Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Safe Travels could end next month, slow down for whales, Honolulu building inspector pleads guilty to accepting bribes, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Pacific Whale Foundation
Humpback whale breaches off Hawaii PC:Pacific Whale Foundation

Guidelines urge boats to slow down near whales. It’s peak season for kohola, the North Pacific humpback whales that migrate from Alaska to Hawaii each winter, and new guidelines ask that watercraft slow down to 15 knots during general travel in whale season and 6 knots when within 400 yards of the species, which is protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Star-Advertiser. Big Island Video News. Big Island Now. Maui Now.

Vessel strike likely killed humpback whale calf found off Oahu, NOAA Fisheries says. A humpback whale calf found dead off Oahu last week appears to have suffered a traumatic brain injury consistent with a vessel strike, NOAA Fisheries said Monday. The 12-foot male calf was less than a week old and was nursing. Hawaii News Now.

Lt. Gov. Josh Green sees restrictions easing in coming weeks. Green, who recently declared his candidacy for Hawaii governor, said he would recommend ending Safe Travels Hawaii — a program originally intended to mitigate COVID-19 spread from travelers — in mid-March if these downward trends continue. Star-Advertiser. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii getting over $10M in federal money for wildlife management, conservation.
Hawaii is set to receive more than $10.7 million in federal funding to support sustainable fishing and hunting and wildlife conservation in the isles, according to U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaiian Electric says 38% of the energy it generated last year came from renewable resources. The utility last week announced it increased its renewable energy generation by 4% in a year, and nearly quadrupled it since 2010. Hawaii Public Radio.

Bill would require emotional support animal suppliers to issue disclaimer. A bill is advancing in the state Senate that would require sellers or providers of “emotional support animals” to issue a written disclaimer that an emotional support animal isn’t a service animal under the law. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii long-COVID sufferers get back on track. Some initial studies, including one by Yale Medicine, have found long-haulers reporting improvements after receiving the COVID-19 vaccines, but this is not necessarily the case for everyone. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii sees 498 new coronavirus cases, bringing statewide total to 232,008.
The new confirmed and probable infection count includes 228 new cases on Oahu, 86 on Hawaii Island, 63 on Maui, 101 on Kauai, two on Molokai, three on Lanai and 15 Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state. Star-Advertiser.


Department of Planning and Permitting employee pleads guilty to accepting bribes. A building inspector in the city Department of Planning and Permitting pleaded guilty Monday to an indictment accusing him and others of accepting bribes to accelerate building projects. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii health officials lift drinking water advisory for Red Hill housing. State health officials announced Monday that residents in Red Hill housing can resume drinking and cooking with their tap water. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

2 candidates emerge to fill Hawaii House seat vacated by Ty Cullen. The former head of the Hawaii teacher's union and a Honolulu doctor are expected to be in the running to fill former state representative Ty Cullen's Central Oahu seat. KITV4.

Hawaii Island

Mauna Kea telescope to be decommissioned by year’s end. Officials said the removal and site restoration of the Caltech Submillimeter Observatory at the mountain’s summit will start this summer. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Maui Now.

Judge rules gate lawsuit to continue. When is a delay a denial? Hawaii County was unsuccessful Monday getting a Kona judge to agree with its motion to dismiss a lawsuit filed over its revocation and stay of a building permit to build a gate across Kaiolu Drive, but it’s unlikely the gate can be constructed without further legal action. West Hawaii Today.

Lease extension granted for KIA property. After months of delays and complaints, the Board of Land and Natural Resources has authorized a tentative agreement for a 30-year extension for a lease in the Kanoelehua Industrial Area. Tribune-Herald.

The man known as “Hilo’s welfare doctor” has won another legal battle with the state. The Intermediate Court of Appeals on Friday set aside a lower court ruling ordering Dr. Frederick Nitta to return $205,000 in Medicaid reimbursements paid to his primary care practice. Hawaii News Now.


Bill Would Ban Hawaii Film Officials From Appearing In Films. A Hawaii lawmaker is trying to crack down on what he says was improper behavior by the Maui County film commissioner, who accepted a substantial part in a television movie being shot on the island, despite the commissioner’s involvement facilitating the industry. Civil Beat.

Maui list of transportation projects for federal funding up for public review. Maui Metropolitan Planning Organization is accepting public comments on its Federal Fiscal Year 2022-2025 Transportation Improvement Program Revision #2. A public review draft is available on the Maui MPO website through March 3, 2022. Maui Now.

Rising Seas Could Lead To The Relocation Of Molokai’s Only College Campus. Lawmakers are considering a proposal to move the Molokai Education Center to higher ground and cover relocation costs. Civil Beat.


Rebecca Like and Shaylene Iseri face off in general election for Kauaʻi prosecuting attorney. Kauaʻi voters will be voting again for the next county prosecuting attorney. Ballots were mailed out earlier this month for the special general election, and residents have until Feb. 26 to decide. Hawaii Public Radio. Garden Island.

Officials: Decline in cases, high test positivity. While the county’s once again seeing a down-trend in COVID-19 infection case counts, it leads the state in per-population case rates and test-positivity rate. Garden Island.

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