Thursday, January 14, 2016

Board seeks bridge over Ala Wai, dengue closes Waipio Valley, state lawmakers mull homelessness, budget, lottery, Kasich added to GOP ballot, Maui could swap hemp for sugarcane, DLNR warned not to hire officer accused of rape, Kauai advances barking dog ordinance, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2016 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Along the Ala Wai © 2016 All Hawaii News
The Waikiki Neighborhood Board is urging the city and state to kick-start a plan to build a pedestrian and bicycle bridge that crosses the Ala Wai Canal linking Waikiki to the University of Hawaii at Manoa and nearby neighborhoods. Star-Advertiser.

Homelessness And Housing Top Legislative Agenda. Fiscal accountability is also a major concern for majority Democrats and minority Republicans as the opening of their 2016 session nears. Civil Beat.

The joint Senate and House money committees conducted another pre-session budget hearing today and lawmakers focused on homelessness -- one of the key issues in the state. Hawaii Public Radio.

Powerball mania nationally is reigniting discussions about bringing the lottery to Hawaii. Hawaii News Now.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich is the third Republican presidential candidate to land on Hawaii’s caucus ballot. The March 8 vote already includes real estate mogul Donald Trump and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. Civil Beat.

Growing issues with emergency sirens prompt state to take action. KHON2.

Is Hawaii Doing Enough To Oversee Commercial Tour Operators? It’s difficult for consumers to check up on tour companies, including their safety record or whether tour guides are qualified and trained. Civil Beat.


The U.S. Labor Department has found the Honolulu Board of Water Supply violated federal labor law by routinely denying its investigators lunch breaks for a two-year period in a case that could have implications for government and private sector employers across the state. Hawaii News Now.

The head of the City Council’s Committee of Public Works, Infrastructure and Sustainability demanded answers Wednesday from the Department of Environmental Services to questions raised in a scathing report that found HPOWER’s contracts and procurement practices appear to have violated city policies and state procurement rules. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu City Council is closer to approving a five-year extension of a general excise tax surcharge to pay for cost increases on the municipal rail system, but there are still questions about just how much revenue will actually go to the project. Civil Beat.

The Honolulu City Council now has before it a new version of a bill that it hopes will satisfy federal funders to release needed money to pay rail contractors going forward. KITV4.

After a year of heightened debate over bike lanes in Honolulu, local transportation officials on Wednesday pitched to the public their latest plans to gradually make the city’s car-saturated urban core more bike-friendly. Star-Advertiser.

Staff at the Hawaii Youth Correctional Facility in Kailua continues to rack up hundreds of thousands of dollars in overtime pay annually even though the number of inmates at the facility has dropped to just 23 youths, down from 80 to 90 several years ago. Star-Advertiser.

SunEdison Inc. is selling three of its major solar energy farms in Hawaii that are worth $350 million to a group that includes D.E. Shaw Group, Madison Dearborn Capital Partners IV LP and Northwestern University as part of a larger effort to get rid of $336 million of its debt. Pacific Business News.


Hawaii County Civil Defense announced Wednesday afternoon that it had shut down traffic access to Waipio Valley as a precaution in the ongoing fight against the dengue fever outbreak. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii County Civil Defense shut down the Waipio Valley Access Road and valley area to all traffic effective 2:30 p.m. today, and a message from the agency says the access will be limited to valley residents only. Big Island Video News.

The Honolulu Police Department recommended that the state not hire an officer who had been fired by the police force in 2012, but the Department of Land and Natural Resources did so anyway, according to information released Wednesday in a sexual assault case. Ethan Ferguson, 39, of Hilo was arrested last week and charged with multiple criminal counts for allegedly sexually assaulting a female minor while on the job Jan. 1 at a Hawaii island beach park. Star-Advertiser.

Top Hawaii officials say they knew accused rapist Ethan Ferguson had been fired by the Honolulu Police Department before offering him a job in 2013 to be a law enforcement officer on the Big Island. They hired him anyway. Civil Beat.

West Hawaii lawmakers polled this week generally seem to support the idea of a lottery here — with certain conditions to minimize societal damage and maximize the social benefit of gambling profits. West Hawaii Today.

This Saturday, a hui made of telescope operators and the ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center will host the first official tour of the Kama‘aina Observatory Experience, a new program established exclusively for Hawaii residents. Tribune-Herald.


Rep. Kaniela Ing (Kīhei, Wailea, Mākena) today announced via that he and “hemp warrior” Rep. Cynthia Thielen (R-Kailua) are putting forth a bipartisan proposal to “transition HC&S’s cornerstone crop from sugar to industrial hemp.” Maui Now.

Two legislators are crossing party lines and a generational gap to join hands in support of rapid action to enable the Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Company to transition to hemp production as it ceases sugar cane farming later this year. Civil Beat.


Barking dogs beware: the law could soon have some teeth when it comes to you, and your owners will be getting a notice from the Humane Society if you’re too noisy. Garden Island.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Legislative panel mulls more money for jails, universities, tourism; EPA fines Puna Geothermal Ventures; Honolulu council spars over rail tax cap; Kona courthouse out for bid; task force formed to help displaced Maui sugar workers; more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2016 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Hawaii Community Correctional Center © 2016 All Hawaii News
Hawaii’s overburdened jail facilities could get $45 million for expansion under Gov. David Ige’s supplemental budget proposal. The governor’s plan calls for the Hawaii Department of Public Safety to pump $15 million to each of the three jails on the neighbor islands — the Hawaii Community Correctional Center, the Kauai Community Correctional Center and the Maui Community Correctional Center — to make more room for inmates. On Thursday, members of the House and Senate public safety committees will hold an informational briefing to learn more about the department’s plan for such a move. Civil Beat.

Lawmakers don’t appear eager to deliver the more than $16 million the University of Hawaii says it needs for operations next year. Star-Advertiser.

A bill expected to be introduced in the Hawaii Legislature this year would offer universal long-term care to the state’s senior citizens. Civil Beat.

The state legislative money committees are continuing their pre-session supplemental budget hearings this week. Today, the focus was on business, economic development and tourism. Hawaii Public Radio.

In a move that will likely make it easier for citizens and the media to follow their state government, the Hawaii Legislature plans to launch a video-on-demand channel. Civil Beat.

