Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Hawaii drops case against U.S. Surgeon General, vaccine shortage limits inoculations, budget woes plague Legislature, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams in Honolulu file photo

Honolulu Prosecutor Drops Surgeon General’s COVID Violation Charge. Newly elected Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney Steve Alm is moving to dismiss the criminal cases against U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams and his aide after Honolulu police cited the men for allegedly violating pandemic rules in August. Civil Beat.

New prosecutor wants surgeon general’s case dismissed. Honolulu’s new prosecutor, Steve Alm, submitted a motion Tuesday seeking to dismiss charges against U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams and his aide for allegedly violating an emergency COVID-19 order at an Oahu beach in August. Star-Advertiser.

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Opening of Hawaii Legislature closed to public but viewable online, on ‘Olelo. The public will not be allowed into the state Capitol today for the opening day of the legislative session — or for the foreseeable future during the session — but can watch today’s limited and subdued proceedings via YouTube and ‘Olelo television. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii State Legislature back in session. The Hawaii State Legislature is back in session. The House and Senate will convene Wednesday for opening day for the 31st session, but unlike years past, there will be no entertainment, speeches or food. KITV4.

In new legislative session, leaders seek changes in penalties for COVID violations. State leaders intend to change the penalty for those who violate COVID emergency orders as a new legislative session begins on Wednesday. Hawaii News Now.

The Battered State Budget Will Dominate The Next Hawaii Legislature
. Faced with an unprecedented plunge in state tax collections during the pandemic, Gov. David Ige in December crafted a proposed spending plan for the next two years that was packed with painful cuts, including the elimination and reduction of numerous positions. Civil Beat.

Hawaii House Speaker Launches Probe of State Auditor. House Speaker Scott Saiki said late and unfinished reports could be cause for lawmakers to remove state Auditor Les Kondo. Civil Beat.

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DOE To Present Grim Staffing Plan But Says Teacher Layoffs Are A ‘Last Resort’. The Department of Education will present the schools’ proposed reorganization plans to the state Board of Education on Thursday. Civil Beat.

Hawaii teachers union challenges proposed staff cuts, use of federal funds for tutoring services. The Hawaii State Teachers Association said today that budget cuts and layoffs proposed by the governor and school superintendent are actually prohibited by federal rules that come with the use of stimulus funds. Star-Advertiser.

HSTA claims budget cuts violates federal law. The Hawaii State Teachers Association claims Governor David Ige is violating federal law by proposing layoffs and salary cuts in the Department of Education. HSTA President Corey Rosenlee says the governor wants to cut nearly $400 million from the budget. KITV4.

Board of Education To Discuss Massive Teacher Layoffs and Budget Cuts at Virtual Meeting Jan. 21. The Hawaiʻi Board of Education will hold a virtual public meeting Thursday, Jan. 21, to hear testimony regarding the proposed teacher layoffs and budget cuts to the Department of Education due to the statewide economic woes caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Maui Now.

Hawaii Public School Students Saw More Learning Loss During the Pandemic Compared to Other Years. The number of middle and elementary school students who are more than two grade levels behind in math and reading is higher now compared to previous years, according to the State Department of Education. Hawaii Public Radio.

Leaders criticize ‘chronic mismanagement’ of Native Hawaiian burials.
Island burial council leaders are accusing the state of “systemic and chronic mismanagement” of a program developed three decades ago to handle the discovery of Native Hawaiian burials and are calling on the Legislature, which convenes today, to establish a working group to implement reforms. Star-Advertiser.
 

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Gov. Ige appoints Hawaii island educator to fill Kai Kahele’s vacant state Senate seat. Gov. David Ige has appointed Laura Acasio to fill the state senate seat left vacant by Congressman Kai Kahele. Acasio will represent the greater Hilo area. Star-Advertiser.

Ige Selects Acasio To Fill Kahele’s Senate Seat. She is a teacher who has served in Democratic Party leadership roles. Civil Beat.

Ige appoints Hilo educator Acasio to Kahele’s former state Senate seat. Gov. David Ige on Tuesday announced the appointment of longtime educator Laura Clint Acasio to fill the state Senate District 1 seat that became vacant with the election of Kai Kahele to U.S. Congress. Tribune-Herald.

Laura Acasio Appointed To Vacant Hawaii State Senate Seat. Governor David Ige announced the appointment Tuesday, filling the empty State Senate District 1 seat which encompassing the greater Hilo area. Big Island Video News.

Ige Fills Vacant Big Island Senate Seat. Governor David Ige on Tuesday officially appointed Laura Acasio to the Hawai‘i State Senate. Big Island Now.

Gov. Ige Appoints Laura Acasio to Fill Kahele’s District 1 Vacancy. Governor David Ige announced today the appointment of Laura Acasio to fill the vacant Senate District 1 seat left by Congressman Kaialiʻi Kahele. State Senate District 1 includes the greater Hilo area. Maui Now.

Hawaii Island educator tapped to fill vacant state senate seat. The state senate seat vacated by Congressman Kai Kahele will be filled by a longtime Hawaii educator. Hawaii News Now.

