Showing posts with label Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi. Show all posts

Monday, May 9, 2022

Ige plans to leave politics at term end, Kahele joins gubernatorial race, Tokuda aims for Congress, high school proms become COVID clusters, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2022 All Hawaii News
Kai Kahele ©2022 All Hawaii News

Gov. David Ige ending time in office on high note. There are still seven months left in his second term, but Gov. David Ige is ending his final legislative session on a high note, with historic levels of funding in many cases and a potential $500 million in savings for the next “rainy day.” Star-Advertiser.

Ige begins consideration of new bills at end of legislative session. Following the closure of the state Legislature on Thursday, Gov. David Ige remained coy over what will leave his desk signed or vetoed in the coming weeks. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaiʻi legislators get a B-plus for their work this year, local public policy expert says
. While state lawmakers are congratulating themselves for infusing large funds into Native Hawaiian issues and raising the minimum wage, a local public policy expert says he would give their work a B-plus grade. Hawaii Public Radio.

Reflections on Hawaii’s ‘historic’ legislative session shine bright. It’s only 60 days long, but Hawaii’s legislative session this year was a monumental affair featuring some self-reform, historic spending and a return to in-person public participation, all largely in the wake of a bribery scandal, a budget deficit and peak coronavirus infections. Star-Advertiser.

Will Former Lawmakers’ Bribery Charges Lead To Broader Government Reform? The Legislature made some progress this year in increasing government transparency, but leading politicians say there is still much more work to be done. Civil Beat.

Gov. David Ige to lead Hawaii delegation to Japan.
Ige will be accompanied by First Lady Dawn Amano-Ige; Mike McCartney, director of the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism; John De Fries, president of the Hawaii Tourism Authority; George Kam, chair of the Hawaii Tourism Authority; and House Speaker Scott Saiki. Star-Advertiser. Big Island Video News.

It’s official: Kai Kahele leaving Congress for Hawaii governor’s race. U.S. Rep. Kai Kahele ended months of speculation Saturday by announcing that he is running for governor in the Aug. 13 Democratic primary. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. West Hawaii Today. Big Island Video News. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Jill Tokuda makes congressional run official. Former state Sen. Jill Tokuda today plans to officially launch her candidacy for the congressional seat held by Rep. Kai Kahele after returning from Washington, D.C., where she protested in front of the U.S. Supreme Court building along with hundreds of other abortion rights supporters. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.

Tax rebate awaits governor’s approval. A potential $300 credit on most taxpayers’ 2021 tax returns is still alive, with the proposal awaiting Gov. David Ige’s signature or veto. Tribune-Herald.

Bill would OK agricultural lease extensions. Farmers whose land leases are set to expire within the next 15 years will be able to apply for extensions under a bill passed last week by the state Legislature. Tribune-Herald.

Officials Urge Caution After Covid Cases Are Linked To Proms. The Hawaii Department of Health confirmed several Covid and flu cases after high school proms on Oahu. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.

Oahu

Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi to leave state on personal leave until Friday. Blangiardi is scheduled to return to Honolulu Friday evening. Managing Director Michael Formby will serve as acting mayor. Star-Advertiser.

Caldwell’s former chief of staff testifies before federal grand jury. The chief of staff to former Mayor Kirk Caldwell testified as a witness before a federal grand jury Thursday, a month after receiving a subpoena as part of an ongoing public corruption investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice. Star-Advertiser.

Department of Health order requires plan and schedule for Red Hill defueling.
The DOH today issued the emergency order, which says that the Navy must provide it with its independent contractor’s assessment on the facility operations by May 15; a plan and schedule to defuel the storage tanks by June 30; and a plan for the closure of the facility by Nov. 1. Star-Advertiser.

Coalition aims to bring crime reduction programs to Waikiki. At a public-safety coalition meeting held last week, public- and private-sector officials responded to a call to beef up crime-fighting initiatives in Waikiki, where several high-profile violent crimes have put the community on alert. Star-Advertiser.

Owner of home that fell onto beach could face big fine. The owner, with the help of a contractor, pulled the home off the beach and stacked it atop pallets next to the lot’s main house, where it has awkwardly remained for weeks. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Housing subsidies advance: Council likes the plan, just unsure how to pay for it. The County Council’s commitment to subsidize affordable housing was expanded last week to include moderate-income families making up to 120% of the average median income, meaning a family of three earning up to $92,520 annually could qualify for a two-bedroom home costing up to $539,000. West Hawaii Today.

The Food Basket plans to build agricultural park to help ease food insecurity, help isle businesses. The proposed four-component innovation park will allow The Food Basket to expand its ongoing efforts to promote the purchase and consumption of locally grown foods from a strategic location on a collaborative campus. Tribune-Herald.

Kohala ahupuaa to become living scientific laboratory. The ‘Iole Stewardship Center has been operating quietly for years on 2,400 acres of Kohala with the goal of restoring the land using the ancient wisdom of the Native Hawaiians. Star-Advertiser.

