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Thursday, July 22, 2021
July 22, 2021 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:15 PM :: 1219 Views

DoE Announces In-Person and Distance Learning Programs for 2021-22

More Homesteading Opportunities for Native Hawaiians on Moloka‘i After Water Commission Decision

Secret Suspension of Hawaii County Highways Chief?

Kauai Woman Pleads Guilty To Multiple Wire Fraud Schemes And Aggravated Identity Theft

Your odds if not vaccinated are worse than drawing to an inside straight

RI: … According to the Mayo Clinic

In the 2019-2020 flu season, 22,000 deaths among 38 million cases. Somewhat less than 1 in 1,000.

In the COVID-19 epidemic in 2020-2021, 580,000 dead among 32 million cases. Somewhat less than 2 in 100.

If you get the disease, you are 30 times more likely to die of COVID-19 than the flu. And these numbers don’t yet reflect the full impact of the new, more virulent Delta Variant.

Among vaccinated individuals, the death rate drops to less than 1 in 100,000, and most of those deaths are among frail, elderly folks in care homes….

read … Your odds if not vaccinated are worse than drawing to an inside straight

Mayor Blangiardi sends stern message to those who are unvaccinated

KHON: … Honolulu’s daily average of COVID-19 cases is now at 89, with a positivity rate of 4%. Mayor Blangiardi added that vaccinations are also dropping statewide to about 15,000 per week. This is despite all the efforts that have been done to get people vaccinated.

“We have begged, pleaded, cajoled, and provided incentives for people to get vaccinated. There’s been a lot of education out there about the safety of it,” said Blangiardi.

Health officials said most of the cases are those who are unvaccinated. Hawaii is still creeping ever so slowly toward getting 60% of the population fully vaccinated.

“And my concern there is where all the people who have gone out, have gotten vaccinated, who have acted responsibly to their own families, and to the rest of us in trying to move forward. It’s difficult to be held back like this, that those people are still unwilling to be vaccinated,” said the mayor.

He pointed out that the rising number of cases holds back the efforts to get the economy back on track. The best way to do that, according to Blangiardi, is to reach that goal of getting 70% of the population vaccinated and have all restrictions lifted. The state is still a long way from getting there.

“There’s a lot of economics at play right now, on how we stabilize our local economy in my eyes and our attention is on that issue,” said Blangiardi….

read … Mayor Blangiardi sends stern message to those who are unvaccinated

In worrisome trend, overwhelmed hospitals are diverting ambulances to other facilities more often

HNN: … A combination of rising COVID cases and other emergency health issues are forcing many Oahu hospitals to turn ambulances away, diverting them to other facilities.

“It’s not unusual for a hospital to go on reroute from time to time,” said Jim Ireland, director of the Emergency Services Department.

What’s troubling is that it’s happening more often.

“We’ve seen now some hospitals on Oahu go on reroute for 12-24 hours at a time,” Ireland said. “We’ve seen up to six hospitals at the same time go on reroute. That’s within maybe the last week or two.”

“There are more medical incidents happening. There’s more traumatic incidents,” said Ireland. “So the hospitals are full of normal stuff.”

When you add an uptick of COVID cases to the mix, “their length of stay is generally longer than a regular patient,” said Ireland…. 

CB: Emergency Calls Are Back To Pre-Pandemic Levels On Oahu. Here’s How EMS Is Coping

read … In worrisome trend, overwhelmed hospitals are diverting ambulances to other facilities more often

Honolulu Council advances bill that would create progressive property tax for second homes

SA: … A bill that would expand the tiers for property taxes on second and investment homes to allow for three different property tax rates as the home value increases, advanced at the Honolulu City Council Wednesday.

The tiers would apply to the “Residential A” Honolulu property tax rate, which is for owners whose homes are valued over $1 million and do not claim a home exemption. The home exemption is for homeowners who live on the property as their primary residence and keeps the rate at 0.35%.

Residential A currently has two tiers, 0.45% for the portion of the property valued under $1 million and then 1.05% for the rest of the value over $1 million.

Bill 20, introduced by Council Member Radiant Cordero, would break “Residential A” into three tiers:

>> Tier 1: up to $1.3 million

>> Tier 2: $1.3 million to $5 million

>> Tier 3: over $5 million

The tax rate for each tier has not been set….

read … City Council advances bill that would create progressive property tax for second homes

Maui Council mulls tax tiers for hotels and resorts

MN: … A Maui County Council committee is considering a bill that would create property tax rate tiers for hotels and resorts, potentially setting the groundwork for higher taxes for pricier properties.

