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Locally Owned, Locally Committed Since 1955
Lawmakers support resolution to protect hula amid ‘exploitation’ concerns
Many of the world’s finest hula dancers are gathered in Hilo this week for the 59th annual Merrie Monarch Festival. But hula also took centerstage at the state Capitol on Thursday, where lawmakers are considering a resolution to protect its integrity. Hawaii News Now.
How the decline in lab testing is complicating efforts to track Covid
As the pandemic enters its third year, more people are taking at-home tests or none at all. The number of lab tests reported by the state has dropped to some of the lowest levels since the early stages of the pandemic, hovering around an average of 2,800 per week, according to the state’s most recent figures released Wednesday. During the height of the omicron surge in January, the state logged more than 15,000 tests daily. Civil Beat.
BOE OKs requests to reduce class time
The state Board of Education voted unanimously Thursday to approve more than 200 requests from schools for noninstructional days, decreasing the number of hours students will spend in the classroom for the 2022-2023 school year. A majority of the requests will increase the number of professional development days for staff, where students are not present on campus. Tribune-Herald.
Free summer school to help students bounce back
The Board of Education plans to create a “robust summer school schedule” that has a variety of classes and programs aimed at helping students catch up. The DOE universal screener testing revealed that in the fall and winter of the 2021-2022 school year, almost a fourth of all elementary students were failing English. Though things improved slightly in English in the second quarter, more of them failed math. KHON2.
Isabella Kalua’s death has yet to trigger a clear plan to bolster child protection
The end of this year’s legislative session is just days away, and lawmakers say they still haven’t seen a clear plan for improving Hawai‘i’s child welfare system. This is because the state Department of Human Services also did not request a significant budget increase for the Child Welfare Services Division this year, nor did it announce plans to seek changes to state laws, rules or policies to help the agency do its job more effectively. Civil Beat.
Biden nominates ex-KPD officer to lead U.S. Marshals Office in Hawai‘i
President Joe Biden announced Friday that he is nominating Michael Contrades, a former deputy police chief in Kaua‘i, to lead the U.S. Marshals Office in Hawai‘i. His nomination does not come without controversy: in 2016 he was named as a defendant in a federal lawsuit that settled for $1.8 million. Civil Beat.
Hawai‘i lawmaker will not face additional punishment following DUI acquittal
State Rep. Sharon Har will not face additional charges for her conduct during an arrest on suspicion of drunk driving. A House Special Committee said it found no evidence that the Makakilo lawmaker misused her office during her arrest. Hawaii News Now.Star-Advertiser.Civil Beat.
HAWAII BUSINESS MAGAZINE Ho‘okele Health Services and Vivia: 2022 SmallBiz Editor’s Choice Award Winner – Health Care
Hoʻokele means “to navigate” and for more than a decade, Ho‘okele Health Services has helped O‘ahu’s seniors and their families find their way to in-home health care services. In 2019, Ho‘okele’s founding partners, Dew-Anne Langcaon and Bonnie Castonguay, leveraged more than 50 years of combined experience in the health care industry… read more.
Council Budget Committee advances new tax classification for short-term rentals
The Honolulu City Council Budget Committee has given initial approval to a measure that would adjust the property tax rate for legal short-term rentals, which in its current form could mean relief for some owners and a hike for others. Under the current tax structure, there is no enforced classification for legal short-term rentals, which are allowed to rent for less than 30 days at a time. Star-Advertiser.
Permitting overhaul may mean faster build times for homeowners
City Permitting Director Dean Uchida said they are in the process of revamping the entire permitting system, which has been notoriously slow. For instance, the current average wait time between the approval and issuance of commercial permits is 117 days, which is up from 87 days last year. Staffing shortages and a broken pneumatic tube, which carries documents through the department’s divisions, are some of the reasons for the delays. KITV4.
FBI warning about threat to Honolulu’s mayor prompted additional officers at city hall
The FBI notified Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi and Lt. Gov. Josh Green that they were subjects on online threats by Lindsey Kinney, a witness against suspected crime boss Mike Miske. In response, two plainclothes HPD officers were stationed at the mayor’s office from April 4 through 11. The FBI specifically cited Instagram posts in the charging documents in which Kinney allegedly says he would behead them. Hawaii News Now.
Honolulu ranked in top 25 cleanest cities for air pollution
Honolulu is ranked #3 in the top 25 cleanest cities in the country, and officials at the American Lung Association credit both the success to the island’s trade winds and the increase of residents switching over to electric cars. KITV4.
Navy says it has cut irrigation use by 50% amid water shortage
A Navy official says that cutting its water use by 50% saves about 2 to 3 million gallons a day, which is a little over 10% of their overall normal use. Another water-saving measure is the installation of thousands of low-flow showerheads in public areas such as swimming pools and fitness facilities, as well as in barracks and dorms. Hawaii Public Radio.
