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Hotel unit numbers drop as vacation rental units increase fuels slight growth
Visitor lodging across the state grew to 80,751 units last year, a scant 0.1 percent rise from 2017. Hotels, which supply more than 54 percent of the lodging in the state, saw their unit count dip to 43,857, a more than 2 percent drop from 2017. Vacation rental units grew just over 3 percent to 13,082 units. That’s more than 16 percent of all the supply of visitor lodging in the state, making them the study’s second-largest visitor accommodation category.  Star-Advertiser.

Senate president’s son is new lobbyist for Chamber of Commerce
The Chamber of Commerce Hawaii has hired Dan Kouchi, the son of Senate President Ron Kouchi, as its new assistant vice president for government affairs and alliances, which some at the state Capitol fear could mean trouble this year for proposals to increase Hawaii's minimum wage. The chamber is the state’s leading business advocacy group and has been an outspoken opponent of minimum wage increases.  Star-Advertiser.

State rolls out quicker tax filing, with better tracking for tax dodgers
"Tax Season" started Monday. It's the first big test of the state's new "E-Filing" system. The upgrade to the tax department's website is intended to make it quicker to file, and should make it easier for the state to track people who don't pay their taxes. With good reason, as the state is owed a sizable sum: around a half a billion dollars in delinquent taxes. KITV.

Rep. Takumi introduces bills on consumer protection issues
Representative Roy M. Takumi, Chair of the House Consumer Protection and Commerce Committee, introduced a package of bills. In total 6 bills relating to  various consumer protection issues, prescription drugs, single use plastic straws, and flavored tobacco products. KHON2.

Lawmaker proposing no down payment on a home for returning kamaaina
Representative Gene Ward is proposing a bill that would give graduates of Hawaii high schools with a degree from a mainland college who are first time home buyers a no money down deal. He is proposing to fund it by taxing real estate investment trusts. KHON2.

Invasive species protections suffered during shutdown
The effort to control non-native species in Hawaii was dealt a significant setback by the 35-day partial shutdown of the federal government. Inspectors at ports of entry remained on duty, but research and mitigation efforts into previously established invasive species saw major reductions in available resources. Hawaii Public Radio.

Many Hawaii Companies Have Not Fully Protected their Brand Names
A state trademark will protect your business identifier locally, but a federal trademark on the same name – even if taken out later – will trump a state trademark...read more.

City council candidates Ozawa, Waters head back out on the campaign trail
The upcoming Special Election for the Honolulu City Council District 4 seat has not been scheduled. But the candidates aren't waiting to go back on the campaign trail. A Supreme Court decision invalidating the campaign results instructed a special election must happen within 120 days. City council looks to temporarily fill seat in the interim. Hawaii Public Radio.
Star-Advertiser. KITV.

Crime against the elderly has tripled over the last decade
Along with an increase of violence against seniors, the city Prosecutor’s Office says it’s seeing another disturbing trend: Kupuna conned by their own family. And authorities say that for most part, financial crimes against the elderly are vastly under-reported. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Kai man sues DLNR over floatilla boat seizure
Wyatt Kam sued the state Department of Land and Natural Resources Monday along with several other DLNR law enforcement officers over an aggressive boat seizure in 2017, during the Fourth of July flotilla event in Waikiki. Kam alleged that a supervising officer, Carlton Helm, ordered him face down, placing his boot on his back for 45 minutes and threatened to kick him. The department declined comment on the lawsuit, which alleged that Kam’s civil rights were violated and that he was falsely imprisoned. Hawaii News Now.

Disability treatment center will close
Milestones, a nonprofit treatment center for youth with autism, cerebral palsy and other developmental disorders, served 1,700 children since opening 10 months ago. The treatment center will shut its doors in February due to the sudden departure of the organization’s chief doctor. Civil Beat.

Serious health violations found at Trump Tower Waikiki’s steak house
Leaks, backed up drains, inadequate hand washing facilities and improperly sanitized food surfaces caused state health inspectors to issue a yellow placard to BLT Steak at Trump International Hotel in Waikiki. Hawaii News Now.



Seasoning with a Graceful Touch
Tezloff Silo tosses freshly fried sweet potato and taro chips with salt at Hawaiian Chip Co. Mixing is a tricky job requiring delicate technique to avoid breaking chips...read more.

Cultural center atop Mauna Kea sought
The possibility of creating a future Hawaiian cultural and/or educational center somewhere on the higher elevations of Mauna Kea was discussed during a recent informational briefing at the Capitol. Big Island Video News.

Hilo airport, air cargo concerns discussed
State Senators are hoping to pass a bill this legislative session that will establish a Hawaii Airports Corporation, as lawmakers question some of the issues at Hilo International Airport. During a recent Senate Ways and Means Committee briefing, chair Donovan Dela Cruz focused the discussion on airports “that are not generating enough revenue to cover its operational costs, like Hilo Airport.” Big Island Video News.

Lab to fill little fire ants vacancy, budgetary slip delays hiring process
As little fire ants continue to swarm West Hawaii, the state inches closer to fortifying permanent reinforcements to combat the invasive species. Included in last year’s budget was $200,000 in extra annual funding for Hawaii Ant Lab, a portion of which was earmarked for the creation of the lab’s first full-time position in West Hawaii. As of Friday, the University of Hawaii at Manoa had yet to advertise the job or form the panel that will select from qualified applicants to fill it. West Hawaii Today.

7 Ways to Protect Your Business from Online Attacks

Follow these recommendations to increase cybersecurity awareness...read more.

27 acre Maui Bay Villas first phase underway
Hilton Grand Vacations has started construction at the Maui Bay Villas, with work on the first phase slated for completion in the first quarter of 2021. When complete, the resort will offer 388 units of one-, two- and three-bedroom suites, averaging 962 square feet, among a dozen one- to four-story buildings that are arranged in a low-density, resort-type campus. Maui Now.

A whale was reported dead on the beach in Kekaha Monday morning
Kauai County Ocean Safety officials helped retrieve the carcass from the beach and brought it to the Pacific Missile Range Facility base for necropsy. A UH stranding team and an NOAA contract veterinarian flew over  from Oahu to investigate the cause of death. Garden Island.



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