Monday, August 9, 2021

COVID cases climb, Ige taps McCullen for appellate judge, reinstates open government laws, state highways need work, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Hawaii highways need protection from natural hazards. Nearly 60% of Hawaii’s roads and over 75% of its bridges are threatened by possible landslides, coastal erosion, sea level rise, storm surges, tsunamis, wildfires or other natural hazards, according to a state Department of Transportation report that identifies vulnerable areas along state highways and recommends actions to make them more resilient to climate-related effects. Star-Advertiser.

Here’s How Hawaii Schools Plan To Spend $412 Million In New Aid. The Hawaii Department of Education plans to offer individual tutoring, academic coaching and summer school counseling to help struggling students amid the coronavirus crisis with the latest round of federal funding received through the American Rescue Plan. Civil Beat.

Ige Appoints Honolulu Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Sonja McCullen To Intermediate Court Of Appeals. The new appointment comes a week after the governor’s last pick, Dan Gluck, was rejected by the Senate. Civil Beat.

Hawaii bankruptcies continue decreasing. Statewide bankruptcies remained near historic lows as they plunged 30.7% in July to their lowest point for that month in 15 years.  Star-Advertiser.

Ige Lifts Suspension Of Hawaii’s Open Government Laws
. Gov. David Ige’s latest emergency proclamation takes a major step toward reopening the doors to government transparency, more than 16 months after the governor used his emergency powers to suspend open government laws at the start of the pandemic. Civil Beat.

Ige: Federal Eviction Freeze Applies To All Major Hawaii Counties. There had initially been confusion over who in Hawaii might qualify for the 60-day federal extension of protection from eviction. Hawaii’s eviction moratorium expires on Friday, but state leaders said tenants in nearly every county across the state who are behind on their rent due to pandemic-related financial strife now qualify for protection under a new federal freeze on evictions. Civil Beat.

Return of cruise ships still up in the air. Exactly 33,400 trans-Pacific passengers arrived Thursday by air at Hawaii’s major airports, but the question of when the Aloha State will once again welcome cruise ship passengers at its ports remains unanswered. Tribune-Herald.

DOE reports 105 COVID-19 cases in first week of in-person learning. In the first week since public school students and teachers returned to full in-person learning, the Hawaii Department of Education reports 105 new COVID-19 cases. Confirmed cases are reported every Friday. KITV4.

Hawaii Logs 4th Straight Day Of More Than 600 New COVID-19 Cases. Hawaii reported 643 new COVID-19 cases Sunday, marking the fourth consecutive day of cases over 600. Of the new cases Sunday, 431 were on Oahu, 118 on Hawaii Island,  22 on Kauai, 54 on Maui and 7 on Molokai. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.


Honolulu still deciding how to spend $386 million in federal funds. The city’s first federal deadline to disclose its plans for the $386 million it was awarded through the American Rescue Plan Act is approaching at the end of the month. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Mulls Bill To Get Communities And Developers ‘On The Same Page’. Neighborhood frustrations over not getting advance notice about past projects prompted the measure. Developers may soon need to present project proposals to neighborhood boards in Honolulu before submitting a permit application for coastline development following frustration from North Shore residents and others seeking more public input in the process. Civil Beat.

For Cost Overruns, Honolulu Rail Is In A League Of Its Own,
New Data Shows. A former FTA planning director says it’s time to pause and study the best path forward for the troubled transit project. Civil Beat.

Ward Village developer sells out third condominium tower. It took nearly eight years, but the final unit in the Anaha luxury condominium tower at Ward Village in Kakaako has been sold. Star-Advertiser.

New Kapolei facility opens to train millwrights, others. A local construction industry organization has built itself a new facility to train more workers amid a Hawaii building boom that has been going for several years. Star-Advertiser.

Bringing attention to ‘honu harassment,’ dozens rallied in Laniakea. Dozens of North Shore residents and community activists turned out for a rally at Laniakea Beach Sunday, protesting tourists harassment of honu. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

5 from ‘Love Island’ TV program test positive for virus. Five positive cases of COVID-­19 were reported among members of the production of “Love Island U.S.A.,” a CBS reality TV show currently filming in Hilo. Star-Advertiser.

Four Found Not Guilty Of Obstructing Mauna Kea Access Road. Four Native Hawaiians accused of obstructing the Mauna Kea Access Road in opposition to the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope were found not guilty in court on Friday. Hilo District Judge Kanani Laubach ruled in favor of Marie Alohalani Brown, Maxine Kahaulelio, Ranette Robinson and Keliʻi W. Ioane; the first of 38 to go to trial in over the arrests that occurred back in July 2019. Big Island Video News.

Hawaii County to receive $8 million to replace buses. The Hawaii County Council approved a resolution on Wednesday allowing the funds to be used to continue operations and to purchase additional buses. West Hawaii Today.

284 have applied for lava buyouts, but some remain frustrated by the process. Nearly everyone who was eligible to have their eruption-damaged homes bought out by Hawaii County has applied for the program. Tribune-Herald.

Residents demonstrate against youth vaccination requirements. The sign-waving events held in Waimea and Kailua-Kona, with another planned today in Hilo, follow the state Department of Education mandating vaccinations for student-athletes, and Parker School announcing it will require all eligible students and staff on campus be vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, by Oct. 1. West Hawaii Today.


Council lets hotel moratorium veto stand. Override fails to get enough votes on bill aimed at mitigating high visitor volumes. Two Maui County Council members dramatically switched stances on a hotly contested measure to temporarily halt visitor accommodation growth in West and South Maui, ultimately allowing Mayor Michael Victorino’s veto of the bill to stand. Maui News.

MEO Outreach Schedule Features Rental, Mortgage, and Utility Help. Renters and mortgage holders facing difficulties making their payments may qualify for assistance – including with back rent – and could receive information and help in applying for relief at Maui Economic Opportunity in-person outreach events and offices. Maui Now.


