Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Native Hawaiians call off election, Health Department publishes medical marijuana dispensary rules, state dinged in CDC dengue report, predawn Honolulu raid rousts homeless, Maui jail overcrowded, Kauai dairy at issue, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2015 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Hawaiian recognition hearings with U.S. Department of the Interior 2014 file photo ©2015 All Hawaii News
Facing the likelihood of a protracted legal fight, Na‘i Aupuni said Tuesday it will skip its contentious Native Hawaiian election and go directly to a four-week convention in February with all 196 candidates being offered seats as delegates. Star-Advertiser.

In a move designed to circumvent a pending federal court challenge to elections for a Native Hawaiian governance convention, leaders of the group organizing the vote announced Tuesday morning that the election has been terminated, but all 196 delegate candidates have been invited to be seated for the convention. Civil Beat.

An election for Native Hawaiians has been canceled, officials from Na'i Aupuni announced in a news conference Tuesday. Hawaii News Now.

The status of two lawsuits involving the Nai Aupuni election voter pool is uncertain after the organization announced Tuesday it is canceling the election but proceeding with plans for a constitutional convention concerning the establishment of a Native Hawaiian government. Civil Beat.

The election process that would have sent delegates to a February constitutional convention intended as a step toward Native Hawaiian self-governance has been canceled in the wake of a U.S. Supreme Court decision. Tribune-Herald.

The election of native Hawaiian delegates to a gathering on self-governance has been terminated, but the formal ‘aha will go forward. Na‘i Aupuni, the independent organization that was facilitating the election until a U.S. Supreme Court ruling froze the process, announced today that all candidates will be offered a seat in the convention as delegates. Big Island Video News.

Nā Makalehua and their supporters – a group of young Native Hawaiians who sought candidacy in the Na‘i Aupuni elections – announced that they will move forward to the convention and discussions of Hawaiian self-governance. Maui Now.

A unique election considered a major step toward self-governance for Native Hawaiians was terminated Tuesday because of litigation challenging the process that could take years to resolve. Associated Press.

An election to determine a way forward on self-governance for Native Hawaiians has been cancelled. Still leaders from the group Na’i Aupuni say they will go forward with a four-week long constitutional convention next year. Hawaii Public Radio.

Na'i Aupuni announced its decision Tuesday morning to terminate the ongoing Native Hawaiian election. The announcement comes after the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling in early December that granted an injunction to block the counting of ballots. KITV4.

Opinion: Naʻi Aupuni's decision to allow all 196 candidates to participate in February's planned convention is an illegal attempt to circumvent the U.S. Supreme Court and proves that its purpose, all along, was to ensure federal recognition. Hawaii Independent.


The Hawaii Department of Health has posted the interim administrative rules for the medical marijuana dispensary licensing program on its website. Civil Beat.

The Hawaii State Department of Health published its interim administrative rules on Tuesday for the state’s first medical marijuana dispensary licensing program. Pacific Business News.

The state Department of Health on Tuesday released 63 pages of rules governing medical marijuana dispensaries, detailing the application process, security, quality control, auditing of records and operations for grow centers and dispensaries. West Hawaii Today.


A new analysis by commercial real estate firm CBRE finds that the emerging alternative accommodation industry in Hawaii may not have a significant impact on hotels, and might actually attract tourists that may have otherwise stayed away due to expensive lodging. Pacific Business News.

A state Senate leader and a key environmentalist are questioning why Hawaii wants to equip its conservation officers with additional firepower — specifically 20 semi-automatic rifles and 10 12-gauge shotguns. Civil Beat.

The state says there’s been some significant progress on the road to Hawai‘i’s clean energy objectives. The Hawai‘i State Energy Office released its Energy Resources Coordinator’s Annual Report for 2015. Hawaii Public Radio.

A Legislative Working Group is preparing its final report and recommendations to support thousands of family caregivers throughout the state. Hawaii Public Radio.

Federal Judge Susan Oki Mollway delayed sentencing Honolulu telecommunications executive Albert Hee for a second time Tuesday, citing concerns about whether he would be able to get appropriate medical care for his food and environmental allergies in prison. Star-Advertiser.

Albert Hee's sentencing has been postponed again after he was convicted of tax fraud. This is the second time a judge delayed his sentencing over conerns he won't get the healthcare treatment that he needs in prison. Hawaii News Now.

Sixteen people have been killed by gunfire in Hawaii this year, mostly in the 2nd Congressional District representing rural Oahu and the outer islands. There were four gun deaths in the 1st Congressional District, which includes Honolulu and Kapolei. Civil Beat.

Apartment List recently analyzed Census data from 2007 through 2014 to show which cities and states have the most cost-burdened renters – meaning they spend more than 30 percent of their income on rent. Hawaii has the second-largest share of cost-burdened renters in the country, the report found. Civil Beat.


The state initiated a sweep well before daylight at Kewalo Basin Park on Tuesday, rousting the homeless from their encampments starting at 2 a.m. Star-Advertiser.

An attorney for the family of the man who was caught on video being pepper sprayed and hit multiple times with a baton by a police officer during an arrest plans to sue the city for police brutality. Hawaii News Now.

The Honolulu Charter Commission provides a once-every-10-years opportunity to amend the City Charter, which spells out the basic structure of city government and the rights of its citizens, similar to what what the state and federal constitutions do for those levels of government. Civil Beat.

Hundreds of calls are flooding the Honolulu Police Department from people who are complaining about illegal fireworks. KHON2.

Retired St. Francis nuns will be allowed to remain at their Manoa convent, it was announced today. The Syracuse, N.Y.-based order that operates the convent had announced earlier this month it would close it and move 24 retired nuns to the Plaza, a senior assisted-living center in Pearl City. Star-Advertiser.

Protests Pay Off: Sisters Can Remain At Saint Francis Convent. A plan to move 24 aging nuns to an assisted living facility in Pearl City had spurred protests from the sisters themselves, as well as Saint Francis School students and faculty. Civil Beat.


In its first assessment of the Big Island’s dengue fever outbreak, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the public health response has been adequate, but it also noted concerns with mosquito control efforts and staffing levels at the state Department of Health. Tribune-Herald.

Dr. Lyle Petersen, director of the Division of Vector-Borne Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention completed a full interim assessment of the Hawai’i Department of Health’s response to the dengue fever outbreak on the Big Island, following his early visit to the state. Big Island Now.

Water wells on the thirsty west side of the island continue to have problems, but the county Department of Water Supply is trying to get malfunctioning wells up and running as soon as possible. West Hawaii Today.

Na Wai Ola Public Charter School in Mountain View is working to find funds to make its payroll after overextending itself in an expansion at the beginning of the year. Tribune-Herald.

The warden of Maui Community Correctional Center acknowledged Monday that continued overcrowding at Maui's largest jail is the biggest problem that the jail staff and state officials and lawmakers face. Maui News.

