Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Legislature to convene next week for veto override session, ex-Honolulu official to be sentenced in embezzling case today, job vacancies go unfilled despite high unemployment rate, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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House Speaker: Lawmakers Will Return To The Capitol July 6. Scott Saiki says he’s unsure if there will be any veto overrides, but Hawaii legislators need to make some technical budget fixes. Civil Beat.

After Embezzling To Fund ‘Luxurious Lifestyle,’ Former Nonprofit Exec Begs For Leniency. Prosecutors are asking a federal judge to send Hanalei Aipoalani to prison. Aipoalani is hoping for home confinement. Civil Beat.

Text messages implicate Higa in federal embezzlement case. Text messages between Stacy Higa and a former associate who pleaded guilty to a scheme to embezzle $600,000 in federal coronavirus relief funds show Higa allegedly offering to teach the associate how to “launder money” and “funnel cash.” The text messages were filed by federal prosecutors Friday in U.S. District Court in anticipation of sentencing scheduled today for Hanalei Aipoalani, 42, former City and County of Honolulu Department of Community Services grant administrator for coronavirus relief funding. West Hawaii Today.

Children 5 to 11 not eligible for July 8 vaccine exemption. Hawaii next week will lift travel restrictions for domestic travelers who have been vaccinated on the mainland, but keiki under 12 must still test negative for COVID-19 prior to arrival. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii’s Board Of Education Is In Limbo As Ige Stays Mum On Vacancies. New faces are expected to join the Hawaii Board of Education soon to replace three members whose terms expire Wednesday, but it’s not clear who will be filling at least one of those vacancies. Civil Beat.

Lawmakers fight for teacher bonuses, funding for Hawaii’s education system. A bill that would give $2,200 bonuses to Hawaii public school teachers is now on Gov. Ige’s intent to veto list. KHON2.

Hawaii Has Millions In Rental Assistance To Hand Out But Not Enough Takers. County officials are trying to get the word out that rent help is available and process applications as the end of the eviction moratorium looms. Civil Beat.

Hawaii to offer cash prizes, extend COVID vaccination campaign into August. As Hawaii’s pace of vaccination against the coronavirus continues to fall, the state is extending its incentive campaign to persuade more Hawaii residents to get vaccinated, this time adding cash to the list of prizes that have included trips to Las Vegas, HawaiianMiles and Zippy’s meals for a year. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Ige expresses concern about pockets of COVID cases among unvaccinated. Hawaii’s COVID cases have been relatively stable over the last three weeks, averaging about 40 a day. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Hawaii reports 33 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths. Of the new cases, 19 were on Oahu, three on Hawaii Island, and eight on Maui. There were also three residents diagnosed out-of-state. Hawaii News Now.


New Study: Oahu Freeways Deliver The Roughest Rides In The Country. But the state’s DOT deputy director says the new report from a D.C.-based research group doesn’t tell the whole story. Civil Beat.

Honolulu building-inspection mandate back in spotlight after being waylaid by fire priority. The collapse of a condo building in Florida shines a spotlight on high-rise building safety in the islands. KHON2.

Oahu condo owners struggle to comply with fire safety ordinance. The vast majority of Oahu condominiums are failing a safety evaluation required when no automatic sprinkler system is in place, prompting condo owners and associations to urge the Honolulu City Council to amend a mandate they say could cause bankruptcy. Star-Advertiser.

Fees for nonresidents at Hanauma Bay will more than double. Starting Thursday, the entrance fee to Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve will more than double for nonlocal visitors, rising to $25 from $12 per person age 13 and above, the Honolulu Department of Parks and Recreation has announced. Star-Advertiser. Associated Press. Hawaii News Now.

Task force underway to address safety concerns, management for Ewa Beach roadway. The state and city are working to create a task force to figure out how to manage and police a busy roadway in Ewa Beach that’s raising illegal dumping and safety concerns. Hawaii News Now.

EPA: Pearl Harbor water plant “exceeds discharge limits” under Clean Water Act. The US Environmental Protection Agency announced a Federal Facility Compliance Agreement with the US Navy to complete major upgrades to the Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Wastewater Treatment Plant today.  Maui Now. Hawaii News Now.

State to close Maunawili Falls Trail for improvements, preservation of cultural sites. The state Department of Land and Natural Resources will be closing Maunawili Falls Trail in an effort to preserve historic cultural sites along the hike. The Windward Oahu trail will be closed beginning in mid-July. Hawaii News Now.

Despite Hawaii’s hot housing market, average sales prices plunge at Trump Tower Waikiki. During the 2019 tourism boom, condominiums at the Trump International Tower in Waikiki sold for an average of about $1.7 million. Since then, average sales prices in the tower have fallen below $650,000 ― despite the hot housing market in the islands. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii County

‘Amazing’ hula ready for prime time. The dancing is pau at the 2021 Merrie Monarch Festival hula competition, and all that’s left is the delayed broadcast of the event Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Tribune-Herald.

Next phase of Bayfront Trails pushed back. The Hilo Bayfront Trails is a decade-long plan to build nearly six miles of public pedestrian trails connecting the Hilo Bayfront to Hilo Harbor and the University of Hawaii at Hilo. Tribune-Herald.

West Hawaiʻi State Parks To Close Early On July 4th. The DLNR Division of State Parks will close several Kona and Kohala parks at 5 p.m. on Sunday, July 4th. Big Island Video News.


Short-Term Rental Home Caps Scheduled for Discussion in Committee. A bill that seeks to lower the cap on short-term rental home permits on Maui from 328 to 259 and to establish a cap of 19 on Lānaʻi will be considered by the Planning and Sustainable Land Use Committee on Thursday at 9 a.m. Maui Now.

After more than 30 years of service, Maui fire chief to retire. After a more than 30-year career at the Maui Fire Department, Chief David Thyne will be retiring. Hawaii News Now.

Issues, possible remedies discussed for Hana Highway. Establishing a parking enforcement task force, addressing social media influencers and towing illegally parked vehicles were some of the simpler possible remedies mentioned Monday to deal with the “health and safety crisis” on the congested Hana Highway. Maui News.

Battle might not be pau over Maui stream water. A day after the state Commission on Water Resource Management issued a historic decision in the long-running dispute over Maui stream water, the groups who started the legal action 17 years ago were expressing concern about a document they said is flawed. Star-Advertiser.


Tourism industry needs more workers. Kaua‘i’s tourism industry can’t find people to work. According to a state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations report, the county had an 11.3% unemployment rate in May, the highest in the state. The statewide rate in May was 7.5%. Garden Island.

‘We’re a houseless community’. Today, Salt Pond Beach Park will close for maintenance, shutting down the county’s pandemic-era Shelter-In-Place permitted camping program for the houseless. Garden Island.

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