Showing posts with label Hawaii County Mayor Mitch Roth. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hawaii County Mayor Mitch Roth. Show all posts

Thursday, March 14, 2024

House OKs $1B for wildfires in $11B budget, Water Commission could become autonomous, coffee labeling bill advances, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Despite pushback, bill to give Water Commission more autonomy advances. Senate Bill 3327 SD1 HD1 proposes to separate the Water Commission from the Department of Land and Natural Resources to minimize conflicts of interests between the two agencies. The bill would also grant the agency its own authority to declare emergencies, retain independent legal counsel, and levy fines. Hawaii Public Radio. Maui Now.

State House OKs $1B in wildfire expenses in $11B budget bill. The Hawaii House of Representatives on Wednesday unanimously passed its draft of an updated state budget crafted to cover immense Maui wildfire recovery costs while maintaining fundamental services and important projects. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.  Maui Now.  Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

 HECO SEC filing: Top exec paid $1.47M in 2023. Parent company Hawaiian Electric Industries braces for financial challenges posed by the Maui fires, which cost it $19M last year.   It's suspended dividend payouts to shareholders, but at the same time, it's also given its top executives a "golden parachute" should they get fired. KITV4.

Decision to extend the retirement age of Hawaiʻi judges could be left to voters. Voters may be asked if judges can remain on the bench for a few years longer. Judges are required to retire at 70-years-old. But lawmakers are considering putting it to voters to increase the retirement age to 75 years old. Hawaii Public Radio.

Proposed coffee labeling bill moves from House to Senate committees for hearing. After 12 years of pushing for stricter coffee labeling laws, Rep. Nicole Lowen is finally seeing traction this year in the State Legislature with her House bill that outlines a phased approach to increasing the amount of locally grown coffee in products required for a Hawai‘i-grown label. Big Island Now.

Some Abusive Parents Homeschool Their Kids. Should Hawaii Do More To Screen Them? Sen. Kurt Fevella, a Republican from Ewa Beach, has submitted a resolution calling on the Department of Education to conduct wellness visits on all children who are taken out of school to be homeschooled.  Civil Beat.

Hawaiʻi Releases Targeted Violence Prevention Strategy Plan.
The release of a “first-in-the-nation” Targeted Violence Prevention Strategy Implementation Plan was announced by the Hawaiʻi Department of Law Enforcement. Big Island Video News.


Mayor to deliver State of City address today. Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi,  nearing the end of his four-year mayoral term, might single out achievements his administration made in the past year to curb what he had referred to in his 2023 address as “wicked problems” facing Oahu. Star-Advertiser.

Potential jurors in bribery trial undergo questioning from attorneys. Attorneys in the bribery trial involving Honolulu’s former prosecutor — are now questioning potential jurors — as they work to get a jury seated for trial. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Manoa tragedy sparks concern over a rise in domestic-violence killings. The killing of a wife and three kids by a husband, who then took his own life, in Manoa Sunday morning was likely the third domestic-violence killing in Hawaii in three months and the fourth high-profile domestic violence case. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii Public Radio.

Pieces of a sailboat that ran aground in Waikiki are still stuck on the reef. DLNR’s Division of Aquatic Resources says there are a few damaged coral colonies, but the vessel primarily impacted non-coral reefs. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Mayor Roth’s 2024 State Of The County Address Set For March 22. Mayor Mitch Roth will deliver the speech from Kona this year, alongside his cabinet. The address is scheduled for 1 p.m. on Friday, March 22nd, at the West Hawaiʻi Civic Center Pavilion. Big Island Video News.

New Maunakea Authority Holds Community Meeting. MKSOA board members explained to those in attendance the history and purpose of the authority, which is currently in a period transition, as the management duties of the University of Hawaiʻi are slowly transferred to MKSOA. Big Island Video News.

Waipi‘o Valley Road Emergency Rules Continued. The extended rules continue the prohibition of all pedestrians, uncovered vehicles, and horseback access, but allows for certain exceptions. Big Island Video News.

BISAC unveils two Narcan vending machines in Hilo. The Big Island Substance Abuse Council is making the machines operational 24/7, safely situated outside of its Hulihia Ke Ola Detox Clinic at the corner of Hoku Street and Derby Lane and its outpatient facility on Waianuenue Avenue across from the Hilo Public Library. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Now.


Hawaii Delegates Urge FEMA To Include COFA Citizens In Wildfire Aid. The action follows the recent passage of renegotiated Compacts of Free Association included in a federal spending package. Civil Beat.

FEMA Is Struggling To Move Maui Fire Survivors Into Homes Before Its Hotel Program Ends. The agency needs to rapidly pick up the pace, but it must figure out how to overcome hurdles with inspections, pets, background checks and location. Civil Beat.

Maui's Lisa Paulson selected among USA Today's Women of the Year. Lisa Paulson, the Maui Hotel and Lodging Association Executive Director, was recently named one of USA Today’s 2024 Women of the Year for her leadership during the Lahaina wildfire. On Aug. 8 and in the days after, Paulson led a group of tourism managers on a mission to evacuate over 12,000 tourists from the Valley Isle.  Hawaii Public Radio.


