Showing posts with label bribery. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bribery. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Gov. Ige recognizes Restoration Day, Honolulu to hold arrestees until court, housing official pleads guilty to $2M in kickbacks, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Restoration Day bill celebration PC:House Majority
La Ho‘iho‘i Ea festivities recognize Restoration Day. July 31 will officially be recognized as La Ho‘iho‘i Ea under a measure passed by the Legislature this year that became law Monday. La Ho‘iho‘i Ea was the first Native Hawaiian holiday created as a result of King Kauikeaouli Kamehameha III’s diplomatic reclamation of the Hawaiian kingdom in 1843. Star-Advertiser. Big Island Video News. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now.

Trend continues of non-competitive legislative races. Ten state legislators are running unopposed and will automatically be reelected in November, while another 15 candidates face no internal party challengers and will automatically go on to the November general election. Star-Advertiser.

Tokuda, Branco Take On Guns In Their Bid For Congress. Both candidates say they want to pass stricter gun control measures. The question is can they do it? Civil Beat.

State representative pleads not guilty to drunk driving. State Representative Matt LoPresti’s attorney entered a not guilty plea on his client’s behalf in court on Monday, July 18. KHON2.

Why Hawaii Schools Are Doubling Down On Vocational Training. A growing number of schools are trying to figure out how students can make a living wage in Hawaii after graduation. Civil Beat.

Land and amphibious training return to RIMPAC. Though the exercise focuses mostly on operations at sea, U.S. Marines are hosting land forces to practice operations in coastal settings to fight on land and make amphibious landings. Star-Advertiser.

Native Hawaiians look to traditional knowledge, practice to inform climate change solutions. Native Hawaiian communities across the island chain are looking to traditional knowledge to inform climate change solutions. This can start with a simple Hawaiian cultural practice known as “kilo” – meaning to observe. Hawaii Public Radio.

Oahu

New policy cracks down on release of arrestees. Those who are arrested for low-level crimes and cannot make bail will no longer be able to be released by a judge on their own recognizance and given a future court date, but will be held overnight by the Honolulu Police Department and appear in court the following morning. Star-Advertiser.

Group Wants Ideas On Diversifying Oahu’s Economy. The Oahu Economic Development Board will submit its final plan to federal officials overseeing grants to create jobs and diversify the economy. Civil Beat.

5 pairs of ‘enhanced’ night vision goggles stolen from Hawaii Army base. The Army is offering up to $10,000 for information on whoever stole “enhanced” night vision goggles from Schofield Barracks. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Former Big Island Housing Official Admits To Accepting $2 Million In Bribes. A former Hawaii County housing official pleaded guilty in Honolulu on Monday to using his government position to accept nearly $2 million in bribes and kickbacks from developers of affordable housing. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.

Cyclists Plead for Bike Lanes as Part of Waiānuenue Avenue Project. The Hawai‘i County Council Committee on Public Works and Mass Transit is expected to get an update Tuesday, July 19, regarding the rehabilitation project for Waiānuenue Avenue in Hilo. Big Island Now.

Youth LGBTQ+ event cancelled after violent comments and death threats made online. A planned fundraising event for LGBTQ+ youth on the Big Island was shut down over the weekend after a slew of violent threats online. The Family Drag Show was supposed to take place Saturday -- at the Keauhou Shopping Center's "Spin Luv Play" -- to help raise funds for the West Hawaii Children's Center. KITV4.

Maui

Maui county stops affordable housing development. On Monday the council voted down a 100% affordable housing development in Kihei called Hale Waipuilani. The 28 units were proposed to be for sale to qualified households earning between 80% and 140% of the area median income. KHON2.

Pedestrian crossing study launched for new Kīhei high school. A study has been launched to evaluate alternatives for a grade-separated pedestrian crossing at Pi‘ilani Highway to serve the new high school being built in Kīhei. Maui Now.

Catholic Charities Hawaiʻi dedicating affordable rental development for seniors. The project at 65 School Street features 165 rental units and a 7,500-square-foot multipurpose facility with social services provided by Catholic Charities Hawai‘i. Maui Now.

Kauai

Kaua‘i real estate update: Home prices rise, fewer homes sold. According to data published by Hawai‘i Realtors, the median price of a single-family home on Kaua‘i through June 30 increased by 11.52% compared to that time frame last year — from $1.08 million to $1.2 million. Garden Island.

Friday, July 15, 2022

Green leads campaign money race, Honolulu extends rent relief, former Hawaii County employee heads to court in affordable housing scam, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Vicky Cayetano Turns To Self-Funding For Her Gubernatorial Campaign. Lt. Gov. Josh Green raised $1.47 million in the first six months of this year, vastly outpacing his opponents including U.S. Rep. Kai Kahele. Civil Beat.

House Speaker Scott Saiki Rakes In Money From Well-Known Donors In House District 25 Race
. In the most recent reporting period, which covers campaign activity from Jan. 1 through June 30, Saiki raised $118,126, bringing his total raised for this election cycle to $255,718. Iwamoto’s  fundraising fell far short of her opponent’s, bringing in about $36,000 this reporting period. Civil Beat.

Medical aid in dying gaining more acceptance in Hawaii, report finds. A growing number of patients and physicians are participating in Hawaii’s medical-aid-in-dying program, but delays in the eligibility process continue to present challenges for terminally ill patients in their final days, according to the state Department of Health. Star-Advertiser.

Board of Education approves superintendent’s $240,000 annual contract. The formal contract officially making Keith Hayashi the next state superintendent of Hawaii’s massive public school system was approved Thursday by the state Board of Education. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Has $200 Million To Spend on Pre-K. Who Gets The Money? Final language in the new law leaves an open question about whether private as well as public facilities are eligible for the funding. Civil Beat.

