Showing posts with label Red Hill. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Red Hill. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 9, 2024

Green signs bill banning seabed mining, ACLU drops homeless sweeps lawsuit, aid-in-dying prescriptions up 50%, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Governor signs bills aimed at protecting Hawaii’s environment. Gov. Josh Green on Monday signed a host of bills aimed at protecting Hawaii’s environment, including ones to better manage tourism and to study coastal erosion on Oahu’s North Shore that could serve as a template for the rest of the islands. Star-Advertiser. Tribune-Herald.

Hawai‘i Gov. Josh Green signs bill banning seabed mining in state waters. Hawai‘i Gov. Josh Green on Monday signed a state Senate bill prohibiting seabed mining in state waters – less than two weeks after 12 Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives sent a letter to President Joe Biden urging him to support a precautionary pause or moratorium on the new industry. Big Island Now.

DOH: Number of Hawaii patients using aid-in-dying prescriptions up by over 50%. The number of Hawaii patients using aid-in-dying prescriptions is up by over 50%, according to the state Health Department. A new DOH report shows 91 patients used the medications last year. Hawaii News Now.

Port security gets extra attention at RIMPAC. At this year’s iteration of the biennial Exercise Rim of the Pacific — the world’s largest naval exercise — port security is playing a prominent role as international conflict and competition put strains on global supply chains.  Star-Advertiser. Hawaii Public Radio.

OHA Candidates Offer Ideas For More Effective Help For Native Hawaiians.
Most of the challengers want to see funds reallocated to housing and education initiatives. Civil Beat.


ACLU Drops Homelessness Lawsuit Against Honolulu. The action comes less than two weeks after a consequential U.S. Supreme Court ruling that gave local governments more leeway to ban sleeping outside. Civil Beat.  Star-Advertiser.

New law seeks middle ground (and quick solutions) in erosion conflict. After years of fighting between beachfront homeowners on Oahu’s North Shore and the state over worsening erosion, a measure signed into law Monday has offered a temporary truce — and a potential pathway to a solution. Hawaii News Now.

Government pushes back against damages sought in high-stakes Red Hill water crisis case. The U.S. government says Red Hill plaintiffs are asking for too much money in their lawsuit and insists the entire Navy waterline wasn’t even contaminated. Hawaii News Now.

Police Union Fears HPD Can’t Recruit Its Way Out Of Its Staffing Crisis.
Instead, the union calls for a focus on retaining current officers. HPD has started offering a $25,000 signing bonus but says it is also taking steps to keep employees on board. Civil Beat.

Candidates To Replace Calvin Say On The Honolulu City Council Offer Contrasting Approaches. Three candidates are running — House Rep. Scott Nishimoto, nonprofit consultant Brendan Schultz and restaurant owner Bill Muneno — and they have different ideas of what a council member’s job should be.  Civil Beat.

State signs 50-year lease to continue operating North Shore's Kawaihāpai Airfield. The state has signed a 50-year lease with the U.S. Army at Kawaihāpai Airfield — formerly known as Dillingham Airfield. Hawaii Public Radio.

New affordable housing high-rise could be full by end of summer. The city announced last week that the Waikīkī Vista at 2441 Kapiʻolani Blvd. has already provided emergency shelter and transitional housing for 21 families. Another 23 affordable housing units are occupied, and five more move-ins are scheduled. Hawaii Public Radio. Hawaii News Now.

DLNR: Boat anchor suspected as cause of recent coral damage in Kewalo Basin. Though the damage at Kewalo is on a relatively smaller scale compared to some larger-scale impacts over the decades, it could still take years for the coral in this area to fully recover. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Hawaii Island

No action on Big Isle short-term vacation rentals: Council considers proposed economic-impact study before deciding new standards. A trio of bills — and several amendments for each one — that codify new standards for short-term rentals were the subject of an hours-long County Council committee hearing that ultimately ended with the matter being punted to a future meeting with the promise of further amendments to come. Tribune-Herald.

NASA’s Asteroid Hunting Telescope On Maunakea To Continue Under UH Management
. The Infrared Telescope Facility plays a key part of NASA’s planetary defense system, and the space agency's contract with the University of Hawaiʻi is valued at $85.5 million. Big Island Video News. Big Island Now.


Maui Planning Commission Vacancies Restrict Time Spent On Major Rental Housing Proposal. The Maui Planning Commission can only meet for an hour Tuesday to discuss what is arguably the most pressing policy debate moving through county government — Mayor Richard Bissen’s proposed phase-out of approximately 7,000 transient vacation rentals — because it won’t have enough members to keep the 9 a.m. meeting running past 10 a.m. Civil Beat. Maui Now.

Maui County looking for fire lawsuit settlement options. Thousands of people affected by the deadly Maui wildfires last August could soon be offered a settlement from Maui County. KHON2.

Some Lahaina homeowners hit with foreclosure notices on their burned homes. Foreclosure status for nonpayment is illegal for owner-occupant borrowers who have been granted forbearance. Hawaii Public Radio. Maui Now.


Travel-related dengue virus case reported on Kaua‘i.
This year there have been eight travel-related dengue cases identified in the state (one on Kauaʻi, two on Maui and five on Oʻahu).  Kauai Now.

