Showing posts with label income taxes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label income taxes. Show all posts

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Ige signs minimum wage hike, income tax rebate, Health and Education departments negotiate mask rules, new Honolulu police chief tackling burglary spree, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

PC: Office of the Governor
Ige signs minimum wage bill June 22, 2022. PC: Governor's Office
Hawaii minimum wage increase, tax rebate bills become law. Ige signed a bill that will increase Hawaii’s hourly minimum wage to $12 on Oct. 1 from $10.10, and be followed by three more step-ups through 2028. Ige also signed a separate piece of legislation Wednesday, Senate Bill 514, that will deliver $100 or $300 cash rebates to individual tax filers depending on their income, likely beginning in August via direct bank deposit or check. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii Public Radio. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Now. Maui Now. Associated Press. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Lawmakers call for Hawaii to join others in dropping state gas tax. State lawmakers call for Hawaii to join others in dropping state gas tax following President Biden’s proposal on Wednesday. President Biden called on Congress to suspend federal gasoline and diesel taxes for three months. Hawaii News Now.

State to distribute $80M to childcare providers grappling with shortages, costs. After more than two years of struggling with lower enrollment and staff shortages, Hawaii’s childcare providers are getting some much-needed relief. Hawaii News Now.

DOE, DOH in talks about school masking requirement. Indoor masking remains mandatory for public schools during summer programs, but discussions are underway between the Department of Education and the Department of Health regarding the upcoming fall semester. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii’s COVID-19 cases leveling off, but masking still urged. Although the daily averages of new COVID-19 cases are on the decline in Hawaii, health officials are warning the public that levels are still high enough to warrant indoor masking. The state’s average positivity rate also dropped to 17.1% compared with 18.9% reported June 15, according to DOH, marking the second consecutive weekly decline.  Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Health Department reports 5,482 new infections, 15 coronavirus-related deaths. The Hawaii Department of Health today reported 5,482 new COVID-19 infections over the past week, bringing the total since the start of the pandemic past the 300,000 mark to 303,333 cases. DOH also reported 15 more deaths, bringing the state’s coronavirus-related death toll to 1,489. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

Oahu

Honolulu police investigating burglaries at 24 businesses. Honolulu police are investigating a series of 24 burglaries of businesses in four separate patrol districts since the end of April that detectives believe are being committed by the same crew of crooks, Chief Arthur “Joe” Logan told Honolulu police commissioners Wednesday afternoon. Star-Advertiser. KHON2.

Honolulu Police Program Aimed At Beefing Up Staffing Will Stay For Now. HPD’s new chief, Joe Logan, said he needs more time to assess the 3/12 program’s effectiveness amid a department staffing shortage. Civil Beat.

Community-driven shopping center breaks ground in Kapolei. Ho‘omaka Marketplace, a community-­driven shopping center where ground lease proceeds will benefit Native Hawaiians in the Kapolei Homestead Community, broke ground Wednesday morning. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

Live skunk captured at Honolulu Harbor. Stevedores saw the young, male skunk on the dock and used a fishing net to capture the animal. Agricultural inspectors from the DOA picked up the animal at around 7:30 a.m. Star-Advertiser. Big Island Now. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now.

Waikiki Aquarium bids aloha to its giant clam. The Waikiki Aquarium announced today that its beloved giant clam, or Tridacna gigas, died of suspected natural causes on Tuesday. The clam was believed to be the oldest of its species in captivity worldwide. It was more than 40 years old. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

She Took Her Fight For Her Grandson Public. A Hawaii Judge Said She Went Too Far. Big Island resident Deborah Goodwin says she had no choice but to speak to a reporter and file a lawsuit about her case because the confidential system had treated her unfairly. It backfired. Civil Beat.

NTSB: Helicopter crash that injured 6 caused by tail boom breaking off aircraft. A tour helicopter crash in Ka‘u that injured six people was caused by the tail boom of the aircraft separating from the fuselage at the point of attachment, according to a preliminary report released Wednesday by the National Transportation Safety Board. Tribune-Herald. Star-Advertiser. KITV4.

ADA compliance project underway at Richardson park. The Department of Parks and Recreation has closed a portion of Richardson Ocean Park to improve access to the beach and comply with standards set by the Americans with Disabilities Act. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

County to consider next steps for criticized Napili project. Two Maui County Council committees will consider the county’s next steps — including the possibility of eminent domain — for a large controversial home in Napili that has drawn scrutiny for several months over its approval process and status. Maui News.

Maui Humane Society holding open houses about fostering dogs, cats and critters. The Maui Humane Society is teaming up with national nonprofit Petco Love and Skechers to focus on the fun in fostering pets, which is lifesaving and especially critical during the busy summer months. Maui Now.

Kauai

Kaua‘i politicians keep funds tied to latest bribery case. Mayor Derek Kawakami and Senate President Ron Kouchi said they won't return campaign contributions from Honolulu businessman Dennis Mitsunaga, who was arrested last week on federal bribery charges. Garden Island.

Keiki and Junior Lifeguard program sold out. The week-long Keiki and Junior Lifeguard program demonstrates ocean awareness and lifesaving skills led by the instruction crew from the Ocean Safety Bureau. Garden Island.

Monday, May 16, 2022

Hawaii tax rebates could hit bank accounts this year, GOP announces candidates, Army may close road in Fort DeRussy redevelopment, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Photo by 金 运 on Unsplash
Photo by 金 运 on Unsplash
Hawaii tax rebates to be expedited if enacted July 1. State government administrators are opting to diverge from a historical practice of delivering special legislative tax rebates through a following year’s tax return, and instead are preparing to issue direct bank deposits and checks in the next few months if Senate Bill 514 clears a legal and technical review by Gov. David Ige’s administration. Star-Advertiser.

