Monday, February 21, 2022

Kahele wants to come home, teachers want more money, Maui drops vax requirements at restaurants, bars, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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U.S. Rep. Kai Kahele would face uncertain path in governor’s race. Washington, D.C., is not in the future for the family of first-term U.S. Rep. Kai Kahele, but he faces an uncertain path if he decides to run for governor in August instead of pursuing reelection to Congress. Star-Advertiser.

Revamping salaries is key in preventing ‘mass exodus’ of Hawaii public school teachers.
Keeping droves of veteran public school teachers from departing prematurely for other fields, private schools or retirement is gaining attention not just in Hawaii, but nationwide, as officials struggle to solve the teacher shortage plaguing public schools for roughly a decade and worsened by the pandemic. Star-Advertiser.

Gov. David Ige nominates 5 to state Land Board. Gov. David Ige announced his five nominees to the state Board of Land and Natural Resources, three of whom are currently serving on the panel. Star-Advertiser.

Pilot project pays infrastructure cost for bus fleets to go electric. Hawaiian Electric is looking for bus operators to participate in a new pilot program that will offset some of the cost of converting a bus fleet from diesel fuel to electric. The utility can install up to 20 bus charging ports at 10 locations on Oʻahu, Maui and Hawaiʻi Island. Hawaii Public Radio.

Government Boards Struggle To Adapt To Hawaii’s New Open Meetings Law. Meanwhile, the Legislature is considering further changes to the Sunshine Law, including requiring that video livestreams be archived. Civil Beat.

Lawmakers advance bill aimed at increasing penalty for those who torture children. A bill aimed at preventing violence against children is moving forward at the state Capitol. Senate Bill 2092 would make the torture of a minor a felony. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii bills attempt to clarify status of support animals. Senate Bill 2438 and companion House Bill 1944 would require any person or business that sells or provides an animal for use as an emotional support animal to provide a written disclaimer that the animal does not have the special training required to qualify as a service animal and is not entitled to the same privileges as certified service animals. A separate bill, SB 2194, would have given anxiety or emotional support animals the same rights as service animals. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii’s New Health Equity Office Is Slow To Get Up And Running. A Senate bill seeks state funding to support the new office dedicated to addressing health disparities. Civil Beat.

Feb. 20, 2022 COVID-19 update: 4 deaths, 330 new infections in Hawaiʻi. The count includes 25 cases on Maui, 46 on Hawaiʻi Island, 42 on Kauaʻi, one on Molokaʻi, one on Lānaʻi, and 20 out of state.  There are 195 new COVID-19 cases on Oʻahu. Maui Now.

Oahu

Six Democrats Apply For Ty Cullen’s House Seat. The lawmaker represented Royal Kunia, Village Park, Waipahu, Makakilo and West Loch before resigning for accepting bribes. Civil Beat.

How Honolulu’s Ex-City Attorney Went From Obscurity To A Federal Indictment. Donna Leong’s lawyer has argued her client executed a legal retirement agreement. Federal prosecutors say it was criminal. Civil Beat.

Gerard Puana, Katherine Kealoha's uncle, charged with terroristic threatening after incident in Salt Lake. Gerard Puana, the man at the center of the Louis and Katherine Kealoha corruption case, was arrested and charged this week with terroristic threatening. KITV4.

Navy documents from 2016 raised concerns about Red Hill pipeline system. For years, environmental regulators have zeroed in on the risks posed by the Navy’s aging Red Hill fuel tanks, which have been the source of dozens of leaks since they were built in the 1940s. Star-Advertiser.

Owners scramble to find funds, meet deadlines as city requires high-rises to install sprinklers. A city ordinance requiring high-rise buildings to install fire sprinklers or pass a safety inspection is raising concerns among apartment owners. Hawaii News Now.

Biggest ‘swimming pool’ on Oahu could soon welcome swimmers. No swimming” signs might come down soon at the Wai Kai Lagoon in Ewa Beach. Hawaii legislators are considering a pair of bills that would effectively end a prohibition on swimming in the 52-acre recreational amenity serving over 1,000 residents at Hoakalei Resort where hotel development is also planned. Star-Advertiser.

Public unable to monitor calls for Honolulu police, fire and Emergency Medical Services
. The public’s ability to monitor the radio communications of taxpayer-funded first respon­ders ended Tuesday when the Honolulu Police Department encrypted its channels and replaced them with periodic email updates available only to the news media. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

County budget in the works. Hawaii Island’s exuberant real estate market and a new tax on transient rentals could be enough to keep county finances out of the red despite increased spending, as administrative money crunchers work on the first stab at an annual budget by March 1. West Hawaii Today.

House members listen to mix of reviews for new Mauna Kea management. Lawmakers from three state House committees heard a mix of reviews about a proposal to create a new entity to oversee the state-managed lands of Mauna Kea during a special meeting Saturday. Star-Advertiser.

Cruise ship arrivals set to increase; more corporations expected to sign deals with state. This spring, the Big Island will see an increase in the number of cruise ships visiting Hilo and Kona.Tribune-Herald.

Get in line: Kealakehe R-1 project falls behind. A 20-year-old plan to upgrade the Kealakehe wastewater treatment plant to produce and sell R-1, the highest grade of recycled water, risks sliding down the priority scale as the county tries to shore up other projects to avoid federal fines. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Maui drops COVID-19 vaccine, testing requirements for restaurants, bars and gyms. Proof of vaccination against COVID-19 or negative testing results will no longer be required for indoor service at Maui County restaurants, bars and gyms, Mayor Michael Victorino announced. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Maui News.

Plan pitches hiking water rates on Maui’s thirstiest users: visitor accommodations. When severe drought puts Upcountry under water restrictions — looking down the hill at South Maui’s green hotel lawns can spark frustration for residents.  Maui Now.

Gov. Ige announces $364M in capital improvement projects. Governor David Ige announced the release of $364,445,224 for Capital Improvement Projects that will be administered by various state departments. These funds were released in November and December of 2021, and January of 2022. Maui Now.

This Maui Housing Project Is Hugely Popular And Sorely Needed. Will It Finally Get Built? It’s been nearly 18 years since the developer began planning Waikapu Country Town. With the final bureaucratic hurdles now cleared, a new deal with the county could spur construction. Civil Beat.

Sugimura: preliminary data shows there are 46,743 axis deer from ʻUlupalakua to Pāʻia. On Tuesday, Feb. 15, the Task Force received updates on various work being done to address the increasing axis deer population and related negative impacts.  Maui Now.

Kauai

Why Isn’t Hawaii’s Largest Union Weighing In On The Kauai Prosecutor’s Race? HGEA is unusually silent on the special election for Kauai prosecuting attorney. Civil Beat.

Ono nominated for Board of Land and Natural Resources. Karen Ono, a real estate leader, has been nominated by Gov. David Ige to serve on the state’s Board of Land and Natural Resources, representing Kaua‘i. Garden Island.

Wilcox School gets buggy, again.
When Wilcox Elementary School teacher Natsumi Miyasato and her science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) class established the school’s first cricket farm, the motivation was food sustainability based on Miyasato’s childhood background of eating crickets while growing up in Japan. Garden Island.

Kaua‘i not ready for ‘silver tsunami’. A growing elderly population combined with a shrinking younger workforce has left some wondering if the island will be able to care for its kupuna in the coming decade. Garden Island.

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