Showing posts with label hotel tax. Show all posts
Showing posts with label hotel tax. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

University of Hawaii moves classes online, public schools to resume in-person classes, first responder shortages close Oahu ambulance stations, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2021 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
University of Hawaii-Hilo ©2021 All Hawaii News

University of Hawaii moving most courses online for first 2 weeks of spring semester. The University of Hawaii announced today it will temporarily move many courses at its 10 campuses online for the first two weeks of the spring semester due to the surge of COVID-19 cases in the state driven by the highly contagious omicron variant. The spring semester begins on Jan. 10. Star-Advertiser. Associated Press. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Schools to resume full in-person classes despite highest surge in cases since the pandemic started. Around 193,000 kids will be back in classrooms next week, following winter break. KHON2.

Hawaii’s latest COVID-19 surge is touching off labor shortages.
Amid surging infection counts as the COVID-19 threat is poised to enter its third year, pandemic fatigue is mounting for Hawaii’s workers and businesses. Star-Advertiser.

Proposals To Help Hawaii’s Homeless Population Taking Shape At Legislature.
Service providers hope more money in the state budget this coming year will mean new and expanded programs. Civil Beat.

Hawaii losing ‘irreplaceable’ shore defender when Sam Lemmo retires. Sam Lemmo, longtime administrator of the Office of Conservation and Coastal Lands within the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, is ending a 30-year career in local public service Friday. Star-Advertiser.

With cases at record highs, DOH urges mayors to impose New Year’s restrictions. The state Health Department is urging county mayors to impose more controls on New Year’s Eve gatherings. They fear revelers will add fuel to the already out of control surge of COVID infections. Hawaii News Now.

New COVID-19 treatment options show promise but are in short supply in Hawaii. Early treatment options for COVID-19 have become increasingly promising as a means to keep people at high risk of developing severe illness out of the hospital and from dying, but their availability in Hawaii is in short supply. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii sees 824 new coronavirus cases, bringing statewide total to 104,597. The new confirmed and probable infection count by island includes 613 new cases on Oahu, 50 on Hawaii Island, 107 on Maui, 17 on Kauai, 25 on Molokai and 12 Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state. Star-Advertiser.


As cases soar, COVID staffing shortages force some Oahu ambulance stations to temporarily close. More than 200 Oahu first responders were out Tuesday either because they’re infected with COVID or they’re in quarantine, the city confirmed. Hawaii News Now.

Health officials identify another COVID cluster linked to music festival.
The Department of Health reports another COVID cluster from the Hawaii’s Finest Music Festival After Party at Moani Waikiki at the International Market Place. KHON2. KITV4.

Board of Water Supply lauds ruling to drain Red Hill fuel tanks. The Honolulu Board of Water Supply on Tuesday welcomed the recommendation of a state Department of Health hearings officer that the Navy must comply with an emergency order to empty its fuel tanks at the underground Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii Public Radio. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Christmas trees burned at Kane'ohe Bay sandbar 'illegal and disrespectful,' DLNR says. The Department of Land and Natural Resources is warning the community not to burn Christmas trees at Kaneohe Sand Bar. The DLNR warns that anyone caught could be cited or arrested. KITV4.   KHON2.

Hawaii Island

Ready to collect: New 3% hotel tax goes into effect Saturday. The county tax forms are in place, new government employees are being hired and the hospitality industry is ready to begin what Mayor Mitch Roth calls the “unacceptable but necessary” step of charging guests at hotels and transient vacation rentals an extra 3% starting Saturday. West Hawaii Today.

DLNR warns against desecration of Lake Waiau after rock-throwing incident at Mauna Kea. A woman who posted photos on social media of large rocks being thrown into Lake Waiau — a culturally significant lake located on Mauna Kea — earlier this month prompted state officials to warn the public against doing so. Star-Advertiser. West Hawaii Today. Big Island Now. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now.


Chairperson resigns as Charter Commission wraps up review. Maui County Charter Commission Chairperson Lance Collins announced his resignation effective at the end of the meeting on Dec. 16, citing a conflict between his service on the commission and the new role he had accepted as a per diem judge. Maui News.

Maui County to distribute thousands of free, at-home test kits on Wednesday. The kits will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis starting 4 p.m. Wednesday, while supplies last, at the War Memorial Gymnasium parking lot in Wailuku. The county will also provide several hundred kits to Molokai and Lanai residents at a later time. Star-Advertiser. Maui Now. KHON2.

Sen. DeCoite addresses growing COVID-19 case count on Molokaʻi. Senator Lynn DeCoite is urging residents of Molokaʻi to take proper precautions against COVID-19 amid increased case counts on the island. Maui Now. KITV4.


Mongoose captured in Kauai harbor. A mongoose was found and trapped at a harbor on Kauai, where the invasive species has not yet established a presence. Star-Advertiser. Maui Now.   KHON2.

Kaua‘i reports 120 record-high COVID-19 single-day count. This is nearly double the previous county-high of 62 new cases reported on Sept. 2. Garden Island.

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

National Guardsmen leave COVID duty, Blangiardi signs Honolulu hotel tax bill, 91-year-old Kauai woman finishes Honolulu Marathon, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

National Guard loads PPE April 4, 2020 PC:Hawaii National Guard

COVID-19 Mission Ending for 500 Hawaiʻi National Guardsmen. About 100 Soldiers and Airmen will remain on orders until mid-March, supporting: the Department of Health with COVID mapping; and the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations with unemployment site assistance, a small Safe Travels team, and admin support for the neighbor islands. Maui Now.

Hawaii Schools See An Uptick In Covid-19 Cases. The numbers remain relatively low but raise concern about a possible surge ahead of the two-week winter break. As the first half of the school year draws to a close, data from the Hawaii Department of Education is raising fears of a possible new Covid-19 surge as the daily coronavirus case count inches up after weeks of relatively low numbers. Civil Beat.

