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Who gets the vaccine first?

Health care workers get Hawaii’s first COVID-19 shots.

Views expressed in this Hawaii State News summary are those of the reporters and correspondents.

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Health care workers get Hawai‘i’s first COVID-19 shots
After months of working with coronavirus patients, health workers at The Queen’s Health Systems said they were grateful for what will be a new layer of protection against the infectious respiratory disease. Civil BeatHawaii News Now. KITV4. Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

Public preschool options in Hawai‘i vary during pandemic
About 85% of the public preschool classrooms overseen by the Executive Office on Early Learning are offering in-person instruction, but Head Start preschool programs and charter school ones are still largely remote. Honolulu Star-Advertiser. KITV4Tribune-Herald. Garden Island.

Schools provide a critical safety net for kids. Can they do that via Zoom?
Youth advocates and school staff worry students are not getting the proper counseling or basic social services available in a regular school setting. Counselors still conduct daily wellness checks online, but they lack the personal interaction that is vital to detecting problems to allow for early intervention, said Ian Tanita, president of the Hawaii School Counselor Association. Civil Beat.

Public school educators are fighting to block the state’s furlough plan
Hawai‘i State Teachers Association President Corey Rosenlee said 1,000 teachers could lose their jobs because of budget cuts in addition to the furloughs. He said the governor has other options. Hawaii News Now.

Time almost out for Hawai‘i to spend federal pandemic relief funds
Hawai‘i likely has just a few remaining days to make use of emergency pandemic relief funds awarded to the state by the federal government in March when Congress passed the $2 trillion CARES Act. The Hawai‘i Data Collaborative estimates that with the New Year nearly upon us, the state has only spent $478 million, just over half of the $1.25 billion it received to help residents and businesses with pandemic costs. Hawaii Public Radio.

UH Researchers: Hawai‘i renters will need help throughout 2021
Researchers at the University of Hawai‘i Economic Research Organization are urging Hawai‘i policymakers to increase support for renters until 2022. They estimate several thousand more renters will be paying over 30% of their income on rent next year. Civil Beat.

Hawai‘i Economics in the Spotlight
Local public debates often include economic information and analysis, but the pandemic and resulting economic crisis have intensified the demand for real-time data and understanding… read more.
DHHL considers proposal to build casino in Kapolei
The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands dropped a bombshell on its website late Tuesday, floating the idea of building a casino on trust land in Kapolei. Beneficiaries contacted Tuesday night reacted with shock and anger, criticizing the department for proposing something like this without first consulting the beneficiary community. Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

Louis Kealoha ordered to repay $250K settlement, though city unlikely to ever see it
A circuit court judge has ordered former Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha to repay the $250,000 the Honolulu Police Commission gave him to retire in 2017, before he was indicted on federal corruption charges. Hawaii News Now. Civil Beat. KHON2.

Rail project faces new leadership Thursday
The city’s troubled rail project is pivoting to an uncertain “Plan B” to complete the final 4.16-mile push to Ala Moana while looking at the possibility of new leadership Thursday. Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

Unexpected delay in Honolulu’s “City Card” program
The $500 cards are valid from 12/7-12/27 but were not sent out last week due to an “unexpected delay,” according to a spokesperson with the City’s Office of Economic Revitalization. The office’s Patrick Williams said the unexpected delay has been “resolved” and told KITV4 the cards should be hitting mailboxes this week. KITV4.

These parklets will be taking over some street parking stalls in Kaimukī
The city will be temporarily using the spaces to install parklets, or spaces featuring benches, tables and chairs that will allow customers to eat or relax in an outdoor setting. Three parklets are currently planned for Kaimukī in the near future thanks to the non-profit Better Block Hawaii. Hawaii News Now.

Corporate Anniversary: Alexander & Baldwin

A&B kicked off its 150th year with a community work day on O‘ahu with plans to do more statewide. Due to the pandemic, A&B and its employees adjusted to support the needs of the community in other ways. Through its Kokua Giving program, over $200,000 was donated to organizations on the frontlines of the COVID-19 response… read more.

Spike in auto thefts, burglaries during pandemic
While some businesses have shuttered and others have suffered downturns during the coronavirus pandemic, the old adage “crime never takes a holiday” is holding true. Tribune-Herald.

Gift distribution event serves more than 60 keiki
This year’s drive-through event was the largest to date, with a total of 63 young participants. Children shopped with a $100 budget using online product availability in the store, providing volunteer Catholic Charities Hawai‘i elves with their wish lists ahead of the event. Tribune-Herald.

Geckos Play a Positive Role in Your Home

Eight gecko species are found in Hawai‘i, but none are native to the Islands. They are one of the few animal species known as commensal, meaning they can live together with people without harm, even in urban and suburban more.
Judge dismisses Bank of America suit against county
A federal judge on Monday dismissed a Bank of America lawsuit against the County of Maui, paving the way for the county to pursue possible claims against the banking giant over a decades-old $150 million home loan promise to Native Hawaiians and others that allegedly went unmet. Maui News.

Business ‘getting better’ for some Pā‘ia merchants
Local shops and eateries in Pā‘ia town that were shuttered for weeks to months at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic are starting to show some promise, with a few managers staying positive with the recent boost in tourism. Maui News.

Live skunk found and captured at Kahului Pier on Maui
The skunk was spotted roaming around in the container yard early in the morning and was reported to harbor security by a biologist surveying for stranded sea bird fledglings. Maui Now. Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Big Island Now.

Skate park renovations expected to be done next week
With two weeks to go, Na Lei Wili Area Health Education Center’s executive director and Kaua‘i Skatepark Foundation’s lead advocate are confident that the Kapa‘a skate park’s resurfacing project will be done earlier than the expected deadline. Garden Island.

Kalalau opens to hikers, volunteers work to keep trail clear
The Friends of Kalalau trail, a group of volunteers, made their repairs and maintenance on the first two miles of Kalalau trail, which starts at Hā‘ena State Park. Garden Island.

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Until next time,

Russ Roberts

Retired News director of Pacific Radio Group Radio Stations on Hawaii-the Big Island. I have more than 40 years of broadcast experience, including positons at KTUH-FM (UH-Manoa), KPOI-FM (Honolulu). KHLO-AM (Hilo), KKBG-FM (KBIG-FM)(Hilo/Kona), KAPA-FM (Hilo-Kona). Native-FM (Hilo-Kona), and ESPN Hawaii (Hilo-Kona). Former University of Hawaii-Hilo librarian. Retired Air Force Officer. Amatuer (Ham) Radio operator since 1977 (currently holds the Amateur Extra Class License from the FCC-KH6JRM).... Can read, write, and speak Russian. Retired on 30 September 2011, but still maintains a Hawaii Island News Blog.

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