Showing posts with label Donovan Dela Cruz. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Donovan Dela Cruz. Show all posts

Friday, July 19, 2024

$4B settlement reached in Maui wildfire lawsuits, Honolulu crime boss Miske found guilty of murder, racketeering, some Hawaii flights grounded in communications outage, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

$4 billion proposed settlement reached over Maui wildfire lawsuits. Report: Key Defendants Have Agreed To Settle Maui Wildfire Claims For $4 Billion. Hawaiian Electric Industries, the state of Hawaii, Maui County and Charter Communications have agreed to pay $4 billion to settle several hundred lawsuits filed on behalf of thousands of victims of Aug. 8’s Lahaina wildfires, Bloomberg News has reported, citing anonymous sources. Civil Beat.  KITV4. Bloomberg.  Reuters.

Honolulu crime boss Miske guilty of murder, racketeering. Jury Convicts Miske Of 13 Counts, Including Murder In Aid Of Racketeering. Jurors in the federal racketeering trial of Michael Miske found him guilty Thursday of 13 of 16 counts, including racketeering conspiracy and murder in aid of racketeering in connection to the 2016 killing of Johnathan Fraser. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser.  Hawaii News Now.  KHON2.

Dozens of Hawaii flights impacted amid widespread technology outage. United, Delta and American issued system-wide ground stops due to communication issues. Hawaii News Now.


The State Of Hawaii Keeps Snatching Up Land From Former Agriculture Companies. Senate Ways And Means Chairman Donovan Dela Cruz is the driving force behind one proposed deal that just won't go away. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Supreme Court Will Review Judge’s Decision To Withhold Abused Girl’s Case File. Public First Law Center is trying to open files that would show why the state and Family Court placed Isabella Kalua with the couple accused of killing her. Civil Beat.

Alternate emergency road in Waiʻanae set to reopen spring 2025.
The state Department of Transportation has committed to making upgrades to the road to form a roughly 5-mile route stretching from the Nānākuli to Waiʻanae areas. Hawaii Public Radio.

HNN News Director Scott Duff, dedicated journalist who ‘led with heart,’ dies at 59. Hawaii News Now is mourning the loss of News Director Scott Duff, who died early Wednesday following a year-long battle with cancer. He was 59. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Planning director: Bill could slow down permitting process. Bill 134 would require that every time a property owner seeks a change of zoning district, the Planning Department would have to compile a report of all buildings that are legally permitted to be built on surrounding properties within a quarter-mile radius. Tribune-Herald.

Proclamation Issued On District 1 House Seat After Death Of Rep Nakashima. The Office of Elections says that ballots already printed, the late Representative Nakashima will remain on the ballot and votes cast will be counted accordingly. Big Island Video News.

Alleged assailant of county-contracted surveyors charged. Police have charged 32-year-old Kukaua Keliihooluhi Kaupe Bright, whom they say is one of two men who allegedly assaulted a pair of county-contracted surveyors July 9 in downtown Hilo. Tribune-Herald.

Goodwill Hawaii settles in to new Hilo home. Goodwill Hawaii announced in October 2023 that it would be closing its three leased properties in Hilo and would move operations to a large parcel at 17 Makaala St. to serve as the East Hawaii hub for employees, customers and clients. Tribune-Herald.


Lahaina Schools To Close For Fire Anniversary. Lahaina’s four public schools will close on Aug. 8 to honor the first anniversary of the Maui wildfires, the Board of Education decided on Thursday. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser. Maui Now.  Hawaii News Now.  KHON2.

Another Maui Jail Project Stalls After Underground Duct Work Is Discovered. For years, state officials have been unable to move forward with plans to build an entirely new jail at Puunene. Now, even a modest addition to the existing jail is being delayed. Civil Beat.


Mayor Kawakami shares vision for Kaua‘i during Chamber of Commerce luncheon. At the Kaua‘i Chamber of Commerce held the 10th Annual Mayor’s Luncheon on Thursday, Mayor Derek S.K. Kawakami shared his vision for the residents of the Garden Isle. Kauai Now.

Aloun Farms to acquire Kaua‘i Shrimp. Kaua‘i Shrimp currently produces over 500,000 pounds of premium Pacific White Leg shrimp every year on its 238-acre farm in Kekaha. Garden Island.

Monday, July 10, 2023

National parks more popular, Green signs last round of bills, apparent homicide in Oahu jail, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Visitor numbers show Hawaii’s national parks continue to enthrall. Attendance this year at the state’s three major national park sites is on track to surpass 2019 visitor totals, before the COVID-19 pandemic virtually shut down tourism to the islands.  Star-Advertiser.

Gov. Josh Green signs 13 bills into law. Gov. Josh Green signed 13 bills at the state Capitol that aim to improve care for kupuna, encourage awareness and adaptability for disabled individuals, and make access to technology easy for those who are multilingual. Star-Advertiser. Tribune-Herald.  Hawaii News Now.

Green signs coffee bills into law.  Gov. Josh Green on Wednesday signed two coffee bills into law — one aimed at labeling practices for coffee crops originating in Hawaii and the other that will expand the fight against blights affecting the iconic crop. West Hawaii Today. Big Island Video News.

Land And Power 2023: How One Influential Hawaii Senator Is Using Public Agencies To His Advantage. A decade after his controversial Public Land Development Corp. was dissolved in the face of a public outcry, Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz is using other agencies to buy and develop land. Civil Beat.

Pools at Hawaii state Capitol might stay dry. The  state Department of Accounting and General Services has more than $40 million in legislative appropriations to perhaps vanquish all the trouble by fixing leaks, along with structural damage and electrical problems they have caused, and possibly convert the water features into waterless platforms resembling pools. Star-Advertiser.

New regents chair sees great things ahead for University of Hawaii.  As the University of Hawaii is at a critical crossroads as an “indigenous serving institution” — co-manager of the cultural flashpoint that is Mauna Kea, keeper of a long-beleaguered athletics program, political victim of severe budget cuts and a governance tug of war and more — revving at its center is Alapaki Nahale-a, the newly elected chair of the UH Board of Regents. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii Public Radio.

Two new members join the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority Board of Directors. Two new members of the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority Board of Directors were appointed by Governor Josh Green, M.D. Hawaiian Airlines’ Blaine Miyasato and the Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism’s James Kunane Tokioka fill seats for four-year terms that expire June 30, 2026. Maui Now.

