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

Friday, July 19, 2024

$4B settlement reached in Maui wildfire lawsuits, Honolulu crime boss Miske found guilty of murder, racketeering, some Hawaii flights grounded in communications outage, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

$4 billion proposed settlement reached over Maui wildfire lawsuits. Report: Key Defendants Have Agreed To Settle Maui Wildfire Claims For $4 Billion. Hawaiian Electric Industries, the state of Hawaii, Maui County and Charter Communications have agreed to pay $4 billion to settle several hundred lawsuits filed on behalf of thousands of victims of Aug. 8’s Lahaina wildfires, Bloomberg News has reported, citing anonymous sources. Civil Beat.  KITV4. Bloomberg.  Reuters.

Honolulu crime boss Miske guilty of murder, racketeering. Jury Convicts Miske Of 13 Counts, Including Murder In Aid Of Racketeering. Jurors in the federal racketeering trial of Michael Miske found him guilty Thursday of 13 of 16 counts, including racketeering conspiracy and murder in aid of racketeering in connection to the 2016 killing of Johnathan Fraser. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser.  Hawaii News Now.  KHON2.

Dozens of Hawaii flights impacted amid widespread technology outage. United, Delta and American issued system-wide ground stops due to communication issues. Hawaii News Now.


The State Of Hawaii Keeps Snatching Up Land From Former Agriculture Companies. Senate Ways And Means Chairman Donovan Dela Cruz is the driving force behind one proposed deal that just won't go away. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Supreme Court Will Review Judge’s Decision To Withhold Abused Girl’s Case File. Public First Law Center is trying to open files that would show why the state and Family Court placed Isabella Kalua with the couple accused of killing her. Civil Beat.

Alternate emergency road in Waiʻanae set to reopen spring 2025.
The state Department of Transportation has committed to making upgrades to the road to form a roughly 5-mile route stretching from the Nānākuli to Waiʻanae areas. Hawaii Public Radio.

HNN News Director Scott Duff, dedicated journalist who ‘led with heart,’ dies at 59. Hawaii News Now is mourning the loss of News Director Scott Duff, who died early Wednesday following a year-long battle with cancer. He was 59. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Planning director: Bill could slow down permitting process. Bill 134 would require that every time a property owner seeks a change of zoning district, the Planning Department would have to compile a report of all buildings that are legally permitted to be built on surrounding properties within a quarter-mile radius. Tribune-Herald.

Proclamation Issued On District 1 House Seat After Death Of Rep Nakashima. The Office of Elections says that ballots already printed, the late Representative Nakashima will remain on the ballot and votes cast will be counted accordingly. Big Island Video News.

Alleged assailant of county-contracted surveyors charged. Police have charged 32-year-old Kukaua Keliihooluhi Kaupe Bright, whom they say is one of two men who allegedly assaulted a pair of county-contracted surveyors July 9 in downtown Hilo. Tribune-Herald.

Goodwill Hawaii settles in to new Hilo home. Goodwill Hawaii announced in October 2023 that it would be closing its three leased properties in Hilo and would move operations to a large parcel at 17 Makaala St. to serve as the East Hawaii hub for employees, customers and clients. Tribune-Herald.


Lahaina Schools To Close For Fire Anniversary. Lahaina’s four public schools will close on Aug. 8 to honor the first anniversary of the Maui wildfires, the Board of Education decided on Thursday. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser. Maui Now.  Hawaii News Now.  KHON2.

Another Maui Jail Project Stalls After Underground Duct Work Is Discovered. For years, state officials have been unable to move forward with plans to build an entirely new jail at Puunene. Now, even a modest addition to the existing jail is being delayed. Civil Beat.


Mayor Kawakami shares vision for Kaua‘i during Chamber of Commerce luncheon. At the Kaua‘i Chamber of Commerce held the 10th Annual Mayor’s Luncheon on Thursday, Mayor Derek S.K. Kawakami shared his vision for the residents of the Garden Isle. Kauai Now.

Aloun Farms to acquire Kaua‘i Shrimp. Kaua‘i Shrimp currently produces over 500,000 pounds of premium Pacific White Leg shrimp every year on its 238-acre farm in Kekaha. Garden Island.

Monday, July 15, 2024

NOAA scientists study coral reef, condo insurance a rising campaign issue, Hawaii Herald newspaper reopens as The San Times, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

NOAA ‘mother ship’ circling Hawaiian Islands as scientist scuba divers monitor coral reefs. The ship wending its way through the blue waters of the tropical archipelago is Oscar Elton Sette – a 224-foot research vessel operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, now conducting the first Hawai‘i portion of the National Coral Reef Monitoring Program in five years. Kauai Now.

Alternate technology to make electricity from wind proposed for Hawaii.
Small-scale wind turbines that don’t resemble the rotating fans seen on typical wind farms could start popping up around the state under an ambitious plan by a startup company. Star-Advertiser.

State law extends reporting time for child sex abuse. Gov. Josh Green signed Senate Bill 2601 into law last week, extending the reporting period for childhood sexual abuse from the previous limit of 26 years old to 50 years old. Star-Advertiser.

State works to keep H5N1 bird flu out of Hawaii. Hawaii is the only U.S. state in which H5N1, also known as highly pathogenic avian influenza, has not yet been detected, according to state and federal officials — not in wild birds, domestic poultry or mammals, including cattle. Star-Advertiser.


Condos’ High-Rising Insurance Premiums Are A Top Issue In These Legislative Races. The plight of condo owners grabs the attention of House and Senate candidates in urban Honolulu races. Civil Beat.

It’s All About Water Quality And Housing For Windward City Council Candidates. David Kauahikaua, Kelsey Nakanelua, Christopher Curren and incumbent council member Esther Kiaaina are on the ballot. Civil Beat.

GOP Primary Opponents Square Off In Waianae, Where ‘You Can Win As A Republican’. Tiana Wilbur and Chris Muraoka are candidates for the open seat in House District 45. Civil Beat.

