General News

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Hawaii Gov. David Ige issued an emergency proclamation Wednesday in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Casey Harlow/HPR

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell is seeking a nearly $3 billion operating budget for the next fiscal year, one that earmarks millions for the controversial rail project. The proposal also calls for $1.27 billion in capital improvement spending.

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There are still no reported cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus in Hawaii. But a spate of canceled events and falling visitor numbers from abroad indicate the virus is creating economic headwinds. 

Ashley Mizuo/HPR

Updated: 3/4/20, 10:12 a.m.

Hawaii health officials say six samples that were tested locally for coronavirus have come back negative. The cases involved patients on Oahu, Hawaii Island and Maui. The results come as officials ramp up preparations for a possible virus outbreak in the islands.


Japan has suspended its yearly funding for the Thirty Meter Telescope, citing the stalemate over its construction on Mauna Kea. While this doesn’t mean the country is pulling out of the multi-nation project as opponents urged it to do, the country does supply key components for the telescope.

Casey Harlow/HPR

Honolulu officials set up six tents at the Old Stadium Park Monday as part of its mobile homeless outreach program. Nearby residents are optimistic it will address homelessness, but they also have concerns. 

Wikimedia Commons

Updated: 3/3/20, 2:50 p.m.

The Honolulu Festival has canceled all events in response to the coronavirus crisis, organizers said in a news release Tuesday. The festival that draws thousands of visitors to the islands had been scheduled to run from March 6 through March 8, but has been halted "to help prevent the potential transmission of the coronavirus in Hawaii," according to the festival's statement. It joins another major festival FESTPAC in changing plans following the outbreak.

Casey Harlow / HPR

The arrest on Thursday of Kauaʻi Council Member Arthur Brun has surprised and disappointed residents across the small island, while charges that he led a major drug ring selling methamphetamine has shaken the image of the tranquil, laid-back community.


A bill that would require publicly traded corporations based in Hawaii to include women on their boards of directors has advanced in the state Senate, but it is facing resistance from business advocates.

Hawaii County

KAILUA-KONA — Hawaii County's mayor has made public a $625.9 million budget proposal for the next fiscal year that includes a $7.8 million increase in retirement benefits for county employees.

Eric Tessmer/Wikimedia Commons / Creative Commons 3.0 License

Molokaʻi may become the first island in Hawaiʻi where new short-term vacation rentals are banned and old ones phased out. The Maui County Council quietly approved a measure last month to do all that and it’s now awaiting Mayor Michael Victorino’s signature. This comes as Maui planners consider extending a ban to the entire county.

Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island via AP/Pool

Bail will remain at $5 million for a mother arrested in Hawaii over the disappearance of her two Idaho children, a judge ruled Wednesday.

U.S. Department of Energy

HILO — The Puna Geothermal Venture power plant is expected to restart operations in the second half of 2020, later than a previous estimate, according to its owner.

Ryan Piros / Maui County

WAILUKU — County officials in Maui are considering a ban on all short-term vacation rentals to combat illegal rental operations on the island.

AP Photo/Audrey McAvoy

The speaker of Hawaii’s House of Representatives said Friday he wants to form a committee to examine the potential economic effects of the coronavirus outbreak so lawmakers can be prepared to cut spending if tax revenue drops sharply.

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A Northern California health worker who had cared for a patient with coronavirus hopped a plane to visit Hawaii, arriving yesterday. Today, after alerted by federal officials, state health officials tested the woman and found she does not have coronavirus.

Kathryn Loydall from Pixabay

Crack seed is one of Hawaiʻi's local charms. As a child, Honolulu resident Clayton Chang dreamed of owning his favorite neighborhood crack seed store. It's a dream that eventually came true -- along with a transformation to shave ice.

AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

Schools across the United States are canceling trips abroad, preparing online lessons and even rethinking “perfect attendance” awards as they brace for the possibility that the new coronavirus could begin spreading in their communities.

Ashley Mizuo/HPR

Frustrated by the Hawaii Department of Education's delays in completing capital improvements, state lawmakers hope a measure creating a school facilities agency will speed up the projects.

Casey Harlow/HPR

Updated: 2/28/20, 4:55 p.m.

Kauaʻi County Council member Arthur Brun pleaded not guilty Friday to 10 felony charges -- two with a maximum punishment of life in prison -- after he was arrested with 11 others by Kauaʻi police and federal agents as part of an islandwide drug sweep.

Casey Harlow / HPR

Honolulu's first responders are asking state lawmakers to pass a package of gun control bills that they say could prevent incidents like January's Diamond Head shooting that left two police officers dead.

Associated Press

Updated 2/27/20 5:45 p.m.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has given Hawaii the go-ahead to start preparing for coronavirus testing locally, a process that could begin as early as next week.

Ryan Finnerty/HPR

The City and County of Honolulu signed an agreement with Hitachi worth $918 million over 13 years to operate the long-delayed rail transit system.

Maui Fire Department

A brush fire continues to burn on Kahoʻolawe, but it could be a blessing in disguise for those restoring native plants on the island.

Updated: 2/26/20, 12:35 p.m.

Hawaiian Airlines announced Wednesday that it is suspending its flights to South Korea starting March 2 and extending to April 30 in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak in that country.

Catherine Cruz / HPR

A national labor union conducted an audit of its organization in Hawaii and found what it said is excessive spending and a lack of transparency by some staff.


State lawmakers are weighing a measure that would make verbally threatening to harm a sports official a Class C felony instead of a misdemeanor.

Flickr Commons / Joe Parks
Flickr Commons / Joe Parks

The latest data from the Hawaii Tourism Authority shows the number of short-term vacation rentals on Oahu continued to decline, while Maui and Kauai saw substantial increases.

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KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii — A bill aimed at raising the minimum age to purchase tobacco and electronic smoking devices has stalled in the state House of Representatives.

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Roughly 99 million Americans still do not have identification in compliance with a federal law set to take effect in October. More than half of Hawaii licenses and IDs are compliant, but for those on Oahu who haven't gotten the approved identifications, the wait for an appointment now stretches to about six weeks.