Waimea 400 plan focuses on housing, ag. How will climate change and sea-level rise affect the 417 acres of the Waimea 400 site? That’s what the county is trying to figure out through an adaptation planning method, said Waimea 400 Project Manager Lea Kai‘aokamalie of the county Planning Department. Garden Island.

New Kukui Grove shop has lines at grand opening. There was a line of people waiting patiently Sunday outside the doors to Rose’s Pinoy Favorites at Kukui Grove Center for the shop’s grand opening. Garden Island.

Friday, August 6, 2021

Ige issues vaccination mandate for state and county workers, mulls lifting vaccine passports for trans-Pacific travel, tightening gathering restrictions, as COVID hits record, clusters linked to church outings, volleyball tournaments, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Gov. David Ige announces vaccination mandate

Hawaii state and county workers not vaccinated against COVID-19 must undergo weekly testing. State and county employees will be required to show proof that they are vaccinated against COVID-19 by Aug. 16 or undergo weekly testing under new emergency rules announced Thursday by Gov. David Ige in response to a sharp rise in coronavirus cases. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii Public Radio. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News. Big Island Now. Garden Island. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now. KHON2. KITV4.  

Limits on social gatherings, the lifting of a vaccination exemption for trans-Pacific travelers, and even distance learning for public school students. Those are among the measures that are back on the table as officials battle a resurgence of COVID cases and the delta variant. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

All state House members, staff must be fully vaccinated starting Sept. 30.
All state House members and their staffs must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as of Sept. 30 or provide weekly proof of negative test results. Star-Advertiser.

Union Leaders Speak Out Against Ige’s Vaccine Mandate. Union leaders expressed frustration with Gov. David Ige’s recent use of emergency powers to mandate state and county employees be vaccinated against COVID-19 or undergo weekly testing. Big Island Now. KITV4.

Hawaii extends renewal date for expired driver’s licenses, IDs to October.
The State has extended the COVID-19 emergency limit on renewing state IDs and driver’s licenses. Hawaii residents now have until Monday, Oct. 4, to update their documents if they have expired. KHON2.

Cabinet Kala: Who Gets Campaign Cash From Top State Officials. Gov. David Ige has received $103,000 from his current and former cabinet members, who have also donated more than $86,000 to state and county lawmakers. Civil Beat.

Summer volleyball tournaments lead to COVID clusters, including several breakthrough cases. The Hawaii Department of Health’s cluster report today focuses on the spread of the coronavirus among Hawaii residents participating in summer volleyball tournaments on the U.S. mainland. Star-Advertiser. KITV4.

Maui Jail, Oahu's Halawa Prison Report New COVID-19 Outbreaks.
Inmates at Maui Community Correctional Center and Halawa Correctional Facility test positive this week. Civil Beat.

Hospitals starting to be stretched thin. Hilton Raethel, CEO of the Healthcare Association of Hawaii, addressed the state Senate Special Committee on COVID-19 on Thursday, saying that the number of coronavirus patients in hospitals is still not as high as earlier in the pandemic, but added that he believes the worst is yet to come. Tribune-Herald. KHON2.

Hawaii hits record 655 new COVID-19 infections as cases skyrocket. Hawaii’s number of daily new coronavirus cases spiked to a record high of 655 Thursday, this time with no lag time from lab glitches to blame for the surge. Thursday’s daily case count included 428 cases on Oahu, 131 in Hawaii County, 69 cases in Maui County and seven in Kauai County. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.


Oahu Hasn’t Spent Tens Of Millions In Rent Aid As State Eviction Ban Expires. Starting Friday, Hawaii landlords may start serving eviction notices to tenants at least four months behind on rent. Civil Beat.

Honolulu Fire Commission Stalemates On Hiring New Chief. The mayor’s nominee of a seventh fire commissioner also is on hold at the City Council. Civil Beat.

Accused Honolulu crime boss Mike Miske pleads not guilty. Miske is charged with 17 offenses that include drug trafficking and weapons offenses, armed robbery, kidnapping, and murder for hire. His federal jury trial is set for March 21, 2022. KITV4.

Petition underway against Hawaii public school sports delay. The postponement of fall sports by the public-school Oahu Interscholastic Association on Wednesday due to the surge in COVID-19 cases has student-athletes’ families taking action. Star-Advertiser.

Homeless Frontlines: Getting Off the Street on Oʻahu. HPD opened a second Provisional Outdoor Screening and Triage (POST) facility in Whitmore this past summer in response to requests from the community and area elected officials. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Hearing date set for Hilo charter school’s permit request. It will be at least two months until the Windward Planning Commission decides whether to grant Connections New Century Public Charter School a special permit to build a campus on about 70 acres of state-owned agricultural-zoned land in Kaumana. Tribune-Herald.

58 Junk Vehicles Removed From Hawaiian Ocean View Estates. The County of Hawai‘i’s Derelict and Abandoned Vehicle Section held its first Rural Area Junk Vehicle Collection last month in Kaʻū. Big Island Video News.

Parker Ranch works to restore forests following devastating Big Island wildfire. Following the devastating wildfire on Hawaii Island, Parker Ranch in Waimea said they will explore resiliency and sustainability opportunities to protect its pasture lands. Hawaii News Now.


Local leaders aim to move quickly on new county transient accommodations tax. Mayor backs max amount; committee to hear proposal for max surcharge. Maui News.

Final EIS for Proposed A&B Water Lease Withdrawn Citing “Typographical Errors”. Alexander & Baldwin and East Maui Irrigation Company, Limited, withdrew its Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the proposed water lease for the Nāhiku, Keʻanae, Honomanū, and Huelo License Areas previously filed with both the DLNR Land Division and the State of Hawai‘i Environmental Review Program.  Maui Now.

County of Maui Successfully prices $84.74 Million in GO Bonds at 1.747% Rate. This is the County’s lowest rate confirmed back to 2005, based on available data.  Maui Now.

