Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Ige pushes digital economy in State of the State address, new COVID-19 variant found in state, Health Department discovers 60 unreported coronavirus deaths, vaccine shortage hinders efforts, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

from Facebook video
Gov. David Ige State of the State address, Jan. 25, 2020

Full text of Gov. David Ige's State of the State address can be found here.

Gov. David Ige calls for economy to pivot to technology. Gov. David Ige wants Hawaii to develop a more robust digital economy — “a Hawaii 2.0” pivot — that would spread broadband connectivity to rural communities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has strangled tourism. Star-Advertiser.

Gov. Ige pushes for more investment in digital technology. In his state of the state speech on Monday, Gov. David Ige called for the state to invest in digital technology to help get out of its budget crisis. KHON2.

Ige introduces digital economy initiative during State of the State address. Gov. David Ige’s State of the State address Monday promised big changes for the state, but was light on detail. Tribune-Herald.

Ige’s campaign pushes for digital economy. A digitally driven and connected “Hawai‘i 2.0” is the crux of Gov. David Ige’s latest campaign in diversifying the state’s economy. Garden Island.

Ige asks residents to ‘do more with less’ as state grapples with budget shortfall. Gov. David Ige on Monday asked residents to be ready for more tough times ahead as the state grapples with a large budget shortfall caused by a coronavirus pandemic that’s pummeled the tourism industry, but said improved tax revenue forecasts mean he’s not currently seeking broad-based tax increases. Associated Press.

Ige’s State Of The State Speech Skips The Difficult Details. The Hawaii governor recapped impacts from the pandemic, but never mentioned furloughs, layoffs or possible tax increases. Civil Beat.

In State of the State, Ige urges collaboration but offers few details on next steps. In his State of the State address Monday, the governor warned that government will have to “tighten its belt” in the face of a gaping budget deficit but neglected to offer much in the way of concrete details on how the state intends to recover from the pandemic. Hawaii News Now.

Governor Ige gives his State of the State address. Governor David Ige gave his State of the State address, focusing on possible steps for a brighter future, rather than dwell on Hawaii's current gloomy economic situation. KITV4.

Hawai'i Legislature disappointed by State of State address, call for clearer action. Shortly after he urged for collaboration, state lawmakers criticized Gov. David Ige Monday after his State of the State address, demanding more details on how he plans to steer the state out of the economic crisis. KITV4.


Biden Raises Hopes For Native Hawaiians Seeking Federal Recognition. Democratic control of the White House and Congress may breathe new life into efforts to establish a Native Hawaiian government that is recognized by the United States. Civil Beat.

Marines In Hawaii Are Training For A Return To Island Fighting.
Hawaii is at the center an ambitious plan to give the Marine Corps a 21st century reboot that will lead to a leaner force that moves faster and strikes harder as tensions with China intensify in the Pacific.  Civil Beat.

Hawaii vacation rental use rose in recent months.
Hawaii’s short-term vacation rental industry completed a painful year with 42.8% occupancy in 2020 after accounting for supply reductions, a new report shows. Star-Advertiser.


COVID-19 variant detected in Hawaii. The state Department of Health confirmed Monday that its Laboratories Division detected two cases of the SARS-CoV-2 variant L452R in Hawaii — one on Oahu and one on Maui. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. West Hawaii Today. Big Island Now. Garden Island. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now. KHON2. KITV4.

Vaccination Available For All Employees At Legislature. The Department of Health has told the Hawaii State Legislature that all legislative employees working at the Capitol will be able to get vaccines for COVID-19 beginning Thursday. Civil Beat. Maui Now.

CVS says vaccination at Hawaii nursing homes, long-term facilities on schedule. CVS partnered with 45 skilled nursing and long-term facilities in Hawaii to begin the vaccinations on Dec. 28, and said it has finished administering the first doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine so far. Star-Advertiser.

Shortage forces Hawaii Department of Health to cut vaccines for seniors’ companions. Hawaii Pacific Health officials said Sunday they will continue to honor COVID-19 vaccination appointments to companions of seniors (age 75 and older) made prior to the Department of Health’s decision to end the practice. Star-Advertiser.

 Vaccine shortage hobbles Hawaii’s COVID-19 immunization effort. Hawaii’s only expected to receive about 32,000 doses this week. Officials say that’s half of what clinics have the ability to administer. Hawaii News Now.

Records review finds 60 additional COVID-19 deaths in Hawaii. Records review adds 60 COVID-19-related deaths to Hawaii tally; state records 123 new infections. The state Department of Health has identified and confirmed 60 previously unreported COVID-19-related deaths. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

HAWAII VIRUS TRACKER — Jan. 25: State Announces 60 Deaths Over Five Months Previously Unreported. Hawaii health officials reported 123 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, including 91 on Oahu, 21 on Maui, six on the Big Island and five Hawaii residents diagnosed out of state. Civil Beat.


Witness in drug case involving Katherine Kealoha’s brother is now on the run. A 33-year-old woman who plays a major role in the Kealoha corruption scandal is now wanted by police in connected with another crime. Hawaii News Now.

Wastewater spills reported around Oahu after heavy rains subside. City officials said the Department of Environmental Services responded to at least five sanitary sewer spills. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu extends City Card use to Feb. 15. The City and County of Honolulu is extending use of the Immediate Response Incentive Mastercard – known as the City Card – to Feb. 15 to give people more time to spend the entire amount on their card. Star-Advertiser. KHON2.

Waikiki sand replenishment begins again. Work began Monday in waters off Waikiki Beach on a project to dredge 20,000 cubic yards of sand from a channel 2,000 feet offshore and pump it onto the beach, the state Department of Natural Resources said. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

B.J. Penn arrested for DUI on Hawaii Island. UFC Hall of Famer B.J. Penn, 42, was arrested Saturday for operating a vehicle under the influence of intoxicants, the Hawaii Police Department said. Star-Advertiser. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Now. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Hilo hospital seeing high demand for COVID vaccine from kupuna 75 and older as rollout continues. Because of the high demand for the COVID-19 vaccine from kupuna 75 and older, Hilo Medical Center will delay its vaccination rollout to individuals 65-74. Tribune-Herald.

Reef Safe Sunscreen Dispensers Installed at Kahalu‘u Beach. As part of an ongoing initiative to support reef health and regrowth, two new reef-safe sunscreen dispensers have been installed at the pavilion in Kahalu‘u Beach Park. Big Island Now.


Out-of-state buyers scoop up 30 percent of Maui home sales. Mainland buyers represented 27.4 percent and foreign buyers 1.4 percent, state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism Chief Economist Eugene Tian said. Maui News.

Rental aid program sent $10 million to county households. More than $10 million went toward helping about 2,500 households in Maui County under a rental assistance program launched by the state during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Maui News.

Maui County reports more than 600 new COVID-19 cases this month. Comparatively, within a 10 month span in 2020, the island saw less than 1,000 cases. KITV4.

Police Station to be Professionally Disinfected after Employee Tests Positive for COVID-19. The Maui Police Department received confirmation today that a department employee who works out of the Wailuku District has tested positive for COVID-19. Maui Now.


