Friday, July 16, 2021

Eviction moratorium to expire, free meals for all public school students, military reviewing exercises after whale deaths, highest COVID case count since January, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Apartment buildings seen from the Ala Wai ©2021 All Hawaii News

Eviction moratorium in Hawaii to end Aug. 6. A moratorium on evictions that Gov. David Ige imposed in April 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic began strangling Hawaii’s tourism-based economy will be lifted Aug. 6, paving the way for renters and landlords to tap into federal rental assistance and free mediation serv­ices on all islands intended to make landlords whole and keep families in their homes. Star-Advertiser. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News. Big Island Now. Garden Island. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Indoor mask requirement to continue amid COVID-19 surge. Gov. David Ige said Thursday he will maintain a requirement that people wear masks indoors as the spread of the COVID-19 delta variant fuels a spike in cases. Associated Press.

Social media posts with tourists behaving badly prompt new calls for visitor education. Following a string of social media posts documenting tourists behaving badly, there’s a push to revive an old visitor education campaign called the Pono Pledge. The pledge informs visitors of general safety precautions and cultural awareness. Hawaii News Now.

University of Hawaii reverses course, will allow unvaccinated to attend classes in fall.
The University of Hawaii announced today that it will not require students to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to attend in-person classes on its campuses this fall, as originally anticipated. Star-Advertiser. Big Island Video News.

Hawaii’s public schools preparing distance-learning options.
The state Board of Education approved a resolution Thursday asking the state superintendent to develop a plan to offer remote learning to students at the state and complex-area levels rather than on a school-by-school basis. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Garden Island.

Weeks before new school year starts, leaders have yet to answer a long list of questions. Two and a half weeks before the new school year starts, there are still a host of unanswered questions ― from masking rules to capacity guidelines. Hawaii News Now.

All Hawaii public school students to receive free meals during 2021-22 academic year. The Hawaii Department of Education announced Thursday that every student enrolled in the state’s 257 public schools will receive free breakfast and lunch meals during the entire 2021-22 academic year. Star-Advertiser. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Now. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now.

Navy To Review Impact Of Pacific Training After 2 Whales Die During Exercise. Under threat of a lawsuit, the U.S. Navy confirmed this week that it will review how its exercises in the Pacific might hurt, kill or otherwise change the behavior of marine wildlife. Civil Beat.

Hawaii’s jobless rate sinks for fifth straight month. Hawaii’s unemployment rate declined in June to a 15-month low of 7.7%, and nonfarm payrolls rose by 3,000 jobs, amid further signs that the state’s economy is on the mend. Star-Advertiser.

Tax credit could lift Hawaii families out of poverty.
The great majority of Hawaii families with children under age 18 should receive monthly payments of up to $300 for each child starting this week as part of a pandemic stimulus package that is expected to provide help to struggling families and potentially propel thousands of children out of poverty. Star-Advertiser.

Rural hospitals receive funding boost for COVID. More than $2.5 million in federal coronavirus relief funding will be divvied among 10 Hawaii hospitals to support COVID-19 response efforts in rural areas. Tribune-Herald.

Hawai‘i Sees Largest Daily Virus Spike in Months. The Hawai‘i Department of Health reported 166 new cases of coronavirus statewide Thursday, bringing the overall total to 38,819. One new COVID-related death was also reported. Big Island Now. KHON2.

Hawaii records 1 new coronavirus-related death, 166 additional infections. Today’s new confirmed and probable infection count by island includes 91 new cases on Oahu, 22 on Maui, 17 on Hawaii Island, 14 on Kauai and 22 Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

First Lady Jill Biden to visit Honolulu next weekend. The White House said today that First Lady Jill Biden will travel to Honolulu July 24 and 25, with a stop in Anchorage, Alaska, on Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Prosecutor: Sykap Case Is ‘No Perry Mason Moment’. The Honolulu Prosecutor’s Office properly brought murder and attempted murder charges against three officers involved in the fatal shooting of Iremamber Sykap even without securing indictments from a grand jury, the office argued in court documents Thursday. Civil Beat. Associated Press.

City Council Leaders Look To Remove Rail Critic From HART Board. The local board overseeing Honolulu’s troubled rail project is poised to lose one of its most outspoken members — and someone who’s called for a halt to construction — as city leaders aim to replace him. Civil Beat.

Honolulu Board of Water Supply to resume water shutoffs due to nonpayment.
BWS deferred water shutoffs during the COVID-19 outbreak, but said in a news release today that customers are responsible for all outstanding water and sewer balances on their account. Star-Advertiser.

A New Oahu Jail May Need To Be A Lot Bigger In The Near Future.
Consultant projections show hundreds more people will need to be incarcerated if no significant policy changes such as bail reform reduce the number of inmates. Civil Beat.

Honolulu Mayor Vows To ‘Play Tough’ On Crime In Chinatown. Mayor Rick Blangiardi and Prosecuting Attorney Steve Alm headlined a fundraiser to bolster the Weed and Seed program. Civil Beat.

City Seeks to Acquire Historic Queen Theater in Kaimuki. A measure at the Honolulu City Council calls for the city to acquire the neglected Queen Theater in Kaimuki by eminent domain. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii Island

Hawaiʻi Island: The Wrong End of the Real Estate Boom.  Hawaiʻi Island housing inventory is being squeezed up and down the market, and that includes rentals to everyday people. Hawaii Public Radio.

Final Round of Virtual Public Meetings Scheduled for Comments on Transportation Improvement Program. Virtual meetings for the Big Island will take place Thursday, July 29, and Wednesday, Aug. 4. Both meetings will start at 6:30 p.m. Big Island Now.

Planning Commission pushes for Parker School sidewalk.
The Leeward Planning Commission wasn’t ready Thursday to give Parker School a pass on a sidewalk it promised in a lawsuit settlement and instead voted 5-0 to defer the issue for a month to give the applicant a chance to pursue a less costly option. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

DOT suggests buying the Road to Hana in order to control overcrowding. As heavy traffic continues to clog the popular Road to Hana on Maui, transportation leaders suggested the state should buy the highway in order to control congestion. Hawaii News Now.

Affordable housing project gets key permit extension. An hourslong debate with more than 20 testifiers came down to affordable housing benefits versus location flooding risks for a proposed 100-percent workforce development on a roughly 12-acre parcel off Hoonani Street in Kihei. Maui News.

Kula lands meant for housing revert to ag. Lands intended for a Kula housing project that made headlines years ago but never moved forward were reverted to agricultural use on Wednesday, signaling the end of a development that would have generated 70 affordable and 46 market-rate homes. Maui News.

Kauai

Kaua‘i moving forward with county TAT discussions. The county administration is pushing forward two bills targeting the visitor industry: one establishing its own transient accommodations tax and another creating a new tax class for vehicle rental operations to be reviewed at first reading next Wednesday, July 21, by the County Council. Garden Island.

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