Accused crime boss’s case goes to the jury.
Ninety-eight days after federal prosecutors tried to prove Micheal J. Miske Jr. was a notorious Hawai‘i crime lord instead of a benevolent businessmen providing essential services to homeowners, businesses and county government, Miske’s fate now rests with a jury. Star-Advertiser.

Waikiki Community Center redevelopment could support senior housing. The nonprofit, which has served the community since 1978, is discussing a collaboration with the Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corp. to redevelop a portion of its property into a mixed-use facility that could include a preschool, offices and senior affordable housing, according to HHFDC Development Branch Chief Randy Chu. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Herald newspaper reopens as The San Times.
For 43 years, the Hawaii Herald told Japanese-American stories in Hawaii. Now it's resurfacing as The San Times - as in "sansei" - the third generation of Japanese-Americans. KITV4.

Beloved Oahu surfer and lifeguard Tamayo Perry is celebrated. Tamayo, 49, died June 23 after he was bitten more than once by a shark while surfing during a break from his city life-guarding shift. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.  KHON2.

Hawaii Island

Green to appoint Nakashima’s successor, Dems to submit choices. Since the 2008 election, the residents of House District 1 have known only Mark Nakashima as their state representative. According to law, Nakashima’s successor must be a Democrat. The Hawaii Democratic Party will submit a list of three individuals to the governor, who will select one. Tribune-Herald.

In A Hilo Rematch, Senate Candidates Differ On The Economy And Tourism.
Incumbent Lorraine Inouye and former legislator Laura Acasio are back on the ballot in the Democratic primary. Civil Beat.

Hospital morgue overcapacity: Hawaii County urged to build its own facility.
According to state law, the chief of police in each county is the county coroner, and police officers are deputy coroners. Police, as coroners, have used the hospital’s morgue as a holding facility for bodies in coroner’s inquest cases and in criminal investigations. Tribune-Herald.

Update On Key Hawaiʻi County Park Projects. Officials say there are more than 130 projects in development through the planning section of the Department of Parks & Recreation. Big Island Video News.

June brought below average rainfall to E. Hawaii. The locations where rain fell in near- to above-average amounts were along the lower Hamakua slopes and along the Kona slopes south of Hualalai. Tribune-Herald.


Long-Term Recovery Plan For Lahaina Expected By December. The county is compiling public input to help prioritize fire recovery projects and programs for disaster funding. Civil Beat.

Maui wildfire 70% contained as crews battle for fifth day
. The Maui Crater Road wildfire that has burned 574 acres since Wednesday was 70% contained as of 10 a.m. Sunday, the Maui Fire Department said. Star-Advertiser. Maui Now.

DOH monitoring Upper Kula Brushfire for air quality and behavioral impacts. The Hawaiʻi Department of Health (DOH) is coordinating with state and county officials in response to the brushfire in upper Kula that started on the evening of July 10, 2024. Maui News.


Search for pilot, passenger suspended following helicopter crash in waters off Na Pali Coast.  Search and rescue operations were suspended Sunday afternoon for two people reported missing following a tour helicopter crash off Kauai’s Na Pali Coast last week.  Star-Advertiser. Big Island Now. Hawaii News Now.  KITV4.

Friday, July 12, 2024

Nakashima dead at 61, 1 dead, 2 missing in Kauai tour helicopter crash, federal prosecutor details vast 'criminal underworld' as Miske trial closes, Maui wildfire rekindles trauma, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

State Rep. Mark Nakashima Dead At 61. Mark Nakashima, a Democrat who represented Hamakua, a portion of Hilo and Kaumana in the Hawaii House of Representatives, died Thursday in Honolulu. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii Public Radio.  Big Island Video News.  Big Island Now.  KHON2.

Young Voters Want To Make Themselves Heard In Hawaii — But They Don’t Always Know How. Events like Covid-19 and the Black Lives Matter movement have boosted Generation Z's political awareness, but more needs to be done to engage the state's youngest voters. Civil Beat.

Funding for landmark biosecurity bill slashed in half. Gov. Josh Green has cut what was once a $20 million biosecurity bill in half, raising some concerns about invasive species management in the state. Hawaii Public Radio.

Gov. Green signs bill extending conservation fee on ocean tourism industry. Gov. Josh Green has signed off on an extension to a fee levied on the ocean tourism industry to support marine conservation efforts. Hawaii Public Radio.


Prosecutors Describe Vast ‘Criminal Underworld’ Controlled By Michael Miske During Closing Arguments. Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Inciong told jurors alleged racketeering boss Miske operated a criminal enterprise for nearly 20 years that engaged in violent assaults, kidnapping and murder. Civil Beat. KHON2. KITV4.

New PR Firm To Sell Honolulu Rail? Some HART Board Members Say No. HART is already paying a public relations firm $8,000 to $9,000 per month through another arrangement with a rail consultant. Civil Beat.

TSA: New tech promises enhanced security (and faster lines) at Honolulu’s airport. TSA officers at Honolulu’s Airport have screened over 5 million travelers so far this year.Now, they’re debuting new technology that could bolster security — and speed up lines. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Sam Shomaker lays out his priorities as JABSOM's sixth dean. Dr. Thomas Samuel “Sam” Shomaker started his new role on July 1 as the sixth dean of the University of Hawaiʻi John A. Burns School of Medicine. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii Island

Mayoral hopefuls take stage. AARP Hawaii invited Mayor Mitch Roth and three challengers — Kimo Alameda, Breeani Kobayashi and Seaula “Junior” Tupa‘i — to discuss the issues facing Hawaii County. Tribune-Herald.

Chancellor chosen for Hawaii Community College. Susan Kazama has been named the next Hawaii Community College chancellor, effective July 19. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News.

Upgrading tradition: Drones aid restoration, resilience of Native Hawaiian fishponds. Researchers from the University of Hawai‘i and fishpond stewards in Hilo are using these unmanned aerial vehicles to support integrated coastal zone management, including at cultural heritage sites. Big Island Now.


Fire On Haleakala Tests Maui’s Improvements in Emergency Management. The county's leadership on Thursday detailed actions its taken to deal with a fast-moving blaze, a stark contrast to what occurred on Aug. 8. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser. Maui News. Maui Now. KITV4.

