Friday, September 24, 2021

Hawaii Supreme Court requires anti-TMT nonprofit bank records turned over to Attorney General, 2 Hawaiian Airlines flights turned back when passengers act out, Ironman takes a year in Utah, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2021 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Hawaiian oli on Mauna Kea ©2021 All Hawaii News

Supreme Court partially approves subpoena into bank records of group opposing TMT on Mauna Kea. The Hawaii Supreme Court has ruled in favor of a subpoena to access the bank records of a nonprofit organization that has opposed the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope, but the ruling also further limits the scope of the subpoena. Star-Advertiser.

2 separate Hawaiian Airlines flights return to Honolulu Airport after two unruly passenger cases. One incident involved an alleged unprovoked attack against a flight attendant on an interisland flight bound for Hilo, while the other involved a passenger who allegedly defied the federal face mask mandate on a flight to Seattle. Star-Advertiser. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Now. Maui Now.  Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Hawaii officials seek workers statewide for Safe Travels program. The state is seeking to hire 100 people to help verify Safe Travels program documents at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport on Oahu, the Hilo and Kona International Airports on Hawaii Island, Kahului Airport on Maui, and Lihue Airport on Kauai. Star-Advertiser. Big Island Video News. Garden Island.

Hawaii’s economy is expected to resume recovery in November. According to a new report by University of Hawaii economists, the Nov. 25 Thanksgiving holiday is likely to be around when the main driver of the local economy — tourism — starts to make a significant recovery after a big tumble tied to the towering delta wave of COVID-19. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii’s High Cost Of Living Just Keeps Getting Higher. Rising gasoline and housing prices are driving up living costs for isle families, offsetting wage gains that had appeared to offer a bright spot in a tepid economic recovery. Civil Beat.

Vacation rental supply only two-thirds back to pre-COVID days. Vacation rental occupancy across the state was down about a third in August, while hotel supply was almost at the pre­-pandemic level that it was two years ago. Star-Advertiser.

Hospital rewrites the rules so loved ones can say goodbye at COVID patients’ bedsides. Partnership between Adventist Heath Castle and Bristol Hospice is allowing exceptions so family members can be at the bedside during those final moments. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii records 12 new coronavirus-related deaths, 445 additional infections. new confirmed and probable infection count by island includes 267 new cases on Oahu, 52 on Maui, 81 on Hawaii Island, 30 on Kauai, seven on Molokai and eight Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state. Star-Advertiser.


US House Passes Bill With Enhanced Standards For Red Hill Fuel Tanks. The bill passed ahead of a highly anticipated decision by the Hawaii health director on the World War II-era tanks, which have leaked into the area’s groundwater. Civil Beat.

Honolulu Police Commission Seeks Public’s Help In Search For New Police Chief. The Honolulu Police Commission is urging the community to send in presentations and testimony regarding the search for the new police chief. Civil  Beat.

With city vaccine exemptions pending approval, councilwoman proposes alternatives to firing. Andria Tupola has introduced a resolution calling for alternatives to firing and is asking city officials to be clearer about the exemption policies. Hawaii News Now.

Iwilei homeless shelter scrambled to identify and isolate COVID-19 cases.
The outbreak affected twenty-six residents and a dozen of its 28 staff, forcing the remaining workers to jump into action. KITV4.

Police Officer Falsely Accused Former State Senator Of Being At Massage Parlor Raid. Officer Chester Desiderio faced an undisclosed administrative action for Facebook comments he made about former Sen. Will Espero. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Island

Ironman World Championship moving to Utah, officials plan Kona return in October 2022. The Ironman World Championship will be held outside of Hawaii for the first time in its 40-plus history, race officials announced Thursday. West Hawaii Today. Big Island Video News. Big Island Now.

Collaboration allows students to use Hele-On pass to get to school.
Hawaii County has formed a partnership with the state Department of Education to help alleviate student transportation issues on Hawaii Island caused by a shortage of school bus drivers and routes. Star-Advertiser.

Water reservior project moves foward: Final EA released for 10 million gallon tank in Kohala. The Hawaii County Department of Water Supply proposes to build the 36-foot-tall prestressed concrete water tank on property currently owned by Parker Ranch. West Hawaii Today.

Big Island COVID patient's family wants court to force hospital to give him Ivermectin. The fight to give Ivermectin to coronavirus patients now goes before a state judge. A Big Island man is is "on death's doorstep," according to his family. Now they hope to force the hospital to give him an experimental drug. KITV4.


Big changes to Wailuku town development rules proposed. Saying they’re up against a wall, Maui County Council members on Wednesday recommended approval for sweeping changes to nearly 70 acres of downtown Wailuku in a step to evade long-term litigation. Maui News.

6th Hawaiian monk seal found dead on Molokai. Wildlife officials reported the death of another Hawaiian monk seal on Molokai, the isle’s sixth so far this year, which they said is unprecedented. Star-Advertiser. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now.

'It's very devastating': activists decry removal of Maui's largest homeless encampment.
The sweep made way for the Department of Transportation to restore a nearby wildlife sanctuary. KITV4.


