Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Pandemic or not, Hawaii still satisfies tourists, Green says gatherings may be able to resume in May, vaccine distribution irks and confuses, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands


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Most mainland visitors satisfied with trips to Hawaii, study says. Most visitors are aware of Hawaii’s pre-travel testing program, and are mostly satisfied with their recent trips to the islands, according to the Hawaii Tourism Authority, but 21% are still having issues with the process. Star-Advertiser.

HTA survey: Visitors satisfied with Hawaii trips, despite COVID limitations. Most visitors to the state in late December and early January were satisfied with their experience, despite the limitations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Tribune-Herald.

Tourism Survey: 85% of Visitors Rated Trip Excellent Despite COVID-19 Challenges. The Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority (HTA) conducted a special online survey of US mainland visitors to gauge their experience with Hawaiʻi’s Safe Travels program and overall trip satisfaction and found 85 percent rated their trip “Excellent” and 94 percent said their trip exceeded or met expectations. Maui Now.


Lt. Gov. Josh Green expects large gatherings will safely resume in May. More than 150,000 COVID-19 vaccinations have been administered across the state, and the rate of people receiving vaccinations continues to increase. Star-Advertiser.

Green Proposes New Plan For Reopening Hawaii As Vaccine Distribution Ramps Up. The proposal calls for reopening interisland — and then mainland travel — to people who have been vaccinated for COVID-19. Civil Beat.

Green: At current vaccination rates, larger events could return this spring.
Lt. Gov. Josh Green, a Big Island physician, said Monday that he anticipates Hawaii will be safe enough to permit larger gatherings this spring. Tribune-Herald.


Casino could increase sex trade, report warns. A state agency that works toward equality for women and girls issued a blistering report Monday outlining the ills associated with casinos, particularly as they relate to the sex trade, marking the latest challenge for the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands as it tries to move forward on a contentious proposal to build a casino resort to bring in desperately needed revenue for housing on Hawaiian trust lands. Star-Advertiser. Garden Island. KHON2. KITV4.

Hawaii GOP resignations over tweets reflect national Republican divide. The local head of the Republican Party, Shirlene DelaCruz Ostrov, has resigned following an unauthorized series of tweets on the group’s Twitter account that defended people supporting baseless QAnon conspiracy theories and led her to reassure the Jewish community that the comments have no place in our party. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Public Schools To Get $56M in Title I Funds This Year.
The amount reflects a $2 million increase from the same type of appropriation last year. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.

Airport upgrades are on a roll, but special-fund sweep looms. As the state stares down a multibillion-dollar budget shortfall, some are looking to tap cash in a slew of special funds. That includes transportation accounts, money the airports division says it needs to keep up with new projects and fixes. KHON2.

New bill attempts to raise penalties for stolen catalytic converter sales. One car part that continues to be targeted by thieves is catalytic converters, which if stolen, can put a person out a thousand dollars to fix. KHON2. KITV4.

Bills target the use of ‘deep fakes’ in Hawaii. Deep fake technology enables the manipulation of photos or videos where one person in an existing image or video is replaced with another. Tribune-Herald.

Despite the state’s efforts to explain its phased approach, complaints are pouring in. Lt. Gov. Josh Green says the Department of Health has received hundreds of calls from businesses asking whether their employees qualify for the vaccination. Hawaii News Now.

Dr. Sarah Park leaves DOH; has been on paid leave since Sept. 4. The embattled state epidemiologist blamed for slowing Hawaii’s coronavirus response has quietly left the Department of Health. Star-Advertiser.

Advocates Say Pacific Islanders Should Be On Hawaii’s Vaccination List. Here’s Why. Service providers fear Hawaii’s vaccination effort is failing to reach Pacific Islander communities that have been hit hardest by the coronavirus. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.

HAWAII VIRUS TRACKER — Feb. 1: 90 New COVID-19 Infections.
Hawaii health officials reported 90 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, including 57 on Oahu, 19 on Maui, seven on the Big Island, one on Kauai, and six residents diagnosed outside of Hawaii. Civil Beat.