Friday, June 14, 2024

Red Hill oversight panel shutdown controversy heats up, Maui County loses appeal in waste-to-energy project, bleak summer forecast for coral reefs, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

New Coral Disease Forecast Tool Shows High Risks Of Summer Outbreaks In Hawaii. Coral researchers in Hawaii recently developed a new early warning system that forecasts how likely it is for two common diseases to afflict those vital marine animals in the Pacific, and it already shows a strong chance of outbreaks across the Hawaiian archipelago this summer. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Wants To Expand Career-Based Learning But It Needs More Teachers. The state is giving out bonuses and may ease licensing requirements to address an ongoing shortage of instructors in career technical education. Civil Beat.

Pacific leaders of 5 island nations forge a political alliance in Hawaiʻi. Traditional leaders from across the Pacific are uniting to create the Oceania Traditional Leaders Forum, a dedicated space for ongoing dialogue and collaboration among Pacific nations. Hawaii Public Radio.

Kamaka Air has resumed inter-island air cargo service to all islands. The carrier announced the news Thursday after suddenly halting all flights last week due to staffing issues. Hawaii News Now. KHON2. KITV4. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaiʻi gas prices remain steady. The statewide average price for regular unleaded is $4.76, which is the same as week. The national average gas price is $3.46, two cents lower than last week.  Maui Now.


Hawaii Congressional Leaders Deny Supporting Shutdown Of Red Hill Oversight Panel. An EPA official was captured on video characterizing the delegation's stance, but the EPA now says that never happened. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

The City Stopped Mandating Parking In New Urban Housing. Builders Are Providing It Anyway. Honolulu is learning that people have a hard time parting with their cars. Developers know it and are paying millions to provide parking. Civil Beat.

City addresses utility’s power shut-off program. Starting July 1, Hawaiian Electric says it will cut off power to its customers when conditions prove too hazardous to life and property. Star-Advertiser.

New solar farm celebrated on Ewa plain. Developers of the 42-megawatt Kupono Solar project held a ceremony Thursday recognizing the completion of the facility, which began commercial service June 7 and also has batteries capable of storing four days’ worth of electricity produced by the roughly 120,000 solar panels on 131 acres of land leased from the Navy. Star-Advertiser.

Lawsuit filed against state, Catholic Charities and DHS. A civil lawsuit filed on behalf of a 5-year-old adopted son of Brandy Blas and Thomas Blas, who were charged with the murder and abuse of 10-year-old Geanna Bradley, reveals he had numerous scars and bruises and suffered from malnutrition and developmental delays. Star-Advertiser.

People stuck in elevators, traffic gridlock: Power outage triggers chaos in busy business district. The Downtown Honolulu power failure Thursday struck the center of Hawaii commerce and government, shutting down federal and state offices, courts and the work of thousands of office employees. The power went out about 10 a.m. and wasn’t restored until nine hours later. Hawaii News Now. Star-Advertiser. KITV4.

Hawaii Island

‘This is a broken system’: Effort to reform Child Welfare Services gains momentum. Concerned community members have banded together to reform Hawaii’s child welfare system to better serve the most vulnerable families and children. Tribune-Herald.

Summer Food Service Sites On Hawaiʻi Island Announced. Meals will be provided to all children from June 12th to July 19th at various sites around the Big Island. Big Island Video News.


Maui County Loses Appeal In Case Involving Waste-To-Energy Project. The Intermediate Court of Appeals found that the county should have done the environmental review of Anaergia Services' proposed sludge-drying facility. Civil Beat.

Maui Mayor Signs $1.7B County Budget Into Law. Mayor Richard Bissen signed the overall county budget bill into law Wednesday, ending any question about whether he would veto any parts of the final version the Maui County Council approved last week. Civil Beat. Maui Now.

Survey: Maui Fire Survivors Cite Urgent Financial Needs And Housing Instability As Major Concerns. The Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement issued a report highlighting a range of problems experienced by people who lived through last summer's deadly wildfires. Civil Beat.

Unsafe Water Advisory lifted for area L-6B in Lahaina. The Unsafe Water Advisory for Lahaina was amended to remove area L-6B, including properties primarily along Honoapiʻilani Highway and Ainakea Road, from Wahikuli Road to Kaniau Road. Maui Now.

MPD pledges action on fire safety gear for officers, but timeline unclear. MPD’s preliminary after-action report on the Lahaina wildfire confirmed most responding officers didn’t have basic equipment needed to keep them safe. Hawaii News Now.


Kauai firefighters battling 1,200-acre brushfire in Kokee. Firefighters from the Waimea and Hanapepe fire stations responded, along with the on-duty battalion chief, the Kauai Police Department, Kauai Department of Public Works, and the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources. Firefighters with the Pacific Missile Range Facility also responded. Star-Advertiser.  Garden Island. KHON2. KITV4.

Coquis found on Kauai after 2012 eradication. The Hawaii Department of Agriculture is working to stop the spread of coqui frogs on Kauai. 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.

Thursday, May 23, 2024

Condo owners hit with high insurance costs, climate change could bring more infectious disease, free flights offered to Maui fire survivors, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Condo Owners Are Starting To Feel The Pain From Rising Insurance Costs. Gov. Josh Green has created an advisory team to work on ways to stabilize the market which has been battered by climate-related catastrophes. Civil Beat. KHON2.

