Showing posts with label wildfire. Show all posts
Showing posts with label wildfire. Show all posts

Thursday, May 30, 2024

HECO unveils power shutoff plan for wildfires, Turtle Bay sale rebrands as Ritz-Carlton, food insecurity grows, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaiian Electric lays out initial plan for wildfire prevention power shutoffs. About 48,000 Hawaiian Electric customers on four islands should start preparing for power shutoffs possibly lasting several hours to a few days under a new effort to prevent wildfires during high-risk weather conditions. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.  Tribune-Herald.  Big Island Video News. Maui Now.  Hawaii News Now.  KITV4.

Hawaii Council On Revenues Trims Its State Tax Collection Estimate.
The Council on Revenues is projecting that state government will have about $65 million less to spend this fiscal year than lawmakers and Gov. Josh Green’s administration had anticipated during the past legislative session. Civil Beat.

Hawaii bills address two very different uses for AI.
Hawaii is preparing for the advent of artificial intelligence through a pair of proposed laws on the verge of passage. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii Foodbank shares concerns over food insecurity. Nearly one in three households in the state experienced food insecurity last year, and in 29% of households with children, at least one child faced food insecurity, according to the Hawaii Foodbank’s 2023 report released Wednesday. Star-Advertiser. Tribune-Herald. KITV4.

Feeding Kids Can Be Tough For Some Hawaii Charter Schools. Without state funding, principals say they need to find creative solutions to offer lunches to their students. Civil Beat.

COVID is on the rise in Hawaii; possible summer wave ahead. Health officials on Wednesday reported an average positivity rate of 10.5%, up from 8.5% the previous week. On May 1, the average positivity rate was at 4.3%. The seven-day average reported Wednesday reached 100 per day, double what it was mid-May. Star-Advertiser.

Virginia Beck reflects on 20 years of engaging the public in the legislative process. Virginia Beck has been the head coordinator at the Public Access Room for nearly 10 years, and has worked there for almost 20. She will retire at the end of the week. Hawaii Public Radio.

Oahu

Turtle Bay Resort sold and to be rebranded as Ritz-Carlton. A Maryland-based lodging and real estate investment firm said Wednesday that it has entered into an agreement to acquire the 450-room Turtle Bay Resort and nearby land for at least $680 million. Star-Advertiser.

Blangiardi signs resolution creating standalone Ocean Safety Department. Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi signed a resolution creating a standalone Ocean Safety Department in a ceremony at Honolulu Hale on Wednesday afternoon. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

City salaries resolution closer to 2024 ballot. The Honolulu City Council resolutions urging voter-approved charter amendments to overhaul how the city pays its employees were reduced to one this week. Star-Advertiser.

City cannot recoup $12.5M from man facing gun, drug charges. The 38-year-old man awarded $12.5 million after he sued the city following injuries suffered in a 2021 police pursuit appeared in court Wednesday to face federal charges that he used a ghost gun while selling methamphetamine in Waianae. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Judge Orders New Environmental Review Of West Oahu Wave Pool.
A judge has halted plans for an artificial wave pool until developers can revise an environmental assessment to address concerns raised by Native Hawaiians and others who say the project is unnecessary in the birthplace of surfing and a waste of water. Associated Press.

‘Honolulu is the safest place to visit in the world’ . According to a survey conducted by Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection, Honolulu is the safest place to visit in the world. KHON2.

Hawaii Island

Hawaiʻi Food Insecurity Highest On Big Island, Report Finds. Food insecurity rates were reported to be the highest of Hawaiʻi island (40%), followed by Maui (31%) and Oʻahu (28%). Big Island Video News.  Big Island Now.

Maui

FEMA seeks over 20 long-term positions on Maui.  FEMA is on a hiring spree to fill nearly two dozen long-term positions on Maui. Departments include media relations, IT, and digital communications. Hawaii News Now.

Red Cross Regional CEO Was Fired After Standing Up For Maui Wildfire Survivors, Lawyer Says. Former Hawaii Red Cross CEO Diane Peters-Nguyen was fired from the nonprofit disaster relief organization in early May after she called for reforms and urged the organization to stop prodding Maui wildfire victims to move off-island, her attorney says.  Civil Beat.

Maui Fire battalion chief charged with sexually assaulting minor. Prosecutors on Wednesday charged a veteran Maui Fire Department battalion chief with first-degree sexual assault and continuous sexual assault of a minor under 14 years old. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Maui’s police chief defends pricey night-vision chopper request.
Maui Police Chief John Pelletier wants to invest $24 million over the next decade on a helicopter program that he says will improve safety in the county.  Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Maui Fire Survivor Gets Kicked Out Of Emergency Shelter In Hotel While Away On A Work Trip. The Lahaina businesswoman had made prior arrangements with the Red Cross but says she's not inclined to fight its decision since the program is winding down anyway. Civil Beat.

Kauai


DLNR says it found no evidence cruise ship violated state rule. The Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources today said it failed to find any evidence that a Celebrity Cruise Lines ship violated state rules while sailing off Kauai’s Na Pali Coast earlier this month. Star-Advertiser. 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.

Oahu

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

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.

