Monday, February 15, 2021

In Hawaii, agricultural land doesn't translate to food, Legislature seeks to trim governor's emergency powers, state pension fund up 15%, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Hawaii farmers market pre-COVID ©2021 All Hawaii News

Hawaii Has A Lot Of Agricultural Land. Very Little Of It Is Used For Growing Food. The amount of land used for farming in Hawaii has shrunk dramatically since the 1930s. Civil Beat.

These 2 Companies Are Putting Big Money Into Hawaii’s Agricultural Future. Will Their Bets Pay Off?. A pair of companies backed by a billionaire and a pension fund are trying to revitalize fallow farmland in the state. Civil Beat.

Embattled Agribusiness Corporation Has Powerful Friends. With the future of a state agency in charge of transforming Hawaii’s old plantation lands into working farms in the balance, battle lines formed Friday between Gov. David Ige’s administration and big agricultural organizations on one side and lawmakers who say the agency has failed in its mission and should be dissolved on the other. Civil Beat.

Report: Family-Owned Farms Account for 93% of Hawaiʻi Farms. The US Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service released its 2017 Census of Agriculture Farm Typology report on Jan. 22, 2021, classifying Hawaiʻi’s farms to better evaluate the state’s agriculture. Garden Island.

State to rule on protecting prime farmland on Oahu. The state Land Use Commission is preparing to hold public hearings starting Feb. 24 to carry out its responsibility under a 2005 state law aiming to protect high-value farmland statewide by essentially locking up such land for agricultural use in perpetuity. Star-Advertiser.

Sharing emergency powers: House bill would temper governor’s power. A bill moving through the state House would try to balance the almost unilateral power granted the executive branch — governor and island mayors — during declared emergencies to allow legislative input into the duration and specific powers wielded. West Hawaii Today.

It’s No Surprise That CEOs Make More Than Other Employees. But How Much Is Too Much? New legislation would make Hawaii the first state to tax executive pay gaps, but the proposal may be dead on arrival. Civil Beat.

Air tour noise bill shelved despite support from Case, others. A bill that aims to address tour helicopter noise and safety was deferred Thursday by the state Senate Transportation Committee. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii lawmakers scrap bill exempting counties from Sunshine Law. State lawmakers shelved a bill that would allow the county councils on Oahu, Maui, Kauai and Hawaii island to debate in secret before casting votes on proposed legislation. Star-Advertiser.

State pension fund up 15%. Fueled by a 9% investment increase in the October-December quarter, the state Employees’ Retirement System fund reached the midpoint of its 2021 fiscal year with a 14.8% gain, according to a new report presented to ERS trustees by investment adviser Meketa Investment Group. Star-Advertiser.

Pandemic Turbo-Charges Hawaii State Government's Use Of Tech.
Across Hawaii's state government, the need to prevent the spread of disease has similarly turbo-charged the use of technology. It's a big change for an acknowledged tech laggard. Associated Press.

90,000 people applied for the ‘Movers and Shakas’ program
; first 50 selected. The first group of professionals have been chosen for a controversial program that would bring people from across the nation to Hawaii to work remotely. Hawaii News Now.

State building remote-work force.
The state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism and state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations through the Workforce Development Council, along with Hawai‘i’s four county Workforce Development Boards, announced Remote Ready Hawai‘i’, a remote-work project powered by MadSkills, dba, Instant Teams. Garden Island.

HIEMA Director Ken Hara wants DOH guidance before allowing vaccine travel exemption. Major General Hara is eyeing March 1st to launch the first phase with critical infrastructure workers and expand the program in one-month increments. Governor David Ige is allowing fully-vaccinated people to bypass Hawaii's 10-day travel quarantine without negative COVID-19 test results -- starting with critical infrastructure workers doing intercounty travel. KITV4.

Hawaii setting up "Health Pass" system to verify a person's COVID-19 test results, vaccinations. The state is setting up a "Health Pass" system that uses technology to verify your negative COVID-19 test results and vaccination doses, so you can travel and keep your information private. KITV4.

HAWAII VIRUS TRACKER — Feb. 14: 48 New COVID-19 Cases And 1 Death.
The cases included 38 on Oahu, four on Maui, three on the Big Island and three residents diagnosed out of state. Civil Beat.


Hawaii Extends Driver's License Renewal Deadline To April. City officials in Honolulu have extended the deadline to renew driver's licenses, state identification cards and permits to mid-April in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Associated Press.

$12 million plan for a luxury ‘fixed-base operation’ and fuel farm at Kalaeloa Airport questioned. A mainland aircraft services partnership with deep pockets plans to spend $12 million for a luxury “fixed-base operation” and fuel farm at Kalaeloa Airport that is many times larger than the locally run operation that’s there now. Star-Advertiser.

Department of Transportation moved by pedestrian deaths to install speed tables on Farrington Highway. Area lawmakers are applauding the state Department of Transportation for installing two new raised crosswalks on Farrington Highway at the entrance of Nanakuli to increase pedestrian safety. Star-Advertiser.

Condo Complex’s Plan To Uproot Trees Has Residents Worried About Kaneohe Bay.
The plan is really about clearing views for residents, according to a former Puu Alii board member. Civil Beat.

What’s open and closed in Honolulu on Presidents Day. The City and County of Honolulu offices will be closed in observance of Presidents Day on Monday, Feb. 15. KHON2.

Hawaii Island

Bridging the digital divide: Kimball promotes broadband infrastructure. A resolution urging the county get on the broadband-wagon will be considered Wednesday by the County Council as the coronavirus pandemic demonstrates to state and local officials how important digital connectivity is when face-to-face just isn’t possible. West Hawaii Today.

Funding for lifeguards at Hapuna and Kua Bay in peril. Time is ticking to secure a funding source for lifeguard services at two popular but perilous state beach parks in West Hawaii. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii County, State Sign New COVID Emergency Proclamations. Hawaiʻi County Mayor Mitch Roth signed a Sixth Supplementary Emergency Proclamation on Friday, as Governer David Ige signed his 18th emergency proclamation for COVID-19. Big Island Video News.


Maui attorneys confirmed as 2nd Circuit judges. Chris Dunn, Jim Rouse to serve six-year terms. Maui News.

New reservations system starts March 1 at Waianapanapa State Park in Hana. All visitors and commercial operators will need to make reservations to enter the park, with out-of-state visitors paying $10 for parking; walk-in, bike-in or drop-off entry costing $5 per person; and commercial vehicles charged $25 for one to seven passengers and $50 for eight to 25 passengers. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.


Food distribution doesn’t skip a beat.  North Shore Food Pantry board member Elena Stipanovic said the group had to get 15 cases of diapers for the food distribution held Saturday at the Anaina Hou Community Park. Garden Island.

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