Thursday, June 17, 2021

Lt. Gov. Green seeks to ease Hawaii entry for U.S. travelers, mayors split on hotel tax, new law requires mediation before eviction, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Lt. Gov.: More Travel From U.S. Mainland May Open Soon. Hawaii within two weeks could lift its 10-day quarantine requirement for all travelers from the U.S. continent who show proof of vaccination, the state’s COVID-19 liaison said Wednesday. Civil Beat.

Hawaii mayors split on whether Ige should sign bill for counties to levy additional hotel tax
. Leaders of Hawaii’s four counties appear split on whether Gov. David Ige should sign a measure that would allow them to levy their own transient accommodations taxes. Under the measure, the counties would no longer share part of the revenues from the 10.25% tax. Hawaii News Now. Star-Advertiser.

Union: Hotel Workers Not Being Hired Back as Visitors Return to Hawai‘i.
Hawai‘i's visitor numbers are rebounding but the union that presents hotel workers says its members are being called back at a lagging rate. Hawaii Public Radio.

Gov. David Ige signs bills recognizing Juneteenth, Kalaupapa Month. Senate Bill 939 established June 19 as a permanent day of reflection. Also known as Emancipation Day, Juneteenth Independence Day and Black Independence Day, the holiday commemorates the end of slavery in the United States. Star-Advertiser. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News. Big Island Now. Hawaii News Now.

New laws to protect vulnerable, seniors. Three bills designed to help some of Hawaii’s most vulnerable and financial needy became law on Wednesday by ensuring minimum wage pay for those with disabilities, helping to protect senior citizens from financial fraud and reforming payday lending practices. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii Public Radio.

Governor signs bill requiring mediation prior to landlord evictions. Gov. David Ige signed a measure Wednesday that temporarily requires mediation before a landlord files for eviction. Currently, mediation can only be done after filing. Hawaii News Now.

6 Hawaii businesses awarded $250K each to ramp up agricultural production.
Three of the awarded businesses — Agrefab LLC, SK Natural Farms LLC and Zhao Produce Inc. — are based on Oahu. Kawamata Farms is based out of Hawaii County, and Malama Kauai is on Kauai. Hawaiian Golden Farm is on Oahu and Kauai. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Is Bringing Back Its Health Equity Office As Pandemic Highlights Disparities.
The pandemic illuminated long-standing health inequities in Hawaii as COVID-19 disproportionately affected Filipinos and non-Hawaiian Pacific Islanders. The Department of Health hopes to reduce those by reestablishing the defunct Office of Health Equity with the help of an infusion of nearly $25 million in federal funds. Civil Beat.

Nearly 200,000 more people in Hawaii need to receive a COVID-19 vaccine to reach 70-percent vaccination goal. Besides people receiving shots, the Lieutenant Governor believes people who recovered from the coronavirus should be factored into the count. KITV4.

First 2 winners of Hawaii’s COVID-19 vaccination incentives campaign announced. Hawaii health officials this morning announced the first two winners of the COVID-19 vaccination incentives campaign and said based on data, so far, that it seems to be working. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

June 16, 2021 COVID-19 Update:
30 Cases (28 Confirmed, 2 Probable); 1 Death. The confirmed cases included: 22 on O‘ahu (+2 probable); two on Hawai‘i Island (-1 probable); two on Maui (+1 probable); one on Kaua‘i; and one in a Hawai‘i resident diagnosed while out of state. Maui Now.

Oahu

Honolulu Police Department pledges more public transparency. In response to local and nationwide demand for police transparency and a sharp shift away from longstanding use-of-force practices, the Honolulu Police Department will hold news conferences within 24 hours of every officer- involved shooting and is amending its training for new recruits and veteran officers to emphasize de-escalation, cultural sensitivity, officer accountability and a near total ban on shooting into vehicles. Star-Advertiser.

City taxpayers likely to pay legal fees for three HPD officers charged in fatal shooting. City taxpayers could be on the hook for paying more legal fees after three HPD officers were charged in the fatal shooting of a 16-year-old boy. KHON2.

