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Friday, May 14, 2021
May 14, 2021 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:17 PM :: 2120 Views

U.S. will accept Jones Act waiver applications while Colonial Pipeline begins slow reopening

$10M Taxpayer Money in 'High Tech' Giveaways

Schatz Calls On Ige To Lift Restrictions On Youth Sports

DoT Hosts Public Meetings for 'Statewide Transportation Improvement Program'

Community Meetings set for O‘ahu Storm Water Master Plan

Homeless HONU Shelter begins operation in Whitmore Village

SCOTUS Decision on Hawaii Carry Case will Tell Gun Owners All They Need to Know

Test Proves Navy Destroyer Can Shoot Down ICBM

Trade groups, unions urge veto of 3% TAT Hike

SA: … The Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Association and more than 30 organizations are urging Gov. David Ige to veto a bill that takes lodging taxes away from the Hawaii Tourism Authority and counties.

The groups sent a letter to Ige on Tuesday asking him to veto HB 862, which takes away the dedicated funding that HTA has had since its founding. In fiscal year 2019 the lodging tax brought $631 million to the state, and HTA received $79 million of it.

Lawmakers also used the bill to eliminate the counties’ $103 million share of transient accommodations taxes while giving each county the right to raise their island’s TAT by 3 percentage points….

Ige is still reviewing bills and has until June 21 to release his intent-to-veto list.

Mufi Hannemann, HLTA president and CEO, said, “It’s clear that the labor and business community are very concerned about this bill.We know that the governor has expressed concern about this bill and that he has a difficult task before him. If there’s a concern that there is not widespread support for a veto, hopefully this letter will dispel that.”… 

CB: Business Groups Ask Ige To Veto Bill Cutting Tourism Ad Spending

read … Trade groups, unions urge tourism bill veto

Hawaii Has A Lot Of Unemployed People. But Companies Still Can’t Find Help

CB: … “For the Hawaii economy overall,” UHERO reports, “labor shortages may pose the most daunting impediment to recovery.”….

Hawaii’s unemployment rate is stuck at about 9%, which theoretically means almost one in 10 people seeking work can’t find it. But businesses on the ground report a different picture.

“Although the state is still experiencing relatively high levels of unemployment, there is ample anecdotal evidence that Hawaii’s employers are having substantial difficulty hiring new staff,” UHERO reported. “In fact, labor shortages are becoming a common problem in many industries nationwide as the recovery advances.”

So what’s causing this?

UHERO dismisses one common argument: that the federal CARES Act is to blame. …

Instead, UHERO points to deeper problems.

Perhaps most troubling, the economists report that businesses are struggling to find workers because there are simply fewer people in Hawaii. According to UHERO the pandemic has led to the departure of 16,000 from the labor force, and many of these people have left the state altogether….

UHERO cites U.S. Census data showing Hawaii’s population fell by nearly 9,000 in 2020.

“Although the state’s population has been falling since 2017, the pace of decline doubled in 2020,” UHERO reported. “It is likely that the precipitous job losses and high cost of living in Hawaii have incentivized some unemployed workers without strong family ties in the islands to relocate.”….

read … Hawaii Has A Lot Of Unemployed People. But Companies Still Can’t Find Help

Hawaii Will Maintain Mask Rules Despite New CDC Guidance, Governor Says

CB: … Gov. David Ige said he believes it’s too soon to lift mask mandates because “it’s impossible to determine who’s vaccinated and who’s not vaccinated.” ….

read … Hawaii Will Maintain Mask Rules Despite New CDC Guidance, Governor Says

State epidemiologist says Hawaii is ‘close’ to reaching herd immunity

HNN: … The state’s epidemiologist says Hawaii is getting close to herd immunity, but stressed that vaccinations must continue to actually achieve it.

The other problem: Defining herd immunity is tricky.

Herd immunity means there’s enough immunity in the community to slow or stop its spread. It’s been said that herd immunity could happen when 70% to 90% percent of the population is vaccinated….

roughly 41% of Hawaii’s population is fully vaccinated.…

“We have to get to about 2 million doses in arms I believe to get to herd immunity,” he added.

Kauai has the highest vaccination rate among the counties with 61% of those 18 and older having at least one dose, according to the DOH website.

Even so, the island saw a recent spike in cases.

Dr. Janet Berreman, Kauai district health officer, says most of the cases on the Garden Isle and statewide were among unvaccinated people.

“I would say that that cluster report a week ago, it will be updated today (Thursday) and we are seeing no further growth in any of those clusters in our community (Kauai),” she said.

Maui County District Health Officer Dr. Lorin Pang says Lanai is leading the way in Maui County ― with 73% having at least one dose and 61% fully vaccinated.

