Susan Halas

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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.

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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Kala – What it took to win $$$

Maui County candidates in the Nov 8 General Election including those seeking state and local office had until Oct 30 to file a preliminary spending report for the period August 24 to Oct. 24. Their follow up “late contributions” report was due on Nov. 7, 2016. Receipts and expenditures ran the gamut from a low of $4,502 received by Elle …

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Atay Wins in a Squeaker: 5th print-out puts him ahead

The fifth and final printout which came out at 12:46 a.m. on November 9 changed the outcome in one Maui County contest. It shows an additional 3,510 votes which moved Alika Atay from second to first place in the race for the Wailuku council seat. Atay received 23,320 votes. Dain Kane, who had been leading by a slim margin until …

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Dems Rally Competes with World Series

Leave it to the Maui Democrats to host their big pre-election rally the night of the most exciting ball game in the last 100 years. It was all tied up 6-6 Cub v. Indians at the top of the 9th as the guests started to trickle into the Wailuku Community Center. Everybody who was anybody was there including veterans like …

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Itemized list of County’s Iao Emergency Fund reimbursements made public

In an the emergency County Council meeting of Oct. 11 the council voted 5-2 to reimburse funds already expended to clean up storm damage to County property in the Iao Valley caused by the severe Sept. 13 storm. As a follow up to the meeting council budget and finance chair Riki Hokama asked to see an itemized list of expenses. …

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No Easy Answers At Hospital Emergency Meeting

A crowd of about 130 Mauians attended an informational legislative briefing on the health care emergency resulting from the delay in transitioning Maui’s hospitals from state-run facilities to Kaiser management. Affected by the delay are Maui Memorial Medical Center (MMMC), Maui’s only acute care hospital, Kula Hospital and Lanai Community Hospital. Legislation enabling the hospitals to transition from state to …

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