Monday, March 20, 2023

Scientists alert to coral disease, bill would legalize raw milk sales, Maui health workers reject contract proposal, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Cargo ships put Hawaiʻi's fragile marine ecosystem at risk of a deadly coral pathogen. Since its first identification in Florida in 2014, stony coral tissue loss disease has earned a reputation as perhaps the most devastating coral disease in history.  Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii abortion protection bill heads to governor. A measure protecting health care workers who perform abortions across the islands, including procedures on women traveling here from out of state, passed out of both chambers at the state Legislature Friday and now heads to Gov. Josh Green’s desk for his signature. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii may boost Medicaid payments to help patients access care. State lawmakers are considering boosting Medicaid reimbursement rates for health care providers in an effort to improve access to care for low-income residents who often struggle to find doctors willing to take their insurance. Star-Advertiser.

Why This Hawaii Lawmaker’s Job With A Major Construction Company Raises Concern. State Rep. Micah Aiu  works as an in-house lawyer for Nan Inc., a major construction company that competes aggressively for state jobs. Since last summer alone, Nan was awarded eight state contracts worth $325 million, according to state procurement records. Civil Beat.

Pilot program to return houseless people to the continent advances at the Legislature. A measure that would establish a three-year pilot program at the state Department of Human Services to help houseless individuals fly back to their families on the continental U.S. has progressed in the Legislature. Hawaii Public Radio.

HB521 seeks to legalize the sale of raw milk. HB521 HD1 was introduced by Representative Mark Nakashima(Hamakua, Hilo, Ka‘ūmana) who chairs the House Commerce and Consumer Protection Committee. Rep. Nakashima says the measure aims to create greater food security for small communities. Maui Now.

State lawmakers seek to bolster school lunch program. State Senate Bill 154 would require the Department of Education to develop and implement a School Meal Subsidy Program to provide lunches for students who do not qualify for the National School Lunch Program. Tribune-Herald.

Gambling bills go bust in Legislature.
The latest efforts to legalize gambling in Hawaii have once again folded, with a deck of bills failing to hit the jackpot in the state Legislature. Tribune-Herald.

Bill Removes Power To Suspend Electronic Media During Emergency.  A House Bill that would remove the ability of the Hawaiʻi governor, or a county mayor, to suspend “electronic media transmission during a state of emergency”, advanced in the State Senate on Friday. Big Island Video News.

Gov. Green considers nominations for intermediate court of appeals. Five nominees for Associate Judge for the Intermediate Court of Appeals have been announced for consideration by the State Judicial Selection Committee to Governor Josh Green. Maui Now.

Hirono condemns proposed 50% cut in cost of living allowance for military families in Hawaiʻi. US Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, questioned a panel of Department of Defense officials about a proposed 50% cut to the cost of living allowance for military families in Hawaiʻi during a SASC Personnel Subcommittee Hearing.  Maui Now.

School Councils Are Supposed To Be The Local School Boards In Hawaii. But They’re Hit Or Miss. A key part of local school oversight and parent engagement is left largely up to individual schools, with wildly varied results. Civil Beat.

Kamehameha Schools quietly selecting new board trustee. Three finalists are being considered to join a board that oversees one of the world’s largest charitable trusts, with a net worth of $15.1 billion and holdings that include hundreds of thousands of acres and schools on three islands giving preference to Native Hawaiian children. Star-Advertiser.

Former Governor Ige Gets Another Lava Tube Award. The Big Island Press Club has awarded the annual Lava Tube dishonor, the meritorious Torch of Light, and - for the first time - a special Oʻo Award for journalism. Big Island Video News.

Hawaiian relics, including Queen Liliuokalani’s personal flag, to be returned. State Archivist Adam Jansen will be headed to New York later this month to bring Hawaii items from Bonham’s auction house home. One of the items is Queen Liliuokalani’s Royal Standard, her personal flag that flew over her Washington Place home on the day the Hawaiian Kingdom was overthrown. Hawaii News Now.


Plans for $300M emergency base move ahead. A state agency spearheading the First Responder Technology Campus finalized an environmental impact statement for the project earlier this month, and many Hawaii lawmakers appear poised to appropriate $100 million to begin building an initial phase. Star-Advertiser.

Hawai‘i Convention Center needs more than $15M quick fix for leaks. Gov. Josh Green has released $15 million in general obligation bonds so the Hawai‘i Convention Center can shore up a leaky rooftop terrace deck — but it’s just a temporary fix and costs for permanent repairs are projected to escalate over the next three years by at least 35% to $88 million. Star-Advertiser.

HPD urged to use recruit incentives and create Waianae patrol district. County lawmakers are urging the city to create the long-planned Waianae patrol district by finishing a half-built police substation and paying recruiting bonuses to officers who help fill uniformed vacancies that numbered 374 as of March 5. Star-Advertiser.

Navy works to repair wastewater plant amid more issues. State and military officials say they are working together to make repairs and improvements to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-­Hickam’s leaky wastewater treatment plant. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

In limbo: Kona Community Hospital Pharmacy needs funds to stay operational. The pharmacy at Kona Community Hospital needs an additional $2.3 million from the state Legislature to comply with federal regulations or risk closure, potentially affecting over 500 chemotherapy patients.  West Hawaii Today.

Military dignitaries from around the world make stop at Pōhakuloa Training Area on Hawai‘i Island. Nearly 30 foreign military attachés and their spouses visited U.S. Army Garrison Pōhakuloa Training Area and Kawaihae Harbor as part of a Headquarters Department of the Army sponsored tour of O‘ahu and the island of Hawai‘i. Kauai Now.


Maui Health employees vote 'No' in latest contract offer, strike to continue. Nearly 500 Maui Health System employees rejected the latest three-year contract offer. Represented by the United Public Workers AFSCME, Local 646, AFL-CIO, the employees had three days to ratify the fourth contract agreement with Maui Health. KITV4.

State takes control of grounded boat near Maui cultural site. The state is taking control of a 56-foot motorboat, Kuuipo, that has been grounded on the north side of the Lahaina Boat Harbor channel since earlier this month to prevent it from damaging the culturally significant Hauola Stone. Star-Advertiser. Maui Now. KHON2.


1 Hotel Hanalei Bay opens after $300M overhaul. 1 Hotel Hanalei Bay, which opened in February on Kauai, aims to set new standards of sustainability for the luxury hotel market — an expensive quest that contributed to an investment approaching $2.1 million per room, among the expenditure highs for purchasing and transforming a resort in Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.

