Thursday, September 14, 2023

Regulators, shareholders kick up the heat on Hawaiian Electric's role in Lahaina fire, looming government shutdown shouldn't hamper recovery efforts, Maui Invitational may move to Oahu, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Regulators Push Hawaiian Electric On Liability Insurance Coverage. Hawaiian Electric is facing numerous lawsuits over the Maui fires and questions are being asked about the companies ability to pay any successful claims. Civil Beat. KITV4.

HEI board accused of skimping on safety. A lawsuit filed Monday by a Hawaii Electric Industries shareholder accuses the board of directors of not spending enough on wildfire prevention measures on Maui in the three years before the Aug. 8 fires killed at least 115 people and leveled Lahaina. Star-Advertiser. KHON2.

Energy secretary talks electric grid improvements, federal fund. Jennifer Granholm visits Lahaina after destructive wildfires. The U.S. Secretary of Energy said she would like to see “undergrounding” of electric lines, weeks after Hawaiian Electric received a $95 million federal grant to improve its grid and equipment in the wake of devastating wildfires on Maui. Maui News.

Schatz: Government Shutdown Shouldn’t Stop Maui Recovery Efforts. President Biden has already approved a disaster declaration that allows Hawaii to access federal relief aid. Civil Beat.

Hawaii leaders, tech experts battle ‘war online’ of misinformation over Maui wildfires. After online rumors from the Maui wildfire linked to China and Russia spread fear and division, big tech took center stage at Capitol Hill. Hawaii News Now.

No timetable for finding cause of Lahaina fire. Evidence gathered by a team of fire investigators with the U.S. Department of Justice after the Aug. 8 Lahaina firestorm could take weeks or months to turn over to the Maui Fire Department. Star-Advertiser.

Former Maui senator who lost Lāhainā home focuses on hope for the future. An act of kindness may have saved the life of veteran Maui lawmaker Rosalyn "Roz" Baker. The former state senator offered an airport ride to a visiting couple only to later see the glow of Lāhainā town in the distance. Hawaii Public Radio.

Businesses push organizers to keep Maui Invitational on the Valley Isle. As organizers of the Maui Invitational college basketball tournament consider whether to move the tournament from Lahaina this year, Maui County businesses are pushing for the event to remain on the Valley Isle. No final decision has been made, but Gov. Josh Green said this week that this year’s invitational will likely be moved to Oahu. Hawaii News Now.

COVID cases continue to climb as new vaccine heads to pharmacies. COVID cases are still on an upward trend, including in Hawaii, where the Department of Health reported there were 1,200 new cases statewide last week. Nearly 900 of them were on Oahu. Hawaii News Now.

Updated COVID vaccines to be rolled out in Hawaii. The new COVID-19 vaccines targeting the latest omicron variants should be available in Hawaii by next week. Star-Advertiser.


BWS proposes rate increases starting next year. Expect to pay more in your water bill, the Honolulu Board of Water Supply is planning to increase rates beginning next year.  KHON2.

A Trailhead Shuttle May Be The Answer To Lanikai’s Parking Problems. The idea is being considered as part of efforts to better manage access for popular tourist destinations on Oahu. Civil Beat.

City to install 4G-enabled parking meters by December.
The city is nearing its goal of installing about 4,200 4G-enabled parking meters across urban Honolulu, from Chinatown to Waikiki, by the end of this year. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

HPD chief touts major drop in violent crime, but department refuses to share data on it. Honolulu Police Chief Joe Logan recently announced a major drop in violent crime island wide. Hawaii News Now.

Latest Lawsuit In Makaha Police Pursuit Case Invokes Racketeering Charge. The four Honolulu police officers face felony criminal trial in December. Civil Beat.

2 Prisoners Die At Halawa Correctional Facility. One inmate died after a fight. The other had been hospitalized with a medical condition. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Island

Kīlauea daily update: Lava fountains at heights of 32 feet. The roughly east-west trending erupting vents within the Kīlauea caldera now span approximately a half mile — down from about 1 mile — as of this morning and have lava fountain heights of up to about 32 feet. Big Island Now. Big Island Video News.

EPA grants $1.5 million to Hawaiʻi County to expand recycling in Hilo. The US Environmental Protection Agency announced Wednesday it has awarded $2.2 million in grants to Hawaiʻi for a recycling project in Hilo and a study of waste management across several islands. Big Island Now.


Committee to discuss comprehensive recovery and resiliency plan on Sept. 18 in Central Maui and Sept. 27 in West Maui. Council member Nohelani Uʻu-Hodgins announced today that the Government Relations, Ethics and Transparency Committee will meet in the Council Chamber on Monday, Sept. 18 at 9 a.m. and on Sept. 27 at The Westin Maui Resort and Spa in Kāʻanapali, to discuss a resolution to develop a comprehensive recovery and resiliency plan in response to the August wildfires. Maui Now.

Two more wildfire disaster victims identified, including teen and 79-year-old Lahaina man. The Maui Police Department released the names of two more victims from the Aug. 8 Lahaina fire. Police today confirmed the identity of: Keyiro Fuentes, 14, and Maurice Buen, 79, both of Lahaina. Maui Now.

2 key Lahaina stores reopen while residents wait their turn.  Maui County on Wednesday reopened two more business zones in the Lahaina wildfire disaster area, including the parcel encompassing Lahaina Cannery Mall and its two anchor tenants, Longs Drugs and Safeway. Star-Advertiser. Maui Now.  KHON2.

Out of the 99 moorings at Lahaina Harbor, a row of 13 boats appears largely unscathed. After receiving permission from Maui County and the US Coast Guard, officers from the DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement escorted the owners, in two groups, to the harbor.  Maui Now.

Over a month after the Lahaina wildfire, Maui first responders face breathing issues. There are reports that first responders on Maui are now dealing with breathing issues like coughing up soot after battling the Lahaina wildfire. Hawaii News Now.

Deadlines for Maui wildfire assistance approaching. Deadlines for victims of the Maui wildfires to register for assistance are coming up fast, starting with one Friday for those still needing emergency lodging. Star-Advertiser.

New online report gives DOE updates on Lahaina schools. A new online status report on Maui public schools and students affected by the Aug. 8 wildfires — including campus safety testing of soil, water and air at three closed campuses in Lahaina, and reopening plans — was made live by the state Department of Education on Wednesday and will be kept updated, officials said. Star-Advertiser.


Homes sales fall to lowest total of year on Kaua‘i. A total of 15 single-family homes were sold in July, compared with 24 in July 2022, according to monthly data pooled from multiple sources by Hawai‘i Realtors in Honolulu. That marked a decrease of 37.50 percent in the period and the lowest number of single-family residences sold in any month this year. Garden Island.

SBA Recovery Center opens in Kapa‘a. The U.S. Small Business Administration partnered with the Hawai‘i Small Business Development Center to open an SBA Disaster Assistance and Business Recovery Center on Monday in the former Otsuka’s Furniture building on Kuhio Highway in Kapa‘a. Garden Island.

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