Lower Electric Bills Or More Jobs? Hawaii Grapples With A Green Economy. Lawmakers did an abrupt — and secretive — about-face as the session ended when they revamped a bill putting limits on some renewable energy sources. Civil Beat.

Lawmakers award Hawaii nonprofits nearly $50M. Hawaii’s 2022 Legislature may long be mainly remembered for appropriating hundreds of millions of dollars for high-profile needs, but many smaller worthy causes also received extraordinary funding this year. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Police Standards Board Finally Gets Some Money From Lawmakers. Hawaii is the last state in the country to set up minimum qualifications for its law enforcement officers. Civil Beat.

Junked Vehicles: How One Hawaii Lawmaker Turned A Good Idea Into Reality. A freshman legislator saw four of his bills addressing abandoned vehicles pass the 2022 Hawaii Legislature. Here’s how he did it. Civil Beat.

Final pick for permanent Hawaii public schools superintendent expected Thursday.
The job is huge, and there is much at stake. As the nation’s only statewide school district, Hawaii’s is widely considered the 10th largest in the nation, with 171,000 students and 42,600 employees in 257 regular public schools and 37 charter schools, and an annual operating budget of more than $2 billion. The salary is up to $250,000 per year, less than many comparable mainland positions. Star-Advertiser.

Report Cites Mistreatment Of Students At Native Hawaiian Boarding Schools. Hawaiians fared somewhat better than students at Indian boarding schools on the mainland, a new federal investigation shows. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser.

GOP introduces candidates for 2022 election season at state convention. Although Hawaii is a heavily democratic state, there are well-known candidates willing to take the risk of running for governor. Hawaii News Now.

A Major Solar Farm Developer Is Pulling Out Of Maui And Oahu Projects. Inflation and supply chain disruptions have made the utility-scale solar projects too costly, but the developer is hopeful it’s only a delay. Civil Beat.

DLNR to hold additional meetings on use of lay nets. The new rules proposed in December limited the use of lay nets, requiring a $25 permit for the use and possession of them, and mandated that the nets be attended at all times. Tribune-Herald.

Oahu

Closure of Kalia Road proposed for redevelopment of Fort DeRussy in Waikiki. The Army has proposed a long-range plan to close a broad swath of Kalia Road in Waikiki as part of the redevelopment of the Fort DeRussy Complex, igniting concerns that it will cause gridlock and significantly increase bus commute times for workers in the state’s busiest tourism district. Star-Advertiser.

Former city prosecutor’s top assistants return to testify in public corruption probe. Federal prosecutors appear to be re-focusing their efforts to charge Honolulu’s former city Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro as part of a sprawling public corruption probe. Hawaii News Now.

State shows ‘disturbing’ fuel contamination plume maps from Red Hill spills. Six months after the Navy’s tainted water crisis went public, the state has released new maps showing the underground movement of the contamination. Hawaii News Now.

Attorneys for alleged Hawaii crime boss ask judge to compel evidence disclosure. Attorneys for Michael Miske have accused federal prosecutors of ignoring the rules of discovery and not producing evidence — including text messages that show the parents of the man allegedly murdered at the order of the accused crime boss believed their son’s pregnant girlfriend and her father were responsible for his disappearance. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

The public’s turn: Council seeks input on budget increase, tax rollback. Property values are up dramatically, there’s a record high $779.7 million budget in the works and the County Council, for the first time in decades, is considering lowering the tax rates. West Hawaii Today.

Palila habitat fence slated for expansion. Another five miles of fencing around a portion of Maunakea is slated for construction this year, which will almost, but not quite, enclose the upper slopes of the mountain after more than 10 years. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

New property tax rates approved with cuts for some homeowners. Saddled by deadlines, the Maui County Council on Friday approved property tax rates for the next fiscal year, even as several members expressed a need for a more thorough review of property tax rates and policy. Maui News.

Panel sets higher pay for first agriculture director. After initially setting lower amounts, the Maui County Salary Commission voted Friday to increase annual salaries for the director and deputy director of the new county Department of Agriculture to $114,000 and $102,600, respectively. Maui News.

Kauai

Kaua‘i county council shuts down vacation rental tax. By a 4-3 vote, the County Council voted down a measure Friday that would have increased the tax rate on vacation rental units and used the funding for affordable housing. Garden Island.

Masks Recommended Indoors On Kauai Due To ‘High’ Covid Risk, CDC Says. Masks are recommended in indoor public spaces and on public transportation on Kauai as the number of positive Covid-19 cases per 100,000 people on the island exceeds 540 people. Civil Beat. Garden Island.

Monday, May 2, 2022

Minimum wage hike, income tax rebate, tourism funding, coffee labeling, flavored vape ban on the table as Legislature enters final week, military tracks Russian vessel off Hawaii, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2022 All Hawaii News all rights reserved

Bill to raise Hawaiʻi's minimum wage to $18 by 2028 passes out of conference committee. The bill that left committee raises the state’s current $10.10 base pay to $18 in January 2028, two years behind what passed out of the House earlier in April. Hawaii Public Radio. Maui Now.

Hawaii lawmakers approve payments of up to $300 for taxpayers, their dependents.
Under a rare rebate program approved by lawmakers Friday, taxpayers earning less than $100,000 annually and their dependents could each receive a $300 payment. Those earning more than $100,000 could get a rebate of $100. Hawaii News Now.

Lawmakers keep tourism agency funding alive. Lawmakers kept the Hawaii Tourism Authority alive by amending House Bill 1147, originally a capital improvements bill, just after Friday’s deadline for fiscal bills. Star-Advertiser.

Coffee labeling study ‘still a win’. Funding for an independent study of the economic impact of potential changes to Hawaii’s coffee labeling requirements is set for a vote by the state House and Senate. West Hawaii Today.