Friday, March 17, 2023

Hawaii Tourism Authority could be dissolved, 4 Honolulu police charged in chase crash, Green's cabinet appointees face tough time in Legislature, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

The Hawaii Tourism Authority Is A Step Closer To Being Dissolved. Hawaii lawmakers moved toward dramatically reshaping how the island state markets itself as a tourist destination on Thursday, when a joint House committee voted to approve a Senate bill dissolving the Hawaii Tourism Authority.  Civil Beat.

Senators Reject Governor’s Pick For Economy Chief But Give Thumbs-Up To New DHHL Director. Hawaii lawmakers divided over governor’s latest nominees. Two more of Gov. Josh Green nominees to lead state departments had rough job interviews Thursday by Senate committees, with one receiving a rejection recommendation. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.  Hawaii News Now.  KHON2.  KITV4.

Chief Energy Officer Mark Glick is the latest cabinet confirmation. Ten of Gov. Josh Green's administrative appointees have received Senate committee recommendations so far — a crucial milestone before the nominees appear before the full Senate to be confirmed. Hawaii Public Radio.

House highlights bills to assist families, keiki and environment.
The state House passed its version of the state budget and other bills that leaders say will assist struggling families through tax relief, help them finance rooftop solar systems, improve the environment and lead to “a sustainable future for our state.” Star-Advertiser. Hawaii Public Radio.

Following Labor Department pushback, paid family leave proposal dies. Efforts to establish a family leave system in Hawaii similar to unemployment insurance have died again at the state Capitol. Hawaii News Now.

Computer science mandate for Hawaii public schools debated. A bill to require the state Board of Education to determine whether computer science should become a requirement for public school graduation is moving through the state Legislature. Star-Advertiser.

Cops Have Jurisdiction On Homelands, But DHHL Says Policing Is Patchy. The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands wanted the Legislature to pass Senate Bill 490, which would have given the Hawaiian Homes Commission its own police powers, allowing the chair to hire law enforcement officers dedicated to Hawaiian homelands. The bill died after passing two committees. Civil Beat.


4 Honolulu police officers charged in crash that paralyzed teen. Four Honolulu police officers face felony charges in connection with a September 2021 police pursuit that ended in a crash that the officers allegedly fled and conspired to cover up. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Associated Press. Hawaii News Now.  KHON2.

Honolulu considers allowing some commercial activities at parks, beaches with uniform rules. Honolulu's Bill 19 proposes creating a uniform set of rules for commercial activities at Oʻahu parks — allowing businesses to resume with some restrictions. Hawaii Public Radio.

Navy discloses another Red Hill spill. Approximately 1,500 gallons of concentrated firefighting suppressant containing toxic chemicals spilled at the Navy’s Red Hill underground fuel facility on Dec. 7, 2019, the Navy disclosed to regulators this week, bringing the number of known spills at the facility to three and elevating concerns that dangerous chemicals, called PFAS, still may be lurking in the environment as a result. Star-Advertiser.

Speeding in Honolulu could cost you hundreds. On Oahu speed is a huge factor with traffic fatalities. The Honolulu Police Department credits half of their traffic fatalities involving a motorist driving over the posted speed limit. KHON2.

Hawaii Island

HVO lowers Mauna Loa alert level. The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory has downgraded its alert level for Mauna Loa after more than three months of calm. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News.

Mauna Loa Observatory “Back in Action." The Mauna Loa Observatory is back measuring the carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere, three months after the end of the lava eruption that forced scientists to abandon the facility. Big Island Video News.

Proposed new HVO site could benefit students. Plans for a new 60,000-square-foot facility on state land at the intersection of Komohana and Nowelo streets in Hilo are taking shape, and could provide for more partnerships between the observatory and university faculty and staff. Tribune-Herald.

Mobile health clinic unveiled. A new mobile health care clinic has arrived on the Big Island courtesy of Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies, a Hawaii-based nonprofit dedicated to improving maternal, child and family health care. Tribune-Herald.


Michelle L. Drewyer appointed to fill judicial vacancy created by now-Maui Mayor Bissen. With her selection, the Second Circuit Court of Maui County will fully achieve gender parity, with two female and two male judges. Maui Now.

Maui police ramp up foot patrols in Paia amid merchants’ complaints. Police are ramping up enforcement efforts on Maui’s North Shore after repeated complaints from merchants about illegal activity in the area. Hawaii News Now.

Input sought for management of Kīpahulu Forest Reserve. Management efforts on the southeast slopes of Haleakalā aim to gradually restore the native forest ecosystem of Maui’s Kīpahulu Forest Reserve.  Maui Now.

Lahainaluna’s stadium to undergo renovations. Project will impact the track and field season; graduation ceremony is moved. Maui News.

Hawaiʻi Department of Health issues red placard to restaurant in Pā‘ia. The Hawai‘i Department of Health issued a red “Closed” placard to Café Mambo to protect public health. The restaurant, owned and operated by Betham Pacific LLC, is located at 30 Baldwin Avenue in Pā‘ia.  Maui Now. Hawaii News Now.


Kaua‘i county council to stop accepting Zoom testimony. Starting next week, the Kaua‘i County Council will no longer be accepting testimony via Zoom. Officials say the change was prompted by state statutes, which might require meetings that use interactive conference technology to be repeated if the connection gets interrupted. Garden Island. Kauai Now.

Hazelton appointed as Kaua‘i governor’s representative. In her new role with the Gov. Josh Green administration, Dana Hazelton will be the governor’s “eyes and ears” for the Kaua‘i community. Garden Island.

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Green touts progress in first 100 days, Honolulu council sets gun-free zones, UPW union members to vote on agreement with Maui Health, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

First 100 days will lead to bigger solutions, Green says. Gov. Josh Green believes the progress his administration has made in his first 100 days of office will lead to solutions to a wide range of problematic issues including help for struggling families, homelessness and climate change by the end of his first term. Star-Advertiser. Big Island Now.  Maui Now.  Kauai Now.  Hawaii News Now.

Lawmakers seek to increase the penalty for high-profile bribery cases.
House Bill 126 would change political bribery from a class B felony to a class A felony. That would double the maximum prison sentence to 20 years. Hawaii Public Radio.

