Thursday, December 31, 2020

Hawaii ushers out 2020, looks to a better 2021; Maui plans to tighten restrictions amid coronavirus surge; Kauai loosens travel requirements, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2020 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Rainbow over Hawaii ©2020 All Hawaii News

Hawaii Should Soon See At Least $1.7 Billion In New Federal Pandemic Relief Funds. But a new deal to help Americans get through the financial turmoil of the coronavirus pandemic falls far short of expectations for Hawaii’s political leaders. Civil Beat.

Approximately 20,000 COVID-19 vaccines administered in Hawaii. The State continues to order large quantities of the vaccine from the federal government’s Operation Warp Speed. The Department of Health counted on approximately 80,000 doses to arrive before the end of 2020 but has only received 61,450 as of Wednesday, Dec. 30. KHON2.

Hawai'i DOH provides update on COVID-19 vaccine shipment. According to the Hawai'i Department of Health about 20,000 shots have been administered so far. KITV4.

Come January, kupuna 75 and older may start to receive COVID-19 vaccines. According to Lieutenant Governor Josh Green, kupuna ages 75 years old and older could begin to receive vaccines as early mid-January. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Restaurant Card recipients spent roughly $70M. Approximately $5 million left over from unused balances on Hawaii Restaurant Cards has been added to the state unemployment insurance loan. Star-Advertiser.

The Navy last week gave the COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine to some Pearl Harbor fast-attack submarine crews — an indication of the priority given to keeping subsea sailors healthy aboard the warships that are critical to national security but notorious for their close quarters. Star-Advertiser.

After ‘Egregious’ Delay, Education Nonprofit Scores DOE Finance Data. A Hawaii education advocacy group managed to wrangle detailed budgetary information from the state Department of Education — but it took two-and-a-half years and a lawsuit to get records the group’s attorneys say are now outdated. Civil Beat.


From the coronavirus pandemic to the troubled rail line, 2020 is a year to forget. Star-Advertiser.

Good riddance, 2020: A look back at the year of COVID-19. Tribune-Herald.

More attention-grabbing Hawaii stories from 2020. Star-Advertiser.

HAWAII VIRUS TRACKER — Dec. 30: 108 New COVID-19 Cases. Health officials reported 108 new COVID-19 cases statewide on Wednesday, including 86 on Oahu, 17 in Maui County, two on the Big Island, one on Kauai and two residents who were diagnosed out of the state. There were no new fatalities reported. Civil Beat.


Policing Hawaii’s Illegal Vacation Rentals. Honolulu’s weak law makes it hard to crack down on illegal vacation rentals, but a new law is in the works. Other jurisdictions – in Hawaii and on the Mainland – have tougher laws and more success with enforcement. Hawaii Business magazine.

River of Life Mission to shutter Chinatown food program, relocate. River of Life Mission, often maligned by Chinatown residents and merchants as a magnet for homelessness in Honolulu’s oldest neighborhood, will relocate to Iwilei and provide up to 700 meals per day in the city’s latest effort to reduce homelessness. Star-Advertiser.

City taps River of Life Mission to run part of new homeless resource center. Honolulu’s mayor said Wednesday that the River of Life Mission will operate a new resource center for the homeless in Iwilei. Hawaii News Now.

New resource center to open in Iwilei, serving 700 meals per day. Construction of a $17 million complex in Iwilei to help house and feed the homeless is now more than 50% complete. KITV4.

Hawaii’s Longest Serving Convict, Dead At 84, Outlived His Notoriety. George Shimabuku was convicted of three killings, including a shooting inside the Oahu prison in 1967. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Island

Ige’s budget includes $5.7M reduction for UH-Hilo. The University of Hawaii is facing budget cuts totaling more than $78 million as part of Gov. David Ige’s proposed biennium budget, which was unveiled Dec. 21. Tribune-Herald.

Matthew McConaughey buys new home in Kona gated community. The 51-year-old Texan, whose performance in “Dallas Buyers Club” won him the 2014 Academy Award for Best Actor, paid $7.8 million for the newly built six-bedroom home in the Ka‘upulehu section of the Kukio Beach and Golf Club gated community in Kailua-Kona. West Hawaii Today.

Nine significant non-COVID stories
that happened in 2020. Tribune-Herald.


New Rules Proposed for Maui Would Reduce Gatherings to 5; Further Limit Occupancy and Require 10 p.m. Closing Time at Restaurants and Bars. New Emergency Rules for Maui County are proposed to take effect at 12:01 a.m. on Jan. 2, 2021. Maui Now.

Cluster confirmed at Harbor Lights on Maui; testing to begin. Double digit case counts in Maui County on Wednesday have officials cracking down on gathering sizes and trying to control a coronavirus outbreak at a condominium complex in Kahului. Hawaii News Now.

New $25 Million Maui Service Center Opens to Customers on Jan. 19, 2021. A blessing event for the new, two-story building was held on Tuesday as employees of the Department of Finance prepare to move from their current office space at the Maui Mall to the new facility. Maui Now.

New native plant discovered
. A new native flower was discovered in a remote location in West Maui last week, and it’s the only known plant of its kind to exist so far. Maui News.


Gov. David Ige approves Kauai’s request to rejoin state’s Safe Travels program for inter-island travelers. Gov. David Ige has approved a request by Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami to rejoin the state’s Safe Travels program, allowing inter-island travelers that test negative for COVID-19 to bypass the island’s mandatory 10-day quarantine as of Jan. 5. Star-Advertiser.

Kaua‘i to reinstate inter-island Safe Travels program. Those traveling from a neighbor island to Kaua‘i will soon be able to bypass the quarantine by using the state’s Safe Travels program beginning Tuesday, Jan. 5. Garden Island.

Gov. Ige Approves Kaua‘i “Resort Bubble” Post-Travel Testing Program. Gov. David Ige has approved Kaua‘i Mayor Derek Kawakami’s request to implement a pre- and post-travel testing program for visitors who stay in “resort bubble” hotels, effective Jan. 5, 2021. Maui Now.

Gov. Ige approves Kauai’s ‘resort bubble’ testing program.
Gov. David Ige has approved Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami’s request to implement a pre- and post-travel testing program for visitors who stay in “resort bubble” hotels. KHON2.

Kaua‘i first responders receive Moderna vaccine. On Tuesday, the Kaua‘i District Health Office opened up its COVID-19 vaccine clinic at the Kaua‘i Memorial Convention Hall for first responders at 8 a.m. to a line. Garden Island.

Fewer Cases Means More In-Person Learning on Kauai.
Kauai County District Health Officer Dr. Janet Berreman told KITV4 she expects in-person learning to increase on Kauai in the second semester due to low case rates. KITV4.


