Showing posts with label union negotiations. Show all posts
Showing posts with label union negotiations. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Workers end hotel strike, lawsuit filed over false missile alert heart attack, military about-face on Mauna Kea war games, no prosecution for Kauai Hawaiian activist, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Striking hotel workers in Waikiki ©2018 All Hawaii News.
Hotel workers ratify contract to end 51-day strike. Hotel owner Kyo-ya offered striking hotel workers up to $6.13 per hour in pay and benefit increases over four years in a new contract today that ended a 51-day-old strike. Star-Advertiser.

Tears of joy and celebratory singing after a grueling 51-day strike ends with a new contract for hotel workers. Hawaii News Now.

Kyo-ya hotel workers ratify new contract in near-unanimous vote. KHON2.

Local 5 union hotel workers vote to ratify new contract. KITV.


Analysts rank Hawaii among worst in nation for unfunded liabilities. A recent report by analysts at J.P. Morgan has ranked Hawaii among a handful of the most financially stressed states, mostly because of unfunded pension and health care obligations to public workers. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Aims To Quicken The Pace Of School Repairs. The Department of Education wants to demystify how it is handling a hefty repair and maintenance backlog. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Department of Education reveals new digital solutions to improve facilities. It may soon take months, not years to make repairs and upgrades to Hawaii Schools. KITV.


Man who suffered heart attack during Hawaii’s false missile alert sues state. James Sean Shields and his girlfriend, Brenda Rei­chel, filed a lawsuit in first Circuit Court against the state and Vern Miyagi, former administrator of the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency, or HI-EMA, for the false alarm they claim triggered the heart attack. Star-Advertiser.

Man Who Had Heart Attack After Hawaii Missile Alert Sues. Assuming the threat was real, he said he called loved ones before suffering cardiac arrest. Associated Press.

A Hawaii Kai man who suffered a heart attack during January’s false missile scare has sued the state, saying if emergency management workers hadn’t waited so long to send out an “all clear” message he might have been OK. Hawaii News Now.


A class-action lawsuit has been filed against the maker of potato chips sold under the brand name Hawaiian, claiming the chips made in Washington state are misleading customers. Associated Press.

Matson sells a ship to lighten debt load. Matson Inc. has sold one of its containerships but will lease it back from the new owner as a way to cut debt as it borrows more money to pay for new ships, including one scheduled to arrive for the first time in Hawaii on Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii Tourism Authority will give about $3.6 million in funding next year to 130 Hawaii programs that are connected to Hawaiian culture, natural resources, and community events. Pacific Business News.


Residents Lobby for Car Race Track and Puu O Hulu Park Restrooms. Car racing proponents and leeward coast residents lobbied the Honolulu City Council today. Hawaii Public Radio.

Wastewater spill from Meadow Gold Dairy contaminates water near Ala Moana. The Department of Health's Clean Water Branch was notified of a wastewater discharge from Meadow Gold Dairy at 826 Cedar Street. An estimated 3,250 gallons of wastewater spilled. It has since been stopped. KHON2.

Honolulu rail car transported from Honolulu Harbor to Waipahu. The first of four rail cars that make up the fourth train for the city’s upcoming 20-mile rail line was transported to the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation’s rail operations center in Waipahu from Honolulu Harbor Tuesday morning. Star-Advertiser.

A Mom Struggles Mightily As Law Lets Son Defy Doctor’s Orders. The Kanehoe woman says her son’s condition has deteriorated, partly because Hawaii allows people as young as age 15 to refuse inpatient psychiatric treatment. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Island

Military’s Mauna Kea rec area plans a no-go. The military has retreated from a plan to conduct special reconnaissance training at the Mauna Kea Recreation Area, where role-playing soldiers armed with guns would try to hide from observers. West Hawaii Today.

One of lower Puna’s most popular beach parks will officially reopen next week after a six-month-plus closure because of lava. Isaac Hale Beach Park, also known as Pohoiki beach park, will reopen at 1 p.m. Dec. 6 after a blessing ceremony, the county Department of Parks and Recreation said in a statement Tuesday. Tribune-Herald.

Isaac Hale Beach Park, also known as Pohoiki Beach Park, will reopen to the public on Thursday, December 6th. Big Island Video News.

Isaac Hale Beach Park: A landmark for most beachgoers, home to one family. KITV.

Salary Commission Chairman Hugh Ono, who led the board through double-digit raises for county elected officials and department heads, resigned Tuesday. West Hawaii Today.

The Maunakea Visitor Information Station will adjust its hours and suspend its stargazing program ahead of the start of a construction project. The six-month-long project, which will begin in January, is aimed at improving safety and access for visitors at the popular, but at times overcrowded, stop along the Maunakea Access Road. Tribune-Herald.

The number of downed deep wells in North Kona hasn’t changed as four of the region’s 14 water sources remain out of commission. A 10 percent voluntary conservation on water use in the area also remains in effect. West Hawaii Today.


Attack on the coqui frog. Haiku residents band together to stem spread of loud invasive species. Maui News.

Adjustments Made to Some Central and West Maui Bus Routes. Beginning Friday, Dec. 7, 2018, select Maui Bus routes will change. Maui Now.


New county planning director appointed. Kauai County Planning Department Deputy Director Kaaina Hull will take over as planning director starting next week. Garden Island.

Danners won’t face prosecution. The Kauai County prosecutor has declined to pursue trespassing and interfering with a government agent charges against Native Hawaiian activist Robin Danner and her son, Garrett Danner, that grew out of a confrontation in Anahola last month. Garden Island.

Commentary: County Council show goes on – a ship tossing in the sea. Unfortunately, if the meeting held by the incoming council is any indication, our newly elected Kauai County Council is starting off on the wrong foot. Garden Island.

High bacteria count discovered at Prince Kuhio Park and Koloa Landing. KITV.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Hawaii GOP seeks probe of Senate president, Stryker Brigade to stay in Hawaii, Maui raises property taxes, clams coming to Kauai, Honolulu's Ala Wai studied, quiet hurricane season predicted, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2013 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Ala Wai (c) 2013 All Hawaii News

Ala Wai Canal: A $100 Million Problem. Complete series on the history and future of the Ala Wai. Civil Beat.

