Showing posts with label raises. Show all posts
Showing posts with label raises. Show all posts

Thursday, June 8, 2023

Kilauea volcano erupts after 3-month pause, Honolulu council pay raise still in play, second homeless sweep in Kailua-Kona, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Kilauea erupts and spurs an onslaught of visitors. Kilauea Volcano has started erupting within Halemaumau Crater, U.S. Geological Survey officials said, and droves of people are already making their way to see the lava flow. Star-Advertiser.  Hawaii Public RadioTribune-Herald. Big Island Video News.  Big Island Now. Maui Now.  Hawaii News Now. KHON2.  KITV4

Hawaii Ranks Highest in Debt To Income Ratio.
For every single dollar of income, Hawaii household have an average of 2.26 cents worth of debt. KITV4.

USS Daniel Inouye warship prepares for first deployment.  The USS Daniel Inouye, the Pearl Harbor-­based warship named for the late Hawaii senator and war hero, is gearing up for its first deployment amid a tide of geopolitical tensions and uncertainty. For the ship’s crew of 320 sailors, it’s about more than just sailing a ship through the Pacific. Star-Advertiser.

Gift from University of Hawai‘i Regents Chair seeds Hawai‘i Sustainability Fund. According to UH, it will help students develop skills and knowledge to tackle climate change and resource issues in the islands and beyond. Hawaii Public Radio. Kauai Now.


Pay Increases For Honolulu City Council Members Remain On Track After Marathon Session. A bill that would prohibit council members from external employment was removed at a hearing Wednesday. Correction: This story originally reported that salary raises for council members and city officials were passed as part of the city’s overall operating budget. That is incorrect. The measure was not voted on Wednesday. Only the legislative budget was passed after a council vote.  Civil Beat.

Honolulu City Council approves $3.41B budget. The Honolulu City Council on Wednesday unanimously approved the city’s $3.41 billion operating budget and a $1.34 billion capital improvement plan for the 2024 fiscal year, which begins July 1. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.

Council unanimously advances Narcan bill. The Honolulu City Council unanimously voted Wednesday to advance legislation that would require bars, nightclubs and other high-risk venues to carry nasal sprays of naloxone, which is used to reverse opioid overdoses. Star-Advertiser. KITV4.

Oahu traffic deaths rise in first 5 months.
For Oahu, the numbers increased to 27 fatalities compared with 23 at the same time last year, with double the number of motorcycle-related deaths — 12 compared with six at the same time last year. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu rental, utility relief program reopens next week. The City and County of Honolulu’s Rental and Utility Relief Program will temporarily reopen for new applications next week. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

The ‘out-of-the-box’ solution to HPD’s recruiting woes: 3-day workweeks for all patrol officers. In addition, when the schedules shift every few months, they’ll get two weeks with five days off. Hawaii News Now.

City parking meter upgrades aimed to fix nearly $5M loss. There are about 4,000 on-street parking meters stretched across Oahu. Customers’ money goes in, but the City isn’t seeing a complete return in revenue. KHON2.

This new UH shuttle bus isn’t just electric. It will (almost) drive itself. There’s a new member of UH-Manoa’s Rainbow Shuttle service. And this bus isn’t just electric, it will also mostly drive itself. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Kona Police Remove Homeless Camps From County Aquatic Center.
The number of homeless residents outside the county-owned athletic facility had swelled in recent weeks. But for the past several days outreach workers have been telling those living there that the police were coming, so many had already cleared out before Wednesday. Civil Beat. West Hawaii Today.  Big Island Video News. Big Island Now.

EPA fines Big Island business $130K for illegal cesspool
. The EPA has also ordered Kaloko Storage 188 LLC and Extra Space Management Inc., the respective owner and operator of Extra Space Storage at Kanalani Street in Kailua-Kona, to close its large-capacity cesspool to comply with the Safe Drinking Water Act. Star-Advertiser.


Council gives final approval to $1.07 billion budget. The Maui County Council passed its $1.07 billion version of the fiscal year 2024 county budget on second and final reading on Tuesday. Maui News.

Community meetings on Alelele rockfall project in East Maui draw 100+ residents. More than 100 people attended community meetings held over the weekend in Kīpahulu, Hāna and Kaupō, to hear updates on the Alelele Point rockfall project. Maui Now.

Native Hawaiians clash with West Maui resort over erosion mitigation efforts.  Resort officials in West Maui want to restore the disappearing shoreline in front of their hotel. However, Native Hawaiian activists say they are doing it the wrong way. Hawaii News Now.


Coco Palms developer reaffirms commitment. Attorney Mauna Kea Trask, representing the Coco Palms developer RP21 Coco Palms LLC, said that his client was committed to restoring Coco Palms during the state Office of Hawaiian Affairs’ Kaua‘i Island Community meeting on the evening of June 7, 2023 at Kaua‘i Community College in Puhi. Garden Island.

Green waste closed at Līhu‘e refuse transfer station until further notice. Green waste at Līhu‘e is estimated to be closed through next week, as State officials and invasive species crews are on site and responding. Kauai Now.