Raising awarenes for developmental disabilities. Volunteers with the Hawai‘i State Council on Developmental Disabilities took to Rice Street fronting the historic County Building to raise awareness about the potential of people with developmental disability on Wednesday. Garden Island.

Monday, February 5, 2024

Interior Department issues new Hawaiian language guidance, Green pushes climate fee, Saiki, Roth out-raising challengers, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Department of the Interior releases new guidance to honor, elevate Hawaiian language. A comprehensive new Departmental Manual chapter underscores the Department’s commitment to further integrating Indigenous Knowledge and cultural practices into conservation stewardship. Kauai Now.

Full text of new Department of the Interior chapter can be found here.

Bill to raise Hawaii DOE superintendent pay cap sparks controversy. Hawaii DOE Superintendent Keith Hayashi currently makes $240,000 a year. A bill would raise that cap to $350,000, but there’s no shortage of frustration when talking about pay increases for government officials. Hawaii News Now.

Lawmakers consider bills to address childcare staffing shortages. SB 2603 and its companion bill, HB1964, would require the Department of Human Services to establish a childcare subsidy and bonus program for workers caring for children six weeks to 3 years old. KITV4.

Hawaii’s Governor Wants To Finally Get A Climate Fee Passed, But Will It Be Enough? The state is falling short by hundreds of millions of dollars each year to protect its environment, conservationists say. The new proposal would raise about $70 million annually. Civil Beat.

Bills would regulate short-term rentals. A bill that seeks to give the counties the power to control short-term rentals — even phase them out— is moving in the state Legislature. Other bills under consideration are geared to encouraging better regulation of short-term rentals, or providing incentives to convert them into longer-term housing. Star-Advertiser.

House Speaker Well Funded In Rematch With Persistent Opponent. Scott Saiki has 10 times the amount of cash in his campaign war chest compared with Kim Coco Iwamoto. Civil Beat.

Wildfire issues take center stage among Hawaii lawmakers. Predicting wildfires using artificial intelligence, banning new overhead high-voltage power lines and paying for catastrophic fire property losses could be in Hawaii’s future depending on state lawmaker decisions this year. Star-Advertiser.

HECO-Backed Bill Would Help Protect Utilities From Litigation Over Wildfire Damage. Utilities, insurers, large landowners and the state would pay into a "wildfire relief fund" to help pay for property damage claims. Civil Beat.

HECO’s Board Chair Is Suing His Own Utility Over The Maui Fires. Timothy Johns has recused himself from some HECO decisions, as an activist shareholder calls for overhauling HECO's board. Civil Beat.

Hawaii’s New $120M Undersea Cable Project Is A ‘Serious Poke’ To Shake Up The Market.
The state will retain a 20% ownership interest in the interisland network, which will compete with Hawaiian Telcom. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Lawmakers Consider Banning Excessive Delirium As A Cause Of Death. The term already isn't being used by the Medical Examiner's Office and most doctors, officials said. But advocates want to ban it officially. Civil Beat.

Hawaii retail market faced exodus, but some are optimistic
. Times are tough for those in retail, but some retailers are still forging ahead with the opening of new stores, with hopes of betters times to come. Star-Advertiser.


HART mulls scrapping internal audit. A plan to scrap a previously sought top-down internal review of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation is underway. Star-Advertiser.

29 Honolulu police officers disciplined in 2023.
Twenty-nine Honolulu police officers were disciplined in 2023 in connection with 28 incidents, including covering up police pursuits that ended in crashes and acquiring parts to build a ghost gun. Star-Advertiser.

Navy water system sees increase in tap water, air quality complaints.
The Navy is responsible for maintaining water quality, as the water purveyor for the water system, and is therefore primarily responsible for water testing, under regulatory oversight by the state Department of Health and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Star-Advertiser.

Backlog of repairs plagues UH Manoa student housing as officials try for revitalization. Serious plumbing problems are a major reason the 656-bed Hale Wainani apartments are considered by UH officials to be at risk of becoming the next aging UH student housing complex to be closed, following the neighboring 530-bed Hale Noelani apartment complex, which has been shuttered and silent for nearly seven years. Star-Advertiser.

New housing development planned at former Saint Francis School campus. Saint Francis School closed its doors in 2019, and developer Avalon Group has bought the property for $23.35 million, according to brokerage firm CBRE. Star-Advertiser.

Concerns rising for Oahu's homeless kupuna. The city and state are working together to find more health care and social service workers to help homeless people on the streets and develop the most appropriate course of treatment. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Big Island Mayor Outpaces Lone Challenger In Election Fundraising. Mitch Roth's war chest is tens of thousands of dollars larger than that of rival candidate Kimo Alameda with nine months to go before the election. Civil Beat.

‘Safe Spaces’ plan underway: County officials eyeing possible sites for homeless camps
. Homeless individuals could begin congregating in Hawaii County-authorized “Safe Spaces” in Hilo and Kailua-Kona under a new housing initiative. Tribune-Herald.

National park launches volcano summit makeover
. Nearly six years after the 2018 Kilauea eruption landed crippling blows to the buildings and roads of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, the National Park Serv­ice has launched a $28 million project to rehabilitate the summit area of Kilauea Volcano. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii Public Radio.


