Thursday, April 8, 2021

Maui travelers face mandatory second COVID test, Honolulu plans examiner admits taking bribes, Kauai business mandates employee vaccinations, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Still-closed Waikiki Aquarium holds Earth Month celebration. The Waikiki Aquarium, which has been closed for more than a year due to the coronavirus pandemic, might reopen in June, said Dr. Andrew Rossiter, director of the 116-year-old institution. Star-Advertiser.

What The Pandemic Taught Hawaii Hospitals About Their Capacity To Handle Calamity. Hospitals made do with existing space and invested in some new equipment, but the pandemic exposed a heavy reliance on out-of-state traveling nurses. Civil Beat.

Bill creating statewide Hawaii travel policy dies in House. House Speaker Scott Saiki has requested to kill a bill that he introduced that would have mandated state-wide travel rules, saying COVID-19 conditions have since changed. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Tribune-Herald.

Tourism: Hawaii residents’ reaction to rebound from pandemic. With bookings up, it’s uncertain how island residents will respond to tourism’s sudden rebound, House Speaker Scott Saiki said Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii’s Transgender Community Pushes For Better Health Insurance Coverage. Experts say getting access to transition services is important, but there’s the debate over how much insurance companies should cover. Civil Beat.

Schatz: Relief package will fend off ‘economic scarring’. Federal coronavirus aid on its way to Hawaii will help the state avoid a prolonged economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, said U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz on Wednesday. Tribune-Herald.

COVID-19 Vaccines Now Available For All Veterans In Hawaii. The Department of Veterans Affairs Pacific Island Healthcare System is now offering vaccines to all veterans, as well as their spouses and live-in caregivers in Hawaii. Civil Beat.

Although millions of doses of the Johnson &Johnson vaccine
manufactured on the mainland had to be destroyed because of quality concerns, state health officials do not yet know how the production issues will affect allocations to Hawaii. Tribune-Herald.

April 7, 2021 COVID-19 Update: The state Department of Health reports that there were 76 additional COVID-19 cases reported in Hawai‘i on Wednesday, including 51 on O‘ahu, 15 on Maui, five on Hawai‘i Island, two on Kaua‘i, and three in Hawai‘i residents diagnosed while out of state.  Maui Now.

Oahu

Honolulu building plans examiner admits to taking bribes. A Honolulu building plans examiner admitted during a court hearing today that she expedited a local architect’s projects in exchange for bribes. Associated Press.  Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.

Gov. David Ige, Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi agree to leave Tier 3 in place for now. Honolulu will remain in Tier 3 of the city’s COVID-19 reopening framework for at least the next four weeks under an agreement between Mayor Rick Blangiardi and Gov. David Ige that will allow Oahu businesses and activities to maintain current levels of operation. Star-Advertiser.  Hawaii News Now.  Civil Beat. KHON2. KITV4.

Oahu to join other counties that opened vaccine eligibility to 16 and older on April 19.
The state says it will meet the President’s mandate to allow all adults to sign-up for a COVID-19 vaccine by Monday, April 19. Hawaii is going a step further and including 16- and 17-year-olds statewide. KHON2. KITV4.

Police Commission Slams Chief For Leadership Failures, Puts Her On Improvement Plan
. In a stinging performance review, the Honolulu Police Commission said on Wednesday that Honolulu Police Chief Susan Ballard has failed to adequately lead her department by embracing a “culture of blame” in which she shirks accountability and neglects to communicate clearly with officers and the public. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

New Honolulu Police Policy On Using Force Aims To Defuse Tense Situations. HPD has new rules about when officers can shoot at moving vehicles, use vascular neck restraints and deploy other uses of force. Civil Beat.

Lawmakers seek to honor beloved senator with upcoming veteran clinic in Leeward Oahu. Hawaii’s congressional delegation announced plans to name the Advanced Leeward Outpatient Health Care Access, or “ALOHA” Project after the late Senator Daniel Kahikina Akaka. Hawaii News Now.

Citing safety concerns, state seeks $20,000 fine against owners of Wahiawa dam. The state Department of Land and Natural Resources is seeking a $20,000 fine against the owners of the Wahiawa Dam at Lake Wilson. Hawaii News Now.

Kamehameha Schools wants to adjust second phase of largely high-rise housing development in Kakaako.
The trust is primarily seeking to extend a deadline to carry out development, to shift building densities between blocks and to produce more affordable housing than required if such homes don’t count toward a total maximum density limit for 29 acres in its master plan for the area. Star-Advertiser.

Servco Pacific is said to be planning a big auto lot on land in Kalaeloa. Servco Pacific Inc.
, which says it is Hawaii’s largest private company and one of the top 15 largest automobile dealer groups based in the United States, is planning to lease acreage at the former Naval Air Station Barbers Point for what could eventually be a huge auto lot, according to officials and business owners there. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Chun reiterates UH support of astronomy on Maunakea is not a conflict of interest. During a meeting of the Maunakea Management Board, Greg Chun, UH’s executive director of Maunakea Stewardship, advised the board that an upcoming working group to explore possible alternative management structures for the mountain could present “issues” for UH and suggested that fellow board members preemptively discuss those issues ahead of time. Tribune-Herald.

Council rejects Leeward Planning Commission nominee. The County Council on Wednesday rejected a Mayor Mitch Roth appointee to the Leeward Planning Commission in what the mayor called “retaliation” over his attempt to have a commission member removed in an unrelated action. West Hawaii Today.

Research suggests correlation between earthquake signatures, magma viscosity could help predict impact of future eruptions.
A new study released Wednesday suggests researchers might be able to predict the potential impact of future volcanic eruptions before they happen. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaiʻi County Covered Play Courts To Reopen. The covered play courts at Pana‘ewa Park and Pāhoa District Park reopened on Monday, and Waimea will reopen next week. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News.

Maui

Maui to Implement Mandatory Secondary Test Upon Arrival for Trans-Pacific Flights. Proposed changes have been approved by the governor for the state’s Safe Travels program in Maui County. Trans-Pacific travelers arriving at Kahului Airport will soon be required to undergo a mandatory secondary COVID-19 rapid test upon arrival, or face a mandatory 10-day quarantine. Maui Now.

Court Rules In Favor Of A&B, Land Board In Maui Water Dispute. In a setback for environmentalists and some Native Hawaiian farmers, a First Circuit Court judge on Tuesday sided with the state, Maui County and Alexander & Baldwin in a case regarding the use of stream water from East Maui. Civil Beat. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now.

Bill would reserve half of all beach parking for residents. As tourism numbers and frustrations with overcrowding continue to rise, the Maui County Council is considering measures that would reserve at least half of all public beach access parking for residents and tack on parking fees for visitors. Maui News. Associated Press.

Kauai

MDA briefs Kaua‘i Council on proposed Hawai‘i defense radar. An estimated 200-400 people may be necessary to construct a proposed $1.9 billion federal Homeland Defense Radar – Hawai‘i, and then more than 100 personnel to work there. Garden Island.

Kauai Councilwoman In The Hot Seat After Accepting Paid Trip To Russia. Kauai County Councilwoman Felicia Cowden says a Board of Ethics complaint against her is politically motivated. Civil Beat.

Tiki Iniki mandates employees receive vaccine. In March, Michele Rundgren, owner of Tiki Iniki, made the decision to mandate all employees have a COVID-19 vaccine, including servers, bartenders and cooks. Garden Island.

Lanai

Unexploded munitions dating back to WWII found off Lanai’s south shore. The munitions were reported by two recreational divers. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now.

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