Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Officials question readiness to reopen Hawaii to travelers, Ige to pick Supreme Court justice, film and TV production restarting, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands


Hawaii Supreme Court building
Hawaii Supreme Court building ©2020 All Hawaii News

Gov. David Ige Mulling Over His First Hawaii Supreme Court Nominee. The governor’s choice will likely be vetted by the Senate in November. Civil Beat.

State Supreme Court Nominees to be Considered.
Gov. David Ige has received a list of four nominees from the Judicial Selection Commission for Associate Justice on the Supreme Court. Big Island Now.

Governor’s office seeks input on nominees for state Supreme Court. The Judicial Selection Commission sent Ige a list of four names for associate justice on the Supreme Court. The names include: Todd W. Eddins, David M. Forman, Darolyn Lendio Heim and Benjamin E. Lowenthal. Hawaii News Now.


Contact Tracing Program Continues To Struggle, Despite Additional Staff. The Hawaii Department of Heath’s troubled contact tracing program is reporting new issues, even after an influx of new staff. Hawaii Public Radio.

Trans-Pacific travel: Ready for prime time? Kim says no.
With just two weeks remaining to get it all together, Hawaii’s pretest trans-Pacific travel plan is not ready for prime time, Mayor Harry Kim said Tuesday, a sentiment echoed by two recent travelers to the Big Island. West Hawaii Today.

Mayor Kawakami wants all visitors to take a COVID-19 test after arriving on Kaua'i Mayor Kawakami sent a proposal for a post-arrival test program to Governor David Ige that would require visitors to get tested within 72 hours after arrival in order to avoid a 14-day quarantine, if Governor Ige grants his permission. KITV4.

Councilman calls on the governor to prove Hawaii is ready to welcome back visitors. A city council member and some residents are calling on the governor to show the state can handle the launch of Hawaii’s trans-pacific travel program. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Prepares For Tourism Increase On October 15. Plans to carefully reopen Hawaiʻi to tourism were discussed on Monday during a virtual meeting of the Hawaiʻi House Select Committee on COVID-19 Economic and Financial Preparedness. Big Island Video News.

More hotels announce reopening dates after pre-travel testing takes effect. More hotels have announced plans to reopen after the Oct. 15 pre-travel testing program takes effect, but even with more rooms online, some in the lodging industry are keeping low expectations on the number of visitors. KHON2.


State: More than 40,000 Hawaii residents have lost private health insurance amid pandemic. According to the state Department of Human Services, enrollment in the state Med-Quest or Medicaid program has jumped 13% to a record 376,000 residents ― from 333,000 in September 2019. Hawaii News Now.

How to register for the Department of Education's virtual job fair on Wednesday. The DOE is looking to fill roughly 400 teacher positions for the current school year at a virtual job fair taking place on Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. KITV4.

Despite $420M loan, Hawaiian Airlines job cuts loom. Hawaiian Airlines got a lifeline worth up to $420 million on Tuesday from the Treasury Department, but the CARES Act loan alone won’t stave off the more than 2,500 job reductions that are anticipated at the state’s largest airline. Star-Advertiser.

COVID-19 Is Revealing Problems With How Hawaii’s Government Uses Data. There doesn’t seem to be a clear data strategy for the virus response. Civil Beat.

Hawai‘i Film, TV Production Restarting Despite Pandemic.There are definite signs of life in Hawai'i's film industry. Season three of "Magnum PI" is underway, and other productions are shooting on Hawai'i island and Maui. Hawaii Public Radio.

State plan would dish out free restaurant meals for the unemployed. Unemployed residents and struggling restaurants in Hawaii could soon share $67 million in federal coronavirus aid under a new state plan. Star-Advertiser.

A new program could allow those out of work to eat at restaurants for free. A new program is in the works to help Hawaii’s jobless families and restaurants. Those out of work would eat for free and the federal government would pick up the tab. Hawaii News Now.


PBS Hawaii President and CEO Leslie Wilcox stepping down. Wilcox, a lifelong Hawaii resident who has been at the helm of the public television station since 2007, will relocate to San Antonio to be with an ailing family member. Star-Advertiser.

Leslie Wilcox stepping down as president, CEO of PBS Hawaii after 14 years. Wilcox leaves behind a 48-year legacy of shaping local media in the islands. Hawaii News Now.

Leslie Wilcox to step down as President and CEO of PBS Hawaii. After 14 years, the President and CEO of PBS Hawai’i, Leslie Wilcox, announced she will be stepping down from her position. KHON2.


VIRUS TRACKER — Sept. 29: 87 New COVID-19 Cases And 2 Deaths. Hawaii health officials reported 87 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, including three in Hawaii County, two on Maui, and two out of state. Civil Beat.


Group of bar owners planning to sue city and Mayor for keeping bars closed. The Hawaii Bar Owner's Association says it is planning legal action to force city to let them open again. KITV4.

HPD Crime-Solving Record Is The Worst Its Been In At Least 40 Years. HPD won’t talk about it, but FBI data shows Honolulu has one of the worst records in the country when it comes to solving property crimes as well as violent crimes. Civil Beat.

TheHandi-Van users want fare increase delayed. Testifiers and users of TheHandi-Van voiced support for increasing the fare to ride, but said it should not be implemented now when many people are struggling from the COVID-19 outbreak in Honolulu. Star-Advertiser.

Liliha Healthcare Center tracks COVID-19 cluster with 27 infections reported. The Liliha Healthcare Center reported Tuesday night that 21 residents and six staff have tested positive for coronavirus. Hawaii News Now.

Liliha nursing home hit with coronavirus outbreak. A Liliha nursing home is scrambling to contain a COVID-19 outbreak that has so far sickened 21 residents and six staff members. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Army: State Needs To Renew Lease For Big Island Training Area.
Artillery is playing an increasingly prominent role in global conflicts, but opponents say the training there threatens environment and community health. Civil Beat.

$2.2 Million For Ahalanui Park, Taken By Lava In 2018. The new FEMA money may be used to restore the park at its current location, or at an alternate site, U.S. Senator Brian Schatz says. Big Island Video News.

$2.2M heading to Hawaii County to restore park destroyed in 2018 eruption
. More federal funding is heading to Hawaii Island to continue recovery efforts from the 2018 Kilauea eruption. Hawaii News Now.

Hopeful in Honokaa: Businesses struggle with lack of visitors, eye Oct. 15 reopening. A mandatory 14-day quarantine for trans-Pacific travelers has all but eliminated out-of-state visitors to the former plantation town, and many business owners wonder how long they can hang on. Tribune-Herald.

Palani Road work nearing completion. Palani Road is anticipated to return to two-lane travel between Kailua Pier and Kuakini Highway next week. West Hawaii Today.

Kim still hopeful breakwater study can start soon.
An investigation into whether alterations to the Hilo Bay breakwater can improve the bay’s water quality might still go forward next month despite COVID-related disruptions. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii Island Voters Will Decide 16 County Charter Amendments.
The issues include County Council term lengths and giving the council and certain boards more disciplinary powers. Civil Beat.