Ground was broken Thursday for the Kulamalu affordable rental project with completion targeted for early 2017. Maui News.

There apparently is an undisclosed prospective buyer for the Maui Mall, who is seeking to close the purchase by the end of the year, according to tenants at the Kahului shopping complex. Maui News.


The dairy proposed in Mahaulepu Valley was at the forefront of people’s minds at Gov. David Ige’s third Community Connection forum at the Kauai Community College Performing Arts Center Tuesday night. Garden Island.

Hawaii’s police union plans to make due on its threat to halt the Kauai Police Department’s body camera program, which is set to launch next week. The State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers believes it must sign off on the department’s policy regulating the technology before it can be used. Civil Beat.

Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. joined the  Green Government Challenge, an opportunity for county employees to share knowledge with each other about going green and sustainability. Garden Island.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

10K Hawaii restaurants inspected, Michelle Obama dreaming of a Hawaii Christmas, ivory sale ban sought, Honolulu pCards curbed, woman dies trying to smuggle meth into Maui in her vagina, Kauai looks at raising general excise tax, ethics on the Big Island, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2015 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Green pass on Hilo restaurant © 2015 All Hawaii News
Hawaii’s 18-month-old, color-coded food establishment inspection program temporarily shuttered three businesses and ordered them, along with 2,102 others, to fix multiple “critical violations” — but now all are back up and open for business, the state Department of Health’s Sanitation Branch announced Monday. Star-Advertiser.

The state Department of Health recently completed inspections of virtually all of Hawaii’s more than 10,000 food establishments statewide to ensure they are in compliance with the rules of the state’s food safety code. West Hawaii Today.

The Hawaii State Department of Health Sanitation Branch has completed 10,000 inspections on food establishments statewide. Hawaii News Now.

Michelle Obama is marking the days off the calendar for her favorite holiday tradition: traveling with family and friends to Hawaii. The first lady said the family trip to President Barack Obama’s home state dates back more than two decades. Associated Press.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige reiterated his stance on liquefied natural gas, saying that shipping in this type of fuel as a replacement for oil for power generation in Hawaii is an unnecessary diversion of resources, and that the focus should be entirely on renewable energy investments. Pacific Business News.

One of NextEra Energy Inc.’s primary consultants helping the Florida energy giant secure approval for its proposed $4.3 billion acquisition of Hawaiian Electric Co. charges between $650 to $700 per hour for consulting services during the past five years. Pacific Business News.

It’s big. It’s bold. And it faces an uphill battle in a Legislature known for being fiscally conservative — especially in election years. The Hawaii State Teachers Association’s recent proposal to raise the state’s general excise tax to fund a broad swath of education reforms is also the kind of dramatic action that new union leaders promised when they won the union election last summer in an upset over more experienced and entrenched union leadership. Civil Beat.

Hawaii lawmakers are expected to push for a statewide ban on the sale of ivory when the legislative session begins in January, in an effort to help curb the illegal slaughter of elephants in Africa. Star-Advertiser.

The 2016 legislative session is a little more than one month away and a number of lawmakers say homelessness will likely take center stage. But other issues will be considered again next year, including banning ivory sales in Hawai’i. Hawaii Public Radio.

On Monday, the Humane Society of the United States held a forum at the state Capitol to talk to lawmakers about passing a prohibition during the 2016 legislative session on the sale of ivory. Civil Beat.

The state's Land Board has approved a request to provide additional assault rifles and shotguns to conservation officers. Hawaii News Now.

Margaret “Peggy” Leong has spent the last eight and a half years working as a parish administrator at St. John Vianney Parish in Kailua. But for the past two weeks, Leong has had a very different job: Taking the reins of Hawaii’s newly minted medical marijuana dispensary program at the state Department of Health. Civil Beat.


The Honolulu City Council is considering a proposal that would expand the definition of taxicabs and taxi companies to include Uber and Lyft. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu City Council members no longer will be able to use city-issued purchase cards to pay for travel and travel-related expenses under a “precautionary” policy change announced by Council Chairman Ernie Martin last week. Star-Advertiser.

Editorial: The whole local-government “pCards” chronicle provides an excellent illustration for the expression, “You can have too much of a good thing.” Star-Advertiser.

In an exclusive interview, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell said he's tried and failed to convince the police chief to speak publicly about the FBI investigation into him. Hawaii News Now.

The Hawaii Department of Transportation opened a newly dedicated roadway Monday that it said that will “facilitate the efficient movement of goods through Honolulu Port facilities, while easing congestion on surface streets for the public.” Civil Beat.

Homeowners: Among the Christmas cards and holiday packages, expect to get something sobering in the mail this week. The city has started sending out real property assessments for 2016, and – no surprise – they’re higher than in 2015. Hawaii News Now.

Property values on Oahu are on the rise. So, what does that mean for property owners? KHON2.

Three Kaiser High School graduates are working to overcome voter apathy and get their classmates at the University of Hawaii more involved in solving local and global issues, starting with getting them to vote. Star-Advertiser.


In an unexpected move, the County Council on Monday breathed new life into a bill aiming to enlarge the county Board of Ethics. West Hawaii Today.

Measures limiting lifeguards’ liability, giving counties more authority to regulate vacation rentals, loosening the Sunshine Law and requiring safety checks for mopeds are among a package of seven proposals approved by the County Council on Monday to be sent to the state Legislature. West Hawaii Today.

Chad Keone Farias, Ka‘u-Keaau-Pahoa complex area superintendent, said he and others worked during the weekend to try to get a handle on a spate of fighting and arrests on campus, meeting with police, state Department of Education psychologists and counselors and state Department of Health professionals. Tribune-Herald.

The Hawaii Department of Health is reporting three more cases of locally acquired dengue fever on Hawaii Island. As of Monday, December 14, state officials say there have been 149 confirmed dengue fever cases identified, an increase of 3 cases from the previous Friday. Big Island Video News.

The state Department of Transportation will discuss proposed improvements to the Hana Pier during a public meeting at Helene Hall on Thursday. Maui News.

Kahului Airport restrooms get a new look. The airport began to upgrade the 21-year-old facilities around two years ago. Maui News.

A woman accused of trying to smuggle meth into Maui is caught by police in California then later dies. But it wasn't your average drug bust. Police discovered the California resident hid the drugs in her vagina. Hawaii News Now.

On a calm February day off the coast of Maui, whale researcher Jim Darling cut the engine on his boat, dipped an underwater microphone into the ocean and caught a sound he'd never heard before in 30 years of research. Scientists report new sound that could be coming from humpbacks. Maui News.


The cost of your plate lunch could be on the rise, as well as many other daily purchases, if a proposed one-half percent increase to the general excise tax passes through the county’s chain of command. The issue arose this year after the state Legislature granted counties the right to establish a one-half percent surcharge on the GET. Counties have until July 1 to enact an ordinance that would increase the tax from Jan. 1, 2018 to Dec. 31, 2027. Garden Island.

