Showing posts with label Auditor Les Kondo. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Auditor Les Kondo. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Minimum wage hike advances, Honolulu plans examiner pleads guilty to bribery, Maui mayor tests positive for COVID, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2022 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Grocery clerk in Hawaii ©2022 All Hawaii News

Quick start for wage bill: Proposal to hike minimum hourly rate to $18 advances on unanimous vote. A bill that would almost double Hawaii’s minimum wage — incrementally increasing it to $18 per hour by Jan. 1, 2026 — has broken quickly out of the gate at the start of this year’s legislative session. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News. Hawaii News Now.

Proposed bill would nearly cut Hawaii’s legal limit for drunk driving in half. Some Hawaii lawmakers want to almost cut the legal limit for drunk driving in half. A measure moving through the State Legislature would do just that — but it has gotten pushback in previous years. KHON2.

Hawaii’s state auditor Les Kondo blasts House hearings as ‘hit job’. Auditor Les Kondo has blasted a draft report of a five-month-long special House Investigative Committee that was created to scrutinize two audits but quickly expanded into an investigation of Kondo and his office. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii’s governor, David Ige, enters his final year in office with a rare show of emotion.
Gov. David Ige regularly thanks the people of Hawaii who have sacrificed and worked together over the past two years of COVID-19, but choked up at the end of his eighth — and last — State of the State address Monday when he spoke in a nearly empty ceremonial room at the state Capitol and wondered to himself when he’ll ever be able to hug and thank people in person. Star-Advertiser. KITV4.

Hawaiian Airlines finishes strong but delays Japan ramp-up.
Hawaiian Airlines said it ended 2021 with strong demand and positive signs of recovery in domestic travel but that it has delayed ramping up service to Japan until the second quarter due to the lingering omicron variant. Star-Advertiser. Bloomberg News.

Gov. Ige confirms booster shot requirement will soon be added to Hawaii’s Safe Travels Program. The requirement would mean travelers to the State of Hawaii would need to have their COVID booster shot in order to by-pass quarantine. The other option for folks not vaccinated or who haven’t gotten their booster would be to get a negative COVID test taken 72 hours before departure. KHON2.

Hawaii sees 1,904 new coronavirus cases, bringing statewide total to 206,837.
The  new confirmed and probable infection count includes 1,445 cases on Oahu, 142 on Hawaii Island, 170 on Maui, 90 on Kauai, two on Molokai, six on Lanai and 49 Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state. Star-Advertiser.


Former Honolulu city official pleads guilty in permits bribery scheme. A former building plans examiner with the Honolulu planning department pleaded guilty Tuesday to taking bribes in exchange for expediting the approval of permit applications. Associated Press. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Governor Says He’s Not Ready To Permanently Close Red Hill. The governor wants to see proof the Navy can operate the fuel tanks safely but says he’ll consider issuing the facility a new permit. Civil Beat.

Red Hill monitoring results show elevated levels of petroleum chemicals in soil vapor and groundwater. U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz on Tuesday pressed the Navy to release its full investigation into what caused the fuel contamination in its drinking water system, saying that it is essential that the public “has a full accounting of the multiple failures at Red Hill.” Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. KITV4.

Plans for fuel storage facilities in the Pacific could offer alternatives to Red Hill. The military has said that Red Hill is strategically important in the Pacific, but concedes there could be alternatives. Hawaii News Now.

Bill proposes to roll out enforcement positions at Wawamalu Beach. A new measure in the state Legislature could lead to more protections for e beach located on the Makapu'u side of Sandy Beach. Bill 2799, introduced by Sen. Chris Lee, aims to designate the area as the Kaiwi Coast State Park under the Department of Land and Natural Resources. KITV4.

Hawaii lawmakers look for federal help, dogs to combat illegal fireworks. Tuesday night, the Pearl City neighborhood board asked for help from state lawmakers and the federal government. KHON2.

Hawaii Island

Police misconduct up in ‘21: Five HPD officers terminated, 21 suspended. Five Hawaii County police officers were fired and 21 others suspended without pay in 2021, according to the Hawaii Police Department’s annual disciplinary report to the state Legislature.  West Hawaii Today.

House bill would phase out University of Hawaii, create new Mauna Kea stewardship authority. Oversight of Mauna Kea’s summit would be the purview of a new stewardship authority, instead of the University of Hawaii, under a proposal set to be considered by the state Legislature. House Bill 2024 requires the new entity to develop a framework to limit astronomy development and create a plan to return the summit to its natural state. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Tribune-Herald. Associated Press.

Big Island bioenergy firm appeals case to the Supreme Court again. Hu Honua Bioenergy LLC, which has been entangled in a multiyear fight to begin operating a biomass plant on Hawaii Island, will have its case heard before the Hawaii Supreme Court for the third time as it attempts to win approval from the state Public Utilities Commission for the $474 million project. Star-Advertiser.

PIT count returns: Annual survey of homelessness underway. The annual Point in Time Count is underway on the Big Island with volunteers and advocates working to provide a snapshot of all those experiencing homelessness in the community. West Hawaii Today.


Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino tests positive for COVID-19. Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino tested positive for COVID-19 today. His office announced all close contacts have been notified and the mayor is in isolation at home. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.  Maui Now. Hawaii News Now. KHON2. KITV4.

Council Member Mike Molina announces bid for Maui mayor.
Known for his public school teaching and Maui County Council tenure, Mike Molina announced Tuesday evening that he will leave his Makawao-Haʻikū-Pāʻia residency seat in a bid for mayor.  Maui Now.

Sen. Schatz to discuss infrastructure bill’s local impacts at Maui Council committee. The Maui County Council’s Infrastructure and Transportation Committee will meet Thursday, Jan. 27, at 9 a.m. to hear a presentation by US Senator Brian Schatz on local impacts of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021, signed into law by President Biden on Nov. 15. Maui Now.


