Wednesday, September 22, 2021

South Korea president to attend Hawaii repatriation ceremony today, hospitals resume elective surgeries, Iolani Palace getting roof repairs, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2021 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Iolani Palace ©2021 All Hawaii News

South Korea president to visit Hawaii to honor service members in repatriation ceremony. South Korean President Moon Jae-In will be visiting the islands on Wednesday to honor America’s military. He will be part of a repatriation ceremony at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam as the United States accepts remains of service members killed during the Korean War. Hawaii News Now.

Patriot missiles fired from Hawaii for first time. With little fanfare, the U.S. Army earlier this month fired from Hawaii for the first time two Patriot missiles — the kind used by 15 nations for defense — knocking out two simulated cruise missile threats at a range of about 20 miles. Star-Advertiser.

Major Hawaii hospitals resume elective surgeries. Major Hawaii hospitals have begun resuming elective surgeries and procedures amid a decline in COVID-19 hospitalizations and a stabilization of the state’s oxygen supply, a sign that the state has avoided some of the worst-case health care scenarios that were feared as coronavirus cases began to soar in early July. Star-Advertiser.

Two powerful senior advocacy groups want age deleted from state’s triage plan. Two powerful senior advocacy groups are seeking to remedy the state’s health care rationing plan, which uses age as a tiebreaker to deny care under certain conditions. Star-Advertiser.

Experts eye more Hawaii travel testing to contain COVID. Hawaii officials are facing pressure to increase COVID-19 testing for travelers as the islands deal with a record surge of new infections, hospitalization and deaths. The calls come as federal guidelines change to require negative virus tests from both vaccinated and unvaccinated people coming to the U.S. Associated Press.

Hawaii government workers, contractors rushed to get vaccinated as mandates went into effect
. The number of state and county employees who got the COVID-19 vaccine jumped in recent weeks after mandates were announced and went into effect. Hawaii News Now.

Tensions continue during investigation of state auditor.
There were more tense moments during Tuesday’s House committee investigation of the state auditor and his office over unspecified concerns regarding audits of two agencies that oversee Hawaii land. Star-Advertiser.

Menor-McNamara May Run For Hawaii Lieutenant Governor. The president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii has filed organizational paperwork. Civil Beat.

Hawaii sees 280 new coronavirus cases, bringing statewide total to 76,191
. The new confirmed and probable infection count by island includes 197 new cases on Oahu, 21 on Maui, 39 on Hawaii Island, 16 on Kauai, one on Molokai and six Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

Honolulu police officer suspended for declining COVID-19 vaccine back on duty and inoculated.
HPD Cpl. Mark Kutsy, who came to Honolulu as a United States Marine and joined HPD two weeks after finishing his USMC commitment, evaluated the risks of serious illness or death resulting from the vaccine, which were low, versus ending his HPD career a year or so shy of when he planned to retire. Star-Advertiser.

Family Of Paralyzed Teen Sues Police, Alleging Injuries Resulted From High-Speed Chase. Dayten Gouveia was left paralyzed after police allegedly ran a car he was in off the road, causing a severe crash. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii DOT restores Dillingham Airfield term end date to 2024. Tenants at Dillingham Airfield can stay for a few more years — the State Department of Transportation restored its term end date with the U.S. Army to July 5, 2024. KHON2.

Two Louisiana men serving jail terms at OCCC after violating emergency orders. Two visitors have been charged for allegedly violating Hawaii’s travel rules after they failed to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test result and a location to quarantine upon their arrival in Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.

Leilehua High School to implement ‘zero-tolerance’ mask rule on campus. Principal Jason Nakamoto said in a letter to parents and guardians on Tuesday, Sept. 21, “This is now the eighth week of school and we continue to have students that do not understand the importance of proper mask wearing on campus.” KHON2.

City Council recommends purchase of Waikiki road amid safety hazards. The Honolulu City Council voted Tuesday to recommend the city buy a street in Waikiki where residents say the private owner is putting drivers and children in danger. Hawaii News Now.

ʻIolani Palace Will Receive Nearly $500K to Repair the Roof. The palace’s roof will replace approximately 9,000 square feet of slate roofing and remove rust damage. Roof accessories and skylights also will be repaired. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii Island

Lots of money, lots of need: Council gets an update on federal rescue funds. Hawaii County’s $39 million federal American Rescue stimulus package has increased to almost $60 million, all of which must be spent by the end of 2024, members of the County Council Finance Committee learned Tuesday. West Hawaii Today.

Official: ‘Political will’ needed to fix solid waste problems. Hawaii County should impose new fees for Big island residents to dispose of waste in the future, suggested a county official Tuesday. Tribune-Herald.

New Hotels Proposed To Replace Uncle Billy’s, Country Club Apartments. Big changes could be coming to the Banyan Drive area of Hilo, where the Country Club Apartments and the former Uncle Billy’s will be replaced by new hotel accommodations, if the Hawaiʻi land board approves two proposals at a Friday meeting. Big Island Video News.