Dead deer causing health, safety issues for Molokai residents. Recent drought conditions have caused problems for farmers statewide, but on the island of Molokai the drought is killing deer and that is creating even more issues for residents. KHON2.

Wildlife Surveys Suggest Severe Drought Conditions on Moloka‘i Leading to Animal Starvation. The state Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Forestry and Wildlife came to the conclusion following surveys and investigations after receiving reports earlier this month of deer being found both on roadways and on private lands in West Moloka‘i.  Maui Now.

A drought is causing Molokai deer to starve, and carcasses are piling up. The state said that a severe drought on Molokai this year has led to the starvation of deer on the island. Hawaii News Now.


Rental project proposed for Lanai.
Oracle billionaire Larry Ellison, through his company Pulama Lana’i, is proposing to develop 150 rental homes for Lanai — with 49 percent slated for market rates and the other 51 percent scheduled for affordable rents under a state fast-track process for affordable housing. Maui News.

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Hawaii residents not staying home much, COVID-19 vaccinations not delivered equally, Maui promises vaccines for everybody by Labor Day, Blangiardi picks Cabinet, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy UHERO
Hawaii mobility map PC:UHERO

People in Hawaii have stopped staying home as much following the surge in COVID-19 cases this summer, and have started going back to restaurants and shops, new mobility data shows. Civil Beat.

UHERO mobility dashboard details can be found here.

The number of residents leaving Hawai'i doubles in 2020. 2020 has taken a toll on many across the globe, including those in the Aloha State. The Grassroot Institute of Hawaii says the state say the highest rates of population decline in the country. KITV4.

Some healthcare workers not associated with hospitals are still waiting for vaccine. Medical professionals are in group 1-A, the first group designated to get the COVID-19 vaccine. But many are still waiting for their first dose. That’s even though the state Department of Health has already started vaccinating people in group 1-B. Hawaii News Now.

This New Ad Campaign Aims To Win Over Hawaii’s COVID-19 Vaccine Skeptics.
Persuading enough residents to roll up a sleeve for the vaccine for the state to achieve herd immunity is expected to be a challenge. Civil Beat.

Hawaii heiress Abigail Kawananankoa got $142,000 federal bailout loan. Her attorney Bruce Voss said the 94-year-old Kawananakoa needed the Paycheck Protection Program loan because the three-year legal battle over her $215 million fortune had drained her bank accounts. Hawaii News Now.

Plenty of ahi available for New Year’s Eve celebrations during a challenging year. There should be plenty of ahi available for New Year’s Eve at a reasonable price, according to purveyors, as a year besieged by pandemic-related challenges winds down to a close. Star-Advertiser.

King's Hawaiian Rolls not made in Hawaii, class action lawsuit filed. The company has been hit with a class action lawsuit after a New York resident claimed fraudulent marketing misleads shoppers by hiding where the products is really made. KITV4.

Saving Hawaii’s Koa Industry — And The Environment. The private sector and state are coming together to ensure an abundance of koa far into the future. Civil Beat.

Ige delays furloughs until ‘at least July 1’. Gov. David Ige said Tuesday he is delaying the implementation of furloughs for state employees through at least July 1, 2021. West Hawaii Today.

The start of state worker furloughs has been postponed, but remains on the minds of many. Federal funding has pushed back the start date of the furloughs, but they still could happen in 2021. Hawaii News Now.

HAWAII VIRUS TRACKER — Dec. 29: 76 New COVID-19 Cases. Health officials reported 76 new COVID-19 cases statewide on Tuesday, including 55 on Oahu, 10 in Maui County, seven on the Big Island and four residents who were diagnosed out of the state. There were no new fatalities reported. Civil Beat.


Mayor-elect Rick Blangiardi’s transition team announces Cabinet selections. The longtime leader of the company that runs TheBus, a former state senator and the one-time head of the pro-development think-tank Land Use Research Foundation are among a slate of nominees to Mayor-elect Rick Blangiardi’s Cabinet that his transition team announced today. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Mayor-Elect Blangiardi Announces Key Appointments. They include Laura Thielen for Parks and Recreation and Dean Uchida for Planning and Permitting. Civil Beat.

Blangiardi announces key cabinet appointments ahead of January inauguration. Mayor-elect Rick Blangiardi has released his list of cabinet members ahead of his inauguration next month. Hawaii News Now.

Mayor Kirk Caldwell says coronavirus response was too slow. In a reflection of the city’s handling of its COVID-19 outbreak, outgoing Mayor Kirk Caldwell said he would have responded to the virus earlier and done more to properly inform the public if he had the chance. Star-Advertiser.

Essential workers traveling to Oahu now subject to mandatory COVID-19 testing. Essential workers traveling to Oahu who get exemptions to the state’s quarantine rules will now be subject to new testing requirements. The new rules were included in an emergency proclamation, approved by the governor Tuesday. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu City Card usage is extended through Jan. 31. Those several thousand people receiving or scheduled to receive $500 debit cards from the city now have until Jan. 31 to spend the money to pay for food and other necessities in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, city officials said Tuesday. Star-Advertiser.

New HART CEO taking on rail at high-stakes stage for lower pay.
Honolulu Rapid Rail Authority (HART) has a new CEO, Lori Kahikina, taking the helm at a crossroads for the final leg of the project. She has just one year to prove whether she can turn the troubled agency around. KHON2.

Brigham Young University to Require Free Weekly COVID Tests for On-Campus Students and Faculty. Hawaii universities have been largely distance learning due to COVID-19. However, Brigham Young University-Hawaii hopes expanded testing will put the institution on the path to reopening. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii Island

COVID-19 exposure notification app now available to residents of Hawaii County. AlohaSafe Alert, the state of Hawaii’s official COVID-19 exposure notification app, is now available to Hawaii County residents and is expected to launch statewide next week. Tribune-Herald.

Todd, 2 political newcomers to vie for Kahele’s seat. A state representative and two political newcomers made the cut Wednesday night from a list of seven Democrats vying for Gov. David Ige’s nomination to fill the remaining two years of the state Senate seat vacated by Congressman-elect Kai Kahele. West Hawaii Today.

Waipio Valley pedestrian ban booted.
It’s back to the drawing board for a bill prohibiting pedestrian access to Waipio Valley, after County Council members Wednesday raised constitutionality issues and the effect closing hiking there would have on other valleys, such as Pololu Valley in North Kohala. West Hawaii Today.