The Central Pacific, which includes the Hawaiian Islands, probably will experience another season of below-average tropical cyclone activity, the Central Pacific Hurricane Center announced Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii’s hurricane forecasters are calling for a relatively quiet tropical cyclone season for the Central Pacific Ocean Basin. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii’s wet season, which runs from October through April, was the driest wet season in 30 years, the National Weather Service in Honolulu said Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

The head of the U.S. Army in the Pacific said Hawaii is expected to keep its 22,500 active-duty soldiers as the Army downsizes, but it makes sense to re-evaluate whether the Stryker Brigade should keep its 320 armored vehicles or revert to a light infantry unit without Strykers. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii Republican Party on Wednesday urged the state Ethics Commission to investigate whether state Senate President Donna Mercado Kim violated the ethics code when she called the University of Hawaii president last spring about her son's law school application. Star-Advertiser.

Even if the Senate president did not exert pressure on the university president, Kim may have violated the State Ethics Code and the Senate's own rules with just the phone call itself. Civil Beat.

As the University of Hawaii searches for a new president, critics are revisiting concerns about the relatively few local hires in top positions at the university. Civil Beat.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s office announced Wednesday that $48.3 million will be spent to improve public housing throughout Hawaii, including $25.8 million for non-routine repairs, maintenance and renovations statewide. Pacific Business News.

Two years after tests first indicated the presence of a sexually transmitted disease in a handful of Hawaii Island cattle, state officials imposed a statewide quarantine order requiring testing of new dairy and beef bulls brought to the state and moved from one herd to another. West Hawaii Today.

KHON-TV is advising viewers of the Fox network affiliate or its CW network affiliate via Oceanic Time Warner Cable that the stations may be blacked out for most of Hawaii on May 31 if negotiations for a new retransmission contract are not successful. Star-Advertiser.

State 5/22. Associated Press.

State roundup for May 23. Associated Press.


A federal judge has refused to dismiss a lawsuit brought against the city of Honolulu by members of a protest group that has been camping on the sidewalks around Thomas Square. Star-Advertiser.

In the last three years, the University of Hawaii has spent $1.3 million on repairs and upgrades to College Hill, the presidents' home that UH President MRC Greenwood has chosen not to live in. Hawaii News Now.

The James Campbell Co. is looking to sell 516 acres of mostly undeveloped land in West Oahu known as Kapolei West, a potential mixed-use residential and commercial master-planned community that would connect the City of Kapolei with Ko Olina Resort. Pacific Business News.

The city's aging Neal S. Blaisdell Center could be a site of one of three proposed 700-foot residential towers under a draft plan proposed by a state agency regulating development in Kakaako. Star-Advertiser.

For the more than 20,000 people who live there, there’s only one way in and out of Mililani Mauka. After years of traffic headaches, there are some options on the table to ease the frustration. KHON2.


Hikes in property taxes, park fees, bus fares and vehicle registration and weight taxes will balance Mayor Billy Kenoi’s proposed $394.3 million 2013-14 budget, a 7.9 percent increase over this year. But there’s still a wild card in the mix: Two major public worker unions have yet to complete collective bargaining agreements. West Hawaii Today.

All the right factors need to be in place for Hawaii County to successfully convert Alii Drive to one-way traffic in the downtown area, community members and business stakeholders told officials Wednesday in North Kona. West Hawaii Today.

Last June, the Department of Education launched a small pilot program in Kona on the Big Island, testing just how well GPS tracking systems, with real-time data, would streamline bus service. And it worked beautifully. KITV4.

The Hilo Brewfest, scheduled for June 1 from 2-6 p.m., will take place on the grounds of the Wainaku Executive Center and will feature sample beers from 20 different breweries. Tribune-Herald.


A resolution that would increase property tax rates for majority of island residents and businesses was approved by the Maui County Council Wednesday morning. Maui News.

Maui Tea Partier In D.C.: IRS Scrutiny 'Chilling' Civil Beat.

Updated tsunami evacuation maps have been released by the Maui County Civil Defense Agency. Maui Now.

While developers of the 670-acre Honua'ula golf community have made efforts to meet a number of the 30 conditions set by the Maui County Council when the project's zoning was approved in 2008, some community groups said on Tuesday that many critical conditions have still not been met. Maui News.

Community voices opposition to ‘danger zone’ Corps seeks larger safety area during live target practice. Garden Island.

For the first time in decades, the state Department of Health has approved the growing waters and sale of shellfish by a local grower. Health officials approved the permit for Sunrise Capital, doing business under the name Kauai Clams. Hawaii News Now.

The Department of Land and Natural Resources announced Friday the opening of archery, muzzleloading rifle and high-powered rifle hunting seasons for feral goats on the island of Kauai. Garden Island.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Abercrombie launches re-election bid, UPW contract inked, elections, solar credit, ag bills die, beach-born baby rescued, Maui councilor proposes no-new taxes budget, DLNR tackles Native Hawaiian protesters, Tesoro postpones layoffs, Caldwell staff get pay hikes, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

United Public Workers contract
UPW Director Nakanelua, Hawaii Gov Abercrombie courtesy photo
More than 9,000 blue-collar workers for the state and counties have a new four-year contract that their union says acknowledges the sacrifices they made during tough budgeting times. Star-Advertiser.

The state inked another union contract Monday, the latest deal to come down before the legislative session comes to a close this week. Gov. Neil Abercrombie and county mayors signed a four-year agreement with United Public Workers Unit 1, which represents some 8,000 blue-collar employees. Civil Beat.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie has formally launched his campaign to win a second term in 2014, saying Hawaii has built momentum coming out of recession and he wants it to continue. Associated Press.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie formally launched his re-election campaign Monday, citing the state's financial rebound and progress toward his "New Day" agenda as reasons voters should give him a second four-year term. Star-Advertiser.

Joined by Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell and dozens of friends and supporters at Ward Warehouse Monday, Neil Abercrombie formally kicked off his 2014 re-election. Civil Beat.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie launched his re-election campaign Monday, as the Republican Party searched for an opponent to run against him in 2014. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie launched his 2014 campaign for re-election on Monday, promising to keep the state’s economy strong and to improve the educational system. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii lawmakers are preparing to vote on the final bills of the legislative session after a heated week of negotiations, but some advocates are disappointed several initiatives failed in the final hours after gaining momentum earlier. Associated Press.

Hawaii Lawmakers Set to Debate and Pass About 150 Bills in Final Hours of the 2013 Session. Hawaii Reporter.

