(Star Advertiser) Tickets for Rams-Cowboys game at Aloha Stadium selling fast

Tickets for Rams-Cowboys game at Aloha Stadium selling fast

(Source: Star Advertiser)

  • Video by Craig T. Kojima / ckojima@staradvertiser.com

    The Los Angeles Rams confirmed Thursday they will face off with the Dallas Cowboys at a preseason game on Aug. 17 at Aloha Stadium.

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott broke away from Los Angeles Rams nose tackle Ndamukong Suh during the first half in an NFL divisional football playoff game in January. Both teams are set to play an NFL preseason game at Aloha Stadium.

  • THERAMS.COM

    The Rams’ website showed most seats have already sold. The blue areas are seats that were available at 3 p.m. Thursday.

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Los Angeles Rams President and Chief Operating Officer Kevin Demoff had just about finished his media interviews at the Hawai‘i Convention Center on Thursday morning when an incoming text suddenly seized his attention.

Demoff stared at the phone, doing a quick double take.

Just an hour — and barely out the door — after the press conference laying out plans for the Rams to play the Dallas Cowboys in an Aug. 17 preseason game at Aloha Stadium, Demoff said the text had notified him that “We’ve already sold 2,500 (tickets).”

When the Rams’ offices in California had closed for the day, a team spokesman said distribution was “approaching” a half-filled Aloha Stadium, where capacity is listed at 50,000. By the end of business at the stadium box office in Halawa, the count had reached 28,000.

“Wow, tickets are going fast. Thought I was smooth by clicking in soon after the story was posted,” a ticket buyer posted on the comment section on the Star-Advertiser website. “Got mine in section ‘K’ orange when it was half (available on the seating map). By the time I finished the purchase, the section was just about sold out.”

That the first NFL preseason game in Hawaii since 1976, when the San Francisco 49ers and San Diego Chargers drew 36,364 to a then year-old Aloha Stadium, was generating that level of interest was welcomed by the sponsoring Hawaii Tourism Authority, which envisions the game as a “pilot program” of sorts to build new NFL relationships.

HTA President and CEO Chris Tatum said the goal is to build ties with the Rams beyond their current one-year contract as well as send a message to the rest of the NFL. “In talking to Kevin, I think the experience they have this year will tell the NFL and the rest of the teams whether this is a really good venue (for future ventures),” Tatum said.

It has been three years since the NFL severed its four-decade relationship with the state by uprooting its annual all-star game, the Pro Bowl, for which the HTA had paid $5.2 million in 2016, and moving it to Orlando, Fla.

To get its foot back in pro football, the HTA is paying $2 million for a yearlong marketing partnership with the Rams which includes signage and media opportunities at the team’s games in Southern California, the HTA’s largest visitor market.

For the Cowboys game, the Rams will keep the ticket revenue and be responsible for both teams’ travel and lodging. Aloha Stadium will retain parking and concessions revenue and receive rent, which combined are projected to give the facility more than a $200,000 boost above what it got when the Pro Bowl was played here.

It follows on the heels of a partnership with the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers, who are scheduled to return to Honolulu in the fall for a third training camp and exhibition game, Tatum confirmed.

The Rams became the leading candidate to bring a preseason game back here because their new $4.9 billion home, LA Stadium, isn’t scheduled to open until 2020, and renovation of their interim venue, the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, will continue into the summer.

But when the Rams’ new facility opens, it is unlikely the team will be in a position to return to Aloha Stadium as a host team for at least a while, which is why the HTA is hoping the game makes a good impression leaguewide. “As we go forward, it seems like somebody always has some kind of stadium (issues) going on, so there could be future openings if the Rams and Cowboys have a good experience,” Tatum said.

Depending on how things go, Demoff said, “Even if hosting doesn’t work out for us, (in the near future) there might be ways to continue our relationship longer term. We view this as an opportunity to build a relationship, not just a game. I do think there are possibilities as we move forward not just for a preseason game, but training camps for the offseason, minicamps, clinics, etc. We might even be interested in coming back as a (visiting) team.”

As for this year, Demoff said, “Obviously, it would be fantastic to have a sellout, and that is our goal — and the Cowboys’ goal — to make that a reality.”

