Thursday, March 10, 2022

Offshore windfarm bill clears Senate, Tupola dinged for improper spending of city funds, Russian intrigue thickens on Kauai, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Offshore Wind Energy Bill Sails Through Hawaii Senate. The House will now weigh in on how far floating wind farms must be from shore. Civil Beat.

Bill Would Let Hawaii Home-Schoolers Compete In Sports. Hawaii is one of 20 states that bans home-schooled students from competing in interscholastic sports. Civil Beat.

Hawaiʻi Senate passes bill protecting access to abortion; House considers legislation next. Advocates of the bill say it will preserve and reinforce Hawaiʻi’s position as a stalwart supporter of abortion access at a time when the US Supreme Court could soon overturn the landmark 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade that affirmed the constitutional right to abortion. Maui Now.

Lawmaker Calls For Investigations Of State Ag Park Program.
Rep. John Mizuno says the experience of a farm couple raises questions about whether the Department of Agriculture is adequately managing parks meant for small producers. Civil Beat.

Hawaiʻi Updates Agricultural Land Use Baseline Study. The Hawaiʻi Department of Agriculture has released an update to the 2020 Agricultural Land Use Baseline Study. Big Island Video News.

DLNR to hold final public meeting to discuss plan to protect Hawaii’s sacred sites. The Department of Land and Natural Resources will be hosting its final public meeting to discuss its statewide historic preservation plan. Hawaii News Now.

In classrooms across the state, students are helping Hawaii track COVID variants. At Iolani School and in other classrooms around the state, students are tracking COVID variants by studying patient samples of the virus that come from the state. Hawaii News Now.

Health Department shifts to weekly COVID-19 data reports. The Hawaii Department of Health announced Wednesday that it’s switching to a weekly posting of coronavirus cases and other data — discontinuing daily postings — as it transitions to the next phase of the pandemic. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Big Island Now. Maui Now.

Oahu

Honolulu ethics rules improper spending for City Council member Andria Tupola.
The Honolulu Ethics Commission issued a formal opinion Wednesday that City Council member Andria Tupola improperly used city funds to buy materials for COVID-19 community events put on by her former private employer. Star-Advertiser.

Luella Costales, a former Honolulu police commissioner, to fill vacancy left by former House Rep. Ty Cullen. Luella Costales, a community leader who currently is serving as a community and resource manager for the nonprofit Oahu Economic Development Board, has been appointed to fill the state House of Representatives vacancy left by former Rep. Ty Cullen. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu gets $21M from FTA for TheBus and HandiVan services.
Honolulu's Department of Transportation Services announced Tuesday it was awarded a federal relief grant to maintain essential services impacted by the pandemic. Hawaii Public Radio.

North Shore home collapse exposes lack of planning on coastal management
. While the spectacle of the home collapsed onto one of Hawaii’s most famous beaches last week was a stunning sight, attracting onlookers who peered through the windows as surfers paddled in and out of the nearby surf breaks, it was largely anticipated. Star-Advertiser.

Another $150M in federal funding secured for Red Hill, Sen. Brian Schatz says. U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz said today he has secured an additional $150 million in federal funding to defuel, permanently close and clean up the Navy’s Red Hill fuel facility. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii Island


Bill to fund homeless programs passes. The Hawaii County Council passed a bill that would earmark a portion of tax revenues on luxury homes for homeless programs and housing. Tribune-Herald.

Council committee advances $149.5 million bond issue. County Council members Wednesday were enthusiastic about a $149.5 million bond authorization, saying the money could help the county secure “once in a generation” federal dollars for badly needed projects. West Hawaii Today.

Council passes resolution condemning Russia’s actions in Ukraine. The County Council Wednesday unanimously passed a resolution condemning Russia’s actions in Ukraine and offering support for the Ukrainian people. West Hawaii Today.

Grand plan for Hilo hospital: Two-phase effort would expand ICU, add new Family Birthing Center. Hilo Medical Center is one step closer to an expansion of its intensive care unit from 11 to 18 beds, according to Dan Brinkman, East Hawaii CEO of Hawaii Health Systems Corp. Tribune-Herald.

Small snag in lava buyout program. The county’s program to buy back properties destroyed, damaged or isolated by the 2018 Kilauea eruption has not been significantly delayed by a missing agreement with the state. Tribune-Herald.

There's only one highway from Puna to Hilo. A lawmaker wants to explore alternate routes. Rep. Gregor Ilagan, who represents Puna, said residents in his district have seen their 20-minute drives to and from Hilo double or even triple in recent years. Hawaii Public Radio.

Maui

Maui’s Helene Kau appointed Director at Department of Water Supply. Mayor Michael Victorino announced today his appointment of Helene Kau as director of the Department of Water Supply. Her nomination is subject to confirmation by the Maui County Council. Maui Now.

$128 million luxury home project gets initial approval. Saying that developers “did their due diligence,” the Maui Planning Commission on Tuesday greenlighted a 53-unit high-end condominium project that some residents said would create construction jobs but others described as “luxury homes for off-island investors.” Maui News.

Kauai

Council passes CC&R bill in surprise unanimous vote. Legislation intended to mitigate the Kaua‘i housing crisis is headed to the mayor’s desk for approval, after Kaua‘i County Council members unanimously voted to adopt Bill No. 2834 on final reading Wednesday. Garden Island.

Secret Agent’s Indictment Amplifies Demand To Rename Kauai’s Russian Fort
. Advocates of changing the fort’s name to reflect its Hawaiian heritage are confident the state will do so but no official decision has been made yet. Civil Beat.

Felicia Cowden clarifies Branson ties, allegations. In a statement to The Garden Island, Cowden, who was elected in December 2018, objected to the accuracy of reports connecting her to Branson. Garden Island.

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