Star-Advertiser.

The Miske Trial: A Honolulu Used Car Dealer Gets Roughed Up. Testimony continues in the organized crime and murder trial of Honolulu businessman Mike Miske with government witnesses describing violent behavior by the alleged crime boss. Civil Beat.

Blangiardi relaunches city food drive. Mayor Rick Blangiardi relaunched the City Employees’ Hawaii Foodbank Food and Fund Drive on Wednesday after it paused operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. Star-Advertiser.

A&B still weighing options for historic Pali Lanes building.
More than 2-1/2 years since it was vacated, plans for the Pali Lanes building in Kailua remain unknown, with most of the approximately 1.6-acre property fenced off. Star-Advertiser.

5 dead in Manoa murder-suicide. Honolulu police said a Manoa man fatally stabbed his wife and their three children in their home Sunday morning before killing himself in Hawaii’s worst mass homicide since the Xerox shooting in 1999 when seven people were gunned down at a Nimitz Highway business. Star-Advertiser. Associated Press.  Hawaii News Now. KHON2.  KITV4.

Hawaii Island

Rainbow Drive Renovation, Housing Project Detailed In Draft EA. The 34 Rainbow Drive Draft Environmental Assessment / Anticipated Finding of No Significant Impact details the plans to renovate the existing Old Hilo Memorial Hospital building next to the Wailuku River, as well as the proposal to develop affordable rental housing units and supportive services on the remaining 24.947-acre property.  Big Island Video News. KITV4.

Future Roundabout At Waikōloa Road, Paniolo Ave Examined In Draft EA. A planned roundabout at the entrance of Waikoloa Village is examined in a newly published Draft Environmental Assessment, and the public comment period is now open. Big Island Video News.

Hāmākua farmers switch tomato crop for edible hibiscus. Susan Hamilton and her husband own the Hawaiian B Natural Farms and have been growing tomatoes hydroponically in Hāmākua for the past 16 years. Last fall, they decided to switch gears to grow the edible Roselle Hibiscus after they were unable to bring workers back to help with the tomato crop following the COVID-19 pandemic. Big Island Now.


This State Agency Transformed Kakaako. Should It Do The Same For Lahaina? The Hawaii Senate unanimously passed a bill to turn over much of West Maui to the Hawaii Community Development Authority, despite growing opposition to the idea. Civil Beat.

Maui County May Use Eminent Domain To Acquire Land For Final Dump Site Of Lahaina Fire Debris. The property owner and local partners had been working on a private venture to develop the land into a new construction and demolition landfill facility. Civil Beat.

Council Grills Volunteers Before Approving Funding For Central Maui Housing Projects. Support for the two affordable housing projects was approved unanimously after several heated meetings about the selection committee's process. Civil Beat.

Maui Island unemployment at 6.2%, Maui County at 5.9% in January 2024. The non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for Maui Island was 6.2% in January 2024, compared to 5.8% the previous month, and 3% at the same time in 2023. Maui Now.

People With Limited English Lost Money And Help In Lahaina Response.
Advocates say it took too long for federal agencies to understand Maui's unique language needs after the wildfires, and that the state must be better prepared. Civil Beat.

Hawaii’s health industry addresses Maui’s maternal care crisis. For many expecting mothers on Maui, an obstetrician is difficult to find. Star-Advertiser.


Biomass power plant blaze causes $500K in damage on Kaua‘i. A structure at a biomass power plant burst into flames in an industrial area on Friday afternoon causing an estimated $500,000 in damage. Garden Island.

Public input sought on ‘Anini Beach Park improvements.
Kaua‘i County’s Department of Parks and Recreation and its consultant, Community Planning & Engineering, will conduct a public information meeting for proposed improvements to ‘Anini Beach Park boat wash down and trailer parking area. Kauai Now.

Friday, February 16, 2024

Hawaii insures coral reef to guard against climate change, new Maui Emergency Management head says agency shouldn't take the lead in emergencies, Miske cousin testifies about chemical attack at nightclub, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

More Ocean Area Will Be Covered Under Hawaii’s New Coral Reef Insurance Policy. The novel approach to protecting reefs is expanding as state officials consider the more ways to guard against climate change. Civil Beat.

Bill proposes moving Hawaii school construction oversight back to DOE. Just as the state has been trumpeting its opening 13 public preschool classrooms well in advance of its Ready Keiki plan to open 50 to 80 by August, a bill is advancing to repeal the relatively new state School Facilities Authority and move all school construction back again to the state Department of Education, and the authority’s founding executive director has abruptly resigned. Star-Advertiser.

