Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Connors nominated as U.S. attorney, swimming with spinner dolphins banned, coronavirus delta variant proves deadly, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii Attorney General Clare Connors
Biden nominates Hawaii Attorney General Clare Connors to serve as U.S. attorney. State Attorney General Clare Connors was one of nine nominees announced Tuesday by Biden’s White House. Connors, who has served as attorney general since 2019, now starts the U.S. Senate confirmation process. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Associated Press. Big Island Video News. Maui Now. KITV4.


US Bans Swimming With Hawaiʻi's Nocturnal Spinner Dolphins. U.S. regulators on Tuesday banned swimming with Hawaii's spinner dolphins to protect the nocturnal animals from people seeking close encounters with the playful species. Associated Press. West Hawaii Today. Big Island Video News. Maui Now. KHON2. KITV4.

The Counties Are in Different Stages of Creating Their Own Hotel Room Tax Increases. Hawaiʻi's four counties are in different stages of approving their increases to the transient accommodations tax to make up for lost revenue after the state stopped allocating its statewide tax. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hirono Lobbies For Missile Defense Radar During Hearing On Afghanistan. Sen. Mazie Hirono grilled military leaders Tuesday about what the Defense Department will do with money and troops freed up by the end of America’s longest war, asking specifically about a $1.9 billion missile defense radar that has been planned for Hawaii. Civil Beat.

State embracing ‘shared solar’ energy farms on Department of Hawaiian Home Lands land. Hawaiian Electric, the largest utility in Hawaii, is trying to add 235 megawatts of community solar projects on Oahu, Maui, Molokai, Lanai and Hawaii island under a plan awaiting state Public Utilities Commission consideration, following approval for 8 megawatts. Star-Advertiser.

COVID-19 delta variant proves deadly in Hawaii. About half of all the COVID-19 cases reported in Hawaii have occurred since early July, when the delta variant, which now accounts for nearly all cases, began to take hold.  Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii sees 240 new coronavirus cases, surpasses 2M vaccine doses administered. The new confirmed and probable infection count by island includes 193 new cases on Oahu, 12 on Maui, 24 on Hawaii island, 8 on Kauai and three Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

Over 160 Oahu businesses violate new COVID-19 mandates. As Safe Access O‘ahu mandates stretch into their third week, over 160 Oahu business operators have been cited, warned or been arrested for alleged violations of new COVID-19 requirements that include proof of tests or vaccinations for both employees and customers. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu restaurants seeing drop in sales after proof of vaccination mandate. Hawaii Restaurant Association Executive Director Sheryl Matsuoka said she has heard from members who are seeing revenue cut in half compared to 2019. KHON2.

Oahu Commission Approves Three Maps. Now The Public Gets A Say. The public will soon be able to provide input on what Honolulu’s political boundaries should look like after the Oahu Reapportionment Commission on Tuesday approved three district maps for consideration. Civil Beat.

Years Before Indictments, Honolulu Permitting Department Was Warned About Corrupt Culture. A city watchdog had raised red flags for years about potential corruption in Honolulu’s planning and permitting department. In the decade before federal investigators charged five permitting employees for bribery, the Honolulu Ethics Commission warned the Department of Planning and Permitting about questionable behavior by staff and lax oversight that could lead to abuses of power. Civil Beat.

State senator calls for investigation of Honolulu Police Department Major Stephen Gerona. A state senator called Tuesday for the removal of the Honolulu police officer in charge of the department’s Criminal Investigations Division, alleging that Maj. Stephen Gerona continues to bully and harass subordinates despite repeated complaints, disciplinary actions and his role in lawsuits costing the city more than $1.6 million. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

Faced With Unwieldy Voting Rules, Honolulu Rail Board Simply Scrapped Them. For four years, after the Legislature added seats, the rail board required eight ‘yes’ votes to pass measures, but recently decided it needs only six. Civil Beat.

Large wildfire reveals toxic junkyard on state land that was supposed to be used for farming
. A large wildfire in Central Oahu on Monday exposed the illegal activities Pat Mackin and others have been warning state and law enforcement officials about for years. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Hawaii Island

A public meeting about the decommissioning of a Maunakea telescope went quietly on Tuesday. Jim Hayes, president of Planning Solutions Inc., which was consultant for the environmental assessment, said Caltech will hire an archaeological and cultural monitor, vetted by the state Historic Preservation Division, to observe the process and ensure that no cultural sites are disturbed throughout the project. Tribune-Herald.

EA supports Pahoa library: All three potential sites for a public facility found suitable. The final environmental assessment was published last week for a public library in Pahoa. The document has a finding of no significant impact to the environment regardless of which site among the top three identified in the document is chosen for construction of the facility. Tribune-Herald.

The next venture: Construction begins on Matsuyama Commercial Center. The Matsuyama Commercial Center project is being built on a 1.36-acre parcel off Kaiminani Drive, near the northern entrance to the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority on the makai side of Queen Kaahumanu Highway. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Maui Fire Chief Ventura and Deputy Chief Fujioka Sworn In. Brad Ventura was sworn into office as the Maui Department of Fire and Public Safety’s new Chief, and Gavin Fujioka was sworn in a as Deputy Chief today during a ceremony hosted by Maui Mayor Michael Victorino today. Maui Now.

100% affordable rental project pitched for Waiehu. $33.5M Hale Mahaolu Ke Kahua would develop 120 units on MEO land. The $33.5 million project, called Hale Mahaolu Ke Kahua Affordable Housing Community, would be developed with Hale Mahaolu and units would be rented to adults of all ages who earn 60 percent or less of the area median income. Maui News.

Kauai

6 years later, Coco Palms permits still alive. While concerns for traffic, climate change and shoreline setbacks were brought up in regards to the Coco Palms property during Tuesday’s Planning Commission meeting, there was little commissioners could do as representatives gave their annual status update on the demolition and progress of the ill-fated resort. Garden Island.

Teachers plead for safer conditions. Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School teachers lined the sidewalk outside of their Puhi campus Tuesday morning 6 feet apart, wearing masks, modeling a safety precaution that is all-but-impossible inside their full classrooms. Garden Island.

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