Kauai

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, April 8, 2024

House bill requires governor to make reports before emergency funding, wildfire risk increases after wet winter, single Maui power pole may have set off wildfire, lawsuit filed over geothermal plant expansion, proposed Big Island vacation rental limits attacked, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

House passes bill requiring governor to submit reports when using emergency grants.  The House passed a measure that requires the governor to submit reports to the state Legislature 14 days before using grants, including federal aid, received through emergency management powers. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii Faces An Above Normal Risk Of Significant Wildfires Over The Next Three Months. A wetter-than-expected winter combined with an impending dry summer spells a risky few months for fire in Hawaii. Civil Beat.

Oahu


Honolulu City Council members say they‘ll reject 3% pay hike.
All nine members of the Honolulu City Council appear to be unified on one issue: to formally reject the city Salary Commission’s proposed 3% salary increase granted to their respective Council seats last month. Star-Advertiser.

Weapons violations and homicides on Oahu are up compared to the first quarter of last year while crime overall is down, Honolulu police Chief Arthur “Joe” Logan told the Honolulu Police Commission. Star-Advertiser.

Chinatown’s Syringe Exchange Van Faces Hurdles Finding A Permanent Brick-And-Mortar Home. The program has been operating out of a mobile van for about 35 years. Civil Beat.

Community worries about state’s possible acquisition of ‘Bethel Block’.  After Hawaii Pacific University moved out of Fort Street Mall to Aloha Tower Market Place, HB 2328 would allow the state to acquire “Bethel Block” — the Ohia Building, the Blaisdell Building and the Whitlow Building that sit between Bethel Street, Pauahi Street, Fort Street and Chaplain Lane — to “faci­litate the growth of the State’s inventory of affordable housing units," according to HB 2328. Star-Advertiser.

DOE selects architect to design new multi-use building at Helemano Elementary. The Hawai‘i Department of Education has selected WhiteSpace Architects to design a $16 million multi-use building at Helemano Elementary School, according to a Thursday news release. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii Island

Mayor’s proposed budget up 6.6%. Mayor Mitch Roth and his department heads will be presenting a proposed $888 million budget to the County Council Finance Committee beginning Tuesday. West Hawaii Today. Big Island Video News.

Vacation rentals bill blasted: Commissioners get an earful over proposed TAR regulations. At a marathon eight-hour meeting of the Windward Planning Commission, residents clashed with County Council Chair Heather Kimball over the controversial Bill 121, which would overhaul the county code concerning short-term vacation rentals. Tribune-Herald.

Lawsuit Filed Over Puna Geothermal Environmental Impact Statement. A lawsuit filed over a recently accepted environmental study is seeking a “permanent injunction on any further Puna Geothermal Venture expansion”.  Big Island Video News.

Big power supply problems continue to plague Hawaii Island.  The company has been facing an unusual situation with mechanical problems at three of the island’s five largest power plants while part of the largest plant undergoes an annual overhaul. Star-Advertiser.

‘Acute Problems’ Plaguing Big Island’s Wastewater Treatment Systems Prompt EPA Crackdown. A newly signed consent order will force county officials to make multimillion-dollar upgrades to treatment plants and take steps to eliminate large cesspools. Civil Beat.

Steep rent forces Hawai‘i Keiki Museum to shutter its doors in Kona. The museum, which operates as a nonprofit, opened its doors in 2022 and has been committed to inspiring curiosity, creativity, and innovation in young keiki through hands-on STEAM experiences.  Big Island Now.

Maui

The Most Detailed Account So Far Of The Lahaina Fire Points To One Termite-Damaged Utility Pole. While the public awaits Maui County's official report on the cause of the fire, lawyers for victims and insurers say Pole 7A set off a cascade of events that led to a wall of flame. Civil Beat.

Kahului Housing Project For Fire Survivors Finally Opens. After months of battling red tape, Ohana Hope Village has opened its doors and can house about 500 people. Civil Beat. Maui News.

Council greenlights eminent domain for Central Maui Landfill expansion. The Council in its meeting Friday authorized eminent domain proceedings to gain legal access to land planned for the expansion of the Central Maui Landfill. Maui Now.

Lahaina harbor reopening timeline depends on funds. Lahaina Small Boat Harbor sustained $30 million worth of damage in the Aug. 8 Maui wildfire and its destruction continues to hit Maui’s activities and attractions market hard, leaving many commercial boating operations and about 1,000 industry workers in limbo.  Star-Advertiser.

Maui Voters Created A Public Water Board. Two Years Later, Are Vested Interests Dragging Their Feet? The community board that governs the fledgling East Maui Water Authority took longer to get up and running than voters envisioned when they created it via county charter amendment in late 2022. Civil Beat.

Lahaina residents are turning anger into action through legislative advocacy. With about 3,000 fire survivors still living in hotel limbo, Maui’s housing crisis is far from over. Hawaii Public Radio.

Kauai

Coco Palms developer, state officials deny claims of burial disturbances. The developer rebuilding the Coco Palms Resort has firmly denied public claims that Native Hawaiian burials were unearthed and moved during construction work at the Wailua site, an assertion also supported by government officials following a preliminary investigation.  Kauai Now.

Domestic passenger count drops in March at Lihu‘e Airport. The number of people getting off domestic passenger flights at Lihu‘e Airport sank to its lowest total for the month of March since the COVID-19 era. Garden Island.

