Friday, April 17, 2015

Thirty Meter Telescope opponents outnumber proponents at Hilo hearing, Honolulu rail bed cracking, retiree benefits could become undone, more government and political news from all the Hawaiian Islands

University of Hawaii at Hilo courtersy photo
Overflow crowd at Hawaii Board of Regents Thirty Meter Telescope hearing, photo courtesy UHH
The University of Hawaii Board of Regents left its meeting Thursday with an overwhelmingly clear message to take home from the Big Island — no Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea. As operator of the mountain’s astronomy precinct and the entity that subleases the land to TMT for the project, opponents say the university must reconsider its support for the $1.4 billion project. Tribune-Herald

The Thirty Meter Telescope took a mighty verbal beat-down Thursday at a special meeting of the University of Hawaii Board of Regents. Hundreds of mostly Native Hawaiians joined hands at UH-Hilo to raise a chorus of opposition before a panel whose members largely weren't in their positions when the $1.4 billion project was approved in 2010 on land subleased by the university. Star-Advertiser.

The University of Hawaii Board of Regents heard hours of testimony during Thursday’s special meeting on the campus of UH-Hilo. The speakers voiced overwhelming opposition to the Thirty Meter Telescope, currently in its construction phase on the summit of Mauna Kea. Big Island Video News.

Hundreds of people packed a special University of Hawaii Board of Regents meeting at UH Hilo Thursday to sound off on plans to build one of the world's largest telescopes at Mauna Kea. Hawaii News Now.

With a time-out announced by the governor, the University of Hawaii Board of Regents heard from both opponents and supporters of the controversial Thirty Meter Telescope project. KHON2.

Supporters of Bill Requiring Autism Coverage Say This is the Year. This is the four straight session in which the Legislature has considered requiring insurance companies to help pay for treatment. Civil Beat.

Led by Rep. Romy Cachola, House lawmakers have pushed forward a plan to effectively undo a law passed in 2013 that forces Hawaii to finally get serious about paying down its massive unfunded liability in retiree health care benefits promised to thousands of public workers. Civil Beat.

Hawaii cannot afford to wait for the Hawaiian Electric Cos. to transform themselves, NextEra Energy Hawaii’s top executive said in a public filing this week with the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission. Pacific Business News


State Attorney General Doug Chin says former state representative and former Honolulu prosecutor Jon Riki Karamatsu has been charged with driving under the influence. Associated Press.

Many of the concrete segments on Honolulu's rail transit system are only a few months old but already cracks are beginning to show. Hawaii News Now.

Rail board meetings will be broadcast on local cable television starting next week, thanks to a push by the public and lawmakers for more transparency into the cash-strapped transit project. Star-Advertiser.


A meeting slated for next week at which Mayor Billy Kenoi typically would appear to make his county budget request before the Hawaii County Council could also serve as an opportunity for Big Island voters to ask questions about his personal use of the county's purchasing card, but the embattled mayor might not show up. Star-Advertiser.

A  large national laboratory has joined forces with the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority for the installation of an energy storage demonstration system in Kona. West Hawaii Today.


A $224,050 contract for materials, labor, transportation, tools, equipment, machinery and services needed to install and complete repairs to the Kilauea District Park gymnasium was awarded on Tuesday to Pacific Blue Construction, LLC, a Lihue-based general contractor. Garden Island.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Hawaii auditor busy, Senate panel clears some Ige appointments but stalls on another, DOT clearing handicapped license backlog, Kenoi mixed official charges with campaigning, Maui to bail out troubled trash program, Thirty Meter Telescope controversy continues, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii Legislature, file photo
2014 was a busy year for the Hawaii State Auditor’s office and with that comes its largest annual report ever. Acting State Auditor Jan Yamane says the 72-page report, published online Wednesday, recaps the 18 audits, analyses and studies the office did on everything from alternate uses of recycled glass to the regulation of medical marijuana dispensaries. Civil Beat.

Jurisdiction over the Hawaii Health Connector’s operations may change dramatically this year, depending on state executive and legislative actions. Ultimately, the future of the health insurance exchange will be dictated by the results of negotiations between the governor and the federal government. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii Senate lawmakers grilled William Bafour on Wednesday about water rights and what he’s learned from his decisions that were overturned by the Supreme Court. The 83-year-old former sugar company executive has been nominated by Gov. David Ige to serve a four-year term on the state Water Commission, which handles disputes over water use. Civil Beat.

The Senate Water and Land Committee has recommended that Arnold Wong, Kent Hiranaga and Linda Estes be confirmed to serve on the state Land Use Commission. Civil Beat.

The state Department of Transportation has assembled a group to begin clearing the backlog of more than 100 applications from disabled and elderly drivers around the state who had been stuck at the state DOT's Medical Advisory Board. Star-Advertiser.

President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration, when fully implemented, will inject an estimated $3 million into Hawaii’s coffers in the form of tax contributions from undocumented immigrants, according to a new report by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. Civil Beat.

The Hawaii Department of Education wants feedback from the public that will help develop a school calendar. The department is asking the public to take an online survey on school calendar models. Associated Press.

New electronic monitoring devices are being tested by the Department of Public Safety as they search for ways to better track work-furlough inmates. Hawaii News Now.


The Queen's Health Systems is in talks with Kuakini Health System on a possible acquisition of the Liliha hospital. Star-Advertiser.

An Oahu correctinal center shut its doors Saturday to family and friends, but the prisoners didn't mind. About 58 volunteers with JustServe Helping Hands worked Saturday morning with inmates and the warden at the Women's Community Correctional Center in Kailua to build a new family waiting lanai. Star-Advertiser.


Mayor Billy Kenoi has mixed political activity with his county business at least twice since taking office, according to a comparison of campaign spending reports with his county credit card statements. West Hawaii Today.

A Hawaii News Now analysis of more than 140 pages of Kenoi's travel and credit card records shows that the mayor collected more than $4,000 in per diems on trips that he also used his pCard to pay his restaurant tabs. The practice of getting money from two sources to pay for the same thing is often called double dipping. Hawaii News Now.

One’s a frequent flyer, another has repaid $1,189 in personal charges on his county-issued credit card, but in general county department heads and other top officials adhere pretty closely to the rules governing the county cards known as pCards. West Hawaii Today.

