Showing posts with label campaign finance. Show all posts
Showing posts with label campaign finance. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hawaii Island

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

Monday, March 25, 2024

Senators target Hawaii energy office for defunding, state mulls catastrophic insurance, litigation, investigations ramp up in Maui wildfire aftermath, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

State senators target Hawaii State Energy Office. A state agency directing Hawaii energy policy in areas including security, resiliency and environmental health is at risk of losing its independence. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii Public Radio.

The Clock Is Ticking For Hawaii To Commit Its Remaining Federal Coronavirus Funds. The state of Hawaii and the counties have until the end of the year to obligate up to $400 million in federal funds meant to alleviate the impacts of Covid-19 and support economic recovery, or face returning it.  Civil Beat.

Free Summer School Programs In Hawaii Face Uncertain Future. As federal coronavirus funding expires, the Hawaii Department of Education must make the case for continued investments in summer learning. Civil Beat.

State-run Reinsurance To Cover Catastrophic Events In Hawaiʻi. House Bill 2056 would create State Reinsurance Exploratory Working Group to gather information and find solutions. Big Island Video News.

Macadamia Nut Country of Origin Labeling Bill Advances In Hawaiʻi Legislature. The proposed bill moving through the Hawaiʻi State House requires the country of origin to be included on the principal display panel on a package of processed macadamia nuts. Big Island Video News.

Hawaii Prison Officials Hope A New Women’s Wellness Center Will Reduce Recidivism.
The Women's Prison Project is raising $85,000 for a wellness center at the prison that is expected to improve quality of life for incarcerated women. Civil Beat.

UH moves toward an ‘indigenous-serving’ institution model. A year and four months after the University of Hawaii Board of Regents approved a strategic plan that in part calls for UH to “fulfill kuleana to Native Hawaiians and Hawaii,” officials are preparing to select an administrator to implement that “imperative” across the 10-campus system, and meanwhile launching a two-year cultural initiative on the flagship Manoa campus. Star-Advertiser. Big Island Now. Hawaii News Now.


Illegal ‘Straw’ Donations Spotlighted By Mitsunaga Case Are Rarely Prosecuted. Lurking in the background of an alleged conspiracy to bribe Honolulu’s prosecutor is a separate but related issue: donations made under a false name to circumvent campaign limits. Civil Beat.

Office space conversions fuel $1B downtown Honolulu investment cycle. The lights are brighter in downtown Honolulu where post-­pandemic changes to work and lifestyle patterns are fueling an investment cycle that is expected to deliver at least 15 new projects valued at about $1 billion over the next five to seven years. Star-Advertiser.

New pedestrian walkway in Ala Moana connected after 2 years of construction. After nearly two years of construction, both sides of Hawaii’s newest elevated pedestrian walkway are finally connected over Ala Moana Boulevard. Hawaii News Now.

Land Board votes unanimously to protect crumbling Windward coastal highway.
The state transportation department will build a 400-foot-long rock revetment along Kamehameha Highway between Ka’a’awa Beach Park and the elementary school. Hawaii News Now.

Emergency Room Closure In Wahiawa Magnifies A Capacity Crunch. As emergency rooms filled with patients, Honolulu's head of emergency services was tasked with coordinating ambulance arrivals. Civil Beat.

Oʻahu residents living in flood zones are asked to participate in survey
. About 25,000 households on Oʻahu are in flood-risk areas, and the City and County of Honolulu wants to see how prepared residents are for possible floods. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii Island

Roth offers State of the County. To combat the rising costs of housing, healthcare, and daily essentials Mayor Mitch Roth announced during the State of the County address his plan to ask the Hawai‘i County Council to decrease property taxes based on a close examination of the county budget. West Hawaii Today. Big Island Now. Hawaii News Now.

‘Safe Space’ draws concerns: Residents, lawmaker worried about impact of homeless camp on area. A state lawmaker has joined some Hilo residents in their concerns about a planned government-sanctioned homeless encampment near the Hilo Lagoon Center. Tribune-Herald.

Alternative Chosen For Pāhoa Library, Mass Transit Hub. The Preferred Alternative is the lot that is located at the northwest corner of Pāhoa Village Road and Kahakai Boulevard. Big Island Video News.

Work on Lanikaula Street to begin in May. Hawaii County Department of Public Works spokeswoman Sherise Kanae-Kane said a $5 million project to improve about 1,800 feet of Lanikaula Street between Kilauea Avenue and Manono Street will begin in May and continue through February 2025, weather permitting. Tribune-Herald.

Glenwood Transfer Station to close March 25 through May 15. The Glenwood Transfer Station will close on March 25 for construction activities, according to the County of Hawai‘i Department of Environmental Management’s Solid Waste Division. Big Island Now.


Lawmakers Want Utility Regulators To Conduct Their Own Fire Probe.
Some legislators want an independent investigation because the state and Maui County are both involved in litigation over the August fires. Civil Beat.

Maui County attorneys request state subpoenas to manage fire response probe. Maui County attorneys say they have requested subpoenas to work with investigators hired by the state to assess governments’ response to the Aug. 8 wildfires, which killed 101 people, because the investigators have failed to follow realistic and respectful practices for gathering information.  Star-Advertiser.