No injuries after Hawaiian Air flight overshoots Kahului runway. A runway at the Kahului Airport was briefly closed Thursday afternoon after a Hawaiian Airlines flight carrying 173 passengers was towed to the gate after experiencing problems with its brakes on landing. Star-Advertiser. Maui Now.  KHON2.


1 Dead, 2 Missing In Tour Helicopter Crash Off Na Pali Coast. A helicopter crashed into the ocean off the Hawaiian island of Kauai on Thursday, leaving one person dead and two others missing, the Kauai Police Department said. Associated Press. Star-Advertiser.  Garden Island.  Kauai Now. Hawaii News Now.  KHON2.  KITV4.

Kaua‘i sees below average rain in June as dry season intensifies. Rainfall totals for Kaua‘i were near to below average at most of the gauges, according to the monthly precipitation summary from the National Weather Service. Kauai Now.

Thursday, July 4, 2024

Traffic crashes increase, federal grant to remove obstacles to housing production, indoor air quality sends 90 Honolulu city employees to work from home, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Traffic crashes increase. The Hawaii Police Department’s Traffic Services Section reviewed all updated crashes, according to a news release, and found 498 major crashes so far this year, compared with 429 the same time last year, a 16% increase.  Star-Advertiser.

Gov. Josh Green signs Hawaii agriculture bills into law.  Gov. Josh Green on Wednesday signed 11 agriculture-related bills to protect Hawaii’s biosecurity, preserve the safety of the state’s food systems and safeguard local farmers and producers through fair labeling. Star-Advertiser. Tribune-Herald.

Green: Hawaii awarded new federal grant aimed at removing obstacles to housing production. Gov. Josh Green and U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz announced $6.6 million in federal funds for Hawaii as part of an effort to build and preserve more affordable housing. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Gov. Josh Green says Biden was ‘sick and exhausted’ before debate.
Gov. Josh Green said he came away from a conference call Wednesday with President Joe Biden and other Democratic governors feeling like the president was a “different individual” from the one in the distressing performance during the 2024 election debate.  Star-Advertiser. New York Times.

Hawaii sheriff policies changing amid ongoing harassment cases.
New details revealed about allegations in harassment case against deputy sheriffs. Deputy Sheriff William Gary’s case involves accusations of him making derogatory comments about gay people toward a deputy sheriff, an inappropriate photo on a state computer, and an incident where he allegedly shoved the deputy. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

UHERO report highlights ocean-based industries to diversify the economy. Water-based industries featured in the report include boat building, harbor operations and water transportation, given Hawaiʻi's strong existing ties to the ocean. But fishing and aquaculture in particular could have the highest potential to add to the state’s economy. Hawaii Public Radio. Big Island Now.


Indoor air quality concerns force nearly 100 employees at Honolulu Hale to work remotely. The city Office for Corporation Counsel is now locked with signs on the door directing people to call instead of visiting. On May 10, all 90 employees in the office were notified by email that they were to “collect everything they need to telework” until further notice. Hawaii News Now.

Coral Colonies Severely Damaged Off Kewalo Basin, Divers Say
. Local conservationists and scuba divers say they found coral colonies off Kewalo Basin “obliterated” last week after commercial divers warned them to stay away because diving there would be dangerous during their work. Civil Beat.

How the Supreme Court's sit-lie ban could impact Honolulu's homeless enforcement. Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that municipalities can enforce sit-lie and camping ordinances against homeless people, even if there aren't enough shelter beds available.  Hawaii Public Radio.

Tow company remains silent on overcharges. A city-contracted tow company has not responded in the wake of the city’s decision that it must refund more than $650,000 in extra fees to hundreds of registered vehicle owners on Oahu or see its annual, three-year contract with the city terminated. Star-Advertiser.

City Ordered To Partially Halt Haiku Stairs Dismantling As Lawsuit Appeal Continues
. The order allows the city to remove stair sections only if they were already separated from the mountain. Civil Beat.

Miske Defense Rests After Casting Doubt On Alleged Crime Boss’s Involvement In Conspiracy.
Michael Miske's defense attorneys highlighted a lack of forensic evidence linking him to crime scenes and brought up possible alternative explanations for the disappearance of Johnathan Fraser, whom Miske is accused of conspiring to have killed. Civil Beat.

Lawsuit Against DOE Questions Suspension Of Student For Bringing A Nerf Gun To School. Stevenson Middle School initially suspended nine students in January for having toy guns that were considered a threat to campus safety. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Island

Harry Kim Endorses Kobayashi For Mayor. Former Hawaiʻi County Mayor and Civil Defense director Harry Kim has endorsed Breeani Kobayashi for mayor.  Big Island Video News.

Petitioners appeal decision regarding Lee Loy. Petitioners who sought to disqualify Hawaii County Councilwoman Sue Lee Loy from running for the state House District 2 seat are appealing Hawaii Chief Election Officer Scott Nago’s decision that she is eligible to run. Tribune-Herald.

Removal of Caltech observatory completed. Caltech released a statement Tuesday announcing that all of the observatory’s facilities have been removed from the summit nearly nine years after it ceased operations at the end of 2015. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News.

Military aircraft alert for Hawaii Island.  The public is advised that depending on weather, jet engine and aircraft noise may increase over Pohakuloa Training Area and West Hawaii from July 8 through Aug. 2 as military aircraft participate in the 2024 Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise. Tribune-Herald.

People reliant on powered medical devices urged to plan for outages
. West Hawaii residents who are dependent upon electrical medical devices are strongly advised to make plans for potential power outages this summer. Tribune-Herald.

How ‘ōkolehao, an alcoholic spirit made of tī root, could change the liquor industry. Hawaiʻi's first-ever alcoholic spirit made from the root of the tī plant may soon get a boost in popularity from a Big Island brewery.  Hawaii Public Radio.


Maui County wrestles with collecting transient accommodations taxes. The County Auditor’s report shows that, for fiscal year 2022, the county recognized over $56.9 million in Maui County TAT on its financial statements. But, as of June 30, 2022, only $40 million was deposited into the county’s treasury. Maui Now.