Digging deeper into Hawaii County pCard use. KHON2.

A county resolution for a new four-year green waste diversion contract with a ceiling of $2.4 million annually has fermented into a 10-year plan for a composter that would handle 60,000 tons of waste and cost around $5 million a year to operate. West Hawaii Today.

A Hawaii County Council committee Tuesday approved $1.5 million in grants for Big Island nonprofit organizations for fiscal year 2015-16. Tribune-Herald.

Not every Native Hawaiian views the Thirty Meter Telescope through the same lens as those who are clamoring for the project's demise. Star-Advertiser.

As protests against the Thirty Meter Telescope continue, a Hawaii Preparatory Academy senior recently started her own online petition to offer support for the $1.4 billion project. Tribune-Herald.

Hashtag Heard ‘Round the World: Social Media Fuels TMT Protests. Supporters of the Thirty Meter Telescope on the Big Island were caught unawares by a frenzy of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter posts. Civil Beat.

A large national laboratory has joined forces with the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority for the installation of an energy storage demonstration system in Kona. West Hawaii Today.


There would be no landfill closures, no halt of trash pickups and no need to lay off workers in late May and June if a resolution is adopted by the Maui County Council to shift funds to make up a budget shortfall in the county's Solid Waste Division. Maui News.

Maui County's auditor and some Maui County Council members Tuesday called for an end to bickering over a recent audit showing the county did not earn $21 million in interest earnings and for moving on to learn from the experience. Maui News.

A group of East Maui taro farmers, fishermen and gatherers recently filed suit against the state, Alexander & Baldwin and others after learning the state granted revocable permits to allow the company to continue to lease land in East Maui for its stream diversions. Maui News.

The Maui Humane Society is embarking on a massive cat sterilization effort to stem the island's overpopulation of feral cats. Associated Press.

An officer and former police chief in New Mexico have filed a lawsuit against the County of Maui and several police officers alleging they were wrongfully arrested while on Maui in July of 2013. Maui Now.


Pono Kai Resort general manager Peter Sit says he has watched the sea behind his Kapaa resort gradually erode a stone wall protecting the shoreline from erosion while county officials worked out plans to have it repaired. Garden Island.

Surfrider Kauai continues to remove the primary cause of injury to humpback whales and other marine life in the Pacific Ocean: derelict fishing nets. Garden Island.

Kapaa residents are trying to repair a historic Japanese stone lantern damaged by strong wind. Associated Press.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Hundreds of WWII remains to be exhumed from Punchbowl Cemetery, Honolulu rail tax advanced, Legislature passes bills during crossover, attorney general begins Kenoi investigation, raises for nurses, Kauai B&Bs fight new law, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
National Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl, courtesy U.S.
Department of Veterans Affairs
The Pentagon announced Tuesday it will take the unprecedented step of exhuming for identification the remains of all 388 sailors and Marines from the USS Oklahoma buried as "unknowns" at Punchbowl cemetery years after the Dec. 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor. Star-Advertiser.

The Pentagon said Tuesday it would exhume and try to identify the remains of nearly 400 sailors and Marines killed when the USS Oklahoma sank in the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Associated Press.

A Major new mission from the Pentagon: dig up the remains of hundreds of servicemen buried at the National Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl. KITV4.

The House and Senate each passed hundreds of bills Tuesday, sending them back to their originating chamber often with big questions to be answered when it comes to funding. Medical marijuana dispensaries, the rail tax, public hospitals, transgender birth certificates, wrongful imprisonment, energy, bullying, mail-in elections and local food were on the long list of legislation that crossed over ahead of Thursday’s deadline. Some still resemble their original form. Others not so much. Civil Beat.

Lawmakers were busy Tuesday passing hundreds of bills that originated in the other house. The state Senate passed 135 House bills while the state House passed nearly 150 Senate measures. KHON2.

Hawaii lawmakers are tackling proposals that aim to fix the troubled health exchange, ban sex trafficking and prevent youth from smoking. Here's a sampling of the hundreds of bills that were passed on Tuesday. Associated Press.

The Hawaii Senate has approved a bill to establish a system of medical marijuana dispensaries nearly 15 years after the drug became legal in the state. The Senate passed the bill Tuesday. The next step is for senators and their colleagues in the House to work out their disagreements on how it should work. Associated Press.

A measure aimed at reining in Hawaii payday loans that can reach as high as 459 percent APR has been stripped of its new proposed cap of 36 percent, despite a legislator’s assurance that wouldn’t happen. Civil Beat.

Public opposition to Gov. David Ige’s nominations to the powerful board that administers the state’s water code is mounting ahead of a key legislative hearing Wednesday. Civil Beat.

Petition to reject Balfour passes 2,500 signatures. Ahead of tomorrow's WTL hearing on the nomination of Bill Balfour to the Water Commission, signatures continue to be added to an online petition urging the rejection of the inappropriate nomination. Hawaii Independent.

Nurses represented by the Hawaii Government Employees Association overwhelmingly ratified a new two-year contract that includes raises of 4 percent per year plus "step movements" that allow them to move up the pay ladder into higher-paid classifications. Star-Advertiser.


A bill that would extend Oahu's rail tax has cleared the Senate, providing state lawmakers the chance to hash out its details — or even kill it — largely in closed-door negotiations leading up to conference committee meetings. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii Senate on Tuesday passed a House bill that would extend the City and County of Honolulu's surcharge on the state's general excise tax for the rail transit project through 2027. Pacific Business News.

With Oahu's plastic bag ban just around the corner, retailers are stocking up for the switch. Island Plastic Bags in Halawa is helping customers prepare for the change at checkout counters that starts July 1. Hawaii News Now.


State Attorney General Doug Chin confirmed Tuesday that he is investigating Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi’s use of his county-issued credit card. West Hawaii Today.

Embattled Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi promised to cooperate with a state attorney general's criminal investigation into his county-financed trips to Honolulu hostess bars and other personal expenses but does not plan to talk about the issue anymore. Star-Advertiser.

The Attorney General of the State of Hawaii will investigate Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi's use of a county-issued credit card, state officials said Tuesday. Hawaii News Now.

Former Big Island Mayor Harry Kim said a government official called him Tuesday morning and asked him if he'd sign an impeachment petition against current Mayor Billy Kenoi, who has apologized for improperly charging more than $30,000 in personal expenses on a county credit card. Hawaii News Now.

