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Hawaii sets new record with 3,484 new coronavirus cases -- no deaths
SA: … Hawaii Department of Health officials reported 3,484 new confirmed and probable coronavirus infections today, bringing the state’s total since the start of the pandemic to 109,642 cases. Today’s number of new infections breaks the previous record of 2,205 on Dec. 26.
No new virus-related fatalities were reported today so the statewide COVID-19 death toll remains 1,085….
Today’s new confirmed and probable infection count by island includes 2,680 new cases on Oahu, 242 on Hawaii island, 334 on Maui, 147 on Kauai, 21 on Molokai, one on Lanai and 59 Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state….
Health officials also said today that, of the state’s total infection count, 18,826 cases were considered to be active. Officials say they consider infections reported in the past 14 days to be a “proxy number for active cases.” The state’s total number of active cases increased today by 3,045….
read … Hawaii sets new record with 3,484 new coronavirus cases
Blangiardi Defends Approach To Omicron Surge
CB: … Mayor Rick Blangiardi said businesses know what to do to limit Covid-19 spread and don’t require further restrictions, despite admonishments from the state Department of Health….
Blangiardi cited an analysis concluding that omicron is less severe than other variants of Covid and emphasized that each case doesn’t correspond with someone in an intensive care unit bed.
The mayor said the vast majority of Honolulu residents have gotten two vaccination shots and urged those eligible for boosters to get them. He reiterated his desire for Honolulu residents to exercise personal responsibility and to make choices that prevent the disease’s spread, such as not attending gatherings where they feel uncomfortable….
The mayor praised what he called “soft lockdowns” which he described as businesses and individuals choosing not to engage in high-risk activities, such as businesses shutting down temporarily because staff or performers have Covid.
He urged businesses where there’s indoor dancing to suspend that this weekend. But he said the city won’t regulate it or shut down nightclubs, despite data showing that’s where Covid has been spreading….
Omicron makes up 66% of cases in the state: 78% of the cases in Honolulu, 40% in Hawaii County and 20% of cases in Maui County, according to a new variant report that analyzed data from two weeks ending on December 18….
Blangiardi said he would consider more restrictions once Covid hospitalizations exceed 150 per day in order to prevent hospitals from being overrun. As of Wednesday, Honolulu has 95 Covid hospitalizations….
read … Defiant Honolulu Mayor Defends His Approach To Omicron Surge
New timeline of events sheds light on failures that led to Navy’s ongoing water crisis
HNN: … A cart that crashed into a pipe inside one of the tunnels beneath the Navy’s fuel storage facility triggered the spill that ultimately contaminated the military’s water system.
That’s according to multiple sources, including Lt. Gov. Josh Green.
That crash happened Nov. 20, and the pipe that was damaged was supposed to have been empty.
But officials say it filled with fuel from a previous spill that no one knew was there, according to a new timeline of events that’s shedding light on the failures that led to the ongoing crisis.
“(The cart) it looks like kind of a golf cart but can carry large boxes and some heavy things,” Green said.
He said Navy officials showed him the exact spot where the crash happened during a recent tour of the facility. Military sources confirm the operator of a cart hit a valve on discharge pipe that’s typically empty. The damage triggered a spill no one was expecting.
“A series of accidents had to occur. But they did occur,” Green said.
To understand how the fuel got into that pipe in the first place you have to go back to May 6.
That’s when officials say human error caused another pipe to burst while fuel was being transferred between tanks.
The Navy didn’t realize how much had gotten out, HNN has learned.
The fuel that wasn’t contained was said to have flowed into a tunnel beneath the tanks and was captured by a large sump pump.
Sources say operators never knew the pumps turned on, flushing the fuel into the discharge pipe.
Officials say the fuel sat there for months until the cart crash triggered the November spill.
“There had been probably somewhere between 12,000 and 14,000 gallons of fuel spilled which we were able to see in the Red Hill Shaft,” Green said. “It got absorbed into the ground.”
Eight days later, residents on the Navy’s water system began reporting a petroleum smell, an odd taste and an oily sheen on their tap water….
HNN: Watch ‘This is Now’: New details released on what led up to Navy’s tainted water crisis
read … New timeline of events sheds light on failures that led to Navy’s ongoing water crisis
The Army showed the Navy how not to mismanage the contaminated water crisis in Hawaii
TP: … “We were already in the process of putting people in hotels and taking them bottled water, and the Navy was still saying there was nothing wrong with the water.” ….
read … The Army showed the Navy how not to mismanage the contaminated water crisis in Hawaii
DoH Still Delaying Flushing Process
HNN: … On Wednesday, Dec. 29, the Navy told state lawmakers that decontaminating its fuel-contaminated water will take longer than expected — possibly until the end of January 2022. They also said that affected families can start to move back into their homes in phases when in-home flushing is finished in their neighborhoods.
