Friday, January 29, 2021

Tourist tax proposed, 7 Hawaii National Guard troops test positive for COVID-19 after D.C. duty, Honolulu restaurant cited for lack of masks, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2021 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Tourists at Hawaii rocky beach ©2021 All Hawaii News

Proposed Tourist Tax Could Help Hawaii Deal With Climate Change Impacts. Legislative leaders want to bump up taxes that could be assessed on the kinds of things sought by higher-spending tourists and travelers. Civil Beat.

Pandemic drives sharp drop in Hawaii tourism, with arrivals down 75%. Stricken by the COVID-19 pandemic, Hawaii tourism entered 2021 in critical condition with visitor arrivals down 74% from the previous year, according to preliminary statistics released Thursday by the Hawaii Tourism Authority. Star-Advertiser.

State lawmakers, legislative staff get COVID-19 vaccine as essential workers. Some 500 state lawmakers, legislative staff and other employees who work at the state Capitol were able to get COVID-19 vaccines Thursday. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii representative proposes work-from-home grant to cut down traffic. Hawaii State Representative Takashi Ohno introduced a bill on Wednesday that aims to establish a remote work transition grant program to help small businesses convert to virtual working environments. KHON2. KITV4.

7 Hawaii National Guard troops test positive for coronavirus following D.C. duty. Seven cases of the novel coronavirus have been confirmed among the nearly 200 Hawaii Army National Guard soldiers who were part of a massive security force for the Jan. 20 presidential inauguration, officials said Thursday. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now. KHON2. KITV4.

American Samoa Repatriation Picks Up Five COVID-19 Cases. American Samoa’s repatriation system picked up five COVID-19 cases so far among the more than 160 residents in quarantine. Hawaii Public Radio.

Some parents say Hawaii is moving too slowly to bring students back to class. Roughly 74% of Hawaii’s public school students are spending all or part of their instructional time on campus. Hawaii News Now.

Fed Help Would Give Hawaii’s Vaccination Campaign A Shot In The Arm. Faster vaccine deliveries promised by President Joe Biden would help the state give a COVID-19 shot to every willing Hawaii resident by the fall, health official says. Civil Beat.

State of Hawai‘i Weekly COVID-19 Cluster Report can be found here.

HAWAII VIRUS TRACKER — Jan. 28: 100 New Infections And 2 Deaths. Hawaii health officials reported two Oahu deaths and 100 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, including 65 on Oahu, 21 on Maui, seven on the Big Island, one on Lanai, and six Hawaii residents diagnosed out of state. Civil Beat.


Honolulu Has Third-Worst Finances Of Any American City. The City and County of Honolulu’s balance sheet is in rough shape. That is the assessment of Truth In Accounting, a non-partisan think tank that promotes transparency in government financial reporting. Hawaii Public Radio.

To ease courts backlog, prosecutors are considering plea deals in DUI cases. The pandemic could change a longstanding practice for Honolulu prosecutors handling drunk driving cases ― at least temporarily. Prosecutors, defense attorneys and Mothers Against Drunk Driving are discussing plea deals for some defendants in an effort to clear a court logjam. Hawaii News Now.

University of Hawaii stadium on campus will cost $5M. The cost to build a temporary stadium would be $5 million if the University of Hawaii (UH) football team plays its home games at the Manoa campus. KHON2.

Punahou School fires teacher accused of sexual misconduct. The case is not related to allegations of sexual abuse by coaches and teachers in the early to mid-2000s that were detailed in lawsuits filed last year. Star-Advertiser.

A Bitter Domestic Dispute Could Shake Up How The Navy Handles Abuse Cases In Hawaii. The Family Advocacy Program is supposed to help military families experiencing abuse, but one Navy sailor’s experience shows its broad discretion in handling cases. Civil Beat.

Honolulu Restaurant Gets Red Placard for Repeat Mask Violations. The Hawai‘i Department of Health Food Safety Branch has issued a red “CLOSED” placard to Doner Shack at 79 South Pauahi St. in Honolulu due to repeated instances of employees not wearing face masks while working, the department announced. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Hawaii Island

Alternatives sought for Ka‘u sewer projects: Current plan could cost $400k hookup fee per home. Faced with sewer hookup fees higher than the value of the homes themselves, Naalehu property owners have cajoled, badgered and even filed a lawsuit to stop sewer projects in Naalehu and Pahala that are aimed at getting the county out from under a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency consent order. West Hawaii Today.

Just 5 Hilo leases have been extended so far through revitalization program. Only five Hilo leases have been extended in exchange for renovating their properties under a program intended to revitalize Banyan Drive and the Kanoelehua Industrial Area. Tribune-Herald.

Ka’u Coffee Mill drastically impacted by COVID-19 pandemic. There are coffee plants as far as the eye can see at Ka’u Coffee Mill on the Big Island. The coffee farm sits on 86 acres of land. KHON2.

Land Nominations Sought for Cultural, Historical Preservation. The County of Hawai‘i Public Access, Open Space, and Natural Resources Preservation Commission is seeking suggestions from the public regarding lands that should be preserved because of cultural or historical significance. Big Island Now.


Survey: Maui folks are less likely to want COVID vaccine. Maui residents were less likely to want the COVID-19 vaccine than in other areas of the state in a new survey of nearly 4,000 people across Hawaii. Maui News.

State investigating 2 COVID clusters identified at Maui hotels.
The state said it is investigating two clusters of COVID-19 at hotels in Maui County and believes improper mask usage and other problems may be to blame. Hawaii News Now.

Tourism Report: Maui Visitors for Dec. 2020 Down 67.2 Percent from 2019. Hawaiʻi’s tourism industry continues to be severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic with December 2020 visitor arrivals down 75.2 percent compared to a year ago, according to preliminary statistics released by the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority’s Tourism Research Division. Maui Now.

Vandals cut through fence at Little Beach. Authorities are searching for vandals who cut through metal gate poles and fencing at the entrance to Pu’u Ola’i, also known as Little Beach, at Makena State Park. Maui News.

Southwest to Add Nonstop Long Beach to Maui Flight. The flights will be added on March 11, 2021 with fares as low as $99 one-way, according to a company press release. Maui Now.

Ranchers hope for greener pastures amid Maui County’s ‘extreme’ drought. Governor David Ige’s emergency proclamation declaring Maui County a disaster area because of severe drought has restored some hope for future economic relief ― but other ranchers say it’s too late for their businesses. Hawaii News Now.


Mayor hopeful for more federal funds. At the Lihue Business Association’s video conference on Thursday, Mayor Derek Kawakami spoke on Kaua‘i’s economic recovery plans in his first term. Garden Island.