An omnibus ethics bill sponsored by Kohala Councilwoman Margaret Wille proved too much to digest Tuesday for County Council members. The council Finance Committee postponed Bill 37, expanding the definition of family members for ethics purposes, changing how county contracts can be awarded to employees and how county facilities and employees’ time can be used for union-endorsed campaigning. West Hawaii Today.

A lawsuit seeking to stop Puna Geothermal Venture from drilling at night will go forward. Hilo Circuit Judge Greg Nakamura on Tuesday denied PGV’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit brought by Puna Pono Alliance and Leilani Estates residents Jon Olson and Hillary E. Wilt. Tribune-Herald.

As Mauna Kea Protests Grow, Some Hawaii Island Residents Worry About Jobs. Activists are calling for the removal of 13 observatories that support a $90 million industry on the Big Island that would grow appreciably with the Thirty Meter Telescope. Civil Beat.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has reimbursed Hawaii County more than $1.6 million in costs incurred while preparing for the lava threat from Kilauea Volcano, but county officials are still hoping for another $10 million — and counting. Star-Advertiser.

There will be no speed humps installed on Nani Kailua Drive. Following a petition by some residents for the traffic-calming devices — and protest by others — Public Works Director Warren Lee has determined the roadway doesn’t qualify for the humps. West Hawaii Today.

Four men have been indicted in connection with allegations that a Speedi Shuttle manager received kickbacks while providing unauthorized payroll checks to employees during a nine-month period ending last year. Maui News.

Maui Economic Opportunity on Saturday celebrated the opening of its new 10-acre transportation facility in Puunene. Maui News.

Home sales on Maui were up in March despite a significant rise in the median home price to $627,500, according to new information released by the Realtors Association of Maui. Maui Now.


Nearly two dozen other visitor accommodation operators on Tuesday asked county Planning Commissioners to craft solid permitting laws and procedures for their businesses. It is something that, they say, has not been clearly defined until now. Garden Island.

Groundbreaking for the Nawiliwili Road improvements took place Tuesday in the parking lot of the Kukui Grove Center, where improvements were underway, regardless if shoppers knew about the activity taking place. Garden Island.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Board of Regents plans public meeting on Thirty Meter Telescope, Mauna Kea opposition spreads, teachers' pay hike nears, Ige's water board pick controversial, job forecast rosy, police behavior targeted, Kauai monk seal recovered, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

photo courtesy Occupy Hawaii Media
TMT opponents build a Mauna Kea hale, courtesy Occupy Hilo Media
The University of Hawaii Board of Regents will hold a special board meeting to discuss the future of the Thirty Meter Telescope project this Thursday, April 16, at 11:30 a.m. at the University of Hawaii Hilo campus. Hawaii Independent.

Big promises from the University of Hawaii over the Thirty Meter Telescope, which started construction atop Mauna Kea then stalled amidst mounting concerns with the project. The university, which manages observatory activity on the mountain, says this will be the last project for the area. KHON2.

Hundreds of students walked out of classes at University of Hawaii campuses around the state Monday in a show of support for those protesting the Thirty Meter Telescope on the summit of Mauna Kea. Star-Advertiser.

Native Hawaiian advisory councils at eight of the University of Hawaii system’s 10 campuses have taken an official stance against the $1.4 billion Thirty Meter Telescope atop Mauna Kea. Tribune-Herald.

While construction on the Thirty Meter Telescope remains stalled for now, protesters of the project continue to hold vigil on Mauna Kea. What happens next remains unclear. Hawaii Public Radio.

Organizers of the Thirty Meter Telescope launched a new website over the weekend as demonstrations against the $1.5 billion project atop Mauna Kea continue to grow. KITV4.

The union representing Hawaii public school teachers hopes to strike a deal with the state within the next week for additional compensation for its 13,000 members. Negotiation teams for the Hawaii State Teachers Association and the state have met three times over the past month and need to reach an agreement in the "next week or so" in order for any increases to be funded by the Legislature this session. Star-Advertiser.

Public opposition to Gov. David Ige’s nominations to the powerful board that administers the state’s water code is mounting ahead of a key legislative hearing Wednesday. An online petition against longtime sugar-plantation boss William Balfour’s appointment to another four-year term on the Commission on Water Resource Management has garnered more than 1,200 signatures since the governor quietly sent his name to the Senate for confirmation. Civil Beat.

Opinion: Bill Balfour's record during his prior term on the Water Commission shows how inappropriate a choice he is; Ige risks a second failed nomination only a month after the Ching fiasco. Hawaii Independent.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige and Speaker of the House Joe Souki have reappointed familiar faces to the state Council on Revenues, which forecasts the state government’s tax revenue for each fiscal year. Pacific Business News.

A measure that could extend sick leave benefit opportunities to more service industry workers is gaining traction in the Legislature, where some lawmakers say more fine-tuning might be needed before it can become law. Garden Island.

Thousands of additional jobs are expected across Hawaii in the coming years. That's according to the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations. The department announced Monday it is forecasting statewide employment to expand by 2.9 percent by 2016. That amounts to nearly 20,000 jobs. Associated Press.


The Navy said it spent $1.35 million to clean up munitions-related items from Ordy Pond, a 10,000-year-old limestone sinkhole on the old Barbers Point Naval Air Station that's helped point to when Polynesians first colonized Oahu. Star-Advertiser.

State Likely to Pay $30K After Student Forced to Run on Treadmill Collapses. Kailua High staff had special ed student exercise to combat "extreme" behavior, Attorney General's Office tells Legislature. Civil Beat.

All of the $487,044 in cash that former arcade owner Lo Van Ho admitted that he and his wife deposited in their bank accounts in quantities of $10,000 or less over a three-month period last year came from the Products Direct Sweepstakes machines in the arcades, lawyers for the Hos said in federal court Monday. Star-Advertiser.


The public will get its first opportunity today to weigh in on a $434.7 million spending plan Mayor Billy Kenoi has proposed for the budget year that starts July 1. West Hawaii Today.

The feasibility and cost of constructing a small commercial boat harbor and small commercial airport in Puna could be studied by the Hawaii Department of Transportation, if the State House agrees to a resolution passed through the Senate this week. Big Island Video News.