Council Vice Chairwoman Keani Rawlins-Fernandez, the author of the bill and chairwoman of the Budget, Finance and Economic Development Committee, said the idea of establishing tiers came about during last budget session, when some testifiers raised the issue of smaller hotels being taxed at the same rate as larger hotels.

The bill would only establish a tiered system for the hotel and resort category but would not set the rates, which are hashed out during the council’s annual budget review in the spring.

Rawlins-Fernandez deferred the measure during a budget committee meeting on Wednesday to get more information from the administration.

Currently, the hotel and resort category has the second-highest rates in the county, with fiscal year 2022 rates set at $11.75 per $1,000 of net taxable assessed valuation. The timeshare category is the highest taxed at $14.60….

read … Council mulls tax tiers for hotels and resorts

Financial audit of City reveals that TheBus lost $10M in 2020

KITV: … The review (p11) found revenue dropped nearly 19% last year-- that's about $107 million.

It also found operating expenses increased by $14 million compared to 2019….

The audit also found assets in the sewer fund increased 7% in 2020 to a total of $5.2 billion.

That's money collected by residents through sewer fees ….

LINK Council Budget Ctte 7-21-21

LINK: Auditor Report

read … Financial audit of City reveals that TheBus lost $10M in 2020

DLIR: HGEA to Begin Showing up for Work Sept 7

SA: … People with unemployment benefit issues will be able to meet in person with state labor officials on all islands beginning Sept. 7, the day after Labor Day.

Anne Perreira-Eustaquio, director of the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s Spotlight Hawaii livestream show today that every DLIR office will handle walk-ins in the mornings and scheduled appointments in the afternoons.

The DLIR call center continues to receive hundreds of calls each day and Perreira-Eustaquio encouraged unemployed people to apply for call center positions (so they could get paid for not answering phone calls from the unemployed who did not take these call center jobs)….

SA: WATCH LIVE: Anne Perreira-Eustaquio, Hawaii unemployment director, joins the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s Spotlight Hawaii

read … Hawaii unemployment issues to be addressed in-person starting Sept. 7

Hawaii’s hotels continued improving last month

SA: … hotel employment levels aren’t keeping up with occupancy gains. As of last week, only 62% of members in Hawaii’s largest hospitality workers union, Unite Here Local Five, had returned to the jobs they held before COVID-19 shut down travel to the islands.

Tennessee-based STR reported Wednesday that statewide June occupancy rose to 77%. The results were 7.1 percentage points below June 2019 when the pre-pandemic occupancy was 84.1%….

MN: Maui County Hotels Occupancy Climbs to 79% for June, Near Pre-Pandemic Level

USN: Hotels in These States Are Still Reeling From Virus

read … Hawaii’s hotels continued improving last month

In its first week the Chinatown police enforcement plan yields arrests, social service connections and COVID vaccinations

SA: … Between July 12-17, officers walking three patrol zones from River to Bishop streets and between North Beretania and North King streets made 356 contacts with individuals that resulted in 106 referrals for some kind of service, including COVID-19 testing and vaccination appointments.

Sixty people received their first vaccine dose after officers put them in contact with health care providers.

Ninety of those contacts wanted to learn more about the Homeless Outreach and Navigation for Unsheltered Persons (HONU) program, a mobile facility that can house up to 40 people at either Keehi Lagoon or Whitmore Village in Wahiawa for up to 90 days while they search for transitional or permanent housing.

Interim Honolulu Police Chief Rade K. Vanic briefed the Honolulu Police Commission Wednesday about the department’s Chinatown prevention task force and shared the statistics from its first five days on the detail.

Officers delivered 461 warnings for an array of offenses, including drinking in public, using private or public property as a toilet, and pedestrian, bicycle and traffic offenses, with 25 citations issued. Seven arrests were made, including four for outstanding warrants and two for drug crimes…. 

Big Q: What do you think of the increased police presence in Chinatown?

read … In its first week the Chinatown police enforcement plan yields arrests, social service connections and COVID vaccinations

Maui Commission Announces 5 Finalists For Police Chief

CB: … Two assistant police chiefs, a retired assistant chief, a police captain and a Las Vegas narcotics officer are among the finalists to be Maui’s next police chief.

The Maui Police Commission announced the five names at a meeting Wednesday. The commission received 17 applications before a July 12 deadline. Nine came from the mainland; six from Maui County; and two from the neighbor islands.

