Friday, February 28, 2020

Kauai councilman indicted for drug trafficking, ICBM interceptors planned, lava response blasted, coronavirus testing coming, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Facebook live screen grab
Epidemiologist Sarah Park, Gov. David Ige, Danette Tomiyasu, Facebook live screengrab
Hawaii Given Green Light To Set Up Local Coronavirus Testing. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has given Hawaii the go-ahead to start preparing for coronavirus testing locally, a process that could begin as early as next week. Hawaii Public Radio.

State aims to start coronavirus testing next week. Hawaii could begin testing for COVID-19 as early as next week, state epidemiologist Sarah Park said Thursday during a Facebook Live stream with Gov. David Ige. Tribune-Herald.

Testing for coronavirus to begin soon in Hawaii; 80 are ‘self-monitoring’ statewide. The CDC has given the green light to the state’s laboratory to start testing for coronavirus. Hawaii News Now.

Local Testing For COVID-19 Possible as Early as Next Week. There are three components to COVID-19 test kits, all of which have arrived in Hawai‘i, according to a Department of Health report. Big Island Now.

CDC widens coronavirus screening scope; state may test next week. The CDC and Hawaii Department of Health are making a significant expansion to their COVID-19 lookout for sick people with travel connections beyond just China. KHON2.

Hawaii virus funding request grows to $10.5M. Key state senators Thursday added to Gov. David Ige’s $7.215 million funding request to prepare Hawaii for a potential outbreak of the new coronavirus, bringing the total amount to $10.568 million. Star-Advertiser.

COVID-19 Update: Hawaii Pushes $10.5M In Emergency Funding. An emergency appropriation of over $10.5 million has been inserted in a senate bill for prevention and mitigation of the COVID-19 coronavirus disease. Big Island Video News.

Senate Advances Ige’s Request for $10M in Emergency Funds for COVID-19. The Hawai‘i Senate Ways and Means Committee today advanced a bill to provide Governor David Ige’s request for an emergency appropriation of $10,568,750 to the Hawai‘i Departments of Health and Defense for prevention and mitigation of COVID-19, the novel coronavirus. Maui Now.

Hawaii authorities weigh measures such as canceling gatherings and shutting schools. State officials are deliberating when to pull the trigger on “social distancing measures” such as canceling public gatherings, closing schools and working remotely in the likely case of a coronavirus outbreak in Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii’s visitor industry making plans to mitigate coronavirus risks. The number of visitors to Hawaii increased in January, but the new coronavirus caused a drop in arrivals from the Asia-Pacific, most notably from China and Korea. Star-Advertiser.

Quarantined isle couples say workers are ‘over-protected’. Two couples from Hawaii being quarantined at a military base in California for the new coronavirus say workers who give them their meals or take their temperature never touch them directly and always wear gloves, a face mask and a long face shield — making them “over-protected". Star-Advertiser.


Commentary: Petty politics playing into COVID-19 readiness. Star-Advertiser.

Commentary: How ‘Offloading’ Landed Ige, Caldwell In The Political Dumps. Both the mayor and the governor have been masters at palming off toxic problems like rail and TMT on others. Now that’s coming to haunt them. Civil Beat.


Hawaii lawmakers pass ban on large-capacity rifle magazines. House lawmakers gave preliminary approval Thursday to a ban on rifle magazines that can hold more than 10 bullets and to restrictions on who is allowed to buy ammunition in Hawaii, steps that would tighten what are already some of the most strict firearm laws in the nation. Star-Advertiser.

Lawmakers consider lengthy extension to statute of limitations for childhood sex abuse. A bill moving through the state House would allow victims of childhood sex abuse 50 years after they turn 18 to decide if they want to pursue a claim. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Lawmakers To Take Pay Cut If Minimum Wage Isn’t $15. Sen. Ruderman and Rep. Wildberger pledge to give $4,000 in salary to charity unless their colleagues don’t raise the hourly pay beyond $13. Civil Beat.


Hawaii to get ICBM interceptors. The U.S. Missile Defense Agency said Hawaii is on track within about a year to receive interceptor missiles for North Korean threats — a declaration that marks a dramatic change in the state’s defensive posture. Star-Advertiser.

‘Hot bargaining’ brings in president of national flight attendants union for Hawaiian Airlines contract talks. The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA sent its union president to Hawaii Thursday to intervene in protracted bargaining between Hawaiian Airlines management and flight attendants. Star-Advertiser.

Parks fees increases proposed. State Parks officials are proposing increases to parks-related fees, including upping camping and cabin charges for all users and modifying entrance and parking fees for nonresidents, in an effort to bolster revenue. West Hawaii Today.


2020 started out with a bang for Hawaii tourism, but the industry isn’t celebrating. Hawaii saw a big boost in visitor arrivals and spending in January, new figures show. But the increases are likely to be short-lived as fears about a global outbreak of coronavirus grow. Hawaii News Now.

HTA Reports Visitor Stats for January. Tourism brought in more money across the state in the year’s first month as compared with January 2019. Big Island Now.


