Monday, November 23, 2020

Ige wants to reroute CARES money to pay loans as economic recovery falters, audit slams Honolulu Police Department's OT excesses, Kauai seeks tighter travel restrictions, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

 

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‘Treading Water’: Working From Home Hasn’t Hurt Hawaii’s Office Rental Market — Yet. A wholesale shift to employees working from home amidst the COVID-19 pandemic has softened the office market but there’s been no mass exodus from office space. Civil Beat.

Rising COVID-19 cases on the mainland, new travel advisories likely to delay Hawaii’s tourism recovery. The robust holiday season that Hawaii’s visitor industry anticipated is evaporating, pushing the start of a meaningful tourism recovery into the third quarter of next year.  Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Governor makes case for using CARES Act money to pay back unemployment insurance loan. Critics say relief funds are meant to go directly to residents. Governor David Ige says paying down the federal loan helps businesses and benefits the economy as a whole. KITV4.

Hawaii engineers semi-finalists in worldwide mask challenge. A group of local engineers have made it to the semi-finals in a worldwide challenge that is focused on finding the best mask design of the future. Team Merlin! is one of ten semi-finalists in the Million Dollar XPRIZE Next-Gen Mask Challenge and is looking for all the support they can get to make it to the finals. Hawaii News Now.

SHOPO sues all four counties over disclosure law. The statewide police union is now suing all four counties in an effort to keep the names of officers fired or suspended for disciplinary reasons secret until all grievance avenues for the officers are exhausted. Tribune-Herald.

Kahele Plans To Go ‘Old School’ And Move Family To Washington To Build Ties. Hawaii’s congressman-elect has a young family that he wants with him as he tries to build a career in Congress. Civil Beat.

University of Hawaii reports promising graduation, retention rates. Graduation rates are up at most University of Hawaii campuses this semester. That’s according to new data out from the UH system. Hawaii News Now.

University of Hawaii offers scholarship to furloughed Hawaii residents. The University of Hawaii (UH) is offering a scholarship to residents who are currently furloughed or have been laid off from a Hawaii-based job due to the coronavirus pandemic. KHON2.

Dept. of Agriculture clamps down on movement of coffee plants in Hawaii. The State Department of Agriculture and Plant Quarantine Branch has banned the movement of coffee from Maui and the Big Island due to an infestation of a devastating coffee pathogen known as the coffee leaf rust. Hawaii News Now.

Here’s Why Hawaiian Homesteaders May Never Fully Profit From Their Own Land. Those fortunate enough to secure a DHHL lot — often after waiting years or decades — find themselves unable to access the property’s market value. Civil Beat.

Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders hardest-hit. No ethnic group has been hit harder by the corona­virus pandemic than Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders. Star-Advertiser.

VIRUS TRACKER — Nov. 22: 123 New COVID-19 Cases, 2 Deaths. Health officials recorded 123 new COVID-19 cases statewide on Sunday, including 97 on Oahu, 14 on Hawaii island, four on Maui and six on Kauai. Civil Beat.

Oahu

Honolulu Police Department suspends use of COVID enforcement team after overtime violations. The Honolulu Police Department has suspended the use of special COVID-19 enforcement teams after an internal audit revealed “multiple violations” of the department’s overtime policies. Star-Advertiser.

HPD Suspends COVID-19 Patrols After Audit Finds Overtime Violations.
Records show that two officers recorded more than 300 hours of overtime from Sept. 27 to Oct. 31. That translates to 65 hours of overtime each week. Civil Beat.

Lawmakers seek transparency from HPD following alleged overtime violations involving COVID-19 enforcement team. Some lawmakers are calling for changes at the Honolulu Police Department as it investigates allegations of overtime pay violations involving COVID relief funds. KITV4.

Virus hits family of HPD officer hospitalized with COVID-19. A Honolulu Police Officer is fighting for his life after a cluster of COVID-19 cases were discovered at the Wahiawa Police Station. His family also contracted the disease. KHON2.

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Blangiardi Names Transition Team, Seeks Job Applicants. The mayor-elect of Honolulu has launched a jobs portal to find viable candidates. Civil Beat.

Honolulu expects to spend all $387.1M in CARES Act funds. Honolulu has already spent $214.1 million, or 55%, of its $387.1 million in federal CARES Act funding and expects to use the entire amount before it expires at the end of the year, according to a news release from Mayor Kirk Caldwell. Star-Advertiser.

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2 Hawaii Department of Transportation employees to pay fines for personal use of highway equipment. Two state Department of Transportation employees have agreed to pay fines and face potential DOT discipline after a supervisor allowed an employee to take a Bobcat skid-steer home for personal use this month and used a DOT truck and trailer on state time to transport the Bobcat. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii DOT Employees Fined For Taking State Equipment Off The Job. The incident violated Hawaii’s Fair Treatment law. Civil Beat.

