Monday, December 13, 2021

Environmental fee for tourists gains ground, audit finds $2M discrepancy in Hanauma Bay funds, Maui mayor recall petition 20k signatures short, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Sunbathers on Hapuna Beach ©2021 All Hawaii News

Proposal to charge environmental fee to come to Hawaii gaining support.
There’s growing momentum for the idea of charging tourists an environmental fee to come to Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.

Should Hawaii Levy a Visitor Green Fee to Protect Our Environment? The idea of a fee to raise money from visitors to fund conservation and environmental management programs that benefit visitors and residents alike has been simmering in Hawaii for some time under a different name—a “visitor green fee.”  University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization blog.

The Spigot Of Federal Broadband Funding Is About To Open For Hawaii. Hawaii historically has not had access to gobs of money to expand access to broadband or upgrade service, so the volume of federal pandemic funding now headed into the state for broadband projects is nothing short of astounding. Civil Beat.

Why So Many Hawaii Families Are Opting Out Of The Public School System.
Private school enrollment rose to 33,540 as of Oct. 1, compared with 31,987 in 2020-21, according to the Hawaii Association of Independent Schools. Civil Beat.

Hawaii records 5 new coronavirus-related deaths, 215 additional infections. The new confirmed and probable infection count by island includes 165 new cases on Oahu, 16 on Hawaii Island, 14 on Maui, 11 on Kauai, three on Molokai and six Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state. Star-Advertiser.


Independent Audit Alleges $2M Discrepancy In Hanauma Bay Funds. The probe is the result of efforts by a nonprofit group advocating for the Oahu nature preserve. Civil Beat.

Summer 2022 is the earliest the rail could begin partial operations, HART CEO says. But the July start depends on a number of pieces falling into place, such as fixing wheel rims that are too small for the track. That would require temporary welding. Hawaii Public Radio.

How The Red Hill Fuel System Has Threatened Oahu’s Drinking Water For Decades. Built in haste during World War II, the facility has a history of leaking despite the Navy’s assurances that it is secure. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii Public Radio. Hawaii News Now.

Navy gives inside look of cleanup efforts at Red Hill Shaft.
On Sunday, Dec. 12, the Navy allowed media to visit the affected area at Red Hill Shaft to see fuel recovery operations being done by Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit One divers, as well as other contractors. KHON2. KITV4.

Straub Medical Center breaking ground on new Honolulu medical campus. Straub Medical Center, which is celebrating the 100th anniversary of its founding, is scheduled to break ground today on a future Straub “campus” that has the potential to keep local doctors, nurses and technicians in the islands, attract new ones and — perhaps more importantly — provide patients with modern facilities and technology instead of their seeking treatment on the mainland. Star-Advertiser.

Thousands lace up for highly anticipated return of the Honolulu Marathon. With early-morning fireworks and thousands of eager runners, the Honolulu Marathon made a grand return Sunday. Hawaii’s biggest road race was canceled last year like every other large-scale event over pandemic concerns. Hawaii News Now. KHON2. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Lawmakers react positively to Decadal Survey results. Two U.S. Congressional committees were pleased with a recent survey naming the Thirty Meter Telescope as a priority project for federal funding. Tribune-Herald.

Pololu Valley lookout plans in the air.
“How good are you at backing up?” Paul Ishikuro asks the driver trying to find a spot to park his SUV in an increasingly crowded lot overlooking scenic Pololu Valley. West Hawaii Today.

Sewage Entering Puakō Groundwater, UH Says Wastewater Treatment Plant Needed. Bacterial levels on the Puakō coastline are higher than State health standards in recreational waters fronting 81% of residential homes sampled. Big Island Video News. Big Island Now.

The power of flowers. The chief executive of a small but budding orchid-growing cooperative compared the company’s formation to “a phoenix rising out of the ashes.” Tribune-Herald.


Initial effort to recall the mayor falls 20,022 signatures short. Organizers will have 20 days to collect more signatures. Maui News.

DOH issues cease-and-desist, $58K fine to COVID testing clinic on Maui. Officials said NextHealth clinic had been offering COVID testing at the Four Seasons Resort in Wailea since in October. DOH said about 982 people were tested at this site. Hawaii News Now.

Charter Commission Adopts Proposals for Department of Human Concerns, Bilingual Government and More. A number of proposals were approved by the Maui Charter Commission this Thursday. Some of these included a new department to separate social services from the housing department, a semi-autonomous water supply board, voting amendments that could increase the odds of ballot initiatives and charter amendments passing and mandates to create a bilingual (English and Hawaiian) government. Maui Now.

Kula Forest Storm Assessment Shows Hundreds of Trees Flattened in Storm. While fencing seems to have held up along the south slopes of Haleakalā, hundreds of trees were flattened along a road in the Kula Forest Reserve. Maui Now.


A mother’s dream becomes reality with inclusive playground. Shana Marie Cruz grew up playing at the Kamalani Playground at Lydgate Park. Garden Island.

Firework permit portal opens Dec. 15. An online portal for fireworks-permit applications opens this week, according to the Kaua‘i Fire Department. Garden Island.

Friday, December 10, 2021

Monsanto to pay $12M for illegal pesticide use in Hawaii, cyber attack shuts down Honolulu transit servers, teachers escape discipline, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Monsanto workers (from Monsanto Hawaii Facebook page)

Monsanto to plead guilty to illegal pesticide use in Hawaii; pay $12M in fines. The court filing said Monsanto agreed to plead guilty to 30 environmental crimes after workers were allowed to go into corn fields last year on Oahu after glufosinate ammonium-based product named Forfeit 280 was sprayed on the fields. The company will also plead guilty to two felony crimes related to the storage of a banned chemical on Maui. Associated Press. Civil Beat. Big Island Now. Hawaii News Now.