Senate hears proposed Polihale pilot permit program. Before Polihale State Park reopened after nearly five months of closure by the state’s Department of Land and Natural Resources, officials hinted there may be new rules coming to the secluded, sandy shores. Garden Island.

This UH Researcher Is Studying An Unusual Invasive Species — Figs. The island of Kauai is host to a mix of dozens of nonnative fig species from all over the world. Civil Beat.

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Alcohol tax hike, sugary drink tax proposed in Legislature, OHA whistleblower files lawsuit, only half of state residents plan to take coronavirus vaccination, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2021 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Sweet alcoholic umbrella drink on Hawaii shoreline ©2021 All Hawaii News

House measure would increase state liquor tax. House Bill 771 proposes a 3-year-long increase to the state’s liquor tax, which currently imposes a nearly $6 tax per gallon on distilled spirits and a nearly $1 tax on nondraft beer. Tribune-Herald.

Ige’s Proposed ‘Sugar Tax’ Could Generate $60 Million A Year For The State. Gov. David Ige has proposed a new 2-cents-per-ounce tax on soda and other sugary drinks in an effort to discourage sugar consumption and cope with the “huge health challenge” of obesity and diabetes. Civil Beat.

Labor unions push lawmakers to drop GET on groceries. Labor unions are asking lawmakers to get rid of the state general excise tax on groceries as a way to help struggling families. Supporters of the idea say bold initiatives are needed during these unprecedented times. KHON2.

Hawaii Chief Justice: Courts Must Address Systemic Inequities. Hawaii Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald, invoking the names of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and others who were killed by police, is calling on the state court system to do its part in addressing systemic inequities. Civil Beat.

Former OHA Finance Chief Sues Over Whistleblower Retaliation. A former official at the Office of Hawaiian Affairs has sued the agency as well as its former chief executive officer alleging whistleblower retaliation and corrupt and unlawful practices. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii ‘Proud Boy’ Hires 9/11 Defense Lawyer To Fight Capitol Mob Charges. Nick Ochs ran for political office in Hawaii as a Republican and was endorsed by the Hawaii GOP. Civil Beat.

Women’s Legislative Caucus Outlines 2021 Bill Package Protecting Women, Children and Families. The bipartisan Hawaiʻi Women’s Legislative Caucus announced their 2021 legislative package of five bills and two resolutions that will support and protect women, children and families. Maui Now.

Should the voting age be lowered? Proposal is among package of bills introduced by Keiki Caucus. A Wednesday presentation by the state Legislature’s Hawaii Keiki Caucus discussed 20 bills and resolutions that were devised after lawmakers discussed with children and teenagers what issues are important to them. Tribune-Herald. KITV4.

Only half of Hawaii residents surveyed plan to vaccinate. Only half of the respondents in a recent Department of Health survey indicated they would take the COVID-19 vaccination, while about 24.4% said they were not likely to get immunized against the virus that has sickened nearly 25,500 Hawaii residents, killed 404 and ravaged the economy. Another 25.5% said they were undecided. Star-Advertiser. Maui Now. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige opens pre-arrival testing program to South Korea. Gov. David Ige today announced a pre-arrival testing program for travelers from South Korea starting Feb. 5. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Big Island Now.

Fed Help Would Give Hawaii’s Vaccination Campaign A Shot In The Arm. Faster vaccine deliveries promised by President Joe Biden would help the state could give a COVID-19 shot to every willing Hawaii resident by the fall, health official says. Civil Beat.

COVID-19 Testing Capacity Quadrupled. Hawaii’s largest locally owned medical testing laboratory, Diagnostic Laboratory Services, Inc. (DLS), has increased its capacity to 4,000 tests per day, up from 1,000. Big Island Now.

Teacher vaccinations slowed by vaccine shortage, educators unsure about the process. Teachers and educators fall under group 1B in the Department of Health (DOH) vaccine breakdown. The DOH said, they are working diligently to get Department of Education (DOE) employees their shots but some teachers claim the process is unclear. KHON2.

Lt. Gov. Green: We’ve given more vaccines than we’ve had cases. Hawaii is one of only two states that has administered more COVID-19 vaccines than confirmed cases of the virus. KHON2.

HAWAII VIRUS TRACKER — Jan. 27: 103 New Infections And 3 Deaths. Hawaii health officials reported three deaths and 103 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, including 64 on Oahu, 27 on Maui, three on the Big Island, and nine Hawaii residents diagnosed out of state. Civil Beat.


Mayor identifies affordable workforce rentals as a top priority. Rick Blangiardi’s first piece of legislation as Honolulu’s mayor calls for grant money to help fund more affordable rental units. Hawaii News Now.

Blangiardi feels energized in mayor’s role; hopes to ease COVID restrictions in February. Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi said about a month into the job, he feels energized to serve in his new position, as well as to the pressure of high expectations and a sense of responsibility as his new leadership team comes together. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu's Next Budget Director Expects Challenges, 'A Tough 2022' . Mayor Rick Blangiardi named Andy Kawano as the next person to lead the department. He came to the city from Foodland Supermarket as its director of facilities. Hawaii Public Radio.

Murder trials, other Oahu court cases with multiple defendants halted due to COVID-19. Prosecutions of homicide cases on Oahu — and trials involving multiple defendants — are not moving forward because of COVID-19 limits, Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald told a joint session of the state Legislature Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

HPD Chief Shakes Up Covert Intelligence Unit After Years Of Scandal. The Intelligence Enforcement Unit was at the center of the Kealoha conspiracy as well as a more recent surveillance operation that targeted a political appointee. Civil Beat.

Kualoa Ranch to lay off large number of workers. Kualoa Ranch Hawaii Inc., which employed some 370 workers pre-COVID-19, is permanently laying off a large number of its remaining employees due to a decline in business, its president confirmed Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Boatyard Agrees To Six-Figure Penalty For Keehi Lagoon Pollution. The levels of contaminants discharged from the facility into the lagoon violated federal regulations, the EPA found. Civil Beat.

An affordable housing complex opens in Maili, with more projects expected to break ground along the Leeward Coast and around Honolulu this year. More public and private housing projects will start construction this year, but experts say it still won't be enough to satisfy the state's supply shortage of affordable homes. KITV4.

Honolulu City Council OKs senior housing tower in Chinatown. The Honolulu City Council is endorsing a long-planned affordable rental housing tower for seniors on city land in Chinatown. Star-Advertiser.

All 4 Ko Olina lagoon parking lots will reopen completely on Monday. The four free parking lots, relied upon by the beachgoing public to access the popular lagoons, were closed during the resort’s coronavirus closure from March until October 16, when Ko Olina began reopening to tourists and partially reopened the lots, making 111 of 180 parking stalls available. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Some Big Island teachers get first dose of COVID vaccine. Approximately 630 DOE staff were given the first dose of the Moderna vaccine Jan. 16 at a closed “POD,” or point of distribution, conducted for Big Island DOE staff at Keaau High School, according to District Health Officer Eric Honda. Tribune-Herald.

