Showing posts with label CARES Act. Show all posts
Showing posts with label CARES Act. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Legislature to convene next week for veto override session, ex-Honolulu official to be sentenced in embezzling case today, job vacancies go unfilled despite high unemployment rate, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2021 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Hawaii state Capitol ©2021 All Hawaii News

House Speaker: Lawmakers Will Return To The Capitol July 6. Scott Saiki says he’s unsure if there will be any veto overrides, but Hawaii legislators need to make some technical budget fixes. Civil Beat.

After Embezzling To Fund ‘Luxurious Lifestyle,’ Former Nonprofit Exec Begs For Leniency. Prosecutors are asking a federal judge to send Hanalei Aipoalani to prison. Aipoalani is hoping for home confinement. Civil Beat.

Text messages implicate Higa in federal embezzlement case. Text messages between Stacy Higa and a former associate who pleaded guilty to a scheme to embezzle $600,000 in federal coronavirus relief funds show Higa allegedly offering to teach the associate how to “launder money” and “funnel cash.” The text messages were filed by federal prosecutors Friday in U.S. District Court in anticipation of sentencing scheduled today for Hanalei Aipoalani, 42, former City and County of Honolulu Department of Community Services grant administrator for coronavirus relief funding. West Hawaii Today.

Children 5 to 11 not eligible for July 8 vaccine exemption. Hawaii next week will lift travel restrictions for domestic travelers who have been vaccinated on the mainland, but keiki under 12 must still test negative for COVID-19 prior to arrival. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii’s Board Of Education Is In Limbo As Ige Stays Mum On Vacancies. New faces are expected to join the Hawaii Board of Education soon to replace three members whose terms expire Wednesday, but it’s not clear who will be filling at least one of those vacancies. Civil Beat.

Lawmakers fight for teacher bonuses, funding for Hawaii’s education system. A bill that would give $2,200 bonuses to Hawaii public school teachers is now on Gov. Ige’s intent to veto list. KHON2.

Hawaii Has Millions In Rental Assistance To Hand Out But Not Enough Takers. County officials are trying to get the word out that rent help is available and process applications as the end of the eviction moratorium looms. Civil Beat.

Hawaii to offer cash prizes, extend COVID vaccination campaign into August. As Hawaii’s pace of vaccination against the coronavirus continues to fall, the state is extending its incentive campaign to persuade more Hawaii residents to get vaccinated, this time adding cash to the list of prizes that have included trips to Las Vegas, HawaiianMiles and Zippy’s meals for a year. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Ige expresses concern about pockets of COVID cases among unvaccinated. Hawaii’s COVID cases have been relatively stable over the last three weeks, averaging about 40 a day. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Hawaii reports 33 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths. Of the new cases, 19 were on Oahu, three on Hawaii Island, and eight on Maui. There were also three residents diagnosed out-of-state. Hawaii News Now.


New Study: Oahu Freeways Deliver The Roughest Rides In The Country. But the state’s DOT deputy director says the new report from a D.C.-based research group doesn’t tell the whole story. Civil Beat.

Honolulu building-inspection mandate back in spotlight after being waylaid by fire priority. The collapse of a condo building in Florida shines a spotlight on high-rise building safety in the islands. KHON2.

Oahu condo owners struggle to comply with fire safety ordinance. The vast majority of Oahu condominiums are failing a safety evaluation required when no automatic sprinkler system is in place, prompting condo owners and associations to urge the Honolulu City Council to amend a mandate they say could cause bankruptcy. Star-Advertiser.

Fees for nonresidents at Hanauma Bay will more than double. Starting Thursday, the entrance fee to Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve will more than double for nonlocal visitors, rising to $25 from $12 per person age 13 and above, the Honolulu Department of Parks and Recreation has announced. Star-Advertiser. Associated Press. Hawaii News Now.

Task force underway to address safety concerns, management for Ewa Beach roadway. The state and city are working to create a task force to figure out how to manage and police a busy roadway in Ewa Beach that’s raising illegal dumping and safety concerns. Hawaii News Now.

EPA: Pearl Harbor water plant “exceeds discharge limits” under Clean Water Act. The US Environmental Protection Agency announced a Federal Facility Compliance Agreement with the US Navy to complete major upgrades to the Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Wastewater Treatment Plant today.  Maui Now. Hawaii News Now.

State to close Maunawili Falls Trail for improvements, preservation of cultural sites. The state Department of Land and Natural Resources will be closing Maunawili Falls Trail in an effort to preserve historic cultural sites along the hike. The Windward Oahu trail will be closed beginning in mid-July. Hawaii News Now.

Despite Hawaii’s hot housing market, average sales prices plunge at Trump Tower Waikiki. During the 2019 tourism boom, condominiums at the Trump International Tower in Waikiki sold for an average of about $1.7 million. Since then, average sales prices in the tower have fallen below $650,000 ― despite the hot housing market in the islands. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii County

‘Amazing’ hula ready for prime time. The dancing is pau at the 2021 Merrie Monarch Festival hula competition, and all that’s left is the delayed broadcast of the event Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Tribune-Herald.

Next phase of Bayfront Trails pushed back. The Hilo Bayfront Trails is a decade-long plan to build nearly six miles of public pedestrian trails connecting the Hilo Bayfront to Hilo Harbor and the University of Hawaii at Hilo. Tribune-Herald.

West Hawaiʻi State Parks To Close Early On July 4th. The DLNR Division of State Parks will close several Kona and Kohala parks at 5 p.m. on Sunday, July 4th. Big Island Video News.


Short-Term Rental Home Caps Scheduled for Discussion in Committee. A bill that seeks to lower the cap on short-term rental home permits on Maui from 328 to 259 and to establish a cap of 19 on Lānaʻi will be considered by the Planning and Sustainable Land Use Committee on Thursday at 9 a.m. Maui Now.

After more than 30 years of service, Maui fire chief to retire. After a more than 30-year career at the Maui Fire Department, Chief David Thyne will be retiring. Hawaii News Now.

Issues, possible remedies discussed for Hana Highway. Establishing a parking enforcement task force, addressing social media influencers and towing illegally parked vehicles were some of the simpler possible remedies mentioned Monday to deal with the “health and safety crisis” on the congested Hana Highway. Maui News.

Battle might not be pau over Maui stream water. A day after the state Commission on Water Resource Management issued a historic decision in the long-running dispute over Maui stream water, the groups who started the legal action 17 years ago were expressing concern about a document they said is flawed. Star-Advertiser.


Tourism industry needs more workers. Kaua‘i’s tourism industry can’t find people to work. According to a state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations report, the county had an 11.3% unemployment rate in May, the highest in the state. The statewide rate in May was 7.5%. Garden Island.

‘We’re a houseless community’. Today, Salt Pond Beach Park will close for maintenance, shutting down the county’s pandemic-era Shelter-In-Place permitted camping program for the houseless. Garden Island.