Herrera case first jury trial since last March. Fifth Circuit Court Judge Randal G. B. Valenciano announced Monday morning he will conduct Kaua’i’s first jury trial since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in Fifth Circuit Court. Garden Island.

North Shore Lions raise over $50,000.
The North Shore Lions Club, in partnership with Aloha Roofing Supply, raised more than $50,000 during the annual golf tournament that was contested earlier this month at the Princeville Makai Golf Club. Garden Island.

Monday, January 25, 2021

Gov. Ige's State of the State address today, Hawaii GOP official resigns after defending QAnon, House speaker targets auditor, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Kayakers on the Ala Wai ©2021 All Hawaii News

Officials balk at near-doubling of price of Ala Wai Flood Risk Management Project. The cost of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Ala Wai Flood Risk Management Project has nearly doubled to $651 million, potentially stalling the two-decades-old project once again. Star-Advertiser.

Estimated price tag for Ala Wai flood prevention project doubles to $650M. The cost estimate for the Ala Wai flood prevention project has nearly doubled in another major blow to the effort. Hawaii News Now.


Hawaii GOP official resigns after using party Twitter account to support QAnon conspiracy theorists. On Sunday night, Hawaii GOP vice Chair of communications Edwin Boyette resigned through a Facebook post. In his statement, he wrote the discussion of the Q-Conspiracy was an error of judgement. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii GOP deletes Twitter thread defending QAnon supporters. The Hawaii Republican Party is under fire for a series of tweets that appear to defend supporters of the QAnon conspiracy. KITV4.


With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to damage Hawaii’s struggling economy, state House and Senate leaders have a long list of ideas that they either hope or expect to hear from Gov. David Ige during his State of the State address today. Star-Advertiser.

Ige expected to outline his economic recovery plan in State of the State. As the pandemic drags on, Gov. David Ige will deliver his State of the State to cameras Monday rather than an assembled audience of lawmakers and dignitaries. Hawaii News Now.

Host of safety protocols in place to prevent COVID outbreak during legislative session. The legislative session kicked off this week, but state business will be conducted much differently during the pandemic in an effort to keep the building safe. Hawaii News Now.


Proposed Budget Cuts Would ‘Basically Gut’ Hawaii State Auditor’s Office. Days after he ordered an investigation into the office, the House Speaker wants to cut the watchdog agency’s budget in half — far more than any other state agency. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Tourism Authority readies for defunding. The Hawaii Tourism Authority, the state agency responsible for leading tourism recovery across the isles, is in dire financial straits and has already started running “doomsday scenarios” in the event that it faces defunding. Star-Advertiser.

Isle labor market not likely to see major gains in short term. Hawaii’s travel demand hasn’t returned as strongly as some had hoped when the state introduced Safe Travels Hawaii, a travel entry program aimed at creating a safe way for travelers to return to Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.

Celebration plans for the Queen Lili‘uokalani home and many Hawaii governors could cost $53,000. Gov. David Ige proposes spending $53,000 to commemorate the anniversary of the longtime residence of Queen Lili‘uokalani and a dozen Hawaii governors, which became a museum and state reception venue nearly two decades ago. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Rep. Ed Case Tries Again To Rein In Helicopter Tour And Skydiving Operations. Noise and safety are at issue in federal legislation the congressman is still pursuing. Civil Beat. West Hawaii Today.

No vaccines for seniors’ companions. Hawaii Pacific Health officials said Sunday they will continue to honor COVID-19 vaccination appointments to companions of seniors (age 75 and older) made prior to the Department of Health’s decision to end the practice. Star-Advertiser.

HAWAII VIRUS TRACKER — Jan. 24: 153 New COVID-19 Cases.
The cases announced Sunday included 105 on Oahu, 34 on Maui, six on the Big Island, and eight residents diagnosed out of state. Civil Beat.


She Was About To Lose Her Job. Then Her Dad’s Department Hired Her. Two weeks before Honolulu’s former budget director Manny Valbuena left office, his department hired his daughter for a six-month gig that was not advertised and for which no other candidates were considered. Civil Beat.

New HART Board Member Wants A Fraud Hotline. An outside auditor for HART describes Natalie Iwasa’s idea for a hotline as a best practice. Civil Beat.

Permit for Red Hill fuel tanks stirs controversy. A contested case hearing is scheduled for Feb. 1-5 to debate the Navy obtaining a state operating permit for the Red Hill fuel farm, with the Sierra Club of Hawaii hoping it leads to stricter controls in the short term and relocation of the controversial underground tanks longer-term. Star-Advertiser.

In Kaimuki, residents worry monster homes are taking over the community. Kaimuki resident say the pandemic has not slowed down the construction of monster homes in their neighborhood. And they’re fighting back. Hawaii News Now.


Oahu’s 2nd mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic to open at Blaisdell. So far, more than 12,000 people have made an appointment to receive the Moderna vaccine at the clinic run by The Queen’s Health Systems. Hawaii News Now.

More than 12,000 appointments already booked for second large vaccination site on Oahu. The state says as of last week, about 70,000 people got vaccinated statewide. KHON2.


Tab to fix Waiea luxury condo tower in Kakaako tops $100M. The developer of the most luxurious condominium tower in Kakaako has decided to pony up over $100 million to fix defects that have vexed homeowners in the 4-year-old building. Star-Advertiser.

Maili low-income homes receiving first tenants. The developer of the $22.7 million project called Hale Makana O Maili held a low-key blessing Jan. 15 because of COVID-19. Star-Advertiser.

After 180 years, St. Ann’s Catholic School to close its doors. Leaders of St. Ann’s said declining enrollment and rising financial challenges led them to close the school at the end of the academic year on June 4. They announced the closure in a letter to families Friday. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

County: COVID-19 app won’t be mandatory for travelers. Hawaii County has no plans to make the state’s official COVID-19 exposure notification application mandatory on the Big Island. Tribune-Herald.

Teaching telescope project to proceed at Halepohaku. Despite receiving predominantly negative feedback from community members, the Office of Maunakea Management will seek to proceed with constructing a telescope facility at Halepohaku. Tribune-Herald.

Council committee again pans Travalino for Leeward Planning Commission.
It was deja vu Tuesday for Mark Travalino, who once again faced a County Council Planning Committee opposed to his appointment to the Leeward Planning Commission. West Hawaii Today.


Health director: Intended second doses went to 1st doses instead. Maui’s COVID-19 vaccination sites may have been giving intended second doses of the vaccine to people seeking their first shot, though Hawaii’s health director said this was completely appropriate. Maui News.

Maui still behind on vaccine rollout
. As the vaccination rollout continues statewide, the only island not accepting first dose registrations is Maui. KHON2.

Nominee for Maui Prosecuting Attorney to be Vetted Tuesday. The Maui County Council’s Government Relations, Ethics and Transparency Committee will meet Tuesday at 9 a.m. to vet the nomination of Andrew H. Martin for prosecuting attorney. Maui Now.

University of Hawai‘i Maui College Achieves Net-Zero Goal. Through a combination of solar photovoltaic energy, distributed energy storage and energy efficiency measures, UH Maui College has reduced the campus’ use of fossil fuel for energy by an estimated 100%. Maui Now.