Council approves Kailua-Kona development. An agreement worked out by two council members negotiating with developers of a Kailua-Kona project was approved by the County Council last week and then sent to the mayor, despite three council members’ assurances that the public would have one more opportunity to comment at a council forum. West Hawaii Today.


Mayor to seek scaled back gatherings, other restrictions. Maui County is seeking to tighten up rules such as scaling back the number of people in gatherings and imposing other restrictions as Maui continues to see double digit positive cases daily. Maui News.

Operation Face Mask Results in 24-Hour Closure of Two Lahaina Bars. ask Force Officers from the Maui Police Department and the Department of Liquor Control conducted Operation Face Mask on Saturday, Dec. 26, 2020. Maui Now.

Maui District Health Office on Vaccine Rollout: Everybody Should Get a Dose if they want it by Labor Day. Health officials on Maui are asking the public to be patient by waiting their turn in the distribution timeline, and continue health care precautions as the state carries out its vaccination plan. Maui Now.

Push to get independent doctors, staff vaccinated. Dentists and staff included in Phase 1; more doses on the way. Maui News.


County leaving single-use plastics in 2020. Starting Friday, a policy prohibiting county funds from being used for single-use, disposable plastics will go into effect. Garden Island.

Lihu‘e post office safe from closure. On Sunday night, the U.S. Congress passed the COVID Relief Bill, which among other things approved the transition of a $10 billion loan to the U.S. Postal Service in March and into a grant with conditions. Garden Island.

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Ige opposes Kapolei casino, coronavirus hospitalizations up 38%, Kahikina named interim HART CEO, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Hawaii beach beauties ©2020 All Hawaii News

Tourism recovery not seen until summer, hotel execs say. Longtime Hawaii hotel industry executives don’t see any meaningful recovery in tourism until the summer even though the COVID-19 vaccines began getting dispersed throughout the United States this month. Star-Advertiser.

Visitor arrivals in November down 77% compared to last year. Most of the visitors were from the U.S West Coast. There were 524 visitors that came from Japan. KHON2.

Hawai‘i Visitor Numbers Down 77% in November. Tourism totals in Hawai‘i remain bleak, even as several mainland and international flight routes to island airports have reopened. Big Island Now.

Despite travel concerns, Hawaii saw big spike in trans-Pacific visitors for the holidays. More travelers came to Hawaii from the mainland in the week leading up to Christmas than in any other week since the launch of the state’s pre-travel testing program, data from the Hawaii Tourism Authority shows. From Dec. 17 to Dec. 23, the last date for which data is currently available, 89,050 trans-Pacific travelers were screened at airports across the state. Hawaii News Now.


Gov. David Ige pans Hawaiian home lands casino plan. The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands recently suggested that Gov. David Ige could include its proposal for “limited casino gaming” in his legislative packet for consideration in the next session, which begins Jan. 20. It now appears that isn’t going to happen. Star-Advertiser.

Ige opposes casino on Oahu DHHL land. Gov. David Ige said Monday he opposes a proposal approved last week by the Hawaiian Homes Commission to build a casino on a Department of Hawaiian Home Lands parcel in Kapolei, Oahu. Tribune-Herald.


Federal Aid Means Hawaii Will Avoid State Worker Furloughs — For Now. The new round of federal relief could bring millions of dollars to Hawaii’s agencies and struggling residents. Civil Beat.

Ige unsure when furloughs for state workers will begin. Gov. David Ige on Monday was still unable to say when state workers, including educators, will see furloughs implemented as the state work’s to cut spending to plug a $1.4 billion budget hole. West Hawaii Today.

State to hold public hearings on water plan. A state water panel will hold virtual public hearings in January on an update to the State Water Projects Plan, the Department of Land and Natural Resources announced Wednesday. Maui News.

As more COVID-19 vaccine doses arrive, Hawaii prepares to ramp up distribution. Another shipment of the COVID-19 vaccine arrived in Hawaii on Monday — the second shipment of the Moderna brand. That puts the number of doses received so far in the islands at 49,750. And another shipment of the Pfizer version is expected Tuesday, which would push that number to 61,000. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii sees 38% increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations; State receives 16.3K more vaccines. Hawaii has seen a 38% increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations over the past month as new case counts climbed over the holiday season. Star-Advertiser.

HAWAII VIRUS TRACKER — Dec. 28: 46 New COVID-19 Cases. Health officials reported 46 new COVID-19 cases statewide on Monday, including 30 on Oahu, 13 in Maui County, two on the Big Island and one on Kauai. There were no new fatalities reported. Civil Beat.


Kirk Caldwell’s Legacy As Honolulu Mayor Is Marred By Rail And Homelessness. When Mayor Kirk Caldwell was running for mayor in 2012, he promised to help the homeless, “build rail better” and be a dependable leader for Honolulu. Eight years later, as the mayor eyes a run for governor, the island is in much the same place as it was when Caldwell took office, political observers say. Civil Beat.

Caldwell outlines improvements at Ala Moana Regional Park, including the Hawaiian Pond. The eroded, muddy banks of the Hawaiian Pond at Ala Moana Regional Park are being fixed and improved, according to Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell. Star-Advertiser.

Ala Moana Beach Park improvements nearing completion. Improvements to the Hawaiian Pond at the Diamond Head end of Ala Moana Beach Park are nearing completion. KITV4.


Lori Kahikina, city environmental services director, is named interim chief of Honolulu rail project. The saga of Honolulu’s financially strapped rail project enters a new chapter Friday when veteran city engineering chief Lori Kahikina takes over as interim chief executive officer of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation. Star-Advertiser.

Lori Kahikina Pegged To Lead HART As Interim Director. The city’s outgoing environmental services director joins rail right as HART struggles with utility relocations along Dillingham. Civil Beat.

Lori Kahikina, city Environmental Services director, named interim CEO. Lori Kahikina, who has served as the city’s director of Environmental Services for eight years, was named Monday as the interim CEO of the problem-plagued rail project. Hawaii News Now.

HART announces new interim CEO. For the past eight years, the University of Hawaii graduate served as Director of the City's Department of Environmental Services. KITV4.


Honolulu officials hope to extend ‘City Card’ until Jan. 31 with over 1.3K cards not yet activated. Honolulu officials are hoping to extend the deadline for the use of the $500 “City Card” for disadvantaged families through Jan. 31, pending the approval of COVID-19 related legislation. Star-Advertiser.

Officials working to extend deadline to January for City Card on Oahu. Officials say they’re working on having the City Card deadline to be extended to Jan. 31. KHON2.


Police Fatally Shoot Windward Oahu Man. The male suspect was wanted in connection to an ongoing kidnapping case. Civil Beat.