A bill that would have required an evaluation of the chief election officer after each general election died because of a procedural gaffe in a legislative conference committee last week. Star-Advertiser.

A bill that would have changed the state tax credits for solar photovoltaic systems in Hawaii has failed to progress, leaving in place the administrative rules set by the state Department of Taxation that went into effect in November. Pacific Business News.

A contentious but at times comical scrap between Rep. Jessica Wooley and Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz has left in limbo $175 million in revenue bonds to preserve agricultural land. Star-Advertiser.

The Pacific Rim International Conference on Disability and Diversity is underway in Honolulu this week, and one thing they will be looking at is the connection between disabilities and prison incarceration. Hawaii Public Radio.

As a younger member of the Hawaii Supreme Court at age 46, Steven Levinson wrote the landmark opinion issued nearly 20 years ago that launched the debate over same-sex marriage that still reverberates today across the country and in the nation's highest court. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaiian Electric said on Monday that a record 13.9 percent of energy came from renewable sources last year. KITV4.

Hawaii Teacher: New Teacher Evaluation System Will Damage Education. Civil Beat.

State roundup for April 30. Associated Press.


Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell is taking a pay cut, but those closest to him are already making more than their predecessors in the Carlisle administration. Civil Beat.

Whoever abandoned a newborn girl at Sandy Beach late Sunday night could have avoided prosecution by turning the baby over to the proper authorities, state officials said. Star-Advertiser.

A shocking discovery was made on a south shore beach overnight. A baby just hours old was found abandoned on the sand. KHON2.

There are about 4,000 bus stops on Oahu, and right now there are no restrictions on where people who are waiting for the bus can smoke. Hawaii News Now.

The owner of a local wheel boot company may lose his business if a bill is approved this week at the Hawaii Legislature. Civil Beat.

Tesoro Hawaii Corp. now says that it will hold off on laying off about 210 of its employees while the Texas-based refiner and marketer of petroleum products remains in discussions with potential buyers for its Kapolei refinery. Pacific Business News.

On Monday, as Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell led a walking caravan of local officials through downtown, traffic consultant Dan Burden challenged the group to make the streets there safer for pedestrians. Star-Advertiser.


Sovereignty activists who planted a garden twice without permission near the King Kamehameha the Great statue in Hilo will be billed for the cost of removing their crops, William Aila, state Department of Land and Natural Resources chair, said Monday. Tribune-Herald.

Abel Simeona Lui, the colorful and controversial figure behind recent acts of Hawaiian sovereignty protests and civil disobedience around the island, will spend his 70th birthday in jail Wednesday. West Hawaii Today.

Real estate agents and appraisers agree — West Hawaii’s real estate market is hot again. West Hawaii Today.

A Fire Department hazardous materials team was unable to determine what caused people in the District courtroom at the Kona Courthouse in Kealakekua to begin coughing Monday morning. West Hawaii Today.

On Friday, state legislators approved $100,000 to fund early efforts to launch an international flight training center and advanced aviation degree program at the University of Hawaii at Hilo. Tribune-Herald.

Safeway has settled a lawsuit filed by a customer over the labeling of its “Kona Blend” coffee. Big Island Now.


Maui County Council Budget and Finance Committee Chairman Mike White is seeking to cut Mayor Alan Arakawa's proposed county budget for next fiscal year by $23 million and is proposing to not raise any real property taxes. Maui News.

Council Member Mike White today proposed the stabilization of real property tax rates in fiscal year 2014. Maui Now.

Hale Makua Health Services is accepting applications for financial assistance to its Adult Day Health program in Kahului, thanks to a $25,000 grant from The Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Foundation. Maui News.

Results of a remedial investigation of the ‘Āhihi Kīna‘u Natural Area Reserve in South Maui will be discussed during an upcoming public meeting, officials said. Maui Now.


Seed crop producer Syngenta will move its Hawaii research operations from Oahu to Kauai in June, a company official said Monday. Star-Advertiser.

County building applications are set to go paperless this week. Effective Wednesday, building applications submitted electronically will receive priority over paper-based applications. Garden Island.

Kaua‘i’s unique topology and weather allows some of the best star gazing conditions at sea level, said Dr. James Dire. Garden Island.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Hawaii tourism up, solar credits dim, shield law perforated, Maui seeks auditor, HGEA contract votes, no credit for teacher supplies, Hawaii Island smoking ban working after 5 years, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Kona attractions copyright 2013 All Hawaii News
Hawaii luau (c) 2013 All Hawaii News
The number of visitors coming to Hawaii in the first three months of the year surged 7.1 percent to 2.1 million, but tourism officials said Thursday the industry’s growth will likely slow later in 2013. Associated Press.

A 7.6 percent increase in visitor arrivals and a 7.8 percent rise in visitor spending in March kept Hawaii's tourism industry ahead of last year's record numbers, but travel experts warned the growth rate could slow later this year. Star-Advertiser.

March turned out to be another month of growth for tourism in the state. The Hawaii Tourism Authority says overall visitor arrivals were up 7.6% compared to a year earlier, while visitor spending was up 7.8%. The number of tourists coming from Japan was also up—by a little more than four percent. And a growing trend for those Japanese visitors is a movement beyond Waikiki---searching for a more local experience. Hawaii Public Radio.

Key Hawaii lawmakers are deciding how to divvy up $30 million among several competing initiatives, including collective bargaining agreements and Gov. Neil Abercrombie's early childhood education initiative. KITV4.

Hawaii lawmakers are negotiating the details of proposals to allow the state to partner with private companies to develop some public land. Associated Press.

Consumers may soon be able to obtain low-cost loans to install solar and other alternative energy systems and then repay the loans through the savings on their electrical bills. Star-Advertiser.

A generous state tax credit that helped fuel the growth of solar but led to accusations of abuse would be reconfigured under a compromise pending before state lawmakers today. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii Government Employees Association announced late Thursday that it would allow its unit of state professional and scientific workers to vote on a state contract offer even though it has not been endorsed by the union's negotiating team. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii Growth Initiative, which would encourage entrepreneurs who might help diversify the state's economy, received a $6 million vote of confidence Thursday. State House and Senate negotiators agreed to provide financing next fiscal year for the Hawaii Strategic Development Corp. to start the initiative. Star-Advertiser.

Citing a lack of funds, lawmakers Thursday killed a proposed tax credit that would have helped teachers offset their out-of-pocket classroom expenses. Star-Advertiser.

