Thursday, February 27, 2020

Ige seeks $7.2M for coronavirus measures, House briefing set; court rules against Maui streetlight project; Ballard pleads for gun limits, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

All Hawaii News
Hawaii Gov. David Ige
Gov. Ige asks lawmakers for $7.2 million to cope with coronavirus. Gov. David Ige has asked lawmakers to earmark $7.21 million for the next four months to support state efforts to cope with the threat posed by the coronavirus outbreak. Star-Advertiser.

State takes proactive approach with virus, prepares for worst.  At a news conference Wednesday, Gov. David Ige and other state administrators announced they will be switching the state’s response to the global COVID-19 outbreak from one of containment to one of mitigation. Tribune-Herald.

State approval now required before doctors can flag possible COVID-19. The state is changing its coronavirus protocol, making doctors first consult with a state investigator and getting approval before filling out a “Patient Under Investigation” form and collecting specimens. KHON2.

Hawai‘i House Committee Plans Briefing on COVID-19. State Representative John M. Mizuno will hold a Legislative Briefing on the COVID-19 illness in March. Maui Now.

Hawaiian Air Suspends Service To South Korea, Delta Reduces Flights. Hawaiian Airlines announced Wednesday that it is suspending its flights to South Korea starting March 2 and extending to April 30 in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak in that country. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaiian Airlines suspending service to South Korea due to spike in coronavirus cases. Hawaiian Airlines said today it will temporarily suspend its five-times-weekly nonstop service between Honolulu and Seoul because of the coronavirus outbreak. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaiian Airlines To Suspend Service To South Korea. The carrier cites rapid rise in coronavirus cases and declining demand. Civil Beat.

Hawaiian Airlines suspending service to South Korea’s Incheon International Airport citing decline in demand, increase in coronavirus cases. KHON2.

COVID-19 triggers canceled flights, DOH warnings. Wednesday, Hawaiian Airlines announced it would be suspending flights from the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Honolulu to Incheon International Airport in South Korea from March 1 through April 30, citing a spike on COVID-19 cases in South Korea. Garden Island.

COVID-19 Travel Concerns Rise In Hawaii. State Senator Kai Kahele shared some thoughts on the state's readiness in case of an outbreak in Hawaiʻi, while Rep. Gabbard wants to suspend flights from Japan and South Korea. Big Island Video News.

Gabbard calls for suspension of Japan, South Korea flights amid coronavirus fears. U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is calling for a suspension of flights to Hawaii from South Korea and Japan amid growing concerns about the coronavirus. Hawaii News Now.

If coronavirus impacts schools, here’s what the DOE is planning to do. The Hawaii Department of Education said in the event there is a confirmed coronavirus case at one of its nearly 300 schools, it would follow the guidance of the state Department of Health. However, some parents aren't convinced it is enough to keep their children safe. Hawaii News Now.

Officials: Prepare for coronavirus threat, but don’t ‘panic buy’. Amid growing fears about a potential outbreak of the coronavirus in the US, public health officials nationally and locally are urging people to prepare. Hawaii News Now.

Worries over panic buying arise as some supply shelves at stores empty out. Supplies were flying off the shelves Wednesday, with some shoppers taking pictures of empty shelves at stores across Oahu. KHON2.

Isle residents stock up on supplies. Shoppers were loading up on supplies Wednesday at Sam’s Club on Keeaumoku Street. Among the items sold out were toilet paper, hand sanitizer and water. Star-Advertiser.

Some shoppers stocking up on food and water amidst concerns over COVID-19. Cart after cart, a parade of shoppers filling their trunks to the brim. KITV4.


House committee proposes $4.9B, 2-year state construction budget. House lawmakers released a draft construction budget for next year that features an increase in funding for a number of major highway projects as well as for the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands. Star-Advertiser.

Finance Committee Approves Billions in CIP Funding. The House Finance Committee on Wednesday approved Capital Improvement Project Funding for 2020. Big Island Now.


HPD chief Ballard pushes for new gun limits. Honolulu Police Chief Susan Ballard made a public pitch on Wednesday for proposals to ban rifle magazines that hold more than 10 bullets, and for new restrictions on the sale of ammunition in advance of key floor votes scheduled for today on a package of firearms bills. Star-Advertiser.

Police chief makes public plea to lawmakers ahead of votes on tougher gun control measures. Honolulu Police Chief Susan Ballard publicly pleaded for lawmakers to approve controversial gun control measures ahead of key floor votes in both the House and Senate set for Thursday. Hawaii News Now.


State Lawmakers Consider Measure To Protect Sports Officials From Threats, Abuse. State lawmakers are weighing a measure that would make verbally threatening to harm a sports official a Class C felony instead of a misdemeanor. Hawaii Public Radio.