A traffic collision occurred Sunday evening at one of Hilo’s busiest intersections after an on-duty police officer ran a red light, police said Monday. Tribune-Herald.

A former Mainland police chief said he was illegally arrested by Maui Police. In a lawsuit filed in federal court today, Jason Griego, then chief of the Cuba, N.M. Police department, said he and James Sanchez, a former reserve officer with Cuba police, were held for hours in a filthy jail cell in July 2013. No charges were filed and the two men were never given an explanation for their arrest, the suit said. Hawaii News Now.

Legislation allowing Maui's state hospitals to enter into an agreement with a private entity such as Hawaii Pacific Health will go to the state Senate for a vote on Tuesday. Pacific Business News.

Four public meetings have been scheduled in Maui County for residents to comment on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's proposal to expand the size and sharpen the focus of the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary to include multiple marine species. Maui News.

A crowd of about 125 dignitaries, staff and community partners joined Maui Economic Opportunity in a blessing celebration for its new transportation facility in Puʻunēnē. Maui Now.

The median sales price of a single-family home in Maui County inched up 2 percent to $599,000 in the first quarter of 2015, compared with the first three months of 2014, and the median price of a condominium went up 8 percent to $440,000 in the first quarter, according to Realtors Association of Maui monthly statistics. Maui News.


DLNR Rules Linger in Governor’s Office. Hawaii Gov. David Ige has yet to sign off on aquarium fishing rules and commercial fishing restrictions off Kauai. Civil Beat.

When a large ulua hook became stuck in the left check of the Hawaiian monk seal known as RN44, it put its life in danger. The monk seal was seen later, “strong and healthy, which is good news. Officials hope RN44 stays out of further trouble. Garden Island.

Monday, April 13, 2015

University of Hawaii walkout planned today against Thirty Meter Telescope, thousands pack Iolani Palace in protest, Legislature enters final week for bills, geothermal could bring in big bucks, Hawaii County Council pCards regulated, sex traffic bills could die, Honolulu rail contracts secret, Hawaii Obamacare hurting, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

photo by Josh Gainey
Iolani Palace Mauna Kea TMT protest, courtesy Josh Gainey #BePhenomenal2015
An estimated 3,000 people packed the Iolani Palace grounds Sunday afternoon for a rally that marked the largest gathering on the issue on Oahu to date as opposition continues to intensify against construction of a massive telescope atop Mauna Kea on Hawaii Island. Star-Advertiser.

Thousands of people flooded Iolani Palace on Sunday to show their opposition of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) on Mauna Kea. Hawaiian activist Walter Ritte says about 3,500 people showed up for the seven-hour long event. Hawaii News Now.

courtesy photo Josh Gainey
TMT protest Josh Gainey #BePhenomenal2015

When Gov. David Ige declared a cooling-off period amid the tense standoff between developers of the $1.4 billion Thirty Meter Telescope and self-described protectors of the sacred summit area of Mauna Kea — a postponement of scheduled construction subsequently extended by the contractors themselves — it marked a significant if tentative victory for a homegrown movement whose grass roots spread as broadly across the Internet as they do deeply into Hawaii soil. Star-Advertiser.

The protest over the construction of a large telescope on top of Mauna Kea continues. On Sunday, hundreds of people marched down South King Street in Honolulu to Iolani Palace, blocking lots of traffic on the way. Meanwhile, the Pūkoʻa Council, a Native Hawaiian group with representatives at University of Hawaii system campuses, has called for a system-wide walk-out among all “Native Hawaiian serving programs” on Monday at noon. Civil Beat.

The Native Hawaiian council of the University of Hawaii system has called for a system-wide walk-out among all Native Hawaiian serving programs on Monday, April 13, over the Thirty-Meter Telescope project. Hawaii Independent.

A Maui hālau was among several groups of hula practitioners that danced atop Mauna Kea on Friday amid demonstrations at the site against the controversial Thirty Meter Telescope, and an ongoing effort by cultural groups and concerned citizens seeking protection of the site from development. Maui Now.

Hawaii lawmakers are facing a legislative deadline this week to pass all bills out of the second chamber. Those that don't pass will die, at least for this legislative session. Associated Press.

Senate Health Committee chairman and physician Josh Green has amassed more campaign contributions than any other member of the Hawaii Legislature, tapping into a rich pipeline of donated cash from doctors and others in the health care industry. Now critics, including AARP Hawaii and the Hawaii Psychological Association, are crying foul — alleging that campaign cash and Green's position as a physician practicing at a Hawaii island hospital present unacceptable conflicts of interest for the lawmaker. Star-Advertiser

Anti-human trafficking advocates say Hawaii is the last state to ban sex trafficking and it’s time for change. Legislators are considering Senate Bill 265 that would treat people forced into prostitution as “victims” instead of “criminals.” Still, some say it’s unnecessary. KHON2.

Hawaii officials are scrambling to provide information to the federal government to satisfy concerns about financial problems at the state’s health exchange. All state-run insurance exchanges that are part of President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act are supposed to be sustainable this year. But without an infusion of cash, the Hawaii Health Connector won’t have enough money for its operations. The Legislature hasn’t yet approved the organization’s request to issue $28 million in bonds or loans. Associated Press.


Hundreds of contractors and consultants working on Honolulu’s $6 billion rail project are raking in tens of millions of dollars in taxpayer funds, yet there’s little accounting of what they’re actually doing for the money. Civil Beat.

Mayor Kirk Caldwell has stepped up law enforcement at the Wai­kiki pavilions at Kuhio Beach Park, which have been plagued by homeless campers, crime and drug use, and says he is considering converting more of them into commercial enterprises to reclaim the public beach space. Star-Advertiser.


Hawaii County Council officials say there are strict procedures in place to prevent unauthorized use of county-issued credit cards, known as pCards. A West Hawaii Today analysis of 26 months worth of pCard statements and reimbursement forms showed very few personal purchases on County Council members’ pCards, and relatively prompt reimbursement when purchases were inappropriately charged.

Fourteen current and retired Hawaii County Fire Department battalion chiefs are suing the county, claiming their pay and benefits packages have not kept pace with counterparts and subordinates covered by the collective bargaining agreement. Tribune-Herald.

Could Hawaii Geothermal Plant Become a Windfall for Public? If power plant on Big Island were to start extracting valuable minerals like lithium on state-owned land, royalty payments should increase. Civil Beat.