Viewing site at Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge to open public at end of April. The new viewpoint site will be the primary location for the public to visit the Hanalei NWR, where the public can safely view the many sensitive endangered species and habitats in the valley from a distance. Kauai Now.

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Legislature tackles wildfire prevention, patient ratios, clean elections, fireworks, recreational marijuana; ex-Sen. English to get early prison release; Miske trial resumes, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Lawmakers Are Working On Ways To Whack Hawaii’s Fire-Fueling Weeds. Senators have signaled an early willingness to spend state money on mowing down Hawaii’s invasive grasses as they consider a bevy of bills geared toward avoiding another deadly wildfire.  Civil Beat.

Federal order releases former senator Kalani English from prison early. English’s sentence was supposed to be 40 months from Aug. 2022, but now he will be getting out after 32 months. He pleaded guilty to Honest Services Wire Fraud in Feb. 2022, after trading cash and other gifts for a draft on cesspool and wastewater policy with a businessman. KHON2.

Bill for ‘clean elections’ has widespread public support. Senate Bill 2381 is a so-called “clean elections” bill that would establish a system for candidates in state and county public elections to be eligible for a certain amount of public financing, beginning in 2028. Tribune-Herald.

State Senate bill covers a key issue expressed by nurses who have gone on strike.
Members from the Hawai‘i Nurses’ Association testified during a hearing about the need to establish and enforce staff-to-patient ratios at health care facilities across the state. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii Public Radio.

Senate Committee to hear testimony on bill to legalize recreational marijuana. The discussion on legalizing marijuana begins as members of the State Senate take up the matter during a public hearing this morning during a joint Health and Human Services and Judiciary committees meeting. Big Island Now.

Legislators look to ban consumer fireworks statewide. There are efforts to significantly reduce consumer fireworks throughout the state, proposed law seeks to only allow fireworks at permitted cultural events. KHON2.

Kaniela Ing Faces More Charges Of Campaign Spending Violations. The former state lawmaker could be penalized more than $18,000 for failure to keep financial records and filing false reports. Civil Beat.

Hawaiʻi to build out housing services with Medicaid under new federal program.
The Housing and Services Partnership Accelerator supports states that are using Medicaid funds for programs that help people secure and maintain stable housing. Hawaii Public Radio.

HECO conducting utility pole audit on Maui, Oʻahu and Hawaiʻi Island. Hawaiian Electric Co. is conducting an inventory audit of attachments on utility poles throughout Maui, and Oʻahu and Hawai‘i Island as well, according to an announcement. Maui Now.

Oahu

Blangiardi announces reelection bid for Honolulu mayor
. Four years to the day from his announcement that he would run for his first political office, Mayor Rick Blangiardi announced Monday that he’ll seek reelection. Star-Advertiser. KHON2.  KITV4.

Attorney for HPD officer in crash disputes witness claims, says he wasn’t intoxicated. An attorney representing the Honolulu police officer reportedly seen tossing what appeared to beer bottles from his department-subsidized vehicle following a crash last month in Wahiawa is adamant Tyson Chun was not driving intoxicated and is innocent of any wrongdoing. Hawaii News Now.

Miske Trial Resumes After Weeklong Recess Due To Juror Illness. Sara Tufele, who has a child with one of Miske's former top associates, testified that she felt threatened after her boyfriend began cooperating with authorities. Civil Beat. KITV4.

Murdered child’s guardians face life without parole as lawmakers consider child welfare reforms. After three people were charged with the child abuse and neglect murder of 10-year-old Geanna Bradley, there are renewed calls to toughen the program designed to protect children in the foster care system. Hawaii News Now. KHON2. KITV4.

Labor-trafficking case against couple is dismissed.
Oahu Circuit Judge Shanlyn Park dismissed labor- trafficking felony charges against a Palolo couple accused of bringing a woman and her then 15-year-old daughter from Guam to Hono­lulu in 2021, beating and forcing them to perform work, locking the girl in their apartment and taking their passports and money. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Kona Airport begins runway repairs, closing overnight operations. Starting Tuesday, the state Department of Transportation will close the Kona airport for 15 consecutive nights to conduct runway repairs. Hawaii Public Radio.

Animal Control recruitment, staffing ‘probably our biggest issue,’ administrator says.
Matthew Runnels, administrator of the recently created Animal Control and Protection Agency, made a presentation Tuesday to the County Council’s Communications, Reports and Council Oversight Committee about finding his agency’s footing since it took over the county’s animal control duties in July. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Maui County Finance Director, Scott Teruya on administrative leave with pay. County officials could not provide details on the reason behind the action.  Maui Now.

Board to oversee rebuilding on Maui is proposed. A proposal to facilitate rebuilding fire-ravaged Lahaina, perhaps with new land-use rules and funding governed by a community- based board, is slated for discussion Wednesday at the state Legislature. Star-Advertiser.

Lahaina Death Trap: The Night Fire Engulfed Kuhua Street. A third of the fire's victims died on a narrow dead-end street in central Lahaina, unable to access an alternative route to safety. Civil Beat.

Maui Police Are Tackling A 30% Job Vacancy Rate By Opening A New Recruiting Center. Officers want to show their personal investment in potential hires as the department tries to fill the empty positions. Civil Beat.