Vacation Rentals Continue To Decline On Oahu, Surge On Neighbor Islands. The latest data from the Hawaii Tourism Authority shows the number of short-term vacation rentals on Oahu continued to decline, while Maui and Kauai saw substantial increases. Hawaii Public Radio.

Congressional leaders are considering ways to make the nation’s primary fisheries management law more effective as the planet warms. Hawaii’s $100 million tuna industry was the latest focal point for members of Congress trying to decide how to improve the main federal law governing the management of U.S. coastal waters. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Might Get A New State Holiday. Hawaiian Recognition Day would be held the Friday after Thanksgiving. Civil Beat.


City officials bump up cost of rail operations contract. The city will pay $918 million to Hitachi Rail International to operate and maintain the city’s rail line for its first 13-1/4 years under an agreement reached last week by the Caldwell administration and the vendor. Star-Advertiser.

Rail operation, maintenance cost will be $69-million a year city says. The city says the cost does not take into account the revenue collected from fares, but officials do not believe it will generate a lot of income in the beginning when rail services start. KHON2.

City Leaders Unveil Most – But Not All – Of Future Rail Operations Costs. The new 13-year, $918 million deal with Hitachi is nearly $100 million more than the one signed in 2011. It will cover just over half of the costs to run the rail system. Civil Beat.

Cost for rail operations revealed. Honolulu's Mayor Kirk Caldwell signed rail's first operating contract. KITV4.


Former House Speaker Eyes Open Honolulu City Council Seat. Candidates are already lining up to replace longtime Rep. Calvin Say but there’s still time for more. Civil Beat.

Esther Kiaaina Eyes Windward City Council Seat. Incumbent Ikaika Anderson is prevented from seeking another term. Civil Beat.


Frustration over Waikiki crime prompts town hall meeting to find solutions. People fed up with rising crime in Waikiki, including several recent murders, urged officials at a town hall meeting Wednesday to take action to improve the neighborhood for tourists and residents alike. Star-Advertiser.

Opening reception of Honolulu Festival canceled; other events still on. Fears over coronavirus have led to the cancellation of a kickoff reception for a major event happening in Honolulu. But in the bigger picture, events for the Honolulu Festival are still on. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

PGV restart pushed back to second half of 2020. Ormat Technologies Inc. is continuing its efforts to resume operation of Puna Geothermal Venture, company leaders said Wednesday during a fourth-quarter and 2019 year-end earnings update. Tribune-Herald.

E-waste recycling program in jeopardy. Hawaii County’s e-waste program is drastically over budget and may have to be halted if more funding isn’t found soon, local contractor Mr. K’s Recycle and Redemption Center told the Environmental Management Commission on Wednesday. West Hawaii Today.

CIP budget includes more than $140M for Big Island projects. Funding for two major Hawaii Island road projects is among more than $4.9 billion in capital improvement projects funds approved Wednesday by the state House Committee on Finance. West Hawaii Today.

Document details Kolekole park improvements. A draft environmental assessment was published Monday for accessibility improvements the county has planned at Kolekole Beach Park. Tribune-Herald.


Court: County streetlight project violated state environmental law. Groups filed suit over fixtures, saying they posed threat to wildlife. Wildlife advocates who sued Maui County over harmful streetlights earned a partial victory Monday after an environmental court judge ruled that the county violated state law by failing to conduct an environmental review before installing the fixtures. Maui News.

Environmental Court Rules Against County for Maui LED Streetlight Project. An environmental court ruled Monday that the Maui County Department of Public Works violated state law by failing to conduct environmental review for a streetlights project that plaintiffs said “threatens harm to Maui’s imperiled seabirds and sea turtles.” Maui Now.

53 luxury home sites being proposed for Makena property. A roughly 28-acre Makena lot that had a 500-room hotel in the works will instead be converted to 53 residential lots under a proposal by its new landowners. Maui News.

New Hotel Planned at Old Maui Palms Site in Kahului. Plans are currently underway for a multimillion dollar project to build a new budget hotel where the old Maui Palms hotel once stood along Kahului Harbor. Maui Now.


Mother of missing kids waives extradition from Kauai to Idaho after judge denies bail reduction. The Madision County, Idaho, prosecutor is extraditing Lori Vallow to face charges on two felony counts of desertion and nonsupport of dependent children under age 18, criminal solicitation to commit a crime, resisting arrest and criminal contempt of court. Star-Advertiser.

Vallow heading back to Idaho. Lori Vallow is going back to Idaho to face two felony counts of child abandonment. Garden Island.

Lori Vallow Waives Extradition, $5 Mil Bail Maintained. An Idaho woman has decided not to fight extradition and will return voluntarily to the mainland to face charges of desertion in relation to her two missing children. Big Island Now.

Hanapepe Swinging Bridge reopens. The county Department of Public Works announced that repairs to the Hanapepe Swinging Bridge have been completed and the bridge is once again open to the public. Garden Island.


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