Kauai Real Estate and Local News

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*****Tentative Housing Bailout Agreement Reached*****


The government housing bill has been of great interest us Real Estate agents, those owning real estate or wanting to own.  It’s no secret that nationally various sectors of the housing markets are in a slump as are some banks.  I say various because this is a national issue and real estate and banking conditions will vary on a neighborhood basis.  The bailout affects the confidence of the general public so in that regard all of the sectors are affected.  The tentative bailout was put together on Saturday with the House expected to vote on it Sunday and then it’s on to the Senate on Monday. 

The bill includes:

1)      Treasury Department to buy deeply discounted mortgage-backed securities and other bad debts held by the bank.

2)      Money for a program that would encourage distressed mortgage holders to keep them and buy government insurance to cover defaults.

3) Government would receive stock warrants in return for the bailout giving taxpayers a chance at future profits from those companies.

4) Government to try renegotiating bad mortgages to lower payments so people can keep their homes.

5) More Congressional oversight, more taxpayer protections, help for homeowners facing foreclosure and restrictions on executives compensation.

The insurance provision listed in item 2 was added as an alternative to having government buy distressed securities and it will require less taxpayer spending for the bailout.

Here on Kauai real estate was pretty quiet for closing for last week and the number of new listings coming on the market has remained about the same. For an excel spreadsheet CLICK HERE

*****Police 5 Hour Standoff in Kilauea*****

Kilauea Road or “Lighthouse Road” was the scene of a 5 hour standoff between Kauai Police and Kaleo Martin on Monday.  Nearby residents were told to stay in their houses as Martin commandeered a police cruiser armed with a rifle and machete.

At  4:42 a.m. police got a domestic violence call from the Martins home on Kilauea Road and when they arrived Martin had already left.  At 5:15 a.m. Martin came back with a rifle and machete, entered an unlocked police cruiser that was still at the house.  Martin refused to leave and stayed in and around the police cruiser for 5 hours acting irrationally all the while maintaining contact with the police officers with the cars police radio.  He demanded to speak to Mayor Bill “Kaipo” Asing and at one point started hacking away at the inside of the police car with the machete causing a huge amount of damage.  At the end of 5 hours police saw an opportunity to use a Taser gun on him and it effectively knocked the gun out of his hand and he was taken into custody.  Officers said it was heavily suspected that Martin was under the influence of drugs or needed his medication.  Taser guns were introduced to our Police Department just last March.

*****Hapa Performs At Kauai Community College*****

Hapa, the award winning duo from Maui, gave a benefit concert for Kalaheo Elementary school to get a  new sound system.  The event was held at Kauai Community College on Saturday night and I was fortunate to go.  The event received very little publicity and it was obvious why; with little to no publicity the place was packed with the Kauai community at large in attendance!  The venue was Barry Flanagan playing his hypnotic slack key guitar and the soothing vocals of  Nathan Aweau who also had won Hawaii Male Vocalist of the year for 2007.  The venue was over two hours long with Hawaiian chants by Charles Ka’upu  and hula preformed by Malia Petersen.  One of the things I love best about living here is the accessibility to events here.  Even a an extremely popular event like this getting in and out of the parking lot was easy, the crowds calm and respectful and the price right ($40.00!).  For more on Hapa go to: http://www.hapa.com  and check out a show of theres in your neighborhood if you can, you won’t be sorry!  

 *****Hawaii Gas Prices Drop***** 

Hawaii’s statewide average price for regular unleaded gasoline continued to fall to $4.275, down 12 cents from a month ago.  A month ago it was $4.39 while a year ago it was $3.20, according to the AAA’s daily fuel gauge report.  Gas prices in Hawaii are the second-highest in the U.S., just slightly behind Alaska, where the average prices are $4.277. Gas is cheapest in Oklahoma at $3.38 a gallon.  The price for a gallon of diesel in Hawaii, meantime, dipped 15 cents from a month ago to $5.13 a gallon, the highest rate in the country. 