U.S. and Japan continue to heal wounds of war in Ford Island ceremony. At the end of Pearl Harbor anniversary events, after the veterans who fought back that day and fought during World War II are rightly honored, after the 2,403 American service member and civilian casualties from the day of infamy are memorialized, there is another remembrance. Star-Advertiser.

How Does Hawaii’s DOE Deal With Teachers Accused Of Misconduct? One teacher was fired four months after being sentenced in a criminal case. Civil Beat.

Hawaii records 1 new coronavirus-related death, 143 additional infections. The new confirmed and probable infection count by island includes 98 new cases on Oahu, 13 on Hawaii Island, 21 on Maui, eight on Kauai and three Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state. Star-Advertiser.


Cyberattack shuts down servers at theBus, Handi-Van.
Honolulu Police Department, the FBI and the Secret Service are investigating the incident, which city transit officials said might be a ransomware attack. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Transportation department seeking public comment about adding H-1 eastbound lane. The state Department of Transportation is seeking public comment for a proposed widening of the H-1 freeway. The DOT wants to add an eastbound lane to the interstate from the Ola Lane overpass to the Likelike Highway off-ramp. Hawaii Public Radio.

Chinatown May Get More Affordable Housing For Older Adults, Plus A Hotel
. The proposal comes as Honolulu is struggling to provide affordable housing on an island where the median price for a home rose above $1 million earlier this year. Civil Beat.

City removes benches, tables at Waikiki pavilions to curb crime. The City Department of Parks & Recreation removed the benches inside the pavilion to prevent illegal activities in the area, but not everyone is happy with their methods. KHON2.

Aiea-Halawa well doesn’t have detectable petroleum, Navy officials now say. A day after the Navy reported dangerously high levels of diesel fuel in water samples collected at its Aiea-Halawa well, officials said the contamination came from an unused segment of the distribution system and that the well does not have detectable levels of petroleum. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. KITV4.

BWS says keeping Navy fuel out of aquifer will be a long-term challenge.
The Board of Water Supply warned Oahu households and businesses Thursday that its system could eventually be impacted by the Navy’s petroleum contamination. Hawaii News Now.

More than 322K gallons of sewage discharges on Oahu; multiple water advisories remain. The torrential rains and storm brought on by the “Kona low” earlier this week resulted in at least nine sewer discharges across Oahu, with water advisories that are expected to remain in effect for several more days. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Ready for prime time: New County Council maps set for public hearings. New County Council districts proposed by the Redistricting Commission are now ready for prime time, and the commission has set hearings next week to see what the public thinks of its work. West Hawaii Today.

Hilo skatepark mulled. About 70 people, including members of the Hilo Skateplaza Coalition, attended a meeting best described as a brainstorming session about the design of a long-hoped-for skatepark to be built on about 2.5 acres of undeveloped county land across from the Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium, where the meeting was held. Tribune-Herald.


Kula Water Restoration Underway, All Main Line Breaks Repaired. Parts of Kula remain without water this evening, but could have service restored by tonight into tomorrow, barring any further breaks to water lines, according to officials with the County of Maui Department of Water Supply. Maui Now.

Sale of Royal Lahaina Resort to BlackSand Capital is Complete.
BlackSand Capital, a locally owned and managed Hawai‘i real estate investment firm, completed the purchase of the Royal Lahaina Resort on Maui from Pleasant Travel Service on Dec. 9. Maui Now.


Hanama‘ulu homeowners’ black-slime problem persists. Homeowners in a local housing development continue to fight chronic “black slime” biofilm and health issues they claim are caused by contaminated plumbing installed by the builder, nearly three years after some households first noticed the problem. Garden Island.

New Waimea substation without phone, internet. The Waimea substation relocated to the West Kaua‘i Technology Center at 9565 Kaumuali‘i Hwy. from its previous Ola Road locale, which had been used by KPD since 2013. Garden Island.

Thursday, December 9, 2021

Ige taps Shikada for attorney general, USS Daniel Inouye commissioned at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii County Council passes 3% hotel tax, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Holly Shikada

Ige Names Holly Shikada To Be Hawaii’s New Attorney General. Shikada is a veteran lawyer who worked for years on educational issues, including ensuring compliance with the Felix Consent Decree. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser. Big Island Now.  Hawaii News Now.

Red Hill Has Changed The Politics Around The Military In Hawaii. The military has enjoyed unwavering support from state and federal political leaders in Hawaii. But the threat to Oahu’s water supply may be bringing that to an end. Civil Beat.

USS Daniel Inouye commissioned in Pearl Harbor home port, honoring the late U.S. senator as a warrior and statesman. The Navy’s newest warship, the Arleigh Burke-class missile destroyer USS Daniel Inouye, was officially commissioned at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam on Wednesday. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.  

Hawaiian Electric says 3,200 statewide still awaiting repairs, some may go another night without power. Hawaiian Electric said an estimated 3,200 customers are still without power statewide due to the impacts of the “Kona low” storm that ravaged the isles Monday and Tuesday. Those customers include about 400 on Oahu, 200 on Maui, and 2,600 on Hawaii Island. Star-Advertiser. Big Island Now. Hawaii News Now.

US Request For More Bigeye Tuna Denied By Pacific Commission. Wespac Executive Director Kitty Simonds expressed her disappointment, saying the council had been trying for six years to negotiate an increase. Civil Beat.

DAR seeks proposed fishing rule input.
This month, the DLNR Division of Aquatic Resources is holding a series of scoping events to receive community input on proposed amendments to statewide rules for select species of herbivorous reef fishes. Garden Island. KHON2.

