Friday, June 11, 2021

Ige to select appellate court nominee, graduation party, church services raise COVID-19 cases, lumber at a premium, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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House construction in Hawaii ©2021 All Hawaii News

A slowdown in production compounded by high demand continues to raise building material prices through the roof in Hawaii. The Hawaii Lumber Products Association says prices are up 400% when compared to the same time in 2020. KHON2.

Ige To Select Nominee For Intermediate Court of Appeals. A prominent Maui attorney and the head of the Hawaii State Ethics Commission are among the names of six nominees looking to fill a vacancy on the state’s Intermediate Court of Appeals. Civil Beat. Maui Now.

Governor defends push to reach 70% vaccination rate before ending restrictions. Gov. David Ige on Thursday defended his plan to end all COVID restrictions when Hawaii reaches a vaccination rate of 70%, saying the goal is doable. In fact, he thinks Hawaii can reach the benchmark by the end of summer ― optimism shared by a number of Hawaii experts. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Health Department is awarded $24.5 million in CDC funding to tackle COVID-19 health disparities. State health officials say a $24.5 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will help boost efforts to address COVID-19 health disparities among underserved communities. Star-Advertiser. Maui Now.

‘Better Than Nothing’: Doctors Urge High-Risk Patients To Get Vaccines. Patients with weakened immune systems should still avoid large crowds and take pandemic precautions even as official restrictions on masks and social distancing are eased. Civil Beat.

Coronavirus cluster report shows spread at Oahu graduation party, places of worship. COVID-19 cases are spreading during social gatherings. KHON2. KITV4.

Hawaii sees 62 new coronavirus cases, bringing statewide total to 36,793. Today’s new confirmed and probable infection count by island includes 32 new cases on Oahu, 17 on Maui, 10 on Hawaii Island, two on Kauai, and one Hawaii resident diagnosed outside the state. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

Police union hails decision by Oahu grand jury on fatal shooting. Leaders of the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers came to the defense of their members on Thursday following a grand jury’s rejection of charges against three officers who shot and killed a 16-year-old in April. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Department of Health issues $828K fine for unlicensed care home. The state Department of Health has fined Island Promise Homes LLC $828,000 for allegedly operating an adult residential care home without a license, part of a larger effort in recent years to reign in an industry that has skirted health and safety regulations. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii Public Radio.

UH Will Test Sewage At 11 Dorms This Fall To Help Prevent COVID-19 Outbreaks. Next semester the University of Hawaii Manoa will test sewage from 11 dorms to monitor the prevalence of COVID-19 on campus and track mutations of the virus. Civil Beat.

Oahu flood control projects get approval -- including one in the works for decades. The Wailele Stream project is slated to include improvements to the existing stream bed, along with construction of a new drainage feature and an overflow channel. The council approved $7.8 million as the city’s share of the project as a last-minute amendment to the city budget. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii real estate developer Peter Savio to offer condo-style ownership of solar farm. Entrepreneur Peter Savio announced today that he will build a solar farm on Oahu and sell off units of solar in a revolutionary manner – the same way he sells condominium units. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

This church is housing the homeless
― and cultivating hope ― on a Waianae farm. Headed up by Hawaii Cedar Church, it started as place folks could pitch a tent in exchange for working on the farm. But through donations the church’s vision evolved. Residents now sleep in 8-by-10-foot sheds. Hawaii News Now. Star-Advertiser.

City and County of Honolulu still accepting applications for rental and utility relief program. The city began accepting up to 10,000 applications Monday evening, and as of Thursday there were still 4,000 applications available. Star-Advertiser. KITV4.

Hawaii Island

Taxi companies lose certificates: Pandemic thins taxi ranks even as demand grows.
Taxi companies were already reeling from increased competition from ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft when they were dealt the next blow: an almost total shutdown of the economy by the coronavirus. West Hawaii Today.

President of Southwest talks expansion during Hilo stop
. As the carrier expands service to and from Hawaii, company leaders spent the week in the islands and visited Hilo on Thursday. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

$200 Surcharge Added to $35 Citation to Deter Illegal Parking on Hāna Highway. Citing safety concerns and illegal parking along scenic and popular stops along the Hāna Highway, the Hawaiʻi Department of Transportation today began installing “no parking” signs reflecting a $200 surcharge in addition to a $35 parking violation at several spots along the winging road into East Maui. Maui Now. KITV4.

A small Maui town flooded with tourists looks to state, county officials for traffic control. With thousands of people visiting the historic town of Paia and drive the famous road to Hana, it can get bumper to bumper all along Hana Highway. Residents say they are long overdue for a bypass road. Hawaii News Now.

Online tool aims to inform west Maui of threatening waves. University of Hawaii researchers have developed an online tool that will inform the public when waves are expected to threaten west Maui shorelines, an area particularly prone to coastal erosion as sea levels rise. Associated Press.

Kauai

County receives $500K in federal HUD money.
U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz announced the release of $503,868 to Kaua‘i for houseless initiatives. The money, part of over $14.2 million in federal funds given to the state, came from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development under the American Rescue Plan. Garden Island.