State Sen. Suzanne Chun Oakland wants to tap “the wisdom of the Hawaiian people” to come up with environmentally friendly and low-cost ways to house some of Hawaii’s homeless, possibly in rural, agricultural areas. Star-Advertiser.

State lawmakers are considering using traditional Native Hawaiian housing to house the homeless. Thatched huts, though they don’t necessarily need to be thatched. KITV4.

A new report by the state breaks down just how much a person needs to earn to live in Hawaii. In 2014 statewide, about 18.5 percent of couples with no children, 45.5 percent of couples with two children, and 45.3 percent of single adults had incomes below the self-sufficiency standard. KHON2.

Hawaiian Airlines employees represented by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers have ratified tentative five-year contracts with the airline. Pacific Business News.

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs has awarded $500,000 in support of the International Union for Conservation of Nature World Conservation Congress to be held in Hawaii later this year. Garden Island.

A presently creeping section of the Aleutian subduction zone fault could potentially generate an earthquake great enough to send a large tsunami across the Pacific to Hawaii according to recent fieldwork in Alaska’s Aleutian Islands. Garden Island.


Gov. David Ige’s administration hopes to fast-track relocation of the Oahu Community Correctional Center, the state’s largest prison, as public safety officials continue to grapple with perpetual overcrowding and deteriorating conditions. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu City Council leaders continue to seek a cap on the amount of general excise tax surcharge money that can go toward the construction of the contentious, 20-mile rail transit project. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu City Council Committee on Executive Matters and Legal Affairs adopted a resolution Tuesday to study public electrical utility ownership as a potential alternative to NextEra Energy Inc.’s purchase of Hawaiian Electric Industries. Star-Advertiser.

Two months after obtaining building waivers and exemptions from the Honolulu City Council in exchange for constructing a mostly affordable 45-story residential tower, a Kakaako developer wants to alter the agreement. Star-Advertiser.

The deaths of at least three albatrosses and the destruction of 15 nests at Kaena Point last month may have been caused by teenagers. Hawaii News Now.


The Environmental Protection Agency announced Tuesday that Puna Geothermal Venture agreed to pay a civil penalty of $76,500 for chemical safety violations the EPA uncovered in a 2013 inspection. Tribune-Herald.

Puna Geothermal Venture has entered into a consent agreement taking steps to prevent accidental releases of hydrogen sulfide gases and settling safety violations with a fine of $76,500, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Star-Advertiser.

Puna Geothermal Venture, the operator of Hawaii’s sole geothermal power plant on the Big Island, has been fined $76,500 for Clean Air Act chemical safety violations, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Tuesday. Civil Beat.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced a settlement today with Puna Geothermal Venture for Clean Air Act chemical safety violations that occurred three years ago at the energy plant in Pohoiki. Big Island Video News.


With a proclamation Tuesday from auctioneer Antonio Roldan, a historic North Kona church was saved to continue hosting religious services another day. West Hawaii Today.

The astronomy community in Hawaii has taken its lumps over the past year, from the Native Hawaiian-led rebellion against the Thirty Meter Telescope to the state Supreme Court ruling invalidating the project’s construction. Now the observatory community on Mauna Kea is fighting back. And it begins Saturday. For the first time in its 50-year history, the world-class telescopes on Hawaii’s tallest mountain will be opening their doors to the public for tours. Star-Advertiser.

The Kona Judiciary Complex has been put out for bid, and officials expect to award the $90 million project by the end of March. West Hawaii Today.

A former employee of the county Department of Finance Vehicle Registration and Licensing Division pleaded no contest Tuesday to embezzling from the county. Tribune-Herald.


Maui County Mayor Alan Arakawa said Tuesday that his office and Alexander & Baldwin have created a “sugar operators work assistance task force” to aid more than 600 Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar employees who will be displaced by the closure of A&B’s 36,000-acre plantation on Maui. Pacific Business News.

In conjunction with Alexander & Baldwin, Maui County Mayor Alan Arakawa today announced the creation of a task force to assist Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar employees who will be displaced as the plantation ceases sugar operations and transitions to a diversified agriculture model. Maui News.

A task force organized by Mayor Alan Arakawa has been formed to assist more than 650 Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. workers who will be losing their jobs when the plantation shuts down at the end of the year. Maui News.

The Maui Planning Commission approved a two-year permit extension Tuesday for a construction and demolition landfill in Maalaea, giving the site operators until Feb. 1, 2018, to fill and close the landfill. Maui News.

Maui software developer Code Rebel Corp. could be in for a difficult 2016 as it may come under regulatory scrutiny and investors should be cautious about holding shares of the company, according to a report by hedge fund group Dane Capital Management, LLC. Pacific Business News.

A Honolulu-to-Kapalua route and more direct Mainland flights could be headed Maui's way over the next few years as Hawaiian Airlines expands its fleet and operations, said Mark Dunkerley, president and CEO of Hawaiian Airlines and its parent company, Hawaiian Holdings Inc. Maui News.

The president and CEO of Hawaiian Airlines says more flights could be headed to Maui over the next few years as the company expands its fleet and operations. Associated Press.

While shovels met the dirt on the site of the long-awaited high school in Kihei on Monday, the celebration was tempered as state and community officials said that there still is much work to be done. Maui News.


A recent assessment of residential materials disposed at county refuse transfer stations and in refuse carts has prompted officials to issue a reminder about the proper disposal of household hazardous waste. Garden Island.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Hawaii may return to the little grass shack, lawmaker seeks better vetting of state officers following rape, Honolulu incinerator procurement violations probed, bid window opens for marijuana dispensaries, Kauai to consider lobbying law, Bishop Estate to sell Waipio Valley, expert doubts NestEra purchase will happen, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Forest & Kim Starr [CC BY 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
Little grass shack, Hana, Maui, courtesy Forest & Kim Starr
State lawmakers are considering a unique solution to the housing crisis: They want to make it possible for people to live in traditional Hawaiian grass huts. Associated Press.

Hawaii lawmaker proposes grass huts to help homeless. KHON2.

A state senator is raising questions about the Department of Land and Natural Resources’ employment practices after the agency hired an officer who had been fired about a year earlier from the Honolulu Police Department and was arrested last week on allegations he sexually assaulted a female minor while on the job. Star-Advertiser.

A state law enforcement officer charged with five counts of sexual assault of a minor on the Big Island is a former Honolulu policeman who was fired in 2012 after falsifying reports and lying to investigators about his whereabouts when he was transporting an underage runaway. Civil Beat.