Maui

Kau confirmed as water director for remainder of mayor’s term. Helene Kau was confirmed by the Maui County Council Friday as director of the county Department of Water Supply for the remainder of Mayor Michael Victorino’s current term, which ends this year. She served as deputy director under Jeffrey Pearson, who left for a state job. Maui News.

Bill setting rules for electric gun sellers in county passes. County facing litigation over delay in enacting law after electric gun sales legalized Jan. 1. Maui News.

Hawaiian Electric May Have To Build A New Oil-Fired Power Plant On Maui. The shutdown of a spare parts supplier in Japan is threatening the ability of Maui’s electric utility to keep a series of 1980s generators firing. Civil Beat.

State funds to aid council efforts for Maalaea wastewater plan. Maui lawmakers have secured funds in the state budget to help move the Maalaea community away from its decadeslong reliance on injection wells, Rep. Angus McKelvey announced Friday. Maui News.

Kāʻeo residential project at Mākena set to start. The 47 acre project will consist of a 103-unit mixed-use community with 30 multi-family units, including 4 workforce housing units, 18 single-family cottages, 32 single-family custom lots, and 14 condominium units. There’s also approximately 27,300 square feet of commercial space planned, that is the home of a future Mākena Cultural & Heritage Center and public retail village. Maui Now.

Election-Year Scramble Looms As Veteran Hawaii Lawmakers Retire. Sen. Roz Baker, one of the Hawaii Senate’s longest-serving members, is retiring this year. Baker, who has represented parts of west and south Maui for more than three decades in both the Senate and the House, is one of Maui’s most seasoned politicians. Civil Beat.

Kauai

County grant recipients announced. The County of Kaua‘i Office of Economic Development announced the recipients of its Innovation Grants for fiscal year 2021-22. Garden Island.

PMRF site of ‘forever chemical’ release. The U.S. military has reported two releases of a toxic chemical in Hawai‘i in the past two years. Both incidents, the last of which occurred in February, were located at the U.S. Navy Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kaua‘i’s Westside. Garden Island.

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Honolulu council limits vacation rentals, Blangiardi tests positive for COVID as cases rise statewide, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Condos along the Ala Wai ©2022 All Hawaii News
Honolulu Council Votes To Rein In Short-Term Rentals. The bill, which passed 8-1, would raise the minimum booking period from 30 to 90 days. After hours of testimony and extensive discussion, the Honolulu City Council on Wednesday passed a controversial measure aimed at curbing short-term rentals on Oahu. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii Public Radio. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Hawaii’s Land-Use Regulations Are Helping Drive Up Housing Prices.
It’s a long-standing complaint among homebuilders in Hawaii: land-use regulations contribute enormously to building costs, they say, driving up the price of housing. Now, researchers at the University of Hawaii have attempted to measure that impact. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser.

Despite DUI acquittal, state lawmaker could still face disciplinary action. Despite her acquittal on drunk driving charges, state Rep. Sharon Har could still face disciplinary actions from her fellow lawmakers. Complaints filed by more than a dozen of the Makakilo lawmaker’s constituents say Har violated the House’s code of conduct when she made public statements about her arrest that conflicted with police body camera video of the incident. Hawaii News Now. Star-Advertiser. KITV4.

Senate Committee Recommends Kuwaye’s Appointment To The PUC. Naomi Kuwaye, a utilities lawyer, is one step closer to gaining a seat on a state commission in charge of regulating public utilities in the islands. Civil Beat.

Majority of Hawaii’s COVID cases are highly contagious ‘stealth’ Omicron. According to health officials, stealth Omicron is 30% more transmissible than the original and could be to blame for a slight uptick in cases that the Department of Health is watching closely. Hawaii News Now.

Hawai‘i reports 1,327 Covid cases, 8 new deaths in the last week. There are 941 reported coronavirus cases on O‘ahu, 160 on the Big Island, 55 on Kaua‘i, nine on Lāna‘i, 130 on Maui, five on Moloka‘i, and 27 diagnosed out of state. KHON2.

Oahu

Honolulu Mayor Blangiardi Tests Positive For Covid. The mayor’s office is working to notify people who have had close contact with the mayor in recent days. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii Public Radio. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Rail repairs made from Kapolei to Aloha Stadium. Welding repairs that were made to correct flaws in the Honolulu rail tracks have been completed. KHON2.

127-unit affordable housing project in ‘Ewa is moving forward. 127-unit affordable housing project in ‘Ewa is moving forward. Hawaii Public Radio.

A Bill To Finance A New Waste-To-Energy Plant On Oahu Raises Questions. Lawmakers are advancing a bill to help a company raise up to $50 million to develop a new waste-to-energy operation on Oahu even as the city pays hundreds of thousands of dollars in penalties each year because it can’t provide enough trash to feed the existing H-POWER garbage-to-energy plant. Civil Beat.

