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State briefs for March 21

Major Waikiki hotel temporarily closing amid outbreak

HONOLULU — One of Waikiki’s largest hotels said Friday that it will close for at least the next few weeks in response to the coronavirus.

The Hale Koa Hotel is an 818-room hotel operated by the U.S. military for service members, veterans and their families.

“It is now apparent that this crisis requires collective action to slow its progression in the United States. Guests will be asked to return to their home station as soon as they can make the necessary travel arrangements,” the hotel said in a statement on its website.

There have been no reported cases of the disease at the hotel. It is waiving cancellation and early departure fees. It’s continuing to accept reservations for dates after April 15, but said it will make a determination on reopening when it’s safe for guests and staff.

Gov. David Ige has asked travelers to postpone their vacations for the next 30 days as the state tries to slow the spread of the virus.

Honolulu council approves project

HONOLULU — The Honolulu City Council approved a twin-tower condominium project that is expected to add nearly 1,000 residential units.

The council voted unanimously to give Keeaumoku Development LLC a special district permit and an Interim Planned Development-Transit permit.

The project is expected to be bounded by Keeaumoku, Liona and Rycroft streets in Honolulu.

The approval allows each of the towers to rise a maximum of 400 feet. Current zoning for the area allows buildings of up to 150 feet.

The buildings are expected to include 836 market-rate multifamily units and 128 affordable multifamily units. The project is also expected to include 88,000 square feet of commercial space, a 12-story parking structure and a publicly accessible park and plaza.

Record number
of monk seal pups born in 2019

KAILUA-KONA — A record 48 Hawaiian monk seal pups were born in the main Hawaiian Islands in 2019, officials said.

The Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program’s 2019 population assessment found the number remained about the same as the 2018 count of 1,400 seals.

About 1,100 seals reside in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, while about 300 seals make their homes in the main Hawaiian Islands.

Hawaii Island’s only pup born in 2019 was Kaulana, a male monk seal born to RA20 in March 2019 on a Kona Coast beach. The pup was RA20’s second successful birth at the same site, following the birth of Manuiwa in February 2018.
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald

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