Showing posts with label climate change. Show all posts
Showing posts with label climate change. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 5, 2024

Decade-low candidates in this year's elections, oil industry asks Supreme Court to block climate change lawsuits, Air Force changes mind, opts to keep Bellows Air Force Station, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Fewer Candidates Filed For Election In Hawaii This Year Than In The Past 10 Years. Dozens of incumbent lawmakers face no challenger. The most significant race in Hawaii’s Aug. 10 primary may well influence who is the next speaker of the Hawaii House of Representatives — and thus directly impact the policies and laws of the entire state. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Oil industry asks Supreme Court to block climate change lawsuits from Hawaii, other states. Oil and gas companies are asking the Supreme Court to block dozens of high-powered lawsuits from Hawaii to Massachusetts seeking to hold the industry liable for billions of dollars in costs related to climate change. Los Angeles Times.

State insurance chief doesn’t see carrier exit.
Hawaii has been the subject of some scary national headlines lately regarding property insurance, but the state insurance commissioner Tuesday expressed a less calamitous view of the industry affecting homeowners. Star-Advertiser.

A ‘Hard Market’ Is Battering Condo Owners. A confluence of events is causing the hard market, said Hawaii Insurance Commissioner Gordon Ito. And the resulting spike in premiums — primarily for hurricane insurance for condominium associations — is sending shocks to homeowners across Hawaii, Ito said. Civil Beat.

Hawaii launches wildfire, drought alert campaign. The summer months ahead are shaping up to be hot and dry, with the same level of wildfire risks as 2023, according to experts Tuesday at the launch of the Wildfire and Drought Lookout campaign. Star-Advertiser. Maui Now.  Hawaii News Now.  KITV4.

Hawaiian Telcom vows to serve Hawaiian home lands amid disruption. After Gov. Josh Green’s emergency proclamation Friday to preserve telecommunications services for approximately 1,500 homes and businesses served by Sandwich Isles Communications, Hawaiian Telcom on Tuesday announced its commitment to serving residential and business customers on Hawaiian home lands with existing connectivity infrastructure. Star-Advertiser.

Doctors to get tax relief on patients' government health plans under new law. Starting in 2026, doctors will no longer have to pay the state’s general excise tax on health care for patients on Medicare, Medicaid and Tricare. Hawaii Public Radio.

State works to spend millions of dollars to address opioid addiction.
Hawaiʻi can address substance abuse with $33 million from opioid manufacturer settlements — and that number is expected to continue to grow. However, managing and spending the funds has been a work in progress. Hawaii Public Radio.

Oahu

Air Force has ‘change of heart’ on plan to part with training site riddled with old munitions. Citing “changes in operational requirements,” the Air Force says it now plans to keep a 138-acre training site at Bellows Air Force Station that it had long planned to part with. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu Council is poised to adopt $4 billion-plus budget. The Honolulu City Council today is expected to review for adoption the city’s proposed $3.63 billion executive operating budget for the 2025 fiscal year, which begins July 1. Star-Advertiser.

Blangiardi calls for multi-year contract for Honolulu rail CEO
.  Mayor Rick Blangiardi today told officials who oversee the city’s rail project to offer a multi-year contract to Lori Kahikina — its CEO and executive director — and fully cooperate with an investigation into any alleged “bullying and harassment” of Kahikina by the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation’s board of directors. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.

Honolulu City Council Proposes Kailua Land Sale For Hawaiian Homelands.
Hawaiian homelands lots may be offered for the first time in Kailua under a proposal introduced at the Honolulu City Council on Tuesday. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.

Man awarded $12.5M from city ordered held without bail in federal gun, drug case. The 38-year-old man who settled with the city for $12.5 million following injuries he suffered in a 2021 police pursuit was ordered held without bail today on federal charges that he used a ghost gun while selling methamphetamine in Waianae. Star-Advertiser.

Raw sewage seeps over Sand Island park
. Sand Island State Recreation Area has long stretches of coastline and plenty of pretty beaches. But at the end of the park, there was something ugly found behind one of its bathrooms. KITV4.

Hawaii Island

COVID cases creep up on the Big Island. Hawaii Island hospitals are reporting a slight increase in COVID-19 activity similar to rising rates throughout the state. Tribune-Herald.

Recent Kilauea eruptions could indicate new phase of activity. Ken Hon, scientist in charge at HVO, said Kilauea’s recent behavior seems to potentially indicate a new phase of volcanic activity, one characterized by a series of “pulses” of activity instead of sustained events over longer periods of time. Tribune-Herald.

Maui


Maui court upholds governor’s Emergency Proclamation on affordable housing. Second Circuit Court Judge Peter T. Cahill issued judgment in favor of Gov. Josh Green, M.D., and the Hawaiʻi Housing Finance and Development Corporation, in a lawsuit that sought to, among other things, invalidate the governor’s emergency proclamation on affordable housing. Maui Now.