Kaua‘i to move away from tier system. The County of Kaua‘i will be moving away from its six-tiered system, Mayor Derek Kawakami announced Thursday, but will continue to enforce strict COVID-19 safety measures. Garden Island.

Project seeks to boost local egg production. Farmers have an opportunity to add fresh eggs to their list of wares next year, with tools provided by nonprofit Malama Kaua‘i. Garden Island.

Thursday, September 23, 2021

South Korea President Moon Jae-In honors war dead in Hawaii ceremony, pre-travel testing misses many infected, GOP leader Carroll dies at 91, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Service members render honors during a joint repatriation ceremony at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, Sept. 22, 2021. PC: Tech. Sgt. Rusty Frank Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency

South Korea President Moon Jae-In and First Lady Kim Jung-Sook pay respects to the war dead at an Oahu ceremony. The first joint U.S.-South Korea repatriation held in Hawaii saw remains of South Korean soldiers from the 1950-53 Korean War that had been in the possession of the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency solemnly placed aboard a white Korean government 747 at Hickam. Star-Advertiser. KITV4. UPI.

New research raises questions about efficacy of Hawaii’s pre-traveler testing rules. New research shows Hawaii’s pre-travel testing program is likely only catching a fraction of infected travelers. Simulations imulations show Hawaii’s pre-testing protocol may be detecting only 20% of infected travelers. Hawaii News Now.

Supreme Court hears arguments on early prisoner release.
The Hawaii Supreme Court heard oral arguments Wednesday over the third petition calling for the early release of certain incarcerated people to help ease crowded conditions that lead to outbreaks of COVID- 19 in the state’s jails and prisons. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Tribune-Herald.

John Carroll, longtime Hawaii Republican leader, dies at 91.
Carroll was most-known for his service as a state representative followed by a term as state senator from 1971 to 1981. He also served as the chairman of the Hawaii Republican Party. Hawaii News Now.

University of Hawaii says COVID-19 vaccinations required for spring 2022. UH began the fall semester this year offering unvaccinated students the option of undergoing a mandatory, weekly COVID-19 test to be on any of its 10 campuses. That option, however, will no longer be available starting Jan. 3, officials said. Star-Advertiser.

Public high school athletes poised to play — but only if they’re vaccinated.
The state Department of Education is moving ahead with plans to allow public high school athletics to resume practices and workouts on Friday. Hawaii News Now.

New daily COVID infections are dropping, but some hospitals are still dangerously full.
On Wednesday, 282 COVID patients were hospitalized statewide. That’s down nearly 40% from the peak three weeks ago ― when that number stood at 448. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii records 12 new coronavirus-related deaths, 330 additional infections. The new confirmed and probable infection count by island includes 216 new cases on Oahu, 43 on Maui, 38 on Hawaii island, 29 on Kauai, two on Molokai and two Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state. Star-Advertiser.


Advocates Raise Transparency Concerns Over Oahu’s Redistricting.
A nine-member panel responsible for the once-in-a-decade task of redrawing Oahu’s political boundaries based on census data has faced criticism from democracy advocates that the process so far lacks transparency and “meaningful public input.” Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Community Services Director Resigns. Deputy Director Joy Barua will serve as acting director of the department. Civil Beat.

Rep. Case: Manoa Post Office To Remain Open.
A post office that has served Manoa Valley residents for decades will not be shuttered at the end of this month, as was expected. Civil Beat.

COVID-19 outbreak hits Nuuanu nursing facility. A COVID-19 outbreak at a skilled nursing facility in Nuuanu that has infected 54 patients and more than two dozen employees is straining the nursing staff and creating unsafe conditions for both nurses and patients, according to the Hawai‘i Nurses’ Association. Star-Advertiser. KHON2.

Requests for COVID-19 test kits for Oahu residents on pause due to overwhelming response, will resume Thursday.  Hawaii Department of Health today said the “Say Yes! COVID Test” at-home testing challenge is currently on pause due to high demand. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Olson Trust lawsuit alleges Tower Development execs violated noncompete agreement. The Edmund C. Olson Trust has filed a lawsuit against two corporate officers of Tower Development Inc. for pursuing redevelopment projects on Banyan Drive. Tribune-Herald.

Legal challenge could cast shadow over land board meeting. A lawsuit demanding that two proposed redevelopment projects on Banyan Drive be halted could disrupt a Friday meeting of the Board of Land and Natural Resources. Tribune-Herald.

Ige releases $55M in CIP funds for Big Island projects. The state has released more than $55 million in capital improvement project funds for a variety of Big Island projects, including $15 million to Volcano School of Arts and Sciences for the construction of a new campus. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News.

HTA: Progress on 2021 sustainable tourism goals.
A tourism management plan for Hawaii Island is gradually being implemented, with the Hawaii Tourism Authority reporting steady progress on goals for 2021. West Hawaii Today.

Big Island Police Killings Often Involve Troubled Victims And Guns — And The Number Has Spiked. Compared to Honolulu, people who died in police shootings were often armed with guns themselves. Civil Beat.

