Showing posts with label Sierra Club. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sierra Club. Show all posts

Friday, September 1, 2023

ACLU, others sue Green over emergency housing rules, raises coming for educational assistants, principals, AG probe into Lahaina fires to take 12 months, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

ACLU, other groups sue Green over emergency housing panel. A bold, unorthodox move by Gov. Josh Green in July to suspend a raft of state laws to speed up development of housing in Hawaii as a state emergency has come under more legal fire. The American Civil Liberties Union of Hawai‘i, the Sierra Club, three local community organizations and one state Land Use Commission member sued Green on Thursday in state Circuit Court on Oahu, alleging that the governor exceeded his legal authority in establishing an ad hoc “working group” to make alternate regulatory decisions on housing development projects. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii Public Radio.

Raises for Hawaii educational assistants, vice principals get tentative OK.  A tentative agreement that would raise the salaries of educational assistants and vice principals in Hawaii’s public schools was announced today by Gov. Josh Green. The average base salary for educational assistants would jump from $35,425 to $40,611 and vice principal pay would go from $96,912 to $116,292, starting in the 2024 fiscal year. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.   Civil Beat.

Hawaii’s Sentencing Process Is Complicating Efforts To Reform The Prison System. More aggressive minimum sentences coincide with severe overcrowding and deteriorating prison conditions. Civil Beat.

New Congressional Probe Targets Hawaiian Electric Over Deadly Maui Fires. Republicans in the House have announced two separate investigations into the Aug. 8 fire that killed at least 115 people in Lahaina. Civil Beat.
House Republicans seek answers on wildfire from Hawaiian Electric, state. Three members of the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce sent a letter Wednesday to the company, the state Public Utilities Commission and the Hawaii State Energy Office with questions about actions addressing fire risks before Aug. 8, a sequence of events that day and other things in connection with the regulated utility and the Maui disaster. Star-Advertiser.

Legislature should create authority to oversee Lahaina’s future, UHERO says. In its first forecast following the deadly Aug. 8 Lahaina fire, the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization on Thursday proposed the creation of a new entity to oversee what comes next for Lahaina over the years to come — to be created by the state Legislature. Star-Advertiser. Garden Island.

Probe of Aug. 8 wildfires on Maui to take 12 months. Professional fire investigators hired by the state attorney general have been probing the policies and performance of the state and Maui County during the Aug. 8 wildfires that killed at least 115 and displaced about 4,300 people. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Maui Now.

Hawaii investigates unsolicited land offers while trying to keep Lahaina in local hands. Hawaii Gov. Josh Green said today his administration has opened several investigations into people who have allegedly made unsolicited offers for property in the fire-stricken Maui town of Lahaina in violation of a new emergency order. Associated Press.


Company erects massive tanks in Kapolei for military to store fuel. The federal government sought alternatives last year to store fuel in Hawaii and contracted Island Energy Services, which built several storage tanks in Kapolei.  Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Hawaii Island

Former zoo veterinarian technician to head up Hawai‘i County’s newly established Animal Control and Protection. A zoo veterinarian technician from Melbourne, Florida, will head up Hawai‘i County’s newly established Animal Control and Protection Agency, starting Friday. Big Island Now.

Hawaii Care Choices to expand its offerings. Hawaii Care Choices will reopen its Pohai Malama Care Center facility in Hilo in the next few months as the care provider celebrates its 40th anniversary. Tribune-Herald.

U.S. Renal Care opens kidney dialysis clinic in Prince Kuhio Plaza. The other dialysis clinic in Hilo operating independent of a hospital is Liberty Dialysis, at the corner of Kinoole and West Lanikaula streets. Tribune-Herald.


More than 1,700 students from Lahaina public schools have not enrolled since the wildfire. The state Department of Education estimates that out of the nearly 3,000 students who were enrolled at four Lahaina public schools prior to the Aug. 8 wildfire, 1,757 of them have not enrolled in another public school or opted for distance learning.  Maui Now.

Gov. Green expects number of unaccounted to drop on Maui. An updated list of people unaccounted for in the wake of the deadly Aug. 8 Lahaina wildfire is due to be released today, and Gov. Josh Green said he expects the number to have dropped to “the lower double digits” — and perhaps below 50 — from the 388 names first released Aug. 24. Star-Advertiser.

