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Wednesday, June 9, 2021
June 9, 2021 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:11 PM :: 2231 Views

UH astronomers play key role in planetary defense

HB1019: Ige Signs $30M Fee Hike on Dive Tours

DLNR: Tourists Must Pay $20 to Go Fish

Hawaii COVID restrictions could remain until October if pace of vaccinations doesn’t increase

SA: … Hawaii’s vaccination rate has plummeted in recent weeks, following a national trend. At its peak in April, Hawaii was doing about 32,000 vaccinations a day. That figure has fallen to about 3,100 a day, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with no discernible increase since the campaign launched Friday. At that rate it could be mid-October before the state is free of the complicated tier systems that regulate activities….

Meanwhile, the majority of states have dropped restrictions, and most of the country is expected to be back to normal by the Fourth of July. Hawaii is one of just two states, the other being California, where everyone is still required to wear a mask indoors. Most states have dropped the restriction altogether, while a dozen more require only people who are not vaccinated to wear masks, according to The New York Times, which has been tracking restrictions in all of the states….

There’s no sign yet that large numbers of unvaccinated residents have been rushing to pharmacies, clinics and other sites to get COVID-19 shots since the state on Friday unveiled its “Hawaii Got Vaccinated” campaign, replete with prizes and discounts at local businesses. State officials caution that it’s still too early to tell whether the campaign is having an impact, but if Hawaii’s vaccination rate doesn’t increase, it could be a long haul before Hawaii gets back to normal….

AP: U.S. increasingly unlikely to meet Biden’s July 4 vaccination goal

read … Hawaii COVID restrictions could remain until October if pace of vaccinations doesn’t increase

Inflation: Food Prices Jump 11.8% in Hawaii

CB: … “I took a picture of a loaf of bread for $9,” says Nakamura, who works as a part-time teacher and event planner. “Technically, it was $8.99. But who can afford that?”

Nakamura’s experience is far from isolated. Grocery prices spiked when the pandemic started in March 2020, as restaurants closed and everybody stayed home for school and work. Since then food prices have been on a roller coaster and are rising again, according to numbers from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Specifically, prices in the bureau’s “Food at Home” category for April in Honolulu were 11.8% higher than when the pandemic started in March 2020, and 4.5% higher than the same period last year, when prices were already starting to take off, the bureau’s data shows….

HNN: ‘Ridiculous’: Drivers feel pain at the pump as gas prices in Hawaii continue to soar

Big Q: What do you think about Oahu’s median price for a single-family home nearing $1 million?

read … $9 For A Loaf Of Bread? Here’s Why It’s So Expensive To Eat At Home These Days

State lawmakers solution to High Housing price? – A Tax Hike!

KHON: … On top of record prices, the Honolulu Board of Realtors also saw single-family homes sell faster than ever before in May with some homes listed for just eight days….

“Conveyance tax is one of those important things, because if we increase the amount that these houses are being taxed for second homes, it will discourage some foreign investments as well,” said Rep. Cedric Gates. “Then on top of that, it will give the locals better advantage.”

HB58 awaits Gov. David Ige’s signature….

read … State lawmakers look for solutions for local residents in hot Hawaii housing market

Maui visitor arrivals in April inch closer to pre-pandemic marks

MN: … Spurred by a strong U.S. Mainland market, Maui crept closer to record visitor arrivals seen in 2019, according to a recent Hawaii Tourism Authority report.

The Valley Isle in April reached 178,105 arrivals, which is a little more than 70 percent of the historic high for the month — 249,076 arrivals set in 2019. With the exception of January, visitor arrivals have been spiking month over month since the reopening of tourism Oct. 15.

Maui in April had the state’s highest per person per day spending at about $206, per person per trip spending at $1,776 and total expenditures at $316 million….

read … Maui visitor arrivals in April inch closer to pre-pandemic marks

Hawaii's rental car fleets decreased by more than 40% during the pandemic

KITV: … The Hawai'i Tourism Authority (HTA) reports that the state's rental car fleet decreased by more than 40% during the pandemic. …

read … Hawaii's rental car fleets decreased by more than 40% during the pandemic

Hawaii employment company launches coronavirus screening, tracking tool

KHON: … Altres’ Wellness Tracker is completely optional, confidential and customizable. Users upload their roster and a text message is sent to participants with self-monitoring questions.  Click here for more information and to download the free Wellness Tracker ….

read … Hawaii employment company launches coronavirus screening, tracking tool

Can Dead Criminal turn into Cash Bonanza?

CB: … Minutes before a Honolulu police officer shot and killed Dana Brown, he warned him about what might happen if he didn’t stop trying to run away.

Using a profanity, he told him to get on the ground or he would shoot him.  (Tweekers are very sensitive, you know.)

These words, captured by the officer’s body-worn camera on Dec. 17, 2019, are among the reasons why Brown’s family now wants the officer who killed him to face criminal charges.

The family’s attorney, Megan Kau, sent a letter to Prosecuting Attorney Steve Alm in April asking him to consider prosecuting the case….

the officer shot Brown after he repeatedly demanded that Brown drop the knife and attempted twice to “de-escalate the situation” with his Taser.

