County fast-track land buy raises questions

HILO — A fast-tracked bill to buy land owned by a distant relative of Puna Councilwoman Ashley Kierkiewicz is raising questions after her relationship was disclosed when the County Council was asked to approve a $1.45 million appropriation for the purchase and construction of a bus depot there.

Lawmakers: Protest message unclear

HONOLULU — Months of frustration on the part of Native Hawaiian activists at Maunakea, Kahuku and Waimanalo coalesced in a passionate rally at the state Capitol on Wednesday for the opening day of the 2020 Legislature, but key lawmakers said they were unclear about the rally’s message.

Transportation issues top priorities of Council of Mayors

HILO — A $25 increase in vehicle registration fees to pay for removing abandoned vehicles, a charge to drive on certain roads during peak hours and a surcharge on ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft are three of a largely transportation-related package the Hawaii Council of Mayors presented Wednesday to legislative money committees.

Report: Visibility low when Kauai tour helicopter crashed

HONOLULU — A person who was near a remote Kauai site where a tour helicopter crashed and killed seven people last month told investigators that visibility was only about 20 feet at the time because of fog and rain, according to a preliminary accident report released Wednesday.

Hawaii lawmakers start new legislative session

HONOLULU — Hawaii lawmakers gathered Wednesday to open a new session of the Legislature a day after leaders unveiled a long list of measures they hope will address Hawaii’s punishingly high cost of living.

Marine sentenced to 3 years for illegal firearms

HONOLULU — A Marine stationed in Hawaii pleaded guilty to possession unlawful firearms during a military court hearing Tuesday for allegations he tried to bring weapons onto an Air Force base while home in Nebraska.