Over 30 rebuilding permits have been issued after the fire. Here’s how some Lahaina homeowners did it. The process of getting a rebuilding permit has been fast for some residents, but factors like the design and location can also impact the timeline. Maui Now.

Hawaiian Nonprofit Gets State Permit After Losing Office In Lahaina Fire. The organization Na Aikane o Maui operated a cultural center in Lahaina but its previous permit expired one day after the Aug. 8 wildfire. Civil Beat. Hawaii Public Radio.


Kaua‘i is most limited in diversifying its economy compared to all counties in state, UHERO report reveals. In a tourism-concentrated economy, University of Hawaiʻi Economic Research Organization, also known as UHERO, released the report Tuesday, which looks at ways the state could diversify as tourism revenue has shown inconsistent and slow growth for the past 30 years. Kauai Now.

Opponents of Coco Palms redevelopment hail a court ruling, but it may not stop the rebuilding. The long saga of Coco Palms on Kauai may be heading back to court after a three-judge panel canceled a foreclosure deal that led to the current redevelopment. Hawaii News Now.

Strong start to summer travel season at Lihu‘e Airport. A busy start to the summer travel season at Lihu‘e Airport saw more passengers arriving via domestic flights and longer wait times for people leaving the island of Kaua‘i. Garden Island.

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Public Utilities Commission grills Sandwich Isles' exec over service cutoff, $11M state IT project in jeopardy, ransomware suspected at Honolulu TheBus, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Sandwich Isles Communications Broke The Law When It Cut Services To Hawaiian Homelands. Sandwich Isles Communications violated state laws and its obligations to its customers when it cut telephone and broadband services earlier this month without ample warning and is likely to face penalties for abandoning its services, according to testimony Monday before the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission. Sandwich Isles’ President Al Hee was in the hot seat for much of Monday’s six-hour hearing. Civil Beat.

Independent Monitor Warns $11 Million State IT Project Is In Jeopardy And Could Fail. The state has spent nearly $3.5 million on its second attempt to develop a financial management system that meets the requirements of Federal Highways Administration. Civil Beat.

Lee Loy candidacy confirmed. Hawaii Chief Election Officer Scott Nago ruled Monday that County Councilwoman Sue Lee Loy is eligible to run for the state House District 2 seat vacated when Rep. Richard Onishi decided not to run for a seventh term. Tribune-Herald.

As RIMPAC nears, concerns raise from community activists.
The 29th biennial Exercise Rim of the Pacific, or RIMPAC, is slated to run in and around the Hawaiian Islands starting June 27, but community activists gathered on Monday to call for the military to cancel the multinational exercise. KHON2. KITV4.

Law Enforcement Department Resuming Evictions. The execution of court-ordered writs and evictions will resume, following a "stand-down" in late-April following a critical incident in Waiʻanae. Big Island Video News. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.


FBI, Police Investigate Possible Ransomware Attack At TheBus, Handi-Van. The Honolulu Department of Transportation Services was still trying Monday to determine the cause as well as the cure to restore its online, real-time schedules for TheBus and TheHandi-Van fleets. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. KHON2. Hawaii News Now.

Next phase of Skyline to be energized; hours also extended for West Fest. In another major milestone, Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation officials are preparing to energize another section of the Skyline route. Hawaii News Now.

Late-night stabbing is latest high-profile violent crime in Keeaumoku Street area. Over the weekend since Friday, around the Ala Moana Center area, there were six reported cases of assault logged on HPD’s website; four of these were classified as simple assaults, and two as aggravated assaults. Star-Advertiser.

Target Of Mitsunaga Theft Case Files Civil Rights Lawsuit. After a criminal jury declined to convict Honolulu’s former prosecutor and employees of Mitsunaga & Associates for conspiring to violate an ex-employee’s civil rights, the former employee is taking the case to civil court.  Civil Beat.

The Miske Trial: Interesting Moments From The Organized Crime Trial. Gifts to planning department officials, forged signatures and other improprieties came out in testimony from a prosecution witness in the sweeping criminal trial. Civil Beat.

Trial to begin for ex-OCCC officer in 2016 murder, kidnapping case. A former Oahu Community Correctional Center training officer, indicted eight years ago on murder and kidnapping charges in the 2016 fatal shooting of his 66-year-old mother and kidnapping of a 48-year-old woman, made a last-minute request Monday for a jury- waived trial in Oahu Circuit Court. Star-Advertiser.

More Homeowners Are Needed To Join The Push To Restore Honolulu’s Urban Watersheds. A three-year project in East Oahu funded by NOAA is off to a "remarkable" start, administrator says. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Island

Keaukaha fight over land deed goes to state Supreme Court. A legal battle over a Keaukaha property, a century-old land deed, and the separation between church and state will go before the Hawaii Supreme Court next week. Tribune-Herald.

Maunakea telescopes detect light from merging quasars. Astronomers have used a pair of Maunakea telescopes to shed light on one of the universe’s earliest stages of development. Tribune-Herald.

Aircraft come to Big Island as part of Hawai‘i Air National Guard fighter training exercise. The Hawai‘i Air National Guard’s 154th Wing came to Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keāhole on June 12 as part of its fighter exercise, Sentry Aloha 24-2, at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam on O‘ahu. Big Island Now.


Lahaina homes face 20% turnover in 3 years.
A new report released Monday by the Hawai‘i Land Trust indicates that without intervention Lahaina could see an estimated 6.5% of residential properties totaling $122 million change hands over a year, and within three years a 20% turnover of ownership equating to at least $360 million. Star-Advertiser.

Lahaina Fire Victims Could Build Temporary Homes In The Burn Zone If This Bill Passes. The Maui County Council is moving forward with legislation to give displaced residents some "breathing space" for five years. Civil Beat.

New Taxpayer-Funded Housing Going Up In Lahaina May No Longer Be Needed. FEMA and the state are building 619 homes for fire survivors, but there are now fewer than 215 households still living in the emergency hotel program. Civil Beat.

