Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Ige budget to restore Covid cuts, Pentagon to investigate Red Hill fuel leak, Maui places 1k families in affordable housing, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Gov. David Ige unveils budget PC:Governor's Office

Gov. David Ige’s budget plan would boost spending, restore some pandemic cuts. The governor wants to stash much of the surplus in a “rainy day” fund. Ige’s new $16.9 billion budget proposal also includes hefty increases in spending for the state Department of Education and the University of Hawaii system. The governor said he is not planning any tax increases. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Now. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Gov. David Ige's Budget in Brief. PDF document link.

Minimum wage debate will likely return to state Legislature in the upcoming session. A measure to raise it from $10.10 an hour has passed the Senate for the past two sessions, but not the House. In 2014, the Legislature approved gradually raising the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 over several years. Hawaii Public Radio.

Should Hawaii Overhaul How It Investigates Police Shootings? It doesn’t appear Hawaii will create an independent agency to investigate police shootings, a step states like Washington have already taken. Civil Beat.

Nearly $50M in federal infrastructure money to help improve Hawaiʻi airports.
Jai Cunningham, with the state Department of Transportation, says the money will make a big difference in maintaining airport operations. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii’s omicron case tally rises to 50, Lt. Gov. Josh Green calls for mass vaccination and testing sites. State Department of Health officials Monday said additional omicron variant coronavirus cases brought the statewide total of the highly transmissible variant to 50. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii reports 840 new coronavirus infections; omicron cases in islands increase. The new confirmed and probable infection count by island includes 742 new cases on Oahu, 26 on Hawaii Island, 42 on Maui, 21 on Kauai, one on Molokai, three on Lanai and five Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state. Star-Advertiser.


Pentagon inspector general launches probe of Red Hill. The Pentagon’s Inspector General’s Office announced Monday it will launch an investigation into the operations, maintenance and safety of the Navy’s underground Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility. Star-Advertiser.

Navy Fends Off Criticism During 13-Hour Hearing On Red Hill Water Crisis.
A Honolulu Board of Water Supply expert said the fuel tanks are ‘entering an end of life phase’ but the military wants to decide if any need emptied. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now. KHON2. KITV4.

Navy begins filtering tap water, but it could be a while before displaced residents can go home. The Navy started flushing and filtering its drinking water Monday and says scrubbing and testing multiple neighborhoods around Pearl Harbor could take 30 to 45 days, which means it’ll be a while before displaced families can move home. Hawaii News Now.

Debate looms over whether to tighten restrictions as COVID cases skyrocket on Oahu. Despite the huge spike in COVID-19 cases, city officials said it's not enough to trigger new restrictions just yet. KITV4.

Oahu’s Covid-19 Daily Case Count Could Surge To Thousands By New Year, Forecast Says. A top state healthcare official warned that the worst-case scenario, which includes some 800 Covid hospitalizations by the new year, would be “catastrophic.” Civil Beat.

Agency wants more public funds to replace Aloha Stadium. A state agency courting private developers to replace Aloha Stadium wants Hawaii lawmakers to boost public funding before seeking bids on the roughly estimated $400 million project. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

$500k Build Back Better grant to grow island food supply. Mayor Mitch Roth’s administration was so eager to put a $500,000 American Rescue Plan Act Build Back Better Regional Challenge to good use, it fast-tracked a resolution accepting the money to the County Council before the grant was officially approved by the federal government. West Hawaii Today.

Telescope’s sensors designed, tested in Hawaii. A new NASA telescope is scheduled to launch Christmas Eve with sensors designed by University of Hawaii astronomers. Tribune-Herald.


MFO Center Reaches First Year Goal to Help 1,000 Families in Search of Affordable Housing. The Maui Financial Opportunity Center, launched as a public-private partnership between Maui County, Hawai‘i Community Foundation and Hawaiian Community Assets, has reached its first-year goal of working with over 1,000 local families to improve financial stability in order to qualify for affordable housing.  Maui Now.

East Maui purchase keeps 30 coastal acres from development. Hana-based nonprofit plans to manage shoreline, use land for conservation projects. Hana-based nonprofit Ke Ao Hali’i (Save Hana Coast), in partnership with the State of Hawaii, County of Maui and Hawaii Land Trust, purchased property that stretches from Maka’alae along the Hana coastline for just over $3 million. Maui News.

Haleakalā Park Hosting Meetings About Suppressing Non-Native Mosquitos To Protect Birds.
Haleakalā National Park is hosting a public scoping meeting Jan. 6 about a proposed Environmental Assessment for the suppression of non-native mosquito populations to address the impacts of avian malaria on threatened and endangered forest birds on Maui. Maui Now.


KCCC inmates take advantage of vaccine incentive. As of Wednesday, there have been 131 inmates at the Kaua‘i Community Correctional Center who have completed vaccination as part of the state Department of Public Safety’s vaccine-incentive program, according to DPS Health Care Division data. Inmates in DPS custody on or after March 3, 2021 through Dec. 31, 2024, who are still in custody and fully vaccinated against COVID-19, are eligible to receive a one-time incentive award of $50. Garden Island.

Kaua‘i Community Science Center teaches 19 classrooms remotely. The Kaua‘i Community Science Center treated Koloa School students to a morning of discovery Friday during the nonprofit’s first-ever school-wide STEAM (science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics) Day. Garden Island.

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