Showing posts with label Skyline. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Skyline. Show all posts

Friday, March 8, 2024

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Hawaii Island

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

Friday, February 23, 2024

Economists predict slow but stable growth, Kaneshiro corruption case expands to contract killing allegations, Buttigieg rides the rail, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

UHERO: ‘Resilient’ US Economy, Return Of Tourists Bolster Hawaii’s Outlook. UHERO Executive Director Carl Bonham said Thursday at a news conference to discuss UHERO’s first-quarter forecast that “the overall picture is one of sort of continued growth but much, much slower and, going forward, even slower growth.” Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Education Department braces for severe budget cuts.
State education officials say that between a new round of possible state budget cuts on top of a looming “federal fiscal cliff,” they are are bracing for a triple punch to the funding of Hawaii’s public school system. Star-Advertiser.

Senate WAM Committee advances bills on wildfire emergencies, workforce development. The Hawaiʻi State Senate Committee on Ways and Means advanced several bills aimed at addressing key priorities for the Senate, including legislation covering areas of wildfire preparedness and workforce development. Maui Now.

Funding bill to settle claims against the state advances. The House Committee on Finance on Thursday passed an appropriations bill to cover payments for claims against the state, its officers and employees. Tribune-Herald.

Class-Action Lawsuit Targets Aggressive Cosmetic Vendors. The Hawaii Office of Consumer Protection is notifying victims of aggressive cosmetic salespeople that they may be entitled to join a class-action lawsuit aimed at recouping money spent on unwanted purchases. Civil Beat.


Feds Are Confident Honolulu Rail Is Finally Moving In The Right Direction. U.S. Transportation Secretary Peter Buttigieg expressed strong support Thursday for Honolulu’s long-struggling Skyline rail line and even took a ride along the partially opened system, part of his daylong tour of transit, harbor and airport infrastructure projects across Oahu. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.  KITV4.

Defendant in public corruption case now part of a contract killer investigation. The FBI is investigating an alleged murder for hire plot targeting a federal judge and the special prosecutor involved in the upcoming public corruption trial involving Keith Kaneshiro, Honolulu’s longest serving prosecuting attorney, and employees of a politically connected engineering firm. Hawaii News Now.

Ala Wai harbor parking contract being contested.
The state Department of Land and Natural Resources and Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation today are expected to submit requests to the Board of Land and Natural Resources to deny three petitioners’ requests to hold contested case hearings. Star-Advertiser.

Community members react to possible new plans for Pali Lanes in Kailua.
Developer and property owner Alexander & Baldwin proposed redevelopment plans for a registered Hawaii Historic Landmark, Pali Lanes, which closed down over two years ago. KITV4.

Police focus on stopping smash-and-grab burglaries. The Honolulu Police Department says it is meeting with some success in ongoing operations to thwart smash-and-grab burglaries across Oahu, which have been on the uptick over the past few months. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now. KHON2. KITV4.

Hawaii Island

HVNP seeks public input for Kilauea summit plan. The National Park Service announced Thursday that it is developing a Kilauea Summit Area and Corridor Management Plan, a document that eventually will allow the NPS to better manage the transportation infrastructure around and within the park to reduce frequent traffic delays. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News.  Big Island Now.

County Clears Encampments At Kona Community Aquatic Center. County officials conducted another park rules enforcement operation in Kona on Thursday morning. Six individuals accepted offers for housing and other services. Big Island Video News. Big Island Now.

Possible Unexploded Ordnance Found Off Waikoloa Road. On Thursday afternoon, police said they were coordinating with the U. S. Army Explosive Ordnance Division for disposal of the 75 mm projectile. Big Island Video News. Big Island Now.

Big Island astronomers laud success of lunar mission. Hawaii astronomers were over the moon Thursday after a private commercial company’s spacecraft made the first successful American moon landing in more than 50 years. Tribune-Herald.


Group asks for extension of emergency protections for tenants facing evictions. A group rallying to help secondary victims of the August wildfires is asking Gov. Josh Green to extend protections for tenants facing evictions from landlords seeking more lucrative rental income tied to subsidized housing for displaced fire survivors. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now.

New MEMA head shares goals for the agency in first media interview. In his very first news interview as Maui’s recently installed top emergency management official, Amos Lonokailua-Hewett outlines his vision for the future of disaster response in the county.  KITV4.

War Memorial Gym gets major facelift. The gym is to be upgraded into a category-five-rated hurricane shelter.  Maui News.

New School Will Welcome Lahaina’s Hawaiian Immersion Students In April. A temporary campus being built to replace the destroyed King Kamehameha III Elementary School will also accommodate Hawaiian immersion students. Civil Beat.


Arson reported at multiple Kaua‘i parks; officials advise public to be vigilant. Trees at Lydgate Beach Park, ‘Anini Beach Park and Anahola Beach Park were recently found burned. Kauai Now.

