Monday, June 29, 2020

COVID? What COVID? Hawaii survey shows residents less concerned as cases spike, teachers' union OKs school reopening plan, union tries to stem Honolulu newspaper layoffs, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Hilo Farmers Market vendor without a mask on June 27, 2020. ©2020 All Hawaii News
Many residents no longer see COVID-19 as a threat, DOH survey says. An increasing number of Hawaii residents no longer see COVID-19 as much of a threat as they did in the earlier stages of the pandemic, according to a follow-up survey commissioned by the Hawaii State Department of Health. KHON2.

DOH survey shows ‘alarming’ decrease among Hawaii residents who follow COVID-19 prevention guidelines. An increasing number of Hawaii residents no longer see COVID-19 as much of a threat as they did in the earlier stages of the pandemic, according to a follow-up survey commissioned by the state Department of Health. Tribune-Herald.

Follow-Up Survey Shows Decline in Concern Over COVID-19. In less than two months, residents who viewed the virus as a “very serious” health concern has fallen from 73% to 54%, according to a follow-up survey commissioned by the Hawai‘i State Department of Health. Big Island Now.


Hawaii public schools to reopen with safeguards. Hawaii public schools will reopen with students and teachers on campus for the new school year, according to an agreement reached between the Board of Education and the teachers’ union. Star-Advertiser.

HSTA, DOE agree to key safety protocols for schools this fall. The Hawaii State Teachers Association says it has agreed on a deal with the state Department of Education to return to the classroom this upcoming school year. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Lawmakers, Superintendent Spar Over Plans For Schools' Fall Reopening. The state Department of Education is expected to issue its plans on how classes will run for the new school year on Thursday. But lawmakers say they are deeply concerned about the DOE’s lack of a clear financial proposal for the fall reopening. Hawaii Public Radio.

Teachers struggle to reach students during Hawaii schools’ shutdown. New survey results show that secondary school teachers in Hawaii had little success in keeping students on track academically after public schools shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic. Star-Advertiser.

Funds Proposed to Assist With Child Care Relief. The Chair of the Ways and Means Committee has proposed child care relief as an important part of the CARES Act federal funding initiative for Hawai‘i. Big Island Now.


Hawaii lawmakers approve public worker raises worth more than $150M. The state House and Senate on Friday approved public worker raises worth more than $150 million for tens of thousands of public employees even as hundreds of thousands of private sectors workers have lost their jobs, but lawmakers noted that public employees may still face furloughs or layoffs in the months ahead. Star-Advertiser.


COVID-19 Cases Among Pacific Islanders Surge In Hawaii. State health officials say Pacific Islanders are likely more at risk for the disease because they have high poverty rates and often live in overcrowded conditions. Nearly a quarter of all confirmed coronavirus cases in Hawaii involve Pacific Islanders, who make up just 4% of the state’s population. Civil Beat.

DOH: New cluster of COVID-19 identified, 27 new cases reported statewide. In a significant spike Sunday, the Department of Health reported 27 new cases statewide. Majority of those cases, 23, were on Oahu. Kauai had two, and Maui and Hawaii island each had a single case. Hawaii News Now.

Aggressive contact tracing by state identifies new COVID cases. A spike in COVID-19 case numbers on Sunday are largely due to a cluster of 17 Honolulu cases all associated with attending a funeral, according to the State’s Covid-19 joint information center. KHON2.

Hawaii health officials report 27 new coronavirus cases, including 17 associated with Oahu funeral. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaiʻi COVID-19 Updates For Sunday, June 28: Spike In Cases Reported. A spike in reported COVID-19 cases on Sunday is largely due to a cluster of 17 Honolulu cases, all associated with attending a funeral. Big Island Video News.


Oahu’s first in-person city operator to test positive drove a week with symptoms. A Honolulu bus operator, who has tested positive for COVID-19, continued to drive buses for about a week with symptoms of an illness before being tested for the virus Friday, a bus official said Sunday. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu city bus driver tests positive for COVID-19, officials confirm. A city bus driver is confirmed to have COVID-19, Honolulu city officials confirmed Sunday. Oahu Transit Services Inc. received confirmation Saturday night that the worker had tested positive. Hawaii News Now.

First in-service bus driver tests positive for COVID-19, TheBus confirmed. A bus operator for TheBus has tested positive for coronavirus, TheBus and TheHandi-Van confirmed on June 28. KHON2.

A driver for TheBus tests positive for COVID-19. A sick Oahu bus driver tested positive for COVID 19. KITV4.


Oahu vacation rental restrictions remain as other counties ease up.  Oahu’s vacation rentals are still sidelined by Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s emergency orders prohibiting them from operating as essential businesses. Star-Advertiser.


