Friday, September 8, 2023

Housing chief resigning, alleging personal attacks from BJ Penn and others, Honolulu council mixed on flavored tobacco, shopping cart bans, Green to update progress one month into Lahaina fire disaster, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

After housing chief’s resignation, governor calls personal attacks against her ‘despicable’. Housing chief Nani Medeiros’ resignation raises questions about future of Green’s panel. Medeiros — who has been disparaged, sued and criticized in her 10 months on the job — plans to resign, citing recent threats to her and her family. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.  Hawaii News Now.  KHON2.  KITV4.

Hurricane Jova weakens slightly as it continues tracking westward in the East Pacific. The National Hurricane Center said at 5 p.m. Thursday, Jova had maximum sustained winds of 125 miles per hour with higher gusts. Hawaii News Now. Star-Advertiser.

State epidemiologist warns of high COVID-19 rates, forecasts new vaccine in coming weeks.
State epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Kemble said the state's COVID-19 positivity ratings jumped from 8% in July to more than 15% this month. Hawaii Public Radio.

Gov. Josh Green to update the public today about the deadly Maui fires. Today marks one month since the deadly firestorm that destroyed most of the historic Maui town of Lahaina, killing at least 115 people. Star-Advertiser.

Green says improved response in Lahaina could have saved lives as key questions remain unanswered. One month after the deadliest U.S. wildfire in more than a century, basic questions about the government’s preparation and response to the blaze that destroyed Lahaina remain unanswered — as the painstaking task of identifying remains continues. Hawaii News Now.

Hirono delivers remarks on Senate floor, marking one month since Maui wildfires.
US Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI) delivered remarks on the Senate floor marking one month since wildfires tore through Lahaina and Upcountry Maui.  Maui Now.

6 House working groups to study Lahaina fire’s aftermath. House Speaker Scott Saiki has appointed six working groups to address a large range of issues relating to the Lahaina fire and wants them to come back with bills to be considered during the next legislative session. Star-Advertiser.


Bill to ban selling flavored tobacco on Oʻahu sees mixed reactions from councilmembers.
While the goal of Bill 46 is to limit enticing vaping products, some are concerned the bill would additionally target sales of cigars and hookah. Hawaii Public Radio.

State gauges interest from developers on new Aloha Stadium project.
So far a total of nine teams of developers showed genuine interest in building out the New Aloha Stadium Entertainment District and met with state officials to discuss the plans for the project in one-on-one meetings. KHON2.

City and County of Honolulu working toward banning shopping carts on local streets.
The City and County of Honolulu passed first reading of Bill 49 Wednesday, that would make it unlawful for any person to use, place, leave or in any other manner situate a shopping cart. Shoppers on store premises - permitted to park by owners of the lot, would be an exception. KITV4.

Officials seek input on creating Oʻahu's long-term disaster recovery plan. The recent Maui fires have increased the importance of having a plan in place on every island to guide the recovery process after a natural disaster.  Hawaii Public Radio.

Complaints about overgrown brush rise amid heightened wildfire concerns.
Like many ridgeline communities, Makakilo above Kapolei has a patchwork of land ownership that makes it hard to tell who is responsible for keeping down the wild brush to protect the homes. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Hawaii Island

Hawaiian Airlines to resume Tokyo Haneda-Kona service in October.  Hawaiian Airlines today announced it will restart service between Tokyo’s Haneda Airport and Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport, operating three flights Oct. 29. through Nov. 4 before restarting regular weekly service on Nov. 22.  Maui Now.

Maunakea telescope removal slated for next week.  The Caltech Submillimeter Observatory on Maunakea is the first of five telescopes to be decommissioned in exchange for the planned eventual construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope. Tribune-Herald.


Maui Mayor’s Limited Response About Lahaina Fires Leaves Critical Questions Unanswered. Mayor Richard Bissen spoke to the public in a scripted video address but is not returning calls seeking details and clarification. Civil Beat.

DOE: Number Of Students Missing, Killed In Maui Fires Is ‘Too Small’ To Release. Parents demanded more transparency from education officials at a meeting Thursday. Civil Beat.

West Maui May Reopen To Tourism On Oct. 8 As Economic Slowdown Predicted. The Hawaii governor also plans to distribute $1,200 to each adult affected by the Lahaina blaze. Civil Beat.

After loss of restaurant, Mick Fleetwood uses music to benefit Maui. Mick Fleetwood was in Los Angeles visiting family when he got the news that Lahaina was burning and he was unable to get back home. Back on Maui, the legendary drummer discovered his restaurant, Fleetwood’s on Front St., was destroyed. Maui News.

Local Businesses Will Have Priority For New Wildfire Cleanup Contracts. ECC Constructors, a California company with offices in Honolulu, will be the prime contractor leading the second phase of Lahaina’s remediation, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has confirmed.  Civil Beat.

Maui beckons tourists, and their dollars, to stave off economic disaster after wildfires.
State tourism officials, after initially urging travelers to stay away, are now asking them to come back, avoid the burn zone and help Maui recover by spending their money. Airlines have started offering steep discounts, while some resorts have slashed room rates by 20% or are offering a fifth night free. Associated Press.

Kaiser launches hotline to support West Maui community. Kaiser Permanente has launched a hotline to connect those in the West Maui community in need of in-person counseling, emotional support, and links to resources.  Star-Advertiser.


Kaua‘i firefighters extinguish multiple brush fires Wednesday
.  Kaua‘i Fire Department firefighters extinguished brush fires in Anahola and Kōke‘e. Kauai Now.

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