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs would have received a 5 percent stake in a 25-megawatt geothermal plant in exchange for a $1.25 million investment in the Huena Power Consortium, according to a due diligence report issued by Peninsula Real Estate Partners. The document, which the Tribune-Herald received through an alternate source after OHA declined to disclose records related to the failed investment, offers some insight into a deal that the OHA Board of Trustees agreed to in a closed-door meeting two years ago.

New legislation working its way through the Capitol could blunt the pain of converting from cesspools and septic tanks to a planned sewer line in the Lono Kona subdivision. West Hawaii Today.

The ethics complaint against embattled Big Island Mayor Billy Kenoi will likely be heard May 13 by the Hawaii County Board of Ethics. KITV4.

There's no turning back for Mayor Billy Kenoi, the charismatic two-term mayor who now faces his own bitter waters of battle since revelations that he charged outings to Honolulu hostess bars and thousands of dollars worth of perks and personal expenses to his county-issued purchasing card, or pCard. Star-Advertiser.


Maui County Corporation Counsel has been enlisted by Hawaii County attorneys to assist with legal matters involving an ethics complaint filed against Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi and his finance director over the misuse of Kenoi's county-issued purchase card, Hawaii County officials confirmed Thursday. Maui News.

Sales of single-family homes in Maui County soared 20 percent in March as prices for both single-family homes and condominiums rose by more than 5 percent, according to statistics from the Realtors Association of Maui. Pacific Business News.

Maui County has issued building permits for a six-story, eight-wing, time-share resort on 26 acres at Kaanapali's North Beach, with construction costs estimated to reach $304.5 million - the largest private building project on Maui in recent memory. Maui News.


Alan Tang no longer has to pitch the concept of a creative technology center on Kauai. Garden Island.

A museum in Hawaii is preparing to open a treasure trove of artifacts from the shipwreck of a royal yacht sunk off the coast of Kauai 191 years ago. Star-Advertiser.


Allowing more visitors, expanding educational opportunities and increasing park staff are among the proposed plans for the future of Kalaupapa National Historical Park on Molokai. Maui News.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Hawaii Senate wants Superferry reconsidered, shark fin ban upheld, Mauna Kea telescope foes ask OHA to intercede, Tulsi Gabbard is wed, Big Island mulls panhandling laws, Honolulu workers injured by exploding ordnance, Molokai solar on hold, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

wikipedia image
Hawaii Superferry, courtesy Wikipedia
Senators are asking the state to explore whether it's time to take another swing at creating a statewide interisland ferry system. Associated Press.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has officially upheld Hawaii’s state shark fin ban. Civil Beat.

Senate lawmakers advanced a bill Wednesday that would, among other things, give greater access to media personnel covering natural disasters, amending it to include language recommended by the Hawaii Department of Defense. Tribune-Herald.

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard is now officially off the market after she and fiance Abraham Williams tied the knot Thursday at a historic site in Kahaluu. Hawaii News Now.


Big Island Mayor Billy Kenoi’s questionable purchases on a county charge card has prompted the Honolulu Mayor’s Office to release information on how Hawaii’s largest city handles the special charge cards. On Thursday, Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s spokesman Jesse Broder Van Dyke issued a lengthy fact sheet outlining the city’s purchasing card policies. Civil Beat.

Two homeless woman claim that city crews didn't allow them to retrieve identification documents when their homeless camps were cleared recently. But the city says its policy should have allowed them to get the ID's. Hawaii News Now.

A pilot project in San Francisco that rolled out three portable restrooms to problem areas has proven to be such a success that city officials in Honolulu are taking a close look. KITV4.

One groundskeeper has been released but another remained hospitalized after unexploded ordnance apparently detonated and injured the men as they cut grass at the Army's Makua Military Reservation on Monday, officials said. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu Police Department is inviting the public to share comments on its policies, procedures, administration, operations and services. The department says the comments will be part of an assessment conducted by the Commission Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies. Associated Press.

Guy Kaulukukui was nominated by Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell Thursday to head the city Department of Enterprise Services. Star-Advertiser.

A partially submerged boat has been sitting in Honolulu Harbor for months and people want to know what is it still doing there. KHON2.


Foes of the controversial Thirty Meter Telescope asked the Office of Hawaiian Affairs Board of Trustees on Thursday to reverse itself and come out against the $1.4 billion project on the summit of Mauna Kea. Star-Advertiser.

Armed with signs and songs, people protesting the Thirty Meter Telescope that’s set to be built on Mauna Kea took their pleas to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs on Thursday. Star-Advertiser.

Opponents of the Thirty Meter Telescope planned for Mauna Kea brought their concerns to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs Thursday. Hawaii Public Radio.

Attorney David Kimo Frankel of the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation believes the Thirty-Meter Telescope planned for Mauna Kea can be stopped because it isn't consistent with criteria in the state's administrative rules. Hawaii News Now.

Changes to Hawaii County’s panhandling laws are scheduled to be considered Tuesday, as two County Council committees tackle bills responding to a federal judge’s opinion that the local ordinances violate First Amendment rights. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii County Councilwoman Margaret Wille said she can no longer use her county-issued purchasing card — or pCard — after she was questioned two weeks ago by the county clerk about two first-class flights and a hotel upgrade to a room with an ocean view. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii State Teachers Association alleges that teachers at Honokaa High and Intermediate School have been assigned to teach classes next year for which they are not qualified. Tribune-Herald.

This Saturday, Hilo High School will officially recognize the grand opening of its new, 1,350-seat gymnasium — five months after the facility opened its doors for regular use. Tribune-Herald.


The Senate Ways and Means and Judiciary and Labor committees advanced House Bill 1075 on Wednesday, setting up a full Senate vote Tuesday on the measure to allow a public-private partnership to take over management of Maui Memorial Medical Center and the Kula and Lanai Community hospitals. Maui News.

Improvements to water and photovoltaic systems and trails in the Kipahulu District will be discussed at a meeting organized by Haleakala National Park from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Kalena Triangle in Kipahulu. Maui News.


As Jalissa Rapozo-Carveiro filled out job applications and visited employers at Kauai Community College’s job fair, she was hopeful she would find work. Garden Island.