Monday, March 29, 2021

COVID cases rise as vaccination passport system in works, guilty plea in CARES funds scam, HGEA files grievance over mass rail layoffs, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2021 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Humpback whale watching off Hawaii ©2021 All Hawaii News

Data gathered for humpback whale count from Kaua’i, O’ahu, Hawai’i, and Maui. Marine experts held the last humpback whale count of the season Saturday, March 27, 2021. About 68 trained leaders from NOAA gathered data from the 42 sites across Kaua’i, O’ahu, Hawai’i, and Maui. KHON2.

Neighbor island lawmakers’ per diem overlooked as 10% raise could go into effect. Neighbor island state senators and representatives continue to earn $225 for every day of the legislative session, weekends and even after the session — valued at nearly half of their $62,604 legislative salaries — even as some have criticized the possibility of legislative pay raises in July. Star-Advertiser.

Bills to get Hawaii income taxes from real estate investment trusts die. State lawmakers have once again taken a pass at trying to abolish a tax break for real estate investment trusts operating in Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Nonprofit Leader Pleads Guilty To Embezzling And Agreeing To Take A Bribe. Hanalei Aipoalani also admitted using his position as a Honolulu grant administrator to direct money to the CEO of Hawaii island’s public access TV station. Civil Beat.

Should Hawaii Invest To Help Workers Displaced By The Pandemic Find New Careers? Hawaii paid hundreds of unemployed tourism workers to learn new job skills last year. Now state lawmakers want to create a permanent jobs corps — but no one knows how to fund it. Civil Beat.

Cocktails To Go? Hawaii Restaurants Hope Service Will Outlast The Pandemic. To help struggling bars and restaurants stay in business amid COVID-19 lockdowns, Gov. David Ige signed an executive order last April to allow establishments with a liquor license to sell alcohol to-go and for home delivery for the first time in state history. Civil Beat.

Many Inmates Leaving Prison Are Still Having Trouble Getting ID Cards. Advocates say something as simple as a state ID card can make all the difference for released convicts. Civil Beat.

Vaccination Passport System in the Works, Lt. Gov. Green Says. Governments in other parts of the world have started setting up vaccination passport systems in an effort to further open up borders, live events and tourism. As for Hawai‘i, Lieutenant Governor Josh Green said he sees a vaccination tracking system coming soon. Hawaii Public Radio.

As COVID case counts rise, health officials push more testing across the state. The statewide COVID case count average rose nearly 60% in the past two weeks, and experts are worried about a drop in testing for the virus. They fear the vaccination rollout has caused people to let down their guard. Hawaii News Now.

March 28, 2021 COVID-19 Update: The state Department of Health reports that there were 102 additional COVID-19 cases reported in Hawai‘i on Sunday, including 61 on O‘ahu, 26 on Maui, and 15 on Hawai‘i Island. Maui Now.


Rising COVID-19 cases could push Oahu back to Tier 2.
If the number of positive COVID-19 cases on Oahu continues to climb, the island could move back to Tier 2 restrictions on business and social activities, which limit gatherings to five people. Star-Advertiser.

Police break up another large concert in Kapolei as partiers ignore COVID rules. Another weekend, another large concert on the west side. This time, HPD took action, arresting one man. Hawaii News Now.

In an effort to ‘Stop Asian Hate,’ scores gather at the state Capitol to push for change. Scores rallied at the state Capitol Saturday to call for an end to racism and misogyny. The event on Oahu, known as the “Stop Asian Hate Rally” was one of many rallies that were held across the country to advance an important conversation -- fighting hate against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Oahu man pleads guilty to embezzlement, bribery over CARES Act funds. Prosecutors say a Waianae man agreed to accept a bribe in exchange of federal pandemic aid money. Hanalei Aipoalani, 42, pleaded guilty to the charges of embezzlement and bribery on Friday. He was hired by the city last August to administer the federal funds. Hawaii News Now. KITV4. Star-Advertiser.

HGEA files grievance against HART after interim CEO lays off dozens without notice.
The state’s largest labor union has filed a grievance against the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation over recent layoffs at the troubled rail project. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu rail’s future tied to questions of federal obligation. Joe Uno, a member of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation’s board of directors, has been frustrated in trying to get the board to discuss ideas for an unspecified “Plan C” for how to complete and fund the city’s troubled rail project, which faces a budget shortfall of $3.68 billion. Star-Advertiser.

Developers readying affordable apartment projects on Oahu. Thirteen developers have submitted applications for building permits to produce roughly 300 apartments under a 2-year-old city ordinance that provides incentives for private developers to build such projects in areas zoned for apartment use. Star-Advertiser.

Kakaako streets remain in disrepair after judge rules ownership away from two brothers. A state judge recently removed what some Kakaako business owners and residents regarded as a troll of sorts that collected tolls to park on several longtime public streets. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Kahele talks COVID relief, infrastructure. U.S. Rep. Kai Kahele is touting the merits of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan — the third and probably last federal coronavirus relief package — and President Joe Biden’s plan to spend upwards of $3 trillion on America’s infrastructure. Tribune-Herald.

Roth addresses West Hawaii Forum. It’s all still a waiting game as Mayor Mitch Roth works on his proposed budget, with the county awaiting word from the state and the state awaiting word from the federal government before anticipated revenues become more solid. West Hawaii Today.

Solar water tax break program dims. The County Council will soon be considering a bill eliminating a tax break for property owners who install solar hot water panels on their property. West Hawaii Today.

Researcher: Hilo evacuation maps should account for possible megatsunami. Hilo’s existing tsunami evacuation zones are not sufficient to respond to a hypothetical megatsunami, according to a University of Hawaii researcher. Tribune-Herald.

Portuguese cultural center plans scaled back. Nearly five years after fundraising for the effort began in earnest, plans for the Hawaii Island Portuguese Chamber of Commerce Cultural and Educational Center have gone back to the drawing board. Tribune-Herald.

Vaccinating a village: 120 residents of the Miloliʻi Fishing Village receive one-shot vaccine. West Hawaii Today.


1,000 People Get Shots at Mass Vaccination Site in Wailuku. More than 1,000 eligible individuals, both Kaiser Permanente members and non-members, were vaccinated at a mass vaccination event held on Saturday, March 27, at the Kaiser Permanente Wailuku Medical Office. Maui Now.

As travel returns, some changes here to stay. Airlines, hotels say increased cleaning, digital services among lasting effects. One year later, Hawaii’s travel and tourism industries are turning the page to a “new normal,” a term that has been tossed around throughout the pandemic and at times still feels like a moving target.  Maui News.

More Rental and Mortgage Assistance Available on Maui. A Maui Economic Opportunity rental and mortgage assistance program targeting Maui County residents economically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic received an additional infusion of $900,000 from the county managed Community Development Block Grant fund. Maui Now.