Population of rose-ringed parakeets decreasing. Researchers have documented a decrease in one of the most invasive avian species worldwide on Kaua‘i. Garden Island.

Koloa Rum partners with the Las Vegas Raiders. Named the “Official Ultra-Premium Rum of the Las Vegas Raiders,” Koloa Rum will bring their award-winning rums to the global event’s destination, augmenting the stadium spectator experience. Garden Island.

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Grand jury declines to indict police in 16-year-old's shooting death, teachers ratify contract, hot housing market squeezing out renters, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Hawaii mai tai on the rocks ©2021 All Hawaii News

Survey says Hawaii residents among the least likely to switch to alcohol-free drinks. 3,000 drinkers were surveyed across the country and it revealed that just 58% of people in Hawai'i would be willing to switch to a non-alcoholic drink -- for at least a month. KITV4.

Gov. David Ige continues to restrict the release of public records, citing the ongoing pandemic. The state’s public records law continues to be partially suspended under Gov. David Ige’s latest emergency proclamation related to the coronavirus pandemic, allowing government agencies to delay the release of records if they are busy responding to the pandemic. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii State Teachers Association says tentative 2-year contract for teachers ratified. The two-year tentative agreement freezes teachers’ pay through June 2023. The state previously proposed cuts in pay by as much as 20% to help balance the budget in the midst of the pandemic. The contract also increases state contributions to employee health premiums. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Hawaii’s Hot Housing Market Is Squeezing Out Renters. The number of renters who are looking for a new place to live could rise when the eviction moratorium is lifted in August. Civil Beat.

'Regenerative Tourism' Movement Wants Benefits to Outweigh Costs. Even before the pandemic, movements were underway to shift Hawaiʻi’s visitor industry toward a model that gives back more than it takes. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii Hopes New Commission Will Improve Civic Engagement And Respect For Democracy. In a bid to encourage democratic engagement by citizens young and old, Hawaii has joined a growing list of states, including California and Illinois, in establishing initiatives aimed at providing education and resources about basic government processes and ways to influence them. Civil Beat.

State officials tout incentives, hope more residents will get vaccinated. State leaders are hopeful that recently announced incentives and benchmarks will entice more people to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, but it’s too soon to tell what effect those efforts will actually have on inoculation numbers. Tribune-Herald.

Kaiser opens ‘ImmUNITY’ sweepstakes for those vaccinated against COVID-19. Kaiser Permanente is launching a sweepstakes campaign as part of a national effort to vaccinate 70% of adults in the United States against COVID-19 with at least one shot by the Fourth of July. Star-Advertiser. KHON2.

Hawaii reports 46 new coronavirus cases. There are 17 coronavirus cases on Oahu, five on the Big Island, 17 on Maui and seven diagnosed out of state. KHON2.

Oahu

Grand jury declines to charge officers in 16-year-old Iremamber Sykap shooting. In a decision that stunned family members and prompted calls for disclosure, an Oahu grand jury declined to indict three Honolulu police officers in connection with the April 5 shooting death of an unarmed 16-year-old who was the driver of a stolen vehicle that police fired into from behind as it sat idle on Kala­kaua Avenue. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.  KITV4.

ACLU Files Lawsuit Accusing HPD Officer Of Helping His Friend. The ACLU has been pushing for a policy prohibiting conflicts of interest in policing. HPD’s new acting chief says the department is working on it. Civil Beat.

Woman says police covered up assault.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the city, Honolulu police and the private business partner of an officer on behalf of a woman who alleges they covered up her assault by refusing to allow her to file a police report and falsely accusing her of stealing a mobile phone. Star-Advertiser.

Upfront split of new Aloha Stadium cost could have downside for taxpayers. The pending plan would shift much of the $400 million price tag to developers up front but could cost taxpayers more in the long run. KHON2.

In court, ‘Miske Enterprise’ defendant says he was offered $50,000 to help commit murder. Norman Akau III is the latest defendant to enter into a plea agreement with federal prosecutors in the case against Honolulu businessman and suspected crime boss Michael Miske, who remains behind bars as he awaits trial on a long list of charges, including murder. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Ethics Board weighs in on Van Pernis complaints.
Leeward Planning Commissioner Mark Van Pernis was in the hot seat again Wednesday, this time before the county Board of Ethics. The board found Van Pernis didn’t violate the code of ethics in one petition, and it postponed action on a second petition in order to review videos of planning commission meetings where Van Pernis was accused of acting inappropriately. West Hawaii Today.

HFD likely to finish out fiscal year slightly under budget. As of May 31, the department had expended just 84.12% of its $51.92 million annual budget, leaving a little bit of leeway for the final month of fiscal year 2020-21, which ends June 30. With the surplus, the department paid years of past-due bills discovered after a new accountant was brought on, Todd told the Hawaii County Fire Commission Wednesday. West Hawaii Today.

