Friday, October 29, 2021

Military beefing up Hawaii presence, closed elementary school windows leads to COVID cluster, Honolulu reopens without governor's blessing, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2021 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Pohakuloa Training Area ©2021 All Hawaii News

Army Holds Large-Scale Readiness Exercise In Hawaii For The First Time. Commanders say the Joint Pacific Multinational Training Center drills are likely to continue to be held in the islands, which have more realistic terrain for war scenarios. Civil Beat.

Hawaii sees 31% drop in visitor arrivals in September. A combination of scant international travel to Hawaii, a COVID-19 surge and Gov. David Ige’s subsequent plea in August for travelers to avoid non­essential trips to the state through October contributed to a substantial drop in visitor arrivals last month compared with pre-pandemic September 2019. Star-Advertiser. Tribune-Herald.

The Plan To Redraw Hawaii’s Political Lines Goes Out For Public Comment. Members of the Hawaii Reapportionment Commission on Thursday voted unanimously to put forward its redistricting plan for public comment. The commission is planning to host meetings in November and December that would give the public the opportunity to weigh in on the proposals. Civil Beat.

Former City Auditor: Les Kondo Is The ‘Poster Child For Bad Auditing.’ Edwin Young encourages the Legislature to “take action” against the state auditor or risk consequences. But the state auditor said Young is biased. Civil Beat.

U.S. Postal Service looking to fill more than 600 positions in Hawaii. The U.S. Postal Service is seeking to fill more than 600 jobs in Hawaii, over half of which are seasonal positions for the upcoming holiday season. Star-Advertiser. Maui Now.

Hawaii Tourism Authority hires T. Ilihia Gionson for new public affairs position. The Hawaii Tourism Authority has hired T. Ilihia Gionson, a longtime public affairs and community engagement professional from Hawaii island, as public affairs officer. Star-Advertiser.

COVID-19 cluster report highlights Oahu elementary school, notes downward trend in cases statewide. The latest cluster report from the Hawaii Department of Health reflects a downward trend of COVID-19 cases, with only 13 clusters currently under investigation statewide. Star-Advertiser.

DOH says poor classroom ventilation likely contributed to cluster of 30 COVID cases.
Officials said teachers had closed windows and doors to limit outdoor noise levels and to maintain the central air conditioning. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Hawaii records 2 new coronavirus-related deaths, 126 additional infections. The new confirmed and probable infection count by island includes 47 new cases on Oahu, 38 on Hawaii Island, 22 on Maui, nine on Kauai, one on Molokai and nine Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state. Star-Advertiser.


Governor didn’t approve city’s planned reboot of large indoor events but has no plans to stop it. Gov. David Ige says he’s not comfortable with the city’s plan to allow large indoor events on Oahu, but won’t stop Honolulu’s mayor from moving forward. Hawaii News Now.

City explains reasoning behind food and beverage restrictions at Oahu events. As Oahu prepares for the resumption of large events following Mayor Rick Blan­giardi’s loosening of COVID- 19 restrictions, food and beverages will be banned at events like football games even as movie theaters continue with soda and popcorn concessions. Star-Advertiser.

Amid calls for relocation of Red Hill, the Navy pushes a double-tank test. Amid ongoing fuel leaks between Red Hill and Pearl Harbor, the Navy said it is investing over $750 million in improvements to its aging fuel storage tanks that lie 100 feet above the Moanalua-Waimalu groundwater aquifer — while also pursuing a double-wall tank experiment. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.

Former judge tells lawmakers he was removed from audit after questioning rail spending. Randal Lee, a retired Circuit Court Judge and white-collar crime expert, said when he began looking into the rail authority’s books back in 2018, he quickly spotted 76 questionable change orders. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu Mayor Blangiardi hosts city blessing following completion of repairs at Koko Crater Stairs. The city partnered with the Kokonut Koalition, a nonprofit which coordinated thousands of hours of labor by hundreds of volunteers that manually hauled more than 600,000 pounds of materials up the incline.  Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Hawaii Island

County breaks ground on new dispatch call center. A new emergency call center being built in Hilo will improve communications between the county’s police and fire departments. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News. Big Island Now.

Puna water projects mulled:
Meeting held to discuss restoration of service to Isaac Hale Beach Park, 12 other proposals. Hawaii County will not be reinvesting in infrastructure destroyed by the 2018 Kilauea eruption, public officials said Thursday. Tribune-Herald.


Maui mayor wants to loosen COVID restrictions on large gatherings, restaurant capacity. Maui Mayor Victorino said he asked the governor to loosen restrictions and change gathering limits and also wants restaurants to be allowed capacity anywhere from 75% to 100% — instead of the current 50%. KHON2.

Large Employers Either Silent or Taking a Wait and See Approach to Vaccine Mandates.
Several large employers on Maui are either silent or taking a wait and see approach when it comes to mandating COVID-19 vaccines for their employees. Maui Now.

DOE request to open school without a crossing denied
. The state Land Use Commission on Wednesday denied the state Department of Education’s request to allow it to open Kihei high school without an underpass or overpass for pedestrians. Maui News. Hawaii News Now.

Maui crews are successfully eradicating invasive little fire ants — with aerial support. The Maui Invasive Species Committee began a pilot project two years ago using helicopters to spray bait aimed at sterilizing ant queens and curbing the stinging pests. Hawaii Public Radio.


Kaua‘i vacation rentals on rebound. A new Hawai‘i Tourism Authority report shows demand, although down from a summertime high, equaled 53,346 unit nights last month. That’s up 1,424.2% from September 2020, when 3,500 unit nights were recorded, but still down 42.5% from September 2019. Garden Island.

Thursday, October 28, 2021

Oahu loosens COVID restrictions, HMSA to eliminate hundreds of jobs, state fines Navy $325k for Red Hill fuel leak, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi

Oahu to loosen COVID-19 restrictions for large events. Mayor Rick Blangiardi is loosening COVID-19 restrictions in Honolulu, starting with allowing more vaccinated people to gather at indoor and outdoor events, effective Wednesday. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii Public Radio. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now. KHON2. KITV4.

