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

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

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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.

Oahu

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

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.

Kauai

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.

Oahu

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.

Maui

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.

Kauai

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.

Oahu

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.

Maui

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.

Kauai

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.

Oahu

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.

Maui

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.

Kauai

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.

Oahu

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

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.

Kauai

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.

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Single-dose vaccine raises Hawaii's hopes, COVID-19 cluster at UH-Manoa, Love's Bakery closing, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

 

copyright 2021 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Diamond Head lookout in pre-COVID days ©2021 All Hawaii News

Diamond Head State Monument to increase access next week. The Diamond Head State Monument will be open six days a week instead of four, starting next week, according to parks officials. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

New Single-Dose COVID-19 Vaccine Raises Hopes For Overall Effort. Lt. Gov. Josh Green said the new Johnson & Johnson vaccine could put Hawaii on the path to vaccinating most residents by early summer if delivery is ramped up. Civil Beat. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Now. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Next up for vaccinations in Hawaii is 70-and-older group. Hawaii health officials are preparing to open up COVID-19 vaccinations to those 70 and older around March 15 and start immunizing the 65-plus age group a couple of weeks later. Star-Advertiser.

School's back. After a year of pandemic distancing and nearly 180 lost in-person school days, tens of thousands of public school students could return to daily in-person classes soon. The state Department of Education’s target date is March 22 — just after spring break. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii’s economic damage assessment improves. Hawaii’s battered economy last year may not have been as bad as previously estimated, and recovery this year should be a bit stronger, a new state report says. Star-Advertiser. KITV4.

When Love’s Bakery shuts down at month’s end, 231 employees will be laid off.
Love’s Bakery, a staple of Hawaii’s food industry for nearly 170 years, announced Monday that it will end operations at the end of this month and lay off all 231 employees. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now. KHON2. KITV4.

The fight over the future of Hawaii's aerospace industry. Hawaii has a lot going for it, when it comes to aerospace development, including its location in the middle of the pacific. But research on rockets and innovation of high tech equipment can be costly and some state leaders feel that money should go elsewhere during this pandemic. KITV4.

Challenges Getting Small Farmers on State Ag Land. Small farmers on state-owned land agricultural lands, or the lack thereof, was a point of criticism by lawmakers at a recent public hearing on Hawaii's embattled Agribusiness Development Corporation. Hawaii Public Radio.

Remote Work Shows Only Modest Potential For Economic Impact So Far. Nearly one-quarter of U.S. workers did at least some part of their job remotely in January according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Some remote workers are taking their newfound flexibility and relocating to Hawaii. Hawaii Public Radio.

Marijuana-related bills progressing in Legislature. Five bills related to marijuana remain alive in the state Legislature and will be heard in committee this week. West Hawaii Today.

March 1, 2021 COVID-19 Update: There were 29 new COVID-19 cases reported in Hawai‘i on Monday, including 17 on O‘ahu, eight on Maui, one on Hawai‘i Island, and three in Hawai‘i residents diagnosed out-of-state. Maui Now.

Oahu

Seven students at UH-Manoa test positive for COVID-19 in apparent cluster. Seven students who live at the University of Hawaii at Manoa have tested positive for the coronavirus since Thursday and been moved off campus for care and isolation, along with three close contacts. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.

Catch-and-release policies create revolving door of crime as pending cases pile up
. Crime victims and witnesses fear suspects are growing more brazen, under a catch-and-release policy that many say has turned parts of Honolulu into lost and lawless zones. KHON2.

HPD sets quota for speed program, requiring officers to make more stops. Honolulu police officers who are participating in a speed enforcement grant program this month will have to pull over at least four drivers every hour. Hawaii News Now.

263 officers found to have claimed overtime, prompting HPD to develop program to track it. In a video statement published to YouTube, Honolulu Police Department Chief Susan Ballard commented on the latest findings from an investigation into possible overtime usage of HPD’s COVID-enforcement team. KHON2. KITV4.

Here’s What Happens When Social Workers, Not Police, Respond To Mental Health Crises. Honolulu lacks a crisis response team that can be dispatched immediately to address mental health crises and behavioral health issues. Civil Beat.

$70M in federal COVID-19 funds aimed at rail project. The city’s troubled rail project is expected to receive a badly needed infusion of $70 million in federal aid from the next round of COVID-19 federal stimulus that’s expected to be approved this weekend. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.

Downtown Honolulu eatery fined $4,000 for removal of red placard following mask violation.
The state Health Department said it has fined Doner Shack in downtown Honolulu a total of $4,000 for removing a red “closed” placard posted at the eatery and for operating without a permit on three occasions. Star-Advertiser. KHON2.