Friday, February 2, 2024

Lawmakers mull statewide vacation rental ban, HECO cleared to spend $190M to harden electric grid, money pouring in to campaign coffers, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

A Statewide Ban On Vacation Rentals? The Idea Is Gaining Steam After The Maui Fires. Lawmakers are considering making it easier for counties to do away with short-term rentals altogether. Currently, 5.5% or 30,000 of Hawaii’s 557,000 total housing units operate as short-term rentals, according to the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization’s “Hawaii Housing Factbook,” published in June. Civil Beat.

Hawaiian Electric Gets The Green Light On Its $190 Million Resiliency Plan To Harden The Grid. State energy regulators have given their conditional approval to a five-year, $190 million plan by Hawaiian Electric to retool some of the most vulnerable parts of its grid as the company looks to address wildfire dangers and other threats related to climate change. Civil Beat. Tribune-Herald.  KHON2.

Hawaiian Electric says to prepare for outages ahead of severe weather. Hawaiian Electric is urging customers to prepare ahead of time for the heavy rains and winds forecast to hit most of the state on Friday and Saturday. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaiian, Alaska leaders tout airline deal. The top executives of Hawaiian and Alaska airlines said their companies are moving forward on an upcoming merger that they characterized as pro-consumer and pro-competitive because it allows them to compete more effectively in an industry dominated by larger carriers Delta, United, American and Southwest, which together make up 80% of the U.S. market. Star-Advertiser. Maui Now.

Should the state increase the unemployment compensation? Some said it’s needed to offset the high cost of living, especially after the Maui wildfires. Others fear it would only encourage apathy. KHON2.

Preschool subsidies expand to Hawaii families over income limit.
An estimated 2,000 more preschool children across the state are expected to receive early childhood education through subsidies made possible after the Legislature in 2023 increased funding to $50 million from $12 million to expand the “Preschool Open Doors” program, Lt. Gov. Sylvia Luke announced Thursday. Star-Advertiser.

Lawmakers push back on state's $2M request to fight youth-led climate change lawsuit. Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Karl Rhoads would rather see the money go toward implementing policies that reduce emissions. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hirono Posts Solid Fundraising Numbers In Reelection Bid. More than six months out from primary day, U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono has nearly $1.8 million in campaign cash and faces no Democrat in the Aug. 10 contest and a relatively unknown Republican in the Nov. 5 general election. Civil Beat.


Campaign Donations Roll In For Honolulu Mayor’s Reelection Bid. Mayor Rick Blangiardi received about $289,000 in campaign donations during the second half of last year, more than the combined total received by the five council members up for reelection in 2024. Civil Beat.

‘Big win’: City gets long-awaited federal funds to help build rail line to Kakaako. With the stroke of a pen, $744 million will be released to finish Honolulu’s rail system all the way to Kakaako. Mayor Rick Blangiardi signed an amended Full Funding Grant Agreement on Thursday. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Miske Defense Calls Key Government Witness A Career Criminal Who ‘Fooled Everybody’.
  A lieutenant of alleged Hawaii crime boss Michael J. Miske Jr. was an oxycodone addict who sold methamphetamine while on federal probation and working as an informant for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, defense attorneys established Thursday. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Removal Of Buildings Underway At Summit Of Kīlauea Volcano.  Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is preparing to demolish the landmark Jaggar Museum. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video NewsBig Island Now.

Hilo rezoning request draws opposition from neighbors. The Windward Planning Commission on Thursday discussed, but made no decision regarding, a proposal by Big Island developers to rezone a property at the corner of Manono and Lanikaula streets to allow for the construction of an approximately 5,000-square-foot one-story building to be used for unspecified retail purposes. Tribune-Herald.


Maui Has Yet To Launch A Covid-Era Housing Program That Could Provide $24 Million In Relief To Fire Survivors. County council members want the Bissen administration to take advantage of the federal money before it's too late.  Civil Beat.

A popular tavern becomes the first business to reopen on Lahaina’s main street. Mala Ocean Tavern is the first business on Front Street to reopen after the devastating fires nearly six months ago. Front Street is known as “ground zero” because most of the businesses on the famous street in Lahaina were destroyed. Hawaii News Now.

Maui County officials unveil three potential permanent Lahaina debris disposal sites
. Two West Maui locations and the Central Maui Landfill are under consideration as permanent disposal sites for an estimated 400,000 cubic yards of ash and debris to be removed from Lahaina wildfire burn zones. Maui Now.

Maui visitor arrivals up to highest levels in five months; December spending down. Maui visitor arrivals were up in December to the highest levels in the nearly five months since the August Lahaina wildfire disaster, according to preliminary statistics from the Hawaiʻi Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism. However, the month’s Valley Isle arrivals of were 24.8% less than December 2022 and 28.7% less than December 2019. Maui Now.


West Kauaʻi to address pollution at Kīkīaola Small Boat Harbor in settlement with community groups. Community groups Nā Ki‘ai Kai and Surfrider Foundation, represented by nonprofit environmental law organization Earthjustice, have settled with the County of Kauaʻi and the Department of Health to clean up pollution from drainage ditches discharging into the ocean along West Kaua‘i, including the Kīkīaola Small Boat Harbor. Kauai Now. KITV4.