Deadline nears for HVNP’s air tours plan. That’s 21 years after the Air Tour Management Act of 2000 went into effect and a year after a federal judge ruled in favor of a suit by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility and Hawaii Island Coalition Malama Pono, or HICoP, which petitioned the court to compel the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Park Service to enforce the law. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Day 2 of Major Clean-Up Underway at Kanahā Wildlife Sanctuary and Amala Place. Supported by a large team from contractor HTM, clean-up crews moved from the road into the Kanahā Pond State Wildlife Refuge, which state officials say “has been severely impacted by the large presence of people living on Amala Place.” Maui Now. KHON2. KITV4.

Maui Educators Picket for Improved Safety and Well-Being Amid Ongoing Pandemic
. Hawaiʻi State Teachers Association members who work on the island of Maui were joined by State Representative Troy Hashimoto for informational picketing at Maui Waena Intermediate School and Maui High School on Tuesday morning. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now.

Molokai Has An Electricity Problem. This Co-Op Wants To Change That. A new co-op plans to reclaim some of its electricity ownership by bidding on a community-based renewable energy project. Civil Beat.

Kauai

Kaua‘i 8.9% jobless rate tops state. According to the state Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism, the jobless rate for the state was 6.6% in August. On Kaua‘i, it was 8.9%. Garden Island.

World Peace Kannon decorated until Sunday in Hanapepe. As the morning swallowed up the remaining notes of the Kaua‘i Soto Zen Temple Zenshuji gongs on Peace Day, Mark Jeffers of The Storybook Theatre of Hawai‘i approached the World Peace Kannon statue Tuesday. Garden Island.

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Hotel occupancy drops, Blangiardi extends restrictions, grants may pay for Kauai cesspool conversion, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2021 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Hilton Hawaiian Village in Waikiki ©2021 All Hawaii News

Statewide hotel occupancy took double-digit dive in August.
Statewide occupancy in August was 73.4%, according to a report released Monday by the Hawaii Tourism Authority which was based on data from Tennessee- based STR. The results were 10.7 percentage points below August 2019 when the pre­pandemic occupancy was 84.1%. Star-Advertiser.

Lieutenant Governor Wants More Health Care Resources, Not Rationed Care. Hawaiʻi Lt. Gov. Josh Green is urging the federal government to help states avoid rationing medical care during the pandemic — a policy that has concerned many older adults and their families. Hawaii Public Radio.

Vaccine rates up for public safety workers and inmates. There were 296, or 18.7%, of the 1,579 corrections workers in Hawaii who declined the vaccine, according to the state Department of Public Safety, as did 38 of Hawaii’s 332 sheriffs. Star-Advertiser.

State auditor Les Kondo challenges investigation of office. State Auditor Les Kondo challenged members of a special House Investigative Committee on Monday to specify why he and his office are under investigation following two critical audits of land management practices by two state agencies — but received no response. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.

Local progressives urge Rep. Ed Case to support federal infrastructure plan. Local progressive groups are teaming up in an effort to push Congressman Ed Case, D-Hawaii, to support President Joe Biden’s $3.5 trillion “Build Back Better” plan, which aims to aggressively address issues such as climate change, child care and rebuilding infrastructure. Star-Advertiser. KITV4.

Antibody treatments lagging in Hawaii amid strong U.S. demand. The federal government has capped Hawaii’s weekly allocation at 680 treatments, half of what local health care providers had requested. Star-Advertiser.

COVID-19 surge tapers off: Hospitalizations, number of new cases in decline. Hawaii appears to be “out of the red zone” for COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii reports 431 new coronavirus cases, bringing statewide total to 75,911. The new confirmed and probable infection count by island includes 290 new cases on Oahu, 59 on Hawaii island, 38 on Maui, 32 on Kauai, and 12 Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

Mayor Blangiardi extends restrictions on large gatherings until Oct. 19, ends Honolulu’s COVID-19 tier system. Mayor Rick Blangiardi today extended the restrictions for large gatherings, which allow 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors, until Oct. 19. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii Public Radio. Hawaii News Now. KHON2. KITV4.

Honolulu’s Search For A New City Auditor May Finally Be Near An End. A search committee selected a candidate with experience in Washington, D.C., and Seattle. The City Council must approve the appointment. Civil Beat.

Training Records May Be Sticking Point In Fire Chief Deadlock. The Honolulu Fire Commission will meet again this week to take up the hiring impasse. Civil Beat.

Many Head Start Classes Go Back Online Amid Covid Surge. The decision came as the delta variant spread rapidly in communities served by the federally funded preschool program. Civil Beat.