Legislative talk story: Lowen, Kanuha talk with constituents about 2021 session. Sen. Dru Kanuha (D-Kona, Ka’u) joined Rep. Nicole Lowen (D-North Kona) on Zoom alongside constituents for the hour-long meeting. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Maui Residents Invited to Give Input on Future Transportation Projects.  The Maui Metropolitan Planning Organization is seeking public input on improving transportation on the Valley Isle. Hawaii Public Radio.

6-Story Building Proposed for Construction on Grounds of Old Wailuku Post Office Site. The construction is proposed by the State of Hawai‘i, Hawai‘i Housing Finance and Development Corporation for use as office space for various state agencies. Maui Now.

Traffic concerns stall Costco gas station expansion plans. After coming close to denying a permit that would allow Costco to expand its fueling station in Kahului, the Maui Planning Commission deferred a decision on Tuesday, citing concerns over traffic around the already crowded gas station. Maui News.

Kauai

HTA funds $100K for forth-coming Kaua‘i shuttle service. With 40% of car rental inventory down and a surge in visitor arrivals, finding ways to get around the island for visitors has become a more pressing issue than it was in the past. Garden Island.

Kaua‘i Humane Society gets $80,000. After receiving an anonymous donation of $40,000, the Kaua‘i Humane Society’s board matched the amount and used those funds by recently signing an agreement with Spectrum to upgrade their internet and phone lines. Garden Island.

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Recreational fishing licenses among bills signed to protect Hawaii's ocean, $9 for a loaf of bread highlights food supply chain upheaval, lawsuit filed over jail COVID conditions, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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A wrasse swims over coral off Hawaii Island ©2021 All Hawaii News

Gov. David Ige signs 9 bills to commemorate World Oceans Day. To commemorate World Oceans Day on Tuesday, Gov. David Ige signed into law nine bills meant to preserve Hawaii’s marine resources which included those establishing fees targeted at visitors, recreational fishing licenses and additional protections for sharks. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii Public Radio. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News. Big Island Now. Garden Island.

$9 For A Loaf Of Bread? Here’s Why It’s So Expensive To Eat At Home These Days. Bottlenecks throughout supply chains combined with rising demand are pushing up the cost of groceries. Civil Beat.

As business booms with hungry tourists, restaurants struggle to keep up. Approximately 37,000 people flew into and around the state on Monday, according to the Safe Travels program. Hawaii News Now.

Lawsuit alleges poor conditions at Hawaii correctional facilities contributed to COVID outbreaks. A new lawsuit against the state also says the Public Safety Department violated its own COVID policies repeatedly, including by having up to 60 inmates in a single room and mixing sick inmates with healthy ones. Hawaii News Now.

Restrictions could remain until October if pace of vaccinations doesn’t increase. There’s no sign yet that large numbers of unvaccinated residents have been rushing to pharmacies, clinics and other sites to get COVID-19 shots since the state on Friday unveiled its “Hawaii Got Vaccinated” campaign, replete with prizes and discounts at local businesses. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii reports 36 new COVID cases; no new fatalities. Of the new cases, 15 were on Oahu, 13 on Maui, two on Hawaii Island, and one on Kauai. There were also five residents diagnosed out-of-state. Hawaii News Now.

Oahu

Bomb threats lock down Pearl Harbor-Hickam for 4 hours. Two phoned-in bomb threats claiming an explosive device was on the destroyer USS William P. Lawrence in the shipyard’s Dry Dock 4 led to a lengthy Joint Base Pearl Harbor-­Hickam lockdown Tuesday, bottling up thousands who were told to shelter in place and avoid windows in the event of flying glass, officials said. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Family Of Man Killed By HPD Wants Officer To Face Criminal Charges. The decision will be up to Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney Steve Alm, but his office has yet to review the case even though it happened in 2019. Civil Beat.

Environmental Protection Agency fines 2 Hawaii companies over jet fuel release. The Environmental Protection Agency has fined two companies $150,000 for the release of 42,000 gallons of jet fuel in late 2014 at a bulk fuel storage facility on Sand Island. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now. Star-Advertiser.

Kapalama Canal project OK’d in final impact review. A proposed $80 million city project that plans to turn a canal in Kapalama into a mile-long recreational area has completed its final environmental impact statement. Star-Advertiser.

Senior housing tower ready to rise in Chinatown. More than 150 senior households with low incomes should be calling Chinatown home two years from now at a soon-to-rise rental apartment tower on city land. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Aquarium industry submits revised EIS: Fishing permits, allowable species to be reduced. A revised environmental impact statement from a commercial aquarium collectors’ group states it will rely on fish population trend data and projected population trends to implement catch quotas along the West Hawaii coast. West Hawaii Today.

Department of Liquor Control to lease office space in Kona. Just a decade after opening, the West Hawaii Civic Center has reached its brim and a Hawaii County department is again leasing office space in Kailua Village. West Hawaii Today.

New eco-hotel in Hilo launches program to clean beaches. The Soul Community Planet Hotel in Hilo — formerly the Hilo Seaside Hotel — opened on June 1 and immediately launched the Pristine Makai program, which partners with the Hawaii Wildlife Fund to clear marine debris from the south shores of the island. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Now.