Internships jump-start construction careers for Oahu students. The coronavirus pandemic has thrown off job prospects for many teenagers, but Hawaii’s construction industry is still buzzing along and seeking students for paid summer internships at job sites. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Roth releases ‘bare bones’ budget
: Mayor’s first budget plan reflects cutbacks, uncertainty at Legislature. Faced with uncertainty and cutbacks at the state level, Mayor Mitch Roth on Monday released the first proposed budget of his term, described by staff as a “bare bones” plan as the county grapples with the fiscal aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii Wants To Give Away COVID-19 Tests, But Not For Big Island Airport Screening. The state Department of Health in January provided tests from its large stockpile for the Big Island program, credited by county officials as keeping case numbers low, but now says it’s not a suitable use. Civil Beat.

Fastest – and quickest – option preferred for Pohoiki ramp. Although the board of the Department of Land and Natural Resources discussed three options last week for restoring commercial ocean access in Puna, locals and lawmakers agree that there is only one option that makes sense. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News.

Gusty winds topple under-construction Waikoloa Plaza building. High winds with gusts upward of 50 mph lashed portions of the Big Island over the weekend, toppling at least one under-construction building in South Kohala. West Hawaii Today.

East Hawaii Cultural Center to put up fence to combat crime. The East Hawaii Cultural Center plans to fence its property after items were stolen from the nonprofit during a Feb. 14 burglary. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Kahului project would include housing and civic center. A state agency is looking to transform the lot across from the Maui Beach Hotel into a civic center with affordable housing units, a community center, government offices and the potential new home of the Kahului Public Library. Maui News.

Maui Health Vaccine Clinic Appointments Now Available on VAMS for Phase 1A and 1B. The VAMS portal can be accessed by all current VAMS registered Phase 1A and 1B qualified residents to make their first dose vaccination appointment. Maui Now.

Kauai

Ground broken for new $21 million gym at Kaua‘i High School. Plans for the new facility started back in the Gov. Linda Lingle administration when Rep. James Tokioka identified a Capital Priority Project and secured $14 million for the facility. Garden Island. KHON2.

Proposed DOTAX Kaua‘i reorganization. The state’s Department of Taxation plans to reduce staff and reorganize the Kaua‘i District Tax Office, eliminating some on-island services by the end of the year. Garden Island.


Thursday, January 21, 2021

Hawaii Legislature convenes without pomp, federal recognition for Hawaiians back on the table, Honolulu mayor names chief of staff, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

PC: Ka Leo University of Hawaii Manao Facebook page
Taro farmers offer free cuttings at Capitol as Hawaii Legislature convenes PC: Ka Leo o Hawai'i via Facebook, Ethan Weil

State Legislature opens without the usual revelry. The coronavirus pandemic and the shock waves it has sent through the economy, as well as heightened security as a result of the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol, combined to create somber, austere ceremonies as lawmakers gathered on Wednesday to kick off this year’s legislative session. Star-Advertiser.

New legislative session opens with little fanfare, lots to get done. State lawmakers started the new legislative session Wednesday, but there wasn’t much of the usual fanfare. Because of the ongoing pandemic, members of the public could not attend and plexiglass separated lawmakers. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Legislature Launches ‘Laser Beam’ Session In A Locked Down Capitol. Traditional festivities and speeches were all canceled amid security concerns and the threat of COVID-19. Civil Beat.

Legislature Convenes Under Heightened Security Concerns. Although the state capitol has already been closed to the public for several months in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19, that ban is now more physically apparent. Hawaii Public Radio.

State House seeks solutions to fill budget gap without tax hike. Although Hawaii faces a massive budget deficit, leaders of the state House of Representatives said Wednesday that they have no desire to raise taxes. Tribune-Herald.

State Senate faces funding shortfall while trying to prop up economy. State Senate leaders said after the Legislature reconvened Wednesday that two of the biggest challenges during the 2021 session will be to decide what can be funded and whether taxes will need to be increased in order to contend with Gov. David Ige’s proposed budget cuts. Tribune-Herald.

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Taro farming group makes peaceful splash at Hawaii Capitol amid inauguration security worries across country. A sizable security force that tried to be as low key as possible loomed over the Hawaii Capitol Wednesday as a taro farming sustainability group peacefully took center stage with 10,000 Hawaii state flags planted on the lawn, a band and the give-away of 10,000 taro plantings. Star-Advertiser.

Activists Rally At Capitol To Support Local Farmers. Participants handed out taro cuttings and called on lawmakers to invest in agriculture. Civil Beat.