Maui Rally Seeks Medical Freedom for Keiki Athletes Amid New Vaccine Requirement. The rally drew more than 100 participants and was staged at the location which houses the district offices for the Department of Education, Maui Complex Areas. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now.


DOH: Lihu‘e Missionary Church COVID-19 exposure warning. The state’s Department of Health has issued an exposure notice to those who participated in the Lihu‘e Missionary Church youth excursions on July 25 and 31. Garden Island. Hawaii News Now.

Community, law enforcement protect the turtles of Laniakea.
After several recent reports of visitors slapping a seal or people touching or harassing turtles, Gov. David Ige declared violators will be fully prosecuted of the law. Garden Island.

Thursday, August 5, 2021

Gov. Ige to announce sweeping vaccination mandate, Saiki mulls Lt. Gov. bid, hospitals implement COVID surge plan, Honolulu mayor restricts social gatherings,more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

House Speaker Scott Saiki

House Speaker Scott Saiki Mulls A Run For LG. The lieutenant governor’s job involves few official responsibilities but is a proven stepping stone to higher office. Civil Beat.

Governor expected to announce sweeping vaccine mandate for state, county workers. All state and county workers may soon be required to get a vaccine or face paying for weekly testing. Gov. David Ige is expected to announce the dramatic new plan Thursday. Multiple sources say the mandatory program could begin as early as next week. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu City Council Member Andria Tupola, 2018 GOP gubernatorial candidate, not vaccinated, and not planning a run for governor next year. She said that because she had already contracted the virus, she did not need a vaccination. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.

Feds allocate $137 million more in pandemic aid for Hawaii’s public schools. Hawaii’s public schools will receive an additional $137 million to help with making schools safe and assisting students with learning loss connected to the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Department of Education is expected to announced today. Star-Advertiser.

New Federal Order May Buy More Time For Tenants Facing Eviction In Hawaii. Hawaii’s eviction ban is due to expire on Friday, although a new law requires renters and landlords to seek mediation first. Civil Beat.

Hospitals Are Implementing Surge Planning as COVID-19 Cases Spike, Gov. David Ige Says. The governor said a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention team is in Hawaiʻi to help analyze the data and develop strategies to stop the increasing case count. Hawaii Public Radio. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaiʻi Department of Education Delays Fall Sports Season, Requires COVID-19 Vaccines for All Involved. All public school student-athletes must be vaccinated against COVID-19 to play sports in the upcoming school year, the Hawaiʻi State Department of Education announced Wednesday. Due to the steep increase of COVID-19 cases, the fall season will be delayed until all student-athletes and adults working in athletics are vaccinated, the department said. Hawaii Public Radio. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Now. Garden Island. Maui Now. KHON2.

Hawai‘i Virus Cases Smashing Old Records Amid Unprecedented Surge.
The 346 confirmed cases included: 217 on O‘ahu (+6 probable); 53 on Hawai‘i Island (+10 probable); 18 on Maui (+11 probable); five on Kaua‘i; and 25 in Hawai‘i residents diagnosed while out of state (+1 probable). Big Island Now. Maui Now.


Honolulu Mayor Announces New Restrictions On Social Gatherings. Mayor Rick Blangiardi said at a City Council meeting that Oahu will limit social gatherings to 25 people outdoors and 10 indoors. Civil Beat.

Honolulu City Council receives input on how to use American Rescue Plan Act funds, focusing on helping people impacted by the pandemic. Councilmembers say the money will be used to provide aid to people impacted by the pandemic -- with a focus on investing in critical island infrastructure, economic impact, community support and modernizing city systems. KITV4.

TheBus Reports Ridership 60% of Pre-Pandemic Levels, Increases Service for Schools. Overall ridership on city buses has increased since the earlier days of the pandemic. Hawaii Public Radio.

Some Councilmembers call for Joe Uno’s reappointment to HART Board. Honolulu Council members Augie Tulba and Heidi Tsuneyoshi want Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation board member Joe Uno to serve another term. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.  Hawaii News Now.

Pressure grows for transparency as Honolulu’s fire commission secretly votes for next chief. Pressure is growing for less secrecy by the Honolulu Fire Commission as it searches for a new chief. Hawaii News Now.

Oahu lifeguard claims failed city safety protocol spread COVID. An Oahu lifeguard claims he turned into a "COVID spreader" because the city didn't follow safety protocol, after a coronavirus exposure five weeks ago. KITV4.

Former ‘Waikiki Walk’ retail complex to be redeveloped. One of the most prime retail corners in Waikiki — a site once filled with mock-up scenes of old Hawaii including a Matson passenger ship — is to be redeveloped for the third time in three decades. Star-Advertiser.

Employers, job seekers meet in person at Career Expo. More than 70 companies and organizations gathered at the Neal S. Blaisdell Center Exhibition Hall Wednesday to recruit job candidates. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Construction code bill advances, faces one more County Council vote. After months of delay, the Hawaii County Council moved Wednesday to adopt changes to the county construction code. Tribune-Herald.

Gov. David Ige declares state of emergency for Hawaii County after wildfire scorches at least 40,000 acres. The declaration allows the governor to activate the major disaster fund and spend state funds as appropriated to protect the health, safety and welfare of Hawaii County residents and visitors, according to a news release from his office. Star-Advertiser. Big Island Video News.

Rising coronavirus cases in Hawaii raises concerns for care homes. The Life Care Center of Hilo is seeing another COVID-19 cluster within the facility, with 10 residents sick. KHON2.

Queen’s North Hawai´i Community Hospital Reinstates Visitor Ban. The decision was made in light of the recent coronavirus surge, which is shattering previous infection records from the first year and a half of the pandemic.  Big Island Now.

‘Fisherman’ statue relocated in Hilo park. Local artists Henry Bianchini and Shan Moy attached Ho‘omalule ‘Upena Kiloi, or Metamorphosis of a Net Fisherman, to a plinth in the art piece’s new spot near Liliuokalani Gardens in Hilo on Wednesday. Tribune-Herald.


