Friday, November 24, 2023

Hawaii seeks to limit barriers for Japanese tourists, new Supreme Court justice helped put Green in office, huge surf could peak at 50 feet, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Green wants to make it easier for travelers to visit from Japan. State leaders want to make it easier for tourists from Japan to visit Hawaii by creating a pre-­clearance program allowing travelers from the country to save time at the Honolulu airport by completing immigration, customs and agricultural inspections before departure. Associated Press.

Special fares and chartered flights aim to reignite Japanese tourism to Hawaii. As the state’s visitor arrival numbers recover post-COVID, the Japanese market is a critical piece that’s still missing. Hawaii News Now.

New Hawaii Justice Recently Held A Top Position In The Super PAC That Helped Put Gov. Green In Office. Vladimir Devens, who on Tuesday was unanimously confirmed by the Hawaii State Senate to fill one of two vacancies on the Hawaii Supreme Court, was a director of Be Change Now from April 2019 until April 2023, according to business registration filings with the state. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Will Be Stuck With Its Outdated Unemployment System At Least 3 More Years. The antiquated computer mainframe that caused so many problems with unemployment insurance claims during the Covid-19 pandemic will need to stay in use several more years, even though the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations hoped to be finally rid of it last year. Civil Beat.

Huge warning-level surf for most north and west shores. A large northwest swell will bring huge and dangerous waves that could peak at 40 to 50 feet for most north and west facing shores into Friday. A high surf warning has been issued until 6 a.m. Saturday for the north and west-facing shores of Niihau, Kauai, Oahu and Molokai, and the north shores of Maui. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii law enforcement community opposes state’s plan to legalize recreational marijuana. Hawaii’s Law enforcement community, led by Honolulu Prosecutor Steve Alm, is lining up against the attorney general’s plan to legalize recreational marijuana. Hawaii News Now.

‘Bad actor’ nurseries targeted by officials over little fire ant infestations. Sharon Hurd, state Board of Agriculture chair, told a state Senate informational briefing Wednesday that the department is seeking court orders to enter the properties of the offending nurseries and will seek to quarantine any infested plants. Star-Advertiser.


How Hong Kong and Singapore could inspire Hawaii’s transit-oriented development plans. Experts say Hawaii’s housing crisis isn’t just about construction. Public services, schools, commutes — they all play a role. That’s why a Hawaii housing delegation made certain to ride the rail on their recent trip to Asia. Hawaii News Now.

Alleged Waianae gang leader remains detained. A 46-year-old Waianae man accused of coordinating chicken fights, running illegal game rooms and selling methamphetamine will be detained before trial, a U.S. magistrate judge ruled Wednesday as prosecutors continue to argue that he presents a danger to the community. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

Waianae Cockfighting ‘Pavilion’ Once Hosted Hundreds. Now It’s Quiet. Six Waianae residents are facing gambling charges in a federal case some community members say shows the extreme side of cockfighting. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Island

Hawaiʻi County Parks Seek Mobile Vending Stand Operators. The Hawai‘i County Department of Parks and Recreation is inviting operators to submit bids for lease concessions to operate at five County parks. Big Island Video News. Big Island Now.

Chain Of Craters Road Reopens After “Brief Seismic Crisis”. 
The National Park Service announced the reopenings as unrest and seismicity return to normal levels in Kīlauea volcano’s upper East Rift Zone. Big Island Video News.

Neighborhood Place of Puna awarded $2.5 million to help East Hawai‘i families. Neighborhood Place of Puna, a family-focused nonprofit, has received a $2.5 million grant from Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos’ Day 1 Families Fund — the largest private gift in the organization’s history. Big Island Now.


Wailuku rental housing project nears completion. Demand far outstripped supply for nearly 200 affordable rental apartments under construction on Maui that were offered to lucky applicants this week via lottery. Star-Advertiser.

Maui fire relief housing program calls for help. Gov. Josh Green and the Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corp. are renewing their call for homeowners to offer their unoccupied rooms, units or houses to help Maui wildfire survivors. Star-Advertiser.

Housing Shortage for Maui Fire Survivors Puts Focus On Short-Term Rentals. Mayor Richard Bissen called for "shared sacrifice" but said a moratorium on vacation rentals would likely bring costly legal challenges and unintended consequences. As the search for housing for thousands of people displaced by the Maui wildfires becomes more desperate, officials are mulling proposals to incentivize long-term rentals and enable counties to convert more short-term rentals into units for locals, even though past efforts to do so have had limited success. Civil Beat. Hawaii Public Radio.

West Maui vacation rentals plunged in October.
The availability of short-term vacation rentals in West Maui was 49.1% lower in October compared with the year before, with Maui struggling to find long-term housing for survivors of the Aug. 8 wildfires. Star-Advertiser. Maui Now.


High surf warning extended for north- and west-facing shorelines of Kaua‘i, Ni‘ihau. According to the National Weather Service in Honolulu, surf of 25 to 35 feet is forecast in the warning areas. Surf will likely reach warning levels and hold through the day Friday. Kauai Now.

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