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Fewer Hospital Cases With Omicron


Fewer hospitalizations for omicron variant, but experts remain concerned.

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

Accessed on 03 January 2022, 2302 UTC.

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Today's Hawaii News
Fewer hospitalizations expected during Omicron surge, but experts remain concerned
As of Sunday, 175 Covid patients were in Hawai‘i’s hospitals. Lt. Gov. Josh Green said the latest forecasts expect that number to peak at around 350 by Jan. 25., which is still below the Sept. 3 record of 448. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Citing Covid numbers, Ige suspends public meetings provision
On Thursday, Gov. David Ige  announced that he had signed an emergency proclamation temporarily suspending an upcoming provision in Hawai‘i’s Sunshine Law to have at least one in-person location for public meetings held remotely. Civil Beat. West Hawaii Today. Hawai‘i Public Radio. Big Island Now.

Decision by Hawai‘i Supreme Court leads to dismissal of dozens of cases
Dozens of misdemeanor cases are being tossed out after a recent ruling asserting that criminal complaints may be dismissed if they do not follow a procedural law requiring a signed affidavit or official declaration from the complaining party. Star-Advertiser.

Minimum wage increase in Hawai‘i is gaining momentum
State House Speaker Scott Saiki said he plans to introduce a bill to boost Hawai‘i’s minimum wage from $10.10 an hour to eventually $18 an hour. Star-Advertiser.

It is now illegal to kill or capture sharks in Hawaiʻi
As of Jan. 1, it is illegal to knowingly capture, entangle or kill any species of shark in state marine waters. Big Island Video News.

Climate change plays a role in fewer humpback whale sightings, scientists find
As Hawai‘i’s 2021-2022 whale season gets underway, scientists say they hope to see population numbers recover after an estimated 50% plunge in 2015-2016. Conditions have improved in the past two winters, with cooler waters and better food stocks in Alaska. Star-Advertiser.

Illustration: Getty Images
EV Sales in Hawai‘i Are Up 30.6%, and Many Buyers Say They’re Glad They Made the Switch
David Aquino traded his Tacoma pickup truck for a Kia Niro EV last year as part of his New Year’s resolution to contribute to a cleaner future. “Being born and raised in Hawai‘i, I spent a lot of my time in and around the ocean so I could see the impacts we were having on our oceans and reefs… read more.
Augie Tulba’s role in TV commercial raises questions for elected officials
The Honolulu councilman’s starring role in a commercial for a rental car company is raising questions about the rules for elected officials in advertisements. Star-Advertiser.

Planning costs climb for new O‘ahu jail as debate drags on over its scope
Gov. David Ige is asking lawmakers for $15 million next year to replace the aging O‘ahu Community Correctional Center, and may request an additional $10 million in 2023 — bringing the total cost for construction planning to $35 million for a facility that might eventually cost $1 billion to complete. Civil Beat.

Wages for many on O‘ahu fail to keep pace with soaring prices
The cost of goods and services on O‘ahu increased 5.4% in November compared to a year ago, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Costs for volatile items like food and gas are expected to level off or decrease, but not for a while. Civil Beat.

Honolulu mayor’s stance on Navy water crisis: no comment
Rick Blangiardi has voiced his support for Honolulu Board of Water Supply Chief Engineer Ernie Lau, but said he doesn’t know enough about the issue to render an opinion and wouldn’t echo Lau’s calls to drain the Red Hill fuel tanks. Civil Beat.

Contractors play a key role in Red Hill fuel storage operations
As the Navy wrestles with the impacts of water contamination from the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility, the complexity of its fueling operations is coming under scrutiny, particularly maintenance work at the aging fuel farm. Star-Advertiser.

Lawyer David Louie was Hawai‘i’s attorney general from 2011 to 2014. | The cover of Louie’s book.

Politics Can Be Like “a Street Brawl Outside a Bar”

David Louie recalls his time as the state’s top lawyer (2011-14) in the memoir, “From the Desk of the Attorney General.” Here are behind-the-scenes excerpts… read more.

Council bill would use grants to make bus rides free
Bus rides may be free for the next two years if a bill being discussed by the Hawai‘i County Council passes. Tribune-Herald.

Another blow delivered to Honua Ola power plant
The state’s Consumer Advocate has filed a document with the Public Utilities Commission saying “due to remaining questions and concerns, it is unable to recommend approval” of Honua Ola Bioenergy, the nearly completed biomass power plant in Pepe‘ekeo. Tribune-Herald.

Homeless camps mapped for outreach, Point-in-Time Count
Flying in a helicopter over North Kona, Linda Thomas-Vandervoort was able to assess West Hawai‘i’s homeless population from a different angle. West Hawaii Today.

Photo: courtesy of Kira Santos
My Job: A Life in Music

Kira Santos of the band Close the Distance says being a professional musician requires a tough skin “because you’re going to get knocked down 100 times in this industry.” Santos and her younger sister, Ezri, met their original bandmates when they were students at Hawaii more.
Covid booster will be required for indoor dining, bars and gyms
Maui County will require people eligible for booster shots to get them in order to be considered fully vaccinated. Civil Beat. Hawai‘i Public Radio.

Boil water advisory remains for some areas in Kula
The Maui County Department of Water Supply advised affected residents to boil tap water before consumption as a precaution against possible bacteria. Maui News.

Kaua‘i County Council looks at infrastructure, housing as policy goals for next year
The next council meeting isn’t until Jan. 12, but members are continuing to work on county issues behind the scenes. Garden Island.

Kaua‘i mayor sets 2022 goals
Mayor Derek Kawakami is optimistic going into the new year, citing the resiliency of local businesses and the Kaua‘i community. Garden Island.

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