Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Hawaii mulls restaurant food cards for jobless, class action lawsuit seeks faster unemployment checks, investigators find no motive in Pearl Harbor mass shooting, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Ala Moana food court pre-pandemic
Ala Moana food court pre-pandemic ©2020 All Hawaii News

New Program: Hawaii’s Unemployed Could Eat For Free At Local Restaurants. The Ige administration has tentatively budgeted $66.6 million in federal stimulus funds to help the jobless and local restaurants at the same time. Civil Beat.

Class-Action Suit Seeks Prompt Payments For Hawaii’s Jobless. The lawsuit asks the Hawaii Supreme Court to push for swifter state action on thousands of unemployment claims. Civil Beat.

House Speaker Saiki: Gov. Ige needs to increase availability for the press. There’s growing calls for the Governor to increase his public communication and availability to the media. Hawaii News Now.

Can Hawaii Republicans Gain Ground In The Senate This Year? Republicans are looking to recapture one Senate seat and hold on to another in the Nov. 3 general election, which could mark the first time in a decade that the GOP has held more than a single seat in the 25-member chamber. Civil Beat.

Pandemic Exacerbating Hawaii’s Housing Affordability Problem. Low interest rates, combined with changing social and professional norms, are driving demand for homes, and prices, upward. Hawaii Public Radio.

UHERO forecasts state’s economic future. Hawai‘i’s economic forecast continues to look grimmer as the pandemic persists, and one forecast compares two different projections. Garden Island.

Tourist promotion stresses values of community and safety. In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic, has created urgency to get the public safety messaging right while making sure not to discourage visitors from coming to Hawaii. Also, top of mind, is reassuring residents that tourism is good for Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.

Visitor arrivals down 69% for 1st 8 months of 2020; nearly 98% drop in August. Only 22,344 visitors flew into Hawaii in August, a nearly 98% monthly drop in arrivals that widened year-to-date losses to 69% for the first eight months of this year. Star-Advertiser.

The COVID-19 pandemic considerably impacted visitor arrivals to the Hawaiian Islands in August 2020. Visitor arrivals dropped 97.6% compared to a year ago, according to preliminary statistics released by the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority’s (HTA) Tourism Research Division. Big Island Now.

LG Josh Green: Updated COVID-19 data supports case for opening interisland travel
on Oct 15. Each mayor will decide terms for lifting interisland travel quarantine for their county. Green believes limited testing can be available for interisland travelers. KITV4.

Hawaii Has A Plan To Restart Tourism Safely. Will It Work? The state’s pre-travel testing program is set to launch next month, but other destinations with similar programs have struggled to keep COVID-19 cases from spiking. Civil Beat.

Travelers lax with follow-ups: Officials working to educate visitors about requirements ahead of reopening. Despite spending more than $150 million on traveler screening and contact tracing, state officials say contact tracers have only received meaningful responses from about 50% of travelers. Tribune-Herald.

Gaps cited in state pre-travel COVID-19 tests, contact tracing. Testing Hawaii tourists for COVID-19 before they arrive, and tracing contacts of people with the virus, may not be as effective as the general public might think. Star-Advertiser.

Majority of people reached by contact tracers do not cooperate. The state is still ramping up its contact tracing program. But it’s now running into a new problem: Getting information on close contacts from positive patients. Hawaii News Now.

State's pre-travel testing program launches in 17 days. Hawaii Pacific Health CEO Raymond Vara told lawmakers on Monday that the state now has 286 contact tracers, which is more than the recommended number to help stop the spread of the virus. KITV4.

400 Hawaii residents are among 44,000 participants worldwide selected for Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine trial. The vaccine candidate, dubbed “BNT162,” is currently being tested in a trial. The initial recruitment goal of 30,000 individuals has since increased to 44,000 participants worldwide. KHON2.

VIRUS TRACKER — Sept. 28: 90 New COVID-19 Cases, All On Oahu. No deaths were reported Monday. Civil Beat.

Oahu

Keith Amemiya mocks Rick Blangiardi for initially declining TV debates. Mayoral candidate Keith Amemiya on Monday called out his opponent, former television executive Rick Blangiardi, for initially declining two televised debates. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Mayor Candidates Debate Whether To Debate. Blangiardi agreed to a KITV4 debate after Amemiya called him out. Blangardi suggested the change of plans was unrelated. Civil Beat.

