Hawaii Independent Staff

Kakaako bio lab closed →

UH officials never mentioned the Kakaako lab was closed for repairs at a contentious public informational meeting about the new proposed lab earlier this month. The UH closed its bio-safety lab at the medical school in Kakaako for "planned maintenance" when the lab's certification expired on June 17 to install new sprinklers and make other improvements. It's a level three lab, capable of dealing with diseases like dengue fever and tuberculosis.
More at Keoki Kerr, for Hawaii News Now »

Honolulu ranks 174th in US foreclosures →

Here's a good sign: Honolulu ranks low on foreclosures.

Honolulu was ranked No. 174 on the list of 212 metro areas with a population of 200,000 or more, which was topped by the California metro areas Stockton, Modesto, Riverside-San Berardino-Ontario, Vallejo-Fairfield and Merced.
More at Pacific Business News »

Stevie Wonder concert promoter bankrupt, in foreclosure → Hawaii sues online travel firms $500 mil. in back taxes →

In recent filings in state Tax Court, the state Attorney General's office said the online firms collected tens of millions of dollars in state hotel room and general excise taxes for more than a decade. But none of that money ever went into Hawaii's tax coffers, the state said.
At the top of the list: $302 million from Expedia, $72 million from Travelocity, and $48 million from Orbitz. More at Hawaii News Now »

How our corrections systems prevents prisoners from marrying →

As it happens, Hawaii's Department of Public Safety (DPS), which oversees its prison population, has been refusing to allow prisoners to marry for years, seemingly on the basis that they just don't believe prison marriage is a good idea or has much chance of working out.
More at The Guardian (UK) »

Cox Media to sell six Hawaii radio stations →

Cox, a national media group with interests in television, radio, newspapers, and the Web, is selling six Hawaii stations – Krater 96, KCCN FM 100, Hawaiian 105 KINE, Power 104.3, AM 940, and 650 AM. More at Cox Media »

Department of Education releases strategic plan (updated) →

The Strategic Plan: · Reflects a DOE and BOE commitment to Hawaii's students. It recognizes that this is a critical time for students, parents, teachers, all DOE staff, and community partners coming together to transform public education in Hawaii. · Explains what the DOE will do to ensure students can reach their fullest potential and attain their aspirations in the face of 21st century opportunities and challenges. · Commits to supporting and nurturing safe schools, increasing technology resources, building stronger partnerships to support student learning, and promoting a broad-based education that supports the whole student and closes achievement gaps. · Outlines well-defined student success indicators such as attendance, retention, graduation, and college-going rates.
The plan isn't yet online; we'll link to it when it's available. The draft is available here (PDF). More at DOE News Release »

Camp clearing rousts hundreds of homeless → Candidates: How would you address food insecurity?

This is the first of a series of conversations with candidates for elected office. Read More »

Japanese Diet: Fukushima was ‘man-made disaster’ →

Hiroko Tabuchi, reporting for the New York Times:

The report, released by the Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission, challenged some of the main story lines that the government and the operator of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant have put forward. Most notably, the report said the plant’s crucial cooling systems might have been damaged in the earthquake on March 11, 2011, not only in the ensuing tsunami. That possibility raises doubts about the safety of all the quake-prone country’s nuclear plants just as they begin to restart after a pause ordered in the wake of the Fukushima crisis.
The full report is available here (PDF). More at New York Times »

Department of Health fines Navy $80,000 for hazardous waste, used oil violations →

During a routine inspection on August 31, 2011, DOH found Makalapa failed to make a hazardous waste determination for corrosive wastes generated during coil cleaning of refrigerant equipment and for wastes generated from the use of solvents containing methyl ethyl ketone and perchloroethylene.
More at KHON »

Honolulu’s “Kokua Wireless” named one of the world’s top 100 urban projects →

KPMG, a global accounting firm has named Kokua Wireless, Honolulu's free wi-fi program, one of the world's top 100 urban infrastructure programs. More at KPMG (PDF file) »