Flavored Vape Ban Looms in Hawaii. A bill that would ban flavored vape products aims to protect children, but those in the industry say it would kill their business. KITV4.

In wake of 6-year-old’s horrific death, lawmakers approve bill aimed at bolstering child welfare system.
State lawmakers have approved a measure aimed at significantly strengthening Hawaii’s child welfare system — including by expanding investigative powers — following the death of 6-year-old Isabella Kalua, whose foster parents have been charged with her murder. Hawaii News Now.

Military tracks Russian vessel near Hawaii. The United States military is tracking a Russian vessel near Hawaii’s waters, according to the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command. KHON2.

Waters, Tokuda File FEC Paperwork For US House Race.
While Kai Kahele has not officially announced that he is leaving Congress to run for governor, efforts to replace him in Washington, D.C., are building. Civil Beat.

Former Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell sees neighbor island path to governorship. Former Mayor Kirk Caldwell calls himself “the underdog” in the three-way race for governor in the August Democratic primary but sees a path to victory through the neighbor islands, despite his unpopularity after serving two terms and eight years at Honolulu Hale. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Education Board Narrows Down Finalists For Superintendent Position. The search for a new public school chief in Hawaii is one step closer. The state Board of Education unveiled on its website Friday the three finalists for the superintendent position at the Department of Education. Civil Beat.

Local students face strict COVID rules for year-end events. Hawaiʻi public schools are enforcing pandemic restrictions that go beyond recommendations from state and federal health officials. Hawaii Public Radio.

State to pay $6.7 million in personal injury claims. The deaths of three people and injuries sustained by others in eight separate incidents are expected to cost the state $6.7 million this year. Star-Advertiser.

This Mental Health Team Hopes To Help Hawaii’s Farmers Help Themselves. Professor Thao Le discusses the experiences of researchers at the University of Hawaii who have been canvassing the ranching and farming community to find the state of its mental health. Civil Beat.

Oahu

North Shore beachfront homes threatened by erosion continue to sell. Beginning today those selling coastal properties will also have to disclose the risks of sea level rise under a new mandatory disclosure law passed by the Legislature.  Star-Advertiser.

How Honolulu’s Push For More Housing Sparks Opposition From Rival Interests. Housing is an abstract goal, but the concrete reality usually sparks opposition from advocates for farmland or the environment or those simply worried about urban woes. Civil Beat.

Despite indictment in federal probe, BWS board member declines to step down. More than four months after being arrested and charged in connection with the ongoing Kealoha corruption probe, Max Sword hasn’t stepped down from the Board of Water Supply’s board of directors ― and has no plans to do so. Hawaii News Now.

Waikiki community on alert after violent attacks. Waikiki is on edge after three violent attacks in three weeks, the most recent befalling a visitor in the heart of the state’s top tourism district. Star-Advertiser.

Lack of progress in Waikiki crime cases highlights challenges. Community frustration is mounting over law enforcement’s handling of two recent high-profile Waikiki violent crimes, which highlight the system’s challenges in holding criminals accountable. Star-Advertiser.

Daily Ridership Would Drop By Thousands If The Honolulu Rail Line Ends At Civic Center
. An average of 119,600 people were originally expected to board the trains each weekday, but that will drop to 84,000 daily riders with the shorter route. Civil Beat.

Ala Moana Boulevard pedestrian bridge construction to begin. A $17.8 million project to build a pedestrian and bicycle bridge over Ala Moana Boulevard in Kakaako is scheduled to begin today. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi still considering restoring access to first responder radio.
More than two months after the city removed first responder radio traffic from public radio waves, the city administration is still deciding whether to restore access to communications that Honolulu police officials argue must be concealed to help preserve public security and safety. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Gas taxes go unspent: Council to reappropriate excess funds. Hawaii County’s fuel tax revenues have been coming in higher than expected, and in some cases, faster than the county can spend them. Even as the County Council is set to vote Wednesday on Resolution 363 giving drivers a break by knocking 10 cents a gallon off the current rate, a council committee Tuesday will vote on a bill to reappropriate $2.5 million left unspent between 2016 and 2020. West Hawaii Today.

A new shooting range for Big Island? Bill would establish group to research locations, designs. A long-awaited public shooting facility could be coming to Hawaii County. Tribune-Herald.

Battle over renaming Hilo High Gym continues. A concurrent resolution in the state Legislature “urging” the School Community Council to rename the gym after coaches Albert and Lawrence Manliguis was deferred last week by the Senate Committee on Education. Tribune-Herald.

2,400 acres in Kohala gifted to Hawaii Community Foundation as part of stewardship center. Micah Kane, CEO and President of the Hawaii Community Foundation, said the focus of the research center in Kohala is to develop sustainability solutions for energy, water, and food. Hawaii News Now.

Maui

Nearly $1.07B county budget proposal advances. Budget committee chairperson says funds needed for pandemic-deferred county projects.  Hoping to tackle projects delayed by the pandemic, a Maui County Council committee is proposing a nearly $1.07 billion county budget for fiscal year 2023, just slightly higher than the almost $1.05 billion “record-setting” budget proposed by Mayor Michael Victorino in March. Maui News.

$41M homestead project envisions centers for culture, food, education. A $41 million project that would build space for education, community events, business and culture is being proposed under the Keokea Homestead Farm Lots Association’s master plan. Maui News.

Costs estimated at $500K to renovate vacant Molokai home into fire station. A $300,000 three-bedroom home purchased by Maui County in Ualapue will serve as the new fire station on Molokai’s East End. Maui News.

UH campuses host graduation ceremonies; UH Maui College slated for May 14. An in-person ceremony will be held on campus, with no spectator limit. Multiple satellite photo booths and lei stations will be made available throughout the parking lot. There will also be a livestream of the ceremony. Maui Now.