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

House and Senate agree on state budget, Honolulu council members set to receive 64% raise, bill expands medically assisted suicide, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

House And Senate Agree On State Budget, But Tax Cuts Still Aren’t Finalized. The new budget includes $170 million to build teacher housing across Hawaii, and $280 million to subsidize rental housing. Negotiators from Hawaii’s House and Senate agreed late Tuesday on a state budget for the next two years, a step that clears the way for finalizing dozens of other bills in a race toward a critical deadline on Friday. Civil Beat.

Time is running out for proposed visitor impact fee legislation. If Hawaiʻi lawmakers agree on a visitor impact fee for access to its state parks and trails, it’d be the first in the nation to do so statewide. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii’s Medically Assisted Suicide Program Is Poised To Be Expanded. Patients may soon have shorter waiting periods and more provider options. For years, advocates have argued that patients face too many obstacles to take advantage of Hawaii’s law allowing medically assisted suicide. The procedure will likely become more accessible after a bill got a boost on Tuesday to bypass the Legislature’s chaotic conference committee stage. Civil Beat.

Hawaii lawmakers may repeal Cold War-era speech restrictions. A Cold War-era law in Hawaii that allows authorities to impose sweeping restrictions on press freedoms and electronic communications during a state of emergency could soon be repealed by lawmakers over concerns about its constitutionality and potential misuse. Associated Press.

Committee Agrees On Expanded Coffee Labeling Bill. The Hawaiʻi House and Senate in conference committee on Tuesday agreed to an expanded coffee labeling bill, that includes ready-to-drink coffee beverages and prohibits the use of the term “All Hawaiian” for coffee that isn’t produced entirely from beans grown and processed in Hawaiʻi. Big Island Video News.

Former Head Of Charter School Commission To Pay $5,000 For Ethics Violations. Sione Thompson agreed to the payment as part of a settlement with the Hawaii State Ethics Commission over multiple violations between 2018 and 2020. Thompson signed off on multiple state contracts with three nonprofit organizations without disclosing that he also served on the boards of those organizations, the Hawaii State Ethics Commission said in a release Tuesday.  Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser.

Russian Spy Intrigue Fizzles As Hawaii Stolen ID trial nears. A judge has ruled that photographs showing the defendants wearing foreign uniforms aren't relevant to the charges. U.S. prosecutors who introduced Russian spy intrigue into the case of a couple accused of living for decades in Hawaii under identities stolen from dead babies are now saying they don’t want jurors to hear about photographs showing them wearing foreign uniforms. Associated Press.

FBI report: Fraud losses hit record high as scammers target people of all ages. There’s been a sharp spike in losses reported by kupuna who have been victimized by scammers.  Nearly 400 Hawaii residents 60 years of age or older reported being scammed out of more than $16.3 million. Hawaii News Now.

Youth climate justice case gets pushback from HDOT. The 14 youth plaintiffs suing the Hawaii Department of Transportation to take action against emission pollution are standing their ground in their quest for climate justice, even as the DOT requests a budget increase of $1 million to fight this lawsuit. KITV4.

State acquires $26M from Biden to fund coastal climate change initiatives. The U.S. Department of Commerce is slated to give $26 million to eight climate change resiliency projects in Hawaiʻi. It’s part of the Biden Administration’s Climate-Ready Coasts initiative, funded through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Hawaii Public Radio.

Agribusiness agency suffers loss with leader James ‘Jimmy’ Nakatani’s death. A state agency set up to foster diversified farming on fallow former plantation agriculture lands has lost its longtime leader, James “Jimmy” Nakatani, who died Sunday. Star-Advertiser.


Despite hefty opposition, commission approves 64% pay hike for city councilmembers. The Honolulu Salary Commission heard passionate opposition Tuesday to raises for city officials and councilmembers, but ultimately voted to approve the pay hikes in a 5-to-1 vote. Under the plan, city councilmembers would get a 64% raise ― from $68,904 a year to $113,304. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu undergoes 2 department leadership changes. Dawn Szewczyk stepped down as head of the Department of Facility Maintenance last week for a job in the private sector.  Additionally, Scott Hayashi has requested to step down from his position as the director of the Department of Land Management. Hawaii Public Radio.

Property tax ideas address credits and exemptions. The Honolulu City Council has established a special subcommittee to investigate certain matters relating to real property taxation issues. Star-Advertiser.

Lawmakers urge relocation of Marines’ Puuloa Firing Range. Community concerns over the Marine Corps’ Ewa Beach Puuloa Range Training Facility escalated Tuesday when the state House passed a nonbinding resolution urging the relocation of the firing range due to noise, safety and possible lead exposure to nearby homes, the shoreline and sea. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

EPA Not At Fault For Red Hill Crisis, Inspector General Says. In a report released on Tuesday, the EPA inspector general noted that the Navy was subject to a regulatory agreement with the EPA and the state health department at the time of the contamination. Civil Beat.

Navy pledges $6M to update Kalaeola electrical grid. The Navy said Monday that it’s committing $6 million to modernize the power grid supplying Kalaeloa and will work in partnership with Hawaiian Electric. Star-Advertiser.