Honolulu police fatally shoot man as officers try to serve him warrant. Honolulu Police Chief Susan Ballard said two officers feared for their lives Monday morning and had to jump out of the way of a Jeep driven by a 45-year-old man in Ahuimanu just before fatally shooting him. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Chief of Police confirms death of man shot by officer.
An officer involved shooting at Hookipa Apartments on the Windward side of Oahu left one man dead, Honolulu Police Chief Susan Ballard confirms. KHON2.

Suspect in HPD officer involved shooting dies, HPD confirms. The suspect involved in the officer involved shooting in the Windward area has died, Chief Susan Ballard has confirmed. KITV4.

Year-long ban on fishing along a south Oahu shoreline to begin Friday. Rules to prevent over fishing in Waikiki will once again be in place at the start of the new year. Come Friday, the Shoreline Fisheries Management Area from Waikiki to Diamond Head will be closed for fishing. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

State Land Board To Decide On Dredging Of New Beach At Pohoiki. The state seeks a waiver to dredge a channel through black sand deposited by the 2018 Kilauea eruption. Civil Beat.

Tee time: West Hawaii golf subsidy program returns. Waikoloa Village Golf Course in South Kohala and Makalei Golf Course in North Kona will both offer reduced rates for residents of Hawaii County for six months. West Hawaii Today.

Thousands flock to HVNP to see eruption. Because of the ongoing eruption at Halema‘uma‘u crater, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park has brought in additional staff to manage an influx of visitors. Tribune-Herald.

Hundreds vaccinated at HMC.
More than 500 doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered at Hilo Medical Center since vaccination efforts began on Dec. 23. Tribune-Herald.


10 COVID-19 Cases at Harbor Lights on Maui, Cleaning Underway. Maui County officials confirmed a cluster of COVID-19 infections at the Harbor Lights condominium complex in Kahului. Maui Now.

Garbage on its way to ocean collected, bagged in Maalaea. Maui Nui Marine Resouce Council hosts gulch cleanup prior to rainy season. Maui News.


Bus fares going up this week.
The Kaua‘i Bus announced a fare increase effective Friday, Jan. 1, and a new design for its 2021 monthly bus passes. Garden Island.

Lane closures scheduled for portions of Hanapepe. The Department of Public Works is announcing that portions of Hanapepe will be closed Dec. 29 to allow Maui Kupono Builders to conduct road reconstruction work from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., weather permitting. Garden Island.

Monday, December 28, 2020

Facelift planned for Waikiki beaches, electric bills could drop under new utility rate structure, Honolulu extends grocery card deadline, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2020 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Waikiki beach scene ©2020 All Hawaii News

The state wants to give the beaches of Waikiki a facelift. The state Department of Land & Natural Resources wants improve the Fort DeRussy, Halekulani, Royal Hawaiian, and Kuhio Beach shores. KITV4.

One of Hawaii’s largest Japanese travel companies extends tour cancellations through March. JTB Hawaii, one of Hawaii’s largest Japanese travel companies, extend its cancellations for tours at least until March, in another blow to Hawaii’s economy. Hawaii News Now.

Details of Hawaii Department of Education finances released after long tug of war. After four years of effort and a lawsuit, the Education Institute of Hawaii has finally obtained the comprehensive electronic financial data it sought from the Department of Education. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaiian Electric bills to drop under new PUC rules. Hawaii is set to see shrinking utility costs and growing renewable energy after the state Public Utilities Commission’s landmark decision to change the way Hawaiian Electric makes its money. Star-Advertiser.

UH Manoa study finds hurricane risk could double due to climate change. A new study by the University of Hawaii at Manoa found that climate change impacts Hawaii’s ocean temperatures and trade winds which can cause an increase in the intensity of storms. KHON2.

Nearly A Quarter Of Hawaii’s Vaccine Shipments Are Delayed, Health Officials Say. The state now expects it will receive a reduced total of 61,450 doses of the COVID-19 vaccines by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna by year’s end. Civil Beat.

HAWAII VIRUS TRACKER — Dec. 24: 129 New COVID-19 Cases. In the last two weeks, 1,733 people in Hawaii have been diagnosed with COVID-19. Civil Beat.


Mayor Caldwell extends deadline to use City Card money. People with a City Card now have more time to use it to buy food and household essentials. The deadline to use a card is extended to Tuesday, December 29, 2020, at 11:59 p.m. KITV4.

Oahu residents with City Card have extended deadline to use it by Dec. 29. The City and County of Honolulu has now extended the deadline to use the City Card until Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2020, at 11:59 p.m. KHON2.

If you got a city grocery card, you have 2 more days to use it. The city on Sunday announced that the deadline to use its problem-plagued grocery cards has been extended by two days — to Tuesday. Hawaii News Now.


Plans for sea water air conditioning dropped. The company that had been pursuing the endeavor for 16 years announced recently that the project is dead because of increased construction cost estimates after spending $25 million, obtaining all major regulatory approvals and signing up numerous customers. Star-Advertiser.

A genuine civic center is slated for Wahiawa after decades of planning. A more proper rural state courthouse appears to be in the not-too-distant future for Central Oahu and North Shore communities as part of a $76 million civic center redevelopment project in Wahiawa. Star-Advertiser.

Are Open-Book Tests Making It Too Easy To Become A Honolulu Police Officer?, HPD says the change emphasizes critical thinking, but others argue police must know some things by heart. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Island

Halemaumau lava lake measures 581-feet deep as Kilauea’s latest eruption enters 2nd week. One week after Kilauea volcano began erupting anew, the lava lake at Halemaumau crater has risen to 581 feet and contains about 4.8 billion gallons of molten rock. Star-Advertiser.

Kilauea SO2 emission rates drop. Summit sulfur dioxide emission rates continued to drop over the weekend following the start of Kilauea Volcano’s summit eruption late Dec. 20. West Hawaii Today.

Kilauea Volcano Sunday Evening Eruption Update. Scientists noted slightly reduced vigor Sunday morning, with two narrow channels of lava spilling from the west vent on the wall of the caldera. Big Island Video News.

Hawaii Tour Firm Reports More Buyers After Volcano Eruption. One Hawaii helicopter tour company has seen a substantial rise in bookings after a volcano eruption and following months of limited business due to the coronavirus pandemic. Associated Press.

Thousands turn out for The Food Basket’s 100th ‘food drop’ since April. The Hawaii Food Basket celebrated its 100th Ohana Food Drop last Wednesday in Honokaa after serving nearly 175,000 people across Hawaii County since the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. Tribune-Herald.