GET THE SCOOP

It’s the first NFL preseason game in Hawaii since 1976.

>> When: 4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 17, at Aloha Stadium

>> Tickets: Available on TheRams.com/Hawaii and on-site at Aloha Stadium.

MORE INFO

>> Rams and Cowboys each expect to hold at least one open practice while in Honolulu.

>> Rams will conduct several community engagement opportunities for youth including an 11-on-11 tournament and skills competition featuring 16 local high school teams.

>> Rams’ cheerleaders and mascot will visit local schools.

>> Rams will have military engagement programs.

(Star Advertiser) Car racing fans push for a track at Barbers Point

Car racing fans push for a track at Barbers Point

(Source: Star Advertiser)

A state Senate committee will hold a hearing today on a resolution “expressing support” for a racetrack on 220 acres at the former Barbers Point Naval Air Station that backers want initially for coned-course driving but could expand to quarter- mile, oval and dirt bike racing.

It’s been a long road for car racing enthusiasts, who lost Hawaii Raceway Park in 2006.

Organizer Li Cobian said his group wants to restore a portion of an old Marine Corps Air Station Ewa runway built after the Dec. 7, 1941, attack to provide the same type of coned-course racing that is organized at Aloha Stadium’s parking lot now. Ewa Field eventually became part of Barbers Point.

The hearing will be held at 2:45 p.m. today before the Energy, Economic Development and Tourism Committee. A House hearing will be held next week.

If the city, which is obtaining the land, approves the plan, the group could ask for a “right-of-entry” permit and conduct dirt racing almost immediately, Cobian said.

The car racers want to “show the city and the community that we’re not outlaws,” Cobian said, “then maybe in a year or two maybe propose something else for other people to participate in. But right now the only thing we want to do is use the existing infrastructure there.”

A longer-term use could include a quarter-mile drag strip, oval racing and dirt bike track, he said. Car racing dates back to the 1940s at what was then an active military base, he noted.

The long-awaited transfer of the 220-acre parcel to the city is expected this spring and stems from the closure of the old Barbers Point in 1999 and the anticipated turnover from the Navy of 400 acres total.

But the racetrack plan has plenty of challenges from the standpoint of use, noise, dust and proximity to homes, a Navy golf course and Ewa Field, a Dec. 7 historic site.

The racetrack would utilize portions of Ewa Field that were built after Japanese aircraft attacked the base.

The National Park Service placed as much as 200 acres of the 1941 portion of the base on the National Register of Historic Places in 2016.

Ewa Beach historian John Bond previously noted that even post-1941 parts of Ewa Field, including the 1942 runway that’s on the racetrack plan, are National Register-eligible in association with the base’s World War II history — including a key role in the Battle of Midway.

“The area has major Native Hawaiian history, archaeology and cultural sites, including known iwi burials, sinkholes and caves throughout the former MCAS Ewa base where promoters want a racetrack,” Bond said in testimony against the plan.

A host of state and federal regulatory agencies “will take great interest in any development plans for this site,” he said.

In December, Kapolei- Makakilo-Honokai Hale Neighborhood Board member Dean Kalani Capelouto said another Barbers Point parcel on the far southwestern side of the runway was suggested for a racetrack.

“This is the only location supported that addressed the concerns of our board leadership and community with regards to noise, dust, proximity to homes and other historic-preservation concerns,” Capelouto said.

City parks officials have stressed the need for open fields and play areas, meanwhile.

Neighbor island raceway parks received $2 million to $3 million a year in state capital improvement support, Cobian said, adding he’d like to see a similar city-state involvement at a Barbers Point racetrack.

“This is not something we want to try to do a business with. We want it just like the neighbor islands (where racing) is all under parks and rec, and that’s exactly how we want to have it,” he said.

The city runs soccer fields, swimming pools, botanical gardens and volleyball courts, Cobian said.

“Everyone always asks us, ‘Oh, the money, the money, the money,’” he said. “How come nobody asks about the money for all the other stuff? It’s like billions that gets subsidized. But when it comes to motor sports, it’s like, ‘Show us the business plan.’”