Wilcox Elementary School transitions to remote learning. Tuesday, Wilcox Elementary School transitioned to a distance-learning model that will last through and including Thursday. Garden Island.

Menehune Road in Waimea reopens. Menehune Road, at the site of a rockfall earlier this month, has reopened, according to officials Tuesday. Garden Island.

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Interment, ceremonies mark somber 80th Pearl Harbor anniversary, Senate confirms Clare Connors as U.S. attorney, power struggle looms over Red Hill fuel tanks, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

PC: U.S. Pacific Fleet
Pearl Harbor National Memorial, in partnership with Navy Region Hawaii, is conducting the 45th interment of a USS Arizona (BB-39) survivor, Lt. Harvey Milhorn, who was a Gunner's Mate 3rd Class aboard the battleship on Dec. 7, 1941. PC: U.S. Pacific Fleet

80th Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day more somber than usual as fewer survivors return. Hawaii Public Radio. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

Senate Confirms Connors To Serve As US Attorney For Hawaii.
Claire Connors, who served under Gov. David Ige as Hawaii attorney general, on Tuesday was confirmed by the U.S. Senate to serve as U.S. attorney for Hawaii. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.

House Panel’s Rare And Controversial Investigation Of Audits Drawing To A Close. Members say their work will improve the Agribusiness Development Corp. and the Department of Land and Natural Resources. But few specific proposals have emerged. Civil Beat.

Will the omicron variant cause Hawaii to tighten COVID-19 restrictions? Gov. Ige responds. KHON2.

Hawaii sees 55 new coronavirus cases, bringing statewide total to 88,440. The new confirmed and probable infection count by island includes 28 new cases on Oahu, seven on Hawaii Island, three on Maui, 13 on Kauai and four Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state. Star-Advertiser.


Navy says it will contest state’s order demanding suspension of Red Hill fuel operations
. A contested case hearing on the order, scheduled for 1 p.m. today, was postponed, however, because the Navy has requested a continuance, according to Kaitlin Arita-Chang, a DOH spokeswoman. Star-Advertiser. Associated Press. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Navy’s Opposition To Governor’s Red Hill Order Raises Question Of State Versus Federal Power. The Department of Health’s director declined to say whether the state is willing to get into a legal fight with the Navy over Gov. Ige’s order to stop operating tanks suspected of contaminating drinking water. Civil Beat.

City Council launches new Red Hill legislation, but Navy’s successful lobbying looms.
The Honolulu City Council is weighing in on the growing Navy water crisis. It wants to regulate the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility, which leaked 14,000 gallons of fuel on November 20th before the Navy’s Red Hill Well was contaminated around Nov. 28. KHON2.

HART Agrees To Install Equipment To Mitigate Electricity Issues. The trains may cause voltage swings as they leave the stations, so HART has agreed to install equipment to stabilize the power. Civil Beat.

Heavy rain brought widespread damage, outages across Oahu. Oahu began drying out Tuesday from an extreme winter storm that included record-setting rainfall and winds that struck neighborhoods across the island Monday. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaiian Electric said it expects to restore power to about 70% of its customers in downtown Honolulu tonight. The company says repairs to the second of three transformers at the Iwilei substation were completed sooner than anticipated bringing back power to about a dozen office buildings. KITV4.

Honolulu Marathon organizers and runners are ready to go. Rain or shine, the Honolulu Marathon is on at 5 a.m. sharp Sunday with no capacity limits. Star-Advertiser.

New Year’s fireworks return to Waikiki. After canceling last year due to the pandemic, the Waikiki Improvement Association announced its Waikiki New Year’s Eve fireworks show will be back this year. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Hele-On could become free: Council members impressed with Mass Transit update. The countywide Hele-On bus system could become free of charge next year, interim Mass Transit Administrator John Andoh told County Council members Tuesday. West Hawaii Today.

Puna sees rise in property crimes. According to statistics from the Hawaii Police Department, there were 45 reports of auto thefts and 32 reports of unauthorized entry to a motor vehicle in November in Puna. That compares to 21 reports of a stolen vehicle and 17 reports of vehicle break-ins in Puna in September, two months earlier. Tribune-Herald.

Surfer Suffers Injuries After Shark Encounter at Banyans. According to Hawaiʻi Fire Department, a 38-year-old man surfing at Banyans Beach Park on Saturday, Dec. 4, was bitten in the left arm and shoulder. Big Island Now. Hawaii News Now.


Power Restoration Continues for Some 1,500 Customers on Maui. As of 9:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 7, Hawaiian Electric crews are responding to a new outage affecting Pukalani to East Maui and parts of Makawao and Haʻikū in addition to the existing outages in parts of Kula, Wailuku, and Lahaina. Maui Now.

Health inspectors close Lahaina Sports Bar on Maui again due to cockroach infestation. The food establishment operated by Lahaina Cafe LLC at 843 Wainee St. first received a red placard, closing it down last Thursday health officials said, and must remain closed until all violations are resolved and cleared by a follow-up inspection. Star-Advertiser. Maui Now.


Tour companies lose permits for Saturday tours on Wailua River. Starting this month, kayak-tour operators and rental companies are no longer allowed to operate tours on the Wailua River on Saturdays. With Sundays already restricted, this limits guided tours to weekdays moving forward. Garden Island.

Dead sperm whale still off North Shore beach. The deceased sperm whale caught on a North Shore reef is rapidly decomposing, one week after state and federal agencies reported its appearance. DLNR, NOAA and stranding-response partners have decided to allow natural decomposition, which has been assisted by heavy surf conditions, to continue in place. Garden Island.

Thursday, November 4, 2021

Auditor's work papers protected, Maui ex-police officer gets prison time for soliciting sex for ticket fixing, Honolulu police defend arresting 10-year-old, keiki get vaccinated, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands


Hawaii Auditor Les Kondo

Judge rules to keep Hawaii state auditor’s ‘work papers’ confidential. Both state auditor Les Kondo and the chairwoman of a special House committee investigating Kondo’s handling of two critical audits of state land management could claim partial victories after their dispute over subpoenas and “confidential work papers” went to Circuit Court on Wednesday. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.