Temptation Island Starts Filming This Week, Two Other Productions Planned on Maui. Maui Film Commissioner Tracy Bennett provided an update on the production of the reality TV show, Temptation Island, which starts filming this week at the Andaz Maui at Wailea resort. Maui Now.

Two more projects to film on Maui. Two more productions will film in paradise against the backdrop of the pandemic, joining the reality show “Temptation Island,” which starts filming this week on Maui. Maui News.

Hospital worker who was critical of facility’s administration fired. An outspoken Maui Memorial Medical Center nurse who has criticized the hospital’s handling of two COVID-19 outbreaks as well as its virus protocols for staff and patients has been terminated. Maui News.

Community rallies around longtime Haiku teacher. Monica Nakahashi placed on leave while investigation pending. Maui News.


Mayor: Kaua’i aims for upscale tourism. Mayor Derek Kawakami participated in a five-person-panel, Zoom discussion Tuesday, “Restarting Hawai‘i’s Tourism Industry.” Garden Island.

Planning Department front counter closed. The county Planning Department’s front counter at the Kapule Building in the Lihu‘e Civic Center is closed now through Monday, Oct. 12, while the area undergoes construction. Garden Island.

Cases not infectious while traveling. Investigation the state Department of Health made into the two active COVID-19 cases on Kaua‘i gives officials confidence neither was infectious during travel. Garden Island.

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Hawaii mulls restaurant food cards for jobless, class action lawsuit seeks faster unemployment checks, investigators find no motive in Pearl Harbor mass shooting, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Ala Moana food court pre-pandemic
Ala Moana food court pre-pandemic ©2020 All Hawaii News

New Program: Hawaii’s Unemployed Could Eat For Free At Local Restaurants. The Ige administration has tentatively budgeted $66.6 million in federal stimulus funds to help the jobless and local restaurants at the same time. Civil Beat.

Class-Action Suit Seeks Prompt Payments For Hawaii’s Jobless. The lawsuit asks the Hawaii Supreme Court to push for swifter state action on thousands of unemployment claims. Civil Beat.

House Speaker Saiki: Gov. Ige needs to increase availability for the press. There’s growing calls for the Governor to increase his public communication and availability to the media. Hawaii News Now.

Can Hawaii Republicans Gain Ground In The Senate This Year? Republicans are looking to recapture one Senate seat and hold on to another in the Nov. 3 general election, which could mark the first time in a decade that the GOP has held more than a single seat in the 25-member chamber. Civil Beat.

Pandemic Exacerbating Hawaii’s Housing Affordability Problem. Low interest rates, combined with changing social and professional norms, are driving demand for homes, and prices, upward. Hawaii Public Radio.

UHERO forecasts state’s economic future. Hawai‘i’s economic forecast continues to look grimmer as the pandemic persists, and one forecast compares two different projections. Garden Island.

Tourist promotion stresses values of community and safety. In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic, has created urgency to get the public safety messaging right while making sure not to discourage visitors from coming to Hawaii. Also, top of mind, is reassuring residents that tourism is good for Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.

Visitor arrivals down 69% for 1st 8 months of 2020; nearly 98% drop in August. Only 22,344 visitors flew into Hawaii in August, a nearly 98% monthly drop in arrivals that widened year-to-date losses to 69% for the first eight months of this year. Star-Advertiser.

The COVID-19 pandemic considerably impacted visitor arrivals to the Hawaiian Islands in August 2020. Visitor arrivals dropped 97.6% compared to a year ago, according to preliminary statistics released by the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority’s (HTA) Tourism Research Division. Big Island Now.

LG Josh Green: Updated COVID-19 data supports case for opening interisland travel
on Oct 15. Each mayor will decide terms for lifting interisland travel quarantine for their county. Green believes limited testing can be available for interisland travelers. KITV4.

Hawaii Has A Plan To Restart Tourism Safely. Will It Work? The state’s pre-travel testing program is set to launch next month, but other destinations with similar programs have struggled to keep COVID-19 cases from spiking. Civil Beat.

Travelers lax with follow-ups: Officials working to educate visitors about requirements ahead of reopening. Despite spending more than $150 million on traveler screening and contact tracing, state officials say contact tracers have only received meaningful responses from about 50% of travelers. Tribune-Herald.

Gaps cited in state pre-travel COVID-19 tests, contact tracing. Testing Hawaii tourists for COVID-19 before they arrive, and tracing contacts of people with the virus, may not be as effective as the general public might think. Star-Advertiser.

Majority of people reached by contact tracers do not cooperate. The state is still ramping up its contact tracing program. But it’s now running into a new problem: Getting information on close contacts from positive patients. Hawaii News Now.

State's pre-travel testing program launches in 17 days. Hawaii Pacific Health CEO Raymond Vara told lawmakers on Monday that the state now has 286 contact tracers, which is more than the recommended number to help stop the spread of the virus. KITV4.

400 Hawaii residents are among 44,000 participants worldwide selected for Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine trial. The vaccine candidate, dubbed “BNT162,” is currently being tested in a trial. The initial recruitment goal of 30,000 individuals has since increased to 44,000 participants worldwide. KHON2.

VIRUS TRACKER — Sept. 28: 90 New COVID-19 Cases, All On Oahu. No deaths were reported Monday. Civil Beat.


Keith Amemiya mocks Rick Blangiardi for initially declining TV debates. Mayoral candidate Keith Amemiya on Monday called out his opponent, former television executive Rick Blangiardi, for initially declining two televised debates. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Mayor Candidates Debate Whether To Debate. Blangiardi agreed to a KITV4 debate after Amemiya called him out. Blangardi suggested the change of plans was unrelated. Civil Beat.

Tension between city and HART could lead to more costly rail delays.
The growing conflict between Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s administration and the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation -- which came to a head last week when the city canceled its participation in the final leg of the rail project -- is threatening to cause further delays and cost overruns. Hawaii News Now.

Officials puzzled by city’s withdrawal from rail plan. The city’s unexpected withdrawal from a public- private partnership for the troubled rail project means that the incoming mayor and the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation likely will have to seek yet another extension from federal officials to keep the project moving. Star-Advertiser.

UH to offer free job retraining courses to unemployed workers.
The city has partnered with UH community colleges to offer workforce development training to thousands of unemployed workers on Oahu. Hawaii News Now.

Coaches, pediatricians think youth sports can resume while Caldwell won’t budge. By Mayor Caldwell’s metrics organized outdoor sports are closed until tier four, and won’t be allowed until Dec. 17 at the earliest. KHON2.


Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard shooter was troubled, report says. Navy investigators failed to uncover the reason submarine sailor Gabriel A. Romero suddenly and without warning opened fire while on duty at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard last Dec. 4, killing two civilian employees and wounding a third before turning his M-9 pistol on himself. Star-Advertiser.

Pearl Harbor Shooting Investigation Finds Deeper Mental Health Concerns Among Submarine Crew. The struggles of the sailor who shot three civilians and then himself last year were overlooked in part because his challenges were not unusual. Civil Beat.