Scientists predict climate change will bring more infectious disease to Hawaiʻi .  As human-driven actions change the climate, they're also changing the landscape for infectious diseases. Health officials are grappling with what that means for Hawaiʻi. Hawaii Public Radio.

Schatz, Tokuda seek higher Medicare reimbursements for Hawaii physicians. U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz, alongside Hawaii’s congressional delegation, plans today to introduce new legislation seeking higher Medicare reimbursements for the state’s health care providers. Star-Advertiser.

Pacific Fleet gearing up for return of RIMPAC exercises to Hawaii. The U.S. Navy’s Pacific Fleet is gearing up for the biennial Rim of the Pacific exercise — better known as RIMPAC — set to begin next month. Star-Advertiser. Big Island Now.  Hawaii News Now.


Mitsunaga Secretary Acquitted For Bribery Could Still Face State Campaign Violations. For a decade, Terri Ann Otani made tens of thousands of dollars in donations to political candidates in the names of her family members, according to her relatives.  Civil Beat.

Legal analysts: Board of Water Supply’s $1.2B claim with Navy likely headed to lawsuit. The Board of Water Supply and Navy are corresponding with each other as part of the utility’s $1.2 billion claim aimed at recouping costs associated with the Red Hill fuel leaks. Despite the movement, legal analysts think the massive claim will likely end up in court. Hawaii News Now.

Health official discusses air monitoring plan as Navy prepares to vent Red Hill tanks. More than 100 million gallons of fuel have been drained from the Navy Red Hill underground fuel facility, but residual fumes could still pose a risk to workers and neighboring communities. Hawaii Public Radio.

City begins sales of license plate shaka decals.  Starting Thursday, the new shaka license plate decal will be available for purchase at any satellite city hall on Oahu to support efforts to reduce aggressive driving. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

Agriculture department surveys Waimanalo nursery for fire ants. The Hawaii Department of Agriculture says it is working with Pua Lani Landscape Design in Waimanalo to survey and treat little fire ants. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

More strategies mulled for feral pig conundrum. As the population of feral pigs on the Big Island continues to grow, county officials and residents are considering a wider range of solutions. Tribune-Herald.

Groundbreaking held for Waikoloa Village emergency route.
State and county officials celebrated the launch of a private project Tuesday to construct an emergency route out of Waikoloa Village. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News.  Big Island Now.

More details emerge after cockfight raid: 25 dead roosters, $20K in cash seized. Lehualani K. Kaleiwahea, 49, of Hilo, and her son, Isaac Dylan H. Ragasa-Kaleiwahea, 28, of Keaau were arrested and booked on suspicion of 29 counts of cruelty to animals, plus single counts of first- and second-degree promotion of gambling and first-degree possession of gambling records. Domonick Uchima, 37, of Kurtistown was arrested and booked on suspicion of second-degree promotion of gambling. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News.  Big Island Now.  KITV4.


Council passes fiscal 2025 budget on first reading.
The council met for the better part of the day in order to achieve the required passing of a budget. In total, the council entertained 18 bills and resolutions throughout the course of the meeting. Maui News. Maui Now.

Maui Care Flights to offer wildfire survivors free trips.
Gov. Josh Green on Wednesday announced a new program, Maui Care Flights, to provide thousands of round-trip flights for Maui families affected by the Aug. 8 wildfires. Star-Advertiser. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now.

A $2M gift to UH Maui College creates full scholarships for nursing students. A $2 million gift from the Gilbert and Aileen Chuck Foundation will provide full scholarships for nursing students in the University of Hawai’i Maui College starting this fall, according to a press release from the university. Maui News.

Luxury Housing Planned For South Maui Prompts Concerns Over Water, Traffic And Affordability. The $1.4 billion project envisions 975 high-end homes in and around the Wailea resort community that would cater to seasonal residents. Civil Beat.

Maui health center dealing with major tech issues, affecting thousands.
A medical center on Maui is experiencing major computer problems that are affecting thousands of patients. Malama I Ke Ola Health Center shut down abruptly earlier this month blaming IT issues. Hawaii News Now.

Lahaina Business Owners Dive Into Busy Travel Season. Additional opportunities have arisen in recent weeks as they navigate a new normal after the Aug. 8 fires. Civil Beat.


Hawaiian Host chocolate owners award four Kauaʻi students academic scholarships. The four Kauaʻi students were selected among a total of 59 recipients across the state, one from each of the qualifying public and independent school categories. Kauai Now.

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Group mapping out feral cat population, judge considers Red Hill compensation, Hawaii Tourism Authority gets negative rating, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Community invited to submit feral cat sightings to help protect native species. In the wake of the death of a nēnē gosling from a disease transmitted by cats, a nēnē research and conservation group is asking members of the community to report cat colony sightings. The group will put together a comprehensive cat map and work with policymakers to prioritize areas where feral cats and endangered native species are coming in contact. It’s the first statewide effort of its kind. Hawaii Public Radio.

HTA study examines reinventing tourism oversight. The Hawai‘i Tourism Authority received an unfavorable rating from 43% of the stakeholders who gave feedback to the contractor working on a tourism governance structure recommendation. Star-Advertiser.

