Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Hawaii unprepared to be coronavirus hub, Caldwell shelves $772M Blaisdell reno amid rising rail costs, Tupola running for City Council, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Photo by Ani Kolleshi on Unsplash
Coronavirus likely to appear in Hawaii ‘sooner or later,’ state official says. The state has identified a quarantine site at a military base at Pearl Harbor for any travelers who have been to Hubei province within 14 days or are considered high-risk, whether or not they show symptoms of the deadly coronavirus. Star-Advertiser.

Any Future Coronavirus Patients Will Be Quarantined At Pearl Harbor. Hawaii officials believe the likelihood of using the facility remains low, since many Chinese cities are on lockdown and most air travel is on hold. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Says It Can't Be Hub For Treating New Virus. Hawaii has only a modest healthcare system and can’t be a hub for accommodating people potentially exposed to the rapidly spreading new virus that emerged in China in recent months, Lt. Gov. Josh Green said Monday. Hawaii Public Radio.

Officials discuss response to virus: State lawmakers hold briefing on outbreak. The state House Committee on Health on Monday heard updates from the state Department of Health, the state Department of Transportation and the Healthcare Association of Hawaii in regards to an ongoing outbreak of the 2019 novel coronavirus — caused by a previously unidentified coronavirus first detected in Wuhan, Hubei province, China, on Dec. 31. Tribune-Herald.

Coronavirus in Hawai‘i, ‘Only a Matter of Time’. No cases of coronavirus have been confirmed, or are even suspected, in Hawai‘i. However, state officials said Monday it’s all but an inevitability the deadly illness is on its way. Big Island Now.

State pushed back on plan to house U.S. citizens who left China in Waikiki. The state’s health director told lawmakers Monday that he blocked a federal plan to put hundreds of U.S. citizens who are leaving China in Waikiki hotels. Hawaii News Now.

State officials discuss coronavirus threat to Hawaii. There are still no cases in Hawaii, and state health officials said the risk remains low but it is possible Hawaii could get a case. KHON2.

More help for Hawaii, to prepare for Coronavirus. The Coronovirus is expected to make its way to Hawaii, which is waiting for more resources and personnel to prevent the outbreak from spreading across the islands. KITV4.

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Hawaii Medicaid Contract Award Stalled Amid Protest From Insurer. Hawaii’s Medicaid division has to temporarily suspend its insurance contract awards until a dispute is resolved. Civil Beat.

Bill that would ban tour buses and helicopters on Sundays dies in committee. A bill banning all helicopter and bus tours on Sundays was killed in the state legislature on Monday. KITV4.

Hawaii’s Push For Renewable Energy Could Stall Over Public Opposition To Facilities. Hawaiian Electric says it sees growing issues concerning land use and where to site projects. Civil Beat.

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Sixty-seven island police officers — including 37 from the Honolulu Police Department — were disciplined last year, along with 15 officers who were fired across the state. HPD terminated six of its disciplined officers. Star-Advertiser.

New Police Misconduct Reports Show A Range Of Bad Behavior. But the annual reports to the Legislature are lacking in the level of detail needed for meaningful public scrutiny. Civil Beat.

HPD report: 37 officers disciplined last year, 6 were fired. A report from HPD is detailing the number of disciplinary actions taken against officers last year. Hawaii News Now.

HPD incident report released: 13 officers disciplined, 6 fired. More than a handful of Honolulu Police officers were disciplined or fired for driving drunk in their police cars. KITV4.

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Andria Tupola to run for Honolulu City Council but still has eyes on governor’s seat. Former state Rep. Andria Tupola announced Monday she is running this year for the Honolulu City Council District 1 seat representing West Oahu — and still may run for governor in 2022 as she previously indicated. Star-Advertiser.

Republican Andria Tupola launches run for City Council while eyeing governor’s seat. Former state lawmaker Andria Tupola is running for City Council, but her sights are set on a higher office. Hawaii News Now.

Oahu

Blaisdell restoration halted due to cost of rail. Citing the ongoing woes with the city’s rail project as his biggest concern, Mayor Kirk Caldwell on Monday announced he is nixing plans for a major renovation that was to begin later this year. Star-Advertiser.