Olowalu Wildfire Damage Report Includes Destruction of Community Hall/Church. A community hall/church in the Olowalu Village area was completely destroyed, according to a survey conducted Sunday of the impacted area of the brush fire. Maui Now.

Hundreds of acres burned, one structure destroyed as firefighters work to extinguish two brush fires on Maui. Two brush fires on Maui are now said to be 95% contained, according to the Maui Fire Department. Hawaii News Now.

760-acre Maui brush fire destroys church in Olowalu Village. A 760-acre Olowalu brush fire Saturday night destroyed a church and two vehicles and damaged a home, Maui fire officials said today. Star-Advertiser.

178-unit affordable rental project proposed. Catholic Charities Hawai’i is proposing a $66 million, 178-unit affordable rental project in Kahului on the heels of its senior affordable rental development, also in Kahului. Maui News.


Kaua'i County awaits response from governor on resort bubble proposal nearly a week after it was submitted. The proposal would allow travelers to quarantine for three days in an approved hotel, and be released if their second, post-secondary test results come back negative. KITV4.

Could This Housing Project Be A Model For Addressing Homelessness On Kauai? The complex is still under construction, but is already housing most of the homeless families who had been living in four county beach parks. Civil Beat.

Last free COVID-19 testing pau.
Sunday marked the final free COVID-19 surge testing program held at the Bryan J. Baptiste Sports Complex to an audience of pre-registered testers that was smaller than previous testing days. Garden Island.


Billionaire owner of Lanai to develop affordable housing. Pulama Lanai, the company established by billionaire Larry Ellison after he bought 97% of the island in 2012, plans to develop 150 rental homes on the former Pineapple Isle starting next year, and just over half the homes would be reserved for low-income households at affordable rents anticipated to be as low as $603 a month. Star-Advertiser.

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Furloughs delayed as Hawaii awaits federal bailout, Honolulu grocery cards malfunction, Kauai seeks 3-day bubble quarantine, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii Government Employees Association
Hawaii Government Employees Association member signup Dec. 10, 2020 PC:HGEA

 Hawaii to delay state furloughs after virus relief bill passes. Gov. David Ige today said the passage of a new coronavirus relief bill by the U.S. Congress this week has prompted him to delay the implementation of state worker furloughs previously due to begin on Jan. 1. Associated Press.

Governor delays January start of furloughs for state workers
, but doesn’t set new date. Gov. David Ige said the federal government’s $900 billion pandemic relief package allows Hawaii to put off implementation of the furloughs ― or two unpaid days a month for most state workers. Hawaii News Now.

Ige Announces Delay For Furloughs. Governor David Ige announced Wednesday afternoon that there will be a delay in state furloughs, that were set to begin on January 1, 2021. Hawaii Public Radio.

Governor Delays State Employee Furloughs.
Based on the promise of federal aid, the governor made the decision to delay the implementation of planned state furloughs, which was set for Jan. 1, 2021.  Big Island Video News.

Governor announces delay of furloughs. In a letter sent to state employees this afternoon, the governor said the state had been waiting months to see if Congress would provide additional federal funds to help address the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic impacts here in Hawai‘i. Garden Island.

University of Hawaii faculty union sues to stop furloughs. The union representing University of Hawaii faculty filed a lawsuit today, asking the court to stop Gov. David Ige from enacting furloughs and a 9.23% pay cut. Star-Advertiser.

State worker union files lawsuit against Gov. Ige on furloughs as delay is announced. The unions say they will take action against the governor if a furlough is imposed before their contract expires in June of 2021. KHON2.

HSTA President calls delay of furloughs a holiday gift for teachers. More than 13,000 public school teachers and staff would have been affected. KITV4.


Hawaii Joins Legal Battle Over Telework Tax. Hawaii wants the U.S. Supreme Court to prohibit states from levying income tax on people who work from home in another state. Civil Beat.


Lagging tourism could result in more than half of Hawaii’s eateries closing for good by April, a survey says. More than half of Hawaii restaurants may be forced to close for good by April without a significant boost in tourism, according to a survey by the University of Hawaii’s Public Policy Center. Star-Advertiser.

Without a tourism rebound, half of Hawaii restaurants say they’ll be permanently closed by April. If tourism doesn’t make a rebound early on in 2021, more than half of Hawaii restaurants say they will be forced to close permanently by April, a new survey finds. Hawaii News Now.

Survey: 50% of Hawaii restaurants will close by April. More than half of Hawai'i’s restaurants will be forced to permanently close by April 2021, if tourism does not significantly increase, according to a survey by the Public Policy Center located at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa. KITV4.


PUC OKs regulatory changes for Hawaiian Electric. The state Public Utilities Commission approved Wednesday regulatory changes for Hawaiian Electric aimed at incentivizing the quick adoption of clean energy goals and could lower customers’ energy bills. Tribune-Herald.

Casino plan underscores worsening problems with homesteading program. This fall, as the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands faced mounting criticism over its handling of a century-old program to return Native Hawaiians to their ancestral lands, top officials asked their staff to come up with bold solutions. Star-Advertiser.

The Pandemic Is Hitting Hawaii’s Filipino Community Hard. The virus has sickened Filipinos disproportionately and led to widespread job losses. A grassroots Filipino COVID-19 task force has partnered with various nonprofit organizations and the Filipino Community Center to use federal CARES Act funding to educate thousands of Filipino residents about the virus and how to prevent it. Civil Beat.

Hawaii’s COVID-19 Vaccines Are Arriving At Slower Pace, Health Officials Say. Hawaii health regulators anticipate the arrival of thousands more doses of the COVID-19 vaccine across all counties next week. Civil Beat.

TRACKER — Dec. 23: 107 New COVID-19 Cases and 3 Deaths. Health officials reported 107 new COVID-19 cases statewide on Wednesday, including 69 on Oahu, 15 on Maui, 13 on the Big Island and 10 Hawaii residents diagnosed out of state. Civil Beat.


Vendor trying to rectify City Card activation issues. As of Tuesday night, 751 out of 3,700-plus cards distributed had activated their cards, said Amy Asselbaye, the city’s director of economic revitalization. Star-Advertiser.

If you’re still trying to activate your city grocery card,
here’s what to do. On Wednesday afternoon, the city said the cards can now be activated online. Hawaii News Now.

Mayor Kirk Caldwell announces new H-POWER contract to recycle ash, prevent it from going into Oahu landfills. Instead of going into the landfill, the ash byproduct of H-POWER would be treated and cleaned and could then potentially be used as construction material. Metals that are recovered from the ash would be recycled as well. Star-Advertiser.

ACLU pushes city to stop homeless sweeps, at least during the holidays. Honolulu city officials are under pressure to stop the homeless sweeps. Hawaii News Now.

