Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Hawaii lawmakers set to get 13% pay hike, spring break boom crowds Waikiki beaches, mask enforcement increases, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Two Pay Raises For Lawmakers Over The Next Year Are Raising Eyebrows. The salary commission approved the wage hikes two years ago but critics now question the optics of government officials getting pay raises during an economic crisis. Civil Beat.

Did Unions’ Lack of Support Spell Trouble for School Superintendent? Some education insiders said while union opposition was damaging, it was not as simple as unions throwing their weight around. Civil Beat.

Economic recovery rosy with billions in federal aid set to roll into Hawaii. Hawaii’s economic recovery is looking up, with billions in additional federal aid set to pour into Hawaii this year and the pace of vaccinations picking up, Carl Bonham, executive director of the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization, told lawmakers Monday. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii tourism gains momentum.
Despite doldrums in January and February, Hawaii’s visitor industry has rounded the corner and taken off. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii’s seeing a boom of spring break vacationers. Are they following mask rules? The state says more than 28,000 people arrived in the islands this past Saturday, nearly matching the pre-pandemic average for March. Hawaii News Now.

Targeted messaging necessary to overcome COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy, UH study finds. According to the surveys, 55% of adults 18 and older said they will “definitely” or “probably” get shots, while 12% indicated they will “definitely not” or “probably not” get vaccinated, compared with 17% in the U.S. Star-Advertiser.

Ige, department heads acknowledge challenges of pandemic response over the last year. Gov. David Ige acknowledged Monday there were missteps along the way from his administration in responding to the coronavirus pandemic. But he also pointed to positive signs, saying Hawaii has the lowest-in-the-nation per capita COVID infection and death rates, saying that’s proof he put the community first. Hawaii News Now.

Legislators defer measure relating to Safe Travels program. A bill that would allow Gov. David Ige to impose a statewide COVID-19 travel restriction plan stalled Monday and is likely dead. Tribune-Herald.

Immigration Reform Efforts In Congress Offer Hope To Hawaii ‘Dreamers’. But the bill the House passed last week that would create a pathway to citizenship for 2.5 million undocumented immigrants faces an uphill battle in the Senate. Civil Beat.

State quietly makes changes to vaccine registration process for most employers. There’s a new registration process for many workers who would like to get COVID vaccine. It’s a change the state Department of Health made quietly earlier this month ― never making an official announcement to broadly inform the public. Hawaii News Now.

March 22, 2021 COVID-19 Update
: The state Department of Health reports that there were 79 additional COVID-19 cases reported in Hawai‘i on Monday, including 48 on O‘ahu, 19 on Maui, nine on Hawai‘i Island, two on Moloka‘i, and one on Kaua‘i. Maui Now.

Oahu

40 officers rattle peaceful protest at Kapiolani Park. Honolulu Police Department Chief Susan Ballard said she thought thousands of protesters were at Kapiolani Park on Saturday afternoon — dispatching dozens of officers to a peaceful Aloha Freedom Coalition event where 400-500 gathered at a rally in protest of COVID-19 health restrictions. Star-Advertiser.

HPD’s embattled chief denies reports of low morale, promises better communication. Honolulu Police Chief Susan Ballard is now promising more transparency and openness after a months-long pause in public statements. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Plea Agreement Details How Miske Allegedly Ordered A Chemical Attack On Rival Nightclub. Ashlin Akau said she was recruited by a Miske associate to take part in the attack on the Ginza Night Club. Civil Beat.

Hopes dwindle for more clarity in HART board votes. Confusion about voting rules for members of the board that oversees the city’s troubled rail project remains unresolved after bills that attempted to provide clarity appear to be dead this legislative session. Star-Advertiser. KITV4.

Students at Aikahi Elementary are returning to campuses under new CDC guidelines. Precisely a year after Hawaii public schools switched to distance learning due to the coronavirus, nearly the entire student body at Aikahi Elementary School flocked back to campus Monday. Star-Advertiser.

Tourism boom provides boon for Hawaii farmers.
For many local farmers, the fruits of their labor are finally paying off after months of uncertainty. KHON2.

Hawaii Island

HMC expands eligibility for COVID vaccine
; Hospital opens early registration for people who are 50-65 years old. Assistant Hospital Administrator Kris Wilson said the hospital will this week begin processing the sign-ups to allow those individuals to register and schedule appointments at upcoming mass vaccination clinics planned for April 3 and 24 at Edith Kanakaole Multi-Purpose Stadium in Hilo. Tribune-Herald.

KTA Super Stores will offer its own large-scale COVID-19 vaccination clinic from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Friday at Edith Kanakaole Multi-Purpose Stadium in Hilo. The grocery chain aims to administer 1,000 first doses of the Moderna vaccine. Tribune-Herald.

COVID-19 Vaccine Pre-Registration Now Open at KCH. The Kona Community Hospital on Monday, March 22 began accepting pre-registration applications for individuals aged 50 years and older who would like to sign up to receive a COVID-19 vaccination. Big Island Now.

Banyan Drive Proposals To Be Selected Next Month. An announcement is expected in April on the selection for proposals - which includes the former Uncle Billy’s Hilo Bay Hotel and Country Club Condominium Hotel. Big Island Video News. Big Island Now.

Teachers, parents and students call for Ke Kula O Ehunuikaimalino principal’s ouster. Makua, haumana and kumu took to the streets Monday making public their call for the removal or resignation of Ke Kula O Ehunuikaimalino Po‘okumu Makala Pa‘akaula. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

189 Citations Over Two Weeks During Maui Mask Enforcement. The Maui Police Department issued 189 citations over a two week period for violation of public health rules and orders as part of an ongoing face mask enforcement effort. Maui Now.

Two students and two employees at Maui County public schools have tested positive for COVID-19,
the state Department of Education reported Friday. All were in the Baldwin-Kekaulike-Maui Complex, which has seen 54 cases since June 26. Maui News.

COVID-19 Outbreak at Maui Jail Compounded by Staffing Shortages, Contagious Variant.
The Maui Community Correctional Center is seeing a significant drop in COVID-19 cases after nearly two months of trying to contain the virus. Hawaii Public Radio.

Micro Grants Awarded to 105 Small Farms in Maui County.
Maui County’s $2.5 million Agricultural Micro Grants Program, administered by Maui Economic Opportunity, purchased tractors, chippers and other supplies; put up fencing and sheds; and established an online presence for 105 small farms in the county. Maui Now.

Kauai

King Kamehameha celebrations barred due to COVID. The King Kamehameha Celebration Commission on Friday announced the cancellation of the King Kamehameha Celebration parade events statewide due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Garden Island.

County seeks to adopt microchipping program for pets
. A one-time $20 microchipping cost may soon replace biennial licensing fees for cats and dogs on Kaua‘i. Garden Island.

New Kauai program encourages visitors to participate in beach cleanups. On Kauai, guests who vacation at The Cliffs at Princeville are now encouraged to do beach cleanups while they enjoy the sun and surf. Hawaii News Now.

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