Some are renewing a push for federal recognition of Native Hawaiians under Biden administration. The new administration is opening the door for federal recognition for Native Hawaiians, allowing greater self-determination and control similar to other Native American tribes. KITV4.

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Ige appointee called for his impeachment. Gov. David Ige’s appointee to the District 1 state Senate seat pushed for Ige’s impeachment less than a year and a half ago through a change.org petition she posted on her public Facebook page. West Hawaii Today.

Senator Appointed By Ige Had Called To Impeach Him.
In a statement, Gov. David Ige said he knew about Sen. Laura Acasio’s background opposing the Thirty Meter Telescope when he appointed her. Civil Beat.

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Biden order to help Hawaii renters, but expert requests more assistance. Of the 17 executive orders that President Biden signed on his first day of office Wednesday, an extension on the federal moratorium on evictions until the end of March will have a large impact on Hawaii’s propped-up rental market. KHON2.

Stranded American Samoans Are Finally Going Home After A Hawaii Quarantine. Hawaii is helping to coordinate with a testing and quarantine center in Waikiki to facilitate the first repatriation effort since the pandemic began. Civil Beat.

LIST: How and where to get a COVID-19 vaccine
in the state of Hawaii. KHON2.

HAWAII VIRUS TRACKER — Jan. 20: 75 New COVID-19 Cases And One Death. Hawaii health officials announced one death on Maui and 75 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, including 50 on Oahu, 14 on Maui, four on the Big Island, one on Kauai and six residents diagnosed out of state. Civil Beat.

Oahu

Sam Moku, Hawaii Pacific athletic director, to serve as Mayor Rick Blangiardi’s chief of staff. Hawaii Pacific University announced today that senior administrator Sam Moku will leave the university at the end of the month to become Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi’s chief of staff. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Mayor Hires HPU Athletics Director As Chief Of Staff. Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi announced on Wednesday that he has selected Sam Moku to be his chief of staff. Civil Beat.

Mayor Blangiardi picks HPU athletic director as Chief of Staff. Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi has announced his new Chief of Staff. Blangiardi selected HPU Athletic Director Sam Moku to fill the key role. Hawaii News Now.

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Longtime Honolulu fire chief Neves to retire. Honolulu Fire Chief Manuel Neves announced Wednesday he will retire Feb. 28 after 42 years of servi­ce — eight years as chief, holding the position longer than 14 of his predecessors. Star-Advertiser.

After 8 years on the job, Honolulu’s fire chief to retire next month.  After eight years on the job, Honolulu Fire Chief Manuel Neves has announced he will retire in February. Hawaii News Now.

Aloha Stadium: Meetings seek public comment. Two virtual community meetings on the New Aloha Stadium Entertainment District next week highlight the final two weeks of the public comment period on the project’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement. Star-Advertiser.

Most city surveillance cameras in Chinatown are broken ― and won’t be fixed. The cameras and infrastructure are obsolete so broken pieces cannot be repaired. They have to be replaced. The city’s technology department, which maintains the equipment, previously estimated a new system would cost about $200,000. Hawaii News Now.

KITV4 Island News announces new owner: Allen Media Broadcasting. Allen founded Entertainment Studios in 1993 and has a growing portfolio of media companies, including 17 broadcast television stations across the country. KITV4.

Hawaii Island

Big Island mayor released from hospital 11 days after heart attack. In addition to the stent surgeons implanted hours after the 56-year-old mayor was stricken on Jan. 9, Roth on Tuesday had a procedure to install an implantable cardioverter defibrillator. Tribune-Herald.

Mayor Roth Released From Hilo Medical Center. On Tuesday, doctors implanted a pacemaker and defibrillator into Mayor Roth, after his January 9th heart attack. Big Island Video News.

Mayor Roth Released from HMC. Mayor Mitch Roth was released from Hilo Medical Center this afternoon in good health after suffering a heart attack earlier this month. Big Island Now.

Hawaii Island Mayor Mitch Roth discharged from hospital after heart attack. Hawaii News Now.

Waipio Valley Residents Still Seek A Deal Limiting Foot Traffic On Dicey Road. The Hawaii County Council deferred action on a bill to ban most pedestrians on the Waipio Valley Road, but residents believe a compromise may be near. Civil Beat.

Maui

Andrew Martin Appointed Maui Prosecuting Attorney. Mayor Michael Victorino today announced his appointment of Andrew Martin as Maui County prosecuting attorney. Martin’s appointment is subject to confirmation by the Maui County Council. Maui Now.