A forecast for Honolulu’s peak number of daily coronavirus cases has been revised downward due to recent data and a combination of other factors, including new restrictions and fewer travelers. The Hawaii Pandemic Applied Modeling Work Group, upon request at a recent Honolulu City Council hearing, has estimated the potential impact of the Safe Access Oahu program could reduce cases by about 30% in the next 10 days. Star-Advertiser.

At-home COVID-19 testing kits available free to Oahu residents via federal program. The Hawaii Department of Health today announced that Oahu has been selected to participate in a federal pilot program providing 125,000 residents in eligible zip codes with free, at-home COVID-19 test kits. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Visits to USS Arizona Memorial resume after shoreside dock gets temporary fix. A temporary repair of the shoreside dock at the USS Arizona Memorial visitor center allowed walk-on visitation to the memorial today at noon for the first time in over two weeks as part of “operational testing” that included the general public, the National Park Service said. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island


Clog in online permitting system slows PV installations. A permit slowdown was expected with the transition to an online permit system in late July. But, while most builders and contractors questioned in an informal survey by West Hawaii Today said permits are starting to trickle through, PV and solar water contractors have yet to see a single permit dribble out. West Hawaii Today.

DOT: Work to reopen Hakalau park unlikely to begin until 2023. Hakalau Beach Park and the nearby Kolekole Beach Park closed in 2017 because of public health hazards caused by lead contamination in the soil. But while Kolekole Beach Park was reopened in 2020, Hakalau remains closed. Tribune-Herald.

Maui


Maui Hotels August 2021 Revenue Per Available Room Up 43% from 2019.
For August 2021, Maui County hotels’ RevPar and ADR were up compared to pre-pandemic August 2019, but occupancy was down 4.3%, according to the HTA Hawaiʻi Hotel Performance Report. Maui Now.

Maui police employee in Lahaina tests positive for COVID. The Maui Police Department confirmed an employee out of the Lahaina District tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday, Sept. 20.  KHON2.

A large Kahului homeless camp is cleaned out with hopes of getting campers into housing. One of Maui’s largest homeless encampment is being cleared out this week. The encampment is along Amala Place in Kahului on the way to Kanaha Beach Park – a beach that is popular for picnicking and kite surfing. Hawaii News Now.

Pandemic puts strain on farm sanctuary. In the heart of Haiku sits a safe haven where hundreds of animals have received refuge and where visitors have been able to engage and learn. But uncertainty grows as the COVID-19 pandemic challenges the Leilani Farm Sanctuary to keep the gates open as visitor numbers drop due to travel warnings and other restrictions. Maui News.

Kauai

Council moves forward with cesspool conversion program. Converting a cesspool to a septic tank can cost anywhere from $15,000 to $30,000. A new bill introduced by the Kaua‘i County Council seeks to absorb those costs for homeowners. Garden Island.

Kaua‘i falling behind in vaccination rates. Across the state, about 66% of Hawai‘i residents are fully vaccinated, with about 75% initiating vaccination. On Kaua‘i, only about 64% of residents are fully vaccinated and 69% have gotten one of two shots. Garden Island.

Monday, September 20, 2021

TSA, airlines given more time to comply with vaccine requirements, librarians harassed, state employee pension fund sees record return, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

State gives Transportation Security Administration and airlines exemptions to Hawaii’s COVID emergency orders. Gov. David Ige’s order requiring that contractors and visitors at state facilities and property provide proof of their vaccination or testing status prior to entry has already been in effect for a week, but thousands of workers at state airports still aren’t in compliance. Star-Advertiser.

Name calling, property damage: Public librarians harassed over vaccine mandate enforcement.
Public libraries are finding it a challenge trying to balance enforcing the new requirements and providing services to their guests. Hawaii News Now.

The Pandemic Taught Us Broadband Is Essential. But Where Is It? Gaps in broadband service in Hawaii are screamingly obvious to the people who have to cope with them, but proving where the problems lie is another matter. Civil Beat.

‘Technical issue’ causes widespread Spectrum cable outage for Hawaii customers. Spectrum said it is working to restore cable to hundreds of customers across Hawaii following an outage Saturday morning. Hawaii News Now.

Study found tourists willing to pay more for Hawaii culture, sustainability, locally grown food. Visitors to the state of Hawaii are willing to pay more for Native Hawaiian cultural experiences, sustainability and locally grown food, according to findings from a new study conducted by the University of Hawaii  at Manoa and West Oahu. KHON2.

Employees’ Retirement System rockets to record 26.2% 1-year return. Hawaii’s largest public pension fund, which has been playing catch-up to dig out of a $14.6 billion shortfall, has achieved what is believed to be the best fiscal- year performance in its 95-year history. Star-Advertiser.