HMSA to eliminate hundreds of positions as it outsources some functions. HMSA President and Chief Executive Officer Mark Mugiishi said the rising cost of health care, new regulatory requirements and consumer mandates have “forced the need for massive technology upgrades to maximize efficiency in the workplace.” The company said 285 employees will be impacted. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Federal funds to offset $80 monthly hike in A+ program.
A new $80 monthly fee increase for the state Department of Education’s After School-Plus, or A+, program to take effect Monday will not affect families thanks to federal monies that will be used to offset the increase. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii records 1 new coronavirus-related death, 184 additional infections. The new confirmed and probable infection count by island includes 99 new cases on Oahu, 31 on Hawaii Island, 10 on Maui, 32 on Kauai, one on Molokai, two on Lanai, and nine Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state. Star-Advertiser.


Hawaii health inspectors fine U.S. Navy more than $325K for safety violations at Red Hill. The Navy failed to maintain adequate leak detection at two underground fuel recovery storage tanks and hadn’t performed needed testing of repaired piping, among other safety violations, according to state health officials. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.

City plan would combine affordable housing projects with retail, restaurants. The plan is to encourage developments that combine homes with retail and restaurants by relaxing height and density limits in neighborhoods that can handle the growth. Hawaii News Now.

Ex-governors Abercrombie, Cayetano and Waihee push housing, no stadium in Halawa. The three expect the effort to find private developers to carry out the NASED plan, which would largely be paid for by public funds offset by income from private use of leased land around a new stadium, will result in a “sinkhole” for taxpayers and a “walk-away disaster” for a private partner.  Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Marathon is a go, with planning already underway. Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi on Wednesday announced that effective Wednesday, road races — currently limited to 500 participants — may be staged with an unlimited count of vaccinated participants. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Tax a ‘necessary evil,’ mayor says, to make ends meet for county. During a livestreamed interview, Roth discussed a bill introduced during last week’s meeting of the Hawaii County Council’s Finance Committee that proposed levying a 3% transient accommodations tax across all all gross rental proceeds in the county. Tribune-Herald.


Charter Commission Adopts 6 Proposals, Including Abolition of Maui Planning Commission. After hearing nearly two hours of public testimony at a virtual meeting Oct. 21, the Maui Charter Commission adopted six charter amendment proposals, which if approved by voters in 2022, will significantly alter how the County Planning Department functions.  Maui Now.

Developers reduce project size to avoid cultural sites
. Makena Golf & Beach Club will scale back from 134 to 103 units. The Maui Planning Commission voted 6-1 on Tuesday to allow developers to downsize the mixed-used development on the land above Makena Landing from 134 units to 103, as well as reduce the 47.2-acre project area by 5 acres. Maui News.


DLNR analyzes outdoor rec concerns on Kauaʻi. Pickleball courts continue to be popular recreation spots on Kaua‘i, according to the plan. Garden Island.

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Hawaii recovery slow, drastic changes in Honolulu redistricting, lava buyout program expands, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands


copyright 2021 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Hawaiian Airlines at HNL ©2021 All Hawaii News

Despite Momentum, Hawaiian Airlines Forecast Signals Slow Recovery. In a sign of the challenge Hawaii tourism companies face recovering from the Covid-19 travel drought, Hawaiian Airlines said Tuesday it expects revenue to be down 32% to 37% during the last three months of 2021 compared to the same period in 2019. Civil Beat. Maui Now.

Nominations of female judges to Hawaii Circuit Court applauded. Leaders of the state Senate’s Women’s Caucus today applauded Gov. David Ige’s nominations of four women to Hawaii’s Circuit Courts. A fifth woman also has been nominated by Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald. Star-Advertiser.

Thirty Meter Telescope protesters oppose Biden’s U.S. attorney pick for Hawaii. Some Native Hawaiians are objecting to President Joe Biden’s choice for U.S. attorney for Hawaii, saying Clare Connors treated dozens of elders like criminals when her office prosecuted them for blocking a road while protesting the construction of a telescope in Hawaii. Associated Press.

Chemical Shortages Are Hitting Hawaii From Pools To Breweries. Supply chain snafus caused by the pandemic have pinched chemical supplies, leaving the city and businesses scrambling for alternatives or ways to get by with less. Civil Beat.

Central Pacific Bank triples earnings. Central Pacific Bank more than tripled its net income in the third quarter, increased its dividend and repurchased more of its shares as it continued to distance itself from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii sees 74 new coronavirus cases, bringing statewide total to 83,522. The new confirmed and probable infection count by island includes 36 new cases on Oahu, 19 on Hawaii Island, two on Maui, 12 on Kauai and five Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state. Star-Advertiser.


New City Council district map drastically moves neighborhoods. The Honolulu Reapportionment Committee on Tuesday night selected a map that would would drastically change the voter makeup of Council districts beginning in 2022. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.

Human error, not aging Red Hill tanks, caused May fuel spill, Navy says. The U.S. Navy has concluded that a May 6 spill at its Red Hill underground fuel farm was due to a control room operator’s failure to follow correct procedures. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.

The Sierra Club wants transparency, emails, answers about recent Navy fuel leaks and Red Hill.
The Sierra Club of Hawaiʻi has filed a public records complaint with the state Department of Health after learning of an email trail it believes could change the outcome of a contested case hearing for the U.S. Navy’s permit to operate the Red Hill Underground Fuel Storage Facility. Hawaii Public Radio.

City Council wants to hike traffic fines to raise money for Honolulu Police Department. Currently, money collected from the fines goes to the state, all of it. Council members are looking to raise the fines in order for the city to get some of that. KHON2.
Initial phase of a three-tower senior housing project in Liliha-Palama will break ground in 2022. A state agency has committed to finance the first of three affordable senior housing towers planned on the Hawaii Public Housing Authority’s outdated Liliha­-Palama administrative campus. Star-Advertiser.

