Friday, December 18, 2020

Honolulu bars to stay closed, delays expected in COVID-19 vaccine distribution, rail boss ousted, Aloha Stadium struggling but not planning to close, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Waikiki at night ©2020 All Hawaii News

 Federal judge denies request to reopen Oahu bars and nightclubs. A federal judge denied a preliminary injunction today that would have reopened bars and nightclubs on Oahu. The suit seeks $50 million in damages. It claims the civil rights of bar owners have been violated, partly because they are forced to be closed while other establishments serving alcohol have been allowed to remain open during the pandemic. Star-Advertiser.

Report from Hawaii Health Department shows small gatherings can still cause COVID outbreak. Data over the past two weeks shows no clusters on Kauai, one cluster tied to a restaurant on the Big Island, clusters tied to bars, nightclubs, restaurants and social gatherings on Maui, and clusters tied to correctional facilities, schools, restaurants, places of worship, gyms and an athletic competition are to blame on Oahu. Hawaii News Now.

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Up to 40% of Hawaii COVID-19 vaccine shipments will be delayed, feds say. The federal government has notified Hawaii that as much as 40% of some vaccine orders will be delayed due to production, but the state is still expecting to receive more than 81,000 doses by year’s end. Star-Advertiser.

As demand ramps up, state likely to experience some delays in COVID vaccine distribution. A state Health Department spokesperson said Thursday that the distribution of its initial vaccine allotment was likely to experience at least partial delays while drug manufacturers worked to deliver doses of the vaccine across the country. Hawaii News Now.

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Renters who needed financial relief inadvertently exposed tax evaders, state says. In all, more than 18,000 people applied for relief ― and many of them inadvertently exposed landlords who didn’t have General Excise Tax licenses and had likely been able to avoid paying taxes on rent revenue. Not only did that discovery disqualify the renters from the assistance, it now has the state’s tax office on alert. Hawaii News Now.

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Hawaii Board of Education members oppose furloughing teachers, school staff. Board of Education members are pushing back against Gov. David Ige’s plan to furlough public school employees, saying the move would be too damaging and federal funds might bridge the budget gap. Star-Advertiser.

Heated testimony, threat of legal action over furloughs dominate BOE meeting. Gov. David Ige’s teacher furlough plan forces teachers to take at least one unpaid day off each month, starting Jan. 4. KHON2.

Public School Principals Grapple with Looming Budget Cuts. Along with much of the rest of the state government, the state Department of Education faces sharp budget cuts due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Hawaii Public Radio.

UH system anticipates financial challenges as it navigates pandemic. The 10-campus University of Hawaii system is looking at some rocky financial years ahead due to the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, university officials told lawmakers Thursday. Star-Advertiser.

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USS Daniel Inouye Begins Sea Trials. The missile destroyer, named for Hawaii’s late senator, set sail Wednesday after production delays. Civil Beat.

HAWAII VIRUS TRACKER — Dec. 17: 142 New COVID-19 Cases And 2 Deaths. Among the cases recorded Thursday were 113 on Oahu, 16 on the Big Island, seven on Maui, one on Kauai and five Hawaii residents diagnosed out of state. Civil Beat.

Oahu

Andrew Robbins out as rail boss; interim replacement not identified.
Contract negotiations are underway for a new interim CEO and president to take over the city’s beleaguered rail project Jan. 1 after the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation’s board of directors voted Thursday to find new leadership. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Rail Project Is Left Without A Leader As HART Ousts Robbins. Major utility problems on Dillingham Boulevard and a failed P3 effort helped seal the fate of rail’s latest executive director. Civil Beat.

HART board votes to oust CEO, search for as-of-yet unnamed replacement. The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation’s board on Thursday voted to replace CEO Andy Robbins ― they just haven’t decided with who yet. Hawaii News Now.

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Corrections Commission Wants To Pause Planning On New Oahu Jail. A panel formed to oversee the state correctional system voted Thursday to ask for a delay in the planning and design of a proposed new $525 million Oahu jail, in part because members said the state needs to reconsider how large the new facility should be. Civil Beat.

