Thursday, March 3, 2022

State Capitol to reopen to public, jury trials resume, Caldwell joins gubernatorial race, Mauna Kea management plan advances, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands


courtesy House GOP
Hawaii House opening day 2022 PC:House GOP

State Capitol to reopen to public Monday. Visitors to the state Capitol will have to provide photo identification and proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative test within 72 hours to get inside the Capitol when it’s scheduled to reopen to the public on Monday. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii Public Radio.

Jury trials resume after long pause due to COVID. A spokesperson for the Hawaii State Judiciary said although there was a pause, there have been about 100 jury trials during the pandemic. However, legal experts have said those were mostly less serious cases. KHON2.

Bill to replace University of Hawaii stewardship of Mauna Kea advances.
Three state House committees advanced a bill Wednesday that would create a new entity to oversee the state-managed lands of Mauna Kea, including the world-class observatories on Hawaii’s tallest mountain. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News.

Lawmakers to hear public testimony on proposed $600M for Hawaiian Home Lands. Hawaiʻi lawmakers will hear public testimony Thursday on a proposal to invest $600 million into long-term affordable housing for Native Hawaiians. Hawaii Public Radio. Tribune-Herald.

Kirk Caldwell joins gubernatorial race. Former Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell announced his candidacy for governor this week with a series of ads in daily newspapers across the islands that included the headline, “Even if some don’t think I can win.” Star-Advertiser.

Bill Requiring More Info On Police Arrests And Use Of Force Dies In Hawaii Senate. Senate Bill 2318 is dead after four committees failed to hold a hearing on the bill supporters say would improve police transparency. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Lawmakers Advance Measures To Fund The Police Standards Board. But the bills also require new standards to apply only to officers hired after 2024. Civil Beat.

DOH Revises Interim Administrative Rules for Medical Cannabis Dispensary Licensing Program. The Hawaii State Department of Health revised interim administrative rules for the medical cannabis licensing program went into effect on Feb. 24. Big Island Now.

University of Hawaii unveils public portal for information on climate. The Hawaii Climate Data Portal — set to go live today — is an open-source platform with easy public access to reams of climate data and information along with data products, climate tools, links and more. Star-Advertiser.

Connors: COVID fraud crackdown a priority. The top federal law enforcer in Hawaii said Wednesday that President Joe Biden’s announced crackdown on those responsible for stealing billions in coronavirus relief funds is a priority for her as well. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii reports 166 new COVID infections, 7 additional fatalities. The statewide test positivity rate is 2.7%. -- the positivity rate in Honolulu County is 2.5%; on the Big Island it's 3.5%; in Maui County it's 3.2%; and on Kauai it is 5.1%. Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 236,435 total infections to date. KITV4.


Native Hawaiians waited years for homes on their ancestral land. Then the problems began. Given questions about the department’s responsibilities to Hawaiians and its approach to construction oversight, the Star-Advertiser and ProPublica undertook to find out how satisfied beneficiary homeowners were. The news organizations canvassed the two most recent homesteading subdivisions in Kapolei, a region of former sugar cane land where much of Oahu’s single-family housing has been built the past several decades. Star-Advertiser.

Judge In Conspiracy Case OKs Deposition Of Terminally Ill Ex-Budget Director. Three former Honolulu officials facing federal indictment believe Nelson Koyanagi can provide information that helps their defense. Civil Beat.

Blangiardi appoints Arthur Tolentino to HART Board of Directors. Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi has appointed Arthur Tolentino to the Board of Directors of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation, the overseeing authority for Honolulu’s rail transit project. Hawaii Public Radio.

Honolulu Climate Change Lawsuit Against Oil Companies Will Proceed, Judge Rules. The case is the first of its kind to reach the discovery phase in which oil companies will have to share documents, the city said. Civil Beat.

Amid staffing shortages, HPD eyes 12-hour shifts for patrol officers. Honolulu’s interim police chief and the SHOPO union have met three times in recent weeks to address staffing shortages in patrol divisions. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Mayor Rick Blangiardi considering contract allowing media access to first-responder radio. City attorneys are reviewing the legality of restoring public access to first ­responder radio traffic after Mayor Rick Blangiardi expressed interest in a contractual agreement with Honolulu media outlets permitting them to listen in. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Kahele tours Kona: Congressman visits multiple sites, gets update on airport plans. Plans and visions for Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keahole were presented Tuesday to U.S. Rep. Kai Kahele during his multi-day tour of West Hawaii sites. West Hawaii Today.

Kona teacher on unpaid leave after criminal charges filed. A Konawaena Middle School teacher facing three counts of sexual assault against a minor has been placed on leave. West Hawaii Today.

Russian, Belarusian athletes banned from upcoming Ironman events
The Ironman Group is banning Russian and Belarusian athletes from all upcoming events this year, including May’s world championship in Kona. Hawaii News Now.


This Company Wants To Sell You A Second Home On Maui — Or At Least A Piece Of One. A startup that buys luxury houses and sells shares in them to buyers interested in owning second homes has started operating on Maui, alarming some local residents who are tired of wealthy investors buying up property on the island. Civil Beat. Maui Now.

Despite criticism from former commanders, MPD chief stands by changes to training, staffing. Eleven weeks into his new position, Maui Police Chief John Pelletier is defending a host of changes that have prompted some of his commanders to leave. Hawaii News Now.

Kīpahulu Campground reopens with new online reservation system, March 16. Campsites now can only be reserved using the new online reservation system, which is required for all campsites in the campground. Maui Now.


Kaua‘i OPA requests funds for drug, domestic violence cases.
County Prosecuting Attorney Rebecca Like requested Kaua‘i County Council approval last week to receive federal grant funds to aid in the county’s ongoing efforts to prosecute drug crimes and domestic violence. Garden Island.

KIUC board of directors election ballots go out. Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative members who are receiving ballots for the 2022 Board of Directors election are alerted to a contractor error on the “Instruction to Voters” section of the ballot. Garden Island.

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