Kauai


DLNR to auction off leases for west Kaua’i cabins. Annual leases for seven cabins in the Kōke’e recreation residence community will be auctioned to the public in mid-April by the state Department of Land and Natural Resources. Kauai Now.

Southwest flight safely lands on Kaua‘i following fistfight midair. Southwest officials say flight 1288 landed safely as scheduled and local authorities met the aircraft upon arrival. Kauai Now.

Wednesday, November 8, 2023

State board mulls Thirty Meter Telescope permit, broadband plan tackles dead zones, Maui Council to meet on Office of Recovery funding, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Board hears arguments over TMT permit. Defining the word “construction” took up a large part of a more than three-hour Tuesday hearing that could determine whether a permit to develop the controversial Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea is valid. Star-Advertiser. Tribune-HeraldBig Island Video News.

Covid Funds Help Hawaii Schools Tackle Absenteeism. What Happens When Those Are Gone?. While chronic absenteeism improved across the state last year, some groups of students still lag behind in their attendance rates. Civil Beat.

US ambassador to the United Nations stops in Hawaiʻi en route to Cook Islands. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield is leading the United States delegation to the 52nd Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting. Hawaii Public Radio.

Transportation Department hopes to expand Red Light Safety program statewide. The Red Light Safety Camera Pilot Program has been “live” for a year and still has another year to go but officials are already hoping to expand the program, citing a decline in red light runners. But there are still a few issues that need to be ironed out, including how to ensure citations are paid. KHON2.

Broadband initiative targets lack of access and slow internet speeds. The state is releasing hundreds of millions of dollars for initiatives to connect more people to the internet — and improve services for those already online. The federal initiative recognizes that internet access is no longer considered a luxury. Hawaii News Now. Civil Beat.

Oahu

Audit finds long delays in Honolulu Department of Design and Construction projects. Honolulu improvement projects have been plagued by delays, according to the findings in a recent audit of the city’s Department of Design and Construction. Hawaii Public Radio.

Wage Bump Aims To Stem Departure Of Honolulu’s Deputy Prosecutors. In the midst of a workforce shortage, some city positions are getting big pay boosts. Civil Beat.

Makiki affordable rental project completed. Constructed in prefabricated concrete in under nine months, the building at 1427 Ernest St. will offer 24 studio apartments and two one-bedroom units, on a more than 5,300-square-foot property. Star-Advertiser. KHON2.

Ex-Mililani Athletic Director Gets Probation For Booster Club Theft. Glenn Nitta pleaded no contest to the theft of more than $400,000. Civil Beat.  Star-Advertiser.

Wildfire concerns revive pleas for new emergency evacuation routes on Oahu. Three months since the Maui fires and communities all over Hawaii are re-thinking their own safety plans, including coastal areas on Oahu where thousands of people have no alternate escape routes. Critical areas include the west side, the North Shore, and the Windward side. Hawaii News Now.

Wildfire burns 1,638 acres above Mililani Mauka, 90% contained
. Honolulu Fire Department officials say that they are transferring command of the Mililani Mauka firefighting efforts to the U.S. Fire and Wildlife Service, now that the remote wildfire is 90% contained with only “isolated smoldering pockets.” Star-Advertiser.

Stalled Train Temporarily Halts Service Along Skyline. No passengers were on board that driverless train, city officials say. They haven't said what may have stalled it. Civil Beat.

Honolulu Police Department warns of recent extortion scam. The Honolulu Police Department is warning the public about a rise in extortion cases over the past several weeks in which perpetrators impersonate law enforcement. Star-Advertiser. KITV4.

Hawaii Island

Hawaiian Home Lands Seeks $6M To Test For Geothermal Power. Research identifies DHHL lands in three areas of the Big island that show promise for development for geothermal power production. Civil Beat.

Big Isle police mourn death of former colleague. When former Hawaii Police Department officer Nicholas C.K. McDaniel was laid to rest Saturday in Post Falls, Idaho, numerous Big Island officers attended his funeral. Tribune-Herald.

150 Narcan kits given to Hawai‘i County to aid in fight against fentanyl
. The Hawai‘i Island Fentanyl Task Force donated 150 Narcan kits to Hawai‘i County as part of the ongoing effort to combat the spread of fentanyl in the Big Island community as concern grows surrounding opioid overdoses. Big Island Now. Tribune-Herald.

Maui


Special council meeting to consider bill to fund the new Office of Recovery. The Maui County Council will hold a special council meeting Thursday, Nov. 9 at 9 a.m. to consider Bill 114, which seeks to: fund the new Office of Recovery; and add new conditional language for a Lahaina Wildfire Final Disposition site in Olowalu. Maui Now.

Maui Realtor’s Fire Relief Fundraiser Under Audit From AG’s Office. Churches who were recipients of money from Eric West have provided limited details of how they have spent it, but they are not required to do so. Civil Beat.

$54M contract awarded for temporary Lahaina elementary school. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has awarded a $53.7 million base contract to a Waianae-based company to build a temporary elementary school campus for students displaced from King Kamehameha III Elementary School, which was destroyed in the August wildfire.  Maui News. Civil Beat. Maui Now.