Millions raised, how much is getting to Maui?  Millions of dollars have poured into organizations that provide relief after the Maui wildfires and officials said the money is starting to get to where it needs to go. KHON2.

Maui mayor details activities surrounding deadly Lahaina fire. Maui Mayor Richard Bissen on Thursday gave his account of the events surrounding the devastating fires of Aug. 8, saying that the “severe gravity of the impact was not clear in the initial hours” of what would become the deadliest U.S. wildfire in over a century. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Maui Now.  Maui News.  Hawaii News Now.

HTA approves $2.6M plan to aid Maui tourism economy.  An emergency declaration last month gave HTA access to a $5 million tourism special fund, which if needed could help the cash-strapped agency fund the tourism recovery plan. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.


Hanalei Hill slope stabilization work begins next week. A single-lane closure on Kūhiō Highway (Highway 560) is slated for the week of Sept. 5 as part of the Hanalei Hill Slope Stabilization project. Kauai Now.

Ground broken for Kapa‘a Pop Warner storage facility. Dignitaries from the Wescon Region Pop Warner, the Kaua‘i Pop Warner Football League, Kapa‘a Eagles Pop Warner, the Junior Olympic softball team and Kalani Construction broke ground Saturday on a new storage facility for Kapa‘a Pop Warner and the softball team at Bryan J. Baptiste Sports Complex next to Radford Sam Fong pavilion. Garden Island.

Outrigger acquires resort on Kauai. Outrigger Hospitality Group has finalized the purchase of Kaua‘i Beach Resort &Spa — the hotel company’s eighth global beach resort acquisition in the past three years and one of several new Hawaii investments. Star-Advertiser.

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Ige to announce relaxed restrictions this week, Las Vegas captain tapped for Maui police chief, Honolulu council to vet pick for city auditor, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy U>S. Navy
USS Daniel Inouye guided missile destroyer PC: U.S. Navy

New $1.5 billion-plus Navy destroyer USS Daniel Inouye heading for Hawaii. The Navy’s new “Go for Broke” destroyer named for U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye, a World War II hero and one of Hawaii’s most influential statesmen, is sailing to its new home port of Pearl Harbor and a Dec. 8 commissioning at Kilo Pier. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

Combative auditor hearings cross midpoint, with weeks to go. As the hearings enter their fourth week, resuming today for sessions slated to continue for about three more weeks, there has been no clear testimony presented — in public, at least — of obvious wrongdoing by state Auditor Les Kondo or his office. Star-Advertiser.

Trailblazing CEO Connie Lau will pass the torch at Hawaiian Electric Industries. Connie Lau, the longtime president and CEO of Hawaiian Electric Industries Inc., highest-paid female executive in the state, and a driving force behind the company’s move toward clean energy, is retiring at the end of this year. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.

Sierra Club Hawaiʻi Director Marti Townsend steps down.
The environmental organization’s new director is Wayne Tanaka — an attorney, engineer, and environmental advocate. Hawaii Public Radio. Maui Now.

First Hearing Held On Proposed Hawaiian Homes Bill
. The federal legislation ensures long-term tenancy to beneficiaries of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act and their successors, Kahele says, by reducing the successorship qualification of a lessee’s spouse, children, grandchildren and brothers or sisters from one quarter to one thirty-second Hawaiian. Big Island Video News.

Help wanted: Substitute teacher shortage stretches Hawaii public schools thin. The DOE said they are aware that in some rural areas, where there are general staffing shortages, it is challenging to secure substitutes. Some schools are taking it upon themselves to recruit educators. KHON2.

A+ program staffing shortage leaves hundreds of kids waiting and their parents scrambling
. At least 2,600 elementary school-age children — nearly 1,600 at the A+ program held at public schools on Oahu, served by YMCA of Honolulu, and 1,000 at schools on four islands, served by Kamaaina Kids — are on the waitlist in the current school year.  Star-Advertiser.

Gov. David Ige expected to announce relaxed restrictions this week. As Covid-19 case counts continue to drop, Gov. David Ige plans to announce relaxed restrictions later this week, a spokesperson for the governor told KITV-4 Tuesday. KITV4.

Hope for eager UH football fans: Ige says he’s looking to ease some COVID rules soon
. In a one-on-one interview with Hawaii News Now on Tuesday, Gov. David Ige said he’s planning a slow return for UH spectators. He said he hopes to make an announcement with the four county mayors about easing rules by Friday. Hawaii News Now.

