Friday, July 1, 2022

Ige signs digital equity, broadband bills, Red Hill report recounts 'cascading' failures, new look at Hawaii gun laws following Supreme Court ruling, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Gov. David Ige signs bills to expand ‘digital equity’ but slashes $200 million for broadband growth. A planned $200 million investment in Hawaii broadband access using federal funds got axed Thursday by Gov. David Ige as he signed four bills aimed at improving “digital equity” among local communities. Star-Advertiser. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News. Big Island Now.

Supreme Court says gun cases in several states, including Hawaii, deserve a new look. The Supreme Court said today that gun cases involving restrictions in Hawaii, California, New Jersey and Maryland deserve a new look following its major decision in a gun case last week. Associated Press. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Ige Appoints New PUC Chairman. Leodoloff “Leo” R. Asuncion, Jr., will replace outgoing Public Utilities Chairman Jay Griffin at the helm of the regulatory agency. Civil Beat. Hawaii Public Radio.

$118,000 recovered for Hawaii restaurant workers forced to share tips with managers. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division found that D.K. Restaurant Group, which operates Sansei Seafood Restaurants and Sushi Bars in Kapalua, Kihei and Waikoloa and D.K. Steak House in Honolulu, had forced servers to share their tips with managers. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Caution urged over Fourth of July due to Hawaii’s high-level status for COVID-19 risks. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention today kept all four major Hawaii counties classified as orange, high-level communities for COVID-19 impacts. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

Long list of failures caused Red Hill leak, Navy investigation finds. An alarming list of operational and leadership failures, communication breakdowns and cavalier attitudes toward oversight at the Navy’s Red Hill fuel storage facility contributed to two leaks in 2021 that ultimately contaminated the Navy’s drinking water system with jet fuel, according to a long-awaited investigation released Thursday by the Navy. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Associated Press. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Pentagon releases 2-year plan to drain Red Hill fuel tanks. The Pentagon expects it will take at least two years to safely defuel the 20 massive tanks at its underground Red Hill fuel storage facility, according to a five-phase plan released Thursday by the state Department of Health. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Redistricting Pits Like-Minded Friends Against Each Other. After a decade serving neighboring House districts, Gregg Takayama and Roy Takumi vie for their new shared seat. Civil Beat.

City fined $116,000 for safety violations after worker’s death at sewage plant. A newly-released state investigation raises questions about whether the death of a Honouliuli Wastewater Treatment Plant worker could have been prevented. Hawaii News Now.

State pledges July Fourth enforcement at Kaneohe Sandbar to avoid ‘free for all’. With the Fourth of July weekend coming up, the state Department of Land and Natural Resources is reminding the public about gatherings at Ahu O Laka, also known as the Kaneohe Sandbar. Alcohol is prohibited at the location on the three-day weekend and so is unpermitted commercial activity. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Hu Honua Bioenergy appeals to Hawaii Supreme Court after rejection of biomass plant. Honua Ola Bioenergy filed an appeal Wednesday with the Hawaii Supreme Court to reverse a state Public Utilities Commission decision rejecting its plans to open a biomass plant on Hawaii Island. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News.

Big Island Condo Owners Navigate Troubled Finances. An unexpected financial mess at the Elima Lani condo complex in Waikoloa Village leaves some property owners miffed and perplexed. Civil Beat.

Maui

51.3 acres acquired in West Maui for County Park. The County of Maui has acquired 51.3 acres in West Maui for a purchase price of $2 million from Maui Land & Pineapple Co. for development of a County park, Mayor Michael Victorino announced today. Maui Now.

Bill may allow more veterans on disability to get tax relief. Some property tax relief could be coming for Maui County residents and severely disabled veterans as a County Council committee unanimously advanced two bills for tax relief to the full council on Wednesday. Maui News.

Takakura sworn in as new Deputy Director at Maui Department of Planning. Maui’s Jacky Takakura was sworn into office on Wednesday as deputy director of the Department of Planning, County officials announced. She succeeds Jordan Hart, who has moved to chief of the department’s Zoning Administration & Enforcement Division. Maui Now. Maui News.

Amid extreme drought, Maui residents prohibited from non-essential use of water.
Upcountry and West Maui residents have been banned starting Thursday from using non-essential water, said officials. That means no washing vehicles or watering lawns until further notice. Hawaii News Now.

Kauai

COVID Update: Another death, KCCC quarantine solution. Kaua‘i saw its fifth covid death in as many weeks, as a man in his 40s succumbed to the virus while hospitalized. After sitting unused for nearly a year, the Kaua‘i Community Correctional Center’s temporary medical isolation housing unit is finally operational (at least partially). Garden Island.