City Stops Planned $700 Million Blaisdell Renovation. Caldwell concedes the city should focus solely on rail instead with so much uncertainty still hanging over the transit project. Civil Beat.

Mayor: Blaisdell Renovation Suspended, Cites Rail Uncertainty and Election. Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell is suspending the Neal S. Blaisdell Center renovation project, citing the uncertainty over the financing and timing of the elevated rail project and the coming switch in city administrations. Hawaii Public Radio.

After spending $17M, city shelves pricey renovation plans for Blaisdell Center. In a surprising move Monday, the city announced that it will abandon a long-awaited, $772 million project to renovate Neal Blaisdell Center. Hawaii News Now.

City to put Blaisdell renovation project on hold due to unknown construction cost of rail system. Plans to tear down and reconstruct the Blaisdell's 22 acre campus would have cost an estimated $772 million. KITV4.

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New proposal to make Honolulu prosecuting attorney appointed by mayor. Honolulu City Council Member Tommy Waters introduced a new resolution to allow people to vote in this year’s ballot on whether or not they want the prosecuting attorney to become an appointed position by the mayor, instead of being voted in by the public, as it is now. KHON2.

Augie T officially files candidacy papers to run for City Council. Comedian Augie Tulba is running for City Council representing District Nine which spans from Waikele to Ewa Beach. KITV4.

Elderly homeless man testified against alleged carjacker. Then, he was confusingly arrested. His story is sparking concern and outrage over an apparent new policy from the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. Hawaii News Now.

Aloha Stadium seeks $7.7M or it might have to close sections. The warning comes as the state asks legislators for $7.7 million this session to help bridge the period between the 2020 football season and the projected fall 2023 opening of the new $350 million facility on adjacent land as an anchor of the New Aloha Stadium Entertainment District. Star-Advertiser.

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Ala Moana park lights to be converted to LEDs to save energy. City officials announced Monday that the exterior lights at Ala Moana Regional Park are being replaced by more energy-efficient light-emitting diode — or LED — lights. Star-Advertiser.

City replaces Ala Moana Beach Park lights with LEDs. Ala Moana Beach Park might look a little different in the coming months. KHON2.

Hawaii Island

Candidates are off and running: Filing period begins for state, local and federal races. Candidates for local, state and federal office streamed into county elections offices Monday morning, the opening day for candidates to pull nomination papers to begin the filing process. West Hawaii Today.

Contract awarded for second Puna roundabout. A $4.5 million contract has been awarded to a Honolulu-based contractor to install a roundabout at a Puna intersection. Tribune-Herald.

Kilauea’s Lower East Rift Zone Heating Up In Areas. During a recent After Dark at the Park talk, a USGS geologist explained why some residents living near the inactive fissures of 2018 are experiencing an increase in heat and steam. Big Island Video News.

Maui

Asbestos abatement almost finished. 15 units at Lahaina property left to be cleared; bids invited for 12 2-bed units. Maui News.

County Breaks Ground on Wailuku Town Improvements Project. A groundbreaking ceremony was held today for the County of Maui’s Wailuku Town Improvement Project. Road improvements will begin this week on Church Street as part of Phase 1A of the project. Maui Now.

Kauai

Firefighters call for transparency. The Kauai Fire Department’s union representatives called for greater transparency in the long-delayed process of selecting a new chief and said the county Fire Commission may have overstepped its bounds by hiring former KFD Chief Robert Westerman on an 89-day contract to fill the role he left vacant after retiring a year ago. Garden Island.

FAA Abruptly Stopped Enforcement Action Against Hawaii Helicopter Tours. The Federal Aviation Administration disclosed Monday that in 2010 it revoked the license of the pilot of the ill-fated Safari Helicopters tour that crashed on Kauai on Dec. 26, killing all seven people onboard, after he tested positive for drugs. Civil Beat.

New permit requirements for commercial refuge tours. Beginning in 2020, commercial tour operators will be required to apply for and hold a Special Use Permit for operating commercial activities within the Kaua‘i National Wildlife Refuge Complex. Garden Island.

Pitted parking at Black Pot. It’s been six months since Black Pot Beach Park reopened its beach to residents and visitors. Garden Island.

Notable mistakes by county employees. Four times a year, county officials issue a report on claims filed by Kauai residents whose property was damaged by government employees. Garden Island.

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