Sixty-five applications for rooftop solar on Molokai currently remain in limbo at the hands of Maui Electric Company (MECO), according to company Communications Director Kau`i Awai-Dickson. Molokai Dispatch.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Honolulu rail to run over burials, Tulsi Gabbard to wed on Oahu, beaches eroding, Kauai pesticide dispute in court, VA delays longest on neighbor islands, Ige, Hirono address Big Island concerns, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation
Honolulu rail transit map, courtesy HART
Rail workers have reportedly uncovered 14 distinct sets of iwi kupuna, or ancestral human remains, in the path of Oahu's future rail transit line so far. This week island burial leaders endorsed a plan for most of those remains to stay protected where they lie. Star-Advertiser.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources is inviting the public to comment on a draft of its updated recreation plan. The department reviews the plan every five years to assess Hawaii's outdoor recreation needs and priorities. The review helps ensure Hawaii is eligible to receive federal grants. Associated Press.

Delays for medical appointments at Veterans Affairs facilities are shorter than the national average across much of Hawaii, but that's not true of the neighbor islands. Associated Press.

The Senate Water and Land Committee, chaired by Sen. Laura Thielen, has set a hearing for 2:45 p.m., April 17, to consider the appointment of Suzanne Case to lead the Department of Land and Natural Resources. Unlike Gov. David Ige’s last nomination for that job, Carleton Ching, this one is expected to clear the committee with ease and go on to pass the full Senate. Civil Beat.

A state House bill that aims to create a regulated medical marijuana dispensary system throughout Hawaii made progress Wednesday. West Hawaii Today.

If your state tax refund is taking longer this year, you have plenty of company. The state says processing those refunds is taking longer this year because there are new procedures to prevent tax fraud. KHON2.

Liquefied natural gas, which is scheduled to be shipped into Hawaii in bulk amounts for power generation purposes as a replacement to oil, is not economical for the state, the head of Par Petroleum, which owns Hawaii’s largest oil refinery, told Pacific Business News on Wednesday.


Oahu has lost one-fourth of its beaches and of those remaining, about 70 percent are eroding. If state and county officials don’t start working to conserve what’s left of the sandy shoreline, most of the island’s beaches could disappear by the end of the century, say scientists. Civil Beat.

Wedding bells will ring as U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and fiance Abraham Williams tie the knot Thursday at a historic site in Kahaluu. Hawaii News Now.

Relocating Hawai’i’s largest prison is gaining support at the State Capitol.   Lawmakers are proposing land swaps and partnerships to minimize the use of taxpayer money. Hawaii Public Radio.

On Tuesday, the Senate Ways and Means Committee voted 8-2 to advance House Bill 134, which would extend the rail tax by five years, through 2027. It would also limit those tax dollars to building the project; the money wouldn't be used for operations. Star-Advertiser.

Humanity amid the savagery of war demonstrated 70 years ago in the Battle of Okinawa is being re-emphasized by the Battleship Missouri Memorial with a new exhibit on the kamikaze pilots whose suicide runs wreaked havoc on Allied ships late in World War II. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu-based Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawaii was cleared of wrongdoing by the Hawaii County Board of Ethics on Wednesday after the executive director apologized for what she called an oversight when she and two other employees failed to register as lobbyists. West Hawaii Today.

A Hawaii County ethics complaint filed against Mayor Billy Kenoi and Finance Director Deanna Sako over Kenoi's use of his county-issued purchasing card will be handled by the Maui County Corporation Counsel's Office "to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest," Hawaii County Corporation Counsel Molly A. Stebbins said Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

“I want to take full responsibility of the issues of the government pCard,” Kenoi started off during this 16 and a half minute press conference, shared with us courtesy Hawaii News Now. The press conference was held on April 1, 2015 on Oahu. Big Island Video News.

Gov. David Ige panned state management of the Keauhou aquifer, called for quicker action on federally funded highway projects and praised his most recent pick to head the department that oversees state lands on Wednesday. Speaking at a Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce luncheon, Ige also explained that he’ll use a weeklong “time-out” on the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope to carefully listen to all sides. West Hawaii Today.

U.S. Agriculture Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden and U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono got a firsthand look Wednesday at two major problems facing Hawaii Island’s forests as they stood on a dirt road near Pu‘u Kali‘u in Puna. Tribune-Herald.

The principal of Honokaa High and Intermediate School is under fire from some teachers and parents and is the target of a rare-but-significant class-action grievance filed by the public school teachers' union. Hawaii News Now.

The first phase of construction for 118 Department of Hawaiian Homelands’ units in Kona will take a few months longer to finish than originally expected. The Lai Opua Village 4 Akau Subdivision project in Kealakehe should be complete by September as opposed to this summer, DHHL project manager Jeff Fujimoto said. Fujimoto said the delay is due to the discovery of lava tubes in the area. West Hawaii Today.


A Hawaii Senate joint committee on Wednesday approved an amended House bill that would allow Maui state hospitals to enter a business partnership with a private entity. Pacific Business News.

The Maui Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce hosts Maui Police Chief Tivoli Faaumu this Tuesday at the Maui Tropical Plantation. MauiTime.


A trial is underway in a lawsuit by a group of Kauai residents who are suing a major seed company over genetically modified crop fields they say blow pesticide-laden dust onto their homes. KITV4.

It's all about dust — red dust. That's the focus of a dispute between some Waimea, Kauai, residents and GMO seed producer DuPont Pioneer, the residents' lawyer said Wednesday in opening statements of a civil trial. Star-Advertiser.

Libraries are never out of date, said Lani Kawahara, branch manager at the Kapaa Public Library. Garden Island.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Ige declares time out for Thirty Meter Telescope, Nature Conservancy director named DLNR chair, Maui mayor proposes electricity takeover, Honolulu rail tax clears committee, lawmakers mull marijuana dispensaries, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

photo courtesy Occupy Hilo Media
Mauna Kea telescope protesters file photo courtesy Occupy Hilo Media
Protesters on Mauna Kea welcomed a weeklong moratorium on construction of the world's largest telescope Tuesday but said they aren't letting their guard down and will continue to keep vigil at the 9,200-foot level. Star-Advertiser.

Construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope atop Mauna Kea is on hold for at least a week as protests over the $1.4 billion project continue to mount. Hawaii Gov. David Ige told reporters Tuesday that there will be a “timeout” to facilitate a dialogue. Civil Beat.