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Attorney General subpoenas Maui agencies in fire probe, state minimum wage rising to $14, shorter Skyline OKed for federal funding, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Maui Agencies Subpoenaed After Holding Up Fire Investigation, AG Says. Three Maui County departments were served subpoenas Monday after not meeting the timelines with a state investigation into their response to the Aug. 8 wildfires that killed 100, left 7,500 homeless and caused $5.5 billion in damage.  Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Maui Now.  Hawaii News Now.  KHON2.  KITV4.

Minimum wage to get boost: Hourly rate will rise to $14 in January under 2022 law. Minimum-wage employees in Hawaii will get a pay hike of nearly 17% to kick off the new year. Tribune-Herald.

State Sen. Maile Shimabukuro, First Elected 20 Years Ago, Won’t Seek Reelection.
Shimabukuro, whose District 22 Senate seat represents Ko Olina, Nanakuli, Maili, Waianae, Makaha and Makua on Oahu, made the announcement Monday. Civil Beat.


Plan for shorter Skyline wins OK for federal funding
. A federal agency helping pay for Honolulu’s rail system has agreed to release funding it has been withholding over concerns about past city handling of the grossly delayed and over-budget project. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.

Water Board adopts rate hike of over 50%.
  The agency’s board of directors Monday voted 5-1, with board member Gene Albano abstaining, to approve a new 5-1/2-year water rate schedule that will see higher rates phased in, with the first 10% increase kicking in Feb. 1 and the next 10% hike to occur July 1. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. KITV4.

Honolulu Fire Department official wants to add 2 helicopters, 3 pilots
. The Honolulu Fire Department's aviation manager wants to beef up the department’s ability to fight fires and make rescues. Hawaii Public Radio.

Navy plane in bay has ‘full integrity,’ no sign of fuel leak
. A week after a Navy P-8A slid into Kaneohe Bay while trying to land in rainy weather, the Navy rear admiral in charge of extracting the plane said all of the more than 2,000 gallons of fuel on board had been safely removed, while apologizing for not better updating the public and media. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.

The Miske Files: An Officer Gets Caught In The Crossfire. The feds were investigating Mike Miske and the Kealohas at the same time. Sgt. Al Lee ended up in the middle of both. Civil Beat.

Trial Of Officers Charged In Makaha Pursuit Continued To June 3. Four Honolulu police officers are accused of pursuing a car until it crashed and leaving the scene. Civil Beat.

$20,000 worth of fireworks found stashed in 92-year-old woman’s carport.  With New Year’s Eve celebrations right around the corner, illegal fireworks are already a hot commodity — and a growing headache for law enforcement. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

$8M demolition of decaying Uncle Billy’s hotel to start
.  The $8 million demolition of the dilapidated former Uncle Billy’s hotel in Hilo is set to commence with asbestos abatement work starting next week. Star-Advertiser. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News. Big Island Now.

Community Meeting Set To Re-Envision Waiākea Peninsula. A public meeting to be held Monday, December 4, will gather community input on the Banyan Drive waterfront and other redevelopment projects. Big Island Video News. Big Island Now.

Pohoiki Boat Ramp Dredging Project Permit Application Posted. The latest issue of The Environmental Notice included a Conservation District Use Application, as well as a Coastal Zone Management notice, concerning the Pohoiki Boat ramp dredging project. Big Island Video News.


The Controversial Developer Looming Over West Maui’s Water Conflict. Peter Martin spent decades guzzling water around Lahaina. Then came the fire. Civil Beat.

Mental Health Services For Youth On Maui Receive A Funding Boost. The money will support schools, multiple community partners and nonprofits, but more will be needed. Civil Beat. Maui Now.

Lahaina, Kula disaster recovery community update meetings canceled this week due to kona low forecast. The weekly Disaster Recovery Community Update Meetings for Kula residents at 6 p.m. Tuesdays and for Lahaina residents at 5:30 p.m. Wednesdays are canceled this week due to the kona low weather forecast. Maui Now.


Kaua‘i officials urge residents to be vigilant as severe weather may occur starting Tuesday. County of Kaua‘i officials are urging the public to be vigilant due to potential severe weather conditions starting Tuesday and continuing through Thursday. Kauai Now.

Thursday, November 9, 2023

Green announces Maui wildfire fund modeled after 911, audit blasts Honolulu's use of Covid relief money, Skyline train stalls, blocking crossing, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

$150 Million Fund Is Established For Families Of Maui Wildfire Victims. The fund is the start of what Gov. Josh Green described as a multi-part plan to compensate survivors and help them rebuild. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii Public Radio.  Maui Now. Hawaii News Now.  KHON2. KITV4.

Wildfire prevention prioritized in upcoming legislative session. Emergency preparedness is expected to be a major topic in next year’s legislative session, from management of the land to reduce wildfires to taking a closer look at how homes are built, the House of Representatives was tasked with taking a closer look at ways to mitigate the dangers. KHON2.

Residents urged to get updated flu, COVID shots. In Hawaii, an estimated 98,738 doses of the updated vaccine have been administered, according to DOH data from voluntary reports up to Wednesday, which is nearly 7% of the state’s population. Star-Advertiser.