(Star Advertiser) Small group of homeless digs in on Young Street

Small group of homeless digs in on Young Street

(Source: Star Advertiser)

  • Video by Craig T. Kojima / ckojima@staradvertiser.com

    Honolulu police officers ordered a group of five to 10 chronically homeless people to leave the Walgreens parking lot on Young Street Thursday morning.

  • CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARADVERTISER.COM

    Richard Hoex, 41, was among the homeless ordered to leave a Walgreens parking lot Thursday on Young Street near Piikoi Street. Hoex said he has been homeless for 17 years and has been living along Young Street for 2-1/2 years.

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Honolulu police officers Thursday morning rolled into the Walgreens parking lot on Young Street and ordered three homeless people to leave the private property — part of an ongoing effort to remove a particularly stubborn group of five to 10 chronically homeless people from the area.

They’ve also rejected offers of help from social service outreach workers.

Between Jan. 2 and Tuesday, a special city cleanup crew has enforced the city’s stored property and sidewalk nuisance ordinances 42 times along Young Street near Piikoi Street, according to city spokesman Andrew Pereira.

(Star Advertiser)

Labrador retriever most popular U.S. dog breed for 28th year

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Labrador retrievers Soave, 2, left, and Hola, 10-months, posed for photographs, in March 2018, as Harbor, 8-weeks, took a nap during a news conference at the American Kennel Club headquarters in New York. The Labrador retriever is the American Kennel Club’s most popular U.S. purebred dog of 2018.

NEW YORK >> Labrador retrievers aren’t letting go of their hold on U.S. dog lovers, but German shorthaired pointers are tugging on the top ranks of doggy popularity, according to new American Kennel Club data.

Labs topped the list for the 28th year in a row. Yet there’s been plenty of movement over time on the purebred pup-ularity ladder.

Here’s a look at the 2018 rankings being released today.

THE TOP 10

After Labs, the top five breeds nationwide are German shepherds, golden retrievers, French bulldogs and bulldogs. Rounding out the top 10 are beagles, poodles, Rottweilers, German shorthaired pointers and Yorkshire terriers.

Labs smashed the record for longest tenure as top dog back in 2013. Fans credit the Lab’s generally amiable nature and aptitude in many canine roles: bomb-sniffer, service dog, hunters’ helper, dog-sport competitor and patient family pet.

At No. 9, the German shorthaired pointer notched its highest ranking since getting AKC recognition in 1930. These strikingly speckled hunting dogs are also versatile — some work as drug- and bomb-detectors — and active companions.

“I think people are learning about how fun the breed is,” says AKC spokeswoman Brandi Hunter.

The suddenly ubiquitous French bulldog remains the fourth most popular breed for a second year, after surging from 83rd a quarter-century ago.

THE NUMBERS:

The rankings reflect a breed’s prevalence among the 580,900 puppies and other purebred dogs newly registered in 2018 with the AKC, the country’s oldest such registry. Some 88,175 of these dogs were Labs.

AKC says registrations, which are voluntary, have been growing for six years.

Estimates of the total number of pet dogs nationwide range from about 70 million to 90 million.

THE CONSISTENT FAVE

Beagles, now No. 6, can boast they’re uniquely beloved. No other breed has made the top 10 in every decade since record-keeping began in the 1880s.

Why? “They’re a good general family dog,” lively, friendly, relatively low-maintenance and comfortable with children, says breeder Kevin Shupenia of Dacula, Georgia. Beagles also work sniffing out contraband meat and plants at airports, detecting bedbugs in homes and doing their traditional job: hunting rabbits.

“They have a sense of humor, and they’re just characters,” Shupenia says.

THE RAREST OF THEM ALL:

The most scant breed was the sloughi (pronounced SLOO’-ghee). The greyhound-like dog has a long history in North Africa but garnered AKC recognition only three years ago. It replaces the Norwegian lundehund in the rarest-breed spot.

HOW DID DOODLES DO?

Wonder where goldendoodles, puggles, or cockapoos stand? You won’t find these and other popular “designer dogs” among the 193 breeds recognized and ranked by the AKC.

That’s not to say they never will be, if their fanciers so desire. New breeds join the club periodically, after meeting criteria that include having at least 300 dogs nationwide and three generations.

Meanwhile, designer and just plain mixed-breed dogs can sign up with AKC to compete in such sports as agility, dock diving and obedience.