'Post-COVID' Patients May Soon Outnumber Recently Infected Patients at Hilo Medical Center. Case counts are going down — average daily new cases have dropped by 35% over the past two weeks, but Hawaiʻi's health care infrastructure is still overburdened. Hawaii Public Radio.


State Releases $69.8 Million for Capital Improvement Projects for Maui County. The State of Hawaiʻi released $602 million for Capital Improvement Projects in 2021, including critical public infrastructure projects across the state and $69.8 million for Maui County projects. Maui Now.

Monoclonal Antibody Treatment Now Offered at Maui Lani Medical Office.
Monoclonal antibody treatment is approved by the FDA for emergency use authorization to reduce the severity of COVID-19 symptoms in positive individuals at risk for developing severe disease. Maui Now.

58 Tons of Solid Waste, 54 Derelict Vehicles Removed in Amala Place Clean-up.
On Wednesday, County employees and contractors removed 13 remaining derelict vehicles and 8 more tons of solid waste from the area. That’s in addition to the removal of 41 derelict vehicles and 50 tons of solid waste from the area on Tuesday. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now.

DOH Allows Eateries to Resume Operations After Pest Treatment at Food Court. Inspectors had issued red placards to Nikki’s Pizza on Aug. 31 for a “pest infestation,” and Joey’s Kitchen on Sept. 17 for a “roach infestation.” Nikki’s was approved to reopen on Sept. 17, and Joey’s Kitchen at Whaler’s Village was allowed to resume operations yesterday, according to online health inspection reports. Maui Now.


Survey says Kaua‘i business divided on vaccine mandates. The 121 businesses that completed the survey, conducted by the Kaua‘i Chamber of Commerce, represent a wide variety of industries from across the island. Garden Island.

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

South Korea president to attend Hawaii repatriation ceremony today, hospitals resume elective surgeries, Iolani Palace getting roof repairs, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2021 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Iolani Palace ©2021 All Hawaii News

South Korea president to visit Hawaii to honor service members in repatriation ceremony. South Korean President Moon Jae-In will be visiting the islands on Wednesday to honor America’s military. He will be part of a repatriation ceremony at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam as the United States accepts remains of service members killed during the Korean War. Hawaii News Now.

Patriot missiles fired from Hawaii for first time. With little fanfare, the U.S. Army earlier this month fired from Hawaii for the first time two Patriot missiles — the kind used by 15 nations for defense — knocking out two simulated cruise missile threats at a range of about 20 miles. Star-Advertiser.

Major Hawaii hospitals resume elective surgeries. Major Hawaii hospitals have begun resuming elective surgeries and procedures amid a decline in COVID-19 hospitalizations and a stabilization of the state’s oxygen supply, a sign that the state has avoided some of the worst-case health care scenarios that were feared as coronavirus cases began to soar in early July. Star-Advertiser.

Two powerful senior advocacy groups want age deleted from state’s triage plan. Two powerful senior advocacy groups are seeking to remedy the state’s health care rationing plan, which uses age as a tiebreaker to deny care under certain conditions. Star-Advertiser.

Experts eye more Hawaii travel testing to contain COVID. Hawaii officials are facing pressure to increase COVID-19 testing for travelers as the islands deal with a record surge of new infections, hospitalization and deaths. The calls come as federal guidelines change to require negative virus tests from both vaccinated and unvaccinated people coming to the U.S. Associated Press.

Hawaii government workers, contractors rushed to get vaccinated as mandates went into effect
. The number of state and county employees who got the COVID-19 vaccine jumped in recent weeks after mandates were announced and went into effect. Hawaii News Now.

Tensions continue during investigation of state auditor.
There were more tense moments during Tuesday’s House committee investigation of the state auditor and his office over unspecified concerns regarding audits of two agencies that oversee Hawaii land. Star-Advertiser.

Menor-McNamara May Run For Hawaii Lieutenant Governor. The president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii has filed organizational paperwork. Civil Beat.

Hawaii sees 280 new coronavirus cases, bringing statewide total to 76,191
. The new confirmed and probable infection count by island includes 197 new cases on Oahu, 21 on Maui, 39 on Hawaii Island, 16 on Kauai, one on Molokai and six Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state. Star-Advertiser.


Honolulu police officer suspended for declining COVID-19 vaccine back on duty and inoculated.
HPD Cpl. Mark Kutsy, who came to Honolulu as a United States Marine and joined HPD two weeks after finishing his USMC commitment, evaluated the risks of serious illness or death resulting from the vaccine, which were low, versus ending his HPD career a year or so shy of when he planned to retire. Star-Advertiser.

Family Of Paralyzed Teen Sues Police, Alleging Injuries Resulted From High-Speed Chase. Dayten Gouveia was left paralyzed after police allegedly ran a car he was in off the road, causing a severe crash. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii DOT restores Dillingham Airfield term end date to 2024. Tenants at Dillingham Airfield can stay for a few more years — the State Department of Transportation restored its term end date with the U.S. Army to July 5, 2024. KHON2.

Two Louisiana men serving jail terms at OCCC after violating emergency orders. Two visitors have been charged for allegedly violating Hawaii’s travel rules after they failed to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test result and a location to quarantine upon their arrival in Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.