Army Corps Rolls Out Its New Ala Wai Flood Control Plan. Federal engineers pushed the reset button after rising costs sunk their earlier plan. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is developing new plans for heightened flood control in one of Hawaii’s most populous and economically important areas – the Ala Wai watershed – after the Corps scrapped its previous, contentious plan when the costs more than doubled. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Island

Resiliency hub eyed for Hilo: Keaukaha facility would promote ag, bolster food security. The Pana‘ewa Farmers Market could be expanded under a proposed plan for a resiliency hub on Railroad Avenue in Hilo. Tribune-Herald.

Community Meeting Set For Old Hilo Hospital Master Plan. A community meeting will be held on May 15 to gather input and recommendations for the development of a master plan for the old Hilo Memorial Hospital site at 34 Rainbow Drive. Big Island Video News.

Hawaii's most overcrowded jail releases some inmates. The Hawaii Community Correctional Center is situated in the heart of downtown Hilo and is designed to hold 206 inmates, but is currently over capacity at 295 inmates, making it the most overcrowded jail in the state. KHON2.

DLNR chair meets with advocates for feral cats.  Department of Land and Natural Resources Chair Dawn Chang met Tuesday with the principals of ABayKitties, the organization that has provided cat food at a trio of feeding stations at the Queens’ Marketplace shopping center. West Hawaii Today. Big Island Now.

Firing called for Prince Kūhiō Plaza GM who stopped legendary Hawaiian entertainers for safety reasons. During the recent Merrie Monarch Festival in Hilo, legendary musician Melveen Leed and kumu hula Iwalani Walsh Tseu were at a craft fair at the Prince Kūhiō Plaza giving an impromptu performance when the general manager asked them via a vendor to stop performing because of “safety concerns.” Big Island Now. Hawaii News Now.

Puna Kai Shopping Center listed again for sale. The Puna Kai Shopping Center is once again listed for sale after a previous online listing was supposedly posted in error. Tribune-Herald.


Bullying, drug and alcohol use down among county teens. A recent survey that studied risk behaviors among Hawaii youth highlighted several areas of improvement during the COVID-19 pandemic, including declining reports of bullying in Maui County as well as use of drugs and alcohol, but mental health remains a concern statewide. Maui News.


Point In Time Count shows homelessness increasing on Kaua‘i. The Homeless Point In Time Count, released last week by Bridging the Gap, showed a 10 percent increase in one-day homelessness on island from January 2022 to January 2023, following a 5 percent increase in the prior year. Garden Island.

PAL Kaua‘i: Two units available at Kauhale O Kapa’a. The studios offer a full bathroom with a tub and a kitchenette that opens up into the living space in the heart of  Old Kapa’a town.  Kauai Now.

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Green and HSTA plan big teacher raises, Hawaii Island seeks to double shoreline setback, Kauai prosecutes illegal vacation rentals, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii teachers union, Gov. Green tout ‘strongest’ contract ever. The $577 million deal includes annual pay increases between 3% and 5% for a total of 14.5% over four years, but some extraordinary terms are also part of the contract agreement, including at least a 32% increase for new entry-level hires, higher pay for nontraditional teachers and a new top pay class for veteran educators. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Tribune-Herald.  Big Island Video News. Kauai Now. KHON2.  KITV4.  Hawaii News Now.

State Legislature begins conference committee process to address differing viewpoints. Lawmakers will take up measures on gun laws, tourism management and government transparency in conference committees this week and next. Hawaii Public Radio.

49 endangered Hawaiian species to gain habitat protections. The US Fish and Wildlife Service agreed today to designate protected critical habitat for 39 endangered plants and 10 endangered animals. The determination comes amid a legal victory stemming from a lawsuit filed by the Center for Biological Diversity. Maui Now.


Council member hopes to cut Sand Island Treatment Center’s costs. Council member Tyler Dos Santos-Tam did not know that the city had forced the Sand Island Treatment Center into his district in Iwilei, but toured it on Monday to try to figure out how to ease its $36,000 in new monthly costs. Star-Advertiser.

After sitting empty over a year, portion of city’s Homeless Resource Center set to open.
Major developments are underway in regards to the future of a mismanaged homeless housing project that’s been sitting empty in Iwilei more than a year. Hawaii News Now.

River of Life helps homeless with 40 sites across Oahu. River of Life Mission, once the center of blame for homelessness in Chinatown, has reinvented its model to aid the needy by shutting down its Chinatown feeding program and instead helping the homeless at 40 different sites across Oahu, with plans to expand to the neighbor islands and even to foreign countries. Star-Advertiser.

Construction begins on $4.4M project to upgrade busy part of Chinatown. Construction began Monday at Kekaulike Mall where a $4.4 million project will upgrade the busy market space between King Street and Hotel Street. Hawaii News Now.

Why Some Stores In Chinatown Keep Doors Locked During Business Hours. Boutiques and other stores installed buzz-in systems with the onset of the pandemic and decided to keep them as traffic returned to the area. Civil Beat.

Rail will open in July, HART CEO confirms. Lori Kahikina, executive director and CEO of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation, confirmed that the city’s nearly $10 billion rail line will open for public ridership in July. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.

