Thursday, July 20, 2017

Superferry project still costing taxpayers millions, Hanabusa war chest dwindles, Police Commission won't pay officer's legal tab, Big Island condo development yanked after public opposition, Tropical Storm Fernanda weakens, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2017 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Superferry docked in 2010 in Honolulu © 2017 All Hawaii News
The Hawaii Superferry has been kaput for about eight years, but a new audit shows the state won’t finish paying off its more than $70 million in harbor upgrades and interest for the privately owned service until 2028. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii’s interisland ferry was shut down eight years ago, but the state still owes $33 million for the costly failure. Associated Press.

Eight years after the Superferry ceased operations in Hawaii, the state is still paying off more than $70 million it incurred from harbor improvements and interest, according to a recent report by the State Auditor’s office. Pacific Business News.

Eight years after the Hawaii Superferry shut down, the State Office of the Auditor says Hawaii must pay $32.6 million in expenses for the ship that once traveled between islands. KITV.

The Hawaii Superferry stopped operations over eight years ago and yet, the state auditor says, Hawaii continues to pay the exorbitant costs incurred to support it. KHON2.


Tulsi Gabbard Rakes In Far More Campaign Cash Than Colleen Hanabusa. The latest federal campaign finance reports indicate very different strategies by Hawaii’s congresswomen, and reinforce the notion Hanabusa may run for governor. Civil Beat.

The state Department of Health expects to certify Hawaii’s first medical marijuana testing laboratory by the end of the month. Star-Advertiser.

Groups have filed a human-rights complaint that aims to jump-start an investigation into conditions among foreign workers in Hawaii’s commercial fishing industry. Associated Press.

International students studying in Hawaii spent $225 million in the 2016-17 school year, a 25 percent dip from the year before, according to a report released Wednesday by the state’s resource center for economical and statistical data. Civil Beat.

A new report has found that international students have contributed more than $225 million to Hawaii's economy during the 2016-17 school year. Pacific Business News.

A state agency is seeking a buyer for 1,221 affordable rental apartments in an effort to improve the quality of the homes and maintain affordability for most of the existing tenants. The Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corp. published a request for proposals last week to solicit bids from private investors for its portfolio of six rental projects on Oahu, Maui and Hawaii island. Star-Advertiser.

New Database Of Severe Worker Injuries In Hawaii. The federal government began requiring reporting of certain severe injuries in 2015, in hopes of improving worker safety. Civil Beat.

More than 1,300 people are taking part in the 3-day World Conservation Conference in Honolulu this week. Hawaii Public Radio.

Tropical Storm Fernanda continues to weaken as it inches closer to the Central Pacific. The cyclone, which has maximum sustained winds at 65 mph, is forecast to become a tropical depression by Friday. Hawaii News Now.


Since a city task force looked at the issue in 2005, estimating that about 300 residential high-rises did not have automatic sprinkler systems, not a single one of those projects has voluntarily installed the equipment, according to an informal survey of industry officials and a review of city building permit records. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu Police Commission voted 4-2 Wednesday against providing legal counsel to a police officer who’s named in a high-profile civil lawsuit. Star-Advertiser.

Police commission votes against covering officer’s legal fees in lawsuit involving former chief’s wife. KHON2.

Police Commissioners Clash Over “Unconstitutional” Secret Hearings. Despite vehement objections from a former federal prosecutor and retired supreme court justice, the commission voted to hold hearings behind closed doors. Civil Beat.

Two Oahu-based community health centers will receive a combined total of nearly $3 million in federal grants to expand their health services. Pacific Business News.

State officials say a video of monk seal “Rocky” on Kaimana Beach protecting her pup from a nearby male monk seal should serve as a caution to ocean-goers to stay clear of Waikiki’s latest residents. Star-Advertiser.

 The number of homes sold at $1.5 million or higher decreased 16 percent in June, though sales were up 18 percent during the first half of 2017, according to a luxury Oahu housing report by Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties. Pacific Business News.

SolarCity cofounder Peter Rive has quit Tesla Inc., just one month after his brother, Lyndon, exited the company. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii Island

A plan to build a 306-unit condominium in Kahaluu died Wednesday after the developer withdrew its application for a needed permit. Ocean Villas at Kahaluu Bay LLC filed its official withdrawal of their special management area permit application with the county’s planning department, bringing to an end all efforts to develop the 42-acre parcel. West Hawaii Today.

A controversial 306-unit condo development planned for Kahaluu has been terminated. Big Island Video News.

Hawaii County is not going to fight an appeals court ruling invalidating a South Kona development and requiring the county to treat Community Development Plans as law. West Hawaii Today.

A developer recently shut shoreline access through their property at Pepeekeo Point following a dispute with Hawaii County. Tribune-Herald.

A Marine officer was critically wounded after being shot during night live-fire training this month at Pohakuloa Training Area on Hawaii island, officials said. Star-Advertiser.

The public is invited to a launch event today to learn more about the Hawaii Island Business Plan Competition, an islandwide contest designed to help small businesses get started and/or grow. Tribune-Herald.

A residential estate on the slopes of Hualalai Mountain has been named the Best Outdoor Retreat in HGTV's 2017 Ultimate House Hunt. Hawaii News Now.


State Land Use Commission members heard from more than three dozen testifiers Wednesday afternoon, and testimony ran roughly 3-to-1 against approving the Pilani Promenade’s final environmental impact statement. Maui News.

Authorities with the Maui Emergency Management Agency say waves generated by distant Hurricane Fernanda are expected to lead to increasing surf along east facing shores the next couple of days, and this may lead to greater wave run-up along exposed windward coastlines. Maui Now.

Applications continue to be accepted for the one- and two-bedroom apartments at the County of Maui’s 56-unit Kulamalu Hale apartment rentals in Pukalani. Maui Now.