Water employees offered vaccinations: Employees moved ahead in line after letter to Ige. There hasn’t been a single positive coronavirus test among the Department of Water Supply’s 164 staff, and the agency wants to keep it that way. West Hawaii Today.


Proposal pulls power from Maui Redevelopment Agency. The Maui Planning Commission on Tuesday gave its backing to a proposed bill that pulls power from a county agency with authority to alter zoning and variance rules for downtown Wailuku. Maui News.

Hawaii Governor Declares Maui County A Disaster Area As Drought There Persists. The drought has lasted since March 2019, taking a heavy toll on farmers and homesteaders, as well as the deer that roam those islands. Civil Beat. KITV4.


Council passes lower residential investor threshold evaluation. With one in eight homes on Kaua‘i empty, a bill attempting to incentivize filling these vacancies passed through the Kaua‘i County Council on Wednesday. Garden Island.

Kauai Is Moving Forward On One Of The Nation’s Most Advanced Energy Projects. The solar-charged hydro power concept is being eyed to replace coal and other fossil-fuel powered electric plants in the U.S. and abroad. Civil Beat.

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Popular former Big Island Mayor Kenoi succumbs to cancer, Legislature seeks to tighten reins of auditor, gambling bills introduced, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2021 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Billy Kenoi on Dec. 6, 2016, at his last ribbon-cutting

 Former Mayor Billy Kenoi succumbs to cancer: Kenoi leaves a long legacy of a bodacious life. Hawaii lost a rising political star and ambassador of aloha Tuesday with the death of former Big Island Mayor Billy Kenoi. West Hawaii Today.

Praise pours in for former Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi. Former Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi, once a rising star in the Hawaii Democratic Party, died Tuesday at his home in Volcano after a bout with a rare form of cancer. He was 52. Star-Advertiser.

Former Big Island Mayor Billy Kenoi Dead At 52. The folksy and sometimes controversial Hawaii leader had fought a lengthy battle with cancer. Civil Beat.

Billy Kenoi, former Hawaii County mayor, dies after lengthy battle with cancer. William “Billy” Punapaiaala Kenoi, the former mayor of Hawaii County who gained followers around the state for his tell-it-like-it-is style, an endless love for the place he called home and as an inspiring orator, died Tuesday at home after a lengthy battle with cancer. Hawaii News Now.

Friends say Kenoi was sharp, witty, funny in final days. Full of aloha, a master communicator and a force of personality. That is how friends describe former Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi, who succumbed to a battle with cancer on Tuesday, Jan. 26, at the age of 52. KHON2.

Friends, Colleagues Remember Billy Kenoi.
The Governor will order flags to fly at half-staff in honor of Mayor Kenoi on the day of his memorial service, arrangements are pending. KITV4.

Hawaii Officials Reflect On Passing Of Billy Kenoi. Top Hawaiʻi officials offered words of remembrance on the news of the death of former Hawaiʻi County Mayor Billy Kenoi. Big Island Video News.

Former Hawaiʻi County Mayor Billy Kenoi Dies After Long Battle With Cancer. Big Island Now.

Former Hawai‘i Island Mayor “Billy” Kenoi Dies,
Dignitaries Extend Condolences. Maui Now.


Bill Would Give Lawmakers Control Over Auditor’s Paycheck. A bill that would empower the Legislature to set the salary of the State Auditor has been co-introduced by House Speaker Scott Saiki and Democratic Majority Leader Della Au Belatti in what may be another sign that State Auditor Les Kondo has fallen from favor. Civil Beat.

Hawaii gambling bills under serious review. State lawmakers are prepared to have perhaps their most serious discussions about whether to allow some form of legalized gambling in Hawaii in the face of monumental budget shortfalls, a struggling tourism-based economy and the overwhelming challenge of trying to get Native Hawaiians onto state Hawaiian home lands. Star-Advertiser.

Broadband expansion plans find support. Several broadband-related bills were introduced or passed first reading in the state Legislature on Monday, the same day Gov. David Ige delivered his State of the State address, during which he committed to expanding connectivity coverage throughout Hawaii. Tribune-Herald.

CDC Supports Reopening Schools.
Hawaii Officials Say Not Yet. Federal health officials found “little evidence” that schools are meaningful contributors to the spread of COVID-19, based on available data. Civil Beat.

Education officials prepare for budget cuts. Education officials let local lawmakers know why funding for their programs should not be cut, even during this difficult economic time. KITV4.

Work from Hawaii program gets tens of thousands applications. A program that pays for the flights of people who want to work remotely in Hawaii has already received around 50,000 applications. KITV4.

State jobless rate declines to 9.3%. A Hawaii labor market plagued by the COVID-19 pandemic and thousands of job losses in 2020 showed some signs of recovery at year-end as the unemployment rate fell for the third straight month and finished December at 9.3%. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaiian Airlines reports $162M loss amid 79% drop in revenue. Hawaii’s largest airline finished what it called the most challenging year for the air travel industry with a $162.6 million loss during the last three months of 2020. Star-Advertiser. KHON2.

Lt. Gen. Charles Flynn to take command of U.S. Army Pacific. The brother of disgraced former national security adviser retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn — who suggested that President Donald Trump could declare martial law and “rerun” elections in certain states — has been tapped to be the next commander of U.S. Army Pacific at Fort Shafter. Star-Advertiser.

Lt. Gov. Green: Herd immunity in Hawaii could be achieved by summer. The state believes President Joe Biden’s plans to ramp up the distribution of vaccinations could help Hawaii achieve herd immunity by the summer. Hawaii News Now.

COVID-19 vaccine distribution uneven because of limited supplies. The state Department of Health is well into its COVID-19 vaccination rollout across the islands, but there still appears to be confusion and frustration about apparent inconsistencies in the pecking order within designated priority groups. Star-Advertiser.

The State Vaccine Communication Strategy Works To Include Community Partners. Only 44% of Hawaii residents would be willing to take the COVID-19 vaccine according to a report from the University of Hawaii’s Public Policy Center. Hawaii Public Radio.

HAWAII VIRUS TRACKER — Jan. 26: 71 New Infections. Hawaii health officials reported 71 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, including 61 on Oahu, one on the Big Island, eight on Maui, and one Hawaii resident diagnosed out of state. Civil Beat.


Former no. 2 under Caldwell is working at Council to get taxpayer-funded benefits. Roy Amemiya, who served as managing director in the Caldwell administration, is back at Honolulu Hale as a staffer for new Councilman Calvin Say. Hawaii News Now. 

