Monday, March 1, 2021

Hawaii tourism looking up, Mayor to act on Maui coronavirus outbreak, $70M more for Honolulu rail, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Hawaii’s Summer Tourism Season Is Looking Promising. Hawaii’s economy is poised for a significant recovery over the next six months, as pent-up demand for travel coincides with vaccinations on the mainland and an expected new wave of federal stimulus money in March. Civil Beat.

Gov. David Ige again withholds funding for corrections oversight staff. Two years ago the Legislature passed what was hailed as major corrections reform: It placed the Department of Public Safety, which oversees the state’s jails and prisons, under the oversight of a five-member commission. Star-Advertiser.

House Committee Advances Bill to Dissolve the Agribusiness Development Corporation. The 27-year-old entity was initially created to develop economically viable farms to fill the void created by the closure of plantations. But a recent state audit found it has done little to fill that void. Hawaii Public Radio.

Bill to reduce blood-alcohol threshold for drunken driving up for full vote on Senate floor.
Senate Bill 754 would reduce the blood-alcohol content level for being arrested and charged with driving under the influence of an intoxicant from 0.08% to 0.05%. West Hawaii Today.

Bills that would place limit on emergency beach sandbags in Hawaii shelved. Bills that would limit how long oceanfront property owners can keep stacks of emergency sandbags and heavy tarps along the public beach to protect their homes, resorts and condos from being damaged by waves are dead for the year. Star-Advertiser.

Kenji Price: An Uncertain Future For A Republican In Deep Blue Hawaii. Hawaii’s charismatic U.S. attorney is an up and coming conservative. Hawaii’s GOP would love to talk him into running for office here. Civil Beat. KITV4.

Hawaii’s acting state epidemiologist calls for reopening public schools. Dr. Sarah Kemble, acting state epidemiologist, says Hawaii’s public schools should resume in-person classes as soon as possible because children can come back safely and are missing out on too much. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Preschools See Declines In Enrollment And Available Seats. Private pre-kindergarten programs have lost $7 million in tuition as fewer families send children to school, according to the Hawaii Association of Independent Schools. Civil Beat.

A year of COVID-19: Key leaders in Hawaii’s pandemic response recall the challenges they faced. On March 5, Gov. David Ige declared a state of emergency after the death of a passenger from California on a cruise ship that visited the islands. The next day, Ige announced the state’s first COVID-19 case — a Hawaii resident who sailed on the Grand Princess in February. Star-Advertiser.

Few in Hawaii spared the far-reaching consequences of the coronavirus pandemic. COVID-19 was just emerging as a public- health threat in Hawaii when Coby Torda started experiencing flu-like symptoms after coming home from work as a bartender at a Waikiki club March 9. Star-Advertiser.

Feb. 28, 2021 COVID-19 Update. There were 60 new COVID-19 cases reported in Hawai‘i on Sunday, including 39 on O‘ahu, 15 on Maui, four on Hawai‘i Island, and two in Hawai‘i residents diagnosed out-of-state. Maui Now.

Oahu

O'ahu Neighborhood Boards Could Get a Reboot. Another election season has just begun on O'ahu. Candidates for this year's Neighborhood Board elections have all submitted their registrations, and elections are coming up for these grassroots positions. Hawaii Public Radio.

$70 Million Secured for Honolulu Rail Project in New COVID-19 Relief Bill. US Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i), helped secure $70 million for the Honolulu Rail Transit Project. The new federal funding will help the City and County of Honolulu pay for a portion of its share of the cost of the project, making up for the loss in tax revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Report recommends no salary increases for Honolulu’s top officials. The mayor and City Council members won’t be getting salary increases, according to a report presented by a group within the Honolulu Salary Commission. Star-Advertiser.

In internal video, police chief says 263 officers abused overtime policy. Honolulu’s police chief said in an internal video message to rank and file on Friday that overtime abuse within the department involved hundreds of officers. Hawaii News Now.

City wants to move forward with project to address safety issues atop Koko Crater. The city wants to move forward with a safety improvement project atop Koko Crater, but community members worry it will change the iconic view. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

DOH advises public to avoid Kailua Bay after large discharges of wastewater. The Department of Health directed the city to post warning signs at Kailua Bay for possible large amounts of bacteria in the water near the wastewater treatment plant. Hawaii News Now.

Next Ward Village condo tower about to rise. The developer of Ward Village in Kakaako anticipates starting construction on another condominium tower by the end of the month. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

No data for maps: Redistricting commission meets Monday. A commission that redraws County Council district boundary lines every 10 years plans an initial meeting Monday, but the numbers it needs to make its decisions have been delayed. West Hawaii Today.

Land Board hears three options for Pohoiki ramp restoration. Restoration of the Pohoiki boat ramp could take months — or even years. Tribune-Herald.

State fines pair of aquarium fishers record $272K. The Board of Land and Natural Resources voted unanimously Friday to fine two Big Island aquarium fishers $272,000 in civil fines stemming from an illegal aquarium fishing incident in Kona in 2020. West Hawaii Today. Hawaii News Now.

Businesses, attractions struggle as cruise ships still months away from returning.
It has been nearly one year since cruise ships stopped service to Hawaii, and there is no hint of when they might return. Tribune-Herald.

Honing their skills. Enduring cold temperatures, high winds and rain, 800 soldiers from the 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division from Schofield Barracks are honing their skills at Pohakuloa Training Area. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Mayor Victorino considers additional restrictions after variant, more clusters found on Maui. The Hawaii Department of Health reported 75 new cases of COVID-19 in Maui County.  This includes 31 historical cases dating back to November 9, 2020 and 19 cases from the Maui Community Correctional Center cluster, nine cases attributed to a Pacific Islander cluster and seven resulting from a bar and restaurant cluster. KITV4.

DOH: Uptick in Maui cases connected to virus variant. A COVID-19 variant that has spread widely in California has been associated with a recent uptick in cases on Maui, Hawaii’s acting state epidemiologist said Friday.  Maui News.

Maui High School welcomes back staff, 650 students. Maui High is one of many Maui schools to transition to a blended learning format that mixes both in-person and online instruction. Maui News.

Kauai

Weather hampers whale-counters. Most of the whales came early, said Carol Everett, sanctuary site leader at Kaiwa Point Saturday, when the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary and the Pacific Whale Foundation conducted the second of three coordinated whale counts for 2021. Garden Island.

DHHL seeking input on General Plan. The state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands is seeking beneficiary input as part of its 2022 General Plan update beneficiary-consultation process. Garden Island.

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