Former teachers union head, Corey Rosenlee, running for state Senate. Corey Rosenlee, the outspoken and assertive former leader of the Hawaii teachers union, has announced his bid to run for the state Senate for the seat currently held by Mike Gabbard, chairman of the Senate Agriculture and Environment Committee and father of former U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii’s lieutenant governor Josh Green seeks U.S. surgeon general’s support
in addressing pandemic. Lt. Gov. Josh Green texted the U.S. surgeon general over the weekend to encourage him to provide Hawaii and other states with more support to avoid rationing health care. Star-Advertiser.

He co-founded an anti-vax mandate group.
Then he caught COVID, and his views changed. Officials hope Chris Wikoff’s about-face will help undermine some of the protests and rallies against the vaccine mandates and other COVID restrictions. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii records 12 new coronavirus-related deaths, 474 additional infections. Today’s new confirmed and probable infection count by island includes 297 new cases on Oahu, 36 on Maui, 77 on Hawaii island, 45 on Kauai, six on Molokai and 13 Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

How An Arbitrator’s Decision Can Cause Problems For Police Agencies Years Later. Officers’ prior misconduct is often used against them — and ultimately the taxpayers — in civil lawsuits that arise from unrelated incidents that happen many years later. Civil Beat.

Lottery scheduled for moderate-price rental housing in downtown Honolulu. The owner of Bishop Place has made applications available for an Oct. 19 lottery to select tenants for more than an initial two phases of apartments reserved for households that meet requirements including largely moderate income limits. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii’s Embattled Ag Agency Finally Moves Wahiawa Center Forward.
A new product development center is being heralded by supporters as evidence that the Agribusiness Development Corp. is making progress. Civil Beat.

The Miske Case: Former Kaneohe Biker Bar Operator Pleads Guilty. Prosecutors have now lined up at least nine people linked to alleged crime boss Mike Miske as cooperating witnesses. Civil Beat.

North Shore seasonal erosion becoming more severe. Scientists and experts have studied the trend for years. Powerful swells from the west or northwest hit the beach during winter. In the summer, small northeast trade wind swells push sand back west toward Waimea Bay. KHON2.

Hawaii Island

Questions of chemical discharges surround decommissioned scopes atop Mauna Kea. The first two observatories of as many as five of the existing 13 that dominate the landscape atop Mauna Kea are expected to be decommissioned by late 2023.  Star-Advertiser. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Now.

Kolekole Bridge disruption: Emergency weight limit impacts emergency responders, truckers, mass transit. State Sen. Lorraine Inouye on Friday said the state Department of Transportation is declaring the area of Hawaii Belt Road near Kolekole Bridge a “traffic emergency zone.” Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News.

Peeved in Puna: Residents frustrated by county’s decision regarding lava-damaged infrastructure.
Current and former Puna residents were dismayed to learn Hawaii County will not use federal funds to restore certain infrastructure destroyed by the 2018 Kilauea eruption. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Small isle eateries cite big losses due to new mandates. Resident-based restaurants looking for financial relief to avoid cutbacks, closure. Maui News.

Amala Place Gate to Kanahā Beach Park to be Locked, Sept. 19-24 for Area Clean-up. County officials say the temporary closure is needed to safeguard public safety during the area’s planned clean-up that will require heavy equipment to remove derelict vehicles and solid waste from the area.  Maui Now.

Sears at Queen Ka‘ahumanu on Maui Officially Closing November 14. After nearly a half century, Sears department store, one of the original tenants of Queen Ka’ahumanu Center, is closing its doors. Maui Now.  Maui News.

Kauai

‘Birds are dying’. The state Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Forestry and Wildlife will meet with property owners following ongoing reports of feral cats wiping out a wedge-tailed shearwater colony on Makahu‘ena Point in Po‘ipu. Garden Island.

Aid for the houseless community. Contrades-Pangan of Ho‘omana Thrift Store in Wailua collaborated with a host of community agencies and businesses to provide Na Wai Eha on Saturday afternoon at the thrift store near the northern bank of the Wailua River. Garden Island.



Friday, September 17, 2021

Hawaii to get fleet of MQ-9 Reaper drones, Honolulu Police officers investigated in hit-and-run, lifeguard shortage could close towers, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

(U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Dennis J. Henry Jr.)
MQ-9 Reaper drone (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Dennis J. Henry Jr.)

 In a first, Air Force flies 2 big MQ-9 Reaper drones from mainland to Hawaii as part of new maritime emphasis. The Air Force flew two big MQ-9 Reaper drones for the first time from the continental United States to Hawaii to demonstrate the unmanned aircraft’s “untapped potential in a maritime environment” and to participate in Exercise ACE Reaper at Marine Corps Base Hawaii — which will eventually have six of the aircraft based there. Star-Advertiser.

Vaccination mandate for Hawaii public school students not planned, officials say.
The head of the Hawaii Department of Education said Thursday there have been no discussions yet with state health officials about a possible vaccination mandate for public school students age 12 and up. Star-Advertiser.