Report: Shipyard shooter’s history of mental health, behavioral issues failed to raise alarms. An inquiry into the December 2019 shooting at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard that left two civilians dead has highlighted a series of failures that allowed the gunman access to military firearms despite a history of worrisome incidents and mental health issues. Hawaii News Now.

Investigators ‘did not establish any motive’ in last year’s Pearl Harbor shooting but find risk factors went unidentified. The U.S. Navy has released its final report into December’s deadly shooting at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard. KHON2.


EPA slaps Oahu refrigerated food warehouse with fine. Hawaii’s largest refrigerated food warehouse has reached a settlement with the Environmental Protection Agency. The Unicold Corporation will pay a $210,000 fine for alleged violations of the of the federal Clean Air Act. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu refrigerated food warehouse found in violation of health and safety regulations.  food refrigeration corporation violated the Federal Clean Air Act after an inspection revealed that its Honolulu warehouse failed to meet several health and safety regulations, again. KHON2.

Hawaii Island

Daniel K. Inouye Highway extension put ‘on hold’. The state Department of Transportation said Monday it placed the $90 million project that will extend the cross-island route, known colloquially as Saddle Road, from its current terminus at Mamalahoa Highway to Queen Kaahumanu Highway “on hold” due to a lack of funding sources — both state and federal. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii family shares struggle dealing with Hilo veterans home. Asterio “Terry” Canda, 80, had a mild stroke and was admitted on Aug. 22 into the Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home in Hilo for speech and physical therapy. Star-Advertiser.


$5M allotted to help struggling Maui businesses adapt to COVID-19-related restrictions. It's called the "Adaptability Fund," and it's meant to help business owners do just that, by offering businesses the opportunity to invest in technology to expand online marketing and sales. KITV4.

HTA: Maui Had 2,341 Visitors in August Versus 273,638 a Year Ago.
In August, total visitor days fell 96.8 percent in Maui County from a year ago. There were 2,341 visitors to Maui in August versus 273,638 visitors a year ago, according to a new report released by the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority. Maui Now.

Maui vacation rental occupancy logs in at 9.8 percent for month of August. Maui County vacation rentals logged 9.8 percent occupancy in August, which was close to the hotel rate of 8.6 percent for the month, the Hawaii Tourism Authority reported Thursday. Maui News.

Longhi’s Wailea getting ready to reopen Friday. Longhi’s Wailea will reopen Friday following six months of closure, with plans to hire more front and back of house staff. Maui News.


Kaua‘i COVID cases Mainland linked. The two active cases on Kaua‘i are both linked to Mainland travel, but the county is clarifying that neither were infectious during travel, Kaua‘i District Health Officer Dr. Janet Berreman said Monday. Garden Island.

Jails to conduct testing; Kaua‘i staff negative. The broad-based testing at the neighbor island jails is beginning with the staff. Garden Island.

Kalaheo gets specialty clinic. The Specialty Clinic at Kalaheo celebrated a soft opening, Monday under physician Dr. Alyssa Murata and Physician Assistant Erin Carrington. Garden Island.

Monday, September 28, 2020

Arizona Memorial reopens today, officials scramble to fix Safe Travels bugs before trans-Pacific flights resume, Proud Boy House candidate loses Facebook page, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

USS Arizona Memorial
USS Arizona Memorial PC:NPS

 Arizona Memorial reopens Monday; other Pearl Harbor Historic Sites remain closed. The National Park Service will offer a 30-minute program, consisting of a brief orientation from NPS staff, followed by a boat ride to the memorial on U.S. Navy vessels. Star-Advertiser.

USS Arizona Memorial will resume tours on Sept. 28.
The National Park Service will resume its tours to the USS Arizona Memorial on Monday, Sept. 28. KHON2.

Officials scramble to fix bugs in Safe Travels before more travelers return to Hawaii. There are just 18 days to go before the Oct. 15 start of the state’s pre-arrival testing program. Yet officials are still working out the kinks of Safe Travels,, the online application that collects traveler information needed to enforce public safety measures related to the coronavirus. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Has A Plan To Restart Tourism Safely.
Will It Work? The state’s pre-travel testing program is set to launch next month, but other destinations with similar programs have struggled to keep COVID-19 cases from spiking. Civil Beat.

Trans-Pacific travel set to resume soon, but inter-island travel plans still unclear.
With a significant drop in active COVID-19 cases reported Saturday, Lt. Gov. Josh Green feels it is safe to lift the inter-island quarantine rule for travelers. Hawaii News Now.

New health director Dr. Libby Char warns of coronavirus double threat.
Hawaii’s new Health Director Libby Char is urging the public to remain vigilant during the upcoming flu season that health experts predict could be the worst in years due to the prevalence of COVID-19 in the community. Star-Advertiser.

Potential COVID-19 vaccine being developed at UH. As government leaders continue to try to find the balance between public health and opening the economy, experts are trying to produce COVID-19 vaccines. KHON2.

Facebook deletes campaign page of 'Proud Boy' running for Hawaii House seat. In less than five weeks, voters in Hawaii House District 22, which covers Waikiki, Ala Moana, and Kakaako on Oahu will decide between Democrat Adrian Tam and Republican Nick Ochs to represent them at the State Capitol. KITV4.

Board of Ed Settles Sunshine Lawsuit, Will Rehear Petition.
The state Board of Education on Thursday agreed to reconsider a Kahuku resident’s petition for a new rule that would require the Hawaii Department of Education to hold school community meetings over proposed development near a school or library. Civil Beat.

Preschools seek to reassure parents amid enrollment drop in Hawaii. Preschools in Hawaii are back in action with strict protocols to keep children and staff safe from the coronavirus, but enrollment has dropped substantially. Star-Advertiser.

2 more medical marijuana dispensaries given the green light for business. The state has approved two more cannabis dispensaries in the islands. Hawaii News Now.

VIRUS TRACKER — Sept. 27: 98 New COVID-19 Cases And 1 Death In Hawaii. The Department of Health’s dashboard shows there are 1,829 active cases of COVID-19 in Hawaii and that it’s trending downward. Civil Beat.


How Honolulu’s Mayoral Candidates Would Tackle The Pandemic. Blangiardi and Amemiya both would have done things different than the Caldwell administration but they differ most on the role of police. Civil Beat.

Visitors to Oahu will face confusing COVID-19 restrictions. The first visitors to arrive on Oahu under the pre-arrivals testing program will face a long list of restrictions along with their sun, sand and surf. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu residents flock to beaches as city reopens outdoor spaces to small groups. It’s the first weekend since Mayor Kirk Caldwell allowed people on Oahu to congregate in small groups outdoors, and the island’s busy beaches Saturday showed they were eager to do just that. Star-Advertiser.

Plans to close Dillingham Airfield back on track, worrying struggling businesses. Lawmakers and community leaders are urging the state to save the Dillingham Airfield. Hawaii News Now.

The fate of Dillingham Airfield is still in the air. A popular North Shore operation is facing a forced shut down once again. KHON2.

Koolau Golf Club to close permanently due to coronavirus pandemic. A spokesperson for the Koolau Golf Club announced Friday that the course would close permanently on Sept. 30 because of economic hardships suffered during the coronavirus pandemic. Hawaii News Now.