Past-due rent of DHHL nominee is a character issue, Fevella says.  State Sen. Kurt Fevella, a member of the Senate committee scheduled to consider today the confirmation of Gov. Josh Green’s latest choice to run the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, blasted nominee Kali Watson but stopped short of saying how he will vote. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.  KITV4.

House budget bill crosses over, priorities include housing and renewable energy. The House approved its version of the state's $18 billion  budget Wednesday, prioritizing health, safety and education. Tribune-Herald. Maui Now.

Process to indict violent offenders needs Gov.’s signature. Six months after a Hawaii Supreme Court decision invalidated the use of preliminary hearings to indict serious offenders, the legislature pushed a bill through that would reinstate the process. KHON2.

New policy could reduce high cost of evictions. House Bill 1439 would reinstate policies under a COVID-era pilot program called Act 57, which required landlords to go through a third-party mediation session before filing to evict a tenant. It would also provide up to $5,000 in emergency rent relief funding through the Hawai‘i Public Housing Authority. Garden Island.

Judge wants plan to protect humpback whales from fishery. A U.S. judge this week ruled that the National Marine Fisheries Service violated the law when it failed to develop a plan to prevent West Coast commercial sablefish fishermen from harming humpback whales. Associated Press.

Looking back and ahead: Hawaii learns to live with COVID. Three years on since the COVID-19 pandemic hit Hawaii shores, many have resumed living without restrictions, but the state is still reeling from its impacts — and residents are still dying from the disease. Star-Advertiser.

449 new COVID-19 cases and 8 more deaths. The Hawaii Department of Health today reported 449 new COVID-19 infections over the past week, bringing the total number of cases since the start of the pandemic to 381,057. Star-Advertiser. KITV4.


Honolulu City Council OKs bill designating gun-free places.  Firearms should be banned on Oahu in 13 “sensitive places,” including schools, hospitals and parks, the Honolulu City Council decided Wednesday. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.

Enforcement of beach closure hours starts Friday in Waikiki. Enforcement starts Friday for the newest Waikiki Beach early morning closure period, which went into effect earlier this month at the Royal Hawaiian Beach to address a range of problems associated with overnight campers. Star-Advertiser.

City plan to restrict commercial activities at parks hits opposition. The city wants to restrict commercial activities to all city parks. But Bill 19 also repeals the ban on tour buses at Windward Oahu beaches ― and that’s got some residents concerned. Hawaii News Now.

Joint Task Force to begin an environmental assessment for defueling Red Hill.  The DOD's Joint Task Force Red Hill will begin the environmental assessment process for defueling the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility this month. Hawaii Public Radio.

New warning sirens will be tested across Oahu.
The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency will test new or upgraded warning sirens this week at six locations on Oahu. Hawaii News Now. KITV4. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

High court decides two cases involving Maunakea. On the same day, the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled largely against two Hilo residents but in support of a group of Native Hawaiian residents in two unrelated but similar cases surrounding the jurisdiction of the mauna. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii lawmaker stresses importance of prevention, detection after battling kidney disease. During this National Kidney Month, state leaders and health advocates are raising awareness about what many call a silent epidemic. State Rep. Mark Nakashima knows that firsthand. Hawaii News Now.


Latest agreement between UPW and Maui Health goes to vote. The Maui Health and United Public Workers bargaining teams reached an agreement following lengthy talks on Tuesday, March 14. Maui Now.

State declines to fund half of $10M beach restoration
. BLNR chair: Mission is to protect public trust, not private property. Maui News.


From Kaua‘i to Ukraine: Reflecting on a month at war. Dr. Allon Amitai arrived in Kyiv, Ukraine, in early February — hoping to deliver a lecture and reclaim a stolen ambulance. Garden Island.

Humane society needs community to be able to accept animals
. The Kaua‘i Humane Society contracts with the County of Kaua‘i to perform numerous services for the community that includes, but are not limited to, caring for homeless, sick or injured animals. Garden Island.

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

First Honolulu rail segment slated to open in July, mayors on Oahu, Big Island and Kauai mayors hold state of the county addresses, EPA proposes water standards for PFAS, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Residents will soon have the chance to ride the rail this year, according to Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi. The  rail project is on track for an interim opening this July. The opening will allow service from East Kapolei to the Aloha Stadium. KHON2. Hawaii News Now.

Tourism industry hopes to cash in this spring break, but visitor forecast remains unclear.  The Hawaii Tourism Authority said visitor numbers for March are trending back to normal. Last year, the islands saw nearly 800,000 visitors during spring break. That was up 40% from 2021. Before the pandemic, Hawaii saw nearly 1 million visitors in the same month. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii’s New Deputy Economy Chief Has A Powerful Business Partner In The Senate. The business partner of a powerful senator is on his way to being confirmed as deputy director for Hawaii’s economic development agency. Dane Wicker, a former chief of staff to Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz and co-owner of Kilani Brew with the senator, cruised through a Senate committee hearing on his nomination Tuesday.  Civil Beat.

‘Forever Chemicals’ Have Been Found In Hawaii’s Environment.  In move that could have a big impact in Hawaii, EPA proposes water standards for PFAS.  Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.

Auditor calls out OHA for lax and risky real-estate planning.  The Office of Hawaiian Affairs has been building its real estate portfolio over the past couple of decades to the point where it is now the 13th-largest landowner in Hawaii with holdings valued at more than $421 million.  Star-Advertiser.

UH sex misconduct bill tackles growing problem. A proposal to require the University of Hawaii to ramp up prevention of sexual violence, and support for survivors, is moving through the state Legislature as incidents on college campuses in Hawaii persist at a level the measure calls “pervasive.” Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii bill would name limu kala as state seaweed. Limu kala, a type of seaweed that is endemic to Hawaii, would become the state limu if House Bill 819 is passed. Star-Advertiser.

Bill aims to underscore threat of coffee leaf rust. Hawaii farmers battling a devastating parasite might not get much relief from proposed legislation that would formally declare coffee leaf rust an invasive fungal disease. Tribune-Herald.