Maui

Economist questions hotel moratorium. A Hawaii economist on Monday questioned the timing and the reasoning behind a Maui County Council bill that would temporarily halt building permits for visitor accommodations in the tourism hotbeds of West and South Maui. Maui News.

Maui Home Prices Soar Over Historic $1 Million Mark in May, Up 30% from Year Ago. In May 2021, with inventory low and buyer demand high, the median sales price for single family homes in Maui County increased to an historic high of $1,039,000 — a 30% increase from one year ago, according to data from the Realtors Association of Maui. Maui Now.

A little like the old days. The Upcountry Farmers Market
draws a crowd reminiscent of pre-pandemic days on the morning of May 29 at the Kulamalu Town Center in Pukalani, shortly after Gov. David Ige lifted outdoor mask mandates statewide. Maui News.

Maui Bus Will Combine Certain Monthly Passes Into Single $25 Pass. Riders ages 55 and older, people with certified disability fixed-route cards, Medicare cardholders, and students ages 24 and younger will be eligible. Hawaii Public Radio. Maui Now.

Kauai

Hawaii Tourism Authority gives $100K to Kauai shuttle, offers other help after rental car shortage. HTA said today that it is supporting Kauai County’s development of a pilot shuttle program between Lihue Airport and resort areas, which is anticipated to start next month. Star-Advertiser.

Scientists Are Running Out Of Time To Save This Critically Endangered Kauai Bird. The new data suggests the population of akikiki — a honeycreeper bird found only on Kauai —  may be declining faster than previously thought. Civil Beat.

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Ige ties Hawaii reopening to vaccination rates, extends eviction moratorium; convicted murderer works in Child Welfare Services; new Honolulu radio system shuts out the public, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii Gov. David Ige

Gov. Ige to further ease COVID-19 restrictions once Hawaii is 60% vaccinated. Gov. David Ige announced today that the state will ease restrictions on social gatherings and restaurants once 60% of Hawaii residents are fully vaccinated, adding to the growing list of incentives for people to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Star-Advertiser. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News. Big Island Now. Garden Island. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Gov. David Ige extends ban on evictions in Hawaii for 60 days. Isle residents who are past due on rent and mortgages will have another two months before Gov. David Ige plans to lift the state’s ban on evictions in early August. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.

Convicted murderer’s hiring in Child Welfare Services exposes background check gaps. Advocates for victims of domestic violence are calling for change in the way the state hires people with access to vulnerable victims after a man who was convicted of and served time for murder in another state is now an employee of Hawaii’s Child Welfare Services. Hawaii News Now.

Officials step up efforts to expand COVID-19 vaccine access to underserved communities.
The data, released Monday by DOH, showed that respondents least likely to be vaccinated included Native Hawaiians, Filipinos and those living in lower-income households.  Star-Advertiser. Hawaii Public Radio. Garden Island. KHON2.

June 7, 2021 COVID-19 Update: 33 Cases. The confirmed cases included: 18 on O‘ahu (-1 probable); three on Hawai‘i Island; 12 Maui; -1 on Kaua‘i; and one in a Hawai‘i resident diagnosed while out of state (-1 probable). Maui Now.

Oahu

Public access to Honolulu police and fire scanners to end. The public’s long-standing access to routine radio communications by Honolulu police and firefighters is coming to an end as the city nears completion of a $15 million system overhaul that will encrypt the frequencies used by nine city departments, preventing objective monitoring of the transmissions. Star-Advertiser.

New special agent in charge steps into role at FBI’s Honolulu field office
. Steven B. Merrill, the new special agent in charge of Honolulu’s FBI field office, said he learned early on in his career the incredible value of working with the community. Hawaii News Now.

Activists Hit New Roadblock In Efforts To Reroute Farrington Highway At Makaha Beach.
Efforts by community activists to move Farrington Highway mauka of Makaha Beach park — in accordance with a decades-old plan — have hit a roadblock after an Oahu agency decided to halt a feasibility study and redirect the funding to a traffic study in Ala Moana instead. Civil Beat.

Audit calls for more data on domestic violence. Streamlined data collection on domestic violence cases was the center of a report released Monday by the Honolulu Office of the City Auditor. Star-Advertiser.

An Accountant Is The Latest To Be Charged In The Miske Case. The charges filed last week against Tricia Ann Castro were the first to target a professional accused of aiding the Honolulu business owner in concealing his alleged criminal activities. Civil Beat.

Honolulu's Rental Car Crisis Is Sending More Riders To Biki And TheBus
. Honolulu also appears to be part of a nationwide trend in which the appetite for Uber and Lyft rides is growing but not enough drivers are returning to meet that demand. Civil Beat.

Median sales price of Oahu single-family homes close in on $1 million. Previously owned single- family houses on the island sold for $978,000 in May, according to a Honolulu Board of Realtors report released Monday. Star-Advertiser. KHON2.

