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Uncertainty rises as U.S. tourism contract end nears for Hawaii.

Views expressed in this Hawaii State News summary are those of the reporters and correspondents.  Accessed on 26 September 2022, 2039 UTC.

Content provided by “All Hawaii News” edited and produced by Hawaii Island journalist Nancy Cook Lauer.

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Monday, September 26, 2022

Uncertainty over tourism plan as contract expires, student shun school, DLNR confiscates boats and lay net, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Uncertainty builds as U.S. tourism contract end nears for Hawaii. Hawaii visitor industry members are growing increasingly concerned that the Hawaii Tourism Authority will not have a well- defined plan to provide branding and marketing services for the domestic market after Wednesday when a U.S. tourism contract extension expires. Star-Advertiser.
Pandemic leads to shrinking enrollment at Hawaii schools. An unexpected “disappearance” of thousands of students from school enrollment in Hawaii during the COVID-19 pandemic has some education officials concerned that parents might have withdrawn their children without following procedures mandated by state law, technically making them truant. Star-Advertiser.

Missing school: Chronic absenteeism spikes across state. The state Department of Education reported chronic absenteeism, or students missing 15 or more days of school, more than doubled for the state during the 2021-22 school year. Tribune-Herald.

Prosecutors and lawmakers split on need for immediate fix to felony charging law. The Hawaii State Judiciary is increasing grand jury panels in each county to deal with an influx of cases in the wake of a recent Hawaii Supreme Court ruling that preliminary hearings before a judge do not suffice for bringing charges in cases involving serious felonies, including murder. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

‘You Need A Warrant!’: Hawaii’s Dubious Practice Of Taking Children Without A Court Order.
 More than 80% of children taken into protective custody in Hawaii are removed from their families without a judge’s approval. That’s not how it works in many other jurisdictions. Civil Beat.

New report shows crime rates up in Hawaii, but low compared to mainland
. Violent crime is up in major cities across the country, including Honolulu, according to a new report by the Major Cities Chiefs Association. KITV4.

Islands’ population decline still tilts toward Las Vegas. Hawaiʻi has been one of several states that has had a declining population in recent years. When it comes to people leaving the islands, Honolulu has been hardest hit, with a recent net loss of tax filers. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaiʻi Telescopes Watching Monday’s Asteroid Collision. University of Hawaiʻi astronomers will track the impact of the Double Asteroid Redirection Test, or DART, using telescopes on Maunakea and Haleakalā. Big Island Video News.

Oahu

EPA report reveals long list of violations at Navy’s Red Hill fuel facility. New federal records reveal a long list of violations by the Navy at the Red Hill fuel facility in the aftermath of the drinking water crisis. The violations include the lack of a spill response plan for Red Hill’s pipeline system and the failure to operate that system in line with good engineering practice. Hawaii News Now.

Department of Planning and Permitting hopes new technology will cut time for permit applications. The city has closed its solicitation period for vendors to bid on installing a new automated system that is expected to shorten the Department of Planning and Permitting’s permit approval process by almost three months. Star-Advertiser.

Raised crosswalk installations scheduled to extend into Kailua and Kaneohe. 
The Department of Transportation is extending raised crosswalks onto the windward side of Oahu. Construction will begin Monday, September 26th in Kailua and Kaneohe. KITV4.

Hawaii conservation officers confiscate 2 boats, illegal lay net from man in Kaneohe Bay. State officers confiscated more than 1,000 feet of lay net and two small boats from a man near the Ahu o Laka sandbar in Kaneohe Bay. Star-Advertiser. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Hawaii Police Department working to fill 69 sworn positions.
 More than 14% of the Hawaii Police Department’s budgeted sworn positions were unfilled as of mid-September. West Hawaii Today.

Instructors Asking for Feedback on Maunakea Teaching Telescope Plan. Draft EA predicts no impact for teaching telescope. The assessment, which was published Friday in the state’s Environmental Notice, outlines UH’s plan to erect a telescope at the midlevel facility on Maunakea within an 18-foot-diameter dome on a platform connected to an existing building. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Now.

Future Puna Wastewater Service EISPN Notice Issued. The County of Hawai‘i does not provide any wastewater collection and treatment facilities in the Puna area, but plans are being made to change that. Big Island Video News.