Pandemic Hardships Have Made Hawaii’s Nursing Shortage Even Worse. As nurses left the profession, bottlenecks in education made it hard to replace them. Civil Beat.

With enough vaccine supply, DOH offers Pfizer booster shots to any adult who is eligible. Officials said those who had their second Pfizer shot at least six months ago and who feels they are at risk because of certain health conditions or their job, are eligible for a third dose. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii sees 91 new coronavirus cases, bringing statewide total to 80,414.
The new confirmed and probable infection count by island includes 53 new cases on Oahu, 12 on Maui, 15 on Hawaii Island, seven on Kauai and four Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state. Star-Advertiser.


Honolulu may soon have a new city auditor. The Honolulu City Council is expected to take up the nomination Wednesday of Arushi Kumar to head the office that conducts financial and performance evaluations of city departments, programs, activities and services. Hawaii Public Radio.

Oʻahu home prices continue hot streak, but there are signs of stabilization. The median price for a single-family home on Oʻahu rose to $1,050,000 in September. The median price for a condominium also rose last month to $480,000. Hawaii Public Radio. KHON2.

Old housing in Moiliili cleared for affordable midrise.
The blessing by Kahu Kordell Kekoa was part of a ceremonial groundbreaking for a 105-unit midrise apartment building on a site previously occupied by 26 residences in several low-rise apartments and one single-family home dating as far back as 1928. Star-Advertiser.

HART Effort To Hire Welders To Fix Rail Tracks Falls Flat. A recent effort by Honolulu rail officials to hire licensed welders who might help fix one of the transit system’s most basic problems, in which the train wheels don’t align properly with the track crossings, has come up empty. Civil Beat.

New UH COVID-19 prediction models show infection rates trending down.
In the latest report, scientists believe the Safe Access Oahu program that requires people to show their COVID-19 vaccination card or negative test result at most indoor spaces helped bring down case counts. KITV4.

Honolulu medical examiner's office using refrigerated containers for COVID-19 deaths. The medical examiner's office is also in the middle of a $5 million renovation to double its capacity, but construction is going to be another year and a half. Hawaii Public Radio.

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs on Friday announced the purchase of two commercial properties adjacent to its headquarters in Iwilei for $47 million. OHA intends to use the properties as a revenue generator and plans to keep Ross, Longs and PetSmart. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii Island

Ambitious audit plan set: Change orders, inventory, Fire Department, property taxes top list. An audit of contract change orders, property tax revenues, countywide inventory controls and performance of the Fire Department are among 13 projects slated this year by the county’s new auditor. West Hawaii Today.

Trailers could be allowed again at 5 transfer stations. At a Tuesday meeting of the County Council’s Regenerative Agriculture, Water, Energy and Environmental Management Committee, Ramzi Mansour, director of the Hawaii County Department of Environmental Management, said that five of the county’s 22 transfer stations could possibly be modified to once again allow people to use towable trailers to deposit waste. Tribune-Herald.


Las Vegas Police Captain Selected As Final Candidate For Maui Police Chief.
John Pelletier still needs to make it through pre-employment investigations before being appointed as the police chief. Civil Beat.  Maui Now.  Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Charter Commission Votes for Greater Public Access and Transparency. The Maui Charter Commission last Thursday voted to advance several Charter amendment proposals that, if approved by voters in November 2022, aims to bring greater integrity and transparency to County government operations.  Maui Now.


Council mulls using eminent domain for affordable housing. The Kaua‘i County Council will vote today on whether the county will use eminent domain to acquire a 23.5-acre parcel of land in Kilauea. Garden Island.

KFCC installs new slate of officers.
Nancy Apalla of the Kaua‘i Filipino Community Council said the group that oversees the many Filipino groups on Kaua‘i cannot get stopped because of the COVID-19 virus. Garden Island.

Monday, June 25, 2018

RIMPAC war games start this week, Sierra Club endorses Ige, vaping cannabis coming, $44M bonds for Honolulu rail, volcano just won't stop, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson departs San Diego in preparation for the ship’s participation in the Rim of the Pacific Exercise 2018. PC: Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Z.A. Landers
Rim of the Pacific, or RIMPAC, the world's largest maritime exercise coming to Hawaii, along with participants from 26 nations. The world's largest international maritime exercise kicks off this week, and large vessels will be sailing to Oahu as soon as Monday. Hawaii News Now.

