Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Parents favor online classes, lawsuit looming over legislative maps, Japanese most likely to die from coronavirus, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Hawaii public school parents favor online learning, criticize Department of Education, poll finds. While Hawaii’s public schools continue to strongly emphasize staying open for in-person instruction in the COVID-19 pandemic, only 40% of public school parents queried in a Honolulu Star-Advertiser poll agree with that approach. Star-Advertiser.

Coalition formed to sue over legislative maps. A coalition of Oahu and Big Island residents has formed a nonprofit corporation and hired an attorney to challenge the new legislative district maps created by the state Reapportionment Commission. West Hawaii Today.

Cryptocurrency trading to end in Hawaii if Legislature doesn’t act. Digital currency has become a nearly $1 billion industry in the state, but trading things like Bitcoin could become illegal if the pilot program that allows it to operate outside of strict laws is not replaced with a new law. KHON2.

The Legislature’s Most Visible Housing Advocate Is Provoking A Policy Debate. Hawaii Sen. Stanley Chang doesn’t care if people roll their eyes when he talks about housing solutions. He just wants action. Civil Beat.

State lawmakers discuss rental assistance bill for homeless kūpuna. HB1826 and its companion bill SB2677 would create a pilot rent subsidy program under the Hawaiʻi Public Housing Authority. Adults 62 years and older who are homeless or on the brink of immediate homelessness would be eligible.
Hawaii Public Radio.

AARP eyes retirement bills: Measures would create state-managed plan to help workers save for the future.
House Bill 2046 and Senate Bill 3289 would establish a Hawaii Retirement Savings Program that would provide a state-managed payroll deduction retirement plan to employees who do not have access to employer-sponsored retirement plans. Tribune-Herald.

This University Of Hawaii Vaccine Could Transform The Fight Against Covid. Designed to be stored outside the fridge for up to two years, the shot could be pivotal in vaccinating hard-to-reach populations, if researchers can find funding. Civil Beat.

As COVID deaths rise, new research sheds light on the link between fatality rates and race in Hawaii.
To date, white people hospitalized with COVID in Hawaii have fared the best ― with an 18% chance of dying. For Native Hawaiians, that risk stands at 21%. Outcomes are worse for Pacific Islanders, Filipinos and people of Japanese descent. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii sees 833 new coronavirus cases, bringing statewide total to 227,284. The new confirmed and probable infection count includes 488 new cases on Oahu, 125 on Hawaii Island, 92 on Maui, 94 on Kauai, four on Molokai, seven on Lanai and 23 Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state. Star-Advertiser.


Federal bill includes funds to drain Red Hill fuel facility. Members of Hawaii’s congressional delegation have secured funding to defuel the underground tanks at the Navy’s Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility, and included language in proposed legislation that explicitly ties the funding to a state-issued emergency order to drain the tanks — a directive the federal government has so far resisted. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Associated Press. Hawaii News Now.

Federal judge issues protective order for evidence in Kealoha retirement settlement case. A federal judge granted a protective order today sought by the U.S. Department of Justice to prevent the public release of evidence gathered by investigators probing a $250,000 retirement settlement to former police Chief Louis Kealoha. Star-Advertiser.

Indictment Puts Spotlight On One Of The Most Connected Men In Honolulu. Max Sword, a former tourism industry lobbyist, is one of three former city officials facing federal conspiracy charges. Civil Beat.

Council considering urging city to acquire problem properties.
The Honolulu City Council, during a committee meeting today, will consider three resolutions that would urge the city administration to acquire private properties, two of which have racked up hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines for building violations. Star-Advertiser.

Median condo prices on Oahu hit record $510,000.
The Oahu real estate market remained heated in January as the median sales price for condominiums hit an all-time high and the price of single-family homes remained at $1 million or higher for the sixth month in a row. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii voters prefer new Aloha Stadium in Halawa, poll finds. The Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s Hawaii Poll asked registered voters their opinion on whether a new Aloha Stadium should be built as part of a major development in Halawa, or whether the home of University of Hawaii football should be at Clarence T.C. Ching Complex as it continues to expand over the coming years. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

The COVID cavalry: FEMA-funded travel nurses give Hilo Medical Center staff ‘a great mental and physical break’. The 36 federally funded travel nurses working at Hilo Medical Center have been “a tremendous relief” for the hospital’s staff. Tribune-Herald.

Hilo doctor files suit against HMSA. A Hilo obstetrician-gynecologist is suing the state’s largest medical insurance provider, accusing it of intentionally failing to cover certain medications and procedures he considered necessary for his patients. Tribune-Herald. Hawaii News Now.


Land trust asks security guard to go in Hāwea Point Cliff House controversy. After jurisdiction at popular swimming spot Hāwea Point got a bit murky, Hawaiʻi Land Trust weighed in today, clarifying that a rule protects public use over a private homeowner’s attempts to encroach on the area. Maui Now.

Maui Charter Commission to host additional meetings on proposed charter amendments. The Maui Charter Commission has scheduled two additional public meetings to hear testimony and deliberate on proposed County Charter amendments leading up to submission of its Draft Report to the County Council on Feb. 18. Maui Now.

Groups sue Maui resort over bright lights that disorient seabirds.
Bright lights at a luxury Hawaii resort are killing endangered seabirds, according to a lawsuit filed Monday by conservation groups that say hotel officials need to do more to protect the species. Associated Press.


PAL receives anonymous $5M donation to purchase a Kekaha apartment building. The leadership at Permanently Affordable Living (PAL) Kaua‘i decided at a January meeting to give up on plans to purchase a 14-unit Kekaha apartment building. Garden Island.

Maui Asphalt fined for Waimea pollution. Maui Asphalt, which operates in Waimea, has been fined $107,000 and put on notice by the state Department of Health for discharging pollutants into state waters without a permit or pollution-control methods on the site of the county’s Waimea 400, according to the DOH. Garden Island. Hawaii News Now.

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