State officials say the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service will provide $5 million for the planting of 75,000 trees. $5 million in federal funds is headed to Hawaiʻi for forest enhancement, state officials say. The new grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, or USDA NRCS, is under the Regional Conservation Partnership Program. Big Island Video News.


Audit Finds Honolulu’s Covid Relief Spending ‘Flawed And Unenforced’.
The City and County of Honolulu’s Covid-relief response included millions of dollars of questionable spending going to potentially ineligible businesses and official vehicles while struggling households were turned away, the city auditor said in a report released Wednesday. Civil Beat.

Passenger Screen Gate Alarm Triggered Skyline Train To Stall, City Says.
Because the train stopped at a track crossing, other trains weren't able to get around it. Civil Beat. KHON2.

Hearing canceled over Ala Wai harbor parking. Opponents claiming a state-level agency intends to end free recreational parking at the popular, state-controlled Ala Wai Small Boat Harbor hoped to make their voices heard at an official meeting today. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

Nine Honolulu men cited for illegally fishing in marine life conservation district. Nine men were cited by DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement officers for illegal fishing in the Pūpūkea Marine Life Conservation District on Saturday. Big Island Now. KITV4.

Hawaii Island

Lawmakers tour Big Island ahead of legislative session.  Lawmakers tour Big Island ahead of legislative session. Members of the state Senate Ways and Means Committee have been holding discussions across Hawaii Island this week to help guide future decisions and budget appropriations during the upcoming legislative session. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii lawmakers working on solutions to dearth of home insurance in lava zones. There's a home insurance crisis erupting on the Big Island, and two state lawmakers from that area are working to fix it. The last private insurer for lava zones one and two is planning to leave this market next August. KITV4.

As drought conditions worsen, water restrictions loom on Hawaii Island. Intensifying drought conditions are expected to peak early next year, prompting officials in most counties to warn residents that conservation efforts are ahead. Hawaii News Now.

Affordable housing project for kupuna opens in Pahoa.  The project is described by its owners and managers, Hope Services Hawaii, as a “community of 12 prefabricated modular homes and resource center, serving as affordable housing for kupuna.” Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii lawmakers working on solutions to dearth of home insurance in lava zones. There's a home insurance crisis erupting on the Big Island, and two state lawmakers from that area are working to fix it. The last private insurer for lava zones one and two is planning to leave this market next August.  KITV4.

Parade set for Nov. 25. The Downtown Hilo Christmas Lights Parade committee is looking for morep parade participants before the annual holiday procession hits the street later this month. Tribune-Herald.


Deadline Extended For Maui Fire Survivors Seeking Federal Assistance. County officials hosted the first in a series of public meetings to update residents on wildfire recovery efforts and improve communication. Civil Beat.

Maui declares Stage 2 water shortage. The Maui County Department of Water Supply declared a Stage 2 water shortage Wednesday. The shortage prohibits Upcountry residents from using water for “irrigation, watering lawns, washing vehicles or other nonessential activities,” according to a county news release. Star-Advertiser. Maui News. Maui Now.

Schatz: ‘A Lot Of People Are Going To Be Forced To Leave Maui’. Hawaii’s senior senator worries that victims of the wildfires will leave the islands. He wants the federal government to help make sure that doesn’t happen. Civil Beat.

Pink water at Keālia Pond on Maui likely due to halobacteria growth from high salinity. Preliminary analysis suggests that the color change appears to be the result of a single-celled organism called halobacteria. Officials with the US Fish and Wildlife Service say halobacteria are “salt-loving organisms” found in high salinity water bodies.  Maui Now. Hawaii News Now.  KHON2.

Another memorial planned for lives lost in Lahaina fire.
The passage of time was evident Wednesday at the scores of crosses that form a Lahaina memorial on the hillside above the destroyed town. Star-Advertiser.


County of Kaua‘i launches online reporting tool for road issues. As part of the County of Kaua‘i’s Land Information Management System project, the Department of Public Works and Information Technology Division created an application that provides the public with the ability to confirm the location of a reported County of Kaua‘i road issue on an interactive map. Kauai Now. KHON2.

Lihu‘e Airport traffic holds up in October. A total of 62,216 passengers deplaned domestic flights in October, compared with 72,450 in October 2022, according to data compiled by the state of Hawai‘i’s Department of Business, Economic Development &Tourism. Garden Island.

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Saiki seeks criminal penalties for unscrupulous fundraising, some Lahaina fire victims asked to leave hotels for tourists, college students improve Skyline ridership numbers, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Unscrupulous fundraising for Maui relief under heavy scrutiny. Citing the immediacy of fundraising for Maui relief efforts, House Speaker Scott Saiki asked Gov. Josh Green on Monday to issue an emergency proclamation “to prohibit and criminalize fundraising under false pretenses” and for an attorney general audit of funds.  Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.  Hawaii News Now.

