Herbicide ban advances

HILO — A ban on the county’s use of weedkillers in parks and along its highways advanced Wednesday on an 8-1 vote, although some members of the County Council asked for more clarification before its final vote later this month.

Council hears vacation rental update

HILO — West Hawaii accounts for 82% of the county’s short-term vacation rental applications in permitted areas and just 25% of those in non-permitted areas, according to a report discussed Tuesday by the County Council Planning Committee.

DHHL beneficiaries urge restructuring of department

HILO — Major changes need to be made to the Hawaiian Homes Commission and the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands before Native Hawaiians can be reconnected to their homelands, a series of speakers told a state Senate panel Monday in Honolulu.

Bid protest stalls bus contract

HILO — It’s back to the drawing board for the embattled Hele-On bus service, after a bid protest stopped a contract from being awarded to the winning bidder, Roberts Tours and Transportation Inc.

Architects and builders speak out about code changes

HILO — Balancing energy conservation with building costs was top of mind Monday, as about 50 designers, builders and home owners quizzed county Building Division staff over proposed changes to the county energy code.

Congressional race likely to get crowded

HILO — U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s announcement late Thursday that she won’t seek reelection to Congress so she can focus on her presidential bid turns what early challenger Kai Kahele saw as a likely mano-a-mano contest into a political free-for-all.

County to loosen energy code restrictions

HILO — Changes to the county’s energy code aimed at making home construction more affordable, while still becoming more energy-efficient, are the subject of public “speakout” sessions for design and construction professionals early next week.

DHHL committee to consider hiring private attorney

HILO — The Hawaiian Homes Commission took the first step Monday to hire an outside attorney to put a dollar figure on what the state owes Native Hawaiian beneficiaries for land, including the Maunakea Access Road, that was the subject of a 1995 state law.

Council panel to hear recycling update

HILO — Cutbacks to the county’s recycling program have raised concerns throughout the island, and a County Council panel is set to hear about alternatives when it meets today.

Ethics Board quizzes Roth on possible TMT conflict

HILO — Armed with a letter from county Corporation Counsel Joe Kamelamela, an oral assurance from the state attorney general and his own understanding of the law based on readings provided by the state Office of Disciplinary Counsel, county Prosecuting Attorney Mitch Roth told the Board of Ethics on Wednesday he’s confident there would be no conflict of interest if he prosecuted protesters arrested on Maunakea.