The Sierra Club of Hawaii on Sunday endorsed Gov. David Ige for a second term during a sign- waving event at the state Capitol. Star-Advertiser.

The Sierra Club of Hawaii announced Sunday their endorsement of Governor David Ige for a second term. KHON2.

The Sierra Club of Hawaii announced it's endorsing Governor David Ige for re-election. KITV.
Marijuana dispensaries are preparing to sell cannabis oil cartridges starting next week so that patients can legally take the drug through vaping. Star-Advertiser.

Commentary: Campaign violations dim Kaniela Ing’s once-bright future. Star-Advertiser.


Caldwell Wants To Sell $44 Million In City Bonds For Rail. The Honolulu mayor said there’s a tight time line to gain council approval and start funneling city money to the project’s construction. Civil Beat.

A $1 billion radar to track what are expected to be increasingly complex ballistic and hypersonic missile threats to Hawaii may be positioned high on Kaena Point, prompting questions about its visual impact and access to hiking trails. Star-Advertiser.

Retired General’s New Mission: Prepare Central Oahu For Disaster. Braden Sakai thinks it’s time for Mililani to catch up with other communities that have emergency plans. Civil Beat.

Department of Parks requests to hire temporary grounds keepers to help maintain city parks. KHON2.

A proposal for two more 400-foot-tall buildings next to the Pacific Guardian Tower at Kapiolani Boulevard and Keeaumoku Street is the latest project in the area to seek approval from the Honolulu City Council to build higher than currently allowed. Star-Advertiser.

Civil War guns spark Hawaii classroom conflict. Mililani Middle School teacher Garret Ogata likes to make history feel real, so when he covers the American Civil War, he shares relics dating from that conflict: letters penned by soldiers on the battlefield, photographs, even antique firearms. Star-Advertiser.

‘Slap On The Wrist’ For The Diamond Head Hawker. Park officials said the small fine is still a good step because it means prosecutors are taking illegal park activities seriously. Civil Beat.

Providing homeless people with rides to shelters played a key role in a new effort that got 56 people from Waikiki to Chinatown off of the streets between April 4 and June 13. Star-Advertiser.

Special court helps direct homeless to services rather than jail or fines. Honolulu’s 18-month-old Community Outreach Court — aimed at low-level, nonviolent offenses committed by homeless people — doesn’t have the feel of a typical criminal proceeding. Star-Advertiser.

Why This Highway Plan Is The ‘Holy Grail’ Of Bicycle Safety Projects. Some residents question whether the benefit of wider shoulders between Mililani and Waipio outweighs the loss of a traffic lane. Civil Beat.

Law Enforcement’s Struggle To Help Honolulu’s Mentally Ill. Even with assistance from police psychologists, some emotionally disturbed residents keep officers returning again and again. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Island

There were two collapse explosions at Kilauea’s summit this weekend that released high energy but very little ash, according to the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. Star-Advertiser.

No end in sight: Explosions, eruptions continue rattling the Big Island. Hawaii News Now.

Lava has blocked road access to favorite shoreline sites. Star-Advertiser.

State parks chief: ‘Pele is in control now’. Lava Tree State Monument and MacKenzie State Recreation Area “are closed and will likely remain so for a very long time,” the state parks chief said Sunday. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii Eruption – The Tourism Tumult. When 2018 began, Hawaii Island's visitor industry was projecting big numbers. But then in May, everything changed. Big Island Video News.

With lava flows imploding the county budget, there’s a lot to worry about back home. But that hasn’t kept six of the nine County Council members from taking a few days off for the annual Hawaii State Association of Counties conference, held Thursday through Saturday in Waikiki. West Hawaii Today.

Commentary: State leaders should be devising plans now to help volcano-affected businesses recover. Star-Advertiser.

Construction of a permanent federal inspection station at Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keahole is expected to get underway next spring — and for substantially less than anticipated. West Hawaii Today.

Officials to discuss elevated risk cesspools pose, gather community feedback. West Hawaii Today.

An agreement between government agencies and a Hawaii private school system aims to protect and aid the recovery of 32 endangered plant and animal species on the Big Island. Hawaii News Now.


Maui Panel Discusses Quality of Life Issues Ahead of 2018 Election. Maui Now.

