Showing posts with label short-term vacation rentals. Show all posts
Showing posts with label short-term vacation rentals. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Green vetoes 7 bills, trims budget; Maui postpones short-term rental phase out, Army listens to Oahu concerns over future of state lands, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Gov. Josh Green vetoes 7 bills passed by lawmakers. Green, who had until today to veto bills passed earlier this year by the Legislature, announced Tuesday that he is vetoing only seven bills from a list of 17 that he previously indicated could be vetoed due to concerns. Star-Advertiser. Maui Now.

Governor signs nearly $24B budget that will tackle priorities such as affordable housing, health care, Maui recovery. Hawaiʻi Gov. Josh Green on Tuesday signed the state’s supplemental budget, which provides $19.1 billion in operating funds and $4.5 billion in capital improvement money throughout the state for fiscal year 2025 to tackle state priorities from affordable housing and health care needs to continued recovery efforts from last year’s deadly wildfires on Maui. Big Island Now.  Hawaii News Now.

New Hawaii laws signed for gun control, child protection. On Tuesday, Gov. Josh Green signed bills addressing public safety and crime response, including implementing stricter regulations on the sale and ownership of ammunition, and extending the statute of limitations for victims of childhood sexual abuse. Star-Advertiser. Tribune-Herald.  Big Island Video News

Hawaii Governor Says Media Operations Should Be Protected During Emergencies. Gov. Josh Green on Tuesday said he would sign a bill intended to protect First Amendment rights of freedom of speech and the press during times of crisis. Civil Beat.

Green balks at acting to replace state senator before election. Gov. Josh Green is refusing to appoint an interim member of the state Senate by a deadline set by Hawaii law to fill a seat vacated in May by then-Sen. Maile Shimabukuro representing parts of West Oahu. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. 

Government Workers In Hawaii Get Paid Not To Work As Misconduct Investigations Drag On For Months Or Years.
A system meant to protect worker rights and resolve disciplinary cases fast has turned into something much different, with taxpayers picking up the tab for employees told not to come to work.  Civil Beat.

Study finds Hawaiʻi struggles the most with SAT vocabulary. The study aimed to measure the difficulty of every word listed as answer options in the most recent tests' Reading and Writing sections.  Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii faces shortage of Covid vaccines as demand surges.
The Centers for Disease Control is scheduled to release the latest version of its vaccine later this fall. Until then, doctors advise the public to be cautious.  KHON2.


Army concedes ‘environmental justice concerns’ amid debate over future of state-leased lands. The Army is expecting passionate testimony as it kicks off a series of meetings over the future of its leased lands on Oahu. The U.S. government leases about 6,322 acres of land from the state at the Makua Military Reservation, Kahuku Training Area and Kawailoa-Poamoho Training Area near Schofield Barracks. Hawaii News Now.

3 bridges in Hawaii Kai will undergo $1.6 million rehabilitation. Three well-traveled bridges built more than 50 years ago over the man-made waterways of Hawaii Kai will undergo a $1.6 million rehabilitation, city officials say. Star-Advertiser.

Nurses picket for safer staffing ratios. Hundreds of unionized nurses Tuesday morning held signs in front of three hospitals across Oahu, eliciting honks from passing cars, as they called for safer staffing levels. Star-Advertiser.

What comes next for Aloha Stadium with 1 developer in the running? Two development teams were in the running for the project, and then, all of a sudden, one dropped out in June. Waiola Development Partners said no thanks, leaving Aloha Halawa District Partners as the last group standing.  Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii Island

Mayoral candidates to appear today at AARP Hawaii forum.
The candidates are Kimo Alameda, Breeani Kobayashi, Mitch Roth and Jr Tupa‘i. They will answer questions from AARP Hawaii and a live audience. Tribune-Herald.

Short-Handed Kona Public Defender’s Office Won’t Accept New Drunken Driving Cases.
The Kailua-Kona Public Defender’s Office has stopped accepting new drunken driving cases and the most serious felony cases because it is short-handed, and a retired Big Island judge is warning that it could affect public safety if something isn’t done. Civil Beat.

Hilo airport evacuated, bomb squad called after inert grenades found in Japanese man’s carry-on bag. Hawaii County police have arrested a 41-year-old man from Japan after two items resembling grenades were found in his carry-on bag at Hilo International Airport. Star-Advertiser. Big Island Video News.  Big Island Now.  KITV4.

Proposal aims to create more farmers markets. A new Hawaii County bill introduced at Tuesday’s meeting of the County Council’s Policy Committee on Health, Safety and Well-Being would allow seven additional farmers markets to be set up in county parks and facilities islandwide. Tribune-Herald.

Dredging Begins At Wailoa Small Boat Harbor. The $3.1 million dredging operation at Wailoa Small Boat Harbor started on Tuesday, the Hawaiʻi DLNR reports. Big Island Video News. Big Island Now.


Fire lawsuits settlement advances at Maui County Council. A massive settlement resolving all claims and lawsuits over the Maui wildfires could be on the table as soon as next week. A Maui County Council committee late Tuesday advanced a measure to the full council, to approve a global settlement. KHON2.

Maui Commission meeting postpones action on phasing out thousands of vacation rentals. Tuesday was supposed to be a monumental day regarding the future of thousands of short-term rentals on Maui. However, it turned into a major disappointment after an important Planning Commission meeting was unexpectedly canceled. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

‘The Most Critical Challenge We Face’: Maui Council On Track To Confirm New Housing Director. Richard Mitchell says he knows the importance of a roof over people's heads having lived in public housing as a child. Civil Beat.

Stream restoration, water supply needs prompt a closer look at Ha‘ikū streams. Maui County is planning to ask the state to amend the interim in-stream flow standards for 11 streams in Ha‘ikū, according to Department of Water Supply Director John Stufflebean. It comes amid a greater push for community control over East Maui water and the county’s search for more water sources in the face of demand and drought. Maui Now.

Illegal Fireworks Task Force releases report of enforcement. From January until the end of June, Task Force officers seized approximately 1,000 pounds of illegal fireworks from various sources in the community. Maui News.