Some Good Government Bills Still Alive. Civil Beat.

A panel of Hawaii lawmakers on Thursday approved a new draft of the state shield law that removes protections for free newspapers and magazines and requires that newspapers must be printed in order to be covered. West Hawaii Today.

State lawmakers Thursday agreed to make permanent a law that offers journalists limited protection from having to disclose confidential sources in court, but bloggers and other nontraditional journalists would be excluded. The bill would also expand the exceptions to the law beyond felony cases and civil lawsuits that involve defamation. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii journalists are decidedly unhappy with the latest version of the state shield law that protects reporters from having to reveal sources and turn over unpublished material. Now, they just want it to die. Civil Beat.

A Honolulu resident and law firm have filed a federal lawsuit accusing the Hawaii Medical Service Association of using anti-competitive practices to maintain a monopoly that has led to skyrocketing health insurance premiums for more than a decade. Star-Advertiser.

Colleen Hanabusa taking on Brian Schatz for U.S. Senate seems to have a lot of people excited. Civil Beat.


A bomb scare halted operations at state Circuit Court, closed roads and shuttered area businesses for nearly five hours Thursday as police investigated a suspicious package that turned out to be harmless. Star-Advertiser.

It was business as usual at the Circuit Court and neighboring buildings by 1 p.m. Thursday, after a bomb scare caused evacuations and shut down Halekauwila between South and Punchbowl for hours during early morning rush hour. Hawaii News Now.

James Campbell High School wasn't built to hold thousands of students. Civil Beat.

More than 144,000 cars a day travel the H1 freeway between Middle Street and Ward Avenue so there really isn't a good time to close it but the state may not have any other choice. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu ranks #6 among American cities for its number of high-rises–472 buildings at least 12 stories tall–ahead of Philadelphia, Boston and Dallas. The thicket is about to get a lot thicker. Honolulu Weekly.

The impacts of sequestration on Hawaii’s most popular visitor attraction are actually benefiting some of its neighboring sites, including the Battleship Missouri Memorial. Pacific Business News.

The state is converting its antiquated departure lobbies at Honolulu International Airport into more modern facilities. Hawaii News Now.

A heavy downpour left Windward Oahu residents stranded Wednesday night. The Waikane Valley Stream spilled over into the road, shutting down Kamehameha Highway. KHON2.


It’s back to the drawing board for the county Salary Commission. After hearing from members of the public Thursday who were mostly opposed to proposed raises, the commission decided to do more work on the plan rather than implementing it in time for the new fiscal year that starts July 1. West Hawaii Today.

A 5-year-old tobacco use ban at Hawaii Island beaches and parks has made a noticeable impact on the quality of the environment at isle recreation areas, according to county officials. Tribune-Herald.

A $50,000 grant is headed to the nonprofit West Hawaii Community Health Center. The grant is aimed at supporting programs that focus on the treatment and management of chronic diseases in our community. West Hawaii Today.


Gabbard Brings Cultural and Community Values to Congress. Maui Weekly.

New Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui plays an important role in Hawai‘i’s post-Inouye political landscape. Maui Weekly.

A Maui Family Court judge who was charged Tuesday with tampering with government records had submitted a letter that day saying she was retiring immediately, State Judiciary spokes­woman Marsha Kita­gawa said. Star-Advertiser.

Mimi DesJardins resigned as a 2nd Circuit Family Court judge Tuesday, the same day a complaint was filed in Wailuku District Court charging her with tampering with a government record, according to the state Judiciary. Maui News.

The application deadline for the newly created county auditor position has been extended to Tuesday, according to an announcement from Maui County Council Member Riki Hokama, chairman of the Budget and Finance Committee's Temporary Investigative Group. Maui News.

State lawmakers are reportedly considering a $20 million appropriation for efforts to acquire Lipoa Point at Honolua on Maui, supporters said. Maui Now.

After years of lobbying from both community residents and lawmakers, it looks like Kihei will finally have a high school complex to call its own. Maui News.


If you missed the deadline to apply for a homeowners exemption based on low income, relax. The Kaua‘i County Council unanimously approved a bill Wednesday that extends the deadline. Garden Island.

A small but vocal group, donning umbrellas, rain jackets and signs, rallied Sunday against AT&T’s proposed 80-foot cell phone tower in Kilauea. Garden Island.


One of Molokai’s primary air carriers, Island Air, has made changes to their flight schedule that have raised concerns among local customers. The airline has cancelled all flights between Molokai and Maui, and as of May, will decrease flights between Molokai and Honolulu from five to three per day. Molokai Dispatch.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Hawaii Senate passes budget, Hawaii could be drone testing ground, state addresses Oahu prison problems, Ellison holds briefings for Lanai residents, property tax hike for Kauai, bus fare hike for Hawaii County in the works, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2013 All Hawaii News
Waikiki tourists (c) 2013 All Hawaii News
Hawaii hotels had a strong week for room rate increases last week when compared to the same week last year, while occupancy rates had modest increases on most of the major islands, according to the latest report from Hospitality Advisors LLC and Smith Travel Research. Pacific Business News.

The state Senate passed its version of the two-year budget Thursday, restoring funding slashed by the House for some of Gov. Neil Abercrombie's initiatives on early childhood education, cash incentives for entrepreneurs and information technology upgrades. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii state Senate on Thursday approved a $24 billion budget for the next two fiscal years, setting up talks with the House to work out differences in the proposals that fall short of what the governor wants. Associated Press.

Nearly two dozen individuals made personal contributions totaling at least $20,000 to dozens of candidates in the 2012 election, according to an analysis of newly available data provided by the Campaign Spending Commission. Civil Beat.

Fewer than 2 out of 10 Hawaii homeowners who are considering installing solar photovoltaic panels said they would do so if the availability of state renewable-energy tax credits was "reduced considerably or eliminated," according to a survey published Thursday. Star-Advertiser.

Sen. Clayton Hee says online journalists will be protected from being forced to reveal their sources — but only if their publications meet the definition of a magazine. Civil Beat.

Hawaii’s law is considered by media advocacy groups and working journalists as one of the best in the country. However the battle between Senate Judiciary Chair Clayton Hee and local journalists to keep the Journalism Shield Law in place did not end well for journalists at a Wednesday committee hearing. Hawaii Reporter.

FAA wants some more information on domestic drones and Hawaii could be a testing ground. Hawaii News Now.