THE WHYS, PROS AND CONS OF POPULARITY

Many factors can influence a breed’s popularity: ease of care, exposure from TV and movies, and famous owners, to name a few.

Popularity spurts can expand knowledge about a breed, but many people in dogdom rue slipshod breeding by people trying to cash in on sudden cachet.

Elaine Albert, a longtime chow chow owner and sometime breeder, is glad the ancient Chinese dog is now 75th in the rankings, after leaping into the top 10 in the 1980s. Albert recalls that she and other chow rescue volunteers were swamped as people gave up dogs with temperament and health problems, which she attributes to careless breeding.

“I certainly wouldn’t want (chows) to be number one, ever,” says Albert, of Hauppauge, New York. “They belong where they are…. They’re not for everybody.”

On the other hand, aficionados of rare breeds sometimes worry about sustaining them.

THE PUREBRED DEBATE

Some animal-welfare groups feel the pursuit of purebred dogs puts their looks ahead of their health and diverts people from adopting pets. Critics also say the AKC needs to do more to thwart puppy mills.

The club says it encourages responsible breeding of healthy dogs, not as a beauty contest but to preserve traits that have helped dogs do particular jobs

(Hawaii News Now)

(Source: Hawaii News Now)

Hawaii ranked a top beach destination for travelers this spring break

Hawaii ranked a top beach destination for travelers this spring break
Kaanapali Beach on Maui is ranked one of the top beaches in the nation (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – Spring is officially here, and a new survey says even more people are taking trips this spring break, with many of them expected to flock to Hawaii beaches.

TripAdvisor surveyed more than 4,000 people and found that about 50 percent of participants were taking spring break trips this year compared to 43 percent last year.

Of those, nearly 30 percent were going to beach destinations. And one of the most popular beach destinations on the list: Hawaii.

Other popular beach destinations included Florida, the Caribbean, California and South Carolina.

Kaanapali Beach on Maui was listed as one of the top three beaches in the country.

Copyright 2019 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

(Star Advertiser) Hawaii bills push first state ban on plastics in restaurants

Hawaii bills push first state ban on plastics in restaurants

(Source: Star Advertiser)

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS / March 14

    Hawaii would be the first state in the U.S. to ban most plastics used at restaurants under legislation that aims to cut down on waste that pollutes the ocean. Belinda Lau, manager of the Wiki Wiki Drive Inn takeout restaurant in Honolulu, sprinkles cheese on an order of spaghetti in a styrofoam container.

Hawaii would be the first state in the U.S. to ban most plastics at restaurants under legislation that aims to cut down on waste that pollutes the ocean.

Dozens of cities nationwide have banned plastic foam containers, but Hawaii’s measure targeting fast-food and full-service restaurants would make it the first state to do so. Hawaii has a history of prioritizing the environment — it’s mandated renewable energy use and prohibited sunscreen ingredients that harm coral.

A second, more ambitious proposal would go even further and prohibit restaurants, stores, wholesalers and government agencies from distributing and using plastic drink bottles, utensils, stirring sticks, bags and straws.

The Hawaii efforts would be stricter than in California, which last year became the first state to ban full-service restaurants from automatically giving out plastic straws, and broader than in Seattle, San Francisco and other cities that have banned some single-use plastics.

Activists believe the foam container measure has a better chance of passing in Hawaii.

“We have this reputation of setting the example for the world to follow, and that’s what we’re trying to do here,” state Sen. Mike Gabbard, lead author of the more ambitious measure, said to the Senate. “Our state can once again take the lead in protecting our environment.”

Gabbard, father of Democratic presidential candidate and U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, said 95 percent of plastic packaging worldwide is thrown out after being used once. In the U.S., 500 million plastic straws are used and thrown out every day, he said.

Discarded, slow-to-degrade plastic is showing up at sea, as in a massive gyre northeast of the Hawaiian islands, and on beaches.

Plastics also contribute to climate change because oil is used to make them, said Stuart Coleman, Hawaii manager for the Surfrider Foundation.

Eric S.S. Wong, co-owner of two fast-food establishments on Oahu, said not being able to serve food in plastic foam containers would drive up his costs at a time when he faces rising health insurance charges for his employees and a possible minimum wage hike that lawmakers also are considering.