Hawaii hospitals participate in RIMPAC disaster drills. As part of this year’s iteration of the biennial Exercise Rim of the Pacific, local hospitals are teaming up with the military to practice responding to a large-scale humanitarian disaster. Star-Advertiser.

Hurricane Darby weakens, expected to pass south of islands. As of 5 a.m. Friday, Darby was located about 610 miles east-southeast of Hilo or 810 miles east-southeast of Honolulu. It was moving west near 16 mph. As Hurricane Darby continues to be monitored, the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency is taking precautions to provide support for counties. KHON2. Hawaii News Now.

Oahu

City Rental and Utility Relief to be extended by $31 million. The city is extending the Rental and Utility Relief Program by using $31 million of federal COVID-19 relief funds in hopes of providing more assistance to Oahu renters. Star-Advertiser.

Cracks In Concrete Columns Could Be Honolulu Rail’s Next Big Problem, HART Says. City contractors have advised that no passengers be allowed on seven station platforms until they have a better grasp of the issue, rail officials said. Civil Beat.

Live-work-shop? The city wants to make it easier to build condos at shopping malls. The city’s Department of Planning and Permitting wants to make it easier for malls to do that and is proposing a change to the city’s Land Use Ordinance. Hawaii News Now.

HOLO card registration urged after defective cards issued, Honolulu DTS says. Honolulu transportation officials are asking HOLO card users to register their cards online in order to suss out less than 100 defective cards that were recently issued. KITV4.

City looks to replace vendor for Waikiki pavilion plagued by homelessness. In December, city crews cleared the pavilions along the shoreline to lease them out to vendors. However, all but one are up and running today. KITV4.

Heads up, gamers! Your library card will soon get you into the state’s first public esports hub. Your library card will soon get you access to the state’s first public esports hub. The lab was unveiled at the Waipahu Public Library on Thursday. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Former county employee charged in affordable housing credit scheme. A former employee of the county Office of Housing and Community Development is set to enter a plea Monday in federal court on charges he took almost $2 million in bribes and kickbacks to influence affordable housing projects in West Hawaii. West Hawaii Today. Hawaii News Now.

Police jurisdiction challenge rejected again. A lawsuit claiming that the chiefs of police for the Big Island, Maui and Honolulu violated the law during the 2019 Thirty Meter Telescope protests has been dismissed once again, this time by the Hawaii Supreme Court. Tribune-Herald.

Survey IDs deficiencies in Big Isle health care.
Psychiatry and mental health counseling are the Big Island’s two most needed types of health care, according to an islandwide survey completed in March by Community First Hawaii, a nonprofit with a goal of improving access to health care throughout the state. Tribune-Herald.

900 acres of ʻōhiʻa were cut down in 1985. Here's how the trees are making a comeback in Kalapana. Nearly 40 years ago, a tract of pristine ʻōhiʻa forest in Kalapana on Hawaiʻi Island was cut down. The trees were reduced to wood chips for a proposed biomass energy project. Now the trees are making a comeback — and battling it out for dominance. Hawaii Public Radio.

Kona-grown seaweed helping reduce cattle methane emissions. An agricultural technology company located at the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority is growing seaweed in an effort to reduce cattle methane emissions around the world. West Hawaii Today.

Maui


Here’s Who’s Pulling In The Most Cash In The Maui Mayor’s Race. So far, most of that money is still pouring into the campaign of former Judge Richard Bissen, who is among six others trying to oust Mayor Michael Victorino, according to the latest campaign spending reports filed Thursday. Bissen raised almost $272,000 in the period spanning from April 26 to June 30, topping the other contenders by tens of thousands of dollars. Victorino raised $91,000 in his bid to serve a second four-year term. Civil Beat.

Council to consider homeowner exemption bills for principal home, long-term rental. Bills proposing homeowner exemptions from real property tax are up for first reading at the Maui County Council’s meeting at 9 a.m. Friday, Council Vice Chairwoman Keani Rawlins-Fernandez announced. Maui News.

Committee backs probe of two county departments. Maui County Council members moved one step further on Wednesday in greenlighting a formal investigation into two county departments over approvals for a large controversial home in Napili that has angered community members and spurred calls for an investigation. Maui News.

AEI Housing Center: “Maui’s sky-high home prices are a self-inflicted wound”. Maui’s record home prices and the impacts that have resulted in displaced residents, are not unique, but there are potential solutions, according to a researcher from a public policy think tank on the mainland. Maui Now.

New shuttle takes Maui residents to Wailuku performance venues. Maui residents can catch a free ride to performance art Wailuku venues starting Thursday, July 14. Da Artsy Bee shuttle service begins in the Maui Lani Safeway parking lot and drops off guests in front of the theater. Hawaii Public Radio. Maui Now.

Kauai

DOT Backpedals On Kauai Airport Expansion Following Public Outrage. State transportation officials have decided to abandon a proposal to add three new gates at Lihue Airport after considering community pushback and the ongoing effort by other government agencies to rein in Kauai’s staggering tourism growth. Civil Beat.

Environmentalists file suit over pollution concerns at busy Kauai harbor. Earthjustice, a non-profit environmental law organization, filed the federal Clean Water Act lawsuit on behalf of the Surfrider Foundation and Na Kiai Kai. Hawaii News Now.

Civil Support Team exercise at Kaua‘i Community College. Reports of gunshots broke a quiet Thursday morning at the Kaua‘i Community College. That was the scenario of the full-scale weapons of mass destruction exercise that pretty much shut down the Puhi campus as county, state agencies, and other emergency response partners took over the situation with the Hawai‘i National Guard 93rd Civil Support Team. Garden Island.