Work on King Street's bus-only lane begins Monday. The City and County of Honolulu's Department of Transportation Services is starting construction work on a new bus-only lane on King Street on Monday. KITV4.

OCCC Tests Show 19 Positives After Outbreak Declared Contained. The state Department of Public Safety reported 10 inmates tested positive for COVID-19 following another round of testing at the Oahu Community Correctional Center. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii Island

No CARES campaigning: Council members directed to distance themselves from coronavirus relief funds. Almost $1 million in federal coronavirus relief funds the County Council is disbursing to businesses and community groups has caused some consternation as the county administration tries to ensure donations follow federal laws and don’t look like political campaigning. West Hawaii Today.

Avalon ousted as private managers of troubled Hilo veterans home grappling with outbreak. After the deaths of 26 people at the Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home in Hilo, the private healthcare agency charged with the facility’s management is being replaced by the state, Mayor Harry Kim said Friday. Hawaii News Now.

Management Changed At Hilo’s COVID-Ravaged Yukio Okutsu Veterans Home.
Avalon Health Care Group will no longer operate the home where 26 residents who were infected with COVID-19 have died, the Hawai`i Health Systems Corporation announced. Big Island Video News.

Still in the race: Two County Council seats remain undecided. While the primary election settled most of the County Council races last month, two seats remain in question heading into the Nov. 3 general election. West Hawaii Today.

DHHL moving forward on Villages of La’i ‘Opua project. Though progress has been sluggish for years, the Department of Hawaiian Homelands’ Villages of La’i ‘Opua project in Kealakehe is slowly inching toward beginning construction of homes in Village 4. West Hawaii Today.

DHHL Presents Hawaii Island Homestead Projects Update. The update included new information on projects in Honomū, Kaumana, Panaʻewa, LaʻiʻŌpua, Kawaihae, and water projects in Kaʻū and Honokaia. Big Island Video News.

WARN notices paint grim picture: Larger BI employers furloughed or laid off nearly 6,000 workers. Large businesses operating on the Big Island have indefinitely furloughed thousands of employees since the COVID-19 pandemic began, according to records filed with the state Department of Labor. Tribune-Herald.


New grant to help businesses adapt to ‘new normal’. Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino announced Friday the launch of a program that will help local small businesses adjust to the “new normal” and survive the financial impacts caused by COVID-19. Maui News.

Shane Sinenci defends seat in rematch vs. Claire Carroll. A longtime schoolteacher turned council member and the daughter of a former elected official looking to write her own story are facing off once more for the Maui County Council’s East Maui residency seat. Maui News.

Blue Water Task Force Reports High Bacteria Levels at Ho‘okipa, Waiehu, Waihe‘e and Wailuku.
Waters at Wailuku River, Waiehu Stream, the west end of Hoʻokipa Beach Park, and Waiʻehu Beach Park had high levels of enterococcus bacteria, according to samples taken on Sept. 24, as part of a citizen scientist program conducted by the Surfrider Foundation. Maui Now.

Organizers, community saddened over no fair. Sadness and disappointment filled the hearts of Maui Fair leaders, organizers and participants, who would normally be busy preparing for the county’s largest event held annually around this time. Maui News.


Princeville Glamping Project Would Require Affordable Housing. Developers of a proposed 50-unit luxury camping resort that would be built on what is now a golf course backed away slightly Saturday from what critics in the community have charged amounts to opening the way for massive new development here. Civil Beat.

Residents oppose possible westside resort bill. During the process of creating the 2018 Kaua‘i General Plan, the community spoke out in opposition to more resorts. However, 60 acres on the Westside was labeled “provisional,” to be determined through the West Kaua‘i Community Plan. Garden Island.

Coronavirus Relief Funds Are Helping These Workers Train For New Careers. More than 300 people applied for 24 openings in a job training program for Kauai residents who lost work due to the coronavirus. Civil Beat.

KPD honors criminologists. Kaua‘i Police Department leaders
and Mayor Derek Kawakami last week recognized Forensic Science Week by holding a small ceremony for KPD criminologists who are instrumental in helping to solve island crimes. Garden Island.


Lanai resort workers to return to jobs beginning of next month. Furloughed Lanai resorts workers will return to their jobs at the beginning of October, following the announcement of a COVID-19 pre-testing program for trans-Pacific travelers to bypass quarantine, said a top Pulama Lana’i official Thursday. Garden Island.

Friday, September 25, 2020

Hawaii studies mask use, economic rebound not expected for many months, UH football to resume, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Grocery shopping in Hawaii
Grocery shopping in Hawaii during COVID-19 ©2020 All Hawaii News

Hawaii leads effort in study of mask use. Hawaii is breaking ground in trying to stop the spread of COVID-19. Officials said that it is the first state to track the percentage of residents wearing masks in public. KHON2.

Significant 2021 Hawaii economy rebound not in the forecast. Hawaii residents should not expect any meaningful broad recovery in the state economy until the middle of next year. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Businesses Are Dying. Is Government Helping Or Hurting?
Many local businesses have cut back or closed, putting tens of thousands out of work. Economists say don’t expect a turnaround until at least the middle of next year. Civil Beat.

Panel: We Need Solid Data To Predict Hawaii’s Economic Future. Economists say it’s tough to help decision-makers guide economic recovery without consistent information from government and other sources. Civil Beat.

State tourism agency crafting messages to entice visitors after Oct. 15. As Hawaii prepares to loosen travel restrictions for out-of-state travelers in October, tourism officials are trying to determine how to advertise to a travel-fearful populace. Tribune-Herald.

More hotels announce reopening plans as pre-travel testing program start nears. As the pre-travel testing start date of Oct. 15 nears, more hotels are announcing reopening plans. KHON2.

U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono wants Gov. David Ige to spend CARES Act money before it goes away. U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono wants Gov. David Ige to provide more transparency in how the state is spending federal CARES Act funding in response to the COVID-19 pandemic — along with a spending plan before the rest of the funds potentially dry up by the end of the year. Star-Advertiser.

$14 Million Allocated To Boost Hospital Staffing. The funds, provided through the federal CARES Act, will provide more than 200 additional nurses at various hospitals statewide. Big Island Video News.

Attorney argues Hawaii law is a ban on carrying guns. A challenge to Hawaii’s strict gun laws was back before a federal appeals court Thursday, where an attorney representing the state tried to defend a law that allowed officials to deny George Young a permit to carry a loaded gun in public. West Hawaii Today.

COVID-19 restrictions banning short-term vacation rentals haven’t lifted on Oahu yet, but the isle’s owners and suppliers again realized the highest, albeit still low, August occupancy statewide. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaiian Airlines to offer drive-thru COVID-19 testing in mainland labs
exclusively for its guests. Hawaiian Airlines plans to offer drive-through COVID-19 tests in select U.S. mainland gateways that will allow travelers to bypass the state’s 14-day quarantine. Star-Advertiser.