5 Honolulu Police Department officers unjustly shot and killed car theft suspect, complaint alleges. The family of a 30-year-old man who was shot and killed by plainclothes police officers at a gas station in Kapolei in 2019 is suing the Honolulu Police Department for negligence and wrongful death. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Water power charges to increase. An increase in electric rates is leading to the highest power cost surcharge on county water bills in at least two years, with the Water Board on Tuesday approving a 16% hike in the power cost charge. West Hawaii Today.

Phase 2 of lava buyout program set to begin. Owners of secondary residences that were isolated, damaged or destroyed during the 2018 Kilauea eruption will be able to apply next week for the county to buy their properties. Tribune-Herald. KITV4.


Marine Institute has Documented 201 Sick, Injured or Dead Sea Turtles So Far This Year. The Maui Ocean Center’s Marine Institute has documented 201 sick, injured or dead sea turtles on Maui so far this year. According to the organization, 89% of the incidents involved turtles with injuries from fishing gear interactions. Maui Now.

Upcountry water shortage ends, but drought remains. A nearly four-month-long water shortage declaration for Upcountry came to an end due to recent rainfall, though many areas across Maui County are still experiencing severe drought and concerns over enforcement of water restrictions remain. Maui Now.

GoFundMe Account Set Up for Repairs of StoneWave Skate Park in Pā‘ia. A GoFundMe account has been set up to raise about $8,000 for fence restoration and repairs of the StoneWave Skate Park, a part of the Pāʻia Youth & Cultural Center. Maui Now.


Controversial Seacliff development deferred again. A wave of resident testimony on the potential cultural and ecological impacts of a development within the gated Seacliff Plantation subdivision has caused the Planning Commission to defer any decision on the application until December. Garden Island.

Temporary Waimea skatepark expected to be up by next summer. The Kaua‘i Planning Department is planning to set up a temporary ramp and halfpipe at the Waimea Athletic Field. Garden Island.

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Hawaii House leadership faces upheaval with Luke's LG candidacy, recall petition filed against Maui mayor Victorino, floating wind turbines mulled off Oahu, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Sylvia Luke

Sylvia Luke’s Bid For LG Will ‘Shake Things Up’ At The Legislature. As Finance Committee chairwoman, Luke controls the money, has command of the details and has made a lot of friends. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.

COVID-19 vaccinations for younger children in Hawaii could begin Nov. 8, Ige says. David Ige expects the first round of COVID-19 vaccines for Hawaii children ages 5 to 11 to begin around Nov. 8, following expected federal approval. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.

Once vaccine for younger kids gets OK, more than 100 schools to host vaccination sites
. State Department of Health spokesperson Brooks Baehr said 113 schools have already agreed to become vaccination sites. Hawaii News Now.

Senator Kurt Fevella seeks halt to vaccine incentive payments to prisoners. The state Senate minority leader is seeking an immediate stop to an incentive program that offers $50 pay­ments to inmates in Hawaii’s prisons and jails if they accept a COVID-19 vaccine. Star-Advertiser. Maui Now. KITV4.

Bank of Hawaii earnings jump 64% amid improving economy. Bank of Hawaii Corp.’s earnings surged 64% in the third quarter as the company hit a record $23 billion in total assets and released $10.4 million from its loan-loss reserve amid an improving economy. Star-Advertiser.

Ige eyeing tweaks to Safe Travels program. Gov. David Ige has no plans to end the Safe Travels program, but is considering adding more options for users. Tribune-Herald. Hawaii News  Now.

Hawaii sees 97 new coronavirus cases, bringing statewide total to 83,448. The new confirmed and probable infection count by island includes 42 new cases on Oahu, 28 on Hawaii Island, eight on Maui, seven on Kauai, and 12 Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state. Star-Advertiser.


Electricity generated by proposed floating wind turbines off Oahu is feasible, new study finds. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory recently completed a cost and feasibility analysis for floating wind farm power in federal waters at least 3 nautical miles from the shoreline of Hawaii’s most populous island. Star-Advertiser.

Alleged Hawaii crime boss seeks September trial date. Michael Miske, the alleged leader of a Honolulu crime syndicate that used legitimate businesses to conceal drug dealing, murder, arson, fraud and other offenses is seeking a later start to his trial to allow his attorneys more time to review evidence and prepare a defense. Star-Advertiser.

Retired public defender in Kealoha mailbox trial details drama, interagency tensions in new book. Federal public defender Alexander Silvert, now retired, represented that innocent man — Gerard Puana, who wept after his name had been cleared. But it would take seven years and several trials to finally get the convictions of the former chief and his wife Katherine Kealoha, a former high-ranking Honolulu prosecutor. Hawaii Public Radio.

New Video Allegedly Shows Honolulu Police Leaving Scene Of Makaha Crash. The attorney who provided the video says it shows three police vehicles pursuing a Honda at a high rate of speed on the Farrington Highway. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.

Kaneohe Marines say wastewater released into ocean exceeds acceptable bacteria levels. Effluent water from Marine Corps Base Hawaii is combined with treated water from the city’s Kailua Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant, which is then discharged some two miles off-shore of MCBH at 110 feet below the surface of the ocean into a mixing zone, where direct risk of exposure is low. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Residents protest failed injunction against COVID restrictions. Native Hawaiian activist Gene Tamashiro filed a petition in August in Third Circuit Court calling for an end to all vaccination and mask mandates in the state. On Monday, Judge Henry Nakamoto dismissed the petition with prejudice, arguing that the petition had no merit. Tribune-Herald.

$300,000 coming to coffee farmers to battle leaf rust. The  is coming from the state Department of Agriculture, thanks to a bill passed by the state Legislature extending and enhancing the state’s Coffee Berry Borer Pesticide Subsidy program. West Hawaii Today.