Honolulu police chief says department doesn’t need reforms despite recent spike in fatal shootings by officers. Despite the long list of changes in the works to comply with a presidential executive order and the anticipated passage by the state Legislature of police reform bills, Police Chief Susan Ballard said she doesn’t think those measures are necessary at the Honolulu Police Department. Star-Advertiser.

HPD Chief Says There’s Less Racial Bias In Hawaii. She’s Wrong. HPD data says Black, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities experience force at the hands of police at higher rates than white and Asian communities. Civil Beat.


‘It was hamajang’: East Oahu residents sue the city over shoddy road work. Niu Valley residents are suing to halt a road construction job, accusing the city of shoddy work. Hawaii News Now.

Union Workers Hope to Stop Job Cuts at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Union workers at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser offered a proposal to the company Thursday in the hopes of reaching an agreement to stop layoffs at Hawaiʻi’s largest newspaper, which are set to go into effect on Monday. Maui Now.

Some of Abigail Kawananakoa’s items are going up for auction. That’s raising concerns.  More than 400 items belonging to Hawaiian royalty descendant Abigail Kawananakoa are headed for the auction block. They include furniture, works of art, silverware and Polynesian artifacts like a Maori jade war club where bidding begins at $185 and a ceremonial stone ax which has a starting price of $104. Hawaii News Now.

University of Hawaii, Aloha Stadium considering social distancing measures for football games. Re-opening seating in the long-closed upper deck end zone sections is among the considerations as the University of Hawaii and Aloha Stadium study possible scenarios for social distancing this football season. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Council Resolution To Urge Young Brothers, PUC To Find Solutions. Hawaiʻi County Councilmembers Sue Lee Loy and Tim Richards want the parties to seek out sources of funding that will ensure long-term continuation of interisland cargo shipping in Hawai‘i. Big Island Video News.

Ige’s Big Island Hawaiian Homes Commission nominee scrutinized. After the Big Island’s second seat on the Hawaiian Homes Commission sat vacant for more than a year, Gov. David Ige’s pick to fill that post has encountered resistance in the state Senate. West Hawaii Today.

Commissioners at odds over Kealakehe sewer plant. A delay in design plans for the $75 million Kealakehe Wastewater Treatment Plant frustrated members of the county Environmental Management Commission, who grilled the administration Wednesday about why the county can’t simply stop illegal discharges altogether. West Hawaii Today.

Kona Circuit Court Judge Melvin Fujino announces retirement. After 31 years in government service, 3rd Circuit Court Judge Melvin Fujino has announced his retirement and is ready to open a new chapter in his life. West Hawaii Today.

Big Isle nursing homes still virus free. Clusters of COVID-19 have been found in nursing homes on Oahu, but the Big Island’s long-term care facilities have so far remained free of the disease and are continuing their efforts to keep it out. Tribune-Herald.


High court rules in favor of county on timeshare taxes. The Hawaii Supreme Court issued a ruling in favor of Maui County in a seven-year-old lawsuit over the county’s timeshare property tax classification, a decision which removes the risk of the county paying $34 million or more in damages. Maui News.

Mayor Victorino Authorizes Deferral of 10% Penalty on Real Property Taxes Due Aug. 20. Mayor Michael Victorino has authorized a one-time deferral of the 10 percent penalty for Real Property Taxes due on Aug. 20, 2020, because of the financial impacts of COVID-19. Maui Now.

State set to reopen Hana Highway to public. The road to Hana, known for its picturesque views, bridges and hairpin turns, is now a flashpoint with the state planning to reopen access to East Maui to the general public Wednesday. Maui News.

Options to remove unexploded ordnances off Molokini stir community concern. The state says two World War II era bombs were discovered off the islet, and have been there for about 70 years. Activists say they were told the state and U.S. Navy planned to detonate the ordnances, which they fear would have damaging impacts on the wildlife above and below the water’s surface. Hawaii News Now.

Maui TV and film production: a Hollywood happy ending? There’s a lot of talk in Hawaii about diversifying the economy in the wake of the COVID-19 disaster. Nowhere is that talk louder than on Maui, where unemployment figures are some of the highest in the nation due to the island’s hyper-dependence on the battered and bruised tourism industry. Star-Advertiser.


Kauai County, Expedia partners to advertise legal vacation rentals to visitors. The County of Kauai and Expedia Group are partnering up to advertise legal vacation rentals to visitors. KHON2.

It’s official: Jean Morris is CKMS principal. Jean Morris starts as the new principal of Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School on July 1. Garden Island.


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