Leilehua High School to implement ‘zero-tolerance’ mask rule on campus. Principal Jason Nakamoto said in a letter to parents and guardians on Tuesday, Sept. 21, “This is now the eighth week of school and we continue to have students that do not understand the importance of proper mask wearing on campus.” KHON2.

City Council recommends purchase of Waikiki road amid safety hazards. The Honolulu City Council voted Tuesday to recommend the city buy a street in Waikiki where residents say the private owner is putting drivers and children in danger. Hawaii News Now.

ʻIolani Palace Will Receive Nearly $500K to Repair the Roof. The palace’s roof will replace approximately 9,000 square feet of slate roofing and remove rust damage. Roof accessories and skylights also will be repaired. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii Island

Lots of money, lots of need: Council gets an update on federal rescue funds. Hawaii County’s $39 million federal American Rescue stimulus package has increased to almost $60 million, all of which must be spent by the end of 2024, members of the County Council Finance Committee learned Tuesday. West Hawaii Today.

Official: ‘Political will’ needed to fix solid waste problems. Hawaii County should impose new fees for Big island residents to dispose of waste in the future, suggested a county official Tuesday. Tribune-Herald.

New Hotels Proposed To Replace Uncle Billy’s, Country Club Apartments. Big changes could be coming to the Banyan Drive area of Hilo, where the Country Club Apartments and the former Uncle Billy’s will be replaced by new hotel accommodations, if the Hawaiʻi land board approves two proposals at a Friday meeting. Big Island Video News.

Deadline nears for HVNP’s air tours plan. That’s 21 years after the Air Tour Management Act of 2000 went into effect and a year after a federal judge ruled in favor of a suit by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility and Hawaii Island Coalition Malama Pono, or HICoP, which petitioned the court to compel the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Park Service to enforce the law. Tribune-Herald.


Day 2 of Major Clean-Up Underway at Kanahā Wildlife Sanctuary and Amala Place. Supported by a large team from contractor HTM, clean-up crews moved from the road into the Kanahā Pond State Wildlife Refuge, which state officials say “has been severely impacted by the large presence of people living on Amala Place.” Maui Now. KHON2. KITV4.

Maui Educators Picket for Improved Safety and Well-Being Amid Ongoing Pandemic
. Hawaiʻi State Teachers Association members who work on the island of Maui were joined by State Representative Troy Hashimoto for informational picketing at Maui Waena Intermediate School and Maui High School on Tuesday morning. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now.

Molokai Has An Electricity Problem. This Co-Op Wants To Change That. A new co-op plans to reclaim some of its electricity ownership by bidding on a community-based renewable energy project. Civil Beat.


Kaua‘i 8.9% jobless rate tops state. According to the state Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism, the jobless rate for the state was 6.6% in August. On Kaua‘i, it was 8.9%. Garden Island.

World Peace Kannon decorated until Sunday in Hanapepe. As the morning swallowed up the remaining notes of the Kaua‘i Soto Zen Temple Zenshuji gongs on Peace Day, Mark Jeffers of The Storybook Theatre of Hawai‘i approached the World Peace Kannon statue Tuesday. Garden Island.

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Hotel occupancy drops, Blangiardi extends restrictions, grants may pay for Kauai cesspool conversion, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2021 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Hilton Hawaiian Village in Waikiki ©2021 All Hawaii News

Statewide hotel occupancy took double-digit dive in August.
Statewide occupancy in August was 73.4%, according to a report released Monday by the Hawaii Tourism Authority which was based on data from Tennessee- based STR. The results were 10.7 percentage points below August 2019 when the pre­pandemic occupancy was 84.1%. Star-Advertiser.

Lieutenant Governor Wants More Health Care Resources, Not Rationed Care. Hawaiʻi Lt. Gov. Josh Green is urging the federal government to help states avoid rationing medical care during the pandemic — a policy that has concerned many older adults and their families. Hawaii Public Radio.

Vaccine rates up for public safety workers and inmates. There were 296, or 18.7%, of the 1,579 corrections workers in Hawaii who declined the vaccine, according to the state Department of Public Safety, as did 38 of Hawaii’s 332 sheriffs. Star-Advertiser.

State auditor Les Kondo challenges investigation of office. State Auditor Les Kondo challenged members of a special House Investigative Committee on Monday to specify why he and his office are under investigation following two critical audits of land management practices by two state agencies — but received no response. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.

Local progressives urge Rep. Ed Case to support federal infrastructure plan. Local progressive groups are teaming up in an effort to push Congressman Ed Case, D-Hawaii, to support President Joe Biden’s $3.5 trillion “Build Back Better” plan, which aims to aggressively address issues such as climate change, child care and rebuilding infrastructure. Star-Advertiser. KITV4.

Antibody treatments lagging in Hawaii amid strong U.S. demand. The federal government has capped Hawaii’s weekly allocation at 680 treatments, half of what local health care providers had requested. Star-Advertiser.

COVID-19 surge tapers off: Hospitalizations, number of new cases in decline. Hawaii appears to be “out of the red zone” for COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii reports 431 new coronavirus cases, bringing statewide total to 75,911. The new confirmed and probable infection count by island includes 290 new cases on Oahu, 59 on Hawaii island, 38 on Maui, 32 on Kauai, and 12 Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state. Star-Advertiser.