“Recall Mayor Victorino” Initiative Aims to Obtain 21,586 Signatures in 30 Days. Group leaders say they are seeking Mayor Victorino’s removal as they stand in opposition to ongoing emergency health mandates, calling the county government practices an “overreach” of powers. The group submitted an affidavit with the County Clerk’s office on Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021 to begin the legal process of seeking a recall. Maui Now. Maui News. KITV4.

ʻĀina kupuna bill aims to help long-time Maui families keep ancestral lands amid rising property taxes. Maui County Council members are considering a measure to help long-time families keep their ancestral lands — properties that have been passed down for at least three generations. Hawaii Public Radio.

For some on Maui, bike tours are a ‘nuisance on the roads.’ They want new regulations. The Kula Community Association wants more regulations on the bike tour companies. They want to regulate the hours of the tours, size of the groups, even set an age requirement. Hawaii News Now.


Surfrider seeks hearing on shrimp farm permit. Kaua‘i Shrimp, the island’s only shrimp farm, is seeking a new pollutant permit, which is raising concern from some environmentalists. Garden Island.

Namolokama Canoe Club hale’s future still to be determined. County officials and residents have been assured the Black Pot Beach Park Master Plan is not set in stone, after the Namolokama Canoe Club raised objection to the potential demolition of the old Hanalei Canoe Club buildings near the park. Garden Island.


Monday, October 25, 2021

Renovations to close Diamond Head, $160M state psychiatric hospital sits idle, Honolulu mulls banning commercial activities at beach parks, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2021 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Diamond Head hike pre-COVID ©2021 All Hawaii News

Diamond Head demolition project to close state monument. Diamond Head State Monument will be closed on Oct. 28 and 29, and then again from November 1-5. The historic fire control station will be closed November   6-19, and possibly longer depending on construction progress. KITV4.

Hawaii Rep. Sylvia Luke Plans To Run For Lieutenant Governor. The powerful House Finance chair joins a growing field of Democrats seeking the state’s No. 2 job in 2022. Civil Beat.

Hawaii State Hospital’s new $160 million psychiatric facility sits empty. The new facility took years to develop, but five months after state officials opened the building to media tours, it remains empty as DOH continues to develop policies to govern its operations and struggles to fill staff positions. Star-Advertiser.

State calling on landlords to help solve the homeless crisis. State officials say negative stereotypes and fear of the unknown are holding back many landlords from participating in subsidized housing programs. That, in turn, is perpetuating homelessness. KITV4.

Department of Public Safety officials grappling with inmate overcrowding amid the coronavirus pandemic are trying something new — retrofitted shipping containers. According to the latest population reports from the Department of Public Safety, the state has 440 more inmates in its custody than its facilities were designed to hold. Hawaii Public Radio.

Shipping containers purchased by state to house inmates in quarantine sit idle.
The state has spent more than $1.3 million in CARES Act funds to buy shipping containers that would have been used to house inmates in quarantine. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii records 3 new coronavirus-related deaths, 163 additional infections. The new confirmed and probable infection count by island includes 93 new cases on Oahu, 40 on Hawaii Island, eight on Maui, 12 on Kauai and 10 Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state. Star-Advertiser.


Majority of Honolulu's ARPA funds will go towards economic recovery for underserved communities. The City and County of Honolulu will distribute nearly $400 million to Oʻahu communities through the American Rescue Plan Act. About $156 million — the largest portion — will go to support economic recovery. This includes expanding affordable housing and providing support to the agriculture industry. Hawaii Public Radio.

City Council looks at banning commercial activities in city beach parks. Bill 34, introduced by Council member Heidi Tsuneyoshi, would ban commercial activities, with the exception of professional filming, from Sunset Point to Kaiaka Point. Star-Advertiser.

Most Honolulu first responder COVID vaccine exemption requests cite religion. The department had received 948 exemption requests by Oct. 18, 76% of the time for religious beliefs. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

Supply of at-home COVID test kits replenished for Oahu residents.
The Honolulu Fire Department, which has played a key roll in testing across Oahu, has received their latest supply of at-home COVID tests. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu Community Services Gets Second New Director Within Four Weeks. Anton Krucky, the former CEO of a biotechnology company, is now in charge of the city department that administers housing vouchers. Civil Beat.

Proposed Reapportionment Plans For Oahu Could Mean Painful Political Fallout. One longtime lawmaker describes the new district maps as a ‘gerrymander,’ and incumbents plan to lobby for changes. Civil Beat.

The Next Community To Host Oahu’s Landfill Can Learn From The Westside. As the city searches for a new site, the Westside offers lessons on how a place can turn into the island’s perceived ‘dumping ground.’ Civil Beat.

Solar farm planned amid cultural and historic sites including WWII Ewa battlefield
. A Canadian renewable-­energy company plans to develop a solar farm in the vicinity of Ewa Field, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, and two proposed historic districts connected with Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor nearly 80 years ago. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

$1M FEMA grant for Mana Road fire. Hawaii County is receiving $1 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help pay for battling the largest wildfire in island history, but whether the volunteers who threw themselves into the fight will get their costs reimbursed remains to be seen. West Hawaii Today.

Homeless project gets go-ahead.
A homeless emergency shelter and housing project in Kailua-Kona took an incremental step forward Friday, with unanimous approval by the state Board of Land and Natural Resources for a ground lease and right of entry for Hawaii County. West Hawaii Today.

County seeks public input on Puna water restoration projects. Puna residents are being asked to submit feedback about a range of water restoration projects Hawaii County could pursue using federal funds. Tribune-Herald.

New Kahalu‘u Bay Surf School Rules Approved. The Hawaiʻi Board of Land and Natural Resources voted Friday to implement the amended rules limiting and regulating commercial activity in ocean waters at Kahalu‘u. Big Island Video News.


NASA Awards $15M for Asteroid Hunting Telescopes on Maui
. The University of Hawaiʻi Institute for Astronomy's IfA’s Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS) atop Haleakalā currently finds nearly as many NEOs and PHAs as the rest of the world’s observatories combined, and nearly 60% of the largest and most dangerous ones with sizes greater than 140 meters across. Maui Now.

