Thursday, March 18, 2021

Tsunami warning system restored after almost weeklong outage, NOAA employees claim gag order, House budget relies on federal bailout, state moving to 10-digit dialing, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

NOAA
Tsunami alert buoy off the Kona coast PC:NOAA

Tsunami warning system is restored. The system of ocean buoys that helps warn Hawaii and the rest of the nation about tsunamis is back working after being knocked out of commission for nearly a week. Star-Advertiser.

Watchdog blames NOAA for lack of transparency on tsunami tracking system outage. There are new allegations that the staff at the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center was told to keep quiet about an outage of a key data system that had been down for days. Hawaii News Now.

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House Spending Plan Fills State Budget Holes — And Then Some. Money from the $1.6 billion from the American Rescue Plan could be used to continue paying into state employees’ retirements fund, something the governor had suspended. Civil Beat.

Committee to investigate Rep. Sharon Har in DUI case.
The state House will consider sanctions against one of its own after House Speaker Scott Saiki on Wednesday ordered the creation of a special committee to investigate state Rep. Sharon Har’s arrest on suspicion of drunken driving last month. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.

Lawmakers consider a bill to allow any county employee to cite illegal parking. A new proposal aims to help police with parking enforcement in Hawaii.. House Bill 605 would allow any county employee to cite people for traffic violations along state highways. Hawaii News Now.

Come October, phone calls won’t work unless you dial ′808′ first. A change is coming to all local phone calls starting in October. All phone service providers will be implementing mandatory 10-digit local calling. Hawaii News Now.

Relics Of Sugar’s Past, Hawaii Dams Will Take Years To Fix Or Remove. The majority of Hawaii’s dams trace their roots back to the sugar cane plantation days, but the industry has left the state. And so has the money to maintain them. Civil Beat.

Coffee Leaf Rust ‘Emergency’ Prompts Request For New Fungicide, Threatens Organic Farming. To combat it effectively, the Hawai`i Department of Agriculture on Tuesday filed a request for a specific exemption from the US Environmental Protection Agency. The exemption would allow Hawai`i coffee growers to use a fungicide called Priaxor Xemium to help manage the ever-more prevalent infestations. Big Island Now. Maui Now.

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State vaccinations exceed 500,000. Hawaii has reached a significant milestone in the battle against COVID-19, administering more than a half-million vaccines as of Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

March 17, 2021 COVID-19 Update: The state Department of Health reports that there were 69 additional COVID-19 cases reported in Hawai‘i on Wednesday, including 38 on O‘ahu, 23 on Maui, one on Lānaʻi, four on Hawai‘i Island, and three in Hawai‘i residents diagnosed out of state. Maui Now.

Oahu

Honolulu rail project’s price tag hits $12.4B. The board that oversees the city’s troubled rail project expects to be told today that the cost has now ballooned to $12.449 billion, the projected shortfall stands at $3.577 billion and the completion date has been pushed to March 2031. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu City Council advances measure to incentivize building affordable rental units. The Honolulu City Council advanced a measure that aims to increase affordable rental housing by offering financial grants to private developers. Star-Advertiser.

Queen’s Medical Center opening mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic at West Oahu location March 24. The hospital will immunize residents 65 and older, those with high-risk medical conditions and hotel, restaurant and bar workers in phase 1c in the Clinical Service Center Building from 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily, except on Mondays. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

Consider Shifting Police Funds To Social Services, Police Commission Says. Honolulu Police Chief Susan Ballard agrees with the idea of social services workers handling calls involving homelessness and mental illness. Civil Beat.

113 Oahu homes were impacted by last week’s torrential rains, City says in initial report. The City and County of Honolulu released new numbers on Wednesday, March 17, identifying how badly the community was impacted by last week’s torrential rains. KHON2.

Online Platform Lets Low-Income Shoppers Buy Local Farm Products. Farm Link Hawaii connects food stamp beneficiaries with local farmers. The next step: taking those transactions on line. Civil Beat.

Scenic platform on Koko Crater Trail to remain in place for now. After meeting with city officials over the past week and a half, the group Kokonut Koalition reports the plan is now to rebuild it, instead of removing it. KITV4.

A dozen gambling machines seized in Wai'anae illegal game room raid. The Narcotics/Vice Division with the assistance of the District 8 Crime Reduction Unit and Specialized Services Division executed the search. KITV4. Star-Advertiser.

Hanauma Bay remains closed on Thursday as crews continue to troubleshoot sewage pipe failure. Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve will remain closed on Thursday as crews continue working on a malfunctioning sewage pump, Honolulu’s Department of Parks and Recreation announced today. Star-Advertiser. KHON2.

Hawaii Island

A shot in the arm: Money, vaccines headed to Hawaii Island. U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz on Wednesday described a shot in the arm for Hawaii County, both literally and figuratively. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii County police make history with promotions of 2 women. Hawaii County Police Chief Paul Ferreira made two historic promotions this week, with two female captains becoming majors, the Hawaii County police department announced today. Star-Advertiser. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Now.

Parks and Rec plans to reopen additional facilities. The county Department of Parks and Recreation is gradually returning to normal operations after a year of COVID-19 restrictions. Tribune-Herald.

Maunakea telescope to conduct analysis of asteroid.
An asteroid wider than the Empire State Building is tall will make a “close” pass by the Earth on Sunday, when astronomers will use a Maunakea telescope to attempt to determine the object’s composition. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

New S. Maui affordable apartments moving ahead. A nonprofit housing developer is proposing a new 63-unit affordable rental project in South Maui with monthly rates starting at just over $500. Maui News.

Leilani Farm Sanctuary Seeking Donations to Rebuild Fencing Destroyed by Dam Overflow. Record heavy rainfall on Maui last week caused a dam to overflow and destroy fencing for acres of habitat in the lower reaches of Leilani Farm Sanctuary, an all-volunteer, non-profit facility for rescued animals in Hāʻiku. Maui Now.

TNC Publishes Coral Reef Atlas for West Maui. The Nature Conservancy (TNC) has released the Atlas of the Reefs of West Maui, a comprehensive report compiling 20 years of data detailing changes in the abundance and diversity of marine life in West Maui. Garden Island.

Kauai

Sheltered from virus, Kauai plans cautious return to tourism.
As the coronavirus ravaged other parts of the U.S., residents of this rural Pacific island watched safely from afar. Associated Press.

Waimea Canyon Middle School playground dedicated. Waimea Canyon Middle School principal was glad the dedication of the school’s covered playcourt could proceed, Wednesday at the school’s far end of its parking lot. Garden Island.

State seeks to end Lawa‘i Stream diversion. After more than a century, baseflow, or fair-weather flow, of the Lawa‘i Stream will now be able to pass continuously without obstruction. Garden Island.

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