Hawaii to receive $500K to help homeless U.S. veterans →

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs says that according to a January 2011 count, there were more than 67,000 homeless vets nationwide.
More at Associated Press & Hawaii News Now »

On Liliuokalani’s composition of “Mele Lahui Hawaii,” 1898 → Lana‘i sale completed → Billionaires likely won’t pay conveyance tax on sale of 88,000 acres on Lanai →

Ian Lind:

But because the deal is structured around Lanai Island Holdings LLC purchase of control of several Castle & Cooke subsidiaries which in turn owned Murdock’s Lanai assets, it appears to effectively sidestep the state conveyance tax.
More at iLind.net »

Maui houseless evicted →

Between 100 to 500 houseless persons in Lahaina were evicted yesterday.

This will not be the last homeless encampment eviction, those who work with Maui's homeless said. There are 1,200 to 1,400 people homeless people on Maui, and "we simply do not have enough affordable housing to help everyone who is displaced," said Maude Cumming, executive director of the Family Life Center that provides housing for women and children in Kahului.
More at Maui News »

City recommends amendments to Ewa Development Plan; residents call for caution →

Kristine Uyeno, for KHON:

Wednesday the City's Planning Commission held a public hearing asking residents what they think and the majority of people who testified believe the city needs to slow down. "We need to stop, back it up a bit, pump the brakes and become real," said Evelyn Souza, Makakilo resident. "This planning purpose is all out of whack," said Glenn Oamilda, Ewa Beach resident.
More at KHON »

Ulupono, Parker Ranch team up to explore grass-fed beef →

The Associated Press:

Parker Ranch and the Ulupono Initiative announced Monday they entered into an agreement to jointly fund the research. The trials will follow 200 head of cattle on a test area of 300 acres from September 2012 through May 2013. ... The ranch believes that with successful trial results, its local grass-fed beef program could reach 2,500 to 4,000 head per year in annual production.
More at KHON »

Prescribed burn at Schofield Barracks scheduled for this week →

Army fire, safety and environment specialists, in coordination with the Federal Fire Department, will conduct a prescribed burn of 800 acres at the live fire range and impact area this Thursday and Friday, according to Schofield Barracks officials.
More at KITV »

DLNR to hold hearings on proposed Ahu o Laka safety zone →

DLNR will hold a public hearing on a proposed permanent rule to identify a safety zone around Ahu o Laka (the Kane‘ohe bay sandbar) that is subject to restrictions on three-day weekends involving a state holiday. The proposed rule prohibits anyone from entering or being in the safety zone while possessing or using alcohol or while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and disorderly behavior.
The meeting will be held at He‘eia Kea State Park, Kane‘ohe, O‘ahu, 46-465 Kamehameha Highway, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 28. More at KHON »

John Koko 1961-2012 →

John Koko, bassist with the Makaha Sons of Ni‘ihau, has passed away. More at Facebook »

Lawsuit around the corner for OHA land settlement

Bill Burgess, a long-time opponent to Hawaiian claims, may file a lawsuit against the state's Kaka‘ako Makai land settlement with the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. He may be joined by Garry Smith, an Ewa resident.

"They cannot give land that belongs to all of us, regardless of race, to one particular race," said Smith.
More at »

Governor receives BOE first year report, enacts bills →

One of the most notable changes was the BOE’s adoption of policies for teacher and principal evaluations that include student performance measurements and future changes to tenure, as well as improved professional support. Other highlights from the year include: * Reorganized the BOE to focus on student achievement * Developed better communications with stakeholders including the Legislature, Executive Branch, parent groups, student organizations, UH, Teacher Standards Board, and military * Deployed new on-line tools for teachers and administrators to track student progress to inform instruction, school planning, identify students for interventions, and hold relevant parties accountability * Adopted new graduation requirements that will ensure that students are prepared for success after high school in their choice of college or careers. These new requirements are nationally and internationally competitive and will begin with incoming 9th graders.
The full report is available here. More at Hawaii 24/7 »

Rail stations designs changing →

Any changes to the elevated platforms will likely be detailed in the latest Project Management Oversight Contractor report, which is due out this week.
Current designs are available here. More at KITV »

