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Only half of Hawaii residents plan to get vaccine

A recent survey of Hawaii State residents shows only half are willing to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

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

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Accessed on 28 January 2021, 2100 UTC, Post 23,280.

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1.28.2021
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Only half of Hawai‘i residents surveyed plan to vaccinate
The survey of 3,846 respondents was conducted Nov. 30 to Dec. 14 — before the COVID-19 vaccine became widely available in Hawai‘i. A summary of the survey that was released Wednesday said “anecdotal evidence suggests that vaccine acceptance has increased since and will continue to increase over time.” Honolulu Star-AdvertiserMaui NowHawaii Public Radio.
Faster vaccine deliveries promised by President Joe Biden would help the state could give a COVID-19 shot to every willing Hawai‘i resident by the fall, health official says. Civil Beat.
Lt. Gov. Green: We’ve given more vaccines than we’ve had cases. KHON2.

Ige’s proposed ‘sugar tax’ could generate $60 million a year for the state government
David Ige has proposed a new 2-cents-per-ounce tax on soda and other sugary drinks in an effort to discourage sugar consumption and cope with the “huge health challenge” of obesity and diabetes. Civil Beat.

House bill proposes 3-year state liquor tax increase
The tax is currently nearly $6 per gallon on distilled spirits and nearly $1 on nondraft beer. While the bill does not yet specify precisely how much the tax surcharge should be, it projects a 10 cent surcharge would generate $62.7 million in revenue for the state. Tribune-Herald.

Labor unions push lawmakers to drop GET on groceries
Hawaii Teamsters, ILWU and two other labor unions are working with lawmakers who introduced the proposal. They admit it’s a hard sell considering the state is already dealing with a massive budget deficit, but argue that the money saved by the families will go back into the economy, and that many other states are already doing this. KHON2.

Hawai‘i chief justice: Courts must address systemic inequities
Hawai‘i Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald, invoking the names of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and others who were killed by police, is calling on the state court system to do its part in addressing systemic inequities. Civil Beat.

Former OHA finance chief sues over whistleblower retaliation
The lawsuit filed Tuesday in First Circuit Court by David Laeha, former chief financial officer of OHA, details several instances in which Laeha was allegedly ordered to complete improper payments for contracts and was blocked when he tried to report instances of harassment of himself and others. Civil BeatHawaii News Now.

Hawai‘i ‘Proud Boy’ hires 9/11 defense lawyer to fight capitol mob chargers
Federal court records show Nick Ochs’ new lawyer is Edward MacMahon Jr., of Virginia, who once defended Zacarias Moussaoui, the only person ever tried and convicted in the U.S. for his role in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks that left nearly 3,000 dead. Civil Beat.

Gov. Ige opens pre-arrival testing program to South Korea
The pre-arrival testing program for travelers from South Korea starts Feb. 5 and allows travelers to bypass Hawai‘i’s mandatory 10-day qurantine if they receive a negative COVID-19 test result from a “trusted testing partner” in South Korea. The test has to be taken no earlier than 72 hours prior to departure. Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Big Island Now.
Hawai‘i’s largest locally owned medical testing laboratory, Diagnostic Laboratory Services, Inc., has increased its capacity to 4,000 tests per day, up from 1,000. Big Island Now.

HAWAII BUSINESS MAGAZINE
New Store, New Year for a Hawai‘i Tradition
Akira Nakajima, new owner of Fujiya Hawai‘i, a 67-year-old company, makes strawberry mochi. Nakajima moved here five years ago from Japan and wanted a second act expanding Fujiya’s mochi and snack business… read more.
OʻAHU
Mayor identifies affordable workforce rentals as a top priority
Rick Blangiardi’s first piece of legislation as Honolulu’s mayor calls for grant money to help fund more affordable rental units. What makes this plan different is the units would be constructed or remodeled specifically as workforce housing ― renters making close to the area median income. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu’s next budget director expects challenges, ‘a tough 2020’
Mayor Rick Blangiardi named Andy Kawano as the next person to lead the department. He came to the city from Foodland Supermarket as its director of facilities. Hawaii Public Radio.

Murder trials, other O‘ahu court cases with multiple defendants halted due to COVID-19
Just on O‘ahu, Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald said that 2,200 criminal jury trials are pending, along with “many hundreds more on the neighbor islands.” At the same time, O‘ahu’s District Courts have received over 60,000 criminal citations for misdemeanor violations of pandemic emergency orders. Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

HPD chief shakes up covert intelligence unit after years of scandal
The Intelligence Enforcement Unit was at the center of the Kealoha conspiracy as well as a more recent surveillance operation that targeted a political appointee. Chief Susan Ballard recently reassigned oversight of the Intelligence Enforcement Unit to HPD’s Investigative Bureau, meaning it will no longer be under the direct supervision of Deputy Police Chief John McCarthy and will include more layers of oversight from other commanders within the department. Civil Beat.

Affordable housing complex opens in Maili, more projects expected to break ground this year
More public and private housing projects along the Leeward Coast and around Honolulu will start construction this year, but experts say it still won’t be enough to satisfy the state’s supply shortage of affordable homes. KITV4.
Honolulu City Council OKs senior housing tower in Chinatown. Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

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HAWAIʻI ISLAND
Some Big Island teachers get first dose of COVID vaccine
Approximately 630 DOE staff were given the first dose of the Moderna vaccine Jan. 16 at a closed “POD,” or point of distribution, conducted for Big Island DOE staff at Kea‘au High School, according to District Health Officer Eric Honda. Tribune-Herald.

Water employees offered vaccinations
There hasn’t been a single positive coronavirus test among the Department of Water Supply’s 164 staff, and the agency wants to keep it that way. Water Department employees have moved up to Tier 1b of the COVID-19 vaccine roll out, meaning they’re eligible to move to the front of the line as essential workers. West Hawaii Today.

HAWAII BUSINESS MAGAZINE
Expert Financial Advice for Your Small Business

During this year’s Small Business Summit, participants can meet one-on-one with experts to get their questions answered. Central Pacific Bank lined up a team of experts to help our small business owners and managers set their finances up for success in this post-pandemic economy. Learn more >>
MAUI COUNTY
Proposal pulls power from Maui Redevelopment Agency
The Maui Planning Commission on Tuesday gave its backing to a proposed bill that pulls power from a county agency with authority to alter zoning and variance rules for downtown Wailuku. Maui News.

Hawai‘i governor declares Maui County a disaster area as drought there persists
The move allows the state to provide relief for damages and suffering — as well as to take immediate measures to “reduce and control” the axis deer population on those islands, Ige said in a statement Wednesday. The drought has lasted since March 2019, taking a heavy toll on farmers and homesteaders, as well as the deer that roam those islands. Civil Beat. KITV4.

KAUAʻI
Council passes lower residential investor threshold evaluation
With one in eight homes on Kaua‘i empty, a bill attempting to incentivize filling these vacancies passed through the Kaua‘i County Council on Wednesday. Garden Island.

Kaua‘i is moving forward on one of the nation’s most advanced energy projects
The solar-charged hydro power concept is being eyed to replace coal and other fossil-fuel powered electric plants in the U.S. and abroad. The resulting hydro power will produce 240 megawatts overall — about a quarter of Kaua‘i’s total electricity needs. Civil Beat.

JANUARY/FEBRUARY ISSUE
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