Monday, November 13, 2023

$176.6M in state projects redirected to Maui, first chief data officer hired, Hawaii has biggest jump in unvaccinated children, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii Projects Statewide Will Go To Maui Fire Response Instead. A state budget memo highlights trade-offs the public will make to support the state's response to the Aug. 8 fires. Some $172.6 million previously appropriated for numerous public purposes such as Hawaii Convention Center roof repairs, state parks renovations and agricultural warehouses will instead be used for Maui wildfire responses, according to a memo from Gov. Josh Green to his department heads. Civil Beat.

Specific project transfers in Gov. Josh Green's budget revisions outlined here.

Some Parts Of HECO’s New Wildfire Strategy Were Already In Play. The utility has been replacing copper wires with aluminum ones for years. Civil Beat.

State of Hawaiʻi Enterprise Technology Services names new chief data officer. Rebecca Cai has been named to the critical role of chief data officer for the State of Hawai‘i Office of Enterprise Technology Services. Cai most recently served as the Chief Data Officer for New York State’s Office of Information Technology Services and has 24 years of digital, data, analytics, and decision intelligence experience in the private sector. Maui Now.

U.S. child vaccination exemptions hit record; Hawaii sees biggest jump. In the last decade, the percentage of kindergarteners with medical exemptions has held steady, at about 0.2%. But the percentage with nonmedical exemptions has inched up, lifting the overall exemption rate from 1.6% in the 2011-2012 school year to 3% last year. Hawaii saw the largest jump, with the exemption rate rising to 6.4%, nearly double the year before. Associated Press.

More than 800 enroll in program aimed at physician retention. Hundreds of doctors statewide have applied for a state program to defray their student loans as part of a plan to alleviate Hawaii’s doctor shortage. Tribune-Herald.

Pacific Gateway Center designated as Immigrant Resource Center for Maui, Kaua‘i and O‘ahu. Pacific Gateway Center has been designated as the Immigrant Resource Center for the counties of Maui, Kaua‘i and O‘ahu, in partnership with Parents & Children Together.  Maui Now.


Professional self-certification law aims to cut DPP permit delays. The City is taking steps to resolve long delays in the building permit process, a temporary professional self-certification law for certain developments was recently passed as a way to speed up the permit application time, but some in the building industry see it as a last resort.  KHON2.

‘High Likelihood’ Of More Delays In Critically Important Honolulu Rail Work. Relocating utilities along Dillingham Boulevard has been a complex problem from the start.  Civil Beat.

Opponents Of Shark’s Cove Development Plan Are Pitching An Emergency Services Center Instead.
Some residents hope that the city's plans for a new emergency services center on Oahuʻs North Shore can align with their goal to stop a commercial development there. Civil Beat.

Mililani Mauka blaze signals troubling change for Hawaii wildfires. A wildfire burning in a remote Hawaii rainforest is underscoring a new reality for the normally lush island state just a few months after devastating wildfires leveled Lahaina and killed at least 99 people. Associated Press.

Service members sue government over Red Hill water crisis. A group of military serv­ice members has filed a lawsuit against the federal government over their exposure to jet fuel-tainted water in 2021 during the Red Hill water crisis on Oahu. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Mayor’s Waipi‘o Valley Road Emergency Rules Extended.
All pedestrians, uncovered vehicles, and horseback access to the Waipiʻo Valley Road remains prohibited, with limited exceptions. Big Island Video News.

Drought conditions intensify on Big Island
; water haulers are backlogged with orders. Severe drought now covers more than half the state and more than 85% of the Big Island and Maui. Tribune-Herald.

Community to discuss draft EA for North Kawaihae Small Boat Harbor. The Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation is hosting a public meeting on Nov. 13 to discuss the draft Environmental Assessment for the North Kawaihae Small Boat Harbor improvements project on Hawaiʻi Island. Big Island Now.

Officials determine Kaumana Caves safe to reopen.
A popular lava tube in Hilo is safe to reopen after a rockfall, according to county officials and geologists. Tribune-Herald.


Maui wildfire relief fund receives over 1,000 applications. Nonprofit Maui Economic Opportunity has received over 1,000 applications for its Maui Relief TANF program, the organization said in a news release Thursday. Star-Advertiser.

County set to open two more residential zones in Lahaina. Restrictions will be lifted from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday and Tuesday for Zones 8C and 9C, which include Aki Street, Hauola Place, Kaili Place, Kamamalu Street, Keone Street, Kopili Street, Kuhua Street, Lahainaluna Road, Puiki Place, Kale Street, Mela Street and Paeohi Street. Maui News.

West Maui tourism restart brings broader business recovery.
Arrivals to Maui plummeted 57% to 94,221 visitors in September, while spending plunged 52.6% to $203.2 million, according to preliminary data from the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism. Star-Advertiser.

Good Samaritans abound in Maui fire relief work. About 10 miles from Lahaina’s burned core, rotating volunteers operating out of a field camp in Kapalua over the past few months have been providing spiritual, emotional and physical help for evacuees of Maui’s deadly Aug. 8 wildfires. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.


Legislators get firsthand look at projects on Kaua‘i.
Members of the House Finance Committee and the Kauai legislative team recently visited the Garden Island to view firsthand several projects and programs, which are supported by the Hawai‘i Legislature. Garden Island.

Kauai Estate To Close 3 Illegal Cesspools. Kukuiolono Park Trust Estate,
which operates Kukuiolono Park and Golf Course in Kalaheo, has agreed to close its three large cesspools as part of a settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the EPA said.  Civil Beat.

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