Bill seeks to expedite rebuilding of homes and businesses in Lahaina and Upcountry Maui. Bill 21 (2024), submitted by the county’s Department of Public Works, would amend the Maui County Code in an effort to broaden the applicability of emergency-repair provisions and clarify the review and approval procedures for emergency-repair permits.  Maui Now.

Developer selected for proposed ʻUkiu Energy biofuel-powered generator project on Maui
. The ʻUkiu Energy 40-megawatt (MW) biofuel-powered generator proposed by Ameresco Inc. is aimed at helping to move Hawai‘i closer to its clean energy goals, while adding critical grid reliability with firm renewable energy.  Maui Now.

Kaiser to open temporary West Maui Clinic in Kaanapali.
Kaiser Permanente recently announced plans to open a temporary West Maui Clinic on the grounds of the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort in Kaanapali.  Star-Advertiser.

HECO, Maui County may be sued for harm to seabirds from streetlights and power lines
. The Conservation Council for Hawaiʻi and the American Bird Conservancy, represented by Earthjustice, submitted notice this week that they may file a lawsuit seeking to "put an end to HECO's and the County's illegal conduct," according to a statement.  Hawaii Public Radio.


Vidinha Stadium to temporarily close for repairs
. Director of Parks and Recreation Pat Porter said the repairs are needed to extend the life of track. Track users, including the Kaua‘i Interscholastic Federation, may continue to use it until the main track and field replacement projects get underway. Kauai Now.

Connecting to Kaua‘i’s endangered forest birds. Mayor Derek S.K. Kawakami issued a Makahiki o na manu proclamation dedicating the year to raising awareness about native forest birds. Garden Island.

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, March 25, 2022

State agricultural land may be transferred, Legislature mulls limiting governor's emergency powers, two counties gain, two lose population in census, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2022 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Cattle in Hawaii ©2022 All Hawaii News

 As Covid-19 Emergency Ends, Hawaii Lawmakers Consider Limits On Executive Power. Two measures that would give lawmakers the authority to end the governor’s emergency proclamations have advanced to their final committees in the House and Senate. Civil Beat.

Effort To Transfer State Agricultural Land Survives Latest Hurdle. Long-standing plans to transfer agricultural land from Hawaii’s land and resources agency to the Department of Agriculture encountered new difficulties this week in the Legislature. Civil Beat.

U.S. Census data shows losses and gains for Hawaii.
The Census Bureau estimated Oahu’s population at 1,000,890 as of July 1, down 1.2%, from the year-earlier figure. Hawaii County, the second most populous in the state, had an estimated 202,906 residents, an increase of 2,160, or 1.1%, according to Census data. Maui County’s population also declined over the 12- month period, by 434 residents to 164,221, down 0.3%. Kauai County saw its population grow by 253 residents to 73,454, an increase of 0.3%. Star-Advertiser.

Gov. Ige extends COVID-19 food assistance spending. Hawaii Gov. David Ige has signed an emergency proclamation allowing federal funds to continue to flow to food assistance recipients during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic national public health emergency, his office said Thursday. The proclamation allows $18 million in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP benefits to go to recipients each month. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii’s COVID mandates set to end tonight. The face masks are coming off after 11:59 p.m. today, when Hawaii lifts its indoor mask mandate — but not everywhere. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii Public Radio. Hawaii News Now.


Judge Rejects Amemiya Effort To Dismiss Conspiracy Charge. Former Honolulu managing director Roy Amemiya’s attempt to dismiss his federal conspiracy charge was denied by U.S District Court Judge Leslie Kobayashi on Thursday. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.

Masks will still be required on TheBus, TheHandi-Van after Friday. Riders will still need to wear masks at all times while onboard TheBus as well as TheHandi-Van after Friday under federal rules, according to the Honolulu Department of Transportation Services. Star-Advertiser. KHON2. KITV4.

Debate Over Who Should And Shouldn’t Be In Jail Is Tripping Up Plans For A New Oahu Facility. A leading Democrat is withholding funding for a new jail in Halawa, arguing officials won’t really know how large the jail should be until the bail reform debate is resolved. Civil Beat.

Hawaiʻi Department of Health moves to long-term phase of remediating Red Hill water shaft. It’s been about a week since the Department of Health gave the all-clear for homes and businesses on the military’s water system. Experts are now dealing with the long-term phase of remediating the Red Hill water shaft. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii Island

Roth recounts challenges, accomplishments during first state of the county address. It was a trial by fire for Mayor Mitch Roth and his new administration in late 2020 when he took office during the midst of a global pandemic and uncertain economic times. West Hawaii Today. Civil Beat. Big Island Video News.

Audit of fire department identifies weaknesses.
A county audit of the Hawaii Fire Department reveals it’s beleaguered by a shortage of workers and resources.Tribune-Herald.


Maui Mayor Outlines Plan For $1 Billion County Budget. Maui Mayor Michael Victorino on Thursday released his proposed $1 billion budget for the next year, outlining how he plans to run Maui County and invest in new projects like repaving roads, boosting beach parking options for local residents and shoring up water systems to protect against natural disasters. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.