Half of Kaua‘i’s population vaccinated. Professor Amy Ebesu Hubbard of the Department of Communicology said in Hawai‘i, 31% of the adult population have received at least one dose, and 36% have indicated that they will definitely get the vaccine. Garden Island.

Hanapepe bridge project takes step backward. After a month of pouring new concrete on the north side of the new Kaumuali‘i Highway bridge over the Hanapepe River, Kalaheo resident Robert Brodowy spotted some highway workers jackhammering out yards of the new pour. Garden Island.

Team Rubicon cleans up after flooding. A veteran-led organization has launched a statewide operation to support recovery on three of the most-heavily-impacted islands, including Kaua‘i, which was affected by the recent heavy rain and flooding earlier this month. Garden Island.

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Hawaii poised to become state with highest income tax, highly infectious COVID-19 variant detected, flood over-tops Maui dam, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

from video
Maui Mayor Michael Victorino at video press conference

Hawaii lawmakers consider nation’s highest income tax. Hawaii is considering overtaking California as the state with the highest income tax rate in the nation, under legislation slated for a vote this week. Associated Press.

Hawaii Could Lose Access To Next Generation Broadband Internet.
Technological advances allow the next generation of undersea fiber optic cables to traverse the Pacific without stopping in Hawaii. Hawaii Public Radio.

House Speaker Seeks Hawaiian Nominees For Mauna Kea Group. The 15-member working group has until December to come up with a new management structure for Mauna Kea. Civil Beat.

Hawaii to receive over $6.1B in federal funds. U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz said the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package passed Saturday by the Senate and poised for imminent passage in the House will provide over $6.1 billion in estimated funding for Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.

Hawai‘i Convention Center charges state millions for unemployment call center. Hawaii lawmakers are looking to expand the governor’s powers to assume control over any state facility during an emergency and not have to worry about paying rent to the agency that controls it. Star-Advertiser.

South Africa COVID-19 Variant Detected On Oahu. A new COVID-19 strain originating in South Africa that is both highly contagious and able to evade antibodies was detected in an Oahu resident, state health officials announced Monday. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser. Associated Press. Tribune-Herald. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now.

Ige: ‘Vaccine passport’ program unlikely until May.
Vaccinated travelers could be exempt from COVID-19 travel restrictions by May, said Gov. David Ige on Monday. Tribune-Herald.

Resolutions urge Ige to ease travel quarantine on vaccinated persons. A pair of resolutions will be introduced today by state Sen. Donna Mercado Kim, an Oahu Democrat, that would ease travel restrictions in Hawaii for vaccinated individuals. Tribune-Herald. KHON2.

Hawaii plans brand-specific vaccination sites to allow people to pick their shot. People getting vaccinated could soon have the option to pick which brand of COVID shot they want. Hawaii News Now.

March 8, 2021 COVID-19 Update: The state Department of Health reports that there were 45 additional COVID-45 cases reported in Hawai‘i on Monday, including 21 on O‘ahu, 11 on Maui, 10 on Hawai‘i Island, and three in Hawai‘i residents diagnosed outside of the state. Maui Now.


Feds Examining Honolulu Police CARES Spending On ATVs, Robot Dog. The Honolulu Police Department is facing questions from the federal government about its spending of millions of dollars of pandemic relief funds on ATVs, pickup trucks and a robot dog. Civil Beat.

Free COVID-19 tests offered for Oahu restaurant workers. Honolulu’s restaurant workers will be able to take a free COVID-19 test starting today. Star-Advertiser. KHON2.

There Are 10 Community Gardens On Oahu. None Of Them Are On The Westside. Unequal access to community gardens has some people calling for a revamp of the decades-old program. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Island

Governor approves Roth’s emergency rule amendments. Gov. David Ige approved COVID-19 emergency rule amendments for the Big Island signed into effect Monday by Mayor Mitch Roth, which ease certain restrictions. West Hawaii Today. Big Island Video News. KITV4.

Ahu‘aila‘au proposed for county land buy: Neighbors seek purchase of ’Fissure 8’ with PONC funds. Neighbors of Puna’s internationally famous “Fissure 8” want the still smoldering volcanic vent preserved for future generations, and they’re asking a county land-buying commission to purchase it using taxpayer money. West Hawaii Today.

Another push for a new hospital in North Kona. Legislators are pushing forward the conversation about constructing a new hospital in North Kona with a pair of resolutions requesting the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation conduct a feasibility study. West Hawaii Today.

Three Finalists For Hawaiʻi County Seat On UH Board Of Regents. Wayne S. Higaki, Peter S. Hoffmann, and Eric S. Takamura are the names of the candidates, one of whom will fill the five-year appointment beginning on July 1. Big Island Video News.


Flash flood warning expires for heavily-soaked Maui, but threat of torrential rain continues.  Evacuation orders stretched into the night for Haiku residents who fled the life-threatening flooding downstream of the Kaupakalua Dam. Hawaii News Now.

Overtopping dam spurs evacuation in Maui’s Haiku area. Nearly 14 inches of rain Monday led to the overtopping of the Kaupakalua Reservoir and Dam, forcing the evacuation of some 150 downstream homes. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Associated Press. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

State issued notice of deficiency to Kaupakalua Dam last year. The Kaupakalua Dam is one of the oldest agricultural dams and was built more than a hundred years ago. KHON2.

Hana Highway reopens though extreme caution still urged.
The heaviest of showers are slowly subsiding on Maui, though some emergency closures and operations are still in place. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.


Outreach at ‘Anini; community faces ouster. Thinking about where to go once the ‘Anini Beach Park closes to the houseless community in less than a month has been stressful for Ceci Lindsey. Garden Island.

DOE announces 4th quarter school schedules. The Kaua‘i Complex Area Department of Education Office announced the Kaua‘i revisions of school learning models will cover the fourth quarter that runs from March 22 through May 28. Garden Island.

Monday, December 21, 2020

Kilauea volcano erupts, residents distrust tourists, Caldwell warns of Oahu lockdown amid COVID-19 surge, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

PC: Janice Wei
Crowd watches Kilauea erupt Dec. 20, 2020 PC: Janice Wei

Kilauea volcano lava flows inside Halemaumau Crater; Hawaii island officials warn of possible ash fallout. Scientists are monitoring a new lava eruption of Kilauea volcano inside the Halemaumau Crater within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Star-Advertiser.

New eruption at Kilauea Volcano.
Hawaii County Civil Defense said the eruption that commenced shortly after 9:30 p.m. Sunday remains confined to the Kilauea Volcano’s summit caldera. West Hawaii Today.

Kilauea Erupts After Earthquakes Shake Hawaiʻi.
The USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory confirms an eruption began at the summit of Kilauea Sunday evening. Big Island Video News.

