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Tuesday, August 31, 2021
August 31, 2021 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:24 PM :: 1139 Views

City Launches Vaccine Pass System for Restaurants, Bars, Gyms

New Tax Proposals at the Honolulu Council

U.S. war in Afghanistan claimed more than 80 service members with Hawaii ties

SA: … More than 80 service members from the Army, Marines, Navy and Air Force who were either based in Hawaii or from the Aloha State gave their lives during Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, according to a Defense Department analysis.

Most of the Hawaii losses were experienced by the Army, with at least 48 dead, while the Marines had over 28 fatalities.

On Monday the Pentagon and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin noted the “end of the American War in Afghanistan.” The conclusion of C-17 cargo carrier airlift evacuations out of Kabul airport “signals the end of America’s longest war,” Austin said in a release….

KITV: Fallen service members honored at Marine Corps Base Hawaii

read … U.S. war in Afghanistan claimed more than 80 service members with Hawaii ties

Former First Lady Vicky Cayetano announces run for governor

HNN: … Cayetano has never held public office and is entering what’s expected to be a crowded field of gubernatorial candidates.

In a news conference Monday morning outside the state Capitol building, Cayetano struck an optimistic tone but also said the next governor will tackle grave challenges.

“Hawaii is at the most critical juncture it has ever faced,” she said.

She added, “There is no problem too great that we can’t overcome it together.”

Cayetano is running as a Democrat. She switched to the party 25 years ago, after previously being a Republican. She said the Republican party does not represent her values.

Cayetano is married to Gov. Ben Cayetano, who served from 1994 to 2002…. 

Cataluna: Vicky Cayetano Managed to Stay Out of Politics, Until Now

ILind: A look at Vicky Cayetano’s past campaign contributions

read … Former First Lady Vicky Cayetano announces run for governor

Oahu’s new ‘vaccine pass’ program stirs mixed feelings among local businesses

HNN: … Leong said he understands the need for the Safe Access Oahu Program, but he said more than a dozen members have already cancelled their memberships.

“Probably 30 to 40% of the members are not vaccinated because they they’re hit that demographics of 20- to 45-year-old who think that they’re young and strong and healthy,” said Leong.

“And if they have to take a COVID test every two days just to come to the gym, I can see them not just coming to our gym anymore,’ said Head Trainer of Powerhouse Gym in Aiea. But Ryan Tanaka, co-owner of Giovanni Pastrami is pleased with the mayor’s initiative.

Leong said he is still struggling to find employees to cover operations and says requiring employees to be vaccinated just adds to the stress….

KITV: Honolulu's 'Safe Access' program gets mixed reactions from community

BG: SURFER BETHANY HAMILTON DECRIES NEW HAWAII RESTRICTIONS DEMANDING CUSTOMERS MUST SHOW PROOF OF VACCINATION, NEGATIVE COVID TEST, IN ORDER TO ENTER BARS, RESTAURANTS, GYMS

read … Oahu’s new ‘vaccine pass’ program stirs mixed feelings among local businesses

Hawaii sees high weekend vaccination numbers

KHON: … The Department of Health said vaccinations have been increasing for four consecutive weeks, but this comes as COVID cases continue to surge in the state.

More vaccines were administered this weekend, than some entire weeks in the past. The Department of Health said 14,788 doses were administered over the weekend. DOH spokesperson Brooks Baehr said it is the needed boost for the state to get closer to its goal of vaccinating 70% of the state’s population….

“The last week of July, we did a little more than 14,000 shots administered in an entire week,” Baehr said. “Well now, we got just a weekend where we did more than 14,000 shots, so we are well on our way to a fifth consecutive week of seeing an increase in the number of doses administered.”…

Vaccinations are increasing but so are COVID numbers. The state is aware of more than 10,000 active cases across the islands.

Nearly 400 people went in for a third dose this weekend, and more than 7,500 completed their two doses. While more than 6,800 people for the first shot.

read … Hawaii sees high weekend vaccination numbers

Hawaii hospitals face possible oxygen shortage amid rise in COVID-19 patients

SA: … Hawaii’s hospitals could run out of oxygen supply as the influx of COVID-19 patients strains available resources, according to the Healthcare Association of Hawaii, a trade group for the state’s hospitals.

“Because of the significant increase in the number of COVID patients in our hospitals over the past month, oxygen consumption has increased to the point where demand could exceed the supply,” the association said in a press release.

HAH says that the current daily consumption statewide for medical grade oxygen has increased approximately 250% since the beginning of August.

The state has two liquid oxygen plants, Airgas and Matheson Tri-Gas, both of which are operating at full capacity and have switched to producing medical gas only, according to HAH.

Liquid oxygen can be shipped in from the mainland in ISO tanks, but HAH says that these tanks are in short supply due to the pandemic and increased need for oxygen….

read … Hawaii hospitals face possible oxygen shortage amid rise in COVID-19 patients

Hawaii County test positivity highest in state

HTH: … As of Monday, Hawaii County boasted the highest test positivity rate in the state at 9.4%, compared to an 8% positivity rate statewide.