12 months of fury: Current eruption of Kilauea began a year ago this week. Scientists and residents alike on Thursday will celebrate the one-year anniversary of the current volcanic eruption of Kilauea. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Popular Maui beachwalk, trees fall into ocean, triggering calls for managed retreat. Popular Kāʻanapali Beach was a far cry from paradise on Friday. A concrete section of Kāʻanapali Beachwalk was crumbling into the ocean, tall coconut trees crashed in the high surf and a stretch of walkway pooled with minor flooding and debris.   Maui Now.

War Memorial Stadium, track to close for seven months for repairs. The War Memorial Football Stadium and Satoki Yamamoto Track and Field Facility in Wailuku will be closed from Oct. 2 through May 4 while it undergoes repair projects, the county Department of Parks and Recreation announced Friday. Maui News.

A ‘School Within A School’ Is Building Community And Food Security In Hana. It’s not uncommon for schools to have gardens, but what’s taking place at Hana School is of an entirely different scale. Civil Beat.

Cost, location of school crossing options weighed. Residents support shuttling students to campus as one temporary solution. Maui News.

Kauai

State seeks hefty fine against owners of Kauai dam, claiming years of inaction on safety threats. The state Department of Land and Natural Resources is seeking to fine the owners of a Kauai dam at least $5,000 a day, alleging the potential collapse of the dam could endanger lives. Hawaii News Now.

County Announces Auction of Used Equipment, Supplies at Department of Water. The county will conduct a sealed bid auction of items no longer being used by the Department of Water. Kauai Now.

Not forgetting the 100th Infantry Battalion. 
The West Kaua‘i Club 100, named for veterans of the U.S. Army’s famed 100th Infantry Battalion, presented the 47th 100th Infantry Battalion Memorial Service Sunday at Kaua‘i Veterans Cemetery. Garden Island.

Friday, September 23, 2022

Kahele fined for misusing mailing lists, Honolulu airport gets low marks, UHERO warns of recession, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

 

U.S. Rep. Kai Kahele to be fined $1,000 for violating campaign spending law. U.S. Rep. Kai Kahele, who gave up a chance for reelection to Congress to instead run unsuccessfully for governor, was fined $1,000 after admitting to the state Campaign Spending Commission that he illegally used an 8-year-old list of donors to Gov. David Ige to solicit contributions to his own gubernatorial campaign. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.

Fishery council rebukes effort to expand Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument. A Hawaii-based coalition’s effort to expand the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument is getting pushback from the fishery council crated by Congress to oversee that area of the Pacific. Hawaii News Now.

U.S. recession will weigh on Hawaii’s recovery, UHERO forecast reports. Hawaii might escape the worst of the looming U.S. recession, but its economy is not expected to start making satisfactory progress until 2024, according to a new forecast released Thursday by the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization. Star-Advertiser. Tribune-Herald.

The Return Of Japanese Visitors May Be Just In Time To Save Hawaii’s Economy.
 A day after Japan’s prime minister lifted all travel restrictions, UH economists issued a report saying the return of Japanese travelers could help spare Hawaii’s economy. Civil Beat. KHON2.

Public input sought on transportation infrastructure preferences for planning future infrastructure. The DOT is developing a 2045 Hawaiʻi Statewide Transportation Plan. The plan will map out the state’s public transportation construction projects for the next two decades. Hawaii Public Radio.

Bill would significantly boost funding to battle ohia disease. A federal bill that would more than double the state’s annual funding for rapid ohia death abatement has exciting implications, say state researchers. Tribune-Herald.

Residents are urged to get latest COVID-19 booster.
 They have been available in Hawaii since Labor Day weekend. As of Wednesday, 23,354 bivalent boosters had been administered in the state, according to DOH. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

Honolulu’s Innovative Idea For More Solar Power.
 Honolulu Bill 46 aims to encourage new rooftop solar by allowing 12-foot high canopies with solar panels on top and gardens and gathering spacies underneath. Civil Beat.

Illegal structures still erected on Oahu’s North Shore.
 An imperiled stretch of coastline between Sunset Beach and Rocky Point on Oahu’s famed North Shore has increasingly become a free-for-all as owners of multimillion-dollar properties disregard Hawaii’s beach protection laws and scramble to save their homes from the unrelenting threat of powerful waves. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

The state has poured $1B into Honolulu airport upgrades, but travelers aren’t impressed. The 2022 North America Airport Satisfaction Study ranks the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport as the second worst large airport in the continent. Only Philadelphia International Airport ranked worse. Hawaii News Now.