The vice president of the state Senate said he plans to introduce a bill in the upcoming legislative session requiring all state and county law enforcement agencies to list in a database all officers fired or forced to resign from their agencies. Tribune-Herald.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources will host a meeting Friday regarding the future of more than 80 commercial and industrial parcels in Hilo, but there is one site in particular expected to garner a lot of attention. Tribune-Herald.

The state Department of Health opened an 18-day bidding window today for companies interested in competing for medical marijuana dispensary licenses. Star-Advertiser.

NextEra Energy Inc. will not win state approval for its $4.3 billion buyout of Hawaiian Electric Industries, according to UBS Financial Services Inc., a Zurich-based investment research firm.Star-Advertiser.

NextEra Energy Inc.’s proposed $4.3 billion acquisition of Hawaiian Electric Co. won’t go through because of the current challenges the Florida energy giant is facing, according to a recent analysis by financial services giant UBS. Pacific Business News.

Several bills are being drafted to clarify the current mandatory peer review for accountants, according to the Hawaii Association of Public Accountants. Pacific Business News.

The U.S. Supreme Court started its January session today by listening to arguments in a case that could have huge ramifications for unions in Hawaii. Friedrichs V. California Teachers Association, challenges the ability of unions to collect mandatory dues. Civil Beat.

The number of two-year degrees awarded through the University of Hawaii’s community colleges has doubled in recent years thanks in large part to an initiative that tracks transfer students who move on without an associate degree. Star-Advertiser.

Measures Adopted To Protect Fishery Observers In Western, Central Pacific. Following another recent disappearance, a regulatory commission finally takes steps to discourage abuse of observers aboard fishing vessels. Civil Beat.


A City Council committee will hold a public hearing Wednesday on findings from the city auditor that the Department of Environmental Services violated policies and procurement laws in awarding contracts to build and operate the HPOWER waste-to-energy plant. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu City Council enters the new year with push coming to shove on the $6.6 billion commuter rail project. For months, Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation officials have appeared before the full council and its budget committee urging the leaders to approve a five-year extension of the 0.5 percent general excise tax surcharge for rail. Civil Beat.

Mayor weighs in on alcohol park controversy. KITV4.

A Waialua bakery will pay a $6,000 settlement for food safety violations that prompted the state Department of Health to temporarily close the store. Star-Advertiser.


Bishop Museum is committed to include Waipio Valley community members in the process as it works to find a new owner for its land within the historic agricultural community and popular tourist attraction, museum CEO Blair Collis said Monday. Tribune-Herald.

The commission charged with prioritizing county land purchases isn’t ready to commit to buying a popular Kaloko trailhead, despite advocates’ concerns the land could slip from the public’s hands. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii residents interested in seeing and learning more about the telescopes on Mauna Kea’s summit will soon get a closer look through a new program ready to launch on Saturday. Hawaii News Now.


After decades of petitioning and planning, the long-awaited Kīhei High School in South Maui broke ground off Pi‘ilani Highway at 9 a.m. this morning, Monday, Jan. 11. Maui Now.

When Don Medeiros was hired as the county's first transportation coordinator in 2002, there was no Department of Transportation and no public county bus system. Now, the man who had a hand in building both from the ground up is back at the helm of county transportation issues. Maui News.

Rep. Angus McKelvey and Sen. Rosalyn Baker will hold their annual Pre-Legislative Session Community Talk Story meeting on Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016, beginning at 10 a.m. at Kaunoa West Maui Senior Center in Lahaina. Maui Now.

The County of Maui Department of Environmental Management, Solid Waste Division, announced that due to a staff shortage, a residential refuse collection route in the Kahului area was not picked up today. Maui Now.


Kauai is the only county in Hawaii that doesn’t have an ordinance governing lobbying. On Wednesday, the county will be taking a first look at a draft for an ordinance doing just that. Garden Island.

Even though the county’s barking dog bill is back before the County Council for a second reading — the last step in the process before it becomes law — Councilwoman JoAnn Yukimura doesn’t believe there’s enough information to make a good decision. Garden Island.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Risky behavior puts tourists at risk, Native Hawaiians in foster care, tax returns slow, Hawaiian activist group wants own political party, Bishop Estates selling Big Island landmarks, Maui mayor happy with salary, more government and political news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2016 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Visitor climbs fence protecting Waimea Canyon, Kauai © 2016 All Hawaii News

Death In Paradise Is All Too Frequent For Visitors To Hawaii. Yet state, county and even tourism officials are doing little to try to reduce what’s become one of the highest rates of visitor deaths in the nation. Civil Beat.

‘Bigger And Stronger Waves’ Are Perilous For Visitors. In the middle of the Pacific Ocean, Hawaii’s unique topography, currents, winds and other conditions often catch tourists off guard. Civil Beat.

Breaking Bad: Dozens Of Tourists Suffer Spinal Cord Injuries. Too many people are ignoring or simply not understanding the warning signs posted at many public beaches. Civil Beat.

Founders of a new political party are hoping to turn voter angst into action at the ballot box this year on a range of issues from homelessness to Hawaiian sovereignty. But before the Aloha Aina Party can field candidates, organizers need to make the group official, which means gathering 707 signatures from registered voters by Feb. 25. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii Attorney General Doug Chin says that the courts overstepped their authority in ordering the state to boost funding for the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands by about $18.4 million this year. Star-Advertiser.

For years the percentage of Native Hawaiians in the state’s foster care system has significantly topped the percentage of Hawaiians in the overall population of children statewide. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaiians at risk: Healing efforts return to roots. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii residents who expect state income tax refunds in 2016 may have to wait. State Tax Director Maria Zielinski says it will again take up to 16 weeks to process refund payments this year because the state is continuing to aggressively scrutinize tax returns in its ongoing crackdown on fraudulent filings. Star-Advertiser.

A bill is likely to be introduced in the upcoming Hawaii legislative session that would raise the monthly salary required to be exempt from minimum-wage law, according to an attorney with the Hawaii Employers Council. Pacific Business News.

Eight years after the start of the worst economic crisis in modern American history, incomes in the islands are rising and unemployment is just 3.2 percent, which is scratching at modern lows for Hawaii. Civil Beat.

