Monday, February 1, 2021

Hawaii GOP chair resigns in QAnon Twitter backlash, Court: Mauna Kea police presence warranted, unemployment snags persist, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Linked in photo
Hawaii Republican Party Chairwoman Shirlene Ostrov via LinkedIn

Hawaii GOP chair resigns following backlash over tweets defending QAnon followers. The head of Hawaii’s Republican Party is stepping down. The party announced late Sunday that Shirlene Ostrov resigned after four years as chair. Hawaii News Now.

Who’s Leading The Hawaii House GOP? Nobody Knows. The four minority members are split 2-2 on who should represent the chamber. Meanwhile, the party’s chair has resigned over controversial tweets. Civil Beat.

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Hawaii telework bill among measures backed by the Women’s Legislative Caucus. Government workers would be given greater flexibility over their work schedules under a bill that would require all state departments to come up with telework and alternative work schedule policies. Star-Advertiser. Garden Island.

‘Overpayment’ Reviews Causing Latest Delays To Hawaii Jobless Benefits. Many locals, still unemployed in the pandemic, are getting stuck as they try to secure extended benefits from federal COVID-relief packages. Civil Beat. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

State Health Department Is Mum On Former Epidemiologist’s Departure. The department says that Dr. Sarah Park, criticized for her leadership during the pandemic, left the department the last day of 2020. Civil Beat.

Hawaii’s electricity most expensive in the nation, but tax credit extension could help. Rooftop solar installations in Hawaii were up 55% in 2020, despite the economic turmoil brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. KHON2.

Can You Make Money Being A Farmer In Hawaii? Often lost amid the talk of growing more food in Hawaii is that Hawaii’s biggest crops aren’t foods eaten here, but things grown mainly to export. According to the UDSA, the state’s three biggest cash crops in 2017 were seed crops, coffee and macadamia nuts. The seed crops, mostly corn shipped to farmers elsewhere, were valued at $120.8 million; macadamia nuts, $53.9 million and coffee, $43.8 million. Civil Beat.

Some Expectant Mothers In Hawaii Are Steering Clear Of Hospitals During the Pandemic. Midwives say they’ve been so busy that they’ve sometimes had to turn away clients. Civil Beat.

Officials discuss various ways vaccinations are happening in Hawaii.
There are four major ways the state Department of Health is working to get COVID-19 vaccines out to the public, state Health Director Dr. Elizabeth Char told lawmakers last week during a joint informational briefing with the House Committee on Pandemic and Disaster Preparedness and the state Senate Committee on Health. Tribune-Herald.

HAWAII VIRUS TRACKER — Jan. 31: 82 New COVID-19 Infections And 3 Deaths. Sunday’s cases included 59 on Oahu, nine on Maui, 10 on the Big Island and four residents diagnosed out of state. Two of the deaths were on Oahu and one was on Maui. Civil Beat.

Oahu

Looking to revitalize Oahu’s economy, Honolulu mayor considers easing restrictions. Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi is looking to loosen restrictions on bars, restaurants, and youth sports. Hawaii News Now.

Civil Beat Sues Honolulu Police To Make Officer Overtime Data Public. Honolulu Civil Beat filed a lawsuit Friday to get data from the Honolulu Police Department on the amount of overtime each officer has worked in the past five years. Civil Beat.

State seeks innovative ways to finance and build new OCCC. State officials are asking construction contractors, financiers and investors around the world to come up with innovative ways to pay for and build a new, cost-effective and efficient Oahu Community Correctional Center that would ideally provide a template for future state construction. Star-Advertiser.

DOCARE Academy’s first cohort of graduates is ready to serve. The state Department of Land and Natural Resources has added 12 new Conservation and Resource Enforcement officers to its team due to a new collaboration with Honolulu Community College. Star-Advertiser.

North Shore wind farm settlement offers added funding, protections for endangered species. The operator of the Kawailoa Wind farm in the hills above Waimea Bay has agreed to pay for greater protections for endangered species as part of a contested case hearing settlement announced Friday. Star-Advertiser.

OHA trustees launch new effort to develop Kakaako Makai property. The Office of Hawaiian Affairs on Thursday took the first step toward kick-starting the stalled development of its waterfront holdings in Kakaako, valued at $200 million. Star-Advertiser.

Kailua’s Kawainui Marsh to undergo major 2-year restoration.
An East Oahu wetland is getting some much-needed improvements thanks to a new restoration effort. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu developer takes plunge into COVID-tinged housing market.
The developer of a planned twin-tower condominium project near Ala Moana Center is preparing to sell units after holding off last year because of COVID-19. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island


Appellate court affirms police presence on Maunakea. Hawaii County Police Chief Paul Ferreira had the legal authority to request police officers from other counties to help maintain order on Maunakea during 2019 protests over the Thirty Meter Telescope, the state Intermediate Court of Appeals said Wednesday in an opinion upholding a ruling by 3rd Circuit Court Judge Henry Nakamoto. West Hawaii Today.

Change in opinion: HPD to comply with Act 47, ID officers fired, suspended for misconduct. A day after stating the Hawaii Police Department would not submit until court-ordered the names of officers suspended or fired for misconduct, pursuant to a law that went into effect last fall, the county has changed its stance. West Hawaii Today.

Planning for the future; Proposed capital improvements measure includes bond funding for HMC expansion project. A proposed expansion of Hilo Medical Center is a capital improvement priority for one local legislator. Tribune-Herald.

Bill would allow luxury property owners choice to send tax money to county or charity. The tax, approved last year, imposes $13.60 tax per thousand dollars worth of property value over $2 million for property in the residential category, compared to $11.10 in tax per thousand for the portion of the property under $2 million. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Harbor Lights COVID-19 cluster is now ‘stablilized’. Residents, community groups band together to assist complex. Maui News.

Five Maui Coast workers test positive for virus
. Five employees at the Maui Coast Hotel in Kihei have tested positive for COVID-19, though three have already recovered and are back at work and the other two are expected to return shortly, according to the hotel’s general manager. Maui News.

County considers purchase of Maui News property. Maui County is considering the purchase of a 6.3-acre parcel that includes The Maui News offices in Wailuku. Maui News.

Kauai

Council passes enhanced shoreline-setback ordinance
. The county Planning Department isn’t completely satisfied with new additions to the county’s shoreline-setback ordinance that were recently passed through the Kaua‘i County Council. Garden Island.

County requests proposed Westside beach access bill be modified.
A hearing notice proposing a pilot permit program at Polihale State Park and Kekaha Beach Park to allow for beach driving was the first time the County of Kaua‘i heard of such a proposal. Garden Island.

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