Next Kaua‘i Community College chancellor recommended to university president. Margaret Sanchez has been recommended to be the next chancellor of Kauaʻi Community College after a nationwide search. Sanchez has been serving as interim chancellor since 2023. Kauai Now.

Sprucing up historic Koloa monument. For Derwin Nohara and others on the Grand Hyatt Kaua‘i Engineering Department team, the two-day cleaning project of the historic Koloa monument became an educational experience at the space where the monument is located. Garden Island.

Tuesday, July 9, 2024

Green signs bill banning seabed mining, ACLU drops homeless sweeps lawsuit, aid-in-dying prescriptions up 50%, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Governor signs bills aimed at protecting Hawaii’s environment. Gov. Josh Green on Monday signed a host of bills aimed at protecting Hawaii’s environment, including ones to better manage tourism and to study coastal erosion on Oahu’s North Shore that could serve as a template for the rest of the islands. Star-Advertiser. Tribune-Herald.

Hawai‘i Gov. Josh Green signs bill banning seabed mining in state waters. Hawai‘i Gov. Josh Green on Monday signed a state Senate bill prohibiting seabed mining in state waters – less than two weeks after 12 Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives sent a letter to President Joe Biden urging him to support a precautionary pause or moratorium on the new industry. Big Island Now.

DOH: Number of Hawaii patients using aid-in-dying prescriptions up by over 50%. The number of Hawaii patients using aid-in-dying prescriptions is up by over 50%, according to the state Health Department. A new DOH report shows 91 patients used the medications last year. Hawaii News Now.

Port security gets extra attention at RIMPAC. At this year’s iteration of the biennial Exercise Rim of the Pacific — the world’s largest naval exercise — port security is playing a prominent role as international conflict and competition put strains on global supply chains.  Star-Advertiser. Hawaii Public Radio.

OHA Candidates Offer Ideas For More Effective Help For Native Hawaiians.
Most of the challengers want to see funds reallocated to housing and education initiatives. Civil Beat.


ACLU Drops Homelessness Lawsuit Against Honolulu. The action comes less than two weeks after a consequential U.S. Supreme Court ruling that gave local governments more leeway to ban sleeping outside. Civil Beat.  Star-Advertiser.

New law seeks middle ground (and quick solutions) in erosion conflict. After years of fighting between beachfront homeowners on Oahu’s North Shore and the state over worsening erosion, a measure signed into law Monday has offered a temporary truce — and a potential pathway to a solution. Hawaii News Now.

Government pushes back against damages sought in high-stakes Red Hill water crisis case. The U.S. government says Red Hill plaintiffs are asking for too much money in their lawsuit and insists the entire Navy waterline wasn’t even contaminated. Hawaii News Now.

Police Union Fears HPD Can’t Recruit Its Way Out Of Its Staffing Crisis.
Instead, the union calls for a focus on retaining current officers. HPD has started offering a $25,000 signing bonus but says it is also taking steps to keep employees on board. Civil Beat.

Candidates To Replace Calvin Say On The Honolulu City Council Offer Contrasting Approaches. Three candidates are running — House Rep. Scott Nishimoto, nonprofit consultant Brendan Schultz and restaurant owner Bill Muneno — and they have different ideas of what a council member’s job should be.  Civil Beat.

State signs 50-year lease to continue operating North Shore's Kawaihāpai Airfield. The state has signed a 50-year lease with the U.S. Army at Kawaihāpai Airfield — formerly known as Dillingham Airfield. Hawaii Public Radio.

New affordable housing high-rise could be full by end of summer. The city announced last week that the Waikīkī Vista at 2441 Kapiʻolani Blvd. has already provided emergency shelter and transitional housing for 21 families. Another 23 affordable housing units are occupied, and five more move-ins are scheduled. Hawaii Public Radio. Hawaii News Now.

DLNR: Boat anchor suspected as cause of recent coral damage in Kewalo Basin. Though the damage at Kewalo is on a relatively smaller scale compared to some larger-scale impacts over the decades, it could still take years for the coral in this area to fully recover. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Hawaii Island

No action on Big Isle short-term vacation rentals: Council considers proposed economic-impact study before deciding new standards. A trio of bills — and several amendments for each one — that codify new standards for short-term rentals were the subject of an hours-long County Council committee hearing that ultimately ended with the matter being punted to a future meeting with the promise of further amendments to come. Tribune-Herald.

NASA’s Asteroid Hunting Telescope On Maunakea To Continue Under UH Management
. The Infrared Telescope Facility plays a key part of NASA’s planetary defense system, and the space agency's contract with the University of Hawaiʻi is valued at $85.5 million. Big Island Video News. Big Island Now.


Maui Planning Commission Vacancies Restrict Time Spent On Major Rental Housing Proposal. The Maui Planning Commission can only meet for an hour Tuesday to discuss what is arguably the most pressing policy debate moving through county government — Mayor Richard Bissen’s proposed phase-out of approximately 7,000 transient vacation rentals — because it won’t have enough members to keep the 9 a.m. meeting running past 10 a.m. Civil Beat. Maui Now.

Maui County looking for fire lawsuit settlement options. Thousands of people affected by the deadly Maui wildfires last August could soon be offered a settlement from Maui County. KHON2.

Some Lahaina homeowners hit with foreclosure notices on their burned homes. Foreclosure status for nonpayment is illegal for owner-occupant borrowers who have been granted forbearance. Hawaii Public Radio. Maui Now.


Travel-related dengue virus case reported on Kaua‘i.
This year there have been eight travel-related dengue cases identified in the state (one on Kauaʻi, two on Maui and five on Oʻahu).  Kauai Now.

Monday, June 24, 2024

$1.5B slated for Hawaii military construction, 17 bills on Green's potential veto list, Honolulu lifeguard killed in shark attack, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Massive military construction dollars may flow into Hawaii. Hawaii may be in line to see more spending on military construction in the next fiscal year than any other state after the U.S. House Appropriations committee recently passed its version of a military construction spending bill with $1.55 billion slated for Hawaii projects. Star-Advertiser.