Amid rising costs to remove Haiku Stairs, advocates renew push to keep trail. The Honolulu City Council has given preliminary approval for money to dismantle the Haiku Stairs in Windward Oahu. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Hawaii Island

County R&D budget to get big bump. It takes money to make money, the maxim goes, and the county Department of Research and Development is taking that to heart. West Hawaii Today.

Ordnance removal enters next phase: Following 9 months of scanning near Waimea, Army personnel will begin digging for munitions. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers since 2002 has removed more than 2,700 unexploded munitions from the area around the former Waikoloa Maneuver Area, a 185,000-acre area which was used for live-fire exercises during World War II. Tribune-Herald.

Tourism official: Japan-Kona flights to return late this year. Direct flights between Japan and Hawaii Island are expected to resume late this year, and there’s talk of a third operator entering the market with service to Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keahole. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Plans change for Kihei park’s future playing fields, community space. Original plans for the South Maui Community Park’s next phases have changed to consolidate future playing fields while adding more open park space for community events, a playground and a picnic area. Maui News.

Climate change, resiliency and sustainability grants available in Maui County. The County of Maui Office of Climate Change, Resiliency, and Sustainability is soliciting grant proposals for the fiscal year 2023-24 funding cycle. Maui Now.

Hooked juvenile monk seal found on Maui, recovering after rescue. A juvenile monk seal is recovering after surgery to remove a large hook that the animal had ingested and which was lodged in his esophagus. Maui Now.

Kauai

Lihu‘e Airport runway relocation gets $3.9M boost. Lihu‘e Airport is the only airport in the United States without a standard runway safety area required by the Federal Aviation Administration. Garden Island. KHON2.

Lawmakers may urge the state to rename Russian Fort Elizabeth on Kauaʻi to Pāʻulaʻula. Senate Concurrent Resolution 119 asks the Board of Land and Natural Resources to rename the park to Pāʻulaʻula, the traditional name given to the fort by the Native Hawaiians who built it. Hawaii Public Radio.

Condo opponents keep vigil near Koloa development site. Elizabeth Takenaka and the Save Koloa nonprofit have been maintaining a vigil 0n Kiahuna Plantation Drive for the past several days after signs of construction, including the installation of dust screens, became apparent. Garden Island.

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Honolulu rail could stop short of Ala Moana Center, Hawaii Supreme Court mulls redistricting process, interim HPD chief withdraws candidacy, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy Hawaii Authority for Rapid Transit
Current rail route PC:Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation

New rail plan would end construction shy of Ala Moana Center. The new plan for the city’s troubled rail project would stop construction two stations short near the Circuit Court at South and Halekauwila streets in Kakaako and still receive the federal government’s final share of $1.55 billion in funding, or $744 million. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii Public Radio. Hawaii News Now. KHON2. KITV4.

Supreme Court mulls reapportionment process. How much discretion the state Reapportionment Commission has in drawing political maps was a central theme Tuesday, when Hawaii Supreme Court justices grilled attorneys for the state and a citizen coalition challenging the maps. West Hawaii Today. Civil Beat.

Lawmakers resistant to $1B for rainy day fund, but Ige remains ‘hopeful’ the money will be allocated. A $1 billion allocation to the state’s emergency fund proposed by Gov. David Ige might end up smaller than he hoped as it faces resistance in the Legislature. Tribune-Herald.

Senate committee advances distracted driving bill. A bill that would increase the fine for using a mobile device while driving cleared its first Senate committee Tuesday after crossing over from the House. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii Community Health Centers To Split $23 Million In Federal Funding
. The newest round of funding follows over $40 million in federal dollars distributed to Hawaii’s 14 health centers during the pandemic. Civil Beat.

Drugs In Hawaii Prisons: ‘We Are Swimming In Spice, And Nobody Cares’ Inmates and staff say use of synthetic cannabinoids in the state’s largest prison is rampant. The drugs have caused two deaths. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii’s longline community scrambles to outfish false killer whales. Those at the forefront of managing Hawaii’s deep-sea fishing industry are meeting this week in hopes of figuring out how to deal with their catch being seized off their lines. It’s one of the issues facing the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council, which oversees Hawaii’s longline vessels that bring in the ahi supply for the state and parts of the U.S. mainland. Hawaii News Now.

Oahu

Affordable housing, transportation and public safety at the forefront for Honolulu mayor. Mayor Rick Blangiardi on Tuesday ranked affordable housing, public safety and transportation among top priorities in his State of the City address. Star-Advertiser.

HPD’s interim chief withdraws from list of candidates for permanent job. Interim Honolulu Police Chief Rade Vanic has asked that his name be withdrawn from consideration for HPD’s next chief. Vanic reportedly told his five assistant chiefs Tuesday morning that he was not seeking the job permanently anymore and cited personal reasons. Hawaii News Now.

Navy orders ‘supplemental investigation’ of Red Hill. Commanders at the Pentagon determined that an investigation by the Hawaii­-based U.S. Pacific Fleet into contamination of the Navy’s water supply on Oahu “did not include a sufficient review” of previous spills from the Red Hill fuel farm — ordering a “supplemental investigation.” Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu City Council measure would require permit, license for commercial drones at parks. The Honolulu City Council is introducing a bill that would create a process for television and film production crews to use drones at city parks. Hawaii Public Radio.

