Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Spring breakers could bring COVID surge, lobbyists but not public allowed in state Capitol, 1.4k vaccine doses discarded on Maui, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii Kapu Quarantine Breakers
Spring breakers in Hawaii defy mask, distancing rules PC:
Hawaii Kapu Quarantine Breakers

Adjutant General warns of possible spring break COVID surge. COVID-19 case counts are still too high for the state to end the interisland travel quarantine in mid-April. That's what Adjutant General Kenneth Hara of the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency said Tuesday at an AARP Hawaii webinar. KITV4.

Rapid growth in Hawaii arrivals stresses Safe Travels coronavirus screening. Travel to and between the Hawaiian islands has skyrocketed in recent weeks, nearing 30,000 on Saturday, March 20, which is almost pre-pandemic level, and all of them needed to squeeze through a post-arrival pinch-point: the Safe Travels screening that makes sure only COVID-negative people are checked off for quarantine exemptions. KHON2.

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The Hawaii Capitol Is Closed To The Public, But Some Lobbyists Still Have Entree. While most members of the public can’t visit the State Capitol during the 2021 legislative session, the ability of some lobbyists to gain access raises questions of fairness. Civil Beat.

Relief money plugs hole in proposed Hawaii budget to be voted on today. Coronavirus relief package will allow Hawaii to cover unemployment insurance claims and avoid slashing spending on key social programs like sexual assault treatment and HIV prevention, lawmakers say. Associated Press.

Hawaii lawmakers advance bill to fund corrections oversight commission. Hawaii lawmakers are looking to fund a corrections oversight commission that was granted broad powers in 2019 but has been unable to hire staff due to a lack of funding. Star-Advertiser.

In Hawaii and across the U.S., advocates for police accountability are scrutinizing the union contracts that keep troublesome officers on the job. Over the next few months, Hawaii’s statewide police union will negotiate a new contract expected to result in pay raises for nearly 3,000 officers spread across four counties, most of them on Oahu. Civil Beat.

Legislation proposing amendments to aid-in-dying law stalls. Legislation that aimed to amend Hawaii’s aid-in-dying law passed through the state Senate earlier this month but failed to gain traction in the House. Tribune-Herald.

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6 Reaper drones will be based on Oahu. The Marine Corps in Hawaii will be getting six big MQ-9A Reaper drones that can be armed with missiles as the Corps as a whole pursues “a deliberate but aggressive” path toward unmanned systems to gain advantage over China. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii’s mayors discuss COVID restrictions and what’s next. Hawaii’s mayors have taken a key role in the COVID pandemic, putting in place restrictions or lifting them as they sought to balance public health with the economy. Hawaii News Now.

Pandemic depresses college-going rates, especially for Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders. The class of 2020 at Hawaii’s public high schools managed to graduate at a record rate after the onset of the coronavirus pandemic last spring, but far fewer of those graduates enrolled in college, new data shows. Star-Advertiser. Maui Now.

Hawaii Board of Agriculture expands coffee plant quarantine to slow spread of coffee leaf rust. The Hawaii Board of Agriculture voted today to expand the coffee quarantine areas in Hawaii in an attempt to keep coffee leaf rust, a fungus that can threaten the state’s coffee industry, from spreading. Star-Advertiser. Big Island Now.

March 23, 2021 COVID-19 Update: The state Department of Health reports that there were 41 additional COVID-19 cases reported in Hawai‘i on Tuesday, including 28 on O‘ahu, eight on Maui, one on Hawai‘i Island, one on Lāna‘i, and three in Hawai‘i residents diagnosed outside of the state. Maui Now.

Oahu

Former Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha allowed to delay prison term to get COVID vaccine. Retired Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha, who was convicted of conspiracy in a tangled corruption case, doesn’t have to report to prison until June so that he can get vaccinated against COVID-19. Associated Press. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.