Thursday, June 30, 2022

Gloves come off in gubernatorial debate, commission seeks to reduce money in politics, abortion part of Hawaiian culture, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii’s gubernatorial hopefuls exchange barbs in heated debate. The leading Democratic candidates to become Hawaii’s next governor -- Lt. Gov. Josh Green and U.S. Rep. Kai Kahele and entrepreneur Vicky Cayetano -- quickly went after one another in their first live joint appearance Wednesday. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Tribune-Herald. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Tougher Campaign Finance Laws Top Standards Commission Agenda. A commission to enhance government transparency in Hawaii is weighing a handful of measures aimed at tightening campaign finance laws and reducing the influence of money in politics in a year where several prolific political donors made headlines for alleged bribery. Civil Beat. KITV4.

Peer-to-peer car rentals must pay Hawaiʻi general excise tax under new law. The peer-to-peer car rental company Turo is going to have to pay the state’s general excise tax under a new bill signed by Gov. David Ige. Hawaiʻi Department of Taxation Director Isaac Choy says car-sharing platforms like Turo should be held to the same standard as conventional rental car companies like Hertz or Enterprise. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaiʻi airports expect busy Fourth of July holiday weekend. The Hawaiʻi Department of Transportation is advising anyone traveling out of Honolulu, Kahului, Līhuʻe, Kona, or Hilo to arrive early, especially if traveling between the peak hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Maui Now.

Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau receives contract extension. The Hawaii Tourism Authority is extending the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau’s U.S. tourism contract and its global support services contract for three months as a stop-gap measure to give HTA time to sort out a procurement protest. Star-Advertiser. Maui Now.

Hypersonic missile test fails off Hawaii in fresh setback for program. A flight test of a hypersonic missile system in Hawaii ended in failure due to a problem that took place after ignition, the Department of Defense said, delivering a fresh blow to a program that has suffered stumbles. Bloomberg News.

Lack of affordable housing adds to worker shortage. Many businesses across different industries have spoken out about the need for more workers, but even when they hire the right candidate, workers said finding affordable housing is becoming nearly impossible. Some employers said it is no longer a housing issue but a housing crisis. KHON2.

Abortion care has a long history among Hawaiʻi's Indigenous people. Hawaiʻi legalized abortion in 1970 when it became the first state in the nation to allow the procedure at a woman’s request. But abortion care was a fundamental part of Native Hawaiian health care history, says Indigenous health scholar Kealoha Fox. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii’s COVID-19 counts on downward slope. Hawaii Health Department reports 5,362 new infections, 15 coronavirus-related deaths.  Star-Advertiser. Tribune-Herald.

Oahu

The Cost Of Police Misconduct: Honolulu Spent Over $18 Million In Legal Settlements. Meanwhile, the officers involved in the cases have faced mixed consequences. Civil Beat.

Honolulu’s New Police Chief Promises ‘Enduring Change’ During Swearing-In. Joe Logan took the oath of office during a formal ceremony held about two weeks after he was privately sworn-in. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii’s First Large-Scale Food Waste Composter Touts A Host Of Benefits. Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii and partners launched a composting operation in Waimanalo that they hope will revolutionize the way Oahu disposes of food waste. Civil Beat.

Mapunapuna complex’s displaced tenants are forced to make way for a Home Depot. The home-improvement chain has been working for close to a year or longer on plans for a new store on 1.4 acres in Mapunapuna once anchored by Asian grocery store 99 Ranch Market, and now tenants have until July 15 to move out. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island


After pandemic hiatus, July 4 back in full swing. After two years of scaled-down and canceled July 4 events because of the coronavirus pandemic, a full-scale celebration is in the works for Monday. The night sky will light up with fireworks displays at 8 p.m. in both Hilo and Kailua-Kona. Tribune-Herald.

Big Island Police Remind Residents About Fireworks Rules, Offer Safety Tips. In an effort to make sure everyone has a safe and enjoyable Fourth of July weekend, Big Island police are reminding the public about the rules governing the use of fireworks. Big Island Now.

Maui

Candidates weigh in on ag, tourism, homelessness. Candidates participating in the Maui County mayoral race — Kim Brown, Cullan Bell, Alana Kay, Jonah Lion, Council Members Mike Molina and Kelly King and retired judge Richard Bissen — shared their thoughts and solutions on the big challenges that lie ahead during an online forum hosted by native Hawaiian youth organization Ka Leo O Na ‘Opio. Incumbent Mayor Michael Victorino was the only candidate not in attendance.  Maui News.