Gym members mask up for new rules. New rules that went into effect on Tuesday limit business capacity to 30 percent and require gyms, yoga studios and similar fitness venues to ensure participants wear masks at all times, whether indoor or outdoor. Maui News.

Kauai


Survey: over 4K furloughed employees will lose health insurance.
According to a recent survey of Kaua‘i businesses, 49% of respondents stated that their business will not survive more than 90 days without the significant return of tourism. Garden Island.

Kaua‘i celebrates Biden/Harris inauguration. Pockets of local inauguration celebrations joined the national event that took place in Washington, DC as President Joe Biden became the 46th president of the United States. Garden Island.


Monday, January 18, 2021

Military important economic driver amid pandemic, coronavirus cases spike as vaccinations delayed, new restrictions on Maui, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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

State report highlights defense sector importance. As the second largest sector of the state’s economy, military-procurement spending generated $4.5 billion in economic impact last year, with $2.3 billion in federal contracts throughout the state, helping to sustain more than 30,000 jobs statewide. Garden Island.

EPA: Hawaii’s Military Bases Dumped 630,000 Pounds Of Toxic Nitrate Into The Ocean. While federally permitted, the Environmental Protection Agency hopes the data’s public release spurs facilities to reduce their chemical waste. Civil Beat.

Contractor Sentenced In Army Corruption Scheme In Hawaii. John Winslett bribed Army officials with cash, cars and guns to win lucrative construction contracts in Hawaii, Justice Department said. Civil Beat.

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Hawaii Tourism Authority spent ‘exorbitant’ amounts marketing to visitors as lockdowns dropped demand. For the 2020 fiscal year, HTA estimated the cost per arrival for every U.S. visitor was $7.13, up more than 118% from the prior year. The cost per arrival for Japan during fiscal year 2020 was significantly higher at $17.17, a nearly 201% increase. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii lawmakers face tough choices amid pandemic recession. Cut spending, raise taxes or perhaps both. Hawaii lawmakers face tough choices as they convene a new legislative session this week amid a pandemic that has pummeled tourism, the state’s biggest industry, and depleted tax revenue. Hawaii News Now.

Despite weekend protests rumors, Hawaii’s Capitol was quiet Sunday.
Bracing for large, unruly crowds, state officials put up barricades and fences around the Hawaii State Capitol, and beefed up security. But the effort seemed to be precautionary as there was a significant absence of crowds and protestors over the weekend. Hawaii News Now.

Noncommercial fishing is booming during pandemic. Hawaii is the only coastal state that doesn’t require fishers to have a noncommercial marine fishing license, which could provide information about how many noncommercial fishers there are in Hawaii and how many fish they’re taking from the ocean. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Lawmakers May Cut Solar Credits. The credits help to develop renewable energy projects but also cost the state millions of dollars. Civil Beat.

Farmers to petition lawmakers Opening Day. This past year, the pandemic has led to a rise in people in Hawaii beginning to grow their own produce and start sustainable farming. KITV4.

Isle cattle ranchers invited to join grass-fed beef venture. Hawaii’s largest ranch and an investment firm partner are looking for other local ranch operators to join a grass-feed beef production venture. Star-Advertiser.

Previously unknown cause is found for mysterious snorkeling deaths in a new Hawaii study. Rapid onset pulmonary edema was not previously associated with snorkeling, which has been implicated in 206 Hawaii drownings — 189 involving visitors — from 2009 to 2018, according to the state Department of Health. During that period, snorkeling-related drownings nearly doubled in what officials called an “alarming” rise. Star-Advertiser.

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Fast clip of coronavirus spread in Hawaii puts state at risk of another outbreak. Hawaii is at risk of another COVID-19 outbreak with the worst effective reproduction rate for infections in the nation after Washington state. Star-Advertiser.

Congresswoman Concerned About Hawaii Pandemic Response Got No Answers From Ige
. Five months after a California congresswoman asked Hawaii for answers about its public health response and its spending of federal money, Gov. David Ige hasn’t provided her with any information. Civil Beat.

Lawmakers to Take a Hard Look at Correctional System After COVID-19 Hits 46 Percent of Inmates. State lawmakers are taking a hard look this session at some of the long-standing issues contributing to the spread of the coronavirus in Hawaiʻi’s jails and prisons. Hawaii Public Radio.

Blood bank is looking for COVID survivors.
The Blood Bank of Hawaii is looking for more people who have recovered from COVID-19 to donate their convalescent plasma — the liquid part of the blood that contains antibodies to the new coronavirus — to help treat those who are hospitalized. Star-Advertiser.