Council advances eminent domain land condemnation for Central Maui Landfill expansion. Maui County Council members moved quickly Friday morning to give the first of two approvals for the county to launch eminent domain condemnation proceedings in 2nd Circuit Court.  Maui Now.

County Council Vice-Chair to host Meeting on Wednesday. Councilmember Yuki Lei Sugimura will host a community meeting on March 27th at the Mayor Hannibal Tavares Community Center in Pukalani from 6 to 8 p.m. The focus of the meeting will be on a potential water source development agreement between the County of Maui and Free Market Ventures, LLC.  Maui News.


Someone planted non-native coral at ‘Anini Beach; DAR relies on community to report fishy goings-on. All is not well in the waters off ‘Anini Beach on the North Shore of Kaua‘i, where a three-year-old mystery with calamitous potential continues to baffle those tasked with conserving the area ecosystem. Kauai Now.

Bathrooms’ restoration springs up in Hanalei. Spring cleaning kicked off early for one Kaua‘i resident whose “labor of love” can be seen in Hanalei. Garden Island.

Monday, September 18, 2023

Green links Lahaina fires to climate change at UN summit, super PAC uses Maui fires as fundraising tool, HART claims $580M surplus at rail's end, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Gov. Green links Lāhainā fires to climate change during UN Sustainable Development Goals Summit. Hawai’i Gov. Josh Green spoke Sunday at the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals Summit in New York, delivering a message about the destructive impact that climate change is having in the state.  Big Island Now. Hawaii News Now.

This Hawaii Super PAC Says It’s Raising Money For Wildfire Victims — And Political Candidates Too. A progressive political organization is taking advantage of the Maui wildfires to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars that may go to support political candidates instead of direct help for victims of the Aug. 8 fires. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Has Been Facing A Housing Crisis For Generations. Politicians have been pledging to address a shortage of housing in the islands for decades, but the root causes of the crisis run deep. Civil Beat.

Hispanics Are The Fastest Growing Demographic In Hawaii. They Need More Services To Keep Pace. More translators, interpreters and other services are critical for residents and visitors who have been moving here in increasing numbers. Civil Beat.

Electric Seagliders Could Come To Hawaii As Soon As 2026. But Mokulele Airlines' new parent company says interisland travelers will start to see improvements in service much sooner than that. Civil Beat.

Health officials tout new COVID shot. The new COVID-19 vaccines being rolled out are a move away from the booster-shot models in use up to this point. Tribune-Herald. KITV4.


HART says $580M surplus awaits at rail’s end. A cash surplus of over a half-billion dollars will likely be available once the city’s Skyline rail system ends at the Civic Center in Kakaako early next dec­ade, according to the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation. Star-Advertiser.

HART Board Defers Proposed New Rules. AG Anne Lopez warned the new rules as written would impose 'impermissible' restrictions on the free speech rights of some board members. Civil Beat.

Public votes on Red Hill oversight committee
, includes two well-known Native Hawaiian activists. 10 people were selected on Saturday to be part of an oversight group for the de-fueling of the Navy’s Red Hill Facility scheduled for mid-October.  Hawaii News Now.

Payment for parking resumes after city installs new smart parking meters. All 2,200 of the city’s new smart parking meters are now in place, and Honolulu Police Department plans to start enforcement Monday. Hawaii News Now.

Oahu sugar mill housing camp slated for redevelopment. The remnants of a worker housing camp for the last sugar plantation to close on Oahu could become a new subdivision for primarily low-income households reflecting the character of the rural community in Waialua where some century-old homes still stand. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

USGS: Kilauea eruption ends as volcano alert lowered to advisory.  After a week of spewing lava, the eruption at the Kilauea summit within the Halemaumau crater has ended, according to the U.S. Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. Star-Advertiser. Big Island Video News.  Big Island Now.  Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

County creates new wildfire working group.
Hawaii County has established a multiagency working group to develop strategies and responses to wildfires and other threats around the island. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News.

EPA grant to fund program to reduce disposable foodware. Hawaii County will receive $1.5 million in a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency to develop a reusable foodware and refillable water bottle system in Hilo. Tribune-Herald.

New Kona affordable housing to be discussed.
The public is invited to an informational meeting Monday where the proposed Kuakini Heights Affordable Housing Project details will be presented. West Hawaii Today.

County pool woes continue: Lack of lifeguards leads to unpredictable hours at many of the facilities. Residents continue to raise concerns about the lack of transparency pertaining to Hawaii County’s swimming pools. Tribune-Herald.

Old Hilo hospital renovations slated for next year. The old hospital building, currently leased to HOPE Services Hawaii and the Big Island Substance Abuse Council, is in need of substantial restoration work after decades of degradation. Tribune-Herald.


Maui County Council considers bill on post-fire cleanup options.
The Maui County Council is considering a bill that would give residents and businesses the option to have the government remove fire debris from their properties for free.  Maui News.

Maui police identify two more victims of Lahaina fire; bringing total to 69. The Maui Police Department released the names of two more victims from the Aug. 8 Lahaina fire on Sunday: Janet St. Clair, 75, and Douglas Matsuda-Boucher, 65, both of Lahaina. Maui Now. KHON2.