Hawaii sees 214 new coronavirus cases, bringing statewide total to 89,593. The new confirmed and probable infection count by island includes 169 new cases on Oahu, 23 on Hawaii Island, nine on Maui, six on Kauai and seven Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state. Star-Advertiser.


Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi signs new hotel tax into law, 3% levy would bring in about $86 million a year. Honolulu will implement a city hotel tax. Mayor Rick Blangiardi signed the measure into law Tuesday. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Honolulu tech officials on ‘extreme alert’ but say city’s computer networks are safe. Honolulu’s chief information officer told city leadership this morning Oahu Transit Services was “likely” compromised when someone opened an e-mail, link or attachment and introduced ransomware that is keeping TheBus, TheHandi-Van, Holo ride-card digital services, websites and applications offline. Star-Advertiser.

Queen’s Health Systems also affected after ransomware attack strikes Kronos software provider. The Queen’s Health Systems said its employee timekeeping software provider that services its nearly 8,000 employees statewide suffered a ransomware attack over the weekend, possibly exposing the names, phone numbers, and addresses of employees. Star-Advertiser. KITV4.

The Proposed Sites For Oahu’s New Landfill Would Threaten Drinking Water, Officials Say. The four sites under consideration are all above groundwater aquifers. But finding a new location could require repealing a law meant to protect communities and delaying the city’s already tight deadline. Civil Beat.

Navy framing plans for flushing water system. In a push to remedy water system contamination resulting from spilled jet fuel from the Navy’s underground Red Hill fuel storage facility, the Navy is consulting with experts from around Hawaii and the mainland on new procedures for flushing the system, bringing in new equipment to help with the effort and drafting long-term plans. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii Public Radio. Hawaii News Now. KHON2. KITV4.

Military Families Who Sued Over Kaneohe Soil Contamination Get Another Day In Court. After a federal judge rejected most of their claims, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals sent the case to state court. Civil Beat.

Aloha Stadium entertainment district proposals postponed, construction scheduled for 2023. The request for proposals delivery to the three finalists for development of the New Aloha Stadium Entertainment District state project, which was set for today. has been postponed, according to a news release from NASED. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Plans progress to remove 1st of 5 Maunakea telescopes in exchange for Thirty Meter Telescope
. Plans to remove the first of five telescopes on Maunakea have been well received, according to those overseeing the decommissioning process. The Caltech Submillimeter Observatory is set to be torn down and the site restored as soon as next summer. Hawaii Public Radio.

Home testing kits on tap: HMC will distribute Monday at Hilo Civic. Hilo Medical Center will be distributing 3,600 home COVID-19 testing kits at the Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium beginning Monday. Tribune-Herald.

Still No Answers to Crowded Waipi‘o Valley Road Issue.
A year after The Hawai‘i County Council deferred a bill that would have limited pedestrian traffic on the access road into one of Hawai‘i’s most sacred valleys, some advocates are frustrated with what they see as stalled progress toward limiting congestion on the overcrowded road. Big Island Now.


Hāna Highway Closed at Na‘ili‘ilihaele Nightly, Dec. 19-23. The Hawaiʻi Department of Transportation notifies the public of full closures on Hāna Highway (Route 360) in both directions at the Naʻiliʻilihaele Bridge (Mile Post 6.2) and Kaʻaiea Bridge (Mile Post 8.6) on Sunday night, Dec. 19, through Thursday morning, Dec. 23, from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m., nightly, for bridge work. Maui Now.

Maui High principal steps in as complex superintendent.
Jamie Yap asks for patience as schools deal with COVID, staffing issues. Beginning today, Maui High School Principal Jamie Yap will be the interim superintendent for the Baldwin-Kekaulike-Maui Complex Area. Maui News.

County Seeks Damage Assessments on Maui, Announces Crisis Cleanup Line
. Maui County continues to offer residents resources to assist with recovery from recent flooding from torrential rains. Maui Now.


For acting Kauaʻi prosecutor Rebecca Like, drug addiction and inmate reentry are top of mind. Kauaʻi voters have until Dec. 18 to decide who will be the county’s next prosecuting attorney. Here's a look at one of the two candidates — Kauaʻi’s acting prosecutor Rebecca Like. Hawaii Public Radio.

500 residents sought for food-insecurity survey. The nonprofit Malama Kaua‘i wants to survey 500 residents experiencing food insecurity to lay the groundwork for an island-wide joint Food Access Plan with the state Department of Health. Garden Island.

At 91, Kauai woman became the oldest person to finish this year’s Honolulu Marathon
. Among those running in the Honolulu Marathon on Sunday was a 91-year-old woman from Kauai. Mathea Allansmith was the oldest runner to complete the 26.2-mile route, crossing the finish line after 10 hours and 48 minutes. Hawaii News Now.

Thursday, December 9, 2021

Ige taps Shikada for attorney general, USS Daniel Inouye commissioned at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii County Council passes 3% hotel tax, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Holly Shikada

Ige Names Holly Shikada To Be Hawaii’s New Attorney General. Shikada is a veteran lawyer who worked for years on educational issues, including ensuring compliance with the Felix Consent Decree. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser. Big Island Now.  Hawaii News Now.

Red Hill Has Changed The Politics Around The Military In Hawaii. The military has enjoyed unwavering support from state and federal political leaders in Hawaii. But the threat to Oahu’s water supply may be bringing that to an end. Civil Beat.

USS Daniel Inouye commissioned in Pearl Harbor home port, honoring the late U.S. senator as a warrior and statesman. The Navy’s newest warship, the Arleigh Burke-class missile destroyer USS Daniel Inouye, was officially commissioned at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam on Wednesday. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.  