Measure seeks to grant autonomy to state Water Commission following the fires. A proposal currently advancing in the Legislature aims to strengthen the State Water Code and safeguard the Commission on Water Resource Management from outside influence. Hawaii Public Radio.

Lawmakers may set new requirement for EV charging in state buildings. House Bill 1829 would require that at least 25% of parking stalls be EV charger-ready in any new state building construction. Hawaii Public Radio.

Gender Inequalities Persist In Hawaii High School Sports 6 Years After Locker Room Scandal. A class-action lawsuit over problems at Campbell High School has been settled, but the state still has a lot of work to do to comply with a federal anti-discrimination law. Civil Beat.


Defendant in cases against former Honolulu prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro May Pose Danger To Others, Probation Officer Says. Sheri Jean Tanaka, a defendant in a high-profile Honolulu corruption case may be a “danger” to others or the community, and the court should reconsider the terms of her pretrial release, her probation officer said on Thursday.  Civil Beat.

Miske cousin testifies alleged crime boss ordered him to release chemical into nightclub. Kaulana Freitas also explained his role in a chemical attack at the District Nightclub in 2017, saying he released what he believed was tear gas in the club after Miske ordered him to do so. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu city job openings about 2,500, officials say. In May, DHR Director Nola Miyasaki told the Star- Advertiser that city staffing vacancies remained at 2,500 — a number down from over 3,000 vacancies the year prior. In 2022, Mayor Rick Blangiardi’s administration took measures to quash the six-month wait time it took to fill an average city and county employee position. Star-Advertiser.

After years of delays, redevelopment of Mayor Wright Housing gets the go-ahead. The Hawaii Public Housing Authority announced Thursday that the city’s Planning and Permitting Department has approved plans to redevelop Mayor Wright Housing. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.  KITV4.

New housing development could be coming to St. Francis School property. The property, which is zoned for residential use, was purchased for $23 million according to brokerage firm CBRE. And the developer is looking to build a slew of single family homes to be purchased for roughly $2 million a piece. KHON2.

Newest tiny-home kauhale is blessed on Middle Street
. Ho‘okahi Leo — or “a community with one voice” — was built using units relocated from Hawaii’s first “medical respite kauhale,” which went up temporarily in 2023 near the governor’s mansion and across from The Queen’s Medical Center as a pilot project for discharged homeless patients too frail to heal properly on the street. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii Public Radio.  KHON2.

Experts: Major changes at Wahiawa General will have health care impacts islandwide. Come spring, all inpatient services at Wahiawa General Hospital will be suspended — once Queen’s Health System takes control of the hospital. The reason: Health officials say the aging facility is in such disrepair, it’s not worth investing the money to fix. Hawaii News Now.

Lack of trucks delays refuse and recycling collection on East Oʻahu.
City and County of Honolulu officials didn't explain why there was a lack of collection vehicles, but assures the pick-ups will be made over the next couple of days. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii Island

Hawaiʻi County Democrats Elect Interim Chair. Pono Kekela was elected Interim Chair of the Hawaiʻi County Committee of the Democratic Party of Hawaiʻi at its first Quarterly meeting of 2024. Big Island Video News. Big Island Now.

Camera on Maunakea captures image of blazing space debris. A fiery object seen over Maunakea last week is believed to have been the remains of a falling satellite, astronomers say. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii County urges state to stiffen penalties for negligent dog owners.  On Hawaii Island, a county resolution will be heard next Wednesday morning that supporters hope will lead to stiffer penalties for dangerous dog owners who are negligent. KITV4.


New MEMA Administrator says agency shouldn’t take the lead in future emergencies. Lonokailua-Hewett said he sees MEMA as a coordinating and supporting agency instead. The Administrator for the Maui Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) says he doesn’t believe MEMA should take the lead in future emergencies. Hawaii News Now.

Maui Mayor Mum On Why He Placed County Finance Director On Paid Leave.
Scott Teruya has led the department for the past five years but has been off the job since Feb. 2. Civil Beat.

Proposal advances for special board control in rebuilding Lahaina.
Two Senate committees voted unanimously to advance Senate Bill 3381 to a third and final Senate committee where passage is expected ahead of a full Senate vote and potential consideration in the House of Representatives. Star-Advertiser.

$53M Maui Airport Industrial Center breaks ground, opening set for 2025. R.D. Olson Development held a groundbreaking recently of the Maui Airport Industrial Center project, located on a 6.3 acre parcel in Kahului near Costco at 250 Lauo Loop.  Maui Now.