“Our officers do not have the benefit of instant replay,” Ballard said. “They’re called upon to make split-second decisions in situations that are tense, dangerous and rapidly evolving. Circumstances can change in a second.”…

In her letter to Alm, Kau wrote that she wanted him to review the case “in light of the national climate regarding police officer shootings.”

Kau campaigned against Alm for Honolulu prosecuting attorney in 2020 on a tough-on-crime platform, saying she did not believe that there were systemic racial inequities in the criminal justice system.   (And some people were fooled by that.)

Meanwhile: ODC Complaint: Megan Kau Worked for Miske and Cop Who Arrested Him

read … Family Of Man Killed By HPD Wants Officer To Face Criminal Charges

After Inmates Purposefully Spread COVID in Hawaii Jails, Their Lawyers Seek to Take over Prison System, Force Mass Releases

HNN: … Attorney Gina Szeto-Wong, of the Law Office of Eric Seitz, said the inmates they represent want a special master appointed to enforce the rules….

(NOTE: To help win this suit, more prisoners will be spreading COVID inside the jails and prisons. SOLUTION: Force the prisoners to tale the J&J shot.)

HPR: COVID-19 Spread Like 'Wildfire' Through Hilo Jail, Judge Says

Meanwhile: Six Felonies in 9 years, finally gets shot by police

read … Lawsuit alleges poor conditions at Hawaii correctional facilities contributed to COVID outbreaks

Collecting Unemployment is Hard Work, we need a paid vacation before getting back to work

SA… On behalf of the working families and those still waiting for their unemployment insurance (UI), we wish there was as much attention and energy focused on fixing our broken UI system and getting claims resolved as there has been about “getting workers off the couch” and back to work. There are many factors that come into play that counter this simplistic and insulting narrative, which simply further adds insult to injury….

read … UI still broken as workers look for jobs

City to Spend $80M to Boost KSBE Kalapama TOD Project

SA: … A proposed $80 million city project that plans to turn a canal in Kapalama into a mile-long recreational area has completed its final environmental impact statement.

The project is meant to act as both flood control and a way to revitalize and activate an area that has faced issues with homelessness. It would turn both banks of the Kapalama Canal into a park with a waterfront promenade, green space, bike paths, picnic benches and public art.

It also would connect to a planned rail station….

The area’s proximity to the rail station and Honolulu Community College has spurred interest from developers to build more residential and mixed-use homes. Notably, a master plan by Kamehameha Schools would produce 4,000 to 5,000 new residential units in the area in early 2026….

2017: Rail Stations Designed to Profit KSBE, HECO, First Hawaiian

read … Kapalama Canal project OK’d in final impact review

Bill 28: 1.25 Mile setback for wind turbines

SA: … Under the current land use ordinance, the city has stumbled in its effort to balance green-energy ambition with community protections. The law requires a setback in which the distance between a turbine and property lines is no closer than the full height measure of a project’s tallest windmill.

In the case of the controversial Na Pua Makani project in Kahuku, the city allowed construction of some of the nation’s tallest windmills — eight turbines, each 568 feet in height. What’s more, it granted waivers allowing them as close as 284 feet from a property line. Such closeness to homes and schools in the community raises valid nuisance and health-related concerns.

Whirring turbine gearbox noise and flickering blade shadows can rob a neighborhood of tranquility — and the Kahuku Community Association also points to worries about physical safety should the towers be hit by mechanical failure, accidents, fires and other mishaps.

Bill 29 would require turbines to be at least 1,500 feet or a distance two times the height of the structure away from all property lines, whichever is greater. And Bill 28 would push back placement at least 1.25 miles away from residential and other types of zoning.

Both are worthy of Council debate, while the third proposal, which would set a 5-mile minimum distance from property lines, is not. Bill 30 appears to be overzealous in that it would essentially eject all onshore wind projects, which are viewed as necessary in Hawaii’s clean-energy lineup. Each bill would affect only turbines that have a capacity of over 100 kilowatts.

Holding the best potential for rational compromise is Bill 28. In written testimony supporting its approach, the Energy Office said given that a setback or buffer of at least one mile is justified in some cases to sufficiently guard against concerns associated with onshore wind technology, a 1.25-mile setback would sensibly err on the side of caution….

read … Sensible rules for wind turbines

Aquarium industry submits revised EIS: Fishing permits, allowable species to be reduced

WHT: … Rene Umberger, executive director of For the Fishes, disagrees ….

read … Aquarium industry submits revised EIS: Fishing permits, allowable species to be reduced

The Story of How Same-Sex Marriage Went From Fringe to Mainstream

NYM: … The story I tell starts in 1990. And at that point, there’s not a single national gay rights organization that has endorsed marriage rights as an objective. None of the religious conservatives who spent their days fighting gay rights were trying to stop gay people from getting married. There was hardly a politician in the United States who had ever been asked his or her opinion on the subject. And where the book starts is with a PR stunt in Honolulu where a local activist brings three couples in to request marriage licenses from the Health Department. And he’s not a lawyer. He doesn’t have a legal strategy. But due to a sort of freakish set of events, the Hawaii Supreme Court rules in his favor. Part of this history that becomes familiar to people starts with the Defense of Marriage Act, then a state-by-state battle through Vermont and Massachusetts, is effectively the rest of the country responding to this thing that came out of nowhere in Hawaii….

read … The Story of How Same-Sex Marriage Went From Fringe to Mainstream

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