Private company to buy Oahu affordable housing →

A hui is set to purchase and manage Honolulu's 12 public affordable housing complexes, which includes 1,257 units. The hui is comprised of Highland Property Development LLC, California company; Richard Gushman, a Honolulu businessperson with connections to The James Campbell Company LLC, Altres Financial, and many local institutions; and Stephen Gelber, a Honolulu real estate and tax attorney. More at City and County of Honolulu »

Groups challenge plan to sell North Shore park →

Larry McElheney, reprinted by Ian Lind:

“There are serious questions regarding the legality and underlying purpose of the Mayor’s dealings with Haleiwa Beach Park Mauka,” says North Shore resident and activist Larry McElheny. “The Mayor needs to go back to the drawing board before the City Council should even consider taking the drastic step of closing a public park along the precious North Shore coastline, eliminating a public park that is being cared for by the community, and selling it to a private party for private purposes at a very small fraction of its value to the tax-payer.”
More at iLind.net »

Osprey deployment raises crash fears →

MV-22 Ospreys, a vehicle that the Marines plan to base in Hawaii, has had two crashes in the last three months. More at Disappeared News »

Hearing on ‘Ewa Development Plan: June 27 →

The hearing is scheduled for June 27, 2012, 1:30 pm at Mission Memorial Conference Room. More at Planning Commission »

Oracle owes state $333,824 in back taxes →

For clarity's sake, Oracle and Ellison are not one and the same. Interesting find nonetheless by Jim Dooley. More at Hawaii Reporter »

State Senate President asked for state to consider Lana‘i purchase

From State Senate President Shan Tsutsui's letter to Gov. Abercrombie:

"The uncertainty that the potential sale represents presents grave concerns of the future of the people of Lanai," said Senator Tsutsui in a news release Wednesday. "The continued private ownership of Lanai may prove detrimental to the people of Lanai and the state, as a private owner is not subject to public, community, or government input in making decisions that can and will affect such parties."

Modern hotel workers to stage rally this afternoon

Local 5, the union representing hotel workers, will rally outside of the Modern Hotel in Waikiki this afternoon. The union alleges that the hotel has fired 7 union supporters in the last 6 months. Read More »

Lanai could be sold soon – to Bill Gates or Larry Ellison →

Pacific Business News:

Maui County Mayor Alan Arakawa is telling PBN that there’s a good chance that Lanai might be sold relatively quickly. Word of the sale could come out in about a week or so. ... The listing price for the island is not being publicly disclosed, but one expert who sells islands for a living told PBN that its price is probably more than $500 million.
More at Pacific Business News »

Oahu reacts to rude awakening

What Oahu said this morning when awoken by civil defense sirens. Read More »

Future of rail, development hinge on mayoral election →

David Shapiro, in his Star-Advertiser column:

To build more housing for more commuters appears to double down on a failed strategy. Even with rail, these developments would add more cars and congestion than we have today.
Apologies if you can't get past the paywall. But his thesis – that this year's mayoral race is a referendum on rail and the push to develop ‘Ewa, which themselves are linked – is cogent. More at Star-Advertiser (paywall) »

Navy drone crashes in Maryland →

There were no injuries to civilians and no property damage, said the Navy, which said it is investigating the cause.
More at KITV »

Fukushima radiation found in bluefin tuna →

Alicia Chang, Associated-Press science writer:

Five months after the Fukushima disaster, [Nicholas] Fisher of Stony Brook University in New York and a team decided to test Pacific bluefin that were caught off the coast of San Diego. To their surprise, tissue samples from all 15 tuna captured contained levels of two radioactive substances — ceisum-134 and cesium-137 — that were higher than in previous catches.
Prof. Fisher: "That's a big ocean. To swim across it and still retain these radionuclides is pretty amazing." More at Associated Press »

Barbara Marumoto to retire →
Marumoto at the Governor's podium.
Courtesy Photo
“Dog the Bounty Hunter” cancelled → Caldwell: “Let’s build rail better”

