Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Tokuda, Case keep congressional focus on Maui, Hawaii GOP caucus set for March 12, DOH contracts for new COVID call center, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

U.S. Rep. Tokuda requests moment of silence for Maui on House floor. U.S. Rep. Jill Tokuda on Tuesday, along with fellow U.S. Rep. Ed Case, stood on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives and asked for a moment of silence. Hawaii's congressional delegation wants to keep focus on the Aug. 8 wildfires to ensure that federal resources continue to flow to the state. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.

Hawaii GOP Sets Presidential Caucus For March 12. That's a week after Super Tuesday, one of the biggest voting days in next year's election cycle. Civil Beat.

Former Land Board Chair To Lead New UH Conservation Office. Suzanne Case served two terms as director of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources. Civil Beat.

Planned reopening of West Maui tourism stirs concern. Gov. Josh Green said nearly 7,300 people are staying in 32 hotels across West Maui, and those hotels are set to reopen to tourism in less than four weeks. Some say it’s too soon, but state leaders say it’s the right time. Hawaii News Now.

Lawmakers take closer look at existing rules for management of dry brush.
Dry brush and unmanaged vegetation can be the worst enemy for firefighting. KHON2.

HECO indicates it could turn to ratepayers to help cover extensive fire rebuilding costs. Hawaiian Electric may be asking customers to pay for damage and recovery from the Maui wildfires — even though many say HECO is to blame. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaiian Electric Posted “working closely” with EOC, then crews blocked lanes
. KITV4 is learning more about the communication failures of August 8th, during the afternoon self-evacuation of Lahaina.  KITV4.

DOH awards $415K contract for new COVID surveillance call center.
The $415,000 contract has been awarded to market researcher Omnitrak Group, which will be tasked with calling individuals who test positive for coronavirus. KHON2.

Hawaiʻi health care workers can now receive up to $50K a year to pay student loans. The Hawaiʻi Education Loan Repayment Program, or HELP, aims to tackle the state's physician shortage as it's grown from several hundred to above 1,000 over the last decade. Hawaii Public Radio.


Resignations continue at liquor commission as Honolulu mayor hopes for ‘new beginning’. The newest chair of the Liquor Commission is just eight months into his role as chair but has already announced he will be leaving in the coming months. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu EMTs, Paramedics Sue The City For Overtime. A lawsuit filed a decade ago got the Emergency Services Department to update its payroll system, but that hasn't fixed the problem. Civil Beat.

HPD pursuit policy ‘defective,’ lawsuit alleges. The family of a teen permanently injured in a September 2021 Makaha car chase by Honolulu Police Department officers has filed a federal lawsuit alleging the HPD’s pursuit policy is defective. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

Defueling Red Hill won’t hurt readiness, Pentagon says. The Pentagon has officially told Congress that military operations in the Pacific will not be adversely affected by the closure of the Navy’s underground Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Has A Hiring Problem. Here’s What That Means For Fire Mitigation Efforts. While city-owned land makes up a relatively small portion of Oahu, groundskeepers need to be strategically redeployed to stave off wildfires. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Island

Vog returns to Kona with Kilauea’s current eruption.  Volcanic smog, or “vog,” filled West Hawaii’s skies Tuesday, obliterating views of Hualalai and blurring the horizon, as Kilauea volcano continued to erupt for a third day, pumping out thousands of tons of sulfur dioxide (SO2), which reacts with the atmosphere and creates the visible haze. West Hawaii Today. Associated Press.

An arid August. Hilo International Airport received 5.35 inches of rain in August, almost half of its norm of 11.3 inches for the month. Despite that, most windward Big Island areas remain verdant. Tribune-Herald.

Governor releases $500,000 in capital improvement project funds for Waimea schools.  A master plan will be the first step in outlining a strategy to make full use of the campus, which encompasses Waimea Elementary and Middles Schools. Big Island Now.

New Superintendent Selected For Kona National Historical Parks.  Paul Scolari has been chosen to serve as the superintendent of Kaloko-Honokōhau and Puʻuhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Parks. Big Island Video News. Big Island Now.


As temporary housing deadlines approach, officials look at long-term solutions on Maui. About 2,000 homes in Lāhainā were lost in the Maui wildfires, displacing thousands of individuals. Survivors of the Maui wildfires have until this Friday to sign up for temporary housing through the American Red Cross. Hawaii Public Radio.

Lahaina Businesses Hoping To Reopen Face Daunting Challenges. From unsafe water to uncertainty over future earnings, obstacles line the path of recovery for businesses in and around the burn zone. Civil Beat.

Recovery in Maui’s Upcountry slow as fires still burn.  More than a month after a series of destructive wildfires that decimated much of the historic town of Lahaina and a number of homes in the Upcountry community of Kula, many residents are still being advised not to drink or bathe with water from systems that officials say were damaged and contaminated during the fires. Star-Advertiser.

County amends Unsafe Water Advisory for part of Upper Kula.  Water serving homes and buildings in Zone 1 has been determined to be safe for unrestricted use. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now.

Another name is added to the list of Maui fatalities.  The Maui Police Department on Tuesday named Buddy Joe Carter as the 61st fatality of the Aug. 8 Lahaina wildfire.  MPD said seven others have been identified but their families had yet to be notified. Star-Advertiser. Maui Now.

Council to consider resolution supporting AMR. Council to consider resolution supporting AMR. The Maui County Council will consider a resolution on Friday that urges the state Department of Health to continue contracting American Medical Response for Maui County’s emergency medical response services.  Maui News.


Kauaʻi rain gauges show below average precipitation for month of August. According to the monthly precipitation summary from the National Weather Service forecast office in Honolulu, the Anahola gauge had its lowest August total since 2000, and Mount Waiʻaleʻale and Wainiha had their lowest August totals since 2005. Kauai Now.

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