Hawaiian Electric says 3,200 statewide still awaiting repairs, some may go another night without power. Hawaiian Electric said an estimated 3,200 customers are still without power statewide due to the impacts of the “Kona low” storm that ravaged the isles Monday and Tuesday. Those customers include about 400 on Oahu, 200 on Maui, and 2,600 on Hawaii Island. Star-Advertiser. Big Island Now. Hawaii News Now.

US Request For More Bigeye Tuna Denied By Pacific Commission. Wespac Executive Director Kitty Simonds expressed her disappointment, saying the council had been trying for six years to negotiate an increase. Civil Beat.

DAR seeks proposed fishing rule input.
This month, the DLNR Division of Aquatic Resources is holding a series of scoping events to receive community input on proposed amendments to statewide rules for select species of herbivorous reef fishes. Garden Island. KHON2.

Hawaii records 6 new coronavirus-related deaths, 72 additional infections. The new confirmed and probable infection count by island includes 51 new cases on Oahu, eight on Hawaii Island, eight on Maui and five on Kauai. Star-Advertiser.


Navy Finds Contamination In Second Well And Identifies Pollutant At Red Hill Shaft. Meanwhile, the Navy outlined actions it would take in response to an emergency order by Gov. David Ige, but remained silent on the question of emptying the tanks. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii Public Radio. Hawaii News Now. KHON2. KITV4.

Honolulu waives permit fees to expedite storm cleanup efforts. The City and County of Honolulu is waiving all permit fees related to storm-damage cleanup in an effort to jumpstart recovery efforts on Oahu following the powerful Kona Low storm system that blasted the islands. KITV4.

Kahikina Is Named Honolulu Rail’s Third Permanent Executive Director. As rail’s interim executive director for 2021, Lori Kahikina guided Hawaii’s largest-ever public works project through yet another tumultuous year – one that saw maddening construction woes, questionable contract awards and steep funding hurdles. Civil Beat.

New plan to fill gap between rail wheels and track. Hawaii’s DCCA has granted a temporary exemption to allow welders without Hawaii licenses to make temporary repairs to fix the rail project’s too-narrow wheels and too-wide track junction. Star-Advertiser.

Carcasses of Fraser’s Dolphins Wash Ashore on Oʻahu, DLNR Reports. Three carcasses of Fraser’s dolphins have washed ashore between Diamond Head and Waikīkī, DLNR officials reported earlier this week. Big Island Now.

Hawaii Island

Council passes 3% TAT
: New hotel tax makes up for state cuts. Visitors to Hawaii Island hotels and vacation rentals will be digging a little deeper come Jan. 1, with the County Council on Wednesday unanimously passing a 3% local option lodging tax. West Hawaii Today.

Parks herbicide ban moves forward. The County Council on Wednesday advanced on first reading a bill banning the use of glyphosate-based herbicides in county parks. West Hawaii Today.

CSO one step closer to decommissioning.
The planned dismantling and removal of the Caltech Submillimeter Observatory from Maunakea has cleared another hurdle with the publication Wednesday of the final environmental assessment. Tribune-Herald.

Council votes to accept funds to fix ‘major thoroughfare’ in Hilo. The Hawaii County Council voted Wednesday to accept $12 million in state funds to improve a small but vital one-lane bridge in Hilo. Tribune-Herald.


Dedicated Philanthropists Donate $1 Million to Maui Memorial Medical Center. Maui Health Foundation is the recipient of a one-million-dollar gift from Wayne and Nan Kocourek for dedicated use towards the Maui Memorial Medical Center Emergency Department. Maui Now.

Hazardous Conditions Prompt Closure of Maui Recreation Area & Two Forest Reserves. Due to hazardous conditions and impassable roads and trails caused by this week’s heavy rains and strong winds, DLNR has closed the Kula State Forest Reserve, Kahikinui State Forest Reserve – Papa’anui Tract, and Polipoli Spring State Recreation Area.  Maui Now.

Maui Conservationists Sound Alarm Over Sightings Of Invasive Bird. The first red-vented bulbul was spotted by a forest bird conservationist at Haleakala National Park on Nov. 28. Civil Beat.


KFD Air 1 hangar considered inadequate, unsafe. The county’s Air 1 hanger, located at the Lihu‘e Airport, was deemed “inadequate and unsafe” by auditors in a recent utilization study of the Kaua‘i Fire Department. Garden Island.

Endangered bird, rescued from certain death, takes flight. An endangered ua‘u, or Hawaiian petrel (Pterodroma sandwichensis), rescued in October has taken flight after 67 days of care. Garden Island.

Thursday, December 2, 2021

Petroleum in drinking water at Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Honolulu council passes visitor tax, sperm whale carcass washes up on Kauai, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2021 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Pearl Harbor ©2021 All Hawaii News

Petroleum detected in water from Navy water system. The state Department of Health on Wednesday detected petroleum product in water samples taken at Red Hill Elementary School, augmenting fears about widespread fuel contamination within the Navy’s water supply system that serves an estimated 93,000 people. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii Public Radio. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Oahu military water contamination is a crisis of health, environment and trust. As water contamination continues for thousands of military residents on Oahu, throngs of families, agencies and advocates are outraged with the response from the U.S. Navy. KHON2.

Navy Exchange Mall eateries shut down temporarily as precaution over water concerns. The Navy continues to distribute water at multiple sites to affected residents on Wednesday, after a fuel-like odor was detected in tap water on the Navy water system. KITV4.


 Is A Green Jobs Youth Corps The Key To Sustainability In Hawaii? The state Legislature approved $5 million in federal Covid-19 relief funding to support a new Green Job Youth Corps that will roll out next year. Civil Beat.

Here are the COVID-19 rules for social gatherings and events on every island. Effective Wednesday, under Gov. David Ige's latest emergency proclamation, restaurants, bars and gyms will be allowed to operate at full capacity statewide. However, there are still varying rules among the counties. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii records 8 new coronavirus-related deaths, 108 additional infections. The new confirmed and probable infection count by island includes 51 new cases on Oahu, three on Hawaii Island, 25 on Maui, nine on Kauai and 20 Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state. Star-Advertiser.


