Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Half of jail guard recruits test positive for coronavirus, Ige's emergency powers questioned, Honolulu resists releasing police body cam footage, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Corrections officer at Hawaii jail ©2021 All Hawaii News

Half of Hawaii’s jail and prison guard recruits test positive for COVID. Half of the state’s new recruits to serve as correctional officers at Hawaii’s jails and prisons have tested positive for the coronavirus after the vast majority of the class declined to get vaccinated. Star-Advertiser.

Questions raised on how much longer Hawaii Gov. Ige can invoke emergency powers. State lawmakers tried to limit the governor’s powers during the session but could not agree. They could also do it with a special session, but they say coming to an agreement is just too difficult. KHON2.

With more people getting vaccinated, demand from domestic and inter-island travel soar. The pent-up demand Hawaii economists have been predicting is coming to fruition with long lines at TSA and Safe Travels screening upon arrival. Hawaii News Now.

Legislature Directs Federal Funds To Patch Up Hawaii’s Shaky Broadband System. Federal pandemic relief funding is slated to help pay for badly needed connectivity improvements, especially in rural areas of the state. Civil Beat.

State Gets Another $20 Million In Lawsuit Over Software Failure.
Insurers for a Colorado company that years ago botched a software project for the state Department of Transportation have agreed to pay more than $20.7 million to settle a lawsuit over the failed system. Civil Beat. Maui Now.

FBI probes ex-Hawaii CEO’s campaign donations to U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, a Maine Republican. The FBI is investigating whether Martin Kao, former chief executive officer for Hawaii-based defense contractor Martin Defense Group, illegally donated money to the senator’s campaign, according to a search warrant application filed in federal court in April. Bloomberg. Civil Beat.

Probable cases will raise Hawaii’s COVID case count by 1,600.
Hawaii will see a one-time jump in its total count of coronavirus cases today after the state Department of Health adds in about 1,600 probable cases that it’s kept track of since the start of the pandemic. Star-Advertiser. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now.  KHON2.

Vaccine can come with side effects, but those fully vaccinated have no regrets. With more than 1.4 million COVID-19 doses administered in the state so far, there are now plenty of Hawaii residents who have experiences to share about their side effects. Star-Advertiser.

May 18, 2021 COVID-19 Update: 56 Cases (49 O‘ahu, 3 Kaua‘i, 1 Maui, 1 Moloka‘i, 2 Out-of-State). Maui Now.


Prosecutor: Body cam footage in fatal police shootings to be withheld for at least 30 days. After taxpayers spent millions to provide the Honolulu Police Department with body cameras, city Prosecutor Steven Alm now says video in two fatal police shootings will be withheld from the public for 30 to 60 days. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu City Council looking to support COVID-impacted workers in effort to diversify economy. A measure to create a Job Corps program between the city and the University of Hawaii to address unemployment created through the COVID-19 pandemic advanced Tuesday through a City Council committee. Star-Advertiser.

Mayor Blangiardi Wants Aggressive, Smart Reopening Amid Increasing Vaccination Rates. Oahu has been in Tier 3 of its reopening plan since February, but with the current seven-day average case count at 62, the city should be in the more restrictive Tier 2. Hawaii Public Radio.

Honolulu Mayor asks Governor to lift restrictions on youth water sports this week. Mayor Rick Blangiardi said the Governor signed off on allowing spectators for youth sports yesterday, but held off on lifting restrictions on water sports like surfing and canoeing. KITV4.

Honolulu Councilwoman Wants More Race Data Collected. The Legislature passed a resolution last month that specifically called for detailed race data from county police departments and certain state agencies. Civil Beat.

Proposal would split Honolulu Ocean Safety, Emergency Medical Services. A proposal at the Honolulu City Council wants to make the Ocean Safety Division, which includes lifeguards, separate from Emergency Medical Services. KHON2.

For second summer, COVID concerns force cancellation of Junior Lifeguards Program. Barring more setbacks, it will be back next summer and better than ever. Hawaii News Now.

Architectural renderings allow Hawaii football team to visualize its new home for the next few years. On Tuesday, UH officials released architectural renderings of the retrofitted Clarence T.C. Ching Athletic Complex that will be used for the Rainbow Warriors’ six home games this season. Star-Advertiser.

Kahuku family receives $1 million in eviction case. A nonprofit association managing former sugar plantation camp housing on city land in Kahuku has agreed to pay $1 million to a family it evicted two years ago. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Hawaii County to end COVID-19 district testing. Hawaii County will end its COVID-19 district testing program this week after about 14 months of screening Big Islanders for the novel coronavirus. West Hawaii Today. Big Island Video News. Big Island Now.

Native Hawaiian consent needed for TMT, Canadian group says. The organization that represents the astronomy community in Canada — one of the Thirty Meter Telescope’s international partners — has declared it cannot support the TMT unless it has the consent of Native Hawaiians. Star-Advertiser.

BLNR denies petition for contested case hearing challenging acquisition of land by Ala Kahakai Trail Association. The association intends to purchase a 1,841-acre parcel south of Naalehu called Kiolaka‘a using a $1.5 million grant awarded by the state Board of Land and Natural Resources in April, despite opposition by some Ka‘u residents. Tribune-Herald.


Pineapple workers to receive $4.8M for abuse, horrible living conditions on Maui farm. The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission collected the money with the help of federal departments to settle a national origin and race discrim­ination lawsuit against Maui Pineapple, which closed in 2009. Hawaii News Now. Associated Press.

Winds Delay Start of Hōkūleʻa and Hikianalia Training Voyage to Doldrums. Hōkūleʻa and Hikianalia did not depart Lahaina, Maui on Tuesday because the winds in the Alenuihaha Channel have continued to create dangerous conditions for the voyaging canoes and the crew. Maui Now.

Mortgage Help Available for Residents Impacted by COVID-19. Mortgage help is available for Maui County residents impacted by COVID-19 through the Community Development Block Grant Mortgage Assistance Program, administered by Maui Economic Opportunity. Maui Now.


SpaceX flight proposes landing off Kaua‘i. Originating from Starbase, Texas, the SpaceX Starship Orbital is targeting a landing about 62 miles off the northwestern coast of Kaua‘i. Garden Island.

Loop Road reopens in Wailua. Closed no more, the reopening of Loop Road was a welcome sight Tuesday afternoon after three years since its initial closure and damage. Garden Island.


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