Scientists scramble to better understand scope of toxic sludge in Lahaina Harbor. Experts are worried about a slew of contaminants in the water, including fuel, dioxins, PCBs and forever chemicals — and all that sludge will eventually need to be dredged out. Hawaii News Now.

After Lahaina fire, seniors behind in receiving tech updates, study finds. Most of the victims of the Lahaina wildfire were ages 65 and older — a demographic that struggles with technology — while Maui County sent cellphone text alerts as the fire all but obliterated Lahaina, killing at least 97 people. Star-Advertiser.

Maui nonprofit expected to meet $6.5M goal in 2 weeks.
The funds will go toward the first phase of a two-part campaign to help residents of Hawaiian ancestry impacted by the wildfires.  Star-Advertiser.

Hundreds of millions in private funding headed to Maui fire survivors. Upward of $200 million has been raised by five of the top sources of private donations and their affiliates for Maui wildfire victims, with charitable funds coming from hundreds of thousands of donors in Hawaii and across the globe. Star-Advertiser.


Kaua‘i’s streams, rivers remain polluted despite drought conditions. Not even low rainfall can stop Kaua‘i’s rivers and streams from contamination. But Kaua‘i’s continued drought conditions have kept surf sites incredibly clean, limiting the potential for pollutants to creep into the offshore waters. Garden Island.

Friday, April 28, 2023

Hawaii gets $115.5M to expand internet access, state website exposes Green's personal data, clean elections bill gutted, 2 Honolulu councilmen seek rejection of big raises, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii to expand internet access. The islands will embark on a furious new era of high-speed internet connectivity — free to low-income customers — over the next two years after receiving $115.5 million in federal funds Thursday. The majority of the funds, about $101 million, will be used to improve the underwater cable infrastructure linking each of the islands. Star-Advertiser. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Are Hawaii Child Labor Laws Hampering Work-Based Learning Opportunities? House Concurrent Resolution 58 asks the state to review the current youth work permit system. Child labor laws in the state are being reviewed by the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations this legislative session in an effort to determine if Hawaii has the right mix of opportunities for kids as well as sufficient legal protections for them.  Civil Beat.

Access to Hawaii governor’s personal records spurs investigation
. The state Judiciary is investigating how many people gained access to a system used by about 1,500 criminal justice partners after a Maui defense attorney was able to pull the personal information of Gov. Josh Green from records of four parking tickets he paid. Star-Advertiser.

Hawai‘i ‘clean elections bill’ gutted at last moment. State legislators made significant last-minute revisions this week to a bill aimed at publicly financing elections, transforming what would have been a radical shift in Hawai‘i’s politics into a one-year pilot program missing half of its funds. Garden Island.

Affordable housing for teachers poised to get big infusion of cash. Lawmakers have agreed on a huge infusion of money for teacher housing as they approach the final big deadline of their session. Hawaii News Now.

Child care subsidy expansion bill moves to final floor vote. Measures to usher in universal preschool access have passed through conference committee at the state Legislature. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii Tourism Authority’s future in limbo.
Lawmakers head to conference today on two bills that provide a last chance for the Hawaii Tourism Authority and the Hawai‘i Convention Center to get funded this session after their operational budgets were left out of the final version of a state budget bill earlier this week. Star-Advertiser. Garden Island.

Young climate plaintiffs fight trial delay. Attorneys representing the Hawaii youth plaintiffs suing the Department of Transportation for not doing enough to combat climate change have filed a motion to prevent the trial from being delayed by at least eight months. Star-Advertiser.


Two Honolulu City Council members introduce bill to reject pay increase. Council members Augie Tulba and Andria Tupola have announced that they have introduced two resolutions that will reject the pay raises adopted by the Salary Commission. KHON2.

As House Prices Fall, Condo Prices Are Up in Seven Regions of O‘ahu. But just about everywhere on the island, fewer condos were sold in the first quarter of this year compared to last year – much fewer. Hawaii Business magazine.

Kamalani Academy wins appeal over closure of school. In an unprecedented court-style hearing Thursday, the state Board of Education reversed a decision by the state Public Charter School Commission to close the Wahiawa charter school Kamalani Academy.  Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

DOH: Discovery of WWII-era munitions along popular shoreline highlights alarming safety threat. The military says it recently unearthed six WWII-era mortars and grenades in Waimanalo, scattered throughout an area some residents use as a beach access. Hawaii News Now.

‘Forever chemicals’ detected in second Kunia Village well. A second well in Kunia Village, a small agricultural community in central Oahu, has tested positive for chemicals known as PFAS.  Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

Acting chair is named head of Aloha Stadium Authority board. Brennon Morioka has been the board’s leader since last summer, when former Chair Ross Yamasaki’s term on the Stadium Authority ended. Star-Advertiser.

President of Nauru visits Honolulu. A Wednesday news release from U.S. Coast Guard District 14 said President Russ Joseph Kun and his delegation visited U.S. Indo- Pacific Command, met with Coast Guard officials and met with members of the East-West Center at the University of Hawaii at Manoa and the Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies in Waikiki. Star-Advertiser.

