Friday, February 12, 2021

Extended jobless benefits ready for rollout, gambling, guns, Sunshine Law debated in Legislature, study finds pandemic depressing, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Turtles Face Grim Future, UH Researcher Says.
Sea turtles in Hawaiʻi, as well as all turtles worldwide, face a “daunting future” due to climate change and other factors, a University of Hawaiʻi researchers says. Big Island Video News.

Schatz to serve as chairperson of Indian Affairs committee. U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz, a Democrat from Hawaii, will serve as chairperson. U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, a Republican from Alaska, will be vice chairperson. Hawaii News Now.

Extended jobless benefits rollout starts Tuesday in Hawaii. The 11-week extension of the federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program will begin rolling out Tuesday for about 68,000 potential claims in Hawaii. Star-Advertiser. Big Island Now. Hawaii News Now.  

The Fight Between Hawaii’s State Auditor And House Speaker Is Heating Up. State Auditor Les Kondo wants House Speaker Scott Saiki to suspend his review of his office’s operations. Civil Beat.

Senate Bills Reignite Gun Control Debate. Senate Bill 301, scheduled for a public hearing Friday morning would ban magazines that carry more than ten bullets at a time. KITV4.

Hawaiian Home Lands Commission might have 5 years to rule on gambling. The Hawaiian Home Lands Commission would have until Dec. 31, 2026 — more than five years — to figure out whether gambling is the best way to generate badly needed funds to clear the backlog of more than 28,000 Native Hawaiian Home Lands beneficiaries, under a revised bill scheduled to go back before the Senate Hawaiian Affairs Committee on Tuesday. Star-Advertiser. Tribune-Herald.  Hawaii News Now.  KHON2.

House Bill To Provide Relief to Struggling Hawaiʻi Businesses Moves Forward in State Legislature. The Hawai‘i State House of Representatives unanimously passed on its third reading House Bill 1278 HD1 and sent the bill, which provides relief to businesses, to the Senate for consideration and action. Maui Now.

Proposed ‘Sunshine Law’ exemption has hasty demise. A bill that would have all-but-exempted county councils from the state’s open meetings law, also known as the “Sunshine Law,” is essentially dead for this legislative session. Tribune-Herald.

How Hawaii Schools Are Teaching Kindness And Empathy In A Volatile World.
The need for teaching kindness and civility became especially acute during ex-President Donald Trump’s turbulent term in the White House, say educators. Civil Beat.

COVID-19 pandemic harming mental health of Hawaii residents, especially young and lower-income people, survey reveals. The coronavirus is taking a toll on mental health — particularly for Hawaii’s young adults and lower-income residents with household earnings of less than $50,000. Star-Advertiser. Big Island Video News. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Hawaii’s COVID-19 Tracking App Picks Up Speed. After another push, many more Hawaii residents have adopted smartphone technology that will notify them if they were exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19. Civil Beat.

HAWAII VIRUS TRACKER — Feb. 11: 95 New COVID-19 Cases And 1 Death. Hawaii health officials reported 95 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, including 63 on Oahu, 19 on Maui, three on the Big Island, one on Molokai, and nine residents diagnosed out of state. Civil Beat.

Oahu


Koa Ridge medical complex plans clarified by developer. The developers of a planned medical complex at Koa Ridge said a hospital with 24-hour emergency care will be part of the project. Star-Advertiser.

EPA fines Kapolei refinery nearly $220K for chemical safety, hazardous waste violations. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said today that Par Hawaii Refining LLC has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $219,638 for violations of the federal Clean Air Act and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act at its oil refining facilities in Kapolei. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi has hired Tim Sakahara as his communications director, the city announced in a news release on Thursday. Sakahara, who begins work on Feb. 16, will be leaving his current job as communications director for the Hawaii Department of Transportation. Civil Beat. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now.

Measure would help Aloha Stadium pay its bills to keep it open. Without a $1.5 million emergency appropriation from the legislature this session, Aloha Stadium might have to cease operations, lawmakers have been told. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Attorney continues seeking sanctions against council members. Although Charles Heaukulani was unsuccessful getting a court to stop the County Council’s Feb. 3 confirmation vote of Planning Director Zendo Kern, the Hilo attorney is pursuing his lawsuit alleging Sunshine Law violations by the council during committee-level deliberations. West Hawaii Today.

Highway bills pass Senate committee: $30 million proposed to widen Queen Kaahumanu, Kuakini Highways. A proposal to widen two stretches of highway in West Hawaii moved forward Thursday in the state Legislature. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Maui Water Treatment Operator Sues County Over Whistleblower Retaliation. The man says he lost his job after pointing out that a cleaning solution had spilled into the water supply in May. Civil Beat.

Panel defers affordable housing rule changes. Following the advice to wait until an upcoming affordable housing plan is considered, the Maui County Council Affordable Housing Committee put the brakes on a proposal that would have amended the county’s affordable housing rules. Maui News.

Unexploded Ordnance Found During Excavation in Wailea. As a precaution, surrounding residences were evacuated, and Hoʻomua Drive was temporarily closed. Maui Now.

COVID-19 Cluster at Maui Jail Now Includes 20 Inmates. The Maui Community Correctional Center now has 20 confirmed COVID-19 cases among inmates at the Wailuku facility.  Maui Now.

Kauai

Super support shown for Alekoko “Menehune” Fishpond.
Thursday, the county’s Public Access, Open Space and Natural Resources Preservation Fund Commission moved in support of the acquisition of the fishpond with overwhelming support from residents and community stakeholders. Garden Island.

County announces holiday closures. In observance of Presidents’ Day, Monday, Feb. 15, County of Kaua‘i offices will be closed, along with the Kekaha Landfill, all refuse transfer stations, the Puhi Metals Recycling Center, all HI-5 redemption centers, and all the neighborhood centers. Garden Island.


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