Thursday, October 14, 2021

Higa pleads guilty to embezzling CARES, AmeriCorps funds, UH resuming on-campus education, Kauai dissolves COVID tier system, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Higa pleads guilty in federal court to embezzling, bribery. Former Hawaii County Council Chairman Stacy Higa admitted in federal court Wednesday to embezzling money from two federal programs and using some of it for cosmetic dental surgery and to help fund his 2020 campaign for mayor. West Hawaii Today. Star-Advertiser. Big Island Now. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Hawaii Is Losing More Teachers Than Ever Amid Pandemic Fatigue. Hawaii had 25% more public school teachers retire or resign during the 2020-21 academic year compared with the previous year, a sign that pandemic-related fatigue could be driving educators away from the job. Civil Beat.

Lassner to UH faculty, staff, students: Prepare to be on campus next spring. University of Hawaii President David Lassner on Monday sent a memo to all UH faculty and staff, telling department chairs and faculty to “carefully review your spring 2022 schedules and make adjustments to the mode of instruction to provide our students across the UH system with the on-campus educational experience they need and expect.” Tribune-Herald.

UH employees will be subject to stricter vaccine mandate than other state workers. A strict new vaccination mandate for all University of Hawaii employees is getting pushback by the faculty union, whose leadership says they weren’t fully consulted. Hawaii News Now.

Pandemic fuels spike in childhood obesity in Hawaii. Nearly one in six children between the ages of 10 and 17 are obese in Hawaii, marking a significant increase from four years ago and fueling concerns about the impact that COVID-19 restrictions and school closures have had on the health of the state’s youth. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii flu-pneumonia report includes ‘hundreds’ of COVID-19 fatalities. The state Department of Health said Wednesday that “hundreds” of the more than 850 deaths counted in its influenza and respiratory disease surveillance report for the just-ended 2020-2021 flu season were casualties of COVID-19. A Page 1 headline on a Monday Honolulu Star-Advertiser article about the influenza season incorrectly stated the flu was deadlier than COVID-19. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii records 6 new coronavirus-related deaths, 127 additional infections. The new confirmed and probable infection count by island includes 68 new cases on Oahu, 11 on Maui, 29 on Hawaii Island, five on Kauai and 14 Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi optimistic about large events by the end of the year. Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi said with COVID-19 case counts now trending downward, and vaccination rates edging upward, more pandemic-related restrictions could be lifted in coming months. Star-Advertiser.

HART Says It Didn’t Get A Key Report On Track Woes. The Contractor Says Otherwise. The much-anticipated analysis will shed light on a major problem that must be fixed before interim rail service can start. Civil Beat.

HPD Reviewing New Bodycam Policy After Judge’s Ruling. A judge recently ordered the release of all body-worn camera footage in the Iremamber Sykap case, saying an open investigation doesn’t justify keeping it from the public. Civil Beat.

Fourth hotel for Kapolei will cost up to about $70 million to build. The hotel business is booming in Kapolei, so much so that a developer plans to add a fourth hotel in the community — just steps away from two others. Star-Advertiser.

City program disrupting homeless outreach services. Police have cleared out many homeless people from the River Street area. But outreach workers providing medical and social services said they're having trouble finding many of their clients again once they're moved. KITV4.

New youth program seeks to inspire kids through culture, health. When canoe races were canceled this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Hui Nalu O Hawaii Canoe Club decided to pivot its popular summer youth paddling program to one that weaved in more cultural practices and hands-on learning. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island


Pele’s show continues. Kilauea volcano has erupted more than 4.2 billion gallons of lava since its current summit eruption began Sept. 29. West Hawaii Today. Big Island Video News. Big Island Now. Hawaii News Now.

Improvements ongoing at two Hilo schools. As students enjoy fall break, construction crews are working to create new parking areas at two Hilo schools to address traffic concerns on Puainako Street. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Maui County to ease restrictions, gathering limits, starting this weekend. Gov. David Ige reviewed and approved the new set of emergency rules for Maui County which increases social gatherings of up to 10 people indoors, and 25 people outdoors. Star-Advertiser. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now.

800-unit housing development in West Maui moves forward. Pulelehua gets approval for site plan, which includes market-rate, affordable units. Pointing to the incredible need for affordable, long-term housing solutions for local families, the Maui Planning Commission voted unanimously for the development of a West Maui housing and commercial project. Maui News.

Doctors On Call Able to Deploy Mobile Testing Teams to Meet Hospitality Needs. The company created Mobile Testing Teams that are deployed when a group arrives for checks in. Maui Now.

Kauai

Ige approves Emergency Rule No. 27; Tier system dissolved. Most COVID-19 regulations, including masking requirements, travel regulations and limits on gathering size, will remain in place. Garden Island.

Westside residents consider WKEP impact on waterways. The West Kaua‘i Energy Project encompasses an approximately 350-acre solar farm on the Mana Plain, hydro-powered energy storage and generation, and rehabilitated reservoirs, irrigation systems and roads throughout the island’s West Side. Garden Island.

State, landowner meet to safeguard shearwaters. State officials recently met with property owners in Po‘ipu to discuss protection of a wedge-tailed shearwater colony ravaged by feral-cat predation. Garden Island.

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