Council offices open for live public testimony. Six Maui County Council offices are open to obtain information about pending legislation or upcoming meetings or to provide live testimony at a council or committee meeting, Council Member Kelly Takaya King announced Thursday. Maui News.

New Planning Department rates and fees take effect July 1. The new fees approach 40% cost recovery and are based on costs of staff salaries, department overhead and administrative support. Currently, the department recovers only 17% of the cost of processing permits. Maui Now.

MPD’s CSI camp gives students hands-on forensic training. When you think of summer camp, conducting autopsies and analyzing bloodstains don’t often come to mind. But that is exactly what 10 aspiring forensic specialists did last week at Maui’s Forensic Facility in Wailuku. Hawaii News Now.

Kauai

KPD completes its first-ever investigation, forensics camp. The Kaua’i Police Department held its first Police Investigations and Forensic Science Camp at KPD headquarters last week, with 16 students completing the program. Garden Island.

Southwest CEO meets Kaua‘i; announced expanded services. Southwest Airlines currently offers 38 inter-island flights daily. This is expected to grow to 60 flights by the fall. Garden Island.

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Tourism funding threatened, staff shortages impact hospitality and travel, monster homes irk Honolulu, Maui residents, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Janice Wei
Hawaii volcano at night PC: Janice Wei
Tourism funding again under threat. The Hawaii Tourism Authority’s future is uncertain again. Gov. David Ige has announced his intent to veto House Bill 1147 — the eleventh-­hour solution that state legislators cobbled together at the end of the session to save the agency’s $60 million annual budget. Star-Advertiser. KITV4.

Lack of workers affecting hospitality and travel. Airlines and travel officials are expecting a busier Fourth of July weekend and summer travel season compared to last year, but the shortage of workers continues to be an issue. KHON2.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Visitor Spending Contributed $117 Million To Local Economy. The National Park Service says a new report finds 2021 spending supported 1,220 jobs mostly in lodging, recreation and transportation. Big Island Video News. Big Island Now.

Anti-vape advocates, tobacco industry applaud Gov. Ige's plan to veto flavored product bill
. House Bill 1570 proposes banning flavored tobacco products, including menthol. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii’s small businesses grapple with rising costs, staffing shortages. National chains are better able to weather the current challenges — including ability to pay a rising minimum wage — than small mom-and-pop shops, according to Tina Yamaki, president of the Retail Merchants of Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.

Agriculture Board endorses plan to import millions of mosquitoes to save imperiled birds. The state Board of Agriculture on Tuesday gave the green light to the release of tens of millions of mosquitoes into the wild as part of a plan to help save Hawaii’s endangered forest birds. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

Honolulu Liquor Commission Run Amok? Bar Owners Complaints Are Leading To Change. Bar owners struggled amidst strict restrictions during the pandemic. Now they hope city officials can implement reforms to the Honolulu Liquor Commission. Civil Beat.

City says bacteria levels drop following treated wastewater discharge on West Oahu beaches. An undisclosed problem at the Honouliuli Wastewater Treatment Plant last Thursday led to excessive discharge of treated wastewater along the Ewa coastline. Hawaii News Now. Star-Advertiser. KHON2.

Neighbors react to city shutting down Kaimukī 'monster home.' But what's next? Earlier this month, the city's Department of Planning and Permitting revoked three building permits, and issued a stop work order for 3615 Sierra Drive. Officials say the project violates the city's land use ordinance. Hawaii Public Radio.

Staffing shortages a key factor in labor dispute at Hawaii’s largest hotel. Union contracts at the Hilton Hawaiian Village are set to expire in two days and union workers are asking for help to deal with the summer travel rush. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu Fire Department welcomes new accelerant detection canine. Eve, a 2-year-old Labrador retriever, is Hawaii’s only accelerant detection canine, according to HFD. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

Oahu Hunters Oppose Contraception for Pigs. Pig hunters packed the Department of Land and Natural resources board room Tuesday to speak out against the use of birth control measures on wild animals. KITV4.

Hawaii Island

Higher water rates coming down the pipe. Water customers should expect a double whammy on their bills starting Friday, when planned consumption and standby charge increases coincide with an increase in the fluctuating power purchase charge. West Hawaii Today.

Water restrictions could be eased this week. There’s good news for North Kona residents worrying about the area’s drinking water supply — water restrictions could be eased as early as the end of this week. West Hawaii Today.

