Thursday, June 10, 2021

Grand jury declines to indict police in 16-year-old's shooting death, teachers ratify contract, hot housing market squeezing out renters, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Survey says Hawaii residents among the least likely to switch to alcohol-free drinks. 3,000 drinkers were surveyed across the country and it revealed that just 58% of people in Hawai'i would be willing to switch to a non-alcoholic drink -- for at least a month. KITV4.

Gov. David Ige continues to restrict the release of public records, citing the ongoing pandemic. The state’s public records law continues to be partially suspended under Gov. David Ige’s latest emergency proclamation related to the coronavirus pandemic, allowing government agencies to delay the release of records if they are busy responding to the pandemic. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii State Teachers Association says tentative 2-year contract for teachers ratified. The two-year tentative agreement freezes teachers’ pay through June 2023. The state previously proposed cuts in pay by as much as 20% to help balance the budget in the midst of the pandemic. The contract also increases state contributions to employee health premiums. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Hawaii’s Hot Housing Market Is Squeezing Out Renters. The number of renters who are looking for a new place to live could rise when the eviction moratorium is lifted in August. Civil Beat.

'Regenerative Tourism' Movement Wants Benefits to Outweigh Costs. Even before the pandemic, movements were underway to shift Hawaiʻi’s visitor industry toward a model that gives back more than it takes. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii Hopes New Commission Will Improve Civic Engagement And Respect For Democracy. In a bid to encourage democratic engagement by citizens young and old, Hawaii has joined a growing list of states, including California and Illinois, in establishing initiatives aimed at providing education and resources about basic government processes and ways to influence them. Civil Beat.

State officials tout incentives, hope more residents will get vaccinated. State leaders are hopeful that recently announced incentives and benchmarks will entice more people to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, but it’s too soon to tell what effect those efforts will actually have on inoculation numbers. Tribune-Herald.

Kaiser opens ‘ImmUNITY’ sweepstakes for those vaccinated against COVID-19. Kaiser Permanente is launching a sweepstakes campaign as part of a national effort to vaccinate 70% of adults in the United States against COVID-19 with at least one shot by the Fourth of July. Star-Advertiser. KHON2.

Hawaii reports 46 new coronavirus cases. There are 17 coronavirus cases on Oahu, five on the Big Island, 17 on Maui and seven diagnosed out of state. KHON2.

Oahu

Grand jury declines to charge officers in 16-year-old Iremamber Sykap shooting. In a decision that stunned family members and prompted calls for disclosure, an Oahu grand jury declined to indict three Honolulu police officers in connection with the April 5 shooting death of an unarmed 16-year-old who was the driver of a stolen vehicle that police fired into from behind as it sat idle on Kala­kaua Avenue. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.  KITV4.

ACLU Files Lawsuit Accusing HPD Officer Of Helping His Friend. The ACLU has been pushing for a policy prohibiting conflicts of interest in policing. HPD’s new acting chief says the department is working on it. Civil Beat.

Woman says police covered up assault.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the city, Honolulu police and the private business partner of an officer on behalf of a woman who alleges they covered up her assault by refusing to allow her to file a police report and falsely accusing her of stealing a mobile phone. Star-Advertiser.

Upfront split of new Aloha Stadium cost could have downside for taxpayers. The pending plan would shift much of the $400 million price tag to developers up front but could cost taxpayers more in the long run. KHON2.

In court, ‘Miske Enterprise’ defendant says he was offered $50,000 to help commit murder. Norman Akau III is the latest defendant to enter into a plea agreement with federal prosecutors in the case against Honolulu businessman and suspected crime boss Michael Miske, who remains behind bars as he awaits trial on a long list of charges, including murder. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Ethics Board weighs in on Van Pernis complaints.
Leeward Planning Commissioner Mark Van Pernis was in the hot seat again Wednesday, this time before the county Board of Ethics. The board found Van Pernis didn’t violate the code of ethics in one petition, and it postponed action on a second petition in order to review videos of planning commission meetings where Van Pernis was accused of acting inappropriately. West Hawaii Today.

HFD likely to finish out fiscal year slightly under budget. As of May 31, the department had expended just 84.12% of its $51.92 million annual budget, leaving a little bit of leeway for the final month of fiscal year 2020-21, which ends June 30. With the surplus, the department paid years of past-due bills discovered after a new accountant was brought on, Todd told the Hawaii County Fire Commission Wednesday. West Hawaii Today.

Legislative talk story: Lowen, Kanuha talk with constituents about 2021 session. Sen. Dru Kanuha (D-Kona, Ka’u) joined Rep. Nicole Lowen (D-North Kona) on Zoom alongside constituents for the hour-long meeting. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Maui Residents Invited to Give Input on Future Transportation Projects.  The Maui Metropolitan Planning Organization is seeking public input on improving transportation on the Valley Isle. Hawaii Public Radio.

6-Story Building Proposed for Construction on Grounds of Old Wailuku Post Office Site. The construction is proposed by the State of Hawai‘i, Hawai‘i Housing Finance and Development Corporation for use as office space for various state agencies. Maui Now.

Traffic concerns stall Costco gas station expansion plans. After coming close to denying a permit that would allow Costco to expand its fueling station in Kahului, the Maui Planning Commission deferred a decision on Tuesday, citing concerns over traffic around the already crowded gas station. Maui News.

Kauai

HTA funds $100K for forth-coming Kaua‘i shuttle service. With 40% of car rental inventory down and a surge in visitor arrivals, finding ways to get around the island for visitors has become a more pressing issue than it was in the past. Garden Island.

Kaua‘i Humane Society gets $80,000. After receiving an anonymous donation of $40,000, the Kaua‘i Humane Society’s board matched the amount and used those funds by recently signing an agreement with Spectrum to upgrade their internet and phone lines. Garden Island.

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