Kīlauea Erupts on Sunday Night. Shortly after 9:30 p.m. HST, the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory detected glow within Halemaʻumaʻu crater at the summit of Kīlauea Volcano. Big Island Now.

Unexpected overnight eruption in Halemaumau Crater leads to new lava lake. Authorities are closely watching an eruption that started Sunday night at Kilauea’s Halemaumau Crater, sending plumes of smoke into the air and prompting concerns about ashfall. Hawaii News Now.

New Kilauea eruption in Halemaʻumaʻu. Halemaumau is erupting again according to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. KHON2.

New eruption at Kilauea inside Halema'uma'u. Sunday night the Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park confirmed a new eruption of Kilauea inside Halema'uma'u. KITV4.


U.S. Sen. Schatz: Hawaii could see at least $1 billion from stimulus agreement. Senator Schatz says Congress is trying to get the bill enacted by Monday night and that the Treasury Department plans to send the stimulus checks out right away. Hawaii News Now.

Hawai'i could receive $1B
as Congress agrees on nearly trillion dollar relief package. Both the House and Senate are set to vote on the bill Monday night. KITV4.


Residents’ sentiment toward tourism has worsened. Even after enduring a collapse of the state’s economy this year, most Hawaii residents aren’t eager for a return to the 2019 tourism numbers. Star-Advertiser.

Lackluster Hawaii tourism widens losses for hotels. Holiday traffic in November — the first full month of the Hawaii Safe Travels pre-arrivals testing program — didn’t help Hawaii hotels much. Star-Advertiser.

Safe Travels Fails To Lure Many Travelers From Japan To Hawaii. An average of 131,000 people came from Japan each month last year. In the first month of Safe Travels, 1,350 came. Civil Beat.


Hawaii Gov. David Ige: There’s No Money To ‘Sustain Government As It Existed’. The governor, anticipating a slow economic recovery, likely will present lawmakers with a much-reduced conservative spending plan. Civil Beat.

Hawaii teachers union files complaint with labor board over furloughs. The Hawaii State Teachers Association is challenging the governor’s plan to furlough teachers and other school employees by turning to the Hawaii Labor Relations Board. Star-Advertiser.

HSTA Files Complaint With Labor Board After Announcement of Furloughs. The Hawai‘i State Teachers Association is challenging the state’s decision to impose furloughs on its 13,000 union employees. Big Island Now.


Congress Poised To Restore Medicaid For Micronesians. It’s been more than two decades since citizens of Palau, the Marshall Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia were stripped of Medicaid access. Civil Beat.

Promised Land: The government promised to return ancestral Hawaiian land, then never finished the job. Over the years, the U.S. government has provided about 900 acres as compensation for its unauthorized takings. But none of the land conveyed, almost all of it on Oahu, was suitable for residential use, according to DHHL. And the federal government still owes additional land under the Hawaiian Home Lands Recovery Act. Star-Advertiser.

Pandemic Hits More Than 1,475 Hawaiʻi Inmates This Year. The coronavirus pandemic has reached deep into Hawaiʻi's criminal justice system -- infecting nearly 1,500 inmates and 170 staff. Hawaii Public Radio.

HAWAII VIRUS TRACKER — Dec. 20: 204 New COVID-19 Cases. The new cases included 180 on Oahu, 13 on the Big Island, and 11 on Maui. Civil Beat.


Oahu may revert to Tier 1. Oahu reported 180 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, and Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell warned that the island could revert to the more restrictive Tier 1 activity and business limits if the trend continues. Star-Advertiser.

Mayor Caldwell worries case spikes will force city back to tier 1 by year’s end. In a news conference Sunday afternoon, Mayor Caldwell expressed his worries that Honolulu, on its current case track, is at risk of reverting to tier one of the reopening plan. Hawaii News Now.

Mayor Kirk Caldwell wants to remove inmates from Honolulu’s COVID-19 count. With Oahu’s rising coronavirus cases headed in the direction of another shutdown, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell is urgently petitioning the state Department of Health and Gov. David Ige to consider allowing him to remove inmate coronavirus counts from the island’s reopening metrics. Star-Advertiser.

Mayor Caldwell urges Gov. Ige to remove inmates from City’s case count. A substantial number of Oahu’s case count on Sunday is connected to the Halawa Correctional Facility, according to Honolulu City and County officials. KHON2.


Covert Honolulu Police Unit Targeted Former Medical Examiner. Former Honolulu medical examiner Dr. Christopher Happy was tailed by an elite intelligence unit at the request of the mayor’s office. Civil Beat.

Mayor-elect Blangiardi completes interviews for senior cabinet positions. The mayor-elect’s transition team announced it has completed the initial application process to fill executive-level positions with the incoming administration of the City and County of Honolulu. KHON2.

Struggling families still waiting for city grocery cards plagued by delays. A federally funded city program to help feed families devastated by the pandemic has run into major delays. But the city hopes today’s stimulus deal in Congress will help it extend the program. Hawaii News Now.

Chinatown conditions worsen in pandemic.
From his second-floor office window at the corner of Maunakea and Pauahi streets, Oren Schlieman has seen his share of problems in a neighborhood he has invested in, including public urination and street brawls. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Kierkiewicz on board of company receiving CARES funds. Puna Councilwoman Ashley Kierkiewicz steered taxpayer money to a not-yet nonprofit corporation on whose board she sits, records show. West Hawaii Today.

Seven Democrats Apply To Replace Kahele At Legislature. They include Big Island notables Chris Todd, Wil Okabe and “Fresh” Onishi. Civil Beat.

Many appeal their property assessments. More than twice as many property owners appealed their tax assessments this year than last year, according to the 2020 report of the county Real Property Tax Board of Review. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii County lacks hundreds of physicians needed to sustain the population. Hawaii’s physician shortage has loomed large for years but worsened in 2020 — and on the Big Island, the lack of doctors became even more dire. Tribune-Herald.

Big Island Economy Is ‘Getting By’ As The Pandemic Persists. While tourism-fueled businesses struggle from tighter travel restrictions, the housing market has remained healthy and aquaculture continues to grow. Civil Beat.


Some frontline workers look forward to COVID-19 shot. They’re slated to be first on Maui to be vaccinated once doses arrive. Maui News.

New DNA technology helps identify shark species in fatal attack. Researchers believe 14-foot tiger shark attacked Robin Warren. Maui News.


County backs nation’s first feminist economic recovery plan. The economic hardship of the novel coronavirus has disproportionately affected women in terms of profession, childcare and household responsibilities, a Kaua‘i County Council resolution states. Garden Island.