Gov. Green lines up 17 bills passed by Hawaii Legislature to veto. Gov. Josh Green may veto 17 bills the Legislature passed this year, including one that would deposit $300 million into the state’s “rainy day” budget reserve fund. Star-Advertiser. Kauai Now.  Big Island Video News. Hawaii News Now.  KHON2.

Read the full list of potential vetoes here.

Hawaii’s vacation rentals total nearly 6% of housing supply. Despite vacation rental crackdowns and looming legislative reforms, vacation rental supply statewide still accounts for a significant portion of Hawaii’s housing stock. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Public Utilities Commission may release decision Monday about HECO. The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission may be issuing a decision on Monday, affecting Hawaiian Electric and its financial stability. HECO asked for regulatory approval to sell utility assets. KITV4.

Personal fortunes of HECO board members at risk in wildfire lawsuits. The personal fortunes of some of Hawaii’s most prominent community leaders are in jeopardy because of the Maui wildfire disaster. Hawaii News Now.

Governor reignites debate over liquefied natural gas power. Gov. Josh Green has reversed a major state energy policy position of his predecessor in a move that many environmentalists don’t consider to be very “green.” Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii firm aims to cut cost of laying power lines underground.
Putting more power lines underground is an expensive part of a plan by the state’s largest electrical utility to reduce wildfire risk, and that price could come down under an ongoing national effort with a Hawaii connection. Star-Advertiser.

Green Party of Hawai’i State Convention set for June 29 on Maui. The Green Party of Hawai’i first successfully obtained a ballot line in Hawai’i for state and national partisan races in 1992 and has secured a place on the ballot for more than thirty years. Maui Now.


City lifeguard confirmed dead from shark attack on the North Shore.  The victim has been identified as pro surfer and Honolulu Ocean Safety lifeguard Tamayo Perry, 49, who was pronounced dead at the scene and suffered injuries from more than one shark bite. He was surfing during a break from lifeguard duties in the waters off Goat Island, also known as Mokuauia, near Laie. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.  KITV4.

Honolulu mayor signs $4.7B budget package for fiscal 2025. Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi on Friday signed a $4.7 billion package of budget bills meant to bolster public safety, create affordable housing and improve city parks on Oahu through fiscal year 2025, which starts July 1. Star-Advertiser.

1 contender remains to develop new stadium. The loss of one of the two master-developer candidates is not expected to further delay construction of the New Aloha Stadium Entertainment District, state and University of Hawaii officials insisted. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

County auditor addresses unfair hiring claims. A Hawaii County audit has concluded the county does not have enough rules in place to prevent nepotism and unfairness in the hiring process for government positions. Tribune-Herald.

Police Commission discusses DUI complaint.
The Hawaii County Police Commission on Friday discussed correspondence from county Auditor Tyler Benner, then filed it into the record without a vote or any other action taken on allegations contained in the document. Tribune-Herald.

2024 Primary Elections: Several state, federal races already decided. County races aren’t the only games in town when it comes to the 2024 election cycle on the Big Island. Also on this year’s ballot are several state and federal challenges. Big Island Now.

Big Island health care providers urge public to mask up, get vaccinated as COVID cases continue to climb. Because of the continued increase in cases, the Big Island’s healthcare facilities are again turning to one of the tried and true ways of protecting patients and the public from the spread of COVID and its variants — masking up. Big Island Now.

Wastewater discharge into Hilo Bay prompts water advisory.
Hawaii Department of Environmental Management reports an estimated 607,000 gallons of non-chlorinated secondary treated effluent discharged from the plant between 8:15 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Friday. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Big Island Now.


Plan to ban 7,000 Maui short-term rentals targets resort condos.  A luxury apartment-hotel, a $4 million beach house and condominiums at a resort golf course don’t typically constitute workforce housing in Hawaii, but they are targets of a plan on Maui aimed at converting short-term vacation rental properties to long-term housing for residents. Star-Advertiser.

County Council gives final approval to larger farm dwellings, expanded circuit breaker program. Maui County Council members approved on second-and-final reading Friday a bill to permit a 500-square-foot increase in the size of secondary farm dwellings in agricultural districts on Maui and Lānaʻi. Maui Now.

‘It’s Worse Than You Think’: Maui’s Mental Health System Still Falls Short But More Doors Are Opening To Care. A forthcoming study shows that demand for psychological care on Maui is greater today than it was coming out of the Covid-19 pandemic.  Civil Beat.

Roadwork in coming weeks will prepare Lahainaluna Road for August reopening. Repairs and installations on County of Maui’s Lahainaluna Road between Honoapi’ilani Highway and Lahaina Bypass will begin in the next several weeks to prepare for the reopening of Lahainaluna Road in August, the County’s Office of Recovery announced Saturday. Maui News.


Kauaʻi business leaders try a new approach to worker shortages.
In the past, the Kauaʻi Chamber of Commerce emphasized job fairs to help members find employees. Now, it focuses on helping members succeed despite being shorthanded. Hawaii Public Radio.

Friday, May 24, 2024

Vacation rental bill likely to spur lawsuit on Maui, state to reconsider liquefied natural gas, Amemiya, Leong, Sword public corruption trial delayed, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Maui County’s Move Against Vacation Rentals Likely To Bog Down In Court. tempts by Maui County to convert short-term vacation units into long-term rentals will be confronted by a lawsuit, according to the Honolulu attorney who plans to file it. Maui Mayor Richard Bissen said that legal action was likely when he announced the bill that would change the zoning designation of over 7,000 short-term units, a move intended to open up more long-term rentals.   Civil Beat.

Green: Hawaii Should Consider Liquefied Natural Gas As A ‘Bridge’ To 100% Renewable Energy. Liquefied natural gas must be considered as Hawaii works to meet its clean energy goal of being completely renewable by 2045, Gov. Josh Green said this week at the Hawaii Energy Conference. Civil Beat.

