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People going out despite pandemic

Research shows people are going out more as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

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

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Accessed on 30 December 2020, 2221 UTC, Post 22,112.

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Locally Owned, Locally Committed Since 1955
12.30.2020
HAUʻOLI MAKAHIKI HOU
Please note: Today’s Hawai‘i News will not publish on Thursday and Friday this week, but will resume on Monday morning. We hope you have a restful, safe and enjoyable holiday. Happy New Year!
TOP STORIES
Research shows people are going out more as the pandemic drags on
After the August surge in COVID-19 cases, Hawai‘i residents are now frequenting restaurants and shops again. Now we know more about the who, where and when, thanks to more granular data on the UHERO mobility dashboardCivil Beat.

Some non-hospital health care workers are still waiting for the vaccine
Medical professionals are designated as group 1-A, first in line to get the COVID-19 vaccine. But many are still waiting, even though the state Department of Health has already started vaccinating people in group 1-B. Hawaii News Now.

A new ad campaign aims to win over Hawai‘i’s vaccine skeptics
The public health ad blitz launched by the state Department of Health aims to persuade residents to roll up their sleeves for the vaccine. Officials say about 70% need to get vaccinated to achieve herd immunity. Civil Beat.

Abigail Kawānanankoa got a $142,000 federal bailout loan
Her attorney, Bruce Voss, said the 94-year-old heiress needed the Paycheck Protection Program loan because the three-year legal battle over her $215 million fortune had drained her bank accounts. Hawaii News Now.

Plenty of ahi is available for New Year’s Eve  
An abundance of ahi at reasonable prices will be available for celebrations, according to purveyors. Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

King’s Hawaiian Bakery hides where products are actually made, claims lawsuit
The company has been hit with a class action lawsuit after a New York resident claimed fraudulent marketing misleads shoppers into believing the products are made in Hilo. Small print on the back says they’re produced in Torrance, California. KITV4.

Saving Hawai‘i’s koa industry — and the environment
While tens of thousands of acres still dot the Islands, only about 10% of koa’s former coverage is left. State agencies responsible for protecting natural resources are planning to better manage its use, mitigate misuse and grow more of the prized trees. Civil Beat.

Ige delays furloughs until “at least July 1”
Gov. David Ige said Tuesday that federal funding has pushed back having to implement state employee furloughs for at least six months. West Hawaii Today. Hawaii News Now.

HAWAII BUSINESS
At Honolulu’s airport, only a few lei stands open each day
Bonnie Groendyke’s family has operated the booth named Gladys’ for three generations. She grew up at the airport lei stand with her family working around her. On some days, only four or five stands will open… read more.
OʻAHU
Honolulu Mayor-elect Rick Blangiardi announces key appointments
They include Laura Thielen for Parks and Recreation and Dean Uchida for Planning and Permitting. Civil Beat. Honolulu Star-AdvertiserHawaii News Now.

Mayor Kirk Caldwell says his coronavirus response was too slow
In reflecting on the city’s handling of its COVID-19 outbreak, the outgoing mayor said he should have responded to the virus earlier and done more to properly inform the public. Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

Essential workers traveling to O‘ahu now subject to mandatory COVID-19 testing
Health care workers and others who were exempted from the state’s quarantine rules will now be required to take three post-arrival tests, according to an emergency proclamation approved by the governor on Tuesday. Hawaii News Now.

New HART CEO taking on rail at its most high-stakes stage
The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation has a new CEO, Lori Kahikina, taking the helm in the final, most difficult leg of the project. She has just one year to prove whether she can turn the troubled agency around. KHON2.

Brigham Young University to require weekly testing for on-campus students and faculty
Hawai‘i universities have mostly been online since spring, but BYU-Hawai‘i hopes expanded testing will help it reopen. Free  COVID-19 tests will be required when the semester starts on Jan. 6. Hawai‘i Public Radio.

HAWAII BUSINESS
Hawaiʻi’s Latinos defy stereotypes

The Hispanic population in the Islands had grown by 38 percent since the previous Census, while the overall population grew only 12 percent, making them the state’s fastest growing ethnic group counted… read more.

HAWAIʻI ISLAND
New COVID-19 app is ready for download 
AlohaSafe Alert, the state’s official COVID-19 exposure notification app, is now available to Hawai‘i County residents and is expected to launch statewide next week. Tribune-Herald.

Chris Todd, 2 political newcomers vie for Kahele’s seat
A state representative and two political newcomers made the cut Wednesday night from a list of seven Democrats vying for Gov. David Ige’s nomination to fill the remaining two years of the state Senate seat vacated by Congressman-elect Kai Kahele. West Hawaii Today.

Waipi‘o Valley pedestrian ban is rejected
It’s back to the drawing board for a bill prohibiting pedestrian access to Waipi‘o Valley after County Council members raised constitutionality issues. They also worried that closing hiking there would affect similar areas, such as Pololū Valley in North Kohala. West Hawaii Today.

Council approves new Kailua-Kona development
An agreement with developers of a Kailua-Kona project was approved by the County Council last week and sent to the mayor, despite some members’ assurances that the public would have another chance to comment. West Hawaii Today.

HAWAII BUSINESS
The cost of dying

There are many ways to memorialize the dead, but one constant is that a little forethought and communication – before you go – can save your family a lot of money and grief after you’re gone..read more.
MAUI COUNTY
Mayor to seek scaled-back gatherings, other restrictions
Maui County is seeking to tighten rules, such as reducing the number of people allowed to gather, as the county continues to see a spike in COVID-19 cases. Maui News.

Operation Face Mask results in 24-hour closure of 2 Lāhainā bars
After receiving complaints about employees and patrons failing to wear masks, officers from the Maui Police Department and the Department of Liquor Control swept into several Front Street bars and made arrests on Saturday, Dec. 26. Maui Now.

KAUAʻI
County will say goodbye to single-use plastics
Starting Friday, a policy prohibiting county funds from being used for single-use, disposable plastics goes into effect. Garden Island.
DECEMBER ISSUE
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