Mayor Blangiardi vows to address city’s ‘wicked problems’.  During his third State of the City address, Mayor Rick Blangiardi vowed Tuesday to address some of Oahu’s most intractable “wicked problems” by easing homelessness, reducing traffic through better-coordinated signal lights, and overhauling the city’s troubled Department of Planning and Permitting. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.  Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Massive first responder campus could include hotel, helipad and much more.
The plan to consolidate state, federal and county first responders is already underway. The land is located in Central Oahu, Mililani, and is currently an Albezia forest with two plots one 150 acres and the other 93 acres respectively — not far from Wheeler Army Airfield.  KHON2.

New warning sirens will be tested across Oahu. The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency will test new or upgraded warning sirens this week at six locations on Oahu. The tests will sound various alert tones which will be audible in the surrounding area, but there is no hazard, and members of the public need not take any action. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Mayor Mitch Roth stresses clean energy and housing in State of the County address. 
Aging infrastructure, affordable housing and clean energy are just some of the top priorities this year for Hawaiʻi County Mayor Mitch Roth. Hawaii Public Radio. Big Island Now.

Heavy snow won’t delay removal of observatories.
Two Maunakea observatories are still scheduled to be removed within a year, despite snowier-than-normal conditions. Tribune-Herald.

Holualoa reacts to initial cleanup of mold-infested school. Cleaning has begun at Holualoa Elementary following several press conferences related to problems with molds, rats and other unsanitary conditions on campus. Tribune-Herald.

Record rainfall swamps spots on Big Island in February, including 56 inches at one site.  Just three Big Island rain gauges measured less than 100% of their average rainfall for February, with several spots in Kaʻū and on the windward side of the island recording rain totals up to nearly six times greater than average.  Big Island Now.


Investors Sue Maui Yacht Owner For More Than $2M After Honolua Bay Grounding. In a lawsuit filed Monday, attorneys for Kevin and Kimberly Albert of New Mexico, who provided the financing for the Nakoa, accused Jim Jones and his wife of taking the yacht on a personal trip to Honolua Bay without permission, which they said violated their sales agreement.  Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.

Nonprofits working to find medical respite for homeless cancer patients on Maui. One of the challenges is at the intersection of cancer and homelessness: finding a safe environment for patients to undergo treatment. Hawaii Public Radio.


Kawakami proposes budget to address Kauaʻi infrastructure, development. With soaring revenues,  Mayor Derek Kawakami continues his promise to invest in infrastructure and development, while opting to pay off debts and decrease some residential taxes in the upcoming fiscal year budget. Hawaii Public Radio. Garden Island.  Kauai Now.  KITV4.

Probation sought for ex-U.S. worker in $35,000 theft case. Probation should be the sentence for a former U.S. Department of Interior Fish and Wildlife employee who pleaded guilty to theft of government money and property in connection with $35,000 in personal purchases charged to a government credit card over a four-year period, his attorney argued. Star-Advertiser.

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Ranchers want more land, Hirono pushes for Hawaii missile defense, Hawaiian Airlines accounts for 11% of state GDP, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Local ranchers say they need more land available for agricultural use to stay in business.  Hawaiʻi’s ranchers say they need help to stay in business. A group was set to meet with state lawmakers Monday, seeking their support for a number of measures before the Legislature. Hawaii Public Radio. KITV4.

U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono concerned about lack of missile defense for Hawaii.
U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono wants answers from military leaders about missile defense in the islands amid rising tensions in the Pacific, asking senior military brass about the Pentagon’s strategy for defending Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.

Audit: OHA is falling short on its development, investment promises
. The Office of Hawaiian Affairs isn’t sticking to its development and investment promises, according to a new critical state audit that suggests is missing out on revenue. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaiian Air a major player in state economy, report shows. Hawaiian Airlines in 2022 wasn’t even back to pre-COVID-19 performance levels and still was associated directly and indirectly with more than $10 billion worth of economic activity in Hawaii — 11% of the state’s gross domestic product, according to an independent report by ICF, a global consulting services company commissioned by the airline to assess its economic impact in Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii bank stocks tumble, but execs say money is safe. The fallout from the shutdowns of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank spilled over to regional banks Monday and sent the shares tumbling for publicly traded Hawaii financial institutions. Star-Advertiser.

Erosion rulings send clear message: Landowners must come to terms with rising seas. With recent decisions, the state Land Board has sent a clear message to shoreline landowners: They’ll have to start dealing with rising seas and shouldn’t expect government bailouts. That’s an about-face for the state. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Senate Committee Green Lights New Ag Director Sharon Hurd. Sharon Hurd received kudos for being “most improved” from the Senate Agriculture and Environment Committee on Monday as the committee approved her appointment to run Hawaii’s Department of Agriculture despite a bumpy initial appearance. Civil Beat.

Patients are settling in at Hawaiʻi State Hospital, but construction fixes are ongoing. Demand remains high for mental health services at the Hawaiʻi State Hospital. The new facility on the windward side of Oʻahu just opened last spring, and officials say it is operating at full capacity — all of its 277 beds are taken. Hawaii Public Radio.


In The Line Of Duty? Kealoha Ruling Raises Questions About Public’s Obligation To Cops
. The Hawaii Supreme Court decided March 7 that the Honolulu Police Commission erred in 2019 when it decided to provide former Honolulu police chief Louis Kealoha with taxpayer-funded legal representation after his federal indictment. Civil Beat.

HPD Chief talks about his plan to deal with violent crime
. Honolulu Police Department Chief Joe Logan’s, five year plan touches on everything from crime to improving communications. KHON2.

Ex-Mililani athletic director pleads not guilty in theft case. The former Mililani High School athletic director accused of stealing over $400,000 from the school’s nonprofit sports booster club pleaded not guilty Monday to theft charges. Star-Advertiser.

Protesters who ‘reclaimed’ DHHL land step up pressure campaign — and make plans to stay. Frustrated by the state Department of Hawaiian Home Land’s growing waitlist, Native Hawaiian activists are increasing the pressure on the department. Over the weekend, one protester ― De Mont Manaole ― used an excavator to clear a long-vacant, four-acre DHHL parcel that was overrun by weeds and nonnative trees. Hawaii News Now.

Proposed Ward Village development includes nearly 500 units, retail space.  Ward Village has submitted a planned development permit application for its latest residential project — called Launiu Ward Village. The 11th proposed development in Ward Village will be located at the corner of Ala Moana Boulevard and Ward Avenue. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu Zoo ticket prices could increase for the first time since 2011. The Honolulu Zoo may raise its kamaʻāina and military admission rates for the first time in over a decade. Honolulu City Council’s Bill 7 proposes increasing tickets by $2. Hawaii Public Radio.