Maui Mayor Appoints New Directors For Housing, Oiwi Resources Departments.
County voters passed ballot measures in November 2022 for the new departments to help with the housing crisis and ensure proper management of native resources. Civil Beat. Maui News.

What’s in store for Queen Kaʻahumanu Center’s future? Mall owners seek new lease on life. Without resuscitation, the future is bleak for Queen Kaʻahumanu Center, with the aging, once premier Central Maui shopping destination caught in a downward spiral — store closings lead to less foot traffic, which begets more loss of business, and so on. Maui Now.


Federal aid to help with recovery efforts from severe Kauai storm.
On Monday, President Joe Biden declared the severe storms, flooding, and landslides in mid-April a major disaster. KHON2.

Thursday, June 13, 2024

Too late for TMT? Plus, campaign shenanigans in state House races, high COVID warning and more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

New TMT team changes approach to get community support, but is it too late for the telescope? It’s been five years since thousands of protesters blocked the start of construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope planned near the summit of Mauna Kea. Now, a different management team is trying a different approach to try to move the telescope forward. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Health Department warns of high COVID activity. The Hawaii Department of Health said its Respiratory Disease Dashboard shows COVID activity level is red, or at a high activity level, indicating the virus is circulating at high levels compared with historic trends. Star-Advertiser. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Now.

Many Hawaii High School Counselors Are Taking The Summer Off As School Budgets Run Short.
Not all campuses have the budget to offer year-round counseling services, and roughly half of high schools in the Hawaii Department of Education offer summer college and career counseling. Civil Beat.

Republican primary producing complaints to HPD. State Rep. Kanani Souza, an attorney representing Kapolei and Makakilo, in complaints filed with the Hono­lulu Police Department on April 28, May 16, and June 9, is accusing challenger Sheila Medeiros, a 55- year-old retired U.S. Army veteran, of harassing her. Star-Advertiser.

Lee Loy candidacy challenged: Petitioners claim her main residence is in a different district. An objection has been filed over Hawaii County Council member Sue Lee Loy’s candidacy for the state House District 2 seat and her registration to vote in the district. Tribune-Herald.

Suit: State failed to conduct proper screening before placing child in same home where girl starved to death. The boy lived for five years in the Wahiawa home of Thomas and Brandy Blas and like Geanna suffered severe abuse and neglect, the complaint says. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.


EPA To Disband Red Hill Oversight Group Amid Navy Complaints. The Navy wanted to control the agenda. Community members said no. Now the group is being cancelled. Civil Beat.

City gains 400 acres of former Navy-owned land for public recreation. The City and County of Honolulu took ownership of approximately 400 acres of former Navy-­owned land at Kalaeloa that will go toward public recreation use, Mayor Rick Blangiardi announced at a ceremony outside Honolulu Hale on Wednesday afternoon. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

City expands homeless services at new facility. With an aim to get Oahu’s chronically homeless off the streets and into permanent housing, the city’s new Leahi Behavioral and Medical Respite facility has officially opened near the slopes of Diamond Head. Star-Advertiser.

Home-Buying Subsidy At New Kapiolani High Rise Targets Doctors, Teachers And Police Officers. The program is aimed at middle-income buyers often overlooked by affordable housing policies. Civil Beat.

Miske Defense Hints At Alternate Theories For Alleged Murder Victim’s Disappearance.
Defense attorneys called on multiple experts to highlight the lack of forensic evidence directly tying Michael Miske to the 2016 killing of Johnathan Fraser. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.  KHON2.

All access to Haiku Stairs region closed for removal. The state Department of Land and Natural Resources and the City and County of Honolulu announced Wednesday the closure of the entire Moanalua Section of the Honolulu Watershed Forest Reserve — also known as Middle Ridge — and the Moanalua Valley Neighborhood Park for the removal of the Haiku Stairs. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.  Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Hawaii Island

Work on Nanue project could begin early next year. The Nanue Stream Bridge, located at about the 15 mile marker on Highway 19 — just south of Ninole — is slated for a three-year repair project that will replace large sections of infrastructure that have become dangerously degraded. Tribune-Herald.


Army Corps’ latest mission will provide 169 temporary homes for Maui fire survivors. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (USACE) newest mission is the Kilohana Temporary Housing Project – a 34-acre site located off a cane haul road near Wahikuli Road in Lahaina. Hawaii News Now.

Pōhākea public land purchase: 250 acres protected in perpetuity at Māʻalaea Mauka. A 257-acre parcel at Pōhākea (also known as Māʻalaea Mauka) is now protected in perpetuity with the State Legacy Land Conservation Program and the County of Maui Open Space contributing $1M and $6.2M to fund the conservation purchase, respectively.  Maui Now.

Pride flag raised last week in celebration of Pride Month was removed twice; police report filed. The Pride Flag hung by the County of Maui as a celebration of national June Pride Month was illegally removed twice after it was raised during a Proclamation and flag ceremony last week outside the County building, organization leaders with Aloha Maui Pride said. Maui Now.

Waikapū Development Venture project completion deadline extended to 2029.
The Maui County Council has approved extending the construction completion date to September 2029 for Waikapū Development Venture’s 80-unit affordable workforce housing project south of Wailuku town. Maui Now.


Colleague alleges jailed artist’s letter for Kauaʻi councilman was a complaint, not a threat. Over a month after local artist Glen Gruenhagen was handed a year-long jail sentence for allegedly threatening Councilman Billy DeCosta through a handmade poster in January, a recently obtained record of a heated private meeting among county staff reveals the man had come to the Historic County Building in Lihuʻe begging for help, claiming DeCosta had been harassing him in Kōkeʻe for years. Kauai Now.

Coco Palms bringing Kimpton to Hawai‘i. Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants announced Wednesday that it is partnering with the Coco Palms Resort following a historically sensitive restoration of the iconic property in Wailua. Garden Island. Kauai Now.

Runway project underway at Lihu‘e Airport. The work is expected to run through Thursday, July 18, and requires the installation of new lighting or Light Emitting Diode (LED) lights to runways and taxiway edges, including LED lighting to airfield signage and conduits along with cabling. Garden Island.