Honolulu man arraigned after being caught with 24 pounds of cocaine, prosecutors say. Ping Hong Lee was arrested on Jan. 13 after law enforcement officers observed an alleged trade off at a Waikiki hotel. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Foundation exploring TMT ahead of funding decision. The National Science Foundation is continuing its informal outreach efforts in Hawaii as part of a campaign that could help to determine whether it will award hundreds of thousands of dollars to the stalled Thirty Meter Telescope project. Star-Advertiser.

Post-arrival testing to continue through February.
Hawaii County will continue testing trans-Pacific arrivals for COVID-19 through at least February thanks to continued partnerships with private philanthropists. Tribune-Herald.


Maui County Vacation Rentals at 41.8 Percent Occupancy for December. Maui County had a 41.8 percent occupancy rate for vacation rentals during December 2020 with an average daily rate of $277, according to the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority’s Vacation Rental Performance Report. Maui Now.

COVID-19 at grocer, MPD and humane society. Ten employees at Foodland in Pukalani have tested positive for COVID-19, though store officials say the employees had “very limited contact” or no contact at all with customers. Maui News.

Erosion Prompts Puamana Beach Park Closure Through Feb. 28. Puamana Beach Park in West Maui is closed today, Jan. 26, through Feb. 28, 2021, due to safety concerns caused by coastal erosion, the Department of Parks and Recreation announced. Maui Now.


Kupuna can join vaccine waitlist. Kupuna over 75 who have not received a COVID-19 vaccine have an opportunity Friday at Hawai‘i Health Systems Corporation’s Kaua‘i Veterans Memorial Hospital in Waimea and Samuel Mahelona Memorial Hospital in Kapa‘a. Garden Island.

Barnes, 50, alleged quarantine-breaker, held at OCCC now. Barnes was charged with three separate violations of quarantine and a trespassing charge, which he documented with 83 TikTok videos. Garden Island.

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Ige pushes digital economy in State of the State address, new COVID-19 variant found in state, Health Department discovers 60 unreported coronavirus deaths, vaccine shortage hinders efforts, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

from Facebook video
Gov. David Ige State of the State address, Jan. 25, 2020

Full text of Gov. David Ige's State of the State address can be found here.

Gov. David Ige calls for economy to pivot to technology. Gov. David Ige wants Hawaii to develop a more robust digital economy — “a Hawaii 2.0” pivot — that would spread broadband connectivity to rural communities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has strangled tourism. Star-Advertiser.

Gov. Ige pushes for more investment in digital technology. In his state of the state speech on Monday, Gov. David Ige called for the state to invest in digital technology to help get out of its budget crisis. KHON2.

Ige introduces digital economy initiative during State of the State address. Gov. David Ige’s State of the State address Monday promised big changes for the state, but was light on detail. Tribune-Herald.

Ige’s campaign pushes for digital economy. A digitally driven and connected “Hawai‘i 2.0” is the crux of Gov. David Ige’s latest campaign in diversifying the state’s economy. Garden Island.

Ige asks residents to ‘do more with less’ as state grapples with budget shortfall. Gov. David Ige on Monday asked residents to be ready for more tough times ahead as the state grapples with a large budget shortfall caused by a coronavirus pandemic that’s pummeled the tourism industry, but said improved tax revenue forecasts mean he’s not currently seeking broad-based tax increases. Associated Press.

Ige’s State Of The State Speech Skips The Difficult Details. The Hawaii governor recapped impacts from the pandemic, but never mentioned furloughs, layoffs or possible tax increases. Civil Beat.

In State of the State, Ige urges collaboration but offers few details on next steps. In his State of the State address Monday, the governor warned that government will have to “tighten its belt” in the face of a gaping budget deficit but neglected to offer much in the way of concrete details on how the state intends to recover from the pandemic. Hawaii News Now.

Governor Ige gives his State of the State address. Governor David Ige gave his State of the State address, focusing on possible steps for a brighter future, rather than dwell on Hawaii's current gloomy economic situation. KITV4.

Hawai'i Legislature disappointed by State of State address, call for clearer action. Shortly after he urged for collaboration, state lawmakers criticized Gov. David Ige Monday after his State of the State address, demanding more details on how he plans to steer the state out of the economic crisis. KITV4.


Biden Raises Hopes For Native Hawaiians Seeking Federal Recognition. Democratic control of the White House and Congress may breathe new life into efforts to establish a Native Hawaiian government that is recognized by the United States. Civil Beat.

Marines In Hawaii Are Training For A Return To Island Fighting.
Hawaii is at the center an ambitious plan to give the Marine Corps a 21st century reboot that will lead to a leaner force that moves faster and strikes harder as tensions with China intensify in the Pacific.  Civil Beat.

Hawaii vacation rental use rose in recent months.
Hawaii’s short-term vacation rental industry completed a painful year with 42.8% occupancy in 2020 after accounting for supply reductions, a new report shows. Star-Advertiser.


COVID-19 variant detected in Hawaii. The state Department of Health confirmed Monday that its Laboratories Division detected two cases of the SARS-CoV-2 variant L452R in Hawaii — one on Oahu and one on Maui. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. West Hawaii Today. Big Island Now. Garden Island. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now. KHON2. KITV4.

Vaccination Available For All Employees At Legislature. The Department of Health has told the Hawaii State Legislature that all legislative employees working at the Capitol will be able to get vaccines for COVID-19 beginning Thursday. Civil Beat. Maui Now.

CVS says vaccination at Hawaii nursing homes, long-term facilities on schedule. CVS partnered with 45 skilled nursing and long-term facilities in Hawaii to begin the vaccinations on Dec. 28, and said it has finished administering the first doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine so far. Star-Advertiser.

Shortage forces Hawaii Department of Health to cut vaccines for seniors’ companions. Hawaii Pacific Health officials said Sunday they will continue to honor COVID-19 vaccination appointments to companions of seniors (age 75 and older) made prior to the Department of Health’s decision to end the practice. Star-Advertiser.

 Vaccine shortage hobbles Hawaii’s COVID-19 immunization effort. Hawaii’s only expected to receive about 32,000 doses this week. Officials say that’s half of what clinics have the ability to administer. Hawaii News Now.

Records review finds 60 additional COVID-19 deaths in Hawaii. Records review adds 60 COVID-19-related deaths to Hawaii tally; state records 123 new infections. The state Department of Health has identified and confirmed 60 previously unreported COVID-19-related deaths. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

HAWAII VIRUS TRACKER — Jan. 25: State Announces 60 Deaths Over Five Months Previously Unreported. Hawaii health officials reported 123 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, including 91 on Oahu, 21 on Maui, six on the Big Island and five Hawaii residents diagnosed out of state. Civil Beat.