Landmark coffee legislation to tighten labeling requirements nears final approval.
Senate Bill 2298 has passed through the state Legislature and is awaiting Gov. Josh Green’s signature to become law. It would require roasted, instant, or ready-to-drink coffee marketed as "locally sourced" to have at least 51% local coffee. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii bill would protect shelters that house homeless minors. A newly passed bill before Gov. Josh Green would protect homeless shelters that take in minors without the consent of their parents or guardians. Star-Advertiser.

Former UH Regents Chair To Oversee Hawaii Public School Facilities. Randy Moore will replace Curt Otaguro as one of three deputy superintendents in the Hawaii Department of Education. Civil Beat.

New law governing Tenant Screening Fees now in effect. Enacted as Act 200 (SLH 2023) and codified in Hawai‘i Revised Statutes § 521-46, the law prohibits a landlord from charging an applicant for a residential dwelling unit, a tenant screening fee that is more than the actual cost to obtain information about the applicant. Maui Now.


A Missouri River Court Decision Could Sink Hawaii’s Ala Wai Flood Control Plan. The nearly 30-year push to better protect one of Hawaii’s most populous watersheds from extreme rains and flooding has hit another snag, city leaders say — this time due to a federal court ruling that upholds farming interests along the Missouri River.  Civil Beat.

Judge In Red Hill Trial Takes On Question Of Compensation. Plaintiffs are seeking a combined sum of nearly $7 million for physical and mental harm related to Red Hill. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser.

A ‘High-Ranking Prosecutor’ Helped Mike Miske Out Of A Traffic Citation, HPD Officer Testifies. Without naming former Honolulu prosecutor Katherine Kealoha, the feds try to show how Miske used powerful connections to avoid legal trouble for years while operating a criminal enterprise. Civil Beat.

Honolulu agrees to 4-month window to grant or deny gun carrying licenses after lawsuit. Honolulu has agreed to grant or deny applications to carry guns in public within four months of submission in response to a lawsuit by residents who complained of delays of up to a year, according to a stipulation signed by a federal judge Friday. Associated Press.

HART director receives support at Council.
During a special budget hearing Monday morning, HART Executive Director and CEO Lori Kahi­kina, who’s come under fire in recent weeks from some on the board and has voiced concerns of her own over her future at the rail agency, got public backing from Council Vice Chair Esther Kia‘aina. Star-Advertiser.

Request To Halt Haiku Stairs’ Dismantling Denied By Judge.
Friends of Haiku Stairs argued during a court hearing Friday that the city didn't follow proper historic preservation procedures for dismantling the stairs. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.  KHON2.

Ala Moana Boulevard to close for pedestrian bridge work. State officials are issuing a traffic alert ahead of a full closure of Ala Moana Boulevard on Tuesday and Wednesday night for construction of the pedestrian bridge. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Study of PGV’s impacts on groundwater set to begin. A nearly $500,000 federal study of the impacts of Puna Geothermal Venture on Puna’s groundwater should begin soon. Tribune-Herald.

Akaka Falls State Park To Close Weekdays, Starting May 15. The temporary weekday closure is expected to run through the end of the month, the DLNR Division of State Parks says. Big Island Video News. Big Island Now.


'Unacceptable': critics testify against proposal for more telescopes on Haleakala. Tensions escalated during a public meeting Monday evening discussing a proposal from the Department of the Air Force to construct up to seven additional telescopes on Haleakala.  KITV4.

Inmate hospitalized after becoming unresponsive at MCCC.
A female inmate is in the hospital after becoming unresponsive at Maui Community Correctional Center on Monday. Hawaii News Now.


Kaua‘i poi to be served at dozens of Hawai‘i schools throughout May. To help increase local menu offerings in school lunches, three dozen public schools on Hawai‘i Island, Maui, Kaua‘i, and Moloka‘i will be offering fresh local poi as an accompanying lunch menu item to students and staff this month in honor of May Day. Kauai Now. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Wednesday, May 1, 2024

HECO seeks $250M line of credit, mulls asset sales, after Legislature rejects bailout bill; RFK Jr. wins access to Hawaii ballot; $1B pledged for new fiber links in Pacific, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

$1B is pledged for undersea internet cables. The Pacific Connect Initiative will create new fiber links between Hawaii and other Pacific regions. Civil Beat. Tribune-Herald.  Big Island Now.

Lawmakers Rejected A Bill To Bail Out HECO. Now What?  Hawaiian Electric Co. is seeking expedited regulatory approval to sell utility assets to obtain a $250 million line of credit to improve its financial stability.  Civil Beat. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaiian Electric readies plan for cutting power during wildfire risks. Hawaiian Electric Co. is preparing to roll out its plan for proactive power shutdowns for areas at high risk for wildfires during extreme weather. The utility hopes to launch its Public Safety Power Shutoff plan at the end of the month, with a targeted implementation date of July 1. Star-Advertiser.

RFK Jr. wins ballot access fight in Hawaii. The Democratic party of Hawaii will not appeal the decision to allow independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy  to appear on the Hawaii ballot this November. KITV4.

Lingering softness in arrivals to Hawaii threatens summer season. Visitors to Hawaii exceeded the expectations of some tourism industry officials in the first quarter, but results were still weak and are worsening for the peak summer season and beyond. Star-Advertiser.

Growing cruise industry latest in Hawaii’s tourism economy
. March 2024 saw a 40 percent increase in visitorship with over 12,000 people compared to 8,000 people who came in March of 2023. KHON2.