Obstetrician shortage on Maui addressed.
HMSA’s immediate, short-term solution for expectant Maui moms impacted by the obstetrician shortage included arranging travel and appointments for them to receive care on Oahu with Queen’s physicians.  Maui News.

Maggie Batangan named MEO Chief Administrative Officer. Maggie Batangan has been named to the newly created Chief Administrative Officer position for the nonprofit Maui Economic Opportunity. Maui News.


Wailua Heritage Trail pau, for now.
A joint effort between the County of Kaua‘i, Hawai‘i Tourism Authority, Kaua‘i Visitor Bureau, Hawai‘i Department of Land and Natural Resources and Royal Coconut Coast Association (RCCA) resulted in the expansion of the Wailua Heritage Trail to a full 3-mile route. Garden Island.

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Legislature tackles wildfire prevention, patient ratios, clean elections, fireworks, recreational marijuana; ex-Sen. English to get early prison release; Miske trial resumes, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Lawmakers Are Working On Ways To Whack Hawaii’s Fire-Fueling Weeds. Senators have signaled an early willingness to spend state money on mowing down Hawaii’s invasive grasses as they consider a bevy of bills geared toward avoiding another deadly wildfire.  Civil Beat.

Federal order releases former senator Kalani English from prison early. English’s sentence was supposed to be 40 months from Aug. 2022, but now he will be getting out after 32 months. He pleaded guilty to Honest Services Wire Fraud in Feb. 2022, after trading cash and other gifts for a draft on cesspool and wastewater policy with a businessman. KHON2.

Bill for ‘clean elections’ has widespread public support. Senate Bill 2381 is a so-called “clean elections” bill that would establish a system for candidates in state and county public elections to be eligible for a certain amount of public financing, beginning in 2028. Tribune-Herald.

State Senate bill covers a key issue expressed by nurses who have gone on strike.
Members from the Hawai‘i Nurses’ Association testified during a hearing about the need to establish and enforce staff-to-patient ratios at health care facilities across the state. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii Public Radio.

Senate Committee to hear testimony on bill to legalize recreational marijuana. The discussion on legalizing marijuana begins as members of the State Senate take up the matter during a public hearing this morning during a joint Health and Human Services and Judiciary committees meeting. Big Island Now.

Legislators look to ban consumer fireworks statewide. There are efforts to significantly reduce consumer fireworks throughout the state, proposed law seeks to only allow fireworks at permitted cultural events. KHON2.

Kaniela Ing Faces More Charges Of Campaign Spending Violations. The former state lawmaker could be penalized more than $18,000 for failure to keep financial records and filing false reports. Civil Beat.

Hawaiʻi to build out housing services with Medicaid under new federal program.
The Housing and Services Partnership Accelerator supports states that are using Medicaid funds for programs that help people secure and maintain stable housing. Hawaii Public Radio.

HECO conducting utility pole audit on Maui, Oʻahu and Hawaiʻi Island. Hawaiian Electric Co. is conducting an inventory audit of attachments on utility poles throughout Maui, and Oʻahu and Hawai‘i Island as well, according to an announcement. Maui Now.


Blangiardi announces reelection bid for Honolulu mayor
. Four years to the day from his announcement that he would run for his first political office, Mayor Rick Blangiardi announced Monday that he’ll seek reelection. Star-Advertiser. KHON2.  KITV4.

Attorney for HPD officer in crash disputes witness claims, says he wasn’t intoxicated. An attorney representing the Honolulu police officer reportedly seen tossing what appeared to beer bottles from his department-subsidized vehicle following a crash last month in Wahiawa is adamant Tyson Chun was not driving intoxicated and is innocent of any wrongdoing. Hawaii News Now.

Miske Trial Resumes After Weeklong Recess Due To Juror Illness. Sara Tufele, who has a child with one of Miske's former top associates, testified that she felt threatened after her boyfriend began cooperating with authorities. Civil Beat. KITV4.

Murdered child’s guardians face life without parole as lawmakers consider child welfare reforms. After three people were charged with the child abuse and neglect murder of 10-year-old Geanna Bradley, there are renewed calls to toughen the program designed to protect children in the foster care system. Hawaii News Now. KHON2. KITV4.