Hawaii Island

Oversight Commissioner Concerned With Overcrowding as COVID-19 Cases at Hilo Jail Rise to 154. According to the latest data from the state Department of Public Safety, 137 inmates and 17 staff at the Hawaiʻi Community Correctional Center have tested positive for the coronavirus since the outbreak began on May 24. Hawaii Public Radio. Tribune-Herald.

Public asked to help prioritize federal transportation spending. The state has organized a survey for people to prioritize which federally funded road projects should be tackled over the next four years as part of the State Transportation Improvement Program, or STIP. West Hawaii Today.

Paauilo brush fire burns 1,400 acres. The fire, which was reported on Friday, took more than a day to be contained, despite occurring on the typically wet Hamakua Coast. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Public opinion weighed as search for Maui’s next police chief begins. Applications are being accepted for the Valley Isle’s next police chief. Island residents say values of honesty and transparency should be key in the search. Hawaii News Now.

Maui holds only in-person graduation in UH system. Class of 2021 endured full school year under pandemic. Maui News.

Two arrested for violating travel rules. A Massachusetts man was arrested for violating travel quarantine rules when he arrived from Los Angeles on Friday without an approved negative pre-travel COVID-19 test and without approved lodging for the mandatory 10-day quarantine, police said. Police also arrested a Virginia woman on Saturday for violating travel quarantine rules. Maui News.

Kauai

The pa‘u rider lives on; museum exhibit on with COVID-19 protocols.
Pa‘u riders have always been integral to regal parades such as the King Kamehameha Day celebration, Aloha Week celebration and more. Garden Island.

Monday, June 7, 2021

Hawaii offers vaccination incentives, Waikiki crime surge worries tourism industry, Native Hawaiians get Discovery Harbour house lots, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2021 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Hawaii grocery store ©2021 All Hawaii News

Hawaii employers eye vaccination mandates. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which enforces workplace discrimination laws, in December said employers can require vaccination against the virus, which has infected 36,535 in Hawaii and resulted in 502 deaths. Star-Advertiser.

No Vaccine, No Tests Required For Travel Within Hawaii Starting June 15. Starting June 15, travelers from the mainland who received at least one vaccine dose in Hawaii will be able to skip COVID-19 testing and quarantine requirements upon arrival in the state, Gov. David Ige announced Friday. He also said restrictions will be lifted entirely for interisland travel on that date. Civil Beat. Hawaii Public Radio.

Trip To Vegas, Pizza For A Year Offered To Boost Hawaiʻi Vaccine Numbers. Governor David Ige announced that June is HI Got Vaccinated month. If and when the state gets to 70%, travel restrictions will drop and the Safe Travels program will end. To get there, there are a few deals to entice the vaccine-hesitant. Hawaii Public Radio. KITV4.

State sees impressive response in prize giveaway program aimed at encouraging vaccinations. On Sunday, June 6, the Hawaii Department of Health reported more than 78,000 people have entered the giveaway. KHON2.

Emails show strain on Hawaii administration amid coronavirus pandemic. A review of Hawaii Gov. David Ige’s emails shows the state epidemiologist spent key weeks in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic resisting suggestions and requests from both inside and outside the administration that she boost contact tracing to control the spread of COVID-19. Associated Press.

Southwest Airlines launches service between Hawaii and Las Vegas. The launch Sunday of service between Hawaii and Las Vegas and other new markets brings Southwest Airlines nearly all-in on its Hawaii service, and so far the gamble is paying off. Star-Advertiser.

Visiting ‘Movers and Shakas’ helping rebuild Hawaii’s economy. The first group arrived in late February and March for a minimum 30-day stay. Members ranged in age from 24 to 60-plus and held jobs in a variety of fields such as technology, finance, education and health care. Star-Advertiser.

COVID-19 Cases Are Declining In Hawaii But Restaurant Clusters Show Continued Danger. The overall picture of who is falling ill has also changed in the islands. Most of the new cases recorded weekly are among the 18-44 year old age group, according to DOH data. Civil Beat.

Hawaii sees 3 new virus-related deaths; health officials correct daily case count to 81 new infections. Today’s new confirmed and probable infection count by island includes 35 on Hawaii Island, 32 new cases on Oahu, 12 on Maui, and two Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

Waikiki crime surge risks derailing tourism recovery.
Waikiki business owners and residents are calling on the Honolulu Police Department and other officials to address a recent uptick in serious crimes in the state’s top tourist district, where two men were stabbed in separate incidents on the same night last week. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Joins A National Debate: When Should Police Bodycam Footage Be Released? The city prosecutor is asking the public to be patient. But some feel body camera footage should be released right away. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.

Lack of mass protests after police kill Black man in Honolulu angers some. Lindsay Myeni and her South African husband moved to Hawaii, where she grew up, believing it would be safer to raise their two Black children here than in another U.S. state. Associated Press.

Hawaii Kai Shopping Center getting a repaved parking lot, new roofs and a renovated Safeway. It’s been called a disgrace, a slum and an eyesore. But those harsh descriptions of the Hawaii Kai Shopping Center in recent years are now being replaced by praise. Star-Advertiser.

