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

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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.


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