Friday, June 16, 2023

HTA Chief De Fries to step down, education officials lament budget cuts, Hawaii Marines told to be ready for war, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii Tourism Authority Chief Announces Plans To Step Down. John De Fries had faced criticism for the agency's efforts to balance tourism with local and environmental concerns. The head of the embattled Hawaii Tourism Authority will step down after his contract ends in September, the agency said Thursday. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Budget Gap Puts Brakes On Public School Capital Improvement Projects. English learner programs and mathematics initiatives are also not currently funded. Key pieces of the Hawaii Department of Education’s newly approved six-year strategic plan will be delayed or deferred due to a $43 million budget shortfall. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser.

Some airlines are calling it a flash sale and if you wait too long, those low prices may be gone.  Certain Hawaiian Airlines routes to the mainland could cost around $200 to get there and back. Southwest Airlines also offered a lower fare with 40% off on flights.  KHON2.

Mental Health Worker Shortage And Stigma Are Hurting Veterans, Troops In Hawaii. A loan forgiveness program is providing incentive for workers, while a Mililani clinic is fighting the stigma. Civil Beat.

New law meant to stop underage smoking faces backlash from cigar enthusiasts.
The new law — SB 975 signed by Gov. Josh Green — starting July 1, will make it illegal for tobacco products to be shipped to anyone in Hawaii that is not licensed by the state. It also requires all tobacco products, including e-cigs- or vapes to be taxed. KHON2.

Hawaii Marines need to be ready for war, officer says. The 3rd MLR officially activated last year and is the first unit of its kind. It is meant to serve as a blueprint for an ambitious Marine Corps plan to restructure its entire force amid boiling geopolitical tensions between the U.S. and China. Under an initiative called Force Design 2030, service leaders envision the Corps returning to its roots as a naval fighting force focused on the sorts of coastal and island operations it conducted in the Pacific during World War II, but with a 21st century twist. Star-Advertiser.


Gates will be open during free rides on Oahu rail system. City officials will open the gates at the first nine rail stations for free rides on June 30, meaning it will be impossible to get an accurate count of exactly how many passengers show up to ride the rail line in person. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.  KITV4.

DPS fined $104K for Halawa fuel storage tank violations. The state Health Department has fined the Hawaii Department of Public Safety $104,125 for underground storage tank violations at its Halawa Correctional Facility nearly a year after discovering the tank’s existence. Star-Advertiser.

HPD rolls out retrofitted pickup trucks, changing the way officers patrol the streets. The Honolulu Police Department is rolling out a fleet of retrofitted Chevrolet Colorado trucks, changing the way officers patrol the streets. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Renovations at Richardson expected to be done in a few months.  Since June 2022, the Hawaii County Department of Parks and Recreation has closed various parts of the popular Keaukaha beach park in order to improve access to the beach and comply with standards set by the Americans with Disabilities Act, including installing a concrete walkway to the beach and renovations to the parking lot and comfort stations. Tribune-Herald.

Kanu o ka ʻĀina Charter School in Waimea awarded $150,000 grant. The school is one of the 17 Hawaiian Focused Charter Schools awarded $3 million over the next two school years to support unmet facility’s needs.  Big Island Now.


4.4 acres of Keōpūolani remain closed due to corroded light poles.  Emergency repairs of rusted and corroded field lights has forced the closure of nearly five acres at the 110 acre Keōpūolani Regional Park in Central Maui.  Maui Now.

Airline hopes Maui delays will subside. Honolulu runway work has been impacting Neighbor Island flights for months Hawaiian Airlines says things should be much better now since runway 8L at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Honolulu reopened on May 27. Maui News.


‘Managed retreat’ may be beach erosion option.  The County of Kaua‘i Planning Department met with community members on Wednesday evening to discuss the island’s future as it grapples with a series of existential threats due to increasingly severe climate change impacts. Garden Island.

Council approves federal funds for Lima Ola affordable housing project.  Long-term plans for the County of Kaua‘i’s affordable housing subdivision project in ‘Ele‘ele moved forward on Wednesday, as council members voted to approve receipt of $12.72 million in federal funding for infrastructure and water systems for the Lima Ola Workforce Housing Development. Garden Island.

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