Endangered Hawaiian damselfly finds new home. Scientists have tried at least five times in the past few decades to establish a second wild Oahu population of the endangered orangeblack Hawaiian damselfly, a smaller relative of the dragonfly. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Outbreaks at Hawaii’s jails and prisons show lack of data on vaccinations. Hawaii’s Department of Public Safety, which oversees the state’s jails and prisons, says it can’t track COVID-19 vaccination rates among correctional officers, even as a growing corona­virus outbreak at the Hawaii Community Correctional Center in Hilo exposes the ongoing risks posed by unvaccinated workers and inmates. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaiian Home Lands Lots Offered In Discovery Harbour. A virtual lot selection meeting was held on Saturday at the Naʻalehu Community Center, as the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands offered 38 residential Vacant Lots in the Discovery Harbour Subdivision in Kaʻū to beneficiaries. Big Island Video News. Big Island Now. Hawaii News Now.

Panaewa Rainforest Zoo set to reopen on July 19. The Hilo zoo, which closed in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, has undergone a $10 million renovation to bring the park in compliance with standards set by the Americans with Disabilities Act. Tribune-Herald.

Fireworks shows returning: Displays in Hilo and Kona will celebrate the 4th. Fireworks are returning to both Hilo and Kona next month, after last year’s Independence Day festivities were canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. West Hawaii Today.

County seeks public feedback on recovery action plan. The county recovery team has asked Puna residents to provide feedback on an amendment to its recovery action plan in order to receive and additional $23 million in federal funding. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

$843.5 million budget passes out of council. Maui County Council members Friday gave their final approval to an $843.5 million budget for fiscal year 2022, which includes millions for affordable housing and infrastructure work as well as cuts to tourism funding. Maui News.

Maui farm takes requests from acclaimed chefs.
Mahi Pono, which in 2018 acquired about 41,000 acres that once were the Hawaiian Commercial &Sugar Co. plantation, announced a project Thursday to grow more than 30 crops requested by five acclaimed chefs overseeing about 20 restaurants statewide. Star-Advertiser.

Broken Promise? Maui County wants Bank of America to live up to a decades-old promise it made to Native Hawaiians when it committed $150 million in loans to help them build and buy homes on lands set aside for them by Congress after the overthrow of the monarchy. Civil Beat.

Kauai

Agricultural dedication petition deadline July 1. The county Department of Finance Real Property Assessment office reminds the public that the deadline for filing new agricultural dedication petitions is July 1. Garden Island.

Friday, June 4, 2021

Ige ponders tourism balance, easing coronavirus restrictions, some ZIP codes reach herd immunity, while others have low vaccination rates, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2021 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Hawaiians kayaking on Hawaii Island ©2021 All Hawaii News

House Finance Chair: Fewer Tourists Is ‘What People Want’. But the tourism industry opposes a bill on Gov. David Ige’s desk that aims to reduce tourism through higher taxes and fees on visitors. Civil Beat.

Governor expected to loosen coronavirus restrictions as Hawaii nears 60% fully vaccinated. According to the Department of Health (DOH), 52% of Hawaii residents are fully vaccinated while 59% of residents have received at least one dose. KHON2.

Most Hawaii adults fully vaccinated, but survey finds 12% don’t plan to get COVID-19 vaccine. Although nearly 70% of Hawaii adults recently polled are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus and an additional 7% are partially vaccinated, there are still 12% who say they don’t intend to get any of the COVID-19 inoculations available to them. Star-Advertiser.

Maps Show Hawaii’s COVID-19 Vaccine Disparities By ZIP Code. Hawaii’s COVID-19 vaccine uptake varies widely depending on where people live, new maps from the Hawaii Department of Health show. New heat maps show how the state’s COVID-19 vaccine campaign is going at a granular geographic level. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Hawaii’s coronavirus vaccine incentive campaign will launch Friday.  The state is gearing up to launch a major campaign offering Hawaii residents numerous incentives for getting COVID-19 vaccinations as part of its final push toward reaching herd immunity. Star-Advertiser.

One in 10 Hawaii public school classrooms need better ventilation. Hawaii’s public schools plan to reopen fully Aug. 3 for in-person classes with 3-foot spacing among students and teachers in classrooms, although ventilation still needs to be improved in some spots. Star-Advertiser.

Growing Use Of Rapid Testing Provides A ‘Degree Of Safety’ As Hawaii Reopens. COVID-19 tests are likely to remain part of life even as the overall pandemic situation stabilizes in the island state. Civil Beat.

Hawaii records 1 new coronavirus-related death, 45 additional cases. Today’s new confirmed and probable infection count by island included 36 new cases on Oahu, one on Maui, three on Hawaii Island, one on Kauai and four Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

Medical records show police shot 16-year-old Iremamber Sykap in back of the head. Eric A. Seitz, who is representing Iremamber Sykap’s grandmother Akiwine Sykap and mother, Yovita Lucio, said hospital records from The Queen’s Medical Center, where Sykap was taken after Emergency Medical Serv­ices personnel transported him from Kalakaua Avenue, show he was shot once in the back of the head, twice in the back of one shoulder and once in the back of his other shoulder. Hawaii News Now. Star-Advertiser.