Rail line on verge of opening. The first segment of the city’s over budget and long-delayed rail line will begin carrying passengers between East Kapolei and Aloha Stadium sometime in the second half of 2021, Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director Andrew Robbins told reporters Wednesday in what likely was his last public availability while on the job. Star-Advertiser.

Draft environmental impact statement for new Aloha Stadium entertainment district released. The march to replace aging Aloha Stadium reached a major milestone today with the release of the draft environmental impact statement for the new Aloha Stadium entertainment district. Star-Advertiser.

State seeks feedback about its vision for Aloha Stadium redevelopment. The state released its draft environmental impact statement for the “Aloha Stadium Entertainment District” ― and wants your input on next steps. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

HVO: Kilauea lava lake rises to more than 500 feet. Areas around the summit of Kilauea on Wednesday were blanketed in high levels of sulfur dioxide and particulates that reached levels established by the Environmental Protection Agency as hazardous, according to a statement from Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Tribune-Herald.

HVNP Sees Surge in Visitors Coming to See New Kīlauea Eruption. Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park has temporarily closed the backcountry to overnight use due to a surge in visitors coming to see the new eruption at Kīlauea volcano. Big Island Now.

HMC begins vaccinations. The first round of Pfizer vaccines was given to health care workers Wednesday at Hilo Medical Center, 273 days after the first stay-at-home order was implemented in Hawaii. Tribune-Herald.

‘The beginning of the end’: Frontline workers, first responders receive COVID-19 vaccine. The first 25 frontline workers at Kona Community Hospital received their initial dose of the COVID-19 vaccine Wednesday afternoon in Kealakekua. West Hawaii Today.

Healthcare Workers at North Hawai‘i Community Hospital Receive Vaccine.
Thirty staff members at Queen’s North Hawai‘i Community Hospital received their Pfizer COVID-19 vaccinations Tuesday, with the remaining staff expected to receive the vaccine in the next two weeks. Big Island Now.


Maui County tops state in revenue per hotel room for month of November. County saw rise in occupancy, rates, revenue last month. Maui News.

Hospital workers first in Maui County to receive vaccine. A respiratory therapist, an emergency room physician and other Maui Memorial Medical Center staff became the first people in Maui County to receive the COVID-19 vaccine early Wednesday morning. Maui News.

Maui First Responders Begin Vaccinations at UHMC Drive Up Clinic. A drive up COVID-19 vaccination clinic was held for first responders at the University of Hawaiʻi Maui College in Kahului today for fire personnel, police officers, paramedics and front line medical workers. Maui Now.


Kaua‘i proposes rule independent of state’s Safe Travels. The county is seeking approval to create a post-travel resort bubble program that would allow incoming travelers to test out of the quarantine after three days. Garden Island.

Mayor Kawakami requests ‘resort bubble’ alternative to Safe Travels Program. Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami sent a proposal to Gov. David Ige during the week of Monday, Dec. 21, that would allow incoming Kauai passengers who received a pre-travel test to quarantine at an approved resort bubble. KHON2.

Kaua'i County proposing mandatory post-travel COVID-19 test. Kaua'i County is proposing a mandatory post-travel COVID-19 test, three days after arriving on the island. KITV4.

Aea appointed new KLA president. Newly appointed president to the Kaua’i Lifeguard Association Laola Aea is looking forward to new challenges she and her team will face in a world significantly altered by COVID-19. Garden Island.

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Hawaiian commission approves Kapolei casino plan, Kilauea volcano creates economic boost with COVID-19 concerns, utility disconnection moratorium extended, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Photo by Kvnga on Unsplash
Casino gambling in Las Vegas Photo by Kvnga on Unsplash

Proposed Kapolei casino survives narrow vote to move forward. A controversial proposal to develop a casino resort on lands set aside for Native Hawaiians in Kapolei survived a narrow vote Tuesday at the Hawaiian Homes Commission and now heads to Gov. David Ige for his consideration. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaiian Homes Commission Forwards Gambling Bill To The Governor.
The proposal must still win approval from Gov. David Ige and the Legislature before becoming law. Civil Beat.

Hawaiian Homes Commission Approves Casino Gaming Legislative Proposal. The commission was divided on the matter, but DHHL says the initiative could be used to address the department's dire financial state. Big Island Video News.

In 5-4 vote, Hawaiian Homes Commission supports moving forward with casino proposal.
The Hawaiian Homes Commission voted 5-to-4 Tuesday to move forward with a plan to build a casino resort that would generate revenue for Native Hawaiians programs. Hawaii News Now.

Full text of the proposed Kapolei casino legislation is here.


Proposal Would Exempt Vaccinated Hawaii Travelers From Quarantine. The proposed policy change would not immediately be useful to most travelers while the COVID-19 vaccine supply is limited. Civil Beat.


Public Utilities Commission extends suspension of utility disconnections due to nonpayments through March 31. The Public Utilities Commission has extended the suspension of service disconnections due to nonpayments for Hawaiian Electric customers another three months to March 31, 2021. Star-Advertiser.

Moratorium for electric service disconnections extended through March 2021. The Public Utilities Commission ordered on Tuesday, Dec. 22, that the moratorium on disconnections of electric service for nonpayment be extended through March 31, 2021. KHON2.

Hawaiian Electric extends moratorium on disconnections. Hawaiian Electric announced Tuesday it will extend the moratorium on disconnections for nonpayment through March 31, 2021.  West Hawaii Today.


Gov. Ige reflects on 2020, tough decisions he made for Hawaii amid the pandemic. Like many others, Gov. David Ige was feeling positive at the start of 2020. Then, COVID-19 happened. KHON2.

How Decades Of Advocacy Helped Restore Medicaid Access To Micronesian Migrants. The change could help an estimated 25,000 people in Hawaii. Civil Beat.

Matson takes delivery of Matsonia. Matson Inc., the state’s largest ocean shipping company, took delivery Friday of the Matsonia, the second of two new Kanaloa-class combination container/roll-on, roll-off ships built for the company by General Dynamics NASSCO. Star-Advertiser.

HAWAII VIRUS TRACKER — Dec. 22: 66 New COVID-19 Cases. Health officials reported 66 new COVID-19 cases statewide on Tuesday including 51 on Oahu, six on Hawaii island, seven on Maui, and two residents diagnosed out of state. Civil Beat.


Deadline extended to keep $250M Honolulu rail project grant. Language put into one of the bills that make up the gargantuan congressional pandemic relief package approved late Monday would keep alive the city’s hopes of receiving $250 million in federal grant money for its financially strapped rail project, U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, said Tuesday. Star-Advertiser.