HPD vows to step up gambling enforcement in wake of shooting. The search for an armed man responsible for a mass shooting at a Maili cockfight around midnight Friday that killed two people continued Monday as police promised to step up gambling enforcement in the area. Star-Advertiser. KHON2. KITV4.

Hawaii Island

Proposed rules would double shoreline setback.  Pending revisions to the Hawaii County planning rules could result in developments being pushed farther away from the coast in an effort to mitigate the impacts of climate change. Tribune-Herald.

Document details plan for bottling plant in Hilo. One less hurdle stands in the way of a new proposal to build a water-bottling plant next to the Wailoa River State Recreation Area. Tribune-Herald.

Another chemical leak found at a Maunakea telescope. The University of Hawaii’s 88-inch telescope, also called UH88, was discovered in January to have sprung a leak in its coolant system some time between mid-December and Jan. 10, spilling an unknown amount of anti-freezing agent ethylene glycol. Tribune-Herald.


Traci Fujita named the Council’s representative on MEO Board. Traci Fujita, who currently serves as the director of the Office of Council Services, has joined the Maui Economic Opportunity Board of Directors, filling the Council representative spot. Maui Now.

Surfrider’s water quality monitoring expands; reports ongoing pollution in Wailuku River. Surfrider Foundation’s Blue Water Task Force program released its annual Maui water quality report for 2022.  Maui Now.

Molokai mobile clinic expands services. The Molokai Community Health Center’s Mana Mobile Medical Clinic is expanding its services to better serve residents on the island’s East Side. Maui News.


‘Undercover sting operations’ mop up illegal vacation rentals on Kaua‘i. Data-sharing agreements with tech companies and undercover “sting operations” have cut the number of illegal vacation rentals operating on Kaua‘i to the lowest rate in a decade, officials report. Garden Island.

Coco Palms Resort to be demolished for a new 350-room hotel. Demolition will soon begin on a Kauaʻi resort once favored by Elvis Presley and other Hollywood royalty before it was heavily damaged by a hurricane three decades ago. Associated Press.

DLNR proposes to drain Wailua Reservoir. The state Department of Land and Natural Resources is proposing to drain the Wailua Reservoir and breach the dam after finding that neglected maintenance could threaten the lives of nearby residents if no action is taken. Garden Island.

An Innovative Kauai Farm Project May Depend On Saving A 100-Year-Old Reservoir. Plans to create a community agriculture park in the heart of Kauai’s north shore town of Kilauea stalled for decades until the ratty mattresses, washing machines and wrecked cars were finally hauled off a 75-acre county plot in 2015, transforming an illegal dumping ground into an organic meat and vegetable farm.  Civil Beat.

Friday, March 24, 2023

Board of Education reduces exec raises, students bounce back from pandemic learning loss, LGBTQ flag flap at Ewa Middle School, Oahu $100M first responder complex unlikely, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Proposed raises for Hawaii DOE executives reduced.  A proposal to dramatically raise salary ranges for 25 top state Department of Education executives had to be scaled back after it drew angry reactions Thursday not only from scores of school-level employees and their union, but several state Board of Education members as well. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Student Recovery From Pandemic Learning Loss ‘Exceptional’ Analysis Finds.  The analysis done by the mainland consultant Center on Assessment found overall that students learned at a faster rate after the pandemic than they did before, and that mathematics needs a “steeper recovery” than English in public schools.  Civil Beat.

Hawaii Climate Experts Highlight Positive Points In An Otherwise Dire International Report. Scientists, activists and policymakers in Hawaii say they are not surprised by the heightened warnings contained in the latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change but they have some reasons for optimism. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Pushes For Ban On Deep-Sea Mining. Sea mining could bring adverse effects on the marine floors of Hawaii, creating clouds of mud that push away fish, destroying seabeds and imposing irreversible damage on the seafloor, environmental advocates argue.  Civil Beat.

Foodborne illness complaints, yellow placard violations up. Health officials have been increasing their restaurant site inspections, leading to an uptick in violations. KHON2.

Deadly fungus detected in Hawaii patient. There has been one confirmed case in Hawaii of Candida auris, a deadly fungus that has sparked national concern as it’s spread rapidly through hospitals and other health care facilities in about two dozen states.  Star-Advertiser.


The First Responders Park Bill Is Dying. Rep. Amy Perruso says she won't advance a bill to fund the state's first responders campus amid questions about the project's relevance. When Hawaii Senate President Ron Kouchi introduced a measure to provide at least $100 million to build a campus for first responders on 243 acres of agriculture land in central Oahu, the Kauai senator hailed the controversial project as necessary for Oahu’s law enforcement and public safety workers. Civil Beat.

4 Honolulu police officers plead not guilty in Makaha crash. Four Honolulu police officers accused of chasing a vehicle with six Maili Beach Park partygoers in September 2021 entered not-guilty pleas Thursday to charges that they caused a crash, fled the scene and conspired to cover it up. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.  Associated Press. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

After spate of tragedies on Oahu roads, city prosecutor pushes for jail time in more traffic cases. In the wake of several high-profile fatal crashes, Honolulu’s prosecutor has changed his policy on plea agreements in traffic court in hopes of making the roads safer. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Honolulu councilors paid the least compared to neighbor islands. A 60% salary increase for Honolulu City Council Members and its Chair, recommended by the salary commission, is renewing interest in the process.  KHON2.