Hawaii Kava Growers Hope To Convince Food Regulators It’s Safe To Eat. The plant is the focus of new studies about its potential therapeutic benefits. Civil Beat.

Hawaii’s Cesspool Crisis Has A Long History. It’s Not Over Yet.  Concerns about the proliferation of cesspools and their impact on nearshore waters and our drinking water supply date back more than a century.  Civil Beat.

Rising debt steers Hawaii consumers toward bankruptcy. 
Hawaii bankruptcies continue to remain historically low, but local attorneys say the number of monthly filings belie the reality that many consumers are in financial straits. Star-Advertiser.


Federal grant awards Hawaiʻi $4M to update climate action plan. The funding comes from the EPA's Climate Pollution Reduction Grant program. Hawaii Public Radio.

HPD investigating apparent homicide at OCCC after inmate found dead in cell. Honolulu police have opened a murder investigation after an inmate at the Oahu Community Correctional Center was found dead in his cell on Thursday night. Hawaii News Now.

For 45 years IHS has provided aid to homeless in innovative ways. Forty five years ago this month, what is now the Institute for Human Services opened Hawaii’s first and what has become its largest homeless shelters, playing a critical role in recent years as the exploding homeless population gave the state at one point the ignoble distinction of having the highest per capita rate of homelessness in the country. Star-Advertiser.

Parts of east Oʻahu shoreline to be designated to Kaiwi Coast State Park. 
On Thursday, Gov. Josh Green stood from the Makapuʻu Lighthouse Lookout to sign Senate Bill 1254, which establishes a pathway to designate lands from Makapuʻu to Wawamalu as part of a state park. Hawaii Public Radio.

Stricter rules sought for popular Oahu beach recently marred by illegal parties.  A popular beach on Oahu’s east side that was spotlighted during the pandemic for illegal parties could be getting tougher rules and regulations. It’s part of plans to make the Kaiwi Coast a state park. Hawaii News Now.

Former HPD chief Lee Donohue dedicated 40 years to the force. Former Honolulu Police Chief Lee D. Donohue died Sunday morning at Straub Medical Center following an extended illness. He was 80 years old. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.  KHON2.  KITV4.

Hawaii Island

‘We have skin in the game’: Hilo Harbor land acquisition plans questioned by community, businesses.  Keaukaha community members expressed concerns Wednesday night over the state’s plans to acquire almost 10 acres of privately owned land near the entrance to Hilo Harbor. Tribune-Herald.

Police investigate Hilo tax preparer who allegedly left customers in limbo.  Detective Paul Mangus recently confirmed that the Hawaii Police Department’s East Hawaii Criminal Investigations Section has received “at least 20” complaints and is investigating the tax preparer Hilo Income Tax Service and its enrolled agent, Michele Slone. Tribune-Herald.


Maui County’s tax surcharge proposal passes first reading.  With some calling it a hard decision, Maui County Council members gave the first of two required approvals Friday to adopt a surcharge on top of the state’s general excise tax to fund housing infrastructure in the county.  Maui News.

Bill to regulate air and replica guns nears final passage.  A bill that would limit air and replica guns in certain public spaces was passed on first reading by the Maui County Council on Friday.  Maui News.

Biden Officials Had To Charter A Plane So They Wouldn’t Get Stuck On Molokai.
The group didn't trust Mokulele Airlines' scheduled flights, underscoring the difficulties island residents have accessing health care and other services. Civil Beat.


Blessing held for Kalaheo water project.  The county Department of Water and contractor Hawaiian Dredging Construction Company, Inc., held a blessing to commence the Kalaheo Water Systems Improvements Project late last month. Garden Island.

Emergency repairs planned for Wainiha bridge.  Kūhiō Highway (Highway 560) will be intermittently closed at the Wainiha double bridges while emergency repairs are made to Wainiha Bridge No. 2 early this week. Kauai Now.

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Senate 'bullies' create chaos, Hawaii ranked worst state for doctors, Red Hill families drank fuel and antifreeze, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Senate ‘Bullies’ Are Creating Chaos At The Capitol This Year. Donovan Dela Cruz and Michelle Kidani have taken political strong-arming to an alarming level as they work to control business and financial issues, their colleagues say.  Two powerful state senators are pressuring colleagues to derail confirmation of Scott Glenn to lead the Hawaii Office of Planning and Sustainable Development. Civil Beat.

Future of DBEDT confirmation up to nominee. The troubled Cabinet nomination of the head of the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism is up to acting Director Chris Sadayasu to decide whether he wants to take his confirmation vote to the full 25-member Senate. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii’s Republicans Don’t Get Many Bills Passed, But They’re Playing A Long Game. The minority caucus agrees it needs more members to get things done, but there is disagreement on how to get there. Civil Beat.

‘Misleading’ macadamia nut products prompt legislation in Hawaii. A kamaaina company that claims to be the biggest seller of chocolate-covered macadamia nuts has collided at the Legislature with local macadamia producers over whether Hawaii-branded products containing foreign macadamias should say so. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii lawmakers consider bill that will allow counselors to file restraining orders for minors. A bill to let trained professionals petition for restraining orders on behalf of minors is now being discussed in the Hawaii state house. Senate Bill 45 includes counselors and other mental health professionals. KITV4.

State's newest homelessness coordinator pitches idea for ʻOhana Zone incentives. The state's homelessness coordinator wants ʻOhana Zone developments to get the same exemptions as affordable housing projects. Hawaii Public Radio.

Teacher Housing Has Been Only In Rural Areas, But That Could Change. Proposed legislation would fund a pilot program with locations in urban Oahu. Civil Beat.

Amid ongoing physician shortage, Hawaii ranked worst state for doctors. Analysts from the financial planning website WalletHub looked at all 50 states and Washington, D.C. and evaluated several factors across two key dimensions: “opportunity and competition” and “medical environment.” When it came to opportunity and competition, Hawaii ranked dead last. Hawaii News Now.

U.S. in ‘better place’ since pandemic, CDC director says during Hawaii visit. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention aims to become more nimble as a result of lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic. Star-Advertiser. KITV4.