Fracking may seem like a mainland issue, but in fact it could have major implications on Hawaii's plans to import liquefied natural gas as a way to lower electricity costs. Civil Beat.

State roundup for April 5. Associated Press.


State corrections officials plan to install surveillance cameras in the security holding cell area at Oahu Community Correctional Center where a detainee allegedly killed another earlier this year. Star-Advertiser.

Recent incidents force Hawaii public safety officials to review policies and procedures to prevent more embarrassing incidents. Civil Beat.

A contract for a 12-hour-a-day ambulance service operating out of Halawa has been cut for budgetary reasons, but city Emergency Services Director Mark Rigg said he expects the void to be filled by next month. Star-Advertiser.

After more than two years shut down, the former Hawaii Medical Center West, and the people who want to fill its halls, is itching to reopen. KITV4.

Sears Portrait Studios close without warning to workers, customers. KHON2.

Navigation device maker TomTom found Honolulu to be the third-most traffic-congested city in North America, in its 2012 Congestion Index, released Thursday. Star-Advertiser.

Late-night spots blamed for Ala Moana crime surge. Star-Advertiser.


A hike in county bus fares may be “unavoidable,” a transit official said Thursday. West Hawaii Today.

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, said Thursday during a tour of Hilo that he and Sen. Mazie Hirono are working well together to fill the void left after the death of longtime Sen. Daniel Inouye. Tribune-Herald.


It's a matter of guesswork to foretell the impact of pending public employee union negotiations and arbitration proceedings on Maui County's fiscal 2013-14 budget. Maui News.

The march to protest the agricultural practices of agribusiness giant Monsanto Corp. drew an estimated 1,500 to 2,000 activists to the street on Saturday, March 23. Maui Weekly.


County Finance Director Steven Hunt presented Thursday to the Kaua‘i County Council the administration’s proposal to raise property tax rates to every class of taxpayers, except for homesteaders, who have a Permanent Home Use cap in place. This alone would bring nearly $12 million in additional revenues to the county. Garden Island.

Plans for a caretaker residence situated on a Kilauea property controlled by an easement are being opposed by the Kilauea Neighborhood Association. Garden Island.


Larry Ellison’s expansion plans for Lanai will be detailed in community meetings on the Pineapple Isle on Thursday and Saturday nights. Pacific Business News.


The main streets of Kaunakakai were closed Saturday morning as people young and old marched through town, carrying signs and shouting protests aimed toward Monsanto and calling for clear labeling of food made with genetically modified organisms (GMO). Molokai Dispatch.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Collective bargaining bogs down in Labor Board, Gabbard opposes domestic drones, Hawaii House to vote on state budget by Wednesday, atrazine in drinking water, elevator inspections lag, public opposes Kauai biofuel plant, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii State Teachers Association
Hawaii teachers protest, Hawaii State Teachers Association courtesy photo
The state agency charged with enforcing and protecting collective bargaining rights says its "skeleton crew and bare-bones budget" hamstring its ability to rule on dozens of labor complaints filed each year by public and private employees and their unions. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii state House and Senate are holding several hearings this week to vet each other’s proposals. Last week, both chambers passed hundreds of bills and sent them over to the other chamber, marking a new phase in the legislative session. Associated Press.

In Hawaii, additional gun regulation faces the fact that the state has among the most stringent gun laws in the nation, and unlike the mainland, little public urgency to make them tougher. Civil Beat.

The state House Committee on Finance passed Friday a nearly $23.3 billion budget for fiscal years 2014 and 2015, about $590 million shy of Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s request for $23.8 billion. Associated Press.

Hawaii lawmakers have trimmed Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s proposed biennium budget by almost half a billion dollars due to uncertainty over pending contract negotiations with public unions and looming federal budget cuts.Civil Beat.

Many of the state's 7,000 elevators are behind on inspections. KITV4.

U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard reiterated her stance against the use of drones on domestic soil during an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday. Star-Advertiser.

Civil Beat's chief political writer, Chad Blair, and, in his debut appearance, our fedora-topped D.C. bureau chief, Kery Murakami, talk about the implications of a rare split in the Hawaii Congressional delegation. And much more.

A mainland company that supplied a key component for many commercial and utility-scale solar photovoltaic projects in Hawaii has gone out of business, leaving its customers scrambling to come up with contingency plans for servicing the devices, which are critical to the operation of PV systems.Star-Advertiser.

Along with hockey sticks, canoe paddles should be included in the Transportation Security Administration's list of approved carry-on items on flights, local paddlers argue. Star-Advertiser.

Monday marks the second anniversary of the devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan. Hawaii News Now.

State roundup for March 11. Associated Press.


Thousands of Schofield Barracks soldiers who have been hard at training for months for a pair of deployments to Afghanistan might not go, officials say. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation said Friday that it has received $67.5 million of an expected $1.55 billion in federal funding from the Federal Transit Administration for the $5.16 billion Honolulu rail transit project. Pacific Business News.

U.S. State Department special agent Christopher Deedy will withdraw his request for dismissal of his murder charge that was based on his contention that he was acting as a federal law enforcement officer when he fatally shot a Kailua man at a Waikiki restaurant in 2011. Star-Advertiser.

A new survey of conditions and costs of driving in America's 50 most populated cities documents what drivers in Honolulu already know: Gas prices and congestion are high. Hawaii Reporter.


Police Chief Harry Kubojiri has disciplined a Hilo Patrol Division sergeant for misconduct over an incident that took place in the Hilo police cellblock on May 31 last year, according to a letter to the complainant. Tribune-Herald.

For years, Hilo residents’ drinking water has been contaminated with the chemical atrazine — a popular weed killer used on thousands of acres of sugar cane fields that lined the landscape up until a couple of decades ago. Civil Beat.

Goodfellow Bros. Inc. Regional Manager Ed Brown guided a tour along the 11-mile stretch that will bring Saddle Road closer to Kona by about seven miles. West Hawaii Today.


The House Finance Committee has included $65 million for the Kihei high school in the 2015 fiscal year of the state's biennium, an amount that's half of what Gov. Neil Abercrombie, the state Department of Education and South Maui's lawmakers have sought to complete the project all at once. Maui News.

Expected growth in the rental car industry at Kahului Airport drives the need for the proposed Consolidated Rental Car Facility, according a draft environmental report. Maui News.