Kauai Real Estate and Local News Update

Christie’s Great Estates - Your Link to Distinctive Properties Worldwide

*****Kauai Real Estate And Local News Update*****

New listings are down a little from the previous weeks while the number of closed transactions remains about the same.  The Poipu Beach Estate lots here on the South Shore are closing escrow so if you see land sales with “0” days on the market this is why.  These lots range from 6000 square feet to over an acre and are in the VDA area, if you would like more information on these give me a call.  For now here is an excel spreadsheet on what was listed and what sold last week CLICK HERE     

*****Lawsuit Against Grove Farm Owner Steve Case Dismissed*****

A lawsuit brought by former shareholders of Grove Farm relating to AOL’s Steve Cases acquisition was dismissed by the Federal Court on Wednesday.  The U.S. District Court Judge Robert E. Jones said that Steve Case, founder of AOL, had not engaged in federal security improprieties.  The former shareholders were stating that Case and his companies got confidential inside information to purchase all of Grove Farm shares.  Their suit was filed in 2005 and they were seeking damages of $2.5 billion, after fifty witnesses testified in a month long trial the verdict was the claimants failed to prove their claims.  There had been another suit filed in recent years and was dismissed and a third lawsuit had gone to trial but the jury decided against the plaintiffs.  Two other lawsuits were consolidated in the 5th Circuit Court on Wednesday and that case is going to be heard in June of 2010.

 *****Inappropriate Emails Gets Tourism Executive Into Deep Water*****

 Alphonso Braggs, president of the Hawaii branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is not happy with Rex Johnson, Hawaii’s top tourism executive.  Mr. Johnson was using his state’s computer to forward X-rated movie clips, slideshows and photographs via email, this discovery being made by a state auditor.  Mr. Johnson was reprimanded and had a pay cut along with his four year contract being reduced to 1 year.  The latest batch of emails that were sent by Johnson to friends using the same computer were racial and political jokes which Governor Linda Lingle says goes directly against what Hawaii stands for and who we are as a people.  While these emails were not written by Rex Johnson they were forwarded by him and civil rights groups are demanding his resignation.  The email “jokes” were involving colored people, Obama and women.  The Hawaii Tourism Authority is under unusual scrutiny now that the tourism industry needs a boost prompting a rededication of this branch to market Hawaii as a vacation destination.   

 *****Illegal Kennel Has Sad Ending For Dogs*****

Last Tuesday night the Kauai Humane Society received the call about the demise of a dog in an illegal dog kennel in Kekaha.  The property is owned by Amfac Development Corporation and the kennel is located on a parcel of land that is currently unrented and was there illegally.  So why did this situation get so out of hand?  An eviction plan was going to be discussed in October between Amfac and the Kauai agricultural division after 2 eviction notices left on the kennel door was torn down and the dogs remained.  Historical agreements going back to the Kekaha sugar days allows people certain access to property for kenneling of animals and in the past this area had been used as a piggery and was home to goats.  The remaining dogs have been removed by the Kauai Humane Society and the kennel operator will be charged.

 *****Burial Law Was Not Followed*****

The California man who is building a home in Ha’ena is back in the news.  A group of citizens have filed lawsuits and have done demonstrations protesting the house building on the site of ancient Hawaiian burials.  Judge Watanabe ruled that the builder can keep building provided that doing so causes no irreparable damage to the burials and that there’s clear access to them.  The attorney for the builder said he’s not an architect and will speak with his client before commenting on what those restrictions mean for the current construction plans which call for the body of the house to be 8 to 8 ½ feet above ground.