Proposed agreement with Waikapu project earns committee’s support. A Maui County Council committee on Wednesday threw its support behind a proposed public-private partnership between the county and developers of Waikapu Country Town that would add more affordable housing in exchange for the developer’s required contribution toward a wastewater treatment plant and other traffic improvements. Maui News.

Hawaii cannabis industry expands with additional Maui dispensary, new edibles options.
Maui Grown Therapies on Friday will open its third medical cannabis dispensary, this one in Pukalani. Star-Advertiser. Maui Now.

Maui County to resume in-vehicle road testing Monday, DMVL says. In-vehicle road testing will resume starting this Monday for learner’s permit holders seeking driver’s licenses for passenger vehicles, according to a county Division of Motor Vehicles and Licensing announcement Wednesday. Maui Now. Maui News.


Judge Rejects Plea Deal For Former Kauai Councilman Who Led Meth Ring. Arthur Brun changed his plea to guilty as part of an agreement with prosecutors. But a judge rejected the deal, opening up the possibility of a trial. Civil Beat. Garden Island.

Council begins FY23 budget discussions. The Kaua‘i County Council is poring over Kawakami’s March submittal which seeks a $260.2 million operating budget and $48.9 million capital improvement projects budget. Garden Island.

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Hawaii Legislature plans $18 minimum wage, $600M to clear Hawaiian Homes backlog as 2022 session begins, Kahele criticizes state coronavirus response, issues his own 10-point plan, state short long-term care beds, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy house republivans
Hawaii House 2022 opening day PC:House GOP

Hawaii House leaders vow to clear Hawaiian Home Lands backlog, raise minimum wage and decommission Red Hill. Leaders in the state House of Representatives set a high bar Wednesday on the Opening Day of the new legislative session by proposing $600 million to help clear the backlog of Native Hawaiians waiting to get into livable homes, raising Hawaii’s $10.10 an hour minimum wage to $18 and demanding the Department of Defense remove its fuel and tanks at Red Hill and decommission the system. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Associated Press. Maui Now. Garden Island. Hawaii News Now. KHON2. KITV4.

Senate sets agenda in semi-virtual session. During the Opening Day floor session, Senate President Ron Kouchi reiterated and elaborated on previously stated legislative priorities for members to address this year, including ways to improve affordable housing, education, local food production, mental health care as well as alleviate homelessness and address the minimum wage. Star-Advertiser.

Opening remark
s from the state Senate and House for the 2022 legislative session. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii Tourism Officials Are Seeking ‘Mindful, Respectful And High-Value Travelers’. The state tourism authority is asking the Legislature for funding to rebrand Hawaii and attract visitors who might volunteer to plant trees, clean beaches and care for taro patches. Civil Beat.

Mark Zuckerberg donates $50M to University of Hawaii to study impact of climate change on ocean. The University of Hawaii today announced a $50 million gift over seven years from billionaire Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, for research about the impact of climate change on the ocean. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Maui Now. Garden Island. Hawaii News Now.

Substitute Teachers Are In High Demand But Short Supply In Hawaii. As of Jan. 11, the Department of Education system had 3,922 substitutes, down from 4,738 in the 2019-20 school year. Civil Beat.

Staffing shortages leave scores of Hawaii hospital patients ‘waitlisted’ for long-term care beds. Health officials say there are approximately 150 “waitlisted” patients in hospitals across the state. That means the person needs to be in a nursing home or some type of skilled nursing facility but that there isn’t an available bed. Hawaii News Now.

In rare rebuke of state’s COVID response, Kahele offers 10-point plan to rein in surge. In a video and news release timed for the Legislature’s opening Wednesday, U.S. Rep. Kai Kahele issued a 10-point plan that he said will curb the ongoing COVID surge by encouraging more people to get boosted and by improving safety in the schools and workplace. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii sees 3,929 new coronavirus cases, bringing statewide total to 184,767. The new confirmed and probable infection count by island includes 3,026 new cases on Oahu, 240 on Hawaii Island, 397 on Maui, 198 on Kauai, 20 on Molokai, 17 on Lanai and 31 Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state. Star-Advertiser.


Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi may add booster to Safe Access O‘ahu plan. Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi stopped short of announcing any policy changes Wednesday during a press conference with Hawaii’s hospital leaders, but implored residents to get tested and boosted amid the recent COVID-19 surge in omicron cases. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Personal injury firms prepare to sue Navy for water contamination. Former Hawaii Attorney General Margery Bronster has paired up with a mainland firm to seek compensation for Navy water users, marking the latest legal action taken in response to the Navy’s Red Hill water contamination saga. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now. KHON2. KITV4.

New HPD Website Streamlines Gun Registration on Oahu. Second amendment advocates will no longer have to make multiple trips to register a gun with the Honolulu Police Department. KITV4.

Cyberattacks’ impact lingers at Hawaii businesses. A month after cybercriminals shut down a third-party, cloud-based timekeeping system used by employees of The Queen’s Health Systems, the Honolulu Board of Water Supply, city Emergency Medical Services workers and thousands of businesses and organizations nationwide, some supervisors continue to use manual record-keeping to track work hours and leave time. Star-Advertiser.

