Showing posts with label Department of Education. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Department of Education. Show all posts

Friday, December 8, 2023

School facilities official out amid construction backlog controversy, superintendent pay raise deferred, Land Board to mull new ocean stewardship fee today, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Official Overseeing Hawaii School Facilities Is Out Amid Funding Controversy. Assistant Superintendent Randall Tanaka’s departure follows the department’s controversial plan to lapse $465 million in capital improvement projects that would have supported improvements ranging from new classrooms to play structures on school campuses. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.

Decision deferred on $10K pay raise for schools superintendent. A proposal to raise the salary of state schools Superintendent Keith Hayashi by $10,000, to $250,000, was held back in a state Board of Education committee Thursday, but a separate proposal to expand the criteria used to evaluate him was amended and approved. Star-Advertiser.

Regents to revise plan in UH president search. Following nearly six hours of board debate and public testimony at a University of Hawaii Board of Regents meeting Thursday, the regents voted to make significant changes to a proposed plan for finding the next UH president, to make it more transparent and include more stakeholders’ input. Star-Advertiser.

New Rules For Ocean Users, Taking Certain Fish Go To Hawaiʻi Board. A new rule on ocean stewardship user fees, and amendments for the sustainable harvest of important reef fish, go to the BLNR on Friday. Big Island Video News.

 Study documents harm to coral reefs from overfishing. Aquatic biologists have long known the importance of algae-eating fish to the overall health of coral reefs. But new research documents just how important species like surgeonfish and parrotfish are to Hawaii’s coral reefs. Star-Advertiser.

Pearl Harbor survivors reflect on anniversary of day of infamy. At the age of 102, Harry Chandler returned to Pearl Harbor for the first time since he survived the infamous surprise attack on the base on Dec. 7, 1941. Star-Advertiser. Associated Press. Hawaii News Now.  KHON2.

Hōkūleʻa is back in Hawaiʻi to train the next generation of navigators.
Over the last six months, Hōkūleʻa traveled more than 2,800 miles and visited 45 communities from Juneau, Alaska, to Long Beach, California, as part of the Moananuiākea Voyage. Hawaii Public Radio. Big Island Now.  Hawaii News Now.


Honolulu City Council passes bill to address the City’s 2,000+ position vacancies. The Honolulu City Council passed a bill Wednesday addressing hiring deficiencies in the City and County of Honolulu, which has more than 2,000 position vacancies. Maui Now.

Hawaii Lobbyist Pleads Guilty To Illegal Drug Possession At Vet Clinic. The politically connected former president of an Oahu veterinary clinic has admitted she improperly obtained drugs for animals using the credentials of an unknowing veterinarian who no longer worked there.  Civil Beat.

Kualoa Ranch considers having Haiku Stairs on its property. The Friends of Haiku Stairs, the group attempting to block the city’s demolition of the once legally accessible steel steps built along a sheer ridgeline above Kaneohe, isn’t the only entity interested in the Windward Oahu landmark. Star-Advertiser.

HPD corporal placed on restricted duty, had police powers removed after crash that seriously injured motorcyclist. Body camera footage HPD didn’t want the public to see captured the actions of an off-duty HPD corporal shortly after a crash records show he caused. Vasai Isala Jr. recently slammed his subsidized vehicle into the back of a motorcyclist, seriously injuring the rider. Hawaii News Now.

Despite previous settlement, city tries to deny liability in near-fatal crash involving 4 officers. Four Honolulu police officers charged criminally for a crash that critically or seriously injured six people were acting outside the scope of their duties. That’s according to the city, which does not want to be held liable for the alleged actions. Hawaii News Now.

2 HPD Officers Disciplined For Working An Unauthorized Side Job On The Clock. Sgt. Jefferey Pohaku and Cpl. Mark Montez provided security in uniform for a company in 2018 and 2019 without prior permission from the police department. Civil Beat.

1 Million Sea Urchins Have Now Been Deployed To Eat Kaneohe’s Invasive Seaweeds. Officials with the state Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Aquatic Resources, which houses the Anuenue Fisheries Research Center where the urchin are grown, notes a measured decrease in invasive seaweeds on every reef that has been stocked with lab-reared urchins. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Island

New law streamlines building permit process. The law, which began life as Bill 84, amends and streamlines parts of the County Code regarding the issuance of building permits and permit extensions, standardizing the time it takes to receive them. Tribune-Herald.

Kona low system provided some drought relief, but dry conditions expected to persist. The Kona low system that swept over the state at the end of November gave Big Islanders, especially those using water catchment systems, a welcome respite from the drought. Tribune-Herald.

Renewable energy project in the works. A community meeting was held Wednesday to provide updates about the Kalaoa Solar Project, a proposed 40-acre renewable energy facility on state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands property in Kalaoa. West Hawaii Today.


November’s Kona low brought flash flooding, some relief to drought conditions on Maui. On Maui, the National Weather Service’s latest precipitation summaries found that the US Geological Survey’s rain gage at West Wailuaiki Stream had the highest monthly total of 23.89 inches (120% of average), and the highest daily total of 9.83 inches on Nov. 30.  Maui Now.

Department of Health: Maui air monitoring in November shows good quality in wildfire-impacted areas. Air monitoring and sampling conducted in wildfire-impacted areas of Maui between Nov. 8 and 15, 2023, shows good air quality, according to the Hawaiʻi Department of Health. Maui Now.


Proposal to rebuild Coco Palms Resort on Kauai remains an issue for residents. State Board of Land and Natural Resources will review a permit application to develop a resort in Wailua where it once stood. KITV4.

Passenger count plunges at Lihu‘e Airport in November.
The number of people getting off domestic passenger flights at Lihu‘e Airport dropped below 60,000 in November, marking the second lowest total for any month this year. Garden Island.

GoFarm Hawai‘i returning; free participation to applicants referred by employers. GoFarm Hawai‘i will offer free participation to applicants recommended by employers in agriculture, food systems, or farm-to-table. Kauai Now.

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

DOE returns $465M in school construction funding, Maui council advances housing tax breaks, Honolulu building permit delays worsen, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

The DOE Is Giving Up $465M In School Construction Funds. Lawmakers who managed to get projects funded for their neighborhood schools are upset, and want to know why the money won't be spent as they intended. The state Department of Education plans to surrender $465 million that lawmakers had earmarked for school construction projects across the state, a move that will delay and possibly jeopardize funding for new classrooms, play courts and athletic facilities. Civil Beat.