Witness in drug case involving Katherine Kealoha’s brother is now on the run. A 33-year-old woman who plays a major role in the Kealoha corruption scandal is now wanted by police in connected with another crime. Hawaii News Now.

Wastewater spills reported around Oahu after heavy rains subside. City officials said the Department of Environmental Services responded to at least five sanitary sewer spills. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu extends City Card use to Feb. 15. The City and County of Honolulu is extending use of the Immediate Response Incentive Mastercard – known as the City Card – to Feb. 15 to give people more time to spend the entire amount on their card. Star-Advertiser. KHON2.

Waikiki sand replenishment begins again. Work began Monday in waters off Waikiki Beach on a project to dredge 20,000 cubic yards of sand from a channel 2,000 feet offshore and pump it onto the beach, the state Department of Natural Resources said. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

B.J. Penn arrested for DUI on Hawaii Island. UFC Hall of Famer B.J. Penn, 42, was arrested Saturday for operating a vehicle under the influence of intoxicants, the Hawaii Police Department said. Star-Advertiser. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Now. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Hilo hospital seeing high demand for COVID vaccine from kupuna 75 and older as rollout continues. Because of the high demand for the COVID-19 vaccine from kupuna 75 and older, Hilo Medical Center will delay its vaccination rollout to individuals 65-74. Tribune-Herald.

Reef Safe Sunscreen Dispensers Installed at Kahalu‘u Beach. As part of an ongoing initiative to support reef health and regrowth, two new reef-safe sunscreen dispensers have been installed at the pavilion in Kahalu‘u Beach Park. Big Island Now.


Out-of-state buyers scoop up 30 percent of Maui home sales. Mainland buyers represented 27.4 percent and foreign buyers 1.4 percent, state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism Chief Economist Eugene Tian said. Maui News.

Rental aid program sent $10 million to county households. More than $10 million went toward helping about 2,500 households in Maui County under a rental assistance program launched by the state during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Maui News.

Maui County reports more than 600 new COVID-19 cases this month. Comparatively, within a 10 month span in 2020, the island saw less than 1,000 cases. KITV4.

Police Station to be Professionally Disinfected after Employee Tests Positive for COVID-19. The Maui Police Department received confirmation today that a department employee who works out of the Wailuku District has tested positive for COVID-19. Maui Now.


Herrera case first jury trial since last March. Fifth Circuit Court Judge Randal G. B. Valenciano announced Monday morning he will conduct Kaua’i’s first jury trial since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in Fifth Circuit Court. Garden Island.

North Shore Lions raise over $50,000.
The North Shore Lions Club, in partnership with Aloha Roofing Supply, raised more than $50,000 during the annual golf tournament that was contested earlier this month at the Princeville Makai Golf Club. Garden Island.

Monday, January 25, 2021

Gov. Ige's State of the State address today, Hawaii GOP official resigns after defending QAnon, House speaker targets auditor, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2021 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Kayakers on the Ala Wai ©2021 All Hawaii News

Officials balk at near-doubling of price of Ala Wai Flood Risk Management Project. The cost of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Ala Wai Flood Risk Management Project has nearly doubled to $651 million, potentially stalling the two-decades-old project once again. Star-Advertiser.

Estimated price tag for Ala Wai flood prevention project doubles to $650M. The cost estimate for the Ala Wai flood prevention project has nearly doubled in another major blow to the effort. Hawaii News Now.


Hawaii GOP official resigns after using party Twitter account to support QAnon conspiracy theorists. On Sunday night, Hawaii GOP vice Chair of communications Edwin Boyette resigned through a Facebook post. In his statement, he wrote the discussion of the Q-Conspiracy was an error of judgement. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii GOP deletes Twitter thread defending QAnon supporters. The Hawaii Republican Party is under fire for a series of tweets that appear to defend supporters of the QAnon conspiracy. KITV4.


With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to damage Hawaii’s struggling economy, state House and Senate leaders have a long list of ideas that they either hope or expect to hear from Gov. David Ige during his State of the State address today. Star-Advertiser.

Ige expected to outline his economic recovery plan in State of the State. As the pandemic drags on, Gov. David Ige will deliver his State of the State to cameras Monday rather than an assembled audience of lawmakers and dignitaries. Hawaii News Now.

Host of safety protocols in place to prevent COVID outbreak during legislative session. The legislative session kicked off this week, but state business will be conducted much differently during the pandemic in an effort to keep the building safe. Hawaii News Now.


Proposed Budget Cuts Would ‘Basically Gut’ Hawaii State Auditor’s Office. Days after he ordered an investigation into the office, the House Speaker wants to cut the watchdog agency’s budget in half — far more than any other state agency. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Tourism Authority readies for defunding. The Hawaii Tourism Authority, the state agency responsible for leading tourism recovery across the isles, is in dire financial straits and has already started running “doomsday scenarios” in the event that it faces defunding. Star-Advertiser.

Isle labor market not likely to see major gains in short term. Hawaii’s travel demand hasn’t returned as strongly as some had hoped when the state introduced Safe Travels Hawaii, a travel entry program aimed at creating a safe way for travelers to return to Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.

Celebration plans for the Queen Lili‘uokalani home and many Hawaii governors could cost $53,000. Gov. David Ige proposes spending $53,000 to commemorate the anniversary of the longtime residence of Queen Lili‘uokalani and a dozen Hawaii governors, which became a museum and state reception venue nearly two decades ago. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Rep. Ed Case Tries Again To Rein In Helicopter Tour And Skydiving Operations. Noise and safety are at issue in federal legislation the congressman is still pursuing. Civil Beat. West Hawaii Today.

No vaccines for seniors’ companions. Hawaii Pacific Health officials said Sunday they will continue to honor COVID-19 vaccination appointments to companions of seniors (age 75 and older) made prior to the Department of Health’s decision to end the practice. Star-Advertiser.

HAWAII VIRUS TRACKER — Jan. 24: 153 New COVID-19 Cases.
The cases announced Sunday included 105 on Oahu, 34 on Maui, six on the Big Island, and eight residents diagnosed out of state. Civil Beat.


She Was About To Lose Her Job. Then Her Dad’s Department Hired Her. Two weeks before Honolulu’s former budget director Manny Valbuena left office, his department hired his daughter for a six-month gig that was not advertised and for which no other candidates were considered. Civil Beat.

New HART Board Member Wants A Fraud Hotline. An outside auditor for HART describes Natalie Iwasa’s idea for a hotline as a best practice. Civil Beat.

