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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Oahu

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.

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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.

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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.

Maui

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.

Kauai

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

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.




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