City Council passes new Oahu visitor tax that could generate $86 million a year.
A bill to levy a new 3% transient accommodations tax on Honolulu hotel rooms and other visitor rentals won easy approval from the Honolulu City Council Wednesday despite objections from critics of the city’s rail project, which will receive much of the money from the new tax. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu Police Commission to be subject of city audit. The Honolulu Police Commission’s policies and procedures will be the subject of a city audit, which the panel’s chairwoman welcomes as the next step in a series of reviews that have so far evaluated conduct of police officers and prosecuting attorneys. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Housing Chief Gets Second Role As Head Of Community Services. The City Council approved Antony Krucky’s appointment as director of the Department of Community Services on Wednesday. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Island

County Democrats seek clarity on reapportionment. The Hawaii County Democratic Party is asking the state Reapportionment Commission to take another look at how nonresident military and students were extracted from population data in light of new figures showing there were almost twice as many military personnel as previously thought. West Hawaii Today.

Feds fund Waianuenue bridge repairs. A small but significant bridge in Hilo will receive $1.5 million in Federal Emergency Management Agency funds to kick-start a modernization and disaster mitigation project. Tribune-Herald.

State Seeks Big Island Nominations for BLNR.
The Hawaiʻi County seat, currently occupied by Chris Yuen, will be vacant July 1, 2022. Applicants and nominees must be residents of Hawaiʻi County. Big Island Now.


Room rates up but visitor industry is still lagging. Maui County hotels led all counties in the state in average daily room rates in October at $480, up 42.1 percent versus 2019. It also led in revenue per available room at $289 in October, up 12.2 percent for the same time in 2019, according to data released by the Hawaii Tourism Authority last week. Maui News.

Health Department Issues Red Placard to Lahaina Eatery on Maui. The Hawai‘i Department of Health’s Food Safety Branch issued a red “closed” placard to 808 Grindz Café, located at 843 Waine‘e St. in Lahaina, Maui, saying violations were found during a routine inspection yesterday. Both adult and juvenile cockroach activity was observed, according to DOH reports. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now.


In effort to reduce crime, police clear out homeless encampment on Kauai. Officials said local and state entities worked to clear the Kaiakea encampment across from the Kealia Kai lookout. Hawaii News Now.

Tour operators benefit from tourism uptick, still face challenges.
Passenger air arrivals are up almost 14% from November 2019, but many tour operators have still not been able to return to full capacity after over a year of tight tourism restrictions that shuttered or downsized businesses island-wide. Garden Island.

‘Citizen Science’ can save monk seals, unravel marine debris mystery. Kaua‘i beachgoers are still needed in an international study of mysterious marine debris, three months after the nonprofit Surfrider Foundation announced its North Pacific Hagfish Trap Project. Garden Island.

Officials urge caution after adult sperm whale carcass washes up on Kauai. State and federal agencies are urging caution after an adult sperm whale carcass washed up on an outer reef of Kauai’s North Shore. Officials said the whale carcass is near Pilaa Beach. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Honolulu rail deficit less than feared, Honolulu advances hotel tax, Hawaii County advances pesticide ban, Bezos gives $2.5M for Maui homeless project, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Honolulu rail construction PC:HART

Honolulu rail deficit estimate cut to $1.97B. The projected $3.5 billion deficit for the city’s troubled rail project is far less than feared — $1.97 billion, rail officials said Wednesday. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.

Electric vehicles are all over Hawaii roads. So why aren’t there more charging stations? In the past year, there was a nearly 32% increase in the number of passenger electric vehicles in Hawaii, according to the state. But there’s a big disconnect when it comes to charging those vehicles up. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Pacific Health ranks second in nation for cost-efficiency. Hawaii Pacific Health ranks second in the country for cost-efficiency among health care systems, according to Lown Institute, a nonpartisan think tank that advocates for making health care more effective and affordable. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii records 8 new coronavirus-related deaths, 142 additional infections. The new confirmed and probable infection count by island includes 94 new cases on Oahu, 15 on Hawaii Island, 11 on Maui, 13 on Kauai and nine Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state. Star-Advertiser.


City Council committee OK’s Oahu hotel tax proposal. A measure that would establish a 3% city hotel tax advanced to final reading during a Honolulu City Council Budget Committee meeting Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

Vacation Rental Bill Could Starve Windward Businesses That Cater To Tourists. Already suffering from Covid-19’s blow to tourism and the continuing shut-down of travel from Japan, small businesses in Kailua are bracing for the impact of a bill to crack down on illegal short-term rentals. Civil Beat.

Reasons behind Honolulu's building permit backlog. Building permit applications have been piling up on Oahu, adding to project wait time for thousands of residents. The Department of Planning and Permitting has been hit with high turnover and has an overall vacancy rate of 25%. KITV4.

Honolulu Fire Commission Restarts Search For Department Chief.
A new commissioner could deliver a tie-breaking vote sometime in 2022. Civil Beat.

HPD Says It Will Take A Fresh Look At Its Vehicle Pursuit Policy. Interim Chief Rade Vanic told the Honolulu Police Commission that the department will gather data on vehicle pursuits before deciding on any changes. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser.

State: Aloha Stadium redevelopment will provide nearly $1.5B economic boost. Construction to build a new Aloha Stadium ― which will begin in early 2023 ― is expected to add 12,660 construction jobs and more than $595 million in construction wages alone. Hawaii News Now.

No opioid epidemic talk at Honolulu ex-prosecutor’s brother’s trial. There will be no mention of the “opioid epidemic” at a trial against the pain physician brother of a former Hawaii prosecutor imprisoned in a corruption case that also took down her former police chief husband. Associated Press.