*****Kauai Gets Out And Votes!*****On Saturday Kauaians turned out and voted in our primaries.  With the unfortunate passing of our former Mayor, Bryan Babtiste, there was an added election for the position of Mayor to serve for the remaining two years of Babtistes term.  Bernard Carvalho, a Kauai born native, received 39.9% of the vote and former Mayor JoAnn Yukimura received 29.9%, JoAnn Yukimura was Mayor during hurricane Iniki.  Both will now proceed to our November 4th election.  All of the incumbent Council members who ran received enough votes run on November 4th along with 9 newcomers. 

Kauai Real Estate and Local News Update

Christie’s Great Estates - Your Link to Distinctive Properties Worldwide

*****Kauai Real Estate Update*****

For the second week in a row we’ve had fewer new listings and about the same amount of sales.  For a list of what has come on the market and what has sold CLICK HERE FOR KAUAI NEW LISTINGS AND SALES FOR SEPT. 8 TO SEPT. 15

*****Safeway Seeking Permits For Puhi Shopping Center***** 

Safeway has plans for a “lifestyle” shopping center in Puhi, across from the Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School.    In addition to a new Safeway Lifestyle store, which includes a wide variety of prepared foods and locally grown produce, there will be two or three sit down restaurants, possible gas station, clothing stores and more.  The company is seeking permits from the Kauai Planning Department and is reaching out to the community for comments and concerns with their new shopping center.  Safeway is also “going green” with their new building and will be using renewable and recycled building materials and will explore renewable energy sources also.   Safeway has been operating in Kapaa for 20 years and in the state of Hawaii for 40 years.  Currently they have 19 stores across the islands.

 *****Gay and Robinson To Exit Sugar Industry***** 

Gay and Robinson, Kauai’s last operating sugar mill, announced to their workers on Wednesday that they will continue to harvest the cane that’s in the ground through August of 2010 but will stop sugar production at that time due to the rising costs and shrinking profits.  Good news is the company is negotiating with Pacific West Energy LLC who intends to grow even more sugar then what is now being produced for ethanol and electricity and they will hire all of the existing 227 workers and will be needing even more.   Pacific West Energy said progress depends on Gay and Robinson ability to acquire even more lands for additional planting.  Currently G&R has 7,500 acres of sugar and trying to round up that much more, without those additional lands the banks and lenders won’t sign on to Pacific West Energy’s new venture.  Governor Linda Lingle and Kauai’s Mayor Bill “Kaipo” Asing said they are both committed to expediting all permits and approvals necessary to facilitate the sale.  

*****Makaweli Post Office Burglarized*****

Sometime during the first weekend of this month the Makaweli Post Office was broken into and thieves made off with the safe which contained about $1000.00 in cash and over $14,000.00 in stamps.  The burglars first tried to break into the safe as evidenced by the broken handle left on the floor.  They wound up taking the entire safe after cutting the telephone lines and an unsuccessful attempt at pulling the electrical box off the wall.  Office computers and other items were left behind.  Anyone with any information leading to the arrest of the perpetrators’ is being offered $10,000.00 reward. Also…..around that same time……$150K was taken from the Gold and Silver Trading Co. located on Hardy Street (right off of Rice street) and a total of four stores were involved to pull off the major heist.  The thieves actually broke into Ray’s Shoe Repair Shop and tried to pry the jewelry stores back door off, that being unsuccessful they kicked in the door to Beltone Hearing Aid and used a tool from the shoe shop to rip a hole big enough for the thieves to get into the jewelry store.  After filling their bags with literally all they could carry the thieves dragged the jewelry stores safe through the Makena Miyaki Inc., a book keeping operation.

*****Courts Uphold Superferry Protestor Ban***** 

The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the decision to bar all protestors from Nawiliwili Harbor.  Over a year ago surfers and canoe paddlers prevented the Superferry from entering the harbor where a multitude of protestors waited with banners and signs protesting the Superferry.  There are no immediate plans for the new mode of transportation to come back to Kauai.  There are still two other court cases pending before the state Supreme Court that were brought about by People for the Preservation of Kauai.