‘Crowded’ Lanaians back Hokuao rental project. Pulama Lana‘i project of 150 homes seeking fast-track approval process. Pointing to the lack of housing inventory that forces multigenerational families to pack inside one- or two-bedroom units, more than 30 Lanai residents came out to testify Monday on a rental project proposed by Oracle billionaire Larry Ellison’s company Pulama Lana’i. Maui News.

Court Cuts A&B’s Watertake from East Maui While Contested Case Hearing is Underway
. The Environmental Court has temporarily limited the amount of water that Alexander & Baldwin and East Maui Irrigation can take from East Maui to an average of about 25 million gallons of water per day, according to stream advocates. Maui Now.

10 New Maui County Paratransit Buses Blessed. Maui County paratransit bus riders will benefit from 10 new paratransit buses, which were blessed Wednesday and should be on the road within the next two weeks. Maui Now. KHON2. KITV4.


Council approves traffic calming bill. A bill clarifying and outlining the county’s Department of Public Works and Kaua‘i County Council’s roles in determining measures to slow down traffic has passed through the legislative body. Garden Island.

KHS to start ‘safe haven’ program for pets and victims of abuse. With the help of a $20,000 RedRover Safe Housing grant, the Kaua‘i Humane Society has been able to purchase a dedicated space to house pets belonging to victims in unsafe conditions. Garden Island.

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Mayors mull vaccination mandates for county employees, schools open to in-person learning, local celeb chef dies of COVID, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

PC:Steven Cornfield via Unsplash
COVID vaccination PC:Steven Cornfield via Unsplash

All 4 Hawaii mayors are considering vaccine mandates for county workers. Potential policy changes would apply to nearly 13,000 workers statewide. Hawaii News Now.

Health officials look to add contact tracers. After scaling back its contact tracing program at the start of the year, state health officials are increasing the number of staff used to track COVID-19 cases as the highly ­contagious delta variant causes cases to spike to the highest levels seen since the start of the pandemic. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii’s public schools open new academic year amid virus concerns. Osa Tui Jr., president of the Hawaii State Teachers Association, said members reported that some schools opted to cancel large assemblies in their gymnasiums, but others did not, meaning hundreds of students sat shoulder-to-shoulder in events on different islands. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Tribune-Herald. Garden Island. Hawaii News Now. KHON2. 

Rejection Of Ige’s Judicial Nominee Raises Questions Of Diversity In Hawaii Courts. Far fewer than half of the state’s judges are women, and men still far outnumber women in the legal field and in applications for vacancies. Civil Beat.

Beloved local chef, TV star Kawasaki dies while ill with COVID-19. A local family is mourning the loss of 45-year-old local star chef Grant Kawasaki. KHON2.

With COVID already canceling games, sports officials consider testing, mandating vaccines. With three non-leagues games cancelled this weekend, some feel there are better solutions to allowing athletes to suit up. Hawaii News Now.

Aug. 3, 2021 COVID-19 Update: 389 Cases, 1 death. The confirmed cases included: 266 on O‘ahu (+2 probable); 65 on Hawai‘i Island (-1 probable); 34 on Maui (-3 probable); six on Kaua‘i; and 18 in Hawai‘i residents diagnosed while out of state (+2 probable). KITV4.


In First Six Months In Office, Honolulu Mayor’s Campaign Collected Over $600,000.
Of the total donations, $450,000 went to repay Blangiardi for money he loaned his campaign. Civil Beat.

Honolulu rail costs ‘unimaginable,’ retired transit official says
. A retired Federal Transit Administration official who had evaluation responsibility for America’s rail projects — including the city’s troubled system — called Honolulu’s spiraling costs and $3 billion deficit “unimaginable” and “far beyond” anything he has seen across the country in 30 years with the FTA. Star-Advertiser.

Mistaken identity lands man in Hawaii mental hospital for over 2 years
. Hawaii officials wrongly arrested a homeless man for a crime committed by someone else, locked him up in a state hospital for more than two years, forced him to take psychiatric drugs and then tried to cover up the mistake by quietly setting him free with just 50 cents to his name, the Hawaii Innocence Project said in a court document asking a judge to set the record straight. Associated Press.

Updated Indictment In Miske Case Includes New Defendants And Details Of Alleged Murder. The kingpin’s daughter-in-law was named as a defendant, along with a business associate alleged to have bought a large fish bag to dispose of a body at sea. Civil Beat.

Reusable take-out container pilot project launches on Oahu's North Shore. A new pilot project, known as Full Cycle Takeout, hopes to reduce trash. KITV4.

Amazon has big plans for Kalihi Kai site.
Amazon is preparing to change the way it fulfills customer orders in Honolulu with a new facility that could involve company-branded vans and personal vehicles delivering packages. Star-Advertiser.

State received 2 proposals in bid for removal of the Falls of Clyde from Honolulu Harbor. The Hawaii Department of Transportation said it has received two proposals in response to its solicitation for the removal of the historic Falls of Clyde ship from Honolulu Harbor. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Council members vote to oust Van Pernis. County Council members on Tuesday voted narrowly in favor of removing a commissioner from the Leeward Planning Commission. Tribune-Herald.

Puna land purchase advances.
Hawaii County will consider purchasing 165 acres of Puna land under its open space land-buying program. Tribune-Herald.

COVID cases reported at Life Care Center of Hilo. Nearly a dozen COVID-19 cases have been reported at Life Care Center of Hilo. Tribune-Herald.


Community Input Sought at Maui Charter Commission Meeting. This is the latest in a series of meetings scheduled over the next several months by the Commission to obtain input and insights from the community related to proposed Charter amendments that will be considered for placement on the ballot in November 2022.  Maui Now.

