Monday, October 25, 2021

Renovations to close Diamond Head, $160M state psychiatric hospital sits idle, Honolulu mulls banning commercial activities at beach parks, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Diamond Head hike pre-COVID ©2021 All Hawaii News

Diamond Head demolition project to close state monument. Diamond Head State Monument will be closed on Oct. 28 and 29, and then again from November 1-5. The historic fire control station will be closed November   6-19, and possibly longer depending on construction progress. KITV4.

Hawaii Rep. Sylvia Luke Plans To Run For Lieutenant Governor. The powerful House Finance chair joins a growing field of Democrats seeking the state’s No. 2 job in 2022. Civil Beat.

Hawaii State Hospital’s new $160 million psychiatric facility sits empty. The new facility took years to develop, but five months after state officials opened the building to media tours, it remains empty as DOH continues to develop policies to govern its operations and struggles to fill staff positions. Star-Advertiser.

State calling on landlords to help solve the homeless crisis. State officials say negative stereotypes and fear of the unknown are holding back many landlords from participating in subsidized housing programs. That, in turn, is perpetuating homelessness. KITV4.

Department of Public Safety officials grappling with inmate overcrowding amid the coronavirus pandemic are trying something new — retrofitted shipping containers. According to the latest population reports from the Department of Public Safety, the state has 440 more inmates in its custody than its facilities were designed to hold. Hawaii Public Radio.

Shipping containers purchased by state to house inmates in quarantine sit idle.
The state has spent more than $1.3 million in CARES Act funds to buy shipping containers that would have been used to house inmates in quarantine. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii records 3 new coronavirus-related deaths, 163 additional infections. The new confirmed and probable infection count by island includes 93 new cases on Oahu, 40 on Hawaii Island, eight on Maui, 12 on Kauai and 10 Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

Majority of Honolulu's ARPA funds will go towards economic recovery for underserved communities. The City and County of Honolulu will distribute nearly $400 million to Oʻahu communities through the American Rescue Plan Act. About $156 million — the largest portion — will go to support economic recovery. This includes expanding affordable housing and providing support to the agriculture industry. Hawaii Public Radio.

City Council looks at banning commercial activities in city beach parks. Bill 34, introduced by Council member Heidi Tsuneyoshi, would ban commercial activities, with the exception of professional filming, from Sunset Point to Kaiaka Point. Star-Advertiser.

Most Honolulu first responder COVID vaccine exemption requests cite religion. The department had received 948 exemption requests by Oct. 18, 76% of the time for religious beliefs. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

Supply of at-home COVID test kits replenished for Oahu residents.
The Honolulu Fire Department, which has played a key roll in testing across Oahu, has received their latest supply of at-home COVID tests. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu Community Services Gets Second New Director Within Four Weeks. Anton Krucky, the former CEO of a biotechnology company, is now in charge of the city department that administers housing vouchers. Civil Beat.

Proposed Reapportionment Plans For Oahu Could Mean Painful Political Fallout. One longtime lawmaker describes the new district maps as a ‘gerrymander,’ and incumbents plan to lobby for changes. Civil Beat.

The Next Community To Host Oahu’s Landfill Can Learn From The Westside. As the city searches for a new site, the Westside offers lessons on how a place can turn into the island’s perceived ‘dumping ground.’ Civil Beat.

Solar farm planned amid cultural and historic sites including WWII Ewa battlefield
. A Canadian renewable-­energy company plans to develop a solar farm in the vicinity of Ewa Field, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, and two proposed historic districts connected with Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor nearly 80 years ago. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

$1M FEMA grant for Mana Road fire. Hawaii County is receiving $1 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help pay for battling the largest wildfire in island history, but whether the volunteers who threw themselves into the fight will get their costs reimbursed remains to be seen. West Hawaii Today.

Homeless project gets go-ahead.
A homeless emergency shelter and housing project in Kailua-Kona took an incremental step forward Friday, with unanimous approval by the state Board of Land and Natural Resources for a ground lease and right of entry for Hawaii County. West Hawaii Today.

County seeks public input on Puna water restoration projects. Puna residents are being asked to submit feedback about a range of water restoration projects Hawaii County could pursue using federal funds. Tribune-Herald.

New Kahalu‘u Bay Surf School Rules Approved. The Hawaiʻi Board of Land and Natural Resources voted Friday to implement the amended rules limiting and regulating commercial activity in ocean waters at Kahalu‘u. Big Island Video News.

Maui

NASA Awards $15M for Asteroid Hunting Telescopes on Maui
. The University of Hawaiʻi Institute for Astronomy's IfA’s Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS) atop Haleakalā currently finds nearly as many NEOs and PHAs as the rest of the world’s observatories combined, and nearly 60% of the largest and most dangerous ones with sizes greater than 140 meters across. Maui Now.

Online Public Hearing Set for Proposed Rules for Ukumehame Firing Range. The County of Maui Department of Parks and Recreation has scheduled an online public hearing on Wed, Nov. 10, 2021 at 5:30 p.m. to discuss the proposed adoption of an amendment to the rules to require firearms to be registered. Maui Now.

Foodland Announces Vaccine Mandate. At least one Maui retail giant is serious about complying with proposed federal mandates that companies with more than 100 employees must meet mandatory COVID-19 vaccination requirements. Maui Now.

Kauai

Controversial Former Kauai Prosecutor Wants Her Old Job Back.
Supporters say Shaylene Iseri is a tenacious lawyer ready for a comeback, but there are people who question her ability to manage staff. Civil Beat.

Namolokama Canoe Club hale’s future still to be determined. County officials and residents have been assured the Black Pot Beach Park Master Plan is not set in stone, after the Namolokama Canoe Club raised objection to the potential demolition of the old Hanalei Canoe Club buildings near the park. Garden Island.


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