Maui veterans, who fought for years to consolidate medical, psychological and administrative services into a single location to reduce confusion, travel and overcrowding, claimed a significant victory Wednesday with the announcement of the approval of a new lease for a facility near Maui High School in Kahului. Maui News.


An experiment in community-based fishery management is underway on Kauai’s north shore. Hawaii Public Radio.

Kumano I Ke Ala, a nonprofit group whose aim is to empower a sustainable West Kauai and restore its resources, is hosting a community work day to remove the slit that has built up in the middle of the Waimea River. Garden Island.

Rotary Club names new president. Garden Island.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Hawaii Gov. Ige unpopular in poll, state tries to grow teachers, Hurricane Fernanda weakening, Honolulu condo fire investigation continues, Hawaii County cracking down on alcohol at beaches, Police Commission secrecy, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2017 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Hawaii Gov. David Ige © 2017 All Hawaii News
A new state-by-state poll ranks Hawaii’s governor among the least popular chief executives in the country. Gov. David Ige, according to a Morning Consult poll, has an approval rating of just 48 percent in the islands. Civil Beat.

To help address the state’s perennial shortage of qualified public school teachers, the Department of Education is launching a pilot program aimed at encouraging educators already in classrooms, such as educational assistants, to become licensed teachers with a stipend incentive. Star-Advertiser.

The state Department of Education closed out 11 employee misconduct investigations during the past three months, resulting in five terminations and one resignation in lieu of termination, according to data shared Tuesday with the state school board. Star-Advertiser.

Hurricane Fernanda continues to weaken as the forecast brings it close to the Hawaiian islands. At 5 a.m. Wednesday, the storm was still a Category 1 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 85 mph. Hawaii News Now.

Last week, Gov. David Ige officially vetoed 13 bills that were passed during the 2017 legislative session, including one that takes away lifeguards’ protection against lawsuits. Garden Island.

Cameron Nekota, a Hawaii real estate veteran who helped to spearhead D.R. Horton-Schuler Homes’ 11,750-home Hoopili project, has joined First Hawaiian Bank, overseeing the bank’s real estate and government affairs. Pacific Business News.


Fire Sprinkler Retrofit Mandate Will Hit Affordable Housing. City Lawmakers will be considering a bill next month that could require the installation of fire sprinkler systems in older residential condominiums. Hawaii Public Radio.

The high-rise fire that killed three residents and seriously injured five others damaged more than a third of the apartments in the 36-story Marco Polo, the Honolulu Fire Department said Tuesday. Star-Advertiser.

Investigation into fatal Marco Polo fire expands to include other agencies. Hawaii News Now.

Fire investigators from Hawaii island arrived in Honolulu today with an arson dog to search for ignitable liquids in the apartment where a deadly high-rise blaze broke out last week. Star-Advertiser.

Fire investigators from the Big Island have arrived in Honolulu with an arson dog to search for ignitable liquids in the apartment where a deadly high-rise blaze broke out last week. Associated Press.

New details from fire officials paint the dangerous, and ultimately deadly, scenario at Marco Polo as changes are considered that could prevent a future disaster. KHON2.

Local musicians to host benefit concert for displaced Maro Polo residents. Hawaii News Now.


The Honolulu Police Commission is scheduled to hold closed-door hearings Wednesday to decide whether taxpayers should pay the legal fees of two officers who were sued in relation to an ongoing U.S. Justice Department corruption investigation tied to former Chief Louis Kealoha. But legal experts, including the only two lawyers who sit on the commission, say the public and the media should not be barred from the proceedings. Civil Beat.

Several petitions are circulating urging the Caldwell administration to remove 11 traffic bulb-outs or curb extensions that were installed along key intersections of Chinatown several weeks ago. Designed as a traffic-calming measure, a bulb-out extends the sidewalk at an intersection, thus shortening the distance a pedestrian needs to cross. Star-Advertiser.

State enforcement officers say Hawaii's booming tourism industry is encouraging more and more illegal commercial activity in state ocean waters. Hawaii News Now.

In June, sales of single-family homes in the Windward Oahu neighborhoods of Kaneohe and Kailua increased by 60 percent and 23 percent, respectively, while the median price decreased, according to a local market update by the Honolulu Board of Realtors. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii Island

The Hawaii County Council advanced a bill Tuesday banning alcohol at James Kealoha Beach Park in Hilo. Tribune-Herald.

As the county considers a crackdown on drinking at a popular Hilo park, some West Hawaii residents say they don’t think the issue’s out of control at parks and beaches on their side. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii Island drivers are guaranteed to see a boost in gas prices Aug. 1 as higher fuel taxes take effect. Tribune-Herald.

A 9-year-old Hilo girl whose parents and grandmother are alleged to have starved her to death last year was on the radar of Child Welfare Services since at least 2007, according to court documents. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii’s state-funded aerospace center will share a $118,690 NASA Small Business Technology Transfer grant with New York-based Honeybee Robotics Ltd. to develop an in-situ resource utilization technology to convert natively sourced materials into usable resources, according to the state Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism. Pacific Business News.

The Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy will start the new school year for the first time with a full eight-year accreditation under its belt, though completion of its new building could be pushed back further into 2018. Tribune-Herald.

The developer of a more than $1 billion planned residential community on Hawaii Island filed for bankruptcy last month in the face of two foreclosure actions that threaten to repossess land slated for the 2,300-home project called Villages of Aina Lea. Star-Advertiser.

A Big Island resort hotel has been named "Best Hotel in Hawaii" by price comparison platform HotelsCombined. Kolea at Waikoloa Beach Resort beat out four other Hawaii finalists to win the top honor. Pacific Business News.


Maui County Mayor Alan Arakawa, who has been playing softball since the 4th grade, recently came under fire from the state Campaign Spending Commission for using campaign funds to support senior softball teams he played on, managed and sponsored. Maui News.