He said he’ll have to raise prices.

“Now all of the sudden, your family’s $30 dining experience became $37 or $38,” Wong said.

His Wiki Wiki Drive Inn takeout counter in Honolulu sells sandwiches, breakfast meals and Hawaii favorites like Loco Moco, which features white rice topped with a hamburger patty, fried egg and gravy.

A package of 200 foam boxes costs him $23, while the same number of biodegradable boxes would cost $57, he said.

Chris Yankowski of the Hawaii Restaurant Association, which represents 3,500 restaurants, said lawmakers are trying to do “too much too fast.”

Yankowski, who is also president of Triple F Distributors, argued that good alternatives to plastic products are not yet available. Hawaii’s cities and counties also don’t provide composting facilities, so there is no organized place to dispose of compostable containers that lawmakers say restaurants should use instead, he added.

“It’s almost like we want to do great things for the environment, but we’re not ready to handle it when we change it over,” Yankowski said.

The Hawaii Food Industry Association, which counts the state’s biggest supermarkets and convenience stores as members, initially opposed the foam container ban but now supports it.

The group said in written testimony that it’s encountered difficulties coping with varied local regulations and it wants the state to create a consistent standard. Two main counties — Hawaii and Maui — have already adopted plastic foam bans. Maui’s took effect on Dec. 31, while Hawaii’s takes effect on July 1.

The association still opposes the broader measure, which also would ban plastic garbage bags.

The president of Island Plastic Bags, a Hawaii company that makes plastic bags, said the legislation would prohibit his company from selling trash bags to nursing homes and hospitals as well as restaurants and hotels.

Grocery stores wouldn’t be able to sell trash can liners, Adrian Hong said in written testimony. It would create a “public health crisis,” he said.

Gabbard said his proposal was in the early stages so lawmakers have time to address such concerns.

The state Senate has passed both bills. They still must get through several House committees and the full House before heading to the governor.

Cindy McMillan, a spokeswoman for Gov. David Ige, said he hasn’t stated a position on the measures yet.

Justin Macia, a pharmacist in Honolulu, said he would like people to use less plastic and stop using plastic foam entirely because of how long it takes to degrade. Cardboard containers would be a great alternative, he said.

“It’s definitely something that’s got to go,” he said, after eating a sandwich from a foam takeout box.

 

(Hawaii News Now) Hawaii attorney crowned 67th Cherry Blossom Festival Queen

Hawaii attorney crowned 67th Cherry Blossom Festival Queen

(Source: Hawaii News Now)

Hawaii attorney crowned 67th Cherry Blossom Festival Queen
Hawaii attorney Lauren Sugai was crowned the 67th Cherry Blossom Festival Queen (Image: Cherry Blossom Festival)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – A new Cherry Blossom Festival Queen has been crowned!

On Saturday night, Hawaii attorney Lauren Sugai was crowned the 67th winner at the annual Festival Ball and coronation ceremony at Sheraton Waikiki.

She was one of 11 contestants judged for their dedication to perpetuating Japanese culture, education and passion for community service.

Sugai is a 2008 graduate of Pearl City High School and a 2012 graduate of the University of Hawaii at Manoa, where she received a bachelor’s degree in business administration in accounting.

She also received a master of business administration from UH Shidler College of Business and a juris doctorate from UH William Richardson School of Law.

Sugai currently works as an attorney at Chong, Nishimoto, Sia, Nakamura and Goya LLLP.

Some of her interests include golfing, traveling and trying new breakfast places.

Here are the members of this year’s court:

  • 1st Princess Kayla Yuri Ueshiro
  • Princess Ariel Kwai Ying Kiyomi Lee
  • Princess Katrina Eiko Shimomura
  • Princess and Miss Popularity Taylor Kaleimakanani Keiko Chee
  • Miss Congeniality Reeann Eiko Kaleilani Minatoya

Copyright 2019 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

(Star Advertiser) Southwest makes its inaugural flight to the islands

Southwest makes its inaugural flight to the islands

(Source: Star Advertiser)

Southwest Airlines President Tom Nealon marked the carrier’s debut of over-water service to the isles with a promise that “we’re in it to win it.”

