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

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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of Education — but it took two-and-a-half years and a lawsuit to get records the group’s attorneys say are now outdated.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.

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