Not Just Fuel: Red Hill Families Drank Antifreeze Too, Lawsuit Says. The Pearl Harbor area residents who drank and showered in fuel-tainted water in 2021 were also exposed to antifreeze, which the Navy used as a fuel additive, according to an amended lawsuit complaint filed on Monday.  Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser.  Hawaii News Now.

Board of Water Supply confirms trace amounts of PFAS were found in Waipio well. The state's Board of Water Supply announced Friday that trace amounts of perfluoroalkyl substances, also known as PFAS, were found in the Waipio Heights Wells Pumping Station last month during a routine test. Hawaii Public Radio.

Health, safety concerns raised over homeless at State Library. A growing homeless encampment by the Hawaii State Library is raising concerns with library users and nearby residents. They’re calling on the state to do a better job in cleaning the area. KHON2.

A New Recipe: This Program Puts Oahu Inmates In College Cooking Courses. Kapiolani Community College has offered courses to women at the Women's Community Correctional Facility since 2008. Civil Beat.

Keeaumoku Street safety in the works. Under the Honolulu “Complete Streets” program, the city Department of Transportation Services proposes a project along Keeaumoku Street — from Kapiolani Boulevard to Wilder Avenue — to include protected bicycle lanes, traffic-calming measures and pedestrian-­crossing improvements. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Hawaii AG: Imprisoned Prison Guard Shouldn’t Get His Job Back. The state says the labor board exceeded its authority and made a "clearly erroneous" decision regarding Jonathan Taum. The Hawaii Attorney General’s Office is appealing a decision by the state labor board that requires that a corrections sergeant who is serving a federal prison term be reinstated with back pay to his job at the Hilo jail. Civil Beat.

Funding requests for the Big Isle’s hospitals slashed. Gov. Josh Green requested that $50 million from the state budget be used to expand Hilo Medical Center, but when the House released its initial budget on Thursday, the amount was cut in half to $25 million. Tribune-Herald.

Progress on Hilo sewage plant. A plan to renovate the decrepit Hilo Wastewater Treatment Plant is now a two-part project. Tribune-Herald.

Community Meeting On Waikoloa Road Project Set For March 30. The pavement removal/replacement project is scheduled to begin in May 2023 and run through April 2024. Big Island Video News.


Want to fix the food system? Maui’s Polipoli Farms aims to help local farmers do just that. Lehia Apana recently won a $10,000 grant from Dove Chocolate to help grow her food hub project.  Maui Now.

Maui Land & Pineapple announces leadership transition. Maui Land & Pineapple announced today the appointment of Race Randle as CEO and Scot Sellers as Chairman, effective April 1, 2023. Maui Now.

Repairs underway for historic church damaged by storm. Ke‘anae Congregational Church has been closed due to safety hazards since 2021. Maui News.


Wilcox earns national patient safety award.
The Wilcox Medical Center received the Healthgrades 2023 Patient Safety Excellence Award that places Wilcox among the top 10 percent of all short-term acute care hospitals nationwide, as evaluated by Healthgrades, the leading marketplace connecting patients and providers. Garden Island.

Kaua‘i DOCARE presence nearly doubles as 41 new officers commissioned. The state Department of Land and Natural Resources significantly bolstered its ranks on Monday, as 41 new Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement officers were deployed for their first assignments Garden Island. Kauai Now.

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

First Honolulu rail segment slated to open in July, mayors on Oahu, Big Island and Kauai mayors hold state of the county addresses, EPA proposes water standards for PFAS, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Residents will soon have the chance to ride the rail this year, according to Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi. The  rail project is on track for an interim opening this July. The opening will allow service from East Kapolei to the Aloha Stadium. KHON2. Hawaii News Now.

Tourism industry hopes to cash in this spring break, but visitor forecast remains unclear.  The Hawaii Tourism Authority said visitor numbers for March are trending back to normal. Last year, the islands saw nearly 800,000 visitors during spring break. That was up 40% from 2021. Before the pandemic, Hawaii saw nearly 1 million visitors in the same month. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii’s New Deputy Economy Chief Has A Powerful Business Partner In The Senate. The business partner of a powerful senator is on his way to being confirmed as deputy director for Hawaii’s economic development agency. Dane Wicker, a former chief of staff to Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz and co-owner of Kilani Brew with the senator, cruised through a Senate committee hearing on his nomination Tuesday.  Civil Beat.

‘Forever Chemicals’ Have Been Found In Hawaii’s Environment.  In move that could have a big impact in Hawaii, EPA proposes water standards for PFAS.  Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.

Auditor calls out OHA for lax and risky real-estate planning.  The Office of Hawaiian Affairs has been building its real estate portfolio over the past couple of decades to the point where it is now the 13th-largest landowner in Hawaii with holdings valued at more than $421 million.  Star-Advertiser.

UH sex misconduct bill tackles growing problem. A proposal to require the University of Hawaii to ramp up prevention of sexual violence, and support for survivors, is moving through the state Legislature as incidents on college campuses in Hawaii persist at a level the measure calls “pervasive.” Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii bill would name limu kala as state seaweed. Limu kala, a type of seaweed that is endemic to Hawaii, would become the state limu if House Bill 819 is passed. Star-Advertiser.

Bill aims to underscore threat of coffee leaf rust. Hawaii farmers battling a devastating parasite might not get much relief from proposed legislation that would formally declare coffee leaf rust an invasive fungal disease. Tribune-Herald.


Mayor Blangiardi vows to address city’s ‘wicked problems’.  During his third State of the City address, Mayor Rick Blangiardi vowed Tuesday to address some of Oahu’s most intractable “wicked problems” by easing homelessness, reducing traffic through better-coordinated signal lights, and overhauling the city’s troubled Department of Planning and Permitting. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.  Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Massive first responder campus could include hotel, helipad and much more.
The plan to consolidate state, federal and county first responders is already underway. The land is located in Central Oahu, Mililani, and is currently an Albezia forest with two plots one 150 acres and the other 93 acres respectively — not far from Wheeler Army Airfield.  KHON2.

New warning sirens will be tested across Oahu. The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency will test new or upgraded warning sirens this week at six locations on Oahu. The tests will sound various alert tones which will be audible in the surrounding area, but there is no hazard, and members of the public need not take any action. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Mayor Mitch Roth stresses clean energy and housing in State of the County address. 
Aging infrastructure, affordable housing and clean energy are just some of the top priorities this year for Hawaiʻi County Mayor Mitch Roth. Hawaii Public Radio. Big Island Now.