Gov. David Ige announced Tuesday that the nonprofit corporation behind the Thirty Meter Telescope atop Mauna Kea agreed to his request for a weeklong halt of construction. The stand down came five days after law enforcement officials arrested 31 people who participated in an ongoing protest of the $1.4 billion project. Tribune Herald.

Hawai‘i Governor David Ige has announced a week-long "time out" for construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea. In a press conference Tuesday afternoon, Governor Ige says he came to this decision after speaking with major stakeholders in the project. Hawaii Public Radio.

Governor David Ige announced at a press conference Tuesday that construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope atop Mauna Kea will ‘pause' for a week. He's hoping the next seven days will ease tensions and increase dialogue between stakeholders over the construction of the thirty meter telescope. Hawaii News Now.

Gov. David Ige announced Tuesday that construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope atop one of the most sacred sites for native Hawaiians would come to a halt, at least temporarily. Ige characterized the one-week pause in construction as a “timeout.” KITV4.

In a seemingly abrupt about-face after the first major controversy of his administration, Gov. David Ige nominated longtime conservationist Suzanne Case on Tuesday as the new chairwoman of the state Board of Land and Natural Resources — a selection that quickly won praise from members of the state's environmental community. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige has appointed Suzanne Case to head the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, ending weeks of speculation. The governor withdrew his previous nominee, Carleton Ching, three weeks ago amid mounting public opposition over his ties to developers and lack of experience for a job that requires leading a department comprised of 10 divisions and nearly 900 employees. Civil Beat.

Gov. David Ige on Tuesday nominated Suzanne Case, the longtime head of The Nature Conservancy in Hawaii, to lead the state Department of Land and Natural Resources after withdrawing his first nomination, Castle & Cooke Hawaii executive Carleton Ching, due to backlash from environmental groups. Pacific Business News.

Today Governor David Ige announced his new nomination to lead the Department of Land and Natural Resources (subject to confirmation by the Senate), Suzanne Case, and the widespread opposition to Ige’s previous choice, developer-lobbyist Carleton Ching, is calling the choice a win for Hawaii. Hawaii Independent.

Governor David Ige on Tuesday announced his nomination to lead the Department of Land and Natural Resources and his choices for the Board of Education. The appointments are subject to confirmation by the Senate. Hawaii News Now.

Gov. David Ige announced Tuesday his nomination to lead the Department of Land and Natural Resources and his choices for the Board of Education. KITV4.

Gov. David Ige on Tuesday appointed a banking executive and two former public-school educators to the state Board of Education. Ige named Lance Mizumoto, president and chief banking officer of Central Pacific Bank, to the board along with longtime Kauai educator Margaret Cox and former teacher Hubert Minn. Star-Advertiser.

Spending by special interest groups lobbying lawmakers during the first part of the current legislative session is running well below last year’s pace, according to reports filed last week with the Hawaii State Ethics Commission. The more than 200 interest groups with registered lobbyists reported spending a total of $832,808 during the period from Jan. 1 to Feb. 28. Civil Beat.

Student lunch prices will to go up by 25 cents in the fall to $2.75 for high-schoolers and to $2.50 for elementary and intermediate students, the first price increases since 2011. Breakfast prices will go up by 10 cents to $1.10 and $1.20 for elementary and secondary students, respectively. Department of Education officials cited increases in food and labor costs, which have pushed up meal expenses by more than 17 percent in the last five years. The move is expected to raise an additional $1.7 million a year for the food services branch. Star-Advertiser.

A state House bill attempting to create a regulated medical marijuana dispensary system throughout Hawaii will be reviewed by its final committees today. House Bill 321 establishes a system of medical marijuana dispensaries in the state and puts limits on the amount that can be purchased. The legislation also prohibits counties from enacting zoning regulations that prevent the use of land for licensed dispensaries. West Hawaii Today.

More than 4,000 charge cards under the pCard program are in the hands of government workers, ranging from secretaries to department heads and politicians. But the oversight of the pCards is left largely to individual agencies — something that the state auditor raised questions about when examining the program in 2010. Star-Advertiser.

Aiming to reduce the 55 million gallons of raw sewage that enters the ground daily — and makes its way into Hawaii’s drinking water — state lawmakers are pressing forward with a bill that would ease the financial pain of converting to modern waste disposal systems. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii legislators’ efforts to address the state’s affordable housing crisis may barely make a dent in the huge demand for homes. Civil Beat.

In June, former Governor Linda Lingle begins her new job as COO for Illinois. As for Hawaii politics, Lingle believes the Republican Party will eventually cut into Democratic dominance, the way it did when she was GOP chair and then governor. Hawaii News Now.

A new report says foreign students studying in Hawaii are contributing hundreds of millions to the state's economy. The report released Tuesday by the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism says foreign students made a direct economic impact of more than $205 million during the current school year. Associated Press.


The Senate Ways and Means Committee on Tuesday voted to extend a 0.5 percent General Excise Tax surcharge for Honolulu’s rail project another five years beyond its Dec. 31, 2022 expiration. The vote on House Bill 134 indicates that lawmakers are supportive of helping the city complete it’s $6 billion driverless commuter rail project despite cost overruns and questions of lax oversight. Civil Beat.

Deputy Prosecutor Jon Riki Karamatsu announced his resignation on Tuesday following his second DUI arrest over the weekend. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney Keith Kaneshiro has accepted the resignation of Deputy Prosecutor Jon Riki Karamatsu. Civil Beat.


Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on Tuesday announced upcoming flight plans for the remainder of April through May 7. West Hawaii Today.


Mayor Alan Arakawa wants to explore the possibilities of making Maui Electric Co. a public utility, one that could even compete against Florida-based Next-Era Energy Inc., which is seeking Hawaii Public Utilities Commission approval to acquire MECO's parent company, Hawaiian Electric Industries. Maui News.

Hawaiian Electric and NextEra held the first in a series of public meetings. Two meetings were held on Maui on Tuesday. Senior leaders and other employees from both NextEra and Hawaiian Electric were on hand to talk about how they plan to increase renewable energy and lower customer bills. NextEra says it wants input from the community. KHON2.

NextEra Energy Inc. and Hawaiian Electric Industries will host a series of open house meetings statewide to acquaint the public with NextEra and share details on the upcoming merger between the two energy companies. Maui Now.