Millions In Grants To Nonprofits Put On Hold After OHA Board Raises Concerns About Fairness. On Wednesday, the OHA Board of Trustees put off approving more than $11 million in grant disbursements after raising issues over how the funding was allocated.  Civil Beat.


Public corruption trial centered on Kealoha payout delayed.
Trial for three former Honolulu administrators accused of conspiracy has been delayed from October to next March. Donna Leong, Honolulu’s former corporation counsel, ex-Managing Director Roy Amemiya and Max Sword, once the Honolulu Police Commission chair, are all facing criminal charges of conspiracy to defraud the US in connection with a $250,000 payout. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Department of Health probe in February didn’t detect petroleum in water. A recent investigation by the state Department of Health into the Navy’s Oahu drinking water system found no petroleum or jet fuel compounds in drinking water samples collected in February but did not rule out the possibility of residual fuel in the system after fuel from the Navy’s Red Hill storage facility contaminated it in November 2021. Star-Advertiser.

HPD says illegal game rooms down, as legislation aims to target landowners.
Honolulu Police said the District 5 Crime Reduction Unit, assisted by the Narcotics Vice Division, executed a search warrant on Wednesday in Palama. KHON2.

Farm operator, 53, indicted in labor trafficking. A 53-year-old Oahu woman was indicted May 17 for allegedly deceiving a man into working for more than eight years and keeping his government identification so he could not leave. Star-Advertiser. KHON2.

Hawaii Island

Astronomers create ‘catalog’ of exoplanets: ‘Surveys like this are really a labor of love’.  A years-long survey using W. M. Keck Observatory was able to identify 126 confirmed and likely exoplanets — planets outside our solar system — from data collected by a NASA satellite. Tribune-Herald.

UH Hilo researcher studies bacteria levels at 6 popular coastal spots. A new study by University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo researcher Maria Steadmon looks at bacteria levels at six of Hilo's popular swimming and surfing spots.  Hawaii Public Radio.


Lahaina Teachers Say More Help Is Needed For Struggling West Maui Schools. The teachers' union is asking for more pay and leave benefits as educators continue to deal with the aftermath of the wildfires. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

Maui’s youth hope to come back after graduation. Will the economy let them? Students are graduating at a time when median home prices on Maui are $1.3 million and thousands of Lahaina families struggle with displacement.  Maui Now.

Hawaiʻi Journalism Initiative launches nonprofit newsroom on Maui.
The donor-supported organization will operate in partnership with Pacific Media Group, which runs the online breaking news websites Maui Now, Big Island Now and Kaua‘i Now, as well as radio stations across the state. Maui Now.

State releases performance report: Maui has largest vacation rental supply; average daily rate is up. In April 2024, Maui County had the largest vacation rental supply at 246,500 available unit nights (+4.7% vs. 2023, -4.4% vs. 2019), and Maui vacation rental unit supply continued to be impacted by the Aug. 8 wildfire. Maui Now.


Small Business Administration lends a helping hand to flood victims.
Many island residents continue to navigate through an overflow of obstacles after the intense April flooding event that damaged about 177 residences and 26 businesses on the Garden Island. Garden Island. Kauai Now.

Kaua‘i District Health Office to assess emergency preparedness among residents.
The Kaua‘i District Health Office will conduct a Community Assessment for Public Health Emergency Response, also known as CASPER, survey to assess the emergency preparedness level of Kauaʻi households. Kauai Now.

Monday, May 20, 2024

Ethics Commission to renew push for lobbying transparency laws; Kaneshiro, co-defendants found not guilty in corruption trial; HECO execs get raises despite tumultuous year, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Ethics Commission to reintroduce 2 bills to improve transparency.  The executive director of the state Ethics Commission plans to again push for two bills in the next legislative session designed to provide greater transparency about relationships between lawmakers and lobbyists. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaiian Electric Shareholders Overwhelmingly Supported Exec Pay Raises In 2023. Hawaiian Electric Industries investors saw their stock’s value plummet, their dividends disappear and the once-credit worthy company’s bond rating cut to junk status in 2023. But that didn’t stop the investors from supporting raises for the company’s top executives.  Civil Beat.

Hawaii counties differ in approach to regulating vacation rentals. Senate Bill 2919, which became Act 017 when Gov. Josh Green signed it May 3, makes it possible for county lawmakers to “regulate the time, place, manner, and duration in which uses of land and structures may take place.” Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii coffee wins greater protection from Legislature after epic struggle. House Bill 2298, if enacted, will require that by July 1, 2027, roasted, instant and ready-to-drink coffee contains at least 51% of coffee grown in a region of Hawaii if the product package uses the name of the region — such as Kona, Kau, Waialua, Molokai, Maui and Kauai — in a blend with foreign coffee. Star-Advertiser.

Clash over labeling of Hawaii mac nut products results in split legislation. Hawaii lawmakers sent a bill to Gov. Josh Green that, if enacted, would disclose to consumers, starting Jan. 1, 2026, whether macadamia nuts grown in Hawaii are actually in some packaged foods that suggest the nuts are locally grown. Star-Advertiser.

Search for UH president’s replacement to begin soon. The search for the successor to University of Hawaii President David Lassner officially will begin in late May following the Board of Regents’ approval of the job description and leadership profile. Star-Advertiser. Big Island Video News.

‘No Easy Answers’ For How To Keep Hawaii’s Smallest Public Schools Open And Thriving.
Principals at small schools say they need more money to adequately serve students, but some state leaders say school consolidation and closures could be the answer. Civil Beat.


Jury returns swift not-guilty verdict in corruption trial of Kaneshiro, Mitsunaga.  Former Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney Keith Kaneshiro, prominent Hawaii businessman Dennis Mi­tsunaga and four Mitsu­naga &Associates executives were found not guilty on all counts in their pay-to-prosecute conspiracy trial in federal court Friday. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.  Hawaii Public Radio.

‘No Evidence To Convict’: Jury Foreman Explains Acquittal In Kaneshiro, Mitsunaga Trial.
Prosecutors presented only circumstantial evidence that left room for reasonable doubt, a juror said. Civil Beat.