HTA pursues tourism recovery plan for Maui, state. The Hawaii Tourism Authority board is seeking a contractor to develop a Tourism Recovery Plan that supports Maui and the state in rebuilding the economy following the devastating Aug. 8 wildfire that destroyed Lahaina town. Star-Advertiser. Maui Now.

Here are some of the changes in Gov. Green's latest emergency housing proclamation. The changes now exclude the area affected by the Lāhainā wildfire, restore cultural and environmental protections, and reinstate the open meetings through the Sunshine Law. The new proclamation also prioritizes state and county affordable housing projects, which aim to create thousands of new low-income and workforce housing units statewide. Hawaii Public Radio.

UH fundraising dips, but still tops $100M mark. Money raised by the University of Hawaii Foundation to benefit UH students, programs and research amounted to $103.6 million for the 2022-2023 fiscal year — a decrease of more than one-third compared with the previous year. Star-Advertiser.

University of Hawai‘i’s four-year universities earn high marks for grad rates, more. The University of Hawaiʻi’s three 4-year universities were highly ranked in the U.S. News and World Report 2024 Best Colleges rankings released Monday. Big Island Now. Kauai Now.


Skyline ridership up since fall classes started at LCC, UH West Oahu. There has been an increase in ridership on the Skyline rail system since Aug. 21, according to the Department of Transportation Services (DTS). That was the day the University of Hawaii and all of its campuses started classes. KITV4.

Amendments made to parking limits bill. 
A City Council committee has approved amendments to a proposed measure to make permanent a years-long program to restrict parking in Kalihi Valley — including a proposed fee structure with fixed, annual permit fees. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Bill seeks to ease rules for home solar systems. Installing a home solar system could become cheaper under a new bill that will be discussed by the Hawaii County Council. Tribune-Herald.

State ups security around derelict hotel
. Gov. Josh Green has signed a second emergency proclamation regarding the former Uncle Billy’s Hilo Bay Hotel, and the state Department of Land and Natural Resources has established 24-hour security following recent break-ins at the dilapidated resort. Star-Advertiser. Tribune-HeraldBig Island Video News. Big Island Now.  Hawaii News Now.


Ahead of tourism reboot in West Maui, some Lahaina fire victims are told they’ll have to move. Some Lahaina residents who lost their homes are being forced to move from temporary housing as hotels prepare to welcome visitors back to West Maui. Hawaii News Now.

Five additional Lahaina wildfire victims were identified; a total of 74 people have been named. The Maui Police Department released the names of five more victims from the Aug. 8 Lahaina fire on Sunday. Maui Now.

Maui Residents ‘Want Hope’ As Council Develops Wildfire Recovery Plan. Members held the first in a series of meetings to gather public input on what actions the county should take. Civil Beat.

Their homes and businesses were destroyed in Lahaina, but mortgage payments are still due. Almost six weeks after the devastating wildfire, mortgage payments are coming due — even for some whose homes or businesses no longer exist. Advocates are urging banks to give their customers a bigger break. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Falck pledges to maintain current services in county. Advance life support services will be maintained for Maui County’s ambulances and Falck, a global healthcare and emergency services company, says if anything they will try “to improve it.”  Maui News.

Lahaina Residents Can Return To Their Burned Properties Soon. But Is The Air Safe? Some health experts say the state and county should be more cautious in their approach. Civil Beat.

State Water Code suspension lifted as debate continues over rights in West Maui.  The Commission on Water Resource Management will receive an update from staff on the status of water resources in West Maui at its monthly meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2023. The meeting begins at 9 a.m.  Hawaii Public Radio.

Lahaina banyan tree sprouting new leaves. New growth sprouting from the 150- year-old banyan tree in Lahaina offers signs of hope for its revival more than a month after fire singed its leaves. Star-Advertiser. Maui News.  Hawaii News Now.


4,200 pounds of marine debris airlifted from Kaua‘i’s shores by helicopter. Surfrider Kaua‘i announced its 12-week annual Operation Airlift program has concluded, as volunteers partnered with Jack Harter Helicopters and Timbers Kaua‘i Ocean Club to fly 2 tons of marine debris out of some of the island’s hardest-to-reach shores. Garden Island.

Tuesday, July 11, 2023

Inaugural summit to strengthen Japan-Hawaii ties, Honolulu OKs property tax breaks, Green criticized for water bill veto, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii, Japanese leaders to share ideas at inaugural summit. Hundreds of senior government officials and business and civic leaders from Japan and Hawaii are expected to attend an inaugural summit celebrating the ties between the two countries this month in Waikiki. Star-Advertiser.

DOD's Kathleen Hicks tours Navy shipyard prior to slated $6B military construction. Upgrades in the Navy’s shipyard on Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam are underway. More than $6 billion in military construction will occur in Hawaiʻi over the next five years, Department of Defense Deputy Secretary Kathleen Hicks said.  Hawaii Public Radio.

Gov. Josh Green is criticized for vetoing ‘critical’ water bills. Gov. Josh Green has come under fire for vetoing a couple of bills that environmentalists say were needed to deter and respond to drinking water crises such as the one triggered by the Red Hill fuel leaks. Star-Advertiser.