Maui Humane Society to temporarily close following COVID-19 exposure. Maui Humane Society announced it will temporarily close its facility from Jan. 25 through Jan. 31 after management discovered possible COVID-19 exposure among staff. KHON2.


This Innovative Kauai Medical Clinic Is Struggling To Survive.
The collapse of tourism on the island is causing economic hardship in many business sectors, including health care. Civil Beat.

KIUC, AES agreement pending. Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative Communications Manager Beth Tokioka said there is still no time frame for the state Public Utilities Commission to approve the purchase-power agreement between AES Corporation and KIUC. Garden Island.

Significant changes to Kaua‘i Bus schedule coming. In an effort to improve service to the public, The Kaua‘i Bus has announced multiple significant changes to its islandwide mainline and shuttle routes starting Sunday, Feb. 7. Garden Island.


Molokai’s Fabled Axis Deer Are Starving To Death In Droves. The crisis, triggered in part by drought, exposes rifts in the community and raises questions about how to manage the herd in the future. Civil Beat.

Friday, January 22, 2021

Hawaii all-mail balloting deemed a success, more money earmarked for public schools, 20% of traffic tickets go unpaid, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands


copyright 2021 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Voters line up in Hilo on Nov. 3, 2020 ©2021 All Hawaii News

Commission sees election success in all-mail balloting. Despite a 2020 general election when some Oahu polls closed almost four hours late and some Hilo voters spent three hours in line, the state Elections Commission is sending the Legislature a rosy review in its required biennial evaluation of the conduct of the election. West Hawaii Today.


Gov. Ige says DOE’s budget shortfall is $123M less than feared, but teachers union contends hundreds of layoffs still looming. Ige had originally directed all state departments including the DOE, to reduce their overall budgets by a target of 10% to deal with shortfalls resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. This morning, he said the DOE could now revise that target reduction to 2.5%, or $123 million less will have to be cut. Star-Advertiser.

Ige: DOE budget cuts won’t be as steep as anticipated. While the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic will require the state Department of Education to make wide-ranging budget cuts during the next year, those cuts might be less extensive than initially thought. Tribune-Herald.

Governor: Public schools to face smaller budget cut than previously thought. The  state Department of Education is now facing a 2.5% cut to its budget instead of the 10% it had previously anticipated. Gov. David Ige announced plans for the smaller cut Thursday. Hawaii News Now.

Governor earmarks more money for education, union said hundreds of jobs will still be lost.  Gov. David Ige released additional funds to offset budget cuts to the Department of Education. KHON2.


Gov. Ige to deliver State of the State address Monday. Governor Ige will lay out his plan for the year and share where we stand as a state in this COVID-19 pandemic. KITV4.

Economists: Agribusiness Development Corp. Is A “Fiasco”. A week after a scathing audit concluded that the Hawaii Agribusiness Development Corp. is failing to fulfill its mission to transform Hawaii’s agriculture industry, the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization reached the same conclusion in a report released Thursday. Civil Beat.

Biden Signs Order Fully Reimbursing Hawaii National Guard For COVID-19 Operations. The Trump administration had previously agreed to pay for 75% of costs associated with the historic nationwide deployments of National Guardsmen. Civil Beat.

Two of Hawaii’s own to serve on Biden’s White House communications team. President Joe Biden’s communications team includes some Hawaii representation. Remi Yamamoto will be the senior communications adviser to the White House chief of staff. Michael Kikukawa, of Molokai, will serve as press assistant. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii homeowners face stiff fines for illegal seawalls. Homeowners along Sunset Beach, Punaluu and Portlock on Oahu, as well as a property owner on Molokai, are facing tens of thousands of dollars in fines for allegedly constructing illegal seawalls and boulder revetments along Hawaii’s beaches. Star-Advertiser.

20% of all parking tickets issued over the last 5 years went unpaid, state records show. One out of every five parking tickets issued in Hawaii over the last five years has gone unpaid. That amounts to nearly $11 million in uncollected fines, state records show. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Residents From COFA Nations Can Now Apply For Medicaid. The change is a result of a bill signed by former President Donald Trump restoring federal Medicaid funding for citizens of Compact of Free Association nations. Civil Beat.

Hawaiian Airlines Expands Pre-Clear Travel Program. Hawaiian Airlines has begun pre-clearing passengers departing from select US mainland cities to Hawai‘i under a program that allows travelers with a negative COVID-19 test to bypass the airport screening in Hawai‘i. Maui Now.


Like many states, Hawaii isn’t getting the number of COVID-19 vaccines that were promised by the federal government. While the state’s allotment for the vaccine during the Dec. 15 rollout was at near full capacity ― with 58,000 doses ― that distribution has dropped to about 36,000 doses this week. Hawaii News Now.

Advocates worry seniors without computers may be left behind in vaccine distribution. Seniors without computers and email addresses ― or someone who can help ― are struggling to get appointments for COVID-19 vaccines. Hawaii News Now.

LIST: How and where to get a COVID-19 vaccine in the state of Hawaii.
Hawaii residents over the age of 75 are now qualified to receive the COVID-19 vaccine under Phase 1B of the state’s tiered COVID-19 distribution plan. KHON2.

HAWAII VIRUS TRACKER — Jan. 21: 119 New COVID-19 Cases And Three Deaths. Hawaii health officials announced three deaths on Oahu and 119 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, including 66 on Oahu, 30 on Maui, 16 on the Big Island and seven residents diagnosed out of state. Civil Beat.


New Route For Honolulu Rail? Any ‘Hare-Brained’ Scheme Is Being Considered. HART’s new executive director Lori Kahikina says she’s open to any ideas that avoid having to get special utility clearances along Dillingham Boulevard. Civil Beat.

Honolulu Hale Sees Changes In New Year, But Challenges Remain The Same
. The Honolulu City Council has seen several changes to start the New Year. While they give the Council a new appearance compared to previous years, its reponsibilities remain same – and so do its challenges. Hawaii Public Radio.

Registration open for vaccination clinic in Kane'ohe. Starting next Tuesday, January 26, the Department of Health will be conducting a COVID-19 vaccination clinic for Kupuna age 75+ in Kaneohe. KITV4.

Respiratory therapists at Kapiolani Medical Center navigate their first union contract.
The Hawaii Nurses Association, which expects to ratify a new contract soon for Kapiolani nurses who voted to authorize a strike, is still trying to bargain with the hospital for the smaller group of respiratory therapists who mostly go unnoticed. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu retail vacancies projected to surge this year. Commercial real estate firm Colliers International projects that the amount of vacant retail space on Oahu will grow by at least 270,000 square feet this year at shopping centers because of tenant closures, after 107,586 square feet of additional vacant space was added last year. Star-Advertiser.

Waikiki beaches to undergo improvement project, expect closures. A new beach maintenance project for Waikiki Beach is set to commence on Jan. 25. Ongoing improvements are expected to lead to a temporary partial closure of Kuhio Beach and Diamond Head swim basin. KHON2.