Big increase in homeless families on Oahu puts more keiki at risk.
The latest census of Oahu’s homeless population showed a 19% increase in homeless families since January 2023, including 635 children who can suffer lifelong consequences. Star-Advertiser.

This Alternative Method Of Demolishing Structures Could Help Honolulu Avoid A Landfill Crisis. Honolulu is considering how to promote deconstruction and re-use of the materials from buildings that are being torn down, an idea that has already caught on in other cities. Civil Beat.

The Miske Trial: How An Accused Crime Boss Fooled The State To Get A Motor Vehicle Dealer License. When he ran into hurdles because of his criminal background, court testimony shows, he simply lied or fabricated a non-existent entity. Civil Beat.

UH Manoa ranked in top 2.5% globally of 20,000 universities. The University of Hawaii at Manoa was ranked 511 on the Global 2000 list by the Center for World University Rankings, which measured key areas such as education, employability, faculty and research. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Hawaiʻi Supreme Court will decide if farmland can be used for short-term rentals. The Rosehill petitioners argued that if agricultural land from 1976 in the county was allowed to be rented for less than 31 days, then the new 2019 law was more restrictive. That meant the agricultural landowners that were operating STRs before 2019 could be grandfathered in. Hawaii Public Radio.

Bill would change how corporation counsel is selected. Two council members have proposed making the council the sole appointing authority for the position, a move that left some of their fellows excited and others skeptical during a Tuesday meeting of the council’s Committee on Governmental Operations and External Affairs. Tribune-Herald.

Michael Konowicz announces candidacy for Hawai‘i County representing Kohala Districts. Michael Konowicz of Waikōloa announced his candidacy for Hawai‘i County’s District 9 representing North and South Kohala residents. Big Island Now.


Why Was The Maui County Finance Director Fired? The absence of former finance director Scott Teruya, which has never been explained, was felt during the county's about-to-conclude critical budget deliberations. Civil Beat.

Another telescope controvery is brewing, this time on Maui. The U.S. Air Force wants to build seven more telescopes on the summit of Haleakala to help better track the growing number of objects whizzing about in space. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.

Maui County issues first rebuilding permit for wildfire survivors. The Maui County Recovery Permit Center, which opened three weeks ago to facilitate permitting for August wildfire survivors, has issued its first building permit to a Lahaina couple to rebuild their destroyed home. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

Kaiāulu o Kūkuʻia affordable housing waitlist opening; lottery planned. A waiting list opens next month for the Kaiāulu o Kūku′ia affordable apartment project located on Keawe St. in West Maui.  Maui Now.

Public to discuss new site for destroyed Lahaina school. The state Department of Education will hold a community meeting Tuesday to discuss options for a permanent site for the King Kamehameha III Elementary School campus, which was damaged beyond repair in the Aug. 8 wildfires on Maui. Star-Advertiser.

Maui seeks contractor to review MEMA’s Aug. 8 response.
County officials are seeking an outside agency to review the response of the Maui Emergency Management Agency during the Aug. 8 wildfires because they said the department currently has only two full-time employees. Star-Advertiser.

Committee authorized $193,274 fine to settle with EPA over county violations of Safe Water Drinking Act. Violations took place in seven different county owned properties with high capacity cesspools. Maui News.


Kauai apartment residents challenge DHHL as eviction looms.
Residents at an apartment complex in Kapaa, Kauai, are rallying to fight the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands’ proposed acquisition of their building, which they say would evict about 300 current residents in over 80 units. Star-Advertiser.

Lawa‘i still cleaning up from flood debris. Between 25 and 30 volunteers, including about a dozen from the U.S. Coast Guard came from as far away as Kapa‘a and toiled to clear the two ditches in the Lawai Valley Estates that were originally put in as drainage aids when the land was used for growing pineapples. Garden Island.

Fern Holland begins second campaign for Kauaʻi County Council. Fern Ānuenue Holland has officially launched her 2024 campaign for a seat on the Kauaʻi County Council, outlining a candidacy that would prioritize affordable housing, agriculture production, drug rehabilitation, and tourism management during a discussion at her first fundraising event at Anahola Marketplace earlier this week. Kauai Now.

Monday, May 13, 2024

Accessory dwelling units proposed, state Supreme Court to consider vacation rentals on ag land, wildfire threat continues, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Divisive accessory dwellings bill raises concerns about packed neighborhoods. SB 3202 has been described by proponents as an innovative and bold strategy to help relieve a chronic short supply of affordable housing statewide. But the measure also attracted heavy public opposition and was described by one lawmaker as one of the worst products to come out of Hawaii’s Legislature. Star-Advertiser.

Incumbents are favored in lackluster election cycle. Hawaii Republican and Democratic Party primary elections often provide the most drama in a state dominated by Democrats. But this year only a couple of primary races scheduled for Aug. 10 are generating interest outside their district boundaries — notably a rematch between House Speaker Scott Saiki and Kim Coco Iwamoto to represent Ala Moana-Kakaako-­Downtown. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Lawmakers Had Big Ideas For How To Prevent Another Lahaina. Few Became Law. A House working group found a long list of things Hawaii needs to do to protect itself from fire, but many of those recommendations will fall to the new state fire marshal to implement. Civil Beat.

Conditions ripe in Hawaii for another fire disaster. In its latest seasonal outlook, the National Interagency Fire Center says the lee sides of the islands will experience “above average significant potential” for wildfires this month through at least August. Star-Advertiser. Tribune-Herald.  Maui News. KITV4.

Bills Would Increase Protection For Hawaiian Burial Sites.
Hawaii has some of the strongest laws in the United States governing historic burial locations, but lawmakers say more needs to be done to protect privately owned historic areas. Civil Beat.