U.S. Rep. Mark Takai  wants Aloha wear to be allowed on the House floor on Fridays, a change from the current rule that requires full business attire. Associated Press.


The military housing allowance rate for Oahu in calendar year 2016 is dropping 8.6 percent — the biggest dip in the country — even with rising rent and a housing shortage here. Star-Advertiser.


The Bishop Museum plans to sell two properties on the Big Island of Hawaii valued at more than $10 million as part of its new operating model, the Honolulu-based museum confirmed with Pacific Business News on Friday.

A man arrested while blocking telescope construction crews on a Hawaii mountain was acquitted Friday after a trial that was conducted in Hawaiian. Associated Press.

Kaho’okahi Kanuha was found not guilty by Judge Barbare Takase at the Third-Circuit District Court in Waimea. Big Island Video News.

A local church property is headed for tax auction following a decades-long dispute over ownership. Mauna Ziona Church, established by the early missionaries who came to Hawaii more than a century before statehood, is scheduled for tax sale Tuesday in Hilo. West Hawaii Today.

The U.S. Forest Service is moving ahead with plans for a science and education center at Puu Waawaa. West Hawaii Today.

The discovery in Milolii of a swarm of mosquitoes more efficient at transmitting the dengue fever virus than Hawaii’s common mosquito is prompting state officials and entomologists to look at other areas on the Big Island as they assess the spread of the illness. Star-Advertiser.

The Four Seasons Resort Hualalai is producing organically raised oysters on Hawaii island for use at all six restaurants on the property. Star-Advertiser.


Former Maui County Council Member Dain P. Kane will seek his old position for the Wailuku-Waihee-Waikapu residency seat in the 2016 election, he has announced. Maui News.

Mayor Alan Arakawa told the Salary Commission on Friday that he is "satisfied" with the level of his pay and will not be seeking salary increases for his department heads - even if they deserve them. Maui News.

The development team spearheading the $354.8 million redevelopment of the Makena Resort in South Maui into a mixed-use golf course resort community has revealed more details about the 158-unit project, according to public documents. Pacific Business News.

Alexander & Baldwin's announced shutdown of sugar cane operations by the end of the year has caused a ripple effect for state and county water officials, with one official calling it the "single biggest change in water resource management in this generation." Maui News.

A proposed new planning organization that could bring in millions of federal dollars for county transportation projects is raising concerns among Maui County Council members who worry that the organization would not be held accountable. Maui News.

A presentation on the proposed West Maui hospital and speeches by Maui County lawmakers are on tap Thursday at the West Maui Taxpayers Association meeting in the Lahaina Civic Center Social Hall. Maui News.


Something is working over at Kauai Community Correctional Center. That’s what Lt. Thomas Weston Keolaikepapalua Lindsey Jr. will say if you ask him about the culture surrounding Kauai’s prison, its guards and the inmates who live there. Garden Island.

Underwater titans surround Kauai every winter. But the pods of North Pacific humpback whales rarely share much more of their lives than an occasional spout or breach seen off-shore. Garden Island.

A Hawaiian green sea turtle was rescued from a storm drain Friday morning. Garden Island.


Billionaire Larry Ellison’s Four Seasons Resort Lanai, at Manele Bay, is scheduled to open on Feb. 1, with the Four Seasons Resort Lanai, The Lodge at Koele reopening later this year after it undergoes a renovation. Pacific Business News.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Revenue Council finds additional $40M, Big Island farm may go from bananas to marijuana, Honolulu council mulls public electric utility, Ellison paid $300M for Lanai, study shows hemp could grow here, Maui developers must show water availability, Kauai considers property taxes, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy photo
Rep. Cynthia Thielen visits hemp farm, file photo
Lawmakers will have about $40 million extra to work with as they craft a proposed budget after the state Council on Revenues on Thursday slightly increased its estimate of the amount of taxes the state will collect. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii Council on Revenues on Thursday upped the amount of money expected to flow into the state’s coffers this year, but only by a bit. For fiscal year 2016, which runs until June 30, the general fund revenue forecast was boosted from a growth rate of 6 percent to 6.7 percent. Civil Beat.

Just how fair is the state’s charter school funding system? State lawmakers tried to get a better understanding of the longstanding issue Thursday during one of two lengthy briefings on supplemental budget requests from the Hawaii State Public Charter School Commission and the state Department of Education. Civil Beat.

The State Department of Health has selected the on-line “seed-to-sale” tracking system that will manage Hawai‘i’s medical marijuana inventory. Hawaii Public Radio.

During the upcoming legislative session, Hawaii lawmakers are likely to discuss the implications of legalizing medical marijuana dispensaries. Topics expected to be discussed are: how and if depository institutions will serve the businesses, job protection for the users, and proposing more ways to qualify for a medical marijuana card, according to industry leaders. Pacific Business News.

The demise of sugar has dealt a blow to the state's agriculture industry but University of Hawaii researchers are working on a potential alternative. A report by scientists at the UH Waimanalo Research Station indicates that hemp can be commercially grown here. Hawaii News Now.

Civil Asset Forfeiture In Hawaii: Crime Deterrent Or Legalized Theft? Some legislators want to reform how the Aloha State seizes property tied to criminal acts to ensure innocent people aren’t victimized. Civil Beat.


Some state lawmakers are questioning the Department of Education’s request for $35 million for a new building to relieve overcrowding at Campbell high school because the same amount paid for the construction of an entire elementary school campus last year. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu City Council Will Consider An Alternative To HECO. In the shadow of the NextEra hearings, the Council will explore on Tuesday whether Oahu should switch to a publicly owned utility. Civil Beat.

The Army Corps of Engineers will hold a public meeting Monday to unveil plans for remediation of old munitions at the World War II-era Pacific Jungle Combat Training Center in Oahu’s Kahana and Punaluu valleys. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell says the city is on pace to reach its goal of refurbishing 24 public park restrooms and 16 playgrounds in the past year, but the work at Ala Moana Beach Park has just begun. KHON2.

A contractor’s crew for the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation broke a gas line in Aiea on Thursday morning, touching off a six-hour traffic jam on Kamehameha Highway fronting Pearlridge Center and other commercial establishments. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Police Department's firearms section is a busy place. Each month, more than 900 people come in to either get a permit, to acquire a firearm, or to register one. KITV4.