Critics of a controversial development proposed in South Maui plan to voice their concerns when the state Land Use Commission meets on Wednesday and Thursday to review the Final Environmental Impact Statement. Hawaii News Now.

A Stage 1 water shortage declaration for Upcountry, which calls for voluntary cutbacks by consumers, goes into effect today due to drier-than-normal trade wind flows so far this summer. Maui News.

A man broke into a Makawao store early Monday morning, stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of shell lei, handmade by Niihau residents, the store owner said Tuesday. Maui News.


Pilot stops on Kauai while retracing Earhart’s final voyage. Garden Island.

The West Kauai Business Association will host a community meeting Monday at the Waimea Historic Theatre. Justin Kollar, prosecuting attorney, and representatives from the YWCA will be on hand to talk about domestic violence. Garden Island.

The Kauai-based owners of Brick Oven Pizza are selling their four Oahu restaurants — including one opening next month at The Howard Hughes Corp.’s Ward Village in Honolulu — in order to focus on their Garden Isle business. Pacific Business News.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

State and county high-rise laws face changes in wake of fatal condo fire, Hurricane Fernanda threat lessens, Maui mayor cleared, Kauai salt makers react to climate change, Big Island couple pleads not guilty to starving 9-year-old, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

July 18
Hurricane Fernanda track NOAA

Fernanda continued to weaken overnight but remained a Category 2 hurricane. Hurricane Fernanda is packing maximum sustained winds near 100 mph while moving northwest at 9 mph. It’s located about 1,460 miles east of Hilo. Star-Advertiser.

Hurricane Fernanda continues to weaken as it churns toward the Central Pacific. Hawaii News Now.

The fire at the Marco Polo has put the spotlight on Act 53, formerly known as Senate Bill 611, which makes it illegal for any county to require single-family homes or duplexes to have sprinklers for the next 10 years. It’s a question of whether homeowners should be required to spend thousands of dollars to prevent potential tragedies, and whether raising the already-high price of housing in Hawaii is worth preventing loss of life. Civil Beat.

The Building Industry Association of Hawaii planned, then canceled, a celebration of a bill that prevents counties from mandating single-family homes have sprinklers. Civil Beat.

Lawmakers on the state and county level, as well as Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell, want to make sure a deadly high-rise fire, like the one that broke out Friday in the Marco Polo building, doesn’t happen again. KHON2.

Hundreds of older high-rise apartment buildings in Honolulu aren’t required to have sprinkler systems, but city officials are pushing for change in the wake of Friday’s deadly 26th-floor blaze. Associated Press.

Three days after a major fire killed three people at the Marco Polo condominium complex, Mayor Kirk Caldwell has sent the City Council a proposal to require high-rise residential buildings without automatic fire sprinklers to install them. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell today introduced a bill that would require all residential buildings over 75 feet high to install sprinkler systems. The Honolulu Fire Department estimated there are about 300 highrise apartment buildings on Oahu that don't have sprinkler systems. Hawaii News Now.

Fire investigators said Monday the apartment where a deadly fire began in a Honolulu high-rise was near the two units on the 26th floor where the bodies of three victims were found, but they’re still working to determine the cause. Associated Press.

The Marco Polo fatal high-rise fire did not begin in the condominium units of the three people who died in the Friday five-alarm blaze, Honolulu fire investigators have determined. Star-Advertiser.

Commentary: Does The Risk Justify The Cost Of Sprinklers In Older High-Rises? Until now, the answer has been “no.” But the tragic fire in the Marco Polo condominiums could change the equation. Civil Beat.

Commentary: There are no easy answers to draw from Friday’s tragic fire that killed three people at the Marco Polo condominium tower. There is, however, one necessary answer: Heed the calls to retrofit older buildings with fire sprinkler systems. Star-Advertiser.


The State Department Monday expanded its definition of “close family” to include grandparents and other relatives that constitute a bona fide U.S. relationship for visa applicants and refugees from six mainly Muslim nations, in response to a Hawaii federal judge’s order last week. Associated Press.

Medical Aid In Dying Dealt Another Blow In Hawaii. An Oahu circuit judge on Friday dismissed a lawsuit asking the court to prevent existing Hawaii criminal laws from being applied to medical aid in dying practices. Big Island Video News.

The state Public Utilities Commission has accepted an updated plan submitted by Hawaiian Electric Cos. detailing how it will reach the state’s goal of 100 percent renewable energy five years ahead of schedule. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaiian Electric rates could rise 44% under plan OKed by state regulators. Pacific Business News.

Costco Wholesale Corp. paid a fine last week of nearly $5,000 for violating Hawaii's beverage container deposit requirements, the Hawaii State Department of Health said Monday. Pacific Business News.

They can’t quite top Bernie Sanders, but Hawaii U.S. Sens. Brian Schatz and Mazie Hirono both rank among the three most popular senators in the nation, according to a recent poll by survey research company Morning Consult. Star-Advertiser.

Food safety inspectors will begin stepping up enforcement of a new law that bans the use of latex gloves in restaurants. KHON2.


Kaimuki charter school finds site to share. SEEQS — the School for Examining Essential Questions of Sustainability — will be sharing a campus with Kaimuki High School, 2 miles away. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Hawaii County is taking another crack at property tax reform. Fresh from raising taxes on most property types, county officials say they are convening an internal working group to recommend changes to the tax code. Tribune-Herald.

Public Works Director Frank DeMarco has decided to retire. West Hawaii Today.

Keith Okamoto, Hawaii County Department of Water Supply manager and chief engineer, came to Kona on Monday to offer a presentation on the area’s water emergency to the Hawaii County Council’s Agriculture, Water and Energy Sustainability Committee. West Hawaii Today.

Both parents accused of starving a 9-year-old Hilo girl to death last year pleaded not guilty Monday to second-degree murder. Tribune-Herald.


