Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Two days from tourist reopening, Hawaii travel testing plans still up in the air; state reopens keiki lunch program, Blangiardi leads in Honolulu mayor's race, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Rick Blangiardi and Keith Amemiya

Civil Beat/HNN Poll: Blangiardi Holds Commanding Lead In Mayor’s Race. The former television executive is ahead of Keith Amemiya by 20 percentage points and enjoys broad support among most voters. Civil Beat.

Civil Beat-HNN poll: With just weeks to go, mayoral race swings heavily in Blangiardi’s favor. With just three weeks to go until the general election, former television executive Rick Blangiardi has taken a significant lead in the two-man race to become Honolulu’s next mayor, according to a Civil Beat/Hawaii News Now poll ― a lead some political experts say is probably insurmountable. Hawaii News Now.

Mayoral Candidates Differentiate Themselves on Pandemic Priorities, Leadership Style. Both Keith Amemiya and Rick Blangiardi say their top priority would be guiding Hawaii’s most populous island out of the COVID-19 pandemic, but they have different approaches for doing so. Hawaii Public Radio.

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Hawaii reopening plans hazy as pre-arrivals testing program set to begin. As of Monday state and county officials were still moving the goalposts on a program that’s already been delayed three times. Star-Advertiser.

Is Hawaii ready to welcome back tourists? Opinions vary among industry leaders. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii gears up for a return of quarantine-free air travelers. While many businesses gear up for a return of visitors, who don't have to go through quarantine, not everything is in place to get those air passengers to Hawaii without a hitch. KITV4.

What The Heck Is Going On With Neighbor Island Travel Rules? On Monday, officials for all three neighbor island counties expressed bewilderment with the failure of Gov. David Ige to clarify the status of Thursday’s reopening. Civil Beat.

Confusion mounts for visitors coming into the state using the pre-travel testing program. There are a lot of things riding on the state’s pre-travel testing program, which starts Thursday, Oct. 15. Mainland travelers who test negative for COVID-19 can skip the 14-day quarantine, which is why travelers say they don’t want to get it wrong. KHON2.

Confusion continues to surround traveler testing plans. Some officials questioned the legality and wisdom of the post-flight testing during a Monday meeting of the House Select Committee on COVID-19 Economic and Financial Preparedness. Tribune-Herald.

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New Hawaii unemployment call center swamped. About 150,000 calls a day have flooded the virtual phone bank since it opened Sept. 30, according to the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations. That’s roughly 18,000 calls an hour, or 300 a minute. Star-Advertiser.

Grab-and-go meals resume for all keiki at Hawaii public schools. Children 18 years and younger may pick up free grab-and-go meals at 203 public schools across the state today through Dec. 18, whether or not they attend the school. Star-Advertiser.

Grab-and-Go meals available. The Hawai‘i State Department of Education started the free Grab-and-Go school meals program at 203 public schools for the fall semester. Garden Island.

Hawaii superintendent Christina Kishimoto says Acellus online curriculum will be phased out. An in-depth review of the Acellus Learning Accelerator has concluded the program should be discontinued as an option for full distance learning in Hawaii’s public schools. Star-Advertiser.

Department of Education to discontinue use of controversial Acellus program. A controversial online program used by thousands of public school students will soon be discontinued following a review by the Department of Education into the program named Acellus. KHON2.

VIRUS TRACKER — Oct. 12: 42 New COVID-19 Cases In Hawaii. Hawaii health officials reported 42 new cases of coronavirus on Monday, all on Oahu except for five cases on the Big Island. One death was reported on Oahu. Civil Beat.

Oahu

Caldwell: Oahu lacks capacity to test travelers second time, at least for now. As the state prepares to launch its long-awaited pre-travel testing program this week, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell said Monday that the city did not currently have the testing capacity to conduct a second test on arriving passengers and was not prepared to make a second test an element of the plan to relaunch Oahu’s tourism industry. Hawaii News Now.

Visitor COVID-19 cases to be reflected in Honolulu’s reopening tiers. The start of the state’s pre-travel testing will challenge Honolulu to keep its average of COVID-19 cases below 100 daily positives, as the county moves closer to loosening restrictions in a couple of weeks. KHON2.

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Honolulu Council: Government Official Up Against Small Business Owner. In the race for Honolulu City Council District 3, seasoned government official Esther Kiaaina is facing off against Greg Thielen, a small business owner with an established family name. Civil Beat.