Permit for Red Hill fuel tanks stirs controversy. A contested case hearing is scheduled for Feb. 1-5 to debate the Navy obtaining a state operating permit for the Red Hill fuel farm, with the Sierra Club of Hawaii hoping it leads to stricter controls in the short term and relocation of the controversial underground tanks longer-term. Star-Advertiser.

In Kaimuki, residents worry monster homes are taking over the community. Kaimuki resident say the pandemic has not slowed down the construction of monster homes in their neighborhood. And they’re fighting back. Hawaii News Now.


Oahu’s 2nd mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic to open at Blaisdell. So far, more than 12,000 people have made an appointment to receive the Moderna vaccine at the clinic run by The Queen’s Health Systems. Hawaii News Now.

More than 12,000 appointments already booked for second large vaccination site on Oahu. The state says as of last week, about 70,000 people got vaccinated statewide. KHON2.


Tab to fix Waiea luxury condo tower in Kakaako tops $100M. The developer of the most luxurious condominium tower in Kakaako has decided to pony up over $100 million to fix defects that have vexed homeowners in the 4-year-old building. Star-Advertiser.

Maili low-income homes receiving first tenants. The developer of the $22.7 million project called Hale Makana O Maili held a low-key blessing Jan. 15 because of COVID-19. Star-Advertiser.

After 180 years, St. Ann’s Catholic School to close its doors. Leaders of St. Ann’s said declining enrollment and rising financial challenges led them to close the school at the end of the academic year on June 4. They announced the closure in a letter to families Friday. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

County: COVID-19 app won’t be mandatory for travelers. Hawaii County has no plans to make the state’s official COVID-19 exposure notification application mandatory on the Big Island. Tribune-Herald.

Teaching telescope project to proceed at Halepohaku. Despite receiving predominantly negative feedback from community members, the Office of Maunakea Management will seek to proceed with constructing a telescope facility at Halepohaku. Tribune-Herald.

Council committee again pans Travalino for Leeward Planning Commission.
It was deja vu Tuesday for Mark Travalino, who once again faced a County Council Planning Committee opposed to his appointment to the Leeward Planning Commission. West Hawaii Today.


Health director: Intended second doses went to 1st doses instead. Maui’s COVID-19 vaccination sites may have been giving intended second doses of the vaccine to people seeking their first shot, though Hawaii’s health director said this was completely appropriate. Maui News.

Maui still behind on vaccine rollout
. As the vaccination rollout continues statewide, the only island not accepting first dose registrations is Maui. KHON2.

Nominee for Maui Prosecuting Attorney to be Vetted Tuesday. The Maui County Council’s Government Relations, Ethics and Transparency Committee will meet Tuesday at 9 a.m. to vet the nomination of Andrew H. Martin for prosecuting attorney. Maui Now.

University of Hawai‘i Maui College Achieves Net-Zero Goal. Through a combination of solar photovoltaic energy, distributed energy storage and energy efficiency measures, UH Maui College has reduced the campus’ use of fossil fuel for energy by an estimated 100%. Maui Now.

Maui Humane Society to temporarily close following COVID-19 exposure. Maui Humane Society announced it will temporarily close its facility from Jan. 25 through Jan. 31 after management discovered possible COVID-19 exposure among staff. KHON2.


This Innovative Kauai Medical Clinic Is Struggling To Survive.
The collapse of tourism on the island is causing economic hardship in many business sectors, including health care. Civil Beat.

KIUC, AES agreement pending. Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative Communications Manager Beth Tokioka said there is still no time frame for the state Public Utilities Commission to approve the purchase-power agreement between AES Corporation and KIUC. Garden Island.

Significant changes to Kaua‘i Bus schedule coming. In an effort to improve service to the public, The Kaua‘i Bus has announced multiple significant changes to its islandwide mainline and shuttle routes starting Sunday, Feb. 7. Garden Island.


Molokai’s Fabled Axis Deer Are Starving To Death In Droves. The crisis, triggered in part by drought, exposes rifts in the community and raises questions about how to manage the herd in the future. Civil Beat.

Friday, January 22, 2021

Hawaii all-mail balloting deemed a success, more money earmarked for public schools, 20% of traffic tickets go unpaid, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands


copyright 2021 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Voters line up in Hilo on Nov. 3, 2020 ©2021 All Hawaii News

Commission sees election success in all-mail balloting. Despite a 2020 general election when some Oahu polls closed almost four hours late and some Hilo voters spent three hours in line, the state Elections Commission is sending the Legislature a rosy review in its required biennial evaluation of the conduct of the election. West Hawaii Today.


Gov. Ige says DOE’s budget shortfall is $123M less than feared, but teachers union contends hundreds of layoffs still looming. Ige had originally directed all state departments including the DOE, to reduce their overall budgets by a target of 10% to deal with shortfalls resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. This morning, he said the DOE could now revise that target reduction to 2.5%, or $123 million less will have to be cut. Star-Advertiser.

Ige: DOE budget cuts won’t be as steep as anticipated. While the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic will require the state Department of Education to make wide-ranging budget cuts during the next year, those cuts might be less extensive than initially thought. Tribune-Herald.

Governor: Public schools to face smaller budget cut than previously thought. The  state Department of Education is now facing a 2.5% cut to its budget instead of the 10% it had previously anticipated. Gov. David Ige announced plans for the smaller cut Thursday. Hawaii News Now.

Governor earmarks more money for education, union said hundreds of jobs will still be lost.  Gov. David Ige released additional funds to offset budget cuts to the Department of Education. KHON2.


Gov. Ige to deliver State of the State address Monday. Governor Ige will lay out his plan for the year and share where we stand as a state in this COVID-19 pandemic. KITV4.

Economists: Agribusiness Development Corp. Is A “Fiasco”. A week after a scathing audit concluded that the Hawaii Agribusiness Development Corp. is failing to fulfill its mission to transform Hawaii’s agriculture industry, the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization reached the same conclusion in a report released Thursday. Civil Beat.

Biden Signs Order Fully Reimbursing Hawaii National Guard For COVID-19 Operations. The Trump administration had previously agreed to pay for 75% of costs associated with the historic nationwide deployments of National Guardsmen. Civil Beat.

Two of Hawaii’s own to serve on Biden’s White House communications team. President Joe Biden’s communications team includes some Hawaii representation. Remi Yamamoto will be the senior communications adviser to the White House chief of staff. Michael Kikukawa, of Molokai, will serve as press assistant. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii homeowners face stiff fines for illegal seawalls. Homeowners along Sunset Beach, Punaluu and Portlock on Oahu, as well as a property owner on Molokai, are facing tens of thousands of dollars in fines for allegedly constructing illegal seawalls and boulder revetments along Hawaii’s beaches. Star-Advertiser.