State officials are dropping a complaint against Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa that accused him of using campaign funds for personal purposes by sponsoring a softball team. Star-Advertiser.

A bill aiming to regulate and look into sand extraction in Maui County is undergoing changes, as a Maui County Council committee continues to mull the measure that arose from an uproar over a recent sand excavation and export case in Maui Lani. Maui News.

A new system will help forecast the effects of sea level rise and waves in West Maui. The University of Hawaii at Manoa’s Pacific Islands Ocean Observing System has received a grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to develop the model. Hawaii Public Radio.

A Stage 1 water shortage declaration for Upcountry, which calls for voluntary cutbacks by consumers, goes into effect today due to drier-than-normal trade wind flows so far this summer. Maui News.

Trilogy Excursions announced it has outfitted all six of its sailing catamarans with sunscreen that is free of reef damaging chemicals. Maui Now.


A community of traditional salt makers on Kauai is navigating the impacts of climate change on the generations-old practice. Hawaii Public Radio.

Swells could reach 8 feet on the Eastside today as the initial impacts of Hurricane Fernanda begin to reach Kauai. Garden Island.

The Department of Land and Natural Resources is seeking new projects for its Hawaii Forest Legacy Program that will protect important working forest lands from the threat of conversion to non-forest uses. Garden Island.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Call for sprinkler law follows five-alarm high-rise fire, former President Clinton visits Hawaii, no tech in high tech park, Oahu medical marijuana patients increase, Kauai studies bus plan, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Civil Beat YouTube video

 A five-alarm fire Friday at the Marco Polo condo is expected to spark renewed debate over a long-standing question of whether the city should require Oahu condo projects built before sprinklers were mandated in the mid-1970s to install them. Star-Advertiser.

The deadly fire at the Marco Polo building sparks a renewed push for sprinkler systems to be installed at condos and apartments. KITV.

If Honolulu is to require owners to install fire sprinklers in all pre-1975 residential buildings, it will involve heavy lifting to persuade the state Legislature to update the state’s fire code, according to a retired Honolulu fire official. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell on Friday called for legislation requiring the retrofitting of older residential high-rises with fire sprinklers after a blaze in Honolulu killed three people. Civil Beat.

The fire that killed three people at the Marco Polo Apartments condominium tower in Honolulu could have been less severe if the building had a sprinkler system in place. Pacific Business News.

At least three people died and 12 were injured Friday in a fire at a Honolulu high-rise that was not equipped with sprinklers, authorities said, and hundreds fled the giant condominium complex as smoke billowed from the upper floors. Associated Press.

Relatives of the three people killed in Friday's highrise fire are opening up about their devastating loss. Hawaii News Now.

Twenty six stories up. Island News got a first look inside the Honolulu high rise that was on fire for nearly 10 hours. KITV.

Estimated 40-50 units "total losses" following Marco Polo high-rise fire. Fire investigators were still on scene at the Marco Polo Apartments on Sunday, working to determine what caused the massive high-rise fire that injured dozens, and killed three. KITV.

How you can help victims of Marco Polo highrise fire. KHON2.


Why Is A High-Tech Agency Building A Center For Cops And Rescue Workers? The project raises questions about whether the Hawaii Technology Development Corp. is stepping away from its mission and legislative mandate. Civil Beat.

Hawaii’s unemployment rate remains below three percent. And while that’s good news for the state’s economy, it’s creating a challenge for many businesses that are struggling to find good help. Hawaii Public Radio.

New care home law is called ‘a facade’. When Gov. David Ige held a bill-signing ceremony last week for a new law that aims to cut through the red tape that blocked certain elderly couples from living together in the same licensed care home, the one couple it was specifically designed to help was conspicuously absent. Star-Advertiser.

Officials, community say defunding tsunami detection system penny wise and pound foolish. West Hawaii Today.

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton toured the Hokule‘a at Sand Island Sunday, about a month after the Hawaiian voyaging canoe’s return from its three-year journey around the globe. Star-Advertiser.

The 42nd President of the United States, Bill Clinton, was seen on Oahu this weekend giving a speech, dining at a presidential favorite spot, and touring the Hokulea. Hawaii News Now.

Former President Bill Clinton is in the islands. KHON2.

Fernanda remains a category 3 hurricane according to forecasters at the National Hurricane Center. The storm is churning in the East Pacific as gradual weakening is expected over the next 48 hours. Hawaii News Now.

Big Island still has most medical marijuana users, but Oahu’s percentage grows. Hawaii Island historically has contained the lion’s share of medical marijuana patients, but that trend could gradually be changing, data released Friday by the state Department of Health indicates. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii teens who use e-cigarettes are more likely to have asthma, according to the latest research by the University of Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.


Honolulu rail leaders are laboring to maintain public confidence in the project, yet their decision to defer an audit that would investigate how its price tag nearly doubled and its schedule got pushed back six years has critics crying foul. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu inflation is heating up as the state’s economy continues to grow. Star-Advertiser.

This Group Is Helping The Needy By Rescuing Tons Of Food. Though the nonprofit typically relies on grants, Aloha Harvest is looking to the city of Honolulu in hopes of a contract. Civil Beat.

Statue to bring the aloha of Don Ho back to Waikiki. Don Ho, Hawaii’s best-known entertainer, is returning to the International Market Place on Aug. 13 — what would have been his 87th birthday. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

The latest chapter in the ongoing audit review of the management of Mauna Kea arrived in the form of a new report this month. Big Island Video News.

Court dates have been set for the 48 adults cited July 8 for trespassing into the closed Kohala Forest Reserve and Kohala Restricted Watershed. Tribune-Herald.

A father, mother and maternal grandmother are in custody for allegedly starving a 9-year-old Hilo girl to death. Tribune-Herald.

Big Island Crime Problems Seem Bigger On Social Media. Hawaii County crime isn’t on the rise. But the prosecutor says residents are justifiably upset by a clogged criminal justice system. Civil Beat.