Beach access coalition plans sign-waving outside Ko Olina over limited parking. Makakilo resident John Shockley is hoping new Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi’s administration will ensure Ko Olina fully reopens its four lagoon parking lots after closing them in March due to the COVID-19 shutdown and reopening them — at reduced 50% capacity — when tourism reopened in October. Star-Advertiser.

DHHL seeks beneficiary feedback on casino proposal. The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands opened a public comment period for beneficiaries on a draft legislative proposal to authorize a resort and casino on Hawaiian Home lands designated for commercial use in Kapolei, Oahu. Tribune-Herald. KITV4.

Stevedore finds female skunk at Honolulu Harbor.
A team of inspectors managed to safely capture the six-pound animal Wednesday morning. Star-Advertiser.Big Island Now. 

Hawaii Island

Hospitals Now Offering COVID Vaccine to Kupuna. Big Island hospitals have begun scheduling appointments to vaccinate kupuna for COVID-19. Big Island Now.

HMC begins kupuna COVID vaccinations.
After vaccinating staff and local health care providers against COVID-19, Hilo Medical Center is now focused on vaccinating kupuna 75 years and older. Tribune-Herald.

Scores of kupuna receive COVID-19 vaccine in Kona. It’s estimated that there are 14,000 people over 75 on Hawaii Island that need to be vaccinated in Tier 1B. Approximately 6,000 of them are in West Hawaii — though not every single one of them will receive their vaccination from Kona Community Hospital as other facilities and providers are already or will soon administer the vaccine. West Hawaii Today.

HPD Hiring New Police Officers. The starting salary for an officer is $65,652 annually. Big Island Now.


Maui Planning Commission Workshop on Shoreline Rule Amendments Due to Sea Level Rise.
The County of Maui Department of Planning will host a virtual workshop on proposed Special Management Area and Shoreline Rule amendments that could affect properties near the shoreline on the island of Maui. Maui Now.

Some Moloka'i residents push to restart Maui-Moloka'i ferry for more travel options after 'Ohana Air pulled out. Ferry owner says the same challenges that drove him to close the service in 2016, still exist. KITV4.

Longtime deputy tapped to be next top prosecutor.
Position open after former prosecuting attorney was fired. Maui News.

Maui County Council Seeks Charter Commission Applicants by Feb. 1
. A charter amendment approved at last year’s general election requires the mayor to appoint two members and the council to appoint nine members of the 11-member charter commission by March 1. Maui Now.


Input sought on Waimea parcel use. Over 400 acres on the Westside the county owns are now the focus of a new master plan. Garden Island.

Hawai‘i Foodbank serves hundreds in first distribution of the new year. Motorists observing the COVID-19 health and safety guidelines and rules snaked through the distribution points where more than 22,200 pounds of food were passed out in no-contact fashion. Garden Island.

Thursday was a day to reload for the Kaua‘i Independent Food Bank
, which wrapped up its day with contributions totaling more than $4,000 from two organizations — Kaua‘i Coffee Company and the Kaua‘i Paramedics Association. Garden Island.

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Hawaii Legislature convenes without pomp, federal recognition for Hawaiians back on the table, Honolulu mayor names chief of staff, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

PC: Ka Leo University of Hawaii Manao Facebook page
Taro farmers offer free cuttings at Capitol as Hawaii Legislature convenes PC: Ka Leo o Hawai'i via Facebook, Ethan Weil

State Legislature opens without the usual revelry. The coronavirus pandemic and the shock waves it has sent through the economy, as well as heightened security as a result of the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol, combined to create somber, austere ceremonies as lawmakers gathered on Wednesday to kick off this year’s legislative session. Star-Advertiser.

New legislative session opens with little fanfare, lots to get done. State lawmakers started the new legislative session Wednesday, but there wasn’t much of the usual fanfare. Because of the ongoing pandemic, members of the public could not attend and plexiglass separated lawmakers. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Legislature Launches ‘Laser Beam’ Session In A Locked Down Capitol. Traditional festivities and speeches were all canceled amid security concerns and the threat of COVID-19. Civil Beat.

Legislature Convenes Under Heightened Security Concerns. Although the state capitol has already been closed to the public for several months in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19, that ban is now more physically apparent. Hawaii Public Radio.

State House seeks solutions to fill budget gap without tax hike. Although Hawaii faces a massive budget deficit, leaders of the state House of Representatives said Wednesday that they have no desire to raise taxes. Tribune-Herald.

State Senate faces funding shortfall while trying to prop up economy. State Senate leaders said after the Legislature reconvened Wednesday that two of the biggest challenges during the 2021 session will be to decide what can be funded and whether taxes will need to be increased in order to contend with Gov. David Ige’s proposed budget cuts. Tribune-Herald.


Taro farming group makes peaceful splash at Hawaii Capitol amid inauguration security worries across country. A sizable security force that tried to be as low key as possible loomed over the Hawaii Capitol Wednesday as a taro farming sustainability group peacefully took center stage with 10,000 Hawaii state flags planted on the lawn, a band and the give-away of 10,000 taro plantings. Star-Advertiser.

Activists Rally At Capitol To Support Local Farmers. Participants handed out taro cuttings and called on lawmakers to invest in agriculture. Civil Beat.

Some are renewing a push for federal recognition of Native Hawaiians under Biden administration. The new administration is opening the door for federal recognition for Native Hawaiians, allowing greater self-determination and control similar to other Native American tribes. KITV4.


Ige appointee called for his impeachment. Gov. David Ige’s appointee to the District 1 state Senate seat pushed for Ige’s impeachment less than a year and a half ago through a change.org petition she posted on her public Facebook page. West Hawaii Today.

Senator Appointed By Ige Had Called To Impeach Him.
In a statement, Gov. David Ige said he knew about Sen. Laura Acasio’s background opposing the Thirty Meter Telescope when he appointed her. Civil Beat.


Biden order to help Hawaii renters, but expert requests more assistance. Of the 17 executive orders that President Biden signed on his first day of office Wednesday, an extension on the federal moratorium on evictions until the end of March will have a large impact on Hawaii’s propped-up rental market. KHON2.

Stranded American Samoans Are Finally Going Home After A Hawaii Quarantine. Hawaii is helping to coordinate with a testing and quarantine center in Waikiki to facilitate the first repatriation effort since the pandemic began. Civil Beat.

LIST: How and where to get a COVID-19 vaccine
in the state of Hawaii. KHON2.

HAWAII VIRUS TRACKER — Jan. 20: 75 New COVID-19 Cases And One Death. Hawaii health officials announced one death on Maui and 75 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, including 50 on Oahu, 14 on Maui, four on the Big Island, one on Kauai and six residents diagnosed out of state. Civil Beat.


Sam Moku, Hawaii Pacific athletic director, to serve as Mayor Rick Blangiardi’s chief of staff. Hawaii Pacific University announced today that senior administrator Sam Moku will leave the university at the end of the month to become Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi’s chief of staff. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Mayor Hires HPU Athletics Director As Chief Of Staff. Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi announced on Wednesday that he has selected Sam Moku to be his chief of staff. Civil Beat.

