Thursday, March 4, 2021

Coronavirus vaccinations expanded to age 70-plus, all teachers to be immunized by April, Maui closes in on Oahu for tourism numbers, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

from DOH video
Hawaii Department of Health Director Dr. Libby Char

Hawaii residents 70 and older eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations starting Monday; state receives Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The state has decided to open eligibility for COVID-19 vaccinations early to residents 70 and older on Monday because of a substantial increase in the number of shots arriving in the islands. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Big Island Now. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now. KHON2. KITV4.

The first shipment of Johnson &Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine arrived Wednesday in Hawaii. According to the state Department of Health, 5,900 doses were delivered to Oahu, while Hawaii, Maui and Kauai counties each will receive 2,000 doses of the vaccine, which was approved for emergency use Saturday by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Tribune-Herald. Garden Island. Maui Now. KITV4.

Senate Health Committee Recommends Libby Char as DOH Director. The Senate Health Committee today, March 3, voted to recommend that the Senate consent to the appointment of Dr. Elizabeth “Libby” Char as Director of the Department of Health. She took over leadership at the DOH on Sept. 16, 2020, after being appointed by Gov. David Ige. Big Island Now.  KHON2.

AARP Hawaiʻi Seeking Kupuna Feedback About COVID-19 Vaccination Experiences. AARP Hawaiʻi is asking kupuna 50 and older to fill out an online questionnaire and share their experiences and thoughts about the COVID-19 vaccine process in Hawaiʻi in an effort to improve the process. Maui Now.

Hawaii to have all teachers vaccinated before April, here’s why it’s important. Hawaii is on track to get all teachers vaccinated by the end of March, 2021, according to Lt. Gov. Dr. Josh Green. KHON2.

Hawaii’s hotel industry wants workers vaccinated now. The state Department of Health has ruled that travel is not essential to the “functioning of society” and has said most hotel workers must wait a little longer to get vaccinated. Star-Advertiser.

Lt. Gov. Green urges governor to drop interisland quarantine.
Interisland travelers may no longer need to get tested starting in April, 2021, if the lieutenant governor gets his way. KHON2.

Governor reflects on a year of successes and blunders in responding to COVID. A year after he issued his first COVID-related emergency proclamation, Gov. David Ige on Wednesday reflected on the lessons he’s learned and what’s still ahead. In an interview with Hawaii News Now, Ige apologized for ongoing delays in issuing unemployment benefits during the pandemic but commended the state’s efforts in containing the spread of the virus. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

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Military Spouses Hope For Easier Ways To Get Licensed To Work In Hawaii. A House bill would expedite the licensing process for many military spouses, especially medical professionals, who have to move frequently. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Lawmakers Consider Requiring Gender Diversity On Corporate Boards. The Senate bill cites several studies that say gender diversity on boards is correlated with higher or equal profits compared with all-male boards. Civil Beat.

Hawaiian Airlines Is Holding Off On More Layoffs — For Now. The state’s largest private employer has said it will delay plans for a large lay off, even as changes to Hawaii’s travel policy remain in limbo. Civil Beat.

More elementary kids headed back to school in 4th quarter. More elementary students will be back on campus after spring break and secondary schools are also being asked to ramp up in-person learning, Superintendent Christina Kishimoto said Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

Despite criticism, DOE Superintendent says she’s focused on the challenges ahead. Hawaii Department of Education Superintendent Dr. Christina Kishimoto says there are more pressing issues to focus on in light of the teachers’ union voting against renewing her contract. Hawaii News Now.

Nonprofit moves forward with lawsuit to protect Hawaiian honeycreeper.
The Center for Biological Diversity today filed suit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for failing to designate critical habitat and develop a recovery plan for the iiwi, a cherished forest bird in Hawaii. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.

COVID-19 Update: There were 20 new COVID-19 cases reported in Hawai‘i on Wednesday, including eight on O‘ahu, 11 on Maui, and one on Kaua‘i. Hawai‘i’s COVID-19 deaths increased to 441 with two new deaths reported Wednesday, both on O‘ahu. Maui Now.

Oahu

Honolulu Police Department still probing body cam misuse, overtime abuse. The Honolulu Police Department is still investigating a couple of dozen cases of possible misuse of body-worn cameras and abuse of overtime. Star-Advertiser.

Police Commissioners: Redirect HPD Funds To Social Services And Cut Overtime. Other cities are considering moving police department funds to social services. Some Honolulu police commissioners say the city should follow suit. Civil Beat.

Youth Correctional Facility Managers Receive Ethics Fines. Mark Patterson, administrator of the Hawaii Youth Correctional Facility in Kailua, and institutional facility superintendent Darrell Bueno were fined last week by the Hawaii State Ethics Commission. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser.

HART interim CEO: Rail construction in Dillingham corridor halted, route may shift. Construction of the problem-plagued Honolulu rail project in the Dillingham corridor has been halted, interim HART CEO Lori Kahikina said Wednesday. Hawaii News Now.

Kalaeloa slated for first new housing subdivision in decades. Longtime Hawaii housing developer Gentry Homes is planning to build the first homes at the former Barbers Point Naval Air Station in Kalaeloa since the base closed in 1999. Star-Advertiser.

State board considers 2 more towers at Ward Village. A state board Wednesday began its review of two very different condominium towers planned for Ward Village, and the distribution of moderate-priced homes was a major point of discussion. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Vaccinations ramp up: 4,000 doses could be given at Hilo POD. Hilo Medical Center will offer 4,000 doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine during an upcoming mass-vaccination POD, doubling the capacity of its last large clinic. Tribune-Herald.

Energov moving forward: Planning and permit system set to go live July 26. A multi-agency software system designed to streamline the planning and building permit process is now scheduled to go live at the end of July, five years after the project first began. West Hawaii Today.

County accepts $83M for Kilauea eruption recovery projects. The Hawaii County Council accepted Wednesday $83 million in federal funds for Kilauea eruption recovery projects in lower Puna. Tribune-Herald. Hawaii News Now.

Daniel K. Inouye Highway extension project progressing despite lack of funding. A record of decision marking the completion of the environmental review process for the long-delayed extension of Daniel K. Inouye Highway is expected this fall. West Hawaii Today.

Maui


Mayor to Host Virtual State of the County Address on March 9. Maui Mayor Michael Victorino’s third State of the County Address will be a virtual event, scheduled to take place at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 9. Maui Now.

Maui closes in on Oahu for visitor arrivals in January. There were 66,925 visitors on Maui and 78,967 visitors on Oahu in January, according to the most recent Hawaii Tourism Authority data. Maui News.

County working on lawsuit against bank. Contracted private attorneys for Maui County are currently working on a draft complaint of a lawsuit that may be brought against Bank of America and other mortgage lenders, a county attorney said on Tuesday. Maui News.

Kauai

Blessing to mark completion of Kauai affordable rental project. A blessing will be held on Friday, March 5, to mark the official completion of an affordable rental housing project on Kauai. KHON2.

Red Cross officials recognize Hero, Volunteer of the Year.
March is American Red Cross Month and acknowledged by Mayor Derek Kawakami with gratitude and appreciation to the American Red Cross, Kaua‘i Branch headed by Padric Gallagher. Garden Island.

On Kauai, virtual counseling offers struggling residents an important lifeline.  Residents on Kauai are now eligible for three hours of free counseling with a new program. Hawaii News Now.

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