Traffic victims’ survivors push for new laws to make streets safe.  In the wake of February’s death of a 16-year-old McKinley High School student killed in a crosswalk, lawmakers, advocates for safer streets and families of victims of traffic fatalities gathered Monday at the state Capitol to advocate for new laws. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Roth gives progress report in State of the County address. Halfway through his first term, Mayor Mitch Roth reflected on his administration’s challenges, successes and hopes for the future at his State of the County address Monday. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News. KHON2.

State begins Maunakea transfer from UH with newly nominated stewardship team. Gov. Josh Green has nominated the eight members of the new Maunakea Stewardship and Oversight Authority. On July 1, a transition period begins, transferring control over Maunakea to the authority, and away from the University of Hawaiʻi. Hawaii Public Radio.

Court again rejects Big Island biomass plant. The state Supreme Court on Monday once again dashed Honua Ola Bioenergy LLC’s hopes of bringing its $520 million Hawaii island biomass plant into operation burning trees for renewable energy. Star-Advertiser. Tribune-Herald.  Big Island Video News.

Gov. Green requests state funding for Kohala Ditch, Kona hospital, Pohoiki Boat Ramp.
Hawai’i Gov. Josh Green has included in his budget request to the State Legislature funding for three long-desired Big Island infrastructure projects. He transmitted these requests in a March 10 letter to the State Legislature. Big Island Now.

TSA ‘equipment failure’ causes long lines for passengers at Hilo airport. Travelers waited in hourslong lines at Hilo International Airport over the weekend and Monday due to an “equipment failure,” according to the state Department of Transportation. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Now.  KHON2.


Maui Settles Civil Suit Tied To Officer Convicted Of Sex Crimes.  Maui County tax dollars will be used to pay three women victimized by former Maui Police Officer Brandon Saffeels, who is now serving a 10-year prison term for child enticement and fraud. Civil Beat.

Mayor Bissen to deliver State of the County address, March 21. Mayor Richard Bissen will deliver his first State of the County address at 5 p.m. Tuesday, March 21 on the front lawn of Kalana O Maui, the County Building in Wailuku. Maui Now.

County of Maui solicits applications for Economic Diversification grants. The County of Maui Office of Economic Development is soliciting applications for proposals for grants to create and implement plans for business development and economic diversification. Maui Now.

Salvaging Shipwrecks Is A Tough Business. Just Ask The Company That Towed The Maui Yacht. The crashed vessel in Honolua and a wave of groundings during last week's storms put a focus on just how hard it is to haul away grounded boats. Civil Beat.


Kaua‘i County ‘scrambling’ to collect $230K in homelessness funds. The County of Kaua‘i is rushing to receive at least $230,000 in federal funds for homelessness prevention after a sudden shift by the state upended the county’s access to a grant program. Garden Island.

The Kaua‘i Bus getting a rebrand. In an effort to modernize the look of the fleet, two ribbons of light blue and teal will replace the ‘90s-era, sugarcane industry-inspired, green hatching that currently lines the side of the vehicles. Garden Island.

Monday, March 13, 2023

Hawaii Convention Center is leaking, Pearl Harbor to get $2.8B dry dock, Legislature passes session midpoint, bankruptcy shuts down Hawaiian Isles coffee, water company, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

The Hawaii Convention Center says a major rooftop leak problem threatens to cause structural damage to the $350 million complex. So far, the leaks haven’t led to cancellations. But the center’s manager said it has forced the venue to move events to other rooms. Hawaii News Now.

Debt shuts down Hawaiian Isles water, coffee companies. Two familiar brands in the islands — Hawaiian Isles Water Co. and Hawaiian Isles Coffee Co. — have shut down under a pile of debt and in the wake of ongoing bankruptcy proceedings, according to the companies’ attorney. Star-Advertiser.

Navy awards $2.8 billion contract for Pearl Harbor dock replacement. Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command Pacific awarded a $2.8 billion task order Friday under a previously awarded contract to Honolulu-based joint venture Dragados/ Hawaiian Dredging/Orion JV to replace Dry Dock 3 at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard. Star-Advertiser.

Public Utilities Commission tackles energy equity with new docket. A new docket seeks to define energy equity and integrate energy justice practices into the commission's proceedings.  Hawaii Public Radio.

Almost 1,000 bills advance at Hawaii Legislature.  Tax relief for residents and an environmental impact fee for visitors are among nearly 1,000 proposals in bills that have advanced through the midpoint of this year’s legislative session. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii lawmakers consider bills to increase funding for at-home caregivers. Hawaii lawmakers are considering bills that would provide support and pay those who care for sick or aging family members. Experts said at-home caregivers save the state millions if not billions of dollars by taking care of their loved ones. KITV4.

Commentary: Plenty Of Legislators Support Term Limits. So Why Won't They Let The Public Vote On Them? Civil Beat surveyed many of Hawaii's 76 lawmakers or researched their positions on term limits. Here's what we found. Civil Beat.

Nowhere To Go: Lack Of Housing And Staff Is Undercutting Efforts To Deal With Homelessness In Hawaii. Homeless people face a number of barriers to getting the help, including a dearth of available housing and a safety net system that isn't always designed to meet their needs. Civil Beat.

Here’s What Hawaii Can Learn From Other States About Universal Preschool. The Ready Keiki initiative is a mixed-delivery system that aims to create more than 465 classrooms, increase subsidies for lower-income families and collaborate with universities to update their teaching curriculum by having a dedicated preschool school degree. Civil Beat.

Hawaii jobless rates higher than reported.  Upward revisions undertaken by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics boosted the rates for the last four months of 2022, including increasing December’s seasonally adjusted jobless rate by a half-percentage point, to 3.7% from 3.2%. Star-Advertiser.


Honolulu City Council begins overhaul of land use ordinance.
Overhauling and updating the city’s more than 30-year-old land use ordinance — a guiding planning document used for orderly development on Oahu — has begun. Star-Advertiser.

Defense contract to study nonfuel uses for Red Hill. Two local companies, CommPac and SMS Hawaii, will be assisting defense contractor Nakupuna Cos. in conducting public outreach and soliciting community ideas about alternative uses for the Navy’s Red Hill facility once its closed for fueling operations. Star-Advertiser.