Temporary groundwater monitoring wells to be installed at Temporary Debris Storage site in Olowalu. County officials say the installation is part of its commitment along with the US Army Corps of Engineers to protect public health and the environment during the wildfire cleanup. Maui Now.

Kauai

Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative continues to lead Hawai‘i in renewable generation. For the fifth straight year, Kauaʻi Island Utility Cooperative leads the state of Hawaiʻi in renewable generation, having achieved 57.9% renewable for 2023. This puts KIUC well ahead of the state of Hawaiʻi requirement of 40% by 2030. Kauai Now.

Visitor count drops, spending climbs on Kaua‘i in April. A steep drop in the number of visitors to the island of Kaua‘i in April was of no consequence on the spending front, as tourists continued to plow piles of cash into the local economy. Garden Island.

Thursday, May 23, 2024

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

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

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

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

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

Oahu

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

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

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

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

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

Hawaii Island

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

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

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

Maui

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kauai

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

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Governor's green fee dies in Senate, Board of Education to get new leader, Honolulu council delays gift ban bill, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

The Senate Just Killed Green’s Plan For A Climate Fee For Visitors. For a third consecutive year, state lawmakers have chosen to not pass a fee that would be charged mainly to tourists to better manage and protect Hawaii’s fragile environment, which remains under heavy strain from constant foot and vehicular traffic and under siege by invasive species.  Civil Beat.

Hawaii Governor Appoints Dozens To Powerful Hawaii Boards And Commissions. They include the UH Board of Regents and authorities with jurisdiction over land use, public utilities, education, housing and community development. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Board Of Education To Get New Leader For The Third Time In 2 Years. The Senate is being asked to confirm seven picks for the 11-member board, including  former state lawmaker Roy Takumi to replace Warren Haruki as BOE chair. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser.

Governor Names Four To Mauna Kea Stewardship, Oversight Authority. Four appointments to the Mauna Kea Stewardship and Oversight Authority were announced by Governor Josh Green on Sunday.  Big Island Video News. Big Island Now.

Rules that help set real estate agent commissions could soon change in Hawaii. A $418-million lawsuit settlement against the National Association of Realtors could lead to a drop in costs for buying and selling a home in Hawaii. KITV4.

BAC measure dies again.
Legislation that would reduce the threshold for drunken driving from 0.08% blood alcohol content to 0.05% is dead for this year. Tribune-Herald.

Shaka inches closer to becoming the official state gesture. Senate Bill 3312 and its companion House Bill 2736 would establish the shaka as the first “state gesture” of the United States, in part as an effort to claim the familiar — and merchandisable — symbol for Hawaii before others get there first. Tribune-Herald.

Oahu

Council delays gift ban bill for city workers. The draft measure, materializing after corruption scandals at city agencies including inside the Honolulu Police Department and the city Department of Planning and Permitting, would prohibit gifts to the mayor, prosecuting attorney, Council members, city administration officers or any person employed by the city. Star-Advertiser.

City Council opposes state bill to allow more dwelling units on residential properties.
On Monday the council formally approved a resolution opposing SB3202 and its now-dead House companion bill, which would allow up to two additional dwelling units on residential properties in urban areas.  Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii Island

Hilo gun rights advocate George Young dies at 74.
George K. Young Jr., a retired U.S. Army Ranger master sergeant and Vietnam War veteran whose decade-long legal battle resulted in the feds ruling Hawaii’s counties must issue concealed-carry gun permits to law-abiding citizens, died March 19 at home in Hilo.  Tribune-Herald.

Narcan vending machines pop up islandwide as Hawai‘i Island Fentanyl Task Force battles rise in opioid overdoses. For the past few years, Hawai’i County leaders and community partners have been working to get Narcan, also known as naloxone, into the hands of the public as a way to combat the growing opioid crisis and rise in fentanyl, where one fatal overdose is occurring every seven days on Hawai’i Island, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Big Island Now.

Maui

Governor to announce plan to house Lahaina survivors.  Gov. Josh Green today plans to outline how he intends to house displaced Maui wildfire survivors days ahead of a rally and march by a Lahaina group to urge Green to use his emergency powers to force owners of West Maui short-term vacation rentals to house evacuees. Star-Advertiser.

$35M in federal funds to help rebuild Maui public housing. The Hawaii Public Housing Authority will receive more than $35 million in federal funding to rebuild low-­income, public and senior housing that was destroyed during the Aug. 8 Maui fires. Star-Advertiser.

Sugimura requests financial analysis of proposed water source development in Kula. Council Member Yuki Lei Sugimura has requested a financial analysis of a potential water source development agreement between the County of Maui and Free Market Ventures, LLC. Maui Now.

Kaiser Permanente to open new temporary modular clinic in West Maui. A new temporary modular health clinic will open its doors in West Maui on Thursday. The clinic will be located at the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and run between the hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Hawaii Public Radio.

Kauai

Hale Halawai ‘Ohana O Hanalei to manage $7,285,000 for flood mitigation. A nonprofit organization with deep roots in the North Shore of Kaua‘i is being tasked with administering and distributing a flood mitigation grant. Garden Island. Kauai Now.

Public invited to open house at Kaua‘i District Health Office. The free event will take place on April 5 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the district office located at 3040 Umi St. in Līhuʻe.  Kauai Now.

Thursday, January 25, 2024

Food production a Senate priority, Saiki supports public election financing bills, lawmakers mull HECO lawsuit bailout bills, judge recuses himself in Kaneshiro corruption case, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

State lawmakers dish out their food and agriculture priorities for the legislative session. Agriculture and food security have been a priority since the start of the legislative session last week. They were a large part of Senate President Ron Kouchi’s opening remarks. Hawaii Public Radio.

DOE's Farm to School program moves forward with growing support from state leaders. 
The goal of the state Department of Education program is to use local agriculture to feed students. Hawaii Public Radio.

Saiki supports bills for full public financing of political campaigns.  House Speaker Scott Saiki has thrown his support behind an effort for full public financing for political candidates starting in 2028, which proponents say would reduce the temptation for political corruption and perhaps lead to a new generation of younger elected officials who aren’t beholden to special interests and corporations. Star-Advertiser. Maui Now.

Hawaii Lawmakers Are Considering Ways To Help HECO Pay Maui Fire Costs. Hawaiian Electric says proposed legislation is not intended to shift any lawsuit settlements to consumers. Civil Beat.

Lawmakers weigh big funding asks to tackle wildfire, climate change mitigation. Recovery from the the Maui wildfires is a priority, but so is climate change and lawmakers grilled the state attorney general Wednesday about a lawsuit filed by children. Hawaii News Now.

‘Abusive’ Lawsuits, Early Child Care Lead Hawaii Women’s Caucus Package Of Bills. The bipartisan group of legislators finds joining forces helps get measures passed at the Legislature.  Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser.

Many 'emergency hire' teachers brought in to fight Hawaii's teacher shortage
. Gov. Josh Green is requesting more than $125 million in the state budget for public education. Green said his administration has helped reduce the state's teacher shortage by more than 50% in the past year. KITV4.

Oahu

Judge Backs Out Of Honolulu Corruption Case At Last Minute. U.S. District Court Judge Michael Seabright filed a one-sentence order on Wednesday morning declaring his recusal from the case against former Honolulu prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro and local businessman Dennis Mitsunaga. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser.  KHON2.  KITV4.

Council approves federal agreement to fund rail. A critical hurdle to getting a long-awaited injection of cash for Honolulu’s lumbering rail project was crossed Wednesday when the Honolulu City Council signed off on its end of an agreement for federal funding. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Businesses Hurt By Rail Construction Could Get Relief But Hurdles Remain. The City Council approved an effort to jump-start an existing fund, but it's unclear where the money will come from. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.

Testimony shifts to alleged kidnapping in Miske trial.
A former employee of Michael J. Miske’s businesses testified Wednesday that his boss used violence to get his way and helped him coordinate the kidnapping of an accountant. Star-Advertiser. KHON2KITV4.

Honolulu emergency agency leaders revive official who collapsed at City Council hearing.
Honolulu Emergency Services Department Director Jim Ireland, Honolulu Fire Department Chief Sheldon Hao, and Honolulu Police Department Deputy Chief Rade Vanic and Acting Major Mikel Kunishima were attending the hearing when a 60-year-old testifier identified as Hawaii Community Development Authority Chairperson Brian Lee “became unresponsive,” according to a news release. Star-Advertiser. KHON2.

Turkish Coffee Or Universal Khaki? Another Honolulu Condo Dispute Goes To Court. The lawsuit alleges the condo board has resurrected old dispute to retaliate against owner. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Island

Dozens express strong opposition to County Council’s short-term rental measure.
A proposal to rewrite how Hawaii County regulates short-term vacation rentals led to hours of backlash from residents accusing the County Council of overreach. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News.

Big Island Council Rejects $1 Million From State To Plan A Lower Puna Traffic Relief Route. Council members voted 6-2 to decline the state funding after hearing hours of emotional testimony from residents on Hawaiian Home Lands in Panaewa and Keaukaha.  Civil Beat. Big Island Now.  KITV4.

State to get $74.6M to fix Nanue, Hakalau bridges.
Hawaii will receive $74.6 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation for the rehabilitation of the Nanue and Hakalau bridges on Hawaii Island. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News.

Maui

Last-Minute Bill Introduced To Support Long-Term Maui Wildfire Exposure Study. Hawaii lawmakers are being asked to pony up funds to support a comprehensive study of residents affected by the Aug. 8 fires. Civil Beat.

State legislature introduces Maui County Council’s proposal for paid family leave
. Maui County Councilmember Gabe Johnson announced the introduction of state legislation seeking to mandate access to paid family leave for state and county employees. Maui Now.

Staffing shortage results in delay of management plan for Maui north shore parcels. The department had anticipated beginning the area’s management plan in early 2024 with the help of a consultant; however, due to unexpected staffing changes over the last month, the project start date will be postponed to later this year.  Maui Now.

Kauai

PETA condemns Zuckerberg’s ‘cockamamie cattle project’ on Kauai. Animal rights group PETA has launched a national empathy campaign following Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement that he started a cattle-raising operation on his Kauai property. Star-Advertiser.

Mayor Kawakami outlined top Kaua‘i priorities to Hawai‘i Congressional Delegation during visit to Washington D.C. Mayor Derek S.K. Kawakami traveled last week to Washington, D.C., to participate in the U.S. Conference of Mayors 92nd Winter Meeting. Kauai Now.

Kaua‘i Economic Development Board breaks ground on renovation project. The high tech workforce development program involves classes and certification of areas, including digital animation, Native Hawaiian storytelling, Unreal Engine Training, a CID Creative Lab or music ideation program and Game Dev HQ. Garden Island.

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Mizuno's wife/office manager named to his House seat, Kona airport runway springs 3rd crack, removal of 600k tons of ash begins at Lahaina, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

May Mizuno succeeds her husband as new state House representative.  Gov. Josh Green on Tuesday appointed Joje “May” Mizuno to succeed her husband as the new District 29 state representative for Kamehameha Heights-Kalihi Valley. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. KITV4.

Hawaii Lawmakers Say They’re Ready To Bring Back A Fire Marshal’s Office. Politicians have heeded firefighters' calls in light of the Aug. 8 wildfires, submitting draft bills to establish a fire marshal after the position was disbanded decades ago. Civil Beat.

State falling short on carbon reduction goal. A new report from the Hawaiʻi State Energy Office paints a stark picture of Hawaiʻi's progress to cut out fossil fuels. Hawaii Public Radio. On the current path, the state will achieve about a 54% reduction in carbon emissions by 2045, well short of the 100% reduction needed for carbon neutrality. Hawaii Public Radio.

New law requires more transparency for use of force by police. A law requiring all police agencies statewide to maintain publicly available written policies regarding minimum standards on the use of force went into effect Jan. 1. Tribune-Herald.

Here's what state lawmakers are prioritizing for education this legislative session.  This year, education proposals in the Hawaiʻi Legislature will focus on pressing issues like the recovery of Lahaina schools and wildfire prevention. Hawaii Public Radio.

College degrees greatly boost lifetime earnings, UH report finds. While University of Hawaii tuition has become more affordable over the past 10 years when adjusted for inflation, and the financial benefits of a degree remain strong, college enrollment rates among Hawaii public school graduates have declined since the COVID-19 pandemic, with about 500 fewer entering higher education each year, a new report says.  Star-Advertiser. Maui Now.  KHON2.

Mississippi Publisher Looks To Buy Struggling Star-Advertiser And Other Hawaii Papers. Media mogul David Black, who merged Honolulu's two daily newspapers, has filed for bankruptcy protection in Canada.  Civil Beat.

Oahu

UH signs deal to develop new satellite technology. Under a new agreement, the University of Hawaii at Manoa hopes to promote greater research and development of new satellite-­based technologies to better study Earth from space. Star-Advertiser.

Public invited to meet 3 finalists vying for JABSOM dean position.
Three finalists are in the running for the position of dean of the University of Hawaiʻi’s John A. Burns School of Medicine. Hawaii Public Radio. Star-Advertiser.

HECO gathers community input for power plant upgrade proposal.  Hawaiian Electric wants to replace some of its oldest generators with new technology, but the cost to customers is still unclear. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Military begins removal of ‘residual’ fuel at Red Hill. The military began removing “residual” fuel from the Navy’s underground Red Hill Fuel Farm on Monday, marking the beginning of the next phase of the facility’s closure. Star-Advertiser.

Firefighters find fallen hiker at Lanipo after rescuing her dog. Honolulu firefighters on Monday rescued a hiker who had fallen more than 170 feet below a trail above Kaimuki after finding her dog alone on a mountain slope. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Third crack appears on Kona Airport runway. Hawaii Officials Blame Age And Weather For Cracks On Kona Runway. The airport, which shut down for several hours, is scheduled for $120 million in upgrades this summer. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser.  West Hawaii Today.  Big Island Video News.  Big Island Now.  Hawaii News Now.  KITV4.

Hikers rescued from Mauna Loa cited for not having backcountry permit. Officials from the National Park Service said two hikers who were rescued Monday morning from Mauna Loa after getting lost during severe winter weather that had closed the summit. Star-Advertiser. Big Island Now.

Theft of mail reported in parts of Hilo. Hilo residents are advised to secure their mailboxes after a spate of mail thefts around the north edge of town. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

600,000 tons of ash, debris to be hauled from Lahaina.  The Lahaina wildfire debris removal project began Tuesday with preparation work in anticipation of hauling away an estimated 600,000 tons of ash and waste over the next year. Star-Advertiser.

Maui Renters Face ‘Increasingly Hostile Housing Market’ Despite Eviction Moratorium. Housing advocates say landlords are being tempted to oust renters in favor of more lucrative rent subsidies for fire survivors amid high demand. Civil Beat.

Recovery Of Maui Schools Is A Priority For The New Legislative Session. A temporary campus replacing a Lahaina elementary school destroyed in the August wildfires is set to open in April, officials said. Civil Beat.

Kauai


Biodiesel refinery expands operations to Kaua‘i. A biodiesel refinery is expanding its operations to Kaua‘i as part of a project to produce renewable biofuel from multiple locally grown oilseed cover crops. Kauai Now.

Visitor, 30, dies after fall from Kauai hiking trail. A 30-year-old visitor died Sunday after a fall from the Hanakapiai Falls Trail in Haena, according to Kauai County officials. Star-Advertiser. Garden Island.  Kauai Now.

Thursday, January 11, 2024

Public election financing bill revived, Green seeks $2.2M to fight climate change lawsuit, Zuckerberg plans to raise beef on mac nuts and beer at Kauai ranch, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Full Public Financing Of Elections Is Being Revived At Hawaii Legislature. State Sen. Karl Rhoads will resurrect a bill that would establish a comprehensive campaign financing system intended help attract a more diverse pool of political candidates. Civil Beat. West Hawaii Today.

University of Hawaii Budget Request Faces Backlash From Senators. Senators and University of Hawaii leaders clashed over funding for student housing during a budget hearing Wednesday, even as both groups recognized an urgent need to address a years-long facilities problem.  Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser.  Hawaii News Now.

Firm fighting climate lawsuit accused of aggressive tactics. Gov. Josh Green’s administration is requesting an additional $2.25 million to fight the climate lawsuit brought by 14 Hawaii youths claiming that the state Department of Transportation has violated their constitutional rights “to live healthful lives in Hawai‘i now and into the future.”  Star-Advertiser.

Hawaiʻi Senate majority announces legislative priorities for 2024, including fires recovery support. With the 32nd State Legislature set to begin on Jan. 17, the Hawaiʻi Senate Majority said in a press release on Wednesday it is focused on addressing a range of issues, with a key focus on supporting ongoing disaster recovery efforts following the devastating Maui wildfires. Maui Now. Garden Island.

Feds Announce $2.6 Million In Grants To Fortify Hawaii’s Food Supply Chain. The U.S. Department of Agriculture funding will focus on small- and medium-sized producers. Civil Beat.

Oahu

Oahu’s Rolling Blackouts Stemmed From A Series Of Unfortunate Events. They occurred as the island grows more dependent on solar energy. Civil Beat. KHON2.

Kapi’olani and its unionize nurses prepare for weeklong strike.
Unionized nurses at Kapi‘olani Medical Center for Women &Children said they will go on a weeklong strike later this month, and management assured the public that they have a plan to maintain the hospital’s quality of care. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.  KHON2.  KITV4.

Battle for heiress’s estate comes to an end. The prolonged and contentious battle over the estate of the late Abigail Kawananakoa has come to an amicable end with the spouse of the late Campbell Estate heiress walking away with at least $40 million and the heiress’ foundation charity for Native Hawaiians expected to clear at least $100 million. Star-Advertiser.

‘Rescue tubes’ installed at local beaches, city says. A Wednesday morning news conference to announce the installation of 20 bright yellow foam flotation devices called “rescue tubes” on city-owned beaches was briefly interrupted with a real-time ocean rescue. Star-Advertiser.

Settlement talks continue in sex assault case against former Saint Louis School football stars.
The attorneys for Saint Louis School, two former high school football stars and a woman suing them for sex assault have not come to settlement terms — despite three days of mediation. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Bill to fund study of Puna alternate route postponed.
  A study investigating possibilities for a new roadway into Puna has been put off a little longer after questions about how to protect Hawaiian homestead land. Tribune-Herald.

$3.2 Million Released For Wailoa Small Boat Harbor Improvements. $3.2 million in state funds has been released by Hawaiʻi Governor Josh Green for improvements at Wailoa Small Boat Harbor. The money will go toward design and construction costs. Big Island Video News.

Kaʻūmana Caves in Hilo to reopen next week.
  Kaʻūmana Caves in Hilo, which have been closed since Sept. 23, 2023, because of a rock fall and partial collapse, will reopen to the public Jan. 16. Big Island Now. Big Island Video News.

Maui


Heavy Rain Washed Fire-Related Contaminants Into The Ocean Off Lahaina.
A massive brown plume has scientists worried despite protective measures aimed at preventing toxic runoff. Civil Beat.

'I’m not homeless, I’m from here': Unsheltered Maui fire survivors navigate alternative living. Volunteers from A Cup of Cold Water are continuing to accept donations to fill the growing need. John Hirashima said the organization is now serving about 40 people in Kīhei, 80 to 100 in Central Maui, and 60 to 80 in West Maui. Hawaii Public Radio.

County to host Right-of-Entry workshops for owners who lost properties in Maui fires. Workshops will feature presentations by County of Maui and US Army Corps of Engineers officials, along with community experts, who will offer crucial information about the fire debris cleanup process, options available for residential and commercial property owners and an opportunity to ask questions.  Maui Now.

Kauai

Facebook founder says he’s working on a ‘delicious’ new project on Kauai.
Billionaire Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg announced a cattle-raising project on Kauai in an official Facebook post on Wednesday.  Zuckerberg’s plan is to feed the cows exclusively macadamia meal and beer. This plan would require him to plant many macadamia trees. Hawaii News Now.

Above-average rainfall recorded on Kaua‘i despite persistent drought conditions in December statewide.
In December, windward gauges had near to above-average rainfall, while most of the leeward gages had below-average rainfall.  Kauai Now.

Monday, October 30, 2023

Almost half of Emergency Management Agency positions vacant, Inouye's son to run for state Legislature, raises in store for public schools executives, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii’s Emergency Management Agency Struggles To Fill Many Key Jobs. About 45% of HIEMA's civil service jobs are vacant, forcing the agency to use temporary and exempt employees to fill in. Civil Beat.

Hawaii public school executives’ maximum salaries raised to $192K to $206K.  Seven months after angry public testimony helped to compel the state Department of Education to scale back a proposal to raise salaries of officials at the top levels of Hawaii’s public school system, the state Board of Education has approved salary increases of 4.6% to 6% for the 2023-2024 fiscal year for 21 out of 25 of its “subordinate superintendents.”  Star-Advertiser.

Inouye’s son making first run at House seat against La Chica. The son of the late U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye plans to make his first foray into politics at the age of 59 by challenging fellow, first-time Democratic state Rep. Trish La Chica for the House seat representing Waipio-Mililani in 2024. Star-Advertiser.

Late state Sen. Sam Slom to be celebrated at Capitol. Friends, family and legislative colleagues have planned the only public “celebration of life” for state Sen. Sam Slom, who died in May at the age of 81 after serving 20 years in the Senate. Star-Advertiser.

State Central Committee of Democratic Party of Hawaiʻi votes to oust chairperson Jung. The State Central Committee of the Democratic Party of Hawai‘i on Sunday voted to remove Chairperson Dennis Jung and begin the process to elect new party leadership. Maui Now.

Hawaii Ethics Commission Steps Up Training Of Government Employees. Since a new law requiring state legislators and employees to complete live or online ethics training classes every four years went into effect Jan. 1, the number of people taking the course has increased significantly as compared to 2021. Civil Beat.

50,000 acres of state farmland set to move under Department of Agriculture management
. About 50,000 acres of Hawaiʻi farmland managed by the state Department of Land and Natural Resources are set to be transferred to the Department of Agriculture. The move is two decades in the making. Hawaii Public Radio.

Oahu

Waikiki climate change study underway, city says. The city Department of Planning and Permitting says it’s kicked off a nearly $400,000 pilot project to study the impacts of climate change and sea level rise on Oahu’s prime tourist zone. Star-Advertiser.

Cesspool Conversions: Honolulu Seeks To Connect More Homes To Main Sewer System. A proposal to install sewer lines for a section of Ewa Beach is shaping up as a litmus test for the effort as homeowners say they need more help covering the costs. Civil Beat.

Hawaii to be first to offer Filipino History Culture course in public school curriculum. Waipahu and Farrington high Schools will be the first in the nation to offer a student created Filipino Studies class in a public school curriculum. Hawaii News Now.

Teaching Kids To Read In Hawaii Is Going Back To Basics. Makakilo Elementary is one of about 80 schools in the state to receive funding from a roughly $50 million federal grant awarded in 2019 to improve literacy among the country’s youngest readers. Civil Beat.

Tour helicopter makes ‘precautionary landing’ on small island near Honolulu‘s airport. Honolulu Ocean Safety responded to a helicopter that had made a “precautionary landing” on a small island near the Honolulu Airport Saturday morning. Honolulu EMS officials say the incident happened just after 10:00 a.m. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Hawaii Island

County delays Waikoloa siren installation. HI-EMA Communications Director Adam Weintraub Weintraub acknowledged that Waikoloa Village is a particularly at-risk community — the village only has one way in or out for about 7,000 residents — he added that HI-EMA, responding to personnel shortages, has prioritized installing emergency sirens for coastal communities that currently do not have redundant sirens in case of tsunami. Tribune-Herald.

County hopes water study will shed light on Hilo Bay contaminants. After the bay was found to not meet state water standards in 2009, county, state and federal agencies have investigated various methods for improving it. Tribune-Herald.

Surf schools to find out Nov. 17 if they can operate at Kahalu‘u Beach Park. After years of public meetings, draft rules with numerous amendments and jurisdictional disputes, surf schools wanting to operate at Kahalu‘u Beach Park will find out on Nov. 17 if they are awarded one of four coveted spots determined by a lottery. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii Inmate Serving Two Life Sentences Dies In An Arizona Prison. Richard Keokeo Taylor Jr., 51,  a Big Island man who spent nearly 28 years in prison for the robbery of a downtown Hilo Pizza Hut in 1995 has died at the Saguaro Correctional Center in Eloy, Arizona. Civil Beat.

Maui

State Land Board OKs Olowalu For Ash And Debris Disposal From Maui Fires. The site would be monitored for 30 years for any leakage of contamination into the groundwater and ocean. Civil Beat. Maui News.  Associated Press. Hawaii News Now.

Deadlines near to receive FEMA wildfire disaster aid. On Friday, federal officials reported that more than $236.8 million already has been approved for 6,505 Maui households affected by the high winds and wildfires. Star-Advertiser.

Immigrants on Maui hesitant to apply for disaster assistance. The deadline is approaching for Maui residents impacted by the August fires to apply for FEMA assistance, but there is some concern that many in the Latino community have not yet applied. KHON2.

Maui’s struggling small businesses driven by the spirit of aloha. Dreams shattered. Shops burned to the ground. Irreplaceable losses. These are the realities that small business owners in Lahaina are dealing with as the three-month mark of the devastating Aug. 8 fires draws near.  Star-Advertiser.

Gift drive, celebration aim to lift spirits of young Maui fire survivors. Kanani Oury aunched “Makana no na Keiki” — an online Christmas gift drive and in-person holiday event for children directly affected by the Maui wildfires — to spark joy for that community, but she aches for the stories pouring into her email inbox from families asking for presents for their kids. Star-Advertiser.

Dispute shuts down a major community hub in West Maui. There is one thing that both sides agree on -- that state Rep. Elle Cochran started the hub in the Kelawea Mauka subdivision of Lahaina. But volunteer managers asked her to leave -- and when she didn’t, they decided to dismantle the hub. Hawaii News Now.

Kauai

Next tool for saving Kaua’i forest birds from extinction introduced. A dozen researchers and technicians on Thursday began releasing incompatible male mosquitoes to try and stop the near-certain extinction of at least four species of Native Hawaiian honeycreepers. Kauai Now.

Coco Palms debate continues as demolition nears.
As the developer of the Coco Palms Resort reported being just weeks away from commencing demolition of the deteriorated site and constructing a 350-room resort, county officials and members of the public continued to debate the possibility of halting the project in two separate meetings this week. Garden Island.

2-mile-long fence on Kauai ready to protect seabirds.  Pono Pacific Land Management LLC built the $1.7 million fence along the perimeter of the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge on Kauai’s north shore. Star-Advertiser.

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.

Oahu

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

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.

Kauai

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.

Tuesday, September 5, 2023

Pukas exposed in statewide warning systems, Rep. Case misses Speaker McCarthy's Lahaina tour due to COVID, Legislature spreads more wealth off Oahu, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

State Climate Commission releases reports on clean transportation choices for Hawaiʻi. In Hawai’i, 70% of personal trips are under five miles and account for 15% of vehicle miles traveled – this means that many trips are ripe for new modes if they are safe and accessible. The Hawaiʻi State Climate Commission has released three new reports detailing clean transportation investments that promote walking, biking, rolling and transit across the state as an integral component to help address climate change.  Kauai Now.

Analysis Shows Hawaii House Spread Project Money To The Neighbor Islands. Most of the state’s money for capital improvement projects for schools, airports, harbors, hospitals and more is not going to Oahu, a Civil Beat review of appropriations approved this past session shows. Civil Beat.

State unemployment modernization project lags as Maui claims mount.
Maui’s initial unemployment and disaster unemployment assistance claims have soared to more than 15,000, and the state’s multimillion-dollar project to strengthen the unemployment insurance safety net and prepare it for the next economic downturn is back at the starting block. Star-Advertiser.

Deficiencies abound with Hawaii’s disaster warning sirens
. They typically blare once a month and help ensure Hawaii’s population will be safe during life-threatening emergencies, but the state’s outdoor warning siren system has a long history of serious — and in some cases deadly — ineffectiveness. Star-Advertiser.

House Speaker McCarthy tours Lahaina with delegation.
After touring fire-ravaged Lahaina with a bipartisan congressional delegation Saturday, U.S. House Speaker Kevin Mc­Carthy pushed back on claims that climate change contributed to the Aug. 8 disaster that killed at least 115 and destroyed more than 2,200 structures, most of them homes. Star-Advertiser. Maui News.

U.S. Rep. Ed Case says he has contracted COVID-19 and did not attend Saturday's tour of Lahaina with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and other Congress members. Star-Advertiser.

State’s independent investigators haven’t ruled out criminal wrongdoing in Lahaina wildfire disaster. Interviews are being conducted as part of an independent investigation into the Lahaina wildfire that will look at possible causes, government missteps and even whether there is any criminal wrongdoing that the state should pursue. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Replaces Maui And Kauai Ambulance Company With One That Has A Questionable Record. Paramedics and EMTs say the Hawaii Department of Health has lowered care standards for Maui and Kauai. Civil Beat. Maui Now.  Hawaii News Now.

New Lawsuits Attack Hawaii Governor’s Broad Plan To Build More Housing. Critics say Hawaii's housing crisis isn't what the Legislature had in mind when it gave the governor "sole power" to decide when an emergency exists. Civil Beat.

Oahu

Honolulu Mayor Orders Review Of Wildfire Risk On Oahu. Honolulu's managing director will assess existing fire studies to determine risks as well as firefighting and other emergency response capabilities. Civil Beat.

City, HPD Face Lawsuit Over 2021 Killing Of Kakaako Man. Brandon Ventura's father says his son needed a crisis negotiator not a SWAT team after he called 911 to say he was going to kill himself. Civil Beat.

Authorities confirm another brutal murder at OCCC, but won’t say if anyone was charged. Authorities are investigating another murder at OCCC, but have refused to reveal details into the brutal killing — which left a mentally ill man awaiting trial dead. Hawaii News Now.

New Kahe Point Beach Park lifeguard tower is saving lives, data shows.  The Honolulu Ocean Safety department said since the tower’s Aug. 3 installation, lifeguards have performed seven rescues. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Proposal would prohibit disposal of certain recyclables into landfill. In order to extend the usable life of the West Hawaii Sanitary Landfill, a Hawaii County commission is drafting a bill that would prohibit disposing of recyclable materials at that facility. Tribune-Herald.

Work on Hilo affordable housing project not likely to begin until 2025. Hale Ola O Mohouli is a planned housing project that would build 90 units on a state-owned 9-acre lot on Mohouli Street, adjacent to the Mohouli Heights Senior Neighborhood. Tribune-Herald.

Public input sought for Great Crack, Ala Wai‘i. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is seeking community input about the potential future use and stewardship of the remote Great Crack and Ala Wai‘i areas. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Former Maui Mayor Asked For West Maui Wildfire Money 2 Years Ago But Dropped The Request. The Maui mayor's office prepared an application for a fire mitigation grant for West Maui, but gave up on the effort last year after FEMA objected to the county proposal. Civil Beat.

Evacuation alert shows limits of cellphone warning system.  As fire was billowing through residential neighborhoods in Lahaina on Aug. 8, emergency managers for Maui County sent out an evacuation alert that would blare on the cellphones of anyone near the blaze. New York Times.

An Instagram Fundraiser Brought In $2.6 Million For Maui Fire Victims. Now It’s In This Woman’s Hands. Tiare Lawrence, a Native Hawaiian organizer and activist from Maui, will help dole out the money, some of which she says will be used to purchase land and build a memorial park. Civil Beat.

Maui police request public help to file unaccounted for missing person report. As of Monday, MPD had 110 missing person reports relating to the Lahaina wildfire, 41 of which are actively being investigated and are considered open. Maui Now.

West Maui students not enrolled or contacted reduced to 1,208. The number of displaced West Maui public school students who still have not enrolled in new schools or been contacted by state officials is 1,208, down from the 2,025 first reported late last month. Star-Advertiser.

Kauai

Kaua‘i’s rivers, streams polluted despite dry season. Every month, Surfrider Kaua‘i’s Blue Water Task Force analyzes samples of streams, rivers and surf spots across the island to check for the enterococcus bacterium, a federally recognized indicator of fecal presence in water. Garden Island.

These Kauaʻi businesses have bounced back from their COVID-era downturns. Mark Perriello is president and CEO of the Kauaʻi Chamber of Commerce. He said membership in the chamber declined 25% through the pandemic.  Hawaii Public Radio.