Lawmaker’s post questioning LGTBQ flags at Hawaii school draws backlash. Freshman state Rep. Elijah Pierick recently paid a visit to Ewa Makai Middle school, something that public officials often do. What was less usual — and what’s drawing broad criticism — is a video he posted on his Instagram page about that visit. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Ownership of historic Waiāhole Valley up for debate after proposed 600% rent increase.  Rent lease negotiations between the state and nearly 100 tenants in Waiāhole Valley are sparking conversations about the future of this rural, agricultural community. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii Island

Woman Cited For Taking Nēnē Gosling From Hilo Park. A 57-year-old woman was cited this morning after allegedly taking a nene gosling from Wailoa River State Recreational Area in Hilo and driving away with it. Star-Advertiser. Big Island Video News.  Big Island Now. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Hawaiʻi Community College opens student center stocked with basic necessities. The Kahuaola Basic Needs Center is located at the Manono Campus and is stocked with food, hygiene products and clothes available for pickup. Hawaii Public Radio.


Waiehu rental project’s fate remains undecided. After four meetings, a Maui County Council committee on Wednesday was unable to come to a decision on a 120-unit rental housing project in Waiehu, whose fate could now be determined by the Department of Housing and Human Concerns director. Maui News.

Maui’s mayor wants to buy company that controls water flow to thousands of acres.  Maui County Mayor Richard Bissen says he is reviving a long talked about plan to buy a company that controls the water flow to thousands of acres. Hawaii News Now.

Maui vacation rental supply and unit demand up from 2022, but down from pre-pandemic. While gains were realized in month-over-month data, Maui’s vacation rental supply, unit demand and occupancy in February remained down double-digits from pre-pandemic levels in 2019.  Maui Now.

Maui doctor charged in federal prescription drug investigation. A 74-year-old Maui doctor faces four federal counts of unlawful distribution of controlled substances after he allegedly illegally prescribed hydrocodone, Xanax and Valium to an undercover federal agent on Maui. Star-Advertiser. Maui Now.

Mosquito release plan aims to save forest birds on Maui. State and federal officials are moving forward with a plan to release millions of incompatible male mosquitoes into the East Maui wilderness in an effort to save the region’s threatened and endangered forest birds. Star-Advertiser. Maui Now.


Kawakami administration breaks down $402 million Kaua‘i budget proposal.  The budget process opened Thursday with a display of goodwill between the Kaua‘i County mayor and Kaua‘i County Council chair. Garden Island.

Coast Guard leads multi-agency exercise at Kukuʻiula Small Boat Harbor on Kauaʻi. At Kuku’iula Small Boat Harbor near Po’ipū, the U.S. Coast Guard and several state, county and volunteer agencies conducted a full-scale search and rescue drill on Thursday morning to practice working collaboratively during emergencies. Kauai Now. Garden Island.

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hawaii Island

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Friday, March 10, 2023

Hawaii may duck recession, Health Department reports death registry data breach, wage hikes recommended for Honolulu officials, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii to avoid recession, UHERO report says. The state’s gross domestic product — the value of Hawaii’s goods and serv­ices adjusted for inflation — will slow to 1.7% growth in 2023 from 2.5% in the previous year, according to quarterly report due out today by the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization. Star-Advertiser.

As Hawaiʻi's minimum wage rises, some lawmakers want to scrap the tip credit. By the time the minimum wage increases to $18 by 2028, the tip credit will increase to $1.50 — making the minimum wage for tipped workers $16.50 an hour.  Hawaii Public Radio.

Budget bill allocates much less to the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority than requested. House Bill 300 includes a $35 million appropriation to the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority–thatʻs $40 million less than what was requested.  Maui Now. Garden Island.

Bill requiring clergy to report sacramental confessions of child abuse moves to Senate.
When religious clergy were added to the state's list of mandatory reporters, the law exempted the reporting of abuse disclosed during penitential communication. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii Lawmaker Quietly Kills Bill To Allow Unlicensed Midwives To Continue Practicing
. House Bill 955 cleared two committees before stalling this month in the House Finance Committee chaired by Rep. Kyle Yamashita. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Health Department warns of breach to death registry. The Hawaii Department of Health today announced there has been a security breach of its Electronic Death Registry System. Star-Advertiser. Maui Now.  Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

It’s not your imagination: The price of rice is way up. The price of rice has jumped 40% in just the last two years. And that’s spurring tough calculations for family households and eateries.  Hawaii News Now.


Honolulu Salary Commission recommends wage increases for city leadership. The Honolulu Salary Committee had not recommended salary increases in the last four years; but this year, it is proposing a big bump for some positions. KHON2.