Search for next UH president becoming a battle for control. The search for the next University of Hawaii president is turning into the latest battleground for control of the massive state public university system, with some state lawmakers exerting heavy pressure to try to influence the selection and pushing to have current President David Lassner vacate the post earlier than his expected departure at the end of 2024, according to several officials close to the process. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaiʻi received a 'D' grade in high school financial literacy — and that's an improvement. While Hawaiʻi lags behind most states in teaching financial literacy, it is beginning to see improvement compared to previous years. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii Governor Mulls New Insurance Program As Extreme Weather Raises Risk Factors.
Natural disasters like volcanic eruptions and increasingly wildfires are contributing to an economic landscape where insurers may feel the risk is too great to do business here, Gov. Josh Green said Tuesday.  Civil Beat.

Gov. Josh Green marks first year in office. In an address on Tuesday marking his first year in office, Hawaiʻi Gov. Josh Green touted a litany of actions taken by his administration, including dealing with the devastation suffered in the deadly Maui wildfires. Big Island Now. Hawaii News Now.  KHON2.

Assaults, other aggressive behaviors reported almost daily on Hawaii State Hospital campus. While officials say an employee’s fatal stabbing on the campus last month is the first murder to ever happen on the grounds of state facility, data obtained through public records requests show there have been nearly 1,500 reported incidents of assaults or other aggressive behavior on the campus over the last five years. Hawaii News Now.

Alaska Airlines explores possibility of returning service to Hawaii’s rural communities. The Alaska Airlines buyout of Hawaiian Airlines could potentially restore flights to smaller communities left with fewer options after the pandemic, but it won’t happen anytime soon. Hawaii News Now.


 Honolulu’s Building Permit Delays: A ‘Nightmare’ Decades In The Making. Construction industry professionals say it’s taking longer than ever to get a permit in Honolulu. The delays disrupt lives and put a drag on the economy.  Civil Beat.

Judge dismisses lawsuit to save Haiku Stairs. A lawsuit by the Friends of Haiku Stairs to block the removal of the once-legally accessible steel steps built along a sheer ridge line above Kaneohe has been denied. On Tuesday, 1st Circuit Judge John M. Tonaki granted summary judgment on the city’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit outright. Star-Advertiser.

Man with 164 citations charged in hit-and-run death of McKinley student.
The 46-year-old man who had no driver’s license and 164 citations when he was arrested in connection with the hit-and-run incident that killed a McKinley High School student Feb. 15 was charged Tuesday. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.  KHON2.

Vending machine at nightclub allegedly sold cocaine and ecstasy.
Two men are facing federal charges for allegedly selling cocaine, ecstasy, magic mushrooms and other drugs out of vending machines in a Honolulu after- hours club and in a fake health and wellness store. Star-Advertiser.

From illegal game rooms to police staffing concerns, HPD tries to calm fears about continued violence in West Oahu. Over the past six months, there have been at least half a dozen violent incidents in West Oahu. Due to the spike in these incidents, West Oahu families met with lawmakers and law enforcers Tuesday night in hopes of working together to reduce violent crimes. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Officials say there is no emergency after Navy sirens inadvertently activated.
The sirens do not belong to the state or city, but to the U.S. Navy, which informed state and city officials that its giant voice system was inadvertently activated Tuesday. Star-Advertiser.

Japanese entrants at marathon expected to nearly double this year. The tourist entrants have mostly come from Japan. Around 9,000 to 10,000 are expected to toe the starting line near Aloha Tower for Sunday’s 51st annual 26.2-mile race, Honolulu Marathon president Jim Barahal said Tuesday. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Council approves homeless funding. Allocation of nearly $10 million for homeless service providers came one step closer to reality Tuesday as the County Council’s Legislative Approvals and Acquisitions Committee unanimously advanced a resolution to a full council hearing. West Hawaii Today.

HPD vice detective arrested, charged with perjury, falsifying affidavit. According to the complaint filed Tuesday in Hilo Circuit Court, Detective William Brown  then assigned to East Hawaii Vice Section, made a false statement to the grand jury on March 15 in the case of Julissa Herrera, who was indicted on charges of first-, second- and third-degree promotion of a dangerous drug, plus possession of drug paraphernalia. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News. Big Island Now.  KITV4.

Presentation about Waiakea Peninsula draws mostly criticism. The Hawaii Community Development Authority and Department of Land and Natural Resources hosted an open house at the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel to discuss and hear public feedback regarding how the Waiakea and Banyan Drive areas should be managed. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Now.

Bill Prohibits Overnight Parking Fronting Pāhoehoe Beach Park. Bill 105 prohibits parking between the hours of 8:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. for portions of Aliʻi Drive along Pāhoehoe Beach Park. Big Island Video News.


Maui Council Moves Swiftly On Tax Breaks To Provide Long-Term Rentals For Fire Survivors. Mayor Richard Bissen hopes the owners of vacation rentals agree to take part in the "shared sacrifice" of the recovery. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now.

Maui council to consider bill to establish criteria for ʻOhana Assistance Pilot Program. The Maui council will consider a bill Dec. 15 to establish criteria for the ʻOhana Assistance Pilot Program, which offers grants of up to $100,000 to build an accessory dwelling or second farm dwelling for residents’ long-term occupancy. Maui Now.

Maui Fire Department Purchases Show The Fire’s Heavy Toll On Resources. Maui’s fire department estimates it has spent $2.7 million to replace damaged gear and replenish its inventory of equipment and firefighting materials four months after the wildfires. Civil Beat.


State removing last remnants of the defunct Hawaii Superferry. The Department of Transportation is looking for a contractor to remove the existing Superferry ramp at Pier 1 at Nawiliwili Harbor on Kauai.  KITV4.

Island home sales slump. A dreary cycle for the island housing market continued in the first month of fall, as sales of single-family homes slumped more than 13 percent to begin the final quarter of the year. Garden Island.

Contractors Association of Kaua‘i installs new officers. The Contractors Association of Kaua‘i (CAK) announced its new slate of officers through the installation of the new leadership during the CAK 66th annual meeting that was held under inclement weather at Puakea Golf Course on Thursday. Garden Island.