Labor-trafficking case against couple is dismissed.
Oahu Circuit Judge Shanlyn Park dismissed labor- trafficking felony charges against a Palolo couple accused of bringing a woman and her then 15-year-old daughter from Guam to Hono­lulu in 2021, beating and forcing them to perform work, locking the girl in their apartment and taking their passports and money. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Kona Airport begins runway repairs, closing overnight operations. Starting Tuesday, the state Department of Transportation will close the Kona airport for 15 consecutive nights to conduct runway repairs. Hawaii Public Radio.

Animal Control recruitment, staffing ‘probably our biggest issue,’ administrator says.
Matthew Runnels, administrator of the recently created Animal Control and Protection Agency, made a presentation Tuesday to the County Council’s Communications, Reports and Council Oversight Committee about finding his agency’s footing since it took over the county’s animal control duties in July. Tribune-Herald.


Maui County Finance Director, Scott Teruya on administrative leave with pay. County officials could not provide details on the reason behind the action.  Maui Now.

Board to oversee rebuilding on Maui is proposed. A proposal to facilitate rebuilding fire-ravaged Lahaina, perhaps with new land-use rules and funding governed by a community- based board, is slated for discussion Wednesday at the state Legislature. Star-Advertiser.

Lahaina Death Trap: The Night Fire Engulfed Kuhua Street. A third of the fire's victims died on a narrow dead-end street in central Lahaina, unable to access an alternative route to safety. Civil Beat.

Maui Police Are Tackling A 30% Job Vacancy Rate By Opening A New Recruiting Center. Officers want to show their personal investment in potential hires as the department tries to fill the empty positions. Civil Beat.


DLNR to auction off leases for west Kaua’i cabins. Annual leases for seven cabins in the Kōke’e recreation residence community will be auctioned to the public in mid-April by the state Department of Land and Natural Resources. Kauai Now.

Southwest flight safely lands on Kaua‘i following fistfight midair. Southwest officials say flight 1288 landed safely as scheduled and local authorities met the aircraft upon arrival. Kauai Now.

Wednesday, February 7, 2024

Trump could be banned from Hawaii ballot, more than 2k testify on bill prohibiting foreign land buys, judge allows Maui mosquito release, shaka could become official state gesture, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Bill to ban candidates for insurrection passes first hearing.  A bill that could bar former President Donald Trump from appearing on November’s Hawaii election ballot received considerable pushback Tuesday from his supporters, some of whom came to the state Capitol dressed in patriotic wear. Star-Advertiser.

Foreigners would be banned from buying property in Hawaii under new proposed bill. More than 2,000 people submit testimony for a bill prohibiting foreigners from purchasing any type of land in Hawaii. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Hawaii lawmakers consider overruling regulator on solar energy program rates. A pair of bills sought by the rooftop solar industry seek to increase rates that residential and business rooftop solar system owners receive for helping Hawaiian Electric balance its power needs on Oahu, Maui, Molokai, Lanai and Hawaii island under a program approved by the state Public Utilities Commission in December and scheduled to begin March 1. Star-Advertiser.

Legislators look at bills to improve and maintain Hawaiʻi's irrigation systems. The state Legislature is considering several bills that would fund or improve Hawaiʻi’s irrigation systems to support local agriculture. Hawaii Public Radio.

‘Harm to students registry’ bill is intended to halt predators. A measure to establish a “harm to students registry” of Hawaii school employees and volunteers found to have committed sexual abuse, physical assault or other harassment against children, and to revoke the teaching licenses of educators who resign or retire in lieu of termination, has been advanced by two state Senate committees. Star-Advertiser.

Testifiers overwhelmingly support BAC reduction, committee vote deferred. A parade of testifiers Tuesday urged the state House Transportation Committee to lower the legal intoxication threshold for motorists from 0.08% blood alcohol content to 0.05%. Tribune-Herald.

Lawmakers aim to ban gas powered mopeds to help quiet the noise. Mopeds. To some they are cheap and convenient, but others said they are too noisy. There are several bills targeting mopeds this legislative session. KHON2.

Measure to be heard today aims to make the shaka the official state gesture. The state Legislature will be hangin’ loose today as lawmakers discuss whether to make the shaka the official “state gesture” of Hawaii. Tribune-Herald.


Group appeals ruling for Haiku Stairs’ removal. The legal battle continued this week to save 4,000 feet of steel steps built on a sheer ridgeline above Kaneohe from a City and County of Honolulu demolition project. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu housing market starts year on upswing.
Data from sales of previously owned homes in January shows a gain in volume for the first time in two years for single-family houses and 19 months for condominiums. Star-Advertiser. KHON2.