The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands is proposing to lease more than 2,000 acres of Anahola lands to Green Energy Team, LLC of Kaua‘i for the purpose of clearing existing albizia trees for its planned biomass-to-energy facility near Koloa. Garden Island.

It was sprinkling between periods of downpour, but several hundred demonstrators marched from the Grand Hyatt Kaua‘i Resort and Spa to Mano‘okalanipo Park on Saturday. Garden Island.

County officials told the Kaua‘i County Council Wednesday an anonymous tip that sensitive documents may have been secretly buried at Kekaha Landfill is too broad, and an internal investigation produced no results. Garden Island.

The original version of a bill progressing at the state Legislature would give the shrimp farm owner, Sunrise Capital, up to $1.3 million in state special purpose revenue bonds to protect the company’s hatchery facility and its salt water well, relocating them further inland to avoid shoreline erosion. Garden Island.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Hawaii legislative session begins today, leadership changes, new lawmakers in the mix, voters oppose gay marriage, old Kauai sugar stack comes tumbling down, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

legislative session
Hawaii Legislature 2013 session calendar
Hawaii lawmakers were gearing up to address major issues that include the state budget, food and energy independence and education as the 2013 legislative session opens today. Associated Press.

After the 27th State Legislature convenes Wednesday, expect the state budget to dominate discussion. Hawaii News Now.

When the new session of the Legislature opens today, veteran Rep. Joseph Souki will take the gavel from Speaker Calvin Say on the strength of a dissident faction that has sought to remove Say for the past eight years. Star-Advertiser.

It's showtime for the band of former dissidents in the state House of Representatives who are finally taking the reins of power after years of battling outgoing Speaker Calvin Say for control of the House. Star-Advertiser.

Speaker-elect Joe Souki of Maui (District 8 – Wailuku, Waihee, Waiehu, Puuohala, Waikapu) announced today state House leadership positions and chair and vice-chair positions for the 2013 session. Maui Now.

Wednesday is the opening day of the legislative session and it could mark a new era in leadership. KHON2.

Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie this afternoon announced his appointment of Maui businessman Justin Woodson to fill the House seat vacancy created when Rep.Gil Keith-Agaran moved over to the Senate. Civil Beat.

Justin Woodson, owner of a Maui carwash and a former president of the Young Demo­crats of Hawaii, became the newest member of the state House Tuesday, on the eve of opening day of the 2013 Legislature. Star-Advertiser.

As the economy shows positive signs of recovery, this year’s Senate Opening Day ceremony will include remarks by presiding officers, local musicians and honored guests will be allowed to be seated on the chamber floor. Hawaii Reporter.

It was high fives all around following a meeting of the minds Tuesday, before the county mayors made their way downstairs to talk to state lawmakers about their priorities. KITV4.

In order to make the legislative process more open and participatory for the public, Common Cause Hawaii and 13 other community organizations have asked the Senate and House to consider implementing new rules and practices in the 2013 Legislative Session. Civil Beat.

Most Hawaii voters remain opposed to same-sex marriage in the state but support is growing, a new Civil Beat Poll shows. Civil Beat.

The teachers who organized the so-called "Work to the Rule" protests that spread to schools statewide will rally at the State Capitol Wednesday morning, urging lawmakers to consider legislation that the teachers' union says it does not support. Hawaii News Now.

Emboldened by the United Public Workers’ new deal, the Hawaii State Teachers Association wants the state to double down on its latest contract settlement offer. Civil Beat.

The Blue Planet Foundation said Tuesday that the existing state renewable energy tax credit, which has helped the solar photovoltaic industry reach new heights, provides a “significant net fiscal benefit to the state.” Pacific Business News.

Rep. Cynthia Thielen is questioning whether the Public Utilities Commission is properly regulating the cost of electricity in the state. Star-Advertiser.

A Joint State Senate Committee conducted an informational hearing today to receive an update on the implementation of provisions of the federal Affordable Care Act. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii’s largest health insurance provider wants to deliver more support to its members over the next several years, the company’s new CEO said Tuesday. West Hawaii Today.

Travel Technology Association, a trade organization that represents the nation’s top online travel companies including Amadeus, Expedia,, Hotwire, Priceline, Orbitz Worldwide, Travelocity, Travelport and, will fight a court ruling that orders them to pay millions of dollars in back state taxes for $2.7 billion in Hawaii hotel room sales. Hawaii Reporter.

It’s been only three weeks since Brian Schatz abruptly took off in Air Force One with President Barack Obama en route from Honolulu to Washington D.C., where he was promptly sworn in as Hawaii’s new U.S. senator. Civil Beat.

Former U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka left office with about $15,000 in his campaign account. Associated Press.

State roundup for January 16. Associated Press.


Tuesday's early morning blaze under a freeway viaduct near Honolulu Airport marked the first time a fire damaged fiberoptic telecomunications cables, cutting off telephone, Internet or cable TV service to about 25,000 homes and businesses. Star-Advertiser.

The Aloha Tower Development Corp. on Monday approved Hawaii Pacific University’s $30 million plan to transform the Aloha Tower Marketplace into a student dormitory with as many as 300 units and entertainment and sports complex that would infuse economic growth into the center near downtown Honolulu. Pacific Business News.

The state Department of Health said Oahu smoke levels during the 2013 New Year's celebrations were consistent with levels during 2012 celebrations thanks to an islandwide ban on fireworks with the exception of firecrackers. Star-Advertiser.


’Tis the season, according to police — the season for cockfighting, that is. Tribune-Herald.

Fishermen off Honokohau Harbor found what they believe to be debris from the March 2011 tsunami. West Hawaii Today.

The Reed’s Island bridge was closed Monday, marking the start of an approximately nine-month renovation project. Tribune-Herald.


Members of Maui's legislative delegation are optimistic about the significant leadership changes in store when the Legislature convenes Wednesday, saying they anticipate accomplishing a laundry list of priorities for Maui residents. Maui News.

Justin Howard Woodson of Kahului was appointed to fill the vacant state House District 9 seat Tuesday afternoon by Gov. Neil Abercrombie. Maui News.

The Maui County Council is expected to make initial committee referrals on Friday that could include review of the Maui Bus schedules and fares; and a resolution to hire the first county auditor. Maui Now.


On the day before the opening of the 2013 state Legislature, Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. traveled to O‘ahu to talk to Legislators about collaboration. Garden Island.