A big jump in the use of illegal fireworks across Oahu over the holidays has a state senator proposing a solution. Civil Beat.


A Windward Planning Commission panel is recommending cinder and rock mining operations be allowed to expand in Hawaiian Ocean View Estates, but the full commission wants to see the area for itself before it votes on the recommendations. West Hawaii Today.

Residents of a small North Hawaii neighborhood concerned about the extent of a park project in Kukuihaele will get the opportunity Sunday to voice their concerns to the county. West Hawaii Today.

Yes, we have no bananas. But we may have pakalolo. About six months ago, Richard Ha was approached by a Big Island group that is applying for a medical marijuana dispensary license about leasing land and using hydroelectric power. Tribune-Herald.

Richard Ha, founder of Hamakua Springs Country Farms on Hawaii island, updated his popular blog Wednesday to say he will be shutting down around the end of March. Star-Advertiser.

After nearly 40 years in business, Maunakea Banana Company and Hamakua Springs Country Farms is shutting down. President and owner Richard Ha informed his employees Wednesday. Hawaii News Now.

Peoples Advocacy For Trails Hawaii has nominated the Kaloko Trail for purchase by the county Public Access, Open Space and Natural Resources Preservation Fund. West Hawaii Today.


After hearing testimony from nearly 40 community members, the Maui County Council Water Resources Committee voted unanimously Wednesday to leave untouched the water availability bill known as "Show Me The Water," which requires developers to demonstrate adequate water sources for their projects. Maui News.

Armstrong Development announced, on Thursday, that they have launched a project to build a new condominium complex on Maui. Hawaii News Now.

Holiday Checkpoints Result in 49 Arrests, 891 Citations. Maui Now.

The Hana Landfill will close at 1 p.m. today and Friday due to lack of staff, the county said. An equipment operator position will soon be filled so the landfill closures are expected to be reduced, the county added. Maui News.

What’s next for Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co.? The company says it has several ongoing test projects, with plans to expand the scope and scale of the trials. Maui News.


County officials are taking another look at how to keep taxes affordable for owner-occupied homes and rental properties. The bill being considered by the Kauai County Council relating to a homestead tax cap for home exemption and long-term affordable rental properties was deferred for two weeks on Wednesday. Garden Island.


Pacific Business News has confirmed through public documents that Larry Ellison paid $300 million for the 141-square-mile Pineapple Island. The sale included the two resort hotels — the Four Seasons Resorts Lanai at Manele Bay and the Four Seasons Resorts Lanai, Lodge at Koele — two championship golf courses and club houses, the Manele Golf Course and the Koele Golf Course, and more than 88,000 acres of land.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

End of an era for Hawaii sugar as last mill to close, Hee sentenced to prison in telcom scam, Hana pier pau, Honolulu government salaries high, investment group to buy Island Air from Ellison, Hamakua Springs, Uncle Billy's shuttering, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy Wendy Osher
Maui sugar mill, photo by Wendy Osher, Maui Now
The owner of the last sugar plantation in the state has decided to quit farming what was once Hawaii’s biggest crop in a move that will lead to layoffs for nearly all of the Maui farm’s 675 workers and mark the end of the long, sweet industry in the islands. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii’s last sugar plantation will stop growing sugar cane this year, marking the end of an industry that strongly influenced Hawaii’s politics, economy and culture for more than a century. Civil Beat.

Alexander & Baldwin Inc. on Wednesday announced that it is “transitioning out of farming sugar” at its Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. plantation on Maui to move toward diversified agriculture and will lay off nearly all of its 675 employees there. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii’s last sugar plantation is getting out of the sugar-growing business, signaling the end of an industry that once powered the local economy and lured thousands of immigrants to the islands. Associated Press.

Alexander & Baldwin Inc. today announced that it is transitioning out of farming sugar and will instead pursue a diversified agricultural model for its 36,000-acre Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Company plantation on Maui. Maui Now.

The last sugar plantation in the state, Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co., will be phasing out of sugar by the end of the year and moving into a diversified agriculture model, parent company Alexander & Baldwin announced. Maui News.

Hawai‘i’s last sugar plantation is closing. Alexander and Baldwin announced Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Company on Maui will stop producing sugar by the end of the year. Hawaii Public Radio.

Alexander & Baldwin will lay off hundreds of workers as it transitions away from farming sugar by the end of the year, it was announced Wednesday. Hawaii News Now.

The year 2016 will mark the end of an era in Hawaii. After 180 years in the state, the sugar industry is shutting down. Hawaii's last remaining plantation is phasing out it's sugar operations this year. As the industry goes away, so does jobs. KITV4.

The sugar farming industry in Hawaii is coming to an end, with the last Hawaiian sugar plantation to shut down by the end of the year. Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Company is transitioning out of farming sugar and will instead pursue a diversified agricultural model. KHON2.

Gov. David Ige said the state plans to put in place a rapid response team to help the 645 workers at Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. who will lose their jobs beginning in March. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii leaders react to the end of Hawaii's sugar era. Pacific Business News.

Albert Perez, executive director of the Maui Tomorrow Foundation, commented on today’s announcement that A&B is transitioning out of farming sugar and will instead pursue a diversified agricultural model for its 36,000-acre Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Company plantation on Maui. Maui Now.

Generations of Maui families are feeling the body-blow of the reality that Hawaii’s last sugar plantation will close at year’s end, but not all are able to articulate those feelings. Star-Advertiser.

Those who have been waging a campaign to stop cane burning on Maui were practically euphoric Wednesday, following the announcement that sugar would be phasing out of production. Star-Advertiser.


The Hawaii Medical Association is making recommendations for Hawaii’s nascent medical marijuana dispensary system, saying it wants doctors to have a say in the process. Civil Beat.

Nuclear Victims: Will We Help Vets Who Cleaned Up After Atomic Blasts? Hawaii Congressman Mark Takai pushes to compensate military personnel exposed to radioactive soil and debris in the Marshall Islands. Civil Beat.

Following another round of lineup changes, Na‘i Aupuni announced Wednesday that 154 people will attend the February convention to discuss Native Hawaiian self-governance. Four delegates were added to the list after Na‘i Aupuni learned that delays and failures with computer systems caused candidates to miss the deadline to sign up for the convention, or aha. Star-Advertiser.

Na‘i Aupuni announced Wednesday that 154 individuals will participate in the February ‘aha to discuss self-governance. Garden Island.