Kauai

Kalalau camping permits available for residents. Beginning Tuesday, May 3, the state Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of State Parks will issue a limited number of overnight permits for camping in Kalalau Valley in the Napali Coast State Wilderness Park, for Kaua‘i residents only. Garden Island.


Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Help wanted in tourist industry, no COVID-19 cases in ICU as Hawaii hits milestone, Honolulu mayor and council spar over stimulus funding, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands


copyright 2022 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Royal Kona Resort ©2022 All Hawaii News
Hawaii sees labor crisis in visitor industry.
The Hawaii Tourism Authority is now launching an industry survey to determine the type of job skills and training that are needed in the visitor industry. KHON2.

Ige supports rebate plan: Proposal would give back $300 to most taxpayers. Gov. David Ige on Monday said an agreement by lawmakers to triple his original rebate proposal to the state’s taxpayers and their dependents is “a great move for our community.” Tribune-Herald.

Ige doesn’t anticipate return of mask mandate. Gov. David Ige said Monday he is not currently considering reinstating a mask requirement for public indoor spaces. Hawaii was the last state in the nation to lift its indoor mask mandate at the end of March. Associated Press. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii reaches pandemic milestone -- no COVID-19 cases in the ICU for the first time. Monday marks the first time in almost two years there are zero COVID-19 patients in intensive care units statewide. KITV4.

A key tax credit for working class families is about to expire. Some lawmakers want it extended. The Hawaii Earned Income Tax Credit is set to expire at the end of the year. A new bill proposes to extend the credit for another six years. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaiʻi is spending $417 less on services per child compared to 2005, report says. Over the course of nearly two decades, the state is spending about $400 less per child than in 2005, according to a new report from advocacy groups Hawaii Budget and Policy Center and Hawaii Children's Action Network. Hawaii Public Radio.

2022 could be a big year for Native Hawaiian issues at the Capitol. Here are the measures to know. With just four weeks remaining in this year’s legislative session, 2022 is potentially shaping up to be a big year for Native Hawaiian issues at the Capitol. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii Review Board Recommends No Charges Against Police In 4 Deaths. The Law Enforcement Officer Independent Review Board said the officers were justified in their actions. The Hawaii Law Enforcement Officer Independent Review Board urged prosecutors on Oahu and the Big Island not to file charges against police involved in the deaths of four people, including a parolee who was fatally shot. Civil Beat.

Oahu

Honolulu’s spending of COVID-19 relief funds questioned. City officials are still trying to decide how to spend much of $386 million awarded through the American Rescue Plan Act. Complicating the matter is a disagreement between Mayor Rick Blangiardi’s administration and City Council members over who gets to make spending decisions, which, in turn, is giving rise to questions about transparency and public oversight. Star-Advertiser.

Gov. David Ige pushes Board of Water Supply to repair wells to boost water supply. Oahu residents are facing mandatory restrictions on their water use, and developers could have to grapple with a moratorium on new construction as the hot, dry summer months approach — consequences of a reduction in water capacity due to 2021’s Red Hill emergency. Star-Advertiser.

State investigating after North Shore homeowner moves tons of sand in bid to protect property. The state is investigating after a North Shore homeowner used an excavator to move tons of sand in what he says was a bid to protect his and his neighbors’ homes. Homeowner Todd Dunphy acknowledged he took the action amid worsening erosion at Rocky Point Beach. Hawaii News Now.

Violent attack raises concern about crime in Waikiki. Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association President and CEO Mufi Hannemann said he plans to gather Waikiki stakeholders and law enforcement and criminal justice officials for a public safety coalition meeting the first week of May to address the crimes that have been occurring since Waikiki’s economy reopened and visitors have come back. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Honey production down, but beekeeping on Big Island remains popular. Honey production across the U.S. and Hawaii dropped in 2021, however, the beekeeping industry and craft remains popular on the Big Island. West Hawaii Today.

Four busted for planting ‘kanaka garden’ on state land in Hilo. A longtime Hawaiian sovereignty activist and three others were cited Sunday by Department of Land and Natural Resources enforcement officers for their third attempt to plant what they call a “kanaka garden” at Wailoa State Recreation Area in Hilo. Tribune-Herald. Star-Advertiser. Big Island Video News. Big Island Now.

Kawauchi seeks legal fees in police case. Former Hawaii County Clerk Jamae Kawauchi, now a private practice attorney, went public last week with her case against the county as she tried to clear the name of retired police captain Chadwick Fukui, whose charges in a 2017 case were dismissed by a judge. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Maui Voters Set To Vote On 11 Changes To County Government. If approved in the general election this fall, the reforms would restructure county agencies, improve government ethics, promote Hawaiian culture and more. Civil Beat.

Nonprofits awarded $700K to help support farming, food security. Six nonprofits have been awarded grants to help support farmers and food security as well as youth and workforce development, Maui County announced this week. Maui News.

South Maui residents invited to online Growth Alternatives workshop. The workshop aims to gather input on growth alternatives, the type of development, and the desired density for South Maui in the next 20 years. Maui Now.

Kauai

Kauai group protest controversial south shore condo development. Some Kauai residents are trying to stop a 25-acre project that includes 279 luxury units on the south shore, saying it’s too close to the Koloa Heritage Trail, also known as the Hapa Trail. Hawaii News Now.

Grants fund rental help, housing. Several anticipated grants will fuel more emergency rental assistance, affordable housing units and other community projects on Kaua‘i. Garden Island.

Legislators tackle climate change. The county’s four state lawmakers will tackle climate legislation and questions from their constituents at this Wednesday’s virtual Kaua‘i Climate Action Forum at 6 p.m. Garden Island.