Rising Waikiki crime puts officials on alert. Waikiki crime dropped dramatically during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, but it has returned as visitors and traffic have come back to the state’s top tourism district. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Police Department reviewing policies on body-worn cameras. In response to public pleas for more transparency in the investigations into two fatal police shootings, Honolulu police are reviewing their policies on body-worn cameras to develop a rule governing the release of footage from incidents involving officers, alleged suspects and victims. Star-Advertiser.

Partial rides on the rail could begin by the end of the year, but issues linger.
The so-called interim opening would be from Kapolei to Aloha Stadium. Within that stretch, the guideway, tracks and stations are already complete. Hawaii News Now.

Council Passes Resolution Supporting Separate Ocean Safety and Lifeguard Department. The Honolulu City Council approved Wednesday a proposal urging Mayor Rick Blangiardi to create a separate department for the City’s Ocean Safety and Lifeguard Services personnel. Hawaii Public Radio.

Kahuku gym faces eviction after being caught in legal dispute over a noise complaint. The plight of Ko‘olau Wellness Center appears to be collateral damage from the legal dispute and has divided the community with dueling online petitions to save or shut down the gym, which provides fitness classes, martial arts training, yoga and other programs. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Council approves 4.1% budget increase: Parks, Fire, Police, licensing clerks among additions to Roth’s budget. Equipment for firefighters, repairs at parks, beefed up computer systems, more hours of community policing, four additional vehicle registration and licensing clerks and money for council contingency accounts added $1 million to Mayor Mitch Roth’s proposed operating budget, bringing the tally to $610.1 million after final passage Thursday by the Hawaii County Council. West Hawaii Today.

An additional 22 inmates test positive at HCCC. A total of 99 inmates and 13 staff members have now tested positive for the coronavirus since two positive cases were first reported at the Hilo jail on May 24. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Now.

Commission approves 5G cell tower off Saddle Road. The Windward Planning Commission gave the go-ahead to construct a cell tower off of Saddle Road 13 miles from Waikoloa Village. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Bill would pause development of visitor lodgings islandwide. As Maui braces for an anticipated influx of visitors next month, residents voiced their support for a newly proposed moratorium on visitor accommodations that would extend to the entire island of Maui. Maui News.

As talk of tourism heats up, some Maui residents cash in on increased spending.
Nearly 7,000 visitors arrived in Maui on Wednesday. While some are complaining about the influx of tourists, others are capitalizing on it. Hawaii News Now.

$1.3 Million Hāna Boat Ramp and Wharf Improvement Project to Start in June. The boat ramp will be closed for approximately eight days starting around July 12 (date is subject to change) while new precast panels will be installed at the top of the boat ramp. Maui Now.

Online Tool Can Forecast West Maui Coastal Flooding Six Days In Advance.
The Pacific Islands Ocean Observing System has created a high resolution wave runup forecast for residents, businesses and government agencies. Hawaii Public Radio.

Kauai

New DOW deputy manager named. The county Department of Water’s interim Manager and Chief Engineer Mark R. Knoff appointed Judith A. Hayducsko as the DOW deputy manager and engineer, effective June 1. Garden Island.

Three vaccine pop-ups on Saturday.
  If you are 21 and older, and get your vaccine — it’s the one-shot Johnson &Johnson or the two-dose Moderna — from Troy’s Place Saturday from 2 to 4 p.m., you will get to sing five free karaoke songs. Garden Island.

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Teachers to vote on contract, police commission nominee says no racism in Hawaii, two counties pass annual budgets, studying the sea, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2021 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Whale frolics off Hawaii Coast ©2021 All Hawaii News

NOAA Awards UH $210 Million To Host Institute for Marine & Atmospheric Research. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration selected the University of Hawai‘i to host a new Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research, with the federal agency providing up to $210 million in funding over five years. Maui Now.

Hawaii Teacher Salaries Won’t Change If New Contract Is Approved.
The Hawaii State Teachers Association has reached a preliminary agreement with state officials on a new contract for the next two years, but it still must be approved by members. Civil Beat. KHON2.

Why Is It Still So Hard To Reach Hawaii’s Unemployment Office? The physical office is still closed and the agency is only two months into an 18-month technology overhaul. Civil Beat.

As mainland cities reopen, some question what’s holding Hawaii back. As tourist destinations on the mainland celebrate their reopening, Hawaii’s governor continues to push back against reducing business restrictions in the islands. Hawaii News Now.

Survey finds changing attitudes in Hawaii regarding the pandemic. According to a statewide poll, most people think the coronavirus crisis is getting better and the government’s management of the situation is headed in the right direction. Star-Advertiser.