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Hawaii vaccine shortage stymies mass rollout. Thousands of COVID-19 vaccination appointments are being canceled or not made at all because of limited supplies in the islands. Star-Advertiser.

State: COVID-19 inoculation efforts still slowed by limited doses of vaccine. State officials said Tuesday that the distribution of doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in Hawaii was being hamstrung by difficulties in obtaining vials of the vaccine in the first place. Hawaii News Now.

‘Demand far exceeds supply’: Ige, others urge patience about vaccinations. Officials used the terms “ramp up” and “ramping up” several times Tuesday while describing the state’s rollout of coronavirus vaccinations, but cautioned that the operation likely won’t proceed quickly. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii will receive fewer doses of COVID-19 vaccines this week. The state will only receive 32,725 doses this week, compared to about 59,000 last week. KITV4.

Hawai‘i Vaccine Distribution ‘More Efficient’ as Partnerships Increase. Hawai‘i demand for COVID-19 vaccinations continues to outpace supply, as well as the state’s ability to administer the doses already in its possession. Big Island Now.

State pushing vaccine rollout.
The state wants to ramp-up its vaccine rollout effort, but supplies have varied from week to week. Garden Island.

State says inconsistency in vaccine shipment makes planning hard. The State says vaccination efforts have increased but they are constrained by limited supply. Plans are in place to ramp up vaccinations significantly but it has been challenging to plan ahead because they often do not find out until Thursday the number of doses they have for the following week. KHON2.

After backlash, state asks partners to vaccinate only kupuna, not caregivers.
State officials said Tuesday that they had asked their healthcare partners to vaccinate only kupuna at mass inoculation events due to a shortage of available doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Labs On The Lookout For More Contagious COVID-19 Variants. The mutations found in other U.S. states have not appeared yet in the islands but officials say it’s just a matter of time. Civil Beat.

HAWAII VIRUS TRACKER — Jan. 19: 65 New COVID-19 Cases And Two Deaths. Hawaii health officials announced two Oahu deaths and 65 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, including 45 on Oahu, six on the Big Island, nine on Maui, and five Hawaii residents diagnosed out of state. Civil Beat.

Oahu

A Year Later, HPD Still Investigating Shooting Deaths Of 2 Police Officers. The Honolulu Police Department says it is still investigating a Jan. 19, 2020 attack in which two HPD officers and a local homeowner were killed and several homes were burned down in the Diamond Head neighborhood. Civil Beat.

Loved ones remember fallen officers 1 year after Diamond Head tragedy. One year after terrible tragedy struck a Diamond Head neighborhood, family and community members continue to mourn the loss of two Honolulu police officers who lost their lives that day. KITV4.

Visitor to Diamond Head tragedy home says she tried to help, but laws prevented agencies from helping. Tuesday marks the tragic anniversary of two slain Honolulu Police Officers at the hand of Jerry Hanel. KHON2.

Survivor who came face to face with Diamond Head killer finds forgiveness 1 year later. There was almost a fifth death on the morning of Jan. 19, 2020 following the deadly rampage near Diamond Head. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu police officers and Hibiscus Drive residents recall a calamity that killed 4. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

UPDATE: Council Planning Committee recommends unfavorable vote on Kern’s nomination. The County Council Planning Committee voted 5-4 Tuesday evening to send the confirmation of Planning Director Zendo Kern to the council later this month with a negative recommendation. West Hawaii Today.

Hilo hospital urges calm as kupuna vaccinations begin. Hilo Medical Center today will begin vaccinating older kupuna against COVID-19, but the hospital urges calm during the registration process. Tribune-Herald.

Kona hospital’s COVID-19 vaccine registration phone line fixed. Kona Community Hospital said Tuesday afternoon technical issues with its COVID-19 vaccine registration phone line have been fixed. West Hawaii Today.

Frequent traffic delays at new light stir call for solutions. A traffic light on Highway 11 near Keaau is causing consternation among residents and lawmakers alike, but there do not appear to be any immediate solutions, county officials say. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Maui Memorial says postponing 5,000 appointments after supply drop a “huge disappointment”. Maui Memorial Medical Center says it had to postpone thousands of vaccine appointments for three weeks because of a drop in supply. Hawaii News Now.

Maui Economic Development Board Awarded $300K to Scale-Up STEMworks Program. The Maui Economic Development Board was named one of seven nationwide winners of the US Department of Commerce’s STEM Talent Challenge. Maui Now.

Maui groups honor MLK. Maui County groups shared speeches, prayers, songs and poems in honor of the late Martin Luther King Jr., one of the most influential leaders of the civil rights movement who dreamt of equality and peace throughout the United States. Maui News.

Kauai

Menehune Fishpond up for sale. At $3 million, an up-for-sale listing renders the Alekoko “Menehune” Fishpond at about $30,000 per acre for the two-parceled, culturally-historic area that legend says was built in one night by a human chain of the mythical Menehune for an accessible food supply. Garden Island.

Kaua‘i Shores gives to local food banks. Kaua‘i Shores hotel General Manager Jennie Waiwaiole-Vega said they don’t know when the hotel in Waipouli will reopen its doors. Garden Island.

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