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

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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.

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