The Makawao Fourth of July Parade plans to carry on, unchanged, with its longtime parade organizer vowing Tuesday night to "dig my heels in" against the state Department of Defense. Maui News.


A contractor has been hired to remove a sailboat that ran aground in a secluded area on a reef at Moloaa Bay April 1. Garden Island.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources has hired a contractor to remove a 55-foot sailboat that ran aground off Kauai earlier this month. The department says it's expected to cost $185,000 to remove the Kikimo from the reef at Moloaa Bay. Associated Press.

Just how famous are Kauai’s chickens? Enough for the New York Times to write a lengthy report about them. Garden Island.


Maui County Council members took a first step Tuesday toward providing a government subsidy to keep the Molokai ferry afloat, but it remains to be seen whether it will be too little too late. Maui News.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Ige gets more time to fill Cabinet, Senate minority budget trims $1.6B, Sen. Schatz father dies, Maui council says there's waste in waste program, ethics complaint targets Mayor Kenoi, Finance Department, Japanese cultural program brings cheap labor to Waikiki, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy Hawaii Senate majority
Hokulea voyage honored in Hawaii Legislature, courtesy Hawaii Senate Majority
The Hawai'i Senate honored the 40th anniversary of legendary voyaging canoe Hōkūle'a and the members of the first crews who sailed her between Hawaii and Tahiti in 1976.

 The Hawaii Senate has voted to give Gov. David Ige more time to fill important positions in his cabinet. The move comes after Ige faced a public backlash for nominating developer Carleton Ching to lead the Department of Land and Natural Resources. Associated Press.

The Hawaii Senate Minority budget proposal, released Monday, calls for $1.59 billion in cuts to Gov. David Ige’s initial submittal. Civil Beat.

A legislative deadline is looming and supporters of a number of bills are rallying at the Capitol to let lawmakers know they want their measures heard and passed. Hawaii Public Radio.

When the Hawaii State Teachers Association withheld support from two resolutions that asked the state to increase teachers’ salaries and pay them overtime, some teachers were surprised and disappointed. Civil Beat.

Lawmakers want cap on interest rate for payday loans. Hawaii News Now.

Gov. David Ige, the four county mayors, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, University of Hawaii and Hawaii Green Growth launched the Aloha+ Challenge dashboard last week. It features indicators for two of six targets — clean energy and solid waste reduction — that were set, according to a release from the governor’s office Monday. Civil Beat.

A major report that aims to tackle Hawaii’s transportation energy issues with more than 50 different strategies, including an effort to significantly reduce gas and diesel usage in the state, is expected to be unveiled in June, the head of the state’s energy office told Pacific Business News.

Hawaii needs up to 66,000 homes if it expects to satisfy demand for housing over the next decade. That's the conclusion of a new report, "Measuring Housing Demand in Hawaii, 2015-2025," by the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism. Star-Advertiser.

Dr. Irwin Schatz, father of U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz, has died. The cardiologist was a former chair of the University of Hawaii Department of Medicine and led the medical school’s residency program for over 20 years. Civil Beat.


Plans to purchase the ritzy 25-story Alii Place office building to provide office space for state workers won support from a key state Senate committee Monday, with lawmakers suggesting the purchase will save the state tens of millions of dollars in the years ahead. Star-Advertiser.

A Cultural Exchange Program or a Ticket to Sweatshop Labor? A Japanese woman's poor working conditions as a Waikiki pastry chef illustrate the dark side of a visa program that brings thousands of temporary foreign workers to Hawaii each year. Civil Beat.

Despite the negative impact that seawalls have on surrounding coastlines, a South Korean billionaire has been allowed to build a new one in Kahala after his application for a shoreline setback variance was approved unanimously last month by the City Council. KITV4.

A Los Angeles Times investigation found that the huge golf-ball-like radar craft that spends a lot of time at Pearl Harbor has failed to perform its important mission: detecting missiles in a sneak attack against the United States. Hawaii News Now.

Should a city deputy prosecutor keep his job after second DUI arrest? Hawaii News Now.

Makiki residents say they’re getting more frustrated over a city construction project that continues to face delays. It’s been nearly a year since the city started the Prospect street rock fall mitigation project. KHON2.

University of Hawaii law school students will get to watch the state Supreme Court hear oral arguments in a criminal case. The state Supreme Court will hear arguments in the case Thursday at the William S. Richardson School of Law. Associated Press.


A West Hawaii man filed an ethics complaint Monday against Mayor Billy Kenoi and Finance Director Deanna Sako, saying both should be removed from office for his misuse of a county credit card and her complicity in it. West Hawaii Today.

A Hawaii County audit of government-issued purchasing cards wasn't launched for nearly a year after Mayor Billy Kenoi used his in December 2013 to pay for an $892 tab at a hostess bar, and despite the fact that he had been warned repeatedly about using it for personal items. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii Department of Education announced Monday it plans to reopen Keonepoko Elementary School, a Hawaiian Beaches school closed because it was int he path of a lava flow, next school year. West Hawaii Today.

Monday came and went without construction crews attempting to reach the Thirty Meter Telescope site on Mauna Kea, according to opponents who have continued to maintain a constant presence on the mountain they consider sacred. When TMT plans to resume work on the $1.4 billion project remains unclear. Tribune-Herald.

As protests against the Thirty Meter Telescope continue on Mauna Kea, it remains unclear when the $1.4 billion project’s most recent legal challenge will be resolved. Six plaintiffs who challenged the project’s conservation district use permit in 3rd Circuit Court filed an appeal to the state Intermediate Court of Appeals on June 3 after Judge Greg Nakamura ruled in favor of the project. Tribune-Herald.

The Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems, known commonly as PISCES, is one of several partners that will execute a four-year, $4.2 million Mars research project to help prepare for future human and robotic missions to the Red Planet. West Hawaii Today.


Maui County Council members said Monday that money is available for landfill operations and trash pickup services without interruption through June 30 but that mismanagement by the Department of Environmental Management's Solid Waste Division is putting employees, as well as services, "at risk." Maui News.

Opinion: First auditor report criticizes County of Maui investment policies. MauiTime.


Erosion has taken a toll on a portion of the walking trail between the visitor center and Daniel K. Inouye Kilauea Point Lighthouse at the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge, but relief should be coming. Garden Island.