Mayor Blangiardi picks HPU athletic director as Chief of Staff. Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi has announced his new Chief of Staff. Blangiardi selected HPU Athletic Director Sam Moku to fill the key role. Hawaii News Now.


Longtime Honolulu fire chief Neves to retire. Honolulu Fire Chief Manuel Neves announced Wednesday he will retire Feb. 28 after 42 years of servi­ce — eight years as chief, holding the position longer than 14 of his predecessors. Star-Advertiser.

After 8 years on the job, Honolulu’s fire chief to retire next month.  After eight years on the job, Honolulu Fire Chief Manuel Neves has announced he will retire in February. Hawaii News Now.

Aloha Stadium: Meetings seek public comment. Two virtual community meetings on the New Aloha Stadium Entertainment District next week highlight the final two weeks of the public comment period on the project’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement. Star-Advertiser.

Most city surveillance cameras in Chinatown are broken ― and won’t be fixed. The cameras and infrastructure are obsolete so broken pieces cannot be repaired. They have to be replaced. The city’s technology department, which maintains the equipment, previously estimated a new system would cost about $200,000. Hawaii News Now.

KITV4 Island News announces new owner: Allen Media Broadcasting. Allen founded Entertainment Studios in 1993 and has a growing portfolio of media companies, including 17 broadcast television stations across the country. KITV4.

Hawaii Island

Big Island mayor released from hospital 11 days after heart attack. In addition to the stent surgeons implanted hours after the 56-year-old mayor was stricken on Jan. 9, Roth on Tuesday had a procedure to install an implantable cardioverter defibrillator. Tribune-Herald.

Mayor Roth Released From Hilo Medical Center. On Tuesday, doctors implanted a pacemaker and defibrillator into Mayor Roth, after his January 9th heart attack. Big Island Video News.

Mayor Roth Released from HMC. Mayor Mitch Roth was released from Hilo Medical Center this afternoon in good health after suffering a heart attack earlier this month. Big Island Now.

Hawaii Island Mayor Mitch Roth discharged from hospital after heart attack. Hawaii News Now.

Waipio Valley Residents Still Seek A Deal Limiting Foot Traffic On Dicey Road. The Hawaii County Council deferred action on a bill to ban most pedestrians on the Waipio Valley Road, but residents believe a compromise may be near. Civil Beat.


Andrew Martin Appointed Maui Prosecuting Attorney. Mayor Michael Victorino today announced his appointment of Andrew Martin as Maui County prosecuting attorney. Martin’s appointment is subject to confirmation by the Maui County Council. Maui Now.

Gym members mask up for new rules. New rules that went into effect on Tuesday limit business capacity to 30 percent and require gyms, yoga studios and similar fitness venues to ensure participants wear masks at all times, whether indoor or outdoor. Maui News.


Survey: over 4K furloughed employees will lose health insurance.
According to a recent survey of Kaua‘i businesses, 49% of respondents stated that their business will not survive more than 90 days without the significant return of tourism. Garden Island.

Kaua‘i celebrates Biden/Harris inauguration. Pockets of local inauguration celebrations joined the national event that took place in Washington, DC as President Joe Biden became the 46th president of the United States. Garden Island.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Hawaii drops case against U.S. Surgeon General, vaccine shortage limits inoculations, budget woes plague Legislature, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams in Honolulu file photo

Honolulu Prosecutor Drops Surgeon General’s COVID Violation Charge. Newly elected Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney Steve Alm is moving to dismiss the criminal cases against U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams and his aide after Honolulu police cited the men for allegedly violating pandemic rules in August. Civil Beat.

New prosecutor wants surgeon general’s case dismissed. Honolulu’s new prosecutor, Steve Alm, submitted a motion Tuesday seeking to dismiss charges against U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams and his aide for allegedly violating an emergency COVID-19 order at an Oahu beach in August. Star-Advertiser.


Opening of Hawaii Legislature closed to public but viewable online, on ‘Olelo. The public will not be allowed into the state Capitol today for the opening day of the legislative session — or for the foreseeable future during the session — but can watch today’s limited and subdued proceedings via YouTube and ‘Olelo television. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii State Legislature back in session. The Hawaii State Legislature is back in session. The House and Senate will convene Wednesday for opening day for the 31st session, but unlike years past, there will be no entertainment, speeches or food. KITV4.

In new legislative session, leaders seek changes in penalties for COVID violations. State leaders intend to change the penalty for those who violate COVID emergency orders as a new legislative session begins on Wednesday. Hawaii News Now.

The Battered State Budget Will Dominate The Next Hawaii Legislature
. Faced with an unprecedented plunge in state tax collections during the pandemic, Gov. David Ige in December crafted a proposed spending plan for the next two years that was packed with painful cuts, including the elimination and reduction of numerous positions. Civil Beat.

Hawaii House Speaker Launches Probe of State Auditor. House Speaker Scott Saiki said late and unfinished reports could be cause for lawmakers to remove state Auditor Les Kondo. Civil Beat.


DOE To Present Grim Staffing Plan But Says Teacher Layoffs Are A ‘Last Resort’. The Department of Education will present the schools’ proposed reorganization plans to the state Board of Education on Thursday. Civil Beat.

Hawaii teachers union challenges proposed staff cuts, use of federal funds for tutoring services. The Hawaii State Teachers Association said today that budget cuts and layoffs proposed by the governor and school superintendent are actually prohibited by federal rules that come with the use of stimulus funds. Star-Advertiser.

HSTA claims budget cuts violates federal law. The Hawaii State Teachers Association claims Governor David Ige is violating federal law by proposing layoffs and salary cuts in the Department of Education. HSTA President Corey Rosenlee says the governor wants to cut nearly $400 million from the budget. KITV4.

Board of Education To Discuss Massive Teacher Layoffs and Budget Cuts at Virtual Meeting Jan. 21. The Hawaiʻi Board of Education will hold a virtual public meeting Thursday, Jan. 21, to hear testimony regarding the proposed teacher layoffs and budget cuts to the Department of Education due to the statewide economic woes caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Maui Now.

Hawaii Public School Students Saw More Learning Loss During the Pandemic Compared to Other Years. The number of middle and elementary school students who are more than two grade levels behind in math and reading is higher now compared to previous years, according to the State Department of Education. Hawaii Public Radio.

Leaders criticize ‘chronic mismanagement’ of Native Hawaiian burials.
Island burial council leaders are accusing the state of “systemic and chronic mismanagement” of a program developed three decades ago to handle the discovery of Native Hawaiian burials and are calling on the Legislature, which convenes today, to establish a working group to implement reforms. Star-Advertiser.


Gov. Ige appoints Hawaii island educator to fill Kai Kahele’s vacant state Senate seat. Gov. David Ige has appointed Laura Acasio to fill the state senate seat left vacant by Congressman Kai Kahele. Acasio will represent the greater Hilo area. Star-Advertiser.

Ige Selects Acasio To Fill Kahele’s Senate Seat. She is a teacher who has served in Democratic Party leadership roles. Civil Beat.