Monday, November 27, 2023

Raises, positions added at top of school bureaucracy, North Korea satellite reported spying on Hawaii, Ala Wai flood plan hits $1B, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Top Leadership Of Hawaii School System Continues To Grow — And So Does Their Pay. Student enrollment numbers continue to fall even as the number of superintendents gets larger. Civil Beat.

North Korea has a satellite spying on Hawaii and Guam.
A security expert explains why we should care. Last week, North Korea released photos of leader Kim Jung Un looking at photos of Pearl Harbor, Hickam Air Force Base and military bases on Guam it claims were taken by the satellite. Hawaii News Now.

New CEO at OHA Explains Why She Took the Job and Her Goals for Serving the Native Hawaiian Lāhui. Stacy Kealohalani Ferreira joined the Office of Hawaiian Affairs on Nov. 1 after serving as budget chief for the state Senate and in several roles at Kamehameha Schools. Hawaii Business Magazine.

State Legislature working group tackles wildfire prevention in Hawaiʻi. The working group will digest all the testimony and issue a final report on Dec. 15, in time to draft legislation for the upcoming 2024 legislative session that starts Jan. 17.  Big Island Now.

Former State Sen. Whitney Anderson Dead At 91.
He served in the Hawaii Legislature for 20 years. Whitney Anderson, who was the Hawaii Senate Minority Leader from 1997 until 2000, died Saturday in Waimanalo. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser.

Training And Staffing Issues Surround Death Of A Nurse At Hawaii State Hospital. The killing of Justin Bautista, a licensed practical nurse at the Hawaii State Hospital, has raised questions as to what exactly was expected of him in a typically lower-skilled role he had held for four years. Civil Beat.

Commentary: A Baby's 'Bizarre' Death Exposes Hawaii’s Penchant For Secrecy In Child Welfare Cases. It took extensive digging and luck to find the kind of information about the unpublicized case that's readily available on other states' websites and is crucial to improving the child welfare system. Civil Beat.


Water Board to vote on rate hike of over 50%. If adopted by the agency’s board of directors, a new 5-1/2-year water rate schedule will see higher rates phased in, with the first 10% increase kicking in Feb. 1 and the next 10% hike to occur July 1. Star-Advertiser.

Latest plan for Ala Wai flood control reaches $1B.  The Army Corps of Engineers and the city have unveiled the latest proposal to protect Waikiki and neighboring communities against a potential flooding disaster. Star-Advertiser.

Navy working to speed up upgrades at Pearl Harbor sewage plant. The Navy is ramping up efforts to complete upgrades to its troubled wastewater plant at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-­Hickam as the facility ages. Star-Advertiser.

Flight data recorder recovered from Navy plane in Kaneohe Bay. The flight data recorder of a large U.S. Navy plane that overshot a runway and ended up in the water near Honolulu this week has been recovered as the military continues to plan for the aircraft’s removal. Associated Press. Hawaii News Now.

Navy plane still resting in shoal of Kaneohe Bay.  The Navy war plane that slid off a runway at Marine Corps Base Hawaii a week ago while trying to land in rainy weather continues to rest in shallow water about 100 feet off the runway, with at least two points of the 42-foot-high P-8A sitting on coral reef. Star-Advertiser.

The Miske Files: When Two Cops Refused To Let A Blown-Off Traffic Stop Slide. Documents in the federal case against Mike Miske alleging murder and organized crime activities tell the story of how two Honolulu police officers got caught up in what would turn out to be a much bigger case. Civil Beat.

HPD looks to recruit more women to bolster staffing. There are 240 women serving the city as police officers, about 13% of the department’s more than 1,800 officers, up from 212, or about 12%, in 2015.  Star-Advertiser.

Close encounter between police ATV and kids on beach raises questions about training, resources. There are growing concerns about training for HPD officers after a close encounter on a North Shore beach involving children and officers patrolling on ATVs. Amid a shortage of officers, the recent incident on Oahu’s North Shore is also prompting questions about how resources are being used. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

County measure would allocate $17M to affordable housing projects. Under a bill currently pending discussion by the County Council, $17.3 million will be distributed via the county’s newly formed Affordable Housing Production Program between a series of projects in East and West Hawaii to create 1,176 new affordable housing units. Tribune-Herald. KITV4.

Aquarium fishing ban sought: Groups urge DLNR to draft new rules.  Big Island environmental groups hope to end the commercial aquarium fishing industry in Hawaii once and for all next month. Tribune-Herald.

National Park Units Seek Public Input On Draft Accessibility Plans. Draft Accessibility Plans are in the works for Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park, Puʻuhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park, and Puʻukoholā Heiau National Historical Site. Big Island Video News.


Council committee to discuss new procurement process for emergency-medical services
. Council member Shane M. Sinenci announced that the Water Authority, Social Services and Parks Committee will receive a presentation from the state Department of Health Monday at 9 a.m. on the new procurement process for emergency-medical services in Maui County. Maui Now.

Deadline approaching for Maui wildfire victims. The deadline for people and businesses affected by the deadly Aug. 8 Maui wildfires to apply for federal assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency and U.S. Small Business Administration is Dec. 11. Star-Advertiser.

Deadline for Maui County Agriculture Micro Grant nears, Nov. 30.
Maui Economic Opportunity reminds small farmers and ranchers that the application deadline for the Maui County Agricultural Micro Grant Program 4.0, which offers up to $25,000 in grants, is about a week away.  Maui Now.


Kaua‘i-born Hawaiian monk seal returned to Garden Isle waters after 5 months in Kona mammal hospital. A 7-year-old female Hawaiian monk seal was returned to its home in Kaua‘i waters after five months of treatment at the Kona mammal hospital for kidney stones, possible pneumonia and a fractured canine tooth that had become infected. Kauai Now.

Tuesday, May 9, 2023

School lunch program caught in bureaucratic snafu, Navy leaders testify about Red Hill to federal grand jury, Puna Geothermal Venture seeks expansion, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

DOE Tells Schools To Reject Federal Funding For Local Food That It Helped Apply For. The Department of Education is telling schools not to apply for a slice of $500,000 in federal funding that would help them buy local food – an initiative the DOE helped apply for. Civil Beat.