“I’d like to thank all who applied for the positions,” Chairman Frank De Rego said.

The finalists are: Everett Ferreira, a Maui police captain; Lawrence Hudson, a retired Maui assistant police chief; John Jakubczak, a Maui assistant police chief; John Peletierre, a Las Vegas police captain; and Victor Ramos, a Maui assistant police chief….

CB: Ride With The Police And Discover How Much They're Like Us

PDF: July 21 Maui Police Comm Agenda

read … Maui Commission Announces 5 Finalists For Police Chief

Honolulu City Council committee advances Ann Botticelli's appointment

KITV: … The Honolulu City Council committee on public safety today advanced the appointment of Ann Botticelli -- to the police commission.

This is Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi's third pick for the commission.

Botticelli shared what she found most important -- to be a part of the commission.

"Transparency in that way I think is really important and I think it's vital for government organizations to be able to say this is the decision we made after all this input and this is why we think that this is the appropriate decision," she said…. (blablabla)

CB: Blangiardi’s Latest Nominee Is A Step Closer To Filling Police Commission Seat

read … Honolulu City Council committee advances Ann Botticelli's appointment

Honolulu Liquor Commission blocked from Inspecting Gay Nightclub

KITV: … Robbie Baldwin, the owner of Scarlet Honolulu nightclub in Chinatown, is accusing a Honolulu Liquor Commission investigator of assaulting two employees and his business partner last Friday night at around 11.

"Pushed my business partner, pushed the door guy, pushed the head of security," Baldwin alleged, adding the investigator tried to enter the establishment through an exit door.

A security guard asked the man for his vaccination card, assuming the man was an attendee.

"His badge was on his belt underneath his shirt and it wasn't until well into the altercation that he had shown the badge," Baldwin claims. …

The commission told KITV-4 investigators were responding to another incident nearby that night and decided to inspect the nightclub.

According to the commission, investigators are not required to show proof of vaccination before entering an establishment during an inspection.

A statement from the commission reads in part, "by state law, every investigator, within the scope of the investigator's duties, has the powers of a police officer."…

Scarlet was slapped with a violation for obstructing liquor commission operations….

GP: Hawaii's Scarlet nightclub accused of obstructing Honolulu liquor commission investigation

read … Honolulu Liquor Commission investigating employee misconduct allegation

Single-Use Plastic Ban At Restaurants doesn’t do enough to make people practice the rituals of the Eco-Religion

CB: … Restaurants across Oahu are more than three months into a phaseout of single-use plastics, but there’s still nowhere on the island that can compost most of the single-use compostable utensils, cups, and takeout containers that businesses are supposed to offer in place of plastic….

“By and large restaurants are using PLA which is often corn-based and that will not break down in your home compost pile,” Chatterson said….

While there are no plans to build public composting on the immediate horizon, Waters said passing the plastic ordinance makes it easier to pursue large-scale composting in the future.

“Once the waste stream has less plastic in it, we can definitely look at the idea of a separate composting facility and the sorting process that would be required for that,” he said.

In the meantime, there are private groups working to find a balance between sustainability and convenience. The island’s first large-scale composter is being tested in Waimanalo….

Reality: Crichton: Environmentalism is a religion

read … Compost

Report Finds That Most Hospitals Aren’t Complying With Price Transparency Rules

CB: …  The vast majority of hospitals across the country aren’t transparent about their pricing and Hawaii isn’t immune to that national trend, according to a new report by a national consumer advocacy group.

The nonprofit Patient Rights Advocate sampled 500 hospitals in the U.S. and concluded more than 94% aren’t complying with six-month-old rules that require hospitals to post certain price estimates online.

The rules requiring price transparency stem from a 2019 executive order by former President Donald Trump. President Joe Biden supports hospital price transparency as well and just this week proposed fining noncompliant hospitals up to $2 million annually.

About 6,000 hospitals are subject to the rule, but Patient Rights Advocate sampled 500. Their analysis included two Hawaii hospitals — The Queen’s Medical Center and Adventist Health Castle — and determined both haven’t yet met all the requirements of the rules.

The Queen’s Medical Center disputed that conclusion, telling Civil Beat that the hospital hasn’t been deemed noncompliant by the federal government and pointing to a price estimate tool on their website that the hospital said has been there since 2019.

Adventist Health Castle didn’t dispute the report and highlighted the efforts it’s making to come into compliance. Both hospitals emailed responses instead of making officials available for interviews on the subject….

read … Report Finds That Most Hospitals Aren’t Complying With Price Transparency Rules

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