Ige appoints Hilo educator Acasio to Kahele’s former state Senate seat. Gov. David Ige on Tuesday announced the appointment of longtime educator Laura Clint Acasio to fill the state Senate District 1 seat that became vacant with the election of Kai Kahele to U.S. Congress. Tribune-Herald.

Laura Acasio Appointed To Vacant Hawaii State Senate Seat. Governor David Ige announced the appointment Tuesday, filling the empty State Senate District 1 seat which encompassing the greater Hilo area. Big Island Video News.

Ige Fills Vacant Big Island Senate Seat. Governor David Ige on Tuesday officially appointed Laura Acasio to the Hawai‘i State Senate. Big Island Now.

Gov. Ige Appoints Laura Acasio to Fill Kahele’s District 1 Vacancy. Governor David Ige announced today the appointment of Laura Acasio to fill the vacant Senate District 1 seat left by Congressman Kaialiʻi Kahele. State Senate District 1 includes the greater Hilo area. Maui Now.

Hawaii Island educator tapped to fill vacant state senate seat. The state senate seat vacated by Congressman Kai Kahele will be filled by a longtime Hawaii educator. Hawaii News Now.


Hawaii vaccine shortage stymies mass rollout. Thousands of COVID-19 vaccination appointments are being canceled or not made at all because of limited supplies in the islands. Star-Advertiser.

State: COVID-19 inoculation efforts still slowed by limited doses of vaccine. State officials said Tuesday that the distribution of doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in Hawaii was being hamstrung by difficulties in obtaining vials of the vaccine in the first place. Hawaii News Now.

‘Demand far exceeds supply’: Ige, others urge patience about vaccinations. Officials used the terms “ramp up” and “ramping up” several times Tuesday while describing the state’s rollout of coronavirus vaccinations, but cautioned that the operation likely won’t proceed quickly. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii will receive fewer doses of COVID-19 vaccines this week. The state will only receive 32,725 doses this week, compared to about 59,000 last week. KITV4.

Hawai‘i Vaccine Distribution ‘More Efficient’ as Partnerships Increase. Hawai‘i demand for COVID-19 vaccinations continues to outpace supply, as well as the state’s ability to administer the doses already in its possession. Big Island Now.

State pushing vaccine rollout.
The state wants to ramp-up its vaccine rollout effort, but supplies have varied from week to week. Garden Island.

State says inconsistency in vaccine shipment makes planning hard. The State says vaccination efforts have increased but they are constrained by limited supply. Plans are in place to ramp up vaccinations significantly but it has been challenging to plan ahead because they often do not find out until Thursday the number of doses they have for the following week. KHON2.

After backlash, state asks partners to vaccinate only kupuna, not caregivers.
State officials said Tuesday that they had asked their healthcare partners to vaccinate only kupuna at mass inoculation events due to a shortage of available doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Labs On The Lookout For More Contagious COVID-19 Variants. The mutations found in other U.S. states have not appeared yet in the islands but officials say it’s just a matter of time. Civil Beat.

HAWAII VIRUS TRACKER — Jan. 19: 65 New COVID-19 Cases And Two Deaths. Hawaii health officials announced two Oahu deaths and 65 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, including 45 on Oahu, six on the Big Island, nine on Maui, and five Hawaii residents diagnosed out of state. Civil Beat.


A Year Later, HPD Still Investigating Shooting Deaths Of 2 Police Officers. The Honolulu Police Department says it is still investigating a Jan. 19, 2020 attack in which two HPD officers and a local homeowner were killed and several homes were burned down in the Diamond Head neighborhood. Civil Beat.

Loved ones remember fallen officers 1 year after Diamond Head tragedy. One year after terrible tragedy struck a Diamond Head neighborhood, family and community members continue to mourn the loss of two Honolulu police officers who lost their lives that day. KITV4.

Visitor to Diamond Head tragedy home says she tried to help, but laws prevented agencies from helping. Tuesday marks the tragic anniversary of two slain Honolulu Police Officers at the hand of Jerry Hanel. KHON2.

Survivor who came face to face with Diamond Head killer finds forgiveness 1 year later. There was almost a fifth death on the morning of Jan. 19, 2020 following the deadly rampage near Diamond Head. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu police officers and Hibiscus Drive residents recall a calamity that killed 4. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

UPDATE: Council Planning Committee recommends unfavorable vote on Kern’s nomination. The County Council Planning Committee voted 5-4 Tuesday evening to send the confirmation of Planning Director Zendo Kern to the council later this month with a negative recommendation. West Hawaii Today.

Hilo hospital urges calm as kupuna vaccinations begin. Hilo Medical Center today will begin vaccinating older kupuna against COVID-19, but the hospital urges calm during the registration process. Tribune-Herald.

Kona hospital’s COVID-19 vaccine registration phone line fixed. Kona Community Hospital said Tuesday afternoon technical issues with its COVID-19 vaccine registration phone line have been fixed. West Hawaii Today.

Frequent traffic delays at new light stir call for solutions. A traffic light on Highway 11 near Keaau is causing consternation among residents and lawmakers alike, but there do not appear to be any immediate solutions, county officials say. Tribune-Herald.


Maui Memorial says postponing 5,000 appointments after supply drop a “huge disappointment”. Maui Memorial Medical Center says it had to postpone thousands of vaccine appointments for three weeks because of a drop in supply. Hawaii News Now.

Maui Economic Development Board Awarded $300K to Scale-Up STEMworks Program. The Maui Economic Development Board was named one of seven nationwide winners of the US Department of Commerce’s STEM Talent Challenge. Maui Now.

Maui groups honor MLK. Maui County groups shared speeches, prayers, songs and poems in honor of the late Martin Luther King Jr., one of the most influential leaders of the civil rights movement who dreamt of equality and peace throughout the United States. Maui News.


Menehune Fishpond up for sale. At $3 million, an up-for-sale listing renders the Alekoko “Menehune” Fishpond at about $30,000 per acre for the two-parceled, culturally-historic area that legend says was built in one night by a human chain of the mythical Menehune for an accessible food supply. Garden Island.

Kaua‘i Shores gives to local food banks. Kaua‘i Shores hotel General Manager Jennie Waiwaiole-Vega said they don’t know when the hotel in Waipouli will reopen its doors. Garden Island.

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

ASL interpreter succumbs to COVID-19, Hawaii legislative leaders to forego pomp and speeches, nurses in Hawaii paid the most, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

from  Aug. 13, 2020, Hawaii state video
Patty Sakal interprets Gov. David Ige's speech for the hearing impaired on Aug. 13, 2020

Beloved ASL interpreter for state dies from COVID-19 complications. Patty Sakal, 62, died from COVID-19 during a trip to California. KHON2.

ASL interpreter whose services amid pandemic helped keep community safe dies of COVID. A woman who helped the deaf community follow what was happening with the coronavirus crisis has been taken by the disease. Patty Sakal, 62, a veteran sign language interpreter and inspiring leader for the hearing-impaired community, died last week after contracting COVID-19. Hawaii News Now.


Vaccinated travelers could be exempt from quarantine, testing by spring. Lt. Gov. Josh Green said travelers who get vaccinated for COVID-19 will likely be exempted from quarantine and testing requirements as early as this spring. Hawaii News Now.