Is The Deck Stacked Against Hawaii Condo Owners? Critics say oversight by state Real Estate Commission means owners get short-changed in favor of associations, management firms and lawyers. Civil Beat.

Hawaii ranks second-worst in the nation for distracted drivers. That’s according to a new analysis based on federal data. Hawaii News Now.

Informal Caregivers Are Propping Up Hawaii’s Child Care Industry With Little Support. Providing enrichment opportunities and training to grandparents and friends providing in-home child care can have a big impact on school readiness. Civil Beat.

Two Hawaii Lawmakers View The Debt Ceiling Differently. Sen. Brian Schatz wants debt ceiling raised without concessions. Rep. Ed Case says now is the time to take action on the fiscal health of the nation. Civil Beat.

Lawmaker won’t apologize after saying Hawaiian leader ‘would have been hung’ for criticizing him. Some residents are calling for an apology from state Sen. Brenton Awa, who said during a recent public meeting that a respected Hawaiian leader “would have been hung” for criticizing him. Hawaii News Now.


NOAA fines dolphin boat company for getting too close to dolphins off Makua Beach. An Oahu tour boat company is being fined $1,000 for getting too close to dolphins while the boat was idling. Federal law requires people to stay 50 yards away from Hawaiian Spinner Dolphins. Hawaii News Now.

Oahu housing market stays sluggish as high interest rates subdued sales. High interest rates continue to subdue Oahu’s housing market where prices pushed down this year could remain flat in 2024, according to a University of Hawaii analysis. Star-Advertiser. KITV4.

Honolulu considers Chinatown tower for affordable housing. The Honolulu City Council is scheduled to hold a special meeting Wednesday over the potential financing, acquisition and rehabilitation of an existing 32-story high-rise tower in Chinatown that the city seeks to keep as affordable. Star-Advertiser.

Navy leaders testify before federal grand jury investigating catastrophic Red Hill fuel spill. Navy leaders connected to the Navy tainted water scandal have testified before the federal grand jury investigating possible criminal wrongdoing. Hawaii News Now.

Joint Task Force-Red Hill says defueling still on track for June 2024. Vice Adm. John Wade, who leads the Joint Task Force-Red Hill, took command in last September with the mission to "safely and expeditiously" defuel the facility, but since the Aqueous Film Forming Foam spill, he's had to put more safety measures in place. Hawaii Public Radio.

Massive airport runway project halting state roadway repairs.
Roadblocks are up on a number of state roadway repairs according to the Hawaii Department of Transportation. It’s due to what the HDOT is calling a massive project at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport. KHON2.

City officials working to mitigate homeless encampment near Kalihi Transit Center. For years, people have been living at a homeless encampment half-hidden below a bridge on Kamehameha Highway near the Kalihi Transit Center -- and some noticed the streamside village is growing. KITV4.

A local teacher caught her students using AI for essays. Now, it's become a learning tool. Teachers can pay hundreds of dollars for lesson plans created by other teachers. ChatGPT is free. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii Island

Big Isle fire dispatchers move due to low staffing. A staffing shortage of fire and Emergency Medical Serv­ices dispatchers at the Hawaii County Fire Department has prompted its dispatch center to relocate to the Hawaii Police Department’s dispatch center in Hilo. Star-Advertiser.

Draft EIS Published For Puna Geothermal Venture Repower Project. The project would increase power production from 38 to 46 megawatts in Phase 1 and further increase production to 60 megawatts in Phase 2. The overall property size would remain the same. Big Island Video News. Hawaii News Now.

Volunteer organization seeks adoptions for Waikoloa cats. Abaykitties has been working to get some of the cats from Queens’ Marketplace adopted after the nonprofit was told to stop its trap-neuter-release efforts at the shopping center. Tribune-Herald.

DLNR seeks public input on Hawaiʻi's only designated koa canoe forest. The Kapāpala Koa Canoe Management Area on Hawaiʻi Island consists of 1,257 acres of land and is located on the southeastern slopes of Maunaloa. Hawaii Public Radio. Big Island Now. Big Island Video News.


Looking For A Job? Maui County Has More Than 700 Openings. Maui County is hiring for more than 700 vacant jobs and is seeking volunteers for 30 spots on boards and commissions that steer the government’s path forward in solving the community’s most challenging problems.  Civil Beat.

Scores march on Molokai Ranch over access to culturally important lands. A contentious debate over land access on Molokai Ranch is resurfacing nearly five decades after it was first put in the spotlight. Hawaii News Now.

Luxury yacht owner denied insurance coverage to remove grounded boat from Maui’s Honolua Bay. The state’s efforts to recover $460,000 in expenses for the removal of a grounded luxury yacht at Maui’s Honolua Bay have hit a snag as the owner’s insurance company has denied coverage. Hawaii News Now.

Two Maui businesses accelerate their growth as part of entrepreneurial cohort. Two Maui businesses are among the latest XLR8HI cohort in Hawaiʻi, whose mission is to improve the Hawaiʻi ecosystem and better the community. Maui Now.


Kauaʻi Island Utility Cooperative leads state in renewable generation at 60.2% in 2022. Approximately one-third of the solar production came from members’ rooftop systems. Other renewables contributing in 2022 were hydro (10.7%) and biomass (9.8%). Kauai Now.

County of Kaua‘i jobless rate falls to 3.0 percent in March. The accommodation sector increased total employees to 4,300 in March from 3,600 in March 2022, according to monthly data released by the state Department of Business, Economic Development &Tourism. That marked a gain of 19.4 percent in the period. Garden Island.

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Hirono to seek 3rd Senate term, Honolulu fined for lack of PPE at gun range, rats and mold at Big Island school, luxury yacht runs aground on Maui, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2023 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono will officially announce today she’s running for reelection in 2024, according to a campaign spokesperson. Hirono, 75, will be seeking her third consecutive six-year term in the Senate. Civil Beat.

Should Hawaii’s Legislature Meet Year-Round?
Supporters believe the idea could increase transparency, but restrictions on employment have met with pushback. Civil Beat.

Bills address Native Hawaiians, harassment of fishermen, community-based subsistence areas. A school of bills that would update fishing policies in Hawaii are rocking the boat for many fishermen. Tribune-Herald.