Knives, collapsible baton confiscated from Hilo-bound traveler at Honolulu airport. A Hilo-bound traveler was cited after two knives and a baton were confiscated from him while going through a Transportation Security Administration checkpoint at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport earlier this month. Big Island Now. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park Goes Cashless On May 26.
Ahead of Memorial Day weekend, the park will no longer accept cash for entrance fees or passes; only credit / debit cards and digital site passes. Big Island Video News.

$18M secured to prevent closure of Kona Community Hospital.  From that amount, $16.2 million will go toward upgrades to infrastructure to mitigate the risk of the hospital’s closure, and $2.3 million is designated for expansion of the pharmacy. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Now. KHON2.

Hilo Company May Get $20 Million To Rehab Banyan Drive Condo Complex. A dilapidated condominium complex on state land along Hilo’s Banyan Drive may be in line for a $20 million makeover. The Hawaii Board of Land and Natural Resources is expected to decide on Friday whether to award a contract to Hilo-based Banyan Drive Management to renovate the Country Club Condominium complex, a 152-unit property. Civil Beat. Big Island Video News. Big Island Now.

Big Island Police Tackle Cockfights But The Real Catch Is On The Sidelines. Hawaii County Police Chief Ben Moszkowicz says officers target cockfights where the stakes are highest. Civil Beat.


Retired Maui Wastewater Employee Gets 16 Months In Prison For Taking Bribes. Wilfredo Savella, 71, a  retired Maui County wastewater maintenance mechanic was sentenced Thursday to 16 months in federal prison and two months of house arrest for his role in a corruption scandal that also put away former state lawmakers Ty Cullen and Kalani English. Civil Beat.

The State Is Putting $100M Toward Major Maui Projects And Groups. Hawaii lawmakers allocated funding for axis deer mitigation, agriculture, school upgrades and more. Civil Beat.

Following upgrades, popular Maui destination will reopen — with a reservation system. After a months-long closure, a popular attraction on the Valley Isle will finally reopen next week. And when it does, tourists will have to plan ahead if they want to visit. Hawaii News Now.


Kauai Wants To House The Homeless — Just Not In Their Backyard. The county is trying to address an increase in homelessness despite persistent NIMBYism. Civil Beat.

Health department retesting Waioli Beach Park water. Levels of 137 per 100 milliliters were detected during routine beach monitoring, but the Department of Health is uncertain about the representativeness of the first sample. Kauai Now.

Monday, April 10, 2023

Hawaii short health-care workers, teachers, corrections officers; cash flows to legislators during session, coffee labeling bill advances, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Lawmakers Consider Higher Bar For Labeling Hawaii Coffee. The label “Kona Coffee” could no longer used by coffee distributors unless more than half of the blended beans were in fact from Kona if a bill moving through the Legislature becomes law. Civil Beat.

Campaign Cash Flowed To Hawaii Senators Just Before An Energy Bill Vote. Reform Measures Won’t Stop It. A bill would prohibit lobbyists from cutting checks to lawmakers during the legislative session, but wouldn't prevent other people with an interest in legislation from writing checks. Civil Beat.

Bills to repeal Hawaii Tourism Authority advance. Two bills are moving forward to repeal the embattled Hawaii Tourism Authority this legislative session, which could prove one of the more contentious for the agency since state lawmakers gave it life in 1998. Star-Advertiser.

Lawmakers Are Focusing On Hawaii’s Youngest Residents As Other Education Measures Stall. Proposals to increase preschool attendance and stabilize child care centers are receiving the most attention in this legislative session. Civil Beat.

To stem exodus of preschool teachers, lawmakers consider using taxpayer dollars to boost their pay. Hawaii preschools say a shortage of qualified teachers is making Hawaii’s childcare crisis even worse. Now, lawmakers are considering using taxpayer money to give some underpaid educators a raise. Hawaii News Now.

Resurrected afterschool proposal gets approval from Senate committee.  House Bill 69 would give an additional $2.5 million to the DOE's Resources for Enrichment, Athletics, Culture, & Health (REACH) program for middle and intermediate school students. Hawaii Public Radio.

Reports show more healthcare workers leaving Hawaii. According to a recent survey from the Healthcare Association of Hawaii, vacancy rates went from 10% in 2019, to 17% in 2022. KHON2.

Waitlists grow for Hawaii’s long-term care facilities. For years, Hawaii’s long-term care facilities, which include nursing homes, have been dealing with staffing shortages, even before the COVID-19 pandemic. Today the situation has only gotten worse, with long-term care facilities operating in crisis mode. Star-Advertiser.

Labor conflict in Hawaii’s shipping industry playing out at Legislature.  The dispute is largely, or at least partly, between different factions of organized labor, and it could affect the prices and availability of goods. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii’s state prisons face severe staff shortages. The confirmation hearing for Tommy Johnson to lead the state Department of Public Safety revealed a deep and complex rift between guards and the department over chronic staff shortages, absences and overtime. Star-Advertiser.


DOH: Fecal bacteria in Kailua Bay exceeds permitted levels; Stay out. The public is advised to avoid Kailua Bay until further notice after wastewater was discharged into the ocean, according to the Hawaii Department of Health. Star-Advertiser. KHON2.