Honolulu planning director says more employees are needed to solve permitting backlog. Dawn Takeuchi Apuna, the director of Honolulu's Department of Planning and Permitting, updated the City Council's budget committee on the department's needs for fiscal year 2024. Among those priorities, she requested a 26% bump for salaries across all of DPP's six divisions.  Hawaii Public Radio.

Mayor signs bill to encourage inclusion, protect diversity.  Bill 25 establishes a policy of anti-bias and inclusion for all City officers and employees. This includes different perspectives, views or opinions. KHON2. KITV4.

Waiahole Valley tenants get reprieves over rent. A state agency trying to increase ground-lease rents in Waiahole Valley for about 100 residential and farm tenants with decades-old low rates made several moves Thursday to defuse the tense situation where some fear evictions. Star-Advertiser.

Punaluu homeowner faces $188K fine for shoreline violations. An oceanfront property owner in Punaluu faces a $188,000 fine for numerous shoreline violations, including refusing to remove giant sandbags, heavy black tarps and boulders that form a tangled mess along the public beach in front of his home. Star-Advertiser.

Bathroom recording incidents at Ala Moana Center prompt police security message. Officers have arrested a man accused of using his cell phone to record a teenage boy inside a bathroom stall at Ala Moana Center. Police say it’s the second time a situation like this has happened in the mall’s public restrooms in recent months. Hawaii News Now.

Oahu’s Pig Farmers Want To Change The Conversation On Food Security. Hawaii's demand for pork is on the rise but slaughterhouses cater to beef. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Island

Hawaiʻi Countyʻs transportation administrator leaving after 18 months revamping Hele-On. Hawaiʻi County’s Mass Transit Agency, commonly called Hele-On, will be looking for a new administrator. John Andoh, the current administrator, will be stepping down effective March 31 to transition to a similar role on the mainland. Big Island Now.

Geologist: It’s too soon to know if our recent Kilauea eruption has actually ended. With the latest Kilauea eruption on pause, geologists are monitoring the volcano to determine what will happen next. Tribune-Herald.

County’s Safe Place initiative expands. Mayor Mitch Roth’s office announced Tuesday the Hawaii County Mass Transit Agency, in partnership with National Safe Place Network, is expanding the Safe Place initiative to include The Salvation Army Family Intervention Services. Tribune-Herald.


Land Board weighs Kaanapali Beach restoration project.  The state Board of Land and Natural Resources is expected to decide today whether to approve an agreement forged between the Department of Land and Natural Resources and a private resort association requiring them to split the costs of a $10 million beach restoration project long planned for Maui’s Kaanapali Beach. Star-Advertiser. Maui Now.

Context for Maui hate crime ruling includes complex history. A recent federal hate crime ruling against two Native Hawaiian men from Maui is sparking discussions on the broader societal context in Hawaiʻi that enables hate and bias in the first place. Hawaii Public Radio.


Kaua‘i council supports birth attendant exemption. The Kaua‘i County Council resolution ultimately passed in a 5-1 vote, but the House bill may be dead in the water regardless. Garden Island.

Master plan would reshape Mahelona Hospital on Kaua‘i. Officials are closing in on a final master plan for Samuel Mahelona Memorial Hospital and the surrounding areas, which will include a new library, police substation and hundreds of units of housing. Garden Island.

Thursday, September 8, 2022

COVID testing company gives big to Hawaii Democrats, Honolulu permitting chief resigns, Maui police chief cleared, Kauai council gives itself 15% raise, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Why Is Nomi Health Donating To Key Democrats In Blue State Hawaii After Giving Big To GOP? The Utah-based company contributed to the campaigns of six Democrats in Hawaii, including Josh Green and Sylvia Luke, the Democratic nominees for governor and lieutenant governor. USA Today.

Former defense contractor pleads guilty to PPP fraud. A former Hawaii defense contractor changed his plea to guilty in federal court Wednesday, admitting he defrauded banks of more than $22.8 million intended to help businesses struggling through the COVID-19 pandemic. Martin Kao, 49, the former head of Martin Defense Group LLC, formerly known as Navatek LLC, is charged with bank fraud and money laundering. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.

Marines welcome new commander of Pacific forces. Lt. Gen. Steven Rudder handed the reins of Marine Corps Forces, Pacific to Lt. Gen. William Jurney in a Wednesday morning ceremony at Marine Corps Base Hawaii at Kaneohe Bay. Star-Advertiser.

Abrupt closure of air ambulance company leaves many in shock. The parent company of LifeSave KuPono shut down the air ambulance service Wednesday, leaving just one air ambulance company serving the islands. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaiian Airlines dropping employee vaccination mandate.
Hawaiian Airlines is removing COVID-19 vaccinations as a requirement for employment effective Oct. 1 and dispensing with other elements of its COVID-19 safety policy. Star-Advertiser.

Researchers emphasize importance of wastewater surveillance to monitor COVID.
After delays in Hawaii’s wastewater monitoring program, DOH officials said they have started processing some wastewater samples to monitor COVID. Hawaii News Now.