Judge orders document in Ireland case to be unsealed. Hilo Circuit Judge Peter Kubota on Tuesday ordered that one of two documents apparently related to post-conviction DNA testing performed in the Dana Ireland murder case be unsealed and made public. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Ag Department heads to be picked this week. Maui County’s new Agriculture Department director and deputy are expected to be announced this week by Mayor Michael Victorino as the deadline for the department to be established approaches on Friday. Maui News.

Resolution To Acquire Maui Monster House Passes Committee. The eminent domain resolution now moves to the full County Council for consideration at its July 15 meeting. Civil Beat. Maui Now.

Funding, fencing on the horizon for farms, ranches hurt by axis deer. Solutions for feral ungulate control are slowly but surely taking shape as axis deer populations rapidly grow and create havoc for Maui County farmers and ranchers. Maui News.

Kauai

COVID puts damper on Kaua‘i fireworks shows. The U.S. Navy Pacific Missile Range Facility is returning with its first fireworks show since the onset of the pandemic. But due to COVID concerns, it will only be open to U.S. Department of Defense ID cardholders and their guests. Garden Island.

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Ige may veto 30 bills, Honolulu permit clerk gets prison time for accepting bribes, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Maria Ressa meets state lawmakers, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Gov. David Ige targets 30 Hawaii legislative bills for veto. Gov. David Ige on Monday gave Hawaii’s Legislature a long list of bills he might veto, including measures dealing with bail reform, $60 million in Hawaii Tourism Authority funding and a vaping products ban. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News. Big Island Now. Maui Now. Garden Island. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Gov. Ige's full intent to veto list and rationale here.

Ige Approves Ban On “Forever Chemicals” In Food Containers, Firefighting Foam. The class of chemicals known as PFAS has been suspected of causing health impacts, including cancer. Civil Beat.

Local organizations launch bailout initiative as Gov. Ige decides on bail reform measure. Some pre-trial detainees are held in jail because they can’t afford bail. So Hawaiʻi bail reform advocates have launched an initiative to help secure bail and reentry services for them. Hawaii Public Radio.

Democratic hopefuls for governor to hold first joint appearance. The three leading Democratic candidates hoping to become Hawaii’s next governor are scheduled to make their first live, joint appearance in a special one-hour, digital town hall on the Honolulu Star- Advertiser’s “Spotlight Hawaii” livestream program starting at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

Group issues final COVID report.
The Hawaii Pandemic Applied Modeling Workgroup which has been using public data to provide COVID information, announced that it will not provide any more forecasts and updates after Monday, June 27. The last report stated that Omicron BA.2 variant cases are slowly trending down and hospitalizations are staring to slow. KHON2.

State Rules Make It Harder To Open Dialysis Centers In Hawaii. More states are lifting or reforming regulations governing the opening of new dialysis facilities. Civil Beat.

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Maria Ressa brings her fight for truth to Hawaii. Hawaii senators and Filipino organizations honored Nobel Peace Prize laureate and Philippine journalist Maria Ressa at the State Capitol on Monday. Hawaii News Now. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii Public Radio.

Oahu

Permitting Worker Who Took Bribes For A Decade Gets Prison Time. The judge said he wanted to make an example of Jennie Javonillo to deter other government workers from taking bribes. Civil Beat. KHON2.

Governor plans to veto child welfare bill inspired by Isabella ‘Ariel’ Kalua case. Nearly a year after the Waimanalo girl was last seen alive, the measure intended to protect adopted children like her appears doomed. Hawaii News Now.

Japanese tech company to survey Oʻahu roads. The Hawaiʻi Department of Transportation has partnered with the Japanese tech company i-Probe for a pilot program to monitor road conditions on Oʻahu. i-Probe uses car-mounted sensors to track road conditions like potholes and traffic. Real-time data will then be collected on a cloud-based map. Hawaii Public Radio.

No end in sight for Red Hill water pumping. The Navy continues to pump about 4.5 million gallons of water daily out of its Red Hill shaft in an effort to remediate the aquifer that was polluted with fuel from its Red Hill tanks in 2021. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

Hundreds of keiki under 5 vaccinated in rollout of clinics
. Hawaii Pacific Health vaccinated some 585 keiki under age 5 at large-scale clinics at Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children in Honolulu and Kauai Medical Clinic in Lihue on Saturday. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Governor Will Not Veto Bill Creating New Mauna Kea Authority. The Governor says he looks forward to appointing a board "committed to supporting astronomy on Maunakea, and supporting moving forward in the best way to manage" the mountain. Big Island Video News.