Tension between city and HART could lead to more costly rail delays.
The growing conflict between Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s administration and the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation -- which came to a head last week when the city canceled its participation in the final leg of the rail project -- is threatening to cause further delays and cost overruns. Hawaii News Now.

Officials puzzled by city’s withdrawal from rail plan. The city’s unexpected withdrawal from a public- private partnership for the troubled rail project means that the incoming mayor and the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation likely will have to seek yet another extension from federal officials to keep the project moving. Star-Advertiser.

UH to offer free job retraining courses to unemployed workers.
The city has partnered with UH community colleges to offer workforce development training to thousands of unemployed workers on Oahu. Hawaii News Now.

Coaches, pediatricians think youth sports can resume while Caldwell won’t budge. By Mayor Caldwell’s metrics organized outdoor sports are closed until tier four, and won’t be allowed until Dec. 17 at the earliest. KHON2.

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Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard shooter was troubled, report says. Navy investigators failed to uncover the reason submarine sailor Gabriel A. Romero suddenly and without warning opened fire while on duty at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard last Dec. 4, killing two civilian employees and wounding a third before turning his M-9 pistol on himself. Star-Advertiser.

Pearl Harbor Shooting Investigation Finds Deeper Mental Health Concerns Among Submarine Crew. The struggles of the sailor who shot three civilians and then himself last year were overlooked in part because his challenges were not unusual. Civil Beat.

Report: Shipyard shooter’s history of mental health, behavioral issues failed to raise alarms. An inquiry into the December 2019 shooting at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard that left two civilians dead has highlighted a series of failures that allowed the gunman access to military firearms despite a history of worrisome incidents and mental health issues. Hawaii News Now.

Investigators ‘did not establish any motive’ in last year’s Pearl Harbor shooting but find risk factors went unidentified. The U.S. Navy has released its final report into December’s deadly shooting at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard. KHON2.

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EPA slaps Oahu refrigerated food warehouse with fine. Hawaii’s largest refrigerated food warehouse has reached a settlement with the Environmental Protection Agency. The Unicold Corporation will pay a $210,000 fine for alleged violations of the of the federal Clean Air Act. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu refrigerated food warehouse found in violation of health and safety regulations.  food refrigeration corporation violated the Federal Clean Air Act after an inspection revealed that its Honolulu warehouse failed to meet several health and safety regulations, again. KHON2.

Hawaii Island

Daniel K. Inouye Highway extension put ‘on hold’. The state Department of Transportation said Monday it placed the $90 million project that will extend the cross-island route, known colloquially as Saddle Road, from its current terminus at Mamalahoa Highway to Queen Kaahumanu Highway “on hold” due to a lack of funding sources — both state and federal. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii family shares struggle dealing with Hilo veterans home. Asterio “Terry” Canda, 80, had a mild stroke and was admitted on Aug. 22 into the Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home in Hilo for speech and physical therapy. Star-Advertiser.

Maui

$5M allotted to help struggling Maui businesses adapt to COVID-19-related restrictions. It's called the "Adaptability Fund," and it's meant to help business owners do just that, by offering businesses the opportunity to invest in technology to expand online marketing and sales. KITV4.

HTA: Maui Had 2,341 Visitors in August Versus 273,638 a Year Ago.
In August, total visitor days fell 96.8 percent in Maui County from a year ago. There were 2,341 visitors to Maui in August versus 273,638 visitors a year ago, according to a new report released by the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority. Maui Now.

Maui vacation rental occupancy logs in at 9.8 percent for month of August. Maui County vacation rentals logged 9.8 percent occupancy in August, which was close to the hotel rate of 8.6 percent for the month, the Hawaii Tourism Authority reported Thursday. Maui News.

Longhi’s Wailea getting ready to reopen Friday. Longhi’s Wailea will reopen Friday following six months of closure, with plans to hire more front and back of house staff. Maui News.

Kauai

Kaua‘i COVID cases Mainland linked. The two active cases on Kaua‘i are both linked to Mainland travel, but the county is clarifying that neither were infectious during travel, Kaua‘i District Health Officer Dr. Janet Berreman said Monday. Garden Island.

Jails to conduct testing; Kaua‘i staff negative. The broad-based testing at the neighbor island jails is beginning with the staff. Garden Island.

Kalaheo gets specialty clinic. The Specialty Clinic at Kalaheo celebrated a soft opening, Monday under physician Dr. Alyssa Murata and Physician Assistant Erin Carrington. Garden Island.

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