‘Do the right thing’: Hawaii wrongful imprisonment law isn’t working for 2 in high-profile cases. Two Hawaii men who were wrongly convicted and put behind bars for years are hitting another brick wall trying to win compensation. Their next stop may be the governor’s office. Hawaii News Now.


Ex-Honolulu Investigator Tells Jury He Swore To Facts In Theft Case He Had ‘No Idea’ About. Five people associated with a local engineering firm are accused of bribing former prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro to pursue a bogus theft case. Civil Beat.

Red Hill fuel spread through water quickly, expert testifies. Water system experts testified Tuesday on the second day of a class-action lawsuit against the U.S. government that tests may have missed contamination in the critical early days of the Red Hill fuel crisis. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii Public Radio.  Hawaii News Now.

Lifeguards want new department with oversight, HGEA poll finds. City and County of Honolulu lifeguards unanimously supported creating a new Department of Ocean Safety but overwhelming rejected Mayor Rick Blangiardi’s proposal on how to do that, according to a poll taken by their union. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Big Island Affordable Housing Production Open For Proposals May 1st. Nonprofits, for-profit organizations, and community land trusts can submit proposals to create "sustainable, inclusive, and affordable housing solutions" for residents. Big Island Video News.

Manono Street project clears another hurdle
. Despite some misgivings, a Hawaii County Council committee has approved a plan to redevelop a derelict Hilo residential lot. Tribune-Herald.

County Council gives favorable recommendation to resolution aimed at protecting nearly 30 acres in Pu‘uanahulu. The Hawai‘i County Council on Tuesday bolstered efforts to preserve and protect the cultural and natural resources on a nearly 30-acre parcel on the west side of the Big Island for education, gathering and cultural practices. Big Island Now.


New housing projects give hope to some Maui fire survivors
.  Ka La‘i Ola is expected to provide 450 interim homes for wildfire survivors who did not qualify for any type of federal aid. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.  Maui Now.  Hawaii News Now.

Trees for Lahaina. Marriott’s Maui Ocean Club Launches Garden in Support of Lahaina reforestation. Maui News.


Median home price leaps to $1.6 million in March on Kaua‘i.
  The median price of a single-family home on Kaua‘i was easily the highest among the four major islands and more than $1 million higher than median price on Hawai‘i Island, which was the lowest in the same period. Garden Island.

BLNR awards disputed Coco Palms state land to developer over nonprofit group. The state Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR) granted two contested state-owned parcels of Wailua land to the developer of the Coco Palms Resort, denying the application of a nonprofit organization opposed to the development at a recent meeting. Kauai Now.

Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Senate President Kouchi investigated by FBI; Legislature socks away $435M for contingencies, retirement fund; Kilauea unrest prompts closures, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii Senate President Ron Kouchi’s Ties To A Convicted Businessman. Milton Choy recorded meetings with Kouchi as part of an FBI investigation but there's been no evidence revealed that the senator committed any wrongdoing. Senate President Ron Kouchi was for years among Milton Choy’s close allies, giving the recently convicted businessman access to the inner circle of Hawaii’s politicians where Choy could try to influence legislation, a Civil Beat investigation into Choy’s political dealings uncovered. Civil Beat.

Hawaii lawmakers aim to enlarge ‘rainy day’ and retirement funds. House and Senate negotiators during a Friday evening meeting agreed to appropriate a $300 million deposit into the state’s emergency and budget reserve fund, also known as the “rainy day” fund, and $135 million into a trust fund to pay for future retirement benefits of Hawaii government workers. Star-Advertiser.

HECO's future remains uncertain as governor attempts to revive securitization bill. As of Sunday, neither the spokesperson for the Senate nor the governor's office had any updates on the status of the bill. No additional hearings had been scheduled for the bill on Monday morning.  Hawaii Public Radio.

Car Insurance, Speed Cameras And Slow Drivers Caught Lawmakers’ Attention This Session. The cost of auto insurance could soon be going up for thousands of Hawaii drivers. Other bills  lawmakers advanced this year will make changes in the rules of the road, including a measure to use cameras to ticket speeding motorists and another to require that slow-moving drivers on two-lane highways pull over and let the cars behind them pass. Civil Beat.

Nonprofits seek help as poverty in Hawaii hits 15%. Child &Family Service put out a call to action to other nonprofits Monday to join it in the battle to fight the harmful effects of poverty in Hawaii, where an estimated 15% of families are living below federal poverty guidelines. Star-Advertiser.

Education bills advance to full House and Senate. House and Senate conference committees plan to forward a host of education-­related bills this week to the full House and Senate for final approval, including a statewide registry that would document and share all school staff misdeeds, along with other bills to ease qualifications for teacher licenses in Hawaii and provide more funding for Hawaiian immersion education. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii is known for its macadamia nuts. Lawmakers want to keep it that way. The stakes are high for Hawaii’s 600-plus macadamia nut farmers, many of whom have small operations. Combined, they produced $62.7 million in nuts in 2021, just ahead of coffee in value and second only to seed farms that research genetically engineered corn. Associated Press.

Legislation would fund programs to help control the feral chickens. A pair of bills on the verge of passing the state Legislature would allocate $50,000 to each of the state’s four counties in order to develop management programs to address the growing feral chicken population — which, the bills argue, present not just a public nuisance but a legitimate public safety concern. Tribune-Herald.