The FAA announced Monday it will require that aircraft, including drones, be registered to make it easier to identify owners and educate amateur aviators. Operating a drone is kind of scary, but it is fun said Kasey Nakashima, a Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School student, Monday. Garden Island.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Ohia trees threatened, Ige defends Land Use Commission, greenhouses proposed for medical marijuana, albatross eggs removed from Kauai missile range, real estate rocking, Hilo Kamehameha statue to be repaired, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2015 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Ohia lehua flower with raindrops © 2015 All Hawaii News
The bad news just got worse for Hawaii’s indigenous ohia trees. The trees are under attack by more than one strain of fungus, researchers at the University of Hawaii at Hilo have found. Star-Advertiser.

As the Hawaii Department of Health finalizes interim rules for the state’s new medical marijuana dispensary program, one definition could mean the difference of millions of dollars for entrepreneurs hoping to get into the business. The law creating the dispensary program says that medical cannabis must be grown in “enclosed indoor facilities. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige admits that there are a fair share of impediments to constructing more affordable housing developments on state-owned lands but says that calls from developers and housing industry experts to eliminate the state Land Use Commission are not the answer. Pacific Business News.

The Coral Reef Conservation Program of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration this year awarded more than $8.4 million in grants and cooperative agreements to support conservation and scientific studies that benefit coral reef management. Hawaii’s share is $1.48 million, which will go to the Department of Land and Natural Resources, the University of Hawaii, The Nature Conservancy of Hawaii and the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council. Civil Beat.

Dec. 13 marks the start of the Makahiki season and the Hawaiian new year. KHON2.


The total assessed value of taxable property on Oahu rose 6.1 percent over last year, a slightly smaller jump than a year ago, city officials said Friday. Overall, the value of all Oahu taxable property rose to $227.9 billion, up from $214.89 billion, the city’s Real Property Assessment Division reported. Star-Advertiser.

Many businesses along the rail line are taking a hit due to all the construction during this holiday shopping season. So the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART) offered free shuttle rides on Sunday to help bring in customers. Hawaii News Now.

In Kakaako Parks, State Wades Into Thorny Issue of Property Confiscation. Homeless encampments grew to about 180 people as the state created the rules for what do with their property when it clears them out. And those rules are already under fire. Civil Beat.

Hawaiian Electric Co. has cleared the solar photovoltaic systems from its October 2014 backlog that included 2,749 customers, the Honolulu-based utility said in public documents this week. Pacific Business News.

It was broken for 50 years, but on Saturday, the fishpond at Paepae o He'eia has been restored. KITV4.


As officer-involved shootings make headlines nationwide, the Hawaii Police Department said it’s continuing plans to issue body cameras to officers. The department has completed a pilot program and is now researching their best option. West Hawaii Today.

Scientists involved in Hawaii astronomy have a message for the builders of a giant telescope planned for a mountain held sacred by some Native Hawaiians: Hang in there. Associated Press.

When the state Supreme Court ruled on Dec. 2 that the Board of Land and Natural Resources erred in issuing the construction permit for the Thirty Meter Telescope, it sent a chilling message to the business community in general. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii Island’s dengue fever outbreak appears to be the largest in the United States since World War II, according to various reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other health sites. Tribune-Herald.

Home sales are on the rise countywide, with buyers coming from around the state, the mainland, and countries as far-flung as Switzerland — to say nothing of the increase in local homeowners. Realtor Nancy Cabral, owner of Day-Lum Properties, called 2015 “the best year since the crash of 2008.” Tribune-Herald.

There’s no easy fix to solving the problem of heavy traffic congestion in Pahoa. Traffic delays increased dramatically over the past week after the Dec. 2 opening of a detour that routes cars past the construction site of a future roundabout. The roundabout is being built at the intersection of Highway 130 and Pahoa Village Road. Tribune-Herald.

The long spear tip stolen from the King Kamehameha statue soon will be reattached. Tribune-Herald.


Officials with the company that's been contracted to build a state-of-the-art waste conversion facility at the Central Maui landfill say the project is still on target for completion in 2018, but at least one Maui County Council member isn't so sure. Maui News.

The Ma'alaea Community Association and Maui Tomorrow Foundation are suing Maui County and the developers of the proposed fast-tracked Ma'alaea Plantation subdivision over the environmental assessment for the development. Maui News.

Sea urchins, seaweed and fish formerly reserved to be eaten by Hawaiian royalty are flourishing at a South Maui fishpond since volunteers began restoring the historic landmark 10 years ago. Maui News.

Raw oysters imported from Korea and distributed by at least two Maui retailers have been linked to the norovirus illness. Maui News.


The U.S. military says it has shot down a missile off Kauai in a test of a missile defense system designed to protect NATO forces in Europe from attack. The Missile Defense Agency said Thursday that an Air Force C-17 aircraft launched a medium-range target over the ocean southwest of Hawaii on Wednesday. Associated Press.

Two dozen Laysan albatross eggs were collected from nests along the runway at the Pacific Missile Range Facility at Barking Sands, a historically popular breeding spot for albatrosses. Garden Island.


Monsanto Hawaiʻi has announced that its Molokaʻi farm has become the first company in Hawaiʻi to achieve “Wildlife at Work” certification by the nonprofit Wildlife Habitat Council.  Maui Now.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Obama to vacation in Hawaii, Ige clamps down on IT contracts, hospitals fined for infections, Kenoi defends effectiveness, medical marijuana use questioned for police, firefighters, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

White House file photo
President Obama speaks to Hawaii troops, White House file photo
President Barack Obama and his family are scheduled to fly to Hawaii late next week for their annual Christmas vacation in the islands. Star-Advertiser.

Gov. David Ige’s administration announced Thursday that it’s working to tighten up control of its information-technology contracts. Civil Beat.

On Thursday, the governor admitted the state's done a lousy job of managing its IT contracts at the expense of Hawaii taxpayers. KITV4.

December marks the end of Gov. David Ige’s first year on the job. It was a year of accomplishments and tough criticisms, but Ige gives himself a B. KHON2.

After a state audit, the Hawaii State Judiciary is moving to close five trust funds that do not meet required criteria. Pacific Business News.

The federal government is punishing three Hawaii hospitals for having high rates of avoidable infections. Maui Memorial Medical Center, Pali Momi Medical Center and Wahiawa General Hospital were among 758 hospital nationwide that will be docked 1 percent of Medicare payments in 2016. Civil Beat.

Starting soon restaurants that handle raw meat will be inspected three times a year instead of just once. Fast food restaurants will be inspected twice a year, and places like bakeries or places that don’t handle raw food will continue to be inspected once a year. KHON2.