While signs have been posted at some beaches in recent months warning beachgoers of high bacteria levels in the water, those counts don’t necessarily mean waters are contaminated with sewage. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii County real estate trends continued ticking upward as the first half of the sales year came to a close, with the busy market leading to increases in new construction as existing inventory is bought up. Tribune-Herald.


Unlike some politicians who’d grab the center of attention at a public event, shaking every hand within reach, Gov. David Ige was characteristically laid-back recently when he visited Maui for a senior housing groundbreaking ceremony in Pukalani and a visit to Kula Hospital. Maui News.

Portions of the Kanaio Natural Area Reserve will be closed on dates in August and September while the state Department of Land and Natural Resources’ Division of Forestry and Wildlife conducts animal control via aerial shooting from helicopters. Maui News.

After serving under eight Maui County prosecuting attorneys and appearing before 13 2nd Circuit judges during a career that spanned 40 years, Deputy Prosecutor John Tam has retired. Maui News.

The Mayor’s Office of Economic Development announced that it has issued more than $2 million in grants to various local organizations during the second half of fiscal year 2017. Maui Now.

Sen. Rosalyn Baker inducted the Maui Chamber of Commerce’s new and existing board members for the 2017-18 term on June 2 at the Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa in Kaanapali. Maui News.


The County of Kauai’s Transportation Agency will be holding islandwide, public information and community comment sessions on the Kauai Bus Short-Range Transit Plan starting this week. Garden Island.

The County of Kauai’s Transportation Agency will be holding islandwide, public information and community comment sessions on the Kauai Bus Short-Range Transit Plan starting this week. KHON2.

Soon, folks will have a way to get from Kawaihau Road to the rest of Kauai’s coastal path via a 1,000-foot boardwalk. Garden Island.

$6.6M for Mahelona hospital projects. Remodeled rooms for residents, upgrades to nurse stations are among the plans. Garden Island.

New enclosure last step to recovery for native seabirds. Garden Island.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Big boost planned for military spending in Hawaii, Honolulu judge expands family members on travel ban immigrant list, Hurricane Fernanda still far away, solider pledging IS support claims mental illness defense, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2017 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Pohakuloa Training Area, Hawaii Island © 2017 All Hawaii News
Schatz Announces Big Increase In Military Spending For Hawaii. If a subcommittee’s Thursday vote holds up, the islands would see $266 million in spending in fiscal year 2018, up from $197 million. Civil Beat.

Hawaii is set to receive more than $266 million in federal funding for military construction and upgrade projects across the state after the Senate Appropriations Committee passed the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs appropriations bill for fiscal year 2018. Pacific Business News.

A federal judge in Honolulu has expanded the Trump administration’s list of family relationships needed by people seeking new visas from six mostly Muslim countries to avoid a travel ban. U.S. District Court Judge Derrick Watson ruled Thursday that the travel ban exemptions should include grandparents, grandchildren, uncles, aunts and other relatives. Star-Advertiser.

In another setback for President Donald Trump, a federal judge in Hawaii has further weakened his already diluted travel ban by vastly expanding the list of family relationships with U.S. citizens that visa applicants can use to get into the U.S. Associated Press.

A federal judge in Honolulu on Thursday expanded the list of family relationships needed by people seeking new visas from six mostly Muslim countries to avoid President Donald Trump’s travel ban. Associated Press.

The Hawaii judge who blocked President Donald Trump’s revised executive order on immigration in March placed limits Thursday on how the scaled-back version of the travel ban should be enforced. Civil Beat.

Fernanda strengthens into major hurricane far east of islands. It is still too early to tell what kind of effects, if any, this storm will have on Hawaii, but early computer models show a track that moves in a direction toward the islands. Hawaii News Now.

Hurricane Fernanda in the Eastern Pacific continued strengthening today, reaching major hurricane status. Star-Advertiser.

Fernanda reached hurricane strength Thursday and the storm’s expected to continue rapidly strengthening as it marches west toward the Hawaiian Islands. West Hawaii Today.

The lawyer for an Army soldier accused of pledging his support and allegiance to the Islamic State says the government knew or should have known that Sgt. 1st Class Ikaika Erik Kang was suffering from mental illness but, instead of helping him, continued to exploit Kang’s condition until he committed a crime. Star-Advertiser.

A U.S. soldier accused of wanting to commit a mass shooting after pledging loyalty to the Islamic State group believed the moon landing was faked, questioned the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and thought the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks were an inside job coordinated by the U.S. government, according to a former Army bunkmate. Associated Press.

Hawaii’s public school system, which employs more than 13,000 teachers, has struggled for years with a chronic teacher shortage. A licensed first-year teacher in Hawaii makes $47,443. A new contract signed in April provides for a cumulative salary increase of 13.6 percent over four years. Civil Beat.

No Relief In Sight For High Cost Of Prison Phone Calls. After a federal court overturned a national limit on the price of the calls, activists turn to state and local governments. Civil Beat.


Plans to modernize Blaisdell Center could cost upwards of $500M. Hawaii News Now.

Big, expensive changes are proposed for the Neal S. Blaisdell Center. On Thursday, nearly 150 people attended the city's second workshop to weigh-in on the city's "Master Plan" for the center. KITV.

Public weighs in on the future of Neal S. Blaisdell Center. KHON2.

A proposed charter school to serve Ewa Beach families got the green light Thursday from the state Public Charter School Commission, but two other Oahu schools were rejected. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu residents saw a dime shaved off their electricity bills in July primarily due to lower fees collected for energy efficiency programs. Star-Advertiser.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has reached an agreement with Matheson Tri-Gas to close three cesspools at its Kapolei facility on Oahu. Pacific Business News.

