Friday, December 29, 2017

Hawaii tourism setting records, audit blasts Health Department handling of disease outbreaks, U.S. Appeals Court rules fishery feds erred in allowing turtle takings, minimum wage increases, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Hula on Waikiki beach ©2017 All Hawaii News
State visitor arrivals to break 9 million mark for year. With just three days left in the year for visitors to step off planes, it’s expected that about 9.3 million tourists — a record — will have come to the state this year. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii visitor spending increases to $1.3B in November. Visitor spending in Hawaii increased 4.5 percent in November to $1.29 billion, while year-to-date spending rose 6.6 percent to $15.2 billion, according to preliminary statistics released Thursday by the Hawaii Tourism Authority. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii visitor spending, traveler numbers went up this November. Whether it's to escape the cold on the mainland or just to relax on the beach, travelers continue to choose Hawaii as their vacation destination. KITV.

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The state auditor is slamming the Health Department for failing to properly communicate with its own divisions, health responders and the public during three major disease outbreaks in Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.

Audit: Hawaii Needs To Get Its Act Together In Responding To Outbreaks. When it comes to communication and record keeping, the Health Department seems to start from scratch with each disease outbreak. Civil Beat.

Audit blasts outbreak responses. A breakdown in communication reported throughout the dengue fever outbreak on Hawaii Island between October 2015 and April 2016 were included in an audit of the Department of Health’s Disease Outbreak Control Division that was critical of several issues in the way the agency handled that and other outbreaks across the state. West Hawaii Today.

State Health Officials Criticized For Dengue Outbreak Response In Audit. The State Auditor details confusion and discord in the Department of Health during the 2015 Big Island dengue fever outbreak, as well as other outbreaks. Big Island Video News.

Audit slams state's fumbled response to 3 major outbreaks. The state Health Department experienced "communication breakdowns" and "inconsistent processes and procedures" in its response to three disease outbreaks in 2015 and 2016, a scathing new audit found. Hawaii News Now.

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Report: Most sirens worked during Hawaii warning test. A report on a Hawaii siren test that drew international attention amid a North Korea missile threat shows that 28 sirens statewide played the wrong sound or had other technical problems. Associated Press.

Come Jan. 1, Hawaii's minimum wage workers will earn more. Hawaii's minimum wage will go up to $10.10 per hour starting on New Year's Day. Hawaii News Now.

Swordfishing permit review ordered. Environmental groups that sued to protect migratory birds and endangered sea turtles are claiming victory in their challenge to the federal government’s authorization to expand the swordfish fishery for Hawaii-based longline fishing vessels. Star-Advertiser.

US Appeals Court: Feds Erred In Hawaii Fishery Expansion. Conservation groups had challenged a rule that doubled limits on how many endangered sea turtles could be accidentally hooked. Associated Press.

Hawaii Looks To Spur School Creativity With ‘Innovation Grants’. Up to $250,000 will be available for the right idea and a two-year plan to implement it. Civil Beat.

Kamehameha Schools invests $24M in community programs. Kamehameha Schools has awarded $24 million in community investment grants to support collaboration partners in more than 100 programs and projects during current fiscal year, which began July 1. Pacific Business News.

USS Wasp with F-35B makes stop on way to Japan. The amphibious assault ship USS Wasp pulled into Pearl Harbor on Thursday for a port visit on its way to Japan and the introduction of an F-35B ship-based joint strike fighter capability in the highly charged region that includes North Korea and China. Star-Advertiser.

A report on sea level rise vulnerabilities and adaptation has been released by the Hawaii Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Commission, known as the Climate Commission, and the 304 pages are available online.  Garden Island.

Climate Change's Impact on Hawaiian Fishpond Aquaculture. New research is shedding light about what needs to be done as the cultural resource is under threat by climate change. Hawaii Public Radio.

Young Brothers names Gas Co. executive to take over as president. Young Brothers Ltd., the state’s largest interisland cargo carrier, said today it has selected Joseph Boivin as its new president. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu


New Year’s means higher taxes, fees, bus fares and minimum wage. The state and city are ringing in the new year by lightening your pocketbooks through new laws or rule changes that take effect Monday. Star-Advertiser.

Rush is on to prepay property taxes. Dozens of people waited in line for more than an hour Thursday at Honolulu Hale trying to beat an end-of-the-year deadline to save money by paying their 2017 property taxes early. Star-Advertiser.

City and County of Honolulu says bond refinancing saves taxpayers $20.7M. The City and County of Honolulu’s Department of Budget and Fiscal Services said it closed on $253 million of tax-exempt advance refunding bonds last week that will be used to refinance existing debt for improvements to Oahu’s wastewater system. Pacific Business News.

Leaky roofs still a problem at Honolulu airport, some say it’s getting worse. KHON2.

Kualoa Ranch plans include expanding visitors center, new buildings. Kualoa Ranch, a Windward Oahu visitor attraction that has also served as a filming location for such movies as “Jumanji” and “Jurassic World,” is planning to build a number of improvements, including an expanded visitors’ center, a new retail building, new tour depots and more than 7,000 square feet of office space. Pacific Business News.

Diamond Head Theatre redevelopment moves ahead with revised plan, new architect. Two years after launching a capital campaign to fund a redevelopment, Diamond Head Theatre is moving ahead with plans to build a new 500-seat theater building and has hired a Houston-based architecture firm that specializes in theater design. Pacific Business News.

Commentary: Did Hawaii Really Try To Thwart CNN’s Homelessness Report? The DLNR explains its reasons for not granting a permit for access to an encampment near the Waianae Boat Harbor. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Island

Allure of isle boosts tourism. Tourism numbers were strong in November — and for the year overall statewide — particularly for the Big Island. Tribune-Herald.

Kamehameha Schools Invests Nearly $7M in Hawaii Island Programs. Big Island Now.

An endangered seabird is nesting 7,000 feet above sea level on the slopes of Mauna Loa on the Big Island. Hawaii Public Radio.

Maui

Maui Visitor Spending and Arrivals Surpass 2016 Numbers. Visitor spending on Maui rose (+2.7% to $359.4 million) in November 2017, boosted by growth in visitor days (+5.8%), and visitor arrivals (+9.3% to 215,266), according to preliminary data released today by the Hawaii Tourism Authority. Maui Now.

Maui close to record-breaking visitor arrival, spending totals. Maui visitor arrivals by air were up 9.3 percent in November to 215,266 and up 3.7 percent to 2,483,686 for the year’s first 11 months. Maui News.

Reef Safe Sunscreen on Maui. There’s now a movement in Maui County to ban sunscreen containing chemicals that scientists say are harming the reefs. Hawaii Public Radio.

Kamehameha Schools Invests $1.7 M in Maui Programs. Kamehameha Schools has awarded more than $1.7 million in community investment grants to support collaboration partners on Maui, Molokai and Lanai for the current fiscal year which began July 1. Maui Now.

November home sales sizzle with strong demand. Low inventory makes it a hot sellers’ market. Maui News.

More fish, lower sashimi prices predicted. Retailers say there should be plenty for New Year’s parties. Maui News.

Kauai

Visitor spending continues climb. Kauai saw 95,900 visitors in November, an increase of 9.8 percent over November 2016. Through the first 11 months of 2017, Kauai has had 1.16 million visitors, a 7.5 percent increase over the same time frame last year. Garden Island.

Canines latest tool in effort to curb avian botulism. Avian botulism has been dropping ducks in outbreaks that have been sweeping the population since 2011 — and it’s not just koloa ducks. Garden Island.