Randy Iwase, chairman of the state Public Utilities Commission, questioned why NextEra Energy Inc. has not made a written commitment to maintain benefits for Hawaiian Electric Industries retirees. Star-Advertiser.

Column: The Hawaii Republican Assembly argues that the Hawaii Republican Party is simply not conservative enough, especially regarding fiscal issues. But many establishment leaders say the way HIRA, as it’s more commonly known, is going about demanding change is seriously backfiring. Civil Beat.

The Hawai‘i State Teachers Association says higher taxes are needed to improve education in the state. Hawaii Public Radio.


Amid heightened concerns tied to mass shootings in recent years, the Honolulu Police Department is continuing to provide its patrol officers with the latest specialized training on responding to active shooter incidents. Star-Advertiser.

One Honolulu police officer and one Honolulu firefighter have tested positive for marijuana in recent years and they presented their medical marijuana permits as the reason, sources told Hawaii News Now Friday. But police departments across the state and the Honolulu Fire Department are not allowing employees to use medical marijuana.

The six luxury oceanfront homes being planned by Alexander & Baldwin Inc.’s real estate subsidiary has disclosed to PBN a price range for the six luxury apartment homes it developing on the Kahala property formerly owned by Japanese businessman Genshiro Kawamoto. Each is being priced between $6 million and $12 million. Pacific Business News.

It has been two years since Alexander & Baldwin purchased 30 Kahala properties from eccentric Japanese billionaire Genshiro Kawamoto. Now, it's A&B's plans for one of those properties that is raising issues with some residents. Hawaii News Now.


One day after Hawaii Island Mayor Billy Kenoi said the state investigation into his use of a county-issued credit card has not impacted his effectiveness, others are saying that's not the case. Hawaii News Now.

Police arrested five juveniles following a series of campus fights at Pahoa High and Intermediate School. Tribune-Herald.

The makeover of the Old Kona Airport Park has been delayed and scaled back because of delays in getting state sign-offs on the project. West Hawaii Today.

A team of federal and state entomologists are on the prowl this week in South Kona, setting traps for dengue-carrying mosquitoes. West Hawaii Today.


Maui County residents are toying with an idea that no other county in Hawaii has tried before - a council-manager form of government, which could replace the current mayor-council system that has been in place since 1969. Maui News.

Developers broke ground this week for a 70-unit luxury condominium complex that they say will create hundreds of jobs, generate property tax revenue and lead to affordable housing in South Maui. Maui News.

The groundbreaking and blessing ceremony for the 64-unit Kulamalu affordable-rental project in Pukalani was held on Thursday. Maui Now.


The Department of Water will hold a public information meeting to discuss a new water main replacement project along Halewili Road and Kaumualii Highway in Kalaheo. Garden Island.

The public is advised that a portion of Kainahola Road in Kapahi will remain closed until the end of February. Due to delays caused by the weather, the contractor was unable to complete the work on 0.7 miles of the roadway this week as originally planned. Garden Island.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Teachers union seeks tax hike, Kaiser Medicare premiums increased, Honolulu rail tax advances, Muslim harassed on Honolulu street, Mick Fleetwood vacation rental OKed, Maui environmental manager resigns, body cams for Kauai police, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy Department of Education
Honolulu school, courtesy photo
The Hawaii State Teachers Association is proposing a 1 percent general excise tax hike, which the union estimates would generate $750 million a year for education needs. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii’s education system is in dire need of an overhaul, according to the Hawaii State Teacher’s Association. The union has identified 10 areas that need improvement and is including them in an omnibus bill that will be introduced during the 2016 legislative session. To fund the bill, it is proposing a 1 percent increase in the state’s General Excise Tax, with a few caveats. Garden Island.

Randy Iwase, chairman of the state Public Utilities Commission, said Wednesday some commitments offered by NextEra Energy Inc. to win support for its proposed purchase of Hawaiian Electric Industries aren’t any different than what the Hawaii utility would do on its own. Star-Advertiser.

Colton Ching, vice president of energy delivery for Hawaiian Electric Co., said Wednesday during his time on the stand for the regulatory hearings on NextEra Energy Inc.’s proposed $4.3 billion acquisition of the Honolulu-based utility, that there are some commitments that aren’t necessarily new, but instead a promise to continue what is currently being done. Pacific Business News.

The Ige administration is struggling to fill nearly 350 vacancies on state boards and commissions. Civil Beat.

With less than one week left before a Dec. 15 deadline, nearly 6,000 people in Hawaii had signed up for health coverage using the federal government’s website during the open enrollment period that began Nov. 1, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said Wednesday. Pacific Business News.

House and Senate negotiators announced today that they reached agreement on bipartisan legislation to make permanent a moratorium that prevents states from taxing access to the Internet. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, which opposes the measure, estimates that Hawaii’s state government would lose about $20 million in tax revenue, based on 2012 figures, when the tax is phased out. Associated Press.

According to United Health Foundation’s America’s Health Rankings Annual Report, Hawaii is the healthiest overall when compared to all US states. Hawaii News Now

About 15,000 senior Kaiser Permanente Hawaii Medicare plan members will see an increase in their monthly out-of-pocket premiums on Jan. 1. Star-Advertiser.


The Honolulu City Council on Wednesday moved a step closer to approving a bill requiring consumers on Oahu to pay a 0.5 percent surcharge on the general excise tax for five more years to help finance the city’s $6.57 billion rail project. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu City Council voted Wednesday to keep alive a bill to extend a 0.5 percent general excise tax surcharge by five years, from 2022 to 2027, to help pay for a growing deficit in the municipality’s $6.6 billion rail project. Civil Beat.

In response to critics of rail who say shutting down the project could save taxpayers money, officials said Thursday that dismantling what's been built already and terminating contracts would have a huge price tag. Hawaii News Now.

The Honolulu City Council deliberated today on the bill to increase funding for the Honolulu Rail Transit Project. Hawaii Public Radio.

Bobby Bunda held a campaign fundraiser at the Pacific Club in downtown Honolulu on Dec. 1, suggesting his desire to return to elective office. The former Hawaii Senate president asked for contributions of $500 in a bid for the District 2 seat on the Honolulu City Council. Civil Beat.

An Oahu grand jury could take up the case of a Honolulu police officer repeatedly beating a man with his baton — an act caught on video, the prosecutor’s office said. Star-Advertiser.

State officials took another step Wednesday toward clearing out homeless encampments at two Kakaako parks. At a special meeting, the Hawaii Community Development Authority board signed off on what its officials call “abandoned property protocol” — rules guiding how the agency will enforce nighttime closures at Kewalo Basin Park and Kakaako Waterfront Park. Civil Beat.

A 36-year-old marketing manager who wears a traditional hijab said she was harassed for her Muslim religion by an unidentified man who made offensive comments as he followed her from Alakea Street to Bishop Street. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu City Council members are expected to approve a $1.2 million settlement this week for a 2008 motorcycle crash on Kaluanui Road in Hawaii Kai that left a man paralyzed. Civil Beat.