From delays to activation trouble, city grocery card program faces more woes. The city’s grocery card program is facing a new round of criticism from recipients who say that can’t activate their cards. Hawaii News Now.

Mayor Caldwell Provides Update on City Cards. The $500 grocery gift cards were supposed to be in the mailboxes of 4,000 unemployed O'ahu residents by December 7th. Some report not receiving theirs until this week. KITV4.

2 more drivers from TheBus and TheHandi-Van test positive for COVID-19. City officials confirmed that two more drivers — one of TheBus and one of TheHandi-Van — have tested positive for COVID-19. Star-Advertiser.

Some Honolulu Police Officers Are Doubling Their Salaries With Overtime. Records show police officers’ overtime has increased while the crime-solving rate has declined. Civil Beat.

‘Phase 1B’ of Hawaii’s vaccination plan begins. The city is partnering with the State Department of Health (DOH) to administer nearly 3,700 COVID vaccines to first responders over the next six days. KHON2.

Honolulu first responders receive the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
Honolulu’s first responders began getting vaccinated for COVID-19 today, after months of treating infectious coronavirus patients. Star-Advertiser.

Chiefs of Honolulu police, fire and emergency medical services among first responders to get COVID-19 vaccine. Leeward Community College is serving as a vaccination site for the next couple weeks for Oahu police officers, firefighters, lifeguards and emergency medical services staff. KITV4.

Kapiolani Medical Center puts up final contract offer in ongoing negotiations. A new offer from Kapiolani Medical Center is the latest development in negotiations between nurses and the hospital. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Crowds at Kilauea are a welcome nudge for the economy and a test of public health. Approximately 48 hours after the eruption began, nearby lodgings are also filling up fast. Hawaii News Now.

Kilauea eruption shows no signs of stopping. The eruption at Kilauea Volcano’s summit appears stable, and there’s no sign it will end anytime soon, although previous eruptions have lasted less than a day to more than 10 years. Star-Advertiser.

Latest Kilauea eruption confined to Halema‘uma‘u crater. Kilauea’s latest eruption might stoke fears of a repeat of 2018’s devastating lava flows, but for now, the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory says the lava is isolated at the summit. Tribune-Herald.

Kilauea Volcano Eruption Update. Now in its second day, Kīlauea's newest volcanic eruption continues, with no significant change. Big Island Video News.

Vog returns to West Hawaii: Officials warn of potential air quality hazards. West Hawaii residents awoke Tuesday to a blanket of vog for the first time in more than two years. West Hawaii Today.

Kīlauea Eruption May Cause Decline in Air Quality. Sunday’s eruption at Kīlauea Volcano has caused potential concern about air quality across the Big Island. Big Island Now.

Kīlauea Eruption Poses Air Quality Hazard With Increased Vog and SO2 Levels. The state Department of Health is advising the public of potential hazardous, poor air quality, due to the ongoing volcanic eruption at Kīlauea that began on Sunday, Dec. 20, 2020. Maui Now.

Local Dems pick Kahele replacement candidates. Three familiar names and four not quite as familiar will vie for an open state Senate seat this evening in virtual interviews with precinct officials who will select three Democrats to send to Gov. David Ige as candidates to fill the District 1 seat vacated by Kai Kahele, who was elected to Congress. West Hawaii Today.


Scaled-back state budget includes funds for hospital, jail. Funding for hospital and harbor improvements and medium-security housing at Maui’s only jail made the cut in the governor’s latest budget proposal, which calls for sharp reductions amid a struggling state economy. Maui News.

Hawaiian Electric Opens Three electric vehicle fast chargers on Maui. Three new electric vehicle fast-charging stations are now open to the public at the Queen Kaʻahumanu Center in Central Maui, Piʻilani Village Shopping Center in South Maui and Lahaina Aquatic Center in West Maui, Hawaiian Electric announced today. Maui Now.


Kauai mayor extends emergency measures. Currently, Kauai is in Tier 4, the least restrictive of the county's four-tiered system of guidelines for businesses and recreation limits. KITV4.

Council mulls visitors beach-park parking fee. To address overcrowding at beach parks, the County Council has offered a bill authorizing the county Department of Parks and Recreation to initiate a study to potentially institute a county-beach-park parking-fee structure. Garden Island.

County announces two new cases of COVID-19. The state Department of Health Kaua‘i District Health Office reported two new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday. Garden Island.

Surfrider asks for help collecting derelict fishing gear. The Kaua‘i chapter of the Surfrider Foundation, in collaboration with the state Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation, has placed ocean-debris recycling bins at the Nawiliwili and Port Allen small boat harbors. Garden Island.

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Ige proposes 1.8% cut, undisclosed tax hikes, possible layoffs in new budget; DHHL to vote on Kapolei casino today; Kilauea volcano eruption expected to draw crowds, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

From Governor's Office video
Gov. David Ige unveils budget Monday in video conference

 Ige’s New Budget Proposal Would Wipe Out The Jobs Of 149 State Workers. Gov. David Ige’s new two-year budget proposal would eliminate the jobs of 149 state employees who are scattered in departments across state government, and may also involve some as-yet unspecified tax increases. Civil Beat.

Governor Ige's biennium budget 2021-2023 reflects reductions. With the state expecting a $1.4 billion shortfall each of the next four years, Governor David Ige unveiled his fiscal biennium budget on Monday. KITV4.

State furloughs might be pushed back to July. Furloughs for thousands of state employees scheduled to begin Jan. 1 could be postponed until July if a COVID-19 funding bill moving through Congress provides Hawaii with millions of dollars in COVID-19 aid, taking some pressure off of an already strained state budget. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Lawmakers React to Governor Ige's Budget Proposal. Anticipating a $1.4 billion per year shortfall over the next two years, Governor David Ige is proposing a $15 billion per year budget to the State Legislature. KITV4.

Gov. Ige Announces Proposed Budget Cuts. Governor David Ige has released his proposed state budget for lawmakers to consider in the 2021 legislative session. Ige says the two year spending plan reflects the difficult decisions forced on the state by the COVID-19 pandemic. Hawaii Public Radio.

Ige eyes steep budget cuts to avoid furloughs. Gov. David Ige’s proposed budget for the next two years recommends sharp cuts to state programs in order to make up for a $1.4 billion shortfall over each of the next four years. Tribune-Herald.

Governor Unveils Budget Calling For “Sudden, Sharp Reductions”.
Governor David Ige held a news conference today, unveiling his Fiscal Biennium Budget 2021-23 to the public. The spending plan includes reductions in both the operating and capital improvements program budgets in the next two fiscal years, as the state anticipates a $1.4 billion shortfall each year of this two-year period. Big Island Video News.