The discount carrier’s inaugural flight, appropriately numbered 6808, came from Oakland International Airport to Daniel K. Inouye International Airport on Sunday. The 175-seat plane carried approximately 165 passengers — a robust 94 percent load factor indicating that demand was high.

The jet arrived in Hawaii without a hitch, completing a historically significant weekend for the company. On Saturday, Southwest reached a long-awaited “agreement in principle ” with its mechanics union that finally could bring an end to more than six years of bargaining.

Southwest has maintained that Hawaii is this year’s focus and priority; however, the agreement eases some of the carrier’s logistical tensions. In recent weeks a protracted labor battle as well as the Federal Aviation Administration’s Wednesday grounding of 737 Max jets had strained resources.

Nealon said the labor dispute was “very, very difficult,” resulting in millions in lost revenue as the carrier was forced to cancel a significant number of flights over the last two weeks.

“Typically we have 14 to 15 of our 752 aircraft out of service, and we can make up for that. But we had 40 to 60 out with the mechanics issue, and that’s hard for us,” Nealon said. “I felt really good last night when I learned we have an ‘agreement in principle.’”

Southwest flew to Hawaii on a Boeing 737-800, but the carrier has said that it plans to eventually upgrade its Hawaii service to Boeing 737 Max 8 jets. Nealon said the grounding definitely won’t factor into the company’s first or second launch of Hawaii service, and he doesn’t expect it would affect future expansion.

The 737 Max 8 and Max 9 planes have come under scrutiny since the March 11 fatal crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302. That 737 Max 8 crash was preceded by the October crash of a Lion Air Boeing Max 8 plane in Indonesia.

The abrupt FAA order was a particular worry for Southwest, which has 34 Max jets — more than any other U.S. carrier — and has plans to dramatically expand its fleet of the more fuel-efficient, quieter planes. In comparison, the only other U.S. carriers that fly either the Max 8 and Max 9 jets are American, which has 24, and United, which has 14.

Nealon said Southwest remains confident in its Max 8 jets, on which the carrier has completed 88,000 flight hours over 41,000 flights.

“Whatever is required, we’ll go through that process. We won’t take shortcuts. I’d like to think it’s not a long-term issue,” Nealon said.

Regardless, “it’s not a Hawaii issue,” Nealon said.

The major issue facing Southwest’s Hawaii entry had been the government shutdown, which delayed regulators from completing the carrier’s certification and caused service to launch a month later than anticipated.

Southwest is now making up for lost time. By the end of May, Southwest already will have added 12 daily trans-Pacific flights to and from Hawaii and 16 interisland flights — adding 1,800 interisland air seats and 2,100 trans-Pacific air seats daily to the Hawaii market.

Nealon said the service also fills a long-standing gap in Southwest’s coverage, which didn’t extend to Hawaii — a favorite beach destination for the carrier’s California market.

“Our customers wanted us to fly to Hawaii,” Nealon said.

Erie, Pa., natives and big Southwest fans Tim Klan, wife Holly and 10-year-old son Mark had been tracking Southwest schedules since the carrier announced last year that it planned to start flying to Hawaii.

“We’ve been waiting for this. There was a feeding frenzy. This (Oakland-to- Honolulu) flight sold out in an hour, but we managed to snag $99 flights each way,” said Tim Klan, whose family has been on 30 of the carrier’s inaugural flights.

The family has been on 700 Southwest flights since the couple first booked the carrier in 2001. They’ve also visited each of the more than 100 destinations that Southwest flies.

The Klans said they’ve already booked flights to return when Southwest starts service between Oakland and Maui on April 7. They’ve got tickets for when Southwest begins flying between San Jose and Honolulu on May 5, and they’ll be back when it launches service between San Jose and Maui on May 26.

They’re also coming to Hawaii for Southwest’s April 28 start of interisland serv­ice, which will run four times daily in each direction, between Honolulu and Kahului. The Klans are back again May 12 when the carrier will begin service between Honolulu and Kona flying planes four times daily in each direction.

Southwest has said that it will announce service between Hawaii and San Diego and Sacramento, and interisland service to Lihue in the “coming weeks.”

Southwest’s debut was a big enough deal that Gov. David Ige welcomed the first Southwest jet to the isles. Ige said the launch was the culmination of 10 years of courting by the state followed by a three-year, public-private partnership. It will “improve the state’s economy” and “give customers more options,” he said.