Oahu grand jury indicts adoptive parents in Isabella Kalua murder case. An Oahu grand jury on Wednesday indicted Lehua Kalua, 44, and Isaac “Sonny” Kalua III, 52, on charges of second-­degree murder, abuse and related charges in the death of their adopted daughter, Isabella “Ariel” Kalua. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii Public Radio. Hawaii News Now. KHON2. KITV4.

Hawaii Island

Herbicide ban advances.
A County Council panel on Wednesday advanced a measure to ban the use of glyphosate-based herbicides at county Parks and Recreation facilities. West Hawaii Today.

Nearly 100 apply for Phase 2 of buyout program for lava-inundated properties. As of the end of last week, 90 people had applied for the second phase of the county’s Voluntary Housing Buyout Program, said Disaster Recovery Officer Douglas Le at a Wednesday meeting of the County Council’s Government Operations, Relations and Economic Development Committee. Tribune-Herald.


Bezos Day One Fund Gifts $2.5 Million to Family Life Center in Kahului
, Maui. Family Life Center, Inc., a nonprofit organization serving the homeless population on the islands of Maui, Molokaʻi and on Kauaʻi, has been selected to receive a $2.5 million grant from the Bezos Day One Families Fund—the largest grant in Family Life Center’s history. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now.


Alakoko “Menehune” Fishpond saved
; Chan, Zuckerberg make $4 million donation. The 102-acre Alakoko “Menehune” Fishpond has successfully been purchased by nonprofits The Trust for Public Land and Malama Hule‘ia for cultural and environmental stewardship in perpetuity. Garden Island.

Friday, November 12, 2021

Hawaii agriculture struggles for political voice, Honolulu advances hotel tax hike, Maui seeks to limit bike tours, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2021 All Hawii News all rights reserved
Hilo Farmers Market ©2021 All Hawaii News

Can Hawaii Agriculture Get Back Its Political Clout? The plantations that were so profitable in their heyday had the support of generous government incentives. Experts say today’s farmers must build political muscle to win state support. Civil Beat.

Kaiser Contract Negotiations Stall, Setting The Stage For A Strike. A group of 165 pharmacists and therapists in Hawaii will join more than 1,800 other health care employees in a strike over Kaiser Permanente’s wage proposals as contract negotiations continue. Kaiser Permanente alerted Hawaii Kaiser members Thursday that the strike would begin at 5:30 a.m. Nov. 22. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii COVID death toll jumps despite declining cases. Nearly 19% of all of Hawaii’s coronavirus-related deaths since the start of the pandemic have been reported in the past six weeks, with the total death toll jumping from 789 on Oct. 1 to 971 as of Thursday. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii records 3 new coronavirus-related deaths, 130 additional infections. The  new confirmed and probable infection count by island includes 51 new cases on Oahu, 27 on Hawaii Island, 20 on Maui, 30 on Kauai and two Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state. Star-Advertiser.

Survey finds support for Oahu hotel tax, help for rail. A solid majority of Oahu voters — 70% — favor a proposed county tax aimed at visitors, and 56% support the tax if it helps fund the city’s troubled rail project. Star-Advertiser.

Hotel tax bill advances at Honolulu City Council, debate continues on where the funds can be used. The Honolulu City Council advanced Wednesday a bill that would implement a 3% tax on tourist accommodations on Oʻahu. The council voted 6-3 to approve Bill 40 on its second reading, bringing it a step closer to passage. Hawaii Public Radio. Hawaii News Now.

Latest city council bills would affect tourism businesses on North Shore, buskers in Waikīkī. The council approved Wednesday a resolution allowing video monitoring along the route of the Honolulu Marathon on Dec. 12. Hawaii Public Radio.

Waikiki stakeholders want Gov. David Ige to issue emergency declaration designating Kawehewehe Beach a disaster area
. The city’s public beach path, between the Halekulani Hotel and the Outrigger Reef, is boarded up, but there’s nothing to stop beachgoers from walking along the disappearing shoreline, where they risk encountering potential hazards. Star-Advertiser.

How Honolulu’s Climate Office Is Tackling Food Waste.
The Office of Climate Change, Sustainability and Resiliency has big plans for a small $90,000 grant, starting with a pilot project in Chinatown. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Island

Full steam ahead for vets housing. On Veterans Day, county and state officials celebrated a $145,000 grant awarded to the Hale Na Koa ‘O Hanakahi housing project, a 92-unit development on Kawili Street across from the University of Hawaii at Hilo campus that will provide affordable living for senior veterans and spouses of deceased veterans. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Now.

Ethics Board: No problem with Van Pernis ouster vote. The Board of Ethics on Wednesday made quick work dismissing a complaint against the chairman and vice chairwoman of the Leeward Planning Commission after former Leeward Commissioner Mark Van Pernis charged the pair operated outside the county charter and ethics code when the body voted to recommend his removal. West Hawaii Today.


Whistleblower Alleges Prison Officials Provided False Audit Data. A staffer says false data in a 2018 audit of the Maui jail hid deviations from staffing requirements under the federal Prison Rape Elimination Act. Civil Beat.

Lanai project clears last hurdle. Development would create 150 affordable, market-rate rental units. An affordable and market rate rental housing project on Lanai cleared a major final hurdle Wednesday, as the state Land Use Commission approved a change from agricultural to urban use for 56 of the 76 acres where the 150-home rental project will be built. Maui News.

Proposed Legislation To Limit Maui Bicycle Tours Under Review at Nov. 16 Meeting. Proposed legislation to update regulations for bicycle tours operating in the Pāʻia-Haʻikū and Makawao-Pukalani-Kula community plan areas will be reviewed in the Government Relations, Ethics and Transparency Committee virtual meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 16 at 9 am. Maui Now.

Mayor Seeks Info on Shoreline Properties to Ensure Public Access at Keawakapu. Mayor Michael Victorino has issued a formal written request to Suzanne Case, chair of the Hawaiʻi Department of Land and Natural Resources, for the County of Maui to acquire lands near Keawakapu Beach in Kīhei for public parking and beach access. Maui Now.