Mayor Blangiardi extends restrictions on large gatherings until Oct. 19, ends Honolulu’s COVID-19 tier system. Mayor Rick Blangiardi today extended the restrictions for large gatherings, which allow 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors, until Oct. 19. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii Public Radio. Hawaii News Now. KHON2. KITV4.

Honolulu’s Search For A New City Auditor May Finally Be Near An End. A search committee selected a candidate with experience in Washington, D.C., and Seattle. The City Council must approve the appointment. Civil Beat.

Training Records May Be Sticking Point In Fire Chief Deadlock. The Honolulu Fire Commission will meet again this week to take up the hiring impasse. Civil Beat.

Many Head Start Classes Go Back Online Amid Covid Surge. The decision came as the delta variant spread rapidly in communities served by the federally funded preschool program. Civil Beat.

A forecast for Honolulu’s peak number of daily coronavirus cases has been revised downward due to recent data and a combination of other factors, including new restrictions and fewer travelers. The Hawaii Pandemic Applied Modeling Work Group, upon request at a recent Honolulu City Council hearing, has estimated the potential impact of the Safe Access Oahu program could reduce cases by about 30% in the next 10 days. Star-Advertiser.

At-home COVID-19 testing kits available free to Oahu residents via federal program. The Hawaii Department of Health today announced that Oahu has been selected to participate in a federal pilot program providing 125,000 residents in eligible zip codes with free, at-home COVID-19 test kits. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Visits to USS Arizona Memorial resume after shoreside dock gets temporary fix. A temporary repair of the shoreside dock at the USS Arizona Memorial visitor center allowed walk-on visitation to the memorial today at noon for the first time in over two weeks as part of “operational testing” that included the general public, the National Park Service said. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Clog in online permitting system slows PV installations. A permit slowdown was expected with the transition to an online permit system in late July. But, while most builders and contractors questioned in an informal survey by West Hawaii Today said permits are starting to trickle through, PV and solar water contractors have yet to see a single permit dribble out. West Hawaii Today.

DOT: Work to reopen Hakalau park unlikely to begin until 2023. Hakalau Beach Park and the nearby Kolekole Beach Park closed in 2017 because of public health hazards caused by lead contamination in the soil. But while Kolekole Beach Park was reopened in 2020, Hakalau remains closed. Tribune-Herald.


Maui Hotels August 2021 Revenue Per Available Room Up 43% from 2019.
For August 2021, Maui County hotels’ RevPar and ADR were up compared to pre-pandemic August 2019, but occupancy was down 4.3%, according to the HTA Hawaiʻi Hotel Performance Report. Maui Now.

Maui police employee in Lahaina tests positive for COVID. The Maui Police Department confirmed an employee out of the Lahaina District tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday, Sept. 20.  KHON2.

A large Kahului homeless camp is cleaned out with hopes of getting campers into housing. One of Maui’s largest homeless encampment is being cleared out this week. The encampment is along Amala Place in Kahului on the way to Kanaha Beach Park – a beach that is popular for picnicking and kite surfing. Hawaii News Now.

Pandemic puts strain on farm sanctuary. In the heart of Haiku sits a safe haven where hundreds of animals have received refuge and where visitors have been able to engage and learn. But uncertainty grows as the COVID-19 pandemic challenges the Leilani Farm Sanctuary to keep the gates open as visitor numbers drop due to travel warnings and other restrictions. Maui News.


Council moves forward with cesspool conversion program. Converting a cesspool to a septic tank can cost anywhere from $15,000 to $30,000. A new bill introduced by the Kaua‘i County Council seeks to absorb those costs for homeowners. Garden Island.

Kaua‘i falling behind in vaccination rates. Across the state, about 66% of Hawai‘i residents are fully vaccinated, with about 75% initiating vaccination. On Kaua‘i, only about 64% of residents are fully vaccinated and 69% have gotten one of two shots. Garden Island.

Monday, September 20, 2021

TSA, airlines given more time to comply with vaccine requirements, librarians harassed, state employee pension fund sees record return, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

State gives Transportation Security Administration and airlines exemptions to Hawaii’s COVID emergency orders. Gov. David Ige’s order requiring that contractors and visitors at state facilities and property provide proof of their vaccination or testing status prior to entry has already been in effect for a week, but thousands of workers at state airports still aren’t in compliance. Star-Advertiser.

Name calling, property damage: Public librarians harassed over vaccine mandate enforcement.
Public libraries are finding it a challenge trying to balance enforcing the new requirements and providing services to their guests. Hawaii News Now.

The Pandemic Taught Us Broadband Is Essential. But Where Is It? Gaps in broadband service in Hawaii are screamingly obvious to the people who have to cope with them, but proving where the problems lie is another matter. Civil Beat.

‘Technical issue’ causes widespread Spectrum cable outage for Hawaii customers. Spectrum said it is working to restore cable to hundreds of customers across Hawaii following an outage Saturday morning. Hawaii News Now.