The state is partnering with the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement to provide $50 million to help homeowners. The Oahu housing assistance fund will offer up to $30,000 per eligible homeowner to help with mortgage, utilities, taxes and association fees. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Wastewater tops Roth’s legislative priority list. A measure privatizing or creating public-private partnerships to handle wastewater projects is Mayor Mitch Roth’s top priority for the 2022 legislative session that started Wednesday. West Hawaii Today.

Kupuna relish return of senior activities. Kamana Senior Center has officially welcomed kupuna back to classes after 21 months of inactivity. Tribune-Herald.

Parents plead with Big Island school sports league to lift ban on spectators. Hawaii County parents are pleading with Big Island Interscholastic Federation officials to change its ban on fans at school sports games. The rule went into effect on Jan. 4 due to the ongoing surge in coronavirus cases. Hawaii News Now.


Pandemic still central to lawmakers’ priorities. Legislative session kicks off today with focus on housing, infrastructure, economy, other issues. From improving infrastructure to boosting health care training on Maui as well as addressing the ongoing effects of the pandemic, Maui County’s state legislators will have lots to handle this legislative session. Maui News.

Council aims to get handle on Maui downhill bike industry. Decades-old concerns over Maui downhill bicycling have been resurfacing in recent months, and many hope Maui County Council deliberations on the topic will help pave a new, safer path forward. Maui Now.

Workforce housing lottery for Hale Kaiola in South Maui set for March 4. The lottery will determine which successful applicants will secure one of the new housing units at the project site, which is planned for construction at the corner of Kaiola Place and ʻOhukai Road, a few blocks mauka from Mai Poina ‘Oe Ia’u and Kalepolepo Beach Park. Maui Now.

Submarine, ship, jet and balloon-type object off Maui, part of Naval exercise
. Maui Now began receiving reports from witnesses on Tuesday morning, of a ship with some type of floating object above it, about one mile offshore of Hoʻokipa, Maui. Maui Now.


Responders pull 2,000 feet of debris from entangled whale, but some remains. Federal and state responders have removed 2,000 feet of heavy-gauge line from an adult humpback whale first sighted off Brennecke’s Beach last Sunday. Garden Island.

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Hawaii Legislature eyes a future without gut-and-replace, jury trials suspended again, Hawaii County mayor tests positive for coronavirus, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2021 All Hawaii News
Hawaii state Capitol ©2021 All Hawaii News

Hawaii Lawmakers Grapple With Ruling That Bars Last-Minute Bill Changes. For decades the Legislature swapped out the entire contents of bills almost at the last minute. A Supreme Court ruling will force lawmakers to change their ways. Civil Beat.

Brian Taniguchi To Retire From Legislature After 42 Years. The current state senator, a Democrat, was previously in the state House of Representatives. Civil Beat.

Commissioner defends redrawn voter maps, saying changes reflect new demographics.  Amid growing complaints about how Hawaii’s election districts are being redrawn, a reapportionment commissioner is defending the plan. Hawaii News Now.

An advocate says the state needs to do more to address food insecurity. A new study highlighting the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on food insecurity found that Hawaiʻi is about average compared to the rest of the country. Hawaii Public Radio.

Jury trials suspended again due to virus surge. Hawaii Chief Justice Mark E. Recktenwald on Thursday issued an order once again postponing the start of jury trials in Hawaii’s courts until after Feb. 28. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii airports see flight cancellations, scores of travel delays. While Hawaii has experienced fewer staffing-related flight cancellations than many destinations this holiday season, Monday brought at least 17 cancellations, and more than 100 delays. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.

Hawaii hospitals facing staff shortages as omicron cases surge.
The head of the Healthcare Association of Hawaii said it’s critical that the Federal Emergency Management Agency approves an urgent request to send 700 supplemental health care workers to Hawaii in three waves starting Jan. 10. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Lt. Gov Josh Greens calls for booster shot requirements after Hawaii sees record high COVID cases.
There are about 350,000 people in Hawaii who have received booster shots but the lieutenant governor says that number needs to be doubled in the next two weeks. KITV4.

Hawaii sees 1,384 new coronavirus cases, bringing statewide total to 103,773. The new confirmed and probable infection count by island includes 1,161 new cases on Oahu, 103 on Hawaii Island, 71 on Maui, 23 on Kauai, two on Molokai and 24 Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state. Star-Advertiser.


Forecast projects large omicron surge in Hawaii over the next week. The Hawaii Pandemic Applied Modeling Work Group’s latest forecast shows the most likely scenario is Honolulu hitting 4,000 daily cases and 250 hospitalizations by the new year. KHON2.

Hearing Officer Calls For Closing Red Hill Fuel Facility To Avert ‘Imminent Threat’. The Navy can still object to the hearing officer’s proposed decision, which would have to be finalized by a health department deputy director. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

More COVID-19 tests and vaccinations now available on Oahu. Access to COVID-19 testing on Oahu is being expanded in response to skyrocketing community demand for testing and vaccinations as Hawaii undergoes a record surge of COVID-19 infections that reached its highest peak yet with Sunday’s count of 2,205 cases. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaiʻi Convention Center is reopening to large events in January 2022. General Manager Teri Orton said the facility will follow state and county rules for large events — and maintain safety measures it had throughout the pandemic. Hawaii Public Radio.