State considers closing financial gap to buy Maunawili Valley. More than a thousand acres of Maunawili are privately owned, and for years community members have been raising funds to buy it. Now, with the state’s help, they hope to restore agricultural land and preserve cultural and historical sites. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Permit granted for Ka‘u-based satellite receiver array. The Academia Sinica Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics plans to install a system of 10 satellite dishes 20 feet in diameter on a two-acre site on a larger 10.7-acre parcel in Wood Valley in order to observe faint radio pulses from deep space. Tribune-Herald.

60th Annual Merrie Monarch Festival kicks off with Ho‘olaule‘a. Seven halau and a taiko drum group were to entertain an anticipated crowd of hundreds, perhaps thousands, starting at 9 a.m. at the Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium. Tribune-Herald. Hawaii News Now.  KITV4.

Merrie Monarch Week: The ‘unofficial’ events.  The action during the upcoming 60th Annual Merrie Monarch Festival in Hilo on the Big Island isn’t just confined to the official events at Edith Kanaka‘ole Multi-Purpose Stadium and Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium. Big Island Now.


Bissen’s Spending Plan For Maui Targets Affordable Housing And A Rainy Day Fund. His $1.23 billion spending plan for Maui, Lanai and Molokai is only slightly higher than fiscal year 2023’s $1.21 billion spending plan — the largest budget in county history.  Civil Beat.

Maui experts hope to catch up in battling coquis, Little Fire Ants, miconia. Christy Martin and Teya Penniman have spent more than 20 years successfully leading the fight against alien species on Maui, including the coqui frogs and Little Fire Ants. But they warn budget cutbacks in recent years have hurt their efforts. Maui Now.

Mokulele Airlines struggles to win the trust of its kamaʻāina passengers. Mokulele Airlines serves as a lifeline for the Molokaʻi and Lānaʻi communities, especially for critical medical appointments and off-island work. However, residents say they can no longer depend on Mokulele to get them there.  Hawaii Public Radio.


Kaua‘i police warn of Craigslist apartment rental scams. The already herculean task of finding an affordable apartment on Kaua‘i has been made more difficult by a recent rash of fake listings aimed at scamming tenants. Garden Island.

Therapists to analyze ‘climate psychology’ at next Kaua‘i Climate Action Forum. The Kaua‘i Climate Action Forum – made up of local environmental groups Zero Waste Kaua‘i, Kaua‘i Climate Action Coalition and the Surfrider Foundation Kaua‘i Chapter – will discuss “climate psychology” at its next online meeting. Kauai Now.

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Biden to create new Pacific marine sanctuary, huge raises approved for Honolulu officials, first set of ethics reform bills sent to governor, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hokule‘a and Hikianalia to sail on 4-year voyage. The Polynesian Voyaging Society announced Tuesday that the Hokule‘a is scheduled to embark June 15 on a 43,000-nautical-mile journey circumnavigating the Pacific. Star-Advertiser. Big Island Video News. Hawaii News Now.

Biden To Create New Marine Sanctuary In Pacific. President Joe Biden announced Tuesday that he would expeditiously expand and increase environmental protections for a group of remote atolls and islands in the Central Pacific and the nearly 777,000 square miles of waters around them. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser. Big Island Now. Kauai Now.  Hawaii News Now.

Bills on campaign contributions, lobbying, gifts pass Hawaiʻi Legislature; headed to governor. House Speaker Scott K. Saiki introduced HB99, HB137 and HB142 that were recommendations made by the Commission to Improve Standards of Conduct, which was established by the House in 2022. Big Island Now. Maui News. Kauai Now.

Hawaii Senate President Remains Mum On The Turmoil In His Caucus. Sen. Ron Kouchi isn't talking about whether longtime members of his caucus are bullying their peers over a political appointment. Civil Beat.

Bill could track drivers’ mileage, tax them by the mile. With more electric vehicles hitting the roads, revenue from the state’s fuel tax is dropping, which is money that’s supposed to help repair Hawaii’s roads. Now, a bill is moving through the legislature looking to replace the state fuel tax with a road usage charge program. KHON2.

Required active shooter training in schools could become a reality for Hawaiʻi. House Bill 1329 would require the state education department to develop and implement an active shooter training program in all schools. Hawaii Public Radio.

State Senate Bill that would charge outlaw hikers for their rescues moves forward. A measure that would allow county first responders to charge outlaw hikers for the cost of their rescue passed with amendments out of the the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. Senate Bill 786 will now be heading to the House Finance Committee. KITV4.

Lt. Gov. Sylvia Luke seeks solutions to 'antiquated' office duties. Without a secretary of state, the lieutenant governor's office takes on some necessary, core functions. Namely, the office has three statutory functions: facilitating name changes, certifying international documents called apostilles, and processing administrative rules. Hawaii Public Radio.


Panel endorses pay raises for top Honolulu officials. The Honolulu Salary Commission on Tuesday recommended pay boosts of 12.5% and greater for the city’s mayor and department heads and a 60.2% pay jump for the leader of the Honolulu City Council. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now. KHON2. KITV4.

