Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Secretary of Defense orders Red Hill fuel tank closure, Blangiardi proposes 14% budget hike, retired judge to run for Maui mayor, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Fuels director, LCDR Shannon Bencs walks a portion of the 7 miles of tunnels of the Red Hill Underground Fuel Storage Facility. PC: Daniel Mayberry, U.S. Navy

Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility’s permanent closure is ordered. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has ordered the Navy’s Red Hill fuel facility to be drained and permanently shut down, saying in a statement Monday that it’s “the right thing to do” to advance the nation’s strategic interests and ensure the military is being a good steward of the land it occupies around Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Associated Press. Maui Now.  Hawaii News Now. KHON2. KITV4.

Capital Gains Tax Increase And A New Carbon Tax May Not Make The Cut. With all 76 members of the Legislature up for reelection, lawmakers are expected to shy away from those potentially controversial tax measures this year. Civil Beat.

Reapportionment Commission preps to defend against lawsuit. The state Reapportionment Commission on Monday created a special committee to help the attorney general defend it from a lawsuit filed by a citizen coalition challenging maps featuring new political boundaries for the state Legislature and U.S. House. West Hawaii Today.

Capitol reopens to the public. For the first time in a long time, people other than politicians were back at the big square building on South Beretania Street. Monday was the first day of in-person access at the state Capitol building since COVID concerns closed it to the public two years ago. Hawaii News Now.

Legislature considers measure to help landowners with aging dams. Last Thursday, a joint state Senate committee hearing discussed Senate Bill 3225. The measure proposes creating loan and grant programs for private landowners with a plantation era dam or reservoir — in order to improve structural deficiencies. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii bill would prohibit pat-downs of women by male guards. A bill to prohibit male correctional officers from conducting pat-downs of female inmates across Hawaii’s jail and prison systems passed through the Senate Judiciary Committee last week. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii bill to add LGBTQ information to sex education advances. A bill is advancing at the state Legislature to require Hawaii public schools to include “positive and accurate representations” of LGBTQ+ people, people of color and disabled people in sex education curriculum, but some people are protesting that it will legitimize explicit information they feel is inappropriate for schools. Star-Advertiser. KITV4.

Hawaii Already Has Problem Gamblers, But It Has Few Resources To Help Them. Fears of increased addiction and crime are frequently cited as reasons not to legalize gambling in the Aloha State. Civil Beat.

Frustration over unused $160M facility at State Hospital
. The Hawaii State Hospital has a $160 million state-of-the-art facility that was completed in May. But officials say it’s still not being used due to construction defects and other issues. KHON2. KITV4.

Health officials report 92 new Covid cases statewide.
Today’s reported cases include 53 on O‘ahu, 17 on Hawai‘i Island, 9 on Maui, 8 on Kaua‘i and 5 residents diagnosed outside the state. Over the last 14 days, the state reported 2,516 infections. Hawaii News Now.

Oahu

Honolulu Mayor’s Budget Proposal Includes No Tax Rate Or Fee Hikes. The administration proposed increasing the city’s operating budget by 14% to $3.35 billion while reducing the capital improvement budget by 43% to $801.6 million. Civil Beat. KITV4.

Assaults on police to result in swift charges. Reversing a policy in place for decades, Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney Steve Alm is amending criteria tied to imposing charges so that anyone who allegedly assaults a law enforcement officer will be charged quickly. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

National Teacher of The Year Finalist Whitney Aragaki Shares What Recognition Has Brought. Since being named a finalist for the 2022 National Teacher of the Year Award, it’s been a whirlwind for Waiākea High School educator Whitney Aragaki. Big Island Now.

Maui

Retired Judge Richard Bissen pulls papers in bid for Maui Mayor. Former 2nd Circuit Court Judge, Richard Bissen, announced he is pulling his official candidacy papers for Maui County Mayor, following an earlier announcement in January of his intent to run.  Maui Now.

East Maui kalo farmers rejoice over Hawaii Supreme Court ruling. The court ruled the state should not have allowed the diversion of millions of gallons of water a day from East Maui streams. Hawaii News Now.

Dogs sniff out COVID in students, staff at Seabury Hall.
The research team found the dogs were able to differentiate between SARS-CoV-2 and common cold or flu viruses. Hawaii Public Radio.

165-unit Kahului Lani senior living complete. Nonprofit now moves on to 178-unit affordable project proposed near Kahului Post Office. Maui News.

Kauai

Namahana School submits application to state Charter School Commission.
Namahana School, planned as a free public charter middle and high school to serve North Shore students from Anahola to Ha‘ena, submitted its application in early February to the State Public Charter School Commission. Garden Island.

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