Despite some kinks in the system, state’s SMART Health Card reaches over 100K uploads. The state Office of Enterprise Technology Services said while a majority were able to successfully upload their information, 25% of people were not able to. Hawaii News Now. KHON2. KITV4.

Hawaii jobless rate sinks to 17-month low of 7%. Hawaii’s unemployment rate dropped in August to a 17-month low of 7% — its seventh consecutive monthly decline — while job growth stalled due to a larger-than-typical summertime release of workers in the Department of Education. Star-Advertiser.

Workers In Hawaii Face New Job Losses — This Time Without A Safety Net. Hawaii still lags behind other states in how quickly the state processes initial unemployment payments. Civil Beat.

Report: Combining outbreak racial data could obscure disparities.
Breaking down the data showed that Pacific Islanders, who account for 5% of Hawaii’s population, represented 22% of COVID-19 cases and deaths, and had the highest incidence rate of 7,070 cases per 100,000, according to the report. Tribune-Herald.

2 COVID clusters at schools on Kauai, Maui led to roughly 70 infections. Hawaii State Health Department report highlights COVID clusters at 2 neighbor island schools. The report focuses on two clusters that took place at schools last month —one at an independent school on Kauai and the other at a public elementary school on Maui. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii COVID-19 hospitalization rates drops 25% since surge early September. The numbers are trending down but people in the healthcare industry say it's not time to relax. KITV4.

Hawaii records 8 new coronavirus-related deaths, 588 additional infections.
The new confirmed and probable infection count by island includes 388 new cases on Oahu, 53 on Maui, 96 on Hawaii island, 38 on Kauai, four on Molokai and nine Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

Criminal probe launched into 3 HPD officers suspected of causing, fleeing scene of near-fatal crash. Three Honolulu police officers are under criminal investigation ― suspected of causing and then fleeing the scene of a near-fatal crash early Sunday in West Oahu. Hawaii News Now.

Staffing shortage could force temporary closure of lifeguard towers on Oahu
. Honolulu Ocean Safety said it may have to temporarily shut down lifeguard towers due to a current staffing shortage. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Cruise ship to arrive at Honolulu Harbor on Sept. 18 to refuel. The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) announced the Celebrity Eclipse cruise ship will arrive at Honolulu Harbor to refuel and get provisions on Saturday, Sept. 18. According to officials, the cruise ship will depart on Monday, Sept. 20. KHON2.

Honolulu Rental and Utility Relief Program reopens for new applications. The city program, which helps households struggling to pay their rent, utility, or both due to COVID-19, was put on a temporary pause Aug. 24 to process thousands of applications. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Micro-housing for kupuna ready to rise. A new high-rise in Downtown Honolulu is set for construction that turns a small parking lot into a tower filled with micro- sized rental apartments for seniors with low incomes. Star-Advertiser.

One Miske Defendant Gets Out On Bail, Another Ordered To Remain Behind Bars.
New developments this week in the complex criminal case against what’s alleged to be a large criminal enterprise operating in Honolulu. Civil Beat.

7 Halawa inmates transported to ER due to illness; COVID-19 not suspected
. The Department of Public Safety said seven Halawa Correctional Facility inmates were hospitalized this morning because they appeared to be suffering from an unknown medical condition. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

Board of Education approves renaming Central Middle School in honor of Hawaiian princess.
The Central Middle School community is celebrating the state Board of Education’s approval today of a request to rename the historic downtown campus after Princess Ruth Ke‘elikolani,  the Hawaiian alii who once owned the property. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Trial set for ex-cop accused of stealing cocaine from evidence locker. Brian Miller, a retired Hilo vice detective,  is scheduled to face trial for allegedly stealing cocaine from an evidence locker in the Hilo Police Station and intimidating a witness. Tribune-Herald.

Unpermitted gym gets more time to prove it's safe.
A gym that’s been operating without permits in an agricultural shed for almost two years got a reprieve Thursday on an after-the-fact permit after the Leeward Planning Commission asked for inspections. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Public Encouraged to Participate in South Maui Virtual Community Design Workshop. The Maui County Planning Department will be gathering input virtually on areas that the community thinks should change and those that should stay the same in South Maui. The community input will guide the land use plan, policies and actions in the draft South Maui Community Plan update. Maui Now.

Applicants sought for Maui County Boards and Commissions.
The County of Maui is seeking applicants to fill multiple vacancies on county boards, commissions, councils and committees. Maui Now.

Kauai

KIUC fields questions on Westside project. The Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative and AES Corp., the entities behind the project, are encouraging questions regarding the renewable-energy and irrigation system slated for the Mana Plain. Garden Island.

Humane society at capacity again, hosting free adoptions. Less than three weeks after evacuating nearly 200 animals to Seattle, the Kaua‘i Humane Society is at capacity again. Garden Island.