State reverses course on accepting mail-in tests for United Airlines pre-arrivals testing pilot. State officials said they will not accept the less costly of two COVID-19 tests United Airlines wants to offer passengers to encourage travel to Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.

Liholiho, E.B. de Silva and Waikiki Elementary honored as National Blue Ribbon Schools. Three Hawaii elementary schools were named 2020 National Blue Ribbon Schools today and all are repeat winners — Waikiki School, Liholiho School in Kaimuki and E.B. de Silva Elementary. Star-Advertiser.

Schatz Seeks Details On Ventilation in Classrooms. U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz told private and public school leaders that proper circulation and ventilation in the schools is critical to prevent COVID-19 spread. Civil Beat.

VIRUS TRACKER — Sept. 24: 90 New COVID-19 Cases And 2 Deaths In Hawaii
. Hawaii health officials reported 90 new COVID-19 cases Thursday, including 81 on Oahu, five on Hawaii island, two on Maui and two residents diagnosed out of state. Civil Beat.

State reports 90 new COVID-19 cases, 2 additional fatalities. Of the 90 new cases, 81 are on Oahu, five are on the Big Island, two are on Maui and two are out of state. The infections were out of 1,737 tests conducted, a 5.1% positivity rate. Hawaii News Now.


Robbins Keeps His Job, But Rail Faces More ‘Substantial’ Impacts To Schedule And Cost. The critical utility relocation work on Dillingham Boulevard has stalled amid an epic impasse between HART and city planners. Civil Beat.

HART board reverses course, won’t fire CEO Robbins before contract expires. In a stunning reversal, the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation’s board on Thursday refused to fire CEO Andy Robbins ― a week after chairman Toby Martyn claimed he actually had the votes to do so. Hawaii News Now.

Future of HART CEO uncertain after board fails to act.
Who will head the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transit next year, when the troubled rail project is scheduled to begin partial operation, remained in doubt Thursday after the HART board couldn’t decide what to do with current CEO Andrew Robbins. Star-Advertiser.


Hawaii state beaches and trails, recreational boating open to groups of 5 or less. Starting today, state officials are allowing five-person groups on state beaches and hiking trails, in alignment with Honolulu’s newest emergency order. Star-Advertiser.

City may adapt if dual metrics for Oahu reopening tiers don’t move in sync. Oahu’s reopening plan is a four-tier program that could take until the end of the year to reach the home stretch. KHON2.


UH football is returning. It appears the University of Hawaii will play football this season, after its conference, the Mountain West voted Thursday to have an eight game season starting October 24th. KITV4.

Mountain West Conference approves fall football. Forty-five days after announcing the postponement of the 2020 season, the Mountain West Conference’s Board of Directors — comprised of the presidents of the 12 football-playing schools — approved Thursday’s measure to launch a season beginning on Oct. 24. Star-Advertiser.

Mountain West votes to play shortened eight-game 2020 football season. The Rainbow Warrior football team could take the field for the 2020 football season as soon as next month under the terms of an agreement that has reportedly been reached by administrators of the Mountain West Conference. Hawaii News Now.

University of Hawaii football set for return following Mountain West announcement. A Thursday afternoon vote by the presidents of the Mountain West Conference, of which Hawaii is a football-only member, voted in favor of an eight-game conference-only season starting on Oct. 24. KHON2.

New Aloha Stadium’s 2023 opener in danger. The projected Sept. 2, 2023, opening of the New Aloha Stadium Entertainment District is in danger of being pushed back, officials suggested Thursday, a move which could add $20 million or more to the price tag. Star-Advertiser.

City’s shelter program at Keehi Lagoon Beach Park serves 500 homeless.
Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell said Thursday a shelter program at Keehi Lagoon Beach Park intended to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 among the homeless population has served 500 people. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Federal virus relief funds to be used for 9 temporary health care providers at HMC. Spokeswoman Elena Cabatu said the hospital will welcome an intensive care unit nurse and a medical-surgical nurse on Sept. 28, and one ICU nurse, four medical-surgical nurses, one telemetry nurse and one respiratory therapist on Oct. 5. Tribune-Herald.

Feeding the need: More than 100,000 people fed via Ohana Food Drops. Vehicles lined up early, snaking around the block waiting to enter The Food Basket’s Ohana Food Drop Thursday at the Kekuaokalani Gymnasium parking lot in Kailua-Kona. West Hawaii Today.


Mayor keen on more testing for trans-Pacific visitors. Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino would “prefer” trans-Pacific visitors take a second COVID-19 test upon arrival even after testing negative for the virus prior to making the trip to Maui County. Maui News.

Two Hours of Testimony Received on Proposed Olowalu Development. Two hours of testimony was received on Wednesday relating to the fast-track Liahuʻula housing project proposed for development in Olowalu. Maui Now.

COVID-19 takes lifeguard off Makena beach tower. The COVID-19 pandemic has taken lifeguards off the Big Beach tower in Makena and thwarted plans to set up a tower at Black Rock, among the two more dangerous beach and ocean sites on Maui, as the state marks Beach Safety Week this week. Maui News.

‘Temptation Island’ to begin filming by end of the month. Reality TV series “Temptation Island” will begin filming at the end of the month after the first round of arriving cast and crew completed quarantine and tested negative for COVID-19. Maui News.


Kaua'i reports first new COVID-19 positive case in more than one month. Kaua'i has reported its first new COVID-19 positive case in more than one month and that person is the 58th case of coronavirus on Kaua'i. KITV4.

Council candidates discuss legislation toward climate change.
What candidates for the Kaua‘i County Council would be willing to do to mitigate climate change was the focus of what may be the only forum prior to the general election. Garden Island.

Kaua‘i Office of Economic Development office shares initiatives. On Thursday, the Lihu‘e Business Association hosted a forum, virtually, with four panelists from the Kaua‘i Office of Economic Development discussing current initiatives on agriculture, business, climate and resiliency. Garden Island.

Rapid ‘ohi‘a death found in new areas.
The most recent helicopter surveys conducted by the Kaua‘i Rapid ‘Ohi‘a Death Rapid Response Team resulted in detections of the virulent fungal pathogen known as Ceratocystis lukuohia in two new areas on Kaua‘i, the upper Hanalei Valley and along the north side of Powerline Trail. Garden Island.

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Hawaii happiest state in the nation, Ige signs proclamation on travel, masks, eviction moratorium; COVID-19 cases back in triple digits, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii hula happy
Hula in Hawaii ©2020 All Hawaii News

Hawaii tops ranking as Happiest State in America. Hawaii may have a double-digit unemployment rate and a virtual tourism lockdown, but the state ranks as the Happiest State in America, according to a WalletHub study released Tuesday. Star-Advertiser.

Ige’s latest emergency proclamation OKs pre-travel COVID-19 testing and extends travel quarantine, evictions ban. Gov. David Ige today signed a new emergency proclamation that extends Hawaii’s COVID-19 emergency period through the end of October and officially authorizes a pre-arrivals testing program that would ease travel restrictions for some travelers. Star-Advertiser.

Governor Signs Proclamation On Travel, Masks, And Driver’s Licenses. Governor David Ige on Wednesday signed a 13th supplementary emergency proclamation, extending the COVID-19 emergency period through Oct. 31. Big Island Video News.