A fallen chunk of concrete is raising safety concerns under the H-1 viaduct. State Department of Transportation officials say they checked out the site and believe it is structurally safe. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Audits of county hiring and cash-handling practices should be completed in the next few months, legislative Auditor Bonnie Nims said Thursday. West Hawaii Today.

East Hawaii residents had the chance to discuss the impacts of upcoming changes to the region’s flood insurance rate maps during an open house session Wednesday evening. Tribune-Herald.

After a malfunction at the recently repaired Keahuolu Deepwell put North Kona on the edge of water service disruptions, Hawaii County Department of Water Supply has pulled the system back from the brink. West Hawaii Today.

The former Uncle Billy’s hotel is attracting its last customers — for a liquidation sale. Tribune-Herald.


The Maui Planning Commission was split Tuesday on a proposed construction materials recycling facility in South Maui, which some say would help handle future projects on island but that others think should be located elsewhere. Maui News.

One by one, the island’s eucalyptus trees are dying. Maui News.

The Maui Chamber of Commerce will hold its annual Luncheon with the Mayor from noon to 2 p.m. July 28 at the Maui Beach Hotel. Maui News.

Lloyd Loope, who became Haleakala National Park’s first research scientist in 1980 and went on to become one of the state’s leading advisers in the war against invasive species, has died at the age of 74. Star-Advertiser.

The cane is long gone but the sugar museum continues to grow. Maui News.


The Land Use Commission will vote this month on changing the land designation at Kauai Community College from ag to urban, and officials say the recently approved university district will help streamline that process. Garden Island.

Nawiliwili Yacht Club is fighting for its lease of the Nawiliwili Small Boat Harbor, set to expire in September and go up on the block for public auction. Garden Island.

There is no date set for the next community meeting regarding the proposed change of address for the Lihue post office, according to Duke Gonzales, USPS spokesman. Garden Island.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Honolulu council passes pedestrian cellphone ban, Maui reverses 24 hour liquor sales, audit dings state invasive species branch, anti-abortion group sues over new law, Tropical Storm Fernanda churns in Pacific, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2017 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Waikiki pedestrians © 2017 All Hawaii News
A bill that would bar pedestrians from looking at their cellphones or other electronic mobile devices while crossing the street won final approval from the Honolulu City Council Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

A bill that would fine pedestrians who use mobile electronic devices while crossing the street passed its third reading Wednesday. Hawaii News Now.

The state Agriculture Department’s Plant Quarantine Branch is not blocking invasive pests from entering Hawaii as well as it could because its “failed database” doesn’t target the most imminent threats, a state audit released Wednesday said. he audit also described the Agriculture Department’s Plants and Animals Declaration Forms filled out by people arriving in Hawaii as of “limited value.” Few people declare such items and even fewer are intercepted. Star-Advertiser.

A national anti-abortion religious organization is suing to block a new state law that requires family planning and pregnancy care centers to inform women of all of their options, including contraception and abortion, and that such services may be available to them for free or at low cost through state programs. Star-Advertiser.

Faith-based pregnancy centers in Hawaii are challenging a new state law in federal court, claiming it forces them to promote abortion. Hawaii News Now.

Saying the intervention by the U.S. District Court is urgently needed, the state of Hawaii on Wednesday filed its reply in response to the Trump administration’s arguments regarding the scope of its partial travel and refugee bans allowed by the U.S. Supreme Court. Star-Advertiser.

Cybersecurity Experts Exchange Tricks Of The Trade In Honolulu. Political motives are driving hackers these days along with more sophisticated financial scams. Civil Beat.

The state officially launched a multi-governmental initiative today to address drug abuse prevention in Hawaii. Hawaii Public Radio.

State officials plan to distribute 20,000 opioid overdose rescue kits to health care providers, emergency personnel, pharmacists and social workers in response to a growing substance abuse “crisis” in Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.

AT&T has received a 10-year contract from the Defense Information Systems Agency to replace its Hawaii network. Pacific Business News.

The Hawaii Department of Health says it is investigating its second death linked to vibriosis, an infection cause by bacteria found in the ocean. KITV.

Tropical Storm Fernanda in the Eastern Pacific is expected to grow into a major hurricane over the next several days as it heads toward the Central Pacific, forecasters said Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

Tropical Storm Fernanda forecast to become hurricane as it churns in East Pacific. Hawaii News Now.


Mayor Kirk Caldwell likely will sign a bill passed by the City Council that would bar supermarkets and other retailers from distributing plastic and compostable bags at the checkout counter beginning Jan. 1, 2020, the mayor said late Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu City Council has authorized $350 million in city-backed bonds to keep existing rail work going — a shot of political support for the beleaguered transit project as the Legislature looks to bail it out later this summer. Star-Advertiser.

After listening to more than an hour of testimony, the Honolulu City Council voted Wednesday to approve the issuing of $350 million in general obligation bonds to help pay for building the Honolulu rail project. Civil Beat.

Owners of historic homes on Oahu would see their property taxes increase to $1,000 under a measure that cleared another hurdle at the City Council Wednesday. Civil Beat.

Can Revamped Honolulu Ethics Commission Rebuild Its Credibility? The commission’s former executive director often tangled with Mayor Caldwell’s administration. Now new director Jan Yamane has big plans for change. Civil Beat.

The Hawaii Attorney General’s Office has declined to pursue criminal charges against the Pacific Resource Partnership Political Action Committee or its chairman for allegedly failing to report some of its campaign expenditures made during the vicious 2012 campaign for Honolulu mayor. Star-Advertiser.

Residents who search daily for parking on congested streets in their neighborhoods may find relief with a measure being considered by the Honolulu City Council. Bill 51, which would allow the city to create “residential parking zones,” cleared another hurdle Wednesday when the council unanimously passed it on second reading. Civil Beat.

A new law requires the City and County of Honolulu to take over any and all roads that don’t have a clear owner. House Bill 115 became law Wednesday without the governor’s signature. KHON2.

East Oahu fresh water spring permanently protected. KITV.