The Lihue Sugar Mill smokestack stood watch over the town of Lihu‘e for almost 65 years. Yesterday, it tumbled into the mud. Garden Island.

Lyle Tabata stood with co-workers Tuesday afternoon outside the Lihue Civic Center, about a quarter-mile from the former Lihue Sugar Mill on Kauai, and watched as contractors tore down the mill's historic smokestack, a symbol of Hawaii's bygone sugar plantation era. Star-Advertiser.

Thousands of  Kaua‘i and O‘ahu customers — including businesses and government offices, including the Kaua‘i Police Department — were affected by a fire on O‘ahu that knocked out phone and data service for an estimated 10,000 Hawaiian Telcom customers. Garden Island.


The Molokai Land Trust has received the deed to a 5-mile stretch of remote and environmentally sensitive coastline along the rugged north shore of Molokai that has endangered ferns, subsistence gathering areas and an extensive tidal pool system, the trust announced Monday. Maui News.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Akaka honored, Arizona nonprofit seeks management of 8 Hawaii hospitals, poll finds voters favor Public Land Development Corp., stranded baby humpback dies, lawmaker wants HECO profits scrutinized, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii Aloha Order of Merit
Akaka receives Aloha Order of Merit from Gov. Abercrombie, courtesy photo

Hawaii honored longtime U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka on Monday by inducting him into the Aloha Order of Merit, an honor reserved for people who have given extraordinary service to the state. Associated Press.

Now that he is out of public office, former U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka is calling on the next generation of public officials from Hawaii to continue his work of spreading the aloha spirit at home, in the halls of Congress and throughout the country. Star-Advertiser.

State Lawmakers and dignitaries attended a special ceremony today to honor Senator Daniel K. Akaka. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii's congressional delegation has not yet met to lay out priorities for the coming year, but that meeting is expected to take place next week in Washington, D.C. Star-Advertiser.

Incumbents in the U.S. Senate and the Governor's Office say they will keep their focus on their jobs in the face of potential rivalry in the 2014 democratic primaries. KHON2.

A new Civil Beat Poll conducted last week found only 28 percent of voters want to abolish the relatively new Public Land Development Corporation, despite its battered image and continued protests. Civil Beat.

Rep. Cynthia Thielen is pushing for increased oversight of Hawaiian Electric Co.’s finances. The state rep. will be introducing legislation this session that would create a permanent task force to determine and periodically revise the electric utilities’ rate of return. Civil Beat.

Hilo Medical Center and seven other public health facilities on the Big Island, Maui and Lanai may fall under new management. Tribune-Herald.

Financial uncertainty in recent years is one of the motives behind Hawaii Health Systems Corp.’s recent discussions with an Arizona-based nonprofit health care system to take over management of eight public hospitals on the Big Island and Maui, said Avery Chumbley, HHSC’s board chairman. West Hawaii Today.

In a scene that left some onlookers in tears, a baby humpback whale stuck in shallow water just off Kawai­­kui Beach Park near Aina Haina thrashed about for hours Monday in a futile attempt to escape the reef upon which it was stranded. Star-Advertiser.

A baby humpback whale that was stuck on a reef in shallow waters off east Oahu has died. Hawaii News Now.

A federal agency is expected to announce this week the findings and recommendations of its investigation into the 2011 explosion at a Wai­kele hillside storage facility that killed five workers dismantling illegal fireworks seized by the government. Star-Advertiser.

Redevelopment work at Aloha Tower Marketplace may begin as early as this summer after a state agency gave its consent Monday for Hawaii Pacific University to lead a $32 million makeover of the retail center fronting Honolulu Harbor despite objections by a real estate developer who put the project together. Star-Advertiser.

Workers represented by the International Longshore & Warehouse Union Local 142 have ratified their first contract with management at Pacific Beach Hotel, ending more than a decade of acrimonious legal battles that went nearly all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Star-Advertiser.

Replay Resorts, the private equity firm pushing for development of five additional hotels at Turtle Bay, is forming a new foundation. Hawaii Independent.

In the process of building the Kalaeloa Raceway Park, some community groups claim crews damaged an ancient altar and Makahiki site used for Hawaiian games and religious ceremonies. KITV4.


Money for civil defense sirens, Kona International Airport, major roads on both sides of the island, a juvenile justice center, pharmacy building at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, rural residency program for doctors and the county takeover of two state parks top the wish list Mayor Billy Kenoi will be presenting today to two legislative committees. West Hawaii Today.

Two years after the Hawaii County Council rebuffed Mayor Billy Kenoi’s attempt to ban county employees from securing county contracts for their private businesses, a company at the center of the controversy has again won a contract to clean roadside drywells and culverts. West Hawaii Today.

A 3rd Circuit Court judge will consider next month tossing the remaining defamation charges made by two Hawaii County election workers fired a year ago. Tribune-Herald.

The state Department of Transportation won’t be taking bids on improvements to the Kawaihae Road intersection with Queen Kaahumanu Highway for another two years. West Hawaii Today.


Gov. Neil Abercrombie today officially received three names from the Hawaii Democratic Party to be considered for the vacant House District 9 seat left vacant by Gil Keith-Agaran, who is now a state senator. Maui News.

The Maui Police Department will launch a new Crisis Intervention Team Program this week, the first of its kind in the state, according to department officials. Maui Now.

Small nonfarm businesses in Kalawao and Maui counties are eligible to apply for low-interest federal disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration to offset economic losses caused by the drought that began this year. Maui News.

Having developed Maui-made Ocean Vodka into a successful brand over the last six years, the Smith family is now positioning the company for expansion with the addition of a new facility to streamline operations and allow the business to branch out in the luxury alcoholic beverage market. Maui News.


The Cost Control Commission will not to pursue a proposal to raise the minimum age to qualify for an age-related real property tax exemption, they decided Monday, as it would not have meant savings for the administration in processing time and the revenues may not have been significant. Garden Island.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has intensified its efforts this week to locate Peter Heckman, offering a $10,000 reward for information that leads to capture and arrest of the Kauai fugitive who allegedly is the mastermind of a $1.2 million investment scheme. Hawaii Reporter.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has launched a new campaign and offered a new reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to the arrest of Peter Heckman, a former Kaua‘i resident accused of operating a Ponzi scheme out of his recording studio. Garden Island.