In the past 14 days, 523 cases have been reported in Hilo and 465 have been reported in Kailua-Kona.

During that same time period, 64 have been reported in Honokaa; 106 in Waimea; 67 in the Waikoloa Village and Puako areas; 59 in Kealakekua; 87 in the Captain Cook, Ocean View and Honaunau areas; 81 in Pahoa; 154 in Keaau; and 59 in Mountain View….

read … Hawaii County test positivity highest in state

COVID ‘crisis’ in Leeward Oahu as area leads island with case counts

SA: … Oahu’s highest case counts in the past 14 days have consistently been in ZIP code 96792, which includes Nanakuli and Waianae. On Sunday the state’s COVID-19 dashboard counted 802 cases in the 96792 ZIP code over the past 14 days, which brought the total there to 3,820 cases since the start of the pandemic.

At the same time, the area’s vaccination rate is among the isle’s lowest, with only 35% or less of the population fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. Despite efforts, that rate has not changed much since June.

Nearly 1 in every 3 people tested positive at the Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center recently….

She recently had to contact a family of 10, for instance, including several adults and a few toddlers. When they share the same home, keeping those who are sick isolated from others can prove challenging….

“I think what has been going on in our community is an issue of mistrust with government and miscommunication,” he said, “and just misinformation in general being spread through the masses, through social media and these different platforms.”

Many have been susceptible to their Instagram or Facebook feeds, or what they heard from their cousin’s cousin, he said….

“People are now saying, hey, my auntie, my cousin, my uncle, is suffering from COVID; he’s in the hospital now,” he said. “That’s also pushing the vaccine-hesitant group of people to consider getting vaccinated.”

Schafer said for the unvaccinated it’s a matter of when, not if, one gets infected with the delta variant.

The Waianae health center’s emergency room has been swamped with sick COVID-19 patients, including those in their 20s and 30s who had to be intubated.

“We don’t have an in-bed facility here,” said Schafer. “We stabilize them and ship them off to a place that can take them. We’re having to call every place and beg for a bed — Queen’s, Kaiser, Pali Momi, Castle. There are not many beds available, and it takes a long time to find one for these folks.”

For McKenzie, who has been part of the community for 30 years, contact tracing has included many familiar names.

She and a team of about a dozen contact tracers have been putting in 12-hour days, calling those who test positive to offer advice and resources, and to help prevent the spread of more infections….

Some are difficult to reach and some will argue. There have been rare occasions where a COVID-19- positive person answered the phone while walking around a grocery store and needed to be told to go home immediately.

In another instance a contact tracer called an ambulance for someone exhibiting serious symptoms and in need of medical help….

read … COVID ‘crisis’ in Leeward Oahu as area leads island with case counts

Strange Bedfellows–Lorrin Pang and the Anti-Vaxxers

PM: … Now, into this churning pandemic mess, a new virus hit Hawaii this past week. Let’s call it the “Hubris Variant.” Unlike its deadlier Delta cousin, the Hubris Variant has manifested in those naïve or arrogant enough to think they are impervious to criticism–or consequences.

Patient Zero is Dr. Lorrin Pang, who works for the state Department of Health as its Maui district officer. The “Wuhan” of this new infection is easy to identify: It was the story August 25th by the Honolulu Star Advertiser’s Sophie Cocke exploring Pang’s status as co-founder of the Pono Coalition for Informed Consent.  The new and relatively unknown Coalition held a recent video seminar featuring Pang and Dr. Kirk Milhoan, a pediatric cardiologist and senior pastor at Calvary Chapel in South Maui. The seminar was moderated by the Coalition’s other co-founder, Merlyn Travis, a vocal proponent of pandemic beliefs that lie far beyond the mainstream….

Pang quickly responded with a long, defensive letter that did little to quench the firestorm of criticism that his webinar participation ignited. “I entered into the Pono Coalition as ‘co-founder,’ yes,” he wrote in his Yoda-esque style. “To clarify, it was created so that 2 sides could have a public forum for conversation. My side represented medical science and informed consent (for getting a vaccine, testing, other interventions) and the other side of the group…a spectrum of concerns and arguments. We agreed to listen to each other in a civil way, asking those with more inflammatory conduct to take a back seat. Then other doctors from Maui and the mainland participated.”

In the driver’s seat of that forum was moderator Dr. Merlyn Travis (his Ph.D. is in Hebraic Mysticism), who has called the management of COVID-19 a “scam and a conspiracy” on his Facebook page, which features dozens and dozens of anti-virus, anti-vax, anti-mask posts. Wrote Travis, “I fully support the effort to bring pivotal people behind it to trial for crimes against humanity.”…

Merlyn Travis is just the latest name used by the Canadian man who co-founded and serves as Executive Director of the Pono Coalition for Informed Consent. Travis has also used the names: Merlyn of Gaia, Yakov Mordechai ben Raphael haKohen, James Michael Travis (his birth name), Jamie Travis, Jacob Travis, Yakov Travis, and now, Merlyn J. Travis, which, he explains on his Facebook page, is pronounced “MER-lin AWF MAui.” Under “Info” he writes, “I am. Merlyn of Gaia. How ya doing?” and describes himself as a “Possibility Wizard.” All this jargon reminded me of Mark Chasan, the Chief Executive “AWEfficer” of the sketchy group TEACH, which tried to turn Old Maui High School into a new age Shangri-La (read eco-resort) for about five minutes in 2016. Angry North Shore community members pretty much ran TEACH out of town.