Thursday, April 7, 2022

Income tax rebate back on the table, Big Island dangerous dog penalties increased, Maui tackles record $1B budget, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Alexander Mils via Unsplash
Money in hand  PC:Alexander Mils via Unsplash
Lawmakers revive, enlarge tax rebate plan for Hawaii taxpayers. Hawaii taxpayers may still yet get tax rebates this year, and the amount for many could be $300 instead of the $100 that Gov. David Ige proposed in January. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.

Firefighters get pay raise. Pay raises are coming for Hawaii firefighters, after an arbitration ruling. Police  officers will likely get a similar deal when their contract is renewed. KHON2.

‘Homesick’ Navy Officer Files Lawsuit After Being Denied Hawaii Gun Permit. Two attorneys are hoping to change a Hawaii gun law after a Navy officer was forced to give up his personal firearms because he had sought psychological counseling after feeling depressed and homesick. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.  Associated Press.

Hawaii Health Department confirms 3rd case of Legionnaires’ disease in Waikiki. The Hawaii Department of Health today confirmed an additional case of Legionnaires’ disease in a guest who stayed at The Grand Islander by Hilton Grand Vacations in Waikiki. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Japan Association of Travel Agents Surge of Japanese visitors expected. The arrival of a delegation from the Japan Association of Travel Agents in Hawaii this week is a positive sign that the recovery of tourism from Japan, the state’s top international market, is finally on an accelerated timeline. Star-Advertiser.

March 31-April 6, 2022 COVID-19 update: 3 deaths, 1,194 new infections in Hawaiʻi. The latest weekly count includes 109 cases on Maui, 107 on Hawaiʻi Island, 37 on Kauaʻi, three on Molokaʻi, -1 on Lānaʻi, and 56 out of state.  There are 883 new COVID-19 cases on Oʻahu. Maui Now.

Oahu

Murder suspect, son of Honolulu police officers, did not receive special treatment, Chief Rade Vanic says. There is no indication that a 19-year-old murder suspect, who is the son and stepson of Honolulu police officers, received special treatment after he allegedly shot and killed an 18-year-old man on Round Top Drive during a failed robbery March 18, interim Police Chief Rade Vanic told the Honolulu Police Commission on Wednesday. Star-Advertiser. KHON2.

Commission Says Honolulu Should Fund Defense For Cops In Lindani Myeni Killing. Police officers Garrick Orosco and Brent Sylvester are named in a wrongful death lawsuit filed the week after Myeni was killed. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.

‘Nobody Knows What’s Going On’: Kalihi Is Transforming Despite Uncertainty About Rail.
Commercial property values have spiked along the rail line since the tax to build the project went into effect. But rail didn’t create that new value, local analysts say. Civil Beat.

Lead contamination detected at school, home at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. The Navy and state Department of Health are working to validate the detection of lead contamination at a school and a house at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.

The clock is ticking on the Waimanalo landfill in West Oʻahu. Here are the city's options. The main garbage dump for the island is supposed to close by March 2028 and the city has to decide on a new site by the end of 2022, as ordered by the state Land Use Commission. Hawaii Public Radio.

State’s first tiny home project addressing homelessness welcomes first residents. A ceremony to officially welcome new residents to Kama‘oku Kauhale, a tiny-home village for people experiencing homelessness, was held Wednesday in Kalaeloa. Star-Advertiser. KITV4.

Median price of single-family home on Oahu soars to new record high: $1.15M. The median price of a single-family home on Oahu soared to a new record high of $1,150,000 in March — a 21.1% increase from last year. Hawaii News Now.

Move to 4-day workweek allows Oahu’s most elite lifeguards to expand their reach
. A team of Honolulu’s most elite lifeguards are part of a growing trend happening at workplaces across the country: They’re shifting to a four-day week. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

‘The details are frightening’: Results of Access to Care survey presented to council. Doctors on the Big Island can’t afford to take patients who have Medicare and Medicaid due to low reimbursement rates. West Hawaii Today.

Council approves harsher penalties for owners of dangerous dogs. The Hawaii County Council on Wednesday passed a bill that would impose steeper penalties on owners of dangerous dogs. Tribune-Herald.

Commission authorizes amended power agreement for PGV, Hawaiian Electric. Amendments to a power purchase agreement between Puna Geothermal Venture and Hawaiian Electric have been approved by the state, with some conditions. Tribune-Herald.

Waikoloa timeshare project wins council approval. Some 900 new timeshares are expected to be popping up at the Waikoloa Resort starting within five years, following County Council votes Wednesday approving rezoning that will do away with nine holes of golf and add affordable housing for workers. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Council begins review of billion-dollar budget. The committee on Tuesday morning began its review of county departments under Mayor Michael Victorino’s record-setting $1.045 billion proposed fiscal year 2023 budget. Maui News.

Maui Councilmember King proposes funding for wastewater solution in Māʻalaea. If approved, the proposed funding of up to $9.5 million will be used to construct a wastewater treatment facility for the Māʻalaea community that  currently relies on 24 outdated injection wells. Maui Now.

Maui Police Department achieves CALCEA re-accreditation. The Maui Police Department announced its re-accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies. On April 2, 2022, CALEA awarded accreditation status to the department for the ninth time. Maui Now.

Kauai

KIUC touts lowest rate increase, at forefront of renewables. For the third straight year, Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative leads the state in renewables, reporting 69.5% of electricity production coming from renewable sources in its annual filing for 2021. Garden Island.

Everything’s On The Table As Kauai Writes Its First Climate Change Action Plan. Kauai County planners say public input will guide the process of drafting an islandwide climate change mitigation strategy. Civil Beat.