A new senior center and living and rehabilitation facilities could be in the works at the Kahului Community Center Park. Maui News.

Kahului Airport work in progress. Maui News.

Hearings on Young Brothers rate hikes set. The Public Utilities Commission will be holding public meetings next month on Maui, Molokai and Lanai to gather public testimony as it considers its final decision. Maui News.

Six Maui County companies received a share of $930,680 in grants awarded through the Hawaii Technology Development Corp. Manufacturing Assistance Program. Maui News.


CCK to host election forums. The Community Coalition Kauai, in co-sponsorship with the Hawaii Alliance for Progressive Action, announces its series of candidate forums that will start Thursday. Garden Island.

Kekaha resident and retired Army Ranger Harold Vidinha is running for Kauai County Council because he said people discuss problems among themselves, but nothing ever happens to bring forth change. Garden Island.

Kauai is expected to approach 70 percent renewable generation by the end of 2019 after receiving approval this week from the state Public Utilities Commission for development of a 19.3-megawatt solar facility along with a 70 megawatt-hour battery energy storage system. Star-Advertiser.

An estimated $6.5 million in Capital Improvement Project funding was authorized by the Hawaii Legislature for fiscal year 2019, including three critical projects on Kauai that will protect approximately 4,000 acres of priority watersheds through fencing. Maui Now.

The Hawaii Technology Development Corporation recently awarded $930,680 in Manufacturing Assistance Program grant funds to 29 Hawaii- based manufacturing companies. Garden Island.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Stable economy predicted, twin who drove off Maui cliff wants murder charge dismissed, free school bus rides for military kids, rail stations get Hawaiian names, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Waikiki shoppers copyright 2017 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Waikiki shoppers © 2017 All Hawaii News
The Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism is predicting stable economic growth for the next few years, after releasing its fourth quarter 2017 Statistical and Economic Report. Pacific Business News.

DBEDT predicts stable economic growth. The Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism released its fourth quarter 2017 Statistical and Economic Report Wednesday, which indicated Hawaii’s overall economic condition should remain stable into the next few years and predicted steady economic growth at around 1.5 percent. West Hawaii Today.

E-commerce has been good to Hawaii’s air cargo industry over the last 15 years, but inbound and outbound air freight volumes are still lagging decade-old peaks, a new state report shows. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii Tourism Authority will begin publishing monthly Hawaii hotel data starting next week after securing the rights from STR, the analytics firm that gathers the data. Pacific Business News.

Free bus rides considered for military kids. The idea is among possible changes to administrative rules that the Board of Education on Tuesday agreed to offer for consideration by the governor and the public. Star-Advertiser.

Scientific evidence on the pros and cons of medical cannabis is limited, but interest is strong, judging by the sold-out turnout at the first symposium on the subject at the University of Hawaii Medical School. Star-Advertiser.


The nine rail stations at the Ewa end of the city’s mass-transit line have been given Hawaiian names that experts say are reflective of ancient place names and legendary sites along the rail route. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation announced on Wednesday the Hawaiian names for nine rail stations on the Ewa end of the rail system, as recommended by the Hawaiian Station Naming Working Group. KITV.

Park users are complaining that the Sand Island State Recreation Area has become a haven for illegal dumping. Hawaii News Now.

A state judge has put a freeze on two Oahu properties on which an accountant is accused of paying for mortgages and improvements using money she stole from a nonprofit organization that serves adults and children with physical and developmental disabilities. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

The Sierra Club of Hawaii is asking the County of Hawaii to withdraw and amend the Draft​ ​Environmental​ ​Assessment​ ​​for​ ​the​ ​South​ ​Hilo​ ​Sanitary​ ​Landfill​. The environmental organization wants the draft document ​amended​ ​to​ ​include​ ​the​ ​option​ ​to​ ​capture​ ​and​ ​reuse​ ​methane​ ​gas. Big Island Video News.

Initiative expands scope in hopes of establishing Christmas tree industry on the Big Island. Christmas trees remain scarce and expensive on Hawaii Island, but a stand of fir trees on a remote Maunakea hillside might be the beginning of an island Christmas tree industry. Tribune-Herald.

Community members form new group to care for, improve skate park in Pahoa. Tribune-Herald.