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The Miske Case: An Insider Pleads Guilty And Is Cooperating With The Feds. Jacob Smith’s plea agreement details violence and criminal operations he says were carried out under orders from longtime Honolulu businessman Michael Miske. Civil Beat.

Man’s Death In Honolulu Police Custody Caused By Drugs, Shackles And A Struggle. A medical examiner’s report shows the 28-year-old Kaneohe man died in June from a combination of drug and alcohol use and a physical struggle with police. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Island

Roth announces more cabinet appointees. Leading the Planning Department will be former Puna Councilman Zendo Kern of Kurtistown. Civil Engineer S. Ikaika Rodenhurst of Hawaiian Acres will lead the Department of Public Works and Ramzi I. Mansour of Honolulu, also a professional engineer, will be the new director of the Department of Environmental Management. West Hawaii Today.

Three More Roth Cabinet Names Announced. Zendo Kern, Ikaika Rodenhurst, and Ramzi Mansour have been appointed to head three critical Hawaiʻi County departments. Big Island Video News.

Kim seeks expansion of post-arrival COVID screening at Kona airport. Mayor Harry Kim wants to expand post-arrival testing at Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keahole after scaling back testing efforts there earlier this month. Tribune-Herald.

Forest forum: Input sought on proposed Natural Area Reserve in South Kona. Community input on a proposal to add a 1,260-acre South Kona parcel to the Hawaii Natural Area Reserve system is being sought by the state Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Forestry and Wildlife. West Hawaii Today.

CIP Funding Released for Land Acquisition by Waimea Schools. Gov. David Ige has released $1.6 million in Capital Improvement Project (CIP) funding for the Hawai’i Department of Education’s land acquisition of Parcel 54 from Parker Ranch Land Trust. Big Island Now.

Hawaii Island group distributes $7.5M in housing aid, with more on the way. A hui of Hawaii Island organizations already has distributed all of its $7.5 million in federal funds to pay rent and mortgages for 1,322 households during the COVID-19 economic and health crisis, but the need is even greater. Star-Advertiser.

Three from Big Island file lawsuits against Monsanto Co. A Honolulu law firm has filed a trio of product liability civil lawsuits this month on behalf of three Big Island men against the chemical giant Monsanto Co. in Hilo Circuit Court. Tribune-Herald.

‘Extremely intoxicated’ Brennan arrested again. For the second time in less than four months, a former star quarterback at the University of Hawaii was taken into police custody after allegedly causing a drunken disturbance. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Officials: Strict COVID measures in place for conference. Organizer says no attendees have tested positive for virus. A multiday conference of more than 100 people at Fairmont Kea Lani that spurred criticism in attendees’ home states took strict precautions to prevent COVID-19, the organizer emphasized Thursday. Maui News.

HBO miniseries filming in Wailea. Officials forecast busy end to year for industry on Maui. County officials pulled back the curtain Friday on a busy end to the year for Maui’s film and TV industry, including a $20 million-budget HBO miniseries that’s halfway through filming in Wailea. Maui News.

New HBO series filming on Maui, 'Temptation Island' injects $2M into local economy.
A new miniseries is halfway through filming on Maui after a controversial television series wrapped up production a couple of weeks ago. KITV4.

We Are South Maui Website Launches Public Engagement Activity Through End of Year. The Maui County Planning Department launched a public engagement workshop on its We Are Maui website, which will remain open through the end of the year. Maui Now.

Kauai

Kauai wants stricter travel entry rules. Kauai health officials have reported 22 more COVID-19 cases, at least 19 of them travel-related, since Nov. 16 when Mayor Derek S.K. Kawakami sought additional requirements for travelers coming to the Garden Island. Star-Advertiser.

County has spent 66% of CARES Act funds. As of the end of September, the County of Kaua‘i has spent about 66% of its state-allocated federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act funds. Between August and September, the county had spent $919,915.56, including $500,000 for small-business grants and $100,000 for the Rise to Work program that has hired displaced workers into paid employment. Garden Island.

Virus testing offered in Hanapepe. Nearly 500 appointments — the largest amount since the County of Kaua‘i and state Department of Health started surge testing — greeted the surge-testing crew Sunday at Hanapepe Stadium when testing started in strong trade winds and cloudy skies. Garden Island.

Former HPD captain with COVID left to sleep on a bench after quarantine mix up
. When the coronavirus outbreak hit the island of Lanai, Nyle Dolera got so sick from the virus that he had to be medivacked to the Queen’s Medical Center earlier this month. But the retired Honolulu Police Department captain said the way he was treated by Department of Health officials during his 14-day quarantine on Oahu was much worse than the disease itself. Hawaii News Now.

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