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

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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.

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