Major commercial center pitched in Kailua-Kona. The Kailua Village Design Commission Tuesday night deferred taking action on a new 14-building commercial center proposed for Kailua-Kona. West Hawaii Today.

Company to expand amphibious tours. Tribune-Herald.


A murder charge against a woman accused of deliberately driving off a cliff in Hawaii and killing her identical twin sister should be dismissed because prosecutors misled the grand jury that indicted her, a defense attorney said. Associated Press.

Maui police officer busted for stealing on the job. Hawaii News Now.

Maui Managing Director Earns Credentialed Designation. The International Local Government Management Organization recently awarded Maui County Managing Director Keith Regan with the Credentialed Manager designation. MD Regan is now one of 1,400 local government management professionals currently credentialed through the ICMA Voluntary Credentialing Program. Maui News.


A former Kauai police detective who relocated to Oahu was issued a temporary restraining order against his neighbors after increasing conflicts. Garden Island.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Hirono leading Case in poll, Sierra Club fights Hannemann, Chinese tourists to double, Honolulu mayor vetoes beach business ban bill, Hawaii County resending yellow voter cards, Kauai kicking vendors off beach, Hawaiians distrust roll commission, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Ed Case, Mazie Hirono
Poll: U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono, lifted by the strong support of core Democratic voters, has a double-digit lead over former U.S. Rep. Ed Case in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate. Star-Advertiser.

The Sierra Club says it will "pour a lot of money" into a targeted mail campaign criticizing congressional candidate Mufi Hannemann's environmental record. KITV4.

Social media are the meat and potatoes of today’s political campaigns. And it's no different here in Hawaii. Civil Beat.

While China is still a small market for Hawaii tourism, the number of Chinese visitors to the Islands is projected to nearly double by 2015. Pacific Business News.

After spending 40 years in the trenches of the sovereignty movement, Native Hawaiian Roll Commissioner Mahealani Wendt says she fully understands why some Hawaiians are suspicious of the panel’s efforts to identify who should be involved in forming a self-governing entity. Honolulu Weekly.

The new agency tasked with developing state lands is hoping to move forward on its first projects — even though it hasn't finalized rules that govern its operations and establish the criteria by which projects are chosen. Civil Beat.

A new office at the state capitol is focused on Hawai`i’s youngest students and getting more keiki into preschool. Hawaii Public Radio.

A state lawmaker plans to introduce legislation to stop high-speed training by police in residential neighborhoods. KHON2.

State roundup for July 26. Associated Press.

A beach ban for businesses on beaches on Oahu’s windward coast was vetoed by Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle Wednesday. Civil Beat.

Mayor Peter Carlisle vetoed a bill on Wednesday designed to stop all commercial activity at Kailua Beach Park and clarified that most of the business conducted there is already illegal under a separate measure that became law on July 1. Star-Advertiser.

The City Council Budget Committee on Wednesday approved a resolution asking the city administration to restore recent cuts made to TheBus services. Star-Advertiser.

Just as the University of Hawaii is proposing a new bio-safety lab in Kalaeloa, it's having problems with its existing lab at the John A. Burns School of Medicine in Kakaako. Hawaii News Now.

The city's Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation, which is acquiring private property in the way of the city's 20-mile elevated steel on steel rail system, maintains its officials have treated private property owners along the route with respect and paid them the full value for the land the city has acquired. Hawaii Reporter.


Errors in assigned polling places on voter registration notices have prompted the County Elections Division to resend more than 101,000 of the yellow cards to voters next week. Tribune-Herald.

A trash-hauling study by the county Department of Environmental Management shows it is even less expensive to haul garbage from Hilo to Kona than first thought, and the hauling option is significantly less costly than either a new Hilo landfill or a waste-to-energy incinerator. West Hawaii Today.

A University of Hawaii professor is taking on a high-altitude water study that could open thousands of acres on Mauna Kea for farming and ranching, as well as bring more fresh water to Pohakuloa Training Area and Mauna Kea State Park. West Hawaii Today.

A Maryland-based ocean thermal energy developer is poised to build a test plant at the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii. West Hawaii Today.

The Hawaii Police Department is about to enter its final phase of efforts to achieve accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies. Tribune-Herald.

One of Hawai`i’s most popular eateries will be coming to Hilo next year when Zippy’s Restaurants opens its 26th Hawai`i location at the Prince Kuhio Plaza. KPUA.