New COVID booster shots available as Hawaii case counts decline. Several pharmacies have already started taking appointments for the boosters, while some community health centers are preparing to do so in the coming days. Kaiser Permanente Hawaii will begin offering the bivalent COVID-19 boosters at its facilities Friday. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Health Department reports 1,215 new COVID-19 infections, 11 coronavirus-related deaths this past week. The state’s average positivity rate, meanwhile, continued dropping to 6.4% compared to 7.3% reported the previous week. Star-Advertiser.


Director Of Honolulu’s Troubled Permitting Office Resigns. Mayor Rick Blangiardi appointed Dean Uchida with hopes of streamlining permitting, but delays have gotten significantly worse. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii Public Radio.

Pentagon speeds up timeline for defueling Red Hill by several months. The U.S. Department of Defense has sped up its timeline for draining the Navy’s underground Red Hill fuel tanks by about five months and now expects that the work can be completed by July 2024. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now. KHON2. KITV4.

Honolulu taxi industry wants more control over meter rates. Dale Evans, CEO of Charley's Taxi, has asked the City and County of Honolulu to repeal the ordinance that controls taxi fares — which she says is threatening her business. Hawaii Public Radio.

Another Key Player In The Miske Conspiracy Case Has Made A Deal With Prosecutors. Lance Lee Bermudez is the sixth of the original 10 co-defendants to flip by agreeing to testify against the accused crime boss. Civil Beat.

Thursday parade and festivities to honor Honolulu Little League World Series champions. The city of Honolulu will come together Thursday to honor the Little League World Series Champions -- with a midday parade and festivities on beginning at noon. KITV4. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii Public Radio. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Affordable housing scandal: Council seeks accounting; defendants fire their lawyers. Hilo attorneys Paul Joseph Sulla Jr. and Gary Charles Zamber, in a Sept. 1 status conference with federal Magistrate Judge Kenneth J. Mansfield, asked that their attorneys be terminated so they can represent themselves. West Hawaii Today.

Hilo Bayfront Trails project gets next installment. While the first phase of the project — which connected Mooheau Park, Pauahi Street, the Bayfront canoe hale, and the Bayfront soccer fields — was completed in 2016, work on a second phase to connect Kilauea Avenue to the soccer fields trail built in Phase 1 didn’t begin until earlier this year. Tribune-Herald.

County Works to Set Replacement Schedule for e-Waste Collection Events. While the county’s e-Waste Collection Program remains suspended, county officials say they are working to set a replacement schedule of electronics recycling collection events for the remainder of the calendar year with the reduced state funding available. Big Island Now. Big Island Video News.


Maui Police Commission Finds Complaints Against New Chief ‘Not Substantiated’. Outside investigators were hired to look into several complaints made against John Pelletier, who has hired a coach to address his management style. Civil Beat.

Maui Council committee to consider Energy Conservation Code amendments. Councilmember Kelly Takaya King announced that the Climate, Action, Resilience and Environment Committee, which she chairs, will consider a county-specific version of Hawaiʻi State Energy Conservation Code. Maui Now.


Kaua‘i county council approves 15% raises for mayor, department heads, council members. In a procedure unique among Hawai‘i counties, Kaua‘i County council members unanimously voted Wednesday to approve raises that will likely affect some of their own salaries. Garden Island.

Laukona Park improvements pau. The county’s Department of Parks &Recreation and Cushnie Construction hosted a small group of dignitaries, community supporters and friends to the new pavilion Wednesday, after Sean Chung officiated at the blessing of the Laukona Park Improvements Project in Hanama‘ulu. Garden Island. Kauai Now.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Hospitals could mandate coronavirus vaccinations for employees, state has lowest COVID-19 rate in nation, DOD expected to deny funding for Hawaii missile defense, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

A hospital in Hawaii

Hawaii's Hospitals Could Mandate COVID-19 Vaccine for Employees. Hilton Raethel, President and CEO of the Healthcare Association of Hawaii says he was "disappointed" that more than thirty percent of hospital employees did not want to receive a COVID-19 vaccine according to an internal survey they conducted earlier this year.  KITV4.

Hawaii has nation’s lowest COVID-19 case rate, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data shows. The state’s rate of new cases over the past seven days — 39.1 cases per 100,000 population — edged California’s at 40.4 and was far lower than the nationwide rate of 135.3. Michigan fared the worst at 483 cases per 100,000 residents, the CDC data showed. Star-Advertiser.

Economists: Hawaii could reach herd immunity by July. Hawaii could approach herd immunity from COVID-19 by early July if the rate of vaccinations remains consistent, economists with the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization predict. Tribune-Herald.

As state prepares to roll out inter-island vaccine passport, some learn they won’t qualify. The state said that’s because their system can only verify vaccinations given in Hawaii ― at least for now. Hawaii News Now.

Travel demand for Hawaii is continuing to rise among U.S. visitors. Occupancy at Hawaii hotels rose to 43% in March, up from about 31% in February and 23% in January, according to data from Nashville-based STR released Wednesday. It was Hawaii’s highest statewide occupancy in the last 11 months of the COVID-19 pandemic. Star-Advertiser.

Why are visitors cruising around in U-Hauls?
Blame the pandemic. Another pandemic ripple effect is the high cost of rental cars. As the state reopens and many tourists come back — there are not enough rental cars to meet the demand. Hawaii News Now.