Less than three years after he bought the struggling carrier, billionaire Larry Ellison is relinquishing control of Island Air to an investor group headed by Hawaii venture capitalist Jeffrey Au. Star-Advertiser.


The Hawaii Community Development Authority is facing a budget deficit because of $1.2 million in annual funding taken away after the state gave 30 acres of land in Honolulu to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs in a deal meant to resolve a decades-long dispute. Pacific Business News.

Businessman Albert S.N. Hee was sentenced to 46 months in prison Wednesday for seven federal tax convictions, with Senior U.S. District Judge Susan Oki Mollway describing Hee as a person who helped “tons of people,” but also engaged in a well-organized, long-term pattern of cheating on his taxes. Waimana Enterprises Inc. in 1995 won the exclusive license to provide telecommunications services to customers on Hawaiian home lands, and in 1996 partially assigned that authorization to Waimana subsidiary Sandwich Isles Inc. Star-Advertiser.

Businessman Albert Hee has been sentenced to 46 months in federal prison on charges that he took millions of dollars from his telecommunications company, Waimana Enterprises, to pay for personal expenses — including massages. Civil Beat.

Four Honolulu officials make more than $200,000 annually and another 110 earn more than $100,000. Civil Beat.

Mayor Kirk Caldwell appears to be on pace to hit his goal of upgrading aging restrooms and playgrounds at 40 Oahu parks and has even found the resources to install new play equipment to replace broken items at an additional dozen facilities. Star-Advertiser.

It will cost taxpayers $25 million to fix the ventilation fans in the H-3 tunnels. KHON2.

It's a dispute over a dump in Nanakuli. Some neighbors in that area are filthy mad about the landfill in their backyard, and now the company in charge of the trash site wants to make the landfill larger. KITV4.

Honolulu police are cracking down on the use of illegal fireworks after the police department received a record number of fireworks-related calls leading up to 2016. Associated Press.

Development plans for the former Aiea Sugar Mill site will be tweaked to comply with federal restrictions that came with the money used to buy the property, but community stakeholders and officials continue to move forward nearly 15 years after work began on a master plan. Star-Advertiser.

The median price of a single-family home on Oahu in 2015 reached a record $700,000, an increase of 4 percent from 2014, while the median price of a condominium for the year rose 3 percent, according to the Honolulu Board of Realtors. Pacific Business News.

It took nine years, but Oahu’s housing market finally hit a new hundred-grand level — $700,000 — for annual median prices of single-family houses. Star-Advertiser.


Road projects throughout the county suffered from a 2014 lava flow emergency that drew attention and resources eastward to Puna. The County Council on Wednesday voted unanimously to return more than $2 million in lapsed gas tax revenues to the projects where they were originally intended. West Hawaii Today.

The County Council helps those who help themselves. A group raising money to fight a dengue fever outbreak in the South Kona fishing village of Milolii discovered that Wednesday, when it was awarded $5,000 from South Kona/Kʻau Councilwoman Maile David’s contingency relief fund. West Hawaii Today.

Hamakua Springs Country Farms on the Big Island of Hawaii is shutting down, its owner announced on his blog late Wednesday afternoon. The 600-acre banana and hydroponic vegetable farm in Hilo was once known for its tomatoes, which it stopped producing about two years ago. Pacific Business News.

Saddle Road is set to lose some of its last sharp curves and dangerous disposition. Road and Highway Builders, an affiliate of Texas-based Sterling Construction Co., is the low bidder on a $57 million 6-mile stretch above Hilo, and work is set to start in the next few months, the company announced. West Hawaii Today.

Uncle Billy’s Hilo Bay Hotel — a fixture on Banyan Drive for half a century — will close Feb. 1. Aaron Whiting, hotel manager and grandson of founder William J. Kimi Jr., said the family exhausted its options and more as it sought to keep the aging hotel running while facing the expiration of its state land leases. Tribune-Herald.


Based on feedback and input received from the Hana community, the Hawaii Department of Transportation will not proceed with the Hana Pier rehabilitation project. Instead, the pier will be removed completely. Hawaii News Now.

Don Medeiros was sworn in Wednesday morning as director of the county Department of Transportation. Maui News.

Hoapili Hale, the state 2nd Circuit Court building in Wailuku, was expected to reopen today after being closed at noon Tuesday because of a sewage water leak. Maui News.

Whale-watch tour operators and cetacean researchers and experts report that humpback whales returned to Hawaiian waters a couple of weeks later than in recent years but currently are quite plentiful and at normal numbers. Maui News.

Potential rules governing barking dogs on Kauai underwent major renovation Wednesday as the County’s Committee of the Whole took on their current barking dog bill. Garden Island.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Legislative leaders question why federal funds unspent, Maui group appeals GMO ruling, Kauai pesticide study under wraps, Ellison seeks buyer for Island Air, sewage settlement costs Maui $1M, cocaine use up, pCard use audited, guns in schools, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy Hawaii House majority office
Hawaii House and Senate money committees, courtesy House majority office
Gov. David Ige’s top staff was warned Tuesday that lawmakers expect them to find out why state government has been so slow to spend federal funds, and find a way to fix the problem pronto. House Finance Chairwoman Sylvia Luke said the state departments of Health, Transportation and Hawaiian Home Lands are “terrible at utilizing federal funds.” Star-Advertiser.

The state agency responsible for enforcing and processing child support payments is facing a $1.3 million hit to its budget for the 2017 fiscal year that begins in July — a loss that will hamper customer service and overall operations, according to officials who oversee the department. Star-Advertiser.

Commentary: A high-profile nonprofit organization that advocates for health and human services in Hawaii has agreed to pay a $2,000 penalty to settle charges it violated the state’s lobbying law by failing to disclose its lobbying-related expenditures over the past three years, according to a summary of the case made public last month by the Hawaii State Ethics Commission. Civil Beat.

Hawaii should set aside $2.2 million in state general revenue funds to maintain and restore civil legal services for low and moderate income individuals, according to a working group of interested government agencies and community entities. Pacific Business News.

Nearly twice a month, a child is caught with a firearm at a Hawaii public school. That’s according to the Department of Education, which is required to report these incidents to the state. KHON2.