Heavy snow won’t delay removal of observatories.
Two Maunakea observatories are still scheduled to be removed within a year, despite snowier-than-normal conditions. Tribune-Herald.

Holualoa reacts to initial cleanup of mold-infested school. Cleaning has begun at Holualoa Elementary following several press conferences related to problems with molds, rats and other unsanitary conditions on campus. Tribune-Herald.

Record rainfall swamps spots on Big Island in February, including 56 inches at one site.  Just three Big Island rain gauges measured less than 100% of their average rainfall for February, with several spots in Kaʻū and on the windward side of the island recording rain totals up to nearly six times greater than average.  Big Island Now.


Investors Sue Maui Yacht Owner For More Than $2M After Honolua Bay Grounding. In a lawsuit filed Monday, attorneys for Kevin and Kimberly Albert of New Mexico, who provided the financing for the Nakoa, accused Jim Jones and his wife of taking the yacht on a personal trip to Honolua Bay without permission, which they said violated their sales agreement.  Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.

Nonprofits working to find medical respite for homeless cancer patients on Maui. One of the challenges is at the intersection of cancer and homelessness: finding a safe environment for patients to undergo treatment. Hawaii Public Radio.


Kawakami proposes budget to address Kauaʻi infrastructure, development. With soaring revenues,  Mayor Derek Kawakami continues his promise to invest in infrastructure and development, while opting to pay off debts and decrease some residential taxes in the upcoming fiscal year budget. Hawaii Public Radio. Garden Island.  Kauai Now.  KITV4.

Probation sought for ex-U.S. worker in $35,000 theft case. Probation should be the sentence for a former U.S. Department of Interior Fish and Wildlife employee who pleaded guilty to theft of government money and property in connection with $35,000 in personal purchases charged to a government credit card over a four-year period, his attorney argued. Star-Advertiser.

Friday, May 27, 2022

Shenanigans behind the scenes at state Legislature, Ige signs taro farmers' water rights into law, Elemental Excelerator gets $32.5M Navy grant, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

How A Powerful Lawmaker Forced Through A Contentious Energy Bill. When Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz’s pet legislation faced opposition from Rep. Nicole Lowen, he suddenly intervened with the power to make or break her bills. Civil Beat.

U.S. visitors to Hawaii in April top 2019 levels for 12th consecutive month. Some 818,268 visitors came to Hawaii in April, representing a 96.3% recovery from April 2019, according to preliminary visitor data released Thursday by the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism. Star-Advertiser.

Hundreds of Hawaii’s frontline workers out sick as COVID surge continues. A COVID surge and a rising number of flu cases are driving up sick calls among Hawaii’s frontline workers, leaving hospitals struggling to meet patient needs, health care officials said. Across the state on Thursday, some 600 frontline workers were out sick. Hawaii News Now.

South African COVID-19 variants found in Hawaii. The omicron variants BA.4 and BA.5, currently the dominant lineages of the coronavirus circulating in South Africa, have recently been detected in Hawaii, according to the state Department of Health. Star-Advertiser.

Fewer severe cases during this COVID-19 surge compared to delta, omicron. Healthcare Association of Hawaii President Hilton Raethel said there were 151 COVID patients hospitalized Wednesday across the state, but only 13 of them were in intensive care. As of Thursday, 160 people were hospitalized. Hawaii Public Radio.


High-balance special funds stow millions meant for good causes. Hundreds of millions of your tax dollars are sitting in special funds intended for everything from affordable housing to clean water, parks and roads. KHON2.

Elemental Excelerator Gets $32.5 Million Navy Grant. Elemental Excelerator, a Honolulu-based organization that funds innovative enterprises addressing climate change, has received a $32.5 million grant from the Office of Naval Research. Civil Beat.

Survey details ills from Navy’s fuel-tainted water. Approximately 2,000 people reported that they had experienced health effects ranging from skin rashes to vomiting following exposure to jet fuel in the Navy’s Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam drinking water system in November, according to results of a survey released Thursday by the state Department of Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Star-Advertiser.

Incoming police chief’s son allegedly terrorized Waikiki homeowner. The incoming police chief’s son and the ex-girlfriend he was arrested with Tuesday allegedly brought violence and property damage to the Waikiki home of a 70-year-old retiree and his wife, who rented a room to the woman for six years. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii Public Radio. Hawaii News Now.

Waikiki town hall meeting to discuss concerns about public safety, homelessness
. City Council Chair Tommy Waters is hosting the town hall with area legislators and city agencies including EMS and the prosecutor’s office. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Tour company ordered to pay nearly $35K in back wages after denying workers overtime. The Department of Labor said Ocean Journeys LLC — operating as And You Creations — denied 14 crew members overtime wages on its Waianae tour boat. Hawaii News Now.

Job openings are plentiful at Oahu summer programs for children. Despite competitive wages and a promise of “awesome, fun-filled opportunities,” the pandemic-era labor shortage has extended to two of Oahu’s largest summer programs for kids. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

County, Roth seek dismissal of Waipi‘o lawsuit. The Corporation Counsel has filed a motion seeking dismissal of a lawsuit filed last month against the county, Mayor Mitch Roth and Public Works Director Ikaika Rodenhurst over the closure of Waipi‘o Valley Road to all but a handful of people. Tribune-Herald.

Proposed 2022-23 CIP budget includes $64M for two West Hawaii roads
. Mayor Mitch Roth’s CIP budget for fiscal year 2022-23 as currently amended would allocate for repaving and rehabilitation some $42 million for Waikoloa Road in South Kohala and $22 million for Hina Lani Street in Kailua-Kona. Bill 126, draft 2, is set for its second reading on Thursday during a special meeting of the Hawaii County Council. West Hawaii Today.

Lava buyout program seeks to limit payouts
: Maximum for undeveloped properties would be set at $22K. Despite concerns from residents, the county’s proposed changes to its housing buyout program in Lower Puna have been submitted to the federal government. Tribune-Herald.

Two lawyers appointed to District Family Court bench. Chief Justice Mark E. Recktenwald on Wednesday appointed two individuals to fill judicial positions in the District Family Court of the Third Circuit on Hawaii Island. Tribune-Herald.