Hawaii unemployment offices to reopen Dec. 1 with limited hours. Hawaii’s unemployment offices, closed since the early part of the pandemic last year, will reopen on a part-time basis beginning Dec. 1, the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations said Wednesday. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Now. KITV4.

Hospitals seek to convince scores of traveling nurses to call Hawaii home. Hundreds of traveling nurses who have spent the past three months caring for Hawaii’s COVID patients will return to the mainland next week. That means many local hospitals will again be left short-staffed. Hawaii News Now.

Kaiser Permanente Hawaii mental health clinicians authorize a strike. After three years of contract negotiations, psychologists, social workers, psychiatric nurses, and chemical dependency counselors at Kaiser Permanente Hawaii have authorized a strike. KITV4.

Department of Public Safety faces a lawsuit over disclosing vaccination statuses
. The civil lawsuit, which seeks unspecified monetary damages, was filed Oct. 25 in Honolulu Circuit Court by Hilo attorney Ted Hong on behalf of the Hawaii Government Employees Association and the United Public Workers. Tribune-Herald.

New service corps program would provide Native Hawaiian youth with job opportunities in conservation. The Indian Youth Service Corps program would provide Indigenous youth with education, employment, and training opportunities through conservation projects on public lands. Hawaii Public Radio.

Wespac’s Aggressive Effort To Muscle In On State Control Of Fisheries
. From paying people to attend meetings to pushing legislation and even publishing a book, the federal fisheries panel spent years trying to influence state policy. Civil Beat.

The first COVID-19 vaccine doses go into the arms of children ages 5-11.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation’s most recent COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor, about 27% of parents surveyed said they are eager to get their kids ages 5 to 11 a vaccine as soon as it is authorized, while 33% said they will wait to see how the vaccine is working. Star-Advertiser. KHON2. KITV4.

Hawaii records 3 new coronavirus-related deaths, 176 additional infections.
The new confirmed and probable infection count by island includes 102 new cases on Oahu, 21 on Hawaii Island, 13 on Maui, 25 on Kauai and 15 Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state. Star-Advertiser.


Honolulu Police Department tells commission arrest of 10-year-old girl ‘reasonable,’ ‘necessary’.
Three officers who arrested a 10-year-old Black girl at a Waipahu elementary school after a complaint from another parent acted in a “reasonable” and “necessary” fashion, an HPD assistant chief told the Honolulu Police Commission on Wednesday. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii’s Congressional delegation demands investigation of Navy’s actions at Red Hill.
Hawaii’s four-member congressional delegation asked the Department of Defense on Wednesday to examine the Navy’s handling of fuel leaks at its Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility, a World War II-era tank farm situated 100 feet above Oahu’s primary drinking water aquifer. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.

Full capacity for many businesses hamstrung by 6-foot distance rule. Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi announced Wednesday that he intends to discuss the distancing limitation with Ige again in hopes of having it lifted because of the negative impact it has on many smaller restaurants and bars. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Hawaii Island

Hotel tax advances without resident discount. A move to exempt county residents from having to pay an extra 3% hotel tax in order to enjoy a staycation on their own island was shot down Wednesday by a County Council majority before advancing Bill 81 on a unanimous vote. West Hawaii Today.

Kona Coffee Cultural Festival celebrates 50 years: Virtual, in-person events start today. Hawaii’s oldest food festival will be celebrating 50 years with both virtual and in-person events starting today. West Hawaii Today.


Ex-Maui police officer gets prison time for soliciting sex in exchange for help sabotaging drunk-driving case. A former Maui police officer today was sentenced to two and a half years in federal prison after he solicited a sexual relationship with a woman he had arrested for drunk driving in exchange for his help sabotaging the case against her. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Big Island Now. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Maui’s vacation rental crackdown reveals strong community divide. In an all-day meeting Wednesday, Maui County Council’s Planning and Sustainable Land Use Committee heard testimony from more than a hundred people regarding vacation rentals on the island. Hawaii News Now.

Newly Selected Maui Police Chief Asks for Dedicated Recruiter, Cold Case Team, and K-9 Program. Newly selected Maui Police Chief, John Pelletier is scheduled to be sworn in on Dec. 15, and is expected to begin his new job as head of the department on the same day, according to information shared at a special meeting today of the Maui Police Commission. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now.

Maui Charter Commission Discussing Planning & Police at Nov. 4 Meeting
. The Maui Charter Commission will receive testimony and discuss the remaining 10 proposed charter amendment under Theme G – Planning and also consider Theme H- Police at its next regular online meeting on Thursday, Nov. 4 at 9 am. Maui Now.


Residents seek passage of zoning bill to halt glamping development. Wednesday, the council heard testimony from a dozen residents in support of Bill No. 2838, which would define undeveloped and developed campgrounds and the areas in which these would be acceptable. Garden Island.

The Elections Division of the Office of the County Clerk and the State Office of Elections have partnered with BallotTrax
, a division of i3logix based in Denver, Colorado to offer free and secure mail ballot locator and notification services to all properly registered voters of the County of Kaua‘i beginning with the upcoming Prosecuting Attorney Special Elections. This service is currently only being offered to properly registered voters of the County of Kaua‘i, but will be expanded statewide for the 2022 Elections. Garden Island.

Friday, October 29, 2021

Military beefing up Hawaii presence, closed elementary school windows leads to COVID cluster, Honolulu reopens without governor's blessing, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2021 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Pohakuloa Training Area ©2021 All Hawaii News

Army Holds Large-Scale Readiness Exercise In Hawaii For The First Time. Commanders say the Joint Pacific Multinational Training Center drills are likely to continue to be held in the islands, which have more realistic terrain for war scenarios. Civil Beat.