Gun crimes are on the rise on Oahu ― and the trend could be linked to drugs. HPD data shows that since 2015 the number of homicides on Oahu hasn’t changed too much. But the percentage of cases involving firearms has been on the rise since 2017. Hawaii News Now.

Emails Show Hanabusa Was Doing Rail Work Before She Got A Big Contract. Colleen Hanabusa says she drafted bills and monitored legislation on her own, not because she expected a contract or financial reward from the transit board. Civil Beat.

Education Program for At-Risk Youth Shuts Down After 50 Years in Honolulu. The closure of one of Honolulu’s few alternative education programs comes as a setback after a challenging pandemic year for all students. Civil Beat.

Public Hearing on Oʻahu's Red Light Camera Program Set for Thursday. The State of Hawaiʻi Department of Transportation will hold a public hearing Thursday to discuss Oʻahu’s red light camera pilot program, which is expected to start later this summer. Hawaii Public Radio. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu City Council member calls for more local produce at farmers markets. A Honolulu City Council member wants to make sure more local produce are being sold at the People’s Open Market. A resolution to require a 30% threshold of locally grown produce and products will be discussed Thursday, June 17. KHON2.

State to close Kikiaola Small Boat Harbor ramp for improvements. The state Land Department will close the Kikiaola Small Boat Harbor ramp on Kauai for nearly two months beginning Monday. Officials said crews will install new boat ramp panels as well as concrete pavement. Hawaii News Now.

Public has until July 23 to comment on proposed Waikiki Beach improvement plan. A draft EIS released last week supports a $12 million Waikiki Beach Improvement and Maintenance Program, proposed by the state Department of Land and Natural Resources in partnership with the Waikiki Beach Special Improvement District Association, for the coastline from the Kapahulu Groin to the Ewa end of Fort DeRussy Beach. Star-Advertiser.

Family of TSA worker who died of COVID-19 finally receives workers compensation. According to the American Federation of Government Employees -- a union that represents TSA workers -- the family of then 43-year-old Maui Kahalepuna received workers' compensation benefits after months of delay. KITV4.

Blessing kicks off filming of ‘NCIS: Hawai‘i’. With the sun shining, the wind blowing and heartfelt aloha, the cast and crew of “NCIS: Hawai‘i” began shooting the premiere of what is hoped to be another hit in a long line of successful TV shows set and filmed in Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

County discusses tipping fees, credit for garbage haulers. The county is reconsidering a change in how rubbish haulers are charged at the county’s landfills. Tribune-Herald.

Hawai‘i Medical Service Association to Close Kona Office, Transition to Virtual Service. While HMSA will no longer have a physical Kona office, its employees will continue to serve the community and the HMSA members who live there. Big Island Now.

Seattle group wins appeal in quest to overturn Ireland murder convictions. The state Intermediate Court of Appeals on Tuesday ruled Hilo Circuit Judge Henry Nakamoto erred when he denied a group seeking to overturn convictions in the Dana Ireland murder trial a hearing on a motion to unseal post-conviction DNA testing conducted on a piece of key evidence. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

No Public Aerial Fireworks Displays, No Firecracker Sales on Maui this July Fourth. There will be no public aerial fireworks display on Maui this year for the Fourth of July holiday, and retailers will not be selling firecrackers, so no firecracker permits will be sold. Maui Now.

Department of Water Supply Publishes 2021 Water Quality Report Online. The annual report provides information about water quality and how the Maui County’s water compares with established federal and state drinking water standards. Maui Now.

Kauai

Kauai Developer Wants Land Returned After County Delays Opening Drug Treatment Center. Grove Farm, the development company that donated nearly six acres to Kauai County for an inpatient drug treatment center, said the land deed is no longer valid. Civil Beat.

County directs $7 million in American Rescue Plan funds. The county is targeting 16 areas of need to inject American Rescue Plan money into, including adolescent drug treatment support, youth mental recovery, houselessness and kupuna needs. Garden Island.

Kealia roundabout progress continues. Roundabout use at the intersection of Kuhio Highway and Mailihuna Road intersection has partially opened, eliminating access to the temporary Kapa‘a Stream Bridge. Garden Island.

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