Bill hindering restrictive HOAs moves forward.
Introduced in August by councilmembers Bernard Carvalho and Luke Evslin, Draft Bill No. 2834 would not allow future covenants, conditions and restrictions or other agreements running with lands to prohibit or limit the ability to set up additional dwelling units, long-term rentals or guest houses. Garden Island.

Proposed West Kaua‘i Energy Project hydro system explained. Engineers used photovoltaic and hydroelectric technology to explain design choices behind the West Kaua‘i Energy Project, at the Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative’s third “Talk Story Tuesday” meeting dedicated to the initiative. Garden Island.

Thursday, November 4, 2021

Auditor's work papers protected, Maui ex-police officer gets prison time for soliciting sex for ticket fixing, Honolulu police defend arresting 10-year-old, keiki get vaccinated, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands


Hawaii Auditor Les Kondo

Judge rules to keep Hawaii state auditor’s ‘work papers’ confidential. Both state auditor Les Kondo and the chairwoman of a special House committee investigating Kondo’s handling of two critical audits of state land management could claim partial victories after their dispute over subpoenas and “confidential work papers” went to Circuit Court on Wednesday. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.

Hawaii unemployment offices to reopen Dec. 1 with limited hours. Hawaii’s unemployment offices, closed since the early part of the pandemic last year, will reopen on a part-time basis beginning Dec. 1, the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations said Wednesday. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Now. KITV4.

Hospitals seek to convince scores of traveling nurses to call Hawaii home. Hundreds of traveling nurses who have spent the past three months caring for Hawaii’s COVID patients will return to the mainland next week. That means many local hospitals will again be left short-staffed. Hawaii News Now.

Kaiser Permanente Hawaii mental health clinicians authorize a strike. After three years of contract negotiations, psychologists, social workers, psychiatric nurses, and chemical dependency counselors at Kaiser Permanente Hawaii have authorized a strike. KITV4.

Department of Public Safety faces a lawsuit over disclosing vaccination statuses
. The civil lawsuit, which seeks unspecified monetary damages, was filed Oct. 25 in Honolulu Circuit Court by Hilo attorney Ted Hong on behalf of the Hawaii Government Employees Association and the United Public Workers. Tribune-Herald.

New service corps program would provide Native Hawaiian youth with job opportunities in conservation. The Indian Youth Service Corps program would provide Indigenous youth with education, employment, and training opportunities through conservation projects on public lands. Hawaii Public Radio.

Wespac’s Aggressive Effort To Muscle In On State Control Of Fisheries
. From paying people to attend meetings to pushing legislation and even publishing a book, the federal fisheries panel spent years trying to influence state policy. Civil Beat.

The first COVID-19 vaccine doses go into the arms of children ages 5-11.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation’s most recent COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor, about 27% of parents surveyed said they are eager to get their kids ages 5 to 11 a vaccine as soon as it is authorized, while 33% said they will wait to see how the vaccine is working. Star-Advertiser. KHON2. KITV4.

Hawaii records 3 new coronavirus-related deaths, 176 additional infections.
The new confirmed and probable infection count by island includes 102 new cases on Oahu, 21 on Hawaii Island, 13 on Maui, 25 on Kauai and 15 Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state. Star-Advertiser.


Honolulu Police Department tells commission arrest of 10-year-old girl ‘reasonable,’ ‘necessary’.
Three officers who arrested a 10-year-old Black girl at a Waipahu elementary school after a complaint from another parent acted in a “reasonable” and “necessary” fashion, an HPD assistant chief told the Honolulu Police Commission on Wednesday. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii’s Congressional delegation demands investigation of Navy’s actions at Red Hill.
Hawaii’s four-member congressional delegation asked the Department of Defense on Wednesday to examine the Navy’s handling of fuel leaks at its Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility, a World War II-era tank farm situated 100 feet above Oahu’s primary drinking water aquifer. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.

Full capacity for many businesses hamstrung by 6-foot distance rule. Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi announced Wednesday that he intends to discuss the distancing limitation with Ige again in hopes of having it lifted because of the negative impact it has on many smaller restaurants and bars. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Hawaii Island

Hotel tax advances without resident discount. A move to exempt county residents from having to pay an extra 3% hotel tax in order to enjoy a staycation on their own island was shot down Wednesday by a County Council majority before advancing Bill 81 on a unanimous vote. West Hawaii Today.

Kona Coffee Cultural Festival celebrates 50 years: Virtual, in-person events start today. Hawaii’s oldest food festival will be celebrating 50 years with both virtual and in-person events starting today. West Hawaii Today.


Ex-Maui police officer gets prison time for soliciting sex in exchange for help sabotaging drunk-driving case. A former Maui police officer today was sentenced to two and a half years in federal prison after he solicited a sexual relationship with a woman he had arrested for drunk driving in exchange for his help sabotaging the case against her. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Big Island Now. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Maui’s vacation rental crackdown reveals strong community divide. In an all-day meeting Wednesday, Maui County Council’s Planning and Sustainable Land Use Committee heard testimony from more than a hundred people regarding vacation rentals on the island. Hawaii News Now.

Newly Selected Maui Police Chief Asks for Dedicated Recruiter, Cold Case Team, and K-9 Program. Newly selected Maui Police Chief, John Pelletier is scheduled to be sworn in on Dec. 15, and is expected to begin his new job as head of the department on the same day, according to information shared at a special meeting today of the Maui Police Commission. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now.

Maui Charter Commission Discussing Planning & Police at Nov. 4 Meeting
. The Maui Charter Commission will receive testimony and discuss the remaining 10 proposed charter amendment under Theme G – Planning and also consider Theme H- Police at its next regular online meeting on Thursday, Nov. 4 at 9 am. Maui Now.


