Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Cruise ships to return to Hawaii, Honolulu to temporarily limit crowd size, Hawaii population in decline, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Hawaii dog walker with cruise ship ©2022 All Hawaii News

Cruise ships returning to Hawaii beginning Jan. 15. State inks port agreements with Carnival, NCL. The first port agreements with Carnival Cruise Line and Norwegian Cruise Lines to formalize health and safety protocols for the return of cruise line operations in Hawaii have been executed, the state Department of Transportation announced Tuesday. West Hawaii Today. Big Island Now. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now. KHON2. KITV4.

Hawaii is forecast to reach nearly 10 million tourists in 2024. Hawaii is expected to see 8.86 million visitors this year, followed by annual increases until pre-pandemic record numbers are nearly reached in 2024, when the islands are forecast to see 9.9 million tourists.Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii’s Population Drain Outpaces Most States — Again.
Even as the state has more people being born than dying, Hawaii’s population continues to decline as people leave the state for less expensive pastures. Civil Beat.

Lower Income Families May Face Extra Hardships In 2022. An economist warns that much of the federal pandemic support has dried up, and the year ahead could be tough for many. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Avoids Port Backups But Some Goods Are Scarce.
Businesses from health care to restaurants have struggled to get some back-ordered items. Civil Beat.

See empty shelves at the grocery store?
Blame it on the worker shortage. As the pandemic continues, some nervous shoppers worry when they can’t find what they want at the store. But food distributors said there’s no shortage of food and that it’s likely due to a shortage of workers. Hawaii News Now.

Some Hawaii public schools face staffing shortage as COVID-19 infections rise in the state. A spokesperson for the DOE says all schools have contingency plans in place and the guidelines were revised over the holidays to ensure they're up to date. KITV4. KHON2.

Private schools in Hawaii resuming in-person learning. Three of Hawaii’s biggest private schools have joined the public schools here in pushing on with in-person learning for the new semester, while the omicron surge has compelled a growing list of mainland school districts to postpone reopening or to switch to remote learning. Star-Advertiser.

Hospital workers shortage worsens with more than 1,000 frontline caregivers out due to COVID
. As COVID infections continue to surge in Hawaii, the number of frontline caregivers out because of the virus has more than doubled in the past week. Health officials confirm at least 1,000 clinical workers across the state can’t cover their shifts either because they tested positive or have been exposed. Hawaii News Now.

Covid Case Counts Are Higher Than Ever. The Good News — Hospitalizations Aren’t. Some Covid-19 watchers say that hospitalization numbers are more important than daily case counts given omicron’s transmissibility. Civil Beat.

Hawaii sees 1,592 new coronavirus cases, bringing statewide total to 123,456. The confirmed and probable infection count by island includes 1,231 new cases on Oahu, 120 on Hawaii Island, 87 on Maui, 42 on Kauai, nine on Molokai, 11 on Lanai and 92 Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state. Star-Advertiser.


Honolulu’s mayor plans news conference to discuss capacity limits at large events. Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi will hold a news conference on Wednesday morning to discuss a temporary limit on capacity at large indoor events. The restriction comes amid an ongoing surge in new COVID cases that’s being driven by the highly contagious Omicron variant.  Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Hawaii Congressional Delegation: Navy Must Drain Red Hill Fuel Facility. It’s a significant shift. Just a few months ago, Sen. Mazie Hirono and Rep. Ed Case were not in favor of shutting down Red Hill. Civil Beat.

The City says the COVID surge is affecting operations for Ocean Safety, Health Services, and EMS with about 50 people currently out. For Ocean Safety, the staffing shortage means keeping a tower closed for the past few weeks. KHON2.

Hawaii Island

$250 tax credit for homeowners?
Council members mull proposal, vote to table it for now. In a resolution introduced during Tuesday’s meeting of the council’s Finance Committee, Hilo Councilwoman Sue Lee Loy proposed offering eligible homeowners a onetime $250 credit on their 2022 property tax payments for their primary residences. Tribune-Herald.

Council committee advances fare-free bus.
After being named Monday the fourth Mass Transit administrator in as many years, John Andoh on Tuesday won a County Council endorsement of his first bill, a measure creating a fare-free Hele-On bus system for the next two years, if not longer. West Hawaii Today.

Kalanianaole project to be done ‘this calendar year’
. At a Tuesday meeting of the Hawaii County Council’s Committee on Public Works and Mass Transit, council members discussed with Public Works Deputy Director Steve Pause the Kalanianaole improvement project, which began in 2018 and remains unfinished. Tribune-Herald.

Kamehameha Schools acquires former Kahuku Ranch property.
Kamehameha Schools on Dec. 27 acquired 656 acres of the former Kahuku Ranch near Na‘alehu from Kahuku Ranch Properties in Makawao, Maui, for $7 million. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Now. Hawaii News Now.


Mayor urges Maui residents and visitors to follow Health Dept. and CDC guidance. With Maui County averaging 226 new COVID-19 cases per day, in the last seven days, Maui Mayor Michael Victorino is urging residents and visitors to follow state Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines to keep safe and protect the County’s health care resources. Maui Now.

Maui resort restaurant added to COVID-19 cluster list. The Hawaii Department of Health has added Plantation House, a restaurant at Kapalua Resort on Maui, to its list of COVID-19 clusters in public venues over the past 14 days. Star-Advertiser. KHON2.

Kahului official: Airline delays, cancellations may persist for weeks. With flight cancellations from COVID-related staff shortages continuing across the country, Kahului Airport is seeing similar trends and officials predict it may persist for weeks. Maui Airports District Manager Marvin Moniz reported that Kahului Airport had at least seven cancellations Monday across Hawaiian, United and Alaska airlines, all of which were related to COVID-19 staffing shortages. Maui Now.

Supreme Court reverses disorderly conduct conviction for Maui activist.
The Hawaii Supreme Court has reversed a disorderly conduct conviction for Native Hawaiian activist Samuel Kaleikoa Kaeo, who was arrested in 2015 for blocking a convoy of trucks transporting components for the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope to the summit of Haleakala. Maui News.

Master plan project for West Maui Greenway to be introduced at virtual meeting Jan. 11.
The Maui Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) will host its first virtual community meeting for 2022 to introduce the West Maui Greenway Master Plan project and learn about the public’s vision and goals for the proposed 25-mile multi-use trail. Maui Now.


Portion of Menehune Road, Waimea Swinging Bridge closed. A landslide that closed off a portion of Menehune Road near the Waimea swinging bridge has closed the road and bridge until further notice. Garden Island.

DLNR seeking CIP monies for Lehua, Mana Plains conservation projects. Kaua‘i habitat and endangered species were reviewed by the state Department of Land and Natural Resources during an informational briefing before the state Senate Committee on Water and Land last week. Garden Island.

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