Cocaine use in the workplace doubled in the fourth quarter from the year-earlier period while marijuana still remained the drug of choice. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii regulators have struck down a request by the Department of Defense to withdraw as an intervenor in the regulatory review of NextEra Energy Inc.’s proposed $4.3 billion acquisition of Hawaiian Electric Co., according to a ruling this week. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii Congressman Mark Takai pushes to compensate military personnel exposed to radioactive soil and debris in the Marshall Islands. Civil Beat.

Island Air, the Hawaii interisland airline that billionaire Larry Ellison bought nearly two years ago, may be up for sale again. Pacific Business News.

Many Hawaii residents were thankful for plentiful platters of ahi tuna they were able to enjoy over the holidays. But few realized the critical role the late Sen. Daniel Inouye played in making sure Hawaii fishermen could get it to them. Associated Press.


The planned $300 million golf resort community for Leeward Oahu's Makaha Valley will include a 300-room, four-star hotel. Pacific Business News.

Just months before completion, the state has fired the contractor for the $66 million cargo and maintenance facility that's being built for Hawaiian Airlines. Hawaii News Now.


A bill allowing the “little guy” to engage in agricultural tourism without going through a complicated and costly permitting process faces another round of changes in the County Council Planning Committee, following council concerns Tuesday. West Hawaii Today.

The current program of tax breaks for agricultural land won’t be changing anytime soon, and those who hold vacant land in agricultural zones shouldn’t expect a new tax break just yet. West Hawaii Today.

It’s been almost a month since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention weighed in on the public health response to the Big Island’s dengue fever outbreak, and officials say that as a result they have instituted a number of changes to the way they are combating the mosquito-borne virus. Tribune-Herald.

The Hawaii County Council on Tuesday advanced a proposal to build a community park in the Hawaiian Paradise Park subdivision, but with strings attached. Tribune-Herald.

A Waimea towing company was evacuated Tuesday morning after a possible explosive device was found attached to the front fender of a vehicle that had been towed to the yard following a weekend “Freedom Ride” rally. West Hawaii Today.

Military bomb squad determined the device strapped to the gray car in a Waimea tow yard is a fake bomb. Hawaii News Now.


A federal judge erred last year in striking down a voter-approved moratorium on genetically engineered crops in Maui County, according to a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals brief filed by attorneys for the citizens group behind the county's first successful voter initiative. Maui News.

In the wake of media investigations and statewide crackdowns on the use of government purchasing cards, known as pCards, auditors have started to look into Maui County pCard accounts, and they expect to report their findings in June, county Department of Finance officials said. Maui News.

The federal court settlement over penalties for releasing partially treated wastewater into injection wells from the Lahaina Wastewater Reclamation Facility could cost Maui taxpayers an additional $1 million. Star-Advertiser.


State and county officials have asked a consultant to hold off on releasing the initial draft report on pesticide use by large-scale agribusinesses on Kauai to allow more work on the health chapter, according to an update Tuesday. Civil Beat.

Bronson Bautista, owner at PD Designs & Armory, said the discussion about new gun restrictions proposed by President Barack Obama has already led to higher gun sales. Garden Island.

The office of the governor released additional funds to support two criminal justice programs maintained by the County of Kauai Office of the Prosecuting Attorney. Garden Island.

The president and CEO of Hawaiian Airlines said Tuesday he recognizes Kauai residents want low airfares. And he believes Hawaiian Air is providing them. Garden Island.


A ceremony commemorating the 150th anniversary of when the first 12 people were sent to Kalaupapa in 1866 will be held at Hoaloha Park in front of the Hawaiian Canoe Club hale at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2015. Maui Now.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Ige budget gets cool reception in Legislature, down-sized Pacific fleet worries China-watchers, Snowden attorney to teach University of Hawaii class, 2,600 complaints about fireworks, Honolulu police revive gambling probe, lava lake explosions at Kilauea, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Kilauea eruption Saturday, photo courtesy of Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

Gov. David Ige’s proposed budget for next year got a frosty reception Monday from some leading state lawmakers who say they are worried about both how much the governor proposes to spend and about some upcoming expenses Ige didn’t include in his spending plan. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Finance Director Wes Machida sidestepped a host of questions from members of the House and Senate money committees Monday, but assured lawmakers that he will provide more details about the overall state spending plan in the coming weeks. Civil Beat.

US Pacific Fleet shrinks even as China grows more aggressive. Questions about whether the Pacific Fleet has enough resources are more of a reflection of regional anxieties than the Navy’s actual capability, said its commander, Adm. Scott Swift. Even if the entire fleet was in the South China Sea, he said, he’d still get asked whether the U.S. was bringing more forces. Associated Press.

Hawaii bankruptcies plunged in 2015 for the fifth year in a row, according to data released Monday from U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Hawaii. The 1,569 cases last year were down 7.8 percent from 1,702 in 2014 and were the lowest since 1,381 cases were filed in 2007. Star-Advertiser.

NextEra Energy Inc., the company looking to buy Hawaiian Electric Industries for $4.3 billion, is assisting HEI on the utility’s renewable-energy plan at no charge, which has raised concern among at least two groups involved in the sale’s review. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii chapter of the Better Business Bureau revoked 130 companies’ membership this year for owing thousands of dollars in membership fees to the BBB. Pacific Business News.

Federal wildlife officials reopened a public comment period for a draft environmental impact statement regarding the eradication of mongooses and rodents in Hawaii’s native ecosystems and wildlife refuges. Associated Press.


The public, apparently fed up with illegal fireworks activity, made 2,600 complaints to police in December, said Honolulu Police Department Assistant Chief Alan Bluemke. Star-Advertiser.

A man arrested after National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration volunteers called police to report he was harassing a Hawaiian monk seal at a Nanakuli beach has filed an excessive force lawsuit. Associated Press.

A man who was pepper-sprayed, beaten and arrested by a Honolulu police officer in 2014 after chanting on a beach next to an endangered monk seal filed an excessive use of force lawsuit in federal court last week. Civil Beat.

Ben Wizner, a national ACLU attorney and head lawyer for NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, will co-teach a seminar at the University of Hawaii Richardson School of Law this month. Pacific Business News.

Four years after a major gaming rooms case was dismissed, the Honolulu prosecutor's office appears ready to try again. Hawaii News Now.

Why Are Online Classes, Degrees Hard To Get At The University Of Hawaii? UH Manoa offers two fully online degree programs, a stark contrast to the 16 programs offered on average at comparable institutions. Civil Beat.