Randy Francisco, the Kaua‘i Chamber of Commerce President and CEO, held a first-of-its-kind press conference yesterday, uniting business leaders with county officials to show that Kaua‘i is a safe place in light of the recent crimes that have depicted Kaua‘i negatively. Garden Island.


The Hawaii Department of Transportation is looking for architectural and engineering firms to help update the master plan and noise program at Lanai Airport. Pacific Business News.


A former employee has been ordered to share in repaying more than $3,500 stolen from the Molokai satellite office of the Maui County Division of Motor Vehicles & Licensing. Maui News.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Raises coming to public workers, Souki solidifies House leadership, top Honolulu cop gets rave reviews, early childhood education advances, tourism limited on Molokai, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2013 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Aloha Festival parade (c) 2013 All Hawaii News
Major events such as the Aloha Festivals, the Honolulu Marathon and the Pro Bowl Block Party are good for Waikiki because they attract visitors and improve quality of life for kamaaina, according to 85.6 percent of respondents in a recent survey. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Tourism Authority President and CEO Mike McCartney is preparing for the upcoming legislative session by meeting with the Legislature’s money committees to discuss the HTA’s role in supporting the state's economy. Pacific Business News.

State Rep. Joseph Souki solidified his claim as House speaker Wednesday after a private caucus among Demo­crats. Star-Advertiser.

They want Joe Souki. That was the message a majority of Hawaii House Democrats sent Wednesday afternoon during a private caucus at the Capitol Building, according to lawmakers who attended. Civil Beat.

Attitudes toward marijuana and marijuana laws is the subject of a statewide poll, the results of which will be discussed during a presentation tomorrow in Honolulu. Maui Now.

Thousands of public workers are about to get a raise in an arbitration award sources tell KHON2 is imminent. KHON2.

Problems with the 2012 election and continued low voter turnout are sparking a number of legislative proposals this year. Civil Beat.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie said Wednesday that it is unfair to expect public schools to meet more rigorous performance standards when so many children enter kindergarten unprepared because they have not attended preschool. Star-Advertiser.

The State of Hawaii is committed to giving its keiki the best opportunity for school success and a strong early childhood education program is a proven way toward that, Gov. Neil Abercrombie affirmed at a press conference today at Seagull School’s Early Education Center. Hawaii Reporter.

After listening to a group of chubby-cheeked preschoolers sing to him, the governor on Wednesday unveiled his plan to provide a publicly funded early learning program for all of Hawaii's 4-year-olds. Civil Beat.

State leaders want to give all kids a chance to succeed in school and they hope they can do that with an early start. Hawaii News Now.

The Navy wants to retire the Pearl Harbor-based USS Port Royal, the youngest Ticonderoga-class cruiser in the fleet and a ship with prized ballistic missile defense capability. Star-Advertiser.

State roundup for January 9. Associated Press.


The Honolulu Police Commission gave glowing marks to Police Chief Louis Kealoha in his third annual evaluation, which was released Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

Former Hawaii Gov. Ben Cayetano says he plans to appeal a recent federal court ruling on Honolulu rail that will allow the $5.26 billion project to proceed. Civil Beat.

Decked out in jeans and a Hawaii Fire Fighters Association T-shirt, Mayor Kirk Caldwell shoveled hot-mix asphalt into a car-alignment-killing crater on Gulick Avenue in Kalihi Wednesday morning. Star-Advertiser.

Kirk Caldwell said he was going to get out from behind the desk and go into the public.  Potholes are one of the biggest things people complain about so he's taking the complaints about potholes and doing something about it. Hawaii News Now.

A community briefing on proposed revisions to the Oahu General Plan is set for 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Mon., Jan. 14 at the Castle High School cafeteria, 45-386 Kaneohe Bay Drive. Honolulu Weekly.

The Honolulu Department of Planning and Permitting has released the 2013 affordable housing income limits, which are used to qualify purchasers and set prices for affordable units as part of Unilateral Agreement conditions adopted in zone change amendments. Hawaii Reporter.

Queen’s Medical Center-West Oahu will nearly double the capacity of its emergency and operating departments when it opens in Ewa in February 2014. Star-Advertiser.

The Big Island has once again been designated a natural disaster area by the U.S. Department of Agriculture because of an ongoing drought and its impact on farmers. Tribune-Herald.

After reassurance from the county Finance Department that its borrowing of short-term promissory notes actually saved taxpayers money, the Ethics Board on Wednesday dismissed a complaint that the county bond transactions weren’t above-board. West Hawaii Today.

The Hawaii County Council is sticking with a new mileage policy that allows members to receive $350 a month no matter how much they drive. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi is starting his second four year term.  Following a close election, his first order of business now is the county budget. Hawaii Public Radio.

The state’s involvement in updating a whale sanctuary management plan has triggered the need for an environmental impact statement. West Hawaii Today.

Consumer concern about genetically modified, or GMO, fruit remains strong, and last year’s big papaya industry news hasn’t resulted in bigger shipments from Hawaii to Japan — at least not yet, as Hawaii growers are charting a new course for transgenic papaya in Japan. Tribune-Herald.

Nearly a year after public discussion about the urgent need for a major overhaul of Kahului Airport's 71-year-old, 7,000-foot main runway, state Department of Transportation officials remain undecided about which repair option to choose and how long Maui's air overseas lifeline would need to be closed, if at all. Maui News.

The National Park Service has named Natalie Gates as the new superintendent of Haleakala National Park. Star-Advertiser.

Natalie Gates has been named as the new superintendent of Haleakala National Park. Maui News.

Maui Memorial Park is planning to rebuild 153 feet of wall, within the next three to four weeks, cemetery officials said this week. Maui News.

Maui's largest photovoltaic system and the island's first commercial-sized carport photovoltaic system will be dedicated by Mayor Alan Arakawa at 9 a.m. Monday at the Kihei Aquatic Center, a county announcement said. Maui News.


It is still legal to drink alcohol late at night in county parks. What apparently is an oversight caused late-night prohibition in county parks to be omitted in the current version of the County Code. Garden Island.

The Department of Water announced it will hold four public meetings to allow community members to comment on a possible new rate structure for its Water System Development Fee. Garden Island.

A cluster of portable restrooms in Po‘ipu Beach Park have left some visitors questioning its sanitary condition. Garden Island.


Representatives from the state, American Safari Cruises and the Molokai community signed an historic "Molokai Community Agreement" outlining visits to Molokai. KITV4.