20% of all parking tickets issued over the last 5 years went unpaid, state records show. One out of every five parking tickets issued in Hawaii over the last five years has gone unpaid. That amounts to nearly $11 million in uncollected fines, state records show. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Residents From COFA Nations Can Now Apply For Medicaid. The change is a result of a bill signed by former President Donald Trump restoring federal Medicaid funding for citizens of Compact of Free Association nations. Civil Beat.

Hawaiian Airlines Expands Pre-Clear Travel Program. Hawaiian Airlines has begun pre-clearing passengers departing from select US mainland cities to Hawai‘i under a program that allows travelers with a negative COVID-19 test to bypass the airport screening in Hawai‘i. Maui Now.


Like many states, Hawaii isn’t getting the number of COVID-19 vaccines that were promised by the federal government. While the state’s allotment for the vaccine during the Dec. 15 rollout was at near full capacity ― with 58,000 doses ― that distribution has dropped to about 36,000 doses this week. Hawaii News Now.

Advocates worry seniors without computers may be left behind in vaccine distribution. Seniors without computers and email addresses ― or someone who can help ― are struggling to get appointments for COVID-19 vaccines. Hawaii News Now.

LIST: How and where to get a COVID-19 vaccine in the state of Hawaii.
Hawaii residents over the age of 75 are now qualified to receive the COVID-19 vaccine under Phase 1B of the state’s tiered COVID-19 distribution plan. KHON2.

HAWAII VIRUS TRACKER — Jan. 21: 119 New COVID-19 Cases And Three Deaths. Hawaii health officials announced three deaths on Oahu and 119 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, including 66 on Oahu, 30 on Maui, 16 on the Big Island and seven residents diagnosed out of state. Civil Beat.


New Route For Honolulu Rail? Any ‘Hare-Brained’ Scheme Is Being Considered. HART’s new executive director Lori Kahikina says she’s open to any ideas that avoid having to get special utility clearances along Dillingham Boulevard. Civil Beat.

Honolulu Hale Sees Changes In New Year, But Challenges Remain The Same
. The Honolulu City Council has seen several changes to start the New Year. While they give the Council a new appearance compared to previous years, its reponsibilities remain same – and so do its challenges. Hawaii Public Radio.

Registration open for vaccination clinic in Kane'ohe. Starting next Tuesday, January 26, the Department of Health will be conducting a COVID-19 vaccination clinic for Kupuna age 75+ in Kaneohe. KITV4.

Respiratory therapists at Kapiolani Medical Center navigate their first union contract.
The Hawaii Nurses Association, which expects to ratify a new contract soon for Kapiolani nurses who voted to authorize a strike, is still trying to bargain with the hospital for the smaller group of respiratory therapists who mostly go unnoticed. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu retail vacancies projected to surge this year. Commercial real estate firm Colliers International projects that the amount of vacant retail space on Oahu will grow by at least 270,000 square feet this year at shopping centers because of tenant closures, after 107,586 square feet of additional vacant space was added last year. Star-Advertiser.

Waikiki beaches to undergo improvement project, expect closures. A new beach maintenance project for Waikiki Beach is set to commence on Jan. 25. Ongoing improvements are expected to lead to a temporary partial closure of Kuhio Beach and Diamond Head swim basin. KHON2.

Beach access coalition plans sign-waving outside Ko Olina over limited parking. Makakilo resident John Shockley is hoping new Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi’s administration will ensure Ko Olina fully reopens its four lagoon parking lots after closing them in March due to the COVID-19 shutdown and reopening them — at reduced 50% capacity — when tourism reopened in October. Star-Advertiser.

DHHL seeks beneficiary feedback on casino proposal. The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands opened a public comment period for beneficiaries on a draft legislative proposal to authorize a resort and casino on Hawaiian Home lands designated for commercial use in Kapolei, Oahu. Tribune-Herald. KITV4.

Stevedore finds female skunk at Honolulu Harbor.
A team of inspectors managed to safely capture the six-pound animal Wednesday morning. Star-Advertiser.Big Island Now. 

Hawaii Island

Hospitals Now Offering COVID Vaccine to Kupuna. Big Island hospitals have begun scheduling appointments to vaccinate kupuna for COVID-19. Big Island Now.

HMC begins kupuna COVID vaccinations.
After vaccinating staff and local health care providers against COVID-19, Hilo Medical Center is now focused on vaccinating kupuna 75 years and older. Tribune-Herald.

Scores of kupuna receive COVID-19 vaccine in Kona. It’s estimated that there are 14,000 people over 75 on Hawaii Island that need to be vaccinated in Tier 1B. Approximately 6,000 of them are in West Hawaii — though not every single one of them will receive their vaccination from Kona Community Hospital as other facilities and providers are already or will soon administer the vaccine. West Hawaii Today.

HPD Hiring New Police Officers. The starting salary for an officer is $65,652 annually. Big Island Now.


Maui Planning Commission Workshop on Shoreline Rule Amendments Due to Sea Level Rise.
The County of Maui Department of Planning will host a virtual workshop on proposed Special Management Area and Shoreline Rule amendments that could affect properties near the shoreline on the island of Maui. Maui Now.

Some Moloka'i residents push to restart Maui-Moloka'i ferry for more travel options after 'Ohana Air pulled out. Ferry owner says the same challenges that drove him to close the service in 2016, still exist. KITV4.

Longtime deputy tapped to be next top prosecutor.
Position open after former prosecuting attorney was fired. Maui News.

Maui County Council Seeks Charter Commission Applicants by Feb. 1
. A charter amendment approved at last year’s general election requires the mayor to appoint two members and the council to appoint nine members of the 11-member charter commission by March 1. Maui Now.


Input sought on Waimea parcel use. Over 400 acres on the Westside the county owns are now the focus of a new master plan. Garden Island.

Hawai‘i Foodbank serves hundreds in first distribution of the new year. Motorists observing the COVID-19 health and safety guidelines and rules snaked through the distribution points where more than 22,200 pounds of food were passed out in no-contact fashion. Garden Island.

Thursday was a day to reload for the Kaua‘i Independent Food Bank
, which wrapped up its day with contributions totaling more than $4,000 from two organizations — Kaua‘i Coffee Company and the Kaua‘i Paramedics Association. Garden Island.

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Hawaii Legislature convenes without pomp, federal recognition for Hawaiians back on the table, Honolulu mayor names chief of staff, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

PC: Ka Leo University of Hawaii Manao Facebook page
Taro farmers offer free cuttings at Capitol as Hawaii Legislature convenes PC: Ka Leo o Hawai'i via Facebook, Ethan Weil

State Legislature opens without the usual revelry. The coronavirus pandemic and the shock waves it has sent through the economy, as well as heightened security as a result of the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol, combined to create somber, austere ceremonies as lawmakers gathered on Wednesday to kick off this year’s legislative session. Star-Advertiser.