Opening day of Hawaii legislative session to be void of typical festivities. The typical pomp and circumstance will not be seen Wednesday, such as attendance by friends and family, entertainment, food and even speeches by key majority and minority leaders.  Star-Advertiser.

The Battered State Budget Will Dominate The Next Hawaii Legislature. With money tight, lawmakers are looking to the Biden administration and Congress to help shore up a huge deficit as the 2021 session opens this week. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Owes The Feds $700 Million. Businesses May Have To Pay The Tab. The state borrowed $700 million to pay unemployment benefits, but businesses may have to repay it. Civil Beat.

University of Hawaii and Department of Education brace for budget cuts. Millions of dollars in budget cuts to the state Department of Education and University of Hawaii system are expected to be finalized Thursday during separate board meetings for both departments. Star-Advertiser.

Lawmakers Still Hope To Pass Climate Legislation in 2021. Big ticket items like targets for cutting national carbon emissions or raising infrastructure ahead of sea level rise are often the focus in discussions of climate change. Hawaii Public Radio.


What New Federal COVID-19 Relief Bill Means for Hawaiʻi Employers. The $900 billion pandemic aid bill passed by Congress at the end of 2020 aims to drive more money to small and minority-owned businesses, which makes it particularly relevant for Hawai‘i. Hawaii Business magazine.

Study shows nurses in Hawaii get paid the most in the country compared to other nurses. Nurses in Hawaii are paid the most in the country according to Business.org. KHON2.

Community Health Centers in Hawaiʻi Awarded $1.3 Million Grant for Telehealth Services. The Freeman Foundation and Hawaiʻi Community Foundation awarded $1.3 million in grants to 14 Federally Qualified Health Centers across the state, according to a news release. Maui Now.

HAWAII VIRUS TRACKER — Jan. 18: 129 New COVID-19 Cases. Hawaii has seen a triple-digit increase in cases for 14 straight days. Hawaii health officials reported 129 new cases of COVID-19 statewide on Monday, including 83 on Oahu, 21 on Maui, nine on the Big Island, two on Kauai and 14 residents diagnosed out of state. Civil Beat.


Hundreds get immunized at Oahu’s first mass vaccination site. The soggy weather didn’t deter kupuna eager to receive a COVID-19 vaccine from filing into the cruise ship terminal at Pier 2 Monday morning. Hawaii News Now.

Kupuna get inoculated at Pier 2 as Hawaii mass vaccinations begin. But health officials are worried that there isn’t enough vaccine to sustain the huge demand. Nearly all of the 12,800 appointments for the large vaccination clinic are full through Jan 27, said Melinda Ashton, chief quality officer at Hawaii Pacific Health. Star-Advertiser.

Hundreds of appointments booked at mass vaccination sites on Oahu. Oahu’s senior citizens are starting to get their first COVID-19 shot as a mass vaccination site at Pier 2 kicked off on Monday with about 600 appointments booked. KHON2.

Hawaii bar owners John Harrison and Bill Comerford appeal to leaders to lift coronavirus restrictions. Bill Comerford and John Harrison have each owned and operated bars in Honolulu for decades, but both say that if COVID-19 restrictions are not lifted soon, they will lose their businesses. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Why more kids aren’t back at school; Despite low COVID case counts, administrators say numerous hurdles remain. Despite relatively low COVID-19 infection rates on the Big Island, some schools have opted to continue with distance learning this quarter, while others are working to bring students back to campus. Tribune-Herald.

Big Isle pediatricians to DOE: ‘Open our schools’. In a letter sent to Superintendent Christina Kishimoto and local complex area superintendents, six East Hawaii pediatricians — Lauren Stuart, Miki Cain, Darrett Choi, Joseph D’Angelo, Ty DeSilva and Diana Lindreoth — have recommended keiki return to full-time, in-person learning without delay. Tribune-Herald.


New rules requested by Maui County Mayor Mike Victorino take effect Tuesday. Travelers headed to Maui must download the “Aloha Safe Alert” app and stores must limit the amount of customers they let inside. KHON2.

Public Virtual Presentation: 7 Environmental Projects Funded Through Maui CARES. With unemployment at record levels due to COVID-19, Maui County followed the Great Depression-era Civilian Conservation Corps’ model that put 3 million people to work. The County used federal CARES Act funding to put more than 70 Maui and Molokai residents to work in November for seven local conservation nonprofits. Maui Now.

Maui home prices reached new peaks last year. The Realtors Association of Maui recently published data showing that median sale prices rose to $795,575 for single-family homes and $570,000 for condos last year. Star-Advertiser.

Entrance, parking fees coming soon for Wai‘anapanapa State Park. In an effort to manage high traffic flow to Maui’s remote East Maui, a reservation system for commercial vehicles and individual tourists seeking to visit Wai’anapanapa State Park is anticipated to launch next month. Maui News.

Entry and Parking Fees at Waiʻānapanapa State Park Expected to Begin in February. A reservation system is expected to begin at East Maui’s Waiʻānapanapa State Park in the second or third week of February according to state leaders who provided an update during a weekend Zoom meeting. Maui Now.


DPW briefs council on road resurfacing projects. The county is estimating about $10.625 million in General Excise Tax revenue this fiscal year, down about $7.46 million from the year before. Garden Island.

Hearing on home exemptions is Feb. 8. The County of Kaua‘i Department of Finance will hold a public hearing on Monday, Feb. 8, on the proposed amendments to the rules and regulations relating to home and related exemptions. Garden Island.

Monday, January 18, 2021

Military important economic driver amid pandemic, coronavirus cases spike as vaccinations delayed, new restrictions on Maui, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2021 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Pohakuloa Training Area ©2021 All Hawaii News

State report highlights defense sector importance. As the second largest sector of the state’s economy, military-procurement spending generated $4.5 billion in economic impact last year, with $2.3 billion in federal contracts throughout the state, helping to sustain more than 30,000 jobs statewide. Garden Island.

EPA: Hawaii’s Military Bases Dumped 630,000 Pounds Of Toxic Nitrate Into The Ocean. While federally permitted, the Environmental Protection Agency hopes the data’s public release spurs facilities to reduce their chemical waste. Civil Beat.

Contractor Sentenced In Army Corruption Scheme In Hawaii. John Winslett bribed Army officials with cash, cars and guns to win lucrative construction contracts in Hawaii, Justice Department said. Civil Beat.


Hawaii Tourism Authority spent ‘exorbitant’ amounts marketing to visitors as lockdowns dropped demand. For the 2020 fiscal year, HTA estimated the cost per arrival for every U.S. visitor was $7.13, up more than 118% from the prior year. The cost per arrival for Japan during fiscal year 2020 was significantly higher at $17.17, a nearly 201% increase. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii lawmakers face tough choices amid pandemic recession. Cut spending, raise taxes or perhaps both. Hawaii lawmakers face tough choices as they convene a new legislative session this week amid a pandemic that has pummeled tourism, the state’s biggest industry, and depleted tax revenue. Hawaii News Now.