Residents seek passage of zoning bill to halt glamping development. Wednesday, the council heard testimony from a dozen residents in support of Bill No. 2838, which would define undeveloped and developed campgrounds and the areas in which these would be acceptable. Garden Island.

The Elections Division of the Office of the County Clerk and the State Office of Elections have partnered with BallotTrax
, a division of i3logix based in Denver, Colorado to offer free and secure mail ballot locator and notification services to all properly registered voters of the County of Kaua‘i beginning with the upcoming Prosecuting Attorney Special Elections. This service is currently only being offered to properly registered voters of the County of Kaua‘i, but will be expanded statewide for the 2022 Elections. Garden Island.

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Coronavirus vaccinations for children, union complaints from teachers, health-care and hotel workers, Honolulu, Kauai advance hotel tax, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Photo by Kristine Wook on Unsplash
PC:Kristine Wook on Unsplash

Elementary age kids in Hawaii weeks away from being eligible for vaccine. Children between the ages of 5 and 11 are just weeks away from being eligible for the Pfizer vaccine. In Hawaii, 119,000 keiki fall into that age group. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Teachers union files complaint to force Hawaii officials to bargain over COVID-19 safety protocols.
The union representing Hawaii’s public school teachers has filed a complaint with the Hawaii Labor Relations Board in an effort to force state officials to engage in bargaining over COVID-19 safety protocols. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

‘Extremely Alarming’ Test Scores Show Challenges Ahead For Hawaii Schools. Hawaii’s public school students suffered dramatic drops in proficiency in core subjects in the nearly two years since the Covid-19 pandemic began, reflecting severe setbacks in academic progress ahead of the resumption of full in-person learning in August. Civil Beat.

Hawaiian language immersion students get distance learning option 2 months into the school year. The Department of Education is recruiting Hawaiian language speakers to help stand up the state’s first-ever Hawaiian Immersion Distance Learning Program. Hawaii Public Radio.

Proposal seeks to modify University of Hawaii tenure system
. The recommendations, crafted by a special committee of the board over seven months this year, gives deans and other administrators a say in the five-year review of tenured faculty members. It also reserves tenure for faculty who actively engage with students in the classroom and eliminates tenure tracks for support faculty and extension agents. Star-Advertiser.

Kaiser healthcare workers vote in favor of strike after failed contract negotiations. Following stalled contract negotiations, Kaiser Permanente Hawaii workers represented by Unite Here Local 5 voted in favor of striking. The union said 93% of healthcare workers, which included nearly 2,000 employees, voted to authorize a strike. Hawaii News Now.

As Hawaii welcomes visitors back, a battle brews between union and hotels. The union is accusing the hotels of violating their contract by not bringing back enough workers. KHON2.

Biden’s Spending Bill Could Be A ‘Game Changer’ For Housing in Hawaii.
The infrastructure bill that the U.S. Senate is debating has the potential to make a huge dent in Hawaii’s housing needs, according to affordable housing advocates who have analyzed the version of the measure that passed the U.S. House. Civil Beat.

Investigation of Hawaii Auditor Les Kondo focuses on forged document. A special state House committee’s investigation of state Auditor Les Kondo and his handling of two critical audits of state land management on Wednesday focused on why Kondo did not pursue a document forged by a Kauai land agent or further research whether a land lessee who lost nonprofit status was being charged rates below market value. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.

More than 1M Hawaii residents have completed COVID-19 vaccinations. This milestone has been reached as the number of daily coronavirus cases in Hawaii continues on a downward trend. The 7-day average of new cases is at 119, and the average positivity rate is at 1.7%. Star-Advertiser. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Now. Maui Now. KITV4.

Green favors no restrictions on outdoor gatherings for vaccinated. Lt. Gov. Josh Green said with current vaccination rates, there should be no restrictions on outdoor gatherings if events can confirm COVID-19 inoculations. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii sees 139 new coronavirus cases, bringing statewide total to 82,730. The new confirmed and probable infection count by island includes 71 new cases on Oahu, 20 on Maui, 32 on Hawaii Island, 10 on Kauai, one on Molokai and five Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state. Star-Advertiser.


Legislative proposal carrying a city hotel tax advances.
A measure that would implement a city hotel tax, with a portion of revenue slated to flow to rail transit, advanced during a City Council committee meeting Wednesday. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

More restrictions loosen up on Oahu. Managed indoor events can resume on Oct. 20 at 50% capacity or a maximum of 500 attendees, or whichever is smaller. KITV4.

Legal Opinion Affecting 1,800 Oahu Landowners Is Secret For Now. The Land Use Commission on Thursday will discuss in private a Hawaii Attorney General’s analysis on Important Agricultural Lands. Civil Beat.

Key City Council committee advances funding for expanded lifeguard hours. A key City Council committee approved a plan Wednesday to provide more than $500,000 for the city’s dawn to dusk lifeguard hours. The city needs Council approval to transfer money it saved from vacant positions to hire 15 Ocean Safety contract workers. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Red Hill Decision Delayed For Probe Of Navy’s Alleged Lack of Disclosure. The Hawaii Department of Health is delaying a decision on the U.S. Navy’s Red Hill fuel facility permit application as health officials investigate allegations that the Navy failed to disclose the full extent of its fuel pipeline network and the facility’s “corrosion history.”  Civil Beat.

Hawaii Island

Council eyes state support for wastewater issues. A resolution discussed at Wednesday’s council meeting would urge the state legislature to set funding for wastewater management projects around the state as one of its legislative goals next year. Tribune-Herald.


Final Community Budget Meeting for FY 2023 Set for Thursday, Oct. 21. The final Community Budget Meeting for Fiscal Year 2023, hosted by Mayor Michael Victorino and his administration, will be held on Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021, starting at 5:30 p.m. Maui Now.