Keawakapu Home Listed at $38M as Neighboring Property Sells for $45M, Highest on Record. A Balinese and Hawaiʻi-inspired beachfront home in Keawakapu, Maui is on the market, listed at $38 million. It comes up for sale as a separate property down the road, also in Keawakapu sold for a record $45 million. Maui Now.


County has enough cash to ‘cure’ rent delinquency. Local nonprofit Kaua‘i Economic Opportunity, Inc. handles all landlord-tenant mediation cases in Kaua‘i County. Garden Island.

West Kaua‘i Energy Project discussion is Aug. 10. Keeping members informed and soliciting community feedback on the West Kaua‘i Energy Project is the intent of a series of monthly community meetings starting Tuesday, Aug. 10 at 4:30 p.m., at the Kekaha Neighborhood Center. Garden Island.

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

School starts amid COVID surge, hospitals begin requiring staff vaccinations as capacity nears, Maui councilwoman on extended medical leave, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Gov. David Ige press conference Aug. 2, 2021

Safety guidelines urged by Gov. David Ige as Hawaii public school begins. The union representing 13,500 Hawaii public school teachers asked Gov. David Ige to postpone the start of school for elementary-age students due to the spike in COVID-19 cases, but it was rebuffed. Instead, Ige joined interim schools Superintendent Keith Hayashi and state Health Director Libby Char at a news conference Monday to say that in-person learning is critical to the academic and social success and well-being of the 175,000 students set to begin school this morning. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Tribune-Herald. Garden Island. Hawaii News Now. KITV4. KHON2.

Governors race: Lt. Gov. Josh Green raised more than $400,000 this year, bringing his campaign war chest to $600K In Campaign Cash More Than A Year Before Election Day. Former Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell raised $9,000 during the first half of this year for a total of $509,000. Civil Beat.

New Reports Show Campaign Cash Is Flowing In To Hawaii’s Elected US Officials. Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz continues to add to his bankroll in advance of the 2022 election although he has yet to draw a challenger. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Has A Ban On Sunscreen Chemicals But No One’s Sure Who Should Enforce It. Selling sunscreens containing oxybenzone and octinoxate became illegal this year, but lawmakers are relying on sellers to self-police and consumers to hold them accountable. Civil Beat.

Delta variant surge has had little impact on tourism. At a Monday meeting of the House Committee on COVID-19 Economic and Financial Preparedness, state officials and visitor industry representatives discussed the effects — or lack thereof — the current outbreak in the state has had on the recovery of the visitor industry. Tribune-Herald. Garden Island. KHON2.

Major Hawaii hospitals announce COVID-19 vaccine mandates for employees. Employees of four of Hawaii’s major hospital systems, including Hawaii Pacific Health, Kaiser Permanente, The Queen’s Health Systems and Adventist Health Castle, are now required to get the COVID- 19 vaccine, according to mandates announced Monday by health care executives. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Now. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Lt. Gov. reports 150 COVID patients are in Hawaii hospitals, majority unvaccinated. The Queen’s Medical Center and other hospitals have asked for extra support to relieve exhausted nurses and doctors. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii reports 365 new coronavirus infections as delta variant surge continues.
The new confirmed and probable infection count reported today includes 222 new cases on Oahu, 76 on Hawaii Island, 44 on Maui, 14 on Kauai, and nine Hawaii residents diagnosed outside of the state. Star-Advertiser.


Commission again extends deadline in search for Honolulu police chief. The 24 people who applied to serve as Honolulu’s 12th police chief have been informed whether they met the minimum qualifications, and the deadline to hire a consultant to pick the finalists for Honolulu police commissioners and the public to consider was extended again, to 4:30 p.m. Friday. Star-Advertiser.

Gerard Puana pursues civil lawsuit.
Two years after federal criminal conspiracy convictions of former Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha and his wife, the victim in the case is still pursuing damages from the city and several former law enforcement officers in civil court. Star-Advertiser.

Kamehameha Schools Kapalama requiring COVID vaccine for athletes, coaches. COVID vaccines will be a requirement for student athletes at Kamehameha Schools Kapalama. Hawaii News Now.

Oahu organic delivery service growing as a business. Some small organic local farmers are getting a boost to business, from a growing Oahu food delivery service. KITV4.

Residents honor Kaneohe Beach Park’s place in Hawaiian history. Hundreds of years ago, Kaneohe Beach Park, also known as Naoneala‘a a Kane­ohe, was the site of two major Hawaiian historic events: a peace­- making ceremony and the marking of a new chief on Oahu. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Firefighters continue to battle Hawaii Island’s largest fire. Firefighters appear to have gotten the upper hand on a more than 40,000-acre wildland fire in South Kohala deemed the largest in Hawaii Island history. West Hawaii Today. Big Island Video News. Big Island Now. Star-Advertiser.


Mayor’s Request for Delay of In-Classroom Learning Fails to Gain Governor’s Support. Health officials say there will be an “inevitable rise in cases” no matter when schools reopen. Maui Now.

Councilmember Tasha Kama on Extended Medical Leave. Maui County Councilmember Tasha Kama is on extended medical leave, according to an announcement issued on Monday evening. Maui Now.

Court Limits A&B East Maui Stream Diversion. A Hawaii judge has ordered Alexander & Baldwin to significantly reduce the amount of water it diverts from east Maui streams for agricultural purposes. Civil Beat.


Zina: Officers not there as enforcers. Kaua‘i Police Department officers are returning to the island’s three public high schools following temporary reassignment at the height of the pandemic. Garden Island.

Waimea 400 Talk Story at library. The Waimea Public Library will host another talk story event concerning the Waimea 400 project Wednesday, Aug. 4, providing an opportunity for community members to share their thoughts and ideas in person. Garden Island.

Monday, August 2, 2021

Travelers clog airports as COVID cases spike, Maui cracks down on illegal vacation rentals, no love for Love Island, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

posted on My Kailua Facebook community page
HNL on July 31, 2021 PC: My Kailua Facebook community page

Traveler complaints increase as Hawaii tourism rebounds. When the pandemic hit, the number of people flying in the U.S. plunged below 100,000 on some days, a level not seen in decades. This year it has climbed from less than 700,000 a day in early February to 2 million a day in July. Star-Advertiser.

