Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Tourists return to Hawaii in force, 'Love Island' moves to Hilo, state sees 500th coronavirus death, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

DLNR Dan Dennison
Kaneohe sandbar on Memorial Day PC:DLNR Dan Dennison

Big crowds, but few problems reported at popular Kaneohe sandbar over holiday. Hawaii officers issue citations for parking and boating safety violations over Memorial Day weekend. State conservation and resources officers issued more than two dozen citations in and around the Heeia Kea Small Boat Harbor parking lot and boat launch for Kaneohe Bay Sandbar over Memorial Day weekend. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Amid a ‘wave’ of visitor arrivals, Hawaii businesses scramble to expand operations. Memorial Day weekend marks the start of the summer tourism season. And this year, coinciding with the easing of restrictions nationwide, it’s meant a huge increase in visitors. According to Safe Travels data, more than 114,000 visitors flew into Hawaii from Thursday through Sunday for the Memorial Day weekend. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association CEO hopes Memorial Day momentum continues
. Mufi Hannemann, president and CEO of the Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association, estimates hotels across the state reached more than 80% occupancy this weekend. KITV4.

Hotel prices to rise while availability decreases as travel and tourism heats up. Book those staycations now. That’s the advice from experts as pricier hotel rates and less availability are starting to appear. KHON2.

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Most Hawaii inmates refusing to get COVID-19 vaccination. Lt. Gov. Josh Green attributed the latest COVID outbreak among Hawaii’s inmate population to prisoners’ ongoing reluctance to get vaccinated, while warning that unvaccinated correctional officers, as well as health care workers, should be prohibited from working on the front lines. Star-Advertiser.

Veteran Education Administrator Is Nominated To Be Interim DOE Superintendent. If approved by the Board of Education as expected, Waipahu High School principal Keith Hayashi will step into the role after Christina Kishimoto steps down at the end of July. Civil Beat.

Local farmers see rising costs. Some in the industry blame the pandemic for creating a shortage of products due to global manufacturing closures. KITV4.

Extending State Land Leases Could Benefit Businesses, But At What Cost To Taxpayers? Opponents worry that the long-term leases, which may last 100 years or more, amount to a sale of public lands. While businesses say the measure would allow them to secure their interests for years to come, opponents worry that it circumvents a competitive process to select new tenants, and possibly get a better deal for the state. Civil Beat.

National Report Spotlights Hawaii’s Need For Suicide Prevention. Hawaii had more survey participants say they had been thinking about suicide during the pandemic than any other state. Civil Beat.

Hawaii flu season sees only 1 death amid coronavirus precautions. This year’s flu season has been virtually wiped out amid COVID-19 restrictions and safety precautions. While several hundred Hawaii residents typically die every year from the flu, there has only been one death this season. Star-Advertiser.

With 500th COVID death, Hawaii hits a heartbreaking milestone in pandemic.
The pandemic hit a grim milestone this Memorial Day weekend with Hawaii recording its 500th death to COVID-19. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii counts 30 new coronavirus cases, bringing statewide total to 36,276. Today’s new confirmed and probable infection count by island included 20 new cases on Oahu, six on Maui, one on Kauai, and three Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

Bills aim to expand distance between turbines and homes.
The Honolulu City Council on Wednesday will take up three measures that aim to increase the distance between wind turbines and neighboring property. Star-Advertiser.

Tax-free bonds approved by lawmakers for ‘mystery’ Hawaii Kai senior-living project. Hawaii lawmakers earlier this year agreed to help arrange up to half a billion dollars in financing for a planned retirement community despite not knowing where exactly the project would be and who is driving it. Star-Advertiser.

After largely disappearing from public view, HPD chief quietly ends 35 years of public service. Monday marked Chief Susan Ballard’s final day with the Honolulu Police Department after more than three decades of service. Hawaii News Now.

HPD’s Use Of Lethal Force Is Near The US Average. But There’s Far More To The Story. A comparison of HPD’s numbers to a national database show big differences, such as a higher percentage of deaths from physical restraint and the race and ethnicity of those who died. Civil Beat.

Aloha Stadium replacement project’s more costly funding plan shifts to private developer. When state officials seek proposals to replace Aloha Stadium perhaps as early as July, they will be asking private developers to front much of the expense in a new twist on the plan that now stands to cost taxpayers more money in the long run. Star-Advertiser.

Ceremony held for $98 million, 120-bed state veterans home named for Daniel K. Akaka. A groundbreaking ceremony and Hawaiian blessing was held in Kapolei on Memorial Day for a $98.4 million, 120-bed veterans home that officials acknowledged was a big challenge to bring to fruition. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Equal representation: Big Island population hike could bring 8th House seat.
A decade ago, the Big Island won an additional seat in the state Senate following the 2010 census. This year, it’s poised to win an eighth House seat. West Hawaii Today

BLNR withdraws requests for sale of Honokohau Harbor leases. After a public response over the Department of Land and Natural Resources’ planned request to authorize the sale of leases held by each organization at public auction, both agenda items were withdrawn at Friday morning’s Board of Land and Natural Resources meeting. West Hawaii Today.

On CBS’ “Love Island,” sparks fly ― and that fire is headed to Hawaii Island. The show about matchmaking is moving from Las Vegas to Hilo this summer. State Film Commissioner Donne Dawson confirms the film production booked the entire Grand Naniloa Hotel in Hilo for the summer. Hawaii News Now. Big Island Video News.

No easy fix for squatters: Communities look for new ways to combat persistent problem. An incident in Volcano has spurred discussions and concerns about people squatting in vacant, abandoned and deteriorated properties. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Judge orders new hearing on Maui water permits. A Circuit Court judge says he’s prepared to revoke Alexander &Baldwin’s annual permit allowing it to divert up to 45 million gallons per day from dozens of streams in East Maui. Judge Jeffrey Crabtree, in a ruling issued Friday, ordered the Board of Land and Natural Resources to hold a contested case hearing about the revocable permit and said he would cancel it June 30 unless he sees a formal request to stay his order. Star-Advertiser.

Preliminary Data: 5,863 Passengers Arriving Daily to Kahului, Maui
. May numbers are currently approaching pre-pandemic levels for the same period (May 1-27) in 2018 and 2019. Maui Now.

Youth Swim Meets Set to Restart at County Pools. Maui Age Group Swimming Association youth swim meets will be returning to Maui County pool facilities on a gradual, staggered schedule. Maui Now.

Kauai


Lydgate Beach Park closes to houseless. Monday marked the last day of the county’s Shelter in Place program at this campsite that provided a place with access to running water, electricity and bathrooms for over a year during the coronavirus pandemic. Garden Island.

Money restored for jobless benefits. Kaua‘i legislative delegation: state Senate President Ronald Kouchi and state Reps. Nadine Nakamura, James Tokioka and Dee Morikawa, recently addressed the Lihu‘e Business Association members in a virtual meeting, during which they covered topics like unemployment, public transparency and the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority. Garden Island.

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