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Budget problems and maintenance issues force Aloha Stadium to put a temporary halt on new events. After 45 years, Aloha Stadium — Hawaii’s Rust Palace, which has hosted University of Hawaii Warriors football, NFL Pro Bowls, Major League Baseball, Bruno Mars, the Rolling Stones and Michael Jackson — is shutting down at least three years before a replacement stadium will be built. Star-Advertiser.

Aloha Stadium not quite shut down, will ‘entertain’ new events with added expenses. In somewhat of a reversal, the Aloha Stadium Authority announced late Thursday that it would “entertain events,” but that additional expenses would be put upon licensees who want to use the facility. Hawaii News Now.

Aloha Stadium Won’t Host Events For The Foreseeable Future. The University of Hawaii is already considering alternate sites such as high school stadiums for the 2021 football season. Civil Beat.

Aloha Stadium shutting down indefinitely
, leaving UH football without a home field. Aloha Stadium is shutting down. The Stadium Authority announced on Thursday, Dec. 17, that it will be closed indefinitely after all previously scheduled events are honored. KHON2.

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City Releases Housing Numbers for Mayor Caldwell's Second Term. According to the Office of Housing report released Thursday, the total homeless population has decreased ten percent in Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell's second term. KITV4.

Diamond Head State Monument has a quiet reopening day after 9 months’ coronavirus closure.
On Thursday morning people reappeared atop the crater known as Leahi, forehead of the tuna, to Native Hawaiians, after the monument reopened to the public at 6 a.m. with new vehicle and pedestrian traffic controls and COVID-19 health and safety protocols, including mandatory mask-wearing and 6-foot physical distancing throughout the state park. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

‘Artisan-scale’ composting popular: Environmental Management Commission considers alternatives to $10.5M composter. This may be one of those cases where bigger isn’t necessarily better, at least when it comes to turning waste into compost. West Hawaii Today.

New facility will provide space for expanded cancer treatment, other services in Hilo. Health care leaders and legislators gathered Thursday morning for a blessing and groundbreaking for a project that will expand the Hawaii Health System Corporation’s East Hawaii Health Clinic on Waianuenue Avenue — formerly known as the Hawaii Pacific Oncology Center. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii’s first certified arson dog dies at 13. The state’s first certified arson dog, Kaimi retired Dec. 31, 2019, and died Saturday at the home of his handler, Acting Fire Chief Robert Perreira. He was 13. Tribune-Herald.

First Certified Arson K9 in State Dies. Big Island Now.

Maui

Positive COVID-19 case temporarily closes Lahaina DMV office. An employee at the Lahaina DMV office has tested positive for COVID-19, forcing the office to close for the next ten days, a Maui County spokesperson said Thursday. Hawaii News Now.

Lahaina DMVL Immediate Closure Triggered by Employee Testing Positive for COVID-19. The Department of Finance Lahaina Division of Motor Vehicles & Licensing office is closed for 10 days, beginning immediately today, after an employee reported testing positive for COVID-19. Maui Now.

EMS still waiting on budget cut decisions. In July and August, the state Department of Health was in talks with all four county EMS providers in preparation for a potential statewide budget cut of up to 20 percent for the coming budget due to financial deficits caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Maui News.

Mayor Supports Possible Use of War Memorial Stadium for UH Football Games.
Maui Mayor Michael Victorino said he supports the possible use of War Memorial Stadium for University of Hawaiʻi football games or other events in light of the temporary moratorium placed on new events at Aloha Stadium earlier today. Maui Now.

Kauai

Kaua‘i County Council passes bills to avoid budget shortfall. The Kaua‘i County Council passed several bills to cover a budget shortfall caused by suspended tax revenues, retroactive salary increases and COVID-19 operations. Garden Island.

High schools revise 2nd-semester plans. Last week, the state Department of Education Kaua‘i Complex Area superintendent announced in a video that Kaua‘i’s public schools’ distance-learning plans will be revised for the second semester. Garden Island.

New case of COVID-19 is local child. The state Department of Health Kaua‘i District Health Office reported one new case of COVID-19 on Thursday. Thursday’s case is a child resident. Garden Island.

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