The Hawaii Supreme Court will hear an oral argument Thursday from 10-11 a.m. at Waianae High School, part of an ongoing outreach program intended to educate students about the law and democracy. Civil Beat.


Exclusive interview with Gov. David Ige about Thirty Meter Telescope project. Hawaii News Now.

An eruption of multiple large fights sent Pahoa High and Intermediate School into lockdowns the past couple of days and required police response. Adults trying to intervene are being assaulted. KHON2.

As NextEra Energy Inc. continues to seek approval of its $4.3 billion acquisition of the Hawaiian Electric companies, organizers behind a movement to pursue a nonprofit utility on the Big Island say their business model could save Hawaii Electric Light Co. customers as much as $113 million on their electricity rate base in a four-year period. Tribune-Herald.

After more than a week of increased traffic congestion along one of Puna’s main arteries because of the construction of a new roundabout, local elected officials are searching for ways to improve driving conditions during the project timeline. Tribune-Herald.

A community resource center and emergency shelter is moving ahead at the Kailapa Homestead in Kawaihae. West Hawaii Today.

A brief lull in the number of reported dengue cases doesn’t mean the disease is anywhere near finished with the Big Island — a fact highlighted Wednesday when the fever resumed its steady march with six new cases. West Hawaii Today.


Kyle Ginoza has resigned as director of the county Department of Environmental Management and has taken a job as general manager for Maui operations of Hawaii Gas. Maui News.

Mick Fleetwood, drummer and co-founder of Fleetwood Mac, was approved Tuesday for a permit to use a cottage his late mother lived in as a short-term rental in Napili. Maui News.

It's official. What had been known for more than 100 years as Iao Stream is officially the Wailuku River. Maui News.

The already slow-moving proposal to build a 1,500-home town development at Olowalu has come to a full stop after the state Land Use Commission rejected the developer's draft final environmental impact statement Monday. Maui News.


Kauai Police Chief Darryl Perry says he plans to launch the state’s first body camera program before the end of the year — with or without support from the state’s powerful police union. Civil Beat.

Kauai County doesn’t have a long-term financial plan, so county officials are bringing consultants on board to help form one. At the cost of $40,000, the Government Finance Officers Association will help Kauai County develop a financial vision for the future. Garden Island.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Lawmakers grill University of Hawaii officials on spending, Ellison's Lanai plans probed, Land Use Commission denies Maui development, NextEra says electric grid lacking, attorney general investigates stadium fallout, state cancels Honolulu airport commuter terminal, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2015 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
University of Hawaii-Hilo © 2015 All Hawaii News
In what’s become a December tradition, leaders from the University of Hawaii went to the state Capitol on Tuesday to make their case to the House Committee on Higher Education for additional budget appropriations. What UH President David Lassner got — this year and last — was a stern talking-to from Rep. Isaac Choy, who heads the committee. Civil Beat.

The University of Hawai’i briefed lawmakers about additional funding they are requesting for the next fiscal year. Hawaii Public Radio.

The state Public Utilities Commission met behind closed doors Monday for the second time in five days of hearings on Florida-based NextEra Energy Inc.’s proposed $4.3 billion purchase of Hawaiian Electric Industries Inc. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaiian Electric Co.’s efforts in reliability are currently poor at best, an executive with a NextEra Energy Inc. subsidiary said Tuesday at the ongoing regulatory hearings regarding the Florida energy giant’s proposed $4.3 billion acquisition of the Honolulu-based utility. Pacific Business News.

When it comes to something as crucial in our lives as electricity, can Hawaii trust outsiders to do the right thing? That was the fundamental question emerging Monday from the high-stakes hearing at the Neal S. Blaisdell Center to decide if NextEra Energy’s proposed $4.3 billion purchase of Hawaiian Electric Industries will be approved. Civil Beat.

Fitch Ratings says it expects NextEra Energy Inc.’s proposed $4.3 billion acquisition of Hawaiian Electric Industries to be approved and that over the long term the agency sees a bias toward positive rating actions for Hawaiian Electric Co. and HEI under the Florida utility’s ownership. Star-Advertiser.

The state Department of Budget and Finance is recommending that Hawaii Gov. David Ige include about $31 million in his 2017 supplemental budget request to fund public housing repairs and maintenance. That would be six times more than Ige sought last year, but still far less than the total amount needed to upgrade more than 6,000 aging public housing units. Civil Beat.

Hawaii will spend $6.8 million in tobacco settlement funds on anti-smoking campaigns this year. That’s the lowest level in years, and about half what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends. Hawaii News Now.

The deadline for comment on a proposed bridge between Native Hawaiians and the US Government is closing soon. In the fall the US Department of the Interior proposed establishing a formal government-to-government relationship as part of the reconciliation process.  The proposal would give Native Hawaiians a legal framework that would help the native Hawaiian community work with the US government. Hawaii Public Radio.

Add yet another gig to Colleen Hanabusa’s growing work load: She will teach a course on the topic of “civil liberties in times of crisis” during the spring 2016 semester at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Civil Beat.

In the midst of the third global coral bleaching event on record, local communities can help recovery efforts by curbing soil runoff and protecting herbivores like parrotfish, researchers said. Maui News.

Commentary: Why Can’t Hawaii Spend All That Federal Money? State agencies can’t seem to spend all of the $2.5 billion in federal money they get each year, but they still turn down the offer of help to manage those grants. Civil Beat.


The state of Hawaii has canceled plans to build a new commuter terminal at Honolulu International Airport as part of the state's $1.7 billion airport upgrade, which will displace two interisland airlines. Pacific Business News.

Plans to build a new commuter terminal at Honolulu International Airport have been canceled because the project was too pricey. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii's attorney general is reviewing a letter which says Aloha Stadium defaulted on its agreement with the U.S. women's soccer team. Associated Press.

A class-action lawsuit has been filed over the last-minute cancellation of Sunday's U.S. Women's soccer game, just as the state has launched its own investigation. Hawaii News Now.

The Honolulu City Council is considering hiring the Law Offices of Cary T. Tanaka to defend city Corporation Counsel Donna Leong in a lawsuit brought by the family of Sheldon Haleck, who died in police custody earlier this year. Civil Beat.


Scientists say that last week’s state Supreme Court ruling on the Thirty Meter Telescope puts not only that project’s future in limbo, but also jeopardizes observatories already atop Mauna Kea. Tribune-Herald.

Exports of businesses at Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority played a major role in Hawaii’s aquaculture record-high sales in 2014, the ocean science and technology park’s executive director said. West Hawaii Today.


The state Land Use Commission on Monday denied acceptance of the Olowalu Town LLC and Olowalu Ekolu LLC’s Final Environmental Impact Statement. Maui Now.