The late Don Ho is alive and well — “Tiny Bubbles” and all — at the University of Hawaii-West Oahu. The university’s ʻUluʻulu Henry Kuʻualoha Giugni Moving Image Archive of Hawaiʻi recently acquired the complete collection of the entertainer’s films, videos and personal memorabilia from the Donald Tai Loy Ho Trust. Star-Advertiser.


After nearly 12 years in office, state Sen. Josh Green has built a massive campaign war chest of more than $500,000 — money he is considering using for a run for either governor or lieutenant governor in 2018. Tribune-Herald.

Rockfalls into the lava lake at Kilauea on Hawaii island triggered small explosions at the summit early Monday morning and Saturday. Star-Advertiser.

The public is invited to learn about the eruptive events of Kilauea Volcano during a presentation by a USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory geologist later this week. Tribune-Herald.

A historical area of land on the Southern Coast of Hawai‘i Island will be protected from development. Hawaii Public Radio.

One of two people taken into custody by police in what was dubbed “Freedom Ride 2016” told a judge Monday he was “the only living being in this courtroom, a child of creation.” Tribune-Herald.

Road and Highway Builders LLC, an affiliate of the Texas based Sterling Construction Co., was the lowest bidder for the $61 million contract to reconstruct the Saddle Road on Hawaii's Big Island, the parent company said. Pacific Business News.

The state Department of Transportation will decide this week whether to move forward with improvements to Hana's 90-year-old pier, a project fiercely opposed by Hana residents who fear the arrival of commercial activity and high costs. Maui News.


January is National Mentoring Month. A proclamation was issued by Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. to the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. Garden Island.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Government looks to eradicate mongooses, Ford Island to revert to 1941, Hana pier faces overhaul, Tax Department modernization, limited driver's license offered, Honolulu power brokers fuel island races, more news from all the Hawaii Islands

copyright 2016 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Mongoose relaxes in Hawaii © 2016 All Hawaii News
The use of mechanical traps, compressed carbon dioxide and rodenticides are being evaluated as means of controlling and eradicating mongooses and rodents in Hawaii's native ecosystems and wildlife refuges as part of a draft federal environmental impact statement. Maui News.

Unauthorized immigrants and Hawaii residents who have lost important identification documents, such as Social Security cards, birth certificates and passports, can now get a limited-purpose Hawaii driver’s license under a new law aimed at sidestepping stringent federal ID requirements enacted in response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii State Department of Taxation has completed the first part of its $59 million tax modernization plan, ahead of schedule and within budget. The state said it will save hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees because it has replaced a third-party vendor that assisted for electronic tax filings with an electronic system. Pacific Business News.

Following on the heels of a 120-day emergency rule which had temporarily banned all harvesting of sea cucumbers in Hawaii, Gov. David Ige has signed a measure which severely limits collection of sea cucumbers. Garden Island.

A bill signed by Gov. David Ige in May mandates that any motion picture theater with at least two locations in the state is required to provide open captioning and descriptive narration, upon request, during at least two showings per week of each motion picture shown at the theater for one week or more. The law took effect Friday. Star-Advertiser.

Mobi PCS President and CEO Bill Jarvis, who plans to apply for one of Hawaii's eight medical marijuana dispensary licenses in January, says the medical marijuana industry is a lot like the telecommunications industry. Pacific Business News.


A bit of 1941 ambiance — and a more comprehensive telling of Ford Island’s military past — will emerge with a National Park Service plan to restore historic chief petty officer bungalows on the Pearl Harbor isle that was ground zero for the Japanese attack that launched America into World War II. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii developer Stanford Carr will develop a $300 million golf resort community with a four-star hotel on the site of the former Makaha Resort for landowner Pacific Links International as part of a joint venture that aims to create some 500 jobs for residents of the Leeward Oahu community. Pacific Business News.

Councilwoman Kymberly Pine hopes to bring more awareness to the rich culture rooted in parks across the Leeward Coast by erecting signs, storyboards and other markers detailing the area’s Hawaiian history. Star-Advertiser.

President Barack Obama and family ended what could be their last Hawaii holiday vacation of his presidency Saturday, but not before leaving several hundred Oahu motorists a little something to remember them by. Star-Advertiser.

After spending two weeks here in the islands, President Obama and the First Family have departed Oahu and are now back home in Washington, D.C. KHON2.

Groups are working together to formally invite President Barack Obama to be the keynote speaker at the 75th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack. Associated Press.


You can follow the money, but first you might need to book a flight to Honolulu. Hawaii Island’s state representatives hosted 11 campaign fundraisers that charged at least $25 per person in 2015, with all but one held on Oahu, according to state Campaign Spending Commission records, Tribune-Herald.

Construction costs have come in higher than expected on several recent county projects, resulting in project downsizing, budget shifts and possibly the need to float more bonds. West Hawaii Today.

Owners of vacant land in agricultural zones would get a break on their property taxes even if they’re not actively farming the land, under a bill to be considered Tuesday by the County Council Finance Committee. West Hawaii Today.

The Hawaii Island Energy Cooperative aims to empower residents by creating an electric utility whose shareholders would be the island’s customers, a model put in place on Kauai more than a decade ago with the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative. Civil Beat.

‘Homeless’ comes home: Dr. Kopp finishes his around-the-island awareness walk. West Hawaii Today.


The state Department of Transportation will decide this week whether to move forward with improvements to Hana's 90-year-old pier, a project fiercely opposed by Hana residents who fear the arrival of commercial activity and high costs. Maui News.

The state and Kaiser Permanente apparently will need more time to finalize an agreement for the health care provider to take over operations at Maui Memorial Medical Center and Kula and Lanai community hospitals. Maui News.

With officers in the Maui Police Department's new motorcycle unit hitting the road Monday, police are reminding drivers to slow down and follow traffic laws. Maui News.


Kauai Community Correctional Center needs more space, and should Gov. David Ige’s executive supplemental budget proposal be approved by the Legislature in the upcoming session, the jail could get $15 million to expand housing. Garden Island.

Kauai Airports District Manager Dennis Neves’ goal is to make Lihue Airport into one that “is just like any other airport” in America. Garden Island.

For county officials, 2016 is going to be about increasing efficiency, unsnarling traffic, and finding ways to cut spending. Garden Island.