Recovery still on the horizon for Lahaina.  Gov. Josh Green is slated to provide a 90-day update on the Maui wildfire recovery efforts at noon today from the Governor’s Conference Room on the fifth floor of the state Capitol. Star-Advertiser.

Kauai

Visitor spending crosses $2B mark on Kaua‘i. The spending total climbed to $2.05 billion for the nine-month period ended Sept. 30 from $1.69 billion in the nine-month period ended Sept. 30, 2022, and $1.46 billion in the pre-pandemic nine-month period ended Sept. 30, 2019. Garden Island.

House Finance Committee visits Kaua‘i. Members of the House Finance Committee, led by Chair Kyle T. Yamashita, and the Kauaʻi delegation consisting of House Majority Leader Nadine K. Nakamura, House Majority Floor Leader Dee Morikawa, and Rep. Luke A. Evslin made its way to the Garden Isle to view firsthand several projects and programs supported by the Legislature. Kauai Now.

Monday, November 6, 2023

Changes proposed to motorcycle rules, HECO unveils plan to combat wildfire risk, Red Flag warnings continue, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Public hearing scheduled for proposed changes to motorcycle, moped rules. The Hawaiʻi Department of Transportation notifies the public of a hearing scheduled on Nov. 16 from 9 to 11 a.m., for proposed changes to Hawaii Administrative Rules 19-123 “Statewide Motorcycle, Moped, and Motor Scooter Education Courses and Licensing Skill Test Waiver.” Kauai Now.

Hawaiian Electric announces plan to help combat risk of wildfires. Hawaiian Electric on Friday announced a series of statewide strategies to alleviate the risk of wildfires in drought-stricken parts of Hawaii. Company proposes spotters, possible power shutoffs and better technology. Tribune-Herald. Maui News.

Red Flag Warning posted for parts of the state. Trades will strengthen Monday night with gusts up to 50 mph possible over the windiest portions of Maui County and the Big Island. Hawaii News Now.

Mother, Calf Whale Pairs Spotted In Hawaiʻi Waters. The appearance of the humpback whale pairs warrants extra care by ocean users, the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary says.  Big Island Video News.

Oahu

Honolulu Planning Commission to decide fate of landfill selection process. The Honolulu Planning Commission plans to make a decision in early 2024 on the city’s request for a two-year extension to find an alternate site for the 34-year-old Waimanalo Gulch Sanitary Landfill in Kapolei. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu Fire Department was kept busy on Sunday with the Red Flag Warning not making things any easier as they dealt with several fire incidents across Oahu. The Honolulu Fire Department was kept busy on Sunday with the Red Flag Warning not making things any easier as they dealt with several fire incidents across Oahu. KHON2.   KITV4.

Mililani Mauka fire 85% contained amid challenging red-flag weather. Firefighters on Oahu continue to battle a large wildfire above Mililani Mauka that was 85% contained Sunday, and knocked downed five other brush fires and a building fire on a “red flag” weather day that put the state on edge in the aftermath of the deadly Lahaina inferno. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

Drunken Day At A Bar Led To This Detective’s 99-Day Suspension. Other officers on scene said the off-duty detective was "code black," police jargon for when someone is totally out of control. Civil Beat.

Manufactured compostable waste to be accepted in Oahu’s green recycling bins. By 2025, specially designed plastic, paper and other materials that easily break down in the environment will be accepted inside Oahu curbside collection bins typically reserved for grass clippings, broken tree branches and raked leaves. Star-Advertiser.

Little fire ant infestations spread across Oahu. There are now more than 30 active sites of little fire ants across over 200 acres — from Kahuku down the entire Windward coastline to Hawaii Kai and Kahala. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Fire chief talks wildfire readiness during council meeting.
Members of the County Council questioned Fire Chief Kazuo Todd on Tuesday about the Hawaii Fire Department’s ability to prevent or respond to a wildfire on the scale of the August blaze that devastated Lahaina. Tribune-Herald.

Project To Remove Facilities At Puʻuhonua o Hōnaunau Moves Forward. The National Park Service will be able to move forward with a plan to remove and replace park maintenance facilities at Puʻuhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park, now that a Finding of No Significant Impact has been published.  Big Island Video News.

Kona coffee farms head into this year’s festival with healthier crops. Entering  the 52nd annual Kona Coffee Cultural Festival that runs through Nov. 12, farmers are celebrating higher yields and healthier crops throughout the Kona region due to more rain and better management of the killer fungus.  Big Island Now.

Several county park projects near completion. Numerous improvement projects in parks and recreational facilities across Hawaii County are nearing the finish line as the Parks and Recreation Department sets goals for next year. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

4 Lahaina schools to close Monday due to red flag warning. King Kamehameha Elementary, Princess Nahienaena Elementary, Lahaina Intermediate and Lahainaluna High School will be closed to students and staff out of an abundance of caution, according to a news release from the Hawaii Department of Education. Star-Advertiser. Maui Now.

300 temporary jobs available for workers impacted by fires. Three hundred temporary jobs to help with debris removal, damage cleanup and humanitarian aid are available for residents impacted by the Maui wildfires, the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations announced Friday.  Maui News.