Task force recovers large cache of ghost guns, ammunition at Oahu home. A Waipahu man is facing federal firearms charges after he was allegedly caught with two dozen ghost guns and illegal parts.
Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Some Inmates Were Stuck At The Hilo Jail Because They Couldn’t Post $15 Bail. A state prisons expert says she was surprised by how bad the conditions are at the Big Island corrections facility. Some of the inmates at the packed Hilo jail have been stuck there because they could not post bail in amounts as low as $15, and conditions at the facility are so poor they rival conditions at the infamous Rikers Island in New York City, a Hawaii corrections oversight panel was told Thursday. Civil Beat.

The USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reported an uptick in seismicity, ground deformation, and surface lava at the summit for a brief period on Tuesday. Approximately 50 earthquakes were detected beneath Kīlauea summit between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. Tuesday. Big Island Video News.

Laupāhoehoe Gulch Bridge to Undergo Repairs Following Hurricane Lane Damage.
 Contractors will be at the bridge, located along Laupāhoehoe Access Road in North Hilo, starting at 7 a.m. Monday through Friday. Roadwork will be performed from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., weather permitting. Big Island Now.

Mauna Loa reopens Visitor Center. Located in the middle of a 2,500-acre macadamia orchard near Hilo, the center — which was closed at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic — is one of Hawaii Island’s most popular tourist destinations. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Commission denies appeals of its decision on police chief complaints. An investigative report on a complaint against Maui Police Chief John Pelletier found the claims were not substantiated, according to the Maui Police Commission, which deferred action on a separate complaint and denied appeals on two others on Wednesday. Maui News.

This Is How Sea Level Rise Might Change Your Favorite Maui Beach Park. This summer they dealt with a massive swell that sent water over coastal streets, leading to road closures. In the weeks that followed, accelerated coastal erosion exposed iwi kupuna, or ancestral skeletal remains, along a West Maui shoreline. Civil Beat.

Maui Family Support Services gets continued funding with 5-year, $1M per year award. This five-year, $1 million per year award will allow the MFSS QCHK project to continue child care subsidy assistance to Native Hawaiian children and families on the islands of Maui, Moloka’i, and Lānaʻi. Maui Now.

Grand Wailea property-wide refresh marks its most extensive renovation in 30 years. The 40-acre resort fronting Maui’s Wailea Beach, presents a newly revitalized Botero Lounge, a total revamp of its exclusive Napua rooms, suites and private lounge, and the transformation of two dining venues into brunch restaurant, ‘Ikena, and grab-and-gourmet market, Loulu. Maui Now.

Kauai

Lane Closures Scheduled in Kapa‘a Starting Next Week. Over the next several weeks, traffics control configurations around the Mailihuna Road, Hau‘a‘ala Road, and Kawaihau Road intersection will be changing as construction progresses. Kauai Now.

Additional monkeypox case reported on Kauai, bringing state total to 34. A new case of monkeypox has been reported on the island of Kauai, bringing the state total to 34 cases.  KITV4.
 

Thursday, September 22, 2022

EPA urges caution on Thirty Meter Telescope, Honolulu mulls tax breaks for businesses on rail line, taxpayers may fund abandoned vehicle removal, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

 

Consider TMT changes to lessen impact on Native Hawaiians, EPA urges. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is urging the National Science Foundation to consider alternative construction sites for the Thirty Meter Telescope — and possibly a smaller version of the proposed observatory — in its upcoming environmental review of the controversial project. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.

Handling of OHA funds leads to questions over CNHA’s bid for tourism contract. Allegations that the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement mismanaged a $1.6 million Office of Hawaiian Affairs contract have surfaced as the dispute over a much larger Hawaii Tourism Authority contract heads beyond the four-month mark. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Gov. Ige Rules Out Special Legislative Session To Fix Court’s Grand Jury Ruling. Gov. David Ige issued a statement Wednesday saying that he would not call the Hawaii Legislature into special session to draft a new law to reverse a recent Hawaii Supreme Court ruling that limits prosecutors’ choices when indicting serious criminals. Civil Beat.

Latest Fed rate hike may also increase jitters in Hawaii’s real estate market. The rise in interest rates is just one of the forces on Hawaii’s real estate market. That rise has pushed some buyers to act more quickly to get an affordable mortgage, while sellers are rethinking their asking price. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Wanted: A bunch of mahimahi stomachs. To fishermen in Hawaii, Pacific mahimahi stomachs hold no particular value and are discarded. But to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists researching mahimahi diet, each stomach tells a unique story and provides an opportunity to help the fish and its environment. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii reports 14 COVID deaths, over 1,100 cases in past week. Hawaii News Now.