Ige Extends COVID-19 Emergency Period Through October, Authorizes Pre-Travel Testing to Start Oct. 15. Governor David Ige today signed a 13th supplementary emergency proclamation that extends the COVID-19 emergency period in Hawaiʻi through Oct. 31. Maui Now.

Hawaii Has A New COVID-19 Response Team. Will It Make A Difference? Decisions about programs and policies to combat the virus are happening faster under a newly restructured leadership team. Star-Advertiser.

Air ventilation in the classroom is a concern for returning to campus. The Hawaii Department of Education does not yet have details on which schools that plan to implement blended or in-person classes over the course of the next quarter. KHON2.

United Airlines to begin pre-travel COVID-19 testing pilot in San Francisco for Hawaii-bound travelers. United Airlines, which brought more travelers to Hawaii than any other carrier pre-pandemic, on Oct. 15 will offer rapid COVID-19 tests to Hawaii-bound customers who are originating from San Francisco. Star-Advertiser.

Ige’s Eviction Moratorium Doesn’t Do What He Says It Does
. Hawaii renters and landlords alike are frustrated by the governor’s confusing rule. Civil Beat.

VIRUS TRACKER — Sept. 23: 168 New COVID-19 Cases. Hawaii health officials reported 168 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, marking a triple-digit increase after three consecutive days of fewer than 100 cases confirmed in the islands. Civil Beat.


Chairman Ikaika Anderson officially leaves City Council. Honolulu City Council members gave retiring colleague and Chairman Ikaika Anderson a couple of fist bumps, a hug, maile lei and an elbow touch along with praise and well wishes Wednesday on his last workday at Honolulu Hale. Star-Advertiser.

Alan Texeira Sworn In To Replace Ikaika Anderson. Former Honolulu City Council Chair Ikaika Anderson’s deputy chief of staff was officially sworn in to take over his seat on Wednesday afternoon. Civil Beat.

More than 3,000 families have tapped a city program offering financial assistance. The city says about $4 million has been distributed as part of the Household Hardship Relief Program, which helps with payments for families financially impacted by COVID. Hawaii News Now.

More than $20M remains for Oahu residents needing aid. More than $20 million in assistance for rent, utilities, child care and even cellphone and internet service for Oahu residents is waiting to be distributed by the end of the year as people continue to struggle with the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Star-Advertiser.

More than $20 million still available through Household Hardship Relief Program. For those needing financial help because of the pandemic, more than $20 million is still available through the City and County of Honolulu's Household Hardship Relief Program. KITV4.

Businesses prepare to follow new rules for reopening on Thursday. After being shut down for nearly a month, many Oahu businesses are getting ready to reopen. Businesses like restaurants, retail shops and attractions can reopen, but only at 50 percent capacity. KHON2.

Restaurant and bar owners offer differing views of Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s reopening plan. Restaurant and bar owners had mixed reactions to Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s reopening plan, which bases restrictions on a four-tiered metric. Star-Advertiser.

O'ahu gyms will have to take their business outdoors in order to reopen. Gyms on O'ahu have been closed for the past four weeks and it could be at least another month until they're allowed to reopen unless they take their business outdoors. KITV4.

Underground obstacles threaten to further delay Honolulu’s rail project. There’s more trouble for the embattled rail project. Hawaii News Now.

Kaneohe cemetery, Hawaiian Memorial Park, expansion plan wins approval. The largest funeral and cemetery service company in the world will be allowed to expand Hawaiian Memorial Park in Kaneohe under a state decision Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

State, but not county, workers face furloughs.
Gov. David Ige’s proposal to help patch the state’s budget hole by instituting twice-monthly unpaid furlough days for most union employees won’t affect Hawaii County workers, at least in the short term. West Hawaii Today.

Hilo veterans home administration needs to be replaced, Mayor Harry Kim says.
Hawaii island Mayor Harry Kim renewed calls Wednesday for the immediate suspension of the administration of the Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home, where he said documented shortcomings have resulted in too many COVID-19 deaths. Star-Advertiser.

Mayor Pushing Management Change at Hilo Veterans Home
. A decision on the future management of Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home could be made Thursday, Hawai‘i County’s mayor said this afternoon. Big Island Now.

State Says Veterans Home Staff Receiving Death Threats. Staff at the Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home in Hilo have been getting death threats, according to a state emergency management official. Hawaii Public Radio.

As death toll at Hilo veteran’s home mounts, family calls for criminal investigation. Mary Benevides says prior to contracting COVID-19, her dad was always smiling, joking and doting on his grandchildren. Hawaii News Now.

DOH: No further environmental review needed for PGV permit. Puna Geothermal Venture — which hopes to produce electricity again by the end of the month following delays in rebuilding the facility after it was partially destroyed by lava two years ago — has cleared a hurdle in renewing its air pollution control permit from the state. Tribune-Herald.

DLNR plans to dredge existing Pohoiki boat ramp to reopen access to ocean. The state Department of Land and Natural Resources wants to dredge the landlocked Pohoiki boat ramp to re-establish ocean access in Puna. Tribune-Herald.


Maui allocates $20 million in CARES Act money for coronavirus recovery. Maui County has allocated over $20 million in CARES Act funds to pay for economic recovery initiatives ranging from farm and ranch grants to support the county’s food system, to buying computers for students who are attending school online. Star-Advertiser.

Nearly 30 medical workers on Maui at risk of losing their jobs after the planned closure of a surgery center. Kaiser Permanente announced it will shut down various services at its Wailuku Clinic on Maui because of financial troubles. Hawaii News Now.

$3 Million Project to Repave War Memorial Stadium Parking Lot Nears Completion. War Memorial Stadium parking lot will reopen to the public on Monday, Sept. 28, after completion of a $3 million project to repave the 51-year-old parking lot, install new underground drainage and plant nearly 130 new trees. Maui Now.

Liquor director candidates may be revealed next week. Licensees ask for leader who will improve relations. Maui News.

Ha‘ikū’s Town Hall to Focus on Maui Water Use and Development Plan. The Ha‘ikū Community Association hosts a virtual town hall from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020 via Zoom or Facebook Live. The town hall meeting will focus on helping Ha‘ikū residents better understand the effects of the Maui Water Use and Development Plan. Maui Now.


Kauai Voters Will Decide On 6 Changes To The County Charter. Some of the proposed amendments are significant but political observers wonder if a less informed public will just leave them blank. Civil Beat.

$1.75 M to help Kaua‘i cattle ranchers. Many cattle ranchers ship off their herds to O‘ahu or other destinations to be finished and processed, but with market disruptions made prevalent due to the coronavirus pandemic, they’re unable to and are now forced to rethink what to do with their livestock. Garden Island.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Hawaii COVID-19 cases drop, Caldwell announces 4-phase reopening plan for Honolulu, affordable housing plan dropped after community pushback, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Coffee beans drying in Hawaii
Coffee beans on a drying floor ©2020 All Hawaii News

 Coffee Producers Eligible For Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. The Hawaiʻi Coffee Association lauded the USDA for including coffee in CFAP funding eligibility. Big Island Video News.