Bill to fund OHA land repairs dies. The Office of Hawaiian Affairs criticized state House of Representatives leadership Tuesday for not hearing a bill appropriating $65 million to repair harbor infrastructure on land in Kakaako the Legislature gave OHA in 2012 to settle a $200 million debt. Star-Advertiser. KHON2.

Special meeting on New Aloha Stadium. On Wednesday, the Stadium Authority will hold a special meeting to discuss Gov. Josh Green’s new plan for the project. KHON2.

Mayor Rick Blangiardi kicks off town hall series in Ewa. Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi hosted a town hall Tuesday night at Ewa Makai Middle School, where he committed to a site visit at Makakilo Drive following calls from residents to extend the road and alleviate local traffic congestion. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

Closure of last big downtown retailer, Walmart, prompts fears.
First the downtown Walgreens closed about a year ago, followed six months later by the shuttering of the neighborhood Longs, and now the last major retailer, Walmart, plans to shut its doors after April 21 — leading to fears that the Fort Street Mall area will become a magnet for even more crime, homeless activity and graffiti. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.  KHON2.

A man in need of medical treatment spent days on a sidewalk right outside Queen’s Medical Center. Good Samaritans have been helping 59-year-old Timothy Walker, who’s been on the sidewalk outside the Queen’s Medical Center ER for the past week — surrounded by flies and ants. Hawaii News Now.

Red-light safety camera to issue warnings at Kapiolani intersection. The red-light safety camera at Kapiolani Boulevard and Kamakee Street — the intersection where a teen was fatally struck by a pickup truck — begins issuing warnings on Wednesday, according to state officials. Star-Advertiser. KITV4.

A large care home wants to move into a tiny neighborhood. Residents aren’t happy. Residents along Kaneohe Bay are raising alarms about a planned care home that they say looks like a monster home. But the developer says it’s a mischaracterization — and that he scaled down the project to meet community opposition. Hawaii News Now.

Pint-Sized Plants Could Be Our Secret Weapon In Fight Against Invasive Beetle. Hawaii’s invasive species experts announced in January that Oahu had lost its fight to eradicate the coconut rhinoceros beetle, after years of trying to keep their expansion at bay. Civil Beat.

Behind the conversion of a Bishop Street high-rise from offices to housing. The building at 1132 Bishop St. is in the home stretch — now The Residences at Bishop Place. It's still home to the federal bankruptcy courthouse, but the floors above are largely apartments for rent. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii Island

Council takes action on sewage plant. A Hawaii County Council committee on Tuesday recommended passage of a bill that would split a rehabilitation project for the Hilo Wastewater Treatment Plant into two phases. Tribune-Herald.

2 Hawai‘i police detectives involved in fatal shooting in Kona to return to full duty. Two Hawai‘i police officers involved in a fatal shooting 11 days ago of a 32-year-old man in Kailua-Kona were cleared to return to full duty on Tuesday, although two separate investigations are still underway, according to Hawaiʻi Police Chief Ben Moszkowicz. Big Island Now.

Two High-Altitude Balloons To Be Launched On Hawaiʻi Island. The Sierra-Nevada Corporation and World View will be launching the balloons near Waimea between March 23 and 25. Big Island Video News. KHON2.

Kohala agriculture event invites Hawaiʻi Island farmers to plan their future. Members of an agricultural community on Hawaiʻi Island will gather this week to discuss the future of sustainable farming and ranching. Hawaii Public Radio.

Pacific Tsunami Museum reopens: ‘Through stories, we can teach people how to survive’.  The Pacific Tsunami Museum has reopened for visitors and locals alike with a change of leadership and plans for new exhibits. Tribune-Herald.


Housing, water, deer and controversial high school discussed in Maui State of the County address. Mayor Richard Bissen said with just 78 days in, his team is focused on “common-sense priorities” which include water, affordable housing, infrastructure, economic diversification and protecting our environment. Hawaii News Now.

Bissen delivers State of the County address tonight, Budget presentation on Friday. Mayor Bissen’s proposed budget highlights his administration’s priorities of water, housing, infrastructure, economic diversification and environment. Maui Now.

Maui Council tradition of evening budget meetings returns starting March 30. The Budget, Finance and Economic Development Committee will hold evening meetings throughout the county to receive community input on the fiscal year 2024 budget from March 30 through April 13. Maui Now.

New Kihei High School Will Finally Open Under Deal With Governor, Maui Mayor Says. Maui Mayor Richard Bissen announced Tuesday that he has reached a deal with Gov. Josh Green that will allow a long-awaited high school in Kihei to open. Civil Beat.

Sust’āinable Molokaʻi's new food box program connects local farmers to kūpuna. A new program on Molokaʻi offers residents the opportunity to support kūpuna and local farmers at the same time.  Hawaii Public Radio.


Swimming through sewage — study shows high bacteria count in Kaua‘i waters. Environmental organization Surfrider Kaua‘i’s Blue Water Task Force found large amounts of bacteria in several of Kaua‘i’s waters this month, suggesting that ongoing concerns over fecal contamination of the Garden Island’s streams and beaches are far from over. Garden Island. Kauai Now.

Kaua‘i jobless rate tumbles to 3.0 percent. Local businesses continued to beef up employment rosters to start the year, in turn sending the jobless rate on Kaua‘i to its lowest level for the month of January since the pre-pandemic era. Garden Island.