City working on enforcement for new North Shore beach commercial activity ban. A law that bans commercial activity at North Shore city beach parks has gone into effect, and the city is working on sending out notices to businesses about compliance. Star-Advertiser.

Miske Defense Says It Isn’t Getting Key Evidence Against Him. Despite a massive transmission of evidence, an attorney for the accused crime boss says many documents are missing or blacked out, hampering his defense. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Island

Gathering limits to tighten: Mayor tests positive for COVID-19; state sees record surge of cases. Indoor gathering restrictions will tighten yet again on the Big Island after Mayor Mitch Roth, along with several thousand other Hawaii residents, contracted COVID over the weekend. Tribune-Herald. Star-Advertiser. Big Island Now. Hawaii News Now.


As cases rise, Maui’s mayor eyes more testing — and restrictions. As coronavirus cases rise on the Valley Isle, the mayor says he is looking at reinstating some restrictions and promises to provide more testing for residents. Hawaii News Now.

Residents plan legal action to halt controversial Kā‘anapali Beach restoration plan. West Maui residents said they are pursuing legal action and other measures to halt a beach restoration plan at Kāʻanapali Beach that they say is riddled with negative environmental and cultural impacts. Maui Now.

State seeks to add parking, showers at Makena park. A $2 million project that would add bathrooms and showers, nearly 140 parking stalls and other improvements is being proposed for the highly visited Makena State Park. Maui News.

Boil water advisory continues for some Upcountry Maui residents. The Maui County Department of Water Supply said a boil water advisory continues for residents of Waipoli and Polipoli roads. Residents of Lower Kula Road between Naʻalae and Waipoli roads are also advised to boil water as a precaution until further notice.  Hawaii Public Radio.


Kaua‘i Officials: Surge to Get Worse Over New Years. Hawai‘i State Department of Health Kaua‘i District Health Officers said on Monday COVID-19 cases are expected to rise during the holiday week, given the transmissibility of the Omicron variant and the propensity for people to gather in large groups during New Years celebrations. Kauai Now.

Monday, November 8, 2021

Masks could come off next year as vax rate increases, more enter crowded race for lieutenant governor, Honolulu grapples with tight rental market, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Green Facebook page
Lt. Gov. Josh Green visits homeless care center PC:Facebook

If infections stay low, Hawaii could drop mask mandate early in 2022, Green predicts.
Lt. Gov. Josh Green is making a big prediction: He says the state will likely drop rules requiring people to wear masks indoors early in the new year. As of Friday, 71.6% of Hawaii residents were fully vaccinated while the state’s infection infection rate stood at 1.7%. Hawaii News Now.

Keith Amemiya joins race for lieutenant governor.
Former Honolulu mayoral candidate Keith Amemiya is now running in the crowded Democratic field for lieutenant governor in 2022. Star-Advertiser.

Notable names among crowded candidate field eyeing Hawaii’s lieutenant governor’s race.
The race to be Hawaii’s next lieutenant governor is still a year away, but it’s already attracting a crowded field. Hawaii News Now.

Proposed Hawaii Tourism Authority board rule criticized as ‘gag order’. The Hawaii Tourism Authority is debating a new code of conduct that says if board members intend to publicly oppose a board action, they must resign before doing so. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii coffee farmers facing ‘greatest threat’ yet, but efforts underway to tackle devastating fungus.
While the local coffee industry has dealt with other pests, including the recent coffee berry borer, a small beetle that can reduce the yield and quality of beans, local experts say the rust fungus is the worst pest the industry faces now. Star-Advertiser.

Feds Say Hawaiian Hoary Bats Aren’t Endangered Despite Unresolved Questions
. Wind farm developers are funding millions of dollars of research that’s helping scientists better understand Hawaii’s imperiled bats. Civil Beat.

Amid COP26, Hawaiian Electric pledges to reduce carbon emissions by 70% come 2030. As world leaders meet in Scotland to discuss and pledge their efforts to curb greenhouse emissions, Hawaiian Electric says it's making a commitment to cut its carbon emissions by 70% come 2030 — compared with 2005 levels. Hawaii Public Radio.

Changes are coming to your flood insurance with new FEMA risk calculation methodology. The previous methodology, in place since the 1970s, looked only at a property’s elevation and location within flood zones on the Flood Insurance Rate Map. In Risk Rating 2.0, FEMA added such variables as flood frequency, flood types and distance to a water source, among others. Hawaii Public Radio.

Pro-Fishing Industry Council Members Often Stay In Power For Years. The same industry backers are reappointed to Wespac for term after term while people who lean toward conservation are soon replaced. Civil Beat.

Bankruptcies in Hawaii plunge 30.4% in October. Statewide bankruptcies continued their yearlong deep dive by tumbling 30.4% in October to their lowest total for that month in 15 years. Star-Advertiser.

Native Hawaiians Grapple With The Mental Toll Of The Delta Surge. The pandemic has been bad for mental health overall, exacerbating anxiety in particular. Civil Beat.