Hawaii records 6 new coronavirus-related deaths, 72 additional infections. The new confirmed and probable infection count by island includes 51 new cases on Oahu, eight on Hawaii Island, eight on Maui and five on Kauai. Star-Advertiser.


Navy Finds Contamination In Second Well And Identifies Pollutant At Red Hill Shaft. Meanwhile, the Navy outlined actions it would take in response to an emergency order by Gov. David Ige, but remained silent on the question of emptying the tanks. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii Public Radio. Hawaii News Now. KHON2. KITV4.

Honolulu waives permit fees to expedite storm cleanup efforts. The City and County of Honolulu is waiving all permit fees related to storm-damage cleanup in an effort to jumpstart recovery efforts on Oahu following the powerful Kona Low storm system that blasted the islands. KITV4.

Kahikina Is Named Honolulu Rail’s Third Permanent Executive Director. As rail’s interim executive director for 2021, Lori Kahikina guided Hawaii’s largest-ever public works project through yet another tumultuous year – one that saw maddening construction woes, questionable contract awards and steep funding hurdles. Civil Beat.

New plan to fill gap between rail wheels and track. Hawaii’s DCCA has granted a temporary exemption to allow welders without Hawaii licenses to make temporary repairs to fix the rail project’s too-narrow wheels and too-wide track junction. Star-Advertiser.

Carcasses of Fraser’s Dolphins Wash Ashore on Oʻahu, DLNR Reports. Three carcasses of Fraser’s dolphins have washed ashore between Diamond Head and Waikīkī, DLNR officials reported earlier this week. Big Island Now.

Hawaii Island

Council passes 3% TAT
: New hotel tax makes up for state cuts. Visitors to Hawaii Island hotels and vacation rentals will be digging a little deeper come Jan. 1, with the County Council on Wednesday unanimously passing a 3% local option lodging tax. West Hawaii Today.

Parks herbicide ban moves forward. The County Council on Wednesday advanced on first reading a bill banning the use of glyphosate-based herbicides in county parks. West Hawaii Today.

CSO one step closer to decommissioning.
The planned dismantling and removal of the Caltech Submillimeter Observatory from Maunakea has cleared another hurdle with the publication Wednesday of the final environmental assessment. Tribune-Herald.

Council votes to accept funds to fix ‘major thoroughfare’ in Hilo. The Hawaii County Council voted Wednesday to accept $12 million in state funds to improve a small but vital one-lane bridge in Hilo. Tribune-Herald.


Dedicated Philanthropists Donate $1 Million to Maui Memorial Medical Center. Maui Health Foundation is the recipient of a one-million-dollar gift from Wayne and Nan Kocourek for dedicated use towards the Maui Memorial Medical Center Emergency Department. Maui Now.

Hazardous Conditions Prompt Closure of Maui Recreation Area & Two Forest Reserves. Due to hazardous conditions and impassable roads and trails caused by this week’s heavy rains and strong winds, DLNR has closed the Kula State Forest Reserve, Kahikinui State Forest Reserve – Papa’anui Tract, and Polipoli Spring State Recreation Area.  Maui Now.

Maui Conservationists Sound Alarm Over Sightings Of Invasive Bird. The first red-vented bulbul was spotted by a forest bird conservationist at Haleakala National Park on Nov. 28. Civil Beat.


KFD Air 1 hangar considered inadequate, unsafe. The county’s Air 1 hanger, located at the Lihu‘e Airport, was deemed “inadequate and unsafe” by auditors in a recent utilization study of the Kaua‘i Fire Department. Garden Island.

Endangered bird, rescued from certain death, takes flight. An endangered ua‘u, or Hawaiian petrel (Pterodroma sandwichensis), rescued in October has taken flight after 67 days of care. Garden Island.

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Interment, ceremonies mark somber 80th Pearl Harbor anniversary, Senate confirms Clare Connors as U.S. attorney, power struggle looms over Red Hill fuel tanks, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

PC: U.S. Pacific Fleet
Pearl Harbor National Memorial, in partnership with Navy Region Hawaii, is conducting the 45th interment of a USS Arizona (BB-39) survivor, Lt. Harvey Milhorn, who was a Gunner's Mate 3rd Class aboard the battleship on Dec. 7, 1941. PC: U.S. Pacific Fleet

80th Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day more somber than usual as fewer survivors return. Hawaii Public Radio. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

Senate Confirms Connors To Serve As US Attorney For Hawaii.
Claire Connors, who served under Gov. David Ige as Hawaii attorney general, on Tuesday was confirmed by the U.S. Senate to serve as U.S. attorney for Hawaii. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.

House Panel’s Rare And Controversial Investigation Of Audits Drawing To A Close. Members say their work will improve the Agribusiness Development Corp. and the Department of Land and Natural Resources. But few specific proposals have emerged. Civil Beat.

Will the omicron variant cause Hawaii to tighten COVID-19 restrictions? Gov. Ige responds. KHON2.

Hawaii sees 55 new coronavirus cases, bringing statewide total to 88,440. The new confirmed and probable infection count by island includes 28 new cases on Oahu, seven on Hawaii Island, three on Maui, 13 on Kauai and four Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state. Star-Advertiser.


Navy says it will contest state’s order demanding suspension of Red Hill fuel operations
. A contested case hearing on the order, scheduled for 1 p.m. today, was postponed, however, because the Navy has requested a continuance, according to Kaitlin Arita-Chang, a DOH spokeswoman. Star-Advertiser. Associated Press. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Navy’s Opposition To Governor’s Red Hill Order Raises Question Of State Versus Federal Power. The Department of Health’s director declined to say whether the state is willing to get into a legal fight with the Navy over Gov. Ige’s order to stop operating tanks suspected of contaminating drinking water. Civil Beat.