Getting food out before the holidays. The urgency of the final weekend before Christmas helped push cars smoothly through the drive-thru, no-contact food distribution Saturday at the Kaua‘i Philippine Cultural Center. Garden Island.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

More parents opt for home schooling, $25M in 'pivot' grants to spur business innovation, Safe Travels tourist tracking system falters, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii Department of Education
Hawaii classroom PC:Hawaii Department of Education

Just 1 in 10 public school students get daily in-person classes in Hawaii. Only 10% of public school students in Hawaii are receiving in-person instruction daily, with younger students getting the most time on campus, according to data released Tuesday. Star-Advertiser.

More Hawaii Parents Are Pulling Their Kids From DOE To Home School. There was a 43% rise in requests to home school in the first three months of the 2020-21 school year in Hawaii compared with the entire 2019-20 school year, according to data provided by the DOE. Civil Beat.

Full distance learning unpopular with Oahu voters. Nearly half of Oahu voters believe schools in Hawaii should be giving students a mix of on-campus and online instruction, rather than full distance learning, according to the Hawaii Poll. Star-Advertiser.

Lawmakers updated on how schools are spending virus relief funds. Hawaii schools have received millions of dollars in federal coronavirus relief funds during the COVID-19 pandemic, and state lawmakers on Tuesday were briefed about how those funds have so far been used. Tribune-Herald.


State scrambles to address issues with website travelers use to upload COVID-19 test results. The extent of the problems with the site is unknown, but Lt. Gov. Josh Green acknowledged there are issues with Hawaii’s visitor application process. Hawaii News Now.


$25 million in grants available to isle businesses, nonprofits. Gov. David Ige on Tuesday unveiled a $25 million program that will offer grants of up to $10,000 to reimburse costs or cover future expenses linked to the changes needed to cope with the new economy. Star-Advertiser.

New State Program Helps Businesses Adapt To A Changing Economy. A $25 million fund can be tapped for a range of business initiatives. Civil Beat.

State launches new $25M grant program to help small businesses. The Hawaii Business Pivot Grant program will fund 2,500 businesses and nonprofits (with fewer than 100 employees) with grants of up to $10,000. Hawaii News Now.

Hawai'i small businesses to get $25 million in grants to adjust to COVID-19-related marketplace changes. The State of Hawai‘i, in partnership with the Chamber of Commerce Hawai‘i, on Tuesday announced the launch of the Hawai‘i Business Pivot Grant program. KITV4.

Hawaii launches $25 million business grant program. Hawaii is launching a $25 million program to help ease the burden on companies that have shifted business models due to the COVID-19 pandemic. West Hawaii Today.

New Grant Program to Help Hawai‘i Businesses. Chamber of Commerce Hawai‘i is partnering with the state to launch the Hawai‘i Business Pivot Grant Program later this week. Big Island Now.

Relief for small businesses. The state, in partnership with the Chamber of Commerce of Hawai‘i, Tuesday announced the launch of the Hawai‘i Business Pivot Grant program. Garden Island.

Survey: Hawaii businesses expect extreme economic hardship to continue through 2021. In a recent survey of 1,400 Hawaii businesses, about 30% said they won’t be able to pay any commercial rent for the rest of the year. And more than 80% expect their revenues to decline this year and next. Hawaii News Now.


Hawaii Rent Assistance Program In Gridlock, Few Helped Thus Far. Using $100 million from the federal government, qualified renters are supposed to be eligible for up to $2,000 per month on Oahu and $1,500 on all other islands. Hawaii Public Radio.

Questions raised about state’s contractor choice for new unemployment call center. The new call center set up to handle questions about unemployment claims in Hawaii is actually staffed by mainland workers from a private contractor. And that contractor ― Maximus ― has a bad reputation among unions. Hawaii News Now.

HLTA CEO says he expects about 95% of all hotels to reopened in Hawai'i by the end of 2020. By the end of the month Mufi Hannemann, CEO of the Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association, expects about 65% of Hawaii's hotels to be back in business. KITV4.

Hawaii aquaculture reached record sales of $83.2M last year. Farm-raised marine animal sales in Hawaii last year reached $83.2 million, breaking a record, a new federal report said. Hawaii News Now.

Domestic Violence Is On The Rise In Hawaii. Many of the domestic violence survivors reaching out for help have been Native Hawaiian. Civil Beat.

VIRUS TRACKER — Oct. 20: 91 New COVID-19 Cases In Hawaii. The COVID-19 cases recorded Tuesday included 61 on Oahu, 24 on Hawaii island, two on Maui and four cases among residents diagnosed out of state. Civil Beat.


Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell sends order for second tier of economic reopening to Gov. David Ige for approval. Oahu gyms, personal care services and other activities will be able to resume on Thursday under Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s latest emergency order. Star-Advertiser.

Gyms, Arcades, Vacation Rentals Could Reopen Thursday. Those are among the business restrictions that could be lifted with Oahu’s move to Tier 2 of its reopening plan. Civil Beat.

Honolulu Mayor sends order to move into Tier Two. Fitness centers are among the businesses that will be allowed to reopen in Honolulu’s Tier Two of its reopening strategy. KHON2.

Owners file suit over city’s rules that forced long-lasting bar, nightclub closures. The plaintiffs include the owner of Irish Rose and Anna O’Briens, which have already closed permanently. Hawaii News Now.


Both Honolulu mayoral candidates say they won’t raise property taxes for rail. Whoever wins the race for Honolulu mayor will inherit the beleaguered rail project ― now estimated by HART to cost $10 billion. Hawaii News Now.

Most Oahu voters say Gov. David Ige could have handled COVID-19 outbreak better. The poll found that 30% of Oahu voters approved of Ige’s coronavirus response, while 57% disapproved and 13% were undecided. Star-Advertiser.

Small-business relief gets big chunk of Honolulu’s CARES funds. More than one-third of the city’s $387 million share of CARES Act funding is going to the Small Business Relief and Recovery Fund. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Interisland plan unveiled; Kim: Travelers can be tested before or after arrival and avoid quarantine. Interisland travelers to the Big Island will be able to avoid or cut short a two-week quarantine under a new rule by Mayor Harry Kim that goes into effect today. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaiʻi County Changes Inter-Island Travel Rules, Effective October 21. Mayor Harry Kim has signed an amendment and extension to his COVID-19 Emergency Rule No. 12, which provides inter-island travelers to Hawai‘i Island with choices to avoid quarantine. Big Island Video News.

Interisland Travelers Can Now Avoid Quarantine Going To, From Big Island. Interisland travelers flying to and from the Big Island can now dodge two weeks in quarantine by following standard protocol announced by Hawai‘i County Tuesday. Big Island Now.

After false positives, Hawaii County considers nixing post-arrival test for travelers. Nine travelers who tested positive for COVID-19 in post-arrival screening on the Big Island turned out not to be infected with the virus. Hawaii News Now.