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

English sentenced to 40 months in prison for accepting bribes, Green leads Democrats in gubernatorial poll, former chief justice Moon dies, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Former state senator is sentenced to 40 months in prison. The former majority leader of the state Senate expressed remorse and apologized Tuesday after he was sentenced to 40 months in federal prison for taking bribes to manage legislation on behalf of a wastewater treatment and industrial machinery executive. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Associated Press. Big Island Now. Maui Now. Maui News. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Civil Beat/HNN Poll: Green Enjoys 30 Point Lead Over Kahele, Cayetano In Gov Race. According to a new Civil Beat/Hawaii News Now poll, Green has 48% of the vote compared to U.S. Rep. Kai Kahele with 16% and businesswoman Vicky Cayetano with 15%. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii’s Congressional District 2 Race: Veteran Tokuda Vs. Newcomer Branco. The CD 2 seat is open with the departure of Kai Kahele but the contest drew little interest from the state’s political office-seekers. Civil Beat.

Record number of Hawaii election observers, new ballot tracking planned. A record number of volunteer election observers are planning to monitor mail-in ballots as they’re opened and processed across the state, while voters this year also have new tools to track their ballots before they arrive at counting centers and as they’re being tallied. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii’s ‘clean energy future’ aided by new state laws. Hawaii is on an improved path toward lower electricity use and greenhouse gas emissions under new state laws enacted Tuesday that include a subsidy to develop hydrogen vehicle fueling stations. Star-Advertiser. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News. Big Island Now. Maui Now.

Biden awards Medal of Honor to 2 Hawaiʻi soldiers for Vietnam War heroism. President Joe Biden awarded the Medal of Honor to four Army soldiers, including two from Hawaiʻi, for heroism during the Vietnam War — bravery that he said had not diminished even with the passage of time. Associated Press. Maui Now. KHON2.

Sailors take on cybersecurity at RIMPAC. At this year’s iteration of RIMPAC, participants are holding their first cyberwarfare symposium as part of the biennial naval war game. Star-Advertiser.

More terminally ill patients are choosing aid-in-dying, but experts say obstacles remain. Hawaii’s “Our Care, Our Choice” Act went into effect on Jan. 1, 2019, giving terminally ill patients the right to use prescribed end-of-life medications. Twenty-eight people died that year after being prescribed the medications. In 2020, the figure was 34. And in 2021, according to new state numbers, there were 49. Hawaii News Now.

Former Hawaii Chief Justice Ronald Moon Dead At 81. Moon served as chief justice for more than 17 years before retiring in 2010. He was the first Korean American to become the chief justice of a state supreme court. Civil Beat. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now.  KITV4.

Oahu

Honolulu Police Department releases footage of Rep. Matthew LoPresti’s DUI arrest. The Honolulu Police Department today provided media with body-worn camera footage of officers interacting with LoPresti, who was arrested on the evening of June 16 after officers found his vehicle stopped on the shoulder lane of Fort Weaver Road. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Honolulu Aquifer Likely Contaminated, According to the Board of Water Supply. By the Navy's report, there could be 5400 gallons of fuel unaccounted for from the Red Hill fuel spill last year. KITV4.

Navy reports no evidence of ‘chronic exposure’ from Red Hill fuel spill. The Department of Defense has set up a medical database to track the health impacts of jet fuel that leaked from Red Hill into the Navy’s water system, according to U.S. Pacific Fleet’s Capt. Michael McGinnis. Hawaii Public Radio.

Honolulu Councilwoman Takes Up The Fight Against Tour Helicopters. Tired of the long wait for action, City Council member Esther Kiaaina takes residents’ pleas for peace and quiet direct to helicopter companies. Civil Beat.

Seagull Schools to remain on city downtown campus. The city will temporarily relocate Seagull Schools in August 2023 from above the parking garage of the Frank Fasi Civic Center grounds to the Mission Memorial Center and the resource library — a reprieve for the early-childhood education center. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

Stadium plagues UH in big money musical chairs. An announcement on building the new Aloha Stadium could come next week, but time is of the essence as a shift in college football weighs on the future of the University of Hawaii’s athletics department. KHON2.

Hawaii Island

Council seeks homeless plan: Housing office to detail how it will spend millions coming its way. The county housing agency is awash with money, and the County Council wants to know how it’s being spent. West Hawaii Today.

Council to Consider Overriding Roth Veto on Housing Program Revolving Fund. A measure that made the language in the county’s housing program revolving fund code more specific as to how it can be used was vetoed by Mayor Mitch Roth. The County Council on Wednesday, July 6, will revisit the issue — and could consider overriding Roth’s disapproval. Big Island Now.

Health care CEOs upbeat about merger: Bay Clinic, West Hawaii Community Health Center consolidating. The Bay Clinic and West Hawaii Community Health Center consolidated operations on July 1, forming a new health care organization for the Big Island known as Hawaii Island Community Health Center. Tribune-Herald.

Wastewater Discharged Into Hilo Bay. An obstructed sewer line on the July 4th holiday sent an estimated 3,000 gallons into a nearby storm drain, which empties into Hilo Bay. Big Island Video News. Big Island Now.

Maui

Firefighters respond to nine fireworks related incidents over the Fourth of July holiday. The majority of these incidents involved the discarding of spent fireworks in rubbish bins. All of these fires were quickly knocked down and extinguished, according to department reports.  Maui Now.

A fitting tribute is finally on its way for the residents of Kalaupapa. Gov. David Ige recently signed off on $5 million to fund a memorial dedicated to the thousands sent to the Hansen’s Disease colony. Hawaii News Now.

Kauai

Sen. Hirono day trips to Kaua‘i. Tuesday, Sen.Mazie K. Hirono squeezed out a short day trip to Kaua‘i with several stops, including the Wailua River Bridge Improvement project, a stop at the Hawai‘i Foodbank Kaua‘i, and the Boys &Girls Club, Lihu‘e before leaving on an afternoon flight. Garden Island.


Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Checks arrive for Kona coffee farmers in lawsuit settlement, Legislature mulls banning campaign contributions during session, state seeks to centralize law enforcement, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2022 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Coffee beans on drying floor in Hawaii ©2022 All Hawaii News

Kona coffee labeling settlements top $15.25M.
Kona coffee farmers have each begun receiving their share of a $13.1 million settlement reached in a 2019 class action lawsuit against retailers that falsely labeled commodity coffee beans as premium “Kona” coffee. West Hawaii Today.

‘Shock And Anger’ Over Legislative Bribery Cases Could Lead To Limits On Campaign Fundraising. The Legislature is considering a bill to ban legislators from holding fundraisers during session. Civil Beat. KHON2.

Some Hawaii Agencies Are Pushing A Bill That Would Limit Public Access To Government Records. House Bill 2303 would roll back a Hawaii Supreme Court ruling that opened up many records to the public, including draft documents and records that show how an agency came to a decision. Civil Beat.

3 nominees on short list to fill OHA Board of Trustees vacancy. The list includes Maunakea educator and activist Lanakila Mangauil, county housing specialist Kaloa Robinson, and Native Hawaiian attorney and former OHA trustee Mililani Trask. Hawaii Public Radio.

Lawmakers seek land transfer to help move Hawaiian Homelands beneficiaries off waitlist. A bill that would transfer land owned by the University of Hawaii to the state Department of Hawaiian Homelands is moving forward in the state Legislature. Hawaii News Now.

Pre-Fab Construction Could Be One Solution To Hawaii’s High Cost Of Housing. The entire structure of a home can go up in days using structural insulated panels, so why are we hardly using it? Civil Beat.

University of Hawaiʻi Reports Record Graduation Rates
. UH campuses across the state "achieved record highs in important graduation and retention metrics for the academic year 2020–21", officials say. Big Island Video News.

Feb. 21, 2022 COVID-19 update: 206 new infections in Hawaiʻi. The count includes 26 cases on Maui, 47 on Hawaiʻi Island, 18 on Kauaʻi, one on Molokaʻi, one on Lānaʻi, and seven out of state.  There are 106 new COVID-19 cases on Oʻahu. Maui Now.

Oahu

State envisions 240-acre parcel as future home of emergency response hub.
The state is pushing for a new facility that would bring emergency agencies together to one location in central Oahu. Hawaii News Now.

Push to drain Red Hill fuel tanks touches off relocation questions. As the Navy faces increasing pressure to drain the tanks at its Red Hill fuel storage facility, the question of where the fuel could be relocated is moving to the forefront. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu To Pay Millions More In Case Of Police Chase Gone Wrong. The fatal crash caused the deaths of three people and injured others. Civil Beat.

Community leaders seek to ban chronic criminals from returning to Waikiki, other resort areas. Community leaders are backing a proposal that would ban chronic criminals who break the law in Waikiki from returning to the tourism district. If the bill is passed, the same rules would apply to other business and resort districts. Hawaii News Now.

Paradise Beverages fined $75K for polluting Waiawa Stream.
One the state’s largest distributors of alcoholic beverages was fined $75,000 for polluting Waiawa Stream with expired alcohol, carbonated beverages and vehicle maintenance pollutants, according to the state Department of Health. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii Public Radio.

On-time graduation rates at UH Manoa at record high.
The “on time” graduation rate at the University of Hawaii at Manoa in 2021 reached its highest level in history, with 39.7% of first-time, full-time freshmen earning their degrees in four years, according to data released by the university.  Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu preschool closure will worsen early education shortage, advocates say. For nearly four decades, Seagull Schools' Early Education Center has sat on the corner of Beretania and Alapai Streets in downtown Honolulu. Hawaii Public Radio.

Parents fear temporary closure of Lahainaluna boys’ dorm could become permanent
. Lahainaluna High School’s boys’ dormitory is temporarily shutting down because of staff shortages. But families, who worry this may become permanent, are pushing to keep the dorms open. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Council members attend NACo conference. Four Hawaii County Council members returned from last week’s National Association of Counties conference brimming with ideas for new county initiatives and optimism for another infusion of federal money. West Hawaii Today.

Officials: New gym for Papaaloa a top priority. State Rep. Mark Nakashima said Monday a new county gymnasium in Papaaloa is the top capital-improvement priority in his district. Tribune-Herald.

Maui


Web page established for new Maui County Department of Agriculture.
Maui County has set up a new web page as part of the formation of the new County Department of Agriculture. Voters approved a Maui County Charter amendment in November 2020 for establishment of the department, which will officially launch in July 2022. Maui Now.

Updated West Maui Community Plan and map now available to view on County website. The plan is designed to be user-friendly with graphics and pictures. A web-based map with zooming and clickable features is included to enable users to more easily view the adopted community plan map. Maui Now.

Maui Seaside Hotel in Kahului to be converted to ‘upscale’ Hilton
. Located at 100 W. Kaahumanu Ave. next to Maui Beach Hotel, Maui Seaside is a 181-room limited-service hotel with a restaurant and swimming pool. It was founded in 1956. Maui Now.

Nisei veterans center opens new resource pavilion.
Standing in front of the completed Stanley Izumigawa Resource Center Pavilion at the Nisei Veterans Memorial Center, board Chairperson Kyoko Kimura said she was “overwhelmed” by the moment. Maui News. Maui Now.

Kauai

Hawaiian homestead nonprofit purchases rental property. The Homestead Community Development Corporation announced Sunday its purchase of a six-unit apartment building on Halenani Street in Lihu‘e, with the goal of keeping the housing affordable. Garden Island.