Online Public Hearing Set for Proposed Rules for Ukumehame Firing Range. The County of Maui Department of Parks and Recreation has scheduled an online public hearing on Wed, Nov. 10, 2021 at 5:30 p.m. to discuss the proposed adoption of an amendment to the rules to require firearms to be registered. Maui Now.

Foodland Announces Vaccine Mandate. At least one Maui retail giant is serious about complying with proposed federal mandates that companies with more than 100 employees must meet mandatory COVID-19 vaccination requirements. Maui Now.


Controversial Former Kauai Prosecutor Wants Her Old Job Back.
Supporters say Shaylene Iseri is a tenacious lawyer ready for a comeback, but there are people who question her ability to manage staff. Civil Beat.

Namolokama Canoe Club hale’s future still to be determined. County officials and residents have been assured the Black Pot Beach Park Master Plan is not set in stone, after the Namolokama Canoe Club raised objection to the potential demolition of the old Hanalei Canoe Club buildings near the park. Garden Island.

Friday, October 22, 2021

Jobless rate falls, health officials to authorize booster shots, Land Board to rule on Thirty Meter Telescope permit, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2021 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Hawaii grocery store ©2021 All Hawaii News

Hawaii’s jobless rate falls to 6.6%. Hawaii’s labor force has been shrinking even as the unemployment rate has been declining. The drop in the labor force has been mainly caused by people either moving out of state, being discouraged and not looking for jobs, or unwilling to return to the workforce in the midst of the pandemic. Star-Advertiser. KITV4.

University of Hawaii regents defer controversial tenure proposal.
The University of Hawaii Board of Regents on Thursday deferred a controversial proposal to modify the tenure system following a morning session in which dozens of faculty members criticized the effort as detrimental to the university. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii residents will need to press more buttons to make phone calls soon. Many are used to dialing seven digits to make local calls, but they will need to include the 8-0-8 area code before those seven digits when calling local numbers starting Sunday, Oct. 24. KHON2.

New Subpoenas From Panel Looking At State Auditor Raise Concerns. Rep. Belatti wants to hear from former city auditor Edwin Young and to look at Les Kondo’s rail audit. Civil Beat.

New task force to shine spotlight on missing and murdered Native Hawaiian women. It’s co-chaired by the Hawaii State Commission on the Status of Women and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. There’s was no additional money attached to the task force, but they are looking for funds. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii health officials to authorize booster doses for Moderna, J&J vaccines.
The Hawaii Department of Health today said it will authorize booster doses for the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines in the state according to federal guidelines. Star-Advertiser. Big Island Now. KITV4. KHON2.

About 119,000 people in Hawaii who chose a two-shot COVID-19 vaccine did not return for their second shot. Healthcare professionals say being fully-vaccinated is important because that maximizes the body's ability to receive full immunity. KITV4.

Hawaii reports 4 new coronavirus-related deaths, 156 additional infections. The new confirmed and probable infection count by island includes 96 new cases on Oahu, 22 on Maui, 17 on Hawaii Island, seven on Kauai, and 14 Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state. Star-Advertiser.


Attorney General OKs Honolulu’s Process To Designate Important Ag Lands. The state attorney general’s office has ruled that Honolulu officials complied with state law in proposing to designate nearly one-eighth of Oahu as “important agricultural land,” tossing the final decision back to the Hawaii Land Use Commission. Civil Beat.

Plans to dramatically expand West Oahu, Downtown hospitals advance at City Council. The City Council’s Coning Committee on Thursday voted to advance plans to expand Queen’s Medical Center West Oahu and Straub Medical Center’s Downtown campus. Hawaii News Now.

Temporary fix planned for Honolulu rail’s too-narrow wheels
. The current long-range plan is for the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation and contractor Hitachi Rail Honolulu to retrofit each car with wider wheels, which could take a year to manufacture, ship to Honolulu and install because of a global supply issue. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Officers In Two Fatal Shootings Did Not Break The Law, Board Says. The Hawaii Law Enforcement Officer Independent Review Board ruled that the shootings of Kyle Thomas and Siatuu Tauai were justified. Civil Beat.

Hawaii’s Congressional Delegation Stops Short Of Demanding Closure Of Red Hill Fuel Facility. As the Hawaii Department of Health weighs whether to grant the U.S. Navy a permit for its Red Hill fuel facility, some community members are demanding the facility’s closure. Civil Beat.

Miske Attorneys Ask For Trial To Be Delayed Another Six Months. Attorneys representing Michael Miske, the former Honolulu businessman alleged to have controlled a sprawling racketeering conspiracy that prosecutors say extended over two decades, have asked for his trial to be extended for another six months, to September 2022. Civil Beat.

City to discuss bike lanes, other ‘complete streets’ plans for Kalihi thoroughfares. The city will host a virtual meeting Tuesday to discuss a “complete streets” initiative for Kalihi. At the meeting, a city team will discuss plans for North King, North School, Middle, and Houghtailing streets and Waiakamilo Road. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu police target gambling in residential areas. Honolulu police Wednesday shut down an illegal game room near a school in Manoa, seizing a firearm, drugs and cash in the latest example of gambling operations disrupting the routines of residential neighborhoods. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Council seeks Sunshine Law changes. All nine members of the County Council on Wednesday embraced a resolution seeking changes to the state Sunshine Law, even though most of the details remain unclear. West Hawaii Today.

State Board to Rule on Whether UH Missed Deadline to Break Ground on TMT. The Board of Land and Natural Resources entered orders today indicating it will rule on a petition for declaratory orders from parties from the 2016-17 Thirty-Meter Telescope permit contested case. Maui Now.

Funds released to improve Waimea charter school. Construction of electrical and telecommunication system upgrades are set to begin at Waimea Middle Public Conversion Charter School following the release Monday of $1.2 million in Capital Improvement Project funds by Gov. David Ige. Tribune-Herald.