Honolulu Mayoral candidate calls for modification to rail design. Read More »

Should Hawaii prisons decide who may marry? →

The ACLU filed a lawsuit today in federal court on behalf of four women who were banned by the state from marrying their fiancés, all of whom are men incarcerated at the Saguaro Correctional Facility in Eloy, Arizona.
More at Disappeared News »

OHA subsdiary to suspend operations at Makaweli Poi Mill this month

May 23 will be the last day of operations for the West Kauai factory. Read More »

Mayor launches “Pathways,” a transitional housing project for urban houseless →

The city is soliciting bids for a transitional housing project in urban Honolulu.

The City has issued a Request for Proposals to invite agencies interested in partnering on the project, and will provide $3.5 million from the City's Affordable Housing Fund to acquire and/or renovate an existing structure to provide transitional housing to homeless persons with special needs. A specific project site has not been identified. Funds will be awarded to a nonprofit agency that will be responsible for working with neighborhoods in urban Honolulu to obtain a community consensus that The Pathways Project is an acceptable means to address homelessness in their neighborhood. A specific project site will be identified to implement the project only after a positive community consensus has been achieved.
More at City & County of Honolulu »

Abercrombie releases $37.5 million to address storm damage, safety upgrades → Community meeting held to discuss pedestrian safety in Makiki, Ala Moana →

Sen. Carol Fukunaga, Rep. Karl Rhoads and Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi will host the 9 a.m. meeting at Makiki Christian Church. They've invited city Department of Transportation Services Director Wayne Yoshioka to discuss plans for public safety in Makiki and the Ala Moana areas.
The meeting is scheduled for this Saturday, 9 am, at Makiki Christian Church. More at KHON »

All aboard the USNS Guam and USNS Puerto Rico →

US Naval Secretary Ray Mabus renamed the two Hawaii Superferry vessels – the Alakai and its sister ship, the Huakai, which never entered service in Hawaii waters – on Tuesday.

The selection of the name Guam honors the long-standing historical and military relationship between Guam and the United States. This relationship began in 1898 when the United States acquired the island from Spain as a result of the “Treaty of Paris” that ended the Spanish-American War. Shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Japanese captured Guam which they occupied until U.S. troops retook the island on July 21, 1944, a date commemorated every year as “Liberation Day”. Guam continues to host many of the United States’ critical military installations in the Pacific Ocean.
More at US Department of Defense »

Teachers union re-elects Okabe – but only 22% of members vote

"I am humbled by the vote of confidence the teachers have given me. These are difficult times. We must remain united in the pursuit of what is best for our profession and the children we teach," Okabe said. "I want to thank those who voted for me and I want all members to know that I will work as hard as I can to do as much as I can for every member of our Association," he said.
The Associated Press reports that only 22% of the union's 13,000 members participated in the vote. More at »

Restaurant Row bar closes after 20 years →

The outdoor bar in the center of Honolulu's Waterfront Plaza office and restaurant complex has closed but may reopen under new ownership.
More at Pacific Business News »

RIMPAC - coming soon to an ocean near us

RIMPAC, the multinational military training exercise, will run this year from June 27 to August 7.

RIMPAC 2010 exercises.
Courtesy Photo
State ready to start hiring again →

The state is poised to start hiring to fill jobs vacated due to budget constraints. On the list: food safety inspectors, quarantine inspectors, staffers in MedQuest, and more. Carol Okada, Plant Quarantine Branch Manager:

"We're dealing with a lot of snakes a lot of reptiles coming in. Hiring these inspectors means that we'll be back in baggage claim looking at the passengers, looking at the freight forwarders, doing a better inspection."
More at Hawaii News Now »

Hannemann earns two union endorsements →

The International Organization of Masters, Mates and Pilots and IBEW Local 1357 have announced their endorsement of Mufi Hannemann the second congressional race. More at Hawaii 24/7 »

Community rallies against another monk seal killing

Reward total now at $40,000 Read More »