CVS begins administering children’s COVID vaccine in Hawaii. VS Health on Sunday began vaccinating children ages 5 to 11 against coronavirus. In Hawaii, 10 select locations are accepting reservations and administering the shots to kids with parent permission. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Hawaii records 12 new coronavirus-related deaths, 134 additional infections. The new confirmed and probable infection count by island includes 59 new cases on Oahu, 26 on Hawaii Island, 11 on Maui, 27 on Kauai and 11 Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state. Star-Advertiser.


Prosecutors reviewing 7 shootings by Honolulu police officers. Honolulu prosecutors are reviewing evidence to determine whether criminal charges are warranted in seven police shootings over the last two years, six of which ended with officers killing a suspect. Star-Advertiser.

City council considering bill to crackdown on short-term rentals in Honolulu. A bill before the Honolulu City Council would increase restrictions on rental homes and step up enforcement. It's meant to crack down on illegal vacation rentals, but those currently following the rules say it would kill their income. KITV4.

Hawaii’s housing prices remain high; expert hopes proposed tax could help rental market. Oahu has a long-term vacancy rate of 5.3%. Honolulu City Council Chair Tommy Waters hopes Bill 76 in the city council to tax those vacant properties can help increase stock that is being lost. KHON2.

Oahu median home sales price dips to $1M in October. The median sale price for single-family homes dipped slightly in October to $1 million, down from $1.05 million in September and August, when the median price first hit the million-dollar mark. However, the year-over-year median price rose 15.6% from $865,000 in October 2020. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Sustainability fundraising raises questions. A move by Mayor Mitch Roth’s office to raise private donations to host conferences has caused some County Council members consternation about the appearance of “pay for play,” but the second event in the mayor’s series is scheduled later this month after council approval of the money. West Hawaii Today.

Whistle-blower complaint targets Na Leo managers. Na Leo community television executives are investigating a whistle-blower complaint filed by an employee charging a hostile work environment because three managers who had a business relationship with former CEO Stacy Higa continue working at the station. West Hawaii Today.

Big Island lawmakers on ‘gut and replace’.
State legislators representing the Big Island expressed mixed reactions to Hawaii Supreme Court’s ruling Thursday that “gut and replace” legislative tactics are a violation of the state Constitution. Tribune-Herald.


Bill passes to create affordable housing waitlists. Council also OKs measure to require large homes of 5,000 square feet or more to be net zero energy. A bill that would create an affordable housing waitlist in hopes of trying to get more people into homes passed on second and final reading Friday. Maui News.

Details of 2019 Maui jail riot that caused $5.3 million in damage still being withheld
. Two and a half years after a riot at the Maui jail caused $5.3 million in damage, the Department of Public Safety still hasn’t released its investigation into the uprising, leaving the public largely in the dark as to what exactly happened that day and whether the agency has addressed the reasons it took 3-1/2 hours to contain the mayhem. Star-Advertiser.

DLNR: Woman Spearfishing Offshore of Lahaina Bit on Leg by Shark, Injuries Non-Life Threatening. A 27-year-old woman from Kauaʻi was spearfishing Sunday  morning when she reportedly was bit on her leg by a shark about 100 yards offshore of Lahaina on Maui, according to the Department of Land and Natural Resources. Maui Now. Garden Island. Hawaii News Now. KHON2. KITV4.


Staffing ‘very tight’ for Kaua‘i Fire Department. With 15 current vacancies, the Kaua‘i Fire Department is making it through with a short staff. Garden Island.

Kaua‘i coffee growers pick to produce the perfect cup. Coffee harvest is in full swing across Kaua‘i, and operations on the island’s two most-visible orchards look worlds apart. Garden Island.

Friday, August 20, 2021

Ige asked to close beaches, lock down travel as COVID rages, parents say Department of Education isn't doing enough for keiki safety, Ironman postponed, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii mayors weigh more restrictions amid COVID-19 surge. COVID-19 cases are surging across all islands while Gov. David Ige and county mayors discuss the possibility of bringing back tougher restrictions in order to reduce virus transmission. KHON2.

Growing number of COVID cases overwhelms Hawaii’s contact tracing efforts. A DOH spokesman said they recently expanded their team from 269 last week to 313, but the team still struggles to keep up with the hundreds of newly infected people every day. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii’s unemployment rate plunges to 7.3%. Hawaii’s labor market proved to be resilient in the face of the surging COVID-19 virus as the unemployment rate in July plunged to a 16-month low of 7.3% and nonfarm payroll jobs jumped by 10,200 over the previous month. Star-Advertiser.

Can Hawaii Employers Force Workers To Be Vaccinated? It’s A Hot Topic Right Now. More and more agencies and business are announcing vaccine mandates for employees if they want to keep their jobs. Civil Beat.

Hawaii auto sales more than doubled in second quarter. Hawaii auto sales were off to the races in the second quarter with new-vehicle registrations reaching the highest number in 14 years. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Turns To Mainland Teachers To End Distance Learning Backlog. The state DOE reported 383 new COVID-19 cases among students and staff last week but cited no evidence of school-based transmission. Civil Beat.

