Thursday, September 7, 2023

Hurricane Jova intensifies to Cat 5, Hawaii House organizes committees on Maui wildfires, Honolulu plans examiner sentenced for taking bribes, COVID death toll passes 2k mark, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Jova intensifies into category 5 hurricane in East Pacific. Jova rapidly intensified today and was a category 5 hurricane as of 5 p.m., according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami. However, forecasters said its impact on land will be minor, and will likely weaken into a post-tropical remnant low well before reaching the vicinity of the Hawaiian Islands. Hawaii News Now. Star-Advertiser.  KITV4.

Hawaii judge could become only Native Hawaiian woman on federal bench. Shanlyn A.S. Park, a longtime attorney and state court judge, has been nominated to serve as a judge for the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii. Park, a graduate of the University of Hawaii William S. Richardson School of Law, has been a state court judge on the First Circuit Court on Oahu since 2021. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.

Hawaii’s COVID-related deaths surpass 2,000.  Metrics for COVID, meanwhile, show a decline in the seven-day average of daily cases to 129, down from 170 the previous week, according to DOH. The statewide average positivity fell to 12%, down from about 15% reported the previous week. Star-Advertiser. Garden Island. KITV4.

Hawaii House To Explore Legislative Action On Wildfires. The Hawaii House of Representatives is setting up six interim working groups to make recommendations regarding the wildfires that devastated Lahaina last month. The legislative proposals will be taken up in the new session that begins in January. Civil Beat. Maui Now.

Hit to Hawaii economy from Maui fire pegged at $1.9 billion through 2024.
The state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism expects that Hawaii’s economy will lose about $600 million in previously expected growth this year and about twice as much next year. Star-Advertiser.

AI model finds climate change directly intensified rainfall, droughts.
An international team, including University of Hawai‘i at Manoa researchers, found that human-produced climate change has caused significant variations in day-to-day rainfall fluctuations, exacerbating heavy rainfall and drought events and increasing their severity. Garden Island. Kauai Now.


Ex-city employee gets 10 months for taking bribes. A former city building plans examiner was sentenced to 10 months in federal prison for accepting more than $28,000 in bribes to fast-track projects through the permitting process. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.

Council advances bill with $25K ‘monster home’ penalty.  The Honolulu City Council on Tuesday voted unanimously to approve the first reading of Bill 52 — forwarded first by the city Department of Planning and Permitting, then formally introduced by Council Chair Tommy Waters on Aug. 31 — that is focused solely on levying higher fines. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Restricted Parking Zone Bill Hits Another Detou
r. The Honolulu City Council voted 5-4 Wednesday to defer a decision on whether to expand restricted parking zones that began as a pilot program in Kalihi to other neighborhoods on Oahu. Civil Beat. KHON2.

Kunia woman accused of stealing pandemic benefits.  A 54-year-old Kunia woman pleaded not guilty Tuesday after she was charged in a 12-count federal indictment with taking more than $50,000 from a pandemic unemployment insurance program using other people’s identities. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu home prices stay close to flat. Sales of previously owned homes on Oahu remained depressed in August while prices didn’t change much amid higher mortgage interest rates, an industry report released Wednesday shows. Star-Advertiser.

Nadine Kam, Hawaii’s preeminent food writer, dies at 63. Nadine Kam, followed by readers of both the Honolulu Star-Bulletin and Honolulu Star-Advertiser for her spirited coverage of the local restaurant industry, fashion and music, died Tuesday night in Waipahu after a battle with cancer. She was 63. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Council resolution seeks to spur action on high cost of home insurance in Lava Zones 1 and 2. When Florida insurer Universal Property and Casualty Insurance Co. announced in July that it will leave the Hawaii home and condo insurance market at the end of August 2024, hundreds of the provider’s Puna customers found themselves between a rock an a hard place. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News.

Hawaii County announces 24th annual Queen Lili‘uokalani Festival. The County of Hawaii Department of Parks and Recreation announces the He Hali‘a Aloha No Lili‘uokalani Festival to be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 9 in Hilo’s Lili‘uokalani Park and Gardens. Tribune-Herald.


In visit to Maui, HUD deputy secretary promises to make sure residents ‘hold onto their land’.  The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is pledging to make sure Lahaina residents are able to “hold onto their land” as they navigate losing their homes to the Aug. 8 wildfire.  HUD Deputy Secretary Adrianne Todman is on the ground and plans to meet with Gov. Josh Green and wildfire victims who have lost their homes and are worried about what will happen to everything they have built and worked for.  Hawaii News Now.

Maui County launches Maui Recovers website
. Maui Emergency Management Agency’s interim administrator Darryl Oliveira announced Wednesday the county’s long-awaited Maui Recovers website, which includes updates on re-entry into Lahaina. Star-Advertiser. Maui Now.  KHON2.

The state is trying to contact 500 displaced Lahaina public school students. The number of displaced Lahaina public school students who still haven’t been reached by the state or enrolled in new schools is now down to slightly more than 500, and authorities will continue to work by phone and on foot until each one is contacted, a top state education official said Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

Free bus service to start for Lahaina students needing to get to temporary schools. The state Department of Education will start free bus services on Thursday for Lahaina students impacted by the Aug. 8 wildfire and need to get to their temporary schools in Central and South Maui. Hawaii News Now.

State’s vehicle replacement program has no details; more an effort to ensure supply. The news release announcing the program said interested individuals can contact national companies Hertz, Avis-Budget or Enterprise about rental cars for purchase — or “reach out to any local Maui automobile dealership for more details.”But those rental car companies and Maui dealerships reached on Wednesday said they did not know anything about a vehicle replacement program.  Maui Now.

Some Lahaina stores slowly reopen. As Maui County lifted restrictions on the Lahaina Gateway shopping center this week, business remained slow at Maui’s largest open-air mall as residents continue to grapple with the aftermath of the deadly fire that burned down most of the town last month. Star-Advertiser. Maui News.

Some Historic Lahaina Buildings Could Rise From The Ashes. The town's historic preservation group is considering plans to reconstruct some buildings that partially survived the Aug. 8 fire. Civil Beat.


Kōkeʻe brush fire extinguished.
The Kaua‘i Fire Department reports that the brush fire on Waimea Canyon Drive in Kōkeʻe has been extinguished and crews have cleared the scene. Waimea Canyon Drive is now open. Kauai Now.

Hanalei Beach parking lots close for temporary repairs.
County parking lots at Hanalei Bay will be temporarily closed Wednesday and Thursday for repairs. Kauai Now.

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