 *****Where’s My Stimulus Check?***** 

Well if your behind on your child support the federal and state government has it!  $5.4 million dollars in stimulus checks that were going to parents who have not kept up on their child support payments here in Hawaii have been intercepted and given to the custodial parent.   

Kauai Real Estate and Local News

*****Freddie Mac Fannie Mae Government Takeover*****

On Sunday the federal government took control of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to keep the two leading mortgage companies from failing thus avoiding a catastrophe that would have made home loans harder to get and taken the nation’s housing situation to a new level of crisis. The federal government will put billions of taxpayer dollars into Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and assume responsibility for trillions of dollars of their debt and control of the companies will belong to the federal regulators.  This serious move was done because the fall of these two giants would have had a devastating effect on the rest of our economy.

Experts said the takeover could stabilize the home loan market making mortgages cheaper and easier to get and that in turn would have a positive effect on the housing pricing.  “The housing and mortgage market should benefit from the actions,” said Sung Won Sohn, an economist at California State University Channel Islands in Camarillo. “Mortgage rates should be lower than they would be without the government guarantee.”

On Oahu the number of houses and condos dropped but the median price for a home dropped 2.3 percent and condos rose 0.9 percent.  For a list of what was listed and what sold here on Kauai last week CLICK HERE FOR KAUAI REAL ESTATE SPREADSHEET

*****Turn Off Those Lights!*****

Kauaians pay the highest in the state for their electricity at a rate of $0.466 per kilowatt hour as opposed to Oahu who pays $0.297 an hour.  Statewide the rate averaged $0.333 per hour.  So why is out electric so high?  Kauai Island Utility Cooperative because they do not burn coal or heavy oils which is cheaper then diesel or naptha.  Also; Kauai has fewer customers to share the cost, we only have 64,000 residents to share the cost of power generation and we are still paying for post Hurricane Iniki infrastructure.  The Co-op board said the price should go down due to the decrease in oil prices which dropped to $109.71 a barrel on Tuesday way down from the high of $147 a barrel. When visiting Kauai turn the lights off if not in use, it’s appreciated by everybody!

*****California North Shore Builder Facing Challenges***** Judge Kathlen Watanabe said she will rule by September 15 on the preliminary injunction request to halt construction at a home in Wainiha where it’s known to contain 30 ancient Hawaiian burials which date as far back as the 1300’s on the property.  Evidence revealed that the concrete jackets have sealed 7 of the graves already.  The builders attorneys say their client, a California businessman, has met the State and County requirements all along the way and has been trying to build his home for 7 years and has had encountered financial setbacks in his building costs caused by the delays, example: $400,000 has been spent on foundation compared to the original quote of $255,000.  Judge Watanabe said this is an emotionally charged issue and nobody is going to leave the courtroom happy and also cautioned that the court’s jurisdiction in the matter is “very, very narrow”. 

*****Cash Now Needed For Rooster Pick Ups!*****

The Kauai Humane Society is going to be charging a $5 fee for each chicken it picks up after 3 years of offering the service for free; dropping off a chicken is still free of charge.   Thought to be brought to Kauai for illegal cockfighting the roosters were spread far and wide during Hurricane Iniki in 1992 and their population has been picking up steam ever since.  Their inability to tell time has long been a problem for residents and visitors alike as they crow at all hours of the morning.  It’s a love/hate relationship they have here with the local Kauai residents.  So why are the chickens a problem only here on Kauai?  Because we do not have mongooses who feed on ground dwelling birds.  This is the main reason Kauai is home to the largest population of indigenous and endangered birds and……chickens!  