HAWAII VIRUS TRACKER — Jan. 17: 132 New COVID-19 Cases And 2 Deaths. Hawaii has seen a triple-digit increase in cases for 13 straight days. Hawaii health officials reported 132 new cases of COVID-19 statewide on Sunday, including 86 on Oahu, 29 on Maui, seven on the Big Island, one on Kauai and nine residents diagnosed out of state. Civil Beat.

Oahu

The state’s first mass vaccination site opens Monday, Jan. 18, at Honolulu Harbor Pier 2. Hawaii Pacific Health said nearly 600 people have signed up for Monday and the rest of the week is booked with appointments. KHON2.

Community vaccination sites to open to essential workers and those 75 years and older. Mass vaccinations for the public are scheduled to begin on Monday. KITV4.

Waikiki Shell to be used in effort to return stranded American Samoa residents home. The state of Hawaii and the City and County of Honolulu have begun assisting about 800 American Samoan residents, who are traveling through Oahu en route to their previously shuttered island home. Star-Advertiser.

Waikiki Shell parking lot to assist in American Samoa repatriation efforts. The City and County of Honolulu is joining the state’s efforts to help bring an estimated 800 American Samoa residents back home. KHON2.

Polynesian Cultural Center reopening with limited capacity and activities as officials look ahead to tourism recovery. The Polynesian Cultural Center, a cornerstone of Laie and an economic magnet for the North Shore community, is set to reopen Monday following a 10-month-long closure — one of that last major attractions on Oahu to welcome back visitors after Hawaii tourism was shut down in March due to the corona­virus pandemic. Star-Advertiser.

Plans for 2 more Ward towers set for review. A state agency regulating development in Kakaako has scheduled public hearings in March to consider plans for developing two more condominium towers at Ward Village. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Roth says he’s ‘very hopeful’ following heart attack. The 56-year-old Roth, the former county prosecutor who was elected mayor in November and inaugurated on Dec. 7, had been in office just over a month when he was stricken. Tribune-Herald.

Gas use down 18%, County highway fund takes a hit from less driving. In all, drivers used about 18% less gasoline during a pandemic year that translated to fewer commutes and fewer tourists. It also translated to less money for road repair. West Hawaii Today.

High court denies writ to Honua Ola, appeal of PUC decision still active. The state Supreme Court on Thursday denied Honua Ola Bioenergy’s request to order the Public Utilities Commission to reconsider its denial of a requested waiver of the competitive bidding process used in the sale of electricity. Tribune-Herald.

Waikoloa development up for review: Council Planning Committee to hear rezoning application. A plan to develop a 36-unit housing complex, some units classified affordable, along with eight commercial lots in Waikoloa Village will be taken up by the County Council Planning Committee on Tuesday after a negative recommendation from the Leeward Planning Commission and the Planning Department under the prior administration. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Maui Vaccination Clinic Temporarily Closes Due To Shortage
. All appointments scheduled through Feb. 7 have been canceled. Civil Beat.

Delayed shipment closes Maui vaccination clinic to first doses. Only second doses available at both local Moderna, Pfizer sites. Maui’s only vaccination clinic taking new registrations announced Saturday it will have to close for a week due to a shortage of Pfizer-BioNTech doses that were slated to come from the state. Maui News.

Vaccine Distribution Delay Prompts Temporary Suspension of New Appointments for First Doses at Maui Hospital. Maui Health, which runs the vaccination clinic at the Maui Memorial Medical Center, has also postponed appointments for individuals that were seeking a first dose and had already secured an appointment between Jan. 17 and Feb. 7. Maui Now.

Thousands of vaccinations on Maui pushed back due to shipment delay. Maui Health's clinic is pushing back between 300 and 400 slots a day over the next three weeks after the state notified the company Friday evening it will not be receiving its expected shipment of doses for this weekend and next week. KITV4.

Retailers, gyms face tighter restrictions. Large and small retail establishments will be restricted to 30 percent capacity starting at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, the latest in a series of rule changes aimed at slowing a spike in COVID-19 cases on Maui, county officials announced Friday. Maui News.

Maui County’s state lawmakers say proposed state budget is ‘fluid’. Furloughs and program cuts depend on what federal aid is available. Maui News.

Kauai

Kauai employment suffers under restrictive travel policies. Travel to Kauai plummeted after Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami opted out of the Safe Travels program, effective Dec. 2, requiring all travelers to Kauai to undergo a mandatory 10-day quarantine with no option to test out. Star-Advertiser.

Paid positions available in youth conservation program
. Kupu, Hawai‘i’s leading conservation and youth education nonprofit organization, recently announced that applications are now being accepted for this summer’s Hawai‘i Youth Conservation Corps program on Kaua‘i. Garden Island.