Hawaii sees 31% drop in visitor arrivals in September. A combination of scant international travel to Hawaii, a COVID-19 surge and Gov. David Ige’s subsequent plea in August for travelers to avoid non­essential trips to the state through October contributed to a substantial drop in visitor arrivals last month compared with pre-pandemic September 2019. Star-Advertiser. Tribune-Herald.

The Plan To Redraw Hawaii’s Political Lines Goes Out For Public Comment. Members of the Hawaii Reapportionment Commission on Thursday voted unanimously to put forward its redistricting plan for public comment. The commission is planning to host meetings in November and December that would give the public the opportunity to weigh in on the proposals. Civil Beat.

Former City Auditor: Les Kondo Is The ‘Poster Child For Bad Auditing.’ Edwin Young encourages the Legislature to “take action” against the state auditor or risk consequences. But the state auditor said Young is biased. Civil Beat.

U.S. Postal Service looking to fill more than 600 positions in Hawaii. The U.S. Postal Service is seeking to fill more than 600 jobs in Hawaii, over half of which are seasonal positions for the upcoming holiday season. Star-Advertiser. Maui Now.

Hawaii Tourism Authority hires T. Ilihia Gionson for new public affairs position. The Hawaii Tourism Authority has hired T. Ilihia Gionson, a longtime public affairs and community engagement professional from Hawaii island, as public affairs officer. Star-Advertiser.

COVID-19 cluster report highlights Oahu elementary school, notes downward trend in cases statewide. The latest cluster report from the Hawaii Department of Health reflects a downward trend of COVID-19 cases, with only 13 clusters currently under investigation statewide. Star-Advertiser.

DOH says poor classroom ventilation likely contributed to cluster of 30 COVID cases.
Officials said teachers had closed windows and doors to limit outdoor noise levels and to maintain the central air conditioning. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Hawaii records 2 new coronavirus-related deaths, 126 additional infections. The new confirmed and probable infection count by island includes 47 new cases on Oahu, 38 on Hawaii Island, 22 on Maui, nine on Kauai, one on Molokai and nine Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state. Star-Advertiser.


Governor didn’t approve city’s planned reboot of large indoor events but has no plans to stop it. Gov. David Ige says he’s not comfortable with the city’s plan to allow large indoor events on Oahu, but won’t stop Honolulu’s mayor from moving forward. Hawaii News Now.

City explains reasoning behind food and beverage restrictions at Oahu events. As Oahu prepares for the resumption of large events following Mayor Rick Blan­giardi’s loosening of COVID- 19 restrictions, food and beverages will be banned at events like football games even as movie theaters continue with soda and popcorn concessions. Star-Advertiser.

Amid calls for relocation of Red Hill, the Navy pushes a double-tank test. Amid ongoing fuel leaks between Red Hill and Pearl Harbor, the Navy said it is investing over $750 million in improvements to its aging fuel storage tanks that lie 100 feet above the Moanalua-Waimalu groundwater aquifer — while also pursuing a double-wall tank experiment. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.

Former judge tells lawmakers he was removed from audit after questioning rail spending. Randal Lee, a retired Circuit Court Judge and white-collar crime expert, said when he began looking into the rail authority’s books back in 2018, he quickly spotted 76 questionable change orders. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu Mayor Blangiardi hosts city blessing following completion of repairs at Koko Crater Stairs. The city partnered with the Kokonut Koalition, a nonprofit which coordinated thousands of hours of labor by hundreds of volunteers that manually hauled more than 600,000 pounds of materials up the incline.  Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Hawaii Island

County breaks ground on new dispatch call center. A new emergency call center being built in Hilo will improve communications between the county’s police and fire departments. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News. Big Island Now.

Puna water projects mulled:
Meeting held to discuss restoration of service to Isaac Hale Beach Park, 12 other proposals. Hawaii County will not be reinvesting in infrastructure destroyed by the 2018 Kilauea eruption, public officials said Thursday. Tribune-Herald.


Maui mayor wants to loosen COVID restrictions on large gatherings, restaurant capacity. Maui Mayor Victorino said he asked the governor to loosen restrictions and change gathering limits and also wants restaurants to be allowed capacity anywhere from 75% to 100% — instead of the current 50%. KHON2.

Large Employers Either Silent or Taking a Wait and See Approach to Vaccine Mandates.
Several large employers on Maui are either silent or taking a wait and see approach when it comes to mandating COVID-19 vaccines for their employees. Maui Now.

DOE request to open school without a crossing denied
. The state Land Use Commission on Wednesday denied the state Department of Education’s request to allow it to open Kihei high school without an underpass or overpass for pedestrians. Maui News. Hawaii News Now.

Maui crews are successfully eradicating invasive little fire ants — with aerial support. The Maui Invasive Species Committee began a pilot project two years ago using helicopters to spray bait aimed at sterilizing ant queens and curbing the stinging pests. Hawaii Public Radio.


Kaua‘i vacation rentals on rebound. A new Hawai‘i Tourism Authority report shows demand, although down from a summertime high, equaled 53,346 unit nights last month. That’s up 1,424.2% from September 2020, when 3,500 unit nights were recorded, but still down 42.5% from September 2019. Garden Island.

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Coronavirus vaccinations for children, union complaints from teachers, health-care and hotel workers, Honolulu, Kauai advance hotel tax, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Photo by Kristine Wook on Unsplash
PC:Kristine Wook on Unsplash

Elementary age kids in Hawaii weeks away from being eligible for vaccine. Children between the ages of 5 and 11 are just weeks away from being eligible for the Pfizer vaccine. In Hawaii, 119,000 keiki fall into that age group. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Teachers union files complaint to force Hawaii officials to bargain over COVID-19 safety protocols.
The union representing Hawaii’s public school teachers has filed a complaint with the Hawaii Labor Relations Board in an effort to force state officials to engage in bargaining over COVID-19 safety protocols. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

‘Extremely Alarming’ Test Scores Show Challenges Ahead For Hawaii Schools. Hawaii’s public school students suffered dramatic drops in proficiency in core subjects in the nearly two years since the Covid-19 pandemic began, reflecting severe setbacks in academic progress ahead of the resumption of full in-person learning in August. Civil Beat.