Shipments of COVID vaccines to Hawaii slow as demand drastically drops. The state Department of Health turned away more than half of its federal allotment of the Pfizer vaccine this week as demand for the shot continues to drop. Health officials say Neighbor Island hospitals won’t be getting any doses at all. That’s because they’re are having trouble getting rid of what they already have. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii counts 25 new coronavirus cases, bringing statewide total to 36,357. The new confirmed and probable infection count by island included 13 new cases on Oahu, 9 on Maui and 4 Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

Honolulu City Council unanimously passes $2.92 billion budget.
The budget is about $10 million more than the one submitted to the City Council by Mayor Rick Blangiardi in March, which was $73 million less than the previous year. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. KHON2.

Police Commission nominee denies racism exists in Hawaii.
Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi’s second attempt to fill the final vacancy on the Honolulu Police Commission was met with near unanimous opposition Wednesday as opponents cited concerns about the nominee’s record as a police officer and his career in private security while the candidate said he does not believe racial discrimination exists in Hawaii. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.

HPD says it will not release new information about two controversial fatal shootings. Honolulu's Interim Chief of Police Rade Vanic says HPD will not release new information about two controversial fatal shootings -- and that includes the identities of the officers involved.  KITV4.

HPD Officer At The Center Of A $1 Million Wrongful Death Settlement
Has A History Of Complaints. Cpl. Scott Valdez has faced criminal charges, which led to hung juries, two lawsuits that led to settlements and a Honolulu Police Commission complaint. Civil Beat.

In deposition, Louis Kealoha gets tearful when talking about wife’s manipulation. Kealoha also said his estranged wife, Katherine Kealoha, who is serving a 13-year prison term, manipulated him when she cheated on him with a firefighter from the Big Island. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation tax revenue higher than expected. The University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization had forecast combined general excise and transit accommodation taxes of $55 million for the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation in the first quarter. But the actual amount was $67 million. Star-Advertiser.

HART Asks The City To Borrow Up To $550 Million To Keep Rail Moving. The rail authority has also been borrowing on its own to cover its costs and pay its contractors. Civil Beat.

City Council approves first-ever Oahu climate action plan. Through the plan, the city said it is committing to a path to cut carbon pollution by an estimated 45% by 2025 and 60% by 2035. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Kamehameha Schools receives Kakaako plan extension. Kamehameha Schools has received an extra 10 years to finish redeveloping 29 acres in Kakaako under a master plan amended by a state board Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

The Manoa Neighborhood Board voted Wednesday to support the public acquisition of Paradise Park land that’s up for sale. According to the listing, the 76-acre site is selling for $20 million. Hawaii News Now.

Rent, utility relief on hand to help Oahu residents during pandemic
. The City and County of Honolulu will reopen the Rental and Utility Relief Program to another 10,000 applicants Monday evening. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Seeking to steer stimulus: Council wants more say on American Rescue Plan.
Hawaii County has received its first installment of a $39 million federal stimulus package and County Council members are brimming with ideas on how to spend it. West Hawaii Today.

Board OKs decommissioning plan for Caltech observatory. The Caltech Submillimeter Observatory is the first of five summit observatories scheduled for decommissioning in exchange for the planned construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope, and ceased operations in 2015. Tribune-Herald.

Public Comment Sought on Proposed Use of Additional Grant Funds for Buyout Program
. The County of Hawai‘i is accepting public comment on a draft Substantial Amendment to its Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery Action Plan. The public comment period runs June 2 through July 1. Big Island Now.

Healing the bay: Public asked to stay out of Kahaluu Bay for final days of spawning. The park’s closure has largely kept the bay’s waters clear of beachgoers and swimmers. Frustrations have been voiced, however, over the sight of surfers in the water. West Hawaii Today.

‘Love Island’ a boon for island: Largest production since 2008 starts shooting in July. “Love Island,” a dating reality show in which a group of singles gather at a tropical resort and compete to pair up with each other, will film its third season this summer in East Hawaii — and inject millions of dollars into the local economy. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Maui Post Arrival Test to End on June 4. From the start of the program on May 4, through May 31, the program has tested 92,963 travelers.  Maui Now. Maui News. Hawaii News Now.

Alexander & Baldwin Under Scrutiny in Maui Water Rights Court Case. New information has emerged in a court battle over water on Maui, and it's prompting the state to reevaluate annual water permits issued to Hawaiʻi developer Alexander and Baldwin. Hawaii Public Radio. Maui News.

United Launches Kahului to New York Nonstop Flight, June 3. This is the airline’s only nonstop flight from Maui to the US mainland’s east coast. Maui Now.

Kauai

Kaua‘i County Council passes $243.3M FY22 operating budget. The budget plans no layoffs, furloughs or additional tax rate increases on residents and primarily focuses on deferred maintenance on bridges and the landfill, adds money toward housing and homeless initiatives and seeks wastewater solutions throughout the island. Garden Island.

Kauai beat COVID-19, but now faces a new challenge: Rebuilding its economy. Homeless people here on Hawaii’s northern island got an unusual invitation last year: Come set up camp at a spectacular beach, with showers, toilets and electricity, and meals delivered by the local food bank. Los Angeles Times.

6 arrested during efforts to close Lydgate camp. Six people were arrested, Wednesday as the county attempted to transition the Lydgate Beach Park out of its Shelter In Place camping permit program. Garden Island.