1,363 Acres In Kaʻū Acquired For Preservation. The County and State of Hawaiʻi, in partnership with various other non-profit associations, announced the voluntary sale, acquisition, and protection of 1,363 acres in Kaʻū known as Kaunāmano. Big Island Video News. Big Island Now.

Hotel occupancy down in September after governor’s request to not travel. Hotel occupancy down in September after governor’s request to not travel. West Hawaii Today.


West Maui group settles with renewable energy company. Agreement includes about $1.3 million for organizations, plans for hiring local. A West Maui Preservation Association settlement with a Canadian-based renewable energy company will net around $1.3 million in “community benefit” funds for West Maui. Maui News.

Hale Makua Submits Grant Application to Address Challenges with Aging Population. Hale Makua has submitted a Build Back Better Regional Challenge grant application to the US Department of Commerce. This is a federal grant opportunity as part of the country’s economic recovery from COVID-19. Maui Now.

Renters left scrambling as more homeowners take advantage of hot market. Maui County’s median sales price hit $998,000 last month. That’s a 25% increase from the previous year. Hawaii News Now.

Maui Hotels’ Average Daily Rate at $488, Up 54% from Pre-Pandemic September 2019. Despite lower occupancy, Maui County hotels earned $289 per available room in September 2021, which is 25.2% higher than pre-pandemic revenue in September 2019, according to the latest Hawaiʻi Hotel Performance Report from the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority. Maui Now.


Driver license, registration fees may rise.
Three bills were passed by the Kaua‘i County Council this week, two of which will increase fees for drivers on Kaua‘i and one of which will fund an upcoming special election. Garden Island.

County considering acquiring land. Signs indicating access being closed to the sole trail down to Hideaways Beach on Kenomene Bay have been in place since April, and now an easement to get down to the water is currently being reviewed for possible county acquisition and maintenance. Garden Island.

County has state’s highest jobless rate. The county’s rate this September, 8.5%, was down 0.4% from August, more than halving last year’s September unemployment rate of 20.4%. Garden Island.

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Coronavirus vaccinations for children, union complaints from teachers, health-care and hotel workers, Honolulu, Kauai advance hotel tax, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Photo by Kristine Wook on Unsplash
PC:Kristine Wook on Unsplash

Elementary age kids in Hawaii weeks away from being eligible for vaccine. Children between the ages of 5 and 11 are just weeks away from being eligible for the Pfizer vaccine. In Hawaii, 119,000 keiki fall into that age group. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Teachers union files complaint to force Hawaii officials to bargain over COVID-19 safety protocols.
The union representing Hawaii’s public school teachers has filed a complaint with the Hawaii Labor Relations Board in an effort to force state officials to engage in bargaining over COVID-19 safety protocols. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

‘Extremely Alarming’ Test Scores Show Challenges Ahead For Hawaii Schools. Hawaii’s public school students suffered dramatic drops in proficiency in core subjects in the nearly two years since the Covid-19 pandemic began, reflecting severe setbacks in academic progress ahead of the resumption of full in-person learning in August. Civil Beat.

Hawaiian language immersion students get distance learning option 2 months into the school year. The Department of Education is recruiting Hawaiian language speakers to help stand up the state’s first-ever Hawaiian Immersion Distance Learning Program. Hawaii Public Radio.

Proposal seeks to modify University of Hawaii tenure system
. The recommendations, crafted by a special committee of the board over seven months this year, gives deans and other administrators a say in the five-year review of tenured faculty members. It also reserves tenure for faculty who actively engage with students in the classroom and eliminates tenure tracks for support faculty and extension agents. Star-Advertiser.

Kaiser healthcare workers vote in favor of strike after failed contract negotiations. Following stalled contract negotiations, Kaiser Permanente Hawaii workers represented by Unite Here Local 5 voted in favor of striking. The union said 93% of healthcare workers, which included nearly 2,000 employees, voted to authorize a strike. Hawaii News Now.

As Hawaii welcomes visitors back, a battle brews between union and hotels. The union is accusing the hotels of violating their contract by not bringing back enough workers. KHON2.

Biden’s Spending Bill Could Be A ‘Game Changer’ For Housing in Hawaii.
The infrastructure bill that the U.S. Senate is debating has the potential to make a huge dent in Hawaii’s housing needs, according to affordable housing advocates who have analyzed the version of the measure that passed the U.S. House. Civil Beat.

Investigation of Hawaii Auditor Les Kondo focuses on forged document. A special state House committee’s investigation of state Auditor Les Kondo and his handling of two critical audits of state land management on Wednesday focused on why Kondo did not pursue a document forged by a Kauai land agent or further research whether a land lessee who lost nonprofit status was being charged rates below market value. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.

More than 1M Hawaii residents have completed COVID-19 vaccinations. This milestone has been reached as the number of daily coronavirus cases in Hawaii continues on a downward trend. The 7-day average of new cases is at 119, and the average positivity rate is at 1.7%. Star-Advertiser. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Now. Maui Now. KITV4.

Green favors no restrictions on outdoor gatherings for vaccinated. Lt. Gov. Josh Green said with current vaccination rates, there should be no restrictions on outdoor gatherings if events can confirm COVID-19 inoculations. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii sees 139 new coronavirus cases, bringing statewide total to 82,730. The new confirmed and probable infection count by island includes 71 new cases on Oahu, 20 on Maui, 32 on Hawaii Island, 10 on Kauai, one on Molokai and five Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state. Star-Advertiser.


Legislative proposal carrying a city hotel tax advances.
A measure that would implement a city hotel tax, with a portion of revenue slated to flow to rail transit, advanced during a City Council committee meeting Wednesday. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

More restrictions loosen up on Oahu. Managed indoor events can resume on Oct. 20 at 50% capacity or a maximum of 500 attendees, or whichever is smaller. KITV4.

Legal Opinion Affecting 1,800 Oahu Landowners Is Secret For Now. The Land Use Commission on Thursday will discuss in private a Hawaii Attorney General’s analysis on Important Agricultural Lands. Civil Beat.