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Those over 65 could get less health care in COVID triage plans, Kauai council passes 3% local hotel tax, Ventura tapped as Maui fire chief, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2021 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Elders stay active in Hawaii ©2021 All Hawaii News

Hawaii’s Pandemic Crisis Care Plan Raises Legal And Ethical Concerns. Hawaii stood by its decision to use age as a tiebreaker if needed in treatment decisions, according to the latest version of its plan for allocating resources if the pandemic overwhelms the state’s health care system, despite criticism that the plan may discriminate against older patients. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii Public Radio.

Audit Finds That Young Brothers Failed To Offset Rising Labor Costs. The report calls for no more shipping rate increases until at least 2023 and for a third party observer to help oversee one of Hawaii’s oldest companies. Civil Beat.

Gov. Ige’s request to halt nonessential travel impacts Hawaii hotel bookings, prices. The rebound of tourism over the summer months came to a screeching halt. People in the hotel industry said travel typically slows down during the fall, but rising COVID cases and the governor’s message to tourists to not come magnified the slow season. KHON2.

COVID-19 screening ramps up in Hawaii’s public schools. After a slow start, state officials are ramping up COVID-19 testing throughout Hawaii’s public schools, part of an overall strategy to help contain the spread of the coronavirus at school facilities where close to 3,000 cases have been reported since the start of the school year. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii records 11 new coronavirus-related deaths, 493 additional infections. The new confirmed and probable infection count by island includes 314 new cases on Oahu, 62 on Maui, 89 on Hawaii island, 19 on Kauai, three on Molokai and six Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

Despite complaints and lawsuits, high-ranking ‘bully’ commander at HPD keeps getting promoted. A battle is brewing within the Honolulu Police Department as members of the rank-and-file push back against one of their leaders, Assistant Chief Stephen Gerona, accusing him of retaliation, sexual harassment and creating a hostile work environment. Hawaii News Now.

COVID-19 sidelines 22 Honolulu Police Department officers.
Twenty-two Honolulu police officers were isolated or quarantined Wednesday after testing positive or being exposed to the COVID-19 virus, but the absences are not hindering department operations, interim Chief Rade K. Vanic told Honolulu police commissioners. Star-Advertiser.

No violations found of Honolulu’s new vaccination, COVID-19 testing rules. Honolulu police have found no violations while spot checking Oahu restaurants — particularly in Chinatown and Kakaako — for compliance with new COVID-19 vaccination and testing rules for employees and customers that went into effect on Monday. Star-Advertiser.

DOH issues Honolulu restaurant second red ‘closed’ placard; Failed to pay $3k fine. Doner Shack, a local restaurant in Honolulu, received its second red “closed ” placard and a cease-and-desist order from the Hawaii Department of Health Food Safety Branch. KHON2. KITV4.

Hawaii Island

Still no whistle-blower hot-line: Four years later, audit recommendation yet to be implemented. The Human Resources Department has been scrutinizing interview packets before county departments vet candidates for employment, one of several practices instituted after a scathing 2017 audit found favoritism in county hiring. West Hawaii Today.

Decisions Made On Puna Roads, Water Service Following 2018 Kīlauea Eruption. The County of Hawai‘i provided an update on Wednesday regarding restoration of infrastructure in Puna following the 2018 Kīlauea eruption. Big Island Video News.

Hele-On Announces More Routes, Later Service For Hawaiʻi Island. The Hele-On bus is adding more routes on Hawaiʻi island, and offering later service, according to officials. Big Island Video News.

COVID cases trend downward, but HMC still over capacity. Altogether, there are 49 patients, or 35% of the hospital’s total patient count, affected by the virus, 11 of whom are on ventilators, the hospital said. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Now.

Maui

Brad Ventura chosen as Maui Fire Department’s new chief. Brad Ventura, 19-year veteran of the Maui Fire Department, will become the department’s new chief starting Oct. 1.  Star-Advertiser. Maui Now. KHON2. KITV4.

Maui Commission Debates Whether To Hire Next Police Chief In Private.
The commission’s attorney argued Wednesday that discussions should take place in public. Civil Beat.

Conservation groups notify Maui resort of intent to sue for lights that harm endangered seabirds. Conservation groups today filed a notice of intent to sue the Grand Wailea Resort on Maui for violations of the Endangered Species Act if it does not fix lights that it says are harming and killing endangered seabirds. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

Proof of COVID-19 vaccination required to enter Maui County restaurants, bars, gyms under new rules. Maui County’s new set of Safer Outside emergency rules in response to the COVID-19 surge went into effect at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii Public Radio. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now. KHON2. KITV4.

Kauai

Council passes county’s own 3% TAT. A 3% transient accommodation tax levied by the county will soon be applied throughout the tourism industry. Garden Island.

Island enters shearwater fallout season. Seabird fallout season, when fledglings risk potentially-fatal disorientation caused by artificial lights, began Sept. 15, and will run through Dec. 15. Garden Island.



Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Lawmakers grill state over low-cost leases of public land, Honolulu mayor approves removal of Stairway to Heaven, Ige holds firm on no fans in stands, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii Statewide GIS Program. 2017
Government owned land in Hawaii, Statewide GIS Program. 2017

Lawmakers grill state Land Board over below-market rents for state properties. The director of the state Land Board was asked tough questions Tuesday about whether the department is wasting money by charging below-market rents. Hawaii News Now.

Department of Land and Natural Resources officials say audit veered from original scope. Officials with the state Department of Land and Natural Resources were prepared to talk about contracts related to leased state lands but soon realized that state Auditor Les Kondo intended to go beyond what they thought the Legislature wanted from Kondo’s 2019 audit, DLNR officials Tuesday told a special House Investigative Committee that’s investigating Kondo and his office. Star-Advertiser.

State Ethics Commission Looking For New Executive Director. The state Ethics Commission is looking for a new executive director after Dan Gluck, the current head of the agency, announced his resignation. Gluck was appointed director of the Ethics Commission in 2016 after the Legislature selected the previous director, Les Kondo, to be the state auditor. Civil Beat.

Native Hawaiian education programs are awarded $28 million in federal funds. The grant money, part of the American Rescue Plan and the Native Hawaiian Education Program, will support 35 programs that offer Hawaiian-language services, professional development. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.

Whistleblower Lawsuit Claims Hawaiian Airlines Covered Up Sexual Assaults, Security Failures.
A Hawaiian Airlines spokesman called the allegations “stunningly inaccurate.” Civil Beat.

Hawaii sees 423 new coronavirus cases as hospitalizations drop to 357. The new confirmed and probable infection count by island includes 338 new cases on Oahu, 23 on Maui, 41 on Hawaii island, 14 on Kauai, five on Molokai and two Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

Honolulu Mayor Gives The Go-Ahead To Remove ‘Stairway To Heaven’. The City Council included $1 million for the project in its budget this year, but Mayor Rick Blangiardi had to agree to release the funds. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now. KHON2. KITV4.

Gov. David Ige stands firm on no-spectators policy for University of Hawaii sports.
Gov. David Ige said today there is no change in the no-spectators policy for University of Hawaii sports, including for Saturday’s home football game at the on-campus Clarence T.C. Ching Complex. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Teachers rally for more COVID safety measures at Leeward Oahu schools. Members of the teacher’s union, concerned parents, and community members picketed Tuesday afternoon outside the Kapolei State Office building. KHON2. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Hawaii Island

Rides for vaccinations: County, Uber partner to provide transportation for shot-seekers. Hawaii County’s Mass Transit Agency is partnering with Uber to provide access to rides to and from COVID-19 vaccination appointments in as part of the county’s Hele-On Get Your Shot! campaign. West Hawaii Today. Big Island Now.

State senator: Plan to designate Maunakea occupiers as ‘homeless individuals’ is unacceptable. Two Oahu legislators have asked the state Department of Hawaiian Homelands to halt any plans to forcefully remove protesters who remain on Maunakea. Tribune-Herald. KITV4.

Ethics Board retracts Van Pernis vote. Now that Mark Van Pernis is no longer a commissioner on the Leeward Planning Commission, the Board of Ethics on Monday retracted a prior finding that he violated the ethics code. West Hawaii Today.

Charter school project back before land panel.
The Windward Planning Commission is set to decide whether to grant a special permit for Connections New Century Public Charter School to build a new campus on about 70 acres of state land in Hilo. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Maui Charter Commission to Consider Proposing Ranked-Choice Voting. The Charter Commission is evaluating substantial changes to our county’s Charter, and at its last meeting voted to propose a Charter amendment to create three voter districts within the County. Maui Now.
 
Amazon Founder Donates Stock Valued at More Than $500,000 to Feed My Sheep. Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos has donated stock valued at over $500,000 to Feed My Sheep, a mobile food pantry serving Maui island-wide. Maui Now.

Businesses wrestle with vaccine mandate. Maui businesses are wrestling with the new upcoming county vaccine mandate as establishments say it will put a burden on them to turn the unvaccinated away. Maui News.

Sub-Actions Underway to Fulfill Molokaʻi Destination Management Action Plan. Fourteen “sub-actions” are underway to fulfill the Moloka‘i Destination Management Action Plan approved in December 2020 that aims to rebuild, redefine and reset the direction of tourism over a three-year period, according to an update by the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority. Maui Now.

Kauai

Controversial Kauai Glamping Resort Hits Stumbling Block. A bill that would foil the planned luxury campground on a Princeville golf course got the green light from county planning commissioners. Civil Beat. Garden Island.