To fill planes quickly, Southwest kicked off its Hawaii service with introductory low fares offering trans-Pacific flights for as little as $49 each way and interisland sales from $29. Southwest’s introductory fares won’t last forever, but they’ve already meant lower fares to and from Hawaii as other carriers, mainly Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines, have responded to the increasingly competitive environment.

Alaska Airlines spokesman Daniel Chun said Alaska is the leader in the number of routes and flights from the West Coast to Hawaii and for the last seven years has offered the lowest average fares to Hawaii from West Coast origins.

Chun said Alaska is advertising website flight deals from as low as $139 each way.

“Because of our low fares and remarkable service, we’ve grown from 6 percent of the industry’s West Coast departures to Hawaii in 2008 to 30 percent today,” Chun said in a statement. “We’re committed to growing with this community.”

Hawaiian Airlines has had a monopoly in the interisland market since the 2017 shutdown of Island Air and offers nonstop flights to Hawaii from 12 mainland gateway cities, and soon to be 13 with Boston — more than any other carrier. It’s not going to give up its strongholds easily.

Hawaiian announced Thursday that it would add a third daily flight between San Francisco and the Hawaiian Islands in October using new Airbus A321neo aircraft. That announcement followed a dramatic drop in interisland fares to Maui starting in April when Southwest is supposed to start flying there.

Hawaiian Airlines spokesman Matthew Brelis said in a statement Sunday, “We offer the best value in the marketplace. We provide an unparalleled combination of hospitality, choice, comfort, knowledge of these islands and leading punctuality, all of which are supported by a robust schedule of neighbor island frequencies. We will continue to focus on being the best hosts we can be to our guests.”

Southwest only has economy-class seats. Still, Nealon said the Dallas-based airline would ensure that passengers to and from Hawaii “feel cared for and appreciated” without ever charging bag fees or change fees.

“We are in this for good,” he said.

(Star Advertiser) Honolulu Council likely relocating offices to Alii Place

HAWAII NEWS

Honolulu Council likely relocating offices to Alii Place

(Source: Star Advertiser)

 

Updated March 17, 2019 10:25pm
  • CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARADVERTISER.COM

    Mayor Kirk Caldwell opposes the City Council’s move to Alii Place, at 1099 Alakea St., from Honolulu Hale, above.

  • CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARADVERTISER.COM

    Alii Place’s South Hotel Street entrance.

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With or without Mayor Kirk Caldwell and his administration, Honolulu City Council members want to relocate themselves and the rest of the legislative branch to the Alii Place tower downtown from Honolulu Hale by the end of the year.

Council Chairwoman Ann Kobayashi told colleagues last week that the 2020 legislative budget includes $1,385,568 to lease the 19th and 20th floors of Alii Place for a year.

The temporary move would allow a contractor to tackle mold, lead paint, asbestos and other health concerns that employees in the Council’s second-floor offices have complained about for a number of years, Kobayashi said.

The Spanish Colonial Revival- style Honolulu Hale has been the city’s seat of government since it was completed in 1928.

The move will involve not just the offices of Council members and their staffs, but those of the City Clerk and Council Services offices. That’s about 130 employees in all.

Mayor Kirk Caldwell opposes the move and says several studies have been done that show there are no health concerns.

Nonetheless, the Council budget for the coming yearincludes $1.3 million for the leasing and maintenance fees of two floors of Alii Place for a year, Kobayashi told members of the Council Budget Committee at a briefing Thursday.

“We are moving because the Council wants to protect the health and safety of all of the employees of our legislative branch and our visitors,” Kobayashi said.

Kobayashi said the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation’s lease for its spaces on two separate floors of Alii Place runs out in 2020, and the hope is the Council can partner with HART to negotiate lower prices for both agencies. “If we join forces, we will be the largest tenant of the building,” she said.

The 19th-floor space contains about 19,940 square feet, and the 20th floor about 18,548 square feet, Council Executive Assistant Kimberly Ribellia said.

The first step will be to sign a contract with an individual to help the Council and HART negotiate the lease, Kobayashi said.