Various measures propose ways to address Hawaii’s educator shortage. At the start of the school year, the state Department of Education was short 736 teachers. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii timeshare occupancy back to pre-pandemic levels. The average timeshare occupancy rate reached 92.7% during the third quarter of 2022, when statewide timeshare occupancy for the first time exceeded pre-pandemic levels, according to technology firm STR data reported by the state Department of Economic Development and Tourism. Star-Advertiser.

Fentanyl Test Strips May Soon Become Legal In Hawaii. Hawaii would join others states in making fentanyl test strips legal and widely available if either of two measures moving quickly through the Legislature goes on to become law. Civil Beat.


City fined after investigation revealed it didn’t provide gun range staff with proper PPE. The city of Honolulu has been fined thousands of dollars after a worker safety investigation revealed staff at Oahu’s only public gun range weren’t supplied with or required to wear proper personal protective equipment while cleaning the facility. Hawaii News Now.

In wake of fatal crashes, Hawaii lawmakers want crackdown on unlicensed drivers. Years ago, to reduce the backlog at traffic court, the state decriminalized most traffic offenses, but driving without a license remains a crime that usually forces unlicensed drivers to come to court. Hawaii News Now.

New TSA checkpoint will streamline interisland passengers at Honolulu airport. The makai checkpoint in Terminal 1 at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport will add four screening lanes — bringing the total to 10 lanes. Hawaii Public Radio.

Honolulu Habitat for Humanity prepares to close ReStore. Honolulu Habitat for Humanity is preparing to bid aloha to its ReStore shop in Palama. The warehouse store that sells donated goods is set to close March 18 so the nonprofit can focus entirely on building affordable housing. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Big Island school in ‘crisis’ with mold, rats, says teachers union. Years of worsening problems with mold, rats, termites, structural damage and other health and safety issues have reached a “crisis” level at Holualoa Elementary School on Hawaii island, educators and parents say, and the state teachers union is calling for more transparency and immediate increased help from the state. Star-Advertiser. West Hawaii Today. Big Island Video News. Hawaii News Now.  KITV4.

US military confirms reports of balloon that supposedly flew over Hawai‘i. U.S. Indo-Pacific Command not saying much. No one knows for sure right now, but sightings have been reported and there’s been enough chatter that it spurred the National Weather Service to forecast a possible track for the unidentified object. Big Island Now. Kauai Now.

Weather pattern dumps record rainfall on Hilo; wet conditions to linger. Through Sunday, Hilo had recorded 28.32 inches so far this month, almost three times the average rainfall of 10.22 inches the airport normally receives for all of February. Tribune-Herald.


Luxury yacht runs aground in Honolua Bay on Maui. A 94-foot Sunseeker luxury yacht ran aground in Honolua Bay on Maui Monday morning after its mooring line snapped, sparking outrage on social media over the boat’s potential damage to the marine environment. Star-Advertiser. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.  KITV4.

In Maui County, 36% of energy was generated by renewables last year.  Aided by new grid-scale and rooftop solar capacity, Hawaiian Electric achieved a 32 percent consolidated renewable portfolio standard — 36 percent in Maui County — in 2022 using a new calculation signed into law last year.  Maui News.


Kaua‘i County Council to fill vacant seat. With newly appointed state Rep. Luke Evslin heading to O‘ahu, the remaining six members of the Kaua‘i County Council now must select a replacement to fill his vacant seat. Garden Island.

Lawmakers against axing paper ballot audits. Kaua‘i County Council members recently approved a resolution opposing two bills that propose to eliminate paper ballot audit requirements in Hawai‘i elections. Garden Island.

Kaua‘i towns first to be fully fiber enabled.  Hawaiian Telcom announced on Thursday that Kealia with ZIP code 96751, and Lawa‘i with ZIP code 96765 on Kaua‘i are the first two ZIP codes in the state that Hawaiian Telcom has completely enabled with fiber. Garden Island.

Friday, May 20, 2022

Hayashi tapped for schools superintendent, Espinda found dead from self-inflicted gunshot, Honolulu police chief candidates vie for top spot, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Interim Keith Hayashi chosen as Hawaii public schools superintendent. After an extraordinarily long and sometimes contentious state Board of Education meeting Thursday, former Waipahu High School Principal Keith Hayashi, who has been serving as state interim superintendent of Hawaii public schools since August, was selected from among three finalists to continue as the permanent state superintendent. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii Public Radio. Hawaii News Now. KHON2. KITV4.

Nolan Espinda, former head of Hawaii’s Department of Public Safety, dies. Nolan Espinda, who retired as DPS director in 2020 amid criticism over the department’s handling of COVID-19 outbreaks in Hawaii prisons, was found dead at Kailua Beach of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Hawaii commits to clean transportation future. With the passing of Senate Bill 3311, the state would give itself a goal to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions across all modes of transportation. It also would establish working groups consisting of both public and private stakeholders that would promote clean interisland transportation and electric vehicle adoption. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii electric-vehicle sales charged ahead in first quarter.
Hawaii made significant progress in the first quarter to distance itself from fossil fuels as the state reached double digits in electric vehicle registrations. Star-Advertiser.

$80 Million For Hawaiʻi Water Issues Passed By House Committee. The State of Hawaiʻi is “positioned to receive” $80 million for water and wastewater issues through federal legislation moving through the U.S. House. Big Island Video News.

Honolulu and Maui counties’ COVID-19 risk rank rises.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday bumped Honolulu and Maui counties from the yellow, medium-risk community level to the red, high-risk community level for COVID-19. Honolulu and Maui counties join Kauai County, which last week was classified as a high-risk community due to high case rates and limited hospital capacity. Hawaii County remains yellow. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Hawaii Health Department says keiki ages 5-11 now eligible for COVID-19 boosters. The Hawaii Department of Health today said it is adopting guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in recommending boosters for keiki ages 5 through 11. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.


Candidates for Honolulu Police chief participate in public forum. Repairing the Honolulu Police Department’s reputation, providing more information to the media, increasing patrol staffing, addressing officer wellness and stopping the surge of violent crime were among the issues addressed by the candidates during the 90-minute live forum televised Thursday night on PBS Hawaii’s “Insight” program. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now. KHON2. KITV4.