Hawaiian language immersion students get distance learning option 2 months into the school year. The Department of Education is recruiting Hawaiian language speakers to help stand up the state’s first-ever Hawaiian Immersion Distance Learning Program. Hawaii Public Radio.

Proposal seeks to modify University of Hawaii tenure system
. The recommendations, crafted by a special committee of the board over seven months this year, gives deans and other administrators a say in the five-year review of tenured faculty members. It also reserves tenure for faculty who actively engage with students in the classroom and eliminates tenure tracks for support faculty and extension agents. Star-Advertiser.

Kaiser healthcare workers vote in favor of strike after failed contract negotiations. Following stalled contract negotiations, Kaiser Permanente Hawaii workers represented by Unite Here Local 5 voted in favor of striking. The union said 93% of healthcare workers, which included nearly 2,000 employees, voted to authorize a strike. Hawaii News Now.

As Hawaii welcomes visitors back, a battle brews between union and hotels. The union is accusing the hotels of violating their contract by not bringing back enough workers. KHON2.

Biden’s Spending Bill Could Be A ‘Game Changer’ For Housing in Hawaii.
The infrastructure bill that the U.S. Senate is debating has the potential to make a huge dent in Hawaii’s housing needs, according to affordable housing advocates who have analyzed the version of the measure that passed the U.S. House. Civil Beat.

Investigation of Hawaii Auditor Les Kondo focuses on forged document. A special state House committee’s investigation of state Auditor Les Kondo and his handling of two critical audits of state land management on Wednesday focused on why Kondo did not pursue a document forged by a Kauai land agent or further research whether a land lessee who lost nonprofit status was being charged rates below market value. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.

More than 1M Hawaii residents have completed COVID-19 vaccinations. This milestone has been reached as the number of daily coronavirus cases in Hawaii continues on a downward trend. The 7-day average of new cases is at 119, and the average positivity rate is at 1.7%. Star-Advertiser. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Now. Maui Now. KITV4.

Green favors no restrictions on outdoor gatherings for vaccinated. Lt. Gov. Josh Green said with current vaccination rates, there should be no restrictions on outdoor gatherings if events can confirm COVID-19 inoculations. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii sees 139 new coronavirus cases, bringing statewide total to 82,730. The new confirmed and probable infection count by island includes 71 new cases on Oahu, 20 on Maui, 32 on Hawaii Island, 10 on Kauai, one on Molokai and five Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state. Star-Advertiser.


Legislative proposal carrying a city hotel tax advances.
A measure that would implement a city hotel tax, with a portion of revenue slated to flow to rail transit, advanced during a City Council committee meeting Wednesday. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

More restrictions loosen up on Oahu. Managed indoor events can resume on Oct. 20 at 50% capacity or a maximum of 500 attendees, or whichever is smaller. KITV4.

Legal Opinion Affecting 1,800 Oahu Landowners Is Secret For Now. The Land Use Commission on Thursday will discuss in private a Hawaii Attorney General’s analysis on Important Agricultural Lands. Civil Beat.

Key City Council committee advances funding for expanded lifeguard hours. A key City Council committee approved a plan Wednesday to provide more than $500,000 for the city’s dawn to dusk lifeguard hours. The city needs Council approval to transfer money it saved from vacant positions to hire 15 Ocean Safety contract workers. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Red Hill Decision Delayed For Probe Of Navy’s Alleged Lack of Disclosure. The Hawaii Department of Health is delaying a decision on the U.S. Navy’s Red Hill fuel facility permit application as health officials investigate allegations that the Navy failed to disclose the full extent of its fuel pipeline network and the facility’s “corrosion history.”  Civil Beat.

Hawaii Island

Council eyes state support for wastewater issues. A resolution discussed at Wednesday’s council meeting would urge the state legislature to set funding for wastewater management projects around the state as one of its legislative goals next year. Tribune-Herald.


Final Community Budget Meeting for FY 2023 Set for Thursday, Oct. 21. The final Community Budget Meeting for Fiscal Year 2023, hosted by Mayor Michael Victorino and his administration, will be held on Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021, starting at 5:30 p.m. Maui Now.

Hawai‘i Senators Visit Mahi Pono on Maui, Explore Strategies to Stabilize Economy. The Senate Committee on Ways and Means conducted a site visit today of Mahi Pono’s farming operations in Central Maui. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now.

Planning and Possibly Police the Focus of Next Maui Charter Commission Meeting. The Maui Charter Commission will hear testimony and discuss Theme G – Planning and, if time allows, Theme H – Police, at its next meeting on Thursday, Oct. 21 at 9 am. Maui Now.

Maui Police Plan New ‘Citizen’s Academy’
. The department’s community relations section has plans to set up a Citizen’s Academy starting in January that gives people ages 18-years and older a window into the life of a police cadet. Civil Beat.


Kaua‘i setting aside TAT funds for vehicles, wages.
A bill that would appropriate $9 million in county Transient Accommodation Tax revenues passed first reading at the meeting of the Kaua‘i County Council yesterday. Garden Island.

Kaua‘i Target opens early in Lihu‘e. The newest Target, its eighth in Hawai‘i since 2009, will be open seven days a week. Garden Island.

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Ige to announce relaxed restrictions this week, Las Vegas captain tapped for Maui police chief, Honolulu council to vet pick for city auditor, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy U>S. Navy
USS Daniel Inouye guided missile destroyer PC: U.S. Navy

New $1.5 billion-plus Navy destroyer USS Daniel Inouye heading for Hawaii. The Navy’s new “Go for Broke” destroyer named for U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye, a World War II hero and one of Hawaii’s most influential statesmen, is sailing to its new home port of Pearl Harbor and a Dec. 8 commissioning at Kilo Pier. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

Combative auditor hearings cross midpoint, with weeks to go. As the hearings enter their fourth week, resuming today for sessions slated to continue for about three more weeks, there has been no clear testimony presented — in public, at least — of obvious wrongdoing by state Auditor Les Kondo or his office. Star-Advertiser.