Oahu

Council considers property tax exemptions for businesses along rail line. The Honolulu City Council is considering a measure that would give businesses along the rail line incentives such as expedited permitting and tax exemptions for up to 30 years. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu inching closer to creating historic preservation commission. “Honolulu is the only county in the state that does not have a preservation commission and one of the only major cities in the country without a commission,” councilmember Esther Kiaʻāina said Tuesday. Hawaii Public Radio.

Private financing not needed to build new stadium, Ige says. Gov. David Ige said Wednesday that the $350 million the state Legislature provided during the 2022 session is enough money to build a new Aloha Stadium. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. KHON2. KITV4.

Former principal sues Department of Education over threat case. A former principal of Stevenson Middle School has filed a civil suit in U.S. District Court against the state Department of Education, alleging that officials failed to adequately protect her amid violent threats and sexual harassment from an unknown person or people, and retaliated against her for questioning the department’s response. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Has Many Vacant Positions Open On Boards And Commissions. Honolulu officials are looking to fill several positions on city panels, including the new advisory Economic Revitalization Commission, according to a Wednesday news release. Civil Beat. KITV4.

Hawaii Island

Bill that would cover cost of removing abandoned vehicles passes first reading. A bill that would allow private property owners to remove free of charge abandoned or derelict vehicles from their land moved one step closer to fruition Wednesday. West Hawaii Today.

Volcano skate park repairs in the works.
 The Volcano community is taking steps to repair and reopen Hawaii County’s only wooden skate park. Tribune-Herald.

Community Meeting Set For Upolu Well Project In North Kohala. A meeting will take place on Thursday, September 29 at the Kohala Village Hub Barn in order provide an Upolu Well project overview and solicit community input. Big Island Video News.

Signs Stolen: Nene Crossing, Tsunami Route, Scenic Byways. Police say the unique Hawaiʻi signs are being removed along Mamalahoa Highway in the areas of Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park and the district of Kaʻū. Big Island Video News. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Maui

Maui Planning Department seeks applicants to fill 22% vacancy
. The Maui County Department of Planning is seeking applicants to fill six newly funded and 12 vacant positions, ranging from clerical to planner and supervisory positions. Maui Now.

Several vacancies in Planning Department delaying permit processing. A 22 percent vacancy rate has contributed to delays in permit processing in Maui County, which is why the Department of Planning is seeking applicants to fill six newly funded positions and 12 vacant positions, ranging from clerical to planner and supervisory positions. Maui News.

Kauai

Facing litigation, Kaua‘i County returns drug treatment facility to Grove Farm. The Kaua‘i County Council voted unanimously Wednesday to deed the facility back to its previous owners, ending the county leadership role in the long struggle to get the center off the ground, which has been marred by struggles finding an operator, legal troubles and a global pandemic. Garden Island.

 

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Activists protest Red Hill in Washington, Ige nixes Aloha Stadium contracts, 111k Hawaii students to get student loan forgiveness, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

 

Hawaii Activists Travel To DC To Demand Action On Red Hill. The Oahu Water Protectors organized a rally outside the White House to keep up pressure on the U.S. Navy to shut down the WWII era fuel farm that’s sickened thousands on the island. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Here’s how county charter amendment proposals are created for your ballot. The 2022 general election ballot won’t have any state constitutional amendments, but each county will have plenty to choose from. Hawaiʻi Island residents will see three proposals, while Oʻahu and Kauaʻi residents will each see four. Maui County, on the other hand, will see a few more. Hawaii Public Radio.

How many Hawaii student loan borrowers will benefit from Biden’s plan? Here’s a look. Over 111,000 student loan borrowers in Hawaii are eligible for Biden’s student debt relief program. That’s according to a fact sheet released by the White House on Tuesday. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Visitor restrictions loosen across Queen’s Health System hospitals. Visiting hours will be expanded at The Queen’s Medical Center Punchbowl and Molokai General Hospital to 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; the Queen’s Medical Center West Oʻahu to 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Queen’s North Hawaiʻi Community Hospital will be 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Hawaii Public Radio.

Oahu

Governor halts work on stadium construction proposals. Gov. David Ige has halted requests for proposals to build a new Aloha Stadium and will announce in three weeks different plans for its construction, a state official said Tuesday. Star-Advertiser. KHON2.

