Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Masks now optional at airports, airlines, public transportation, still required at public schools, Blangiardi to sign short-term vacation rental limits, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Honolulu airport pre-COVID ©2022 All Hawaii News

Hawaii Airports, Airlines And Public Transportation Drop Mask Mandates. Masks will no longer be required at Hawaii’s airports and on public transportation after a federal judge struck down a national mandate that had been extended through May 3.  Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii Public Radio. Tribune-Herald. Hawaii News Now.

Indoor masking to continue in Hawaii public schools through end of school year. Indoor masking to protect against COVID-19 will continue to be required at all Hawaii public schools through the end of the school year, state schools interim Superintendent Keith Hayashi has confirmed. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.

Local COVID modeling group projects new variant will not cause hospitalization surge. The Hawaiʻi Pandemic Applied Modeling Group, or HiPAM, is projecting that a new subvariant of COVID will not produce a surge in hospitalizations like other strains before it. A COVID-19 omicron variant hybrid called XE has been detected in Hawaiʻi. Hawaii Public Radio.

Working class tax credit still alive. After taking a long, winding path through the Legislature, a bill making the Earned Income Tax Credit permanent and refundable has made it through both the House and the Senate, though disagreements over amendments mean that the bill will now go before a conference committee. Garden Island.

Bill to ban use of drones for fishing moves forward. Senate Bill 2065, which would prohibit the use of the “unmanned aerial vehicles” on, in or near state waters to take aquatic life, passed out of the House of Representatives on April 8 and will be discussed in conference hearings. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii officials pursue stronger deterrents for illegal game rooms. A proposal before state lawmakers would elevate misdemeanor gambling offenses associated with game room activity to felonies. Star-Advertiser.

No One Is Raising Money Yet To Run Against Kahele, Case Or Schatz. Contributions to Kahele fell off in the first quarter of 2022 while Case saw more donations to his campaign and Schatz continued to bring in significant sums. Civil Beat.

Honolulu City Council Chair Tommy Waters Eyes Run For Congress. He has pulled papers for the 2nd Congressional District seat in case it becomes open. Civil Beat.


Mayor Rick Blangiardi to sign short-term rental bill, return to work after recovering from COVID-19. Mayor Rick Blangiardi said he plans to sign a measure that would tighten rules for short-term rentals on Oahu as he announced he would return to Honolulu Hale today after testing positive for COVID-19 last week. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. KHON2.

No salary increase this year for Council members, mayor and department heads. The mayor and City Council members will not get salary increases this year after a unanimous vote Monday by the Honolulu Salary Commission. Star-Advertiser.

Helicopters to drop citric acid solution over remote Waimanalo area to eradicate coqui frogs. Helicopters will spray a citric acid solution over a remote mountain area of Waimanalo on Wednesday in an attempt to eradicate invasive coqui frogs, according to the state Department of Agriculture. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Council to talk taxes: Breaks for drivers, homeowners and businesses on agenda this week. Resolutions lowering gas taxes by a dime a gallon and granting homeowners a $250 credit on their property taxes, as well a bill capping property values for other classes of property, will all be considered by the council today and Wednesday. West Hawaii Today.

Construction on Phase 2 of Bayfront Trails begins. Work on the second phase of the Hilo Bayfront Trails project began Monday after years of delay. The first phase of the project was completed in 2016, and connected Mooheau Park, Pauahi Street, the Bayfront canoe hale, and the Bayfront soccer fields. Tribune-Herald.

Closing arguments to begin in trial of prominent doctor accused of drug crimes. Closing arguments are set to begin Tuesday morning in the federal drug trial against prominent Big Island physician Rudy Puana. Puana’s attorneys will get one last chance to convince jurors he was not illegally dealing drugs. Hawaii News Now.


Plans for warehouse in Maui Business Park move forward. Despite concerns over drainage and runoff, a 20,000-square-foot warehouse to be located near Costco in Kahului received approval of a special management area use permit on Tuesday. The Maui Planning Commission granted West Maui Construction Holdings LLC the permit to develop the warehouse building and conduct improvements on approximately 4.7 acres in the Maui Business Park at 72 Lauo Loop. Maui News.

Cat colony at the Grand Wailea resort may be eradicated amid lawsuit. The nonprofit Earthjustice recently filed a lawsuit against the resort, sighting lighting problems for endangered seabirds at the Grand Wailea. KITV4.


Driver licensing, motor vehicle registration offices close early this week. The county Finance Department’s divisions of motor vehicle registration and driver licensing are closing at 3 p.m. all this week to accommodate staff training for a planned integration project. The integration project involves the combination of both the drivers licensing and motor vehicle registration divisions into one, full-service Department of Motor Vehicles. Garden Island.

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