Fishers get new FADs along island’s windward side. Six fish-aggregation devices (FADs) were installed off Kaua‘i last week, restoring the local portion of a statewide buoy array to nearly full strength. Garden Island.

Seminar addresses commercial activities on state, county lands.
The Kaua‘i Visitors Bureau and the state Department of Land and Natural Resources sought to clarify rules and regulations associated with work on public lands during a virtual seminar. Garden Island.

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Legislative leaders plead guilty to taking bribes, campaign donations in the spotlight, minimum wage bill advances, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

J. Kalani English and Ty J.K. Cullen

Ex-lawmakers J. Kalani English and Ty J.K. Cullen admit taking cash bribes and could face up to 20 years in federal prison. They were bribed by Milton J. Choy, owner of H20 Process Systems and Fluid Technologies. Choy, who is cooperating with the federal investigation, gave legal donations totaling $160,150 to more than 50 state and county lawmakers since 2014. His companies have received nearly $6 million in government contracts. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii Public Radio. Associated Press. Big Island Now. Hawaii News Now. KHON2. KITV4.

Corruption At The Hawaii Legislature Puts Campaign Donations In The Spotlight. Amid a new push for change, critics say the process surrounding legal campaign contributions urgently needs to be reformed. Civil Beat.

Bills limiting Hawaii governor’s emergency powers advancing. Bills limiting Hawaii governor’s emergency powers advancing Star-Advertiser.

Minimum wage bill advances despite criticisms. A desire by state House leadership this year to raise Hawaii’s minimum wage took its first step forward as a bill was advanced Tuesday by a committee at the Legislature. Star-Advertiser. Tribune-Herald.

Lawmakers Seek Ban On Vehicles That Make Too Much Noise.
Senate Bill 2127 and House Bill 1545 would establish a decibel limit to define vehicular noise pollution, and make owning or operating a vehicle that exceeds the established limit illegal.  Civil Beat.

Bill would make it easier for seniors 65-plus to get marijuana.
Recreational use of marijuana is no closer to being fully legalized this year in Hawaii, but some seniors in the Aloha State may be able to use medical cannabis freely under a new bill. Tribune-Herald.

Bill to provide $2M to food banks passes first committee.
A bill to provide millions in funding to Hawaii’s four food banks is making its way through the state Legislature. West Hawaii Today.

By 2050, sea level in Hawaii could rise by as much as 1 foot.
The U.S. will get slightly more sea level rise than the global average. And the greatest rise in the U.S. will be on the Gulf and East coasts, while the West Coast and Hawaii will be hit less than average. Associated Press.

Battling long-haul COVID, some turn to magnetic brain treatment for relief. As the wave of Omicron cases declines, experts are worried about long-haul effects from the virus, but there is promising treatment for those searching for relief. Hawaii News Now.

As the Omicron surge subsides, experts ponder what’s next in the pandemic.
While most states, including California, move toward dropping their mask mandates, face coverings are still required in Hawaii. But with cases on the decline, experts say the state is moving into a different point in the pandemic. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii sees 294 new coronavirus cases, bringing statewide total to 232,302. The new confirmed and probable infection count includes 193 new cases on Oahu, 49 on Hawaii Island, 40 on Maui, four on Kauai, two on Lanai and six Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

Another DPP Employee Pleads Guilty To Taking Bribes. A fourth defendant in the Honolulu permitting department bribery scandal has pleaded guilty to taking money in exchange for providing favorable treatment. Civil Beat. KHON2.

Overhaul of Oahu’s police scanners could lead to delay in reporting of emergencies. Honolulu’s emergency communications system has been upgraded, meaning scanners from all the city’s public safety departments are now shut off to everyone else. Hawaii News Now.

Eligibility for Honolulu Rental and Utility Relief Program expanded.
More Oahu families can now qualify for the City and County of Honolulu’s Rental and Utility Relief Program, city officials announced today, due to broader eligibility requirements. Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

Sewage spill into Kaneohe Bay traced to leaking septic tank. The Hawaii Department of Health is warning the public to avoid the waters of Kaneohe Bay near 47-048 Kamehameha Highway due to an ongoing wastewater discharge. Star-Advertiser.
 
Hawaii Island

Hawaii Island legislators return campaign contributions. Five of Hawaii Island’s 11 state legislators have taken campaign contributions from a Honolulu businessman who’s a cooperating government informant at the heart of a bribery scandal that took down two legislative leaders. West Hawaii Today.

Court rejects bid to delay approval hearing for wood-burning power plant. Hu Honua Bioenergy LLC, developer of the power plant designed to burn fast-growing trees as a locally grown renewable energy source, lost its bid to indefinitely postpone a hearing by the Public Utilities Commission to consider approval of the biofuel project, which is 99% built, after an earlier PUC approval from 2017 was overturned by the state’s highest court. Star-Advertiser.

Maui

Red-light enforcement cameras could be coming to Maui. The red-light enforcement camera program that launched recently on Oʻahu could be heading to Maui, but the pilot plan will have to be evaluated first, according to the state Department of Transportation.  Maui Now.

Entangled Mother Humpback With Calf Freed of Gear Off Maui. The adult female, accompanied by her calf and a male escort humpback, had a tight wrap of moderate gauge line wrapped around her head in front of her pectoral flippers. Big Island Now. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Kauai

In-person voting opens for OPA race. The special election for county prosecutor is on now, and voters have mail-in and in-person options. Feb. 26 is the deadline to vote. Garden Island.

A socially conscious farm venture moves to Koloa. A family farm is moving to the South Shore, just beyond the shadow of Ha‘upu mountain. Garden Island.


Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Safe Travels could end next month, slow down for whales, Honolulu building inspector pleads guilty to accepting bribes, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Pacific Whale Foundation
Humpback whale breaches off Hawaii PC:Pacific Whale Foundation

Guidelines urge boats to slow down near whales. It’s peak season for kohola, the North Pacific humpback whales that migrate from Alaska to Hawaii each winter, and new guidelines ask that watercraft slow down to 15 knots during general travel in whale season and 6 knots when within 400 yards of the species, which is protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Star-Advertiser. Big Island Video News. Big Island Now. Maui Now.

Vessel strike likely killed humpback whale calf found off Oahu, NOAA Fisheries says. A humpback whale calf found dead off Oahu last week appears to have suffered a traumatic brain injury consistent with a vessel strike, NOAA Fisheries said Monday. The 12-foot male calf was less than a week old and was nursing. Hawaii News Now.

Lt. Gov. Josh Green sees restrictions easing in coming weeks. Green, who recently declared his candidacy for Hawaii governor, said he would recommend ending Safe Travels Hawaii — a program originally intended to mitigate COVID-19 spread from travelers — in mid-March if these downward trends continue. Star-Advertiser. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii getting over $10M in federal money for wildlife management, conservation.
Hawaii is set to receive more than $10.7 million in federal funding to support sustainable fishing and hunting and wildlife conservation in the isles, according to U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaiian Electric says 38% of the energy it generated last year came from renewable resources. The utility last week announced it increased its renewable energy generation by 4% in a year, and nearly quadrupled it since 2010. Hawaii Public Radio.

Bill would require emotional support animal suppliers to issue disclaimer. A bill is advancing in the state Senate that would require sellers or providers of “emotional support animals” to issue a written disclaimer that an emotional support animal isn’t a service animal under the law. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii long-COVID sufferers get back on track. Some initial studies, including one by Yale Medicine, have found long-haulers reporting improvements after receiving the COVID-19 vaccines, but this is not necessarily the case for everyone. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii sees 498 new coronavirus cases, bringing statewide total to 232,008.
The new confirmed and probable infection count includes 228 new cases on Oahu, 86 on Hawaii Island, 63 on Maui, 101 on Kauai, two on Molokai, three on Lanai and 15 Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

Department of Planning and Permitting employee pleads guilty to accepting bribes. A building inspector in the city Department of Planning and Permitting pleaded guilty Monday to an indictment accusing him and others of accepting bribes to accelerate building projects. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii health officials lift drinking water advisory for Red Hill housing. State health officials announced Monday that residents in Red Hill housing can resume drinking and cooking with their tap water. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

2 candidates emerge to fill Hawaii House seat vacated by Ty Cullen. The former head of the Hawaii teacher's union and a Honolulu doctor are expected to be in the running to fill former state representative Ty Cullen's Central Oahu seat. KITV4.

Hawaii Island

Mauna Kea telescope to be decommissioned by year’s end. Officials said the removal and site restoration of the Caltech Submillimeter Observatory at the mountain’s summit will start this summer. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Maui Now.

Judge rules gate lawsuit to continue. When is a delay a denial? Hawaii County was unsuccessful Monday getting a Kona judge to agree with its motion to dismiss a lawsuit filed over its revocation and stay of a building permit to build a gate across Kaiolu Drive, but it’s unlikely the gate can be constructed without further legal action. West Hawaii Today.

Lease extension granted for KIA property. After months of delays and complaints, the Board of Land and Natural Resources has authorized a tentative agreement for a 30-year extension for a lease in the Kanoelehua Industrial Area. Tribune-Herald.

The man known as “Hilo’s welfare doctor” has won another legal battle with the state. The Intermediate Court of Appeals on Friday set aside a lower court ruling ordering Dr. Frederick Nitta to return $205,000 in Medicaid reimbursements paid to his primary care practice. Hawaii News Now.

Maui

Bill Would Ban Hawaii Film Officials From Appearing In Films. A Hawaii lawmaker is trying to crack down on what he says was improper behavior by the Maui County film commissioner, who accepted a substantial part in a television movie being shot on the island, despite the commissioner’s involvement facilitating the industry. Civil Beat.

Maui list of transportation projects for federal funding up for public review. Maui Metropolitan Planning Organization is accepting public comments on its Federal Fiscal Year 2022-2025 Transportation Improvement Program Revision #2. A public review draft is available on the Maui MPO website through March 3, 2022. Maui Now.

Rising Seas Could Lead To The Relocation Of Molokai’s Only College Campus. Lawmakers are considering a proposal to move the Molokai Education Center to higher ground and cover relocation costs. Civil Beat.

Kauai

Rebecca Like and Shaylene Iseri face off in general election for Kauaʻi prosecuting attorney. Kauaʻi voters will be voting again for the next county prosecuting attorney. Ballots were mailed out earlier this month for the special general election, and residents have until Feb. 26 to decide. Hawaii Public Radio. Garden Island.

Officials: Decline in cases, high test positivity. While the county’s once again seeing a down-trend in COVID-19 infection case counts, it leads the state in per-population case rates and test-positivity rate. Garden Island.



Friday, February 11, 2022

Green makes gubernatorial bid official, Chinatown food mission relocating, Honolulu defense contractors indicted, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

 

Josh Green
Lt. Gov. Josh formally announces his bid for Hawaii governor. He joins business executive Vicky Cayetano, Hawaii’s former first lady, who already has announced her candidacy. They are likely to be joined in the Aug. 13 Democratic primary by former Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now. KITV4. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii political donor received almost $6 million in contracts. Milton J. Choy, the wastewater treatment and industrial machinery executive at the center of a federal public corruption probe, has donated $160,150 to state and county lawmakers since 2014 and received nearly $6 million in government contracts. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.