After a grueling 11-hour meeting Monday, the state Land Use Commission voted to not approve a draft final environmental impact statement for development of a 1,500-home Olowalu town in West Maui. Maui News.

By a vote of six to one, the Hawaii Land Use Commission  voted late yesterday to reject the Olowalu Town project’s Final Environmental Impact Statement. The vote on the decade-old proposal to add 1,500 homes and about 4,000 residents to tiny Olowalu came at the end of a marathon hearing at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center that last around 12 hours. MauiTime.

The state Public Utilities Commission has approved an amended power purchase agreement between Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. and Maui Electric Co. that makes significant changes to the pricing and the commitments of power by the state's last sugar plantation to the utility. Maui News.


The county’s wastewater management folks are talking about using treated wastewater to irrigate various chunks of turf in Waimea, and they’re holding a public meeting from 6 to 8 tonight at the Waimea Canyon School cafeteria to bring the public up to speed on the project. Garden Island.

The Kokee Forest Restoration and Recovery Project on Kauai is being recognized by the U.S.D.A. Forest Service for the 2015 Western Regional Forester’s Honor Award. The project is ambitious in that it strives to reforest nearly 1,000 acres of burnt eucalyptus and pine plantations using koa and other native trees and plants. Garden Island.


Some longtime Lanai residents aren’t sure how much trust to place in billionaire Larry Ellison, who bought 98 percent of the island in 2012 and hasn’t made any major public appearances on the island. Star-Advertiser.

Business owner Jeremiah Littlepage expects bookings will speed up after the much-improved Manele Bay Hotel reopens in February, especially because Ellison’s purchase generated an incredible amount of awareness about Lanai. Star-Advertiser.

On Lanai, the island’s only visibly homeless man stands in stark contrast to the island’s beachfront resort that’s undergoing a multi-million dollar renovation. Hawaii News Now.

The premier luxury vacation destination on Lanai formerly known as the Manele Bay Hotel is scheduled to reopen Feb. 1 as the Four Seasons Resort Lanai looking ever-more-finely appointed after a $75 million overhaul that included gutting the guestrooms, stripping down the lobby and demolishing the pool. Star-Advertiser.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Hawaii to get money from $300M transportation bill, hotel market still growing, Lanai tourism drops following Ellison changes, loosening development regulations could end housing woes, CDC leaves Big Island following dengue study, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2015 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Driving in Hawaii © 2015 All Hawaii News
Hawaii’s U.S. senators, both Democrats, are welcoming the bipartisan passage Thursday of a $300 billion transportation bill that now awaits President Obama’s signature. Civil Beat.

Strong performance milestones that Hawaii’s hotel market hit through the first 10 months of this year are expected to carry over into 2016, according to an industry expert. Star-Advertiser.

The key to fixing Hawaii’s housing problem is simplifying some of the state's burdensome regulation, according to Walter A. Dods Jr., retired chief of First Hawaiian Bank. Pacific Business News.

The commission overseeing public charter schools needs to be more proactive in its oversight of schools’ finances and compliance with state regulations, a new report by the state auditor concludes. Star-Advertiser.


The city’s new kinder, gentler approach to homeless sweeps is the result of a court-sanctioned agreement that spells out what the maintenance crew is allowed to do. The agreement, signed as part of the ongoing federal class-action lawsuit, prohibits the crew from throwing out any items that are considered a “sidewalk nuisance” or “personal property” during the sweeps, unless they are determined to be perishable or hazardous. Civil Beat.


Hawaii County’s dengue fever outbreak grew by six confirmed cases Friday, with the total now standing at 136 people infected, according to an update from the state Department of Health. Tribune-Herald.

It’s been more than a month since the initial outbreak was discovered, and dengue cases — 136 as of Saturday — continue to climb. While the state’s “Fight the Bite” campaign advocates for education and awareness to eradicate the virus’s advance, some places visitors haven’t been getting — or at least not seeing — information about the Big Island dengue outbreak are at their first stops upon arrival: Hotels and airports. West Hawaii Today.


A state study showing nonresidents outspending residents in buying homes and condominiums in Maui County could stoke the flames of the longtime love-hate relationship between people who make the islands their home and those who visit or want to move here. Maui News.

Maui County is the only county in the state in which less than half - 48 percent - of single-family home and condominium buyers were residents while the remaining 52 percent were from the Mainland or foreign countries, according to a study by the Research and Economic Analysis Division of the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism. Maui News.

Over 75 dog owners, park supporters, county personnel, and past and present members of the Friends of the Upcountry Dog Park committee attended the “unleashing” ceremony for the new dog park at Eddie Tam on Saturday, Dec. 5. Maui News.


Among the County Council’s arguments that surrounded the homestead tax cap public hearing on Wednesday, several community members showed support for Bill 2606. The bill provides a homestead tax cap for owner-occupied properties and long-term affordable rentals. Garden Island.

Tropic Care 2016 will be held in June at three sites — Eleele Elementary School, Kapaa Middle School and Kauai Community College. Free medical services that will be offered include dental, medical and optometric care, sports physicals, eyeglass production, adult health exams, tooth extractions and oral checkups. Garden Island.


Paul and Motoko Oxman left the relative bustle of Maui to visit neighboring Lanai for two days recently and encountered hardly any other tourists. That was nice for the couple from Singapore, who enjoyed some extra serenity. But for businesses on the island, serenity causes concern. Star-Advertiser.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Hawaii Supreme Court vacates Thirty Meter Telescope permit on Mauna Kea, Navy on standby in dengue battle, U.S. Supreme Court puts Native Hawaiian election on hold, Maui tackles homelessness, Kauai addresses bed and breakfasts, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

photo courtesy Occupy Hilo Media
Thirty Meter Telescope protester, courtesy Occupy Hilo Media
In a ruling that could set back development of the Thirty Meter Telescope for years, the Supreme Court of Hawaii on Wednesday invalidated the permit allowing construction of the $1.4 billion project on Mauna Kea. The court, in a unanimous decision, said the state Board of Land and Natural Resources erred when it approved the project’s Conservation District Use Permit before holding a contested case hearing to consider evidence about whether the permit should be granted. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii Supreme Court has voted unanimously to vacate the permit allowing the Thirty Meter Telescope to be built atop Mauna Kea, a mountain on the east side of Hawaii Island. The justices concluded that the state Board of Land and Natural Resources violated due process when it approved a permit for the $1.4 billion project in 2011 prior to holding a contested case hearing. Civil Beat.

A long-awaited Hawaii Supreme Court ruling Wednesday invalidating a construction permit for what would be one of the world's largest telescopes represents a major setback for the $1.4 billion project on a mountain astronomers tout for having perfect star-gazing conditions. Associated Press.

The Hawaii Supreme Court on Wednesday vacated the $1.4 billion Thirty Meter Telescope’s permit to build an observatory atop Mauna Kea and sent the case back to the state Board of Land and Natural Resources for a contested case hearing. Pacific Business News.