Candy maker Hawaiian Host feels squeeze to pay off vendors’ invoices. Hawaiian Host Inc., a 60-year-old kamaaina producer of chocolate-covered macadamia nuts largely enjoyed by tourists, has been one of Hawaii’s businesses hardest-hit by COVID-19 fallout. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Failed In Its Pandemic Response. It Has Another Chance To Get It Right. The pandemic has revealed deep cracks in Hawaii’s government and social system, but also created an opportunity for real change. Civil Beat.

Hawai‘i’s Return to Tourism: Just How Realistic is the Plan? The Big Island’s tourism industry expected to hear news from Gov. David Ige last week that the state had a plan to reopen to tourism by mid-October. Expectations as to how effective that plan may prove to be are harder to define. Big Island Now.

‘Likely’ human service furloughs would ripple among those in need. “Likely” furloughs beginning Dec. 1 at the state Department of Human Resources — which helps administer a wide range of social service programs including food stamps and Medicaid — could have “devastating” effects across the islands at a time of increasing hardship triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic. Star-Advertiser.

Which Students Went to Summer School This Year? Maybe Not The Ones Who Needed It Most. About 18,000 Hawaii students attended this year’s public summer school. The programs were to especially help students who were disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. Hawaii Public Radio.

VIRUS TRACKER — Sept. 22: 63 New COVID-19 Cases.
All new diagnoses were verified by state health officials on Oahu except for eight in Hawaii County. Civil Beat.

63 New COVID-19 Cases (55 O‘ahu, 8 Hawai‘i Island). There were 63 new COVID-19 cases in Hawai‘i today including 55 on O‘ahu and eight on Hawai‘i Island. Maui Now.


Mayor Caldwell announces 4-tier framework for reopening Oahu starting Thursday. Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell on Tuesday announced he intends to lift the current “stay-at-home/work-from-home” order Thursday, and presented a “COVID-19 recovery framework” that will guide the easing and tightening of future restrictions on Oahu. Star-Advertiser.

New Honolulu Plan Opens Beaches, Parks, Social Gatherings To Groups Of 5. Pools, hair salons can reopen. Retail can open at 50% capacity. Civil Beat.

Oahu retailers, eateries and salons allowed to reopen with restrictions under new order. Retailers, eateries, salons, and other businesses will be allowed to reopen on Oahu with limited capacity, gatherings of up to five people will be permitted, and even attractions will be able to welcome back customers under a new emergency order set to go into effect Thursday. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu Mayor Announces Limited Reopening on O‘ahu Starting Thursday.
Governor Ige is expected to sign off on the latest COVID-19 emergency order for Honolulu, which government leaders say is aimed at reducing virus spread and seeks to put O‘ahu on the path to economic recovery. Maui Now.

Honolulu mayor makes exception for restaurant dine-in against health department recommendation. Under Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s new COVID-19 framework set to take effect on Thursday, Sept. 24, restaurants would be allowed to reopen for dine-in service. KHON2.

Honolulu is taking steps to keep the COVID-19 case count low. Oahu’s second attempt at reopening the kamaaina economy will come with greater vigilance on community health, with additional testing and an increased number of COVID-19 contact tracers and isolation hotels established by the city. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu business owners have mixed reactions over new tiered reopening plan. Some Honolulu business owners say the mayor’s new order is a welcome chance to reopen, even with limits. Others say it’s a big confusing hassle. Hawaii News Now.

Gyms and fitness centers hit hard by Honolulu’s reopening strategy. Under Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s new reopening strategy gyms and fitness centers will be allowed to open, but only for outdoor exercise and at limited numbers. KHON2.

HART: Canceling public-private partnership could cause 18 months of rail delays.
The Honolulu Authority of Rapid Transportation said delays of up to 18 months should be expected if its current plans to use a private-public partnership are scrapped. Hawaii News Now.

Developer withdraws Kailua affordable-housing plan. The developer of a planned four-story low-income apartment building on the edge of a single-family Kailua neighborhood withdrew its application for the controversial project Tuesday. Star-Advertiser.

Developer Withdraws Application For Embattled Affordable Housing Project In Kailua.
The project couldn’t generate the support it needed from city council members. Civil Beat.

Developer withdraws application to build affordable housing complex in Kailua.
An affordable housing project planned for Kailua won’t be happening any time soon. Ahe Group has officially withdrawn their application to build the development in Kailua. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu Employee Used City Truck To Drive To Football Games, Ethics Commission Finds. The case took nearly three years to resolve. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Water Board sets public hearing for 13% rate hike. The public will be able to weigh in Oct. 21 on an average 13% increase in island water rates, following action Tuesday by the county Water Board. West Hawaii Today.

Isle hospitals scraping by. Hospital admissions and visits to Big Island emergency rooms are starting to rebound after drastically declining in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. Tribune-Herald.

EA of plans for former Hilo Scrap Metal Yard finds no significant impact. A final environmental assessment of the county’s planned permanent closure and remediation of the site of the former Hilo Scrap Metal Yard has resulted in a finding of no significant impact. Tribune-Herald.


Maui Water Use and Development Plan Public Hearing Requested for Oct. 9. State and county law requires each county to prepare and periodically update water use and development plans as components of the State of Hawai‘i Water Plan. Maui Now.

Four new COVID-19 cases were reported at the Roselani Place assisted living community on Maui since last week, bringing the total number of infections reported at the facility to 56 since mid-August. The positive cases include 28 staff and 28 residents. Maui Now.

A Maui restaurant may be laying off 129 employees. A Maui restaurant may be laying off 129 workers permanently sometime between November 18 and the start of next year. In a "WARN" letter to the state, Fleetwood on Front Street, says the employees were placed on temporary furlough on March 18. KITV4.


Office of Economic Development to share CARES funds update Thursday.
The Lihu‘e Business Association is hosting a presentation of the county Office of Economic Development initiatives program Thursday from 8 to 9 a.m. Garden Island.

County’s Kupa‘a food distribution through end of year. Funded through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act money, the Kupa‘a Kaua‘i food-distribution program started Tuesday and continues through Friday, offering eligible recipients food at neighborhood centers in Lihu‘e, Kapa‘a and Kilauea in the east, and Koloa, Hanapepe and Waimea on the west. Garden Island.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

State employee furloughs part of budget-balancing plan, survey shows half of Hawaii residents wary of COVID-19 vaccine, businesses question readiness for tourists, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands


HGEA workers
Courtesy Hawaii Government Employees Association

Governor proposes public worker union furloughs that would amount to 10% pay cut for 4 years. Gov. David Ige met with union leaders Monday afternoon to discuss the proposal, which is poised to start Dec. 1 and would likely be coupled with deep cuts to contracts and state programs. Hawaii News Now.

Department of Human Services employees told to expect 10% furlough for 4 years. Department of Human Services employees, who continue to assist those in need during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, got the news late this afternoon that their department will likely experience furloughs. Star-Advertiser.