Kapa‘a school bus routes affected by driver shortage.
Kapa‘a Middle and Kapa‘a High School parents were notified that beginning on Tuesday, three bus routes would be suspended, affecting 155 students. The two drivers on these routes have chosen not to drive due to a new state mandate that requires government contractors to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or test weekly. Garden Island.


Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Vaccination passport requirements kick in, state auditor grilled under subpoena, BYU defies gathering laws, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Auditor Les Kondo

State auditor Les Kondo and office are subjects of House investigation. For the first time in his five-year tenure, state Auditor Les Kondo was subpoenaed to appear before a special state House Investigative Committee on Monday and testified under oath about separate audits that found two state entities bungled economic opportunities to better manage state lands. Star-Advertiser.

Former Hawaii Legislator Joins Board of Education on Interim Basis.
Lyla Berg, who owns a leadership consulting company, will serve at least through June. Civil Beat.

No shutdown planned for Hawaii, Gov. David Ige says. Gov. David Ige said Monday that there won’t be another full-scale shutdown in Hawaii, despite the ongoing surge in COVID-19 cases throughout the islands that have strained the resources of hospitals and prompted the governor earlier this month to sign an executive order shielding health care facilities from liability if they have to ration critical care. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Big Island Now.

Monday marks day one of the new vaccination mandate for all state contractors and visitors at many state facilities. Under the new rules, private employees working on state property need to be vaccinated or provided weekly negative COVID tests. Hawaii News Now.

State Appears Lax In Reviewing The Cases Of People Sitting In Jail Awaiting Trial. But prison officials say they already comply with a 2019 law that requires reviews of all pretrial detainees every three months. Civil Beat.

Hawaii sees 461 new coronavirus cases, bringing statewide total to 72,352. The new confirmed and probable infection count by island includes 311 new cases on Oahu, 32 on Maui, 82 on Hawaii island, 27 on Kauai, two on Molokai and seven Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

Mayor Rick Blangiardi’s homelessness strategy for Honolulu falls flat. The foundation of Mayor Rick Blangiardi’s homelessness strategy was built on two promises: He assured the public that he would end sweeps of encampments and replace police with social workers to address nonviolent 911 calls. Now nine months into his term, neither promise has been fully realized. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu over halfway to reaching housing goal.
The city is a little over halfway to its goal of establishing 300 households by the end of the year through the Oahu Housing Now program. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu restaurants adapt to new COVID-19 rules.
Restaurants are adjusting to new dine-in requirements for patrons who must now present proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test to be seated. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Fitness members take new COVID-19 rules in stride. Monday was the first day of the Safe Access O‘ahu program where all patrons must show proof of a full COVID-19 vaccination or negative test result to enter bars, restaurants, gyms, movie theaters and recreational settings such as bowling alleys, arcades and archery ranges. Star-Advertiser. KITV4.

Anonymous tip leads police to illegal ‘block party’ on BYU campus. An anonymous tip led Honolulu police to a party with hundreds of people in Laie over the weekend. It happened Friday night on the campus of BYU Hawaii, violating the city’s gathering restrictions. And it appears school officials gave the event the go-ahead. Hawaii News Now.

OCCC is fighting outbreak of more than 100 infections. More than 100 inmates and an employee at the Oahu Community Correctional Center have tested positive for COVID-19, a cluster of infections that the state Department of Public Safety is working quickly to contain before it spreads into the community. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

Tours to USS Arizona Memorial on hold as repairs to shoreside dock continue
. Boat rides to the memorial are still suspended. Operations were stopped at the beginning of the month when crews noticed a safety issue with one of the shoreside docks at the visitor center. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

State ponders Roth’s request to publicize list of those in quarantine
; Ige says ‘it’s a balancing act’. The state is evaluating a proposal from Mayor Mitch Roth to publicly identify individuals who opt to quarantine after arriving on the island, Gov. David Ige said. Tribune-Herald.

Ethics board clears council members.
The Board of Ethics unanimously cleared five County Council members of wrongdoing Monday following two complaints on unrelated issues. West Hawaii Today.

A family with ties to the Big Island hopes to support sustainable agriculture with a new dairy operation in Ookala. Chad and Stephanie Buck of Oahu recently purchased the assets of the former Big Island Dairy, which had been owned by Steve and Derek Whitesides since 2011 and was located on land leased from the state. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Maui Visitor Industry Prepares for Proof of Vaccination Requirements
. On Wednesday, Maui launches the similar "Safer Outside" program, though there will not be a COVID-19 testing option for patrons as there is on Oʻahu. Hawaii Public Radio.

Kauai

County’s Solid Waste Division audited, morale in question. Ineffective leadership and unfair practices were noted as two causes of low morale in the county’s Department of Public Work’s Solid Waste Division, a new audit confirmed. Garden Island.

DMV to close early on Sept. 16. The Motor Vehicle Registration division of the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will be closing at 3 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 16, to accommodate a staff training. Garden Island.