Thursday, September 8, 2022

COVID testing company gives big to Hawaii Democrats, Honolulu permitting chief resigns, Maui police chief cleared, Kauai council gives itself 15% raise, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Why Is Nomi Health Donating To Key Democrats In Blue State Hawaii After Giving Big To GOP? The Utah-based company contributed to the campaigns of six Democrats in Hawaii, including Josh Green and Sylvia Luke, the Democratic nominees for governor and lieutenant governor. USA Today.

Former defense contractor pleads guilty to PPP fraud. A former Hawaii defense contractor changed his plea to guilty in federal court Wednesday, admitting he defrauded banks of more than $22.8 million intended to help businesses struggling through the COVID-19 pandemic. Martin Kao, 49, the former head of Martin Defense Group LLC, formerly known as Navatek LLC, is charged with bank fraud and money laundering. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.

Marines welcome new commander of Pacific forces. Lt. Gen. Steven Rudder handed the reins of Marine Corps Forces, Pacific to Lt. Gen. William Jurney in a Wednesday morning ceremony at Marine Corps Base Hawaii at Kaneohe Bay. Star-Advertiser.

Abrupt closure of air ambulance company leaves many in shock. The parent company of LifeSave KuPono shut down the air ambulance service Wednesday, leaving just one air ambulance company serving the islands. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaiian Airlines dropping employee vaccination mandate.
Hawaiian Airlines is removing COVID-19 vaccinations as a requirement for employment effective Oct. 1 and dispensing with other elements of its COVID-19 safety policy. Star-Advertiser.

Researchers emphasize importance of wastewater surveillance to monitor COVID.
After delays in Hawaii’s wastewater monitoring program, DOH officials said they have started processing some wastewater samples to monitor COVID. Hawaii News Now.

New COVID booster shots available as Hawaii case counts decline. Several pharmacies have already started taking appointments for the boosters, while some community health centers are preparing to do so in the coming days. Kaiser Permanente Hawaii will begin offering the bivalent COVID-19 boosters at its facilities Friday. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Health Department reports 1,215 new COVID-19 infections, 11 coronavirus-related deaths this past week. The state’s average positivity rate, meanwhile, continued dropping to 6.4% compared to 7.3% reported the previous week. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

Director Of Honolulu’s Troubled Permitting Office Resigns. Mayor Rick Blangiardi appointed Dean Uchida with hopes of streamlining permitting, but delays have gotten significantly worse. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii Public Radio.

Pentagon speeds up timeline for defueling Red Hill by several months. The U.S. Department of Defense has sped up its timeline for draining the Navy’s underground Red Hill fuel tanks by about five months and now expects that the work can be completed by July 2024. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now. KHON2. KITV4.

Honolulu taxi industry wants more control over meter rates. Dale Evans, CEO of Charley's Taxi, has asked the City and County of Honolulu to repeal the ordinance that controls taxi fares — which she says is threatening her business. Hawaii Public Radio.

Another Key Player In The Miske Conspiracy Case Has Made A Deal With Prosecutors. Lance Lee Bermudez is the sixth of the original 10 co-defendants to flip by agreeing to testify against the accused crime boss. Civil Beat.

Thursday parade and festivities to honor Honolulu Little League World Series champions. The city of Honolulu will come together Thursday to honor the Little League World Series Champions -- with a midday parade and festivities on beginning at noon. KITV4. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii Public Radio. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Affordable housing scandal: Council seeks accounting; defendants fire their lawyers. Hilo attorneys Paul Joseph Sulla Jr. and Gary Charles Zamber, in a Sept. 1 status conference with federal Magistrate Judge Kenneth J. Mansfield, asked that their attorneys be terminated so they can represent themselves. West Hawaii Today.

Hilo Bayfront Trails project gets next installment. While the first phase of the project — which connected Mooheau Park, Pauahi Street, the Bayfront canoe hale, and the Bayfront soccer fields — was completed in 2016, work on a second phase to connect Kilauea Avenue to the soccer fields trail built in Phase 1 didn’t begin until earlier this year. Tribune-Herald.

County Works to Set Replacement Schedule for e-Waste Collection Events. While the county’s e-Waste Collection Program remains suspended, county officials say they are working to set a replacement schedule of electronics recycling collection events for the remainder of the calendar year with the reduced state funding available. Big Island Now. Big Island Video News.

Maui

Maui Police Commission Finds Complaints Against New Chief ‘Not Substantiated’. Outside investigators were hired to look into several complaints made against John Pelletier, who has hired a coach to address his management style. Civil Beat.

Maui Council committee to consider Energy Conservation Code amendments. Councilmember Kelly Takaya King announced that the Climate, Action, Resilience and Environment Committee, which she chairs, will consider a county-specific version of Hawaiʻi State Energy Conservation Code. Maui Now.

Kauai

Kaua‘i county council approves 15% raises for mayor, department heads, council members. In a procedure unique among Hawai‘i counties, Kaua‘i County council members unanimously voted Wednesday to approve raises that will likely affect some of their own salaries. Garden Island.

Laukona Park improvements pau. The county’s Department of Parks &Recreation and Cushnie Construction hosted a small group of dignitaries, community supporters and friends to the new pavilion Wednesday, after Sean Chung officiated at the blessing of the Laukona Park Improvements Project in Hanama‘ulu. Garden Island. Kauai Now.

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