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Federal court upholds Hawaii's open carry gun limits, state won't extend income tax deadline or exempt unemployment, Ige may veto marijuana decriminalization bill, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Photo by Andy Montes de Oca on Unsplash
Photo by Andy Montes de Oca on Unsplash

Ruling upholds Hawaii’s limits on carrying guns in public. Hawaii’s strict limit on openly carrying firearms is lawful, a panel of federal appeals court judges ruled today in a lawsuit by a man who tried unsuccessfully several times to obtain a license to carry a loaded gun in public. Associated Press.

Hawaii saw record number of firearm permit applications in 2020. A record high total of 26,122 personal/private firearm permit applications were processed statewide during 2020, marking a 62.3 percent increase from 16,098 applications processed in 2019. Maui Now. Tribune-Herald. Hawaii News Now.

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Despite federal extension, state says it won’t budge on its tax filing deadline. The state Department of Taxation said Tuesday that the filing deadline for 2020 remains April 20. Hawaii News Now.

Bill exempting jobless benefits from state taxes hits a snag. Senate Bill 614 would exempt unemployment compensation, including Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, received by Hawaii residents between March 1, 2020, and Dec. 31 when the coronavirus ravaged the local economy. Star-Advertiser. Maui Now.

Ige has ‘big concerns’ about marijuana bill. A bill that would legalize the personal use of marijuana in Hawaii is still alive, but Gov. David Ige suggested Wednesday that he intends to veto it. Tribune-Herald.

DUI threshold bill stalls: House committee defers measure to lower legal blood alcohol limit. A House committee Tuesday deferred a measure that would have made Hawaii the second state in nation to lower its blood-alcohol threshold for drunken driving to 0.05. West Hawaii Today.

Lawmakers Advance Bail Reform To Fix A ‘Broken’ System. Both the House and Senate seem open to the idea of releasing more minor offenders without bail. Civil Beat.

Affordable teacher housing bill moves forward. A Senate bill that would authorize the state to provide affordable rental housing units for teachers has moved one step closer to being passed. West Hawaii Today.

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Hawaii vacation rental outlook brightens, sees dramatic increase in tourism industry. The outlook is getting brighter for short-term vacation rentals, which put more heads on beds at available units in February and held onto rates better than their hotel counterparts. Star-Advertiser.

Government officials, UH remain silent on return of fans to sports. Big West Conference schools can now decide if they want to allow fans at games. KHON2.

Hawaii’s Antiquated 211 Phone Line Gets A Much Needed Upgrade.
As the pandemic escalated last year, soaring call volumes crashed the system. Hawaii Data Collaborative is helping overhaul it. Civil Beat.

Coronavirus vaccinations: Hawaii to miss President Joe Biden’s goal. Hawaii will come to close to meeting President Joe Biden’s nationwide goal of having all adults eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations by May 1, but the islands likely will be a week or two behind schedule. Star-Advertiser.

Concerns over coronavirus travel passport verification process. State officials are working on a travel passport that would allow fully vaccinated travelers to bypass testing and quarantine. KHON2.

Rather than targeting high-risk conditions, state uses age as ‘a guide’ for vaccine rollout. Hawaii remains on track to open vaccinations to every adult in early May, Lt. Gov. Josh Green said, but many are still anxious to know when it will be their turn. Hawaii News Now.

March 24, 2021 COVID-19 Update:
The state Department of Health reports that there were 58 additional COVID-19 cases reported in Hawai‘i on Wednesday, including 24 on O‘ahu, 22 on Maui, seven on Hawai‘i Island, one on Moloka‘i, one on Kaua‘i, and three in Hawai‘i residents diagnosed outside of the state. Maui Now.

Oahu

University Of Hawaii Report Finds ‘Discriminatory Policing’ In Honolulu Schools. Researchers said Hawaiian, Pacific Islander and Black students were disproportionately cited for offenses like running away from home or truancy. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

Blangiardi Nominates Former HPD Officer For Police Commission. The Police Commission conducts oversight of HPD and has the power to hire and fire the chief. Civil Beat.

Oahu Customers May See Their Electric Bills Rise Next Year As Power Plant Converts. But Hawaiian Electric says its Kapolei Energy Storage project will save customers money over the life of the project. Civil Beat.

Kaiser Permanente partners with Consolidated Theatres to open vaccination site in Kapolei. The health care provider said it will be able to vaccinate up to 2,000 people per day at the theater, located at 890 Kamokila Blvd. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

Sen. Hirono, Rep. Kahele help secure approval for outpatient clinic for Leeward Oahu veterans. Congress has approved the construction of an outpatient clinic for Leeward Oahu veterans. Star-Advertiser.

Koko Crater summit to close 3 weeks for repairs. Koko Crater summit area atop the Koko Crater tramway trail is scheduled to be closed to the public daily through April 19 for work to mitigate safety issues. Star-Advertiser. KITV4.

Hawaii Island

Conflict of interest? Kern signs off on approval of project he represented as a planning consultant. Zendo Kern represented clients as a consultant before the Leeward Planning Commission on a rezoning application, and then as planning director, signed off on a plat map for the same project, records show. West Hawaii Today.

State House to Restore Funding to Hilo Youth Challenge Academy. House Bill 200 House Draft 1 restores more than $600,000 in general funds and $2.3 million in federal funds to the program and retains over 40 full-time positions that would otherwise have been cut. Big Island Now. Hawaii News Now.

Kona’s Mask-Making Company Faces Setbacks Due to Damaged Shipment. Kona Mask Co. was founded by retired United Airlines pilot Nick Garcia and is based in Kailua-Kona. Big Island Now.

Maui


$1.6B affordable housing plan unveiled. Called “bold” and “dramatic,” a $1.6 billion draft plan unveiled Tuesday to bring 5,000 affordable units online in Central, South and West Maui calls for major overhauls to the County of Maui’s affordable housing approach. Maui News.