City audits HPD’s overtime costs after department spends $38M on overtime. The city council announced its plans to audit Honolulu Police Department’s overtime costs after a report shows that costs were up by nearly 40% -- even before the pandemic. Hawaii News Now.

Despite Lawsuit, HPD Still Lacks Conflict Of Interest Policy. A police commissioner said he plans to ask the chief about the policy at an upcoming meeting. Civil Beat.

Concert in Waianae draws hundreds of people sparking health and safety concerns. In a quonset hut on Waianae Valley Road Saturday night an estimated 500 people jammed to the music of Grammy-nominated rapper Swae Lee. Hawaii News Now.

NTSB: ‘Aggressive Takeoff Maneuver’ Likely Caused Fatal Skydiving Crash. The 2019 skydiving plane crash in Mokuleia — one of the nation’s worst civil aviation accidents of the past decade — probably occurred due to an “aggressive takeoff maneuver” by the pilot, according to new findings released Tuesday by the National Transportation Safety Board. Civil Beat.

Vaccination Appointment Call Center Opens for Kūpuna. While COVID-19 vaccinations are available to anyone 65 years of age or older, some O‘ahu kūpuna have not felt comfortable registering online. Hawaii Public Radio. Hawaii News Now.

Hugs are welcome again at nursing home. Kalakaua Gardens is “opening its doors so that its residents and their family members can visit each other again — up close and in person,” welcoming “hugs from family members” indoors and allowing nonessential visits outdoors starting this week. Star-Advertiser.

Low inventory, high demand driving Oahu home prices through the roof. In February 2021, the median price of a single-family home on Oahu was $917,500, according to the Honolulu Board of Realtors. KHON2.

Hawaii Island

Fire chief selection questioned: Secret voting raises concerns. A politically connected battalion chief with a degree in fire science rocketed past his more experienced colleagues to take the top position in the Fire Department, but questions have come up about how the vote was taken, so it may have to be redone. West Hawaii Today.

DOH not expanding vaccine eligibility yet, despite Civil Defense message. The state Department of Health will not expand COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to those 50 and older today, despite a message early Tuesday from Hawaii County Civil Defense that said the department would do so. Tribune-Herald.

Kona Community Hospital preregistering Phase 2 individuals for vaccine. Kona Community Hospital has begun preregistering Phase 2 individuals age 50 and older to receive the Pfizer vaccine at their Thursday mega clinics held at Kekuaokalani Gymnasium in Kailua-Kona. West Hawaii Today.

Maui
 
1,386 Vaccine Doses Compromised on Maui. An estimated 1,386 doses of Pfizer vaccine were compromised and ultimately discarded on Maui after it was discovered that a refrigerator door did not seal properly. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now. KHON2. KITV4.

Wailuku water system, not lands, focus of potential county buy. While the government’s anticipated purchase of Wailuku Water Co.’s system and lands continues to drag on, the county Department of Water Supply is moving forward on key reports that will help put price tags on the water business and infrastructure. Maui News.

Upgrade would deliver potable water to West Maui projects. A proposed water system improvement project will help deliver potable water to Department of Hawaiian Home Lands and other state projects in West Maui. Maui News.

Researchers study false killer whale found on Maui. Octopus remains were found in the belly of a rare false killer whale on Maui, a dietary discovery that researchers say could help the endangered species. Maui News.

Kauai

Kauai Residents Age 60 And Up Now Eligible For COVID Vaccine. The County of Kauai has expanded COVID vaccine eligibility and said most residents are now eligible and there are appointments available. Hawaii Public Radio. Garden Island.

County refinancing $28.5 million in General Obligation Bonds. The County of Kaua‘i is moving forward with the issuance of approximately $28.5 million of general obligation bonds with the intent to refund certain outstanding general obligation bonds for economic savings. Garden Island.

Comments sought on PMRF radar proposal. A federal project to secure a location for a radar capable of detecting and classifying missile threats is seeking a spot close to home. Garden Island.

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