Trailblazing CEO Connie Lau will pass the torch at Hawaiian Electric Industries. Connie Lau, the longtime president and CEO of Hawaiian Electric Industries Inc., highest-paid female executive in the state, and a driving force behind the company’s move toward clean energy, is retiring at the end of this year. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.

Sierra Club Hawaiʻi Director Marti Townsend steps down.
The environmental organization’s new director is Wayne Tanaka — an attorney, engineer, and environmental advocate. Hawaii Public Radio. Maui Now.

First Hearing Held On Proposed Hawaiian Homes Bill
. The federal legislation ensures long-term tenancy to beneficiaries of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act and their successors, Kahele says, by reducing the successorship qualification of a lessee’s spouse, children, grandchildren and brothers or sisters from one quarter to one thirty-second Hawaiian. Big Island Video News.

Help wanted: Substitute teacher shortage stretches Hawaii public schools thin. The DOE said they are aware that in some rural areas, where there are general staffing shortages, it is challenging to secure substitutes. Some schools are taking it upon themselves to recruit educators. KHON2.

A+ program staffing shortage leaves hundreds of kids waiting and their parents scrambling
. At least 2,600 elementary school-age children — nearly 1,600 at the A+ program held at public schools on Oahu, served by YMCA of Honolulu, and 1,000 at schools on four islands, served by Kamaaina Kids — are on the waitlist in the current school year.  Star-Advertiser.

Gov. David Ige expected to announce relaxed restrictions this week. As Covid-19 case counts continue to drop, Gov. David Ige plans to announce relaxed restrictions later this week, a spokesperson for the governor told KITV-4 Tuesday. KITV4.

Hope for eager UH football fans: Ige says he’s looking to ease some COVID rules soon
. In a one-on-one interview with Hawaii News Now on Tuesday, Gov. David Ige said he’s planning a slow return for UH spectators. He said he hopes to make an announcement with the four county mayors about easing rules by Friday. Hawaii News Now.

Pandemic Hardships Have Made Hawaii’s Nursing Shortage Even Worse. As nurses left the profession, bottlenecks in education made it hard to replace them. Civil Beat.

With enough vaccine supply, DOH offers Pfizer booster shots to any adult who is eligible. Officials said those who had their second Pfizer shot at least six months ago and who feels they are at risk because of certain health conditions or their job, are eligible for a third dose. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii sees 91 new coronavirus cases, bringing statewide total to 80,414.
The new confirmed and probable infection count by island includes 53 new cases on Oahu, 12 on Maui, 15 on Hawaii Island, seven on Kauai and four Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state. Star-Advertiser.


Honolulu may soon have a new city auditor. The Honolulu City Council is expected to take up the nomination Wednesday of Arushi Kumar to head the office that conducts financial and performance evaluations of city departments, programs, activities and services. Hawaii Public Radio.

Oʻahu home prices continue hot streak, but there are signs of stabilization. The median price for a single-family home on Oʻahu rose to $1,050,000 in September. The median price for a condominium also rose last month to $480,000. Hawaii Public Radio. KHON2.

Old housing in Moiliili cleared for affordable midrise.
The blessing by Kahu Kordell Kekoa was part of a ceremonial groundbreaking for a 105-unit midrise apartment building on a site previously occupied by 26 residences in several low-rise apartments and one single-family home dating as far back as 1928. Star-Advertiser.

HART Effort To Hire Welders To Fix Rail Tracks Falls Flat. A recent effort by Honolulu rail officials to hire licensed welders who might help fix one of the transit system’s most basic problems, in which the train wheels don’t align properly with the track crossings, has come up empty. Civil Beat.

New UH COVID-19 prediction models show infection rates trending down.
In the latest report, scientists believe the Safe Access Oahu program that requires people to show their COVID-19 vaccination card or negative test result at most indoor spaces helped bring down case counts. KITV4.

Honolulu medical examiner's office using refrigerated containers for COVID-19 deaths. The medical examiner's office is also in the middle of a $5 million renovation to double its capacity, but construction is going to be another year and a half. Hawaii Public Radio.

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs on Friday announced the purchase of two commercial properties adjacent to its headquarters in Iwilei for $47 million. OHA intends to use the properties as a revenue generator and plans to keep Ross, Longs and PetSmart. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii Island

Ambitious audit plan set: Change orders, inventory, Fire Department, property taxes top list. An audit of contract change orders, property tax revenues, countywide inventory controls and performance of the Fire Department are among 13 projects slated this year by the county’s new auditor. West Hawaii Today.

Trailers could be allowed again at 5 transfer stations. At a Tuesday meeting of the County Council’s Regenerative Agriculture, Water, Energy and Environmental Management Committee, Ramzi Mansour, director of the Hawaii County Department of Environmental Management, said that five of the county’s 22 transfer stations could possibly be modified to once again allow people to use towable trailers to deposit waste. Tribune-Herald.


Las Vegas Police Captain Selected As Final Candidate For Maui Police Chief.
John Pelletier still needs to make it through pre-employment investigations before being appointed as the police chief. Civil Beat.  Maui Now.  Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Charter Commission Votes for Greater Public Access and Transparency. The Maui Charter Commission last Thursday voted to advance several Charter amendment proposals that, if approved by voters in November 2022, aims to bring greater integrity and transparency to County government operations.  Maui Now.


Council mulls using eminent domain for affordable housing. The Kaua‘i County Council will vote today on whether the county will use eminent domain to acquire a 23.5-acre parcel of land in Kilauea. Garden Island.