Measures to fine illegal hikers for rescue fail. State lawmakers’ legislative attempts to seek reimbursement from hikers who are rescued after trespassing onto closed trails were stalled once again this year. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaiʻi nursing workforce has improved over last few years, according to new report.  There was a 31% increase in the number of advanced practice registered nurses and an 18% rise in registered nurses, according to a 2023 Nursing Workforce Supply Report released this week. Hawaii Public Radio.

Agricultural declaration forms on airplanes could soon be digital.
The state Legislature passed Senate Bill 2079 this session to allow the process to become completely electronic. Forms would be sent to travelers before they even board. Hawaii Public Radio.


Cameras could enforce speed limits on Oahu. Senate Bill 2443 directs DOT to enforce speed limits using cameras at 10 intersections where the agency already has cameras citing drivers running red lights. Star-Advertiser.

Trash company plagued with staffing shortages. Missed and delayed trash pickups by a private refuse company that brought pests and foul odors to housing complexes across the island were the result of ongoing staffing shortages. Star-Advertiser.

The Miske Trial: Witnesses Describe Bank Transactions. "Structuring" can be evidence of a racketeering conspiracy, the first and overarching charge against Mike Miske. Civil Beat.

‘Semisub’ owner convicted of defrauding investors, using funds on homes and psychics. A federal jury on Thursday convicted a Hawaii man for his role in a decade-long scheme to defraud investors of more than $28 million in connection with his company, “Semisub,” a tour boat that lowers itself to give passengers underwater views. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

STVRs on ag land goes before state high court. The Hawaii Supreme Court will on Thursday hear oral arguments in a five-year-old case challenging a 2019 Hawaii County ordinance limiting the establishment of short-term vacation rentals on land zoned as agricultural.  Tribune-Herald.

Pohoiki project moves ahead: BLNR approves permit to dredge channel
. The ramp, the sole boat launch in Puna, has been unusable since 2018, when the eruption of Kilauea deposited a roughly 11.6-acre black sand beach across the mouth of the ramp. Tribune-Herald.

Shipman looks for new space for Keaau Farmers Market vendors. W.H. Shipman Ltd. says it has “identified a couple temporary spots” for the Keaau Farmers Market and intends to have space available by June 1 so the vendors of the popular market can continue to sell fruits and vegetables to the Keaau community. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii Island’s Natural Population Drop Signals An Ominous Economic Trend. The natural decrease isn't the same as a population decline. The cause of the Big Island's natural decrease, demographer Karl Eschback said, appears to be that older people and retirees are moving to the island, while younger adults are moving away and not coming back. Civil Beat.


Maui County Reveals Plan To Hire Experts To Assess How It Responded To Wildfires. The Maui Emergency Management Agency will be evaluated again after a state report already documented communication breakdowns. Civil Beat.

Council committee to receive presentation on draft of county’s first official wetland map. A draft of Maui County’s first official wetland map will be presented to the Agriculture, Diversification, Environment and Public Transportation Committee by the Department of Planning on Monday at 1:30 p.m. Maui News.

Land Board approves purchase of Māʻalaea Mauka watershed lands.
The Board of Land and Natural Resources unanimously approved a proposal for the state to purchase nearly 257 acres at Pōhākea, also known as Māʻalaea Mauka, for $8.22 million. Maui Now.

Maui Planning Commission to hear further public testimony on Ledcor Maui draft EIS.
A project to build as many as 975 homes, including workforce housing, in the master-planned Wailea Resort community and a neighboring lot in Kīhei has begun drawing fire from opponents who say the Ledcor South Maui project’s draft environmental impact statement is inadequate. Maui Now.

Displaced Lahaina ʻohana moves into 1st completed modular home in Kahului — with more to come. Ke Ao Maluhia will be completed this summer. The $9 million project is a collaboration between the state, county, Hawai‘i Community Foundation, Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement and other agencies. Hawaii Public Radio.


Residents of a Kauaʻi condo are unsure about relocation plans following DHHL purchase. Condominium residents of the Courtyards at Waipouli Apartments on Kauaʻi are concerned that they will be displaced once the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands acquires the property. Hawaii Public Radio.

Public meeting set for Kaneka Street project
. The meeting will be held at the Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School cafeteria on May 16 and will cover Kaneka Street’s existing configuration and current safety concerns, along with plans to add sidewalks and bike lanes. Garden Island.

Yearslong black slime ‘nightmare’ now in court; Kaua‘i homeowners ‘fatigued’.  Six years have passed since three families purchased their first homes on Kaua‘i – and began an ordeal they claim has yet to end. Kauai Now.

Monday, May 6, 2024

Hawaii governor signs vacation rental bill, same-sex marriage amendment heads to November ballot, Legislature wraps up 60-day session, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii’s ‘historic’ 2024 legislative session comes to a close. Hawaii lawmakers wrapped up the 32nd biennial legislative session Friday in largely ceremonial fashion that included a traditional display of unity, but also cast final votes on a few momentous bills. Star-Advertiser.  Big Island Now.

Legislative session began amid uncertainty, ended with relief for Maui and taxpayers. The Hawaii legislative session began Jan. 17 clouded in unknowns over how much money would be available overall, how much could be spent to help Maui recover from the Aug. 8 wildfires, and concerns that lawmakers would have to tap into the state’s so-called rainy day fund to meet Hawaii’s needs. Star-Advertiser.

How major bills fared at the Capitol. Here is the status of major bills following the end of the 60-day Hawaii legislative session on Friday.  Star-Advertiser.

Gov. Josh Green signs vacation rental bill into law.  Gov. Josh Green on Friday made good on his promise and signed a bill into law that gives counties the ability to better regulate short-term vacation rentals in the hope of freeing up affordable, long-term housing for island residents. Star-Advertiser. Big Island Video News. Maui Now.  Hawaii News Now.  KHON2.  KITV4. Tribune-Herald.

Lessons For Hawaii: Other States Have Strong Pay-To-Play Laws
. Experts say regulating contractor donations along with publicly financed elections could go a long way to taming corruption. Civil Beat.

Voters could repeal Legislature’s authority on same-sex marriage. An amendment to repeal the Legislature’s authority to limit marriage to opposite-sex couples will be on the November ballot.  KHON2.