Some critics say the Navy isn’t moving fast enough to comply with an 18-month-old agreement to upgrade the underground fuel system at Red Hill. Civil Beat.

Government and private sector representatives put their heads together over cafeteria tables on Wednesday to talk about ways to make Iwilei and Kapalama safer for cyclists and pedestrians. Star-Advertiser.

The City and County of Honolulu is holding a public workshop on Thursday night to share plans and gather input on renovating Blaisdell Center. Hawaii News Now.

Approximately 350 suppliers and vendors are showcasing their products and services at the Hawaii Lodging, Hospitality and Foodservice Expo to local individuals in the hospitality and food industry on Wednesday and Thursday at the Neal Blaisdell Center. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii Island

University of Hawaii at Hilo Chancellor Don Straney is moving on. UH announced Wednesday Straney will be leaving his chancellor post Aug. 1 to serve as vice president of academic planning and policy, a leadership role within the UH system. Tribune-Herald.

The Old Kona Airport Park will be closed for two days in August to facilitate park cleanup efforts, county officials announced Wednesday. No camping in the park will be allowed after the park cleanup and police enforcement of park rules, which has ratcheted up in recent months, will be more stringent moving forward. West Hawaii Today.

In Hawai'i County, the annual Point in Time Count showed a reduction in homeless individuals from last year to this year of about a third. But that still leaves nearly a thousand unsheltered people on the island by the official count. Hawaii Public Radio.

In its latest cost analysis submitted to state regulators, Hawaii Electric Light Co. says Hu Honua Bioenergy would save customers cash in the long run. That’s assuming the Hamakua Energy Partners facility, which HELCO recently failed to acquire, closes in 2030 at the end of its contract. Tribune-Herald.

Big Island residents had a chance to talk with officials on Wednesday about the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s updated Flood Insurance Rate Maps during a public meeting held in Hilo. Big Island Video News.

Only one County Council member, Hilo Councilman Aaron Chung, reported receiving any gifts in the past 12 months. West Hawaii Today.

Tucked between Buster Brown and Puu Ki on Kohala Mountain sit two working reservoirs that support approximately 4,000 service connections in Waimea, Ahualoa, upper portions of Kalopa, Pohakea and Waiemi subdivision above Kawaihae. West Hawaii Today.

Louis Sardis, a 65-year-old driver for The Arc of Hilo accused of sexually assaulting a mentally and physically disabled woman July 30 aboard one of the nonprofit organization’s service vans, is currently suspended from his job. Tribune-Herald.


The Maui County Liquor Control Commission voted unanimously Wednesday to reverse itself and to restore the 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. blackout on retail sales of alcohol and the 12 hostess bar cap, bowing to the public outcry and a lawsuit filed over its decision five months ago. Maui News.

Officials with Maui nonprofit groups received some relief Wednesday from strict new procedures for single-event liquor licenses, including extensive background checks and fingerprinting, that were putting a crimp on their fundraising efforts. Maui News.

Median single-family home prices in Maui County hit $700,000 or more for the third time this year in June when the midpoint price at which homes sold was $740,000, according to statistics released Tuesday by the Realtors Association of Maui. Maui News.


Another meeting has been set to bring the public up to speed on the Lehua Island rat eradication project, which is set to begin in August, pending permit approval. Garden Island.

The Kauai County Council approved two bills Wednesday containing collective bargaining agreements for government employees. Garden Island.

Eirik Stevens pleads no contest. A man who police say sexually assaulted two underage girls while volunteering at the Boys & Girls Club will no longer go to trial. Garden Island.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Ige vetoes 13 bills including aquarium fish restrictions and lifeguard liability, Honolulu ordered to pay EMTs $1M overtime, Maui's $354.5M Makena Resort approved, THAAD missile test successful, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy photo Hawaii Governor's Office
Gov. David Ige veto news conference, courtesy photo
Gov. David Ige used his veto pen to reject 13 bills Tuesday, including a measure that would have limited and eventually shut down the aquarium fish collecting trade in Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Governor Vetoes Aquarium Fishing Bill, 12 Others. Gov. David Ige faced a heavy lobbying campaign from both sides on a bill phasing out commercial collection of fish for the aquarium industry. Civil Beat.

Gov. David Ige vetoed 13 bills Tuesday, including a measure providing limited liability protection for county lifeguards, as a law with broader protections sunset on June 30. Maui News.

Gov. David Ige took the podium, spending around 10 minutes directly addressing a few of the 13 measures he chose to veto on Tuesday’s deadline for such action. West Hawaii Today.

Governor David Ige vetoed a bill that would have stopped new permits for aquarium fish collecting on Hawaii’s reefs, ending weeks of last-minute lobbying on the issue. Big Island Video News.

The Clift Tsuji Act became law on Tuesday with a stroke of Governor David Ige’s pen, ending an emotional journey for Ryan Tsuji, who helped shepherd the biosecurity-related bill through the legislature in fulfillment of his father’s dying wish. Big Island Video News.

Gov. David Ige signed a bill into law Tuesday that requires liability insurance for childcare providers. Hawaii News Now.


Hawaii is home to two of the three most popular U.S. senators, according to approval rantings (69 percent for Brian Schatz and 67 percent for Mazie Hirono) in a new survey published by Morning Consult. Civil Beat.

Hawaii has seen some improvement in its fiscal condition, according to a new study by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. The Aloha State was ranked 27th among the U.S. states for fiscal health, a significant improvement from last year’s ranking, where it was ranked 45th. Pacific Business News.

A ballistic missile target simulating an intermediate-range North Korean threat that was launched by aircraft north of Hawaii was successfully intercepted Tuesday by a defensive missile in a key test of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system, officials said. Star-Advertiser.