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Gov. Green teams up with Omidyar group for federal funding, state's largest solar farm goes on line, Miske acquitted of attempted murder, Mauna Kea telescope part of NASA’s $19.5M artificial star mission, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Governor Green, Ulupono Initiative Team Up For Federal Funds. Governor Josh Green on Monday announced the State of Hawaiʻi will be partnering with the Ulupono Initiative to boost access to federal funds. The Ulupono Initiative, an Omidyar Group venture, was founded in 2009 to support and promote “locally produced food, renewable energy, clean transportation choices, and better management of freshwater resources.” Big Island Video News. Maui Now.

Kids Count report Shows Early Impacts Of The Pandemic On Hawaii Students And Families
. While the Covid-19 pandemic left its mark on Hawaii students’ achievement and families’ economic stability, the results may not be as dire as expected, according to a national report released Monday.  Civil Beat.

‘It’s everywhere’ labor shortage plaguing every industry. The labor shortage is very real according to officials. And they said it isn’t just one field, it’s across the board. KHON2.

Young Hawaii farmers face mental health crisis says new UH study.
According to a new study, published by the University of Hawaii at Manoa College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR), nearly 50% of farmers in Hawaii under the age of 46 have suffered from experienced of depression and nearly 14% with suicidal thoughts. KITV4.

Midwives ask court to stop Hawaii law that requires licensing to practice. Nine plaintiffs a civil complaint, asking for the court to stop the state of Hawaii from enforcing the “Midwifery Restriction Law,” which they say criminalizes practitioners, including skilled midwives who do not have the licensing the state now requires to practice midwifery, as well as birth workers and family members who care and support those who are pregnant and giving birth. Star-Advertiser.

Electric vehicles put charge into Hawaii’s auto sales. Battery electric vehicle registrations in the state rose 11% in the first quarter from the year-earlier period as the market share of BEVs among all vehicles sold in Hawaii reached a record 15%, according to a recent report from Hawaii Auto Outlook. Star-Advertiser.

Supreme Court seeks US government views on Honolulu climate suit against oil companies. The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday asked President Joe Biden’s administration to offer its views on a bid by Sunoco and other oil companies to scuttle a lawsuit by Honolulu accusing them of deceiving the public about climate change. Reuters.


Judge Acquits Miske Of Attempted Murder Related To A 2017 Ambush At Kualoa Ranch. The charges stem from an attack on Lindsey Kinney, a Kaneohe man a former Miske associate said the alleged crime boss wanted dead. Civil Beat.

Honolulu to pay $7M to boy injured in 2021 police chase. City attorneys agreed to pay $7 million to a boy who was partially paralyzed after a police chase led to a crash and an alleged cover-up in Makaha in September 2021. Star-Advertiser.

Most Oʻahu residents don't have flood insurance, city survey finds. Only one in five Oʻahu residents have flood insurance, according to a recent survey conducted by the City and County of Honolulu.  Hawaii Public Radio.

HART board agrees to discuss, vote on CEO's contract in upcoming meeting. A vote to extend Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation Executive Director and CEO Lori Kahikina’s contract to lead Oʻahu’s rail operations could come in two weeks. Hawaii Public Radio.

BWS seeks to reassure public after legionella bacteria detected at federal building. The Board of Water Supply said people who live and work in Downtown Honolulu should not be concerned about the discovery of legionella bacteria in the Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole federal building and courthouse water systems last month. Hawaii News Now.

City officials to unveil new homeless services initiative. Honolulu’s Mayor Rick Blangiardi, alongside city and county leaders, will convene with homelessness and healthcare experts to introduce the city’s latest endeavor: the Leahi Behavioral and Medical Respite facility. KHON2.

Kahala landowner on notice for alleged shoreline violations. State and county officials have put a Kahala Avenue property owner on notice of potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines due to multiple alleged violations of shoreline laws. Star-Advertiser.

New Oʻahu solar project on military land prepares to come online. Kūpono Solar is the largest solar, plus storage, project on the island and can generate enough energy to power 10,000 homes, according to its developer Ameresco, Inc. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii Island

UH telescope part of NASA’s $19.5M artificial star mission. A University of Hawaiʻi telescope on Maunakea will play a key role in a newly approved $19.5 million NASA space mission that will put an artificial “star” in orbit around the Earth. Maui Now.

DHHL plan would develop more than 1,300 acres at King’s Landing. On Saturday, a draft environmental assessment was published for the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands’ “King’s Landing Kuleana Homestead Settlement Plan” — a proposal to take several DHHL-owned parcels near Keaukaha totaling 1,334 acres and allow them to be developed as homestead land. Tribune-Herald.

Family of ‘Sammy’ Mwarey sues police department, cop.
The family of a 16-year-old Hilo High School junior who died after being struck as a pedestrian by an on-duty Hawaii Police Department officer driving a blue-and-white police cruiser is suing the department and the officer. Tribune-Herald.

Cop cleared in teen’s death.
An 18-year Hawaii Police Department veteran who was behind the wheel of a police cruiser when it struck and killed a 16-year-old pedestrian in January is back on duty. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaiian Monk Seal Relocated After Biting Divers Off Kona.
A Hawaiian monk seal that was said to be approaching and biting divers in the waters off Kona has been translocated to a remote island in Papahānaumokuākea.  Big Island Video News.


AES Hawai‘i begins operations of the state’s largest solar facility. The Kuihelani Solar-plus-Storage sits on 450 acres in central Maui, and is producing 60 megawatts of renewable energy supported by a 240 MWh lithium-ion battery energy storage system to supply 15% of Maui’s energy needs, Hawaiian Electric said in a statement. Star-Advertiser. Maui Now.

Kapono‘ai Molitau appointed Director of County Department of Oiwi Resources.
Molitau is founder and CEO of Native Intelligence, opened in 2009 as a Hawaiian cultural resource center and retail business in Wailuku. Maui News.

With 100s of fire survivors still in hotels, concerns about disaster’s impact on rental market grows. A deadline that caused some panic among Lahaina fire survivors has been extended again. Meanwhile, there’s growing frustration about how FEMA’s disaster response has destabilized Maui’s rental market. Hawaii News Now.