Study found tourists willing to pay more for Hawaii culture, sustainability, locally grown food. Visitors to the state of Hawaii are willing to pay more for Native Hawaiian cultural experiences, sustainability and locally grown food, according to findings from a new study conducted by the University of Hawaii  at Manoa and West Oahu. KHON2.

Employees’ Retirement System rockets to record 26.2% 1-year return. Hawaii’s largest public pension fund, which has been playing catch-up to dig out of a $14.6 billion shortfall, has achieved what is believed to be the best fiscal- year performance in its 95-year history. Star-Advertiser.

Former teachers union head, Corey Rosenlee, running for state Senate. Corey Rosenlee, the outspoken and assertive former leader of the Hawaii teachers union, has announced his bid to run for the state Senate for the seat currently held by Mike Gabbard, chairman of the Senate Agriculture and Environment Committee and father of former U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii’s lieutenant governor Josh Green seeks U.S. surgeon general’s support
in addressing pandemic. Lt. Gov. Josh Green texted the U.S. surgeon general over the weekend to encourage him to provide Hawaii and other states with more support to avoid rationing health care. Star-Advertiser.

He co-founded an anti-vax mandate group.
Then he caught COVID, and his views changed. Officials hope Chris Wikoff’s about-face will help undermine some of the protests and rallies against the vaccine mandates and other COVID restrictions. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii records 12 new coronavirus-related deaths, 474 additional infections. Today’s new confirmed and probable infection count by island includes 297 new cases on Oahu, 36 on Maui, 77 on Hawaii island, 45 on Kauai, six on Molokai and 13 Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state. Star-Advertiser.


How An Arbitrator’s Decision Can Cause Problems For Police Agencies Years Later. Officers’ prior misconduct is often used against them — and ultimately the taxpayers — in civil lawsuits that arise from unrelated incidents that happen many years later. Civil Beat.

Lottery scheduled for moderate-price rental housing in downtown Honolulu. The owner of Bishop Place has made applications available for an Oct. 19 lottery to select tenants for more than an initial two phases of apartments reserved for households that meet requirements including largely moderate income limits. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii’s Embattled Ag Agency Finally Moves Wahiawa Center Forward.
A new product development center is being heralded by supporters as evidence that the Agribusiness Development Corp. is making progress. Civil Beat.

The Miske Case: Former Kaneohe Biker Bar Operator Pleads Guilty. Prosecutors have now lined up at least nine people linked to alleged crime boss Mike Miske as cooperating witnesses. Civil Beat.

North Shore seasonal erosion becoming more severe. Scientists and experts have studied the trend for years. Powerful swells from the west or northwest hit the beach during winter. In the summer, small northeast trade wind swells push sand back west toward Waimea Bay. KHON2.

Hawaii Island

Questions of chemical discharges surround decommissioned scopes atop Mauna Kea. The first two observatories of as many as five of the existing 13 that dominate the landscape atop Mauna Kea are expected to be decommissioned by late 2023.  Star-Advertiser. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Now.

Kolekole Bridge disruption: Emergency weight limit impacts emergency responders, truckers, mass transit. State Sen. Lorraine Inouye on Friday said the state Department of Transportation is declaring the area of Hawaii Belt Road near Kolekole Bridge a “traffic emergency zone.” Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News.

Peeved in Puna: Residents frustrated by county’s decision regarding lava-damaged infrastructure.
Current and former Puna residents were dismayed to learn Hawaii County will not use federal funds to restore certain infrastructure destroyed by the 2018 Kilauea eruption. Tribune-Herald.


Small isle eateries cite big losses due to new mandates. Resident-based restaurants looking for financial relief to avoid cutbacks, closure. Maui News.

Amala Place Gate to Kanahā Beach Park to be Locked, Sept. 19-24 for Area Clean-up. County officials say the temporary closure is needed to safeguard public safety during the area’s planned clean-up that will require heavy equipment to remove derelict vehicles and solid waste from the area.  Maui Now.

Sears at Queen Ka‘ahumanu on Maui Officially Closing November 14. After nearly a half century, Sears department store, one of the original tenants of Queen Ka’ahumanu Center, is closing its doors. Maui Now.  Maui News.


‘Birds are dying’. The state Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Forestry and Wildlife will meet with property owners following ongoing reports of feral cats wiping out a wedge-tailed shearwater colony on Makahu‘ena Point in Po‘ipu. Garden Island.

Aid for the houseless community. Contrades-Pangan of Ho‘omana Thrift Store in Wailua collaborated with a host of community agencies and businesses to provide Na Wai Eha on Saturday afternoon at the thrift store near the northern bank of the Wailua River. Garden Island.

Friday, September 17, 2021

Hawaii to get fleet of MQ-9 Reaper drones, Honolulu Police officers investigated in hit-and-run, lifeguard shortage could close towers, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

(U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Dennis J. Henry Jr.)
MQ-9 Reaper drone (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Dennis J. Henry Jr.)