Travis has moved around a lot in recent years. He currently describes himself as Founder and President at the Coalition’s parent group, The Maui Center, described as “a research collective, futurist think-tank and new era leadership academy.” Both entities are new. Travis registered The Maui Center as a non-profit business with the state on August 16.

Before that, from December 2018 until—well—last month, according to his Facebook page, Travis’s title was Founding Director and Guide at SativaLife: Center for Conscious Cannabis. Its mission was “Elevating Cannabis Experience,” through a “Deepen Your High, Elevate Your Life” approach. In 2018, while living in Davenport, California, Travis was an Uber driver and also offered $55 “Bliss Tours” from San Francisco to Big Sur.

At one time, he had a more mainstream job as co-founder of Solar Academy International in Toronto, a solar installer training school. As recounted on yet another of his websites, thesiren.org, when his business and his marriage went bust, Travis went holo holo and headed west. Then further west.

After leaving his “Bliss Tours” business, he arrived in Hawaii in 2020, and, according to his Facebook posts, lived in his truck as he moved through a number of Big Island locales: Ocean View, Captain Cook, Keauhou Bay and Honokaa, before arriving in Maui in October, where he currently is listed as living in Paia, or in his truck. It’s hard to tell….

CB: Pang Quacks some more--demands we listen

read … Strange Bedfellows–Lorrin Pang and the Anti-Vaxxers

COVID Release: Five Time Loser out on Bail Allegedly Shoots up Game Room

SA: … Police said a 43-year-old man entered the room, shot a 35-year-old man and fled the scene at about 5:30 p.m. Wednesday. The motive of the shooting is unclear at this time.

The victim was taken in serious but stable condition via private vehicle to a medical facility. Two days later the shooting suspect, identified as Edwin Kelii Kalai, turned himself in to police.

He is being held at OCCC in lieu of $200,000 bail after prosecutors charged him Sunday with second-degree assault. Kalai’s arraignment is scheduled to be held Sept. 7 at Circuit Court.

Kalai has a criminal rec­ord of five felony convictions for unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle, promoting a dangerous drug and drug paraphernalia. His record also includes one misdemeanor conviction and one petty misdemeanor conviction for driving without a license.

Court records also show a trial is scheduled to be held in January at Circuit Court for a second-degree theft charge against Kalai. According to court documents, he allegedly took property valued at more than $750 from a jewelry store in December…. 

SA: Man accused in Keeaumoku game room robbery was free on bail

read … Another  humane low-risk COVID Release

Public defender: Release inmates as Reward for Spreading COVID-19 in Jails

SA: … Between April and June 2020, 650 inmates were released to help ease overcrowding and limit conditions that make it easy for the virus to tear through modules of incarcerated people (launch a crime wave that is still continuing.) There were 41 active infections of correctional staff and 151 inmates as of Monday, according to the state Public Safety Department. The surge in infections has altered some PSD operations…

Of further concern is that PSD currently has the lowest rate of vaccinated employees of any state department at 77.1% of its 2,285 employees, despite the Aug. 5 vaccination and testing order for state and county employees issued by Gov. David Ige…. 

SA: Releasing more inmates?

CB: State Public Defender Asks Supreme Court To Order More Inmate Releases

read … Public defender seeks release of certain inmates to curb COVID-19

COVID-19 delays drunken driving trial of state Rep. Sharon Har

SA: … Six months after her arrest on a drunken driving charge, state Rep. Sharon Har’s trial that had been scheduled to start Monday has been rescheduled for October because of COVID- 19 court restrictions — two days before Har likely will challenge a separate preliminary ruling to suspend her driver’s license for two years.

As a lawmaker, Har (D, Kapolei-Makakilo) helped increase the original one-year license revocation to the two years she now faces for refusing to take a breath or blood test that would have determined her blood alcohol content after Honolulu police officers arrested her the night of Feb. 22.

Officers found her alone in her 2019 Mercedes-Benz pointed in the head-on direction of one-way traffic traveling on busy South Beretania Street at Piikoi Street. She also was charged with driving without motor vehicle insurance.

Har, an attorney, also faces the possibility of discipline from the Hawaii Bar Association if she’s convicted. And a separate special House committee of Har’s legislative peers has been formed and is awaiting the outcome of her trial to consider any potential House sanctions.

Har’s new Circuit Court date is scheduled for Oct. 13. But an Oct. 6 pretrial conference — and COVID-19 conditions at the time — could cause further delays.

Two days later — on Oct. 15 — Har has a separate hearing scheduled before the Administrative Driver’s License Revocation Office, which has preliminarily revoked her license for two years. Har is allowed to drive with an ignition interlock device, which will not allow a vehicle to start until a user’s blood alcohol content is measured.….

read … COVID-19 delays drunken driving trial of state Rep. Sharon Har

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