Job, housing insecurities mount as Maui tourism disaster adds to devastation. Tourism reopened to all of Maui Wednesday but the economic fallout from the Aug. 8 wildfires in Maui, the deadliest in modern U.S. history, is still unfolding and recovery is unlikely to come soon enough to stem all of the pain points. Star-Advertiser.

Lahaina’s Filipino Community Is Fighting For Its Voice. The Maui Filipino Chamber of Commerce applied for money from the Hawaii Community Foundation but did not get approval for funding. Civil Beat.

Lahaina Families Frustrated Over Lack Of Child Care Options. The historic Maui town, which already suffered from a child care shortage, lost 255 licensed seats in the August wildfires. Civil Beat.

Mahi Pono to bring more crops to packing facility.
Company currently packing citrus; coffee, potatoes, onions up next. In a 117,000-square-foot warehouse behind the old Puunene Mill lies Mahi Pono’s new packing facility, which will now make it easier to pack some of its produce for sale.  Maui News.

Kauai

County passes resolution in support of Filipino social studies course.
Following the announcement that two high schools on O‘ahu are set to become the first public schools in the country to offer a course on Filipino history and culture, Kaua‘i County Council member Addison Bulosan introduced a resolution last week in hopes of getting a course started on Kaua‘i. Garden Island.

Mosquito suppression pilot project to save Kaua‘i forest birds concludes.
A team of researchers working to prevent the extinction of Hawai‘i’s endangered forest birds through the release of incompatible mosquitoes in Koke‘e are set to conclude a 10-day pilot project on Saturday, Nov. 4. Garden Island.




Thursday, November 2, 2023

State lawmakers lay out wildfire prevention roadmap, one more Maui fire victim identified, evidence released in advance of HPD crash trial, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii Lawmakers Propose ‘Bold Action’ To Address Wildfire Risk. The Aug. 8 Maui fires have created “one of the largest public policy challenges that Hawaii has ever faced,” state lawmakers said Wednesday in laying out details in six preliminary reports aimed at providing a roadmap for the 2024 Legislature to follow in addressing shortcomings in the state’s wildfire prevention and management efforts. Civil Beat.

Wildfire named Hawaii’s top hazard in new report. The Hawai‘i Emergency Management Agency released the recently updated State Hazard Mitigation Plan on Wednesday. Star-Advertiser. Tribune-Herald.

Recent laser incidents on Kauai, Maui prompt FBI warning. Pilots are reporting several laser-pointing incidents while landing at airports on Kauai and Maui, prompting warnings by the FBI and police that those responsible face federal prosecution.  Star-Advertiser. Maui Now.

UH Foundation launches $1 billion fundraising drive.  The University of Hawaii Foundation on Wednesday launched the public phase of an ambitious $1 billion fundraising campaign aimed at support for students, UH research, Native Hawaiian stewardship, sustainability, Hawaii’s workforce, community engagement and innovation and entrepreneurship. Star-Advertiser. Maui Now.  Hawaii News Now.

Family celebrates as Hawaii woman stuck in Gaza gains her freedom. Family members of Ramona Okumura were celebrating Wednesday after the 71-year-old aid worker originally from Hawaii was whisked out of war-torn Gaza to safety in Egypt. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii Public Radio.  Tribune-Herald.  KHON2.

Oahu

Prosecutors detail evidence ahead of trial against 4 HPD officers in near-fatal crash. The city Prosecutor’s Office has revealed some of the evidence they plan to show the jury in the upcoming trial for four Honolulu police officers. Officers Joshua Nahulu is charged with collision involving serious bodily injury. Officers Erik Smith, Jake Bartolome and Robert Lewis are charged with hindering prosecution and conspiracy. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu Confirms New Member Of Police Commission. Jeannine Souki replaces Shannon Alivado, who stepped down in October. Civil Beat.

Two New Liquor Commissioners Confirmed By Honolulu Council. The Honolulu City Council confirmed two new liquor commissioners on Wednesday, updating the membership of a body that has been a subject of controversy in recent years.  Civil Beat.

Helicopters continue dropping water on Mililani Mauka wildfire. A wildfire in Central Oʻahu has grown to cover more than a square mile in a remote mountainous area and has burned native koa and ʻōhiʻa trees, officials said.  Associated Press. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.  KITV4.

Jewish temple in Nuuanu beefs up security. The largest Jewish temple in Hawaii is trying to raise $50,000 to pay for armed guards and enhanced security in the wake of the Oct. 7 Hamas attack in Israel. Star-Advertiser. KITV4.

Lab-Grown Corals Help Restore Damaged Reef In Hanauma Bay
. The project demonstrated how it may be possible to restore larger areas much more quickly than would happen naturally. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Island

Hawaiʻi County Council passes resolution to strengthen island's fire department. The Hawaiʻi County Council passed a resolution urging Mayor Mitch Roth to increase the capacity of and funding for the Hawaiʻi Fire Department. Hawaii Public Radio.

Council takes step toward more South Kohala affordable housing. The Hawaii County Council on Wednesday approved a resolution authorizing the director of finance to negotiate a 68-year lease with Pacific Housing Assistance Corporation/Kamakoa Nui Limited Partnership to develop Na Hale Makoa in Waikoloa Village. Tribune-Herald.

Kalaoa Solar Project meeting on Nov. 13, open to public. The public is invited to attend an informational meeting about the Kalaoa Solar Project, a proposed 40-acre renewable energy facility on state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands property in Kalaoa. West Hawaii Today.