A village designed to house hundreds of Maui fire survivors is hitting a new roadblock. The day after the fires, Family Life Center started planning Ohana Hope Village. Hawaii News Now.


Tropic Care team ready for action on Kaua‘i. Tropic Care Kaua‘i is a medical mission from the United States Department of Defense; it is part of the defense department’s Innovative Readiness Training program. The Tropic Care team of about 200 military reservists includes nurses, doctors, pharmacists, optometrists, dermatologists and dentists from across the nation. Garden Island.

Annual report reveals rise in individual homelessness on Kaua‘i. While a newly released annual study showed an increase in individual homelessness it also revealed a decline in houseless families. Kauai Now.

Friday, June 7, 2024

COVID rising quickly, Honolulu salaries amendment set for ballot, government rests case in Miske trial, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hospitalizations, ER visits quickly rising in Hawaii due to COVID. On Wednesday the state Department of Health reported that a weekly average of 96 patients Opens in a new tab with COVID-19 were in hospitals per day compared with 55 reported the previous week. It is the highest number of hospitalizations the state has reported so far this year. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii Public Radio.  Hawaii News Now.

Why Aren’t More People Running For Office In Hawaii? Political polarization, the cost of running a successful race and hard-to-beat incumbents may all be discouraging candidates. Civil Beat.

Hawaii’s economic growth slows in 2024. Projections indicate that Hawaii’s economic growth will persist at a sluggish pace throughout 2024. KHON2.

Kamaka Air Cargo abruptly shuts down as it seeks essential managers. The voluntary shut-down of Kamaka Air Cargo continued Thursday, causing growing concern for neighbor island businesses and residents. Hawaii News Now.


Honolulu salaries amendment set for 2024 ballot. A resolution calling for a voter-approved charter amendment to cap the annual pay of the Honolulu City Council has advanced. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

Sand Island Wastewater Treatment Plant to get $174M in upgrades.
The City and County of Honolulu said it will begin upgrading the In-Vessel Bioconversion facilities at the Sand Island Wastewater Treatment Plant. Hawaii Public Radio.

100s of witnesses and 5 months later, government rests its case in Miske trial.
Prosecutors say Miske committed a series of organized crimes — from wire and bank fraud — and also allegedly ordered the murder of 21-year-old Jonathan Fraser in 2016. Hawaii News Now.

Oahu home sales and prices mostly cooled in May. The 2.2% slip in the median sale price for single-­family homes, to $1,085,000 in May from $1,109,000 in the same month in 2023, was the first year-over-year decrease in the single-family home median sale price for any month this year reported by the Honolulu Board of Realtors. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaiian Electric disables some safety features to prevent outages. Preventing power outages by turning off enhanced safety features is what Hawaiian Electric is doing in several neighborhoods on Oahu to stop underground power lines from faulting and shutting off electricity. KHON2.

Destroyed appliances, frequent headaches, no answers: Homeowner grapples with ‘dirty power’ nightmare. In a situation that could be happening to others, a Mililani Mauka woman is grappling with “dirty power” at her home — and after a year and a half of extensive troubleshooting, it’s still unclear what’s causing the surges and sags in electrical energy. Hawaii News Now.

50 years of Pacific cultural exchange on display at FestPAC waʻa ceremony. Dozens of canoes arrived on Kualoa Beach from Mōkapu, carrying delegates from more than 20 Pacific Island nations to kick off the Festival of the Pacific Arts and Culture. The festival aims to promote cultural exchange and highlight the importance of preserving and celebrating heritage. Hawaii Public Radio. Star-Advertiser.  Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Ex-Hawai‘i Island police officer pleads no contest to burglary, assault charges. A former Hawai‘i Island police officer pleaded no contest to assault and burglary charges in connection to an incident that occurred in Ocean View in August 2023. Big Island Now.

County DWS Says Laupāhoehoe Tap Water Safe To Drink. The Hawaiʻi County Department of Water Supply is reassuring the public that "no health risks are associated with the recent discovery of chromium in recent water samples from Laupāhoehoe Well P-2." Big Island Video News.

Maui-based company announces first Duke’s restaurant on Big Island. A new restaurant – Duke’s Kona – will debut at the Outrigger Kona Resort & Spa on the Big Island in late 2025. Big Island Now.


Maui Ethics Board Could Get Overdue Boost Through 2 Reforms Under Review. Voters could decide this November if the Maui Board of Ethics should be able to hire its own full-time staff and whether appointed members should be able to serve two consecutive terms. Civil Beat.

FEMA Wants Maui Homeowner To Repay $58,000 After Booting Her From Lease Program For Fire Survivors. Bettina Robinson's 900-square-foot home has been sitting empty since she joined the federal program in January. Civil Beat.

Council hears opposition to bill to restrict access to Holomua Road. After voting unanimously last month to restrict public access to Holomua Road because of concerns about the threat of brush fires and public safety in Pāʻia, Maui County Council members heard opposition earlier this week from homeless advocates arguing that closing the road would displace people who have nowhere else to live. Maui Now.

'Inexcusable': Maui lawmakers call for transparency over $29M contract they didn't know about. A $29 million investment to roll out conservation initiatives across Maui County properties that was initiated during the Victorino administration promised to save the county $73 million in utility and operational costs over the next 20 years.  KITV4.

Transair fills void for Lanai, Molokai cargo amid transition. A main cargo company for Molokai and Lanai has contracted another provider to temporarily continue services as it addresses management problems. Star-Advertiser.


Hanalei slope stabilization project expected to be completed in 2025.
An ongoing slope stabilization project along Kuhio Highway between Hanalei Plantation Road and ‘Ohiki Road has made it tough for motorists to navigate the area. Garden Island. Kauai Now.

National guard, partners: Weapons of mass destruction exercise on Kaua‘i this Friday. On June 7, a full-scale weapons of mass destruction exercise will be conducted from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Port Allen Small Boat Harbor on the southern coast of the Garden Isle. Kauai Now.