DOE welcomes dozens of teachers from the Philippines into Hawaii classrooms.  The state Department of Education says it will begin the school year with about 300 teacher vacancies ― so the 80 teachers welcomed from the Philippines on Monday is significant. Hawaii News Now.

State plans rapid rollout of raised pedestrian crosswalks, citing encouraging new data
. The state is planning a rapid expansion of raised pedestrian crosswalks following new data that shows the traffic measures are working to reduce crashes on Hawaii’s roads. Hawaii News Now.

Kamehameha Schools trustees want a fresh review of existing selection process.
In May, the current KS Board of Trustees petitioned the court to perform a fresh review of the process, which has been in place for the last 22 years. Hawaii Public Radio.


Honolulu City Council OKs property tax relief measures.  The Honolulu City Council has approved two real property tax relief measures aimed at helping homeowners and the island’s vulnerable residents. Star-Advertiser.

Proposed City bill to penalize lies made to inspectors.  The Honolulu City Council will be introducing a measure this week proposing to penalize people for making false statements to a city official which could be penalized as a misdemeanor offense. KHON2.

In bid to combat crime, city hires private security guards to patrol Waikiki after dark. Private security teams are being used to patrol Waikiki at night as part of a new city effort designed to target crime in the state’s no. 1 tourist destination. Hawaii News Now.

Initial paid rail ridership more than doubles after revision.
The number of passengers paying to ride the Skyline rail system for the initial five days after free fares ended July 4 has leaped to 18,329 from 8,127 because passengers who transferred from TheBus were not originally counted as train riders, the city Department of Transportation Services said Monday. Star-Advertiser. KITV4.

Navy gives BWS green light to test its wells after initially denying request.  In a major development, the Navy will allow the Board of Water Supply to test the drinking water at the military’s Red Hill shaft after denying the request months ago. Hawaii News Now.

DHHL project breaks ground in West Oahu as part of push to ease housing crisis. The Department of Hawaiian Homelands broke ground Monday on the third phase of construction at Kauluokahai — a Native Hawaiian master-planned community coming to Kapolei. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii’s Aging Population Is Straining EMS Services. Expanding This Program Could Help. Efforts to address the nonemergency needs of Honolulu's homeless community could provide a model for helping seniors with minor medical issues. Civil Beat.

Miske’s Half-Brother Wants Release To House Arrest Pending Trial. During a hearing in federal court on Monday, prosecutors and defense attorneys sparred over a motion asking the judge to reconsider a 2021 ruling that has kept John Stancil, the half-brother of accused racketeering boss Michael J. Miske Jr., behind bars pending trial. Civil Beat.

Could building a new racetrack stall illegal street racing? Racing enthusiasts are still waiting for a new racetrack nearly a decade after the last one closed. Many said building a new park would cut down on illegal street racing but according to the city, there are still many roadblocks that need to be worked out before it can happen. KHON2.

Hawaii Island

Big Island’s Waikoloa Village Has Growing Pains. Residents Want The County To Step Up. Neglected parks, a dangerous main intersection and a single road in and out are just some of the challenges. Civil Beat.

Final EA Published For Keaukaha Panaʻewa Farmers Association Hub. The Keaukaha Panaʻewa Farmers Association is moving forward with the development of a Resilience and Agriculture Innovation Hub. Big Island Video News.

Lawmakers seek funds to widen street, improve its intersection with Kilauea Ave.  Among three requests for federal funding drafted by Hilo Rep. Richard Onishi earlier this year was a proposal for $25 million that would be used to widen Puainako between Highway 11 and Kawili Street in an effort to reduce congestion on the heavily used road. Tribune-Herald.


Maui Council committee to receive presentation on road usage charge project. A Maui Council committee will hear a presentation Tuesday on a proposed road usage charge pilot project, a method to pay for infrastructure such as roads and bridges based on miles driven instead of gallons of gas purchased. Maui Now.

Lawsuit claims MPD recruit who nearly died suffered from ‘Beat Down’ hazing ritual. A Maui police recruit who nearly died during a training exercise last year has filed suit, alleging she was put through a hazing ritual called “Beat Down Friday.” Hawaii News Now.

Final credits roll for Maui’s Consolidated Theatres. The decades-old Consolidated Theatres in Queen Ka’ahumanu Center showed its final movie Sunday night as the longtime cinema brought operations to a close. Maui News. Maui Now.


Climate Action Forum on reclaiming Coco Palms wetlands.  Local environmental groups Zero Waste Kaua‘i, Kaua‘i Climate Action Coalition and the Surfrider Foundation Kaua‘i Chapter – which make up the Kaua‘i Climate Action Forum – will discuss “Building Climate Resilience” by reclaiming the Wailuanuiaho’āho Wetlands, also known as Coco Palms Resort, at its July 12 online forum. Kauai Now.

Wilcox Medical Center on Kaua‘i renovating Emergency Department waiting room.  Wilcox Medical Center in Līhu‘e – the largest medical center on Kaua‘i – will be renovating its Emergency Department waiting room. Work is anticipated to take approximately one week and will conclude by July 19. Kauai Now.