Car dealership to occupy property currently housing Millie’s Deli, New Saigon restaurant. A plan by a Hilo car dealership to relocate to a new location blindsided business owners who say they weren’t told that the building they sublease was being sold. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Maui police identify Lahaina man, 76, as latest fire fatality. Lee Rogo, 76, was publicly identified after his family was notified. Of the 99 confirmed fatalities, 98 have been publicly identified after notification of next of kin. One victim has not been identified. Star-Advertiser. KITV4.

Native Hawaiians and commercial boat operators clash over Lahaina Harbor, Mala Wharf future. The Maui Arts and Cultural Center was packed on Wednesday with people who are passionate about protecting West Maui. Hawaii News Now.

W. Maui hotel occupancy still mostly residents.
Occupancy rates down but room revenue, daily rates highest in state. Maui News.

Developers: Rising mortgage rates threaten Maui’s wildfire recovery. Prominent Maui developer Everett Dowling is responding by making big changes to one project that was already in the pipeline towards construction.  To keep the project alive while Maui is desperate for new housing, Dowling’s company is proposing dropping the plan from 54 buildings with homes for sale to a simpler, six-building layout with 202 rentals. Hawaii News Now.

Chefs Anticipate Even More Demand To Feed Maui Months After Wildfires. Farm owners and feeding operations are preparing to be in it for the long haul. Civil Beat.

Kauai


Celebrate Arbor Day on Kaua‘i with tree giveaway, more on Nov. 4. The Kauaʻi Landscape Industry Association will host a tree giveaway, educational booths and keiki planting zone at the Kukui Grove Center in Līhuʻe this Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon. Kauai Now.

 

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Slow progress for Hawaii students, Oahu wildfire grows, Lahaina fire victims need financial help, housing, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Test Scores Show Slow Progress For Hawaii Students. While chronic absenteeism improved in Hawaii public schools, there was little improvement in reading and math scores in the 2022-23 school year. Civil Beat.

Hawaiʻi’s waterfall-climbing fish threatened by climate change, human activity. Research out of the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa focused on ʻoʻopu nākea — a type of goby fish found only in Hawaiʻi — to link the importance of the mountain to ocean approach in the stewardship of the state’s natural and cultural resources. Kauai Now.

Oahu

700 acres scorched as crews continue battling wildfire above Mililani Mauka. By 4:30 p.m. Tuesday fire officials said the wildland blaze had grown but that airborne fire crews had suspended operations for that evening. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.  KHON2.

How Recruiting More Women Could Help Police Solve A ‘Staffing Crisis’. Leaders say implementing policies, like paid maternity leave, could help bring more women to the force and improve policing overall. Civil Beat.

Settlement over lack of girls' locker rooms at Campbell High School includes independent evaluator.  A 2018 class-action lawsuit over a lack of locker rooms for female athletes at Hawaii's largest public school has reached a settlement that attorneys say will ensure athletic gender equity at the high school. Associated Press.

Lawmaker wants solar panels over troubled Sunset Memorial Park
. There’s a novel proposal in the works for a Pearl City cemetery that’s been plagued with problems for more than a decade. A local lawmaker wants to install solar panels over Sunset Memorial Park, with hopes of generating money and a solution to its list of problems. KHON2.

Couple convicted in ID theft case. A jury has convicted a Hawaii couple of conspiracy, passport fraud and identity theft for stealing identities and living for decades under the names of dead babies.  Civil Beat. Associated Press.

Health Department issues red placard to Queen’s food vendor. The state Health Department has shut down Cooking Fresh, a food establishment in the lobby at Queen’s Medical Center Physicians Office Building III in Honolulu due to a lack of proper refrigeration. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Hawaii to receive $23.5M for Kawaihae Harbor. The funding will be used to widen the highway adjacent to the port, pave 10 acres in the cargo yard, build new 80-foot mast lighting to replace lower lighting equipment, install conduits and raised transformer pads for expanded reefer plug-ins, and relocate an office building and a maintenance shed. Star-Advertiser. Tribune-Herald.  Big Island Video News.

Council resolution asks government agencies to help mitigate visitor impacts at Kumukahi.
The Hawaii County Council is urging county and state administrations to take steps to preserve the easternmost edge of the Big Island in the face of increasing visitors. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News.

Big Island fire department stations in desperate need of upgrades. After a long day or night of fighting everything from wildfires to house fires, Hawai’i Fire Department Deputy Fire Chief Eric Moller said while they’re grateful to be of service, they wouldn’t mind a little more comfort.  Big Island Now.

DA BUX program gets more funding. Gov. Josh Green has released $500,000 for the DA BUX Double-Up Program, which doubles recipients’ purchasing power for locally grown produce, using their federally funded Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Maui emergency response officials ignored advice, turned down state help in early hours of disaster. Some of the people in charge on the day flames tore through Lahaina rejected the state’s advice ahead of the catastrophic wildfire and even refused extra state help in the early hours of the unfolding disaster. Hawaii News Now.

Lahaina fire survivors cite financial help, housing as greatest needs. Lahaina wildfire survivors cited financial recovery and permanent housing as their greatest needs, according to a recent survey by the state Department of Health. Star-Advertiser.  Maui Now. Hawaii News Now.

