Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Lawmakers grill state over low-cost leases of public land, Honolulu mayor approves removal of Stairway to Heaven, Ige holds firm on no fans in stands, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii Statewide GIS Program. 2017
Government owned land in Hawaii, Statewide GIS Program. 2017

Lawmakers grill state Land Board over below-market rents for state properties. The director of the state Land Board was asked tough questions Tuesday about whether the department is wasting money by charging below-market rents. Hawaii News Now.

Department of Land and Natural Resources officials say audit veered from original scope. Officials with the state Department of Land and Natural Resources were prepared to talk about contracts related to leased state lands but soon realized that state Auditor Les Kondo intended to go beyond what they thought the Legislature wanted from Kondo’s 2019 audit, DLNR officials Tuesday told a special House Investigative Committee that’s investigating Kondo and his office. Star-Advertiser.

State Ethics Commission Looking For New Executive Director. The state Ethics Commission is looking for a new executive director after Dan Gluck, the current head of the agency, announced his resignation. Gluck was appointed director of the Ethics Commission in 2016 after the Legislature selected the previous director, Les Kondo, to be the state auditor. Civil Beat.

Native Hawaiian education programs are awarded $28 million in federal funds. The grant money, part of the American Rescue Plan and the Native Hawaiian Education Program, will support 35 programs that offer Hawaiian-language services, professional development. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.

Whistleblower Lawsuit Claims Hawaiian Airlines Covered Up Sexual Assaults, Security Failures.
A Hawaiian Airlines spokesman called the allegations “stunningly inaccurate.” Civil Beat.

Hawaii sees 423 new coronavirus cases as hospitalizations drop to 357. The new confirmed and probable infection count by island includes 338 new cases on Oahu, 23 on Maui, 41 on Hawaii island, 14 on Kauai, five on Molokai and two Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state. Star-Advertiser.


Honolulu Mayor Gives The Go-Ahead To Remove ‘Stairway To Heaven’. The City Council included $1 million for the project in its budget this year, but Mayor Rick Blangiardi had to agree to release the funds. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now. KHON2. KITV4.

Gov. David Ige stands firm on no-spectators policy for University of Hawaii sports.
Gov. David Ige said today there is no change in the no-spectators policy for University of Hawaii sports, including for Saturday’s home football game at the on-campus Clarence T.C. Ching Complex. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Teachers rally for more COVID safety measures at Leeward Oahu schools. Members of the teacher’s union, concerned parents, and community members picketed Tuesday afternoon outside the Kapolei State Office building. KHON2. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Hawaii Island

Rides for vaccinations: County, Uber partner to provide transportation for shot-seekers. Hawaii County’s Mass Transit Agency is partnering with Uber to provide access to rides to and from COVID-19 vaccination appointments in as part of the county’s Hele-On Get Your Shot! campaign. West Hawaii Today. Big Island Now.

State senator: Plan to designate Maunakea occupiers as ‘homeless individuals’ is unacceptable. Two Oahu legislators have asked the state Department of Hawaiian Homelands to halt any plans to forcefully remove protesters who remain on Maunakea. Tribune-Herald. KITV4.

Ethics Board retracts Van Pernis vote. Now that Mark Van Pernis is no longer a commissioner on the Leeward Planning Commission, the Board of Ethics on Monday retracted a prior finding that he violated the ethics code. West Hawaii Today.

Charter school project back before land panel.
The Windward Planning Commission is set to decide whether to grant a special permit for Connections New Century Public Charter School to build a new campus on about 70 acres of state land in Hilo. Tribune-Herald.


Maui Charter Commission to Consider Proposing Ranked-Choice Voting. The Charter Commission is evaluating substantial changes to our county’s Charter, and at its last meeting voted to propose a Charter amendment to create three voter districts within the County. Maui Now.
Amazon Founder Donates Stock Valued at More Than $500,000 to Feed My Sheep. Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos has donated stock valued at over $500,000 to Feed My Sheep, a mobile food pantry serving Maui island-wide. Maui Now.

Businesses wrestle with vaccine mandate. Maui businesses are wrestling with the new upcoming county vaccine mandate as establishments say it will put a burden on them to turn the unvaccinated away. Maui News.

Sub-Actions Underway to Fulfill Molokaʻi Destination Management Action Plan. Fourteen “sub-actions” are underway to fulfill the Moloka‘i Destination Management Action Plan approved in December 2020 that aims to rebuild, redefine and reset the direction of tourism over a three-year period, according to an update by the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority. Maui Now.


Controversial Kauai Glamping Resort Hits Stumbling Block. A bill that would foil the planned luxury campground on a Princeville golf course got the green light from county planning commissioners. Civil Beat. Garden Island.

Kapa‘a school bus routes affected by driver shortage.
Kapa‘a Middle and Kapa‘a High School parents were notified that beginning on Tuesday, three bus routes would be suspended, affecting 155 students. The two drivers on these routes have chosen not to drive due to a new state mandate that requires government contractors to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or test weekly. Garden Island.

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