The Hawaii Supreme Court voted unanimously, today, to vacate the permit allowing the Thirty-Meter Telescope (TMT) to be constructed on Mauna Kea. The court ruled that the state Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR) wrongfully approved a conservation use permit in 2011 prior to holding a contested case hearing. Project officials will have to return to the BLNR to get new approval for the project. Hawaii Independent.

The Hawaii Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled the permit allowing construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope near the summit of Mauna Kea is invalid. According to the court, the Board of Land and Natural Resources shouldn’t have issued a permit to build the $1.4 billion next-generation telescope until a contested case hearing to evaluate a petition by a group challenging the project’s approval could be held. Tribune-Herald.

The Hawaii Supreme Court on Wednesday invalidated a permit awarded for the construction of one of the world's largest telescopes on Mauna Kea, a mountain many Native Hawaiians consider sacred. Associated Press.

The permit allowing the Thirty Meter Telescope to be built and operated on Mauna Kea has been thrown out by the Hawaii Supreme Court. In the conclusion of a 58 page opinion written by Chief Justice Mark E. Recktenwald, the court vacated the lower circuit court’s findings of fact and judgment.  Big Island Video News.

The state’s highest court has revoked a permit for construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope atop Mauna Kea. The Hawai‘i Supreme Court ruled that due process was violated when it approved the permit for the telescope before holding a contested case hearing. TMT may now have to go through the process again if they still want to construct the $1.4 billion telescope. Hawaii Public Radio.

The Hawaiʻi Supreme Court issued an opinion today vacating the circuit court’s May 5, 2014 decision that had affirmed the Board of Land and Natural Resources’ Conservation District Use Permit that was granted on April 12, 2013, for the Thirty Meter Telescope at Mauna Kea. Maui Now.

The state "put the cart before the horse" when it issued a permit for construction of the Thirty-Meter Telescope before a contested case hearing on the issue was resolved, the state Supreme Court ruled Wednesday. Hawaii News Now.

Construction of a Thirty Meter Telescope has been halted again. On Wednesday, the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled the permit to construct the telescope on Mauna Kea is invalid. TMT opponents are calling this their most important victory yet. KITV4.


The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday formally granted an injunction blocking the Na‘i Aupuni Hawaiian self-governance election while the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals considers the case challenging it. Under the order, Na‘i Aupuni officials are prohibited from counting ballots and certifying the winners of the election until the appellate court makes a decision. Star-Advertiser.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday blocked the counting of ballots in the ongoing Nai Aupuni election until a lower court takes action on a related lawsuit. The ruling was a blow to supporters of an election of delegates to a Native Hawaiian convention on self-governance, but a big victory to those who oppose it. Civil Beat.

The Hawaii State Ethics Commission has been talking for more than a year about how to improve its online electronic filing system. The current system by which lawmakers and other government officials file required disclosure forms on finances, gifts, lobbying and travel is clunky — requiring, for example, users to submit PDF documents, either printed out or as electronic attachments. Civil Beat.

Officials are questioning the head of NextEra Energy Hawaii about what would happen if the company takes over Hawaiian Electric, the state's main utility company. The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission's chief counsel Thomas Gorak questioned NextEra Energy Hawaii President Eric Gleason on Wednesday during one of a series of public hearings that will last several weeks. Associated Press.

NextEra Energy Inc. is expected to have up to five of the company's executives join the Hawaiian Electric Co. executive team if the $4.3 billion sale of the Honolulu-based utility to the Florida energy giant goes through. Pacific Business News.

Every time transparency takes a hit at otherwise open hearings to decide the fate of NextEra Energy’s $4.3 billion acquisition of Hawaiian Electric Industries, it stinks up the process. That’s the perspective of Randy Iwase, the head of the Public Utilities Commission who is acting as a sort of lead judge in the three-day old hearing at Blaisdell Center. Civil Beat.

NextEra Energy Merger: The Real Action Is In The Politicking. The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission will ultimately decide if the $4.3 billion deal should be approved, but that hasn’t stopped polling, press conferences and news releases. Civil Beat.

While charter school leaders are pushing back against what they say is too much oversight by the Hawaii State Public Charter School Commission, a state report released Tuesday criticizes the commission for just the opposite. Civil Beat.


Friends, family members, employees, well-known political figures and business executives have submitted letters totaling 200 pages to U.S. District Judge Susan Oki Mollway urging her to go easy on Honolulu telecommunications executive Al Hee as he faces several years in prison for tax fraud. Star-Advertiser.

Construction is underway on a temporary homeless shelter in Kakaako. The state says the location is perfect because of it’s location and proximity to transportation, but it will only be open for two years. KHON2.

Installing residential solar-energy systems is at its peak this time of year as homeowners try to cash in on end of year tax incentives.   But as HPR’s Wayne Yoshioka reports, the industry has taken a number of hits recently that have already reduced demand. Hawaii Public Radio.

Nearly three-quarters of a century after bombs fell on Oahu, launching America into World War II, war dead and veterans on both sides of the conflict — as well as the reconciliation with Japan that is still ongoing — will be memorialized and highlighted on Dec. 7. Star-Advertiser.

Former home of legendary surfer Duke Kahanamoku for sale. Hawaii News Now.


The U.S. Navy is on standby to help battle dengue fever on the Big Island, the director of the state Department of Health said Wednesday. Director Ginny Pressler made the announcement during a three-hour informational session with the Hawaii County Council, participating with fellow physicians Sen. Josh Green and Rep. Richard Creagan, county Civil Defense Administrator Darryl Oliveira and Aaron Ueno, Big Island district health officer for the DOH. West Hawaii Today.

Mosquito repellent has found its way back into Big Island stores — although stocks and selection are thin in places. Tribune-Herald.

Aloha Petroleum will spend $3.25 million to update five fuel storage facilities statewide after violating the federal Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act at its East Hilo bulk fuel storage terminal. Civil Beat.

Aloha Petroleum agreed to pay $650,000 to settle Clean Air and Clean Water acts violations at its Hilo East bulk fuel storage terminal, one of the company’s two fuel storage facilities near Hilo Harbor, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Tribune-Herald.

A large swath of North Kohala coastline with environmental and cultural significance is on its way toward preservation. The Hawaii County Council unanimously gave the go-ahead Wednesday for the Finance Department to begin negotiations to purchase the Hapuu to Kapanaia cultural corridor, a 167-acre corridor that includes two major heiau from Kamehameha I’s time. It also approved negotiations for the purchase of Halelua, a 50-acre parcel that includes much of the lower Halawa Gulch. West Hawaii Today.


Mayor Alan Arakawa's administration has submitted five bills and a proposed budget amendment to the Maui County Council aimed at "nuisance" behavior associated with homeless people. Maui News.

