Friday, June 26, 2020

Ige cautions Hawaii residents about traveling, identity thieves steal $16M in unemployment benefits, bill gives counties power over vacation rentals, requires traveler disclosures, Supreme Court punts Deedy case, more news from all the Hawaiian islands

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State Gives 14 Reasons For Commercial Aquarium Permit FEIS Rejection. In an official "non-acceptance" of the final environmental impact statement, the State of Hawaiʻi DLNR detailed the reasons for its decision. Big Island Video News.

Hawai‘i Defers 3% Tariff Increase at State Harbors. The Hawai‘i Department of Transportation Harbors Division will defer the scheduled 3% tariff increase on the orders of Governor David Ige. Big Island Now.


Vacation rental bill gives counties subpoena power. A gut-and-replace bill to be heard today would give counties more authority — including subpoena power — over transient vacation rental platforms. In addition, the bill requires all travelers entering a county to submit and confirm the complete physical address of their place of stay. West Hawaii Today.

State senators to introduce bill that would require Hawaii's visitors to document where they'll be staying. Each county would also be able to issue subpoenas to get specific information about properties in Hawaii listed as short term rentals. KITV4.

Hawaii vacation rentals continued to struggle in May amid lockdowns. Vacation rental accommodations, even the legal ones, were economically decimated again in May amid COVID-19 fears and tourism lockdowns. Star-Advertiser.


$15.8 Million in Potentially Fraudulent Unemployment Claims Detected by State Labor Department. The state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations has detected $15,829,889 of potentially fraudulent claims paid out as of June 24.  In addition, the department reportedly blocked $76,644,808 in possible fraudulent PUA payments. Maui Now.

Identity thieves have stolen at least $15.8M in Hawaii jobless benefits ... and probably much more. Scammers are hammering Hawaii’s unemployment system and have netted at least $15.8 million in fraudulent jobless benefits, the state revealed Thursday. Hawaii News Now.

$15 million in state unemployment funds paid to fraudulent claims. Weeks ago, the state was alerted to fraudulent claims connected to the Pandemic Unemployment Program or PUA. KHON2.

$16M in Hawaii unemployment benefits possibly lost to fraud. Nearly $16 million in Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefits in Hawaii may have been lost to fraud and identity theft, the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations reported today. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Pays $15.8M For Potentially Fraudulent Jobless Claims . Hawaii said Thursday it paid $15.8 million in benefits for potentially fraudulent jobless claims under a U.S. government program providing funds to independent contractors and self-employed individuals unable to work because of the coronavirus pandemic. Associated Press.


Judge: Feds Can’t Intervene In Quarantine Challenge. The Hawaii attorney general’s office says the development is a small victory in the case. A federal judge won’t allow the Justice Department to intervene in a case challenging Hawaii’s 14-day mandatory quarantine for people traveling to Hawaii. Civil Beat.


Lieutenant governor expects big jump in visitor numbers after testing allows skipping quarantine. State officials, including Lt. Gov. Josh Green, are confident that the state can accept more visitors while avoiding a spike in coronavirus cases. Hawaii News Now.

As states across the country see a rise in coronavirus cases, some Hawaii healthcare professionals are cautious of 'premature reopenings'. Several states are showing a dramatic and dangerous increase in confirmed cases. KITV4.

Gov: Hawaii residents still shouldn’t travel when tourism opens. Gov. David Ige says he still does not think it’s a good idea for Hawaii residents to travel just for fun. It seems contradictory because he’s asking visitors to travel here. KHON2.

Hawaii officials and the tourism industry get ready for the return of out-of-state travelers. While visitor volumes aren’t expected to be anywhere near where they were at this time last year, there are signs that some demand is returning and Hawaii had best get ready. Star-Advertiser.

Officials say marketing Hawaii to tourists will probably be different. Now that Governor David Ige is re-opening Hawaii to tourism under certain conditions, how are companies going to entice people to travel to Hawaii again? KHON2.

With cautious optimism, Hawaii hotels prepare for tourism’s return. Those in the hotel industry say they’ve never seen anything like this, but they’re hopeful for the tourism relaunch later this summer. Hawaii News Now.

Union organizes mass COVID-19 testing for hospitality workers, it calls on employers to follow suit. The union leaders of Unite Here Local Five said they are stepping-up where hotel employers are not, they are organizing mass COVID-19 testing for hospitality workers and their families this Saturday in anticipation of tourism reopening. KHON2.

How will the pandemic impact Hawaii’s real estate market? Experts disagree. The pandemic is slowing down another important sector of Hawaii’s economy: Real estate. And at least one expert is predicting a steep drop in home prices. Hawaii News Now.

Military In Hawaii Copes With Pandemic Challenges. The military declines to say how many Hawaii-based troops have been infected, but it has put restrictions on both daily operations and training efforts. Civil Beat.


Free parking and other perks for EVs set to expire by end of June. Free parking for electric vehicles at state airports, along with other perks that have been in place for the past eight years, are set to expire at the end of the month, state officials said. Star-Advertiser.

John Radcliffe starts saying goodbye and other things. John Radcliffe’s days are booked up with what he calls “last lunch” appointments. Radcliffe, 78, the former high-profile union leader and bulldog lobbyist, has known his cancer was terminal since his diagnosis in 2014. Star-Advertiser.