Hawaii Has Been Debating Marijuana Legalization For Half A Century. Lawmakers have been vacillating over how to handle weed consumption in the islands since the late 1960s. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Legislature OKs $18M for claims against state. Crimes committed by state employees, accidents on public property and a couple Second Amendment challenges are contributing to settlements, judgments and other legal claims this year to cost Hawaii taxpayers $18.1 million. Star-Advertiser.

Water Safety Coalition’s bills sent to governor. The measures — one that designates May 15 as Water Safety Day in the state each year and another that authorizes the issuance of Duke Kahanamoku license plates, with revenue from the plates being dedicated to water safety educational programs — are now on Gov. Josh Green’s desk, pending his signature.  Star-Advertiser.

Hawaiian Electric Execs Got Big Raises In 2023. They’re About To See How Shareholders Feel About It. A vote on compensation and reelection of board members is set for May 13. Civil Beat.

Hawaii traffic fatalities in 2024 on pace with last year. From Jan. 1 to April 30, there were 33 traffic-related deaths, compared with 33 during the same period in 2023, according to preliminary statistics from DOT. Star-Advertiser.


Staff shortages plague Honolulu’s 911 system. HPD Maj. Calvin Sung of the communications division said if the system is busy, callers should keep calling back. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu first responders alter operations for planned power shutoffs. Police, firefighters, paramedics and emergency management officials on Oahu are modifying operations to prepare for the possibility that Hawaiian Electric must shut off power to reduce wildfire risks. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Got Back $441,000 From Aloha Stadium Consultant. An audit, spurred by a Civil Beat investigation, is leading to policy changes at the Department of Accounting and General Services. A consultant for Aloha Stadium has reimbursed the state more than $441,000 after an audit last year found that the firm charged the state for exorbitant travel expenses and excessive costs. Civil Beat.

Nurse’s aide fined over $300,000 for running unlicensed care home. The health department has fined a certified nurse aide $315,000 for running an unlicensed care home in Ewa Beach. Complaints led inspectors to a Muiona Street home where they say Nenita Mauricio of “Private Home Duty LLC” admitted to operating the unlicensed facility for nearly a year. Hawaii News Now.

North Shore seeing ‘advanced infestation’ of coconut rhinoceros beetle, experts on what to do. From Mokuleia to Laniakea, to Pupukea, and from Ke Iki to Sunset Beach, if you look up you’ll see palms with only a few fronds, some with none, and some looking sick or oddly shaped.  KHON2.

Hawaii Island

National Science Foundation to discuss possible funding for TMT. NSF Director Sethuraman Panchanathan said a panel will visit the Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea and the Giant Magellan Telescope in Chile and evaluate them on a series of topics including their current progress, partnerships, risks and risk mitigation, governance, opportunities for access by early-career scientists, how well the project complements the European Southern Observatory’s Chilean Extremely Large Telescope, and public engagement. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park areas reopen as tremors subside. Kilauea volcano’s recent seismic rumblings have quieted down, leading Hawaii Volcanoes National Park officials today to reopen several areas that have been closed in the past week as a precaution. Star-Advertiser. Big Island Now.

Proposed Punalu‘u Village goes before Planning Commission Monday. Punalu‘u Village is a “residential and commercial community” proposed to be built on a 147-acre parcel in Punalu‘u, restoring several disused buildings and attractions in the process. If built, the project would add nearly 300 accommodation units to the rural community, as well as a market space, golf course, restaurant and more. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News.

Hawaiʻi County Council to consider preserving 27 acres near ʻAnaehoʻomalu Bay. A Hawaiʻi County Council committee has advanced plans to help preserve 27 acres of land on the south end of ʻAnaehoʻomalu Bay near the Waikoloa Beach Resort. Hawaii Public Radio.

Parks and Rec, DLNR work to address issue of cat colonies at park where nene died. State and county agencies are moving forward to address feral cat feeding and its effects on the nene population. Tribune-Herald.

Removal of UH-Hilo newspaper causes flap. An administrator at the University of Hawaii at Hilo admitted to ordering the removal of the student-run campus newspaper from a rack at an April 20 event welcoming prospective students and their parents to the campus. Tribune-Herald.


Ohana Hope Village Is Finally Opening To Maui Fire Survivors.
Access to water is still in flux, but the Maui modular home housing project now has county approval to open 16 of 88 units. Civil Beat.

45th Maui Charity Walk raises over $1.2 million for the eighth year. Nearly 1,600 walkers attended the in-person event at the War Memorial Complex.  Maui Now.

Young Brothers blesses $1.5M mooring system to improve service for Lānaʻi. Hawai‘i interisland freight company Young Brothers blessed its new $1.5 million ShoreTension mooring system on Monday at the Port of Kaumalapau on Lāna‘i. The system keeps the barge steady against the dock during poor weather conditions. Maui Now.


Kauai County officials warn flood victims might not get FEMA federal assistance. More than 12 inches of rain pummeled parts of the Garden Island in a few hours overnight on April 12. Hawaii News Now.

Kaua‘i County data shows recent decline in lifeguard rescues. Recent data from the County of Kaua’i Ocean Safety Bureau indicates a decline in aquatic rescues this year following the department’s announcement of the extension of operating hours at lifeguarded beaches. Kauai Now.

St. Catherine School shutting down next month; it’s served Kaua‘i families since 1946. St. Catherine School, a Catholic elementary school in Kapa‘a on the East Side of Kaua‘i, is shutting down this June after 78 years in operation – despite parents’ last-ditch efforts to save it earlier this spring. Kauai Now. Hawaii News Now.

Friday, May 3, 2024

Green creates climate advisory team, Bissen touts plan to eliminate 7k vacation rentals on Maui, Mitsunaga corruption trial witness describes thousands in 'straw man' campaign contributions, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Governor announces Climate Advisory Team to develop climate resilience policy, forms team to address disasters and climate change.  Gov. Josh Green announced Thursday that he is forming a Climate Advisory Team to spearhead policy efforts that include securing funding to mitigate disaster risks and impacts from climate change as well as tackling still-pending issues stemming from the Aug. 8 Maui wildfires. Star-Advertiser. Big Island Now. KHON2.

