Friday, March 19, 2021

Koko trail viewing platform to be repaired, not removed; bill advances allowing nurses to perform abortions; Maui grappling with rising COVID-19 infections, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Honolulu Parks & Recreation
Koko Crater Trail PC:Honolulu Parks & Recreation

Viewing platform atop Koko Crater Trail won’t be torn down. The city announced Thursday that the metal grate platform at the top of the hike will not to removed until a new one is constructed. Hawaii News Now. Star-Advertiser. KHON2. KITV4.

Swelling inmate populations prompt new fears about COVID outbreaks. Although pandemic rules to lower the number of inmates eased overcrowding last year, officials worry more prison COVID outbreaks could spread as inmate populations swell again. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Lawmakers Seek Exemption From Political Ad Disclosures. House Bill 144 and House Bill 674 would exempt candidates for office from filing reports on ads with the state.  Civil Beat.

A matter of access: State Senate committees consider bill that would let APRNs perform abortions. Legislation that would allow advanced practice registered nurses to perform abortions passed through the state House and is now before the state Senate. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaiʻi Senate Committee Passes Resolutions Denouncing Racism Acts against Asian-Americans. District 16 Sen. Bennette E. Misalucha introduced resolutions SCR66 and SR48 that condemn and denounce all forms of anti-Asian sentiment and all acts of racism, xenophobia, intolerance, discrimination, hate crime and hate speech against Asian Americans and Asian individuals in the United States. Maui Now.

Gov. Ige orders flags to fly at half-staff in memory of Atlanta shooting victims.
Governor David Ige has ordered that the flags of the United States and State of Hawaii shall be flown at half-staff at all state offices in honor of the eight victims who were killed in three Atlanta-area massage establishments on March 16. KHON2.

House Majority Leader Della Au Bellati to lead investigation of colleague Rep. Sharon Har. House Majority Leader Della Au Belatti will chair a special House Committee tasked with investigating state Rep. Sharon Har following her arrest on suspicion of drunken driving on Feb. 22. Star-Advertiser.

Department of Health refines COVID-19 vaccine priority list for essential workers in Phase 1C. Effective immediately, only essential workers at hotels, restaurants and bars are eligible. It's a drastic cut to the priority list initially deemed eligible under Phase 1C. KITV4.

March 18, 2021 COVID-19 Update: The state Department of Health reports that there were 88 additional COVID-19 cases reported in Hawai‘i on Thursday, including 38 on O‘ahu, 39 on Maui, two on Molokaʻi, seven on Hawai‘i Island, and two in Hawai‘i residents diagnosed out of state. Maui Now.


City prosecutor wants COVID-era policy changed so judges can jail misdemeanor offenders. City Prosecutor Steve Alm wants to restore some of the power Oahu judges had taken away during the pandemic. Hawaii News Now.

Possible Transfer Of Oʻahu EMS System Causing Concern At Honolulu Hale. A state proposal would transfer the responsibility and costs of emergency medical services on Oahu from the state Department of Health to the City and County of Honolulu. Hawaii Public Radio.

Proposal to rename McKinley High School and remove statue stalls at Hawaii Legislature.
A push to change the name of McKinley High School and remove its towering bronze statue of President William McKinley ran aground Thursday at the Legislature after passionate testimony on both sides. Star-Advertiser.

Wedding industry rally seeks Oahu reopening. Oahu’s wedding industry rallied Thursday at Honolulu Hale to urge Mayor Rick Blangiardi to reopen weddings under the city’s new Tier 3 structured-events mandate. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Larger rail budget packs generous contingency plans. The new $12.449 billion price tag to build the city’s troubled rail project all the way to Ala Moana Center is based on more “conservative” budgeting expectations that include “every foreseen unknowables,” the board of directors of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation was told Thursday. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

HART, Hitachi At Odds Over Wheel Defect As Rail Costs Soar. The wheel rims are narrower than the track crossings, causing renewed headaches on what’s now a $12.4 billion transit project. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Island

CIP projects by district a no-go. One councilman’s request for the others to prioritize the top five capital improvement projects for their districts turned into a discussion Tuesday about whether the nine council members should stay focused on their own districts or take a countywide perspective. West Hawaii Today.

Nearly 21% of Hawaii County’s total population vaccinated as of Thursday. As of Thursday, 63,721 people in the county had been vaccinated with at least one dose, which is 20.9% of the county’s total population. Tribune-Herald.

Bed and breakfast approved on Alii Drive: Leeward Planning Commission allows project despite cesspool concerns. A five-bedroom Alii Drive home a half mile south of Laaloa Beach Park won approval Thursday to become a bed and breakfast establishment, despite concerns about sea level rise and wastewater issues. West Hawaii Today.

Big Island Scales Back Plans For Recycled Water. The lower category of recycled water could still be used on golf courses and for some types of farm irrigation. Civil Beat.

Hilo Seaside Hotel under new ownership
. Hospitality company Soul Community Planet, or SCP, on Thursday announced the purchase of the 138-room Hilo Seaside Hotel. Tribune-Herald.


Maui mayor says uptick in COVID cases shows residents have grown ‘complacent’. Maui Mayor Mike Victorino expressed frustration Thursday following an uptick in COVID cases on the island linked to “complacent” behavior. Maui saw 41 new COVID cases Thursday. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Rickard to serve as acting police chief. Deputy Police Chief Dean Rickard will serve as acting police chief while a search gets underway for a new chief to replace Police Chief Tivoli Faaumu, who is retiring at the end of next month. Maui News. Maui Now.

Nonprofit seeks protected fishing area for Kipahulu. East Maui residents are proposing the creation of a protected fishing area for Kipahulu to help regulate harvesting practices and increased foot traffic and to protect depleting resources that once fully sustained nearby communities. Maui News.


Ige assesses North Shore flood, landslide damage. As work continues to repair Kuhio Highway after the landslide last week above the Hanalei Bridge, officials gathered for a blessing of the site early Thursday morning. Garden Island.

Council moves forward on Ag land use bill. A bill making its way through the Kaua‘i County Council to allow produce stands on adjacent agricultural lands is moving to a final reading next week. Garden Island.

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