Permit granted for six-story 170-room hotel expansion. The Maui Coast Hotel received approval for a permit to build a six-story, 170-room expansion that drew hours of public testimony from some residents who touted the new jobs and others who worried about overtourism and traffic. Maui News.

$18M Ferry Pier Improvement at Lahaina Small Boat Harbor to Start April 5. Construction is set to start April 5 on a new concrete ferry pier at the DLNR Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation’s Lahaina Small Boat Harbor. Maui Now.

Kauai

County passes Ag use bill. While there remained slight reservations, a bill allowing various money-generating uses to agriculturally zoned land passed through the Kaua‘i County Council on Wednesday. Garden Island.

Readying for in-person learning April 5. Kaua‘i’s public secondary schools are making preparations to bring all students back to their campus for daily in-person learning, starting on Apr. 5 to April 9. Garden Island.


Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Schools superintendent Kishimoto calls it quits, some jumping the vaccination line, governor declares state of emergency over flooding, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

from video
Hawaii Schools Superintendent Christina Kishimoto

Hawaii schools superintendent Christina Kishimoto stepping down in July when contract ends. Superintendent Christina Kishimoto announced Tuesday she will step down on July 30 after four years at the helm of Hawaii’s public schools, rather than seek to extend her contract. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii Public Radio. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Now. Garden Island. Hawaii News Now.

Some vaccine recipients finding ways to jump line.
The state Department of Health said it relies on employers to identify who in their companies are front-line essential workers eligible for the shot, and also on vaccinators to verify the people getting inoculated. Star-Advertiser.

Gov. David Ige declares an emergency as heavy rain wreaks havoc across the state. Gov. David Ige on Tuesday signed an emergency declaration that will free up state funds to help those across the state hit by the heavy rainfall and flooding. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now. KHON2. KITV4.

Hawaii Senate approves nation’s highest income tax. A bill that would increase Hawaii’s income tax to the highest in the nation for the state’s top earners passed the full Senate on Tuesday by a near-unanimous vote. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii Public Radio.

LGBTQ Parents May Get Help When Having A Baby In Hawaii. The House passed a bill Tuesday to establish a task force to try to make it easier for queer parents to establish parentage at birth. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Senate Votes To Legalize Marijuana, Raise Minimum Wage. While both proposals appear dead on arrival in the House, lawmakers will still consider scores of other measures related to abortions, taxes and housing development. Civil Beat.

Bill would prohibit sale of sunscreen products containing avobenzone and octocrylene. Sunscreens containing two harmful petrochemicals, avobenzone and octocrylene, would be banned from sale in Hawaii under a bill passed Tuesday by the state Senate. West Hawaii Today. Garden Island.

Help Wanted For Ethics, Campaign Spending Commissions. Vacancies on both are appointed by the governor from nominees submitted by the Judicial Council. Civil Beat.

From The Philippines To Lanai: State Hopes New Teaching Recruits Will Fill A Gap
. The new program is aimed at bringing to Hawaii highly qualified teachers from the Philippines to fill the teaching gaps, particularly in areas like math, science and special education. Civil Beat.

U.S.-Chinese force imbalance is growing in western Pacific. Adm. Phil Davidson, head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command on Oahu, recently delivered to Congress a $27.3 billion request for extra funding through 2027 called the Pacific Deterrence Initiative. Star-Advertiser.

State reports 42 new COVID cases. Hawaii News Now.

Oahu

10,000 gallons of wastewater have spilled from Kahuku treatment plant in ongoing discharge.
The  state Department of Health has issued an advisory warning the public to stay out of coastal waters fronting the plant. Star-Advertiser.

HFD continues search for person in Waihona Stream on Oahu. The Honolulu Fire Department will continue the search for a person reported to be in the Waiawa Stream in Pearl City in the morning on Wednesday, March 10. KHON2.

City lifts evacuation order for Haleiwa as flooding threat subsides.
An evacuation order for scores of Haleiwa town residents was lifted late Tuesday as the threat of “catastrophic flooding” from torrential rains subsided. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Wastewater Discharge Reported At Papaikou Treatment Plant.
The public is advised to remain out of waters fronting the Papaikou Wastewater Treatment Plant due to a wastewater discharge. Big Island Video News.

Rain On Lava Creates Poor Visibility On Puna Highway. Hawaiʻi County emergency officials are urging motorists to use caution on Highway 132 in Puna, due to poor visibility caused by steam in the area. Big Island Video News. Hawaii News Now.

Waimea residents reflect on life during the coronavirus pandemic. Many furloughed Big Island hospitality workers have gone nearly a year without work because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Maui Health workers ratify new contract. Maui Health System workers voted overwhelmingly to approve a new four-year contract over the weekend, bringing eight months of negotiations and disputes over worker pay to a close, the union said. Maui News.

16.63 Inches of Rain Fell in 24 Hours in East Maui — Beats 40 State Rainfall Records But Not Hawaiʻi’s. The storm that dumped buckets of rain on East Maui Monday, causing flooding, evacuations and the Kaupakalua Dam to overflow, was called a “run-of-the-mill low-pressure system for the Hawaiian islands” by an AccuWeather meteorologist. Maui Now.

Kaupakalua Farm House on Maui Swept Away by Flood. Five people are among those displaced after a torrent of water and mud swept away a five-bedroom farm house and heavily damaged another shed dwelling on the same Maui property Monday afternoon. Maui Now. KHON2. KITV4.

State says century-old Kaupakalua Dam slated for removal this summer. Heavy rains on Monday caused the aging reservoir to swell, and overtop the earthen dam in the Haiku region, resulting in the emergency evacuation of some 150 downstream homes. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Maui Now.