The master-planned Honua'ula project in Wailea received a key approval Tuesday by the Maui Planning Commission that will allow development of the luxury golf community to move forward. Maui News.

Several boating accidents in the past year, including two in which people died, have prompted state officials to propose that boaters be required to take a safety course and that an advisory committee review ocean recreation safety rules in West Maui. Star-Advertiser.

Democratic candidates for the South Maui 11th House District seat expressed mostly opposition Tuesday night to Eclipse Development's work on two mega-malls in Kihei, with one candidate taking some flak for seeking to accommodate anticipated heavy traffic and not opposing the projects outright. Maui News.

Maui County will receive $800,000 in federal funds to build 10 new bus shelters in Wailuku, Kahului and Kihei. Maui News.


Kauai County officials on Tuesday and Wednesday told commercial tenants operating on the property immediately behind Black Pot Beach Park in Hanalei to vacate the land by today, as the county would be taking possession of the land. Garden Island.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie has signed a disaster declaration that will allow the state to make emergency repairs to a critical highway on Kauai that was damaged by waves last week. Associated Press.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Time to comment on the Superferry

The clock has started ticking on public comments about the environ-
mental impact of the Superferry. The state Department of Transportation today issued its Environmental Impact Statement, which found some negative impacts, but also suggested ways to mitigate them.

Comment period ends Feb. 23. Written comments should be snail-mailed or faxed to:

Katherine Kealoha, Director,
Office of Environmental Quality Control,
235 S. Beretania St., Suite 702,
Honolulu , HI 96813,
fax 808-586-4186;


Michael D. Formby, Deputy Director,
Department of Transportation Harbors Division,
79 S. Nimitz Highway, Honolulu, HI 96813,
fax 808-587-3652.

A Superferry spokesman said in a statement this afternoon that the company will continue to work to make its ship safe.

"The draft EIS combined with the data from over nine months of reliable service and 708 voyages provides a clear picture of our commitment to responsible operations and Environmental awareness. We remain committed to working with the state to address impacts raised by the draft EIS," the statement says.

Meanwhile the Hawaii Supreme Court is expected to rule soon on whether the EIS is enough: See a previous report.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Superferry: No Special Treatment

The Legislature didn’t craft a law specifically to bail out Hawaii Superferry after a court ruling last year temporarily grounded it, the Attorney General’s Office told a skeptical state Supreme Court today.

The five-member court took the matter under advisement, not saying when a ruling would be issued following about an hour of oral argument this morning.

At issue is Act 2, passed by the Legislature after an August 2007 Supreme Court ruling that required an environmental assessment before the Superferry could continue its interisland transport. Once the law was signed by Gov. Linda Lingle, a lower court vacated the Supreme Court’s injunction and the Superferry recommenced operations.

If the law was written strictly to benefit a “closed class,” it would be an unconstitutional abuse of legislative powers, said Isaac Hall, attorney for the Sierra Club, one of three groups filing the lawsuit. Hall contends the law was “conceived, cut and tailored” for the Superferry.

“The Superferry at that point could have appealed to the highest court … instead they appealed and we use that a little loosely, to the Legislature … They could have appealed to you; instead they appealed to the Legislature,” Hall said. “You as the highest court determined we were entitled to an (environmental assessment), and the Legislature can’t take that away from us.”

But the state maintains that Act 2 wasn’t created to benefit a closed class, because the law could apply to other businesses besides the Superferry. In theory, other high-speed ferry transports could come to Hawaii and benefit from the law, said First Deputy Attorney General Lisa Ginoza.

“The appeal is addressing the Legislature’s ability to deal with the important issues of the day,” Ginoza said. “The Legislature speaks on behalf of all of the people of the state … It’s perfectly within their authority to do so.”

But court justices seemed to be having a hard time grasping the concept that Act 2, created in a special session so soon after their ruling, could have been created to benefit any entity besides the Superferry.

“All other businesses have to comply with Act 343 (requiring an environmental assessment), correct?” asked Justice Paula A. Nakayama. “And how many business does Act 2 apply to?”

“Is there any entity that would fit that description except for Superferry?” asked Justice Simeon R. Acoba Jr.

Tough questions by the Supreme Court are just the latest the Hawaii Superferry has had to endure. A legislative auditor report issued yesterday said Act 2 undermines the state’s ability to protect the environment and could set a dangerous precedent.