Council kills one proposed charter amendment, moves the rest along. One proposed charter amendment was killed, a second barely squeaked through and two received unanimous endorsements recently, when the County Council took up six bills to consider putting on the Nov. 8 ballot. West Hawaii Today.

Puna Pono Alliance denied PGV appeal, PUC reconsideration. The state Intermediate Court of Appeals on June 13 denied a pair of appeals seeking an updated environmental review for Puna Geothermal Venture. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Drought conditions will limit water supplies in Upcountry and West Maui. Portions of Upcounty and West Maui will be under a Stage 1 drought declaration by Thursday. Nonessential water activities like car-washing and landscaping will be prohibited. Hawaii Public Radio.

New shelter planned for at-risk youth on Maui. Facility would offer safe space for youth while long-term solutions sought. Maui News.

Owners give Lahaina tenants more time; rally highlights Maui’s housing woes
. New owners of one of the last Lahaina apartments with workforce rents reversed course Friday, announcing that no immediate evictions or rent increases will occur at Lahaina Crossroads. Maui Now.

Kula Forest Reserve remains closed with conditions still unsafe from December storm. Access roads and trails in the Kula Forest Reserve remain closed due to extensive damage and unsafe conditions caused by the December 2021 Kona storm, the state Department of Land and Natural Resources said today. Maui Now.

Kauai

9th Circuit: County, state workers may have violated constitutional rights in bitter child custody case. A federal appeals court said a Kauai police official and state Child Welfare workers may have violated the constitutional rights of a Big Island mother and her 11-year-old daughter when they removed the girl in 2019. Hawaii News Now.

DOW quality reports available.
The county Department of Water 2022 Water Quality Reports, covering calendar 2021, are available on the DOW’s website, kauaiwater.org. Garden Island.

Monday, June 27, 2022

Hawaii reacts to abortion ruling, RIMPAC set to begin, Kauai police set sights on 12-year-old murder, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii still struggles with abortion access. Hawaii leaders say they are resolute in preserving women’s right to abortion, which is enshrined in state law. But abortion providers say the state’s strong legal protections belie the experience of many women in Hawaii, particularly on the neighbor islands, who have struggled to access abortions, and that Hawaii needs to pay more attention to improving access, especially in light of the Roe decision, which has pushed the issue of reproductive rights to the forefront of political discussions. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii Public Radio. Maui News. Hawaii News Now.

Gov. David Ige signs flurry of bills as veto intention deadline nears. The window is closing for Gov. David Ige to indicate which bills he intends to veto this year, and as the Monday deadline nears many more bills have become law. Ige as of Friday had signed 115 bills passed by the Legislature in 2022. Star-Advertiser.

How A ‘First Step’ In Prison Reform Sparked A Public Backlash And A Likely Veto. The bail reform bill was seen as a minor adjustment — but the public outcry could make lawmakers wary of pursuing it again. Civil Beat.

Familiar faces seeking return to elected office. The Aug. 13 primary elections will see the return of familiar island politicians who have been out of office for years, nearly a decade and, in one case, a generation ago. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii GOP Candidates For Governor Want Tax Cuts. The top Republican candidates for governor have floated proposals for cutting taxes on the sale of certain goods like food or medicine and taking a broader look at Hawaii’s tax system to examine how it affects those who are poor or on fixed incomes. Civil Beat.

RIMPAC exercises set to begin in Hawaii. Warships from 26 countries are arriving in the Hawaiian Islands for the biennial Rim of the Pacific exercise, the world’s largest recurring naval war game. About 25,000 military personnel will participate in RIMPAC 2022, which kicks off Wednesday and will run through Aug. 4, with 38 surface ships, four submarines and more than 170 aircraft. Star-Advertiser.

Supporters of the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement back its marketing concepts for Hawaii. Speaking out this week in favor of the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement are former Gov. John D. Waihe‘e III and tourism industry veterans Ann Botticelli, formerly a senior executive at Hawaiian Airlines, and Frank Haas, a tourism consultant who formerly was HTA’s vice president of marketing and helped develop HTA’s 2020 Strategic Plan. Star-Advertiser.

Covid-19 Vaccine Mistrust Is Spilling Over To Routine Childhood Shots In Hawaii. A “perfect storm” of other factors has also contributed to dismal vaccination rates in schools, with implications for children’s health. Civil Beat.