Laniakea parking might reopen this week, officials say. The parking area across the highway from the North Shore’s popular “Turtle Beach” might finally reopen following work scheduled for today through Friday. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island


Owners of Former Uncle Billy’s Hilo Hotel Seeking State Money to Knock Burned Structure Down. The state Department of Land and Natural Resources told Big Island Now on Tuesday, March 15 that it will cost around $13.5 million to knock the structure down and it will make a request this session from the Legislature to fund the work. Big Island Now.

Hundreds turn out for Ho‘ike tickets: All 2,000 were snatched up by noon on Tuesday. Tickets for the 2022 Ho‘ike at the Merrie Monarch Festival sold out Tuesday in about four hours. Hundreds of people lined up at the Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium in the morning to buy tickets for the Ho‘ike, a noncompetition exhibition of hula and dance from around the Pacific Rim. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Now. Hawaii News Now.

Maui

Maui council urged to raise tax on second homes, short-term rentals to raise money for affordables. Maui County Comprehensive Affordable Housing Plan outlines ways to create 5,000 affordable homes for residents below 120% over the next five years. Portions of the plan continue to be discussed in the Affordable Housing Committee. Maui Now.

Shortage of homes on Maui amplifies demand, spurs bidding wars, report says. Median price for homes over $1M in February, over $730K for condos. A shortage of homes available on the market continues to amplify the demand for Maui real estate, with economists saying that bidding wars are common even as home prices continue to rise. Maui News.

BlackSand Capital makes three-year commitment to affordable housing on Maui. BlackSand Capital has entered into a three-year commitment of $300,000 to House Maui, a Hawaiʻi Community Foundation initiative working to create a sustainable housing market for local families on Maui. Maui Now.

Maui business shares how it plans to help reduce the axis deer population. Lawmakers and community leaders continue to look for solutions to the axis deer overpopulation problem on Maui. One business that harvests and sells axis deer meat, Maui Nui Venison, released step three of its four-step plan for growth this month. Hawaii Public Radio.

Kauai

Erosion-mitigation project for Wailua Beach gets CIP funding. The state Department of Transportation plan to rebuild the Wailua Beach shoreline using patented technology have gotten a shot in the arm. Garden Island.

Multi-agency effort may save Kaua‘i endemic plant from extinction.
A years-long project that may save an endangered Kaua‘i plant from extinction is about to take its next step, when recently collected DNA samples are sent to China for analysis. Garden Island.

Monday, February 7, 2022

Green tops in approval rating, Blangiardi and Ige ratings low, Legislature mulls sunscreen ban, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Hawaii beach baby rinse ©2022 All Hawaii News
Hawaii bill banning more sunscreen chemicals advances. The Senate version, SB 3001, is scheduled to be heard by the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Environment Committee at 1:30 p.m. today, and the House version, HB 1519, is scheduled to be heard by the House Committee on Energy and Environment at 8:50 a.m. Tuesday. Star-Advertiser.

Josh Green’s approval ratings surge in Hawaii governor’s race.
Lt. Gov. Josh Green, the leading candidate so far to become Hawaii’s next governor, has a commanding 65% overall approval rating among Hawaii voters — and an even more impressive 70% approval for his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser Hawaii Poll shows. Star-Advertiser.

Undecided votes critical in tight race for Hawaii lieutenant governor. The Honolulu Star-Advertiser Hawaii Poll shows the five-way race to become Hawaii’s next lieutenant governor is tight, but a huge chunk of undecided voters means every candidate still has a path to victory. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Poll reveals isle voters’ attitudes toward Gov. David Ige, Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi. Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi just started his second year in office and Gov. David Ige is in his final year, but approval ratings for both are among the worst of the nine island politicians included in the Honolulu Star-­Advertiser Hawaii Poll. Star-Advertiser.

U.S. Secretary of State to stop in Hawaii following visits to Australia, Fiji. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken plans to stop in Hawaii next week after a trip to Australia and Fiji, when he plans to push back on “aggression and coercion” in the Indo-Pacific region, a sign the administration is keeping China high on its agenda even as it finds itself focused on the Russia-Ukraine crisis. Bloomberg.

Lawmakers consider banning peer-to-peer car rentals amid overtourism concerns. State Rep. Sean Quinlan was one of the lawmakers who introduced the bill. He doesn’t expect it to pass but said it’s a signal to the industry that discussion over taxation and regulation is needed. Hawaii News Now.

Should Hawaii Gamble On Online Sports Betting? Measures that would regulate online sports betting could generate some tax revenues for the state, but experts worry easy access could fuel gambling addictions. Civil Beat.