Kahaluʻu Bay is Hawaiʻi's second Mission Blue 'Hope Spot,' critical to ocean health. The Hawaiʻi Island bay and its surrounding waters are home to several endangered and threatened species, such as Hawaiian monk seals, humpback whales, and turtles. Hawaii Public Radio.


Maui council may adjust metrics to make affordable housing actually affordable. With soaring housing prices in Maui County, council members are looking at ways to update the county’s sales price guidelines so affordable housing can actually be affordable. Maui Now.

Bill would extend exemption for farmers during drought. Department of Water Supply is concerned this would take resources from other essential needs. Maui News.

Maui County visitor arrivals last month exceed pre-pandemic highs. There were 254,398 visitors to Maui last month — a nearly 3% increase from April 2019, when visitors numbered 247,984, according to preliminary visitor statistics released by the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism released Thursday. Maui Now.


North Shore hui celebrates end of four-year journey with new law. Members of the Wai‘oli Valley Taro Hui watched as Gov. David Ige signed House Bill 1768 into law Wednesday, at Waipa outside Hanalei. The bill, now Act 27, recognizes and protects their rights to water for traditional taro cultivation. Garden Island.

CDC moves Kauai County back to yellow, medium-risk level for COVID-19 impacts. Two weeks ago, Kauai County had been bumped up to a red, high-risk community based on a set of metrics that measures hospitalization rates and cases per 100,000 people. Star-Advertiser. Garden Island.

Expansion Plan For Lihue Airport Is Riling Residents Already Tired Of Over-Tourism. The governor said it’s unfortunate that the consultants hired by the state Department of Transportation may be “tone deaf” to the community’s concerns. Civil Beat.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Legislature advances capital gains tax hike, cuts services and jobs in proposed budget, public TV exec implicated in CARES fraud case, rental car shortage as tourism surges, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Sylvia Luke, Donovan Dela Cruz
Legislative money chairs Rep. Sylvia Luke, Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz (file)

Hawaii state agencies in an uproar as budget eliminates hundreds of positions. State agencies were in an uproar Monday as they fought to reinstate funding for hundreds of government positions and hold onto tens of millions of dollars squirreled away in special funds that normally fall outside of the legislative budget process. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Lawmakers Advance Capital Gains Tax Increase. A proposal to jack up the top rates for state capital gains taxes on businesses and wealthier individuals cleared an important hurdle Monday by winning unanimous approval in the Senate Ways and Means Committee. Civil Beat.

Labor director asks lawmakers for millions to expand unemployment services. Following a COVID infection in a staffer last week, the state’s unemployment office call center at the Hawaii Convention Center reopened Monday. The reopening comes as the labor director asked the state for more than $100 million to expand call-center services. Hawaii News Now.

State bill would make sex with animals illegal. A bill that would make sexual abuse of animals a Class C or Class B felony in Hawaii is scheduled to be heard today in the state House. Star-Advertiser.

‘What About Us?’: Retailers Struggle To Find Their Way Through The Pandemic. The state had 10,000 fewer retail trade jobs at the end of 2020 than it had in 2019. Civil Beat.

Hawaii’s Private Schools See Enrollment Drop More Than 20% For Preschoolers. The changes varied school to school and island to island, based on a new report by the Hawaii Association of Independent Schools. Civil Beat.

With Love’s Bakery closure a day away, its brand will live on. Portland-based Franz Family Bakery, also known as United States Bakery, announced Monday that it has acquired a license to produce the Love’s-branded items on the mainland for Hawaii. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Lt. Gov. Josh Green warns of surge if people let down their guard, with majority of cases among younger set. Lt. Gov. Josh Green warned Hawaii residents that the number of corona­virus cases could continue to rise if people let their guard down and hold large gatherings. Star-Advertiser. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii seniors now have lowest rate of COVID cases.
A year after COVID first hit Hawaii, there has been a dramatic switch in who is getting the coronavirus. Thanks to mass vaccinations, seniors 65 and older now have the lowest rate in the state. KITV4.

March 29, 2021 COVID-19 Update:
The state Department of Health reports that there were 103 additional COVID-19 cases reported in Hawai‘i on Monday, including 52 on O‘ahu, 36 on Maui, 10 on Hawai‘i Island and five Hawai‘i residents diagnosed while out of state. Maui Now.


City and County of Honolulu to receive half of its $365 million federal funds by early May. U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz explained that the city can use the funds from the new stimulus package to make up for lost tax revenue, which last year’s CARES Act did not allow for. Star-Advertiser.

Lawmakers Want New Group To Determine Future Of OHA Kakaako Makai. The Office of Hawaiian Affairs says it does not plan to cooperate with the group if it two resolutions pass the Legislature. Civil Beat.

While businesses welcome a tourism boom, some worry it came too quickly. As coronavirus cases rise on Oahu, some fear it means falling back into Tier 2 restrictions. Mayor Blangiardi has said that’s not an option. Hawaii News Now.

Turtle Bay Resort to reopen July 1 as rise in visitors sparks hope for tourism industry. Turtle Bay Resort is still closed to guests, but the 450 construction workers readying the property for a summer reopening are a sign that better times are coming for Hawaii’s visitor industry — if they aren’t already here. Star-Advertiser.

$1,000 a day to rent a car? Low supply, surging demand are pushing up prices. Rental cars are a hot commodity in Honolulu. If you can reserve one ― and that’s not guaranteed ― prepare to pay top dollar. Hawaii News Now.

Waialua Beach Road bridge closed indefinitely due to structural instability. The Department of Transportation Services is keeping the Waialua Beach Road bridge closed indefinitely as repairs are ongoing following recent damages from heavy rainfall and flooding. Hawaii News Now.

University of Hawaii reopens campus next fall with more classes offered in-person. The University of Hawaii announced Monday it will be reopening its campus and amenities next fall, and it will be slowly transitioning students back to the classroom. KHON2.

University of Hawaii’s Snyder Hall to be razed as part of Mini Master Plan. Construction barriers have gone up around Snyder Hall at the University of Hawaii at Manoa in preparation for its demolition in May, marking the start of Phase 2 of the campus’ Mini Master Plan. Star-Advertiser.

