Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Honolulu looks to hotel tax to prop up rail budget, Kilauea threat level lowered, state seeks to hold on to FEMA nurses, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy HART
Honolulu rail station PC:HART

How to shore up rail project’s budget? HART wants visitors to foot some of the bill. Should tourists help fund the rail project? The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation is among those exploring the idea, which would use hotel room tax revenues to help shore up the budget for the embattled project. Hawaii News Now.

HART officials have no answers for Oahu rail’s door, wheel, track problems. Rail officials continue to search for a solution for too-thin wheels on too-wide track but have yet to receive interest on a contract offer that had a Sept. 24 deadline for bids to fix the problem. Star-Advertiser.

Former MMA star, Hilo native BJ Penn announces run for governor of Hawaii.
BJ Penn, a native of Hilo, announced his run for Hawaii governor Monday on Instagram. He says he plans to remove all new federal and state COVID-19 mandates that have "been hurting our economy, residents, and ohana." KITV4.

Air Force might look at Hawaii for updated radar aircraft. Hawaii didn’t get 18 Navy P-8 Poseidon maritime aircraft a number of years ago as planned, but it would be a great location for another 737 derivative, the E-7 Wedgetail airborne early warning and control platform, according to one missile defense expert. Star-Advertiser.

Commission Moves DHHL Legislative Proposals Forward. The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands has prepared legislative proposals to be recommended for inclusion in the Governor’s next legislative package following a solicitation for public input. Maui Now.

Hundreds of Hawaii parents on waitlists for afterschool child care services. At least 2,600 children in critical need of afterschool care are currently on A+ Afterschool program waitlists across the state due to severe staffing shortages. KITV4.

Green Calls For Quicker End To Hawaii Covid-19 Restrictions. Vaccinated residents would be allowed to attend events so long as they wear masks under a new policy being proposed by the lieutenant governor. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser. Tribune-Herald.

As mainland relief nurses near the end of their contracts, experts warn some hospitals are still very full. Over the next two weeks, contracts will expire for 247 traveling nurses and respiratory therapists deployed to Hawaii over the summer. Now negotiations are underway to keep many of those mainland healthcare workers on island ― at least a little while longer. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

State defends its decision to release fewer details daily on COVID fatalities.
Some Hawaii public health researchers are decrying the state’s decision to release less information daily about COVID fatalities in Hawaii, citing staffing issues. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii records 3 new coronavirus-related deaths, 195 additional infections. The new confirmed and probable infection count by island includes 118 new cases on Oahu, 16 on Maui, 40 on Hawaii Island, 14 on Kauai and seven Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

Puana’s attorney files motion to restrict use of select language during upcoming trial. Katherine Kealoha’s brother is getting ready for his drug trial, and wants to control the language used by prosecutors. Dr. Rudy Puana’s attorney filed a motion Monday asking a judge to forbid the terms “opioid crisis” and “opioid epidemic” from being used during the trial because it could taint his client. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu To Pay $10 Million To Family Of Man Killed By Driver Fleeing Police. Three people died, and four others were injured, in the 2019 crash. The driver is now in prison. Civil Beat. KHON2.

Attorney blames police officer’s grudge for Makaha crash that left 6 injured. An attorney is blaming a long-running grudge by an HPD officer for the Makaha crash that seriously injured six people last month. Hawaii News Now.

Supply shortage limits availability of at-home COVID test kits. Supply issues prompted the Honolulu Fire Department to announce there will be no at-home COVID test kits available until next week. Hawaii News Now. Star-Advertiser. KHON2. KITV4.

Bikeshare firm poised to survive but faces challenges.
Bikeshare Hawaii Executive Director Todd Boulanger said Monday that Biki’s survival is no longer threatened, thanks to a bump in ridership over the summer. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Hawaiian Volcano Observatory lowers Kilauea alert level as eruption expected to stay within crater. The eruption, which started Wednesday, has been confined to Halemaumau Crater within Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, and HVO officials said there’s no indication of any activity migrating elsewhere on the volcano. Star-Advertiser. Tribune-Herald. West Hawaii Today. Big Island Video News. Big Island Now.

The University of Hawaii is hosting what it calls a “virtual public forum” in which the public can ask questions via email about UH’s draft Maunakea Master Plan. The event will be livestreamed between 5-7 p.m. Wednesday on UH’s YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/user/uhmagazine. Tribune-Herald.

Solar farms: Public invited to weigh in on two large West Hawaii projects.
Two large solar farms could come to the West Hawaii coast, thanks to projects contemplated by the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands. West Hawaii Today.

Police, county and state crews clear homeless campsite in Kona.
Seven Hawaii Police Department Community Policing officers along with six state and county roads division employees spent Friday morning clearing a homeless camp site on Kuakini Highway in Kailua-Kona. The camp, located across from Coconut Grove Marketplace in Historic Kailua Village, had been occupied for just two weeks by a 55-year-old man who suffers from bipolar disorder and Tourette’s syndrome. West Hawaii Today.

No response yet to Olson Trust lawsuit. There has been no public response yet to a lawsuit by the Edmund C. Olson Trust against a developer who sought to redevelop two properties on Banyan Drive in Hilo. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Applications Sought for Molokaʻi, Lānaʻi and E. Maui Conservation Planning Committee. Each appointee to the Molokaʻi, Lānaʻi and East Maui seats must be full-time residents of the community plan area. Full-time residents are defined as one who resides in their residency area for at least 90 consecutive days. Maui Now.

Demand slows for Maui rental cars after earlier shortage. Demand for rental cars on Maui is slowing down after a shortage of vehicles sent prices soaring when more tourists returned amid the pandemic. Maui News. Associated Press.

Kauai

Kauaʻi voters will go to the polls to elect a new prosecuting attorney.
A special primary election will be held on Dec. 18. If there are two or more candidates, the top two vote-getters will advance to a special general election on Feb. 26. Hawaii Public Radio.
 
Kauai’s First Prosecutor Candidate Files For Special Election. Rebecca Like describes herself as a reform-minded candidate who would work to continue former prosecutor Justin Kollar’s legacy. Civil Beat.

Recycling rules often go unheeded, surveyors say. Residents are confused, skeptical and critical of dirty recycling facilities, according to Zero Waste Kaua‘i. Garden Island.

$4.9 million in CIP funds released for Kaua‘i. Nearly $5 million in funding was released for capital improvement projects across Kaua’i in recent months, the majority of which was dedicated to upgrading and renovating sports facilities on the island, the Office of Gov. David Ige announced last month. Garden Island.

Travelers arrested on Kauaʻi for fake COVID test results. Local authorities arrested two people from California for submitting fake COVID-19 test results to avoid a mandatory traveler quarantine meant to curb the virus' spread in Hawaiʻi. Associated Press.
 
Molokai

Who Is Killing The Monk Seals On Molokai? At least two of the six endangered seals found dead on Molokai so far this year were killed by humans. Civil Beat.

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