O‘ahu North Shore property owner says he will fight $92K fine
State conservation officials are seeking to impose a $92,000 fine against a North Shore property owner for violating state laws by moving large amounts of sand in front of his two beachfront homes to shield them from coastal erosion and refusing to remove broken sandbags, rocks, concrete rubble and other debris that they say he stacked along the public beach. Star-Advertiser.
As housing prices on O‘ahu hit record highs, families grapple with rising rents
Prices for single-family homes on O‘ahu hit a new record high last month and are up more than 21% from last year, according to the Honolulu Board of Realtors. On top of those increases, mortgage rates are as high as they were a decade ago: a 30-year fixed rate is over 5%. Hawaii News Now.
O‘ahu nonprofits to get $4.5M to address housing and financial woes
A group of 17 O‘ahu nonprofit organizations will receive $4.5 million collectively over the next three years to address issues related to housing and financial stability. Known as the 2022-24 ALICE Initiative, the program is designed to help working families in Hawai‘i, where a high cost of living and relatively low wages leave many people struggling to get by. Civil Beat.
SPONSORED BY NAIOP HAWAII
NAIOP Hawaii’s Kukulu Hale Awards Put the Spotlight on Hawaii’s CRE Industry, May 6
Join NAIOP Hawaii at the Royal Hawaiian Monarch Room on Friday, May 6, for the 25th Annual Kukulu Hale Awards – a fun, ‘50s Flashback-themed celebration of this year’s award-winning CRE projects and special awardees, including Castle & Cooke Hawaii, 2022 Developer of the Year… read more.
Weight limit on Kolekole Bridge could be lifted in June
Kolekole Bridge is on track to reopen to heavy truck traffic by June, state officials said Thursday. The current phase of work is a $7.5 million emergency repair project that will replace much of the bridge’s substructure with an overhead trestle from which the bridge will be suspended. Tribune-Herald.
Planning Commission defers extension request for subdivision proposal off Ali‘i Drive
A developer looking to build a subdivision near Ali‘i Drive will have to meet with the Cultural Resource Commission to ensure there aren’t any concerns from that body pertaining to plans for the subdivision near Kahalu‘u before the project can move forward. The property is near two burial sites as well as the Keauhou-Kahalu‘u heritage area. Big Island Now.
Funds sought for demolition of Uncle Billy’s
The former 145-room hotel, which sits on state leasehold land on Hilo’s Waiakea Peninsula, has been shuttered since 2017. An interim security contract for the Banyan Drive property expired at the end of 2021 and, according to authorities, the building has been occupied by squatters. Tribune-Herald.
HAWAII BUSINESS MAGAZINE
5 Steps to Get Employees Excited about a Worthy Cause
Employee engagement is crucial to increasing productivity, enhancing work quality and retaining top talent. A community give-back program is a good place to start, says Tammi Zahn, community food drive coordinator for Hawaii Foodbank. She shares five steps for engaging employees... read more.
‘Ration your water’: A plantation-era water system on Maui is maxed out
Families who rely on a Maui stream as their only source of running water found their supply suddenly dry. The dilemma underscores a harsh reality: There isn’t enough water flowing through the century-old irrigation system to fulfill the needs of everyone who relies on it. Civil Beat.
Water to be restored to five Moloka‘i streams
Water will be restored to five streams on Moloka‘i that for more than a century were almost fully diverted and often dry, according to the state Department of Land and Natural Resources. The state Commission on Water Resource Management voted Tuesday to set interim in-stream flow standards that will fully or partially restore East Kawela, East Kawela Tributary, West Kawela, Lualohe and Waikolu Streams. The commission committed to a goal of full stream restoration for East Kawela Stream. Maui News.
After outcry, Maui’s Baldwin High reverses ban on lei-giving at graduation
A significant reversal for graduating seniors who have endured years of pandemic restrictions, Baldwin High School recently repealed its ban on lei-giving at this year’s graduation ceremony. The Department of Education does not have specific restrictions on lei-giving and it is up to each school how it would implement Covid-19 guidelines encouraging distancing and safety during ceremonies. Maui Now.
Weekly Covid cases rising on Kaua‘i
The County of Kaua‘i’s current seven-day average is 10 cases per day, according the Hawai‘i Emergency Management Agency’s online data dashboard. That’s up from six cases a day last week, according to the mayor. Garden Island.
Catholic Charities Hawai’i celebrates 30 years on Kaua‘i
On Kaua‘i, CCH staff served approximately 1,225 households, totaling over 2,500 people — over 1,400 of which were children. The organization was placed on the frontline of the pandemic response when they were contracted by the government to help administer several rent relief programs during the height of the virus. Statewide, the organization provided over $125 million in rental assistance to nearly 20,000 households. Garden Island.