House bill influenced by murder of 6-year-old Waimānalo girl moves forward. The House Committee on Health, Human Services, and Homelessness passed a bill that would provide more protection for adopted children by allowing for more check-in visits from the state. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii Civil Rights Agency Grapples With Solving Long-Delayed Cases. The commission already was dealing with a backlog when the pandemic hit, leading to budget woes and a hiring freeze. Civil Beat.

Board of Education weighs qualifications for tough superintendent job. Don’t read anything into the fact that it’s been six months and counting that Keith Hayashi has been acting as the interim state superintendent of Hawaii’s public schools. So says the head of the search for the next permanent superintendent. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii’s blood shortage triggers tax incentive bill for donors. The state Legislature is considering tax breaks for people who give blood because of low donor numbers in recent months. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii records 4 new coronavirus-related deaths, 916 additional infections. The  new confirmed and probable infection count includes 537 new cases on Oahu, 155 on Hawaii Island, 107 on Maui, 95 on Kauai, one on Molokai, three on Lanai and 18 Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

Pressure to further ease COVID rules mounts as cases decline, hitting a 46-day low. Earlier this week, the city’s restrictions on large gatherings of 1,000 or more lapsed and the mayor said no new restrictions are planned. Hawaii News Now.

Shut down Red Hill fuel facility, most Hawaii voters say. An overwhelming majority of Hawaii voters say the Navy should permanently shut down its Red Hill fuel tanks, according to a Honolulu Star-Advertiser poll. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Police Commission Calls For Public Input On Next Police Chief. The commission plans to survey public opinion in the ongoing search for Honolulu’s next chief of police. Civil Beat.

Caldwell believes former city officials are innocent. Former Mayor Kirk Caldwell believes his one-time corporation counsel, managing director and chair of the police commission did not break the law while arranging a $250,000 retirement settlement for former police Chief Louis Kealoha that bypassed City Council review. Star-Advertiser.

Bill would establish state park along Kaiwi Coast. A bill to create a state park along East Oahu’s Kaiwi Coast is among a range of measures involving the state Department of Land and Natural Resources under consideration at the state Legislature. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

COVID testing contracts examined: County Council to get update Tuesday on testing and spending. TrueCare24 Inc., the company that last month lost more than 400 coronavirus test samples, was the lowest bidder of four vendors selected by the county and the least compliant with bidding requirements, according to an analysis of bid documents and purchase agreements West Hawaii Today received from the county in response to a public records request. West Hawaii Today.

Banyan Drive Redevelopment Bill Proposed. A new House Bill will create the Waiakea Peninsula Redevelopment District and planning committee for the redevelopment of public lands on Banyan Drive. Big Island Video News.

Effort to secure new hospital for Kona renewed. A bill in the state House to provide funding for a site assessment to find a viable location for a new hospital site in North Kona passed its first committee hearing Thursday. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Maui County dropping booster requirement to be considered 'fully vaccinated' beginning Feb. 7. Maui County is relaxing its rule requiring business patrons to show that they’ve received a booster shot to be considered fully vaccinated. The revision goes into effect Monday, Feb. 7. KITV4.

Airbnb removes 1,300 unlicensed Maui rentals under new county agreement. Airbnb said it recently removed more than 1,300 vacation rentals without licenses under its agreement with Maui County. The company signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the county last year. Hawaii Public Radio.

Study shows Maui's polystyrene ban had a limited impact on beaches. Of the five beaches studied, only two showed a minor reduction in polystyrene debris after the ban, said Dr. Jennifer Lynch, the co-director of the Hawaiʻi Pacific University Center for Marine Debris Research and one of the scientists who worked on the study. Hawaii Public Radio.

Council mulls report outlining ways to manage tourism on Maui. Regulating peer-to-peer car sharing, setting a cap on tourist accommodations and banning transient vacation rentals in certain districts are among ideas to manage tourism on Maui that were presented this week by a county group. Maui Now.

Kauai

Kauaʻi sponsors sought for summer food programs.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) is seeking sponsor organizations on all islands to help provide children in low-income communities with free meals during the summer months. Garden Island.

Nonprofits invited to apply for funding from Kauaʻi United Way. Feb. 18 is the deadline for nonprofit organizations to contact Lori Almarza, acting director of the Kaua‘i United Way, indicating intent to apply for KUW funding. Garden Island.


Friday, January 28, 2022

Hawaii safest state in COVID-19 pandemic, Honolulu to drop indoor gathering restrictions, entangled whale freed off Maui, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Hawaii restaurant ©2022 All Hawaii News

Report: Hawaii safest state in COVID-19 pandemic. Hawaii is the safest state in the nation to weather the coronavirus, according to a study released Thursday by the online credit reporting company WalletHub. West Hawaii Today.

DLNR expects to bring in $12M from park fees by the end of the fiscal year. Funding to improve and manage Hawaiʻi's natural resources should be getting a boost this year, thanks to increased visitor fees at some popular parks and trails. Hawaii Public Radio.

