Monday, March 28, 2022

Hawaii drops travel restrictions, most mask mandates, Green, Luke get early union endorsements, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Honolulu airport July 31 2021 PC:My Kailua Facebook community page

After screening more than 12M passengers, Hawaii lifts all restrictions for mainland arrivals. With the Safe Travels program ended, mainland arrivals came into the islands Saturday without having to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Mask rules remain for public school students, stirring mixed opinions. It’s been a month since the CDC updated its guidelines and said they no longer recommend universal indoor masking in education settings with low or medium COVID levels. DOH continues to recommend indoor masking. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii becomes last state to lift mask mandate, but some opt to keep wearing them. While businesses can decide to put mask rules in place, the Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii says most are leaving the decision up to customers. Hawaii News Now.

Judge Dismisses Vaccine Mandate Suit. A federal judge said Hawaiian Airlines employees challenging the company’s vaccine requirement could sue again after the EEOC has made a final determination. Civil Beat.

These Environmental Bills Have Survived The Legislative Process So Far. Most of the bills proposed by the Environmental Legislative Caucus have died, with only five of 12 measures remaining. Civil Beat.

Two broadband internet-related bills still alive. Most broadband internet-related bills are dead in the state Legislature, while a surviving bill will create another state agency to develop broadband infrastructure.  Tribune-Herald.

Hawaiian Home Lands financial-assistance proposal stirs debate. Proposals to infuse $600 million to help clear the backlog of Hawaiian Home Lands beneficiaries include different ways to provide financial assistance to Native Hawaiians willing to remove themselves from the waitlist of 28,700 beneficiaries. Star-Advertiser.

Federal funding earmarks to help boost University of Hawaii research to record $500 million. Thanks in part to the return of congressional budget earmarks, the University of Hawaii system will receive tens of millions of dollars in the new federal budget, including research dollars that will help bring UH’s overall research funding to a record-­high $500 million for the year. Star-Advertiser.

Panel recommends 5 nominees to Hawaii Land Board.
The Senate Committee on Water and Land recently held public hearings on two separate days to vet five nominations from Gov. David Ige for the seven- member board overseeing the state Department of Land and Natural Resources. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii’s Population Continues A Slide That Began In 2017, New Data Shows. The pandemic interrupted survey collection efforts but researchers say the new data can be helpful to chart Hawaii’s demographic shifts. Civil Beat.

Justice department urges vigilance as internet crimes cost Hawaii more than $17 million in 2021. People in Hawaii lost $17.2 million to online crimes last year, with investment scams, romance cons and the illegal use of digital currency accounting for the largest financial swindles, according to the FBI Internet Crime Report. Star-Advertiser.

Lt. Gov. Josh Green Is Racking Up Union Endorsements, Adding To His Momentum. The primary election is still nearly five months away and only a handful of candidates have formally filed to run, but Lt. Gov. Josh Green and state Rep. Sylvia Luke are already emerging as two of the biggest beneficiaries in the biennial union endorsement sweepstakes. Civil Beat.

Oahu

Land plan pits University of Hawaii against Hawaiian homes agency. Hawaii lawmakers are trying to force the University of Hawaii to give a long-vacant piece of land near Diamond Head to the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands. Star-Advertiser.

City plans to increase enforcement of short-term vacation rentals. The city Department of Planning and Permitting plans to hire short-term vacation rental investigators following persistent complaints about property owners taking advantage of short-term rental regulations in residential zones. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu COVID quarantine sites will transition to affordable housing, city officials say. City officials said the number of rooms needed for isolation-quarantine dropped from 58 in January to less than five by mid-March, and that as of Wednesday, only two individuals remained at Harbor Arms, one of its two facilities. Star-Advertiser.

State and city eye 19 empty Waikiki lots. State Rep. Adrian Tam is leading a drive to get the city to purchase long-vacant plots of Waikiki land owned by Okada Trucking Co. and earmark it for higher use. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island


Keauhou Bay redevelopment and bungalow resort proposed. The state’s largest private landowner is seeking public input on a plan to reconfigure commercial and cultural attractions at Keauhou Bay and build a 150-unit bungalow-style resort. West Hawaii Today. Big Island Video News.

Skate park design unveiled: Project would cost about $6M over four phases of construction. After 15 years of unfulfilled plans, a conceptual design for the Hilo Skate Park finally was revealed to the community Thursday night. Tribune-Herald.

Council advances Waikoloa timeshares. A plan to replace nine holes of golf at Waikoloa Beach Resort with 900 timeshare units, a 140-unit workforce housing complex and 25 single-family home lots was advanced Wednesday by the County Council after a dispute between council members over whether asking for a list of community benefits amounts to “pay to play.” West Hawaii Today.

Trial delayed again: Ex-cop in missing drug case fires attorney as jury selection got underway. A former Hawaii Police Department officer slated to stand trial last week on charges stemming from a May 2019 indictment for allegedly stealing cocaine from a police evidence locker in Hilo back in May 2016 received a continuance after firing his court-appointed attorney. West Hawaii Today.

Is Katherine Kealoha A Credible Witness In The Coming Drug Trial Of Her Brother? The criminal trial for the brother of disgraced former Honolulu Deputy Prosecutor Katherine Kealoha, Rudolph Puana, a Big Island anesthesiologist accused of running an illicit prescription drug ring, is set to start this week following repeated delays due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Civil Beat.

HCC students grow crops on Honua Ola land
; 90% of harvest will go to The Food Basket. Big Island agriculture students are taking the opportunity to plant produce on three acres of land through a partnership with Honua Ola Bioenergy in Pepeekeo. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Hawaiian Electric mulls later shutdown for Kahului plant. Hawaiian Electric is weighing whether to push back the retirement of its fossil fuel-reliant Kahului Power Plant as it works to get spare parts for four engines at another key facility. Maui News.

PARKLINQ introducing ‘smart parking’ at Maui Ocean Center. HawaiĘ»i-based company PARKLINQ has developed a high-tech, tiered parking rate system, which the company says is the first of its kind in the world. Maui Now.

Kauai

While visiting Kaua‘i, Gov. Ige talks infrastructure, COVID.
On this most recent trip, Ige and his team came for a blessing of the Lihu‘e Airport, showcasing the renovations to the lobby and ticketing area, marking yet another point of investment by the state in county infrastructure. Garden Island.

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