Controversial urban development bill narrowly passes final floor vote. Senate Bill 3202 would allow two accessory dwelling units, or ADUs, to be built on residential properties.  Hawaii Public Radio.

Senate and House pass bills to improve language access in Hawaiʻi .
The bills came after advocates have been raising concerns about the need for more language interpreters in the event of natural disasters. Hawaii Public Radio.

Lawmakers Want State To Make Public The Names Of Companies That Sell Infested Plants. The agriculture department will likely receive $20 million for biosecurity this year. Civil Beat. Hawaii Public Radio.  KITV4.

Legislature passes bill supporting value-added production across Hawaiʻi
. In a landmark move aimed at bolstering economic resilience and promoting local industries, the Hawaiʻi State Legislature has successfully passed HB2144 HD1 SD2 CD1, a bill focused on expanding value-added production throughout the Aloha State.  Maui Now.

Coffee labeling bill passes.  A bill over 30 years in the making has cleared legislative hurdles and is being sent to Gov. Josh Green for his signature. The bill, introduced by Rep. Nicole Lowen, came on the heels of Act 222 in 2022 which required an independent study to assess the economic impact of Hawaii’s coffee labeling laws on local coffee farmers and the industry. West Hawaii Today.


Defendant In Honolulu Corruption Case Gave Politicians Thousands In Illegal Straw Donations, Niece Says.  Terri Ann Otani, who worked for Mitsunaga & Associates Inc.,  is now on trial for participating in a scheme to bribe former Honolulu prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro with campaign donations so he would pursue a case against a former Mitsunaga firm employee. Civil Beat.

Honolulu Council eyes $27M for city worker hazard pay. The Honolulu City Council plans to earmark $27 million in federal funds to repay eligible, unionized city workers employed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Star-Advertiser.

Attorney blasts HPD’s investigation of alleged Jan. 1 beating.
An attorney for the father and son allegedly hit with a Honolulu police van and beaten by  Opens in a new tabup to 12 officers during an islandwide New Year’s Day manhunt for an attempted murder suspect Opens in a new tab said HPD has not identified or interviewed any of the officers involved. Star-Advertiser.

Waianae coast residents air crime concerns at mayor's town hall.
Hundreds of Waianae Coast residents jammed Mayor Rick Blangiardi’s latest town hall meeting, with crime on the top of their minds. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu ranks 29th on clean energy progress among US cities. The nonprofit American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy parsed through municipal energy policies and programs to create the 2024 City Clean Energy Scorecard.  Hawaii Public Radio.

New Hawaii Charter School Wants To Prep Kids For A Future Where AI Is ‘Central In Our Lives’. The opening of Kulia Academy in Kalihi comes at a time when many other schools in the state are grappling with how to incorporate artificial intelligence into classroom lessons and address possible misuse of the technology. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Island

Windward Planning Commission gives short-term rental bill ‘thumbs-down’.  The Windward Planning Commission gave Hawaiʻi County Council Chair Heather Kimball’s short-term rental bill a thumbs-down on May 2 by sending an unfavorable recommendation to the County Council.  Multiple members of the commission viewed the bill as “government overreach.”  Big Island Now.

2024 Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament Cancelled Due To Low Participation. The planned 62nd annual Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament in Kona has been cancelled, organizers announced this week, due to low world-wide participation. Big Island Video News.

More than 1,600 earthquakes recorded on Kīlauea since late April.
USGS Issues Statement On Kīlauea Volcano As Unrest Increases. Kīlauea was not erupting as of 12:15 a.m. Friday morning, but a sharp increase in seismicity on the upper East Rift Zone overnight prompted an information statement from the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.  Big Island Video News. Big Island Now.

Hilo Macy’s store safe for now despite more downsizing by the retailer. The Macy’s store in Hilo’s Prince Kuhio Plaza will remain open for the foreseeable future, according to spokesperson for the national retailer. Tribune-Herald.


Bissen quick to offer bill to regulate Maui vacation rentals. Maui Mayor Richard Bissen wasted no time in proposing a county bill that would phase out 2,200 vacation rentals in West Maui apartment districts by July 1, 2025 — and eventually all 7,000 units in apartment districts across Maui. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii Public Radio.  Maui News.  Maui Now.  KHON2.

Gov. Green approves $385.4M emergency appropriations for Maui wildfire relief.
Gov. Josh Green signed Senate Bill 582 into law on Thursday, allocating $385.4 million in emergency appropriations to support relief efforts on Maui, following the Aug. 8, 2023 wildfires.  Maui Now. Hawaii News Now.

Environmental Groups Sue Maui Resort Over Endangered Seabird Injuries. Despite a settlement reached two years ago, Hawaiian petrels continue to be harmed by bright lights at Grand Wailea in violation of federal law, plaintiffs allege. Civil Beat. Maui Now.


Haʻena residents challenge AT&T cell tower plans. Kaua’i County Council members held a briefing on AT&T’s plan to place a 5G cell tower on a house lot in Ha’ena during a committee meeting on Wednesday, May 1, as community residents filled the chambers to speak out against the proposed construction. Kauai Now.

Embattled Kauai police chief accused of ‘punishing’ officers who found his lost service gun. A month after embattled KPD Chief Todd Raybuck lost his loaded service weapon, the two officers who found it are formally accusing him of retaliation. Hawaii News Now.

Big drop in passenger count at Lihu‘e Airport. The number of people getting off domestic passenger flights at Lihu‘e Airport dropped to its lowest level for the first full month of spring since the COVID-19 pandemic. Garden Island.

Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge officially opens on Kaua‘i. Kauai’s new self-guided refuge completes the trifecta for Kauai’s wildlife refuges on the island — Hanalei, Huleia, and Kilauea Point — all managed by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in partnership with the Hawai‘i Department of Transportation. Garden Island.