Cancellation of ‘NCIS: Hawaii’ deals big blow to fans — and to Hawaii’s economy. After three seasons, the TV series “NCIS: Hawaii” that employed some 400 people will air its final episode in about a week. Hawaii News Now.


Families Testify In Red Hill Trial How Fuel Made Them Sick As Feds Express Doubt. Witnesses testified they became extremely ill after drinking the Navy's contaminated water. Government attorneys countered their exposure was brief. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii Public Radio. KHON2.  KITV4.

Former Deputy Prosecutor Says He Had Probable Cause To Charge Honolulu Architect With Theft.
Jacob Delaplane testified in the ongoing bribery trial of former Honolulu prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro about the theft charges he filed against Laurel Mau in 2014. Civil Beat.

Inmate missing after court transport was chased off jail property by corrections officers: Sources. An Oahu Community Correctional Center inmate was somehow lost during a court transport Friday afternoon and then told to leave the jail property when corrections officers didn’t know who he was. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Hawaii Island

Yagong, county settle lawsuit over legal fees: Ex-council chairman sought more than $300K. Dominic Yagong filed the suit in 2022 seeking reimbursement of almost $306,000 in legal fees he said he incurred successfully defending himself against a defamation lawsuit. Tribune-Herald.

Closures In Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park Expanded Due To High Seismicity. In the late afternoon, the National Park Service expanded the closures to include the Chain of Craters Road from the intersection at Crater Rim Drive.  Big Island Video News. Tribune-Herald.  Big Island Now.  Hawaii News Now.  KHON2.

County Looks To Acquire ʻAnaehoʻomalu Coastal Lands. The County of Hawaiʻi could be looking to acquire 27-acres of land in the area of ʻAnaehoʻomalu, a parcel on the South Kohala coast that was identified late last year as a top priority for preservation.  Big Island Video News.

Nearly 5 tons in tires removed from Kailua Bay.
  The ocean floor is littered with nets, old car parts, barrels, derelict fishing gear, glass and plastic bottles and trash in general. Big Island Now.


Air Force proposes facility consisting of up to seven telescopes at Haleakalā on Maui. The Department of the Air Force is proposing to construct and operate the Air Force Maui Optical and Supercomputing Site Small Telescope Advanced Research (AMOS STAR) facility on the island of Maui. Maui Now.

Maui fire compensation fund deadline is extended. Families who lost a loved one in the deadly Aug. 8 Maui wildfires — or victims who suffered serious injuries — now have until May 31 to register for the One ‘Ohana Fund, which offers them financial compensation. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

Maui Food Bank says distribution demand is up 65% since August wildfires
. Since the Maui wildfires devastated communities more than eight months ago, Maui Food Bank has seen a staggering rise in the demand for food. Hawaii Public Radio.

New County Recovery Permit Center now open in Kahului. The new County of Maui Recovery Permit Center officially opened its doors in Kahului on Monday, providing a vital resource for those who are looking to rebuild in fire-affected areas in Lahaina and Kula as they navigate the permitting process and take the next step toward returning home. Maui Now. Maui News.  KITV4.

Fine for 2023 Maui yacht grounding skyrockets to $1.8M.  The parties that damaged coral and live rock near Honolua Bay with a yacht in early 2023 were originally fined $117,000. Now they're on the hook for $1.8 million. Hawaii Public Radio. Maui News.

MHS transports 50 cats to Silicon Valley.
After taking in more than 880 displaced animals from the August 8, 2023, wildfires, Maui Humane Society is continuing to face capacity challenges with cats rescued from the Lahaina burn zone.  Maui News.


BLNR approves public auction of Wailua land parcel despite overwhelming opposition. Despite concerns over cultural preservation and climate change, a small plot of state-owned land in Wailua, Kauaʻi, near the old Coco Palms Resort, will be put up for public auction. Hawaii Public Radio.

Construction work on tap for recreational areas. A couple of County of Kaua‘i recreational areas are being closed in order for maintenance work to be done ahead of the summer season. Garden Island.

Monday, April 29, 2024

House-Senate negotiators agree on biggest tax cut yet, COVID hazard pay cost jumps to $449M, second round of health-care debt forgiveness begins, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii residents could see biggest tax cut yet. Hawaii taxpayers could be seeing phased state income tax cuts that over eight years amount to the biggest reduction in state history. A measure approved by House and Senate negotiators Friday,  House Bill 2404, would double the standard deduction for the 2024 tax year and then keep raising it every two years through 2030. Star-Advertiser.

State to pay $449M for government worker pandemic hazard pay. The state will have to pay $449 million to compensate government employees for coming to work during the COVID-19 pandemic. The cost is about $150 million over previous estimates by the Department of Budget and Finance. Hawaii Public Radio.

New round of debt forgiveness begins for Hawaii healthcare professionals.  Gov. Josh Green, in partnership with the University of Hawaii’s John A. Burns School of Medicine, the Healthcare Association of Hawaii and the state Department of Health, developed the Healthcare Education Loan Repayment Program (HELP) to pay off up to $50,000 for each of two years as long as health care providers commit to accepting public insurance for at least 30% of their patient care claims. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii lawmakers reduce financial grants.
Hawaii’s Legislature approved $30 million in grants this year to around 150 applicants amid a challenging budgetary picture that included the need to appropriate roughly $1 billion for Maui wildfire response and recovery work. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaiʻi is one step closer to having a state fire marshal. Lawmakers in conference committee, one of the final legislative hurdles, have passed Senate Bill 2085 to establish a dedicated fire marshal who will direct statewide efforts to prevent and respond to fires. Hawaiʻi is the only state without one. Hawaii Public Radio.

