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The Latest: 1 Death, 89 New Cases; New Leadership At OHA; Honolulu Gives Plastic Utensil Extension

Catherine Cruz/Hawaii Public Radio

Updated 12/11/20, 11:55 a.m.

New leadership is in place at the Office of Hawaiian Affairs Board of Trustees. Maui trustee Carmen “Hulu” Lindsey was selected Thursday to replace long-time OHA chairwoman Colette Machado.

Machado who represented Moloka?i for more than 24 years was voted out of office in November.

Lindsey, who joined the board in 2012, plans to unite trustees to carry out OHA’s new strategic focus on educational pathways, health outcomes, quality housing, and economic stability.

"Our commitment is to build trust and cohesion amongst OHA’s board of trustees so that we may address past disputes with the state and with our agency and our communities so that we can begin to face the many challenges as Hawaiians with a strong and unified house," Lindsey said.

Lindsey’s nomination passed in a vote of 7-to-1, with Trustee Brendon Kalei??ina Lee casting the lone “no” vote. Lee asked to delay the vote to allow more time for a challenge at the chairmanship by OHA trustee Keli?i Akina.

Akina won the OHA At-Large race in November by just 1,623 votes. But an elections challenge by his opponent prevented him from joining Thursday’s meeting.

-- HPR's Ku?uwehi Hiraishi

Where we stand

The state Department of Health reported 89 new cases and one additional fatality today.

According to the state's numbers, O?ahu had 56 new cases, Maui 11, Hawai?i County 3, Kaua?i 2, and Lanai and Moloka?i had none.

The latest state counts bring the O?ahu total to 16,059, Hawai?i County, 1,691, Maui 644, Kaua?i 125, Lanai 106 and Moloka?i 22. The number of out-of-state cases totals 286.

Since the pandemic began, the state has tallied 18,951 cases. The death toll stands at 269.

Honolulu extends 'education period' for utensil law

Honolulu is giving food vendors another 90 days to use up their plastic utensil inventory. The city's Disposable Food Ware Ordinance was signed into law on December 15, 2019 -- with the first part of the law going into effect next month.

Under the new city ordinance, restaurants would have been required to start providing utensils made out of renewable materials, and reduce their use of plastic takeout bags on January 1.

Mayor Kirk Caldwell announced yesterday that restaurants now have until March 31 to use up their inventory of plastic utensils and bags. He says the impacts of the pandemic on the industry drove his decision to extend the deadline.

"They're really hurting, and they continue to hurt, and many of them hang on by their fingernails," Caldwell said. "Every additional cost that we place on them, makes it harder for them to live to that 'brighter summer.'"

Caldwell says he has spoken with the restaurants and environmental groups to determine the deadline extension. He says he hopes things will improve by April.

In the meantime, the city's Department of Environmental Services will draft administration rules for the ordinance -- which will clarify the new city regulations.

-- HPR's Casey Harlow

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