Monday, November 8, 2021

Masks could come off next year as vax rate increases, more enter crowded race for lieutenant governor, Honolulu grapples with tight rental market, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Lt. Gov. Josh Green visits homeless care center PC:Facebook

If infections stay low, Hawaii could drop mask mandate early in 2022, Green predicts.
Lt. Gov. Josh Green is making a big prediction: He says the state will likely drop rules requiring people to wear masks indoors early in the new year. As of Friday, 71.6% of Hawaii residents were fully vaccinated while the state’s infection infection rate stood at 1.7%. Hawaii News Now.

Keith Amemiya joins race for lieutenant governor.
Former Honolulu mayoral candidate Keith Amemiya is now running in the crowded Democratic field for lieutenant governor in 2022. Star-Advertiser.

Notable names among crowded candidate field eyeing Hawaii’s lieutenant governor’s race.
The race to be Hawaii’s next lieutenant governor is still a year away, but it’s already attracting a crowded field. Hawaii News Now.

Proposed Hawaii Tourism Authority board rule criticized as ‘gag order’. The Hawaii Tourism Authority is debating a new code of conduct that says if board members intend to publicly oppose a board action, they must resign before doing so. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii coffee farmers facing ‘greatest threat’ yet, but efforts underway to tackle devastating fungus.
While the local coffee industry has dealt with other pests, including the recent coffee berry borer, a small beetle that can reduce the yield and quality of beans, local experts say the rust fungus is the worst pest the industry faces now. Star-Advertiser.

Feds Say Hawaiian Hoary Bats Aren’t Endangered Despite Unresolved Questions
. Wind farm developers are funding millions of dollars of research that’s helping scientists better understand Hawaii’s imperiled bats. Civil Beat.

Amid COP26, Hawaiian Electric pledges to reduce carbon emissions by 70% come 2030. As world leaders meet in Scotland to discuss and pledge their efforts to curb greenhouse emissions, Hawaiian Electric says it's making a commitment to cut its carbon emissions by 70% come 2030 — compared with 2005 levels. Hawaii Public Radio.

Changes are coming to your flood insurance with new FEMA risk calculation methodology. The previous methodology, in place since the 1970s, looked only at a property’s elevation and location within flood zones on the Flood Insurance Rate Map. In Risk Rating 2.0, FEMA added such variables as flood frequency, flood types and distance to a water source, among others. Hawaii Public Radio.

Pro-Fishing Industry Council Members Often Stay In Power For Years. The same industry backers are reappointed to Wespac for term after term while people who lean toward conservation are soon replaced. Civil Beat.

Bankruptcies in Hawaii plunge 30.4% in October. Statewide bankruptcies continued their yearlong deep dive by tumbling 30.4% in October to their lowest total for that month in 15 years. Star-Advertiser.

Native Hawaiians Grapple With The Mental Toll Of The Delta Surge. The pandemic has been bad for mental health overall, exacerbating anxiety in particular. Civil Beat.

CVS begins administering children’s COVID vaccine in Hawaii. VS Health on Sunday began vaccinating children ages 5 to 11 against coronavirus. In Hawaii, 10 select locations are accepting reservations and administering the shots to kids with parent permission. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Hawaii records 12 new coronavirus-related deaths, 134 additional infections. The new confirmed and probable infection count by island includes 59 new cases on Oahu, 26 on Hawaii Island, 11 on Maui, 27 on Kauai and 11 Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

Prosecutors reviewing 7 shootings by Honolulu police officers. Honolulu prosecutors are reviewing evidence to determine whether criminal charges are warranted in seven police shootings over the last two years, six of which ended with officers killing a suspect. Star-Advertiser.

City council considering bill to crackdown on short-term rentals in Honolulu. A bill before the Honolulu City Council would increase restrictions on rental homes and step up enforcement. It's meant to crack down on illegal vacation rentals, but those currently following the rules say it would kill their income. KITV4.

Hawaii’s housing prices remain high; expert hopes proposed tax could help rental market. Oahu has a long-term vacancy rate of 5.3%. Honolulu City Council Chair Tommy Waters hopes Bill 76 in the city council to tax those vacant properties can help increase stock that is being lost. KHON2.

Oahu median home sales price dips to $1M in October. The median sale price for single-family homes dipped slightly in October to $1 million, down from $1.05 million in September and August, when the median price first hit the million-dollar mark. However, the year-over-year median price rose 15.6% from $865,000 in October 2020. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Sustainability fundraising raises questions. A move by Mayor Mitch Roth’s office to raise private donations to host conferences has caused some County Council members consternation about the appearance of “pay for play,” but the second event in the mayor’s series is scheduled later this month after council approval of the money. West Hawaii Today.

Whistle-blower complaint targets Na Leo managers. Na Leo community television executives are investigating a whistle-blower complaint filed by an employee charging a hostile work environment because three managers who had a business relationship with former CEO Stacy Higa continue working at the station. West Hawaii Today.

Big Island lawmakers on ‘gut and replace’.
State legislators representing the Big Island expressed mixed reactions to Hawaii Supreme Court’s ruling Thursday that “gut and replace” legislative tactics are a violation of the state Constitution. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Bill passes to create affordable housing waitlists. Council also OKs measure to require large homes of 5,000 square feet or more to be net zero energy. A bill that would create an affordable housing waitlist in hopes of trying to get more people into homes passed on second and final reading Friday. Maui News.

Details of 2019 Maui jail riot that caused $5.3 million in damage still being withheld
. Two and a half years after a riot at the Maui jail caused $5.3 million in damage, the Department of Public Safety still hasn’t released its investigation into the uprising, leaving the public largely in the dark as to what exactly happened that day and whether the agency has addressed the reasons it took 3-1/2 hours to contain the mayhem. Star-Advertiser.

DLNR: Woman Spearfishing Offshore of Lahaina Bit on Leg by Shark, Injuries Non-Life Threatening. A 27-year-old woman from Kauaʻi was spearfishing Sunday  morning when she reportedly was bit on her leg by a shark about 100 yards offshore of Lahaina on Maui, according to the Department of Land and Natural Resources. Maui Now. Garden Island. Hawaii News Now. KHON2. KITV4.

Kauai

Staffing ‘very tight’ for Kaua‘i Fire Department. With 15 current vacancies, the Kaua‘i Fire Department is making it through with a short staff. Garden Island.

Kaua‘i coffee growers pick to produce the perfect cup. Coffee harvest is in full swing across Kaua‘i, and operations on the island’s two most-visible orchards look worlds apart. Garden Island.

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