Most CARES money distributed: Island families and businesses take advantage of federal relief funds. More than 1,540 Hawaii Island businesses and nonprofit organizations have received an average $8,961 in government assistance, 812 families have received an average $4,415 to help with their rent and mortgages and 115,581 individuals have received food so far under programs paid by federal coronavirus relief funds. West Hawaii Today.

COVID Cluster Identified in Ocean View. A cluster of COVID-19 cases was identified during a drive-through testing clinic in Ocean View over the weekend. Out of the 74 people tested, 19 were found positive for coronavirus. Big Island Now.


Fifth Community Budget Meeting for FY 2022 Set for Oct. 21. The fifth of six community budget meetings for fiscal year 2020, hosted by Mayor Michael Victorino and his administration, will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020 starting at 5:30 p.m. Maui Now.

About 23 percent of ballots already cast. About 21,000 general election ballots, or 23 percent, have already been cast as of Saturday, the Maui County Clerk’s Office said early Monday afternoon. Maui News.

Voters weigh in on more than just candidates. Ballot includes seven charter amendments. Maui News.

Maui County Travel Update: 2,447 Average Daily Arrivals Over First Four Days Since Reopening. Maui County saw average daily arrivals jump to 2,447 in the first four days since the state launched its pre-travel COVID-19 testing program on Oct. 15. Maui Now.


The stones are falling. Shoreline erosion is slowly claiming the parking area located at the foot of the Bryan J. Baptiste Bridge along Kuhio Highway at the mouth of the Wailua River. Garden Island.

New skatepark opened. Located in front of the county’s recently-painted Holua mural on the east-facing wall of the Lihu‘e Civic Center’s Pi‘ikoi Building, the skatepark was installed earlier in October through efforts coordinated by the county and community volunteers. Garden Island.


4 coronavirus cases reported on Lanai, the first confirmed infections on the island. The state said it was informed of the positive test results Tuesday and is conducting contact tracing. Hawaii News Now.

State confirms four positive COVID-19 cases among Lanai residents. Initial findings have determined that three of the individuals work at the same location and are exhibiting symptoms. The fourth individual is a health care worker who does not provide direct patient care. Star-Advertiser.

4 COVID-19 Cases Confirmed On Lanai. At least one of the people diagnosed is believed to have contracted the virus while traveling. Civil Beat.

Four Confirmed COVID-19 Cases on Lāna‘i.
The Hawai‘i Department of Health’s Maui District Health Office has confirmed four cases of COVID-19 in residents on the island of Lāna‘i. Maui Now.

Lanai records first COVID-19 cases as counties look to improve pre-travel testing program. KHON2.

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Navatek CEO arrested, charged with $12.8M PPP scheme, test kit shortage keeps interisland travel closed, state offers $500 restaurant cards to jobless, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Navatek Robotx awards 2019 publicity photo

Honolulu CEO charged in a $12.8 million PPP scheme. Martin Kao, 47, the chief executive officer of Martin Defense Group, previously known as Navatek LLC, was charged with two counts of bank fraud and one count of money laundering. Star-Advertiser.

Prominent Hawaii Defense Contractor Arrested For CARES Act Fraud. Martin Kao is a prolific political donor whose company, Navatek LLC, has received millions of dollars in federal contracts. Civil Beat.

Businessman accused of trying to scam banks out of millions in federal stimulus funds. A prominent Hawaii businessman has been arrested in connection with an alleged scheme to defraud banks of more than $12.8 million in federal Paycheck Protection Program funds, money that was supposed to be used to help buoy struggling businesses. Hawaii News Now.

CARES Act fraud allegations: Navatek CEO arrested. Martin Kao was arrested Wednesday for allegedly defrauding the federal government of $12.8 million in CARES Act funding. KITV4.

Navatek CEO arrested on federal bank fraud and money laundering charges. Martin Kao, CEO of Honolulu-based defense contractor Navatek LLC, (renamed Martin Defense Group in July) was arrested Wednesday on bank fraud and money laundering charges, in connection with an alleged scheme to defraud banks of more than $12.8 million in CARES Act Paycheck Protection Program funds. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii CEO accused of $12.8M in fraud virus assistance loans. The CEO of a company that was one of Hawaii’s largest recipients of the Paycheck Protection Program defrauded banks of more than $12.8 million in money meant to assist businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic, federal authorities said Wednesday. Associated Press.


Ige: Shortage of tests means testing program for inter-island travel a ‘challenge’. The governor said Wednesday he has no plans to lift the inter-island traveler quarantine, and acknowledged a shortage of tests locally means the pre-travel testing program for trans-Pacific visitors will likely not be extended at first to include local island hoppers. Hawaii News Now.

Interisland Travel Won’t Return Any Time Soon
. The mandatory, 14-day interisland travel quarantine will remain in effect for the foreseeable future. Big Island Now.


$500 restaurant card, call center to aid isles’ jobless. As many as 100,000 residents receiving unemployment benefits are expected to receive $500 in pre-loaded, debit-type cards to be spent at local restaurants, while the state on Wednesday brought on board the first of 200 more agents to handle unemployment claims, including the most difficult cases where people continue to challenge their denials of eligibility. Star-Advertiser.

Unemployed Workers Will Get Cards Worth $500 To Spend In Local Restaurants. Chamber of Commerce Hawaii cites data showing the $75 million restaurant card program will save 1,000 jobs. Civil Beat.

$500 restaurant card coming to Hawaii’s unemployed.
If you’re unemployed, the state’s newest economic plan is looking to keep money in your bank account, and food in your stomach. KHON2.

‘Restaurant cards’ slated for the unemployed: Program will provide $500 that only can be spent at eateries. Hawaii residents who are receiving unemployment insurance benefits will receive $500 to be spent at Hawaii restaurants before mid-December. Tribune-Herald.

Pre-Paid $500 Restaurant Card Program to Help Struggling Hawai‘i Workers and Business. A new Restaurant Card Program was announced today during a news briefing hosted by Governor David Ige, that will provide pre-paid $500 cards to people who have qualified for unemployment insurance, for use at any Hawai‘i restaurant. Maui Now.

Unemployment Call Center Among CARES Act Initiatives.
The most immediate initiative involves $5 million the state unemployment (UI) office will use to staff a new 200-person call center, which began operations Wednesday. Big Island Now.

300 workers hired for call center to help with Hawaii unemployment insurance. A new virtual call center for Hawaii unemployment insurance claims launched on Wednesday. Hawaii News Now.

State opens unemployment insurance call center. Gov. David Ige announced the state’s new unemployment insurance call center yesterday. Garden Island.

State Launches Virtual Call Center for Unemployment Insurance Claims. The state of Hawaiʻi today launched a virtual call center to help claimants obtain information relating to their unemployment insurance claim, Gov. David Ige announced in a news release. Maui Now.

Petition filed against Department of Labor and Industrial Relations. Some of Hawaii's jobless have yet to see an unemployment check, and now they're taking their frustration to court. KITV4.