The Struggle Over Towering Wind Farms Is At The Center Of A Honolulu City Council Debate. A backlash has arisen against industrial wind turbines, with Kahuku residents leading the charge, raising an alarm about the problems the 40-story towers constructed there have created for them and for their children — pulsating noises, flickering shadows, and what they say are sleep disruptions, depression and new neurological ailments. Civil Beat.

First red-light camera under construction at Vineyard and Palama. Honolulu’s first red-light camera is going up at the intersection of Vineyard Boulevard and Palama Street, with the monitoring system issuing its first warnings in two weeks when it catches cars that run through traffic lights. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Prosecuting Attorney Steve Alm declares 2019 fatal police shooting justified. A Honolulu police officer was justified in firing three shots that killed a 27-year-old man who lunged at him with a hunting knife following a foot chase, said Prosecuting Attorney Steve Alm at a news conference Tuesday. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

Liquor commission’s public trust questioned by City Council. The Honolulu City Council is urging the Honolulu Liquor Commission to take steps to restore public trust, after the commission and its investigators have faced criticism over alleged discrimination and violations over the years. KHON2.

The Son Of A Slain Oahu Jail Inmate Is Suing The State Over Lax Practices. Oahu Community Correctional Center failed to follow “common sense correctional practices” and placed the 62-year-old prisoner in jeopardy, the lawsuit says. Civil Beat.

Honolulu Historic Preservation Bill Is Gaining Traction. Losses of historic sites, including the destruction of the home that inspired the song “Aloha Oe,” have spurred support for a city agency to monitor and protect Oahu’s ancient places. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Island

Council unimpressed by latest proposals to tackle homelessness. Hawaii County Council members on Tuesday were skeptical of a plan to address rampant homelessness on the island. Tribune-Herald.

County yet to issue a gun carry permit. Fewer than a dozen applications have been received by the Hawaii Police Department for a permit to carry a concealed weapon on the Big Island. West Hawaii Today.

Court records detail teen’s kidnapping ordeal
. A 52-year-old man accused of abducting a 15-year-old girl from a beach in Waikoloa allegedly forced her to smoke crystal methamphetamine, sexually assaulted her and shackled her inside a bus on his property, according to court documents that detail the teen’s terrifying experience. Star-Advertiser. Tribune-Herald. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Big Isle police say fatal shooting of Boy Scout was accidental; prosecutor to review possible firearm charges against 3 adults. “The investigation concluded that an unsupervised male minor picked up a loaded firearm and as he placed it back down, it discharged, subsequently shooting the victim,” the police department said today in a news release. Star-Advertiser. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News. Big Island Now.  Hawaii News Now.

‘Plan and prepare’. Ironman officials offered the following advice to West Hawaii residents ahead of the first-ever two-day running of the world championship triathlon: plan ahead and be prepared for delays, particularly on race days. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Maui Voters To Decide If County Should Operate As A Bilingual Government. The measure would require the county to issue all official notices in English and Hawaiian, the endangered language of Hawaii’s native people that, after generations of decline, is experiencing a revival. Civil Beat.

The Maui County Council on Tuesday confirmed Rogerene “Kali” Arce as the first director of the county’s Department of Agriculture. The department is charged with supporting local farmers and ranchers while boosting food security. Civil Beat. Maui Now.

Despite mounting criticism, bill to limit outdoor lights on Maui moves forward. Before clearing an 8-1 vote in front the Maui County Council Tuesday, Bill 21 saw staunch support and criticism. The measure proposes to limit the blue light content in outdoor fixtures to 2 % or less, as well as have lights pointed down and covered. KITV4.

Maui Council endorses Johnson’s proposal to allow counties to set own minimum wage. Councilmember Gabe Johnson announced Tuesday that the council endorsed his proposal for state legislation to empower counties in Hawaiʻi to set minimum wages that are higher than the state and federal minimum wage. Maui Now.

Maui County’s sunscreen ordinance takes effect on Oct. 1. Maui County’s ban on the sale, use or distribution of nonmineral sunscreens without a prescription issued by a licensed healthcare provider, takes effect on Oct. 1, 2022. Maui Now.

Kauai

Kauaʻi event features dishes made with invasive species to raise awareness of environment. Venison, pig, mango, apple snails and tilapia are some of the invasive species on the menu. Hawaii Public Radio.