HPD statistics reveal low closure rates especially for property crimes. A vast majority of criminal cases investigated by the Honolulu Police Department (HPD) do not result in an arrest. KITV4.

Number Of Homeless People Counted In Oahu Survey Drops 11%. Oahu saw a decrease overall in this year’s Point-in-Time Count of homeless people, with the number of people in shelters dropping 24% and the number of those unsheltered increasing by 0.4% compared with the count in 2020. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. KHON2.

HART Pays Nearly $1 Million To Compensate 24 Parties Short-Changed By Rail Relocation. The Honolulu agency overseeing rail construction has determined that its prior history of shoddy relocation payments ultimately short-changed 24 businesses and tenants displaced by the future rail line to the tune of $883,000. Civil Beat.

Waikiki Aquarium to require face masks in alignment with University of Hawaii policy. The Waikiki Aquarium said wearing face masks is once again required at its facility, effective immediately, in alignment with University of Hawaii policy. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Council takes first stab at budget. Hawaii County Council members seem to prefer a cautious approach to county spending, despite a budget windfall that has Mayor Mitch Roth proposing a $779.7 million spending plan, a 27.8% increase over the current year. West Hawaii Today.

UH regents OK amendments to Maunakea plan. The University of Hawaii’s Board of Regents on Thursday approved a supplement to UH’s management plan for Maunakea, despite potentially losing jurisdiction over the mountain before the end of the decade. Tribune-Herald.

Solutions sought to help protect Pololu Valley. The state Department of Land and Natural Resources is working with Hawi community members to protect Pololu Valley from overuse. Tribune-Herald.


County mayoral candidates tackle South Maui issues. Five candidates have filed to run so far in crowded mayor’s race Climate change, cesspools and ocean pollution, and homelessness in South Maui are among the issues that Maui County mayoral candidates plan to tackle if elected. Maui News.

Kaiser mental health clinicians during Maui strike: ‘They pushed us to this’. Organized by the National Union of Healthcare Workers that represents Hawai’i Kaiser’s 58 mental health providers, the demonstration is being called the Aloha State’s largest mental health strike. Maui Now.

Red placard issued to restaurant in Lahaina, Maui. The Hawai‘i Department of Health’s Food Safety Branch issued a red placard and shut down China Bowl Asian Cuisine Restaurant, located at 2580 Kekaa Dr, #116, Lahaina on Maui. Maui Now.


Council introduces bill expanding size of guest houses on Kaua‘i. A bill introduced at County Council on Wednesday would increase the maximum size of guest houses, a move intended to make a dent in the ongoing housing crisis on island. Garden Island.

No-cost health services return to Kauaʻi in June. The “Tropic Care” program is run by the state Department of Health’s Kauaʻi District Health Office, the County of Kauaʻi and the U.S. military. Hawaii Public Radio. Garden Island.

Thursday, May 5, 2022

Ige off to Japan to tout tourism, Caldwell drops out of gubernatorial race, Hawaii County Council nixes fuel tax cut, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Ige Seeks To Persuade Japan That Hawaii Is Safe For Travel. The governor will travel to Japan next week to promote a return of visitors from Hawaii’s third-largest tourist market. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser.

Lawmakers Fail To Expand Access To Assisted Suicide In Hawaii. The House and the Senate could not agree on allowing APRNs and physician assistants to prescribe the lethal drug. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser.

Despite strong opposition from some, water cremation poised to become legal in Hawaii.
Hawaii could soon be the 22nd state to allow water cremation. Hawaii News Now.

Slow spending of federal COVID-19 aid for education frustrates Hawaii teachers, parents. The state Department of Education is getting the lion’s share of Hawaii’s Education Stabilization Fund allotment, but according to federal data, it has so far spent only 27.1% of its $639.5 million total in Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds, also known as ESSER. Star-Advertiser.

Kirk Caldwell Drops Out Of Race For Hawaii Governor. The former Honolulu mayor said his fledging campaign struggled with funding and momentum. Civil Beat. Maui Now. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

House Rep. Patrick Branco Announces Run For Congress. The former U.S. diplomat says he wants to represent Hawaii’s 2nd Congressional District for the long term unlike others who have held the seat. Civil Beat.

University of Hawaii students feel safer from harassment, survey says. The results of a University of Hawaii survey indicate students across the 10-campus system feel safer overall from sexual harassment and gender-based violence. Star-Advertiser.

COVID-19 cases forecast to rise into mid-May without huge impact on hospitals. The Department of Health eported the state’s seven-day average of new cases at 485 on Wednesday, representing the sixth consecutive weekly increase. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii records 10 new coronavirus-related deaths, 4,249 new infections. By island, there were 2,855 new infections reported on Oahu, 565 on Hawaii Island, 468 on Maui, 233 on Kauai, 25 on Lanai, and nine on Molokai. Another 94 infections were reported out of state. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.


City council gives HPD the green light to transfer $3.4 million to help pay for overtime costs. The resolution, RES22-086, authorizes HPD to use $3.4 million meant for its administrative services salaries to cover salary shortages in the police chief's office, patrol, special field operations, and investigations. KITV4.

Taxpayers to fund defense for retired detective linked to wrongful conviction case. Honolulu taxpayers will foot the bill for a retired HPD detective who helped prosecute a man for a sexual assault that he didn’t commit. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu police arrest 658 for impaired driving so far this year. More than 650 people have been arrested for impaired driving on Oahu and Honolulu police are setting up sobriety checkpoints at random locations around the island through June 30. Star-Advertiser.

Security guard fighting for his life after attack. A security guard is fighting for his life after being attacked while on the job Tuesday night in downtown Honolulu. This latest incident is raising concerns among those who work in the area. KHON2. Star-Advertiser.

Crews replace carpet once again following flood damage at Honolulu airport. Crews at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport are dealing with flood damage for the second time in less than two months. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

No gas tax relief: Council kills 10-cent discount on 4-4 tie. A deadlocked County Council on Wednesday put the brakes on any relief from the county gas tax this year, even after the measure’s sponsor tried to make the plan more palatable by adding a deadline limiting the 10-cent per gallon discount to eight months. West Hawaii Today. Hawaii Public Radio. Big Island Now. KHON2.

Ige ‘open’ to Maunakea bill: Inouye, Acasio vote against measure to remove UH as manager of summit area. Gov. David Ige indicated Wednesday he may support legislation to remove the University of Hawaii as manager of the Maunakea summit area. Tribune-Herald.

