Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Hawaii names ohia lehua official endemic tree, UH reinstates indoor masking, state misses out on $200M to feed children, more news from all the Hawaiian islands

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Ohia lehua designated official Hawaii State Endemic Tree. State lawmakers passed Senate Bill 2059 during this year’s Legislative session to designate the tree, and Gov. David Ige Tuesday signed the bill into law at a ceremony at Washington Place. Star-Advertiser. Garden Island. KHON2.

Ige Extends Emergency SNAP Benefits Through July. The governor has signed a second emergency proclamation, extending the provision of federally increased allowances under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Civil Beat.

Health officials say lifted restrictions are not only driving up COVID cases, but also the flu. Health officials said flu cases are higher than it has been compared to the last couple of years when strict public health measures were in place. Hawaii News Now.

University of Hawaii reinstates indoor masking. Amid the statewide COVID-19 surge, Hawaii’s public schools have reported a ninth straight week of increases in campus cases, and the University of Hawaii, starting today, is reinstating an indoor mask requirement across its 10- campus system. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.

Hawaii public schools may need to prepare for shootings, says head of state board. Hawaii’s public school system has no specific policy requiring schools to prepare teachers or students for an active-shooter scenario. However, the head of the state Board of Education said Tuesday that the time has come to consider one. Star-Advertiser.

Report: Hawaiʻi missed out on $200 million in federal funding to feed children since 2000. Since 2000, Hawaiʻi has missed out on more than $200 million in federal funding for the state’s school meal programs, according to a new joint report released Tuesday. Maui Now. KITV4.

State sees banner year for tax revenues, but faces highly uncertain future. The state Council on Revenues expects a strong end to this fiscal year. But there are concerns for fiscal year 2023, which starts in July. The council projects Hawaiʻi will end the current fiscal year with a 28% growth in tax revenues over FY 2021.  Hawaii Public Radio.

New Hawaii State Hospital faces more delays. State health officials say they face additional delays in moving patients into the Hawaii State Hospital’s new, 144-bed psychiatric facility, after assuring state lawmakers in early April that all the patients would be moved in by this month. The state Department of Health now says the target date is the end of June. Star-Advertiser.

Native Hawaiians Face High Rates Of Diabetes. That Means More Need For Dialysis. The number of dialysis centers in the islands is increasing to meet the need as more patients suffer from kidney failure. Civil Beat.

Oahu

Oahu rail recovery plan advances at City Council. The new rail recovery plan that would notably shorten the route and delay the construction of the Pearl Highlands parking garage advanced out of the Honolulu City Council Transportation, Sustainability and Health Committee on Tuesday. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Creation of Honolulu urban trail part of $14 million tourism recovery plan. The Hawaii Tourism Authority is working on a plan to spend $14 million in COVID-19-era federal funding from the Economic Development Administration that includes development of a Honolulu urban trail that would use virtual reality and other smart features to connect people to points of interest and businesses along the path. Star-Advertiser.

Mandatory water restrictions this summer now appear avoidable. The Board of Water Supply thinks mandatory water restrictions might be avoidable this summer. It’s a promising development for residents who were bracing for forced restrictions and developers who were warned their projects could have been delayed by the Navy’s tainted water crisis. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Federal Aviation Administration moves to strip local freight carrier’s certification.
The Federal Aviation Administration announced Tuesday that it has proposed to revoke the air carrier certificate of Honolulu- based cargo airline Rhoades Aviation Inc. for what the agency called “numerous alleged safety violations.” Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Council matchups shaping up: 2 weeks before filing deadline, two incumbents have no challengers
. Of the nine County Council seats up for election this year, all but two incumbents have drawn challengers, with just two weeks remaining before the June 7 filing deadline. West Hawaii Today.

County seeks info about four torched Elderly Activities Division vehicles. Mayor Mitch Roth issued a statement Tuesday condemning the actions an arsonist or arsonists who on Sunday torched four Department of Parks and Recreation vehicles. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News. Big Island Now. Hawaii News Now

Drought unlikely to stop little fire ants. Pest species like little fire ants will likely not be deterred by the drought conditions expected for much of the island this summer. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Kuʻikahi Village’s plans for 202 workforce homes in Wailuku moves ahead. Kuʻikahi Village Project, which aims to build 202 workforce housing units on about 15 acres in Wailuku, cleared a significant hurdle recently.  Maui Now.

Maui Is Reconsidering What Constitutes ‘Affordable’ When It Comes To Housing. Even if families qualify for loans, monthly costs can be so high that they struggle to hold on to their homes in the long term. Civil Beat. Maui News.

Conservation-minded steward sought as future buyer for Maui’s Hāna Ranch. Bio-Logical Capital today announced it is seeking a new conservation-minded buyer to steward Hāna Ranch, a 3,600-acre working cattle ranch in east Maui. Maui Now.

Longtime Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustee Colette Machado dies at 71. Former Office of Hawaiian Affairs Chair Colette Ma­chado of Molokai was remembered Tuesday as a passionate warrior driven to public service and dedicated to the betterment of the Native Hawaiian community. Star-Advertiser. Maui Now.

Kauai

Boulders block beach-goers near Burns Field. State Department of Transportation personnel have blocked vehicle access to the perimeter road at Port Allen Airport (also known as Burns Field), upsetting residents who recreate on the facility’s makai side. Garden Island.

Wilcox Emergency Department updates completed. Dr. Monty Downs, retired following 50 years of service to Wilcox Health and the first emergency room doctor at Wilcox Medical Center, said the first emergency room was just an 18-foot-by-18-foot room with a stretcher, not a gurney, in the middle. Garden Island.

Officials hold blessing for new emergency department at Wilcox Medical Center. The $5.1 million renovation project includes two trauma resuscitation suites and several specialized care rooms, along with a dedicated behavioral health room equipped with state-of-the-art technology. Star-Advertiser.

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