Despite weekend protests rumors, Hawaii’s Capitol was quiet Sunday.
Bracing for large, unruly crowds, state officials put up barricades and fences around the Hawaii State Capitol, and beefed up security. But the effort seemed to be precautionary as there was a significant absence of crowds and protestors over the weekend. Hawaii News Now.

Noncommercial fishing is booming during pandemic. Hawaii is the only coastal state that doesn’t require fishers to have a noncommercial marine fishing license, which could provide information about how many noncommercial fishers there are in Hawaii and how many fish they’re taking from the ocean. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Lawmakers May Cut Solar Credits. The credits help to develop renewable energy projects but also cost the state millions of dollars. Civil Beat.

Farmers to petition lawmakers Opening Day. This past year, the pandemic has led to a rise in people in Hawaii beginning to grow their own produce and start sustainable farming. KITV4.

Isle cattle ranchers invited to join grass-fed beef venture. Hawaii’s largest ranch and an investment firm partner are looking for other local ranch operators to join a grass-feed beef production venture. Star-Advertiser.

Previously unknown cause is found for mysterious snorkeling deaths in a new Hawaii study. Rapid onset pulmonary edema was not previously associated with snorkeling, which has been implicated in 206 Hawaii drownings — 189 involving visitors — from 2009 to 2018, according to the state Department of Health. During that period, snorkeling-related drownings nearly doubled in what officials called an “alarming” rise. Star-Advertiser.


Fast clip of coronavirus spread in Hawaii puts state at risk of another outbreak. Hawaii is at risk of another COVID-19 outbreak with the worst effective reproduction rate for infections in the nation after Washington state. Star-Advertiser.

Congresswoman Concerned About Hawaii Pandemic Response Got No Answers From Ige
. Five months after a California congresswoman asked Hawaii for answers about its public health response and its spending of federal money, Gov. David Ige hasn’t provided her with any information. Civil Beat.

Lawmakers to Take a Hard Look at Correctional System After COVID-19 Hits 46 Percent of Inmates. State lawmakers are taking a hard look this session at some of the long-standing issues contributing to the spread of the coronavirus in Hawaiʻi’s jails and prisons. Hawaii Public Radio.

Blood bank is looking for COVID survivors.
The Blood Bank of Hawaii is looking for more people who have recovered from COVID-19 to donate their convalescent plasma — the liquid part of the blood that contains antibodies to the new coronavirus — to help treat those who are hospitalized. Star-Advertiser.

HAWAII VIRUS TRACKER — Jan. 17: 132 New COVID-19 Cases And 2 Deaths. Hawaii has seen a triple-digit increase in cases for 13 straight days. Hawaii health officials reported 132 new cases of COVID-19 statewide on Sunday, including 86 on Oahu, 29 on Maui, seven on the Big Island, one on Kauai and nine residents diagnosed out of state. Civil Beat.


The state’s first mass vaccination site opens Monday, Jan. 18, at Honolulu Harbor Pier 2. Hawaii Pacific Health said nearly 600 people have signed up for Monday and the rest of the week is booked with appointments. KHON2.

Community vaccination sites to open to essential workers and those 75 years and older. Mass vaccinations for the public are scheduled to begin on Monday. KITV4.

Waikiki Shell to be used in effort to return stranded American Samoa residents home. The state of Hawaii and the City and County of Honolulu have begun assisting about 800 American Samoan residents, who are traveling through Oahu en route to their previously shuttered island home. Star-Advertiser.

Waikiki Shell parking lot to assist in American Samoa repatriation efforts. The City and County of Honolulu is joining the state’s efforts to help bring an estimated 800 American Samoa residents back home. KHON2.

Polynesian Cultural Center reopening with limited capacity and activities as officials look ahead to tourism recovery. The Polynesian Cultural Center, a cornerstone of Laie and an economic magnet for the North Shore community, is set to reopen Monday following a 10-month-long closure — one of that last major attractions on Oahu to welcome back visitors after Hawaii tourism was shut down in March due to the corona­virus pandemic. Star-Advertiser.

Plans for 2 more Ward towers set for review. A state agency regulating development in Kakaako has scheduled public hearings in March to consider plans for developing two more condominium towers at Ward Village. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Roth says he’s ‘very hopeful’ following heart attack. The 56-year-old Roth, the former county prosecutor who was elected mayor in November and inaugurated on Dec. 7, had been in office just over a month when he was stricken. Tribune-Herald.

Gas use down 18%, County highway fund takes a hit from less driving. In all, drivers used about 18% less gasoline during a pandemic year that translated to fewer commutes and fewer tourists. It also translated to less money for road repair. West Hawaii Today.

High court denies writ to Honua Ola, appeal of PUC decision still active. The state Supreme Court on Thursday denied Honua Ola Bioenergy’s request to order the Public Utilities Commission to reconsider its denial of a requested waiver of the competitive bidding process used in the sale of electricity. Tribune-Herald.

Waikoloa development up for review: Council Planning Committee to hear rezoning application. A plan to develop a 36-unit housing complex, some units classified affordable, along with eight commercial lots in Waikoloa Village will be taken up by the County Council Planning Committee on Tuesday after a negative recommendation from the Leeward Planning Commission and the Planning Department under the prior administration. West Hawaii Today.


Maui Vaccination Clinic Temporarily Closes Due To Shortage
. All appointments scheduled through Feb. 7 have been canceled. Civil Beat.

Delayed shipment closes Maui vaccination clinic to first doses. Only second doses available at both local Moderna, Pfizer sites. Maui’s only vaccination clinic taking new registrations announced Saturday it will have to close for a week due to a shortage of Pfizer-BioNTech doses that were slated to come from the state. Maui News.

Vaccine Distribution Delay Prompts Temporary Suspension of New Appointments for First Doses at Maui Hospital. Maui Health, which runs the vaccination clinic at the Maui Memorial Medical Center, has also postponed appointments for individuals that were seeking a first dose and had already secured an appointment between Jan. 17 and Feb. 7. Maui Now.

Thousands of vaccinations on Maui pushed back due to shipment delay. Maui Health's clinic is pushing back between 300 and 400 slots a day over the next three weeks after the state notified the company Friday evening it will not be receiving its expected shipment of doses for this weekend and next week. KITV4.

Retailers, gyms face tighter restrictions. Large and small retail establishments will be restricted to 30 percent capacity starting at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, the latest in a series of rule changes aimed at slowing a spike in COVID-19 cases on Maui, county officials announced Friday. Maui News.

Maui County’s state lawmakers say proposed state budget is ‘fluid’. Furloughs and program cuts depend on what federal aid is available. Maui News.


Kauai employment suffers under restrictive travel policies. Travel to Kauai plummeted after Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami opted out of the Safe Travels program, effective Dec. 2, requiring all travelers to Kauai to undergo a mandatory 10-day quarantine with no option to test out. Star-Advertiser.

Paid positions available in youth conservation program
. Kupu, Hawai‘i’s leading conservation and youth education nonprofit organization, recently announced that applications are now being accepted for this summer’s Hawai‘i Youth Conservation Corps program on Kaua‘i. Garden Island.