Federal Communications Commission lodges $50M fine against isle telecom firm. The FCC imposed a $49.6 million fine against Sandwich Isles Communications along with parent company Waimana Enterprises and former sole shareholder Hee for what the agency contends was $27 million in undue payments received from the federal Universal Service Fund to establish and maintain high-cost communications network operations serving about 3,600 Department of Hawaiian Home Lands customers. Star-Advertiser.

FCC fines Sandwich Isles nearly $50M. The Federal Communications Commission on Wednesday fined Sandwich Isles Communications, its parent company and the owner of both entities nearly $50 million for violations that resulted in millions of dollars in improper payments. West Hawaii Today.

Sandwich Isles Communications founder fined $49 million by FCC. Sandwich Isles Communications and founder Albert Hee are being fined more than $49 million by the Federal Communications Commission. KHON2.


Teachers union disputes DOH’s reopening metrics. The Hawaii State Teachers Association is urging all schools statewide to only allow distance learning through the second quarter after claiming that the state’s metrics for reopening schools are far less strict than those recommended by federal health authorities. Tribune-Herald.

HSTA calls on DOE to iron out standards to bring students back to campus. The chair of the state Board of Education says public schools won’t be ready to welcome some students back to campus when the 2nd quarter begins Oct. 12. Hawaii News Now.

Ethnicities of Public School Teachers and Students Don’t Match. Nearly 180,000 students attended Hawai‘i public schools in 2017-18. Almost 25% of those students were Native Hawaiians, the largest group. Filipinos and Whites were second and third at 22.5% and 18.7%, respectively. Hawaii Business magazine.


HI-EMA ships first round of free PPE to qualified local businesses. The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency (HI-EMA) is already shipping the first round of free personal protective equipment (PPE) to local businesses, but it is not too late to apply for the program. Orders will be accepted until Nov. 15, 2020. KHON2.

VIRUS TRACKER — Sept. 30: 121 New COVID-19 Cases In Hawaii. There are currently 140 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in the state, including 47 people in intensive care. The state’s intensive care beds are at 70% capacity. Civil Beat.


Over 1K Oahu residents sign up for free job training classes. The goal of the Oahu Back to Work is to provide 2,000 trainings for qualified applicants, who must be adults on Oahu whose employment was disrupted by the COVID-19 outbreak. Star-Advertiser.

What’s Stalling The Effort To Update Honolulu’s Parking Policies? Local developers are pushing back against an ambitious bill aimed to make Honolulu’s urban design more walkable. Civil Beat.

Honolulu Is Seeing A Boom In Military-Backed Mortgages. Changes to borrowing limits and a drop in housing prices are driving a big increase in home loans. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Island

Beach parks reopen today. All beach parks on Hawaii Island reopen at 7 a.m. today following a nearly monthlong closure to prevent the spread of COVID-19. West Hawaii Today.

New Hawaiʻi Island COVID Rule: Beach Parks Reopen, Quarantine Clarified. Nightclubs and large venues must remain closed, and all persons must abide by face covering, physical distancing, and gathering requirements of no more than 10 persons. Big Island Video News.


Family sues over father’s death at Hilo veterans home. A wrongful death lawsuit against the operator of the Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home in Hilo has been filed by the sons of Chris Drayer, a decorated Vietnam War veteran who died after contracting COVID-19 in Hawaii’s largest coronavirus nursing home outbreak. Star-Advertiser.

Lawsuit filed against Avalon in vets home COVID-19 death. The family of a veteran who died from COVID-19 at Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the facility’s management, Avalon Health Care Group. Tribune-Herald.

COVID cases double at Life Care Center. COVID-19 cases have doubled at Life Care Center of Hilo, and one resident has been hospitalized at Hilo Medical Center, where that person is undergoing a new coronavirus treatment protocol. Tribune-Herald.

Big Island Mayoral Race Pits Prosecutor Against Businessman. On Hawaii Island, what began as a crowded race among some 16 mayoral hopefuls is now a head-to-head battle to the finish line for local entrepreneur Ikaika Marzo and county prosecutor Mitch Roth. Hawaii Public Radio.


Why Is This New Super PAC Spending Big Bucks On Maui Council Races? Little is known about Hui O Maui Citizens For Change but the group is backing conservative-leaning members. Civil Beat.

Committee debates Olowalu workforce housing project. The County Council Affordable Housing Committee wrestled Tuesday with more than two dozen conditions proposed for a workforce and market-rate project with 59 lots on about 30 acres of West Maui land. Maui News.

Four Finalists Named in Search to Fill Maui Liquor Control Director Vacancy. The finalists are Peter Hanano, Thomas P. Higgins, Timothy R. Poindexter and Layne N. Silva. They will be interviewed at a special meeting of the Liquor Control Commission beginning at 9 a.m. Oct. 14, 2020. Maui Now.

‘Overwhelming’ Need Continues for 30 Emergency Food Distribution Sites in Maui County. Since mid-March, when the Covid-19 pandemic led to an abrupt shutdown of Maui’s tourism economy, emergency food distribution sites have sprung up at more than 30 locations around the island, and on Molokaʻi and Lanai. Maui Now.

Non-Hawaii residents to pay parking fee at Ahihi-Kinau. Starting on Oct. 1, out-of-state visitors to the Ahihi-Kinau Natural Area Reserve on Maui will be charged a $5 parking fee. KHON2.


Kawakami asks Ige to approve post-travel program. Kauai County inched closer on Wednesday to a two-test system to detect COVID-19 infections once the state opens further to tourism on Oct. 15 as Mayor Derek S.K. Kawakami formally asked the governor’s office to approve a program to require a second test after visitors arrive on the island. Garden Island.

Meet the candidates: Jade Wai‘ale‘ale Battad. Wai‘ale‘ale Battad is part Hawaiian, Portuguese, French and Irish, and is a proud alumna of Kapa‘a High School with three daughters: Tara, Tori and Tyli. Garden Island.

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Hawaii happiest state in the nation, Ige signs proclamation on travel, masks, eviction moratorium; COVID-19 cases back in triple digits, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii hula happy
Hula in Hawaii ©2020 All Hawaii News

Hawaii tops ranking as Happiest State in America. Hawaii may have a double-digit unemployment rate and a virtual tourism lockdown, but the state ranks as the Happiest State in America, according to a WalletHub study released Tuesday. Star-Advertiser.

Ige’s latest emergency proclamation OKs pre-travel COVID-19 testing and extends travel quarantine, evictions ban. Gov. David Ige today signed a new emergency proclamation that extends Hawaii’s COVID-19 emergency period through the end of October and officially authorizes a pre-arrivals testing program that would ease travel restrictions for some travelers. Star-Advertiser.