UH-DOH looking to hire contact tracers. As the number of COVID-19 cases throughout Hawai'i continues to rise, the University of Hawai'i-Hawai'i State Department of Health (UH-DOH) Contact Tracing Program is looking for full-time contact tracers. KITV4.

Hawaii records 16 new coronavirus cases as statewide total reaches 850. Hawaii recorded 16 new coronavirus cases today, as the statewide total of infections since the start of the outbreak rose to 850, state Department of Health officials said in their daily midday count. Star-Advertiser.

DOH Reports 16 New COVID-19 Cases Thursday. Big Island Now.


Scheduled 2025 opening date for 20-mile rail line being pushed into 2026.  The head of the Honolulu rail authority acknowledged Thursday that the entire 20-mile rail line will not actually open as scheduled by the end of 2025, saying the authority now expects the $9.2 billion project to open a few months later, in March 2026. Star-Advertiser.


U.S. Supreme Court won’t hear federal agent Christopher Deedy’s Waikiki shooting case. The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to hear a case over whether a federal agent should face a third trial over a fatal 2011 shooting in a Waikiki McDonald’s restaurant. Star-Advertiser.

U.S. Supreme Court Declines To Hear Appeal In Deedy Case. Honolulu prosecutor says he will still pursue an assault case. Civil Beat.

Supreme Court declines to hear appeal in Christopher Deedy trial. The U.S. Supreme Court will not hear a motion tied to the trial of federal agent Christopher Deedy. KHON2.

U.S. Supreme Court will not hear case of Federal Agent Christopher Deedy. The U.S. Supreme Court will not hear the case of a federal agent who shot and killed a man at a Waikiki McDonalds in 2011. KITV4.

Why is the gate at this popular trail closed? The state can’t afford to have someone open it. The Makapuu Point Lighthouse Trail continues to draw large numbers of hikers on weekdays ― even though no one can park in the trail’s parking lot. Hawaii News Now.


Head of Damien Memorial School ousted hours after reports of widespread staff dismissals. The head of Damien Memorial School was relieved of his duties on Thursday, hours after it was reported that he had dismissed as many as 20 of the school’s faculty and staff members. Hawaii News Now.

Damien Memorial School president will not return after dismissing football, basketball coaches. Damien Memorial School has released its football and boys basketball coaches and reassigned its athletic director in a shakeup involving as many as 20 employees. Star-Advertiser.

Letter to staff reveals that Damien Memorial School president will not return to the job. Brother Brian Walsh had been the school’s president for the last 18 months. KHON2.


COVID-19 Quarantine Facility Links Homeless To Range Of Services. A new study says a similar approach could save the state money by providing a place where the homeless, the mentally ill and others can get help without going to the ER. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Island

Kim authorizes swimming pools, bars, campsites to reopen. Public swimming pools, campsites and bars will be the next to reopen and some organized sports can resume under a new emergency rule issued Thursday by Mayor Harry Kim. Tribune-Herald.

Mayor’s New COVID Rule Allows Pools, Bars, Certain Campsites To Reopen. Under Mayor Harry Kim's latest rule, organized sports may resume but with restrictions, and nightclubs must remain closed. Big Island Video News.

Big Island Bars, Public Pools Get Nod to Reopen. Hawai‘i County bars and public pools can begin to reopen Thursday. Camping sites will open gradually in the coming weeks and outdoor organized sports will begin restarting in phases. Big Island Now.


Funds Awarded To Innovative Hawaii Island Ag Projects. Kamehameha Schools and the Ulupono Initiative have awarded $50,000 to the winners of the MahiX open innovation challenge. Big Island Video News.

Community meeting addresses missing children. Scores of socially distanced people filled the parking lot at the Umeke’s location under construction at Pawai Place on Wednesday evening. West Hawaii Today.

Emotion Runs High at Informal Gathering to Discuss Sex Trafficking. Passions ran high and opinions flowed freely at an informal public meeting Wednesday to discuss concerns about sex trafficking on the Big Island. Big Island Now.


Maui County Gears Up for “Substantial” Return of Visitors. The County of Maui is gearing up for a “substantial” return of visitors as the state begins offering a pre-travel testing program on August 1st for trans-Pacific travelers as an alternative to the 14-day mandatory quarantine. Maui Now.

Maui Draft Hazard Mitigation Plan Nears Completion. The County of Maui will share its draft Hazard Mitigation Plan with the public in a Zoom meeting from noon to 1 p.m. June 30, 2020. Maui Now.

Hāna Highway Local Access Restriction Continues Through June 30; Full Access Allowed on July 1. The local access restriction for Hāna Highway (Route 360) between Kapakalua Road and Hāna Town will remain in place through June 30, 2020, according to an update issued today from the Hawaiʻi Department of Transportation. Maui Now.

Hale Makua is hoping to build skilled nursing, rehab facilities. Project not yet proposed, but county seeking zoning changes to prepare for expansion on park acreage. Maui News.


Four new virus cases confirmed on Kaua‘i. Health officials identified another household with positive cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, resulting in four new positive cases on the island and bringing the confirmed positive total up to 12. Garden Island.

Kauai Residents Scored Big At This Unusual Community Garage Sale — Even A Baby Grand Piano. Operators of a luxury resort hotel under renovation decided to give its used furnishings away to a number of nonprofits. Civil Beat.


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