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Green pledges $100M to fight climate change, 'monster' surf expected tonight, Ellison traffic ticket shows lack of preferential treatment, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Hawaii Gov. Josh Green pledges $100M to fight climate change. Gov. Josh Green kicked off Hawaii’s Climate Action Week on Monday pledging to dedicate $100 million of the state’s $1.9 billion budget surplus to address climate change. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.  KHON2.

Pair of Hawaii lawmakers push for poker and sports betting.
Reps. John Mizuno and Daniel Holt on Monday touted a plan to introduce a bill that would permit only two types of gambling, poker and sports betting, at one establishment on Oahu not at a hotel, under a state license regulated by a commission. Star-Advertiser. Maui Now. KITV4.

Proposal would increase public funding for Hawaii campaigns. State Sen. Karl Rhoads plans to introduce legislation this year to help county, state and Office of Hawaiian Affairs candidates raise more campaign money through public funds to ease their reliance on lobbyists and private donors with the goal of promoting “clean elections.” Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.

1st Native Hawaiian woman nominated to lead DLNR facing opposition. A petition has been started to oppose Gov. Josh Green's nominee, Dawn Chang, to head the Department of Land and Natural Resources. Chang is a former deputy attorney general for the department, and previously served on the state Land Use Commission. She also started a company called Ku’iwalu Consulting.  Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii Agency Is Racing ‘Against The Clock’ To Build New Preschools. The School Facilities Authority says it needs help to meet a June 2024 deadline to build and renovate up to 200 preschool classrooms. Civil Beat.

‘Firework zones’ eyed following noisy, dangerous start to 2023. The state wants to work with the counties and first responders to establish “fireworks zones” in the wake of this year’s New Year’s celebrations, which resulted in a long list of injuries and one death. Hawaii News Now.


Eddie Aikau surf contest set to begin Wednesday on Oahu. More than 20,000 people are likely to descend upon Waimea Bay on Wednesday as a giant North Shore swell is expected to allow “The Eddie” big-wave surf contest to run for only the 10th time in some 40 years. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii Public Radio.Hawaii News Now. KHON2. KITV4.

Real property tax assessment appeals deadline draws near. The deadline to dispute your real property tax assessment is this Sunday, Jan. 15, but some said they have had issues getting assistance from the city. KHON2.

Hawaii Kids ‘Connect These Dots’ To Understand Climate Change. From public schools on the Westside to private schools in Honolulu, teachers are finding creative ways to educate — and empower — students facing the effects of a warming planet. Civil Beat.

Iolani Palace Is Preparing For Hawaiian Royal Heiress Kawananakoa To Lie In State. The public memorial event is expected to be held later this month. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.

$50K grant allows for upgrades to a tiny home community in Kapolei. Nareit Hawaii awarded a $50,000 grant to U.S. Vets to pay for a new kitchen, secure storage spaces, private mailboxes and air conditioners in the shared facilities. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

COVID hospitalizations rise: HMC sees ‘typical bump’ in infections after holiday season. Over the holidays, Hilo Medical Center saw a bump in COVID-19 hospitalizations, increasing from a daily average of between five and seven patients to 18 patients on Monday. Tribune-Herald.

BLNR to consider bag limit increases for feral pigs. New hunting regulations that would double the amount of feral pigs a hunter could take each day in certain Puna forest reserves will once again be considered by the state Board of Land and Natural Resources Friday. Tribune-Herald.

Annual Point-In-Time Count slated Jan. 23 to 27.  The annual Point-In-Time Count will take place later this month on the Big Island with volunteers and advocates working to provide a snapshot of all those experiencing homelessness in the community. West Hawaii Today.


Council member: Body cam video of Larry Ellison traffic stop shows no one ‘above the law’. Billionaire Larry Ellison was pulled over last year for a variety of traffic violations on Lanai, the island he owns. Hawaii News Now.

Pending lawsuit over vote counting protocols keeps major Maui County Council seat vacant. It has been one week since Maui County Council members took the oath of office. However, one seat remains vacant because of a pending lawsuit. Hawaii News Now.

The Doobie Brothers’ 50th Anniversary Tour makes Maui stop, May 2. The Maui Arts & Cultural Center presents The Doobie Brothers in concert Tuesday, May 2 in the A&B Amphitheater & Yokouchi Pavilion. Maui Now. Maui News.

MEO Head Start application period for 2023-24 opens Feb. 1.  Maui Economic Opportunity’s Head Start, a 100% subsidized preschool program for low income families, will begin accepting applications for the 2023-24 school year beginning Feb. 1. Maui Now.


Hawai‘i State Senator Mike Gabbard (D-20) will join the Kaua‘i Climate Action Form for its latest virtual monthly meeting, scheduled for this week. Gabbard, who is chairman of the Hawai‘i Senate Agriculture & Environmental Committee, will be joined by activist Maya van Rossum. Kauai Now.

Head of Ho‘ike Kaua‘i Community Television steps down after 22 years. After 22 years at the helm of Kaua‘i’s sole community TV station, J Robertson is stepping down as managing director of Ho‘ike Kaua‘i Community Television. Garden Island.

Thursday, December 15, 2022

Imported wasps could save Hawaii coffee industry, more Native Hawaiian girls missing, murdered, ethics reform high priority for legislative session, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Tiny wasps could help save Hawaii’s coffee industry.  With Hawaii coffee farms under attack by a wave of alien pest species, crop yields are off by as much as 50% this year. But farmers may soon be getting some help in the form of a tiny bio-control agent. Star-Advertiser. Big Island Video News.

Most Hawaii Campaign Spending Violators Never See Jail Time. Changes are coming for how those cases are handled going forward as a new law allows the commission to assess fines and refer a case to prosecutors concurrently. Civil Beat.

Ethics reform proposals up for debate in wake of high-profile bribery scandals.  The state Ethics Commission wants more information than ever about who is pulling the strings of power and it passed a package of proposed bills and reforms Wednesday. Hawaii News Now.

More data needed on missing, murdered Native Hawaiian women. Among the findings in a report released Wednesday by a task force created by the state Legislature last year, more than a quarter of missing girls in Hawaii are Native Hawaiian. Star-Advertiser. Tribune-Herald. Hawaii News Now.  KITV4.

Need for more police to wear body cams. Every police department in the state is using body-worn cameras, but there are questions as to why key police divisions don’t have them and concerns surrounding policy violations. KHON2.

Hawaiian homestead beneficiaries react to Ikaika Anderson nomination to lead DHHL. Waiohuli Hawaiian Homestead leader Kekoa Enomoto said Ikaika Anderson’s familiar face and reputable family name added a bit of credibility to his appointment as head of the department. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii Inmate In Arizona Is A Step Closer To Facing The Death Penalty. A Hawaii prisoner who murdered another inmate while they were both serving their sentences in an Arizona prison is eligible for execution under Arizona law, according to a decision by a jury on Wednesday. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii hospitals still full ahead of the holidays.  Given how full hospitals already are, officials are keeping a close eye on trends this winter and hoping there will be no surges resulting from RSV, flu or new COVID-19 variants in coming months. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii records 1,191 new COVID-19 cases, 4 more deaths.  The state’s average positivity rate was about the same, at 6.4% compared with 6.5% the previous week. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.


HFD: Lithium batteries, like those in electric cars and cell phones, blamed in dozens of Oahu fires. More than a third of Oahu’s accidental fires between 2020 and 2022 involved lithium ion batteries, the Honolulu Fire Department said Wednesday. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Prices in Honolulu saw small decline this season, but still remain high.  Prices in the Honolulu area decreased by 0.6% over the past two months, but that’s still nearly 6% higher compared to last November. This is still lower than the national average — which increased 7.1%. Hawaii Public Radio.

Miske case: Trial for alleged leader of Hawaii crime syndicate set.  Multiple people entered pleas of not guilty Wednesday for conspiring to run “Miske Enterprise” through racketeering activity including murder, kidnapping, arson and robbery. Star-Advertiser.

Haleiwa burger company sues beef firm for alleged use of trademark. The owners of Haleiwa’s oldest restaurant are suing a meat company owned by an Idaho billionaire in federal court for allegedly using their trademark to promote beef products in Hawaii. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Island

Ethics complaints filed against two county planners. Two island residents have filed ethics complaints against Planning Department staffers, saying they were laughed at and disrespected when they opposed developments in Pepeekeo and Keaukaha. West Hawaii Today.

Over course of eruption, Mauna Loa lava traveled 16 miles and response cost $2M.  Organizers estimate about 100,000 people used the viewing route over two weeks. Hawaii News Now.

HFD on target to meet budget.
The Hawaii Fire Department remained on target to its annual budget as of November, just under halfway through the fiscal year.  West Hawaii Today.

‘Deep monitor well’ planned for Waimea. The state Department of Land and Natural Resources will dig a nearly 2,000-foot well to monitor groundwater conditions in Waimea. Tribune-Herald.


Mayor-elect Bissen announces additional appointments to his cabinet. Mayor-elect Richard Bissen has announced additional appointments to his cabinet, including:Leo Caires as Chief of Staff, Mahina Martin as Chief of Communications and Public Affairs and Gerry Dameron as Chief Innovation Officer. Maui Now.

Jury awards $75,000 to former county prosecutor.
A federal jury last week awarded former Maui County Prosecutor Donald Guzman $75,000, far less than the approximately $600,000 he had asked for in a lawsuit filed against the county and others over his public termination back in 2020. Maui News.

Maui County’s first Climate Action Resiliency Plan now available for public comment. The County of Maui’s first Climate Action and Resiliency Plan (CARP) status report draft has been transmitted to the Maui County Council Mayor Michael Victorino announced today. Maui Now.


Kauai Council Passes Tax Break For Niihau, The ‘Forbidden’ Private Isle. Niihau, also known as the Forbidden Island, is home to about 130 Hawaiian residents whose generational ties to the smallest inhabited Hawaiian Island run deep. Civil Beat. Garden Island.

Kaua’i sees mostly below average rainfall in November. Leeward sites were especially dry, with several low elevation gauges reporting totals of less than 10% of average. Kauai Now.