Former Hawaii lawmakers accused of taking bribes scheduled to enter guilty pleas. Former state Rep. Ty J.K. Cullen will be arraigned and enter a guilty plea before U.S. District Judge Susan Oki Mollway at 11 a.m. Feb. 15. Retired Senate Majority Leader Jamie Kalani English is scheduled to be arraigned and enter a guilty plea as part of his arrangement with the justice department before Mollway on Feb. 15 at 10 a.m. Star-Advertiser.

Lawmakers push to make sports part of school curriculum, how it could change how things are played . A push to elevate athletics within the Hawaii Department of Education system is moving through the state legislature. The purpose of the new bill is to transform existing sports from extracurricular to become part of the school curriculum. KHON2.

Hawaii records 6 new coronavirus-related deaths, 1,195 additional infections. The new confirmed and probable infection count includes 815 new cases on Oahu, 131 on Hawaii Island, 101 on Maui, 108 on Kauai, nine on Lanai and 31 Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

River of Life Mission to relocate Chinatown food distribution program, but timeline for move is unclear. River of Life Mission has agreed to move its free-meal program away from its Chinatown location after 35 years of operation. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.

3 Honolulu execs, Martin Kao, Clifford Chen and Lawrence ‘Kahele’ Lum Kee indicted for alleged illegal campaign contributions. Three Honolulu executives formerly with a Hawaii- based defense contractor were indicted Thursday in Washington, D.C., for allegedly making illegal campaign contributions to a U.S. Senate candidate and a political action committee. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.

Critics question liquor commission on ‘improper conduct’ that could shut down establishments. The Honolulu Liquor Commission is looking at a major overhaul of its rules regarding liquor licenses. One of the new proposals include one that would give liquor inspectors the power to shut down a business if they see what’s only defined as “improper conduct.” Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Marine Corps Discharged High Levels Of Fecal Bacteria Into Kailua Bay
. It’s not the first time the Marines Corps has released wastewater into Kailua Bay in violation of its permit. Civil Beat.

Police union demands Honolulu Police Department address officer shortage. The state police union is demanding that Honolulu’s short-staffed Police Department do more to fill empty police beats around the island. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now. KHON2. KITV4.

‘Alarming’ Honolulu inflation hit 6.0% in January.
Honolulu’s rising inflation follows a similar trend nationally where U.S. prices jumped 7.5% over the past year for its largest 12-month increase since February 1982, according to a report issued Thursday from the U.S. Department of Labor. Star-Advertiser. KITV4.

Hawaii Island

County to Offer Free Bus Fares. The Hawai‘i County Council on Wednesday approved the second and final reading of Bill 105, which temporarily suspends fares for all fixed bus routes and paratransit services offered by Hele-On until Dec. 31, 2023. Big Island Now.

Council Planning Committee postpones Waikoloa timeshare project.
Supportive testimony by a wide swath of individuals from resort operators to labor unions and tourism promoters to front-line workers who sleep in their cars because of a lack of housing wasn’t enough to win approval Tuesday from a County Council panel on a plan to convert half of a Waikoloa Beach Resort golf course to timeshare units. West Hawaii Today.

Lawmakers advance legislation to relieve traffic congestion in rapidly growing Puna on Big Island. House Bill 1403 would require the state Department of Transportation to work with Hawaiʻi County to survey potential locations for an alternate route to Highway 130. Hawaii Public Radio.

Maui

Proposal to increase police chief salary is raising concerns
. At a special meeting Feb. 2, the commission unanimously voted to recommend a pay raise to $205,000 a year for Pelletier, who was sworn in Dec. 17 at a salary of $158,851. Maui News. Hawaii News Now.

Mayor seeks public-private partnership to boost workforce housing in Waikapū.
Mayor Michael Victorino is asking the Maui County Council to support his proposal to enter into a public-private partnership agreement between the County of Maui and the developers of Waikapū Country Town. Maui Now.

Community invited to town hall on affordable apartments in Lahaina
, Feb. 22. Discussion will include comprehensive information regarding the application, lottery and lease process, and construction updates for Kaiāulu o Kupuohi and Kaiāulu o Kūku‘ia apartment projects developed by Ikaika ʻOhana. Maui Now.

Kauai

OPA Special Election Voter Service Center opens Feb. 11. The Voter Service Center for the Prosecuting Attorney Special General Election will be open beginning at 8 a.m., Friday in the basement of the Historic County Annex Building in Lihu‘e. Garden Island.

Current, hopeful KIUC directors seek ratepayers’ votes in March election
. Incumbents are touting advancements toward a 100% renewable-energy portfolio, while a rival calls for increased electric-vehicle infrastructure in the run-up to the Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative Board of Directors election. Garden Island.

Groups put county, state on notice for Westside ditch draining. Environmental watchdog groups have put the County of Kaua‘i on notice for seemingly violating federal permit requirements when it comes to discharging stormwater containing pollutants into Westside waters. Garden Island.

Thursday, February 10, 2022

English and Cullen get to keep half their pension even if convicted, House investigating bills for pay-to-play, Brian De Lima dies at 66, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Speaker Scott Saiki
Hawaii House speaker favors tough penalties to deter bribery. The speaker of Hawaii’s House of Representatives said Wednesday he supports stronger ethics laws and penalties to prevent bribery at the Legislature after federal prosecutors this week alleged two former lawmakers took bribes in exchange for shaping legislation while in office. Associated Press. Hawaii News Now.

Former Hawaii lawmakers J. Kalani English and Ty J.K. Cullen stand to lose half of their pensions if convicted of bribery. Former state Sen. J. Kalani English and former state Rep. Ty J.K. Cullen could lose half of their state pensions if convicted of federal bribery charges under a new law — and a review of Cullen’s voting record and introduction of bills this legislative session is now underway. Star-Advertiser.

Upset About The Corruption Charges? What Are You Going To Do About It? Democrats have such a complete lock on power in Hawaii — and Republicans are so marginalized —  that there may be little political fallout from even these egregious cases. Civil Beat.