Bill would unite state law enforcement under Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Senate Bill 3139 would “consolidate and administer the criminal law enforcement and investigations functions of the Department of Transportation, certain investigations functions of the Department of the Attorney General, functions of the Office of Homeland Security, and current law enforcement and investigations functions of the Department of Public Safety.” Star-Advertiser.

Should OHA Get A Bigger Share Of Hawaii’s Public Land Revenues? The ceded land revenues, which make up a significant chunk of OHA’s annual budget, go to fund programs for Hawaiian beneficiaries. The Office of Hawaiian Affairs is again asking the Legislature for a greater share of revenue generated by lands formerly held by the Hawaiian Kingdom. Civil Beat.

Hawaii hotel workers rally for bill to eliminate tax exemption. About 150 members of the Unite Here Local 5 union participated in the effort urging the Legislature to end what the union calls a tax loophole for real estate investment trusts, or REITs. Hawaii lawmakers have considered bills to amend state tax policy on REITs every year since 2014 but haven’t had a single bill become law. Star-Advertiser.

Training begins for Hawaii’s next community and political leaders. The first group of 30 emerging leaders who want to play bigger roles in their island communities — including political candidates and the newest member of the state House — began their first day of a 15-week training program Thursday night. The program called “Partners for Democracy” is backed by Pacific Resource Partnership, a nonprofit organization that represents the Hawaii Regional Council of Carpenters and more than 240 Hawaii contractors. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii schools chief search extended 2 months. Hiring a state superintendent of Hawaii’s public schools is taking about two months longer than originally planned. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii records 10 new coronavirus-related deaths, 2,380 additional infections. The new confirmed and probable infection count includes 1,424 new cases on Oahu, 375 on Hawaii Island, 337 on Maui, 161 on Kauai, seven on Molokai, 16 on Lanai and 60 Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

Mayor Blangiardi to drop large indoor gathering restriction, no booster requirement being discussed. Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi said he’ll drop the 50% capacity limit for indoor events on Monday, Jan. 31. KHON2.

Attorney: Ex-City Budget Director Can Prove Donna Leong’s Innocence. The $250,000 retirement payment to disgraced police chief Louis Kealoha was done legally, Leong’s attorney says. Civil Beat.

Navy says it will release investigation into cause of Red Hill water contamination. The Navy says it will release its full investigation into what caused the fuel contamination in its drinking water system, clawing back a statement it released earlier this week that said only a summary of the report’s conclusions would be released to the public. Star-Advertiser.

Water From Contaminated Red Hill Well Will Be Treated, Discharged Into Halawa Stream. As the Navy works to clean up the mess, pressure is building to shut down the Red Hill facility permanently. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

As criticism mounts, police commission eyes ways to speed up chief selection process. It’s already been almost eight months since Susan Ballard retired and it could easily be a full year before HPD’s next leader is chosen. Hawaii News Now.

Applications to open for new affordable rental complex in Honolulu. Starting Feb. 1, applications will be accepted for an affordable rental complex at the site that used to house Honolulu’s juvenile detention center. The affordable housing project “Hale Kalele” is on Piikoi Street and will be near the future rail line. Hawaii News Now.

State to offer federally funded mortgage aid. The state has launched a program funded by the federal government to assist about 1,000 Oahu homeowners hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and who may be in jeopardy of losing their homes. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Hilo Medical Center over capacity; 36 FEMA-funded medical workers assist. Hilo Medical Center is over capacity and has opened 24 additional beds in its extended care unit to accommodate more patients. Tribune-Herald.

Seven students arrested following large affray sparked by racial remarks at Pahoa High. No one was seriously injured Wednesday morning when a large-scale fracas broke out on the Pahoa High School campus, but an 18-year-old man and six juveniles — all students — were arrested, according to police. Tribune-Herald. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Big Island Now. KITV4.

Box Jellyfish Reported At Spencer Beach, Other West Hawaiʻi Spots. State and county officials issued a rare “Ocean Safety” message on Thursday afternoon, warning beachgoers of box jellyfish along West Hawaiʻi shores. Big Island Video News. Big Island Now.

Maui

Kapalua mansion owner claims to fight ‘noise pollution’ in Cliff House controversy. Questions over shoreline access and public versus private jurisdiction have bubbled to the surface in a controversy that pits a wealthy blockchain entrepreneur against many who frequent the popular Cliff House swimming spot in Kapalua. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now.

Community comes together to restore Haiku playground. Kalakupua Playground reopened over weekend following renovations. Maui Now.

Entangled humpback whale freed of 140 feet of line and gear off Ukumehame, Maui
. An entangled yearling humpback whale was freed of gear by a NOAA-led team of trained responders off Ukumehame, Maui on Wednesday.  Maui Now. Star-Advertiser.

Kauai

EPA fines Koloa real-estate company, citing illegal cesspool. The federal Environmental Protection Agency has fined real estate firm Hale Kaua‘i $40,000, after finding a large-capacity cesspool at the company’s Waikomo Road property, which operates as Hardware Hawai‘i. Garden Island.