Big Pay Hikes On The Horizon For City Leaders. The increases arise amid a wider conversation about how to hire and retain workers. Civil Beat.

Honolulu police officers are one step closer to getting a schedule change. The police union has agreed to a a three-day-a-week, 12-hour patrol shift to address staffing shortages in patrol divisions. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu plans expansion of homeless housing and outreach. The city expects to announce two new tiny-home kauhale locations this year with a third to follow as Mayor Rick Blangiardi’s administration continues to look at ways to reduce homelessness while keeping struggling families from becoming homeless. Star-Advertiser.

Historic land sells for $36.5M on Oʻahu's North Shore. The historic Dillingham Ranch on Oʻahu’s North Shore was just acquired by an undisclosed buyer for $36.5 million. The sale closed March 1.  Hawaii Public Radio.

Watchdog Cites ‘Inhumane Conditions’ And Security Lapse At Oahu Jail. The correctional oversight commission observed gates left open and continued problems with the electronic medical records system at the Oahu jail. Civil Beat.

Miske Case: Judge To Decide If Defense Attorney’s Removal Should Stand. Thomas Otake has been at least temporarily terminated over alleged conflicts of interest. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Island

Big Island Police Shoot And Kill Man In Kailua-Kona. Officers shot and killed a man Friday in the course of investigating a shooting from earlier in the week, according to a press release from Hawaii police. There is no body camera footage of the incident because the plainclothes vice detectives involved do not wear cameras, the department said. Civil Beat. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News.  Hawaii News Now.

Mediation urged to curb evictions: State legislation aims to help prevent homelessness. A bill seeking to establish prelitigation mediation in eviction cases has passed the state House and has received committee referrals in the Senate. Tribune-Herald.

Lofty solid waste goal set: County Council resolution supports trash-conversion facility.  Hawaii County has set a goal to process and recycle all solid waste on the Big Island in only three years. Tribune-Herald.


Housing project gets quick boost from County Council. Change in land use is final hurdle for 202-unit Kuikahi Village. Maui News.

Bissen directors cross final hurdle. The Maui County Council on Friday approved all 12 of Mayor Richard Bissen Jr.’s department head appointments. Maui News.

Two council members to step back from rental housing discussion. Both Tasha Kama and Gabe Johnson had been board members of MEO, landowner of the project site. Maui News.

Amendment needed for overnight camping on ag land, high court rules. The state Land Use Commission prevailed Friday in a Hawaii Supreme Court case regarding a special permit for overnight camping on prime agricultural land. Star-Advertiser.

Maui physicians back bill to lessen their tax burden. Bill would exempt medical providers from GET for treating some patients. Maui News.

Maui’s Kulanihakoi High School is empty and stuck in bureaucratic limbo.  Government  and community leaders continue to argue about how to get past more than a decade of bureaucratic missteps that have left Kihei with a long-delayed high school that has cost taxpayers $180 million so far but can’t be used, including a $16 million traffic roundabout that failed to meet the state Land Use Commission’s pedestrian-safety requirements to open the school. Star-Advertiser.


Passenger count eases at Lihu‘e Airport in February. For the first time in months, the number of people getting off domestic flights at Lihu‘e Airport was lower than the same comparable period a year earlier. Garden Island.

Kaua‘i COVID-19 update: “Kraken” subvariant in the wastewater. The state Department of Health reported a relatively low number of COVID-19 cases last week, with only 34 new cases reported on Kaua‘i between Feb. 28 and March 6. Garden Island.

Saturday, March 11, 2023

Sunlight is the best disinfectant: Same-same but different may be close enough


Same-same but different, a piquant phrase brought to Hawaii by our Southeast Asia neighbors, sums it up perfectly as transparency bills recommended by a blue-ribbon commission slowly wind their way through the state Legislature.

Same-same but different. Or, in American terms, close enough.

Thus we have 31 measures introduced to the Legislature by the commission, along with scores of other bills proposed by government agencies or sponsored by legislators purporting to accomplish the same thing.

So far, so good.

As the 2023 Legislature hit its midpoint, when bills sponsored by and passed one house move on to the other house, all but one of the bills promoted by the Commission to Improve Standards of Conduct survived the first round in some form or another.

(Guess which one died?

Bingo! HB 796, a proposed constitutional amendment limiting legislators' terms to 16 years. The House version was deferred without discussion at its first committee and the Senate version, SB 1424, never got assigned to a committee at all.)

Notably, 11 of the successful measures moving from the House to the Senate were the actual bills proposed by the so-called "Foley commission," after they received inevitable amendments in one committee or another.

Another 16 non-commission Sunshine bills of various stripes also moved to the Senate by the deadline. The Senate, in turn, sent 30 such bills over to the House.

Standards Commission Chairman Daniel Foley is OK with that.

"When I was appointed last year to head the Commission to Improve Standards of Conduct, there was (and still is) skepticism on the part of many that the Hawaii Legislature was serious about making state and county government more transparent and accountable," Foley, a former associate justice on the Hawaii Intermediate Court of Appeals, said in a recent column in Civil Beat.

"Take my word for it, " Foley added, "the Legislature is serious."

I'd love to share Judge Foley's optimism, but we do need to remind the Legislature the public's skepticism is well-grounded in very recent history.

A few of the convictions and pending charges, lest we forget:

• A Senate majority leader and a House Finance committee vice chairman accepted thousands of dollars in bribes in exchange for shaping legislation.

• A $10.9 million affordable housing credit scheme by a county housing employee and three individuals from the private sector.

• Drug trafficking conspiracy, distribution of methamphetamine and assault by a county councilman.

• Conspiracy by a police chief, prosecutor and deputy county prosecutor and  several employees of an engineering firm, along with conspiracy to hide public funds by a city corporation counsel, managing director and police commission chairperson.

• Bribery of a county environmental management director by a businessman.

• Bribery of five county planning department employees by an architect.

• Embezzlement and fraud by a former union leader and two of his family members.

• Potential instances of fraud by former top officials at the Office of Hawaiian Affairs totaling more than $7.3 million.

That is one big mess of corruption that will take a whole lot of disinfectant. Sunshine is the first step. And the Foley bills -- or their clones -- are the way to go about it.

The public has a role here as well. If you want clean government, get out there and remind our elected officials as the bills continue through the second half of the session.

Learn more about the history of the Foley Commission here. 

