Monday, July 26, 2021

First Lady Jill Biden promotes vaccinations in Hawaii as COVID cases surge, Safe Travels restrictions to remain through 2021, Honolulu rail whistle blower denied legal victory, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy Hawaii News Now
First Lady Jill Biden with Hawaii officials PC: Hawaii News Now video

First lady Jill Biden urges all to get shots, shows support for military families in short Hawaii visit. First lady Jill Biden implored Hawaii residents to get vaccinated for COVID during a whirlwind stopover on Oahu, which was part of the administration’s efforts to improve vaccination rates among Americans as well as honor the work and serv­ice of military families. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now. KHON2. KITV4.

Hawaii’s Safe Travels program will likely stay in place through 2021. Gov. David Ige has taken flak for insisting that Safe Travels, the nation’s strictest traveler entry program, which is costing the state about $3 million a month, needs to run until at least 70% of Hawaii’s entire population is vaccinated against COVID-19. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Governor urges residents to help stop COVID-19 spread to avoid return of restrictions. Governor David Ige advises people to put off attending large social gatherings and in-person church services until case counts are under control. KITV4.

Hawaii Governor wants students to wear masks in school, regardless of vaccination status. Governor David Ige said the Department of Health and Department of Education are finalizing COVID-19 guidance for this coming school year. KITV4.

House Panel Subpoenas Land Fund, Agriculture Agency. Both agencies were the targets of recent critical examinations by State Auditor Les Kondo. Civil Beat.

Does Hawaiʻi Need More Diversity, Experience in the Court System? Gov. David Ige’s recent judicial appointment to the Hawaiʻi Intermediate Court of Appeals is prompting questions about the role of experience and diversity in decision making. Ige chose Daniel Gluck, former head of the Hawaiʻi State Ethics Commission, from a pool of six candidates to fill a vacancy on the Intermediate Court of Appeals. Hawaii Public Radio.

Vaccination sites mostly empty as COVID infections surge in Hawaii. Statewide, clinicians only administered an average of 2,153 shots a day this week. That’s down from last week, when the average was 2,419 shots a day. Hawaii News Now.

July 25, 2021 COVID-19 Update: 276 Cases, 2 Deaths. The confirmed cases included: 163 on O‘ahu (+3 probable); 65 on Hawai‘i Island; 19 on Maui (+3 probable); six on Kaua‘i; and 17 in Hawai‘i residents diagnosed while out of state. Maui Now.

Oahu

Paid To Stand By: How A Botched Rail Contract Multiplied Costs. Rail contractors were paid to ramp up and be ready to perform utility relocation work that didn’t materialize. Civil Beat.

Nan Inc. Prevails In Rail-Related Whistleblower Lawsuit. The firm’s former in-house counsel had alleged illegal activity related to rail work in 2019. A major rail contractor has prevailed in a whistleblower lawsuit brought by its former in-house counsel, who had alleged he was fired after warning the company not to conduct “illegal activity” related to the multibillion-dollar transit project. Civil Beat.

The Choice For Workers At A Honolulu Care Facility — Get Vaccinated Or Get Fired.
The health care industry is grappling with how to handle employees who refuse to get vaccinated against COVID-19 as cases rise. Civil Beat.

Army Seeks Public Input for Continued Use of 6,000 acres of State Lands on Oʻahu. The Army is preparing an environmental impact statement for continued use of Kahuku Training Area, Poamoho Training Area and Makua Military Reservation. The Army, Marine Corps and Hawaii Army National Guard all use it for exercises. Hawaii Public Radio.

Major Honolulu private schools commit to in-person learning. As COVID case numbers surged and the state Education and Health departments said they were updating pandemic guidelines for schools, seven Honolulu private K-12 schools queried last week by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser said they were sticking to their plans for the new academic year.  Star-Advertiser.

Local theaters tackle Tier 5 restrictions in different ways. When Oahu moved to the less restrictive Tier 5 in its reopening strategy on July 8, the process of doing business was made easier for some local businesses. Star-Advertiser.

Recent changes to Leahi Avenue pose a hazard for children, neighbors say. When classes begin Aug. 3, students and teachers returning to Waikiki Elementary School on Leahi Avenue will face changes made over the summer that many residents complain have made traffic conditions more dangerous, especially for the children who walk to school along the narrow, privately owned street, which lacks a continuous sidewalk on either side. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Study: Hawaii County has third worst primary care provider shortage in US. NursingEducation.org, a website that provides information and resources for nursing students, analyzed 2021 data from the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Health Professional Shortage Area tool to rank counties with the largest shortages of health care workers. Tribune-Herald.

Project to assess health care in Hawaii County. Lisa Rantz, president of the Hawaii State Rural Health Association and executive director of the Hilo Medical Center Foundation, said the goal is to evaluate what is working in Hawaii’s health care, what issues still need to be addressed, and to come up with an action plan to meet community needs. Tribune-Herald.

Charter school receives $48,000 grant for farm-to-school program. With the grant, Connections, whose main campus is in downtown Hilo, will develop learning and food production experiences for kindergarten through 12th-grade students on leased property located off Edita Street in Hilo’s Kaumana community. Tribune-Herald.

Honomū Fishing Access Via Seacliff Ladder Will Be Preserved, EA Says. An applicant proposing to build on the Hāmākua Coast says the cultural practice of descending the tall seacliff via ladders and ropes to fish will be preserved through access easements. Big Island Video News.

Maui

Ige Appoints Linda Clark To Fill Maui House Seat. Clark is a state process server and head of a Maui nonprofit. Clark is the president of the Kaupo Community Association and has served on the Hana Advisory Committee. She is the fourth generation of a ranching family and also has experience with various local nonprofits. Civil Beat.

Council closer to lowering short-term rental caps. Bill passes on first reading along with measures on foam products, ziplines. In a step to reduce short-term rentals on Maui and open up more housing for residents, the Maui County Council passed a bill on first reading Friday to cut the number of short-term rental home permits on the Valley Isle. Maui News.

County could consider higher rates for top water users.
Officials want to incentivize conservation at hotels, other facilities. About 16 of the top 20 potable water consumers during fiscal year 2020 were hotels, timeshares and condominiums used for short-term visitor accommodations — all in South and West Maui. Maui News.

Kauai

KPD reduces officer vacancy to 8. The Kaua‘i Police Department employs up to 162 sworn officers, and now it’s closer to that number than it has ever been in recent history. Garden Island.

KIUC works to keep birds off power lines. The Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative is resuming the installation of bird diverters on power lines to reduce collisions with endangered nocturnal seabirds. Garden Island.

Waimea 400 plan virtual meeting is July 28. The third community meeting for the Waimea 400 Master Plan is online Wednesday, July 28, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Garden Island.

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