House Speaker Expects Pay Raises For Lawmakers Will Be Deferred. But the House and Senate haven’t yet reached a formal agreement to delay raises for judges, cabinet members and the Legislature. Civil Beat.

The Minimum Wage Bill Still Alive At The Hawaii Legislature. Senate Bill 793 would repeal the exemption of individuals with disabilities from minimum wage requirements. Civil Beat.

Automatic Voter Registration Bill Nears Final Approval. A measure that advocates say will make it easier than ever to register to vote in Hawaii cleared a key hurdle Wednesday at the state Legislature. Civil Beat.

Bail Reform Stalls In Hawaii Legislature. But lawmakers reached agreement Wednesday on a bill to limit the governor’s emergency powers. Civil Beat.

Tougher penalties could be on the way for extreme DUI convictions. Although the measure to lower blood alcohol content to 0.05 stalled, another bill to crack down on extremely intoxicated drivers is still alive. Hawaii News Now.

Pentagon expected to deny funding for Hawaii radar.
For the second year in a row, the Defense Department is reportedly planning to zero out funding for the $1.9 billion Homeland Defense Radar-Hawaii — a move that could represent a death knell for the costly radar that’s now seen as less of a priority among evolving missile threats and competing demands. Star-Advertiser.

April 21, 2021 COVID-19 Update: The state Department of Health reports that there were 73 additional COVID-19 cases reported in Hawai‘i on Wednesday, including 45 on O‘ahu, 15 on Maui, six on Hawai‘i Island, three on Kaua‘i, one on Moloka‘i, and three in Hawai‘i residents diagnosed while out of state. Maui Now.


Commissioners unsatisfied with Honolulu Police Department refusal to release shooting video. Two Honolulu police commissioners — including one who was state attorney general — are dissatisfied with the Honolulu Police Department’s refusal to release body camera footage from a fatal confrontation with Iremamber Sykap, 16, who was shot and killed this month following a series of alleged crimes that involved a police pursuit and a car careening into a canal. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Oahu's vehicle 'recon' inspection program close to shutting down. Starting next year, more lifted trucks, dropped cars, and other modified vehicles could be back on Oahu's roads. KITV4.

City Council Considering Handi-Van Fare Increase. The City Council’s budget committee passed Bill 87 (2020) Wednesday with some modifications. It proposes raising the fare by 25 cents to $2.25 starting next year. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii Health Department Orders Hauula Assisted Living Facility To Close. The state Department of Health has revoked the license of a Hauula assisted living facility, informing the facility that it must shut down by the end of the month — a move that left the fate of dozens of residents in limbo. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Island

Now hiring: Employers struggle to find new workers. Job advertisements aren’t hard to find on the Big Island. Tougher to find, as businesses are discovering with the rebound of tourism, are workers to fill the plethora of available positions. West Hawaii Today.

No-trailers policy at transfer stations draws criticism. Trailers will continue to be banned at county transfer stations for safety reasons, despite complaints from residents and county officials. Tribune-Herald.

Community support propels PONC purchases. An hour and a half of impassioned testimony extolling the importance of saving West Hawaii shoreline and preserving Hawaiian culture ended Tuesday with the County Council Finance Committee unanimously forwarding four prospective land purchases to the council for a final vote. West Hawaii Today.

Resolution passes lava zone insurance matter to state commissioner. A County Council resolution seeks the aid of the state insurance commissioner to reduce home insurance costs in Puna. Tribune-Herald.

Improper stacking from a Young Brothers barge led to loss of shipping containers in waters off Hilo Bay. Twenty-one shipping containers were improperly stacked when they toppled into the ocean from a Young Brothers barge near Hilo Bay on June 22, the National Transportation Safety Board said in a recently released report. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.


Three People Arrested on Maui in Separate Incidents for Alleged Violations of COVID-19 Rules.  The incidents involved: a Pennsylvania man who allegedly refused to wear a face mask; an Oʻahu man who did not have a negative pre-travel test or secured lodging in which to complete the state’s mandatory 10-day travel quarantine; and a California man with an outstanding warrant who is accused of violating the state’s rules and orders related to quarantine. Maui Now.

Mayor vetoes affordable housing bill. Saying a new affordable housing bill will only intensify housing scarcity for Maui County, Mayor Michael Victorino vetoed the measure on Monday. Maui News.


Council approves Waipouli land condemnation. Wednesday, the Kaua‘i County Council decided to move forward with the condemnation of land between the Island on the Beach Resort and ocean, ensuring another section of the Ke Ala Hele Makalae shared-use coastal path can be completed in Waipouli. Garden Island.

Hawaii officials say Lehua Island, a state bird sanctuary, is rat-free. State officials today declared Lehua Island rat-free following years of eradication efforts. The rats, an invasive species, wreaked havoc on the state seabird sanctuary for decades by preying on the eggs and chicks of native birds. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Big Island Now. Garden Island.

California variant on Kaua‘i. The COVID-19 variant known as the “California variant” was confirmed on the island Wednesday by the state Department of Health Kaua‘i District Health Office. Garden Island. Maui Now. KHON2.