Hawai‘i Senators Visit Mahi Pono on Maui, Explore Strategies to Stabilize Economy. The Senate Committee on Ways and Means conducted a site visit today of Mahi Pono’s farming operations in Central Maui. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now.

Planning and Possibly Police the Focus of Next Maui Charter Commission Meeting. The Maui Charter Commission will hear testimony and discuss Theme G – Planning and, if time allows, Theme H – Police, at its next meeting on Thursday, Oct. 21 at 9 am. Maui Now.

Maui Police Plan New ‘Citizen’s Academy’
. The department’s community relations section has plans to set up a Citizen’s Academy starting in January that gives people ages 18-years and older a window into the life of a police cadet. Civil Beat.


Kaua‘i setting aside TAT funds for vehicles, wages.
A bill that would appropriate $9 million in county Transient Accommodation Tax revenues passed first reading at the meeting of the Kaua‘i County Council yesterday. Garden Island.

Kaua‘i Target opens early in Lihu‘e. The newest Target, its eighth in Hawai‘i since 2009, will be open seven days a week. Garden Island.

Thursday, October 7, 2021

Native Hawaiians hard hit by COVID, Health Department denies researchers data, local hotel tax advances on Oahu and Maui, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Surge in COVID deaths took heavy toll on Native Hawaiian community. Experts say in the past two weeks, Native Hawaiians have accounted for up to 40% of the state’s COVID deaths. Hawaii News Now.

Local researchers say Department of Health officials have refused to collaborate and share COVID-19 data. Local epidemiologists and researchers say the Hawaii Department of Health has continually rebuffed their requests for data throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and that the department’s latest decision to scale back the information it has been releasing to the public daily on COVID-19 deaths is just the latest example of the department’s lack of openness. Star-Advertiser.
State Auditor Les Kondo faces ‘illegal’ act or prosecution. State Auditor Les Kondo told a House committee investigating his handling of two critical audits that a subpoena forces him to commit an illegal act or face a possible criminal contempt charge. Star-Advertiser.

Jill Tokuda Makes Official Her Bid To Be Hawaii Lt. Governor. The former state senator will be part of what is expected to be a large Democratic Primary field. Civil Beat.

Tourism leaders urge Ige to declare it’s OK to visit Hawaii. The president and CEO of the Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association said Hawaii’s visitor industry is “in jeopardy if we don’t get a positive statement soon from the governor that we’re ready to open up again.” Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii records 7 new coronavirus-related deaths, 168 additional infections. The new confirmed and probable infection count by island includes 100 new cases on Oahu, 18 on Maui, 34 on Hawaii Island, 11 on Kauai, one on Molokai and four Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state. Star-Advertiser.


City Council advances proposal for Oahu visitor tax. Bill 40 would levy a 3% city transient accommodations tax on visitor accommodations. It would be imposed in addition to the state’s current 10.25% visitor tax. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi said Oahu’s ban on large gatherings will likely be allowed to expire Oct. 19, as long as COVID cases don’t surge again. The policy prohibits any gatherings larger than 25 people outdoors or 10 indoors. Hawaii News Now. KHON2. KITV4.

Salary Data Show Hundreds Of Honolulu City Employees Earn Well Over The State Average. The medical examiner and the top executives at HART are making the biggest salaries. Civil Beat.

Honolulu Police Commission Hears From HPD Whistleblower
. A Honolulu Police Department whistleblower who accused her superiors of retaliation and discrimination told the Honolulu Police Commission Wednesday that the department is “broken” and said her complaints have been “completely ignored” in the past. Star-Advertiser. KHON2.

Honolulu Police Department seeks city help with inquiry on Major Stephen Gerona
. The Honolulu Police Department asked the city administration for help with an internal investigation into allegations that a major harassed and bullied subordinates who did not agree with his management style and decision-making. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

City Council Approves Dave Matlin To Honolulu Fire Commission
. But the new commissioner says he will abstain from the current deadlock over hiring a new fire chief. Civil Beat.

Firm to pay delinquent Kakaako housing fees. Affordable rental apartments in Kakaako serving low-income seniors could shift from state to private ownership as part of an effort to address financial challenges with the property. Star-Advertiser.

Council unanimously votes to take over ownership of embattled Diamond Head road. The Honolulu City Council unanimously voted on Wednesday to have the city take over ownership of Leahi Avenue near Diamond Head. Hawaii News Now. 

Lawmakers, stakeholders weigh in on future of AES coal plant. There are different opinions on whether the Barbers Point facility and its 180 megawatts of generating capacity should be allowed to retire, or be converted into biomass power — a firm renewable form of energy from burning wood, but one that has generated controversy, in part because it still involves releasing carbon emissions.  Pacific Business News.

Hawaii Island

Maunakea forum measured
: Moderated update on master plan features more information than interaction. A tightly moderated forum about the University of Hawaii’s updated Maunakea Master Plan was informative Wednesday, but left participants little opportunity to interact. Tribune-Herald.


Mayor signs tax bill. Mayor Michael Victorino signed Bill 101 on Tuesday establishing a 3 percent transient accommodations tax. Maui News.

Proposal before Maui council would phase out thousands of short-term rentals. The Maui County Council is considering phasing out all short-term rentals in apartment districts on the island. Hawaii News Now.

Charter Commission Discussion Continues on Proposed Charter Amendments. The Maui Charter Commission will meet again on Thursday at 9 a.m. to receive testimony and discuss additional proposed revisions to the Maui County Charter. Maui Now.

Father and son on Maui charged after officer finds dead turtle in fishing net. Randall Del Castillo Sr., 57, and Randall Del Castillo Jr., 33, were cited for taking and possessing a green sea turtle, which is a protected species. Star-Advertiser. Big Island Now. Maui Now. KITV4.


County to use eminent domain for affordable housing in Kilauea.
The Kaua‘i County Council voted unanimously Wednesday to proceed with the acquisition of 23.5 acres of property in Kilauea using the process of eminent domain. Garden Island.