Monday, May 13, 2024

Accessory dwelling units proposed, state Supreme Court to consider vacation rentals on ag land, wildfire threat continues, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Divisive accessory dwellings bill raises concerns about packed neighborhoods. SB 3202 has been described by proponents as an innovative and bold strategy to help relieve a chronic short supply of affordable housing statewide. But the measure also attracted heavy public opposition and was described by one lawmaker as one of the worst products to come out of Hawaii’s Legislature. Star-Advertiser.

Incumbents are favored in lackluster election cycle. Hawaii Republican and Democratic Party primary elections often provide the most drama in a state dominated by Democrats. But this year only a couple of primary races scheduled for Aug. 10 are generating interest outside their district boundaries — notably a rematch between House Speaker Scott Saiki and Kim Coco Iwamoto to represent Ala Moana-Kakaako-­Downtown. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Lawmakers Had Big Ideas For How To Prevent Another Lahaina. Few Became Law. A House working group found a long list of things Hawaii needs to do to protect itself from fire, but many of those recommendations will fall to the new state fire marshal to implement. Civil Beat.

Conditions ripe in Hawaii for another fire disaster. In its latest seasonal outlook, the National Interagency Fire Center says the lee sides of the islands will experience “above average significant potential” for wildfires this month through at least August. Star-Advertiser. Tribune-Herald.  Maui News. KITV4.

Bills Would Increase Protection For Hawaiian Burial Sites.
Hawaii has some of the strongest laws in the United States governing historic burial locations, but lawmakers say more needs to be done to protect privately owned historic areas. Civil Beat.

Measures to fine illegal hikers for rescue fail. State lawmakers’ legislative attempts to seek reimbursement from hikers who are rescued after trespassing onto closed trails were stalled once again this year. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaiʻi nursing workforce has improved over last few years, according to new report.  There was a 31% increase in the number of advanced practice registered nurses and an 18% rise in registered nurses, according to a 2023 Nursing Workforce Supply Report released this week. Hawaii Public Radio.

Agricultural declaration forms on airplanes could soon be digital.
The state Legislature passed Senate Bill 2079 this session to allow the process to become completely electronic. Forms would be sent to travelers before they even board. Hawaii Public Radio.


Cameras could enforce speed limits on Oahu. Senate Bill 2443 directs DOT to enforce speed limits using cameras at 10 intersections where the agency already has cameras citing drivers running red lights. Star-Advertiser.

Trash company plagued with staffing shortages. Missed and delayed trash pickups by a private refuse company that brought pests and foul odors to housing complexes across the island were the result of ongoing staffing shortages. Star-Advertiser.

The Miske Trial: Witnesses Describe Bank Transactions. "Structuring" can be evidence of a racketeering conspiracy, the first and overarching charge against Mike Miske. Civil Beat.

‘Semisub’ owner convicted of defrauding investors, using funds on homes and psychics. A federal jury on Thursday convicted a Hawaii man for his role in a decade-long scheme to defraud investors of more than $28 million in connection with his company, “Semisub,” a tour boat that lowers itself to give passengers underwater views. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

STVRs on ag land goes before state high court. The Hawaii Supreme Court will on Thursday hear oral arguments in a five-year-old case challenging a 2019 Hawaii County ordinance limiting the establishment of short-term vacation rentals on land zoned as agricultural.  Tribune-Herald.

Pohoiki project moves ahead: BLNR approves permit to dredge channel
. The ramp, the sole boat launch in Puna, has been unusable since 2018, when the eruption of Kilauea deposited a roughly 11.6-acre black sand beach across the mouth of the ramp. Tribune-Herald.

Shipman looks for new space for Keaau Farmers Market vendors. W.H. Shipman Ltd. says it has “identified a couple temporary spots” for the Keaau Farmers Market and intends to have space available by June 1 so the vendors of the popular market can continue to sell fruits and vegetables to the Keaau community. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii Island’s Natural Population Drop Signals An Ominous Economic Trend. The natural decrease isn't the same as a population decline. The cause of the Big Island's natural decrease, demographer Karl Eschback said, appears to be that older people and retirees are moving to the island, while younger adults are moving away and not coming back. Civil Beat.


Maui County Reveals Plan To Hire Experts To Assess How It Responded To Wildfires. The Maui Emergency Management Agency will be evaluated again after a state report already documented communication breakdowns. Civil Beat.

Council committee to receive presentation on draft of county’s first official wetland map. A draft of Maui County’s first official wetland map will be presented to the Agriculture, Diversification, Environment and Public Transportation Committee by the Department of Planning on Monday at 1:30 p.m. Maui News.

Land Board approves purchase of Māʻalaea Mauka watershed lands.
The Board of Land and Natural Resources unanimously approved a proposal for the state to purchase nearly 257 acres at Pōhākea, also known as Māʻalaea Mauka, for $8.22 million. Maui Now.

Maui Planning Commission to hear further public testimony on Ledcor Maui draft EIS.
A project to build as many as 975 homes, including workforce housing, in the master-planned Wailea Resort community and a neighboring lot in Kīhei has begun drawing fire from opponents who say the Ledcor South Maui project’s draft environmental impact statement is inadequate. Maui Now.

Displaced Lahaina ʻohana moves into 1st completed modular home in Kahului — with more to come. Ke Ao Maluhia will be completed this summer. The $9 million project is a collaboration between the state, county, Hawai‘i Community Foundation, Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement and other agencies. Hawaii Public Radio.


Residents of a Kauaʻi condo are unsure about relocation plans following DHHL purchase. Condominium residents of the Courtyards at Waipouli Apartments on Kauaʻi are concerned that they will be displaced once the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands acquires the property. Hawaii Public Radio.

Public meeting set for Kaneka Street project
. The meeting will be held at the Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School cafeteria on May 16 and will cover Kaneka Street’s existing configuration and current safety concerns, along with plans to add sidewalks and bike lanes. Garden Island.

Yearslong black slime ‘nightmare’ now in court; Kaua‘i homeowners ‘fatigued’.  Six years have passed since three families purchased their first homes on Kaua‘i – and began an ordeal they claim has yet to end. Kauai Now.