Oahu

Honolulu Council Elections Are A Hot Topic For Neighborhood Board Members. With four of the nine Honolulu council seats in play, local community groups are paying attention to what a shift in power may mean in their backyards. Civil Beat.

Indicted executives are prolific Hawaii political donors. Four Mitsunaga & Associates executives indicted for allegedly conspiring with former Prosecuting Attorney Keith Kaneshiro to charge a former employee with four counts of felony theft in exchange for campaign contributions donated more than $830,000 to candidates for key state and county offices over a 10-year period. Star-Advertiser.

Rock revetment planned to harden eroding shoreline. The state Department of Transportation is proposing to build a 450-foot-long rock revetment along a stretch of shoreline in Kaaawa to forestall the potential collapse of a section of Kamehameha Highway. Star-Advertiser.

7,200 lbs of rubber rubbish pulled from Kaneohe Bay. Once all the rubbish was pulled out of the ocean, it was wheeled out, put on a truck and taken to H-Power. The job may have been completed for the day, but it’s not over. KHON2.

Hawaii Island

Latest Honua Ola denial likely headed to state Supreme Court. The tree-burning plant north of Hilo on the Big Island has suffered another big setback in its years-long quest to deliver electricity to customers of Hawaiian Electric. Civil Beat. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News.

Paramedics wanted: County seeing uptick in calls for emergency medical services. Hawaii County Fire Department is searching for paramedics to fill the spots of those who have been promoted, retired or transferred to other positions within the department. Tribune-Herald.

County partners to deliver free Wi-Fi to Panaewa Park. Hawaii County has partnered with T&T Electric and other various organizations and individuals to deliver free Wi-Fi to the Panaewa Park area as part of a scalable pilot program, according to a press release from the office of Mayor Mitch Roth. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Primary election for House District 9 is a ‘winner-take-all’ contest. Political newcomer Sam Peralta challenges incumbent Rep. Justin Woodson. After going uncontested in the August 2020 Democratic primary, incumbent state Rep. Justin Woodson now faces a challenger for his House District 9 seat that covers a well-populated portion of Central Maui. Maui News.

June 30 deadline approaching for South Maui Community Plan Advisory Committee. Nine of the CPAC’s 13 members will be appointed by the council, while four will be appointed by the mayor. Maui Now. Maui News.

Kauai


3 political candidates challenge Kauai mayor in re-election bid. Kauai County voters are preparing to elect a new mayor. Incumbent Derek Kawakami is nearing the end of his first term, and is being challenged by three political newcomers. They have a wide range of views on a number of issues, but far less experience in politics. Hawaii News Now.

Lihuʻe improvement tour, talks slated. The County of Kaua‘i and state of Hawai‘i are creating a Lihu‘e Civic Center Mobility Plan. The plan seeks to improve transportation options and accessibility around the town core. Garden Island.

Fresh KPD eyes are on Jackson murder case. A new detective has been assigned to investigate the 12-year-old, unsolved murder of Amber Jackson, a 57-year-old Kapahi woman. Garden Island.

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Ige signs minimum wage hike, income tax rebate, Health and Education departments negotiate mask rules, new Honolulu police chief tackling burglary spree, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

PC: Office of the Governor
Ige signs minimum wage bill June 22, 2022. PC: Governor's Office
Hawaii minimum wage increase, tax rebate bills become law. Ige signed a bill that will increase Hawaii’s hourly minimum wage to $12 on Oct. 1 from $10.10, and be followed by three more step-ups through 2028. Ige also signed a separate piece of legislation Wednesday, Senate Bill 514, that will deliver $100 or $300 cash rebates to individual tax filers depending on their income, likely beginning in August via direct bank deposit or check. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii Public Radio. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Now. Maui Now. Associated Press. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Lawmakers call for Hawaii to join others in dropping state gas tax. State lawmakers call for Hawaii to join others in dropping state gas tax following President Biden’s proposal on Wednesday. President Biden called on Congress to suspend federal gasoline and diesel taxes for three months. Hawaii News Now.

State to distribute $80M to childcare providers grappling with shortages, costs. After more than two years of struggling with lower enrollment and staff shortages, Hawaii’s childcare providers are getting some much-needed relief. Hawaii News Now.