Unsafe Water Advisory lifted for remaining areas of Upper Kula. The Department of Water Supply has lifted the Unsafe Water Advisory for Upper Kula, removing the two remaining areas, UK-2B and UK-5. Maui Now.

Kauai

Kaua‘i Community College nursing students get Mokihana Club support. In addition to the $30,000 in awards to current nursing program students, the Mokihana Club announced an additional $10,000 in scholarships awarded to two students, Deva Siblerud, and Mary Hall — both graduates of the KCC Nursing program — who are pursuing Bachelor of Science in Nursing degrees. Garden Island.

Green sea turtles hatch at Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kaua‘i. Green sea turtles nest on beaches in the general area of where they had hatched years earlier. The shoreline at PMRF is ideal for nests, since it is a protected and quiet location with limited human activity and light pollution. Kauai Now.

Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Hawaii tourism takes a hit, police release Lahaina body cam footage, Oahu battles rural wildfire, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii tourism drops, with recovery expected in 2024.  Jack Richards, president and CEO of Pleasant Holidays, said travel to Hawaii was up 16.5% for 2024 before the Maui wildfires in August, and is now negative statewide. Star-Advertiser. KITV4.

Hawaii Halts Work On Another Computer System Upgrade. An effort to redesign and modernize the state’s business registration system has been suspended after a review this year found dozens of defects in the project, according to a consultant’s report. Civil Beat.

Telehealth Has Improved Medical Service To Remote Areas Of Hawaii But More Is Needed. The state made great strides in improving remote access to medical care during Covid, experts say, but barriers remain for many groups. Civil Beat.

State to begin sending out settlement checks from $326M Hawaiian homestead lawsuit. To be a class member, individuals must have applied for Hawaiian Homes by June 30, 1988, and applied to the Hawaiian Home Lands Trust Individual Claims Review Panel between 1991 and 1995. Hawaii Public Radio.

Funding denied to program that helps with transition Hawaii inmates back into community. The program was created to help incarcerated people transition back in their communities by providing support and guidance for when they get out. Worknet Inc., and the Hawaii Friends of Restorative Justice are working together to continue the program. KITV4.

Oahu

Mililani Mauka fire destroys 160 acres. In three hours the blaze in the remote, mountainous area above Mililani Mauka that had consumed an estimated 60 acres by 3 p.m. had literally spread like wildfire to 160 acres in size at 6 p.m. and was 35% contained. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.  Associated Press. Hawaii News Now.

Medical marijuana farm owner says his raided greenhouses supplied 1,000 patients.
The owner of the Care Waialua medical marijuana farm that was raided on Oahu’s North Shore said he supplied nearly 1,000 patients — and they need their medicine. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Hawaii Island

Waikoloa Family Affordable Development Dedicated. The 110-unit housing complex is located on 68-3911 Makana Kai Drive in Waikoloa. The $46 million project was developed by the non-profit Coalition for Specialized Housing and partner GSF LLC, and managed by Locations LLC, the complex serves qualifying families with annual incomes of 60 percent or less of the area median income. Big Island Video News.

Maui

Maui police release Lahaina body camera footage. Maui police officers went house to house, walked seniors down flights of stairs and drove through the streets pleading with people to evacuate on the day a firestorm burned down Lahaina, killing at least 99 and leaving more than 7,000 people homeless. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.  Maui News. Maui Now.  Hawaii News NowKHON2.  KITV4.

Kula fire debris removal to begin in 2-4 weeks; hazardous site assessments start in Lahaina
. The hazardous site assessments of 26 private properties burned in the Aug. 8 wildfire in Kula is complete, paving the way for heavy equipment and crews to begin removing debris in two to four weeks. Maui Now.

Credible missing persons list drops to 4 people unaccounted for from Lahaina fire. Police say there is only one more set of remains to be identified of the 99 known fatalities. To date, 97 people have been publicly identified. Maui Now.

Visitors to Maui in September 2023 following the Lahiana wildfires was half the volume of the same period in 2022. In the month following the Lahaina wildfires, 94,221 visitors came to Maui in September 2023, less than half the volume of September 2022 (219,667 visitors, -57.1%) and September 2019 (210,108 visitors, -55.2%).  Maui Now.

Red Cross: Fire evacuees won’t be kicked out as West Maui fully reopens to tourism. As West Maui prepares to fully open to tourists on Wednesday, the American Red Cross is assuring people that no one staying in hotels under their program will be evicted. Hawaii News Now.

Native Hawaiians push for honoring Maui’s past.  To the outside world there has been no more vivid symbol of the storied history of Lahaina, and its potential for rebirth, than a 150-year-old banyan tree in the center of town whose scarred branches are now, nearly three months after a devastating wildfire, sprouting new, green leaves. New York Times.

Lack Of Native Seeds Spurs Federal Plan To Replant Fire-Loving Invasive Grasses. The proposal surprised local elected officials and conservation groups that had already been working on native seed issues. Civil Beat.

Kauai

Home sales sink at end of summer, median price rises. A stagnant local housing market showed no signs of recovery in the final month of summer, as home sales plunged amid a backdrop of lofty mortgage interest rates. Garden Island.