KFCC installs new slate of officers.
Nancy Apalla of the Kaua‘i Filipino Community Council said the group that oversees the many Filipino groups on Kaua‘i cannot get stopped because of the COVID-19 virus. Garden Island.

Thursday, September 30, 2021

Kilauea erupts again, Oahu commission approves residential vacation rental restrictions, Maui mayor seeks to relax pandemic rules, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

USGS photo taken by M. Patrick on September 29, 2021
Kilauea eruption USGS photo taken by M. Patrick on September 29, 2021

Lava returns to Kilauea Volcano’s Halemaumau Crater. Kilauea Volcano has started erupting again — just four months after the last eruption ended. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii Public Radio. West Hawaii Today. Big Island Video News. Big Island Now. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now. KHON2. KITV4.

Hawaii public schools gear up for COVID-19 testing program. At least 165 schools across the state have registered for training to join Operation Expanded Testing, and 67 of those schools are already actively testing with more schools signing up every day, officials said Wednesday. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii Public Radio.

State Spending Less On Public Infrastructure Than In Recent Years.
The latest round of state spending for capital improvement projects is about half what it’s been the last few years. Civil Beat.

State auditor-House panel battle continues. Auditor Les Kondo wrote a blistering, six-page letter to the eight members of the special House Investigative Committee on Tuesday, calling its investigation of him and his office illegitimate, inappropriate, outside of the committee’s scope and a continuation of “the Speaker’s (Scott Saiki’s) attack against me and my office.” Star-Advertiser.

U.S. says 8 Hawaii birds among nearly two dozen extinct species. Death’s come knocking a last time for the Kauai ‘o‘o and 22 more birds, fish and other species: The U.S. government on Wednesday declared them extinct. Associated Press. Civil Beat. Maui Now.

Coffee, Macadamia Protections Sought By Hawaii’s DC Reps. The federal legislation would enable research funding to be used to address current and emerging threats to the crops. Civil Beat.

Senators Reintroduce Bill to Adjust Medicare Payments for Hawai’i, Alaska Nursing Homes. The bipartisan Equitable Payments for Nursing Facilities Act will authorize a cost-of-living adjustment at skilled nursing facilities in those states to take into account the higher costs of delivering care. Maui Now.

In a worrisome measure of need, half of Hawaii’s keiki are now on Medicaid. Since March 2020, when the pandemic began, more than 100,000 people have signed up for coverage. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii records highest COVID death toll in September since start of pandemic. The Hawaii State Department of Health recorded 181 COVID-related deaths in September — it’s the highest death toll connected to the virus since the onset of the pandemic. KHON2.

Hawaii reports 13 new coronavirus-related deaths, 230 additional infections. The new confirmed and probable infection count by island includes 144 new cases on Oahu, 37 on Hawaii island, 18 on Maui, 13 on Kauai, two on Molokai, and 16 Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state. Star-Advertiser.


Planning commission proposes new short-term rental rules for residential areas only. The Honolulu Planning Commission voted Wednesday to recommend the new short-term rental rules proposed by the city Department of Planning and Permitting to the Honolulu City Council, but only for residential areas. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.

Nearly 100 city bus drivers remain unvaccinated, union working on deal to grant exemptions. The union says the unvaccinated drivers are standing firm on their stance to not get vaccinated. KITV4.

West Oahu Residents Are Wary Of Possible Marine Corps Expansion. As the Marine Corps moves forward with an ambitious restructuring of its entire force and repositioning of forces around the Pacific, military leaders are scouting locations in the Ewa Plains and other areas in West Oahu for new training grounds and potential housing for troops and their families. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Island

New University of Hawaii Astronomy Director Seeks Balance On Mauna Kea.
Doug Simons is taking over the Institute for Astronomy at a critical time for the agency and for astronomy in the state. Civil Beat.

Department mourns loss of two Big Island firefighters. The Hawaii Fire Department is mourning the loss of two firefighters who died within two months of each other. Tribune-Herald.


Mayor Proposes Changes to Relax Maui’s “Safer Outside” Rules. Maui Mayor Michael Victorino has sent a request to Governor David Ige to relax Maui’s Safer Outside Emergency Health Rules, which went into effect on Sept. 15, 2021. Maui Now.

Panel at odds over proposed visitor lodging moratorium. Members vote to recommend denial and back different version. After many hours of public testimony, panel discussion and a split vote, the Maui Planning Commission moved Tuesday on a highly debated proposal to pause new visitor transient accommodations in an effort to curb overtourism. Maui News.

Here’s How Maui Police Chief Candidates Answered Exam Questions. The Maui Police Commission is expected to select the Maui Police Department’s next police chief Tuesday. Civil Beat.

Maui police detective breaks code of silence, claiming corruption and abuses of power at MPD. A Maui police detective is breaking the code of silence to expose what he says is corruption and abuse of power in the Maui Police Department. The allegations include the kidnapping of a patrolman for interrogation by other officers. Hawaii News Now.

Managing deer, sustainable food is mission of business. Maui Nui Venison to receive funding to help move processing on-island. Maui News. Maui Now.


Board of Water Supply appoints Tait as new chief engineer. The Kaua’i Board of Water Supply has appointed Joseph Tait to the position of Manager and Chief Engineer at the Department of Water. Garden Island.

2 Los Angeles travelers arrested on Kauai for falsified travel documents.
Two travelers from Los Angeles were arrested around noon Tuesday for uploading falsified documents into the Hawaii Safe Travels portal in an attempt to avoid the state’s travel quarantine requirements. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

Critically Endangered Fern Rediscovered On Kauai.
Scientists had not seen the imperiled native fern in the wild for years, leading some to believe it could be extinct. Civil Beat. Tribune-Herald. Maui Now.