Key City Council committee advances funding for expanded lifeguard hours. A key City Council committee approved a plan Wednesday to provide more than $500,000 for the city’s dawn to dusk lifeguard hours. The city needs Council approval to transfer money it saved from vacant positions to hire 15 Ocean Safety contract workers. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Red Hill Decision Delayed For Probe Of Navy’s Alleged Lack of Disclosure. The Hawaii Department of Health is delaying a decision on the U.S. Navy’s Red Hill fuel facility permit application as health officials investigate allegations that the Navy failed to disclose the full extent of its fuel pipeline network and the facility’s “corrosion history.”  Civil Beat.

Hawaii Island

Council eyes state support for wastewater issues. A resolution discussed at Wednesday’s council meeting would urge the state legislature to set funding for wastewater management projects around the state as one of its legislative goals next year. Tribune-Herald.


Final Community Budget Meeting for FY 2023 Set for Thursday, Oct. 21. The final Community Budget Meeting for Fiscal Year 2023, hosted by Mayor Michael Victorino and his administration, will be held on Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021, starting at 5:30 p.m. Maui Now.

Hawai‘i Senators Visit Mahi Pono on Maui, Explore Strategies to Stabilize Economy. The Senate Committee on Ways and Means conducted a site visit today of Mahi Pono’s farming operations in Central Maui. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now.

Planning and Possibly Police the Focus of Next Maui Charter Commission Meeting. The Maui Charter Commission will hear testimony and discuss Theme G – Planning and, if time allows, Theme H – Police, at its next meeting on Thursday, Oct. 21 at 9 am. Maui Now.

Maui Police Plan New ‘Citizen’s Academy’
. The department’s community relations section has plans to set up a Citizen’s Academy starting in January that gives people ages 18-years and older a window into the life of a police cadet. Civil Beat.


Kaua‘i setting aside TAT funds for vehicles, wages.
A bill that would appropriate $9 million in county Transient Accommodation Tax revenues passed first reading at the meeting of the Kaua‘i County Council yesterday. Garden Island.

Kaua‘i Target opens early in Lihu‘e. The newest Target, its eighth in Hawai‘i since 2009, will be open seven days a week. Garden Island.

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Hawaii welcomes all vaccinated domestic travelers back to the state, Oahu tackles general plan, Hawaii council favors hotel tax hike, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Gov. David Ige

Gov. David Ige ready to welcome fully vaccinated domestic travelers back to Hawaii Nov. 1. Ige's announcement comes nearly two months after he asked travelers to avoid Hawaiʻi because case counts were surging with the spread of the highly transmissible Delta variant. Star-Advertiser. Associated Press. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News. Big Island Now. Maui Now.  Hawaii News Now. KHON2. KITV4. Civil Beat.

Hawaii sees 80 new coronavirus cases, bringing statewide total to 82,591. The new confirmed and probable infection count by island includes 42 new cases on Oahu, 14 on Maui, six on Hawaii island, two on Kauai and 16 Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state. Star-Advertiser.


Nearly 90% of Honolulu city workers are partially vaccinated. Almost 90% of city workers have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to an update on compliance with Honolulu Hale’s mandate requiring all employees to be vaccinated, unless granted a medical or religious exemption. Star-Advertiser. KITV4.

Honolulu City Council seeks public input for the Oʻahu General Plan. The Honolulu City Council is encouraging residents to provide input for what the city should focus on in the coming years. Resolution 21-23 outlines the Oʻahu General Plan, a document providing an updated focus on the quality of life of residents and supporting strong communities. Hawaii Public Radio.

Police commission pledges plenty of sunshine in process for picking new HPD chief.
It has been six months since Susan Ballard announced that she was retiring as Honolulu’s police chief. And the Honolulu Police Commission is still struggling to name her replacement. Hawaii News Now.

Lawmakers seek answers about Navy’s handling of Pearl Harbor fuel leak. A dozen state lawmakers are asking a top U.S. Navy official to support an independent investigation into whether people under his command sought to hide details about a fuel leak into the waters of Pearl Harbor from state health officials and the public out of concern it could jeopardize the Navy’s permit to continue operating its Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

TMT foes march to University of Hawaii president’s home.
Dozens of opponents to the Thirty Meter Telescope project on Mauna Kea walked by the University of Hawaii president’s Palolo residence in a display against the telescope project. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu shifting to victim-focused domestic violence prosecutions.
A 30-year-old policy that prevented Honolulu prosecutors from dropping domestic violence prosecutions no matter what a victim said is over, and law enforcement will partner with a local nonprofit to help ensure survivor safety. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Favorable reception for new TAT tax. Most — if not all — County Council members support tacking an extra 3% tax on hotel, timeshare and transient vacation rental charges, but a bill to do that was postponed two weeks by the Finance Committee on Tuesday to work out more of the details. West Hawaii Today.

County: ‘Love Island’ got a free pass. Doug Adams, the county’s research and development director, said the Big Island Film Office, which is managed by Research and Development, did not do proper diligence in connecting the “Love Island” production with various county agencies that would have required permits. Tribune-Herald.

Council roasts bad-faith coffee producers. A resolution presented to the County Council Committee on Governmental Operations, Relations and Economic Development on Tuesday urges the state legislature to pursue new laws that would require coffee blends to be at least 51% Hawaii-grown in order to use Hawaii geographic names on their labels. Tribune-Herald.

Council chair criticizes speakers for promoting ‘dangerous views’ about COVID. Honolulu City Council Chair Tommy Waters blasted several speakers Tuesday for promoting what he called “dangerous views” about COVID treatments. The speakers were invited to Honolulu Hale by Councilmember Andria Tupola, who opposes the city’s vaccine mandate. Hawaii News Now.


New Rules Announced for Maui Parks Concessions. New rules for parks concessions have been finalized and certified, the Department of Parks and Recreation announced today. Maui Now.

