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Task force formed to address squatters

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HILO » In response to complaints about squatters, a Hawaii County councilman is seeking public comment.

The Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported Tuesday that Councilman Greggor Ilagan has formed a task force to find ways to handle squatters living in vacant, bank-owned homes in Puna. While local legislation is likely, Ilagan is not yet drafting a bill.

Ilagan said one of the biggest hurdles is establishing ownership of some of the vacant homes. He says at one property, authorities were unable to evict squatters for months because they could not get in contact with the bank. Without a complaint from the owner, police can’t act.

Police Lt. Reed Mahuna of the Puna Patrol Division said squatters are not easy to evict because there are so few formal complaints.


Lobbyists paid for Kanuha flight

KAILUA-KONA >> Gift disclosures filed last month show a lawmaker accepted a $536 plane ride from anti-tobacco lobbyists before sponsoring a ban on e-cigarettes anywhere tobacco is prohibited.

The Honolulu-based Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawaii paid for Hawaii County Council Chairman Dru Kanuha to fly to a policy stakeholder meeting in September, about a month before he introduced the e-cigarette bill that later passed, West Hawaii Today reported.

The group also paid to fly a staff member to leadership training in November.

In 2013 Kanuha also sponsored a law on behalf of the coalition, this one raising the tobacco purchasing age to 21 from 18.

The councilman was traveling Tuesday and could not be reached for comment.

Maui DMVL to close Friday

The Maui County Division of Motor Vehicles & Licensing will close all of its offices Friday for staff training.  All DMVL offices will resume their regular hours Monday.

Due to the closure of the Kahului DMVL office at the Maui Mall Service Center, other offices in the center also will be closed Friday.

Customers with questions may call the DMVL Call Center at 270-7363. 


Star-Advertiser staff and Associated Press

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