Kaneshiro Bribery Trial Delayed By New Judge. The pay-to-play corruption case against Honolulu’s former prosecuting attorney will be delayed following the sudden appointment of a new judge who is grappling with a flurry of legal motions, including some that are hidden from public view.  Civil Beat.

Sick juror delays trial of alleged Hawaii crime lord Miske. After 17 days, the trial of alleged Hawaii crime lord Michael J. Miske Jr. is on break until Feb. 12 because a juror fell ill, according to federal court documents. Star-Advertiser.

Families Stopped Paying Rent During The Red Hill Water Crisis. Now Their Landlord Wants To Collect. Their houses lacked usable water after the Red Hill leaks, but their landlord has referred the debts for rent and utilities to a collection agency. Civil Beat.

Oʻahu's new crisis center offers insight to gauge next steps in mental health legislation. The state Department of Health will soon expand its care options to include a behavioral health crisis center for people suffering from severe mental illness. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii Island

Hawai‘i County Council presents resolution urging lawmakers to increase penalties for vicious dog attacks. Hawai‘i County Council gave a favorable recommendation to a resolution urging state lawmakers to increase fines and penalties for dog owners whose animals attack a person.  Big Island Video News. Big Island Now.

Five students suspended following altercation at Hilo High School. A Hilo High School administrator was injured and taken to a hospital “as a precaution” after a police officer collided with her during a student brawl Tuesday morning, authorities said. Big Island Now. Star-Advertiser.  Hawaii News Now.


Judge rejects attempt to stop mosquito release.
The project aims to save rapidly diminishing native Hawaiian honeycreeper forest birds from extinction, but a Maui-based group called Hawaii Unites went to court to stop it, describing the effort as an experiment that could go wrong and that needs more study. Star-Advertiser.

MPD After-Action Report omits evacuation plan recommendations. The preliminary after-action report offers 32 recommendations how to improve MPD’s response to disasters. Not a single recommendation addressed improving evacuation routes or acknowledging how road closures hindered the evacuation. KITV4.

$4.9 million county grant sought to cover rising building costs for Kīhei housing project. ʻĀina Lani Pacific is seeking a Maui County grant of more than $4.9 million to help pay for steeply rising construction costs projected for the developer’s 28-home Kilohana Makai project in Kīhei. Maui Now.

New Planning Director Will Guide Maui Through Lahaina Rebuilding And Affordable Housing Crisis. Kate Blystone takes over a department reeling with low morale, a backlog of permits, a staffing shortage and other issues while dealing with the fire recovery. Civil Beat.

Bills To Monitor Maui’s Air And Water Quality After The Lahaina Disaster Are Moving Forward
. The measures aim to keep that effort going after the debris removal from the wildfires ends. Civil Beat.


Kaua‘i County officials hold groundbreaking for Puhi Road Rehabilitation Project. 
This phase of the project will continue the improvements from Kaneka Street to Haleukana Street. The scope of work includes road repaving, drainage improvements, restriping, updating signage, installing sidewalks, curbs, and gutters, and road widening to provide on-street parking in some areas. Kauai Now.

Comments for proposed affordable housing development in Puhi accepted until Feb. 21. This proposed housing development would include up to 60 multi-family affordable units as well as include a planned education center on County-owned land in Puhi. The proposed project seeks to accommodate a blend of affordable incomes. Kauai Now.

Thursday, February 1, 2024

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Hawaii Island

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Green renews call for tourist climate fee in State of the State address, secret recordings offer new evidence in Honolulu officials' corruption case, noisy nurses on strike irk hospital patients, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

In State of the State Address, Hawaii Governor Renews Call To Charge Visitors A Climate Impact Fee. Green's latest proposal calls for a one-time payment of $25 when checking into a hotel or rental unit, but it could also involve an increase to the hotel tax. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii Public Radio.  Tribune-HeraldMaui Now.  Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

The full text of Gov. Josh Green's State of the State address can be found here.

Mayors request funding for legislative session.
Mayor Mitch Roth, Mayor Richard Bissen, and Mayor Rick Blangiardi presented requests to legislators for the upcoming session. Mayor Derek Kawakami was unable to attend after being stuck in travel delays on the mainland. KHON2.

USDA to update Hawaiʻi SNAP benefits to reflect rising food costs. The U.S. Department of Agriculture will update the way it distributes Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, benefits to low-income residents in Hawaiʻi. Hawaii Public Radio.


