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DOE budget shortfall

Governor David Ige says the projected DOE budget deficit is lower than anticipated.

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

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Accessed on 22 January 2021, 2200 UTC, Post 22,245.

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Gov. Ige says DOE’s budget shortfall is $123M less than feared, but teachers’ union contends hundreds of layoffs still looming
The governor had originally directed all departments, including the DOE, to reduce their budgets by 10% to deal with shortfalls. He changed course to request DOE reductions of just 2.5% — $123 million less than earlier projections. Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Tribune-Herald. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Economists: Agribusiness Development Corp. is a “fiasco”
A week after a scathing audit concluded that the agency is failing to fulfill its mission to transform the state’s agriculture industry, the University of Hawai‘i Economic Research Organization reached the same conclusion in a report released Thursday. Civil Beat.

Biden signs order fully reimbursing Hawai‘i National Guard for COVID-19 operations
The Trump administration had previously agreed to pay for 75% of costs associated with the historic nationwide deployments of National Guardsmen. Civil Beat.

Two of Hawai‘i’s own to serve on Biden’s White House communications team 
Remi Yamamoto will be the senior communications adviser to the White House chief of staff, and Michael Kikukawa will serve as press assistant. Hawaii News Now.

Coastal homeowners face stiff fines for illegal seawalls
Property owners at Sunset Beach, Punalu‘u and Portlock on O‘ahu, as well as a homeowner on Moloka‘i, are facing tens of thousands of dollars in fines for allegedly constructing illegal seawalls and installing boulders along the beaches. Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

20% of all parking tickets were never paid 
The uncollected fines from tickets issued over the last five years add up to nearly $11 million, state records show. Hawaii News Now.

Hawai‘i residents from COFA nations can now apply for Medicaid
The change is a result of a bill signed by former President Donald Trump restoring federal Medicaid funding for citizens of Compact of Free Association nations. Civil Beat.

Hawaiian Airlines expands pre-clear travel program
Passengers departing from select U.S. mainland cities can bypass airport screening in Hawai‘i with a negative COVID-19 test. Maui Now. KHON2.

How To Create More Homes For Local People
It’s long been common to hear stories of family and friends leaving the Islands for cities on the Mainland that have lower costs of living and more affordable housing. But in the past two years, so many people left the Aloha State that its population declined… read more.
New route for Honolulu rail? Any “hare-brained” scheme is being considered
HART’s new executive director Lori Kahikina says she’s open to any ideas that avoid having to get special utility clearances along Dillingham Boulevard. Civil Beat.

Registration opens for vaccination clinic in Kāne’ohe
Starting Tuesday, Jan. 26, the Department of Health will begin vaccinating people 75 and older at the new clinic. KITV4.

Respiratory therapists at Kapi‘olani Medical Center navigate their first union contract
The Hawai‘i Nurses’ Association, which expects to ratify a new contract soon for Kapi‘olani nurses who voted to strike, is still trying to bargain with the hospital for the smaller group of respiratory therapists. Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

O‘ahu retail vacancies projected to surge this year
Commercial real estate firm Colliers International projects that vacant retail space at shopping centers will grow by at least 270,000 square feet this year because of tenant closures. Last year, 107,586 square feet of additional vacant space was added. Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

Beach access coalition plans sign-waving outside Ko Olina over limited parking
Protesters hope Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi’s administration will fully reopen four lagoon parking lots after they were closed in March and reopened at reduced 50% capacity in October. Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

An Ordinary Businessperson’s Guide to Influencing Lawmakers

On January 16, 2020, more than 100 members of the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii walked around the Legislature, spoke in person to lawmakers and their staff, and built or reinforced crucial relationships. We identified 19 influential members of the state Legislature and Honolulu City Council who have advocated for local businesses in the past… read more.

Scores of kupuna receive COVID-19 vaccine 
An estimated 14,000 people 75 and older live on Hawai‘i Island and need to be vaccinated in Tier 1B. Approximately 6,000 of them are in West Hawai‘i. In addition to Kona Community Hospital, other facilities and providers are stepping up to administer the vaccine, both in Kona and around the island. West Hawaii Today. Big Island NowTribune-Herald.
Government and Civic Engagement in Hawai‘i Need to Change

People are frustrated with government in Hawai‘i. The Center for Public Integrity graded Hawai‘i a D+ in 2015, with especially low rankings compared to other U.S. states in areas including legislative accountability, electoral oversight, and more. Here are 5 ways to make government more effective in Hawaiʻi..read more.
Maui Planning Commission offers workshop on shoreline rule amendments 
The virtual workshop will explain the proposed special management area and shoreline rule amendments to address sea level rise. The rules could affect properties near the Maui shoreline. Maui Now.

Some Moloka’i residents want to restart the Maui-Moloka’i ferry
The service would open up more travel options after ‘Ohana Air pulled out, but the former ferry owner says the same challenges that drove him to close in 2016 still exist. KITV4.

Andrew Martin tapped to be next top prosecutor
The deputy prosecuting attorney has been selected to lead Maui County’s Department of the Prosecuting Attorney, which has been rocked by months of hearings and probes over a hostile working environment tied to its former leader. Maui News.

Input sought on how to use 400 acres in Waimea 
A new master plan is in the works for the large parcel of land owned by the county. The Waimea 400 project is asking residents to complete an online survey indicating their preferences for park and recreational amenities and housing. Garden Island.

Hawaii Foodbank serves hundreds in first distribution of the new year
Motorists snaked through the distribution points, where more than 22,200 pounds of food were passed out. Garden Island.

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