City Council launches new Red Hill legislation, but Navy’s successful lobbying looms.
The Honolulu City Council is weighing in on the growing Navy water crisis. It wants to regulate the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility, which leaked 14,000 gallons of fuel on November 20th before the Navy’s Red Hill Well was contaminated around Nov. 28. KHON2.

HART Agrees To Install Equipment To Mitigate Electricity Issues. The trains may cause voltage swings as they leave the stations, so HART has agreed to install equipment to stabilize the power. Civil Beat.

Heavy rain brought widespread damage, outages across Oahu. Oahu began drying out Tuesday from an extreme winter storm that included record-setting rainfall and winds that struck neighborhoods across the island Monday. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaiian Electric said it expects to restore power to about 70% of its customers in downtown Honolulu tonight. The company says repairs to the second of three transformers at the Iwilei substation were completed sooner than anticipated bringing back power to about a dozen office buildings. KITV4.

Honolulu Marathon organizers and runners are ready to go. Rain or shine, the Honolulu Marathon is on at 5 a.m. sharp Sunday with no capacity limits. Star-Advertiser.

New Year’s fireworks return to Waikiki. After canceling last year due to the pandemic, the Waikiki Improvement Association announced its Waikiki New Year’s Eve fireworks show will be back this year. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Hele-On could become free: Council members impressed with Mass Transit update. The countywide Hele-On bus system could become free of charge next year, interim Mass Transit Administrator John Andoh told County Council members Tuesday. West Hawaii Today.

Puna sees rise in property crimes. According to statistics from the Hawaii Police Department, there were 45 reports of auto thefts and 32 reports of unauthorized entry to a motor vehicle in November in Puna. That compares to 21 reports of a stolen vehicle and 17 reports of vehicle break-ins in Puna in September, two months earlier. Tribune-Herald.

Surfer Suffers Injuries After Shark Encounter at Banyans. According to Hawaiʻi Fire Department, a 38-year-old man surfing at Banyans Beach Park on Saturday, Dec. 4, was bitten in the left arm and shoulder. Big Island Now. Hawaii News Now.


Power Restoration Continues for Some 1,500 Customers on Maui. As of 9:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 7, Hawaiian Electric crews are responding to a new outage affecting Pukalani to East Maui and parts of Makawao and Haʻikū in addition to the existing outages in parts of Kula, Wailuku, and Lahaina. Maui Now.

Health inspectors close Lahaina Sports Bar on Maui again due to cockroach infestation. The food establishment operated by Lahaina Cafe LLC at 843 Wainee St. first received a red placard, closing it down last Thursday health officials said, and must remain closed until all violations are resolved and cleared by a follow-up inspection. Star-Advertiser. Maui Now.


Tour companies lose permits for Saturday tours on Wailua River. Starting this month, kayak-tour operators and rental companies are no longer allowed to operate tours on the Wailua River on Saturdays. With Sundays already restricted, this limits guided tours to weekdays moving forward. Garden Island.

Dead sperm whale still off North Shore beach. The deceased sperm whale caught on a North Shore reef is rapidly decomposing, one week after state and federal agencies reported its appearance. DLNR, NOAA and stranding-response partners have decided to allow natural decomposition, which has been assisted by heavy surf conditions, to continue in place. Garden Island.

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

State orders Navy to pause Red Hill operations, state commemorates 80th anniversary of Pearl Harbor bombing, rain soaks the state, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro and Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday tour the Red Hill fuel storage facility on Dec. 6, 2021. PC:Office of the Secretary of the Navy

State orders Navy to suspend operations at Red Hill, de-fuel underground tanks. In a significant move Monday night, the governor ordered the Navy to empty its Red Hill underground fuel storage tanks amid an investigation into tainted drinking water. Petroleum has been found in the Pearl Harbor-Hickam water system’s Red Hill well. Hawaii News Now. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Associated Press. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

It Could Cost Billions For The Navy To Move Red Hill Fuel. A 2018 study found that building a new jet fuel facility to replace the aging tanks at Red Hill could cost as much as $10 billion and could take until 2051. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Military Families Move Into Hotels Amid Red Hill Water Crisis. The hotel industry is once again providing emergency shelter, this time for families who need clean water. Civil Beat.


Survivors, WWII veterans to commemorate 80th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. At least 30 survivors, and more than 120 World War II veterans, will be attending the 80th commemoration of the Pearl Harbor attack on Tuesday, Dec. 7. Hawaii Public Radio. Hawaii News Now. 


Storm brings over 14 inches of rain to some spots, and still counting. The strong Kona low northwest of Hawaii has brought downpours that dumped over 14 inches of rain on Hawaii Island and nearly 13 inches on Maui in 48 hours. Hawaii News Now.

Storm sweeps across Hawaiʻi, brings threat of ‘catastrophic’ floods.
A strong storm packing high winds and extremely heavy rain flooded roads and knocked out power across Hawaiʻi, with officials warning Monday of potentially worse conditions ahead. Hawaii Public Radio. Hawaii News Now. Star-Advertiser.

Recruitment Closes Quickly for 46 In-Demand Conservation Officer Jobs. About 36-hours after the official application period opened for 46 conservation officer positions, department officials closed recruitment, quickly fulfilling application limits. Maui Now.

Hawaii health officials find 2 more omicron infections; investigate 8 additional possible cases. State health officials report two additional confirmed omicron variant COVID-19 cases and several possible points of exposure, urging NY anime convention goers and Waipahu church members to get tested. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Big Island Now. KHON2.

Hawaii reports 90 new coronavirus cases, bringing statewide total to 88,385. The new confirmed and probable infection count by island includes 45 new cases on Oahu, 13 each on Maui and Kauai, 12 on Hawaii Island, and seven Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state. Star-Advertiser.