Care center employees in Nuuanu ‘locked out’ amid contract talks. Dozens of workers have been locked out of the Care Center of Honolulu amid ongoing contract negotiations. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Higa implicated in fraud case: Na Leo TV president to be placed on leave following federal plea deal. The board of directors for Na Leo ‘O Hawaii TV is putting Stacy Higa, its CEO and president, on leave after a former associate alleged in federal court he and Higa were involved in a scheme to fraudulently funnel federal coronavirus relief funds to the Big Island public-access cable TV nonprofit. Tribune-Herald.

Nishimoto leaves Public Works.
Just four months into his four-year term, Mayor Mitch Roth has lost his first top official, with Merrick Nishimoto leaving as deputy director of the Department of Public Works. West Hawaii Today.

Citing mounting costs, Hawaii County considers changes to post-travel testing program. A modified COVID-19 testing system for arriving passengers is in the works on the Big Island, the only county that still tests people upon arrival. Hawaii News Now.

‘Carmageddon’ Crashes Into Big Island, as Rental Industry Swallowed by Mass Demand. Anyone on the hunt for a rental car in Hawai´i is in for a disappointing month. At least. Big Island Now.

Nearly 15% of Big Islanders fully vaccinated.
Nearly 15% of the more than 199,000 people on the Big Island are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, state data released Monday shows. West Hawaii Today.

East Hawaii a ‘hot spot’ for new virus cases. According to data from the state Department of Health, 41 new cases have been reported in Hilo over the past 14 days, and 25 new cases have been reported in Kailua-Kona during that same period. Tribune-Herald.


Upcountry Councilmember Sugimura Hosting Public Online Meeting April 1 about FY 2022 Budget. Maui County Upcountry Councilmember Yuki Lei Sugimura will host an online meeting to hear input from community members about the upcoming Fiscal Year 2022 budget on April 1 at 5:30 pm. Maui Now.

$11 Million in Economic Coronavirus Relief for 5 Airports in Maui County.
The Hawaiʻi Department of Transportation Airports Division has received authorization for $11,098,912 in Coronavirus Relief and Response Supplemental Appropriations for five airports in Maui County. Maui Now.

Mokulele Airlines Completes Maui Terminal Renovation; New Kahului-Hilo 4x Daily Route. Mokulele Airlines held a blessing today, marking completion of a long-awaited facelift of its Kahului Commuter Terminal on Maui. Maui Now.

Mass vaccination draws more than 1,000. More than 1,000 people were vaccinated at a COVID-19 mass vaccination Saturday at Kaiser Permanente Hawaii’s Wailuku Medical Office. Maui News.

Visitors to Maui hit post-pandemic high in February. Maui County hotels also led state in revenue per room. Maui News.


Kauai County expands vaccine eligibility to residents 16 and up. Kauai is expanding vaccine eligibility to residents 16 and up, in a major step forward as the county prepares to rejoin the Safe Travels program for trans-Pacific visitors. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

County behind on landfill closing costs. The estimated closing costs are about $26.2 million, and the county has about $15.4 million saved away already, Acting Solid Waste Management Division Head Allison Fraley reported Monday to the Kaua‘i County Council. Garden Island.

Aguilar has two hearings in April.
After being arrested last week on two counts of sexual exploitation of a child under the age of 18 by directing his victim into producing child pornography, Victor Aguilar, 65, a former educator and JROTC instructor at Waimea High School, made his first court appearance via phone from the Honolulu Federal Detention Center on Monday. Garden Island.

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Hawaii mops up after storms, only 11% of state vaccinated, 16 year olds get military vaccinations, Legislature welcomes federal bailout, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Hawaii lifeguards ©2021 All Hawaii News

Some Hawaii Beaches May Lose Lifeguards As State Runs Short Of Cash. Beachgoers at five state beach parks in Hawaii could be swimming at their own risk more often this summer as the pandemic’s financial toll on the Division of State Parks has left the agency unable to cover the costs of lifeguards. Civil Beat.


New Federal Relief Bill Will Help Hawaii. But It’s Still Not Enough For A Full Recovery. At the end of the day, vaccinations are what will help get tourists back to the islands, economists say, although it will likely take several years before the economy looks like it did before the pandemic. Civil Beat.

State expected to receive at least $6.1B as part of relief package. Hawaii is expected to receive at least $6.1 billion in federal funding as part of a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package passed Wednesday by Congress. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Now.

Hawaii Money Chairs Share Their Thoughts On Taxes And The Budget. An estimated $1.6 billion federal relief package may not be enough to cover all of Hawaii’s financial obligations due in the next several years. Civil Beat.


Senate passes bill lowering DUI threshold to 0.05. A measure that would make Hawaii the second state in nation to lower its blood-alcohol threshold for drunken driving to 0.05 is headed to the state House for consideration. West Hawaii Today. Tribune-Herald.


Military in Hawaii starts to vaccinate 16 and up. The military in Hawaii has started to vaccinate all eligible defense personnel 16 and up and created a drive-thru vaccination center at Wheeler Army Airfield. Star-Advertiser.

COVID-19 Is Airborne. So Why Doesn’t Hawaii Have Pandemic Air Quality Standards? Public health agencies haven’t adequately warned the public about the dangers of sharing air during the pandemic, experts say. Civil Beat.

Critics Say More Data Needed To Avoid Racial Inequity in Hawaii’s Vaccine Rollout. Hawaii is one of only nine states that still hasn’t shared any data about how many people have been vaccinated by race and ethnicity, raising city council members’ concerns that communities with high rates of COVID-19 aren’t getting adequate access to the shots. Civil Beat.

Younger kupuna frustrated about inability to get vaccine, AARP survey finds. A new AARP Hawaii survey showed significant concern among at-risk seniors who are still waiting for the state to open vaccinations to them. Star-Advertiser.

About 68 percent of Hawaii's seniors age 75+ received at least one shot of COVID-19 vaccine. The American Association of Retired Persons or AARP lists convenience as one of the top reasons seniors are more open to receiving a shot. KITV4.

March 10, 2021 COVID-19 Update: The state Department of Health reports that there were 48 additional COVID-19 cases reported in Hawai‘i on Wednesday, including 29 on O‘ahu, nine on Maui, five on Hawai‘i Island, and five in Hawai‘i residents diagnosed outside of the state. Maui Now.


Honolulu rail project faces $3 billion budget shortfall. The city’s $11 billion rail project has a budget shortfall of $3 billion and the new interim CEO sees no clear path to plugging the deficit. Star-Advertiser.

