Thursday, May 20, 2021

Fewer storms predicted this hurricane season, Honolulu cuts down Portlock gate and opens beach access, Kaimuki church tried to cover up COVID-19 outbreak, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Tropical cyclones over the years PC:NOAA

Fewer storms predicted for Hawaii’s 2021 hurricane season. The Central Pacific Hurricane Center on Wednesday predicted that the region will see two to five tropical cyclones during the hurricane season that starts June 1. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii Public Radio. Tribune-Herald.  Big Island Now. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Hawaii poised to change unemployment rules to get more people back to work.
Among the changes is requiring the unemployed to look for work in order to keep getting benefits.  KHON2.

Federal Bureau of Investigation taps Steven B. Merrill to lead Honolulu office.  Prior to arriving in Hawaii, Merrill most recently served as a financial crimes section chief in the Criminal Investigative Division at FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C. where he led the FBI’s efforts to combat fraud related to COVID-19, including pandemic-related scams, vaccine fraud and other offenses. Star-Advertiser.

Ige Looking To Fill Seats On State Land Board. Hawaii Gov. David Ige is recruiting “qualified and dedicated people” interested in serving on the state Board of Land and Natural Resources. Civil Beat.

This New Federal Program Is Expected To Help Hundreds Of Thousands Of Hawaii Kids. Hawaii’s high cost of living means many families need the money, but it won’t go as far here as in many other states, advocates say. Civil Beat.

Retailers deal with mask-mandate confusion. Hawaii’s statewide mask mandate requires customers — fully vaccinated or not — to continue wearing masks when in public settings, including retail stores. Outdoors, Hawaii’s law requires people to wear masks if 6 feet of distance cannot be maintained from a person outside of one’s household. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii’s Coronavirus Count Rises As State Adds ‘Probable Cases’ To Its Total. Epidemiologists say including the unconfirmed cases will provide a better picture of how the coronavirus is spreading in the islands. Civil Beat. Maui Now. KHON2. KITV4.

Hawaii sees 73 total coronavirus cases as state health officials begin including probable infections to counts. State health officials reported 58 new confirmed and 15 probable cases today. By island, Oahu had 50 new cases, Hawaii Island had nine, Maui had seven, Molokai had four, Kauai had one, and there were five Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

City cuts down gate blocking beach access in Portlock. A new beach right of way on Portlock Road in Hawaii Kai was officially opened to the public Wednesday. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii Public Radio. Hawaii News Now. KHON2. KITV4.

COVID-19 cluster at Unified Hawaii church in Kaimuki covered up by congregation, text messages show. ext messages were provided to the newspaper showing lengthy exchanges between church leaders and members who discussed the growing COVID-19 case count among the congregation and their success at evading the state Department of Health’s contact tracers. Star-Advertiser.

Special Series: Will The $12B Honolulu Rail Project Make It To Ala Moana? The Honolulu rail, planned to stretch from Kapolei to Ala Moana, is projected to cost $12.4 billion--more than double the original estimate of about $5 billion. Hawaii Public Radio.

Honolulu police crack down on illegal gambling houses. Honolulu police are shutting down illegal gambling houses at the fastest pace in four years, seizing firearms, drugs, and digital gaming machines in neighborhoods from Waikiki to Waimanalo. Star-Advertiser.

ACLU Accuses HPD Officer Of Bias In Favor Of Business Partner. In a letter sent to HPD on Wednesday, the ACLU says its client Robin Hall was assaulted by her boss in June 2019 and that an HPD officer who responded failed to arrest him because the officer is a friend and business partner of the alleged suspect. Civil Beat.

Honoulu Police Department takes steps to form Micronesian alliances
. Honolulu police began a series of meetings recently with officials and Hawaii residents from the Federated States of Micronesia after allegations of racial profiling and protests following the fatal police shooting of 16-year-old Iremamber Sykap. Star-Advertiser. KITV4.

Hawaii Island

Dry times ahead: Drought forecast to worsen over leeward areas. Drought conditions are forecast to worsen over leeward areas of the Big Island as the state heads into the dry season. West Hawaii Today. Tribune-Herald.

Landfill lawyers’ money approved: Council OKs another $200k for contract negotiations. Contract negotiations with Waste Management Inc. have already resulted in some savings, a county official told the County Council on Wednesday. West Hawaii Today.

UH-Hilo faces budget cuts. The state budget, currently before Ige for consideration, calls for UH-Hilo’s operating budget to be reduced by $2.28 million in each year of the coming biennium. Tribune-Herald.

Council committee supports zoning amendment for Hilo Iron Works building. A Hawaii County Council committee voted in support of a zoning amendment that aims to make the historic Hilo Iron Works more attractive to investors. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

The cost to visit Maui could go up as mayor eyes new taxes, fees for tourists.
As the Valley Isle sees an influx of travelers, Maui Mayor Mike Victorino eyes new taxes and fees directed at visitors. On Tuesday alone, nearly 5,000 visitors arrived on the island. Hawaii News Now.

Maui Police Commission split over allowing ex-chief to retire in ‘good standing’. The Maui Police Commission reviewed an investigation into former Maui Police Chief Tivoli Faaumu’s conduct in a traffic accident last year, but there’s disagreement over what to do. Hawaii News Now.

Maui Police Department to Continue Mask Mandate Enforcement. The Maui Police Department today issued a statement saying that officers will continue enforcement of the mandatory mask mandate throughout the county as outlined in Maui Mayor Michael Victorino’s Public Health Emergency Rules. Maui Now.

Local businesses already see mask mandate pushback. Some local businesses have already experienced mask pushback after the federal government last week relaxed guidelines on facial coverings for vaccinated people. Maui News.

Kauai

Rental Cars are booked until early August. A car rental manager from Honolulu on Wednesday, who requested anonymity because of his company’s protocols, said 70% of his rental cars had to be sent back to their mainland warehouse because they were getting charged $8 a day for each car. Garden Island.

Repairs completed, Loop Road reopens. Earlier this week, Loop Road reopened after three years since its initial closure and damage from the April 2018 floods. Garden Island.

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