COVID test giveaways continue, 222 new cases Thursday.
The county anticipated a large turnout for its distribution of at-home COVID-19 tests in Kapa‘a, and that anticipation was right. 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.

Monday, January 3, 2022

Hawaii hits 16.7% COVID positivity rate, Ige postpones public meeting requirement, Maui requires booster for indoor dining, bars, gyms, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands


Fewer hospitalizations expected during Omicron surge, but experts remain concerned. Hospitalizations are rising again and are expected to peak in late January but not at levels seen during the Delta surge. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Hawaii sees 3,178 new coronavirus cases, bringing statewide total to 118,820. The state’s 7-day average positivity rate is 16.7% The new confirmed and probable infection count by island includes 2,495 new cases on Oahu, 238 on Hawaii Island, 225 on Maui, 129 on Kauai, 16 on Molokai, 14 on Lanai, and 61 Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state. Star-Advertiser.

Not ready yet: Public participation in meetings to continue remotely. A new law setting stricter rules for governmental bodies holding remote meetings, including a requirement to provide a physical location for the public to testify, is supposed to go into effect Saturday, but Gov. David Ige has delayed that part of the new law in an emergency proclamation effective through Feb. 28. West Hawaii Today. Civil Beat. Hawaii Public Radio. Big Island Now.

Decision by Hawaii Supreme Court leads to dismissal of dozens of cases
. A recent Hawaii Supreme Court ruling asserting that criminal complaints may be dismissed if they do not follow a procedural law requiring a signed affidavit or official declaration from the complaining party is resulting in the dismissal of dozens of misdemeanor cases. Star-Advertiser.

Minimum wage increase in Hawaii gaining momentum. State House Speaker Scott Saiki said he plans to introduce a bill to boost Hawaii’s minimum wage from $10.10 an hour to eventually $18 an hour. Star-Advertiser.

It Is Now Illegal To Kill Or Capture Sharks In Hawaiʻi. As of January 1, it is illegal to knowingly capture, entangle, or kill any species of shark in State marine waters. Big Island Video News.

Climate change plays factor in fewer humpback whale sightings in Hawaii, scientists find. As Hawaii’s 2021-2022 humpback whale season gets underway, scientists say they hope to see population numbers continue to recover after an estimated 50% plunge in 2015-2016. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

Honolulu Councilman Augie Tulba’s role in TV commercial raises questions for elected officials participating in advertisements. Honolulu Councilman Augie Tulba’s starring role in a commercial for a rental car company is raising questions about the rules for elected officials in advertisements. Star-Advertiser.

Planning Costs Climb For New Oahu Jail As Debate Drags On Over Its Scope. If lawmakers agree, the total sum committed to planning may be $35 million for a lockup the governor believes might eventually cost $1 billion. Civil Beat.

Wages For Many On Oahu Fail To Keep Pace With Soaring Prices. Costs for volatile items like food and gas are expected to level off or decrease, but not for a while, leaving many to struggle. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Marines, law enforcement to drill on raids.
Marines and local law enforcement personnel begin training today at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam for raiding operations on both land and sea. The exercise is scheduled to last until Jan. 13. Star-Advertiser.

The first class-action lawsuit has been filed on behalf of residents affected by Navy’s tainted water crisis. Attorneys Terry Revere and Michael Green filed the suit on behalf of all residents of military housing affected by the petroleum contamination — that affected 93,000 people on the Pearl Harbor water system. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu Mayor’s Stance On Navy Water Crisis: No Comment. The mayor praised the head of the Honolulu Board of Water Supply but wouldn’t echo his calls to drain the Red Hill fuel tanks. Civil Beat.

Contractors play key role in Red Hill fuel storage operations. As the Navy continues to wrestle with the consequences of the contamination of its water system from its underground Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility, the complexity of its fueling operations comes under increasing scrutiny — particularly when it comes to maintenance work at the aging fuel farm. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

‘Just hop on the bus’: Council bill would make bus rides free thanks to grants. Bus rides may be free for the next two years if a bill being discussed by the Hawaii County Council passes. Tribune-Herald.

Another blow for Honua Ola. The state’s Consumer Advocate has filed a document with the Public Utilities Commission saying “due to remaining questions and concerns, it is unable to recommend approval” of Honua Ola Bioenergy, the nearly completed biomass power plant in Pepeekeo. Tribune-Herald.

Taking to the skies: Homeless camps mapped for outreach, Point In Time Count. Flying in a helicopter in the skies over North Kona, Linda Thomas-Vandervoort was able to assess West Hawaii’s homeless population from a different angle. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Maui County: Covid Booster Will Be Required For Indoor Dining, Bars And Gy
ms. As omicron spreads, Maui County will require people eligible for booster shots to get them to be considered fully vaccinated. Civil Beat. Hawaii Public Radio.

Boil water advisory remains in effect for residents on Maui. Due to the possible trace of E-coli bacteria in the tap water waterline maintenance continues to flush waterlines in the affected areas. KITV4.

