Monday, May 24, 2021

Cruise ships not set to return to Hawaii soon, Senate bill makes it harder to scrutinize government bids, Kauai loosens gathering rules, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Cruise ship off Hawaii pre-COVID ©2021 All Hawaii News

 When will cruises return? Several cruise lines announced their intentions last week to resume vacation cruises this summer to ports in Alaska, Florida or Texas — but it doesn’t appear Hawaii will be on any port of call itineraries anytime soon. Tribune-Herald.

University of Hawaii budget cuts to reverberate throughout local economy. An economic impact study released today suggests the $90 million cut in state general funds for UH over the next two fiscal years, made by lawmakers under pressure to reduce state spending due to coronavirus impacts, could sap around $650 million from the local economy. Star-Advertiser. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now.  KHON2.

No Bid, No Problem? Hawaiian Telcom Lands A $25 Million State Broadband Contract. Gov. David Ige says he wasn’t involved in the deal with a major campaign donor. But it’s raising questions about whether the contract should have been competitively bid. Civil Beat.

Senate Bill Would Make It Harder To Scrutinize Government Contract Awards, Critics Say. State officials say the measure would speed up the cumbersome procurement process, but others worry it would make legitimate bid appeals unaffordable. Civil Beat.

Foreclosure, utility moratoriums ending soon. Time is running out for those who need to pay their rent, utilities or mortgage, and the time to take action is now, according to a nonprofit advisory group. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii food prices continue to rise. The cost of food continues to soar — for some items prices increased by as a much as 50%. KITV4.

Hawaii Governor's ban on surf events holds up permits for keiki competitions.
Event organizers spent weeks lobbying to reverse the restriction implemented after a COVID19 outbreak tied to a professional World Surf League event last December. KITV4.

Pentagon wants to disinter 94 ‘unknown’ remains from Punchbowl, entomb them in USS Arizona. The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency said it has talked with the Navy about disinterring 94 sailors from the famed battleship USS Arizona who are buried as “unknowns” at Punchbowl cemetery in Honolulu. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii is the only state requiring and spending millions on COVID-19 testing. The state is spending about $38 million to fund one year of its Safe Travels airport screening program and is making plans to spend another $22 million on top of that even though most U.S. destinations have dropped nearly all of their travel restrictions. Star-Advertiser.

Lt. Gov. Green hopeful normal summer returns as coronavirus vaccinations increase. There are fewer than 1,000 active cases statewide for the first time in months, and all the neighbor islands have single-digit case numbers. KHON2.

May 23, 2021 COVID-19 Update: 48 Cases; 2 Deaths on O‘ahu. The confirmed cases included: 32 on O‘ahu; two on Maui, eight on Hawai‘i Island, and four in Hawai‘i residents diagnosed while out of state. Maui Now.

Oahu

Honolulu Police Don’t Always Turn On Their Body Cams. That Needs To Change, Commissioners Say. Officers in dicey situations may be incentivized to keep their cameras off. There’s growing calls for police to make sure that doesn’t happen. Civil Beat.

Family of teen fatally shot by police files wrongful death lawsuit. The family of a teen shot and killed by police last month has filed a wrongful death suit against the Honolulu Police Department and the city. Iremamber Sykap, 16, was fatally shot by officers on April 5. Hawaii News Now.

First weekend spectators allowed to watch outdoor sporting events on Oahu. Spectators, including parents, were not allowed near the court or field to watch their children play ball for more than a month. KHON2.

Hawaii Island

Inaba wants to cut tourism promotion. Should the county continue pumping money into tourism promotion when tourists seem to come here anyway? That was a topic the County Council tackled Thursday as it looked for loose change in a tight $609.1 million budget. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii County Likely to Increase Social Gathering Size. Currently in Hawai'i County, gatherings of up to 10 people indoors, 25 outdoors, are permitted. KITV4.

Behind schedule, over budget: Change orders irk council members. A Hilo road repaving project that’s ballooned from $7.4 million to $12 million had the County Council Finance Committee on Tuesday asking the Department of Public Works to get a better grip on estimating the cost of roadwork. West Hawaii Today.

Hilo High football has new rep: State legislator Chris Todd named Vikings head coach.
Vikings athletic director Kaeo Drummondo on Sunday announced Todd’s hiring as head coach. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

$842.6M budget on verge of approval. At about $13 million more than Mayor Michael Victorino’s proposed $829 million budget, the council’s version includes an operational budget of $683.2 million and a capital improvements project budget of $159.4 million, compared to the mayor’s proposed $669.6 million for operations and $159.3 million in CIP funding. Maui Now.

Complaints spur bill for zipline permits. Hoping to increase oversight for the operations, the Maui County Council is considering a bill that would require a conditional permit for canopy tour, zipline and bungee jumping operations as well as bar waterfall rappelling in county agricultural districts. Maui News.

Maui Police Commission: Former Chief Had ‘Room For Improvement’. Former Maui Police Chief Tivoli Faaumu’s performance evaluation was the subject of an executive session. Civil Beat.

Kauai

Return to Tier 4 today.
Tier 4 is the least-restrictive on Kaua‘i’s COVID-19 tier chart for Business and Recreational Guidelines. It allows gatherings of up to 25 outdoors and 10 indoors, with restrictions and safety guidelines. Garden Island. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Plan pleases taro farmers. Last week, the state’s Commission on Water Resource Management, part of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, approved a measurable in-stream flow standard of 4 million gallons per day. Garden Island.

Ha‘ena DLNR projects get recognition.
Two programs and projects taken on by the state Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of State Parks on Kaua‘i were recognized with Preservation Honor Awards by the Historic Hawai‘i Foundation Friday during the 47th annual Preservation Honor Awards. Garden Island.

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