Honolulu under emergency proclamation as power outages, flooding reported across Oahu. Mayor Rick Blangiardi signed an emergency proclamation for the City and County of Honolulu Monday night as Oahu experienced hours of heavy rains, strong winds and flooding from a Kona Low that produced a Flash Flood Warning Monday afternoon. KHON2.

The median price of a single-family home on Oahu jumps to $1,050,000 from $872,500. Oahu real estate prices in November matched all-time highs as properties spent little time on the market before being scooped up by hungry buyers. Star-Advertiser.

Lawsuit Alleges Honolulu Police Shot, Killed Man With No Justification
. Dana Brown’s family is suing the City and County of Honolulu for wrongful death after he was shot and killed by HPD in 2019. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Island

‘Kona low’ blasts Big Isle. Hawaii County Civil Defense said it will begin damage assessments today after a winter weather system known as a “Kona low” generated high winds and torrential downpours in parts of the Big Island over the weekend and Monday. Tribune-Herald. Hawaii News Now.

Resolution urges pursuit of Metropolitan Planning Organization.
A resolution that will be discussed at Wednesday’s meeting of the County Council urges the county to assess the feasibility of establishing a Metropolitan Planning Organization. Tribune-Herald.

Supreme Court remands Bolton rock-crushing case
: Court cites ‘abuse of discretion’ by 2016 planning director. The Hawaii Supreme Court has sent a 2016 permit controversy over a North Kona rock-crushing operation back to the Leeward Planning Commission, saying the county erred when it didn’t allow an intervenor to participate in the process. West Hawaii Today.


Ex-Maui police officer convicted of federal crimes arrested again in child sex sting. Brandon Saffeels was arrested Saturday night during Operation Keiki Shield — a joint operation by county, state and federal agencies to track down child predators. Last month, Saffeels was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to honest services fraud, he admitted to soliciting sex from a woman he arrested for DUI in 2019. Hawaii News Now.

Flooded roads, cars stuck in mud
: On Maui, strong system leaves behind a big mess. The storm knocked out power in many parts of the Valley Isle, including Kahului Airport on Sunday night, and service still has not been restored to thousands of customers. Hawaii News Now. KHON2. KITV4.

Kekaulike Avenue in Kula Remains Closed Due to Storm Impacts. The Hawaiʻi Department of Transportation announces that Kekaulike Avenue between Mile 8 (vicinity of Maui Wedding Flowers) and Alae Road will remain closed until further notice. Maui Now.

Lanai tour and service program could start in May. A one-day tour to Lanai will be launched possibly in May for visitors to learn more about the cultural, historical and ecological aspects of the island and volunteer in a service activity before they leave. The program is one of the initiatives that have come out of the Destination Management Action Plan for Lanai. Maui News.


‘Kona low’ rains down on Kaua‘i. The heavy rain that lashed most of Kaua‘i throughout Monday was the precursor to moist and unstable conditions expected to last through Tuesday. Garden Island.

Voter service center opens, ballots coming in for Kaua‘i special election. About 17% of registered Kaua‘i voters have already returned their ballots for the Prosecuting Attorney Special Primary Election. Garden Island.

Monday, December 6, 2021

State of emergency as 'Kona low' sweeps Hawaii, Ige joins call to suspend Red Hill fuel storage, Maui closes government offices, schools, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

5 a.m. Dec. 6 radar over the Hawaiian Islands PC:NWS

State of emergency in effect across Hawaii as potent storm wallops islands. A potent storm has begun to wallop the Hawaiian Islands with gusty winds and widespread flooding rain, with blizzard conditions expected at some higher elevations, AccuWeather forecasters say. A state of emergency was issued for Hawaii on Sunday morning due to the intense flooding and blizzard conditions. Accuweather. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now. KHON2. KITV4.

80th Pearl Harbor Remembrance events include solemn ceremonies, live underwater dive. The National Park Service and Navy Region Hawaii, with the support of Pacific Historic Parks, are hosting a series of events Sunday through Thursday as part of the 80th National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day Commemoration. Star-Advertiser.

Former governors defend emergency proclamations. Two of Hawaii’s former governors defended the statutory power assigned to the state’s chief executive to proclaim emergencies during public crises. John Waihee and Neil Abercrombie, both Democrats, addressed the issue of proclamation fatigue experienced by some Hawaii citizens and legislators. Tribune-Herald.

Advisory Group Separates From Federal Fishery Council.
The Aha Moku Advisory Committee says Wespac does not influence its recommendations to the Department of Land and Natural Resources. Civil Beat.

Hawaii’s Avocado Farmers Are Bracing For A New Threat. The avocado lace bug has burst onto orchards, causing reduced yields, smaller fruit size and an increase in blemished fruit that can’t be sold. Civil Beat.

Hawaii records 1 new coronavirus-related death, 148 additional infections. The new confirmed and probable infection count by island includes 80 new cases on Oahu, 18 on Hawaii Island, 18 on Maui, 11 on Kauai and 21 Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state. Star-Advertiser.


Gov. David Ige joins call to suspend Red Hill fuel storage operation.
Gov. David Ige and Hawaii’s congressional delegation on Sunday called for the Navy to suspend its Red Hill fuel storage operation until its drinking water contamination crisis is handled. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now. KHON2. KITV4.

Navy water sampling at Red Hill well detected petroleum contamination months ago. State Health Department officials said that on Nov. 24, the Navy finally provided it with four months of test results taken from samples collected in July through October, including the results showing petroleum contamination in the Red Hill shaft. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii Public Radio.

From ‘Sacred Place’ To ‘Dumping Ground,’ West Oahu Confronts A Legacy Of Landfills. Mental health professionals say the community is working to overcome the negative stereotypes associated with decades of hosting the island’s less desirable municipal facilities. Civil Beat.