 In a first, Air Force flies 2 big MQ-9 Reaper drones from mainland to Hawaii as part of new maritime emphasis. The Air Force flew two big MQ-9 Reaper drones for the first time from the continental United States to Hawaii to demonstrate the unmanned aircraft’s “untapped potential in a maritime environment” and to participate in Exercise ACE Reaper at Marine Corps Base Hawaii — which will eventually have six of the aircraft based there. Star-Advertiser.

Vaccination mandate for Hawaii public school students not planned, officials say.
The head of the Hawaii Department of Education said Thursday there have been no discussions yet with state health officials about a possible vaccination mandate for public school students age 12 and up. Star-Advertiser.

Despite some kinks in the system, state’s SMART Health Card reaches over 100K uploads. The state Office of Enterprise Technology Services said while a majority were able to successfully upload their information, 25% of people were not able to. Hawaii News Now. KHON2. KITV4.

Hawaii jobless rate sinks to 17-month low of 7%. Hawaii’s unemployment rate dropped in August to a 17-month low of 7% — its seventh consecutive monthly decline — while job growth stalled due to a larger-than-typical summertime release of workers in the Department of Education. Star-Advertiser.

Workers In Hawaii Face New Job Losses — This Time Without A Safety Net. Hawaii still lags behind other states in how quickly the state processes initial unemployment payments. Civil Beat.

Report: Combining outbreak racial data could obscure disparities.
Breaking down the data showed that Pacific Islanders, who account for 5% of Hawaii’s population, represented 22% of COVID-19 cases and deaths, and had the highest incidence rate of 7,070 cases per 100,000, according to the report. Tribune-Herald.

2 COVID clusters at schools on Kauai, Maui led to roughly 70 infections. Hawaii State Health Department report highlights COVID clusters at 2 neighbor island schools. The report focuses on two clusters that took place at schools last month —one at an independent school on Kauai and the other at a public elementary school on Maui. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii COVID-19 hospitalization rates drops 25% since surge early September. The numbers are trending down but people in the healthcare industry say it's not time to relax. KITV4.

Hawaii records 8 new coronavirus-related deaths, 588 additional infections.
The new confirmed and probable infection count by island includes 388 new cases on Oahu, 53 on Maui, 96 on Hawaii island, 38 on Kauai, four on Molokai and nine Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state. Star-Advertiser.


Criminal probe launched into 3 HPD officers suspected of causing, fleeing scene of near-fatal crash. Three Honolulu police officers are under criminal investigation ― suspected of causing and then fleeing the scene of a near-fatal crash early Sunday in West Oahu. Hawaii News Now.

Staffing shortage could force temporary closure of lifeguard towers on Oahu
. Honolulu Ocean Safety said it may have to temporarily shut down lifeguard towers due to a current staffing shortage. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Cruise ship to arrive at Honolulu Harbor on Sept. 18 to refuel. The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) announced the Celebrity Eclipse cruise ship will arrive at Honolulu Harbor to refuel and get provisions on Saturday, Sept. 18. According to officials, the cruise ship will depart on Monday, Sept. 20. KHON2.

Honolulu Rental and Utility Relief Program reopens for new applications. The city program, which helps households struggling to pay their rent, utility, or both due to COVID-19, was put on a temporary pause Aug. 24 to process thousands of applications. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Micro-housing for kupuna ready to rise. A new high-rise in Downtown Honolulu is set for construction that turns a small parking lot into a tower filled with micro- sized rental apartments for seniors with low incomes. Star-Advertiser.

One Miske Defendant Gets Out On Bail, Another Ordered To Remain Behind Bars.
New developments this week in the complex criminal case against what’s alleged to be a large criminal enterprise operating in Honolulu. Civil Beat.

7 Halawa inmates transported to ER due to illness; COVID-19 not suspected
. The Department of Public Safety said seven Halawa Correctional Facility inmates were hospitalized this morning because they appeared to be suffering from an unknown medical condition. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

Board of Education approves renaming Central Middle School in honor of Hawaiian princess.
The Central Middle School community is celebrating the state Board of Education’s approval today of a request to rename the historic downtown campus after Princess Ruth Ke‘elikolani,  the Hawaiian alii who once owned the property. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Trial set for ex-cop accused of stealing cocaine from evidence locker. Brian Miller, a retired Hilo vice detective,  is scheduled to face trial for allegedly stealing cocaine from an evidence locker in the Hilo Police Station and intimidating a witness. Tribune-Herald.

Unpermitted gym gets more time to prove it's safe.
A gym that’s been operating without permits in an agricultural shed for almost two years got a reprieve Thursday on an after-the-fact permit after the Leeward Planning Commission asked for inspections. West Hawaii Today.


Public Encouraged to Participate in South Maui Virtual Community Design Workshop. The Maui County Planning Department will be gathering input virtually on areas that the community thinks should change and those that should stay the same in South Maui. The community input will guide the land use plan, policies and actions in the draft South Maui Community Plan update. Maui Now.

Applicants sought for Maui County Boards and Commissions.
The County of Maui is seeking applicants to fill multiple vacancies on county boards, commissions, councils and committees. Maui Now.


KIUC fields questions on Westside project. The Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative and AES Corp., the entities behind the project, are encouraging questions regarding the renewable-energy and irrigation system slated for the Mana Plain. Garden Island.

