Monday, September 21, 2020

Hawaii Senate special session to test live, remote testimony; VA faults veterans home as 24 vets die of COVID-19, jobless rate tied for third worst in nation, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands


Hawaii state Capitol
Hawaii state Capitol ©2020 All Hawaii News

Senate To Hold Special Session In October For Judicial Appointments. The public will have a rare opportunity for live, remote testimony to the Legislature. Civil Beat.

Hawaii's Unemployment Rate Ties For Third-Worst In Nation. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said Friday the state's 12.5% seasonally adjusted jobless rate was tied with New York for third-highest in the nation last month. Nevada had the worst rate at 13.2%, while Rhode Island came in second with 12.8%. Associated Press.

Hawaii Will Pay Hundreds Of Displaced Workers To Get Job Training. A $10 million grant from the federal CARES Act fund will match up to 650 displaced workers with temporary gigs and career training in conservation, renewable energy, creative arts and aerospace. Civil Beat.

Thousands of Local Jobs Available, Chamber Says. The overall Hawai‘i economy may be stalled, but some organizations are hiring – and not just in health care and home deliveries. About 14,000 jobs are available in Hawaiʻi, says Sherry Menor-McNamara, president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii. Hawaii Business magazine.

Details remain vague on Hawaii’s October pre-arrival testing program. There are those Hawaii residents and business leaders who are still questioning the need, workability and usefulness of Ige’s plan, which has been pushed back three times. Star-Advertiser.

Statewide COVID-19 metrics improving, officials say. State Department of Health officials Sunday reported 77 new COVID-19 infections which brought the statewide count to 11,403 cases since the pandemic began and continued a recent trend of improving metrics. Star-Advertiser.

DOH clears Lt. Gov. Josh Green as an active COVID-19 case.  The Hawaii Department of Health cleared Lieutenant Governor Dr. Josh Green from being an active case on Saturday, Sept. 19, eight days after he tested positive for the virus. KHON2.


University of Hawaii medical school seeks COVID-19 positive patients for medication study. The University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine is seeking recently diagnosed COVID-19 patients for a 21-day study. Star-Advertiser.

UH seeks recent COVID-positive patients for a clinical trial. The University of Hawaii is looking for people who were recently diagnosed with COVID-19 to participate in a clinical trial. Hawaii News Now.

UH Clinical trial seeks individuals diagnosed with COVID-19. Participants can earn up to $160 for joining the study. KITV4.


3 Local Companies Receive State Grants To Produce PPE. A $10 million program funded with CARES Act money is meant to ensure Hawaii has a local supply of protective gear. The state has awarded three companies over $1 million combined to manufacture equipment to protect people from the virus that causes COVID-19. Civil Beat.

State offers small businesses $10 million in grants to help with PPE demand. To keep up with the demand for personal protective equipment, the state is offering $10 million in grants for small businesses to manufacture them. Hawaii News Now.

After a very slow start that saw few people returning their census questionnaires, Hawaii has picked up the pace to the point that it now has the third-highest rate in the nation for census forms completed. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii to test for lead in public schools’ drinking water. Hawaii’s public schools have never been comprehensively tested for lead in drinking water, but now it’s going to start happening as early as spring. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Court Hears Case On Legality Of Foreign Fishing Labor.
The Hawaii Supreme Court heard arguments Friday on the legality of granting licenses to foreign workers in Hawaii’s longline commercial fishing fleet, which for years has been under scrutiny after an Associated Press investigation revealed claims of human trafficking and questionable labor practices. Associated Press.

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wore connection to Hawaii, University of Hawaii law school proudly. Ginsburg formed strong ties with the University of Hawaii’s William S. Richardson School of Law, as evidenced by a judicial collar adorned with pink Niihau shells she often wore. Star-Advertiser.


HART’s Andrew Robbins out after 3 years overseeing rail. The head of the city’s troubled rail project will be gone after three years on the job, and someone new will come in to lead Hawaii’s largest public works project, under a proposal before the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation on Thursday. Star-Advertiser.