Governor approves broadband equity access and development state match plan. Governor Josh Green approved the use of $33 million in state funds for the state match plan for the Broadband Equity Access and Development (BEAD) grant program on Friday, April 27. Eight programs will be funded with this grant which will have a statewide impact on ensuring Hawai‘i’s goal toward universal broadband access.  Big Island Now.

Frequent Withdrawals Of Nominees Hinder Green’s Efforts To Fill Boards And Commissions. More than 10% of the governor’s nominees have been pulled back this year. Civil Beat.

Governor Backs Effort To Stem The Tide Of Invasive Species In Hawaii. The biosecurity measure is one of two key pieces of legislation that will strengthen the efforts of the Department of Agriculture. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Tourism Agency campaign targets U.S. market. Hawaii’s hotel booking pace is in the red through December, but legislative funding has allowed the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority to support a new multimillion dollar marketing campaign aimed at U.S. visitors. Star-Advertiser.

Flat Golden Week foretells a sluggish Japan tourism recovery in Hawaii. Golden Week, the traditional peak Japanese travel season, is better this year than last, but it isn’t the gold mine that it once was because Hawaii is losing ground to competing destinations during this holiday period and beyond. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii child abuse cases decrease, according to 2023 statistics. Last year, 1,800 total cases were reported — a decrease of over 300 reported the year before. Hawaii News Now.


Trial starts today in federal lawsuits over military jet fuel leak. 17 relatives of U.S. military members suing the United States over the leak from the World War II-era storage tanks. The 17 are considered “bellwether” plaintiffs representing more than 7,500 other military family members, civilians and service members in three federal lawsuits.  Associated Press.

Officers posted outside Mayor’s office after alleged heated discussion with Ocean Safety chief.  Honolulu police officers are posted outside the Mayor’s office at Honolulu Hale after an alleged heated discussion between the Mayor and the Division Chief of Ocean Safety. John Titchen was put on unpaid administrative leave this week. Hawaii News Now.

Ocean Safety Task Force members critical of process. Some who served on Mayor Rick Blangiardi’s Ocean Safety Task Force to help form the new public safety department say they were fed up with the outcome. Star-Advertiser.

Financial woes plague state’s free dental clinic. After serving Hawaii’s low-income population for over 20 years, the state’s only free dental clinic might be forced to close its doors this summer. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Hawaiʻi Volcanoes Road, Cabins Closed Due To Sharp Increase In Earthquakes. Hilina Pali Road is closed on the Upper East Rift Zone, where 250 earthquakes have occurred in the past 24 hours. Big Island Video News. KHON2.

Union Says Big Island Wastewater Plants Are Dangerously Understaffed. It's not uncommon for a lone worker to be responsible for operating sewage treatment facilities that have been plagued with problems. Civil Beat.

Draft EIS: PTA lease extension could have adverse impact. A draft environmental impact statement released earlier this month about the Army’s proposal to renew its lease on up to 22,750 acres of state land at Pohakuloa Training Area indicated that granting the extension could have an adverse impact on Hawaiian cultural practices and environmental justice. Tribune-Herald.

A solution for insurance crisis? Some Puna residents pursue member-owned insurance cooperative. After most of the recently proposed legislative solutions have failed, Puna residents are hoping they can solve their district’s impending housing insurance crisis. Tribune-Herald.

Light at the end of the tunnel for Hakalau park. The long-closed Hakalau Beach Park will reopen more than a decade after being shut to the public according to a state Department of Transportation document. Tribune-Herald.


Missing Maui County documents complicate Lahaina fire probe. Missing Maui Emergency Management Agency documents make it “difficult to make a complete and accurate accounting” of activities inside the Emergency Operations Center on Aug. 8 when fires killed 101 people, burned 6,721 acres and left 8,000 people homeless, according to the state attorney general.  Star-Advertiser.

37 Fires Along One Maui Road This Year Alone Have Residents Of Nearby Town On Edge. In the aftermath of the Lahaina tragedy, officials are stepping up efforts to protect Paia and other areas considered at high risk.  Civil Beat.

Emergency slope repairs will close remote Alelele Point roadway 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays starting May 1.  A portion of remote county roadway at Alelele Point near Mile Marker 39 will be closed to all traffic, with the exception of emergency vehicles, between 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday starting May 1, 2024, due to an emergency slope repair project on the makai side of the road, according to a County of Maui Department of Public Works announcement today. The road closure is expected to last five months, the department said. Maui Now.

Rebuilding Lahaina: Homeowners In The Seaside Town May Get A Reprieve From Coastal Zone Rules. Shoreline setbacks or a retreat from the water so far aren't getting much traction under state and county planning efforts. Civil Beat.


Storm damage assessment process continues on Kaua‘i. Local, state and federal officials will embark on a process aimed at validating damage data from heavy rainfall and subsequent flooding earlier this month on the island. Garden Island. Kauai Now.