Letters from Kea‘au: Gail Peeples

My name is Gail D. Peeples. I'm one of many who lives at Kea‘au Beach Park along with my husband, daughter, son, son-in-law, and five minor grandchildren. We've all lived at Kea‘au Beach for approximately 15 years. We've also learned to adjust to living here over all the years.
Read More »

Kea‘au update: “The Governor will not be intervening” Community groups, individuals come together to oppose Abercrombie nominee to water commission

More than 100 organizations and individuals came together today to oppose Governor Abercrombie's nomination of Ted Yamamura to the state Commission on Water and Resource Management. Read More »

Attorney Isaac Moriwake of the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation, speaking on the grounds of ‘Iolani Palace
Abercrombie signs OHA settlement bill → (De)Occupy Honolulu expands encampment into Honolulu Financial District →

Honolulu's Occupy encampment expanded into an overt protest of the financial system today. More at Doug Notes »

Hawaii Foodbank ‘dangerously low’ →

The Foodbank usually tries to stock themselves with about 20 days worth of food to help distribute to churches and other community centers. Lately, though, the shelves at the Foodbank have become progressively lighter, and the group says they were down to only 8 days worth of meals at one point.
Donate food at their April 21 food drive, at locations throughout the islands. More at Hawaii News Now »

Finalists announced for Honolulu Community College chancellor →

The candidates are: • Edward T. Knudson, former executive vice president of student learning at Moorpark College in California; • Erika L. Lacro, vice chancellor of academic affairs at Honolulu Community College; • Rafe Trickey, vice president of planning and institutional development at the College of the Marshall Islands.
More at Pacific Business News »

DLNR fires Haleakala telescope hearing officer → Gabbards receive no-bid contract →

The State Department of Health announced its intention last month to award a $25,040 no-bid contract to the Healthy Hawaii Coalition, a nonprofit group founded and controlled by Senator Mike Gabbard and his daughter, Honolulu City Councilmember Tulsi Gabbard.
The group is also absent from the list of Health Department contractors in the State Procurement Office database.
More at iLind.net »

Superferry headed to Okinawa →

The contract is anticipated to extend to last for one year and will end with the delivery of the vessel to Naha, Okinawa, Japan, where it will provide services to the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force. Future plans for the HSV Alakai are uncertain, but it is possible the Navy will refit the vessel for military service given its availability.
More at Hawaii Free Press »

HPD launches online reporting site →

A new HPD website allows residents to file police reports online. More at KHON »

Search is on for new Kamehameha Schools trustee

The new trustee will replace Chair J. Douglas Ing, whose term ends in June. Application deadline is May 18. Read More »

UN to investigate impact of US nuclear tests on human rights of Marshall Islanders

The United Nations is sending an expert to the Marshall Islands later this month to assess the impact on human rights of the nuclear tests conducted by the United States between 1946 and 1958. It's the first ever visit to the country by an independent expert of the UN Human Rights Council. Read More »

Members of Hawaii's Micronesian community protested at Governor Linda Lingle's office in August 2009 to protect medical care in the aftermath of US nuclear tests in the South Pacific
File photo
Help Hawaii get cheesy

Naked Cow Dairy, Oahu's only cow milk dairy, is raising funds to begin cheese production. Their goal is $15,000 – and they're almost there, with $13,806 raised as of this writing. The deadline to contribute is March 20. More at »

Navy cancels bidding for large Guam contracts →

Citing budget constraints, the Navy has halted bidding for large contracts in the military build-up in Guam. More at Pacific Business News »

Top sites for Oahu landfill could include federal parcels →

An advisory committee, charged with recommending a new landfill site, has put 9 federal parcels back on the table for consideration. More at KHON »

Hospital crisis: What if we have a real emergency? →

Larry Geller of Disappeared News provides a good round-up of the scope of O‘ahu's hospital shortage.