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Hotel occupancy drops, Blangiardi extends restrictions, grants may pay for Kauai cesspool conversion, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2021 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Hilton Hawaiian Village in Waikiki ©2021 All Hawaii News

Statewide hotel occupancy took double-digit dive in August.
Statewide occupancy in August was 73.4%, according to a report released Monday by the Hawaii Tourism Authority which was based on data from Tennessee- based STR. The results were 10.7 percentage points below August 2019 when the pre­pandemic occupancy was 84.1%. Star-Advertiser.

Lieutenant Governor Wants More Health Care Resources, Not Rationed Care. Hawaiʻi Lt. Gov. Josh Green is urging the federal government to help states avoid rationing medical care during the pandemic — a policy that has concerned many older adults and their families. Hawaii Public Radio.

Vaccine rates up for public safety workers and inmates. There were 296, or 18.7%, of the 1,579 corrections workers in Hawaii who declined the vaccine, according to the state Department of Public Safety, as did 38 of Hawaii’s 332 sheriffs. Star-Advertiser.

State auditor Les Kondo challenges investigation of office. State Auditor Les Kondo challenged members of a special House Investigative Committee on Monday to specify why he and his office are under investigation following two critical audits of land management practices by two state agencies — but received no response. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.

Local progressives urge Rep. Ed Case to support federal infrastructure plan. Local progressive groups are teaming up in an effort to push Congressman Ed Case, D-Hawaii, to support President Joe Biden’s $3.5 trillion “Build Back Better” plan, which aims to aggressively address issues such as climate change, child care and rebuilding infrastructure. Star-Advertiser. KITV4.

Antibody treatments lagging in Hawaii amid strong U.S. demand. The federal government has capped Hawaii’s weekly allocation at 680 treatments, half of what local health care providers had requested. Star-Advertiser.

COVID-19 surge tapers off: Hospitalizations, number of new cases in decline. Hawaii appears to be “out of the red zone” for COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii reports 431 new coronavirus cases, bringing statewide total to 75,911. The new confirmed and probable infection count by island includes 290 new cases on Oahu, 59 on Hawaii island, 38 on Maui, 32 on Kauai, and 12 Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state. Star-Advertiser.


Mayor Blangiardi extends restrictions on large gatherings until Oct. 19, ends Honolulu’s COVID-19 tier system. Mayor Rick Blangiardi today extended the restrictions for large gatherings, which allow 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors, until Oct. 19. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii Public Radio. Hawaii News Now. KHON2. KITV4.

Honolulu’s Search For A New City Auditor May Finally Be Near An End. A search committee selected a candidate with experience in Washington, D.C., and Seattle. The City Council must approve the appointment. Civil Beat.

Training Records May Be Sticking Point In Fire Chief Deadlock. The Honolulu Fire Commission will meet again this week to take up the hiring impasse. Civil Beat.

Many Head Start Classes Go Back Online Amid Covid Surge. The decision came as the delta variant spread rapidly in communities served by the federally funded preschool program. Civil Beat.

A forecast for Honolulu’s peak number of daily coronavirus cases has been revised downward due to recent data and a combination of other factors, including new restrictions and fewer travelers. The Hawaii Pandemic Applied Modeling Work Group, upon request at a recent Honolulu City Council hearing, has estimated the potential impact of the Safe Access Oahu program could reduce cases by about 30% in the next 10 days. Star-Advertiser.

At-home COVID-19 testing kits available free to Oahu residents via federal program. The Hawaii Department of Health today announced that Oahu has been selected to participate in a federal pilot program providing 125,000 residents in eligible zip codes with free, at-home COVID-19 test kits. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Visits to USS Arizona Memorial resume after shoreside dock gets temporary fix. A temporary repair of the shoreside dock at the USS Arizona Memorial visitor center allowed walk-on visitation to the memorial today at noon for the first time in over two weeks as part of “operational testing” that included the general public, the National Park Service said. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Clog in online permitting system slows PV installations. A permit slowdown was expected with the transition to an online permit system in late July. But, while most builders and contractors questioned in an informal survey by West Hawaii Today said permits are starting to trickle through, PV and solar water contractors have yet to see a single permit dribble out. West Hawaii Today.

DOT: Work to reopen Hakalau park unlikely to begin until 2023. Hakalau Beach Park and the nearby Kolekole Beach Park closed in 2017 because of public health hazards caused by lead contamination in the soil. But while Kolekole Beach Park was reopened in 2020, Hakalau remains closed. Tribune-Herald.


Maui Hotels August 2021 Revenue Per Available Room Up 43% from 2019.
For August 2021, Maui County hotels’ RevPar and ADR were up compared to pre-pandemic August 2019, but occupancy was down 4.3%, according to the HTA Hawaiʻi Hotel Performance Report. Maui Now.

Maui police employee in Lahaina tests positive for COVID. The Maui Police Department confirmed an employee out of the Lahaina District tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday, Sept. 20.  KHON2.

A large Kahului homeless camp is cleaned out with hopes of getting campers into housing. One of Maui’s largest homeless encampment is being cleared out this week. The encampment is along Amala Place in Kahului on the way to Kanaha Beach Park – a beach that is popular for picnicking and kite surfing. Hawaii News Now.

Pandemic puts strain on farm sanctuary. In the heart of Haiku sits a safe haven where hundreds of animals have received refuge and where visitors have been able to engage and learn. But uncertainty grows as the COVID-19 pandemic challenges the Leilani Farm Sanctuary to keep the gates open as visitor numbers drop due to travel warnings and other restrictions. Maui News.


Council moves forward with cesspool conversion program. Converting a cesspool to a septic tank can cost anywhere from $15,000 to $30,000. A new bill introduced by the Kaua‘i County Council seeks to absorb those costs for homeowners. Garden Island.

Kaua‘i falling behind in vaccination rates. Across the state, about 66% of Hawai‘i residents are fully vaccinated, with about 75% initiating vaccination. On Kaua‘i, only about 64% of residents are fully vaccinated and 69% have gotten one of two shots. Garden Island.