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Susan Halas

Susan Halas is a Senior Political Contributor at MAUIWatch. She has followed Hawaii politics since 1976 when she moved to the Valley Isle. She was formerly a staff writer for the Maui News as well as other local print and digital publications.

UPDATE: Liquor Commission votes to roll back rule changes

The Maui Liquor Commission today voted unanimously to roll back recent changes to the rules which permitted 24/7 sale of alcohol, removed the cap on the number of hostess bars allowed to operate on Maui and authorized home delivery of liquor. The action came in response to a petition by Maui activist Mahina Martin and voluminous public testimony both in-person …

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TEACH withdraws from Old Maui High School project

A controversial proposal to redevelop the 23-acre campus of the Old Maui High School into multi-faceted commercial uses has been withdrawn by its sponsors TEACH Development LLC (Technology-Education-Agriculture-Community-Health). TEACH, a for-profit company that sought to obtain the county-owned property at Hamakuapoko on a 60 year lease for $1 a year said in a March 18th letter addressed to Maui Mayor …

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Public Comments on A&B Application for 30 year East Maui Water Lease Heard

About 120 Mauians attended a public meeting last night (Feb. 22) to hear public comment on the request by Alexander & Baldwin and East Maui Irrigation for a 30-year lease on East Maui water. The comments were in response to an Environmental Impact Statement Preparation Notice (EISPN) published in Feb. 2017. This is a 105-page document which summarizes the relevant …

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North Shore Pushes Back Hard Against Proposed Development

WOW, that was some meeting in Paia last night! At its height, there were between 400 to 500 people present packed into the Paia Community Center. They were there young and old, seated on folding chairs, packed three deep standing against the walls, hanging through the windows, jammed into the entrances, mingling on the outside walkways, holding signs along the …

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Arakawa now a Democrat

MAUIWatch has learned that Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa has registered as a Democrat. The mayor declined a request for an interview, but a local party official who asked not to be identified confirmed that Arakawa is now a Democrat. The long time local political figure began his career in elected office as a Republican member of the County Council in …

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Top Stories of 2016 – Part 3: The transition that wasn’t

On the health care front, Maui started 2016 with high hopes as the groundbreaking new legislation was expected to take effect. A law allowing Maui Memorial Medical Center (MMMC), Lanai Community Hospital, and Kula Hospital, (all public state hospitals and part of the Hawaii Health System Corp.) to enter into a management lease with Kaiser Permanente passed in the 2015 …

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Top Stories of 2016 – Part 2: DANGER Report

The forces of nature in the form of floods, landslides, fires, hurricanes, shark attacks and other emergencies were evident in 2016. Man made mayhem last year included disastrous plunges, head-on collisions, and murder at the grocery store. Yes, we know it as small loveable, Maui, the world’s favorite vacation island. But if you were here and followed MAUIWatch you’ll see …

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Top Stories of 2016 – Part 1: End of an Plantation Era

Maui County’s top story of 2016 was the closing of HC&S. The company with its huge fields of cane and its mill in Puunene was the last working sugar plantation in the state. HC&S is the agricultural division of parent company Alexander & Baldwin. A&B is the largest land owner on Maui. With the final sugar harvest in Dec. 2016, …

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Maui County Council Organizes in Long Contentious Meeting

In what surely must have been one of the longest, strangest, best attended public meetings in memory the Maui County Council organized yesterday and selected member Mike White as chair by a vote of 5 Yes (Carroll, Crivello, Hokama, Sugimura, White) to 4 No (Atay, Cochran, Guzman, King). The Jan. 2 meeting, a date specifically stipulated in the County Charter, …

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