Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Tax revenue forecast brightens, teachers union files grievances over COVID protocols, Oahu median home price tops $1M, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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New Hawaii climate technology fund to be unveiled. Hawaii-founded Elemental Excelerator plans to unveil a $60 million early-stage venture capital fund today called Earthshot Ventures that will be the first climate technology fund with roots in the state. The fund, which will invest in both hardware and software companies, is being launched to support entrepreneurs tackling climate change. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii panel boosts general fund tax revenue forecast. The Council on Revenues on Tuesday raised its forecast for Hawaii’s general fund tax revenues, saying it now expects revenues to increase by 6.3% during the current fiscal year instead of 3%. Associated Press.

Here’s How Native Hawaiian Groups Are Using $38 Million In Federal Funds. Native Hawaiians have been hit hard by the latest surge in the coronavirus and still have among the lowest vaccination rates. Civil Beat.

State Teachers Union Files Actions Over Covid Test Mandate, Safety Protocols.
The union representing Hawaii’s 13,500 public school teachers has filed a pair of grievances against the Department of Education over the implementation of the state’s Covid-19 testing mandate and “unsafe and changing working conditions” in classrooms, according to a release issued on Tuesday. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.

New vaccine-or-test rules at Hawaii workplaces, including state and county offices, are making it harder for people to get tested if they actually feel sick. But they also seem to be increasing the state’s vaccination rate. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii health official warns of more COVID-19 deaths in coming weeks.
Acting state epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Kemble says there is a lag between identifying cases and seeing hospitalizations and deaths. KITV4.

Mu variant detected in Hawaii, but threat is low now. The mu variant of the coronavirus, which may be better at evading protections offered by the available vaccines, has been found in nearly every state, including Hawaii, where its prevalence is second only to Alaska, according to data from Scripps Research. Star-Advertiser. Maui Now. KHON2.

New COVID case averages dropping.
The state’s average daily number of new COVID-19 cases has dropped to 706 over the past seven days, according to the state Department of Health. Garden Island.

Hawaii sees 499 new coronavirus cases, bringing statewide total to 68,764. The new confirmed and probable infection count by island includes 364 new cases on Oahu, 38 on Maui, 50 on Hawaii island, 45 on Kauai and two Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

Oahu’s median home sale price tops $1 million for the first time.
For the first time ever, a monthly median sale price for single-family homes on the island breached the million-dollar mark — hitting $1,050,000 in August, according to Honolulu Board of Realtors data released Tuesday. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu prepares for ‘Safe Access Oahu’ rollout. Starting on Monday, Sept. 13, workers and customers at gyms, restaurants and movie theaters will be required to show proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID test. KHON2.

COVID surge strains Oahu’s EMS service, forcing some patients to wait for an ambulance. Prior to the pandemic, Honolulu EMS would respond to an average of 250 calls a day. Over the past month, call volume has jumped 32%. That means EMS crews are being dispatched to an additional 80 calls every day. Hawaii News Now.

Months After Delivery, Portable Cells Sit Unused At Oahu Correctional Center.
Two containers that are supposed to be used as medical isolation cells at the state’s largest jail are sitting unused more than eight months after they were delivered because prison officials discovered the jail’s aging electrical system cannot accommodate the extra load of the new cells. Civil Beat.

Honolulu Prosecutor Argues Against Further Inmate Releases. The prosecutor and corrections officials say the releases aren’t needed to reduce the spread of Covid-19 because inmates now have access to vaccines. Civil Beat.

Increased police enforcement leads to calmer Labor Day weekend. For the first time in five years no one died or was critically injured on Oahu in a Labor Day weekend car crash following islandwide efforts by Honolulu police to curtail impaired driving and encourage compliance with COVID-19 gathering restrictions. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Hawaiʻi County Warns Of Service Delays Due To COVID Surge. Officials say affected divisions include Building, Solid Waste, Vehicle Registration and Licensing, Traffic, and Parks Maintenance. Big Island Video News. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Saddle Road extension shelved. Construction of the road was put “on hold” in fall 2020 after state funding sources dried up and the extension effort was not awarded a federal grant. The state had hoped to draw money from the rental car surcharge fund for the project, but without tourism, the account has seen little revenue. West Hawaii Today.

County Council targets financial literacy. Council members voted Tuesday during a meeting of the Government Operations, Relations, and Economic Development Committee in favor of a nonbinding resolution urging the state Legislature to encourage the state Department of Education to develop a public school curriculum focused on better preparing keiki for the financial realities of adult life. Tribune-Herald.

HPD to retain authority over animal control. The Hawaii Police Department likely will retain responsibility for animal control throughout the county for at least the next year, Police Chief Paul Ferreira said. Tribune-Herald.

Police: Victim of dog attack in HPP dies. Police say the 85-year-old woman bitten by multiple dogs on Aug. 14 in Hawaiian Paradise Park died Sunday at Hilo Medical Care Intensive Care Unit, where she had been since the dog attack. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Maui “Safer Outside” Rules Includes Vaccine Guidelines at Eateries. County officials are calling Maui’s new set of rules “Safer Outside.” It includes the previously announced vaccine guidelines for eateries, and newly announced reduction in capacity for commercial recreational boating, ground transportation, and commercial tour operators. There will also be no spectators at indoor or outdoor sporting events. Maui Now. KHON2. KITV4.

While some residents support Maui County’s vaccine order for businesses, some say it’s unfair. With Maui County to require vaccine cards to be inside of certain establishments, some businesses find the mandate unfair while some residents said it makes them feel safer. Hawaii News Now.

Online platform to help farmers sell locally. Maui homesteader tapped to operate ‘Amazon-style’ distribution system. Maui News.

Health Department issues red placard to Maui pizza restaurant. Officials said the restaurant would have to remain closed until it complies with requirements, including more frequent professional pest control treatments, along with a monitoring and treatment plan for both cockroaches and rodents, and thorough cleaning of all areas underneath and on top of kitchen equipment. Star-Advertiser. Maui Now.

Kauai

Special December Election Set To Replace Kauai’s Prosecutor. Kauai Prosecutor Justin Kollar, who steered the county’s criminal legal system away from mass incarceration, is retiring later this month. Civil Beat.

County’s homebuyer program list expands with Kapa‘a property. The county’s Homebuyer Program is looking to add more inventory with a purchase of property in Kapa‘a. With the Molo Street buy, the county will effectively be adding to the dwindling affordable housing market. Garden Island.

Only one COVID citation issued during Labor Day weekend. Department of Parks &Recreation officials responded to gatherings at beach parks, where they issued warnings, county officials said. Garden Island.

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