Army, community are at a pivot point at training range lease renewals in Hawaii. It’s in this pressure-cooker atmosphere — and with focus on the Indo-Pacific as the Pentagon’s “priority theater” — that the Army is trying to keep nearly 30,000 acres of training lands on Hawaii island and Oahu. The state land leases all expire in 2029. Star-Advertiser.

Global Competition Over Fish Stocks Increasingly Affects Hawaii. Competition over dwindling fish stocks has led to violent confrontations around the world. Hawaii longliners are feeling the effects. Civil Beat.

Incoming Interim Schools Chief Previews Broad Vision For Hawaii. Priority areas include in-person attendance, social and emotional well-being as well as staff well-being and the safe return to campuses. Civil Beat.

Parents, teachers are nervous for the start of the new school year as the pandemic escalates in Hawaii. The new public school year in Hawaii starts Tuesday for an estimated 175,000 students amid growing concern about the escalating coronavirus pandemic. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Records 452 New COVID Cases As Positivity Rate Soars To 5.7%. The new cases reported Sunday included 276 on Oahu, 99 on the Big Island, 66 on Maui, six on Kauai and five residents diagnosed outside of the state, according to the health department. Civil Beat.


Hanabusa Becomes Chair Of The Honolulu Rail Authority Board — Again. HART officials now hope to shore up rail’s finances with money from the 3% hotel tax the city is authorized to impose. Civil Beat.

In need of relief, Queen’s Health Systems asks FEMA for additional frontline workers. Queen’s Health Systems said it has asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency to send 80 nurses immediately and then 50 more per month. Hawaii News Now.

Robotic police dogs: Useful hounds or dehumanizing machines?
If you’re homeless and looking for temporary shelter in Hawaii’s capital, expect a visit from a robotic police dog that will scan your eye to make sure you don’t have a fever. Associated Press.

No opening date yet, but big plans ahead for Honouliuli monument
, officials say. Six years after Honouliuli was designated a national monument, officials still are not sure when the former internment and prisoner of war camp will officially open to the public. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Little love for ‘Love Island’: Neighbors miffed over production of CBS reality television show. While “Love Island,” one of the largest film or TV productions ever made on the Big Island, is a hit with viewers, neighbors of the villa are less enamored with the production. Tribune-Herald.

Bus hubbub: New interim administrator, big changes in the works. Mayor Mitch Roth’s administration has officially ruled out land owned by a politically connected Pahoa resident as the site for a bus hub, overturning steps taken by the previous administration. The Roth administration has also hired as interim transit administrator John Andoh, an experienced transit veteran who once worked at the agency. West Hawaii Today.

Breakwater study results expected to be released in fall. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has completed a study of whether potential alterations to the Hilo Bay breakwater would improve water quality in the bay. Tribune-Herald.

Connections’ permit request to build school back before planning commission. A previously rejected special permit application for a Hilo charter school to build a campus on state land in Kaumana is once again before the Windward Planning Commission. Tribune-Herald.

Waimea fire eases, evacuation lifted. Hawaii County officials Sunday night lifted a mandatory evacuation order for Pu‘u Kapu Hawaiian Homestead, Waikii Ranch and Waikoloa Village, saying the threat to homes in the area was no longer imminent. Star-Advertiser. West Hawaii Today. Big Island Video News. Big Island Now. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.


Agreements beef up illegal vacation rental enforcement. Maui County signed agreements with two major hosting platforms for vacation rentals on Friday in a move aimed at improving enforcement of illegal vacation rental operations. Maui News.

Maui Mayor Requests Postponement of Return to School Amid Delta Variant Surge. “In light of new CDC data showing the Delta variant can spread as easily as Chickenpox,” Maui Mayor Michael Victorino is asking the Hawaiʻi Department of Education, Department of Health and the Ige Administration to postpone the return of classroom learning until the impacts of the current COVID-19 surge on Maui County’s healthcare facilities can be assessed. Maui Now. KHON2.

Lahaina Recreation Center Ballfield to Undergo Fencing Improvements.
The Lahaina Recreation Center Little League Ballfield No. 4 will undergo fencing improvements from Aug. 2 through Oct. 31. The Department of Parks and Recreation project includes the removal and replacement of the outfield fencing. Maui Now.


County to improve Hanalei Baseyard. The Hanalei Baseyard project will break ground later this month, following a planning process that included input from several community organizations, according to county officials. Garden Island.

County quickly matches jobs, work-seekers. A new county initiative, Ho‘ohana Kaua‘i, is a one-stop shop for job-seekers and hiring managers. Garden Island.

Friday, July 30, 2021

Hawaii's 20k federal civilian workers face Biden's vaccination mandate, COVID delays barge shipment, creates food shortages on Kauai, Jill Biden cuts foot on Oahu beach, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2021 All Hawaii News
Federal building in Honolulu ©2021 All Hawaii News

President’s tough new vaccination rules impact 20K federal civilian workers in Hawaii. Some 20,000 federal civilian workers in Hawaii along with on-site contractors are impacted by President Biden’s sweeping new vaccine order. Under the new rules, they’ll be required to verify they’re vaccinated or face regular testing. Unvaccinated workers will also face travel restrictions and be required to mask up. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii hits 60% vaccination milestone, but is still behind schedule. Honolulu has about 62% of its population fully vaccinated, followed by Kauai County at 60%, Hawaii County at 56% and Maui County at 54%. Star-Advertiser. Tribune-Herald. Hawaii News Now.

Senate Formally Rejects Gov. David Ige's Court of Appeals Nominee. The state Senate formally rejected Gov. David Ige's appointment of Daniel Gluck to the Hawaiʻi Intermediate Court of Appeals after Gluck expressed his desire to withdraw from the process. Hawaii Public Radio. Associated Press.