City offers extension option on second installment for real property. The City says it will offer taxpayers an alternative option due to the ongoing pandemic. KHON2.

Roger Morton named city Transportation Services director
; Jon Nouchi returns as deputy. Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi has appointed Roger Morton as the city’s Department of Transportation Services director, effective today. Star-Advertiser.

New Police Disciplinary Reports Reveal Serious Misconduct By Dozens Of Officers
. The Honolulu Police Department disciplined more officers in 2020 than it has in at least three years, according to a new summary of misconduct filed with the Legislature on Monday. Civil Beat. KHON2.

‘Super powers’ proposed for Aloha Stadium replacement agency. Redeveloping the state’s deteriorating Aloha Stadium with a private partner could speed up this year under a “super power” bill introduced at the Legislature. Star-Advertiser.

Red Hill fuel tanks have always leaked, Sierra Club says. From the beginning, the Navy’s Red Hill underground fuel tanks have leaked, said David Kimo Frankel, an attorney for the Sierra Club. Star-Advertiser.

Affordable rentals available in upscale condo tower at Ala Moana. The developer of Azure Ala Moana, predominantly a condominium high-rise at Keeaumoku and Makaloa streets, expects to hold a lottery in August to select tenants for 78 affordable rental units in the tower. Star-Advertiser.

As Waikiki Beach continues to erode, another project to replenish sand is starting up. Through a public-private partnership, a beach maintenance project using hydraulic dredging and pumping will move 20,000 cubic yards of sand offshore onto Waikiki Beach. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Roth hopes to be cleared to return to work this week. Mayor Mitch Roth hopes to be cleared to return to work this week as he continues his recovery from a Jan. 9 heart attack and subsequent procedure to have a pacemaker and defibrillator implanted. West Hawaii Today.

Ethics Board asked to invalidate Rodenhurst: Petition alleges Richards should have recused himself on confirmation. A Big Island resident is asking the county Board of Ethics to invalidate Public Works Director Ikaika Rodenhurst’s confirmation by the County Council, saying Kohala Councilman Tim Richards should have recused himself from voting because he served as a reference on Rodenhurst’s resume. West Hawaii Today.

Hapuna Beach Facilities to Return as Soon as This Week. Post-ocean showers and more convenient bathroom breaks should again be part of the Hapuna Beach experience in the coming days. Big Island Now.

Taking better care of the ‘aina: Pelekane Watershed improvements to mitigate ecological degradation. A two-year effort to protect and improve water quality and ecosystem health in the Pelekane Watershed was recently completed by The Kohala Center. West Hawaii Today. Big Island Video News.


Maui K-12 Schools To Receive $6.35 Million for Public Schools in Low Income Communities. Hawai‘i K-12 schools will receive a projected $56,517,953 in new federal funding for the 2021-2022 school year to support teacher professional development, additional educators, new technology, and other academic programs at public schools serving low income students. Maui Now.

29% of homes in Maui County have installed rooftop solar. State sees a 55 percent increase year over year. Maui News.

Maui Humane Society reopens after week-long COVID-19 closure. The Maui Humane Society reopened for appointments and surgeries today after undergoing staff testing and quarantine following “limited, but direct exposure” to COVID-19. Star-Advertiser.


Water shutdown, bridge closures scheduled in Hanapepe. The county Department of Water announced an overnight water-service shutdown on Hana Road in Hanapepe from 9 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 2 to 5 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 3, weather-permitting, in order to perform waterline-installation and improvements work. Garden Island.

Kauaʻi Non-Profit Rallies to Buy, Restore 600-Year-Old Hawaiian Fishpond. A grassroots effort is underway for a local non-profit to purchase an ancient Hawaiian fishpond on Kauaʻi. The Alakoko Fishpond was recently put on the market with a pricetag of $3 million dollars. Hawaii Public Radio.

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