HART: Expect Honolulu’s Full Rail Line To Be Done In 2031. That’s a couple of years earlier than a recent city estimate but also several years later than a recent HART estimate. Civil Beat.


City assesses damages from the flood to qualify for federal relief. Star Advertiser. KHON2.

Oahu businesses, residents clean up from flood as the downpour continues. The day after heavy flooding on Oahu’s North Shore, residents and businesses began cleaning the caked-on mud and debris from their properties, while trying to salvage their belongings — all before rain struck the island again. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

City makes online form available to report flooding damage. The purpose of this form is to collect information that will help local officials understand the damage that occurred and impacts on the community. Hawaii News Now.


Driver in fatal Kakaako crash will receive 30-year sentence. The pickup truck driver who killed three pedestrians and injured four others in 2019 in Kakaako while fleeing from police took a plea deal Wednesday that ensures he will be sentenced to 30 years in prison. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Hawaii Island

Over 8% of Big Island fully vaccinated for COVID-19. An estimated 17.6% of the state’s population has received at least one dose and 11% have received two doses. On the Big Island, 16.5% of the population has received at least one dose and 8.4% two doses, according to the Department of Health. West Hawaii Today.

Johnson & Johnson vaccine available to Big Island kupuna March 16. On the Big Island, the single-dose inoculation will be offered to kupuna 70 and older Tuesday, March 16, at Edith Kanaka‘ole Multi-Purpose Stadium in Hilo, the state Department of Health announced Wednesday. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News.

DOT proposing roundabout for Waimea intersection. The state Department of Transportation is moving forward with plans to improve safety and relieve congestion within Waimea. West Hawaii Today.


Mayor: ‘People are our greatest strength’ in pandemic. Calling the people of Maui County “our greatest strength” over a year of health and economic challenges, Mayor Michael Victorino highlighted the organizations who stepped up to help and the community leaders definining the “new normal” during the COVID-19 pandemic. Maui News.

Director hopes more inmates take vaccine amid MCCC outbreak. 83 inmates have tested positive; overcrowding is not helping. Maui News.

Amid Heavy Rains, Maui County Gets Federal Aid For Drought. Federal officials have approved Hawaii Gov. David Ige's request to declare a disaster for Maui County amid drought conditions that have persisted for two years. Associated Press.

Officials visit Kaupakalua Dam. DLNR Chair Suzanne Case and DLNR Dam Safety officials conducted a site survey at the Kaupakalua Dam and Reservoir Tuesday afternoon, immediately after Monday’s flooding. Garden Island.

Hawaiian Airlines Launches Long Beach-Maui Service. Hawaiian Airlines Wednesday began nonstop service between Long Beach and Kahului, Maui, welcoming Southern California travelers onboard with the convenience of a second daily flight to Hawai‘i. Maui Now.


KPD quiet on allegations against Chief.
The Kaua‘i Police Department and the Kaua‘i Police Commission remained mum Wednesday after sustained allegations of Chief Todd Raybuck violating the county’s discrimination codes from a commission-led investigation were made public. Garden Island.

County setting up mobile labs funded by Chan-Zuckerberg fund. With over $300,000 in funds derived from a Hawai‘i Community Foundation fund seeded by Dr. Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg, the county will be getting three mobile labs capable of expanding the county’s COVID-19 vaccination and testing programs. Garden Island.

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Tax hikes loom as state awaits Georgia election outcome, Los Angeles travel ban could hurt Hawaii tourism, COVID vaccinations lag, activists take over Hilo park near Kamehameha statue, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

State Budget and Finance Director Craig Hirai, (l) and Hawaii Senate Ways and Means Chairman Donovan Dela Cruz discuss state budget Jan. 4, 2021. PC:Senate You Tube channel

Higher state taxes under consideration. Gov. David Ige’s administration is considering unspecified tax increases and “revenue enhancements” to help plug a projected $1.4 billion shortfall, members of the state Senate’s Committee on Ways and Means were told Monday. Star-Advertiser.

State Budget Director: It’s Too Soon To Tell If Tax Increases Are Coming. It is 16 days before the Legislature opens, but Gov. David Ige is still mulling the options. Civil Beat.

Georgia’s run-offs could play a role in the decision to raise Hawaii’s taxes (or not).
Senate run-offs in Georgia happening Tuesday could impact Hawaii’s financial situation. The state finance director said the run-offs could result in local lawmakers either raising taxes or not. The logic being: If the democrats win and control the U.S. Senate, it’s more likely that federal funds will head to the state, thus allowing leaders to balance the budget. Hawaii News Now.

Los Angeles County hospitalization surge, travel quarantine could impact Hawaii’s tourism. Los Angeles County is implementing new travel restrictions — including not allowing tourism into L.A. and requiring residents to quarantine for 10 days if arriving from outside of Southern California. As Hawaii’s biggest domestic visitor market, the new restrictions have an impact on the recovering economy. KHON2.

The latest federal relief package will allow some struggling Hawaii businesses, including Hawaiian Airlines, to return some involuntarily laid-off or furloughed workers to their jobs. Sherry Menor-McNamara, president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii, said in addition to providing the Payroll Support Program to airlines, which are a critical component of Hawaii’s economy, the most recent federal stimulus package also provides additional payroll protection program funds. Star-Advertiser.

Economic forecast: Visitor numbers could hit 6M this year. State economists believe travel to the state could nearly return to 2019 levels by the end of this year, but a complete recovery will take more than three years. Tribune-Herald.

DHHL: Oahu casino would add $30M to coffers. DHHL Deputy Chair Tyler Gomes said in a Honolulu Star-Advertiser Facebook Live stream the integrated resort and casino would add a “conservative estimate” of $30 million a year to the coffers of the department, which has a lengthy list of Native Hawaiians waiting for homesteads on about 203,000 acres of DHHL land statewide. Tribune-Herald.


Lt. Governor Josh Green Wants More Resources Dedicated to Vaccination Effort. Lieutenant Governor Josh Green said as of Tuesday morning, the state will have received 91,000 total doses of COVID-19 vaccines. KITV4.

Late deliveries, holiday season behind slow speed of state’s coronavirus vaccine rollout. Health officials blame the delay on two factors. First, not all of the expected doses of the vaccine arrived on time ― the state was expecting 81,000 doses in December, but only got about 60,000. And second, the holiday season also presented a challenge, limiting the number of immunization clinics that the state was able to utilize. Hawaii News Now.