Jill Biden treated for puncture on foot after Hawaii visit. First lady Jill Biden underwent a medical procedure Thursday to flush out debris from a puncture wound on her left foot, her spokesperson said. Associated Press.

HTA: Visitor Arrivals, Spending Up in June, But Remains Below Pre-Pandemic Levels. Nearly 800,000 visitors from the continental U.S. arrived in the islands last month, according to the latest report from the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority highlighting monthly visitor arrivals and spending. Hawaii Public Radio.

UH COVID-19 forecast model predicts Delta variant could push Oahu to 600 daily infections. The Hawaii Pandemic Applied Modeling Workgroup has come up with forecasts for several COVID-19 scenarios since the pandemic began last year, but the most alarming forecast is where the state could be heading in the next few months. KHON2.

July 29, 2021 COVID-19 Update: 234 Cases, 2 Deaths. The state Department of Health reports that there were 234** additional COVID-19 cases in Hawai‘i on Thursday. **An interruption in electronic lab reporting earlier this week resulted in incomplete case counts reported yesterday and today. The confirmed cases included: 137 on O‘ahu (+1 probable); 54 on Hawai‘i Island; 18 on Maui (+13 probable); nine on Kaua‘i; and one in a Hawai‘i resident diagnosed while out of state (+1 probable). Maui Now.


Honolulu City Council weighs how to spend federal COVID funds. The Honolulu City Council is deciding how to spend the first $193 million of federal American Rescue Plan Act funds that the city received in June to combat the public health and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Handi-Van Driver Dies Of COVID-19. A Honolulu paratransit driver is one of the latest victims of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Honolulu Department of Transportation Services. The city did not release the person’s name or age, nor their date of death. Civil Beat.

Wai'anae Coast Comprehensive Health Center to require all employees to get vaccinated. Of the nearly 700 staff members at the center, 80 percent are already fully vaccinated. KITV4.

City cracks down on peer-to-peer car rentals clogging residential neighborhoods. With the shortage in rental cars, residents have been turning to renting out their cars using peer-to-peer sharing on apps like Turo. But some neighborhoods are seeing a proliferation of vehicles taking up parking on side streets — and the city is cracking down. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Tourism Authority approves plan to reduce Oahu tourists.
The Hawaii Tourism Authority on Thursday approved a tourism management plan for Oahu that says the agency will work to “decrease the total number of visitors on the island.” That’s the top anchor action in the Oahu Destination Management Action Plan, which HTA developed in partnership with the City and County of Honolulu and the community over the past five months. Star-Advertiser.

Former managing director Roy Amemiya says he had nothing to do with former Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha $250,000 settlement.
Honolulu’s former managing director says he had nothing to do with the $250,000 settlement with former Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha and is still seeking information about the U.S. Department of Justice’s allegations that prompted investigators to subpoena him to testify before a federal grand jury, then make him a formal target of their investigation. Star-Advertiser.

Vice Principal Fired For Affair On Campus Accuses Her Union Of Failing To Defend Her. The vice principal, while accepting responsibility, says that dismissal for the affair with a principal was too harsh. Civil Beat.

How A ‘Perfect Storm’ Led To A Spike In COVID Cases On The Westside. Waianae and Ewa have had the highest number of new COVID-19 cases on Oahu in the past two weeks. Civil Beat.

Blaisdell Center Receives $3M Federal Shuttered Venue Operators Grant. The Neal S. Blaisdell Center has received just over $3 million from the federal Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program to recoup lost revenue caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii Island

6 residents test positive for COVID at Hilo nursing facility.
A long-term care home facility on the Big Island reported Wednesday that six of its residents tested positive for COVID. The Life Care Center of Hilo had conducted facility-wide testing after one of their employees became infected with the virus on July 21. Hawaii News Now.

Homesteaders eye dispute between Fevella, Aila: Senate minority leader seeks probe of DHHL. Keaukaha Community President Patrick Kahawaiolaa said it’s difficult for homesteaders to get loans from commercial lenders because the land is on 99-year leases for $1 a year and title belongs to the DHHL. Tribune-Herald.

24th annual Sayre awards fundraiser canceled due to COVID. The Daniel R. Sayre Memorial Foundation announced the 24th annual Awards and Fund-Raising Dinner honoring the Hawaii Fire Department Meritorious Service Award recipients will not be held on Sept. 4 this year at the Fairmont Orchid due to the continued spread of the coronavirus. West Hawaii Today.


Environmental study for water leases complete. A&B, EMI are seeking 30-year lease to divert water from East Maui. Alexander & Baldwin and its subsidiary East Maui Irrigation Co. have wrapped up a long-awaited environmental study that the companies need in order to seek a long-term lease to divert water from East Maui streams. Maui News.

Hawaiian Electric Collecting Feedback on Shared Solar Program for Moloka‘i.
Hawaiian Electric is hosting a virtual stakeholder meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 11, from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., to collect feedback from Moloka‘i residents and business owners, renewable energy developers, and interested parties regarding Moloka‘i shared solar projects, also known as the Community-Based Renewable Energy program. Maui Now.

$1 Million in New Grants & Matching Funds for Lānaʻi Watershed Conservation Program.
The Kuahiwi a Kai: Lānaʻi Watershed Conservation Program has received four new grants worth $471,000 and matching contributions of $547,000, for a total conservation impact of more than $1 million. Maui Now.

Fewer Visitors to Maui in June 2021 than June 2019, But They Spent More. The 260,618 visitors to Maui in June 2021 contributed $503 million to the local economy, which is 5.4% more than the $477 million spent by the 295,926 tourists who came to the island pre-pandemic in June 2019. Maui Now.


Barge shipment delay results in no burgers, pet food. Burger King ran out of burgers, and Kentucky Fried Chicken ran out of mashed potatoes. These were just some of the effects of a barge shipment delayed due to crew members contracting COVID-19, setting off a small chain reaction on the island. Garden Island.

