Friday, April 22, 2022

Legislature wants to shield hula from exploitation, Honolulu mulls more regulation over vacation rentals, Har cleared of misuse of office during DUI arrest, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Lawmakers support resolution to protect hula amid ‘exploitation’ concerns. Many of the world’s finest hula dancers are gathered in Hilo this week for the 59th annual Merrie Monarch Festival. But hula also took centerstage at the state Capitol on Thursday, where lawmakers are considering a resolution to protect its integrity. Hawaii News Now.

How The Decline In Lab Testing Is Complicating Efforts To Track Covid. As the pandemic enters its third year, more people are taking at-home tests or none at all. But coronavirus cases are still rising. Civil Beat.

BOE OKs requests to reduce class time: More than 200 noninstructional days authorized statewide. The state Board of Education voted unanimously Thursday to approve more than 200 requests from schools for noninstructional days, decreasing the number of hours students will spend in the classroom for the 2022-2023 school year. Tribune-Herald.

Free summer school to help students bounce back. The DOE universal screener testing revealed that in the fall and winter of the 2021-2022 school year, almost a fourth of all elementary students were failing English. Though things improved slightly in English in the second quarter, more of them failed math. KHON2.

Isabella Kalua’s Death Has Yet To Trigger A Clear Plan To Bolster Child Protection. The end of this year’s legislative session is just days away, and lawmakers say they still haven’t seen a clear plan for improving Hawaii’s child welfare system. Civil Beat.

Biden Nominates Ex-KPD Officer To Lead US Marshals Office In Hawaii. President Joe Biden announced Friday that he is nominating Michael Contrades, a former deputy police chief in Kauai, to lead the U.S. Marshals Office in Hawaii. Civil Beat.

Hawaii lawmaker will not face additional punishment following DUI acquittal. State Rep. Sharon Har will not face additional charges for her conduct during an arrest on suspicion of drunk driving. A House Special Committee said it found no evidence that the Makakilo lawmaker misused her office during her arrest. Hawaii News Now. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.

Oahu

Council Budget Committee advances new tax classification for short-term rentals. The Honolulu City Council Budget Committee has given initial approval to a measure that would adjust the property tax rate for legal short-term rentals, which in its current form could mean relief for some owners and a hike for others. Star-Advertiser.

Permitting overhaul may mean faster build times for homeowners. The city's Permitting Director - Dean Uchida - said today during a Honolulu City Council Committee Meeting that it's in the process of revamping the entire permitting system, which has been notoriously slow. KITV4.

FBI warning about threat to Honolulu’s mayor prompted additional officers at city hall. A witness against suspected crime boss Mike Miske was indicted by a federal grand jury Thursday for allegedly making social media threats to a DLNR official and his family. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu ranked in top 25 cleanest cities for air pollution. Honolulu is ranked #3 in the top 25 cleanest cities in the country, and officials at the American Lung Association credit both the success to the island's trade winds and the increase of residents switching over to electric cars. KITV4.

Navy says it has cut irrigation use by 50% amid water shortage. The Navy says it is doing its part to conserve water on Oʻahu in response to a request from the Board of Water Supply. Hawaii Public Radio.

Oahu North Shore property owner says he will fight $92K fine. State conservation officials are seeking to impose a $92,000 fine against a North Shore property owner for violating state laws by moving large amounts of sand in front of his two beachfront homes to shield them from coastal erosion and refusing to remove broken sandbags, rocks, concrete rubble and other debris that they say he stacked along the public beach. Star-Advertiser.

As housing prices on Oahu hit record highs, families grapple with rising rents. Prices for single-family homes on Oahu hit a new record high last month and are up more than 21% from last year, according to the Honolulu Board of Realtors. Hawaii News Now.

Oahu Nonprofits To Get $4.5M To Address Housing And Financial Woes. The 17 organizations will work together to help solve critical problems facing the island’s working families. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Island

Plans for bridge work unveiled: Weight limit on Kolekole could be lifted in June. Kolekole Bridge is on track to reopen to heavy truck traffic by June, state officials said Thursday. Tribune-Herald.

Planning Commission Defers Extension Request for Subdivision Proposal off Ali‘i Drive. The commission voted 6-0 on Thursday, April 21, to have Hawai‘i One first meet with the Cultural Resource Commission to ensure there aren’t any historical, burial or cultural concerns by that body or neighbors. Big Island Now.

Funds sought for demolition of Uncle Billy’s. The state Department of Land and Natural Resources Land Division is seeking money from the Legislature to demolish the former Uncle Billy’s Hilo Bay Hotel building. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

‘Ration Your Water’: A Plantation-Era Water System On Maui is Maxed Out. Families who rely on a Maui stream as their only source of running water found their supply suddenly dry. Civil Beat.

Water to be restored to five Molokai streams. Flow standards set for the waterways that were often dry for almost a century. Water will be restored to five streams on Molokai that for more than a century were almost fully diverted and often dry, according to the state Department of Land and Natural Resources. Maui News.

After outcry, Maui’s Baldwin High reverses ban on lei-giving at graduation. A significant reversal for graduating seniors who have endured years of pandemic restrictions, Baldwin High School recently repealed its ban on lei-giving at this year’s graduation ceremony. Maui Now.

Kauai

Weekly COVID cases rising on Kaua’i. COVID-19 cases are rising on-island, statewide and nationally, the County of Kaua‘i reported Thursday. Garden Island.

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