DOE, DOH in talks about school masking requirement. Indoor masking remains mandatory for public schools during summer programs, but discussions are underway between the Department of Education and the Department of Health regarding the upcoming fall semester. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii’s COVID-19 cases leveling off, but masking still urged. Although the daily averages of new COVID-19 cases are on the decline in Hawaii, health officials are warning the public that levels are still high enough to warrant indoor masking. The state’s average positivity rate also dropped to 17.1% compared with 18.9% reported June 15, according to DOH, marking the second consecutive weekly decline.  Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Health Department reports 5,482 new infections, 15 coronavirus-related deaths. The Hawaii Department of Health today reported 5,482 new COVID-19 infections over the past week, bringing the total since the start of the pandemic past the 300,000 mark to 303,333 cases. DOH also reported 15 more deaths, bringing the state’s coronavirus-related death toll to 1,489. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

Oahu

Honolulu police investigating burglaries at 24 businesses. Honolulu police are investigating a series of 24 burglaries of businesses in four separate patrol districts since the end of April that detectives believe are being committed by the same crew of crooks, Chief Arthur “Joe” Logan told Honolulu police commissioners Wednesday afternoon. Star-Advertiser. KHON2.

Honolulu Police Program Aimed At Beefing Up Staffing Will Stay For Now. HPD’s new chief, Joe Logan, said he needs more time to assess the 3/12 program’s effectiveness amid a department staffing shortage. Civil Beat.

Community-driven shopping center breaks ground in Kapolei. Ho‘omaka Marketplace, a community-­driven shopping center where ground lease proceeds will benefit Native Hawaiians in the Kapolei Homestead Community, broke ground Wednesday morning. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

Live skunk captured at Honolulu Harbor. Stevedores saw the young, male skunk on the dock and used a fishing net to capture the animal. Agricultural inspectors from the DOA picked up the animal at around 7:30 a.m. Star-Advertiser. Big Island Now. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now.

Waikiki Aquarium bids aloha to its giant clam. The Waikiki Aquarium announced today that its beloved giant clam, or Tridacna gigas, died of suspected natural causes on Tuesday. The clam was believed to be the oldest of its species in captivity worldwide. It was more than 40 years old. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

She Took Her Fight For Her Grandson Public. A Hawaii Judge Said She Went Too Far. Big Island resident Deborah Goodwin says she had no choice but to speak to a reporter and file a lawsuit about her case because the confidential system had treated her unfairly. It backfired. Civil Beat.

NTSB: Helicopter crash that injured 6 caused by tail boom breaking off aircraft. A tour helicopter crash in Ka‘u that injured six people was caused by the tail boom of the aircraft separating from the fuselage at the point of attachment, according to a preliminary report released Wednesday by the National Transportation Safety Board. Tribune-Herald. Star-Advertiser. KITV4.

ADA compliance project underway at Richardson park. The Department of Parks and Recreation has closed a portion of Richardson Ocean Park to improve access to the beach and comply with standards set by the Americans with Disabilities Act. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

County to consider next steps for criticized Napili project. Two Maui County Council committees will consider the county’s next steps — including the possibility of eminent domain — for a large controversial home in Napili that has drawn scrutiny for several months over its approval process and status. Maui News.

Maui Humane Society holding open houses about fostering dogs, cats and critters. The Maui Humane Society is teaming up with national nonprofit Petco Love and Skechers to focus on the fun in fostering pets, which is lifesaving and especially critical during the busy summer months. Maui Now.

Kauai

Kaua‘i politicians keep funds tied to latest bribery case. Mayor Derek Kawakami and Senate President Ron Kouchi said they won't return campaign contributions from Honolulu businessman Dennis Mitsunaga, who was arrested last week on federal bribery charges. Garden Island.

Keiki and Junior Lifeguard program sold out. The week-long Keiki and Junior Lifeguard program demonstrates ocean awareness and lifesaving skills led by the instruction crew from the Ocean Safety Bureau. Garden Island.

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Tourism contract in dispute, sea level rise puts focus on coast, Pearl City teacher accused of sex assault, child porn, to remain behind bars, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau files protest over tourism contract award. The Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau filed a protest Tuesday alleging that the Hawaii Tourism Authority violated state procurement when awarding its largest piece of business, the U.S. brand management and global support services contract, to the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement. Star-Advertiser.

Sea Level Rise Intensifies Debate Over How Hawai‘i Uses Its Coastlines.
A UH report asks decision-makers: What are the most important values and uses for the remaining oceanfront as the sea continues to rise? Hawaii Business Magazine.

Lieutenant governor candidates forum is showdown over experience. The leading candidates to become Hawaii’s next lieutenant governor were divided at a forum Tuesday between longtime politicians who argued they have the right experience versus outsiders who said current approaches are not working for Hawaii families — and have not worked for years, if not for decades. Star-Advertiser.