Red Hot Chili Peppers’ singer selling North Shore home. Red Hot Chili Peppers frontman Anthony Kiedis is selling his Kaua‘i house for nearly $10 million. Garden Island.

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Senate panel rejects Gluck for appellate judge, 370-acre Maui solar project advances, Kauai prosecutor stepping down, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

from video
Daniel Gluck at Senate Judiciary Committee hearing

Senate Committee Rejects Dan Gluck’s Nomination To Appeals Court. For members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, the vote on Gluck wasn’t just a vote for a single judicial candidate. Fair or not, his nomination has become a symbol of deeply rooted issues in Hawaii, specifically race and gender diversity. Civil Beat. Hawaii Public Radio. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Hawaii businesses in ‘wait-and-see’ mode on vaccine mandates. While a few have recently implemented mandates, there are still a lot of unanswered questions about how to go about it, as well as potential liabilities, and many are watching what larger companies do first as they begin bringing workers back to offices. Star-Advertiser.

HTA head: In wake of funding cut, other agencies will need to assist with tourism management. Hawaii Tourism Authority President and CEO John De Fries said during a livestream Wednesday that HTA, which had its budget reduced by about 24% as a result of a bill passed this summer, will have to rely on other state and county agencies to help control a growing number of visitors. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii’s public school teachers return to the classroom. More than 11,000 public school teachers reported to campus Wednesday to begin preparing for the first day of school on Tuesday. State Department of Education officials reported that the day came and went with few, if any, major problems at the system’s 256 schools. Star-Advertiser.

Applications for Summer Pandemic Food Assistance Program Close Aug. 2. The Hawaiʻi Department of Human Services will be offering a summer pandemic electronic benefit transfer, a food assistance program that helps feed children who no longer have access to school lunches and breakfast. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaiʻi's COVID-19 Notification App Reaches 1M Activations. Hawaiʻi’s official COVID-19 notification app, AlohaSafe Alert, has reached 1 million activations since its launch in January. Hawaii Public Radio.

July 28, 2021 COVID-19 Update: 85 Cases* Incomplete Case Count, 3 Deaths. The confirmed cases included: 46 on O‘ahu (+4 probable); 14 on Hawai‘i Island (+4 probable); 12 on Maui (+5 probable); three on Kaua‘i; and three confirmed cases in Hawai‘i residents diagnosed while out of state were removed from the count. Maui Now.


City considering changes to better enforce illegal Oahu vacation rentals. The Honolulu Department of Permitting and Planning is working on changing the short-term rental ordinance to crack down on illegal vacation rentals. Star-Advertiser.

Video of Sykap shooting shows officer firing repeatedly at car. Police body-worn camera footage played in court Wednesday shows Officer Geoffrey Thom standing upright, firing shot after shot at the back of a white Honda Civic, striking the 16-year-old driver eight times and killing him. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Case Tries Again To Get The Army To Fix Tripler’s Parking Problem. Congress plans to direct the military to address the parking shortage at the medical center. It’s not the first time. Civil Beat.

Runway repairs scheduled at Honolulu airport. Airfield repairs will happen at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL) beginning Monday, Aug. 2, to Friday, Aug. 6, according to the Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) Airports Division. KHON2.

Buyer pays $24 million for 14-year-old Lanikai oceanfront estate. A 14-year-old oceanfront estate in Lanikai featuring a four-bedroom main residence, a four-bedroom guest house, a caretaker’s cottage and a boat ramp sold for $24.4 million on July 20. Star-Advertiser.

DOCARE beefs up officer presence in North Shore to deter tourists from touching marine life. With videos circulating on social media of tourists touching endangered Hawaiian animals, the state is beefing up patrol officers in the North Shore to deter illegal encounters. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Commission mulls garbage user fees: Environmental Management Commission looks for waste solutions. Would you be willing to pay a few extra cents — or a few extra dollars — toward disposing of the products you purchase and the packaging they come in? West Hawaii Today.

PGV opponents appeal dismissal of lawsuits seeking environmental review. Appeals were filed late last month in a trio of lawsuits that requested an updated environmental review be completed for Puna Geothermal Venture, which was damaged by lava in 2018. Tribune-Herald.

‘This is not a joke’: Puna man recounts long battle against COVID-19. After 49 days in the hospital, Frederick Tibayan was released from Hilo Medical Center on Wednesday after a nearly fatal bout with COVID-19. Tribune-Herald. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.


Pulehu Solar project moves forward. A 370-acre solar and battery project in Kula that could power 15,000 homes is closer to fruition after the Maui Planning Commission on Tuesday granted a county special use permit for the project. Maui News.

Maui County accepting applications for program to assist 1st-time home buyers.  The assistance can equal up to 5% of the home’s purchase price, but not exceed $30,000. Star-Advertiser.

If drought wasn’t enough, Maui ranchers face added challenge: Axis deer. The latest drought monitor shows some areas on the Valley Isle are now in “extreme drought.” Add to that, ranchers who have limited food for cattle are now struggling to control axis deer, which are eating the little grass they have left. Hawaii News Now.


Kauai Prosecutor Stepping Down For Nonprofit Gig. Kauai County Prosecutor Justin Kollar announced Wednesday that he will be leaving his county job at the end of the summer for a position at a nonprofit focused on setting criminal justice policy. Civil Beat.

Ways and Means Committee visits Kaua‘i. Senate’s Ways and Means Committee visited several sites on Kaua‘i, identifying issues, resource needs and potential solutions to address regional and statewide economic development, develop curriculum and career technical education pathways for a local workforce, analyze efficient space utilization of State facilities, and leverage critical private partnerships to decrease State resource dependence and liability. Garden Island.

Visitors fined $500 for viral monk seal harassment TikTok. The beachgoer filmed touching a Hawaiian monk seal will pay a $500 fine for her actions. Garden Island.