Kauai

KPD Chief Raybuck faces discrimination charges. Kaua‘i Police Department Chief Todd Raybuck violated policies against discrimination and created a hostile work environment for an officer based on race, as found by a Kaua‘i Police Commission investigation. Garden Island.

Rise to Work program accepting applications. The County of Kauai is now accepting applications for the Rise to Work program, which helps Kaua‘i residents who lost their job connect to temporary job opportunities with local employers. Garden Island.

Heavy rains close Hanalei Bridge, produce flash floods warnings. Heavy rains triggered a flash-flood warning for Kaua‘i on Tuesday night and the closure of Kuhio Highway in the vicinity of the Hanalei Bridge at about 5 p.m. Garden Island.

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Hawaii poised to become state with highest income tax, highly infectious COVID-19 variant detected, flood over-tops Maui dam, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

from video
Maui Mayor Michael Victorino at video press conference

Hawaii lawmakers consider nation’s highest income tax. Hawaii is considering overtaking California as the state with the highest income tax rate in the nation, under legislation slated for a vote this week. Associated Press.

Hawaii Could Lose Access To Next Generation Broadband Internet.
Technological advances allow the next generation of undersea fiber optic cables to traverse the Pacific without stopping in Hawaii. Hawaii Public Radio.

House Speaker Seeks Hawaiian Nominees For Mauna Kea Group. The 15-member working group has until December to come up with a new management structure for Mauna Kea. Civil Beat.

Hawaii to receive over $6.1B in federal funds. U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz said the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package passed Saturday by the Senate and poised for imminent passage in the House will provide over $6.1 billion in estimated funding for Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.

Hawai‘i Convention Center charges state millions for unemployment call center. Hawaii lawmakers are looking to expand the governor’s powers to assume control over any state facility during an emergency and not have to worry about paying rent to the agency that controls it. Star-Advertiser.

South Africa COVID-19 Variant Detected On Oahu. A new COVID-19 strain originating in South Africa that is both highly contagious and able to evade antibodies was detected in an Oahu resident, state health officials announced Monday. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser. Associated Press. Tribune-Herald. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now.

Ige: ‘Vaccine passport’ program unlikely until May.
Vaccinated travelers could be exempt from COVID-19 travel restrictions by May, said Gov. David Ige on Monday. Tribune-Herald.

Resolutions urge Ige to ease travel quarantine on vaccinated persons. A pair of resolutions will be introduced today by state Sen. Donna Mercado Kim, an Oahu Democrat, that would ease travel restrictions in Hawaii for vaccinated individuals. Tribune-Herald. KHON2.

Hawaii plans brand-specific vaccination sites to allow people to pick their shot. People getting vaccinated could soon have the option to pick which brand of COVID shot they want. Hawaii News Now.

March 8, 2021 COVID-19 Update: The state Department of Health reports that there were 45 additional COVID-45 cases reported in Hawai‘i on Monday, including 21 on O‘ahu, 11 on Maui, 10 on Hawai‘i Island, and three in Hawai‘i residents diagnosed outside of the state. Maui Now.

Oahu

Feds Examining Honolulu Police CARES Spending On ATVs, Robot Dog. The Honolulu Police Department is facing questions from the federal government about its spending of millions of dollars of pandemic relief funds on ATVs, pickup trucks and a robot dog. Civil Beat.

Free COVID-19 tests offered for Oahu restaurant workers. Honolulu’s restaurant workers will be able to take a free COVID-19 test starting today. Star-Advertiser. KHON2.

There Are 10 Community Gardens On Oahu. None Of Them Are On The Westside. Unequal access to community gardens has some people calling for a revamp of the decades-old program. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Island

Governor approves Roth’s emergency rule amendments. Gov. David Ige approved COVID-19 emergency rule amendments for the Big Island signed into effect Monday by Mayor Mitch Roth, which ease certain restrictions. West Hawaii Today. Big Island Video News. KITV4.

Ahu‘aila‘au proposed for county land buy: Neighbors seek purchase of ’Fissure 8’ with PONC funds. Neighbors of Puna’s internationally famous “Fissure 8” want the still smoldering volcanic vent preserved for future generations, and they’re asking a county land-buying commission to purchase it using taxpayer money. West Hawaii Today.

Another push for a new hospital in North Kona. Legislators are pushing forward the conversation about constructing a new hospital in North Kona with a pair of resolutions requesting the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation conduct a feasibility study. West Hawaii Today.

Three Finalists For Hawaiʻi County Seat On UH Board Of Regents. Wayne S. Higaki, Peter S. Hoffmann, and Eric S. Takamura are the names of the candidates, one of whom will fill the five-year appointment beginning on July 1. Big Island Video News.

Maui

Flash flood warning expires for heavily-soaked Maui, but threat of torrential rain continues.  Evacuation orders stretched into the night for Haiku residents who fled the life-threatening flooding downstream of the Kaupakalua Dam. Hawaii News Now.

Overtopping dam spurs evacuation in Maui’s Haiku area. Nearly 14 inches of rain Monday led to the overtopping of the Kaupakalua Reservoir and Dam, forcing the evacuation of some 150 downstream homes. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Associated Press. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

State issued notice of deficiency to Kaupakalua Dam last year. The Kaupakalua Dam is one of the oldest agricultural dams and was built more than a hundred years ago. KHON2.

Hana Highway reopens though extreme caution still urged.
The heaviest of showers are slowly subsiding on Maui, though some emergency closures and operations are still in place. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Kauai

Outreach at ‘Anini; community faces ouster. Thinking about where to go once the ‘Anini Beach Park closes to the houseless community in less than a month has been stressful for Ceci Lindsey. Garden Island.

DOE announces 4th quarter school schedules. The Kaua‘i Complex Area Department of Education Office announced the Kaua‘i revisions of school learning models will cover the fourth quarter that runs from March 22 through May 28. Garden Island.