New Waikiki restaurants rise amid COVID pandemic. While the pandemic created challenges, it also created opportunities. That’s evident in Waikiki where the pandemic plunge has given rise to a wave of more than 15 restaurant openings as well as significant expansions and reinvestment. Star-Advertiser.

In Kaimuki, Eclectic Businesses Are Rising From The Ashes Of The Pandemic. Many of the businesses combine more than one revenue stream — haircuts and drinks, for instance —  and they are embracing the neighborhood’s Main Street vibe. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Island

Council considers legislative priorities
: Lifeguards, fees, fines, Juneteenth top list. Increasing several fees and fines, limiting lifeguard liability and adding Juneteenth to the list of 13 state holidays are among eight priorities Hawaii’s four counties plan to present to the state Legislature. West Hawaii Today.

Meadow Gold seeks to expand processing plant. A draft environmental assessment prepared by the Honolulu consulting firm PBR Hawaii &Associates anticipates a finding of no significant impact to the environment if the project goes forward. Tribune-Herald.

Mayor Roth Declares State of Emergency Amid Severe Weather. The State of Emergency is due to the threat of imminent disaster on Hawaiʻi Island by way of potentially heavy rainfall, lightning, high winds associated with thunderstorms and catastrophic flooding. Big Island Now. Big Island Video News.

Hawaiʻi Community College Pālamanui adds 706-acre forest preserve to campus. The area is currently under the jurisdiction of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Forestry and Wildlife. It will now be managed collaboratively with the University of Hawaiʻi. Hawaii Public Radio.


Maui County Public Schools, UHMC, and KS Maui Closed Dec. 6 Due to Severe Weather. All Hawaiʻi State Department of Education public schools in Maui County — Maui, Lāna‘i and Moloka‘i — will be closed for students and staff tomorrow, Monday, Dec. 6, due to severe weather conditions. Maui Now.

County of Maui Offices Closed on Monday, Dec. 6. The County will reevaluate conditions to determine if operations may resume on Tuesday. Maui Now.

Kīhei Community Center Operating as Emergency Shelter. The Maui Emergency Management Agency in conjunction with the American Red Cross has opened the Kīhei Community Center as an emergency shelter to those affected by the heavy rain and flooding in South Maui. Maui Now.

As immigration services cut back, advocates worry. Services to prepare and review immigrant applications, other forms, discontinued. Maui News.


Kaua‘i adopts latest waste-management plan, but ‘real work’ is to come. Kaua‘i County’s 2021 Integrated Solid Waste Management Plan was officially taken up last week after the Kaua‘i County Council deferred action in mid-November to revise its adoption resolution. Garden Island.

Public hearing on proposed amendments to Liquor Control rules set for Dec. 9. The proposed amendments involve generally the subjects of penalties, violations, digital signatures, electronic filing, trade names, use of assessed penalties, manager cards and required reports. Garden Island.

County has new permit requirements for park pavilions. In accordance with Mayor’s Emergency Rule 28, the county Department of Parks and Recreation has changed its permit requirements for county park pavilions. Garden Island.

Friday, December 3, 2021

Omicron variant detected in Hawaii, Navy works to flush petroleum out of Red Hill drinking water, blizzard warnings for Hawaii peaks, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Kemble   

First Omicron Covid Variant Case Is Detected In Hawaii. The patient was not vaccinated and had no history of out-of-state travel, indicating it’s a case of community transmission, state Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Kemble said. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser. Associated Press. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News. Big Island Now. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now.  KHON2. KITV4.

Here’s what we know (and don’t know) about the Omicron mutation.
While counties have eased COVID restrictions, health officials are urging caution as the state reported its first case of the Omicron variant on Thursday. Hawaii News Now.

Peer-to-peer carshare Getaround arrives in Hawaii. Getaround, a peer-to-peer carsharing service that allows hosts to rent their cars by the hour, continued its aggressive expansion this week with entry into Hawaii, the 10th state it has expanded to in 2021. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii records 1 new coronavirus-related death, 126 additional infections. The new confirmed and probable infection count by island includes 52 new cases on Oahu, 17 on Hawaii Island, 18 on Maui, 34 on Kauai and six Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state. One case was removed from the total for Molokai. Star-Advertiser.


Petroleum taints Red Hill well, Navy working to flush out water system. The Navy has determined that its Red Hill drinking water well is contaminated with petroleum. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.

HNN sent water from the Navy’s lines to a private lab. The Navy says it’s still waiting for results of its water testing, nearly five days after residents started complaining about a strong fuel-like odor coming from their taps. On Thursday, however, a lab contracted by Hawaii News Now found diesel in a Navy water line sample. Hawaii News Now.

Water Contamination On Military Bases Isn’t New. And That’s A Problem. A 2017 GAO study criticized the Defense Department for poor data reporting on drinking water violations. Civil Beat.

Navy secretary’s plan to visit Oahu raises hopes for Red Hill drinking water solution. Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro is expected in Honolulu next week, raising optimism that contaminated water suspected of originating from a Navy fuel storage facility will become a bigger issue. Star-Advertiser.

Lawmakers look to hotels, nearby schools to shelter families affected by Navy water system. Lawmakers representing areas near the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility and Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam highlighted plans Thursday to help families dealing with tainted water. Hawaii Public Radio.


The Search For The Next Honolulu Police Chief Is Still Bogged Down. The Honolulu Police Commission has gone weeks without providing any significant developments in the search for the department’s next chief. Commissioners are starting to question what is taking so long. Civil Beat.