Governor Ige’s Biennium Budget 2021-23 Reflects “Sudden, Sharp Reductions”. Governor David Ige today unveiled his Fiscal Biennium Budget 2021-23 which includes reductions in both the operating and capital improvements program budgets in the next two fiscal years. Maui Now.

Gov. David Ige's 167-page budget in brief can be found here.


Ige is ‘hopeful’ federal relief will help to defer or reduce planned furloughs. The governor said Monday he is “hopeful” that a federal coronavirus relief package that could send as much as $1.7 billion in aid to Hawaii will help to defer or reduce planned furloughs of most state government workers. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii To Get Millions To Help With Rent Relief, Vaccine Distribution And More. The bill includes millions for unemployment assistance, child care, education and other programs. Civil Beat.

Hawaii could get $2.5B in federal relief funds. The massive $900 billion coronavirus pandemic relief bill passed Monday by Congress includes at least $1.7 billion in Hawaii funding that U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz said is not enough, but is temporary help in the current crisis. Star-Advertiser.


Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine Arrives In Hawaii. Half of the 12,000 doses in the state’s first shipment from the drug company will be distributed to neighbor islands. Civil Beat.

More doses of coronavirus vaccines arrive in Hawaii, many slated for neighbor islands. Hawaii received nearly 30,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine today, as neighbor island hospitals began immunizing health care workers. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii gets 12,000 doses of newly-approved Moderna vaccine. The state Health Department said Oahu got 6,000 doses, while Maui, Hawaii and Kauai counties each received 2,000 doses. Hawaii News Now.

CVS pharmacists to launch mass COVID-19 vaccination effort at Hawaii care homes. Next Monday, Longs Drugs pharmacists will embark on an effort to vaccinate thousands of residents in Hawaii’s long-term care facilities for COVID-19. Hawaii News Now.

HAWAII VIRUS TRACKER — Dec. 21: 134 New COVID-19 Cases. The new cases included 104 on Oahu, 13 on the Big Island, 14 on Maui, one on Kauai and two Hawaii residents diagnosed out of state. Civil Beat.


Oahu inmate infections to be removed from Oahu’s reopening metrics, Caldwell says. Oahu inmate infections will be subtracted from seven-day average case counts beginning Thursday to avoid snapping back to the more-restrictive Tier 1 of the city’s economic re-opening plan, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell announced today. Star-Advertiser.

Inmates who get COVID-19 will no longer be added to Oahu’s daily case count. Inmates on Oahu who get COVID-19 will no longer be included in daily case counts as part of a bid to prevent the island for “snapping back” to Tier 1. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu inmates will no longer be counted in City’s COVID-19 tier count, says Mayor Caldwell. Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell says the City will begin to remove inmate positive cases from the tier count in hopes to help Oahu moves ahead with more reopenings. KHON2.


Hawaiian Homes Commission Airs Concerns Over Kapolei Casino Proposal. The commission will decide whether to send the proposal to the Legislature at a meeting on Tuesday. Civil Beat.

State lawmaker, tourism expert oppose DHHL casino in Kapolei. A plan to build Hawaii’s first casino is moving forward despite push back from some lawmakers. KHON2.

Kapolei casino seen as key to land trust’s future. Given the severe budget deficits expected by the state over the next several years, a plan to develop a West Oahu casino is key to avoiding the prospect of more Native Hawaiians waiting decades for homesteads and thousands dying without getting onto the land, according to an executive with the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands. Star-Advertiser.

DHHL Pushes For Casino Gaming On Hawaiian Home Lands. DHHL is proposing a single, integrated resort property in Kapolei, Oʻahu on lands already designated for commercial use. Big Island Video News.

Police Commissioner: HPD Surveillance Of Medical Examiner ‘Raises Some Red Flags’. Honolulu Police Commission Chairwoman Shannon Alivado says Chief Susan Ballard must answer some tough questions about a 2019 operation that stemmed from a complaint from the mayor’s office. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Island

Lava flows again inside Halemaumau Crater atop Kilauea Volcano. Flowing lava, the main draw of Hawaii’s historically most popular visitor attraction, reappeared Sunday night at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park after a more than two-year absence and produced a steamy show attracting crowds through Monday in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Star-Advertiser.

First Kilauea eruption since 2018 draws hundreds of onlookers to HVNP. Hundreds of people visited the park throughout the day on Monday to see the huge plume after two years of inactivity. Tribune-Herald.

How To Safely View New Eruption In Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. The National Park Service says all areas open to the public before the new eruption started remain open, but urge visitors to take certain precautions. Big Island Video News.

HVNP Remains Open Amid New Eruption at Kīlauea Summit. Volcanoes National Park has remained open since the eruption at Kīlauea Volcano Sunday evening. Big Island Now.

Eruption at Halemaumau Crater stabilizes, but lava lake continues to grow. An eruption that started Sunday night at Kilauea’s Halemaumau Crater has stabilized — at least for now. Hawaii News Now.

Mayor Mitch Roth reacts to Kilauea eruption as he begins his third week in office. According to Roth, the main concern right now is the added attraction on the island during the pandemic. KITV4.


Hawaii gets vaccine shipment. Hawaii received its first shipment of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine Monday. Tribune-Herald.

Real estate boom: West Hawaii real estate sales reach 15-year high. Driven by a surge in demand for residential homes, property sales in Kona reached a 15-year high in October and November, marking a significant rebound from a pandemic-induced lull that started in April. According to statistics compiled by Kona Realtor Gretchen Osgood, sales are up 59% over last year’s combined October-November totals. West Hawaii Today.

Big Island Considers Banning Pedestrians On Road To Waipio Valley. Opponents say closing the road would prevent people from using public lands. Civil Beat.


Maui Woman Arrested for Alleged Violation of Mask Mandate. Maria Maither, 56, of Nāpili was arrested at around 3:15 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 19, 2020. Complaints relayed that Maither and other employees at a business, located at 5095 Nāpilihau Street were not complying with Hawaiʻi’s statewide mask mandate. Maui Now.

Affordable apartment project breaks ground. Lahaina’s 89-unit Kaiaulu O Kupuohi slated for a May 2022 completion. Maui News.

Report: Maui homes snapped up last month. Median hits $800K or more for fourth time this year. Maui News.


Doctors receive first COVID-19 vaccines on Kaua‘i. Vaccine distribution has started on Kaua‘i with the first supply arriving on island Monday afternoon. Garden Island.

Kaua‘i’s food banks get help from the community. Garden Island.