Maui County Mayor Alan Arakawa's administration has submitted five bills aimed at enforcing laws surrounding "nuisance" behavior and a proposed budget amendment to address the growing homelessness crisis. Associated Press.

Something to lose sleep about: The battle with the coqui frog. One becomes a thousand, and the annoying noise makes ‘chickens look like nothing’ Maui News.

A few weeks ago the state Land Use Commission LUC met at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center to discuss the final environmental impact statement (EIS) for Olowalu Town, a massive development project pushed by Bill Frampton and Dave Ward. The project is billed as a “complete community”–containing its own housing, public infrastructure, recreation, commercial development and open space. The LUC didn’t decide the fate of the EIS (or the project), but will meet again at the MACC on Dec. 7 to take it up again. MauiTime.

Opinion: Looks like the special Maui County Liquor Commission subcommittee tasked with crafting a selection process to find a new Liquor Control (LC) Director has been busy. And in contrast to the Liquor Commission’s secret October machinations that led to the double-crowning of Commissioner Dana “son of former LC Director Joe” Souza (up-ended only by Souza’s surprising and never-explained decision to decline the position, made just days before he was to assume office), the selection committee’s work is being documented in public records. MauiTime.


Bed and breakfasts were up for discussion again at Wednesday’s County Council meeting. Councilman Ross Kagawa summed up the goal of the current proposed B&B bill, saying that it’s a chance to control where and how homestays and B&Bs operate. Garden Island.

The Kauai County Council chairman threatened to have another councilmember removed from a meeting Wednesday. An argument broke out during public testimony on Bill 2606, which aims to “implement a homestead tax cap for owner-occupied properties that receive a homeowner exemption and also for long term affordable rental properties.” Garden Island.

One of three public meetings to be held in Hawaii and Southern California about future Navy training activities in Pacific waters will take place tonight. The Navy is preparing an evaluation of potential environmental effects associated with its planned military training, testing and research in these areas after 2018. Garden Island.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Small savings, possible layoffs from NextEra sale of Hawaiian Electric, net metering could survive Public Utilities ruling, second homeless shelter for Kakaako, Hawaii County Council rejects bigger Ethics Board, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Utility sale pending in Hawaii
The $60 million that NextEra Energy Inc. is promising to save customers if its purchase of Hawaiian Electric Industries is approved comes out to only $1 on a monthly bill, the head of the state’s largest utility company acknowledged Tuesday when testifying during trial-like hearings put on by state regulators. Star-Advertiser.

Sometimes a Public Utilities Commission hearing isn’t public at all. That was the case on Tuesday afternoon at Blaisdell Center where, on the second day of a quasi-judicial process that will decide whether NextEra Energy’s $4.3 billion acquisition of Hawaiian Electric is allowed to go through, the public was cleared from the room for 45 minutes while the PUC and other parties directly involved in the hearing met behind closed doors. Civil Beat.

Alan Oshima, the head of Hawaiian Electric Co., which could be purchased by NextEra Energy Inc. for $4.3 billion, could not guarantee that there would be no layoffs after the two-year period following the closure of the acquisition. Pacific Business News.

The Alliance for Solar Choice, a group representing rooftop solar interests in Hawaii and on the mainland, released a poll Tuesday the group said showed most Hawaii residents oppose the sale of Hawaiian Electric Co. to NextEra, especially when told they could lose local control of their utility company. Civil Beat.

The Public Utilities Commission has suspended the Hawaiian Electric Companies (HECO) proposed community based solar tariff and instead opted to open a formal investigative docket. Ililani Media.

More than 25 Hawaii companies and organizations have thrown their support for NextEra Energy Inc.’s proposed $4.3 billion acquisition of Hawaiian Electric Co. in recent weeks, the two firms said Monday. Pacific Business News.

Commentary: A recent study by a nonprofit consumer watchdog agency ranked Hawaii as one of three states doing the best job of informing the public about consumer complaints against businesses and licensed professionals. Civil Beat.

More than 18-thousand homes are sold each year in Hawai’i. And now, for the first time, we have data to show us where these buyers are coming from. Hawaii Public Radio.

Timothy Ray Brown, the renowned Berlin patient whose recovery was chronicled in the New England Journal of Medicine, is in Honolulu to help kick off a multimillion-dollar initiative that aims to transform Hawaii into the first HIV-free state in the U.S. Star-Advertiser.


A second homeless shelter will open in February in Kakaako, where three homeless encampments have been allowed to mushroom as city and state officials wrestle with how to handle Oahu’s persistent homeless population — the largest per capita in the nation. Star-Advertiser.

Construction is underway for a temporary shelter for homeless families near the Kaka‘ako Waterfront Park. Hawaii Public Radio.

Your voices will be heard. That was the message that State Homeless Coordinator Scott Morishige stressed at the Waianae Coast Neighborhood Board meeting on Tuesday, while also trying to reassure people that no sweeps are currently planned for The Harbor homeless community. Civil Beat.

A homeless encampment continues to grow along a bustling avenue heading into Waikiki. Hawaii News Now.

Trash pickup problems aren’t going away. In fact, they seem to be getting worse. While we’ve had several reports of lingering trash in Kaimuki, Kalihi, and Hawaii Kai, more residents are now having problems. KHON2.

On Wednesday, a second access route to the Mehana Subdivision in Kapolei will officially open. The access route connects the subdivision to and from Kapolei Parkway via Kama’aha Avenue. KITV4.


A bill seeking a larger Board of Ethics with more County Council authority over its members found very little traction Tuesday in the council Finance Committee. West Hawaii Today.

Between 2008 and 2015, mainland buyers purchased more homes in Hawaii County than anywhere else in the state, according to a new report. Tribune-Herald.

A bill making it easier for small agricultural tourism enterprises to operate in Hawaii County is a long way from fruition. West Hawaii Today.

An updated map showing the locations where dengue fever has been investigated and confirmed on Hawaii Island has been released by the Hawaii County Civil Defense. The map depicts case locations as of November 30th when the number of confirmed cases of dengue fever totaled 112. Today that number rose to 117. Big Island Video News.

Several weeks after work began on the Big Island’s first roundabout project, a significant change to traffic patterns is beginning. A construction detour located near mile marker 10 on Highway 130 goes into effect today. Tribune-Herald.


Since January 2008, a solid 52 percent of homes sold in Maui County have been to buyers from either the Mainland or foreign nations, states a new report from the Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT). MauiTime.

Visitor arrivals and spending on Maui rose slightly in October, the Hawai'i Tourism Authority reported in preliminary data Monday. Maui News.

More than 2.1 million visitors spent $3.5 billion on Maui from January through October of this year, an increase of 5.3 and 5.9% respectively. Maui Now.


A recent ruling by the Hawaii Supreme Court is expected to affect fewer than a dozen drunken driving cases on Kauai, according to the prosecuting attorney. Garden Island.