Honolulu City Lights returns this weekend. Honolulu Hale will open this weekend for the annual Honolulu City Lights celebration, which was conducted only on a drive-by basis in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Alameda out at Na Leo.
Na Leo TV is undertaking a management change following former CEO Stacy Higa’s guilty plea to federal embezzlement and bribery charges and the subsequent filing of a whistleblower hostile workplace complaint by an employee there. West Hawaii Today.

Flash flood watch issued; blizzard and high wind warnings in effect for summits.
A foot or more of snow is forecast for Big Island summits while flooding could be possible for lower elevations through Monday, the National Weather Service said Thursday.  West Hawaii Today. Tribune-Herald.


Draft management plan details shared. State DLNR discusses draft Honolua to Honokohau Management Plan. A long term management strategy plan is moving ahead to address issues including overuse, stormwater runoff and water quality along the shoreline and upland areas of state lands between Honolua Bay to Honokohau in West Maui. Maui News.

Approaching Weather System Postpones Mahalawa Bridge Work
. The Maui Department of Public Works road closure along Hāna Highway has been postponed. Maui Now.

Four Seasons Resort Maui’s Festive Floral Art Installation by Noah Harders. Approximately 1,500 King Protea, 2,500 Queen Protea, 1,000+ Dried Palms and other dried elements will be used to create this holiday extravaganza. Maui Now.


Kaua‘i restaurants get full-capacity green-light. Kaua‘i restaurants got the green light to operate at 100% capacity beginning Dec. 1, but for some managers the return to full dining spaces isn’t top of mind. Garden Island.

Shipping delays limit free county COVID-19 testing. Due to shipping delays, the testing center at the Kaua‘i War Memorial Convention Hall and the mobile testing van at the Kalaheo Neighborhood Center will have limited testing available today. Garden Island.

Thursday, December 2, 2021

Petroleum in drinking water at Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Honolulu council passes visitor tax, sperm whale carcass washes up on Kauai, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2021 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Pearl Harbor ©2021 All Hawaii News

Petroleum detected in water from Navy water system. The state Department of Health on Wednesday detected petroleum product in water samples taken at Red Hill Elementary School, augmenting fears about widespread fuel contamination within the Navy’s water supply system that serves an estimated 93,000 people. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii Public Radio. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Oahu military water contamination is a crisis of health, environment and trust. As water contamination continues for thousands of military residents on Oahu, throngs of families, agencies and advocates are outraged with the response from the U.S. Navy. KHON2.

Navy Exchange Mall eateries shut down temporarily as precaution over water concerns. The Navy continues to distribute water at multiple sites to affected residents on Wednesday, after a fuel-like odor was detected in tap water on the Navy water system. KITV4.


 Is A Green Jobs Youth Corps The Key To Sustainability In Hawaii? The state Legislature approved $5 million in federal Covid-19 relief funding to support a new Green Job Youth Corps that will roll out next year. Civil Beat.

Here are the COVID-19 rules for social gatherings and events on every island. Effective Wednesday, under Gov. David Ige's latest emergency proclamation, restaurants, bars and gyms will be allowed to operate at full capacity statewide. However, there are still varying rules among the counties. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii records 8 new coronavirus-related deaths, 108 additional infections. The new confirmed and probable infection count by island includes 51 new cases on Oahu, three on Hawaii Island, 25 on Maui, nine on Kauai and 20 Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state. Star-Advertiser.


City Council passes new Oahu visitor tax that could generate $86 million a year.
A bill to levy a new 3% transient accommodations tax on Honolulu hotel rooms and other visitor rentals won easy approval from the Honolulu City Council Wednesday despite objections from critics of the city’s rail project, which will receive much of the money from the new tax. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu Police Commission to be subject of city audit. The Honolulu Police Commission’s policies and procedures will be the subject of a city audit, which the panel’s chairwoman welcomes as the next step in a series of reviews that have so far evaluated conduct of police officers and prosecuting attorneys. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Housing Chief Gets Second Role As Head Of Community Services. The City Council approved Antony Krucky’s appointment as director of the Department of Community Services on Wednesday. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Island

County Democrats seek clarity on reapportionment. The Hawaii County Democratic Party is asking the state Reapportionment Commission to take another look at how nonresident military and students were extracted from population data in light of new figures showing there were almost twice as many military personnel as previously thought. West Hawaii Today.

Feds fund Waianuenue bridge repairs. A small but significant bridge in Hilo will receive $1.5 million in Federal Emergency Management Agency funds to kick-start a modernization and disaster mitigation project. Tribune-Herald.

State Seeks Big Island Nominations for BLNR.
The Hawaiʻi County seat, currently occupied by Chris Yuen, will be vacant July 1, 2022. Applicants and nominees must be residents of Hawaiʻi County. Big Island Now.


Room rates up but visitor industry is still lagging. Maui County hotels led all counties in the state in average daily room rates in October at $480, up 42.1 percent versus 2019. It also led in revenue per available room at $289 in October, up 12.2 percent for the same time in 2019, according to data released by the Hawaii Tourism Authority last week. Maui News.

Health Department Issues Red Placard to Lahaina Eatery on Maui. The Hawai‘i Department of Health’s Food Safety Branch issued a red “closed” placard to 808 Grindz Café, located at 843 Waine‘e St. in Lahaina, Maui, saying violations were found during a routine inspection yesterday. Both adult and juvenile cockroach activity was observed, according to DOH reports. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now.


In effort to reduce crime, police clear out homeless encampment on Kauai. Officials said local and state entities worked to clear the Kaiakea encampment across from the Kealia Kai lookout. Hawaii News Now.

Tour operators benefit from tourism uptick, still face challenges.
Passenger air arrivals are up almost 14% from November 2019, but many tour operators have still not been able to return to full capacity after over a year of tight tourism restrictions that shuttered or downsized businesses island-wide. Garden Island.