Bribery allegations against two former legislators could affect mid-term election turnout. The seats of the entire Hawaii Legislature will be up for a vote on this year’s election ballot and party leaders said they are doing what they can to have a strong voter turnout, despite bribery allegations against two former legislators. KHON2.

Expanded ethics training up for hearing in wake of Capitol corruption. Momentum is building to widely expand mandatory ethics training and further crackdown on influence-peddling in the wake of high-profile corruption cases. KHON2.

Hawaii House considers bill to relax gift rule as watchdog group calls for culture shift. Common Cause Hawaii plans to submit testimony in strong opposition to House Bill 1871 bill, which aims to relax the rules when it comes to legislators accepting gifts by allowing things like gifts of aloha and foreign protocol gifts. KITV4.

Company at center of legislative bribery scandal a big political donor. State campaign spending records show that since 2014, company employees and officers, its owner and his relatives and related businesses and their workers have donated nearly $300,000 to more than 50 political candidates in Hawaii. Hawaii News Now.

Bribery scandal could focus discussion on closing cesspools, environmentalists say. The bribery allegations against former lawmakers Kalani English and Ty Cullen are also shining a spotlight on the legislation they allegedly derailed regarding cesspools. Environmental groups say the sewage sites are an environmental crisis, but also see the scandal as an opportunity to fix it. Hawaii News Now.

Lawmakers consider bill to fund an emergency sex trafficking shelter for minors. HB1700 would provide funding for nonprofit or nongovernmental organizations to operate sex trafficking emergency shelter for children during the next fiscal year. Hawaii Public Radio.

Kahele Hints Strongly At 2022 Run For Hawaii Governor. U.S. Rep. Kai Kahele, the Democrat  has represented Hawaii’s 2nd Congressional District for barely a year, indicated on the Honolulu Star-Advertiser “Spotlight” program Wednesday that he is seriously considering entering the contest. Civil Beat.

Rising harassment of public school employees sparks bill to make it a misdemeanor. Harassment of Hawaii public school employees is on the rise, the state schools superintendent says, and that is why his department wants the state Legislature to classify it as a misdemeanor crime. Star-Advertiser.

More cruise ships scheduled to arrive at Hawaii ports as COVID-19 cases continue to trend down. In a sign that Hawaii has reopened its economy, dozens of cruise ships have been scheduled to arrive at Hawaii ports this year and through the summer of next year, despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii records 7 new coronavirus-related deaths, 519 additional infections.
The new confirmed and probable infection count includes 323 new cases on Oahu, 54 on Hawaii Island, 53 on Maui, 33 on Kauai, four on Molokai, three on Lanai and 49 Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

Cameras positioned to record Red Hill fuel leaks inoperable, Hawaii Congressman Kai Kahele says. Hawaii Congressman Kai Kahele says that the Navy’s Red Hill fuel facility is lined with surveillance cameras, two of which were perfectly positioned to record the May and November fuel spills that are believed to have led to jet fuel contaminating residents’ tap water. Star-Advertiser.

Experts Say HPD Report Fails To Review Tactics Used In Deadly 2020 Standoff. HPD increased training following the Hibiscus Drive shooting but did not update its policies. Civil Beat.

Lawmakers progress 4 measures aimed at preventing another Red Hill fuel contamination crisis.
The House committees on Health, Human Services and Homelessness, and Energy and Environmental Protection held a joint hearing on four bills related to the Red Hill water crisis. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii Island

Homeless earmark bill advances.
Most of an extra tax property owners already pay on their multimillion-dollar residential homes would be earmarked for homeless projects, under a bill advanced Wednesday by the County Council Finance Committee. West Hawaii Today.

Puna access road bill advances for ‘ongoing discussion’. The state House Transportation Committee on Wednesday passed, with amendments, a bill that would require site surveys to identify the most suitable location for a Puna Makai Access Road to relieve traffic congestion on Highway 130. Tribune-Herald.

Officials: Hilo’s sewage plant in danger of failure that could trigger environmental disaster. Officials at Hilo’s Wastewater Treatment Plant warn the facility is in danger of complete failure, saying if the plant goes down it could trigger an environmental disaster. Hawaii County says it urgently needs $100 million to replace the facility. Hawaii News Now.

HPD seeks $2M for animal control.
The Hawaii Police Department has requested $2 million from the county to purchase a new animal shelter in Puna in order to improve its animal control capabilities. Tribune-Herald.

Brian De Lima, ‘a pillar of our community,’ dead at 66.
Hilo attorney and community leader Brian De Lima died Tuesday, according to his older daughter. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Now.

Maui

New Kaupō center took ʻlots of alohaʻ to build; E. Maui project gains approvals. Saying it took many years and “lots of aloha,” Kaupō community leaders highlighted the significance of their new community resource center on remote, historic East Maui grounds, which gained approvals Tuesday at Maui Planning Commission. Maui Now.

Tree Poaching reported at Lelekea Beach in Kīpahulu District of Haleakalā National Park. The National Park Service is requesting assistance in identifying anyone responsible for poaching trees at Lelekea Beach in the Kīpahulu District of Haleakalā National Park. Maui Now.

Kauai

Public pushes Kaua‘i County Council to pass feral cat feeding ban. Speakers from throughout the island, state and mainland urged Kaua‘i lawmakers to ban the feeding of feral cats on county property, at Wednesday’s County Council meeting. Garden Island.

State, Kauai face suit over alleged pollution discharge into ocean. Environmentalists are threatening to sue the state and Kauai County over claims they are discharging untreated drainage water into the ocean in Kekaha. Hawaii News Now.

State tax bill could have major impact on Kaua‘i. A bill in the state Legislature could potentially mean more money in the pockets of working families on Kaua‘i. Garden Island.