Thursday, February 4, 2021

Ige nixes furloughs, Green leads Caldwell in campaign donations, FEC sends $24M for broadband improvements, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

from video
Hawaii Gov. David Ige

Ige: No Furloughs Necessary This Year. In the latest wrinkle in the long-running saga of proposed public worker furloughs, Gov. David Ige said Wednesday it won’t be necessary to impose twice-per-month furloughs on state workers on July 1 after all. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Lawmakers Want Their ‘Gifts Of Aloha’ Back. Several bills this session attempt to shirk new rules from the state Ethics Commission. Civil Beat.

State senators advance confirmation of acting labor director. Despite ongoing problems with the state’s unemployment system, the acting state labor director got a vote of confidence from members of the state Senate. Hawaii News Now.

Senate Bill Would Force Dept. of Education to Report COVID-19 Cases by School. Right now, the Department of Education only reveals COVID-19 cases by complex area. KITV4.

Green Leads Caldwell In Campaign Donations For Next Governor’s Race. The lieutenant governor and former Honolulu mayor are likely competitors in the 2022 contest. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Proud Boy Nick Ochs Charged With Criminal Conspiracy. A new indictment unsealed Wednesday by the U.S. Justice Department accuses Ochs of several new crimes that carry heftier penalties. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.

Annual police misconduct reports released for the first time with officer names.  Annual police misconduct reports from all the counties have been submitted to the Hawaii State Legislature. KHON2.

FCC Awards $24 Million to Hawaiian Telecom for Rural Broadband Deployment. The Federal Communications Commission’s Rural Digital Opportunity Fund has awarded Hawaiian Telecom $24 million to continue deploying fiber broadband service to unserved and underserved rural areas in Hawai‘i. Maui Now.

Bills would make catalytic converter theft a felony in Hawaii.
Increasing demand for stolen precious metals contained in vehicle catalytic converters has prompted two bills that would make thefts of catalytic converters a Class C felony and require more documentation from sellers and Hawaii scrap dealers willing to buy them. Star-Advertiser.

With COVID precautions in place, influenza cases in Hawaii are near zero. Hawaii has so far dodged what health experts feared could be a “twindemic,” with COVID-19 combined with the flu, which has virtually disappeared since last summer. Star-Advertiser.

Remaining diligent; Contact tracers still at work as COVID vaccine rollout continues. Nearly 300 contact tracers are still at work in Hawaii as the focus in the fight against COVID-19 has turned largely to ongoing vaccination efforts. Tribune-Herald.

HAWAII VIRUS TRACKER — Feb. 3: 74 New COVID-19 Infections And 4 Deaths. Hawaii health officials reported 74 new cases Wednesday, including 41 on Oahu, 23 on Maui, four on the Big Island, and six Hawaii residents diagnosed out of state. Civil Beat.


Chief Susan Ballard says HPD still investigating COVID overtime violations. The Honolulu Police Department is continuing its investigation into apparent overtime violations within the department’s COVID-19 enforcement teams, according to Police Chief Susan Ballard. Star-Advertiser.

‘Significant’ Disparity In Use Of Force Questioned By Honolulu Police Commission. Honolulu police commissioners say they are concerned over the Honolulu Police Department’s treatment of Pacific Islanders, Native Hawaiians and Black people when it comes to use of force and even arrest rates. Civil Beat.

Judge Sends Former Cop Who Flipped On The Kealohas To Prison. A former Big Island firefighter who admitted to having an affair with Katherine Kealoha received a much more lenient sentence. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now. KHON2. KITV4.

The teen suspect in a nationwide cell phone hacking scheme was arrested in Aina Haina on Wednesday morning and now faces three felony charges. HPD sources say he’s just 16 years old and in the 11th grade. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Kern confirmed: Council votes 5-4 on new planning director. Zendo Kern was confirmed Wednesday as county planning director by the skin of his teeth, after Hamakua Councilwoman Heather Kimball switched her vote and decided to support him. West Hawaii Today.

COVID Test Surplus Could Help Reopen Big Island High Schools. The discovery of a surplus of COVID-19 antigen tests has created a potential path to bring Big Island high school students back into the classroom. Big Island Now.

Council approves funding for changes to Kalanianaole project. The County Council passed a bill to provide funding for changes to the long-delayed Kalanianaole Avenue improvement project. Tribune-Herald.

Community Opposition Grows in Kohala Over Proposed Development Near PololÅ« Valley Lookout. The proposal would improve access to the area’s popular hiking trail, but it could also open the door to residential development on the valley ridgeline. Hawaii Public Radio.

Settlement claims bills include 2 items related to Big Island charter schools. A pair of companion bills introduced in the state Legislature requesting more than $1.73 million to pay off claims against the state include a couple of Hawaii Island cases, both including Big Island public charter schools. Tribune-Herald.


Maui County granted $40M in rent, utilities assistance from COVID relief. Maui Mayor Mike Victorino announced on Tuesday, Feb. 2, that Maui County is set to receive $40 million for relief from delinquent rent and utility bills in the next round of COVID relief funding. KHON2.

Maui Shark Encounter Detailed
, Experts Say Bite Mark is Consistent with a White Shark. Maui Now. KHON2.


Amendments made to Westside beach driving bill. Wednesday, the state Senate’s Committee on Land and Water amended and removed Kekaha Beach Park specific portions of a bill that would require permits to drive on the beach. Garden Island.

Wailua Golf Course short $250K. Keeping tee-time rates low at the Wailua Golf Course comes at a price. This fiscal year, that may be about $250,000 that the county’s Department of Parks and Recreation is estimating the Golf Fund will fall short. Garden Island.

Monk Seals Found Dead In Kauai Likely Drowned In Fishing Nets. Two endangered Hawaiian monk seals initially thought to have been shot or beaten last year in Kauai likely drowned after getting trapped in fishing nets, officials said Wednesday. Civil Beat. Big Island Now. Kauai Now. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

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