Another sweep of homeless encampment on Nimitz Highway scheduled for Thursday. Another sweep of homeless people on the state-owned Nimitz Highway medians — especially a notorious one on private land — is planned for Thursday by a private contractor hired by the state. Star-Advertiser.

City launches new farm to food program to help feed residents in need and rebuild businesses. A new program geared to helping not only families in need, but also farmers is set to take off on Oahu. Hawaii News Now.

24-hour closure of beach access gates in Kailua fuels tension, backlash. The gates block off trails that lead to Kailua Beach, commonly referred to "Flagpoles," and well-known for its consistent surf break. KITV4.

Honolulu Club closes permanently after nearly 50 years. The nearly 50-year-old Honolulu Club, resurrected after its former owner emerged from bankruptcy in 2013, could not survive the COVID-19 pandemic. Star-Advertiser.

After more than 40 years, Honolulu Club says goodbye. It’s a death of an institution. That’s what some say after learning the iconic Honolulu Club is permanently closed due to the pandemic. KHON2.

Hawaii Island

Royal Kona Resort to reopen Thursday with start of pre-travel testing program. The iconic Royal Kona Resort overlooking Kailua Bay welcomes back guests Thursday following a seven-month closure amid the COVID-19 pandemic and multi-million renovation. West Hawaii Today.

University of Nations Provides Followup on Campus COVID Cluster. A total of 52 cases were identified and approximately 20 remain in isolation. Big Island Now.

Most Kona students with virus have recovered. A Christian college in Kailua-­Kona said more than half of its 52 COVID-19-infected students, faculty and staff are now recovered. Star-Advertiser.

Maui

Ige orally agrees to pre-travel test for inter-island travel to Maui County. Maui County Managing Director Sandy Baz has been in communications with neighbor island mayors and the governor alongside Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino. KHON2.

Governor Ige gives oral approval to allow interisland travelers to Maui
with negative COVID-19 test result. KITV4.

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Maui County Files Suit Against Fossil Fuel Companies for Costs of Surviving Climate Change. Mayor Michael Victorino announced today that Maui County has filed a lawsuit against 20 fossil fuel companies for the rising costs and impacts of climate change, citing what he calls “a decades-long campaign of deception deployed by the defendants to hide their products’ known dangers from Maui’s citizens and businesses to maximize profits.” Maui Now.

Maui County files suit against 20 fossil fuel companies over climate change. The County of Maui is suing 20 fossil fuel companies over climate change impacts. The complaint, which was filed Monday, alleges the companies hid the dangers posed by their products for decades in order to maximize profits. Hawaii News Now.

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Input sought on tourism management planning. Each county and its respective visitors bureau have worked to create steering committees comprised of residents representing their communities, the visitor industry, different business sectors and nonprofits. Steering committees for Maui, Molokai, Lanai and Kauai began meeting in September. Maui News.

Mary Kielty Appointed as Deputy Director of Parks. The appointment of Mary Kielty as Deputy Director of the Department of Parks and Recreation was made today by Maui Mayor Michael Victorino. Kielty is a 27-year veteran of the Parks Department and succeeds John Buck, who recently retired. Maui Now.

Kauai

Meet your candidates: Wally Nishimura. Kaua‘i County Council candidate Wally Nishimura has a vision for long-term change for his children. Garden Island.

Housing policy in final stages.
The Kaua‘i County Council is one step away from approving a revamped Housing Policy. Garden Island.

Pacific Current looks to reduce dependency on tourism. The Ka‘ie‘ie Waho Company, a subsidiary of Pacific Current, acquired Kaua‘i’s Port Allen Solar Facility in part to decrease the state’s dependence on the tourism industry. Garden Island.

DLNR encourages hunting in Kauai’s Honopu Valley ahead of fence installation. The state is encouraging hunting in Honopu Valley on Kauai’s Na Pali Coast. The DLNR is trying to clear the area of hooved animals as crews build a fence to protect endangered plants and seabirds in a 250-acre section. Hawaii News Now.

Molokai

Frustration Rising On Moloka'i Homesteads Over Slow Internet For Distance Learning, Working At Home. Even before the pandemic, internet service on Molokaʻi was rarely ideal – spotty coverage, slow speeds and constant buffering. This has become an even bigger frustration for residents on the island’s Hawaiian Home Lands, where service is limited to one embattled telecom provider. Hawaii Public Radio.

Lanai

Panel to discuss Lanai planning bills. Vacation rental permits and guidelines for business districts on Lanai will be topics of a Planning and Sustainability Land Use Committee meeting Tuesday. Maui News.

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