Kauai

Kaua‘i County Council look at infrastructure, housing as policy goals for next year.
The next Kaua‘i County Council meeting isn’t until Jan. 12, but councilmembers are continuing to work toward county issues behind the scenes. Garden Island.

Kaua‘i Mayor Kawakami sets 2022 goals. Mayor Derek Kawakami is optimistic going into 2022. Garden Island.


Thursday, December 30, 2021

Hawaii shortens quarantine times, braces for holiday coronavirus surge, Maui postpones plastic takeout ban, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii Department of Health

Hawaii shortens COVID isolation rules. The Hawaii Department of Health on Wednesday cut the state’s COVID-19 isolation and quarantine time requirements in half to align with U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations. Star-Advertiser. Maui Now. Garden Island. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Char ‘very concerned’ about New Year’s celebrations.
The state’s health director said Wednesday she’s “very concerned about New Year’s” celebrations and hopes people will act accordingly to minimize the risk of spreading novel coronavirus infections. Tribune-Herald.

Tourism continues rebound
: But uncertainty remains due to omicron concerns. Despite stronger than expected visitor numbers in 2021, state officials on Wednesday said 2022’s tourism outlook is hazy. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii labor department reports 7 workplace fatalities in 2021. A total of 23 “major incidents” unrelated to the COVID-19 pandemic were reported to DLIR in 2021, many of them involving unsafe conditions that resulted in amputations, bone fractures, dislocated shoulders and joints, and electrical burns, among other injuries, the agency said. Star-Advertiser. Big Island Now. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Hawaii records 3 new coronavirus-related deaths, 1,561 additional infections. The new confirmed and probable infection count by island includes 1,322 new cases on Oahu, 26 on Hawaii Island, 134 on Maui, 58 on Kauai, 12 on Molokai, two on Lanai and seven Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

Defiant Honolulu Mayor Defends His Approach To Omicron Surge
. Mayor Rick Blangiardi said businesses know what to do to limit Covid-19 spread and don’t require further restrictions, despite admonishments from the state Department of Health. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii Public Radio. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Navy Argues Health Department Lacks Power To Shut Down Red Hill. The Navy’s filing makes clear it is not going to drain the Red Hill fuel tanks without a fight. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser. KITV4.

Navy Says Military Families Displaced By Water Crisis May Return Home Next Week. The Navy told lawmakers it will not meet a Jan. 3 deadline to come up with a plan for decontaminating its drinking water well. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser.

A Boom In Illicit Fireworks Is Rattling Honolulu Pets And Annoying Residents
. Honolulu banned fireworks except firecrackers on all but a few days a year in 2011, but it’s become “one of those laws no one enforces.” Civil Beat.

Hawaii Island

County expects today will have highest daily case count since the start of the pandemic
. So far, the highest official tally of new cases in a single day on the island is 206, a record set during the delta surge earlier this year. West Hawaii Today. Big Island Now.

Better late than never? 23 years later, property owners seek sewer fee refund. After paying their two sewer bills for more than two decades, owners of two contiguous lots on Alii Drive are arguing they should have had to pay only one sewer bill because the structure on one of the lots is an outbuilding, not an unoccupied unit as defined by the county. West Hawaii Today.

Six HOPE Services Affordable Housing Units Move to Pāhoa. The units, which were constructed at HPM’s Ke‘eau factory, will comprise the Sacred Heart Affordable Housing Project, which will also offer supportive services. The remaining six homes are scheduled to arrive at the site by the end of this week. Big Island Now.

Maui

Maui postpones disposable plastic foodware ban due to supply shortages. Maui Mayor Mike Victorino said he is postponing the county’s ban on disposable plastic foodware by three months due to supply shortages. Victorino said supply chain disruptions have delayed shipping of compostable alternatives for businesses to implement the new ordinance. Hawaii News Now.

Hundreds wait for hours for free take-home test from County of Maui.
With some people waiting about three hours, hundreds of vehicles spilled out of War Memorial Gymnasium as people grabbed free COVID-19 test kits being distributed by County of Maui staff in Wailuku on Wednesday afternoon. Maui Now.

Maui Health updates visitor policy amid “rapid rise” in COVID-19 cases. Maui Health’s Emergency Operations Center team is updating its visitor policy effective today, due to the rapid rise of COVID-19 cases in the community. Maui Now.

State’s $11M beach restoration project awaits final approval. While mitigating the impacts of rising water levels and coastal erosion in West Maui is crucial, a proposed $11 million project awaiting final approvals and permitting to begin beach restoration next year is just “a temporary solution” and might not be the best use of taxpayer money, a West Maui official said. Maui News.

Kauai

No Kuhio Highway contraflow until new year.
Contraflow on Kuhio Highway is canceled through Saturday, Jan. 1, according to the state Department of Transportation. Garden Island.

The Kaua‘i Bus has new pass designs.
The new passes will have a different color each month, and will contain a QR code to link riders to The Kaua‘i Bus website, thekauaibus.com, where riders can get live tracking information on bus-arrival times. Garden Island.