Mayor requests state-level support for city programs. Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi’s administration Monday sought state-level support, including more funding, to expand the city’s Emergency Services Department, affordable housing projects and transit-oriented development around the island. Star-Advertiser.

Secret recordings offer new evidence in corruption case against 3 former city executives. In January 2017, Donna Leong was the city’s Corporation Counsel. Roy Amemiya was the Managing Director, and Max Sword was the chair of the Honolulu Police Commission. Hawaii News Now.

Miske Trial: ‘Master Manipulator’ Or ‘Self-Made Businessman’?. After a prolonged jury selection process, the trial of the accused Honolulu racketeering boss began with opening statements. Civil Beat. Associated Press.  Hawaii News Now.  KHON2. KITV4.

City Council poised to provide aid to businesses hurt by rail construction. Rail construction along Dillingham Blvd. continues to impact businesses and there are years of work to go. Honolulu City Council is trying to provide some relief to small business owners.  KHON2.

SHOPO, Honolulu police sergeant settle lawsuit. A civil lawsuit alleging police union board members conspired to remove a former member by falsely accusing him of double-dipping into travel funds and blackmailing him with the threat of criminal charges was settled recently, according to an email to members from the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers. Star-Advertiser.

Noisy nurses striking outside Kapiolani Medical Center raise complaints from patients. Kapi‘olani nurses strike endures during busy time for hospitals. Union nurses showed up in full force Monday for the second day of a weeklong strike at the Kapi‘olani Medical Center for Women & Children. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News NowKITV4.

Hawaii Island

Mauna Loa Observatory still isolated, but new funds could make it fully operational.
  The atmospheric monitoring station was not directly damaged by the 13-day eruption of Mauna Loa that began Nov. 27, 2022, but the volcanic fissures that opened during the eruption spewed a river of lava across the Mauna Loa Observatory Access Road, the only access route to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration facility. Tribune-Herald.

Big Island Lawmakers Attempt To Rein In Short-Term Vacation Rentals. Supporters say new limits are needed to increase the island's affordable housing stock, while opponents fear negative economic consequences. Civil Beat. Big Island Now.

OHA files suit aiming to repeal Mauna Kea oversight authority. The Office of Hawaiian Affairs said Monday that it is asking a court to repeal the Mauna Kea Stewardship and Oversight Authority. Star-Advertiser. Big Island Now.

Expansion in the works for overcrowded Hilo elementary school.
The principal of Ernest Bowen de Silva Elementary School said he’s hoping that planning and design of a new classroom building for the overcrowded Hilo campus can be completed within a year. Tribune-Herald.

Vietnam Memorial replica arrives in Hawaiʻi for 'once-in-a-lifetime' exhibition.  For the first time, "The Wall That Heals" is coming to Hawaiʻi. It’s a three-quarter scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Hawaii Public Radio. Tribune-Herald.  Big Island Video News.


Insurance Companies Want Their Money Back For Lahaina Fire Claims. They’re Going After HECO For It. Insurers have paid more than $1 billion in claims related to the Lahaina wildfires and want reimbursement from the utility and landowner. Civil Beat.

Maui County To Open A Special Permitting Office To Help Lahaina Rebuild. Mayor Richard Bissen asked state lawmakers to pick up $75 million of the cost of the required matching funds for federal Public Assistance aid. Civil Beat.

Air monitoring and sampling to increase during Lahaina debris removal. The state Department of Health announced it is increasing air monitoring and sampling in Lahaina and Olowalu as Phase II debris removal commences.  Maui Now.

Maui-Lanai ferry runs aground near entrance to Maalaea Harbor. The Coast Guard said it is responding to the Maui-Lanai ferry, which ran aground Monday morning near the entrance to Maalaea Harbor. Star-Advertiser. Maui Now.  KHON2.


Surfrider Kaua‘i releases January water quality test results.  Through its Blue Water Task Force, which tests many local beaches and waterways on a regular basis, the Surfrider Foundation revealed that most of Kaua‘i’s streams are polluted with human wastes from cesspools. Kauai Now.

Dept. of Water to begin monthly water service inspections through May. Department of Water personnel and its contractor will be accessing meter boxes islandwide as part of water service line inspections to identify pipe materials delivering water to residential homes and businesses in compliance with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Lead and Copper Rule Revision drinking water rules.  Kauai Now.