*****Rowboater Arrives In Hawaii*****

Last week I wrote about Marcus Eriksen and Joel Paschal who sailed from Long Beach to Honolulu in a boat made from junk and their meeting up with Roz Savage who was rowing her way from San Francisco to exchange supplies.  Roz arrived in Honolulu early Monday morning completing the initial leg of her journey.  To avoid the rough Hawaiian waters she rowed through the night and arrived alone and in the dark Monday morning but Savage said that’s how most of the journey has been so she didn’t mind.  Savage, a British citizen, crossed the Atlantic initially and from Honolulu will continue on to with a 2,600 mile row in early 2009 to Tuvalu and then her final destination which is Australia.  Roz Savage, like Eriksen and Paschal, is doing this to raise awareness for people to use reusable bags instead of plastic ones for groceries.


Kauai Real Estate and Local News Update

*****Koloa Landing Going Vertical*****

What’s new in Poipu?  Koloa Landing, one of the new developments in Poipu, has started it’s construction. This resort is a 25 acre luxury condominium resort complex where prices range from $900,000 to 2 million. There has been many months of site preparation and the company is very excited that actual building is now underway. Actual occupancy is set for the fourth quarter of 2009.

Here is an excel spreadsheet for the new listings and sales island wide. If you have any questions I welcome your calls or emails. CLICK HERE FOR EXCEL SPREADSHEET

*****Three Car Accidents Over Two Days*****
Earlier last week there was an unfortunate rush of significant car accidents here on Kauai.  On Monday “Tree Tunnel” road which marks the historic entrance into the Poipu area was the scene of a two car accident that shut down the road.  Both drivers were transported to Wilcox hospital.

On Tuesday a two people lost their lives when a head on collision occurred between two cars on Kuhio Highway, both were residents of Kauai.  The wife and 6 month old child of the Lihue man that lost his life were in critical condition and were airlifted to Queens in Honolulu. The infant was discharged from Queens on Wednesday and the mother, who is at Wilcox hospital, was reported in fair condition as of Friday. Kuhio Highway was closed from 4:30 to 8:30 pm.

At the time of the Highway being reopened another accident occurred in Lihue by the Veterans Center where the driver of a Toyota flipped over onto it’s roof after being struck by a Chevrolet SUV.  The occupants of both cars appeared to not have any serious injuries.

*****Kukui’ula Breaks Ground On Clubhouse*****

A demonstration of commitment was held by Kukui’ula Development on Tuesday with a blessing and ground breaking ceremony for their $100 million recreational centerpiece to the 1,010 acre Poipu luxury development.  This “Plantation Core” phase includes a 20,000 square foot clubhouse and a 18 hole Golf course and Spa.  These are expected to be completed by 2010.  To position themselves in this economic downturn, both on a national and local level, Kukui’ula expects this will carry them through into 2010 and will provide local jobs for our island.  Work will continue on the home sites and the retail shopping center which will come online in 2009.  For more information on sales please contact me.  

*****Raft Made From Junk Crosses Pacific*****
Marcus Eriksen and Joel Paschal spent three months as sea on a raft that they made from junk and landed safely at Honolulu harbor on Wednesday.  The two “eco-mariners” had made a boat from 15,000 plastic bottles and the fuselage of a Cessna 310 and set sale from Long Beach Harbor in California on June 1 with the goal to raise awareness about plastic debris.  The men posted online videos and blogs all along their trip with the help of Eriksens fiancé who stayed home to take care of the online entries and fundraising.  But they nearly didn’t make it when the two nearly ran out of food.  At traveling ½ mile per hour the duo realized they did not have enough food for the trip, so they called Roz Savage who was crossing the Pacific in a rowboat and the three hooked up for a dinner and supplies exchange.  Savage’s portable water maker broker and so the men helped her out with an extra they had and she gave them some of her extra food.
Paschal and Eriksen are working on a documentary about their voyage along with their mission statement of banning single use plastics.

*****Kauai County Fair*****

The Kauai County Fair is in full swing! Attendance has been huge and it’s evidenced by the abundance of parking at the mall and restaurants! You can see the rides towering from the highway and there’s also live entertainment, food, crafts, livestock judging, flower exhibits and much more.