Governor Signs Proclamation On Travel, Masks, And Driver’s Licenses. Governor David Ige on Wednesday signed a 13th supplementary emergency proclamation, extending the COVID-19 emergency period through Oct. 31. Big Island Video News.

Ige Extends COVID-19 Emergency Period Through October, Authorizes Pre-Travel Testing to Start Oct. 15. Governor David Ige today signed a 13th supplementary emergency proclamation that extends the COVID-19 emergency period in Hawaiʻi through Oct. 31. Maui Now.

Hawaii Has A New COVID-19 Response Team. Will It Make A Difference? Decisions about programs and policies to combat the virus are happening faster under a newly restructured leadership team. Star-Advertiser.

Air ventilation in the classroom is a concern for returning to campus. The Hawaii Department of Education does not yet have details on which schools that plan to implement blended or in-person classes over the course of the next quarter. KHON2.

United Airlines to begin pre-travel COVID-19 testing pilot in San Francisco for Hawaii-bound travelers. United Airlines, which brought more travelers to Hawaii than any other carrier pre-pandemic, on Oct. 15 will offer rapid COVID-19 tests to Hawaii-bound customers who are originating from San Francisco. Star-Advertiser.

Ige’s Eviction Moratorium Doesn’t Do What He Says It Does
. Hawaii renters and landlords alike are frustrated by the governor’s confusing rule. Civil Beat.

VIRUS TRACKER — Sept. 23: 168 New COVID-19 Cases. Hawaii health officials reported 168 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, marking a triple-digit increase after three consecutive days of fewer than 100 cases confirmed in the islands. Civil Beat.


Chairman Ikaika Anderson officially leaves City Council. Honolulu City Council members gave retiring colleague and Chairman Ikaika Anderson a couple of fist bumps, a hug, maile lei and an elbow touch along with praise and well wishes Wednesday on his last workday at Honolulu Hale. Star-Advertiser.

Alan Texeira Sworn In To Replace Ikaika Anderson. Former Honolulu City Council Chair Ikaika Anderson’s deputy chief of staff was officially sworn in to take over his seat on Wednesday afternoon. Civil Beat.

More than 3,000 families have tapped a city program offering financial assistance. The city says about $4 million has been distributed as part of the Household Hardship Relief Program, which helps with payments for families financially impacted by COVID. Hawaii News Now.

More than $20M remains for Oahu residents needing aid. More than $20 million in assistance for rent, utilities, child care and even cellphone and internet service for Oahu residents is waiting to be distributed by the end of the year as people continue to struggle with the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Star-Advertiser.

More than $20 million still available through Household Hardship Relief Program. For those needing financial help because of the pandemic, more than $20 million is still available through the City and County of Honolulu's Household Hardship Relief Program. KITV4.

Businesses prepare to follow new rules for reopening on Thursday. After being shut down for nearly a month, many Oahu businesses are getting ready to reopen. Businesses like restaurants, retail shops and attractions can reopen, but only at 50 percent capacity. KHON2.

Restaurant and bar owners offer differing views of Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s reopening plan. Restaurant and bar owners had mixed reactions to Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s reopening plan, which bases restrictions on a four-tiered metric. Star-Advertiser.

O'ahu gyms will have to take their business outdoors in order to reopen. Gyms on O'ahu have been closed for the past four weeks and it could be at least another month until they're allowed to reopen unless they take their business outdoors. KITV4.

Underground obstacles threaten to further delay Honolulu’s rail project. There’s more trouble for the embattled rail project. Hawaii News Now.

Kaneohe cemetery, Hawaiian Memorial Park, expansion plan wins approval. The largest funeral and cemetery service company in the world will be allowed to expand Hawaiian Memorial Park in Kaneohe under a state decision Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

State, but not county, workers face furloughs.
Gov. David Ige’s proposal to help patch the state’s budget hole by instituting twice-monthly unpaid furlough days for most union employees won’t affect Hawaii County workers, at least in the short term. West Hawaii Today.

Hilo veterans home administration needs to be replaced, Mayor Harry Kim says.
Hawaii island Mayor Harry Kim renewed calls Wednesday for the immediate suspension of the administration of the Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home, where he said documented shortcomings have resulted in too many COVID-19 deaths. Star-Advertiser.

Mayor Pushing Management Change at Hilo Veterans Home
. A decision on the future management of Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home could be made Thursday, Hawai‘i County’s mayor said this afternoon. Big Island Now.

State Says Veterans Home Staff Receiving Death Threats. Staff at the Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home in Hilo have been getting death threats, according to a state emergency management official. Hawaii Public Radio.

As death toll at Hilo veteran’s home mounts, family calls for criminal investigation. Mary Benevides says prior to contracting COVID-19, her dad was always smiling, joking and doting on his grandchildren. Hawaii News Now.

DOH: No further environmental review needed for PGV permit. Puna Geothermal Venture — which hopes to produce electricity again by the end of the month following delays in rebuilding the facility after it was partially destroyed by lava two years ago — has cleared a hurdle in renewing its air pollution control permit from the state. Tribune-Herald.

DLNR plans to dredge existing Pohoiki boat ramp to reopen access to ocean. The state Department of Land and Natural Resources wants to dredge the landlocked Pohoiki boat ramp to re-establish ocean access in Puna. Tribune-Herald.


Maui allocates $20 million in CARES Act money for coronavirus recovery. Maui County has allocated over $20 million in CARES Act funds to pay for economic recovery initiatives ranging from farm and ranch grants to support the county’s food system, to buying computers for students who are attending school online. Star-Advertiser.

Nearly 30 medical workers on Maui at risk of losing their jobs after the planned closure of a surgery center. Kaiser Permanente announced it will shut down various services at its Wailuku Clinic on Maui because of financial troubles. Hawaii News Now.

$3 Million Project to Repave War Memorial Stadium Parking Lot Nears Completion. War Memorial Stadium parking lot will reopen to the public on Monday, Sept. 28, after completion of a $3 million project to repave the 51-year-old parking lot, install new underground drainage and plant nearly 130 new trees. Maui Now.

Liquor director candidates may be revealed next week. Licensees ask for leader who will improve relations. Maui News.

Ha‘ikū’s Town Hall to Focus on Maui Water Use and Development Plan. The Ha‘ikū Community Association hosts a virtual town hall from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020 via Zoom or Facebook Live. The town hall meeting will focus on helping Ha‘ikū residents better understand the effects of the Maui Water Use and Development Plan. Maui Now.


Kauai Voters Will Decide On 6 Changes To The County Charter. Some of the proposed amendments are significant but political observers wonder if a less informed public will just leave them blank. Civil Beat.

$1.75 M to help Kaua‘i cattle ranchers. Many cattle ranchers ship off their herds to O‘ahu or other destinations to be finished and processed, but with market disruptions made prevalent due to the coronavirus pandemic, they’re unable to and are now forced to rethink what to do with their livestock. Garden Island.