Friday, January 19, 2024

Hawaii to beef up agriculture, aquaculture programs, RFK Jr. makes campaign stop, Kauai councilman put on leave from state teaching job, homeless woman gives birth, drags newborn on Hilo sidewalk, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii farmers and ranchers to benefit from state landlord swap. A 2003  law was supposed to better support ranchers and farmers by having the Department of Land and Natural Resources give the Department of Agriculture up to 110,000 acres of ag land that DLNR largely leased to food producers. Star-Advertiser. Tribune-Herald. Kauai Now.

How coffee farmers fought counterfeit Kona beans. On the volcanic slopes of Kona, hundreds of farmers produce one of the most expensive coffees in the world. Those farmers recently won a series of settlements — totaling more than $41 million — after a nearly five-year legal battle with distributors and retailers that were accused of using the Kona name in a misleading way. New York Times.

Hawaii Lawmakers Want To Make Fish Farming A Bigger Industry.  The Legislature may give the embattled Agribusiness Development Corp. oversight of aquaculture, seen as a linchpin in Hawaii’s evolving agricultural economy following the plantation era.  Civil Beat.

Governor vows to support lower drunken driving levels in Hawaii. Gov. Josh Green plans a full-court offensive to convince hesitant legislators to finally lower Hawaii’s blood alcohol content level to .05% from .08% after previous bills failed. Star-Advertiser. KHON2.

Robert Kennedy Jr. makes a campaign stop in Hawaii to get on the ballot for president. Hundreds of people gathered Thursday at the Ko‘olau Ballrooms in Kaneohe to support RFK Jr.’s long-shot bid as an independent to become America’s next president. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

ʻOnipaʻa march draws thousands to commemorate overthrow of Hawaiian Kingdom
. Wednesday marked the anniversary of the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom more than 130 years ago. Thousands of Native Hawaiian students, teachers and community leaders from across the islands commemorated the date with the annual ‘Onipaʻa Peace March. Hawaii Public Radio.


With 100s of witnesses, trial for so-called ‘Miske Enterprise’ could take half a year. Jury selection is underway for one of the biggest organized crime trials in Hawaii. Businessman and alleged crime boss Michael Miske is facing nearly two dozen counts in a suspected murder-for-hire plot along with an alleged chemical weapons case. Hawaii News Now.

Federal officials are no-shows at Red Hill community meeting. Federal officials were absent when members of the Red Hill Community Representation Initiative met Thursday at the Office of Hawaiian Affairs for an update from the military and the Environmental Protection Agency on ongoing efforts to close the Red Hill fuel storage facility and water testing on the Navy waterline. Star-Advertiser.

HPD chief: ‘Everything that happened’ during fatal police pursuit under investigation. Honolulu Police Department Chief Joe Logan continued to field questions Thursday about a lawsuit filed against the department alleging police brutality. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Woman allegedly drags baby after giving birth on downtown Hilo sidewalk. Police officers and Hawaii Fire Department personnel responded to the intersection of Mamo Street and Keawe Street after receiving reports at about 5:15 p.m. Tuesday that a woman who had just given birth was reportedly dragging the newborn. Tribune-Herald. Star-Advertiser.  Big Island Video News.  Big Island Now.  KHON2. KITV4.

After Fight, Man Dies At Mo‘oheau Bus Terminal In Hilo. A 34-year-old man died after a fight with several men near the homeless encampment along the fence line separating the Mo‘oheau parking lot and Bayfront Highway. Big Island Video News. Big Island Now.


Milestone moment as first property is cleared of residential wildfire debris in Lahaina, Maui.
A milestone moment was reached on Wednesday as the first residential property was cleared of wildfire debris on Fleming Road in Lahaina. This comes following months of coordinated reentry activities that allowed residents to gain access to their properties and assess damage. Debris removal from residential properties in Lahaina began on Tuesday, Jan. 16. Maui Now.

County film commissioner Tracy Bennett retires, reflects on growth of Maui industry.
  After 10 years at the helm, County of Maui Film Commissioner Tracy Bennett has retired from his government post to enter the private sector.  Maui Now.


Kauai County Councilman Is Put On Leave From State Teaching Job. The Hawaii Department of Education has placed Kapaa High School teacher Billy DeCosta, a member of the Kauai County Council, on a leave of absence following an undisclosed incident that remains under investigation. Civil Beat.

Kauai County Council member receives ‘credible threat’. The threat was made against Councilman Bill DeCosta, who found what was described as a letter, poster or piece of paper left for him on Tuesday, Jan. 16. Garden Island. Kauai Now.