New legislative session opens with little fanfare, lots to get done. State lawmakers started the new legislative session Wednesday, but there wasn’t much of the usual fanfare. Because of the ongoing pandemic, members of the public could not attend and plexiglass separated lawmakers. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Legislature Launches ‘Laser Beam’ Session In A Locked Down Capitol. Traditional festivities and speeches were all canceled amid security concerns and the threat of COVID-19. Civil Beat.

Legislature Convenes Under Heightened Security Concerns. Although the state capitol has already been closed to the public for several months in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19, that ban is now more physically apparent. Hawaii Public Radio.

State House seeks solutions to fill budget gap without tax hike. Although Hawaii faces a massive budget deficit, leaders of the state House of Representatives said Wednesday that they have no desire to raise taxes. Tribune-Herald.

State Senate faces funding shortfall while trying to prop up economy. State Senate leaders said after the Legislature reconvened Wednesday that two of the biggest challenges during the 2021 session will be to decide what can be funded and whether taxes will need to be increased in order to contend with Gov. David Ige’s proposed budget cuts. Tribune-Herald.


Taro farming group makes peaceful splash at Hawaii Capitol amid inauguration security worries across country. A sizable security force that tried to be as low key as possible loomed over the Hawaii Capitol Wednesday as a taro farming sustainability group peacefully took center stage with 10,000 Hawaii state flags planted on the lawn, a band and the give-away of 10,000 taro plantings. Star-Advertiser.

Activists Rally At Capitol To Support Local Farmers. Participants handed out taro cuttings and called on lawmakers to invest in agriculture. Civil Beat.

Some are renewing a push for federal recognition of Native Hawaiians under Biden administration. The new administration is opening the door for federal recognition for Native Hawaiians, allowing greater self-determination and control similar to other Native American tribes. KITV4.


Ige appointee called for his impeachment. Gov. David Ige’s appointee to the District 1 state Senate seat pushed for Ige’s impeachment less than a year and a half ago through a petition she posted on her public Facebook page. West Hawaii Today.

Senator Appointed By Ige Had Called To Impeach Him.
In a statement, Gov. David Ige said he knew about Sen. Laura Acasio’s background opposing the Thirty Meter Telescope when he appointed her. Civil Beat.


Biden order to help Hawaii renters, but expert requests more assistance. Of the 17 executive orders that President Biden signed on his first day of office Wednesday, an extension on the federal moratorium on evictions until the end of March will have a large impact on Hawaii’s propped-up rental market. KHON2.

Stranded American Samoans Are Finally Going Home After A Hawaii Quarantine. Hawaii is helping to coordinate with a testing and quarantine center in Waikiki to facilitate the first repatriation effort since the pandemic began. Civil Beat.

LIST: How and where to get a COVID-19 vaccine
in the state of Hawaii. KHON2.

HAWAII VIRUS TRACKER — Jan. 20: 75 New COVID-19 Cases And One Death. Hawaii health officials announced one death on Maui and 75 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, including 50 on Oahu, 14 on Maui, four on the Big Island, one on Kauai and six residents diagnosed out of state. Civil Beat.


Sam Moku, Hawaii Pacific athletic director, to serve as Mayor Rick Blangiardi’s chief of staff. Hawaii Pacific University announced today that senior administrator Sam Moku will leave the university at the end of the month to become Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi’s chief of staff. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Mayor Hires HPU Athletics Director As Chief Of Staff. Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi announced on Wednesday that he has selected Sam Moku to be his chief of staff. Civil Beat.

Mayor Blangiardi picks HPU athletic director as Chief of Staff. Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi has announced his new Chief of Staff. Blangiardi selected HPU Athletic Director Sam Moku to fill the key role. Hawaii News Now.


Longtime Honolulu fire chief Neves to retire. Honolulu Fire Chief Manuel Neves announced Wednesday he will retire Feb. 28 after 42 years of servi­ce — eight years as chief, holding the position longer than 14 of his predecessors. Star-Advertiser.

After 8 years on the job, Honolulu’s fire chief to retire next month.  After eight years on the job, Honolulu Fire Chief Manuel Neves has announced he will retire in February. Hawaii News Now.

Aloha Stadium: Meetings seek public comment. Two virtual community meetings on the New Aloha Stadium Entertainment District next week highlight the final two weeks of the public comment period on the project’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement. Star-Advertiser.

Most city surveillance cameras in Chinatown are broken ― and won’t be fixed. The cameras and infrastructure are obsolete so broken pieces cannot be repaired. They have to be replaced. The city’s technology department, which maintains the equipment, previously estimated a new system would cost about $200,000. Hawaii News Now.

KITV4 Island News announces new owner: Allen Media Broadcasting. Allen founded Entertainment Studios in 1993 and has a growing portfolio of media companies, including 17 broadcast television stations across the country. KITV4.

Hawaii Island

Big Island mayor released from hospital 11 days after heart attack. In addition to the stent surgeons implanted hours after the 56-year-old mayor was stricken on Jan. 9, Roth on Tuesday had a procedure to install an implantable cardioverter defibrillator. Tribune-Herald.

Mayor Roth Released From Hilo Medical Center. On Tuesday, doctors implanted a pacemaker and defibrillator into Mayor Roth, after his January 9th heart attack. Big Island Video News.

Mayor Roth Released from HMC. Mayor Mitch Roth was released from Hilo Medical Center this afternoon in good health after suffering a heart attack earlier this month. Big Island Now.

Hawaii Island Mayor Mitch Roth discharged from hospital after heart attack. Hawaii News Now.

Waipio Valley Residents Still Seek A Deal Limiting Foot Traffic On Dicey Road. The Hawaii County Council deferred action on a bill to ban most pedestrians on the Waipio Valley Road, but residents believe a compromise may be near. Civil Beat.


Andrew Martin Appointed Maui Prosecuting Attorney. Mayor Michael Victorino today announced his appointment of Andrew Martin as Maui County prosecuting attorney. Martin’s appointment is subject to confirmation by the Maui County Council. Maui Now.

Gym members mask up for new rules. New rules that went into effect on Tuesday limit business capacity to 30 percent and require gyms, yoga studios and similar fitness venues to ensure participants wear masks at all times, whether indoor or outdoor. Maui News.


Survey: over 4K furloughed employees will lose health insurance.
According to a recent survey of Kaua‘i businesses, 49% of respondents stated that their business will not survive more than 90 days without the significant return of tourism. Garden Island.

Kaua‘i celebrates Biden/Harris inauguration. Pockets of local inauguration celebrations joined the national event that took place in Washington, DC as President Joe Biden became the 46th president of the United States. Garden Island.