No conflict: Judge to render verdict in bench trial despite previously representing defendant. A Kona Circuit Court judge will still render a verdict in a bench trial despite previously representing the defendant as a defense attorney. West Hawaii Today.

Connections charter school case being appealed to high court. The state Land Use Commission’s denial of an application by Connections New Century Public Charter School for a special use permit to build a campus in Hilo on about 70 acres of state land zoned for agriculture is being appealed. Tribune-Herald.


Report: Maui Needs A Plan If It Actually Wants To End Homelessness. Maui’s Cost of Government Commission, a nine-member group tasked with looking for ways to make the county government more effective, recently released a 559-page report looking at ways Maui could end homelessness and ensure that anyone who loses their housing can get into a shelter. Civil Beat.

Maui Fair canceled for third year in a row; 98th Maui Fair to resume in 2023. While they had hoped to hold the 98th event this year, the Maui Fair Alliance Board reluctantly decided to postpone the event until next year. Maui Now. Maui News.


Kapa‘a Public Library must move.
The Hawai‘i State Public Library System has completed a preliminary evaluation of alternative sites and has identified a desirable location at the southern-most portion of the Samuel Mahelona Memorial Hospital campus. Garden Island.

Kaua‘i students’ college enrollment stayed low in 2021. College enrollments, which dropped at the onset of the pandemic, have remained down on Kaua‘i. Garden Island.

Former Kauai prosecuting attorney joins Hawaii Innocence Project. Justin F. Kollar, who served as Kauai County prosecuting attorney from 2012 to 2021, will work as a volunteer attorney and help HIP co-Director Kenneth Lawson and HIP Associate Director Jennifer Brown supervise law students from the William S. Richardson School of Law at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Star-Advertiser.

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Hawaii in search of statewide schools superintendent, Honolulu landfill committee rejects all proposed sites, state hospital may soon open, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii Department of Education
Hawaii student in class PC:Hawaii Department of Education

Deadline extended to apply for schools superintendent post. The application period has been extended in the search for Hawaii’s next permanent superintendent of public schools because only a little over a dozen candidates have applied, and only two are from Hawaii. Star-Advertiser. Maui Now.

Hawaii’s Interim School Chief Wants The Job Permanently. Is He Up To It? Keith Hayashi has been running the statewide school system for nearly a year, dealing with a pandemic, staffing shortages and other problems. Civil Beat.

New Hawaii State Hospital to open after lengthy delay. Officials overseeing the Hawaii State Hospital told state lawmakers Monday that their new 144-bed psychiatric facility is expected to open its doors to patients in about two weeks after more than a year of delays caused by a lack of policies and procedures, difficulty recruiting staff and flaws in shower floors, door handles and hinges. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. KITV4.

Hawaii Lawmakers Propose Raising OHA’s Share Of Ceded Land Revenue. The Office of Hawaiian Affairs is poised to get more money generated by the use of lands once held by the Hawaiian Kingdom. Civil Beat.

Nearly half of isle keiki in financially insecure households, report finds. Nearly half of all children in Hawaii lived in financially struggling households three years ago, before the COVID- 19 pandemic surfaced, according to Aloha United Way. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

State spent $37-million on Safe Travels Hawai'i program. While the final cost of the Safe Travels Hawai'i program is still being tallied, MG Kenneth Hara estimates the total cost will be about $37-million. KITV4.

Developers face lawsuit over lack of accessibility features at Maui, O'ahu housing properties. On Monday, the Department of Justice added eight new defendants to an existing lawsuit that alleges developers built five condo and apartment complexes without proper accessibility features. KITV4.


Landfill Advisory Committee rejects proposed sites for new Oahu landfill. The city’s Landfill Advisory Committee voted Monday not to recommend any of the six proposed locations to replace the island’s only municipal landfill at Waimanalo Gulch on the West side of Oahu. Star-Advertiser.

Three Honolulu Homeless Shelters Are Closing, Leaving Clients With Uncertainty. The service providers are vacating their current locations in Chinatown and Kakaako without a plan for where to go next.  Civil Beat.

Navy Captain Fired After Latest Red Hill Fuel Leak. The Navy admiral who relieved the captain touted “accountability for safety” in a staff email on Monday. Civil Beat.

Flesh-Eating Bacteria In The Ala Wai Canal May Triple Due To Climate Change. UH researchers said infections are rare, but officials and residents should start now trying to mitigate contamination in the canal to keep it that way. Civil Beat. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Hawaii Island

E-waste program suspended due to lack of funds. A county program to recycle electronic waste has been discontinued until at least July. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Now.

DHHL to break ground on Honomu ag project Friday. The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands will break ground this week on a new subsistence agriculture project in Honomu. Tribune-Herald.

Candidate filing for House seats gains momentum after a late start. Hawaii Island’s newly redefined and open District 6 seat in the state House of Representatives has so far attracted two Republican candidates seeking to represent the Kona district. West Hawaii Today.


State clears top Maui health official who faced widespread backlash over his COVID statements. Dr. Lorrin Pang, the state Department of Health’s Maui district health officer, faced major backlash last year for his support for controversial COVID-19 treatments. Hawaii News Now.

Maui Now Survey: 70% very concerned with the increase of out-of-state Maui homebuyers, 83% think Maui County should cap transient accommodations. Maui Now received 544 verified responses with 90% identifying as Maui County residents and 10% identifying as non-residents. A total of 86% of respondents identified as registered voters and 14% as non-registered voters. Maui Now.

Winners announced for small business awards. A baker, a farmer and the head of an equipment rental company were among the business owners honored at the 2021 Mayor’s Small Business Awards on Wednesday. Maui News.


County, state set fair housing webinars. April is National Fair Housing Month, and the Kaua‘i County Housing Agency, along with other state and county agencies, is providing free training opportunities for landlords and tenants to learn about current federal and state fair housing laws. Garden Island.