While the flushing at the Pearl City Peninsula was completed at the “system” level, additional flushing began Wednesday after being delayed by mainland test results due to needing approval from the EPA and Hawaii Department of Health. Once both of these agencies gave the all-clear, the first neighborhood started to get their in-house pipes and appliance purged of the contaminated water.
“Aliamanu neighborhoods, Red hill neighborhood, as well as Hale Moku and Hokulani are all complete with their system flush, and all results are at the lab on the mainland,” stated Capt. Darren Guenther, Navy Region Hawaii chief of state.
So far, test results taken from the water have come back without any detectable fuel levels, according to the Navy….
Other neighborhoods’ system flushing continues to be underway as the Moanalua Terrace is about 40% complete. Additionally, the Onizuka Village area of Hickam is about 80% finished….
read … Lt. Gov. Green says contaminated Navy water linked to cart crashing into and rupturing Red Hill pipe
Navy Again Points Out Health Department Lacks Power To Shut Down Red Hill
CB: … In response to a Hawaii health department order to drain the World War II-era fuel facility at the center of a water contamination crisis, the U.S. Navy is arguing that the state does not have the power to make such a demand.
The state’s proposed order “operates in a regulatory vacuum, unlawfully exceeding DOH’s authority,” according to more than 40 pages of objections the Navy filed on Wednesday evening….
read … Navy Argues Health Department Lacks Power To Shut Down Red Hill
3% TAT Hike Will Make TVRs More Attractive --- Cruise Ships Coming Jan 22
HTH: … Norwegian Cruise Lines to resume interisland cruises on Jan. 22.
De Fries assured that NCL has taken measures to mitigate the spread of COVID on its ships.
First, he said, NCL will resume operations at only 60% capacity, with plans to gradually increase capacity depending on the progress of the pandemic. Each ship also will have isolation rooms for travelers who become infected.
De Fries said NCL also has renovated its ships’ ventilation systems to better circulate fresh air through their decks. But he acknowledged that the omicron surge is a particularly delicate situation, and said the state Department of Transportation is prepared to turn away ships at the harbors if necessary.
De Fries also acknowledged residents’ concerns about visitors invading residential areas to stay at illegal vacation rentals. However, he noted that such options might appear even more attractive to visitors starting next year, with the counties free to impose an additional 3% transient accommodations tax on top of the existing 10.25% state TAT.
Hawaii County’s 3% TAT goes into effect Saturday….
SA Editorial: New tax offsets upkeep at visited sites
read … Tourism continues rebound: But uncertainty remains due to omicron concerns
High court ruling in Maui case could be good news for Maunakea protestors
HTH: … A Hawaii Supreme Court verdict regarding a Maui telescope protester could have implications for Maunakea protesters.
Samuel Kaeo, a Hawaiian studies professor at the University of Hawaii Maui College, was charged with disorderly conduct in 2015 after physically blocking a construction convoy from traveling to the summit of Haleakala, where the Daniel K. Inouye Telescope was then being built.
Six years later, the state Supreme Court has dismissed that charge, ruling that the lower courts invoked the term “disorderly conduct” erroneously….
On July 17, 2019, 38 individuals were arrested while blocking the Maunakea Access Road and were charged with obstruction…they were not charged with disorderly conduct….
HLN: HSC Weighs in on Difference Between "Public" and "the Public"
MN: Supreme Court reverses disorderly conduct conviction for Maui professor, activist
read … High court ruling in Maui case could be good news for Maunakea protestors
A quick look at some of what searches of Miske’s properties disclosed
ILind: … Attorney’s representing Mike Miske, the former Honolulu businessman accused of controlling a racketeering enterprise, filed several documents in court last week that included lists of items seized when search warrants were executed in July 2020 when Miske and most of his co-defendants were picked up in a sweep by federal agents.
Among the locations were the offices of Kamaaina Termite and Pest Control on Queen Street in Kakaako, and the Oahu Termite and Pest Control office in Pearl City, as well as the Kuuna Street home in Kailua where Miske was arrested, his palatial home in Hawaii Kai, and another home he purchased out of foreclosure in Hawaii Kai just six months before his arrest.
Keep in mind that Miske had several years to clean things up after he knew he was under investigation….
PDF: Items seized pursuant to federal search warrant at offices of Kamaaina Termite and Pest Control, July 2020…
read … A quick look at some of what searches of Miske’s properties disclosed
Pace of occupancy loss slows for Oahu retail market
PBN: … Oahu’s retail real estate market lost 23,655 square feet of occupancy in the second quarter, but the pace of store closings brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic has slowed and there is optimism for more recovery by the end of this year, according to a new retail market report by Colliers International Hawaii.
The negative 23,655 square feet of net absorption, or change in occupied space, was an improvement from the negative 97,697 square feet in the first quarter, although the islandwide vacancy rate still rose to 7.11% from 6.97% in the first quarter. The year-to-date net absorption for the first half of the year was a negative 118,622 square feet. ….
read … Pace of occupancy loss slows for Oahu retail market
Corona Virus News: