Showing posts with label homeless. Show all posts
Showing posts with label homeless. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Hawaii wins $916M judgment in Plavix lawsuit, below-average hurricane season forecast, Honolulu officials mull short-term rental regulations, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Pharmaceuticals Ordered To Pay Hawaii Nearly $1 Billion For Deceptive Business Practices. The drug companies hid information from doctors who prescribed Plavix, which can have outsized negative effects on Asians and Pacific Islanders. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser.  Tribune-Herald.  Big Island Video News. Hawaii News Now.  KHON2.

Below-average hurricane season is forecast for Hawaii. With a developing La Nina climate pattern and cooler waters in the forecast, officials said the basin is likely to experience one to four tropical cyclones during the hurricane season, which runs from June 1 through Nov. 30. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.  Tribune-Herald.  Big Island Video News.  Big Island Now.  Hawaii News Now.

Dry season forecast to be drier-than-normal. The extra rainfall through April added to what the state has gotten so far this month, including from last week’s kona low and the heavy rains and thunderstorms that drowned the Big Island the week before, will provide a buffer against the earlier onset of expected drought conditions later this summer — and wildfire weather. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Now.

After Lahaina, Hawaii Fire Crews Take Stock Of Their Ability To Communicate In A Crisis.
Fire departments across the state are reevaluating their emergency communication capabilities after the Maui wildfires, when the vulnerability of the island’s cellular network — and a lack of advanced communication tools in fire vehicles — complicated efforts by first responders as they confronted one of the worst disasters in Hawaii’s history. Civil Beat.

Native Seeds Could Soon Be Fueling New Growth On Burned Out Acreage Across Hawaii. The federal government is funneling millions of dollars to a University of Hawaii initiative aimed at increasing the number of seeds for hardy native and non-invasive plants that can compete against the dominant invasive grasses that fuel wildfires. Civil Beat.

Derek Turbin elected chair person of the Democratic Party of Hawai‘i Convention. Delegates Also Approve Resolutions, Amend Party Constitution and Bylaws, Select National Delegates, and Choose Presidential Electors. Maui News.

US Pacific Fleet announces 29th RIMPAC exercise.  Approximately 29 nations, 40 surface ships, three submarines, 14 national land forces, over 150 aircraft and more than 25,000 personnel will participate in the biennial Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise scheduled June 26 to Aug. 2, in and around the Hawaiian Islands. Maui Now. KHON2.


Honolulu officials weigh regulations for short-term rental market with new state law. In 2022, the city implemented a law to increase the minimum amount of time that residential homes could be rented from 30 days to 90 days. However, a federal court ruled that the city could not enforce its regulation. Hawaii Public Radio.

More homeless housing planned for Oahu. The city and state have opened — and plan to open — more homeless housing across Oahu following the closure of some shelters and reduced bed space during the COVID-19 pandemic. Star-Advertiser.

Across Oahu, a growing dilemma: How to care for kupuna living on the streets
. Dr. James Ireland, director of Honolulu’s Emergency Services Department, says he’ll call a meeting with the hospitals and other stakeholders to remind them of C.O.R.E. services. That’s the Crisis Outreach Response and Engagement Program — for patients who need medical treatment but don’t need the emergency room.  Hawaii News Now.

Embattled rail CEO says she’s been bullied, harassed by HART board. Embattled rail CEO Lori Kahikina said Tuesday that she no longer wants the job if she continues to be bullied and harassed by the HART board. Hawaii News Now.

West Loch disaster 80 years ago prompted military reforms.
Tuesday marked the 80th anniversary of a deadly — and often forgotten — disaster in Hawaii that prompted major reforms in the U.S. military. Star-Advertiser.

Charter school students name Kaiwi’s monk seal pup Pa‘aki. Kaiwi’s newest monk seal pup born this month at Kaimana Beach has been named Pa‘aki, according to Hawaii Marine Animal Response. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Emergency evacuation route planned for Waikoloa Village.
Private landowners have pledged to fund and grant the County of Hawaii the new route or egress down to the highway. KITV4.

Hawaii Island to host 2024 Native Hawaiian Convention
. The Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement has opened registration for its 2024 Native Hawaiian Convention, which will be held from Sept. 17-19 at Hilton Waikoloa Village on Hawaii Island. Tribune-Herald. KHON2.


Decision Due Soon On Where To Build A New Elementary School In Lahaina.
The Hawaii Department of Education hopes to choose a permanent campus for King Kamehameha III Elementary by next month. Civil Beat.

Maui County Hopes To Provide Housing For Seniors, Even A Few Units At A Time. Maui County is buying two condo units in Kaanapali to create more affordable housing options for kupuna displaced by the Aug. 8 wildfires that destroyed most of Lahaina and parts of Upcountry.  Civil Beat.


Meetings strive to give a voice to homelessness. The County of Kaua‘i Housing Agency opened its series of meetings on Tuesday to collect information for its five year homelessness strategic plan. Garden Island.

Polls shows solid support for restoration of Coco Palms Resort. As demolition work progresses on the Coco Palms Resort, a new poll shows robust support for the restoration of the once-renowned property that was destroyed by Hurricane Iniki in 1992. Garden Island.

Thursday, May 16, 2024

Honolulu homeless increase almost 12%, pay to play regulation a tough sell, Zuckerberg settles wrongful death lawsuit, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

The Number Of People Living On The Streets Of Oahu Has Nearly Doubled In The Last Decade. The Point in Time count — a federally mandated effort to identify the number of people experiencing homelessness on a single night in January — located 4,494 homeless people on Oahu this year, a roughly 12% increase from 2023. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser. KHON2.  KITV4.

Hawaii Ethics Commission Grapples With Pay-To-Play Issues. The Hawaii State Ethics Commission is trying to figure out how to wrangle two groups of people who are proving particularly challenging: high-level state employees who are politically active and legislators who have outside jobs with companies that have government business.  The commission acknowledged that it's tough to oversee lawmakers who resist most accountability measures. Civil Beat.

2 bills aimed at preventing drownings in Hawaii become law.
Gov. Josh Green signed Senate Bill 2841 to make every May 15 Water Safety Day for the state, and in tandem Wednesday signed a separate bill to raise money for water safety programs and efforts by authorizing the sale of special Hawaii license plates honoring legendary Hawaiian waterman Duke Kaha­na­moku. Star-Advertiser. KITV4.

Hawaii Wants Home Cooks To Play A Bigger Role In Growing The State’s Food System. New legislation awaiting the governor's signature would help businesses operate out of home kitchens. Civil Beat.
“Sentinel Landscape” Designation Around Hawaiʻi Military Installations Announced. U.S. Representative Ed Case (D, Hawaiʻi) announced a new partnership on Wednesday in support of a “Sentinel Landscape” designation for two million acres of land near military installations in Hawaiʻi.  Big Island Video News.

Green signs emergency proclamation, pledges National Guard support as kona low nears. The governor has signed an emergency proclamation and pledged an all-of-government response to a kona low system nearing the islands that forecasters warn could bring record rains, flash flooding and thunderstorms. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.  KITV4.


Honolulu planning panel considers next step on landfill alternative. The Honolulu Planning Commission continues to wrestle with the city’s request for an extension to find an alternate site for the 34-year-old Waimanalo Gulch Sanitary Landfill in Kapolei which is scheduled to close in 2028. Star-Advertiser.

Families on the Navy water system say there is new contamination in their tap water.
They say samples they sent to labs have come back with traces of forever chemicals known as PFAS. Hawaii Public Radio.

Elevated bacterial detected from sample taken at Kailua wastewater treatment plant. The city says this week’s downpours likely caused elevated bacteria in treated wastewater discharged about 5,000 feet from shore. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Council bill authorizes County to limit bike tours from select public roads. What began as an effort to reduce bike traffic on specific West Hawaii roads has become a proposed series of regulations upon bike tour operators throughout the Big Island. Tribune-Herald.

County grants lease extension of Kanoelehua Industrial Area property. After years of bureaucratic wrangling, a Hilo lessee of state land has finally secured a 30-year lease extension for property in the Kanoelehua Industrial Area. Tribune-Herald.

County puts up $200K to mitigate invasive insect. Hawaii County will invest in additional biosecurity measures at a West Hawaii waste facility to prevent the spread of a devastating invasive beetle. Tribune-Herald.


Maui Police Chief Gets Glowing Job Review From Commission. Chief John Pelletier is credited with implementing a five-year strategic plan, something the department lacked when he joined the force in 2021. Civil Beat.

Maui Planning Commission weighs in on Ledcor South Maui’s draft EIS. Maui Planning Commission members finished hearing public comments and then added their own Tuesday to a draft environmental impact statement for Ledcor South Maui’s plans to build as many as 975 homes. Maui Now.

Health declines seen in survivors of Maui wildfires, UH study finds
. Nearly half of those affected by the Maui wildfires in August suffered a decline in health, according to a study that aims to track the well-being and social conditions of those exposed to the disaster. Star-Advertiser.

Construction to begin at Lahaina housing site. Heavy construction is set to begin at the Kilohana temporary housing site in Lahaina later this week and will last approximately six months, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced Tuesday. Star-Advertiser.

Project aims to restore landscape, mitigate deer damage and reduce erosion above Kihei.
A collaboration aiming to protect against erosion, reduce flood risk, mitigate axis deer damage, and improve water quality is being implemented in an 11-acre area mauka of Kihei as part of The Hapapa Watershed Axis Deer Damage Mitigation Project, according to the Maui Soil & Water Conservation District. Maui News.


Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg settles wrongful death case in Hawaii. In the wrongful death lawsuit in Hawaii involving Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, the attorneys for both Zuckerberg and the plaintiff, the family of Rodney Medeiros, who worked part-time as a security guard at Zuckerberg’s ranch on Kauai’s North Shore, agreed to dismiss the case. KITV4.

UH farmer training program holding open house on Kauaʻi.
A University of Hawai’i beginner farmer training program is hosting an open house at its Kauaʻi site on June 1 and is encouraging interested participants to register. Kauai Now.

Thursday, April 4, 2024

Bill allowing HECO to charge customers for wildfire mitigation advances in House, marijuana decriminalization bill remains alive, Big Island committee nixes council term extensions, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Key House Committee Approves Bill To Charge HECO Customers To Mitigate Wildfire Risk. Hawaiian Electric Co. executives want an extra fee of up to 5% added to electric bills to develop and implement a wildfire prevention plan. Civil Beat.

HECO now faces 131 legal complaints related to Maui fires. The August wildfires have now spawned 131 legal complaints against Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO) and its subsidiary, Maui Electric Company (MECO).  KITV4.

Marijuana decriminalization bill runs into opposition, remains alive. While the push to legalize recreational marijuana again appears dead at the state Legislature, a bill remains alive that one lawmaker said would “essentially” have the same effect by allowing a citation and fine of only $25 for having up to 2 ounces of cannabis — or 100 to 120 joints. Star-Advertiser. KITV4.

Hawaiʻi Allows Pre-rolled Cannabis Flower Products Under New Rule. Pre-rolled cannabis flower products, also known as “pre-rolls,” can be now produced and dispensed through licensed medical cannabis dispensaries in Hawaiʻi starting on April 5. Big Island Video News. Big Island Now.  Hawaii News Now.

Potential heirs of DHHL beneficiaries still learning they could get share of landmark settlement. The clock is ticking to find the relatives of more than 1,200 Hawaiian Home Lands beneficiaries who died while on the waitlist for a home or farmland. Hawaii News Now.

Early College Can Be ‘Game-Changing’ But Many Students In Hawaii Are Missing Out. Opportunities for high schoolers to earn college credit have been growing in popularity, but Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander students are participating at lower rates. Civil Beat.

Drug-use linked to crime, homelessness in the islands. Fentanyl continues to plague communities. Local law enforcement continue making bust after bust but it barely makes a dent. KHON2.

Ship named after renowned veteran. The crest of the newly inaugurated U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Melvin Bell bears a motto — “Signal of Hope” — that encapsulates the legacy of its Hawaii-born namesake who transmitted the first alarms following the attack on Pearl Harbor. Star-Advertiser.


City still seeks more time to find Oahu landfill alternative. The Honolulu Planning Commission on Wednesday continued its months-long hearing over the city’s request for a two-year extension to find an alternate site for the 34-year-old Waimanalo Gulch Sanitary Landfill in Kapolei. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.

Federal judge unseals fraud complaint against Red Hill contractors over fuel leak. A federal judge has partially unsealed a fraud complaint filed against defense contractors working at the Red Hill fuel facility. But the U.S. Justice Department has opted not to pursue the case. Hawaii Public Radio.

ACLU hopes Supreme Court homeless win helps Honolulu case. The American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii hopes its victory before the Hawaii Supreme Court over Maui County homeless sweeps will bolster its case against Honolulu when its lawsuit over Oahu’s homeless policies goes to trial in October. Star-Advertiser.

Former Meadow Gold Dairies property in Honolulu is back up for sale. Meadow Gold closed its facility about four years ago and put its nearly two-acre property – located along Elm and Sheridan Streets near the Walmart store on Keeaumoku Street – up for sale. KITV4.

Hawaii Island

Longer council terms rejected following robust criticism. A proposal to extend Hawaii County Council members’ terms in office will not be on the ballot this year after it was roundly rejected Tuesday during a council committee hearing. Tribune-Herald.


Questions swirl over whether wildfire relief aid will pay tab for Maui mayor’s enhanced security. Maui County Mayor Richard Bissen’s enhanced security detail cost approximately $115,000 for a six-week period after the devastating wildfires and  federal relief aid designated for victims could be used to pay for the protection. Hawaii News Now.

Officials reconvene in Lahaina to discuss progress on recovery. Wednesday evening saw the renewal of weekly disaster recovery meetings at the Lahaina Civic Center after a two week break. About 100 residents and 70 online viewers tuned in via the county’s Facebook page, to partake in the near two hour meeting to hear updates on recovery efforts in Lahaina town.  Maui Now.

Wildfire recovery milestone: 500th residential property in Lahaina cleared of debris, hazardous materials. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has cleared the 500th residential property of debris and hazardous materials. Hawaii News Now.

Maui Council Considers More Funding To Fight Invasive Beetles As Part Of Ag Department Budget.
The voter-created department officially launched in mid-2022 to increase food production across the county. Star-Advertiser.

2 Hawaii air carriers compete for subsidized Lanai service. Scott Faulk of the U.S. Department of Transportation EAS & domestic analysis division issued a request for community comments Wednesday, while confirming receipt of proposals from Southern Airways Express LLC, doing business as Mokulele Airlines, and from Pacific Air Charters Inc. Star-Advertiser.


Discrimination Suit Against Kauai Police Chief Dismissed, Captain Forced To Retire. Chief Todd Raybuck was suspended for creating a hostile work environment but an investigation found his hiring practices had been fair. Civil Beat.

Delta flight grounded after bird strike. A Delta Airlines Airbus was grounded in late March after a bird made contact with the aircraft during its arrival in Lihu‘e. Garden Island.

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Pandemic hazard pay planned for school employees, '3 strikes' bill targets habitual criminals, Maui vacation rentals up despite Lahaina fire losses, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Thousands of Hawaii School Employees To Get Up To 25% In Pandemic Hazard Pay. HGEA estimated that the arbitration decision could cost the state as much as $150 million. Civil Beat.

Hawaii charter schools get new leader. The state Public Charter School Commission, which oversees Hawaii’s 37 public charter schools, finally has selected Ed Noh as executive director after having been without one since 2020.  Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.

Lawmakers introduce bill to extend contracts of Hawaiʻi charter schools. A bill at the state Legislature would expand Hawaiʻi public charter school contracts from five years to a decade. Hawaii Public Radio.

Habitual crimes could become felonies in Hawaii. If a new bill to establish the offense of habitual violent misdemeanor crime becomes a law, offenders will get three strikes before it becomes a felony. KHON2.

Hawaiʻi did not receive a piece of a $7B hydrogen development grant. So what's next?  Hawaiʻi had bid on a piece of a $7 billion U.S. Department of Energy grant to develop a regional hydrogen hub, but the state failed to make the final cut. Hawaii Public Radio.

DHHL ramps up homestead development.
A Native Hawaiian homestead development pipeline has swelled to about 6,000 lots costing $1.2 billion midway into a three-year effort to use a historic $600 million appropriation from the state Legislature in 2022. Star-Advertiser.

The ‘Green fee’ for visitors is back in front of legislators — and this could be its year.  Gov. Josh Green's initial proposal of a $50 visitor impact fee didn’t make it through the Legislature, but this year’s edition of the climate impact fee or so-called “Green Fee” would be a $25 charge imposed on out-of-state visitors upon check-in at hotels or short-term rentals. Hawaii News Now.

New law could make it okay to jaywalk
. Should people be allowed to cross the street outside a marked crosswalk? There’s a bill this legislative session that wants to give pedestrians more freedom when it comes to crossing the road, as long as it’s safe. KHON2.


New homeless coordinator helps count Oahu homeless
. Since starting his new position Jan. 16, Tuesday marked the first time that new state Homeless Coordinator John Mizuno joined in the nationwide census of homeless people, known as the annual Point in Time Count. Star-Advertiser. KHON2.

Transcripts Detail Effort To Secure Quiet Payoff For Corrupt Police Chief
. The defendants were caught on tape talking about how to arrange the retirement deal without asking the City Council's permission. Civil Beat.

Miske Trial: Honolulu Accountant Testifies About 2017 Kidnapping. The event is outlined in a plea agreement reached by one of Michael Miske’s former co-defendants. Civil Beat. KITV4.

Domestic abuse charges against former Council chair are dismissed.
Allegations of domestic abuse leveled by an ex- girlfriend of former Honolulu City Council Chair Ikaika Anderson were dismissed Tuesday by an Oahu Circuit Court judge. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.  KHON2.

Upcoming affordable housing high-rise draws opposition from neighbors in Moiliili. A proposal to build an affordable housing project in Moiliili draws opposition from its neighbors. They say the location at the west end of Waialae Avenue makes this project a nuisance. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu receives A- on environment report card. The Carbon Disclosure Project awarded the City and County of Honolulu an “A-” grade for performance and disclosure for environmental leadership in 2023. KHON2.

Hawaii Island

Mayor Roth Briefs Hawaiʻi State Legislators. Roth told the lawmakers he is looking at opening another road in Waikoloa, and he will probably need some help from the state. Big Island Video News.

Wall That Heals is assembled in Hilo as veterans, others look on. Dozens of volunteers spent Tuesday morning assembling “The Wall That Heals” with the help of Vietnam veterans and family and friends of fallen soldiers depicted on the wall. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Now.


Lahaina Strong pushes for rental conversions.
  The organizer of Lahaina Strong supports Gov. Josh Green’s push to convert short-term vacation rentals in West Maui into long-term housing for survivors of the Aug. 8 wildfires and move them out of hotels, urging legislators to also find a way to use conversions to help fill the statewide need for 50,000 affordable housing units. Star-Advertiser.

Maui vacation rental supply still up YTD 2022, despite inactive units in Lahaina. In December 2023, Maui County had more available rental unit nights than any other county in the state, at 233,000 available nights this past month, per the Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism. Maui Now.

Maui Is Moving To Address Its Water Shortage Through Strict Conservation Measures.
The county worked with an engineering consultant to develop 19 recommendations as part of a broader long-term plan that the public can now weigh in on. Civil Beat.

Lanai ferry unable to unground itself, will be towed to Honolulu for repairs.
The 55-foot ferry seen stuck in waters right outside of Maʻalaea Harbor is unable to unground itself, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.  KHON2.


Council chair to host series of town halls. The purpose of the town halls is to gather community concerns in preparation for the county budget deliberations that are scheduled to start in late March. Garden Island. Kauai Now.

Public invited to meet finalists running to be Kauaʻi Community College chancellor. The public is invited to meet the four finalists vying for the position of chancellor at Kauaʻi Community College at a series of public forums to be held in person and online later this week. Hawaii Public Radio.

Thursday, January 4, 2024

Hawaii population growth will come from outsiders, hoax bomb threat briefly closes Capitol, judge rejects ACLU injunction against Honolulu homeless sweeps, more news from all the Hawaii Islands

Hawaii population growth to come from U.S. mainland, world. Hawaii will see more deaths than births over the next four to five years and any population growth across the islands will be driven by new arrivals from the U.S. mainland and from other places around the world, the state House Finance Committee was told Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii GOP’s disputes linger into next legislative session. Heading into the legislative session for the second year in a row, Hawaii’s two Republican state senators can’t agree on which of them should serve as Senate minority leader. Star-Advertiser.

Capitol bomb threat deemed a hoax. Hawaii’s state Capitol was among those in several states targeted Wednesday morning in bomb threats, which forced its evacuation and closure although no explosives were found. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii Public Radio. Maui Now.  KITV4.


Judge rejects injunction in homeless sweeps case. The City and County of Honolulu announced Wednesday it has prevailed in its legal fight against a preliminary injunction the American Civil Liberties Union Hawaii brought last year over the city’s use of homeless sweeps. Star-Advertiser.

Bills clear way for stadium area development. Two city measures meant to expand transit-­oriented development including mixed-use retail, residential and affordable housing sites near the state’s future New Aloha Stadium Entertainment District in Halawa have been adopted. Star-Advertiser.

Disciplinary Records Reveal More Details About A State Investigation Into Airport Contracting.
Seven people have been arrested but none charged in a case that's been active for several years.  Civil Beat.

Police union head denies fatal chase violated policy, says suspect was considered ‘active shooter’.
  The head of Hawaii’s police union is strongly denying that Monday’s fatal chase violated the department’s policies on high-speed pursuit. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Sunset Beach homeowner fined for illegal beach reinforcement.  A Sunset Beach homeowner must pay $77,000 in fines after he was found responsible for pouring concrete on the beach to protect his oceanfront property. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Nelson Ho, environmental activist, dies at 73. 
Nelson Ho, a prominent Hawaii Island environmental and political activist, died after a long illness Tuesday at Hilo Medical Center. He was 73. Tribune-Herald.

TSA Says Hilo Airport Equipment Issues Resolved. TSA says as of the 3PM hour on Wednesday that all equipment issues have been resolved. KITV4.

Shipping delay blamed for propane shortage on Hawaii Island. Hawaii Gas says it is experiencing what it calls a short-term delay in propane deliveries on Hawaii Island, causing some businesses and residents to improvise. Hawaii Public Radio.

Third Circuit seeking applicants for independent grand jury counsel.  The Circuit Court of the Third Circuit is seeking applications for independent grand jury counsel for Hilo and Kona.  Big Island Now.

County hopes to complete Keawe St. improvements by April.
The major project to improve Kilauea and Keawe between Ponahawai Street and Waianuenue Avenue began last April and has caused portions of the road to close for nighttime construction between 7 p.m. and 5 a.m. Tribune-Herald.


Bissen Campaign Worker Awarded $150,000 Contract For Maui County Recruitment.
Brandcrafters LLC is owned by Rachael Lallo, the daughter of one of Bissen's top aides. Civil Beat.

Census Data: Lahaina Was A Very Different Place Than The Rest Of Maui County. Heavy Asian and Latino populations, a large number of residents born overseas and fewer Native Hawaiians than elsewhere gave the historic town a distinct profile, a new report shows. Civil Beat.

UH Mānoa launches Maui wildfire health effects study, seeking 1,000 participants.  A team of University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa researchers are asking Maui residents to participate in a study to analyze the short- and long-term health effects of exposure to the deadly wildfires that destroyed Lahaina and parts of Kula. Maui Now.

Maui vets need help bringing The Wall That Heals to island.
Heals to island. The Wall That Heals is a three-quarter-scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C. that is scheduled to be brought to Maui and be open the public Feb. 9-13 at War Memorial Stadium in Wailuku. Maui News.


Landfill expansion project in the works.
As the County of Kaua‘i’s only landfill runs out of space, local officials have not yet been able to expand the current landfill’s capacity, find a new landfill location, or implement an alternative solution to help manage the decades-long issue of the island’s overflowing waste. Garden Island.

Last call to run for Kauaʻi Island Utility Cooperative's board of directors. Thursday is the last day to submit a petition to run for the Kauaʻi Island Utility Cooperative's board of directors. This March, KIUC members will elect three people to serve on the board for a three-year term. Hawaii Public Radio.

Native Hawaiian salt makers combat climate change and pollution to protect a sacred tradition. Malia Nobrega-Olivera believes Hanapepe salt has the power to ward off bad energy. Associated Press.

Thursday, December 21, 2023

Mizuno named homeless czar, last Red Hill fuel tanker heading to Subic Bay, Senate panel grills DOE for not spending $465M, state borrows $750M in bonds, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Green Appoints Rep. John Mizuno As Hawaii Homeless Czar. Just days after it was announced that James Koshiba, the governor’s homelessness coordinator, would be stepping down after only a year on the job, Gov. Josh Green named Rep. John Mizuno, a Democrat who has represented Kalihi in the Hawaii House of Representatives. Civil Beat. Hawaii Public Radio.  Tribune-Herald.  Big Island Video NewsKITV4.

Senators Grill DOE Officials For Failure To Spend Project Money Before Deadline. Three weeks after the Hawaii Department of Education proposed to relinquish over $465 million in school facility funds, DOE officials faced tough questions from state senators at a briefing Wednesday.  Civil Beat.

State of Hawaiʻi Issues $750M in general obligation bonds. The bonds will provide critical funding for various public buildings and facilities, elementary and secondary schools, community college and university facilities, public libraries, parks and highways, among other public improvement projects, the administration said in a press release. Kauai Now.

Last tanker of Red Hill fuel departs. The last tanker participating in the defueling of the Navy’s underground Red Hill facility sailed out of Pearl Harbor on Wednesday morning.  The fuel aboard the tanker will be delivered to Subic Bay and is expected to support operations in the South China Sea.  Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

PUC asked to reconsider solar decision. T
wo solar industry groups have filed a motion requesting the state Public Utilities Commission reconsider a recent decision they say could make rooftop solar systems less attractive to homeowners and small businesses. Tribune-Herald.


16 tons of illegal fireworks seized at Honolulu Harbor. The Illegal Fireworks Task Force, operated under the state Department of Law Enforcement, seized a shipment of about 16 tons of illegal aerial fireworks in Honolulu late last week, the department announced in a news release Wednesday. Star-Advertiser. Big Island Now.

Should Oahu Have Armed Police Officers Inside Its Schools? Honolulu is the only county in Hawaii that doesn't use school resource officers. Some leaders feel that should change. Civil Beat.

Landslide could keep Pali closed through the weekend. A landslide caused by heavy rain led to the closure of Pali Highway’s town-bound lanes Wednesday afternoon and could remain closed through the weekend, according to state officials. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii Public Radio.  Hawaii News Now.  KHON2.

HPD investigating bizarre break-in at Oahu judge's home. Sources tell Island News this happened on Wednesday just before noon at Judge Robert Mark Browning's home in Kailua. Sources say a woman removed a window screen from an open window, reached inside the home, and dropped a civil complaint summons. KITV4.

US Army and DOT make progress toward 50-year lease for Dillingham Airfield.  The U.S. Army and State Department of Transportation announced they’re making progress on a proposed 50-year lease Wednesday. Officials say the lease would allow the North Shore airfield to remain open for commercial activities, like glider flying, sky diving, and sightseeing. Hawaii News Now.

All-way stop activated at ‘dangerous’ intersection in Makiki. A new all-way stop at the intersection of Prospect and Alapai streets and Iolani Avenue aims to reduce speeding and the number of traffic accidents in the area. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

$10 million funding approved for homeless service providers. Allocation of nearly $10 million to 16 homeless service providers covering 22 projects was approved Wednesday by the County Council.  West Hawaii Today.

Keiki urge vape bill’s passage: County Council votes 8-0 to approve the measure in first reading. A proposed Big Island ban on the sale of flavored tobacco products was widely popular Wednesday with residents and the Hawaii County Council. Tribune-Herald.


UH scientists fill Maui water quality information void with free testing.
Over four months after the Maui fires contaminated water sources, the Maui Department of Water Supply gave the all-clear Friday for another cluster of Lahaina homes to consume their tap water. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hotel workers, community rally for housing solutions on Maui
. Hotel workers from ILWU Local 142 and Unite Here Local 5 are calling for short-term housing solutions to provide immediate relief to Maui residents displaced by the Lahaina fire, and for the longer-term housing solutions that the county has long needed. Star-Advertiser.

As holidays approach, Lahaina fire survivors struggle to find housing and healing. More than four months have passed since devastating fires destroyed Lahaina town. Survivors are still left searching for housing, healing and the holiday spirit. Hawaii Public Radio.

Kiwikiu found in Nakula on Maui provides hope in ongoing effort to save species.
Nearly two years after conservationists believed all seven kiwikiu birds translocated to the Nakula Natural Area Reserve on Maui had died, a single honeycreeper from the group was located and confirmed to be alive.  Maui Now.


Kaua‘i County Council approves phone hacking device for police. During a Kaua‘i County Council meeting on Dec. 20, council members unanimously approved the acceptance of an $11,743.60 donation from Operation Underground Railroad, for a GrayKey, a phone unlocking box made by technology forensics company Grayshift. Garden Island.

County of Kaua‘i honored for work on sea level rise.
Senate President Ron Kouchi, who is home for the holidays, delivered the Senate honor on Tuesday to Planning Director Ka‘aina Hull and the Planning Department. Garden Island.

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Biden visits, offers support in wake of Lahaina fire, ACLU challenges Honolulu homeless sweeps, Hawaiian Homes report eyes geothermal on Mauna Kea, Kohala, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

President Biden offers message of support, hope after touring Lahaina. President Joe Biden described the devastation in Lahaina as “overwhelming” on Monday as he and First Lady Jill Biden toured the charred remains of the historic, seaside town, leveled in the worst U.S. wildfire in more than a century. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser.  Hawaii Public Radio.  Associated Press.  Big Island Video News.  Maui News.  Maui Now.  Hawaii News Now.  KHON2.

Video of Biden visit

For Gov. Green, a balancing act with no margin for error.  The  53-year-old governor, a Democrat less than a year into his first term, is confronting the horrific wildfires on Maui that have killed at least 114 people and perhaps many more. In a state where political decisions are often a balancing act among factions — from progressives to pro-development Democrats to powerful labor unions — some worry that the rush to rebuild will shred hard-won environmental and cultural protections. New York Times.

Lawsuit seeks to upend reassignment of water deputy.  A lawsuit filed Monday seeks to overturn the reassignment of state Water Commission Deputy Director M. Kaleo Manuel, who was given a new job after he apparently delayed permission to allow stream water to be made available for water control during the Lahaina wildfire. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.

Hawai‘i Tourism Authority, Gov. Green encourage travel to parts of Maui not impacted by wildfires. While travel to West Maui continues to be discouraged following a deadly wildfire that decimated Lahaina’s historic Front Street, government officials emphasized the importance to visit other parts of Maui and neighboring Hawaiian Islands. Maui Now.  Hawaii News Now.  KITV4.

Legal experts refute rumors about FEMA aid and eminent domain.
  Posts and comments circulating on social media claim that signing up for disaster assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency can give the government control of your land through eminent domain. FEMA’s powers are laid out in the Stafford Act — and eminent domain is not among them. Hawaii Public Radio.


Hawaii ACLU files motion to stop Honolulu homeless sweeps. Honolulu’s use of homeless sweeps constitutes cruel or unusual punishment under Hawaii’s constitution and should therefore cease immediately via a court order, according to an ACLU legal motion filed Friday. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu District Court reopens after construction mishap. Honolulu District Courthouse will reopen today after a structural assessment found its parking garage, damaged the night of Aug. 15 by a contractor, and the courthouse are safe for occupancy. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Hawaiian Homes Report Eyes Geothermal On Maunakea, Kohala. Potential geothermal resources near Maunakea and Kohala mountains on Hawaiʻi island have the “highest probability of viable electricity generation” according to a new report provided to the Hawaiian Homes Commission. Big Island Video News.

‘Third try’ at starting master plan for Pahoa.  A survey has been sent in the mail and online to Pahoa property owners to help determine the future of the historic village. Tribune-Herald.

Mayor to host seventh town hall on Thursday. The event will take place from 5 p.m. to 7 pm. Thursday at the Cooper Center in Volcano Village. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Now.


Maui death toll at 115; search moves to multi-story structures.
Maui County officials said that 100% of burned single-story residences have been searched for Lahaina wildfire victims, and now search crews and their cadaver-detecting dogs will concentrate on multi-story properties. Star-Advertiser.

Toxic Debris From The Lahaina Fire Will Be Shipped To The Mainland.
The contaminated waste includes a unique Hawaii building material made of sugarcane fiber and termite poison. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser.  Hawaii News Now.

Details are still not available on people missing in Lahaina. Two weeks after a wildfire killed at least 115 people and destroyed Lahaina, no official list of the names and number of people missing is publicly available. Star-Advertiser.

New Prefab Homes Are Arriving On Maui. A local group has transported 60 fold-up structures to use as temporary homes. Civil Beat.

Your 2023 Maui County Council Guide: Everything You Need To Know. Here's how you can make your voice heard in local government by attending a council meeting or submitting testimony. Civil Beat.


Kaua‘i Community Health Alliance closing clinic.
The head of the Kaua‘i Community Health Alliance (KCHA) has announced the North Shore medical provider will permanently close its doors in the coming weeks due to circumstances, including low insurance reimbursement rates and labor shortages. Garden Island.

County and federal agencies partner for Kekaha Road Brownfields Study. County and federal agencies are partnering to revitalize brownfields along the Kekaha Road corridor, between Amakihi Road and Pueo Road, as a means to improve the quality of life for Kekaha residents. Kauai Now.

Water use plan update meetings set. The public is invited to attend the county Department of Water’s (DOW) second round of meetings for the Kaua‘i Water Use and Development Plan (KWUDP) update being held at various locations island wide, now through Aug. 31. Garden Island.

Monday, August 7, 2023

Hurricane Dora passing well south of Hawaii, another Honolulu architect charged with attempting to bribe city permitting staff, back-to-school bolstered with teachers from Philippines, preschool classrooms, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Red flag, high wind warnings issued for all islands as Hurricane Dora passes south of state. The National Weather Service has issued severe weather alerts Monday morning as Hurricane Dora passes south of the state, bringing damaging winds with gusts up to 65 mph and critical fire conditions. Hawaii News Now.

Green condemns Alaska mayor’s plan to give homeless people tickets to warmer cities. There’s growing pushback among Hawaii’s elected leaders to an Alaska mayor’s plan to ship homeless people to warmer cities — including, conceivably, in Hawaii. Hawaii News Now.

FAA proposes new safeguards for Hawaii air tours. The Federal Aviation Administration is proposing new procedures that aim to prevent Hawaii air tour operators from flying too low and into bad weather.  Star-Advertiser.

Troubling Trajectory Of Hawaii Newspapers Has ‘Deep Implications’ For Democracy. Ongoing cutbacks at local publications mean there are fewer watchdogs for the public's interest. Civil Beat.

Union balks over ‘hazard pay’ survey distributed to thousands of government employees. Thousands of state government union members have received a survey seeking information about their hours from 2020 to 2022 — the height of the pandemic. The survey, sent to roughly 8,300 Hawaii Government Employees Association members, seeks to garner information on “temporary hazard pay.” Hawaii News Now.

Emergency declaration prohibits price gouging, lawyer says. Gov. Josh Green’s recent declaration of a statewide housing emergency might have an unintended consequence of making things other than housing cheaper for Hawaii consumers, according to a Maui attorney who contends that the governor’s July 17 proclamation automatically made it illegal to raise retail and wholesale prices on any commodity, including groceries and gas. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii hotel investment tops $2B since 2019. Hawaii hotels statewide have completed more than $2 billion in improvements since 2019, with at least another half-billion in renovations and from-the-ground-up new hotel builds in the pipeline. Star-Advertiser.

First 11 preschool classrooms launch Ready Keiki initiative. It's taken mor than two decades for the state to finally make major progress on its universal preschool access, with classrooms opening this week: seven on Oahu, two on Maui and one each on Hawaii island and Kauai. Star-Advertiser.

Former health director tapped to lead state CPR initiative at public schools. Former Hawai‘i health director Dr. Elizabeth "Libby" Char may return to the state government. But this time, as an outside consultant tasked with developing a Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) program at public high schools. Hawaii Public Radio.

As generative AI booms, students dive in and educators lag behind.  No sweeping bans on AI are being considered by the state Department of Education or the University of Hawaii, as the islands’ public schools resume classes starting Monday, and UH and most private schools follow suit this month. Instead, both state agencies as well as many of Hawaii’s leading private schools are favoring finding ways to teach about and work with AI. Star-Advertiser.


Honolulu Architect, 89, Charged With Attempted Bribery Of Permitting Worker.
The case is the first of its kind to be filed since 2021 when the feds busted six people in a yearslong bribery scheme at DPP.  Civil Beat.

Veterans have until Aug. 9 to file for retroactive benefits for toxin exposure-related conditions. Veteran Affairs’ Hawaii Division is hosting a face-to-face event to help veterans register and answer questions today at the Garden Lanai Ballroom of the Ala Moana Hotel from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Hawaii News Now.

Waikiki residents rally for passage of law banning early trash pickups.
Some Waikiki residents who are fed up with the loud sounds generated by early-­morning garbage trucks in their neighborhood made some noise for their own cause Sunday at a rally to end pickups before 6 a.m. Star-Advertiser. KITV4.

Hawaii affordable housing demand is sky high, but not at one tower. At the Sky Ala Moana towers rising in Oahu’s urban core, market-priced condominiums are sold out at prices from $568,800 to $1.3 million, yet only 14 of 84 units priced from about $270,000 to $515,000 under a city affordable-housing program have sold over the past nine months. Star-Advertiser.

State, HPU stalled in dispute over Aloha Tower Marketplace repairs.  A dispute between the state and Hawaii Pacific University remains unresolved over several million dollars in repairs to piers around Aloha Tower Marketplace, which HPU owns and where it houses and teaches some of its students. Star-Advertiser.

Feral Pigs Are Increasingly Running Wild In Some Oahu Neighborhoods. Pig hunters are becoming the de facto first responders for residents who feel threatened by growing herds. Civil Beat.

Paalaa Kai Bakery in Waialua shut down for health violations. The state State Department of Health has issued a red “closed” placard to Paalaa Kai Bakery, immediately shutting down the Waialua eatery. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

State takes first steps toward demolition of Uncle Billy’s.  Initial work began Friday in an effort to demolish the dilapidated and unsafe former Uncle Billy’s Hilo Bay Hotel. Tribune-Herald.

Council: Expand mail delivery in Puna. In a nonbinding resolution discussed at Wednesday’s meeting of the council, Puna Councilman Matt Kaneali‘i-Kleinfelder urged the U.S. Postal Service to improve its facilities throughout Puna, which he said currently has woefully insufficient access to mail services. Tribune-Herald.

‘Higher-risk’ runaways found: FBI sweep locates 5 keiki; police say they were not victims of sex trafficking. Five runaway children on Hawaii Island were recovered as part of Operation Cross Country, a nationwide FBI-led sweep targeting sex traffickers and missing children. Tribune-Herald.


State hopes historic building won’t delay Kahului Civic Center. Lawmakers push agencies to iron out historic preservation, get started on building 300 housing units. Maui News.

Kahului business closed due to rodents. Port Town Texaco in Kahului has been shut down after the Hawai’i Department of Health’s Maui Food Safety Branch ordered it to close after a rodent infestation was found during a complaint inspection on Thursday, the DOH said Friday afternoon.  Maui News.


Kaua‘i schools welcome 11 new teachers from the Philippines. Students in the Department of Education public schools report to class starting Monday.  Garden Island.

Kaua‘i’s craft breweries to double from 2 to 4 in 2023 – with a fifth in the works. The number of Kaua‘i-based craft breweries will double this year, with the recent opening of Nā Pali Brewing Company in Wailuā and the planned opening in November of Mucho Aloha in Kōloa.Another brewery – Hawai‘i Standard Time – is also in the works on Kress Street in Līhu‘e, although its owners have yet to name an opening date.  Kauai Now.

Wednesday, August 2, 2023

Money flows to lawmakers during legislative session, Honolulu mayor rejects Alaska homeless, COVID-19 sends Maui council back to remote meeting, another Big Isle death from dog packs, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Ban On Fundraisers? Hawaii Legislators Continued To Rake In Campaign Cash During Session. Many found ways to raise big donations even though a new law was intended to limit the influence of special interest money. Civil Beat.

Alaska mayor’s plan to send homeless to warmer cities gets pushback in Hawaii. The mayor of Alaska’s largest city says he’s planning to send some of the state’s homeless to warmer cities, citing a lack of shelter space as winter approaches. The program is already getting pushback, including from Honolulu’s mayor. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii DOE Has Changed Up Its Teacher Recruitment And Early Results Are Promising. The department has made 690 local and 277 out-of-state hires to start the school year.  There are around 300 vacant positions in the system now, compared to over 1,000 vacancies at the start of the last school year. Civil Beat.

US Department of Energy funding to support state renewable energy network.  The U.S. Department of Energy named 67 winners for its Energizing Rural Communities Prize. One of them is Shake Energy Collaborative in Hawaiʻi. Hawaii Public Radio.

Department of Hawaiian Home Lands struggling to fill dozens of vacancies. The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands is positioned to build thousands of homes, but it's the positions behind the desk that first need to be filled. KITV4.

UH sets new record in extramural funding with $515.9 million. For a second year in a row, the University of Hawaii has set a record in extramural funding, pulling in $515.9 million for fiscal year 2023 and surpassing its prior peak by $10.9 million, UH officials announced. Star-Advertiser.

Visitors spent $2B in June, mostly on Maui and Oahu. Neighbor Island visitor spending through first half of 2023 outpacing 2019. Visitors to Hawaii spent $2 billion in June — more than any other month during the record-breaking year before the pandemic — with nearly three-quarters of that total coming from tourists on Maui and Oahu.  Maui News.

Ambitious public housing plan focuses on creating thousands of new units — quickly.  The state’s public housing authority plans to build more than 10,000 affordable units over a decade. Past projects may have failed to build enough housing, but the executive director of the Hawaii Public Housing Authority told Hawaii News Now the $6.6 billion plan is different. Hawaii News Now.


New city traffic study finds 7 in 10 drivers failed at yield for pedestrians at busy intersection. Hawaii Kai residents are calling for safer crosswalks. The plea comes following a new city traffic study conducted at nine areas with high traffic incidents. Researchers found 71% of drivers failed to yield for pedestrians at the intersection of Lunalilo Home Road and Kaumakani Street in east Oahu. Hawaii News Now.

Audit finds improvements in city hiring shortfalls. An audit into the city’s 2,458 job vacancies is revealing an outdated system and lengthy hiring process. As a result, the city is making improvements to the system. KHON2.

King Tide Leads To New Release Of Partially Treated Wastewater Near Pearl Harbor. The military said water in the area remained safe to use but warned another discharge may occur as ocean conditions persist. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser.  Spectrum News.

Invasive Species Are Rampant On Oahu And Stakeholders Are Calling Out DOA. The department said it is taking an "all-hands-on-deck approach" to the issue. Civil Beat.

Hawaiʻi could see a big hurricane season, but most homes aren't ready.
  Two-thirds of the single-family homes on Oʻahu, an island of 1 million people that's home to Honolulu, have no hurricane protections. Associated Press.

Powering O‘ahu 24/7 for 60 Years. Behind the scenes at the Kahe Power Plant, which opened in 1963 and still generates firm power to supplement solar- and wind-generated electricity. Hawaii Business magazine.

Hawaii Island

Police: Ocean View man killed by dogs in ‘horrific attack’.  Hawaii island police are investigating the death of a man who was reportedly attacked by four dogs in the Hawaiian Ocean View Estates subdivision Monday morning. Star-Advertiser. Tribune-Herald.  Big Island Video News.  KHON2. KITV4.

Look South of Hilo for Affordable Homes in Hawai‘i. Hawai‘i Island’s overall median price has been relatively steady this year, but the lowest priced deals – including many inexpensive vacant lots – can often be found in Puna. Hawaii Business magazine.

DHHL awards 15 subsistence-ag lots in Panaewa.  Fifteen Department of Hawaiian Home Lands beneficiaries became the first to be awarded subsistence-agricultural lots Saturday at the Keaukaha Elementary School gymnasium. Tribune-Herald.


Maui County Council meeting to be held remotely Friday due to COVID-19 cases.  Due to several cases of COVID-19 within the Legislative Branch, Council Chair Alice L. Lee determined that Friday’s council meeting will be held remotely via Bluejeans. Maui Now.

NOAA announces $17M for infrastructure improvements at Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary.  The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will invest $17 million from the Inflation Reduction Act in Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary to improve the climate resilience of the Kīhei, Maui visitor and community center.  Maui Now.

Betty’s Beach Cafe in Lahaina to reopen after inspection
.  The state Department of Health Food Safety Branch has allowed Betty’s Beach Cafe in Lahaina to reopen after closing it last week due to a cockroach infestation. Star-Advertiser.


State suspends bus services at four Kaua‘i schools amid driver shortage.  Kapa‘a High School, Kapa‘a Middle School, Kapa‘a Elementary School and Hanalei Elementary School will see canceled services on Kaua‘i. Garden Island.

Waimea middle school principal removed from position. The principal of Waimea Canyon Middle School has been removed from her position in the midst of increasing complaints from parents, teachers and students. Garden Island.