Monday, January 18, 2021

Military important economic driver amid pandemic, coronavirus cases spike as vaccinations delayed, new restrictions on Maui, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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State report highlights defense sector importance. As the second largest sector of the state’s economy, military-procurement spending generated $4.5 billion in economic impact last year, with $2.3 billion in federal contracts throughout the state, helping to sustain more than 30,000 jobs statewide. Garden Island.

EPA: Hawaii’s Military Bases Dumped 630,000 Pounds Of Toxic Nitrate Into The Ocean. While federally permitted, the Environmental Protection Agency hopes the data’s public release spurs facilities to reduce their chemical waste. Civil Beat.

Contractor Sentenced In Army Corruption Scheme In Hawaii. John Winslett bribed Army officials with cash, cars and guns to win lucrative construction contracts in Hawaii, Justice Department said. Civil Beat.


Hawaii Tourism Authority spent ‘exorbitant’ amounts marketing to visitors as lockdowns dropped demand. For the 2020 fiscal year, HTA estimated the cost per arrival for every U.S. visitor was $7.13, up more than 118% from the prior year. The cost per arrival for Japan during fiscal year 2020 was significantly higher at $17.17, a nearly 201% increase. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii lawmakers face tough choices amid pandemic recession. Cut spending, raise taxes or perhaps both. Hawaii lawmakers face tough choices as they convene a new legislative session this week amid a pandemic that has pummeled tourism, the state’s biggest industry, and depleted tax revenue. Hawaii News Now.

Despite weekend protests rumors, Hawaii’s Capitol was quiet Sunday.
Bracing for large, unruly crowds, state officials put up barricades and fences around the Hawaii State Capitol, and beefed up security. But the effort seemed to be precautionary as there was a significant absence of crowds and protestors over the weekend. Hawaii News Now.

Noncommercial fishing is booming during pandemic. Hawaii is the only coastal state that doesn’t require fishers to have a noncommercial marine fishing license, which could provide information about how many noncommercial fishers there are in Hawaii and how many fish they’re taking from the ocean. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Lawmakers May Cut Solar Credits. The credits help to develop renewable energy projects but also cost the state millions of dollars. Civil Beat.

Farmers to petition lawmakers Opening Day. This past year, the pandemic has led to a rise in people in Hawaii beginning to grow their own produce and start sustainable farming. KITV4.

Isle cattle ranchers invited to join grass-fed beef venture. Hawaii’s largest ranch and an investment firm partner are looking for other local ranch operators to join a grass-feed beef production venture. Star-Advertiser.

Previously unknown cause is found for mysterious snorkeling deaths in a new Hawaii study. Rapid onset pulmonary edema was not previously associated with snorkeling, which has been implicated in 206 Hawaii drownings — 189 involving visitors — from 2009 to 2018, according to the state Department of Health. During that period, snorkeling-related drownings nearly doubled in what officials called an “alarming” rise. Star-Advertiser.


Fast clip of coronavirus spread in Hawaii puts state at risk of another outbreak. Hawaii is at risk of another COVID-19 outbreak with the worst effective reproduction rate for infections in the nation after Washington state. Star-Advertiser.

Congresswoman Concerned About Hawaii Pandemic Response Got No Answers From Ige
. Five months after a California congresswoman asked Hawaii for answers about its public health response and its spending of federal money, Gov. David Ige hasn’t provided her with any information. Civil Beat.

Lawmakers to Take a Hard Look at Correctional System After COVID-19 Hits 46 Percent of Inmates. State lawmakers are taking a hard look this session at some of the long-standing issues contributing to the spread of the coronavirus in HawaiĘ»i’s jails and prisons. Hawaii Public Radio.

Blood bank is looking for COVID survivors.
The Blood Bank of Hawaii is looking for more people who have recovered from COVID-19 to donate their convalescent plasma — the liquid part of the blood that contains antibodies to the new coronavirus — to help treat those who are hospitalized. Star-Advertiser.

HAWAII VIRUS TRACKER — Jan. 17: 132 New COVID-19 Cases And 2 Deaths. Hawaii has seen a triple-digit increase in cases for 13 straight days. Hawaii health officials reported 132 new cases of COVID-19 statewide on Sunday, including 86 on Oahu, 29 on Maui, seven on the Big Island, one on Kauai and nine residents diagnosed out of state. Civil Beat.


