Thursday, October 6, 2022

Gubernatorial candidates clash over abortion, legislative standards commission proposes term limits, Mauna Loa backcountry closes amid seismic activity, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii gubernatorial candidates Green, Aiona clash over abortion in debate. Lt. Gov. Josh Green and former Lt. Gov. James “Duke” Aiona sparred Wednesday night over the issues of abortion and whether to legalize recreational marijuana in their first televised debate to help decide who will become Hawaii’s next governor. Aiona is making his third run for the governor’s office as the Republican Party’s nominee, but faces formidable hurdles against Green, a Democrat. Star-Advertiser. KHON2.

Reluctant Standards Commission Proposes Term Limits For Hawaii Lawmakers. The panel also forwarded a bill on legislative meetings but will take more time to examine proposals on public records, meetings and a state voters guide. Civil Beat.

VA secretary says staff shortages are being addressed to better serve Hawaii’s veterans, some of whom face obstacles to treatment. The head of the Department of Veterans Affairs testified on Oahu Wednesday about the state of health services in Hawaii and issues including staff shortages, women’s care and complaints from community clinic providers about payments. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.

HTA contract extended 6 months as dispute nears resolution. The state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism said in a news release today that there is a “pathway towards a resolution” between the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement and the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau, two parties involved in the conflict. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

First-ever conference prepares Department of Education staff for safety crisis. Wednesday was the final day of the three-day conference featuring national experts that aimed to guide department leaders and staff members in preventing, identifying and responding to various threats to school safety. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii lawmakers urge Kaiser to resolve strike, improve mental health care. More than a dozen state lawmakers are urging Kaiser Permanente to come to an agreement with its mental health clinicians who have been striking for more than a month. The workers, represented by the National Union of Healthcare Workers, say that severe understaffing has put their patients’ health at risk and Kaiser needs to boost salaries and benefits to attract more employees. Star-Advertiser.

New booster shots urged as case counts plateau. The average number of daily COVID-19 cases remains steady as health officials continue to urge people to get a bivalent booster shot ahead of the winter season. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii health officials report 1,273 new COVID-19 infections, 8 deaths. The state’s average positivity rate, meanwhile, increased to 6.3% compared with 5.7% reported the previous week. Star-Advertiser. KHON2

Oahu

Honolulu Ballot Proposal Would Steer Money To Affordable Housing. Proponents of a measure to dedicate money to Honolulu’s housing fund see it as an opportunity to help solve Oahu’s affordable housing shortage. Critics, meanwhile, say there are better ways to achieve that goal: chiefly by following the standard budgeting process in which the City Council decides how to spend money each year. Civil Beat.

City council appoints building lobbyist to planning commission
. The Honolulu City Council confirmed a construction industry lobbyist to the Honolulu Planning Commission on Wednesday, despite concerns over his reappointment. Star-Advertiser.

Taxpayers will fund legal defense for officers accused of chasing car that crashed, failing to render aid. The Honolulu Police Commission has decided taxpayers will fund the defense of two Honolulu police officers accused of chasing a car that crashed and then failing to render aid. Officers Jake Bartolome and Erik Smith remain on restricted duty as the city Prosecutor’s Office investigates the allegations that the two did not stop to help the victims ― teens and adults who were seriously injured. Hawaii News Now.

Liquor control executives deny culture of retaliation, calling allegations ‘baseless’. The Honolulu Liquor Commission was accused of ignoring a culture of retaliation Wednesday as the City Council called on the commission to find ways to restore the public trust. The commission has been accused of discrimination against LGBTQ businesses and retaliation against others who complained about liquor inspectors. Hawaii News Now.

One month in, improvements seen under Waikiki ‘Safe and Sound’ initiative. Early Wednesday morning, police swept the area. Even during the day, they kept people from loitering. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Mauna Loa summit backcountry closed after increased seismic activity. Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park officials have closed the Mauna Loa summit backcountry because of increased seismic activity but say an eruption is not imminent. Star-Advertiser. Big Island Video News. Big Island Now. Hawaii News Now.

Lawmakers OK resolution calling for relocation of HCCC.
The Hawaii County Council and a state oversight commission agree that the Hawaii Community Correctional Center should be moved to a different location. Tribune-Herald.

Council passes bill aimed at AVs. The Hawaii County Council Wednesday signed off on a bill that’ll help private property owners rid their land of abandoned or derelict vehicles. West Hawaii Today.

Council endorses Keauhou Bay land purchase.
The last open piece of property on Keauhou Bay could soon belong to the public, following approval Wednesday by the County Council to purchase the parcel using property tax proceeds. West Hawaii Today.

UH-Hilo enrollment dips again. Enrollment for the University of Hawaii at Hilo declined again this year by 8.2%. Total enrollment for Fall 2022 is listed at 2,977 students, or 266 fewer than those enrolled in Fall 2021. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Community meetings planned for Koa Waena affordable housing project in Kihei. The Public is invited to community meetings this weekend to learn more about the new Koa Waena affordable housing project by developer Peter Savio in Kīhei. Savio plans to break ground on the project later this year. Maui Now.

Maui sees decline in visitors at end of busy summer season. In the last month of a bustling summer that prompted airport officials to try and cut down on wait times, a total of 265,410 visitors arrived on Maui Island and spent $472.9 million, according to recent reports by the state and Hawaii Tourism Authority. Maui News.

Maui median home price in September rises to $1,025,000, up 3% from same time. Overall inventory of single homes for sale ended the month at 249, up 7.8% from September 2021, boosting the month’s inventory by 45% compared to the same time last year. Maui Now.

Kauai

Kaua‘i council approves first-of-its-kind sea level rise bill. With a unanimous county council vote, Kaua‘i is set to become one of the first counties in the nation to regulate construction based on future sea level rise projections. Garden Island.

Queen’s Bath access closed for winter. Effective now, the access gate to Queen’s Bath in Princeville is closed through winter, in the interest of public safety, according to a county press release. Garden Island. Kauai Now.

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