In a first, president of Maui water company says he’s willing to work with kalo farmers. After a decades-long battle over water on Maui, the president of Wailuku Water Company says he is willing to work with kalo (taro) farmers for better solutions moving forward. Avery Chumbley admitted to avoiding collaboration in the past because he said the farmers were too confrontational. Hawaii News Now.


Council to vote today on fast-track housing.
Members of the Kaua‘i County Council will consider a resolution today that would implement a fast-track permitting process for workforce-housing development, a step that is hoped will help to address the housing crisis on the island. Garden Island.

Rare birds breeding in restored wetlands. Endangered waterbirds are flocking to the island’s South Shore, following ongoing wetlands-restoration efforts at Makauwahi Cave Reserve. Garden Island.

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Search for state schools superintendent stalls, 10-year-old handcuffed, arrested in school tiff, Sunshine Law changes surface, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii Department of Education
Acting Superintendent Keith Hayashi PC: DOE

Hawaii’s Search For A New School Chief Will Take Longer Than Expected. The state Board of Education plans to use local grant money to hire the National Association of State Boards of Education to help facilitate the search. Civil Beat.

Sinking test scores show pandemic impact on Hawaii students.
Learning across public schools in Hawaii plummeted during the pandemic. New test scores and screenings show huge losses in math and reading. KHON2.

OHA Has Lots Of Job Openings Amid A Controversial Restructuring. Meanwhile, some staffers have criticized a reorganization they say contributed to departures from the office. Civil Beat.

Trick-or-treating gets a green light this year as COVID-19 cases fall. Outdoor trick-or-treating has been greenlighted by federal and state health officials this year, a sign that life is starting to get back to normal after soaring COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations this summer spurred heightened restrictions. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.

A Key Part Of Hawaii’s Nursing Workforce Is Shrinking Fast.
Even before the pandemic, licensed practical nurses, who do much of the work at long-term care facilities, were calling it quits. Civil Beat.

Hawaii reports 4 new coronavirus-related deaths, 117 additional infections. The new confirmed and probable infection count by island includes 54 new cases on Oahu, 29 on Hawaii Island, 13 each on Maui and Kauai, and eight Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state. Star-Advertiser.


ACLU urges reform after girl, 10, arrested at Waipahu school.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii and a Honolulu attorney are calling for $500,000 in damages and new state policies managing how police and public school employees handle situations with students after the mother of a 10-year-old Black girl living with disabilities alleged officers used “excessive force” to handcuff, interrogate and arrest her daughter following a complaint from another parent. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

HPD faces new pressure to restrict powers of commander accused of harassment, retaliation.
Major Stephen Gerona is the subject of multiple officer complaints for alleged harassment, sexual harassment, retaliation and for creating a hostile work environment. Hawaii News Now.

Investigation Recovers $97K in Back Wages for 137 Restaurant Workers. GU Industrial & Business Corp. has operated Golden Coin restaurants and bake shops offering Filipino specialties and other food products since 1985. Based in Waipahu – home to the company’s headquarters, a banquet facility, and meat and poultry processing and bakery facilities – GU Industrial & Business Corp operates Golden Coin locations in ʻEwa Beach, Honolulu, Kalihi, Wahiawa and Wailuku. Maui Now.

Hundreds of burned cars removed from illegal junkyard on state farmland. It took several years to illegally stockpile an estimated 1,000 junked cars on state farm land in Poamoho. But it took about a week for private company working with the state to haul away the burned out vehicles. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

A ‘common sense’ Halloween: Mayor says no county-specific rules on tap for Oct. 31. Mayor Mitch Roth said Monday that he will not issue any county-specific rules for Halloween, instead encouraging families to simply “use common sense” to avoid spreading COVID-19. Tribune-Herald.

Sunshine Law changes in the works. There’s little detail, but County Council members will be asked Wednesday to approve a resolution asking the county to support changes to the Sunshine Law, the state law governing public meetings and public notice to the meetings. West Hawaii Today.

$58.7M customs facility complete at Kona International Airport.
Construction of a permanent Federal Inspection Services facility to allow for continued international arrivals beyond this year at Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keahole has been completed under budget and ahead of schedule. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaiian Electric to usher in more renewable energy options. On Friday, Hawaiian Electric filed a request for proposal to acquire new renewable energy projects, beginning the third phase of a greater renewable energy procurement project that will, when completed, generate up to 203 megawatts of clean power on the Big Island. Tribune-Herald.

Kona restaurant gets red placard for roach infestation. A Kailua-Kona restaurant was ordered to close after an inspector found roaches infesting the kitchen and food areas, evidence of active rodent infestation and other hazards, the state Department of Health said Monday. A red placard was issued to Kamana Indian Cuisine Restaurant in the Waterfront Row Shopping Center. Star-Advertiser. West Hawaii Today.  Big Island Now. Hawaii News Now.


Maui Mayor Victorino says he learned of COVID-19 exposure via social media. Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino tested negative for COVID-19 last weekend after meeting days earlier with three unvaccinated county residents, two of whom came down with the virus, his office said today. Star-Advertiser. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now.

Plans stall for Hawaii’s first eco-friendly cemetery on Maui.
A setback in an effort to create Hawaii’s first eco-friendly cemetery isn’t stopping Reverend Bodhi Be. Hawaii News Now.

Maui County Small Farmers Can Apply for Grants Up to $25,000.
The $1.5 million Maui County-funded program is open to operating farms on less than 12 acres possessing a county business or state general excise license as of July 1, 2021, with preference given to women and Native Hawaiian farmers. Maui Now.


Kauai’s Special Election For Prosecutor Gets A Second Candidate. Shaylene Iseri filed nomination papers this week to campaign in a special election for county prosecutor, a seat vacated last month by Justin Kollar who had held the job for nearly a decade. Civil Beat.

County seeks nonprofit to manage North Shore Watershed Flood Mitigation sub-grants. The county is seeking a nonprofit organization to manage the distribution of over $7 million in sub-grants in funding that’s a result of the historic 2018 April floods. Garden Island.