The deadly shootout and fire at Hibiscus Drive. The sentencing of Honolulu’s law enforcement power couple. An all-mail election. And Hawaii’s confrontation with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Honolulu began 2020 with the fatal shooting of two police officers — Tiffany Enriquez and Kaulike Kalama — on a Sunday morning near Diamond Head. The suspect was identified as 69-year-old Jerry Hanel, who died in a fire he allegedly set inside a home on Hibiscus Drive.
Several homes and cars were destroyed in the Hibiscus Drive incident. The suspect’s landlord, Lois Cain, was also killed. She had let him live there for free for years but was going through eviction proceedings at the time.
Honolulu police officers embraced outside the Diamond Head Memorial chapel during services for HPD officer Tiffany Enriquez, who was shot and killed in the Hibiscus Drive incident. HPD Chief Susan Ballard said she and officer Kaulike Kalama “were like my kids.”
State Health Director Bruce Anderson spoke frequently at press conferences with Gov. David Ige as the pandemic reached Hawaii in the spring. He stepped down months later after a whistleblower exposed flaws in the state’s contact-tracing program.
Department of Health epidemiologist Jennifer Smith wiped away tears during a press conference in August. She came out as the whistleblower who brought to light the state’s shortcomings in its contact-tracing program. She was initially put on paid leave but returned to work by November.
By mid-March, hospitals began to prepare for a surge of COVID-19 cases that didn’t quite arrive. Here a staff member at The Queen’s Medical Center works inside a tent outside the emergency room on Punchbowl Street.
The Department of Labor and Industrial Relations was inundated with record numbers of people requesting assistance during the pandemic. Thousands were unable to get the help they needed as the state relied on an antiquated system to process unemployment insurance applications.
In the midst of a global pandemic, Kalokahi Kauka and others protested in April after a large truck with heavy machinery drove into the area known as Sherwood Forest in Waimanalo. Residents demanded the city stop the bulldozing for a proposed park.
Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell instituted a curfew for Easter weekend due to the pandemic. The rules prohibited people from driving between the hours of 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. to slow the virus’ spread.
Tourism screeched to a halt. The Hilton Hawaiian Village lit up empty hotel rooms in the shape of a heart. The Waikiki property finally reopened in December after being closed for eight months.
Black Lives Matter supporters held signs along Beretania Street fronting the Capitol in solidarity with global outrage over the death of George Floyd, who died in May after a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck for almost 9 minutes. Honolulu police temporarily suspended vascular neck restraints in response.
Kaneohe Elementary and other schools around Hawaii endeavored to keep students socially distanced when they returned to school. But for much of the year, classes were held online.
The Legislature managed to still hold floor sessions during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the foreground, Sen. Laura Thielen shares a conversation with Sen. Les Ihara. In the background, Sen. Kurt Fevella, left, chats with Sen. Gil Riviere in July.
Medical personnel helped with self-swab tests during a COVID-19 case surge in late summer. Hawaii’s single-day case count hit a high of 355 in August, prompting another round of emergency regulations.
Kauluwela Elementary and other schools started in-person classes in August just before COVID-19 cases began to spike.
Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell gave out free paper masks to visitors at Waikiki’s Kuhio Beach during the pandemic after Hawaii reopened to visitors in October through a pre-travel testing program. The state’s biggest industry has slowly started to rebound.
Thousands of cars lined up at Aloha Stadium for a food distribution event. There were many similar events, big and small, this year as residents coped with the lost jobs. (Photo: Ronen Zilberman/Civil Beat)
Former Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha and his wife were sentenced in November following a years-long federal investigation into public corruption. He received seven years and Katherine Kealoha, a former Honolulu prosecutor, got 13 years in prison for trying to frame her uncle for stealing their mailbox in 2013.
Nurses protested on Punahou Street near Kapiolani Women’s and Children’s Hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic in December. They were demanding better coronavirus protections as part of negotiating a new three-year contract.
Like Like Drive Inn’s flickering neon sign glowed along Keeaumoku Street in September. A sign on the front door of the iconic Honolulu diner read “We Are Closed,” another business to permanently shutter due to the pandemic.
Hawaii cast a record number of ballots in the general election, driven by strong voting by mail. There were long lines on Election Day in Kapolei and at Honolulu Hale but the state avoided many of the pitfalls some had feared.
The arrival of the COVID-19 vaccine in December marked a major milestone. The Queen’s Medical Center frontline worker Dr. Lester Morehead received part one of the Pfizer vaccine from nurse Ruby Takahashi at a press conference.
You're officially signed up for our daily newsletter, the Morning Beat. A confirmation email will arrive shortly.
In the meantime, we have other newsletters that you might enjoy. Check the boxes for emails you'd like to receive.
Inbox overcrowded? Don't worry, you can unsubscribe or update your preferences at any time.