Friday, October 1, 2021

First humpback whale of the season spotted, crowds expected as Kilauea volcano puts on a show, officials mull biomass for state's only coal-fired plant , more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Humpback whale migration NOAA

First humpback whale of the season spotted off of Maui. Every winter, humpback whales travel nearly three thousand miles from the cold waters of Alaska to the warm breeding grounds of the Hawaiian Islands. This year, the first reported sighting is officially on the books. KITV4.

Hawaii working on plan to invite back visitors.
A lack of international visitors to Hawaii combined with a COVID-19 surge and Ige’s plea for travelers to avoid nonessential trips to the state contributed to a 22% drop in August visitor arrivals from pre-pandemic times. Star-Advertiser. Maui Now.

Corrections Commission Is Poised to Hire Staff After Two Years Of Delay.
More than two years after lawmakers created the Hawaii Correctional Systems Oversight Commission to act as an independent state watchdog, the commission has finally been cleared to hire a full-time coordinator to investigate conditions in state prisons and jails. Civil Beat.

Governor Says Hawaiʻi Prisons Don't Have the Capacity to Fully Implement COVID Protocols. Hawaiʻi Gov. David Ige talks about COVID-19 in prisons and jails, criticism from the tourism industry amid the Delta variant surge, and vaccinating our keiki. Hawaii Public Radio.

No rush in Hawaii for COVID booster shots as vaccination rates continue to climb. It’s been a week since federal agencies greenlighted booster shots for millions of Americans who were fully vaccinated against the coronavirus with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, and while there were initial concerns that demand could quickly outstrip supply, there are no signs locally of a mad rush to get the shots. Star-Advertiser.

‘These are not statistics’: Deadliest month of the pandemic in Hawaii comes to a close with 193 fatalities. From Sept. 1 through Thursday, the state reported 193 COVID fatalities. That means 1 in 4 COVID deaths in Hawaii since the pandemic’s start in March 2020 were reported this month. Hawaii News Now.

2 COVID outbreaks at workplaces on Oahu, Maui led to nearly 40 infections. As Hawaii reports COVID outbreaks at workplaces, the state Department of Health urged companies to offer paid sick days to employees who need to quarantine. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii records 12 new coronavirus-related deaths, 332 additional infections. The new confirmed and probable infection count by island includes 220 new cases on Oahu, 56 on Hawaii Island, 30 on Maui, 19 on Kauai, two on Molokai, and five Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state. Star-Advertiser.


Hawaiʻi's Only Coal-Fired Power Plant Should Consider Biomass Energy, Researchers Say. The head of the Hawaiʻi Natural Energy Institute told state lawmakers Wednesday that AES Hawaii, which operates the state’s only coal-fired power plant, should consider using biomass to produce energy. Hawaii Public Radio. Hawaii News Now.

Judge Orders Release Of All Body Camera Footage In Sykap Shooting Case.
A state judge has ordered the Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney’s office to release all the police body camera footage connected to the shooting death of 16-year-old Iremamber Sykap earlier this year. Civil Beat.

Proposed aquaculture farm sparks controversy
. A proposed fish farm off the shores of Ewa Beach is riling Hawaiian environmental activists. KITV4.

House speaker asks for limited number of fans for University of Hawaii game. House speaker asks for limited number of fans for University of Hawaii game. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu Man Mistakenly Locked Up In State Mental Hospital Had Been Correctly ID’d By Police Before. Newly obtained police reports reveal new details about the institutional failures that landed Joshua Spriestersbach in the Hawaii State Hospital for more than two years. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Island

Crowds expected at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park as Kilauea Volcano erupts again.
Thousands of visitors flocked to the park in the hours that followed the surfacing of lava and at the break of dawn Thursday to capture a glimpse of the glow within the volcano’s Halemaumau Crater. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

HVO scientist says Kilauea lava ‘effusion rate’ comparable to 2018 flows.
The latest eruption of Kilauea is producing almost as much lava as the 2018 eruption, although it is so far entirely confined to Halema‘uma‘u crater in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News. KHON2.

Plans unveiled to unsnarl traffic near two Hilo schools. State and county leaders have joined together to address congestion on Puainako Street caused as more families drop off and pick up students at nearby public schools. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News.


Tax bill will help longtime Maui families keep land.
The council is considering a bill that would help longtime local families who have owned property for generations from being taxed out of ownership. The “Aina Kupuna Lands” bill introduced by Committee Chairwoman Keani Rawlins-Fernandez will allow those who qualify to instead pay the minimum tax, which is currently $350 a year. Real property owners will also need to dedicate their land as “aina kupuna.” Maui News.

Testimony: New Maui Police Chief Should Come From Outside The Department. The Maui Police Commission plans to publicly interview the five finalists on Friday and take a vote on Tuesday. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.

Badge Pinning Ceremony Held for New Maui Fire Chief and Deputy Fire Chief. A badge-pinning ceremony was held Thursday at the Kahului Fire Station for Maui’s new Fire Chief Brad Ventura and Deputy Fire Chief Gavin Fujioka. Maui Now.


Clinics expand to meet demand for booster shots. To accommodate an increase in demand for COVID-19 vaccines, Wilcox Medical Center announced expanded COVID-19 vaccine clinic hours that took effect on Thursday when it offered shots from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in addition to its regular Wednesday vaccine clinic, and Thursday through Saturday mobile clinics that are a collaborative effort between Wilcox Health, County of Kaua‘i and the Hawai‘i Health Systems Corporation Kaua‘i Region. Garden Island.

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