Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Hawaii tourism takes a hit, police release Lahaina body cam footage, Oahu battles rural wildfire, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii tourism drops, with recovery expected in 2024.  Jack Richards, president and CEO of Pleasant Holidays, said travel to Hawaii was up 16.5% for 2024 before the Maui wildfires in August, and is now negative statewide. Star-Advertiser. KITV4.

Hawaii Halts Work On Another Computer System Upgrade. An effort to redesign and modernize the state’s business registration system has been suspended after a review this year found dozens of defects in the project, according to a consultant’s report. Civil Beat.

Telehealth Has Improved Medical Service To Remote Areas Of Hawaii But More Is Needed. The state made great strides in improving remote access to medical care during Covid, experts say, but barriers remain for many groups. Civil Beat.

State to begin sending out settlement checks from $326M Hawaiian homestead lawsuit. To be a class member, individuals must have applied for Hawaiian Homes by June 30, 1988, and applied to the Hawaiian Home Lands Trust Individual Claims Review Panel between 1991 and 1995. Hawaii Public Radio.

Funding denied to program that helps with transition Hawaii inmates back into community. The program was created to help incarcerated people transition back in their communities by providing support and guidance for when they get out. Worknet Inc., and the Hawaii Friends of Restorative Justice are working together to continue the program. KITV4.


Mililani Mauka fire destroys 160 acres. In three hours the blaze in the remote, mountainous area above Mililani Mauka that had consumed an estimated 60 acres by 3 p.m. had literally spread like wildfire to 160 acres in size at 6 p.m. and was 35% contained. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.  Associated Press. Hawaii News Now.

Medical marijuana farm owner says his raided greenhouses supplied 1,000 patients.
The owner of the Care Waialua medical marijuana farm that was raided on Oahu’s North Shore said he supplied nearly 1,000 patients — and they need their medicine. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Hawaii Island

Waikoloa Family Affordable Development Dedicated. The 110-unit housing complex is located on 68-3911 Makana Kai Drive in Waikoloa. The $46 million project was developed by the non-profit Coalition for Specialized Housing and partner GSF LLC, and managed by Locations LLC, the complex serves qualifying families with annual incomes of 60 percent or less of the area median income. Big Island Video News.


Maui police release Lahaina body camera footage. Maui police officers went house to house, walked seniors down flights of stairs and drove through the streets pleading with people to evacuate on the day a firestorm burned down Lahaina, killing at least 99 and leaving more than 7,000 people homeless. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.  Maui News. Maui Now.  Hawaii News NowKHON2.  KITV4.

Kula fire debris removal to begin in 2-4 weeks; hazardous site assessments start in Lahaina
. The hazardous site assessments of 26 private properties burned in the Aug. 8 wildfire in Kula is complete, paving the way for heavy equipment and crews to begin removing debris in two to four weeks. Maui Now.

Credible missing persons list drops to 4 people unaccounted for from Lahaina fire. Police say there is only one more set of remains to be identified of the 99 known fatalities. To date, 97 people have been publicly identified. Maui Now.

Visitors to Maui in September 2023 following the Lahiana wildfires was half the volume of the same period in 2022. In the month following the Lahaina wildfires, 94,221 visitors came to Maui in September 2023, less than half the volume of September 2022 (219,667 visitors, -57.1%) and September 2019 (210,108 visitors, -55.2%).  Maui Now.

Red Cross: Fire evacuees won’t be kicked out as West Maui fully reopens to tourism. As West Maui prepares to fully open to tourists on Wednesday, the American Red Cross is assuring people that no one staying in hotels under their program will be evicted. Hawaii News Now.

Native Hawaiians push for honoring Maui’s past.  To the outside world there has been no more vivid symbol of the storied history of Lahaina, and its potential for rebirth, than a 150-year-old banyan tree in the center of town whose scarred branches are now, nearly three months after a devastating wildfire, sprouting new, green leaves. New York Times.

Lack Of Native Seeds Spurs Federal Plan To Replant Fire-Loving Invasive Grasses. The proposal surprised local elected officials and conservation groups that had already been working on native seed issues. Civil Beat.


Home sales sink at end of summer, median price rises. A stagnant local housing market showed no signs of recovery in the final month of summer, as home sales plunged amid a backdrop of lofty mortgage interest rates. Garden Island.

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