Thursday, November 18, 2021

Honolulu rail deficit less than feared, Honolulu advances hotel tax, Hawaii County advances pesticide ban, Bezos gives $2.5M for Maui homeless project, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

PC:HART
Honolulu rail construction PC:HART

Honolulu rail deficit estimate cut to $1.97B. The projected $3.5 billion deficit for the city’s troubled rail project is far less than feared — $1.97 billion, rail officials said Wednesday. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.

Electric vehicles are all over Hawaii roads. So why aren’t there more charging stations? In the past year, there was a nearly 32% increase in the number of passenger electric vehicles in Hawaii, according to the state. But there’s a big disconnect when it comes to charging those vehicles up. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Pacific Health ranks second in nation for cost-efficiency. Hawaii Pacific Health ranks second in the country for cost-efficiency among health care systems, according to Lown Institute, a nonpartisan think tank that advocates for making health care more effective and affordable. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii records 8 new coronavirus-related deaths, 142 additional infections. The new confirmed and probable infection count by island includes 94 new cases on Oahu, 15 on Hawaii Island, 11 on Maui, 13 on Kauai and nine Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

City Council committee OK’s Oahu hotel tax proposal. A measure that would establish a 3% city hotel tax advanced to final reading during a Honolulu City Council Budget Committee meeting Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

Vacation Rental Bill Could Starve Windward Businesses That Cater To Tourists. Already suffering from Covid-19’s blow to tourism and the continuing shut-down of travel from Japan, small businesses in Kailua are bracing for the impact of a bill to crack down on illegal short-term rentals. Civil Beat.

Reasons behind Honolulu's building permit backlog. Building permit applications have been piling up on Oahu, adding to project wait time for thousands of residents. The Department of Planning and Permitting has been hit with high turnover and has an overall vacancy rate of 25%. KITV4.

Honolulu Fire Commission Restarts Search For Department Chief.
A new commissioner could deliver a tie-breaking vote sometime in 2022. Civil Beat.

HPD Says It Will Take A Fresh Look At Its Vehicle Pursuit Policy. Interim Chief Rade Vanic told the Honolulu Police Commission that the department will gather data on vehicle pursuits before deciding on any changes. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser.

State: Aloha Stadium redevelopment will provide nearly $1.5B economic boost. Construction to build a new Aloha Stadium ― which will begin in early 2023 ― is expected to add 12,660 construction jobs and more than $595 million in construction wages alone. Hawaii News Now.

No opioid epidemic talk at Honolulu ex-prosecutor’s brother’s trial. There will be no mention of the “opioid epidemic” at a trial against the pain physician brother of a former Hawaii prosecutor imprisoned in a corruption case that also took down her former police chief husband. Associated Press.

Oahu grand jury indicts adoptive parents in Isabella Kalua murder case. An Oahu grand jury on Wednesday indicted Lehua Kalua, 44, and Isaac “Sonny” Kalua III, 52, on charges of second-­degree murder, abuse and related charges in the death of their adopted daughter, Isabella “Ariel” Kalua. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii Public Radio. Hawaii News Now. KHON2. KITV4.

Hawaii Island

Herbicide ban advances.
A County Council panel on Wednesday advanced a measure to ban the use of glyphosate-based herbicides at county Parks and Recreation facilities. West Hawaii Today.

Nearly 100 apply for Phase 2 of buyout program for lava-inundated properties. As of the end of last week, 90 people had applied for the second phase of the county’s Voluntary Housing Buyout Program, said Disaster Recovery Officer Douglas Le at a Wednesday meeting of the County Council’s Government Operations, Relations and Economic Development Committee. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Bezos Day One Fund Gifts $2.5 Million to Family Life Center in Kahului
, Maui. Family Life Center, Inc., a nonprofit organization serving the homeless population on the islands of Maui, Molokaʻi and on Kauaʻi, has been selected to receive a $2.5 million grant from the Bezos Day One Families Fund—the largest grant in Family Life Center’s history. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now.

Kauai

Alakoko “Menehune” Fishpond saved
; Chan, Zuckerberg make $4 million donation. The 102-acre Alakoko “Menehune” Fishpond has successfully been purchased by nonprofits The Trust for Public Land and Malama Hule‘ia for cultural and environmental stewardship in perpetuity. Garden Island.

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