Vaccination efforts to ramp up following the holidays in Hawaii.
The state expects to receive 17,675 doses on Monday and Tuesday. The Health Department says as of Thursday about 25,000 people have been vaccinated. KHON2.


State Sent Out Hundreds Of Ineffective Masks In Pandemic Chaos. The masks with valves were removed from the inventory of the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency but somehow got back in. Civil Beat.

People are motivated to wear a mask when others wear one, study finds. The study found the motivation for wearing a mask is a combination of whether others around you are wearing one and whether others think you should be wearing one. Jack Barile, interim director of the Social Science Research Institute at the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s College of Social Sciences, was lead author of the study examining the motivators behind an individual’s choice to wear or not wear a face covering in public. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Restaurant Card gave a nice boost, but $5M never spent. The Hawaii Restaurant Card Program gave a significant boost to the local economy but the state says $5 million went unused. KHON2.

Will Hawaii Legislature Reverse Ige’s Suspension Of The Public Records Law? The governor’s order has been in effect since March, but it’s unclear if lawmakers will do anything about it next session despite their opposition to it. Civil Beat.

HAWAII VIRUS TRACKER — Jan. 4: 89 New COVID-19 Cases. Health officials reported 89 new COVID-19 cases statewide on Monday, including 62 on Oahu, nine on Maui, four on the Big Island, and 14 Hawaii residents diagnosed out of state. Civil Beat.


Legislators aim to fix flaw in New Aloha Stadium Entertainment District bill. Legislators say they plan to introduce a new measure this month to repair a flaw in earlier legislation that has slowed the progress of the New Aloha Stadium Entertainment District. Star-Advertiser.

Judge dismisses obstruction case against Kealoha conspiracy victim. Ransen Taito became entangled in the conspiracy involving former deputy prosecutor Katherine Kealoha when he was just 11 years old. After Taito and his sister were awarded nearly $84,000 as part of a medical malpractice settlement, Kealoha was appointed by the state to oversee trust accounts that were established for both of them. Hawaii News Now.

Commissioning event eyed for USS Daniel Inouye
. The long-delayed guided-missile destroyer USS Daniel Inouye is tentatively scheduled to be commissioned at Pearl Harbor in the fall with a big pier-side ceremony attended by thousands — if COVID-19 is under control. Star-Advertiser.

Matson to welcome new vessel to Honolulu. A bigger and faster Matsonia cargo ship is due to arrive in Honolulu Harbor this morning on its maiden commercial voyage for Hawaii’s largest ocean cargo transportation firm, Matson Inc. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Activists occupy part of Wailoa state park. A group claiming the authority of the Hawaiian Kingdom has again set up camp in Hilo’s Wailoa State Recreation Area and planted taro and fruit trees it describes as a “kanaka garden” on the lawn near the statue of Kamehameha the Great. Tribune-Herald.

$77M in bonds will cover old debts, finance new projects. The county has sold $77.1 million in general obligation bonds to retire old debt and free up money to pay for new capital projects, Finance Director Deanna Sako said in a report to the County Council. West Hawaii Today.

New management in place at veterans home. On Jan. 1, the governing board and leadership of Hawaii Health Systems Corp.’s East Hawaii Region assumed management of the Hilo veterans home from Avalon Health Care, which had managed the HHSC facility since it opened in 2007. Tribune-Herald.

Lawsuit: DOE Failed To Help Hilo Student Who Was Harassed And Bullied
. The federal lawsuit is directed against the Hawaii department and board of education for failing to intervene and stop the nearly yearlong bullying. Civil Beat.


Lee to lead council with public health and budget as priorities. Public health and safety, balancing the county budget and creating a county Department of Agriculture are some of the top issues the new Maui County Council will tackle this year, its leader said Sunday. Maui News.

Maui County on verge of return to ‘safer at home’ order, mayor says. Maui County is seeing a significant spike in COVID-19 cases, according to officials. More than two dozen cases were reported on both Thursday and Friday, with nearly 50 more cases on Saturday and 30 more on Sunday. Hawaii News Now.

Harbor Lights COVID-19 Cluster Rises to 68. The COVID-19 case count at the Harbor Lights condominium complex in Kahului has risen to 68 confirmed, according to an update provided by Maui Mayor Michael Victorino. Maui Now.


Maui parents blindsided after distance learning is extended an extra month. Students in the Baldwin-Kekaulike-Maui complex were set to return to some form of in-person learning on Tuesday, but instead will have to learn from home until at least Feb. 1 after the Complex-Area Superintendent Kathleen Dimino sent a letter home to families Monday night. Hawaii News Now.

Surging COVID-19 Cases Trigger Last-Minute Delay To Start Blended Learning at Most Maui Public Schools. Just one day before the 20 public schools of the Baldwin-Kekaulike-Maui complex area were set to reopen after the winter break, a letter was sent to staff, parents and guardians stating the scheduled shift to blended learning would be delayed until Feb. 1. Maui Now.

Public schools to resume this week. As Maui County public school students head back to class this week to begin the second semester, many will be entering blended learning schedules where students will receive both in-person learning as well as virtual learning. Maui News.


Hale Pilina Family Affordable Rental Housing Project Proposed for Development Next to Kahului Post Office on Maui. A Draft Environmental Assessment and a Finding of No Significant Impact was published for the Hale Pilina Family Affordable Rental Housing project in Kahului, Maui. Maui Now.


Mayor Kawakami says COVID-19 infections were limited on Kaua'i, many small businesses able to stay open. Kaua'i is currently in the least restrictive Tier Four of its recovery plan with a seven-day average one case per day, and a positivity rate of just 1%. KITV4.

Inter-island travel returns, new resort bubble program starts. Tuesday marks the county’s return to kama‘aina travel and starts renewed options for those staying at a resort bubble property. Garden Island.

Kaua'i hotels see uptick in reservations ahead of changes to travel rules. Gary Moore, manager of Timbers Kaua'i Ocean Club & Residences, said things are looking up--bookings rose 15 percent since Gov. David Ige approved new "resort bubble" regulations last week. KITV4.

Kaua‘i students go back to school. Thousands of public school students return to the classrooms following the Winter Break, and the Teacher Workday, Monday. Garden Island.