‘Citizen Science’ can save monk seals, unravel marine debris mystery. Kaua‘i beachgoers are still needed in an international study of mysterious marine debris, three months after the nonprofit Surfrider Foundation announced its North Pacific Hagfish Trap Project. Garden Island.

Officials urge caution after adult sperm whale carcass washes up on Kauai. State and federal agencies are urging caution after an adult sperm whale carcass washed up on an outer reef of Kauai’s North Shore. Officials said the whale carcass is near Pilaa Beach. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Powerful police union drives state policy, Pacific Fleet launches probe into Red Hill fuel spills, developer withdraws Kauai glamping plan, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2021 All Hawaii News ll rights reserved
Hawaii police ©2021 All Hawaii News

The Power Of SHOPO: Here’s How The Police Union Contract Drives Public Policy. The statewide police union plays an outsized role in everything from police shootings to investigating officer misconduct. But the public is kept in the dark about important issues being negotiated in the contract. Civil Beat.

151 WWII veterans are expected to attend event at Pearl Harbor.
Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro will be the keynote speaker for the 80th anni­versary of the Pearl Harbor attack, an auspicious milestone that is planned to include a large number of aged survivors and World War II veterans — 151 total — despite the relentlessness of COVID-19. Star-Advertiser.

Neighbor Island mayors announce relaxing of COVID rules. Their actions follow Gov. David Ige’s latest emergency proclamation signed Monday granting the counties the authority to make their own pandemic emergency orders and rules without prior approval by the governor or the director of the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

State economy might grow faster than expected this year. Hawaii’s economy is expected to slow in the second half of this year but still grow at a faster pace than earlier projected. Star-Advertiser.

Lackluster hurricane season ends with no threat to Hawaii. The Central Pacific Hurricane Center said it was likely to be an underwhelming hurricane season, and 2021 turned out to be just that. Star-Advertiser. Tribune-Herald. Maui Now.

Hawaii Health Officials: All Adults Should Get Covid-19 Boosters. Scientists fear a new variant of coronavirus may be more contagious than previous versions. Civil Beat. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii sees 79 new coronavirus cases, bringing statewide total to 87,664. The new confirmed and probable infection count by island includes 36 new cases on Oahu, two on Hawaii Island, 11 on Maui, 26 on Kauai and four Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state. Star-Advertiser.


Navy cuts access to aquifer at Red Hill.
The Navy on Sunday quietly shut down its Red Hill shaft, which pulls water from the aquifer below, as military families around Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam began to call in complaints about a fuel or chemical smell coming from their tap water. Star-Advertiser.

Pacific Fleet brass launches probe into Red Hill spills. The commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet has ordered an investigation into two recent fuel spills related to the Navy’s Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility, focusing on causes and whether the two incidents are connected. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now. KHON2. KITV4.

Board of Water Supply: Our water system not impacted by possible fuel contamination. The Board of Water Supply confirms its water system is completely separate from the Navy’s and so has not been impacted by possible fuel contamination. But officials add they are closely monitoring the situation. Hawaii News Now.

A former Navy man wrongfully convicted and imprisoned for child sex assault is now suing the city, the law enforcement officers who prosecuted him, and his accuser. Roynes Dural II ― who spent nearly a decade behind bars ― filed a federal lawsuit claiming false arrest, malicious prosecution, wrongful conviction and imprisonment, and negligence. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu’s first and only female mayor, Eileen Anderson, dies at 93. Former Honolulu Mayor Eileen Anderson, the first and only woman ever elected to hold the mayor’s seat in Honolulu, was known as a trailblazer and role model. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Associated Press.

Hawaii Island

Hawaiʻi County mayor shares a snapshot of COVID-19 vaccinations, changes to social gathering rules. Roth said he intends to increase the number of people allowed at large gatherings, and lift other restrictions. But he’s keeping a close eye on case counts and news of the Omicron variant. Hawaii Public Radio. Tribune-Herald. West Hawaii Today. Big Island Now.

Hilo investor who raised $116M is looking for a company with potential. A Hilo venture capitalist who raised $116 million is looking for a company with growth potential to invest in and take public. Dustin Shindo is with Pono Capital, what some may refer to as a blank check company looking for a match. Pono Capital was just listed on the stock exchange in August and Shindo is on the prowl for a partner. Hawaii Public Radio.

Funding eyed to improve old Hilo bridge. There could be relief in the works for motorists who use a well-traveled one-lane bridge in Hilo to access Highway 11. Tribune-Herald.

First snow: Big Island summits dusted. The summits of Maunakea and Mauna Loa received a blanketing of snow overnight Monday into Tuesday. West Hawaii Today. Big Island Video News.


Maui County dropping distancing requirements at restaurants on Wednesday. On Wednesday, patrons at restaurants and bars in Maui County may dine indoors with proof of full vaccination, verification of a negative COVID-19 test within 48 hours or a signed letter from a medical provider confirming full recovery from a COVID-19 infection. Star-Advertiser. Maui Now. KITV4.

“Butts off the Beach” Study Finds Cigarette Debris Remains Problematic Despite Laws. Researchers from Pacific Whale Foundation have released a study showing that beach goers on Maui are still littering their used cigarette filters despite the prohibitive law passed by the state of Hawai‘i and Maui County in July 2015 and April 2014. Maui Now.


Kaua‘i County to increase gathering sizes, rules. Effective Wednesday, social gatherings and events on Kaua‘i will be limited to 40 indoors and 100 outdoors. Events with over these capacity limits must have an event coordinator verifying full vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result within 24 hours of the event from all attendees. Garden Island.

Starwood Hits Brakes On Controversial Kauai Glamping Resort. The hotel developer said it plans to withdraw its county permit application to transform three holes of golf into a luxury glamping resort. Civil Beat. Garden Island.