Suppose two dozen or fifty people were in need of emergency hospitalization. If there is no bed for one guy from Kauai in need of help, what will happen to many?
More at Disappeared News »

Kauai council passes Koloa resolution → Makiki neighborhood board to meet this evening →

On the agenda: restrooms at Thomas Square; discussion on the city's proposal to issue a single-vendor towing contract; and an update on the Scottish Rite day care facility. More at Neighborhood Board Commission »

Police raid Occupy Honolulu encampment →

Police raided Occupy Honolulu 3 a.m. Wednesday morning, seizing tents and personal belongings. Video coverage at The Doug Note. More at The Doug Note »

Cayetano releases FTA emails →

“This is the most mismanaged project in 28 years of office,” Cayetano said today after reading several of the emails to the media. He is running for mayor in 2012, and critical of how his opponents, Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle, and former city Managing Director Kirk Caldwell, managed the project.
More at Hawaii Reporter »

Governor Cayetano and Judge Walter Heen
Maui flash flood warning extended to 12:45 am →

The National Weather Service in Honolulu has continued the Flood Advisory for the Island of MAUI effective until 12:45 a.m. This Advisory may need to be extended beyond 12:45 a.m. if heavy rain persists.
More at Maui County »

Gallery: Stormy Tuesday

Photos and videos from the community Read More »

City: Rain leads to sewer overflows in East Honolulu →

Flooding led to an overflow of 40,000 gallons of stormwater and untreated waste into Maunalua Bay and the Ala Wai today. Read More »

Linked from Tannya Boyd Joaquin
Campaign Spending, Ethics Commission seek members →

Application deadline is extended to March 29. More at Judiciary » Read More »

Hilo station dumps Limbaugh →

In case you missed it. More at Disappeared News »

Reapportionment commission resumes today →

Meeting today at 2pm in State Capitol room 329. More at 2011 Reapportionment Commission »

UPDATE: Oahu flood advisory extended to 1:45 pm; Kauai warning extended to 2:00 pm →

Water has been reported along portions of Kalanianaole Highway in east Honolulu while a rock slide was reported near Sandy Beach. Rain is falling on saturated ground and additional periods of heavy rain will lead to flooding.
More at KHON »

Molokai flood advisory cancelled → Thunder, lightning, and rain
Photo by Trent Allianic, via Twitter
Flooding, sewage spill on Kauai due to rains; Mayor declares disaster

Kauai has urged some residents in Anahola to move to higher ground. Waioli Church in Hanalei and Kilauea gym are allowing in people needing a place to rest. The American Red Cross also was opening a shelter Monday evening at the Kapaa Middle School for residents evacuated from their homes.
More at »

Kauai schools closed due to rain, flooding →

Kapa‘a, Kilauea, and Hanalei schools closed Tuesday More at Department of Education » Read More »

Kauai utility plans second solar farm → Sears Ala Moana to close in 2013 →

General Growth Properties is acquiring 11 Sears stores, including the Ala Moana location. More at Pacific Business News »

Carlisle: 2012 State of the City Address

"We are preparing Honolulu for the future ... we are investing in infrastructure ... and we are ending politics as usual and increasing citizen engagement." Read More »

Mayor Peter Carlisle at Mission Memorial Auditorium
Photo courtesy of the City & County of Honolulu
Should counties be shielded from the Sunshine? →

The state house judiciary will consider a bill that would exempt county councils from Hawaii open government regulations, also known as the "Sunshine Law." More at iLind.net » Read More »

Today is Fat Tuesday

Celebrations converge on Chinatown Read More »

Library system website gets an overhaul →

The new state library website includes 'fuzzy logic,' and a search engine that explores library holdings, ebooks, digital audio books, music holdings, and more. More at Hawaii 24/7 »

Housing is more affordable – just not in Hawaii → Kakaako gets its paint on
Photo by Aaron Yoshino
Family of Hawaii prisoner murdered in private overseas prison files lawsuit against State, firm Honolulu police department graduates 26 new officers → Council to debate Waianae land use plan, including Purple Spot Public access TV bill to be heard this afternoon HIFF’s Anderson Le fills us in on Sundance → Rail revenue surpasses projections, city officials say Kung Hee Fat Choy → Session opens to budget concerns →

Treena Shapiro reports on the state legislature, which opens today to concerns about the budget. More at AP »