Humane society at capacity again, hosting free adoptions. Less than three weeks after evacuating nearly 200 animals to Seattle, the Kaua‘i Humane Society is at capacity again. Garden Island.

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Those over 65 could get less health care in COVID triage plans, Kauai council passes 3% local hotel tax, Ventura tapped as Maui fire chief, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Hawaii’s Pandemic Crisis Care Plan Raises Legal And Ethical Concerns. Hawaii stood by its decision to use age as a tiebreaker if needed in treatment decisions, according to the latest version of its plan for allocating resources if the pandemic overwhelms the state’s health care system, despite criticism that the plan may discriminate against older patients. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii Public Radio.

Audit Finds That Young Brothers Failed To Offset Rising Labor Costs. The report calls for no more shipping rate increases until at least 2023 and for a third party observer to help oversee one of Hawaii’s oldest companies. Civil Beat.

Gov. Ige’s request to halt nonessential travel impacts Hawaii hotel bookings, prices. The rebound of tourism over the summer months came to a screeching halt. People in the hotel industry said travel typically slows down during the fall, but rising COVID cases and the governor’s message to tourists to not come magnified the slow season. KHON2.

COVID-19 screening ramps up in Hawaii’s public schools. After a slow start, state officials are ramping up COVID-19 testing throughout Hawaii’s public schools, part of an overall strategy to help contain the spread of the coronavirus at school facilities where close to 3,000 cases have been reported since the start of the school year. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii records 11 new coronavirus-related deaths, 493 additional infections. The new confirmed and probable infection count by island includes 314 new cases on Oahu, 62 on Maui, 89 on Hawaii island, 19 on Kauai, three on Molokai and six Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state. Star-Advertiser.


Despite complaints and lawsuits, high-ranking ‘bully’ commander at HPD keeps getting promoted. A battle is brewing within the Honolulu Police Department as members of the rank-and-file push back against one of their leaders, Assistant Chief Stephen Gerona, accusing him of retaliation, sexual harassment and creating a hostile work environment. Hawaii News Now.

COVID-19 sidelines 22 Honolulu Police Department officers.
Twenty-two Honolulu police officers were isolated or quarantined Wednesday after testing positive or being exposed to the COVID-19 virus, but the absences are not hindering department operations, interim Chief Rade K. Vanic told Honolulu police commissioners. Star-Advertiser.

No violations found of Honolulu’s new vaccination, COVID-19 testing rules. Honolulu police have found no violations while spot checking Oahu restaurants — particularly in Chinatown and Kakaako — for compliance with new COVID-19 vaccination and testing rules for employees and customers that went into effect on Monday. Star-Advertiser.

DOH issues Honolulu restaurant second red ‘closed’ placard; Failed to pay $3k fine. Doner Shack, a local restaurant in Honolulu, received its second red “closed ” placard and a cease-and-desist order from the Hawaii Department of Health Food Safety Branch. KHON2. KITV4.

Hawaii Island

Still no whistle-blower hot-line: Four years later, audit recommendation yet to be implemented. The Human Resources Department has been scrutinizing interview packets before county departments vet candidates for employment, one of several practices instituted after a scathing 2017 audit found favoritism in county hiring. West Hawaii Today.

Decisions Made On Puna Roads, Water Service Following 2018 Kīlauea Eruption. The County of Hawai‘i provided an update on Wednesday regarding restoration of infrastructure in Puna following the 2018 Kīlauea eruption. Big Island Video News.

Hele-On Announces More Routes, Later Service For Hawaiʻi Island. The Hele-On bus is adding more routes on Hawaiʻi island, and offering later service, according to officials. Big Island Video News.

COVID cases trend downward, but HMC still over capacity. Altogether, there are 49 patients, or 35% of the hospital’s total patient count, affected by the virus, 11 of whom are on ventilators, the hospital said. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Now.


Brad Ventura chosen as Maui Fire Department’s new chief. Brad Ventura, 19-year veteran of the Maui Fire Department, will become the department’s new chief starting Oct. 1.  Star-Advertiser. Maui Now. KHON2. KITV4.

Maui Commission Debates Whether To Hire Next Police Chief In Private.
The commission’s attorney argued Wednesday that discussions should take place in public. Civil Beat.

Conservation groups notify Maui resort of intent to sue for lights that harm endangered seabirds. Conservation groups today filed a notice of intent to sue the Grand Wailea Resort on Maui for violations of the Endangered Species Act if it does not fix lights that it says are harming and killing endangered seabirds. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

Proof of COVID-19 vaccination required to enter Maui County restaurants, bars, gyms under new rules. Maui County’s new set of Safer Outside emergency rules in response to the COVID-19 surge went into effect at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii Public Radio. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now. KHON2. KITV4.


Council passes county’s own 3% TAT. A 3% transient accommodation tax levied by the county will soon be applied throughout the tourism industry. Garden Island.

Island enters shearwater fallout season. Seabird fallout season, when fledglings risk potentially-fatal disorientation caused by artificial lights, began Sept. 15, and will run through Dec. 15. Garden Island.