Monday, April 19, 2021

Supreme Court ends pandemic prison release program, Oahu opens vaccinations to age 16+, Legislature approves fines for COVID rule breakers, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

 

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State Supreme Court concludes COVID-19 inmate release case. The Hawaii Supreme Court on Friday terminated a case which led to an order requiring the state’s correctional facilities to release certain inmates because of the coronavirus pandemic. Tribune-Herald.

U.S. Rep. Kai Kahele Eyes Overdue Hawaii Projects For Biden’s Jobs Plan. Kahele, like other Democrats, has been stumping for Biden’s American Jobs Plan, which aims to upgrade the nation’s ports, railways and bridges while investing in green energy. Civil Beat.

Lawmakers OK Fines For Pandemic Rule Violators. Law enforcement in Hawaii may soon be able to write up tickets for individuals caught breaking emergency rules set by Gov. David Ige and the four county mayors. Civil Beat.

As state hopes to implement vaccine passports, some raise concerns over privacy. Lt. Gov. Josh Green hopes to roll out a pilot program for vaccine passports for inter-island travel by May 1, but not everyone is on board with the idea. Hawaii News Now.

‘We Keep Trying’: Hawaii Sees Spike In School Absenteeism Due To The Pandemic. The challenge of this year is reflected in new statewide data showing 20% of Hawaii’s students are at “high risk” for chronic absenteeism. Civil Beat.

Advocates warn of underreported child abuse. here has been a significant drop in reports of child abuse statewide during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a report by the Friends of the Children’s Justice Center of Oahu. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Hawaii’s SNAP program 1 of 6 states to receive national grant.  Hawaii is getting extra funds from a national program to expand efforts to reduce childhood hunger across the islands. Hawaii News Now.

Heightened Financial Challenges for Neighbor Island Nonprofits.
Neighbor Island nonprofits have been in a tough spot through the COVID-19 economy. Their services are needed more than ever, but their funding has been harder to come by. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaiian Host is accused of false advertising for mainland-made treats. Two law firms filed a lawsuit in California late last year alleging a Hawaii company that claims to be the original producer of chocolate-covered mac nuts misled mainland customers about where many products were made. Civil Beat.

April 18, 2021 COVID-19 Update: The state Department of Health reports that there were 111 additional COVID-19 cases reported in Hawai‘i on Sunday, including 93 on O‘ahu, six on Maui, 10 on Hawai‘i Island, and two in Hawai‘i residents diagnosed while out of state. Maui Now.

Oahu

COVID-19 vaccinations open to those 16 and older today on Oahu. President Joe Biden announced April 6 that he was setting today as the day when all states were required to make the vaccine available to those 16 and older. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Honolulu Police Commission under scrutiny with chief Susan Ballard’s exit. It’s been a trying year for the Honolulu Police Department, which has found itself time and time again in the spotlight, whether it be for its poor financial decisions, disparities in arrests and use of force, flawed internal policies or lack of transparency. Star-Advertiser.

Police Killing Of Micronesian Teen In Hawaii Prompts Grief And Questions. Nearly two weeks after the shooting, Honolulu police still haven’t explained why the teenager was shot or released officers’ body camera footage. Civil Beat.

'We feel betrayed': dozens of Kaiser Permanente workers protest proposed job cuts. Tensions are escalating over Kaiser Permanente's proposal to outsource nearly five dozen financial services positions on O'ahu to California. KITV4.

Hawaii’s ‘million-dollar reefs’ need more funding to protect us, study finds. The study, published Thursday in the journal Nature Sustainability, estimates the Diamond Head, Waikiki and Kakaako reef on Oahu saves an estimated $154.3 million in damage a year, while another half-dozen Hawaii reefs each block more than $50 million in flood damage. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

State floats temporary night closure of Kailua Pier to address homelessness, illegal activities. A temporary closure of the Kailua Pier is being floated as a means to address homelessness and illegal activities taking place at the public facility. West Hawaii Today.

PONC purchases planned: Council Finance Committee set to discuss four Kona land buys. Kona Councilwoman Rebecca Villegas is trying to get the ball rolling on purchases from the $18.4 million sitting in the county’s dedicated open space fund and she’s sponsored four resolutions to be considered Tuesday by the council Finance Committee. West Hawaii Today.

Doug Simons to lead University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy. Simons, executive director of the Canada-France- Hawaii Telescope on Mauna Kea, will bring his passion to the University of Hawaii as the next director of the Institute for Astronomy. Star-Advertiser. Tribune-Herald.

DHHL Offers Rent-With-Option-To-Purchase In Kona.
The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands initiated the project with sixty homes within the Villages of Laʻi ʻŌpua. Big Island Video News.

12 new efficiency studios to be available by early fall in Pahoa for homeless kupuna. HOPE Services Hawaii plans to have 12 small modular units — efficiency studios that have a full kitchen and bathroom — available for homeless kupuna 62 and older by early fall. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Hotel moratorium garners early support. A proposal to place a moratorium on hotel building permits is garnering early support from residents who say it will help balance an unfettered industry that reached record numbers before the pandemic. Maui News.

Mayor offers Kalana Pakui Building to council.
The Kalana Pakui Building was offered as an olive branch to the Maui County Council on Friday in a monthslong negotiation between the council and the administration over expansion of office space. Maui News.

To help with COVID backlog, Maui DMV to open on Saturdays.
  Maui County announced that the Division of Motor Vehicles and Licensing will be opening on two Saturdays each month to help clear the backlog from COVID-19. Hawaii News Now.

Mayor: Tourism industry clusters due to employees gathering outside work. COVID-19 clusters in the tourism industry on Maui are due to employees gathering outside of work and others coming back to their jobs too early after getting sick, Mayor Michael Victorino said Friday. Maui News.

Oahu man arrested after arriving on Maui with no COVID-19 pre-test and no lodging for quarantine. Maui police arrested on Friday a 43-year-old Oahu man who flew to Maui without a negative pre-travel COVID-19 test from an approved facility. Star-Advertiser. Maui Now.

Kauai

Resort now refuses to sell path parcel. On Thursday, the board of directors of Islander on the Beach resort rescinded approval of a plan to sell a parcel fronting the Waipouli property to the county. Garden Island.

The county’s Agency on Elderly Affairs is seeing a 6.9% proposed cut next fiscal year
, for a $1.37 million budget, which primarily is due to dollar-funding the Aging Program Planner, according to AEA’s Fiscal Year 2022 Budget and Operations Synopsis, which Kaua‘i County Council members and citizens have expressed concern to lose. Garden Island.


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