 Find the pertinent bills at Civil Beat's awesome bill tracker.

Then, track your favorite measures and submit testimony by entering the bill number on the Legislature's website. Even a few lines or simply supporting or opposing bills will let the decision-makers know you're paying attention.

It's important to recognize that, while some of the best bills came from  the Foley Commission, it ultimately doesn't matter which of whose bills get the nod.

Same-same but different, you know.

Or as Harry S Truman put it, "It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit."

Nancy Cook Lauer, who’s covered state and local governments for 30 years in Hawaii and Florida, is the publisher of All Hawaii News (

Friday, March 10, 2023

Hawaii may duck recession, Health Department reports death registry data breach, wage hikes recommended for Honolulu officials, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii to avoid recession, UHERO report says. The state’s gross domestic product — the value of Hawaii’s goods and serv­ices adjusted for inflation — will slow to 1.7% growth in 2023 from 2.5% in the previous year, according to quarterly report due out today by the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization. Star-Advertiser.

As Hawaiʻi's minimum wage rises, some lawmakers want to scrap the tip credit. By the time the minimum wage increases to $18 by 2028, the tip credit will increase to $1.50 — making the minimum wage for tipped workers $16.50 an hour.  Hawaii Public Radio.

Budget bill allocates much less to the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority than requested. House Bill 300 includes a $35 million appropriation to the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority–thatʻs $40 million less than what was requested.  Maui Now. Garden Island.

Bill requiring clergy to report sacramental confessions of child abuse moves to Senate.
When religious clergy were added to the state's list of mandatory reporters, the law exempted the reporting of abuse disclosed during penitential communication. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii Lawmaker Quietly Kills Bill To Allow Unlicensed Midwives To Continue Practicing
. House Bill 955 cleared two committees before stalling this month in the House Finance Committee chaired by Rep. Kyle Yamashita. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Health Department warns of breach to death registry. The Hawaii Department of Health today announced there has been a security breach of its Electronic Death Registry System. Star-Advertiser. Maui Now.  Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

It’s not your imagination: The price of rice is way up. The price of rice has jumped 40% in just the last two years. And that’s spurring tough calculations for family households and eateries.  Hawaii News Now.


Honolulu Salary Commission recommends wage increases for city leadership. The Honolulu Salary Committee had not recommended salary increases in the last four years; but this year, it is proposing a big bump for some positions. KHON2.

Honolulu planning director says more employees are needed to solve permitting backlog. Dawn Takeuchi Apuna, the director of Honolulu's Department of Planning and Permitting, updated the City Council's budget committee on the department's needs for fiscal year 2024. Among those priorities, she requested a 26% bump for salaries across all of DPP's six divisions.  Hawaii Public Radio.

Mayor signs bill to encourage inclusion, protect diversity.  Bill 25 establishes a policy of anti-bias and inclusion for all City officers and employees. This includes different perspectives, views or opinions. KHON2. KITV4.

Waiahole Valley tenants get reprieves over rent. A state agency trying to increase ground-lease rents in Waiahole Valley for about 100 residential and farm tenants with decades-old low rates made several moves Thursday to defuse the tense situation where some fear evictions. Star-Advertiser.

Punaluu homeowner faces $188K fine for shoreline violations. An oceanfront property owner in Punaluu faces a $188,000 fine for numerous shoreline violations, including refusing to remove giant sandbags, heavy black tarps and boulders that form a tangled mess along the public beach in front of his home. Star-Advertiser.

Bathroom recording incidents at Ala Moana Center prompt police security message. Officers have arrested a man accused of using his cell phone to record a teenage boy inside a bathroom stall at Ala Moana Center. Police say it’s the second time a situation like this has happened in the mall’s public restrooms in recent months. Hawaii News Now.

Oahu’s Pig Farmers Want To Change The Conversation On Food Security. Hawaii's demand for pork is on the rise but slaughterhouses cater to beef. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Island

Hawaiʻi Countyʻs transportation administrator leaving after 18 months revamping Hele-On. Hawaiʻi County’s Mass Transit Agency, commonly called Hele-On, will be looking for a new administrator. John Andoh, the current administrator, will be stepping down effective March 31 to transition to a similar role on the mainland. Big Island Now.

Geologist: It’s too soon to know if our recent Kilauea eruption has actually ended. With the latest Kilauea eruption on pause, geologists are monitoring the volcano to determine what will happen next. Tribune-Herald.

County’s Safe Place initiative expands. Mayor Mitch Roth’s office announced Tuesday the Hawaii County Mass Transit Agency, in partnership with National Safe Place Network, is expanding the Safe Place initiative to include The Salvation Army Family Intervention Services. Tribune-Herald.


Land Board weighs Kaanapali Beach restoration project.  The state Board of Land and Natural Resources is expected to decide today whether to approve an agreement forged between the Department of Land and Natural Resources and a private resort association requiring them to split the costs of a $10 million beach restoration project long planned for Maui’s Kaanapali Beach. Star-Advertiser. Maui Now.

Context for Maui hate crime ruling includes complex history. A recent federal hate crime ruling against two Native Hawaiian men from Maui is sparking discussions on the broader societal context in Hawaiʻi that enables hate and bias in the first place. Hawaii Public Radio.


Kaua‘i council supports birth attendant exemption. The Kaua‘i County Council resolution ultimately passed in a 5-1 vote, but the House bill may be dead in the water regardless. Garden Island.

Master plan would reshape Mahelona Hospital on Kaua‘i. Officials are closing in on a final master plan for Samuel Mahelona Memorial Hospital and the surrounding areas, which will include a new library, police substation and hundreds of units of housing. Garden Island.

Thursday, March 9, 2023

State short on EV chargers, House poses preliminary budget, ethics reform moves to Senate, Maui condos near record $1M median, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

With 19K EVs, Hawaii pushes to make charging up easier. There are about 19,000 registered electric vehicles In Hawaii and 5,200 plug in hybrids according to the State’s energy department. Hawaiian Electric Company said Hawaii has the lowest charging ports per electric vehicle in the country. KHON2.

Hawaii Lawmakers Are Wary Of Revenue Shortfalls As They Roll Out A Proposed 2-Year Spending Plan. The House Finance Committee unveiled its first draft of an ambitious new budget on Wednesday, but the chairman warned that a decline in tax collections may force changes. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser.  Maui Now. Garden Island. Hawaii News Now.  KITV4.