A measure aimed at expanding telehealth access could end up doing the opposite, critics say. There is growing debate over a bill that could significantly impact Hawaii’s mental health services. It’s called House Bill 1980 and as currently written, it would cover telehealth appointments via digital platforms such as Zoom or Facetime. However, telephone-only appointments would only be covered under certain criteria. Hawaii News Now.

Why So Many Hawaii Nurses Want To Leave The Profession. A survey released last month found that 23% of the nurses who responded had considered quitting. Civil Beat.

Department of Hawaiian Homelands to recieve $22.3 million in federal funds. The $22.3 million is the highest amount the federal government has ever appropriated for Native Hawaiian housing and is $20.3 million more than last year. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

Council considering examining city hiring process to address high vacancy rate. The Honolulu City Council is considering auditing the Department of Human Resources to examine its selection and hiring process as the city faces filling about 3,000 vacant positions. There are about 11,600 total positions at the city. Star-Advertiser.

Economy And Housing Are Center Stage In Hot Oahu Senate Race.
Carol Fukunaga hopes to defeat upstart Ian Ross in his bid for the Democratic nomination for Senate District 11. Civil Beat.

Woman Dies After Apparent Suicide At Oahu Jail.
The death of Diamond Simeona-Agoo at the Oahu Community Correctional Center is the second apparent suicide in a Hawaii jail this month. Civil Beat.

Hawaii teacher accused of child sex assault, child porn crimes to remain behind bars.
The Pearl City High School substitute teacher accused of having sex with a 13-year-old boy during school lunch breaks will remain behind bars at least until late July. Federal prosecutors said Tuesday that 34-year-old Alden Bunag is a danger to the community and a flight risk. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Former Navy diver describes Red Hill contamination: ‘We were up against a huge problem’. As the military tries to figure how to safely drain the Red Hill fuel tanks, a retired Navy diver who saw the contamination up close is speaking out. He describes the divers being covered in fuel in a water well, and he worries about the long-term health impacts from that operation. Hawaii News Now.

Performance center to be renamed after longtime band teacher, leader. Try as you might, you will never get Michael Nakasone to agree that he deserves the honor of having the Pearl City Cultural Center auditorium building renamed for him. Star-Advertiser.

Humane society sees increase in animal surrenders as pet owners feel inflation’s squeeze. The Hawaiian Humane Society is seeing an unprecedented number of animal surrenders and soaring need for its pet food bank ― in a situation the nonprofit worries will only get worse as costs continue to rise. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island


Say bye to HI-5 at Kealakehe, Waimea, Hilo transfer stations. Hawaii Island residents will no longer be able to redeem their HI-5 bottles and cans at three of the most popular transfer stations, and the continuation of redemption service at a fourth is uncertain, as contractors grapple with inflation, fuel price increases and a worker shortage stemming from the coronavirus pandemic. West Hawaii Today.

County offering subsidized van rentals for commuters. Under the program, prospective riders can coordinate with each other to select a rental vehicle and a pickup and dropoff point for their daily commutes, distributing the costs among themselves. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News.

Judge denies county’s motion to dismiss Waipi‘o road lawsuit. Waipi‘o Valley Road remains closed to all but a handful of people, but on Tuesday, a judge ruled a civil case to reopen the road which was closed in February via an emergency declaration by Mayor Mitch Roth can proceed. Tribune-Herald. 

Anonymous Donor Gives $3M To UH Hilo And LGBTQ Students. The scholarships will support LGBTQ students and students who are the first in their family to attend college. Civil Beat.

Maui

Maui County Council Advances Resolutions On Monster House. One of the resolutions calls for a formal investigation into how the house in Napili was allowed to be built despite being in violation of numerous building codes. Civil Beat.

Hawaiʻi’s first case of rabbit disease found on Maui farm; quarantine ordered. The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Hawai`i Department of Agriculture confirmed rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus, type 2 (RHDV2) in a 4- to 5-year-old neutered male rabbit on a farm in Kula. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Kauai

Kilauea’s Hale Lea Medicine clinic may close. The Kaua‘i Community Health Alliance receives between 17,000 and 20,000 patient visits each year, providing a range of treatment to largely working-class people from the Ha‘ena to Kapa‘a. They soon may be unable to keep their doors open, their CEO says. Garden Island.

Community hosts appreciation lu‘au for Tropic Care. Tropic Care Kaua‘i 2022 is pau, until the next time. Garden Island.