Councilwoman Kymberly Pine said she began developing a cough and breathing problems since arriving on the Council in 2013. “Last year I went to Canada and Japan in a two-week period, and my cough went away and my breathing was restored,” she said.

When she first got on the Council, “I once looked in the air ducts … and aged material was hanging from the sides, and dust was everywhere,” Pine said. “Our offices tested high for dust mites and pest waste. People are sick all the time. Carpets and walls are aged and dirty. No one wants to move, but the number of sicknesses is unusual.”

Kobayashi and Pine both said they and other Council employees suspect poor air quality in their offices is to blame for deaths and major illnesses among colleagues.

Ribellia said the Council is unable to remove wallpaper, due to lead paint concerns, or install new carpet because of concerns about asbestos in the tiles. No such improvements can be done “unless we have complete asbestos and lead paint abatement of our offices,” she said.

Kobayashi said that during the relocation, Council committees would meet at Alii Place but that the Council’s monthly meetings would still be held in the traditional third-floor Council chambers, which were cleaned and renovated several years ago. The Council had to hold meetings at alternate locations for several months.

Asked for the administration’s comments on the Council’s impending move, mayoral spokesman Andrew Pereira said Caldwell stands by the Oct. 12 letter he sent to former Council Chairman Ernie Martin outlining his “serious concerns” about the proposed move to Alii Place.

The letter included summaries and full reports of four studies conducted on various health concerns in the building since 2012. “Environmental assessments do not justify an immediate relocation,” Caldwell wrote, adding that he instructed the Department of Design and Construction “not to assist in planning for the move.”

Caldwell said that when the Council initially proposed the move, he included in his own 2019 budget funding to move the Department of Corporation Counsel and a portion of the Department of Budget and Fiscal Services. However, “after reviewing the studies attached, we do not intend to move forward with these relocations.”

None of the four studies call for significant repairs or renovation.

The last, analyzing air quality and conducted by Muranaka Environmental Consultants last summer, concluded there were no concerns found for airborne mold, bacteria, asbestos or lead dust.

It recommended the offices “be cleaned regularly using wet or damp floor cleaning implements, (be dusted) with wet or damp cloths, eliminate nesting places and HEPA vacuum to keep from dust buildup.”

It also recommended that humidity levels be kept to a standard level, that food and water sources be removed or be contained and that water-damaged ceiling tiles be replaced. Additionally, “clean visible mold growth with water and detergent and dry completely.”

Caldwell’s letter, separate from the studies, said that “there is no written and approved plan, vetted with the public, regarding the financial justification of moving to Alii Place, one of the fanciest office buildings in Honolulu.”

The 2020 Council budget proposal also includes $2 million to conduct a forensic audit of the city’s over-budget $9.2 billion rail project. The Council voted unanimously to approve Resolution 19-29, putting in motion the steps that would lead to a forensic audit of HART, the agency tasked with building the project.

All told, the $23 million Council budget is a 12 percent increase over the current year and is nearly 40 percent more than the fiscal 2016 budget five years ago.

(Star Advertiser) H-1 West clears after freeway debris at Gulick overpass clogs traffic

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H-1 West clears after freeway debris at Gulick overpass clogs traffic

(Source: Star Advertiser)

  • COURTESY GOAKAMAI.ORG

    Westbound H-1 traffic in town was clogged this afternoon after an accident near the Gulick Avenue overpass.

Traffic cleared up in the westbound lanes of the H-1 Freeway after being clogged for over an hour after debris apparently fell off of a vehicle near the Gulick Avenue overpass.

Just before 2 p.m., the Hawaii Department of Transportation tweeted: “HDOT inspectors have looked at the Gulick Avenue overpass and there is no structural damage. Traffic is clearing through the area on the H1 Fwy as all lanes are open.”

The incident follows a March 4 collision between a vehicle and the Gulick Avenue overpass that forced the closure of several lanes of the H-1 Freeway.

Tim Sakahara, spokesman for the state Department of Transportation, said after DOT inspectors did not find any damage, they initially did not think the overpass had been struck.

However after reviewing photographs, they realized that the bottom of the overpass had been scraped by a box truck being carried by a flatbed truck.

Westbound traffic was delayed before 1 p.m. after debris apparently fell off of a vehicle, possible during a collision, he said.