Thursday, January 6, 2022

Teacher absences disrupt public schools, Honolulu mayor cuts crowd size by half, legislative leaders target governor's emergency powers, rainy day fund, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii Interim Schools Superintendent Keith Hayashi

Staff shortages hit Hawaii public schools with 800 teachers out sick. Hawaii’s public schools are now starting to see disruptions due to rising teacher absences caused by the COVID-19 omicron variant surge, state schools interim Superintendent Keith Hayashi has confirmed. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Gov. David Ige’s emergency powers, Rainy Day proposal face challenges. Following nearly two years of COVID-19-related emergency proclamations issued by Gov. David Ige, the state House plans to consider legislation that would allow lawmakers to restrict the governor’s ability to issue future emergency proclamations through a two-thirds vote of both the House and Senate. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.

State tax collections for most months of 2021 surpassed 2019 levels. State general excise tax collections have surpassed 2019 levels for half of 2021. That’s according Eugene Tian, the stateʻs chief economist. He briefed state lawmakers Tuesday on 2021 performance, trends and 2022 forecasts. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii State Capitol To Remain Closed, For Now. House and Senate leaders are worried about rising Covid-19 case counts. Civil Beat. Maui Now.

State parks requests $9M budget increase for more staff, maintenance. The state Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of State Parks is asking for a budget increase. During the current fiscal year, the State Parks division received about $3 million through special funds. They are requesting $12 million for fiscal year 2023. Hawaii Public Radio.

House Finance Committee Members Grill Tourism Officials On Budget Request. The Hawaii Tourism Authority is asking for $150.5 million for operations and to repair the Hawaii Convention Center roof. Civil Beat. Hawaii Public Radio. Tribune-Herald.

State Searching For Ways To Avoid Unemployment Tax Spike For Employers
. The Ige administration will introduce a measure to once again adjust how much employers must pay into the unemployment system. Civil Beat.

Group of Hawaii lawmakers formed to help working families. A diverse group of Hawaii lawmakers has formed a new coalition to elevate legislative efforts aimed at improving economic conditions for much of the local working class, including households with children. Star-Advertiser.

Ige Names Aimee Barnes To State Land Board. If approved by the state Senate, she would succeed Samuel Gon III. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Is Beefing Up Its Potential To Produce More Meat Locally. A billionaire’s investment in the state’s biggest slaughterhouses and a shift to more grass-fed operations could help ranchers keep their cattle in the islands after years of sending them to the mainland. Civil Beat.

Traffic returns to pre-pandemic numbers statewide. Traffic volumes have returned to pre-pandemic numbers throughout major state routes. The state Department of Transportation has been monitoring traffic volumes during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Hawaii Public Radio.

Affordable federal internet program underway; 100,000 Hawaiʻi households may qualify. The new federal program will continue providing discounts on internet service for low-income families statewide. It is funded through the $65 billion Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act passed by Congress in November 2021.  Maui Now.

Hawaii hospitalization numbers skew people admitted for COVID-19. As Hawaii’s COVID-19 case counts have surged to triple the level seen since the start of the pandemic, state and local leaders have stressed that the focus should be not on case counts but hospitalization numbers when deciding whether to reinstate restrictions on businesses and gatherings, shut down in-person learning or continue indoor masking requirements. Star-Advertiser. KITV4.

When experts talk about COVID one day being ‘endemic,’ here’s what they mean. Ray Vera, president and CEO of Hawaii Pacific Health, said at a news conference Wednesday that there is optimism that Omicron could be moving the world closer to the end of the pandemic. Hawaii News Now. Maui Now.

Hawaii sees 2,611 new coronavirus cases, bringing statewide total to 126,067. The new confirmed and probable infection count by island includes 1,934 new cases on Oahu, 156 on Hawaii Island, 303 on Maui, 111 on Kauai, 33 on Molokai, 18 on Lanai and 56 Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state. Star-Advertiser.


Honolulu Caps Capacity of Large Indoor Events To Slow Covid Spread. Honolulu will require that all indoor events with at least 1,000 people attending cap attendees to 50% or less of capacity. The rules will be in place for the last three weeks of January, Mayor Rick Blangiardi said during a press conference with several leaders in Hawaii’s health care industry. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser. Associated Press. Hawaii News Now. KHON2. KITV4.

HART Board Member Resigns, Becomes HART’s New Finance Director. Dean Hazama had served on the local volunteer rail oversight board for just over two years. Civil Beat.

Visits to USS Arizona Memorial to resume after dock repairs made. Visits to the USS Arizona Memorial are set to resume Thursday after a shoreside dock was delivered and reinstalled today at the Pearl Harbor National Memorial visitor center. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Most residents favor tourism: Big Island survey results presented to County Council committee. Most Big Island residents believe tourism is the most important pillar of the island’s economy, according to a 2021 survey. Tribune-Herald.

COVID surge hits Kona Community Hospital: Facility implements contingency and crisis staffing plan amid staffing shortage. In response, Kona Community Hospital on Tuesday activated its contingency and crisis staffing plan, which permits exposed and COVID-positive staffers to continue caring for patients while following DOH and CDC guidelines. West Hawaii Today. Big Island Now.

Big Island is experiencing a post-holiday surge of COVID-19, driven largely by Omicron. COVID-19 cases on Hawaiʻi Island took a slight dip Tuesday after four consecutive days of record-breaking numbers and more than 900 cases seen since the New Year. Hawaii Public Radio.

Rezoning request for Hilo housing project advances. A proposed 90-unit affordable housing project in Hilo moved one step closer to reality Wednesday after a County Council committee approved a zoning change. Tribune-Herald.


Department of Planning offices to close for renovations, Jan. 6-7. During the two days of office renovations, applications and other documents can be dropped off at the Department’s Current Planning Division Office in Suite 619 at One Main Plaza on Main Street in Wailuku. Maui Now.

ʻUaʻu populations on Lānaʻi are on the rebound, conservationists say. Lānaʻi is home to one-third of the world’s population of ʻuaʻu. But high rates of predation by feral cats and rats have put petrel colonies on Lānaʻi in peril. Hawaii Public Radio.


Families reel with Waimea landslide blocking a portion of Menehune Road. Frustration over the lack of activity grew among residents affected by the closure of a portion of Menehune Road near the swinging bridge over the Waimea River Wednesday. Garden Island.

Record-high 175 COVID-19 cases Wednesday on Kaua‘i. Wednesday, the state Department of Health Kaua‘i District Health Office announced 175 new cases of COVID-19, another single-day-high case-count day. Garden Island.