Tuesday, January 9, 2024

Worker shortage hampers government services, state expects $250M more in tax collections, Mizuno's wife/office manager in line for his House seat, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Where Are The Workers? Last Month 27% Of State Government Civil Service Positions Were Vacant. Traditionally Hawaii residents eagerly applied for safe government jobs but particularly difficult jobs now have vacancy rates of 40%. Civil Beat.

Hawaii To Get $250M More In Tax Collections Than Expected. Six months into the fiscal year, tax collections are running more than 7% ahead of last year's pace. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Legislators To Tackle School Safety Issues From Broken Fire Alarms To Evacuation Plans.
The Maui fires loom over this year's Legislature, but longstanding problems also need to be addressed, including school bus shortages and teacher retention. Civil Beat.

3 throw hat in ring to fill Rep. John Mizuno’s district seat
: Mizuno’s wife and office manager, Joje “May” Mizuno,  Edgar Fernandez, program specialist for the state Workforce Development Division, and Hernando Tan, former president of the Unite Here Local 5 hotel workers union finalists for the state House seat. Star-Advertiser.

Changes to HECO rooftop solar rates draw dismay from industry experts.
A new rate scheme for Hawaiian Electric's rooftop solar customers is set to take effect this spring. Some solar industry advocates say it could fundamentally change the local energy landscape. Hawaii Public Radio.

Airline merger ‘makes sense’: Execs from Alaska, Hawaiian discuss impacts, benefits.
Hawaii Airlines and Alaska Airlines executives couldn’t promise that the proposed merger between their two companies will reduce airfares, but said the customers should experience only minimal disruptions. Tribune-Herald.


Potential Jurors Quizzed On Possible Bias As Miske Looks On In 1st Day Of Trial. The jury selection process is expected to take up to two weeks as attorneys question people one-by-one. Civil Beat. KHON2.  KITV4.

The Miske Case: Interesting Names On The Witness List. Hundreds of names have been submitted by the Miske defense as well as the prosecution. Civil Beat.

Hawaiʻi Supreme Court rules a jury should weigh rail station dispute with Ward developer.
The case involves property containing roughly 25 parcels, or 2 acres, owned by the Howard Hughes Corp., a Texas-based developer that conducts business locally under Victoria Ward Ltd. Hawaii Public Radio.

Oahu hit with heavy rain and power outages. Heavy rain and gusty winds were expected to threaten Oahu for a second day this morning after storms and gusts driven by a passing cold front clobbered many areas of the island Monday. Star-Advertiser.

HECO institutes rolling outages on Oahu, plunging communities into darkness. Hawaiian Electric instituted rolling outages on Oahu on Monday night amid power generation issues, plunging entire communities into darkness for 30-minute periods. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Two new preschool classrooms opened up as a part of Hawai'i's "Ready Keiki" initiative. Two renovated preschool classrooms — the first Leeward Coast additions to the state’s Ready Keiki initiative to create statewide universal access to public preschool — are being hailed by officials and parents as a godsend. Star-Advertiser. KITV4.

Kapiolani nurses cite staffing as they OK strike. A majority of unionized nurses at the Kapiolani Medical Center for Women &Children — 96% — recently voted to authorize a strike, with staffing ratios being the top issue of concern. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Hawaiʻi County Resolves Computer System Outage. The County's Vehicle Registration and Licensing systems are back online, and normal operations have been restored. Big Island Video News.

Corrections head: Screenings, x-rays failed to prevent fatal jail overdose. The state Department of Corrections has identified the inmate who died as 56-year old Steve Mario Delgado, who had recently been arrested for burglary and theft. Hawaii News Now.

Teen fatally struck by police cruiser remembered as ‘unforgettable’. Samuel Mwarey, a 16-year-old junior at Hilo High School who previously attended St. Joseph School, died shortly after midnight Monday at Hilo Medical Center from injuries he suffered after being hit by a blue-and-white police cruiser late Friday night. Tribune-Herald.


Olowalu native asks council to reconsider location of temporary dump site.
  Maui County Councilmembers will take a final vote this week on a temporary disposal site for the Lahaina fire debris. Hawaii News Now.

Gopher snake found on Molokaʻi in shipping container. A live snake was found in a shipping container on Moloka‘i Monday morning while it was being unloaded at a hardware store in Kaunankakai, state officials said.  Maui Now.


Domestic passenger count exceeds 800,000 at Lihu‘e Airport in 2023.
  The domestic passenger count at Lihu‘e Airport notched its second highest total on record in 2023, despite a year-over-year drop in the number of people getting off those flights to the island of Kaua‘i. Garden Island.