Thursday, January 13, 2022

Former Honolulu top officials indicted in alleged corruption conspiracy and surrender to FBI, possible repercussions in gubernatorial race, nurses' union head says avoid hospitals, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii News Now
An FBI agent handcuffs former Honolulu Corporation Counsel Donna Leong on Wednesday, Jan. 12 PC: Hawaii News Now

3 former Honolulu city executives charged with conspiracy as part of sprawling Kealoha corruption probe. In a stunning scene Wednesday morning, three former high-ranking city officials -- former city Managing Director Roy Amemiya, former Corporation Counsel Donna Leong and former Honolulu Police Commission Chairman Max Sword--surrendered to the FBI as part of the ongoing massive public corruption probe that resulted in the conviction of ex-Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha and his wife, Katherine. Hawaii News Now. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Associated Press. KHON2. KITV4.

Federal indictments may hurt Kirk Caldwell’s run for governor. The federal indictments of two of former Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s top lieutenants are likely to further cripple Caldwell’s gubernatorial hopes this year, but likely will have less effect on the lieutenant governor’s race. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

SHOPO: Allegations against former Honolulu city officials are 'sickening'. Robert Cavaco, president of the State of Hawai'i Organization of Police Officers,  said the money the three allegedly embezzled could have been used to hire more officers for the already short-staffed Honolulu Police Department. KITV4.

Voter registration database questioned. Investigating errors and possible fraud in the state’s voter registration database is the responsibility of the county elections clerks and not the state, Chief Elections Officer Scott Nago told the state Elections Commission on Wednesday. West Hawaii Today.

It’s Tough To Figure Out Just How Hard The Pandemic Has Hit The Hawaii Economy. Personal income in Hawaii actually increased overall during the pandemic, but experts say people are going to be worse off this year as federal bailout money dries up. Civil Beat.

University of Hawaii grad students continue fight for unionization. Student leaders working to unionize graduate assistants at the University of Hawaii said they plan to appeal a First Circuit Court rejection of their lawsuit seeking the right to engage in collective bargaining with the university. Star-Advertiser.

Some Hawaii public schools have not shared COVID-19 case counts for months. Forty-two Hawaii public schools as of Tuesday had not posted their COVID-19 case counts to the state Department of Education’s public dashboard since before winter break, even though they are required by state law to do so weekly. Star-Advertiser.

Relief in sight as hospitals grapple with staffing shortage. An estimated 250 to 260 contracted health care workers from the mainland are expected to arrive in Hawaii this weekend to help care for COVID-19 patients, according to the Healthcare Association of Hawaii, a nonprofit trade association for hospitals. Star-Advertiser.

Head of nurses union: Severe staffing shortage at hospitals is impacting patient care. "I would tell the public if at all possible stay away from hospitals right now," said Daniel Ross, the head of the Hawaii’s Nurses Association. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii records 5 new coronavirus-related deaths, 3,512 additional infections. The new confirmed and probable infection count by island includes 2,612 new cases on Oahu, 290 on Hawaii Island, 373 on Maui, 158 on Kauai, 19 on Molokai, eight on Lanai and 52 Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

Oahu company to pay $1.5M to security guards after denying overtime wages. An Oahu company that provides security guards to public and private facilities will have to pay over $1.5 million in back wages after a federal investigation determined it illegally denied workers overtime pay. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu Police Chief Search Expected To Take At Least 6 More Months
. PSI Services LLC, the consulting firm hired to assist in the search, said it plans to present the police commission with up to four finalists in June. Civil Beat.

Kapilina residents file class action TRO to not pay rent, utilities during the water contamination crisis. Kapilina Beach Homes residents affected by the Navy’s ongoing contamination crisis filed a class action complaint, on Jan. 6, demanding a jury trial to stop their landlords from charging rent and utilities. KHON2. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Costco buys Ewa site for distribution center. Costco has made a huge real estate investment on Oahu, buying a more-or-less finished 44-acre industrial park property on the Ewa plain within the growing master-planned Ho‘opili community. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

8 projects ID’d for Puna: List includes waterlines, wells aimed at helping region recover from 2018 eruption. The few remaining homes in Kapoho might get their water restored after all. Tribune-Herald.

No Pohoiki Boat Ramp until 2024 at the earliest. The Pohoiki Boat Ramp is now not expected to reopen until late 2024. Tribune-Herald.

Funds for Waikōloa Library Secured, But Planned Location Falls Through.
The reality of a library in Waikōloa Village moved one step closer with the release of state funding, however, the project also hit a setback in that same stride. Big Island Now.

Parker Ranch donates Pukalani Stables to Paniolo Preservation Society. The historic Pukalani Stables in Waimea will be donated to the Paniolo Preservation Society, Parker Ranch announced recently. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Cruise ship arrives at Kahului Harbor, first with passengers to disembark in 22 months. The Grand Princess cruise ship arrived at Kahului Harbor on Maui today with an estimated 1,188 passengers aboard and 900-plus crew members. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now.

‘A lot of interest’ in proposed 25-mile West Maui bike, foot trail
. Wheels are turning on plans to create a 25-mile multi-use biking and walking trail that will connect Ukumehame to Līpoa Point in West Maui. Maui Now.

New streamlined registration process for riding Da Bee shuttles on Maui. The County of Maui Department of Management has a new streamlined registration process for riding the Da Bee shuttle in Wailuku. Maui Now.

Kauai

County Council discusses visitor parking fees at certain Kaua‘i beach parks. At its meeting Wednesday, the council passed a resolution allowing the county Department of Parks and Recreation to establish visitor parking fees at three county-owned beach parks, and approved at first reading a bill that would create a fee schedule. Garden Island.

8 days after landslide cut off west Kauai community, crews still racing to remove debris. Menehune Road remains below piles of rocks and crews are working to stabilize the slope. Hawaii News Now.

Kaua‘i home prices highest in state. Kaua‘i’s annual median single-family home price increased by over 35% in 2021 from the year prior to hit $1.1 million, the highest in the state, according to data from Hawai‘i independent real-estate firm Locations. Garden Island.

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