Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Spring breakers hit Hawaii beaches, Blangiardi highlights housing, 65k vaccines for 400k people in Phase 1C, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy Hawaii News Now
Visitors crowd Waikiki over the weekend PC:Hawaii News Now

Hawaii logs its highest three days of tourist arrivals in a year. Some 21,433 trans-Pacific travelers and 4,968 interisland travelers were screened by Safe Travels Hawaii on Saturday, Hawaii’s highest single day since coronavirus-related fears and government restrictions caused travel to plummet. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Hawaii’s Rush To Vaccinate Has Led To A Patchwork System With Little Policing. The state acknowledges that the hospitals and clinics that vaccinate people have sometimes bent the rules to the breaking point, by inoculating someone outside the current phase, for instance, but say they have little recourse. Civil Beat.

Hawaii health officials prioritizing certain people over others in Phase 1C for COVID-19 vaccine. Hawaii health officials decided over the weekend to prioritize hotel, restaurant and bar workers for COVID-19 vaccines, in addition to those with specific high-risk medical conditions and residents 65 and older. Star-Advertiser. KHON2. KITV4.

Looking for a COVID vaccine appointment? Persistence (and patience) recommended. The state expanded vaccine eligibility to roughly 400,000 more residents on Monday, but getting an appointment for a jab make take persistence ― and patience. Hawaii News Now.

State House resolution opposes $1.9B Hawaii radar. A resolution introduced in the state Legislature calls for the Missile Defense Agency to “resist” siting a $1.9 billion defensive radar in Hawaii because it is a “prime example of wasteful Pentagon spending” during a time of unprecedented need for public services in health, education and welfare.  Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Adopts Most Extreme Open Records Limits Amid Pandemic. Hawaii has the lowest COVID-19 infection rate of any state in the nation. It's also a pandemic standout for a more dubious reason: instituting the most extreme restrictions on the public's access to official records. Associated Press.

Education and union leaders agree to bring more kids back to Hawaii public schools. Education, health and union leaders announced today they have signed off on guidelines to bring more students back to campus at Hawaii’s public schools, especially at the elementary level. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Tribune-Herald. Garden Island. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

The economic hardships of the pandemic in Hawaii haven’t been equally distributed. While Hawaii’s economic recovery seems to be beginning, a financial comeback will take much longer for the state’s lower wage and service workers, experts say. Hawaii News Now.

Unemployment call center understaffed, overwhelmed. The state’s understaffed unemployment insurance call center that’s designed to handle 2,000 calls a day at the Hawai‘i Convention Center was getting more than 200,000 calls every day just two weeks ago but is still overwhelmed by 40,000 calls each day. Star-Advertiser.

Federal stimulus act bolsters Hawaii unemployment benefits. Anne Perreira-Eustaquio, director of the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, said Monday that the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 signed Thursday by President Joe Biden will extend the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance programs for an additional 25 weeks, until Sept. 4 and Sept. 6, respectively. Tribune-Herald. Maui Now.

Bill would expand DA BUX food program. A state Senate bill that would eliminate a daily cap on a dollar-for-dollar match for supplemental nutrition assistance program beneficiaries under DA BUX Double Up Food Bucks program has cleared its first House hurdle. Tribune-Herald.

Isle jobless rate 10.2%, nation’s worst, in January. Hawaii’s unemployment rate climbed back into double digits in January to retain the dubious honor of having the highest figure in the country. Star-Advertiser.

Flags will fly at half-staff across Hawaii on Tuesday to honor the life of the late politician and community servant William Bains-Jordan. Through his career in politics, he served as the first state representative of  ĽAiea. Hawaii News Now.

March 15, 2021 COVID-19 Update: The state Department of Health reports that there were 46 additional COVID-19 cases reported in Hawai‘i on Monday, including 22 on O‘ahu, 15 on Maui, seven on Hawai‘i Island, and two in Hawai‘i residents diagnosed out of state. Maui Now.

Oahu

Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi highlights affordable housing, homelessness
crisis in State of the City address. The city’s Office of Housing has been changed to reflect that focus, and is now the Office of Housing and Homelessness. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Budget Realities Undermine Blangiardi’s Vision For Honolulu. The mayor presented his agenda in his State of the City address Monday. City Council members have raised concerns about a lack of funding for essential services. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Restaurant Association among other organizations to submit application to City for 2 year extension to plastic ban. The City and County of Honolulu will begin enforcing the ban in two weeks. KHON2.

Kakaako Makai tower opponents to rally again. In 2006 the state Legislature prohibited all housing development there, and in 2012 the state gave 30 acres to the state Office of Hawaiian Affairs in exchange for $200 million in ceded-land back revenue the state owed Native Hawaiians. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Big Island Press Club announces annual Torch of Light, Lava Tube awards for 2020. The Big Island Press Club awards its annual meritorious Torch of Light Award for 2020 to James Hustace and the Waimea Community Association and the Lava Tube dishonor award to Hawaii Gov. David Ige. Tribune-Herald.

$500K Releases For Kohala Hospital Improvements. Governor David Ige on Monday released State Capital Improvement Project (CIP) funds totaling $500,000 to finance the construction of centralized administrative offices at Kohala Hospital on the Big Island. Big Island Now.

University of the Nations Kona looking to expand: Updated master plan proposes 62-acre addition. The University of the Nations Kona may soon be more than doubling in size. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Inventory hits new low for Maui homes. Meanwhile, median sales prices for single-family homes remained high at $895,000 — a 19.8 percent spike year over year.  Maui News.

Pacific Whale Foundation Retrieves Ghost Nets in Maui Waters. Ghost nets — fishing nets or gear that have been abandoned, lost or discarded by fishing vessels — are an increasingly serious threat to whales and dolphins around the globe. Maui Now.

Kauai

Kawakami gives State of the County address. Mayor Derek Kawakami, reflecting on over a year of the pandemic, highlighted the county’s efforts to embrace adversity, Monday, in his third State of the County address. Garden Island. Hawaii News Now.

‘My Words Have Caused People Pain’: Kauai Police Chief Apologizes For Anti-Asian Remarks. Chief Todd Raybuck has done a good job by most accounts and some local leaders say losing him would be a setback for the island. But others including the police union see it differently. Civil Beat. Garden Island. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

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