On Molokai, 53% have had one dose with 48% fully vaccinated….

read … State epidemiologist says Hawaii is ‘close’ to reaching herd immunity

Summer School  ‘Last Chance’ To Catch Up Before New School Year

CB: … “Over the past few years we have not really had a summer school as most of our teachers have not shown interest in teaching,” said Waipahu Elementary vice principal James Suster. “This year we made a strong push and teachers were interested.”

Waipahu planned to prioritize reading, writing and math classes this summer for students who need it most. Teachers called parents and urged them to have their children sign up. After two weeks of that outreach, the school opened eligibility for summer school to all of its 940 students, netting 150 registrations to date.

School officials and other education advocates have pinned their hopes on summer school to help students catch up academically and to re-acclimate them to a school environment after spending more than a year at home amid the pandemic….

read … Summer School Offers Kids A ‘Last Chance’ To Catch Up Before New School Year

Hawaii Gov Should Veto New Red-Light Camera Program

CB: … Past experience and the likelihood that innocent car owners may be penalized are big red flags for the red-light program….

read … Hawaii Gov Should Veto New Red-Light Camera Program

City requests gag order in Lindani Myeni case

KITV: … The family's attorney, The Bickerton Law Group, also filed a notice of an oral videotaped deposition to question the 911 caller, Sabine Shiying Wang, her husband, Dexter Wang, and the homeowner registered at 91 Coelho Way, James Hall.

On Monday, the Myeni family lawyer filed a notice to appear subpoena to witnesses and neighbors living on Coehlo Way, Frances Hamada, and Julie Asari and Myeni's cellular phone provider, AT&T Wireless.  

In a request to the First Circuit Court, The Bickerton Law Group listed over 20 disclosure requests, including police reports, the three officers' personnel files, witness statements, and cell phone records.  

The City's motion claims Bickerton did not provide notice of the disposition and did not follow the Hawaii Guidelines of Professional Courtesy and Civility and provided news media 'speculative factual scenarios and legal theories' of the incident. 

These actions, the City says, have left 'no choice but to seek a protective order to prevent disclosure of materials until the investigations are complete'.

A declaration from First Deptury Prosecturing Attorney Thomas J. Brady states disclosing the sensitive information could taint a grand jury or jury pool before a thorough investigation is completed. 

A major in HPD's Professional Standards Office, Gregory J. Osbun, wrote revealing officers' identity and personnel files could lead to possible threats against the officer and their family members or create scare tactics against witnesses speaking with HPD. …

read … City requests gag order in Lindani Myeni case

SpaceX plans to send Starship to Kauai via space

CNET: … Starship's first trip beyond Texas will take Elon Musk's Mars rocket prototype to Hawaii via orbit.

That's the plan revealed in a new SpaceX filing with the Federal Communications Commission on Thursday. SpaceX applied to the FCC for a license authorizing the radio communications for the next-generation spacecraft's first visit to actual space….

An attachment to the application lays out the details of the flight:

"The Starship Orbital test flight will originate from Starbase, TX. The Booster stage will separate approximately 170 seconds into flight. The Booster will then perform a partial return and land in the Gulf of Mexico approximately 20 miles from the shore. The Orbital Starship will continue on flying between the Florida Straits. It will achieve orbit until performing a powered, targeted landing approximately 100km (~62 miles) off the northwest coast of Kauai in a soft ocean landing."

So an upcoming Starship prototype, paired with a Super Heavy booster, will blast off from the SpaceX development site in Boca Chica, Texas. Super Heavy would then separate and land, perhaps on a ship, off shore while Starship continues on to orbit, flying east all the way to Hawaii for a splashdown in the Pacific. The entire flight, from liftoff to splashdown, is expected to last 90 minutes.

read … SpaceX plans to send Starship to Hawaii via space

Next Boondoggle: Ala Wai Canal Scheme up to $651M and Counting

SA: … Another study is in store for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ over-budget Ala Wai Flood Risk Management Project. This time it’s aimed at getting the 2-­decade-old project moving again.

The project, which goes back to a 2001 feasibility study, hit a roadblock in January when the Army Corps of Engineers confirmed that costs had nearly doubled to $651 million.

The higher price tag came after the agency made dramatic changes to the project, including adding a four-story pump station to the historic Ala Wai Canal, where controversial walls and berms already were planned….

Federal, state and local officials have balked at the ballooning costs, and now support conducting a “general reevaluation” to find a way forward that doesn’t exceed earlier allocations and is affordable for implementation and maintenance.

The project was funded for construction by the federal Bi-Partisan Budget Act of 2018 under the Long-term Disaster Recovery Investment Program with an authorized cost of just over $345 million. The state was expected to contribute $121 million for the project, which the city would maintain….

(Genius Level Idea: Just dump this project.  We don’t need it.)

SA: Starting over with Ala Wai project

Reality: Ala Wai? Corps of Engineers has Long History of Corruption and Cost Overruns

read … Officials embark on a study to lower costs of the $651 million venture

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