Council committee moves out Energy Code bill. Oahu builders will have to make a certain number of parking stalls ready for electric vehicle charging and install solar hot water heaters in new residences under a major energy conservation bill poised for a final vote of the Honolulu City Council next month. Star-Advertiser.

Rate Commission seeks feedback on rail and bus fares. The Honolulu Rate Commission is requesting input and testimony from members of the public on the future policies and rates for the Honolulu Rail Transit Project once the system begins operations. KITV4.

Fire engulfs surfboard storage rack next to Waikiki police substation. Honolulu firefighters responded to a fire Thursday night that burned the surfboard rack between the police substation in Waikiki and the Diamond Wing of the Moana Surfrider Hotel. Star-Advertiser.

Arson investigation underway after blaze destroys surfboards, damages hotel in Waikiki. An arson investigation is now underway after a two-alarm blaze destroyed a surfboard rack and dozens of surfboards and damaged a nearby hotel late Thursday, Honolulu police said. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Report finds failures in county’s lava response. Hawaii County has released a report largely critical of its own response to the monthslong eruption of Kilauea volcano in 2018 — in which Halema‘uma‘u crater threw ash 30,000 feet into the air, lava destroyed a 716 homes and structures in lower Puna, and hundreds of residents were displaced. Tribune-Herald.

San Buenaventura acused of ethics violation. A group of Puna residents has filed an ethics complaint against a state representative for allegedly supporting a grant for a nonprofit that lacks its necessary permits. Tribune-Herald.

Banyan Drive Redevelopment Update. An agency tasked with overseeing the redevelopment of the Banyan Drive resort area voted to support a measure that would lead to its own demise. Big Island Video News.

Coast Guard Helps Transport Monk Seal To Kona Rehab. A monk seal named Pōhaku got a special lift from Oʻahu to Kona aboard a U.S. Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules last week. Big Island Video News.


Maui tourism not as dependent on Far East visitors. Local visitor industry could do well if the coronavirus stays away from Hawaii, Mainland. Barring a widespread coronavirus outbreak in Hawaii or the U.S. Mainland, Maui’s tourism industry still could have a “strong year,” a top University of Hawaii economist said Wednesday amid rising global fears over the economic impacts of the growing pandemic. Maui News.

“Shelter in Place” LIFTED at ‘Iao Intermediate School. Police have lifted the “shelter in place” that was in effect earlier at ʻĪao Intermediate School.  The action was taken at around 12:03 p.m., and lifted at 12:31 p.m.  Police have not yet released details about the reason for the shelter, which is a term used to describe a type of “lockdown” situation. Maui Now.

Students at 'Iao Intermediate sheltering in classrooms while MPD investigates written anonymous threat. Earlier Thursday, the school was placed under lockdown but was later lifted. KITV4.


Kauai councilman indicted for drug trafficking. A federal indictment unsealed Thursday alleges Kauai County Councilman Arthur Brun is the leader of a drug trafficking ring tied to a gang that operates in and out of the state prison system. Star-Advertiser.

Arthur Brun arrested in drug trafficking bust. County Councilmember Arthur Brun and 11 other people were arrested Thursday and charged with operating a huge methamphetamine distribution ring on Kaua‘i, including allegedly procuring an unlicensed firearm for one of the codefendants. Garden Island.

Kauaʻi Councilmember Arrested In Drug Sweep Involving Meth Sales. Kauaʻi County Council member Arthur Brun is among 12 individuals arrested by Kauaʻi police and federal law enforcement officials today as part of an islandwide drug sweep. Hawaii Public Radio.

Authorities allege Kauai councilman headed up large drug trafficking ring. A Kauai councilman is charged with drug trafficking, obstruction and firearms charges in connection with a months-long investigation that also netted 11 other arrests. Hawaii News Now.

Kauai Councilman Arthur Brun indicted for federal drug offenses after sting operation. More legal trouble for Kauai Councilman Arthur Brun, who’s now been indicted for federal drug offenses. KHON2.

Massive drug sweep lands 12 in jail, including a Kaua'i County councilmember. The long-term investigation helped to establish and identify Kaua'i's major players in promoting and distributing dangerous narcotics. KITV4.

Kauai County Councilman Charged In Federal Meth Probe. Arthur Brun and 11 other people were indicted as suspects in a “major drug trafficking organization.” Associated Press.

Kaua‘i Drug Sweep Nets 12 Arrests, Councilmember Brun Arrested. Kaua‘i Councilmember Arthur Brun is among a dozen defendants arrested and charged following an islandwide drug bust. Maui Now.


eWIC moving to other islands. Following the successful launch of an electronic benefit transfer card on Kaua‘i, the state Department of Health will now extend the benefit to Women, Infants and Children program participants on Tuesday, March 3, making access to healthy food more convenient and to ensure children have a healthy start in life. Garden Island.

Housing project breaks ground in Lihu‘e. The groundbreaking and blessing ceremony of the county and Women In Need Ohana Zne project was held on Pua Loke Street Thursday morning. Garden Island.


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