Hawaii’s New Top Cop Wants To Beef Up Airport Police, Fireworks Inspections. Jordan Lowe, along with a handful of other heads of state agencies, won approval from Senate committees this week. Gov. Josh Green’s pick to lead the new state Department of Law Enforcement plans to eventually phase out the use of private security guards at state-run airports in favor of deputy sheriffs and promised to work with other law enforcement agencies and shipping companies to increase inspections for fireworks at the ports. Civil Beat.

Lower drunken driving threshold gains ground. Hawaii could become the second state to lower the legal blood alcohol concentration, or BAC threshold, from 0.08% to 0.05% for those operating a vehicle. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaiʻi House of Representatives passes 11 ethics reform bills; next stop the Senate. The Hawaiʻi House of Representatives on Tuesday passed 11 remaining bills relating to ethics reform that were introduced based on recommendations made in the Commission to Improve Standards of Conduct Final Report. Big Island Now.

Hawaii May Become The Next State To Ban The Sale Of Fur Products. Hawaii could become the second state in the country to prohibit the fur trade within its borders, if a bill supported by animal rights activists continues to gain momentum within the Legislature. Civil Beat.

Hawaii gun control efforts applauded.
State lawmakers and gun control advocates gathered Wednesday to celebrate the Legislature’s work so far aimed at reducing gun violence across the islands. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaiian Vs. Southwest: Good News For Travelers, Bad News For The Bottom Line. As travelers enjoy Southwest's $39 interisland fares into the spring, Hawaiian Airlines holds the local market but posts net losses. Civil Beat.

Remembering Hawaiʻi's COVID shutdown 3 years after the pandemic began. It was three years ago this week that the Department of Health announced the first case of COVID-19 in Hawaiʻi. Before the month was out, a stay-at-home order and travel restrictions were put in place.  Hawaii Public Radio.

510 new COVID-19 cases and 7 more deaths. The state’s average positivity rate — the percentage of all tests reported that were positive — remained the same as March 1 at 4.4%. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.


HART proposes $108.9 million operating budget for fiscal 2024. Two transit agencies involved in the construction or future operation and maintenance of the city’s nearly $10-billion rail line detailed Tuesday their budgetary goals for next fiscal year. Star-Advertiser.

Kualoa Ranch expansion is hit with another delay. Kualoa Ranch returned to the Honolulu Planning Commission on Wednesday seeking approval to lift restrictions on its operations to complete an expansion plan that has been in play for seven years — but the Windward Oahu agricultural center and tourist attraction is going to have to wait a while longer. Star-Advertiser.

Big changes coming to popular North Shore beach. Laniakea Beach on the North Shore, with its beautiful surf, and the turtles that come to rest along the shoreline, attracts thousands and thousands of visitors annually. KHON2.

City clears homeless encampments in Waianae, but many say it's a waste of taxpayer dollars. The city budgets about $850,000 a year for what it calls sanitation efforts -- that it says in almost all instances are requested by community members. KITV4.

Playful monk seal spotted in the Ala Wai Canal. The notoriously dirty Ala Wai Canal has recently been home to a returning monk seal. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Roth on health care crisis: ’A matter of life or death’.  Mayor Mitch Roth called the state of health care on Hawaii Island “an emergency situation.” Tribune-Herald.

Council committees discuss affordable housing, land preservation, floriculture on Big Island. The Hawai‘i County Council met Tuesday for several committee meetings. Agenda topics included affordable housing, preservation of 3 acres in Hilo and the importance of the floriculture industry to the Big Island. Big Island Now.

County code changes might be needed before housing program can be fully improved
. Hawaii County’s affordable housing credit program needs to be reshaped, but not before the county code itself can be revised, county officials said. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaiian Tel completes a fiber ring in E. Hawaii. Crews closed an approximately 25-mile fiber gap between Volcano and Pahala, completing another ring in the company’s network. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Now.

Animal control agency OK’d. A new Hawaii County animal control agency will be formed in July, bringing with it 45 new county jobs. Tribune-Herald.

Rapid help pledged for mold-plagued Holualoa Elementary School. Gov. Josh Green pledged Wednesday that he’ll approve funding to fix up the nearly 140-year-old Holualoa Elementary School “the minute it hits my desk,” and a top state Department of Education official said he expects as many as 17 mold-plagued classrooms to be cleaned and repaired over the summer, in time for next school year. Star-Advertiser.


Maui County condo median sales price sets all-time record at $908,000. Spiked by luxury sales, the median sales price for Maui County condominiums last month set a record high at close to $1 million, a new report said. Maui Now.

Sunken yacht to be left on seafloor for now. DLNR, community planning discussions on future shipwreck response, prevention. Saying that removal would be costly and impacts from the fuel-drained boat “should be minimal,” state officials said there are no plans at this time to pull a 94 foot-long luxury yacht that sank to the seafloor Sunday afternoon in West Maui, though they are planning discussions on how “to fill gaps” in shipwreck responses and prevention.  Maui News.

Restoration efforts underway after luxury yacht caused ‘significant’ damage to coral colonies. The coral in Honolua Bay was ground to bits by a luxury yacht recently stuck around for nearly two weeks. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Former Maui police chief Howard Tagomori called tough, progressive.  Howard Hikaru Tagomori, the former Maui police chief remembered for his relentless pursuit of improvement and whose samurai demeanor came with a quick wit and kind heart, died Friday at the age of 82. Star-Advertiser.


Public invited to Kaua’i Mayor Kawakami’s State of County address March 14. Mayor Derek S.K. Kawakami's 2023 State of the County Address will be held at 9 a.m. at the Līhu‘e Civic Center in the Mo‘ikeha Courtyard.  Kauai Now.

Master plan would reshape Mahaelona Hospital on Kaua‘i.  Officials are closing in on a final master plan for Samuel Mahelona Memorial Hospital and the surrounding areas, which will include a new library, police substation and hundreds of units of housing. Garden Island.

Kapa‘a satellite DMV coming to town.
Shioi Construction, the same contractor that did the work for the Kapa‘a police substation in the annex, secured the $177,000 project that will have parts of the Kapa‘a Armory renovated to accommodate three DMV service windows facing the road separating the armory from the Mayor Bryan J. Baptiste Sports Complex. Garden Island. Kauai Now.