Half of Hawaii residents are wary of taking a vaccine, according to a community survey. Even if a much-awaited vaccine for COVID-19 became available, nearly half of Hawaii residents surveyed last month by the University of Hawaii Public Policy Center said they were not yet committed to getting it. Star-Advertiser.

Survey: Hawaii Residents Give State Low Marks For COVID Response. They are also wary of reopening to tourism even as they struggle to make ends meet and fear the pandemic’s long-term impact. Civil Beat.

When And How Does The Pandemic End? Settle in for another year — at least — of mask wearing and social distancing, the experts say. Civil Beat.

Gov. Ige says he’s reluctant to set COVID-19 benchmarks for reopening, closing. Gov. David Ige said the county mayors want to set explicit COVID-19 benchmarks that would trigger economic shutdown and reopening, but he favors continuing a more nuanced approach. Star-Advertiser.

Details remain vague on Hawaii’s October pre-arrival testing program. Gov. David Ige’s announcement last week that Hawaii will launch a pre-arrival testing program Oct. 15 kicked off the start of a fall tourism reopening for Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.

Ige: No testing for keiki. The state plans to allow incoming travelers from out of state who have tested negative for the coronavirus to avoid quarantine as of Oct. 15 — but visitors seeking a family vacation might have to look elsewhere. Tribune-Herald.

Fast, Frequent And Cheap COVID-19 Tests Hold Promise For Hawaii. Some experts agree that rapid tests could be a useful tool to fight the spread of coronavirus but caution they’re not a panacea. Civil Beat.

Lt. Governor says multiple forms of COVID-19 testing will eventually be accepted.
Hawaii's pre-travel testing program begins in less than one month and details of how it'll work are slowly being revealed. KITV4.

As Deadline Approaches, More Than $1 Billion In Federal Aid To Hawaii Remains Unspent. When Congress rushed to pass the $2 trillion emergency assistance package known as the CARES Act in March, the goal was to get the money to individuals and businesses quickly. Hawaii Public Radio.

New Cases of COVID Push Downward, as DOH Identifies 56 Monday. The Hawai‘i Department of Health on Monday reported 56 new cases statewide, bringing the statewide total to 11,459. Big Island Now.

Hawaii COVID-19 Monday Update At Noon: 56 New Cases, 2 Big Island Deaths. There was a lower number of newly reported cases of COVID-19 statewide on Monday, however the death toll on the Big Island continues to rise. Big Island Video News.


Internal emails suggest officers are being pressured to write more emergency order citations. Police officers serving in a special COVID-19 enforcement team appear to be facing pressure from within to issue more citations to those violating emergency orders. Hawaii News Now.

Class-action suit filed over COVID-19 outbreak at OCCC . Several inmates and an adult correctional officer at the Oahu Community Correctional Center have filed a class-action lawsuit, alleging state that prison officials failed to protect staffers there and housed sick inmates with healthy ones. Hawaii News Now.

Businesses call on leaders to form clearer plans to revitalize the local economy. With the stay-at-home order set to be lifted in just a few days, the city not releasing official plans to reopening is no surprise to business owners. Hawaii News Now.

Bad time to replace HART leader, critics say. The impending ouster of the head of the troubled Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation — the rail project’s sixth leader in nine years — comes as another critical deadline approaches for the city’s $9.2 billion project. Star-Advertiser.

City lifeguards launch emergency mobile response during Hawaii Beach Safety Week. Drownings can happen with astonishing speed. Star-Advertiser.

“Wi-Fi on Wheels” program aims to help students with internet problems. Kamehameha Schools, Partners in Development Foundation (PIDF) and HawaiiKidsCAN launched a “Wi-Fi on Wheels” connectivity program to support families of one West O’ahu school with their distance learning needs. KHON2.

Hawaii Island

Mayor Kim urges Gov. to remove managing company Avalon from Hilo Veterans Home. Big Island Mayor Harry Kim wants drastic changes at the Veterans Home in Hilo where 24 residents have now died. KHON2.

Report: ‘Culture’ At Hilo Veterans Home Contributed To Deadly Spread Of COVID-19. A state review says lapses in protocols and staff complacency likely led to the surge in infections. Civil Beat.

HI-EMA report says Hilo veterans home staff played role in COVID-19 spread. Coronavirus transmission brought in from Liberty Dialysis and internal spread in the employee break room of a Hilo veterans home appear to be among the origins of the largest COVID-19 nursing facility outbreaks in Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.

Reports find fault with Avalon Health Care Group. Critical reports stemming from recent assessments at Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home have identified a number of factors that might have aided in the spread of COVID-19 throughout the facility. Tribune-Herald.

VA, HIEMA Reports Indicate Bad Practices, Procedures at Veterans Home. Big Island Now.

Two Reports Examine Failures In Hilo Veterans Home Outbreak. Separate reports detailing conditions and protocols at the Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home in Hilo have been developed by the State and Federal agencies. Big Island Video News.

Isle businesses guarded about Oct. 15 reopening. While the state has announced that some restrictions on travel to Hawaii will be lifted Oct. 15, many businesses are skeptical whether the plan will actually happen. Tribune-Herald.

DOJ approves beer merger; Kona Brewing Co.’s Hawaii operations to be sold. Craft Brew Alliance has agreed to sell Kona Brewing Co.’s Hawaii operations in order to pave the way for the purchase of the alliance by beer giant Anheuser-Busch. West Hawaii Today.

Commission defers decision on wedding business permit. The Leeward Planning Commission on Monday deferred decision on an after-the-fact permit for a wedding venue in the coffee-growing region of Holualoa. West Hawaii Today.


Mayor: Interisland pre-travel test may be coming. A pre-travel COVID-19 testing program for interisland flyers to bypass quarantine “could be the prelude” to the program for trans-Pacific flyers, set to begin Oct. 15, Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino said Monday afternoon. Maui News.

Budget will not be cut for first responders on Maui. On Friday Mayor Michael Victorino said the county is ready to use federal CARES Act money to cover any possible budget cuts. KITV4.

Ige signs bills on Front Street housing lease. Gov. David Ige has signed a bill that would extend the deadline for the state housing agency to work out a lease for the Front Street Apartments, a housing project in Lahaina that lawmakers have fought to keep affordable. Maui News.

Main trails into Haleakala Crater to fully open for day hikes Wednesday. The Keonehe’ehe’e (Sliding Sands) Trail and Halemau’u Trail in Haleakala Crater are open for day hikes starting Wednesday, the national park announced Monday. Maui News.

Haleakalā Increases Access by Opening All Crater Trails for Day Use. Maui Now.


Tune in for county council forum Wednesday. Tomorrow, 13 of the 14 candidates running for a seat on the Kaua‘i County Council will take the stage, er, virtual stage, for another round of questions at one of the only forums to this election season. Garden Island.

County auction scheduled to begin Sept. 24. County officials announced Friday that its annual vehicle and equipment auction will begin on Thursday, Sept. 24. Garden Island.

Coffee berry borers’ found on Kaua’i raises for concern for industry. The Kaua‘i Coffee Company experienced a small outbreak of the coffee borer beetle last week. Garden Island.