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Pay to Play persists at state Capitol, Gov. Green outlines path to renewable energy goal, Maui fire chief unveils wildfire after-action report, Navy nixes Oahu landfill site, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Inside the Late-Night Parties Where Hawaii Politicians Raked In Money.  For the better part of a decade, some of Hawaii’s most powerful people huddled together at late-night parties in a cramped second-floor office where lobbyists and executives seeking government contracts lined up to drop cash and checks into a metal lockbox. Wesley Yonamine, the host and a high-ranking airport official, would, together with the politicians, pop open the box and dole out campaign contributions according to a list of pledges obtained before each event. Civil Beat.

Here's how measures pass a final hurdle before reaching the governor. The 2024 Hawaiʻi legislative session is in the home stretch, also known as conference committee. From April 15 to 26, legislators from both chambers will meet in conference committee to hash out their differences and discuss the exact wording for a final bill. Hawaii Public Radio.

Latest UH Board Of Regents Nominee Approved By Senate Committee — And Its Influential Chair. Sen. Donna Kim was pleased that Michael Miyahira shares her views on Senate oversight of the University of Hawaii. Civil Beat.

Will ratepayers will be on the hook for HECO's wildfire costs? Several utilities, including Hawaiian Electric, have eyed ratepayer-backed bonds as a possible avenue to recoup some of those costs. Hawaii Public Radio.

Lawmakers urge investigation, following power blackouts on Big Island and O‘ahu. In light of multiple power outages on the Big Island and O‘ahu this past weekend, three state senators sent a letter to the Public Utilities Commission expressing concern about the recent power blackouts. Big Island Now.

Land board defers decision on appraisal of lands leased by US Army
. U.S. Army leases on Oʻahu and Hawaiʻi Island expire in five years, and the Board of Land and Natural Resources is considering a land exchange as an alternative to new leases. Hawaii Public Radio.

Governor Josh Green outlines diverse energy strategies for Hawaii's renewable goals. Governor Josh Green outlined alternate energy ideas to help the state reach its renewable energy goal: Using 100% renewable energy by 2045. KITV4.


Proposals For Reforming Honolulu’s Pay Raise Process Split On The Question Of Who Should Decide. Seven charter amendments are currently being considered by council members, and the big question is who should get the final say on salary proposals. Civil Beat.

Another Miske Associate Turned Government Witness Takes The Stand. Will Jurors Trust Him? Observers say witnesses who've flipped on alleged racketeering boss Michael Miske can be hard for jurors to trust because of their own criminal backgrounds and incentives to lie. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.

Navy nixes possible city landfill site. The Navy will not allow the City and County of Hono­lulu to locate a new landfill on Waipio Peninsula near Joint Base Pearl Harbor­-Hickam, the city announced Tuesday. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.  KHON2.  KITV4.

Not Just Red Hill: Hundreds Of Military Fuel Depots Threaten Environment And Public Health. A new federal report, ordered after the Red Hill crisis, uncovered oversight weaknesses at hundreds of the military's fuel storage sites. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser.

Navy removes toxic firefighting foam from Red Hill facility. The Navy as of Monday had removed just over 1,000 gallons of aqueous film forming foam concentrate — a toxic fire suppressant containing “forever chemicals” — from its AFFF system at the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility. Star-Advertiser.

Threatening note shutters 2 Oahu private schools
. A note threatening gun violence at Damien Memorial School in Kalihi and Maryknoll School in Makiki prompted lockdowns and cancellation of classes and events Tuesday. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

Homeless sweep spanning over 1 mile to shut down West Oahu Beach park for a week. Councilmember Andria Tupola says she requested the cleanup after two years of outreach.  Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Dodgers’ Shohei Ohtani invests over $17M in Hawaii Island mansion.
Ohtani reportedly just bought a property at the Mauna Kea Resort on Hawaii Island. The property is expected to be worth $17.3 million as Ohtani becomes the face of the resort line as part of its marketing strategy. Hawaii News Now.

Glenwood Recycling and Transfer Station to reopen Friday. Glenwood Recycling and Transfer Station will revert to its normal schedule of 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday, Tuesday, and Friday. Volcano Recycling and Transfer Station will revert to its normal schedule of 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, Thursday, Saturday (closed Friday, April 19). Big Island Now.

Nene gosling found dead in popular Hilo park. Patrons of Lili‘uokalani Park and Gardens in Hilo were disheartened recently to learn about the death of a nene gosling in the park. Tribune-Herald.


Be Prepared: Maui Fire After-Action Report Details Need For More Equipment And Better Management. The independent report makes 111 recommendations that could guide Maui and other isolated communities to prevent another Lahaina tragedy. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser.  Associated Press. Maui Now.

Maui High announces $10M endowment from alum. Maui High School announced Tuesday it will receive a $10 million endowment from an alum who prefers to remain anonymous. Star-Advertiser. Maui News.


Damage assessments, clean-up continue on Kaua‘i; farmers, ranchers advised to document damages. The Kaua‘i Emergency Operations Center remains partially activated after last week’s flooding events, as county and state officials continue to address various recovery efforts islandwide. Kauai Now.

Niumalu Bridge closed until further notice due to flood damage. The Niumalu Bridge in Nāwiliwili on the East Side of Kaua‘i is closed until further notice due to damage from the recent flood event, county officials reported Tuesday evening. Kauai Now.