The state’s first mass vaccination site opens Monday, Jan. 18, at Honolulu Harbor Pier 2. Hawaii Pacific Health said nearly 600 people have signed up for Monday and the rest of the week is booked with appointments. KHON2.

Community vaccination sites to open to essential workers and those 75 years and older. Mass vaccinations for the public are scheduled to begin on Monday. KITV4.

Waikiki Shell to be used in effort to return stranded American Samoa residents home. The state of Hawaii and the City and County of Honolulu have begun assisting about 800 American Samoan residents, who are traveling through Oahu en route to their previously shuttered island home. Star-Advertiser.

Waikiki Shell parking lot to assist in American Samoa repatriation efforts. The City and County of Honolulu is joining the state’s efforts to help bring an estimated 800 American Samoa residents back home. KHON2.

Polynesian Cultural Center reopening with limited capacity and activities as officials look ahead to tourism recovery. The Polynesian Cultural Center, a cornerstone of Laie and an economic magnet for the North Shore community, is set to reopen Monday following a 10-month-long closure — one of that last major attractions on Oahu to welcome back visitors after Hawaii tourism was shut down in March due to the corona­virus pandemic. Star-Advertiser.

Plans for 2 more Ward towers set for review. A state agency regulating development in Kakaako has scheduled public hearings in March to consider plans for developing two more condominium towers at Ward Village. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Roth says he’s ‘very hopeful’ following heart attack. The 56-year-old Roth, the former county prosecutor who was elected mayor in November and inaugurated on Dec. 7, had been in office just over a month when he was stricken. Tribune-Herald.

Gas use down 18%, County highway fund takes a hit from less driving. In all, drivers used about 18% less gasoline during a pandemic year that translated to fewer commutes and fewer tourists. It also translated to less money for road repair. West Hawaii Today.

High court denies writ to Honua Ola, appeal of PUC decision still active. The state Supreme Court on Thursday denied Honua Ola Bioenergy’s request to order the Public Utilities Commission to reconsider its denial of a requested waiver of the competitive bidding process used in the sale of electricity. Tribune-Herald.

Waikoloa development up for review: Council Planning Committee to hear rezoning application. A plan to develop a 36-unit housing complex, some units classified affordable, along with eight commercial lots in Waikoloa Village will be taken up by the County Council Planning Committee on Tuesday after a negative recommendation from the Leeward Planning Commission and the Planning Department under the prior administration. West Hawaii Today.


Maui Vaccination Clinic Temporarily Closes Due To Shortage
. All appointments scheduled through Feb. 7 have been canceled. Civil Beat.

Delayed shipment closes Maui vaccination clinic to first doses. Only second doses available at both local Moderna, Pfizer sites. Maui’s only vaccination clinic taking new registrations announced Saturday it will have to close for a week due to a shortage of Pfizer-BioNTech doses that were slated to come from the state. Maui News.

Vaccine Distribution Delay Prompts Temporary Suspension of New Appointments for First Doses at Maui Hospital. Maui Health, which runs the vaccination clinic at the Maui Memorial Medical Center, has also postponed appointments for individuals that were seeking a first dose and had already secured an appointment between Jan. 17 and Feb. 7. Maui Now.

Thousands of vaccinations on Maui pushed back due to shipment delay. Maui Health's clinic is pushing back between 300 and 400 slots a day over the next three weeks after the state notified the company Friday evening it will not be receiving its expected shipment of doses for this weekend and next week. KITV4.

Retailers, gyms face tighter restrictions. Large and small retail establishments will be restricted to 30 percent capacity starting at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, the latest in a series of rule changes aimed at slowing a spike in COVID-19 cases on Maui, county officials announced Friday. Maui News.

Maui County’s state lawmakers say proposed state budget is ‘fluid’. Furloughs and program cuts depend on what federal aid is available. Maui News.


Kauai employment suffers under restrictive travel policies. Travel to Kauai plummeted after Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami opted out of the Safe Travels program, effective Dec. 2, requiring all travelers to Kauai to undergo a mandatory 10-day quarantine with no option to test out. Star-Advertiser.

Paid positions available in youth conservation program
. Kupu, Hawai‘i’s leading conservation and youth education nonprofit organization, recently announced that applications are now being accepted for this summer’s Hawai‘i Youth Conservation Corps program on Kaua‘i. Garden Island.

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