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Safe Travel Plan

The state has no plans to change the Safe Travel Program until the CDC releases further guidance.

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

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Ige has no plans to ease visitor testing rules, despite calls to do so from tourism industry
With Hawai‘i’s visitor industry slow to rebound, tourism and business leaders are asking the state to modify its pre-travel testing program to make it easier for visitors to come. The response from the governor so far: That’s not going to happen.  Hawaii News Now.
State waiting until the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention releases new guidelines for travelers who have been vaccinated. KITV4.

The continuing clout of Hawai‘i’s public worker unions
Pushing back against Gov. David Ige’s threatened furloughs, government worker unions showed they still have ample political influence despite a 2018 Supreme Court decision some said would weaken the organizations. Civil Beat.

Hawai‘i facing largest recession in history
Hawai‘i’s state economist believes it will be years before the negative financial effects of the pandemic disappear, even though conditions are expected to dramatically improve later this year. KITV4.

Hawai‘i seniors, front-line workers next in line for COVID-19 vaccine
Hawai‘i has administered roughly a third of the nearly 83,000 COVID-19 vaccination doses the state has received so far. Health care workers who received the first dose are now able to get the second dose of the two-shot vaccine, which are to be administered three to four weeks following the first one. Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now. KHON2. KITV4. Big Island Now. Maui Now.
Air Force C-17 delivers vaccinations to National Guard troops.  Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

As teachers look ahead to vaccinations, thousands of students return to classrooms
In-person learning resumed Tuesday for many schools across the state. The state Department of Education said the maximum capacity is 50% at one time on campus, but many schools put a cap even lower. Hawaii News Now.

Hawai‘i will need to pay $59 million in interest to cover unemployment
The state already borrowed more than $734 million to cover 10-year-high unemployment claims beginning last year that were largely caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. There is no specific plan on how to cover the costs of paying off the interest, but DLIR spokesman Bill Kunstman said state officials are considering the possibility of issuing bonds and dipping into the state training and unemployment fund. Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

Proposed state budget would cut 30% from sex abuse treatment funding
Lawmakers were briefed Tuesday on some ugly proposed state budget reductions, including a plan to cut $1.4 million from treatment services to sexual assault victims over the next two years, and another that would “eviscerate” state enforcement of anti-discrimination laws. Civil Beat.

Investing in People, Companies and the ʻĀina
The pandemic accelerates new ways of lending, financing and investment in the Islands. These growing nonprofits provide one way for more people to bounce back from hardship… read more.
Caldwell’s top aide lands City Council gig to cash in on retirement benefits
Former Honolulu Managing Director Roy Amemiya’s term as the city’s second in command ended Saturday, but he needed a bit more time on his county employment record to qualify for retirement benefits. Newly elected Councilman Calvin Say said he agreed to hire Amemiya as a special project manager for six months. Civil Beat.

Kapiolani Medical Center nurses to take strike vote
The nurses said Tuesday with a settlement close at hand that management of Kapiolani Medical Center “has surprisingly stopped short of a fair agreement” in trying to ensure a safe and fair work environment. They said in a statement that they “have lost confidence in the hospital’s management.” Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

Natalie Iwasa joins HART board
The government-spending watchdog and frequent rail critic known as “Bike Mom” will lend an independent voice, the House Speaker said. Iwasa will fill one of the Hawai‘i Legislature’s four non-voting seats. Civil Beat.

City and County of Honolulu participates in 2020 National Community Survey
This year’s survey includes questions about the quality of life, city services, policies and management of the City and County of Honolulu, as well as opinions on issues pertinent to O’ahu residents. KITV4.

Your Free 2021 Calendar – Right Here!

2021 couldn’t come soon enough! And to recognize the start of a better and brighter year, here’s a free downloadable 2021 HR Calendar… read more.

Council confirmations: Rodenhurst squeaks through first step; Kern postponed
Seven other mayoral appointees during a long day of hearings found relatively smooth sailing in the first step of a two-step process to confirmation. West Hawaii Today.

State: ‘Kanaka garden’ at Wailoa park must be removed by 5 p.m. today
The state set a 5 p.m. deadline today for activists who have taken over a portion of Wailoa River Recreation Area in Hilo and planted a “kanaka garden” — as was done in 2012 and 2013 — to remove the plantings and other items or have them hauled away by Department of Land and Natural Resources enforcement officers. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Now. Hawaii News Now.

No decisions yet about how UH Hilo will address proposed $5.7M budget cut
UH is facing systemwide cuts of more than $78 million as part of Ige’s proposed biennium budget, which was unveiled Dec. 21. Some short-term cost-saving measures have already been implemented at UH Hilo. Tribune-Herald.

2 Local Surveys Ask About Today and Tomorrow

You already know the big picture.These two surveys fill in some of the details about what happened to businesses and people during the first eight months of the pandemic, and what the new normal looks like to more.
State shuts down Little Beach over big, maskless parties
After social media posts showing 400 people without masks partying Sunday at Little Beach in Makena, the state decided to shut down the area, known for drum circles, nudity, illegal alcohol and other illicit substances. Maui News. Maui Now. Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.

Mayor’s office employee has COVID-19, county says
The employee is asymptomatic and last worked in the Kalana O Maui county building Thursday. The Kalana O Maui county building remains open, and all building common areas have been professionally disinfected and will be sanitized again. Maui News. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Kawakami shares 2021 goals, pandemic thought
Mayor Derek Kawakami sat down with The Garden Island to discuss reopening, economic recovery, and 2021 goals for his administration. One of his goals is to continue core services, including  infrastructure, affordable housing, capital improvement projects, improvements and repairs. Garden Island.

Marriott changing ownership, 457 laid off
Essex House Condominium Corporation, which operates as the Kaua‘i Marriott Resort & Beach Club, will cease operations in March. The Massachusetts-based Sonesta will take over as the new operator to manage the hotel. Garden Island.

New produce program launched
A Kaua‘i nonprofit, The MonkeyPod, launched their Kauai CSA (community-supported agriculture) Initiative box pick-up location in the middle of last month, at The Local Beet in Kōloa. Kauai CSA Initiative works with local businesses and farmers to help create CSA boxes and organize pick-up locations throughout Kaua‘i. Garden Island.

Dive into some of our latest features!
2020 CEO of the Year Micah Kāne
Hawai‘i Economics and Economists in the Spotlight
AIA Design Awards 2020
2 Local Surveys Ask About Today and Tomorrow
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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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