Parents and teachers criticize Hawaii’s Department of Education as pandemic grows
. Parents and teachers worried about the impact of the growing pandemic on Hawaii’s public schools roundly criticized the state Department of Education on Thursday, saying its efforts to safeguard students are either not working or inadequate. Star-Advertiser. KHON2.

Problems Persist As Corrections Officials Struggle To Comply With Federal Order.
Settlement talks are underway including the creation of a panel to oversee reforms needed to cope with the pandemic in Hawaii’s prisons and jails. Civil Beat.

Legislators ask why HHSC has delayed mandatory vaccinations
. Three state lawmakers sent a letter Thursday to the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation requesting information about its decision to delay implementation of mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations until the vaccines have been fully approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii Covid Hospitalizations Climb As Delta Variant Rages.
Hawaii’s sharp rise in Covid-19 cases in July was largely fueled by cases in correctional facilities, restaurants, an indoor wedding reception and an indoor concert where the band wasn’t vaccinated, according to the state’s latest report on clusters. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii records 4 new coronavirus-related deaths, 752 additional infections. Today’s new confirmed and probable infection count by island includes 426 new cases on Oahu, 125 on Maui, 163 on Hawaii Island, 25 on Kauai, four on Molokai, one on Lanai and eight Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state. Star-Advertiser.


3 mortuary trailers on standby in event Honolulu morgue runs out of space.
Although COVID deaths haven’t spiked as much as cases, the City and County of Honolulu is preparing for the worst. Last year, the Honolulu Fire Department spent about $330,000 dollars of its CARES funding to buy three mortuary trailers. Hawaii News Now.

Advocates told abandoned residents of Hauula care home could be left at ER. The facility notified the state that the state and families it was voluntarily shutting down due to “economic hardship.” The residents must scramble to find homes before the Sept. 11 shutdown. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu police pledge openness about shootings. The fatal shooting of a machete-wielding man who allegedly attacked Honolulu police officers in a North School Street parking lot Aug. 11 was the fifth shooting by an officer this year, surpassing the entire number of incidents from 2020 as the public pushes police to be more transparent any time an officer fires a weapon at a suspect. Star-Advertiser.

Former councilwoman Kym Pine in financial dispute with former employee. Former District 1 City Councilwoman Kym Pine went to small claims court in Pearl City on Thursday to face her former employee who alleges she was not paid for agreed services for Pine’s unsuccessful 2020 mayoral campaign. Star-Advertiser.

Rail Canopy Defects Cost Another $15 Million. Are Taxpayers Liable? The canopy arms have caused numerous problems. It’s not yet clear who’s responsible and who ultimately should pay to fix them. Civil Beat.

HART board still looking for applicants to fill its final vacant seat. The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation board of directors is still attempting to fill its final vacant seat. Star-Advertiser.

Patrols increase at Oahu’s Laniakea Beach to protect sea turtles as visitors increase. Oahu’s surge in tourism has generated larger waves of visitors to the North Shore’s Laniakea Beach Park, popularly dubbed Turtle Beach, and people continue to break the law by harassing the endangered green sea turtles there, the state Department of Land and Natural Resources and the turtle conservation group Malama na Honu report. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Roth asks Ige to OK new restrictions. County parks and recreational facilities would close again under a new emergency rule proposed by Mayor Mitch Roth that has been sent to Gov. David Ige for consideration. Tribune-Herald. KHON2.

Ironman World Championship rescheduled to February 2022 amid spike in coronavirus cases on Hawaii Island. Organizers announced today the event that was originally scheduled for Oct. 9 has been rescheduled to Feb. 5, 2022. Star-Advertiser. West Hawaii Today. Big Island Video News. Big Island Now. Hawaii News Now.
COVID temporarily shuts down Hilo library. The Hilo Public Library closed Wednesday after an employee tested positive for COVID-19. The library will be undergoing a thorough cleaning and will reopen on Saturday. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Now.


Maui County Mayor Hopes Vaccinations, Distancing Can Prevent Another Lockdown. Maui County's mayor said the possibility of another lockdown is still on the table, but he hopes more vaccinations and social distancing will slow the spread of cases before that might be necessary. Hawaii Public Radio.

New Destination Manager at Maui Visitors and Convention Bureau. The Maui Visitors and Convention Bureau announced the appointment of Meagan DeGaia as destination manager. In this newly created position being funded by the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority, DeGaia will be responsible for supervising, managing, implementing and reporting on the Maui Nui Destination Management Action Plan, its Community Enrichment Program, as well as signature events within Maui County. Maui Now.

Hotel’s new pool and improvements approved.  The Maui Planning Commission last week voted 9-0 to allow the Wailea Beach Resort — Marriott, Maui to conduct improvements on its property, including installing a new pool and constructing outdoor living spaces for 14 ground floor guestrooms. Maui News.

Scientists Anxiously Await Opening of Inouye Solar Telescope on Haleakalā.
COVID-19 travel restrictions set back construction on the telescope's critical systems. Hawaii Public Radio.


Rental car companies oppose county’s new proposed tax class. Major rental-car companies are opposing a bill before the Kaua‘i County Council that seeks to create and define a real-property-tax class for rental-car fleets. Garden Island.