After 3 years at the helm, HART CEO likely to be voted out. After three years as the head of the embattled Honolulu rail project, CEO Andrew Robbins' tenure is heading to a close. In a email to staffers Friday, Toby Martyn, the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation’s chairman, said the board’s Human Resources Committee is recommended not renewing Robbins' contract when it expires at the end of the year. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu Mayor’s Race: ‘It’s Not Dirty Politics, It’s Just Politics’. Sniping between Keith Amemiya and a super PAC that smeared him in the primary has led to a series of back and forth allegations of wrongdoing. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Supreme Court Considers Petition To Impeach Keith Kaneshiro. While the court’s forthcoming decision is unlikely to affect the race for prosecutor, it could affect future cases involving electronic petitions. Civil Beat.

25 miles of Oahu beaches could be lost to coastal erosion, study finds. As much as 40% of Oahu’s beaches could disappear over the next 30 years if coastal management policies are not changed to better protect sandy shorelines retreating under the pressure of rising sea levels, a new study found. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Veterans Home Death Toll Reaches 23, VA Report Finds Fault With Avalon Practices. Twenty-three residents of the Yukio Okutsu Veterans Home in Hilo infected with COVID-19 have succumbed to the virus, Hilo Medical Center (HMC) has confirmed. The death toll rose by one on Sunday. Big Island Now.

VA review of Hilo veterans home finds long list of potential hazards. The Department of Veteran’s Affairs has issued their assessment of a Hilo veterans care home that is dealing with a worsening COVID-19 outbreak where over 20 coronavirus deaths have been reported. Hawaii News Now.

VA’s assessment of Hilo veterans home says there was little evidence of proactive COVID planning. KHON2.

Sen. Brian Schatz: Failures At Hilo Veterans Home ‘Infuriating’. Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim has called for the nursing home operator to be removed. Civil Beat.

Hilo veterans home reports second COVID-related death Sunday night, 14 more employee recoveries. Avalon Health Care reported two COVID-related deaths on Sunday, Sept. 20, at the Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home. KHON2.

HCCC inmate tests positive for COVID-19. A Hawaii Community Correctional Center inmate has tested positive for COVID-19, the Department of Public Safety reported Sunday. Tribune-Herald.

Council takes administration to task for slow pace of eruption recovery. While the pace of the county’s Kilauea eruption recovery has pushed the patience of residents and County Council members to the breaking point, administration officials insist the process is going as fast as it can. Tribune-Herald.

Virus prompts more changes for Big Island courts. In-person hearings have been discontinued in Hawaii Island courts and criminal jury trials have been postponed through Nov. 13, per an emergency order issued by Third Circuit Chief Judge Robert D.S. Kim. West Hawaii Today.

Planning Department opposes wedding business in Holualoa’s coffee farming region. The county Planning Department is recommending the Leeward Planning Commission deny an after-the-fact permit for a wedding venue in the coffee-growing region of Holualoa. West Hawaii Today.


Maui County spends 85% of federal CARES Act funds. All $67M will be spent by year’s end, official says. Maui News.

Mayor: Maui in ‘good place’ for pre-travel testing. Maui County is in “a good place” to begin welcoming back more visitors when the pre-travel testing program launches Oct. 15 for trans-Pacific flyers, Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino said Friday. Maui News.

Chancellor: No program cuts this school year. But UH-MC is looking at ways to trim its budget amid UH system shortfalls. Maui News.


‘Glamping’ plan has Princeville residents up in arms. A proposal by the Miami investment firm redeveloping the former Princeville resort and adjoining Makai Golf Club has stirred new controversy by proposing a 50-unit luxury camping resort that would be built, to open in 2022, on three holes of one of the property’s two golf courses. Garden Island.

2 Kauai Resorts Still Plan A ‘Tiny Bubbles’ Program For Some Visitors. The mayor says the program is still on track despite the governor’s pre-travel testing policy taking effect next month. Civil Beat.

County hosts houseless outreach. Friday, the Housing Agency, in partnership with the DOH Kaua‘i District Health Office, Catholic Charities Hawai‘i, Women In Need, Ho‘ola Lahui, Project Vision, Kaua‘i Economic Opportunity and Hale ‘Opio, set up several booths, talking directly to those who need help. Garden Island.


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