In a video interview with aviation analysis site CAPA, Hawaiian Airlines CEO Mark Dunkerley gave an update on competition, partnerships and attractive markets for the Honolulu-based airline, claiming that China will soon overtake Japan as Hawaii’s largest tourism market. Pacific Business News.

A U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employee has been bitten by an endangered Hawaiian monk seal while swimming at Midway Atoll in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Associated Press.

Hawaii’s push to expand the list of relatives exempt from President Donald Trump’s ban on travelers from six mostly Muslim countries is bogged down in court, where it has bounced from a federal judge to a federal appeals court and back to the same federal judge. Associated Press.

U.S. Department of Justice attorneys urged a judge to deny Hawaii’s renewed attempt to expand the list of relatives exempt from President Donald Trump’s ban on travelers from six mostly Muslim countries. Associated Press.

Kaiser grad accused of affiliation with ISIS made first Federal court appearance. KITV.

Forecasters are keeping a close eye on a new tropical storm in the East Pacific that has the potential to impact the Hawaiian islands. It is far too early to tell what kind of effects, if any, Tropical Storm Fernanda  will have on Hawaii, but early computer models show a track that moves in a direction toward the islands. Hawaii News Now.

This week, you'll be seeing an edgy new commercial targeting the Mormon Church in Hawaii, questioning its business practices. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii is again ranked next to last among U.S. states for business. The islands are ranked first, however, for quality of life for the fifth year in a row, according to a study released Tuesday by cable TV network CNBC. Star-Advertiser.

Jurassic World filming comes to an end, film's stars leave Hawaii. Hawaii News Now.


A federal judge has ordered the city to pay paramedics, emergency medical technicians and their attorneys $1.16 million for unpaid and late-paid overtime in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Star-Advertiser.

There's an age-old problem in the valleys of Oahu, where experts estimate that more than 70,000 residents live in areas that have been geologically unstable since Hawaii’s peaks first burst through the Pacific Ocean. A legal battle over a landslide and sewer line break in the Nuuanu Valley is one example of the unstable ground many people live on. Civil Beat.

Hawaii business executive Duane Kurisu and a host of dignitaries broke ground Tuesday on Kurisu’s ambitious vision to use public and private resources to erect permanent homes near Sand Island for 150 homeless families — or 600 adults and children. Star-Advertiser.

The first-ever public-private partnership was launched today on Oahu to provide permanent housing for homeless families. Hawaii Public Radio.

A state representative and at least one community leader are accusing Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s administration of stalling on a long-discussed road improvement project in the upper part of Kalihi Street. Star-Advertiser.

A state lawmaker wants to see Kalihi Street widened so drivers will slow down, particularly where the it curves. KHON2.

Changes to Honolulu plastic bag ban will hurt a local family business. KITV.

A Honolulu ZIP code has come in at No. 6 in the nation on a list of the most expensive ZIP codes by state, according to Pacific Business News.

It's never been a secret that Honolulu has some traffic issues, and now Honolulu has been ranked as the seventh-worst city for driving in a newly released study by WalletHub. Pacific Business News.

Honolulu had the 10th-most cranes in operation in the country at the start of the year, signaling a significant growth in construction projects, according to the 2017 Rider Levett Bucknall Crane Index. Rider Levett Bucknall is a global construction cost management, project management and advisory company based in Hong Kong. Star-Advertiser.

Traffic was shut down on both sides of the Pali Highway around noon Tuesday as a woman threatened to jump from the highway on the Kailua side of the tunnel, Honolulu police said. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Part of Hawaii Island’s ambitious legislative package to revitalize two areas in Hilo was pulled back from the brink Tuesday when Gov. David Ige issued his final list of vetoed bills. Tribune-Herald.

More senior citizens are on the waiting list for units at a housing complex under construction in Hilo than the total number of units the complex eventually will offer. The second phase of construction at Hilo’s Mohouli Heights Senior Neighborhood, which is intended to provide high-quality, affordable housing for low-income senior citizens, is on track for completion in October. Tribune-Herald.

North Hawaii residents packed the Waimea School cafeteria Tuesday anxious to hear from administrators of The Queen’s Health Systems and North Hawaii Community Hospital in the wake of reports of layoffs at the hospital. West Hawaii Today.

The Pacific Tsunami Museum in Hilo is asking for the public’s help with finding missing parts from a beloved sculpture at the corner of Kamehameha Avenue and Kalakaua Street. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii Island Pictures Future in Film and Video. Hawaii Public Radio.

Colin “Bud” Love, a community champion and longtime per diem judge, died July 1. Love died peacefully at his home at the age of 81. West Hawaii Today.


With a lawsuit against the project settled, the Maui Planning Commission unanimously approved a special management area use permit Tuesday for the $354.5 million mixed-use Makena Resort. Maui News.

A senior affordable housing project is being proposed for development in Kahului at the intersection of Kane and Vevau Streets. Maui Now.

Last month’s auction of Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co.’s mill equipment will be the last time the former company’s assets go on the auction block, company and auction officials said Tuesday. Maui News.

A Maui Community Correctional Center guard told an inmate she would lose her work furlough privileges if she reported having sexual contact with him, the woman testified Tuesday. Maui News.

Maui’s residential real estate market sizzled in June as home prices and sales achieved double-digit percentage gains from the year-earlier period. Star-Advertiser.

Sales increased by double digits on Maui last month for single-family homes and condominiums, growing 21.2 percent and 11.8 percent, respectively, according to the Realtors Association of Maui. Pacific Business News.


The Opaekaa Road bridge is on the road to being replaced and the single-lane bridge’s character won’t change much, thanks to input from the community. Garden Island.

Kauai Community Recycling Services, who owns and operates the HI5 bottle redemption center in the Arzadon Industrial Park in Kapaa, has changed the schedule of this facility. Garden Island.

Broken television sets, dilapidated tires and other past-their-prime household items dotted the grounds around Wailua Reservoir before Lori Stitt took action. Garden Island.