Friday, January 21, 2022

Mauna Kea master plan approved, 80-year-old Marine Corps battalion deactivated, Maui first in state to require booster for full vaccination, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Telescopes on Mauna Kea ©2022 All Hawaii News

After years of debate, University of Hawaii regents approve Mauna Kea Master Plan despite testimony condemning Thirty Meter Telescope. The University of Hawaii Board of Regents on Thursday approved an updated Mauna Kea Master Plan that guides oversight of the mountain for the next 20 years and accommodates the controversial Thirty Meter Telescope if and when it is built. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Now. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Marine Corps to deactivate Hawaii battalion after 80 years of service. After 80 years of service, the Marine Corps will deactivate the Hawaii-based Island Warriors of the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment that fought in Bougainville, Guam, the Republic of Vietnam, Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan. KHON2.

Hawaii public-school student absences up dramatically in latest COVID-19 surge, report finds.
A new report shows for the first time the dramatic rise in student absences at Hawaii public schools during the surge of the COVID- 19 omicron variant, with many schools reporting absentee rates two to four times higher than pre-pandemic levels. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.

DOE: Nearly 3,400 COVID cases reported among students, staff amid Omicron surge. A new state report shows the spiking number of infections within Hawaii’s public school system amid the Omicron surge. Hawaii News Now.

Retention rate of Hawaii public school teachers after 5 years of employment just over 50%. The retention rate of Hawaii public school teachers after five years of employment stubbornly hovered at just over 50% last school year despite multiple state efforts, including an incentive program for teachers in hard-to-retain categories that has cost $34.5 million so far. Star-Advertiser.

Advisory panel formed to help find next DOE superintendent. As the search continues for the permanent head of Hawaii’s public schools, an advisory group is now in place to help with the selection process. The panel includes public school teachers, a parent and other community and education leaders, including UH President David Lassner. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Senate bill would hike minimum wage to $12 an hour on Oct. 1. The state Senate has introduced its version of a bill to raise Hawaii’s $10.10 an hour minimum wage — starting with an initial jump to $12 per hour starting Oct. 1. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.

University of Hawaii Is Considering A Covid Booster Shot Mandate
. The university’s president, David Lassner, said the move would be in line with current discussions at the state and county level. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.

FEMA will provide Hawaiʻi with $48M to pay for 1,000 temporary medical staff. The advance funding represents half of the $95.8 million sought by the Hawaiʻi State Department of Health at the request of the Healthcare Association of Hawaiʻi, the state said in a news release. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii records 9 new coronavirus-related deaths, 5,911 additional infections. The new confirmed and probable infection count by island includes 3,901 new cases on Oahu, 567 on Hawaii Island, 996 on Maui, 276 on Kauai, 43 on Molokai, 28 on Lanai and 100 Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state. Star-Advertiser.


Honolulu Councilman Proposes Short-Term Rental Compromise. A proposed crackdown on short-term vacation rentals on Oahu has been amended to address several areas of criticism from rental operators, a move that is getting a mixed reaction from the community. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.

Federal prosecutors who led corruption probe into Kealohas make it clear they’re not finished. A week after three ex-city executives were arrested by the FBI for conspiracy, agents and the special prosecutor investigating public corruption in Honolulu were back before a federal grand jury. Hawaii News Now.

Changes to fares for TheBus, TheHandi-Van up for public input. Seven proposals are being considered by the Honolulu Rate Commission. One of them would introduce residency requirements for someone to be eligible for discounted fares. Another would allow free transfers between TheHandi-Van and TheBus. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Mayor Taps Former Fire Chief To Join Honolulu Police Commission. Kenneth Silva’s nomination needs to be approved by the Honolulu City Council. Civil Beat.

City lawyers’ ouster from Iremamber Sykap case sought. Attorneys representing the family of a 16-year-old boy who was shot and killed by Honolulu police following an alleged crime spree and car chase are seeking to disqualify the city Department of the Corporation Counsel from defending both the officers and the city against civil accusations of negligence and wrongful death. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Homeowners To Get $50 Million In Federal Relief Funds. On Friday, Oahu homeowners have an opportunity to apply for up to $30,000 for each household through the first mortgage relief program on Hawaii’s most populous island. Relief funds can go toward mortgage coverage, property taxes, utility payments, homeowners association fees and other expenses. Civil Beat.

7 public schools still can’t use tap water as contamination crisis drags on.
Nearly two months after tests revealed tainted water coming from the faucets at more than a half dozen public schools, health officials say it’s still not safe to use the tap. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

State land use panel rejects Connections’ permit request. The state Land Use Commission on Thursday denied by a 6-0 vote an application by Connections New Century Public Charter School for a special use permit to build a campus on about 70 acres of leased agricultural-zoned state land in Hilo. Tribune-Herald.

Request to Change Land Use Classification for Site of Proposed Affordable Housing Project Moves Forward. The Hawai’i County Council on Wednesday approved the first reading of a land-use amendment request so an affordable housing project in Hilo can move forward. Big Island Now.


Maui becomes first island to add COVID booster shot for full vaccination status. Starting on Jan. 24, the COVID-19 booster shot will be a part of Maui’s Safer Outside program — it is a county program that requires businesses such as bars, gyms and restaurants to verify proof of vaccination. KHON2.

Maui Police 25% short staffed: 21 resignations, 13 retirements in 2021. The Maui Police Department is more than 25% short staffed with 145 vacancies department wide. According to department reports, there are 101 sworn vacancies, which is at 75% staffing; and 44 civilian vacancies for 70% staffing in that portion of the department. Maui Now.

Plan seeks more natural solutions to flood risks
. Stabilized dunes, green flood walls among the proposals in Kihei plan. Reduced wetland areas due to development in South Maui, drought and degraded watersheds and intense storms are creating a “formula for disaster” and leading to “mud floods” that pollute the ocean as they did in a recent storm, a local water quality expert said. Maui News.

State leaders disagree on who should spearhead Maui County's axis deer problems. State Sen. Lynn DeCoite says that while she believes in a multi-pronged approach that includes government and community, the Department of Land and Natural Resources should be leading the effort. Hawaii Public Radio.


County of Kaua‘i seeks to avoid Kekaha Landfill crisis. With the Kekaha Landfill nearing its capacity, the county is scrambling for solutions to avoid a potential garbage disaster. Garden Island.

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