Friday, June 30, 2023

Hawaii leaders decry affirmative action ruling, DOE wasted millions on solar AC, Honolulu Skyline rail opens today, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii leaders blast ruling against affirmative action. Three Hawaii congressional delegation members assailed the U.S. Supreme Court ruling Thursday that struck down affirmative action policies at two major American colleges, with Sen. Mazie Hirono blasting the ruling as “shortsighted and detached from reality.” Star-Advertiser. Big Island Now.  KITV4.

Investigation finds DOE wasted millions on solar-powered AC systems. A Hawaii News Now investigation has found that the state Department of Education wasted millions of dollars on solar-powered air conditioning systems that either had to be disconnected or aren’t doing an adequate job of cooling classrooms. During the past six years, the DOE has installed solar-powered AC systems in 880 classrooms at a cost of $122 million — or more than $138,000 per classroom. Hawaii News Now.

Governor to veto pilot program overseeing where public art can be showcased. A pilot program that would have allowed publicly-owned art to be showcased in private spaces is slated for veto by Gov. Josh Green. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii visitor arrivals recover to 94.6% of pre-pandemic levels. Some 801,569 visitors came to the Hawaiian islands in May, according to preliminary visitor statistics released today by the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism. May arrivals represented an increase of 3.2% from arrivals in May 2022.  Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii’s domestic arrivals soften as demand subsides.  The wild exuberance and pent-up demand for tourism that turned 2022 into the peak year for U.S. arrivals to the state has softened. Star-Advertiser.

Prominent Native Hawaiian Defense Contractor Is Part Of New Federal Criminal Probe. Federal authorities executed a search warrant earlier this week at the Honolulu offices of Dawson, a conglomerate of Native Hawaiian-owned companies that receive tens of millions of dollars in government contracts, mostly from the Department of Defense.  Civil Beat.

In symbolic move, Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima sign historic sister park agreement. It’s a historic agreement between two places that were devastated by World War II some eight decades ago — forever connected through pain and healing through reconciliation and cooperation. Hawaii News Now.

11 new COVID-related deaths, 535 new infections recorded in Hawaii, DOH reports. The Hawaii State Department of Health  reported 11 new deaths related to COVID-19 and 535 new infections over the last seven days in Hawaii. The total number of deaths stands at 1,938. KITV4.


Honolulu rail officials worry about ‘being overwhelmed’ by crowds as system opens.
Honolulu rail leaders are bracing for large crowds as Skyline opens Friday at 2 p.m., with free rides through July 4. Hawaii News Now. Star-Advertiser.  KHON2.

Liquor Commissioners Commit To Improving Agency’s Outdated Systems And Poor Morale
. Some Honolulu businesses have received more than one inspection a month and others none at all, the commission heard. Civil Beat.

Waiahole Valley lease arbitration deadline extended
. Gov. Josh Green announced Thursday that Waiahole Valley residents with state land leases for house lots will have two additional weeks to avert arbitration over rent increases. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

BWS detects low levels of ‘forever chemicals’ in Pearl City Shaft.   The Board of Water Supply has detected low levels of PFAS, also known as “forever chemicals,” in the Pearl City Shaft, officials said Wednesday. The Pearl City Shaft serves an area that spans from Lehua Community Park to Pearl City District Park. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Report takes deep dive into housing in Hawaii. While Hawaii residents face the highest housing costs in the nation, the Big Island is described as “an outlier in terms of home prices.” Tribune-Herald.

Phase One Of Waipiʻo Valley Road Rockfall Mitigation Completed.  The Hawaiʻi County Public Works Engineering Division on Thursday announced the completion of the rockfall mitigation work, which covered 750 feet down the slope of the Waipiʻo Valley Road. Big Island Video News.

July public meeting scheduled for the Four Mile Creek Bridge.  The bridge, located at the south end of Kilauea Avenue in Hilo, carries hundreds of vehicles per day traveling to and from Highway 11.  Tribune-Herald.


Report: Maui hotels saw fewer visitors, less revenue in May.  Last month, the county’s occupancy rate was 63.3 percent, down 4.1 percentage points versus 2022 when occupancy was at 67.4 percent, and down 12.9 percentage points versus pre-pandemic May 2019, when occupancy was at 76.3 percent, according to the Hawai’i Hotel Performance Report published by the Hawai’i Tourism Authority last week.  Maui News.

Trace levels of herbicide found at Haleakala water system. The Hawaii Department of Health said it recently detected low levels of 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid during routine sampling at the Haleakala National Park drinking water system. Star-Advertiser. Maui Now.


July 3 is deadline for ag dedication petitions. The county Department of Finance Real Property Assessment office reminds the public that the deadline for filing new Agricultural Dedication Petitions is July 1. However, because July 1 falls on a weekend, applicants will be able to submit their petitions on or before July 3, 2023, to be considered for the upcoming 2024 assessment. Garden Island.

Kaua‘i to get dedicated kupuna watchdog.  After nearly 50 years, Hawai‘i’s long-term care ombudsman program will finally deploy full-time staff to the neighbor islands, a move that officials hope will aid significantly in the state’s attempts to combat elder abuse. Garden Island.


Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Honolulu seeks to borrow another $210.5M for rail construction, Interior Secretary Haaland to visit Hawaii, court cuts water diversion from Maui streams, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

City seeks $210.5M in bonds to fund rail construction. During a Honolulu City Council Committee on Budget meeting Tuesday, the city advanced three related resolutions — 122, 124 and 125 — requesting the Department of Budget and Fiscal Services to issue and sell a series of general obligation bonds toward finishing the nearly $10 billion, 18.9-mile rail line, which runs from East Kapolei to the Kakaako area, where HART says the last of 19 stations is planned to be completed by 2031. Star-Advertiser.

Secretary of the Interior to visit Hawaii as part of Biden’s ‘Investing in America’ tour.  Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland will visit Hawaii as part of the Biden administration’s “Investing in America” tour. The tour is part of a larger agenda to generate $470 billion in clean energy and private sector manufacturing investments. Hawaii News Now.

Rigging The System: The Martin Kao Case Offers An Inside View Of Pay-To-Play Politics. The former Hawaii defense contractor has pleaded guilty to a series of federal crimes related to PPP fraud and illegal campaign donations. Court records detail how he tried to get away with it. Civil Beat.

Final Budget Leaves UH Treading Water On Key Programs And Improvements. The final legislative budget will likely leave the University of Hawaii several hundred million dollars short of its request for fiscal years 2024-2025. The end result will have very clear consequences for the UH community.  Civil Beat.

Visitors paid more, stayed less at Hawaii hotels in May.  Hawaii’s hotel industry had pretty stable business in May compared with a year earlier, according to a survey report released Tuesday. Star-Advertiser.

Fecal bacteria found at a number of Hawaii beaches. Hawaii's beaches not only have hazards like rough surf conditions or aggressive water life, some may have a hidden danger: fecal bacteria. KITV4.

Firearm Permit Applications Down For 2nd Straight Year In Hawaii. The most common permit denial reason listed was due to being a current or former medical marijuana patient. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.


Inflation adds $16M and a year to UH student center development.  A new student center at the University of Hawaii at Manoa will cost $16 million more than expected and open about a year later than first scheduled, and officials say inflation and pandemic-related delays are to blame.  Star-Advertiser.

Ex-Mililani athletic director pleads no contest to theft charges. The trial for the former athletic director accused of stealing more than $360,000 from the Mili­lani High School athletic booster club that he and his immediately family managed pleaded no contest to all charges Tuesday morning. Star-Advertiser.

City and state to pay $130K to settle gun owner’s lawsuit. The lawsuit by Michael Santucci alleged that the HPD seized his guns and that it held up his permit application in 2021 because he wrote down on his firearms questionnaire that he had recently received mental health counseling. Hawaii News Now.

Riding Skyline may be a 'learning curve' for some. Here's what officials want you to know. The public opening of the Honolulu rail, Skyline, is just 10 days away and according to those who've spent years on the project, it's one of a kind. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii Island

Ransomware attack strikes Hawaii Community College. Hawaii Community College has been struck with a ransomware attack, and security measures are being increased to protect digital assets, University of Hawaii officials said Tuesday. Star-Advertiser. Tribune-Herald.  Hawaii News Now.  KHON2.

Bill regarding Kalanianaole Street pushed to future council meeting.  A proposed speed limit reduction along Kalanianaole Street is on hold as Hawaii County officials determine how best to protect nene in the area. Tribune-Herald.


Maui's $1.07B budget invests in affordable housing for residents.  The budget invests 8% of real property tax revenues to the county's Affordable Housing Fund, up from 3% in years prior.   The budget features a decrease in tax rates for resident-occupied homes assessed at $3 million or less. Hawaii Public Radio.

Court cuts East Maui water diversions again. The state’s Environmental Court has lowered the amount of water that Alexander & Baldwin and East Maui Irrigation can take from East Maui streams by about 9 million gallons per day, the latest decision in a longstanding battle over diverted water for farming and other uses. Maui News. Maui Now.  Hawaii News Now.

Council to appoint East Maui Regional Community Board members Friday. The Water Authority, Social Services and Parks Committee, chaired by Sinenci, recruited and vetted East Maui Regional Community Board applicants following approval of a charter amendment by 64% of the voters at the Nov. 8 election.  Maui Now.

It’s Still Unclear Who Will Fill The DHHL Seat On The New East Maui Water Board. As the council moves to vote later this week, the member recommended by DHHL may have to wait for Hawaiian Homes Commission approval. Civil Beat.


Kauai Mayor highlights budget for fiscal year. Kauai County Mayor Derek Kawakami  has done a bit of traveling recently – to the Philippines, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, and Hawai‘i on Hill.  KHON2.

Kaua‘i: last week to apply for Kupu ‘Āina Corps. Kupu is actively seeking host sites and participants to work in sustainability-focused sectors like renewable energy, sustainable agriculture, and climate adaptation on Kaua‘i. Kauai Now.