Monday, December 20, 2021

Health experts urge caution as daily COVID cases near 1k, massive filters begin cleaning Red Hill water, less golf, more timeshares for Waikoloa, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

NOAA
Kayakers get close to spinner dolphins off Hawaii PC:NOAA

Schatz Speaks Against Hawaiʻi Bay Closures Intended To Protect Dolphins. U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) says the federal rule will "needlessly restrict locals from ocean recreation" and are "unnecessary." Big Island Video News.

State’s pension fund on a roll with 2.1% gain. Hawaii’s largest public pension fund, coming off its best performance in its 95-year history, continued its momentum by starting the new fiscal year on a positive note. Star-Advertiser.

Local economists say recovery in 2022 remains uncertain due to the new Omicron variant. The state is showing signs of recovery after the Delta variant surge, says a new report from the University of Hawaiʻi's Economic Research Organization, or UHERO. Hawaii Public Radio.

Lawmakers: Are Actors In Hawaii Productions Paying Enough In Taxes? Hawaii’s top tax official is pushing to make sure actors appearing in movies and television shows produced in Hawaii pay their fair share of state taxes, and two key lawmakers have picked up the cause, setting the stage for an examination of Hawaii’s high-profile motion picture tax incentive during the 2022 legislative session. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Schools Are Buying Less Local Food During The Pandemic. Despite new legislation requiring public schools to serve student meals with more local ingredients, advocates say they are frustrated by a regression in local food initiatives. Civil Beat.

Study: Full-Face Snorkeling Masks May Increase Risk. Duke University researchers have found that many full-face snorkeling masks do not work as advertised and in some cases may increase the risk to snorkelers.  Civil Beat.

Hawaiʻi National Guard Joint Task Force to be reestablished as COVID-19 surges. Maj. Kenneth Hara has announced that due to the current surge in COVID-19 the Hawaii National Guard Joint Task Force (HING JTF) will be reestablished. KITV4.

‘This is an emergency’: Health experts warn as Hawaii COVID cases soar. Many health officials believe Hawaii will hit 1,000 daily COVID cases soon and that large indoor gatherings and events are helping fuel the recent surge. They also believe state and county leaders need to put a limit on gatherings and other activities or cases will skyrocket even more. KHON2.

Airport COVID testing surges along with cases. COVID-19 testing has increased during the past two weeks at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport with the holidays fast approaching and a surge in infections that’s already worse than last year at this time. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii records 2 new coronavirus-related deaths, 972 additional infections. The new confirmed and probable infection count by island includes 877 new cases on Oahu, 29 on Hawaii Island, 38 on Maui, 14 on Kauai, and 14 Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

Massive water filters arrive to process Red Hill tainted water. As the military continues to deal with the contamination of the Navy’s water system on Oahu, it’s now hauling in massive industrial-strength filters to extract water from the system, conducting large-scale flushing beginning this morning. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now. KHON2. KITV4.

Contested case hearing on state’s order to suspend operations at Red Hill planned. A public hearing is scheduled for Monday over the Navy’s case to contest the state Department of Health’s emergency order to suspend operations at the Red Hill fuel storage facility in the wake of the water contamination crisis. Hawaii News Now.

Schools Supplied By Navy Water Scramble To Provide Students With Water And Food. A 2-week winter break will relieve some strain on displaced families and teaching staff but the future outlook is still cloudy. Civil Beat.

Mauka shift on Dillingham Boulevard will save Honolulu rail $166M, a new report says. Moving the rail transit line from one side of Dillingham to the other would allow the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation to avoid having to relocate high-voltage power lines. Hawaii Public Radio.

Honolulu’s 911 diversion program aspires to bring new approach to homelessness. Star-Advertiser.

DOH tracks down COVID cluster at The Republik nightclub;
attendees urged to get tested. The DOH said there were between 900 and 1,000 at the nightclub on each night. Attendees were required to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Hawaii Island


Trying to please everyone: Redistricting Commission continues tinkering with council districts. Residents attending public hearings in Kona and Hilo this past week were pretty clear: They didn’t want the Kailua Village business district to be split between County Council districts, nor Waimea, nor Hawaiian Paradise Park, nor the Keaukaha and Panaewa Hawaiian Home Lands property. West Hawaii Today.

State to take partial ownership of Kalanianaole Avenue; county dumps contractor. The state Department of Transportation confirmed late Friday afternoon that ownership of the portion of Kalanianaole Avenue in Hilo between Kanolelehua Avenue and Kuhio Street is slated for transfer from the county to the state in January. Tribune-Herald.

Less golf, more timeshares: Leeward Planning Commission advances Waikoloa Resort plans. Fewer holes of golf and more timeshare units could become the name of the game for Waikoloa Resort developers, following approvals Thursday by the Leeward Planning Commission. West Hawaii Today.

Upgrades Ahead: Mass Transit Hits Full Throttle on Bus Improvements. After receiving a litany of complaints and suggestions from passengers, Hawaiʻi County Mass Transit has taken to heart what those people were saying by ushering in a new set of standards aimed at making the riding experience, not only more convenient but practical and enjoyable, too. Big Island Now.

Maui

Council overrides mayor’s veto on housing waitlist. The Maui County Council voted Friday to override Mayor Michael Victorino’s veto of a bill that would create an affordable housing waitlist overseen by the county, saying that changes needed to be made to get more people into homes. Maui News.

Virtual Meeting Set for Public Input on Formation of Maui Dept. of Agriculture. A virtual community meeting will be held from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2021, to gather public input on the formation of the new Department of Agriculture. Maui Now.

Maui County Immigrant Services Division Continues to Offer Migrant Services. Although the recent retirement of long-time staff has changed the scope of available services, the division continues to assist migrants applying for benefits who do not require legal advice, including those from the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia and Republic of Palau. Maui Now.

Kauai

BLNR renews KIUC permit despite local opposition.
The state Board of Land and Natural Resources renewed Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative’s revocable permit to divert water from Wai‘ale‘ale and Waikoko streams last week, despite opposition from local groups. Garden Island.

Like on top of OPA special primary election; general in February. As of Saturday’s election night, Rebecca “Becky” Like garnered 8,184 votes, over Shaylene Iseri, who came in with 3,645 votes in the county’s special primary election for prosecuting attorney, according to a first print-out of results. This is just the first round between Iseri and Like, who will both be on the general-election ballot in February. Garden Island.

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