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Saturday, September 4, 2021
September 4, 2021 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:57 PM :: 1073 Views

Anti-Vaxxer to Lead Hawaii Democratic Party?

Protester Camp Damaging Mauna Kea

COVID Justice: Court-Ordered Panel with ‘Expert’ from Mainland to Let Lots and Lots of Criminals out onto Hawaii Streets

CB: … Under a proposed settlement filed in federal court on Friday, a five-member panel will be appointed to interview staff and inmates, and make recommendations or raise concerns about the pandemic response (reward inmates for purposefully spreading COVID in jail).

The panel will include Dr. Homer Venters, (the ringer) an epidemiologist and former chief medical officer of the New York City Correctional Health Services, said Eric Seitz, whose law firm filed the class-action lawsuit.

(CLUE: Venters appointed to a Biden task force overseeing the release of as many criminals as possible nationwide.  VIDEO: “Homer Venters works to restore health justice for incarcerated individuals in settings where systems of law and accountability have been obliterated.” Venters book: ‘Incarceration Is a Deadly Health Risk: Former Chief Medical Officer of NYC Jails Speaks Out’   Translation: Save the criminals by letting them out on to the streets.)

Venters has inspected dozens of correctional facilities across the country during the pandemic to gauge their responses to (use of) Covid-19 (as an excuse to let criminals out), and has overseen similar agreements (for mass release of criminals) in other states including Connecticut and California, Seitz said.

(The LINK has interesting ideas about how to get more inmates vaxxed, but the only real agenda is more mass releases.)

It will also include former Hawaii prison Medical Director Dr. Kim Thorburn, who has years of experience with health care in the Hawaii prison system as the state’s corrections medical director from 1987 to 1996, Seitz said….

The current Department of Public Safety Corrections Health Care Administrator Gavin Takenaka will also be part of the panel, along with Public Safety Deputy Director for Corrections Tommy Johnson and retired Associate Intermediate Court of Appeals Judge Daniel Foley…

read … Panel Will Oversee Efforts By Prisons And Jails To Manage Pandemic Threat

Many Honolulu first responders ask to opt out of vaccine

SA: … First responders account for about 44% of the 890 applications for religious or medical exemptions from the city’s COVID-19 vaccine requirement, as Mayor Rick Blangiardi aggressively defends the mandate and additional emergency orders as the only way to keep the community safe from the outbreak of the delta variant.

Forty-nine employees face disciplinary action including termination for refusing to respond or comply with the administration’s mandate.

About 296 HPD officers and civilian employees and 100 firefighters applied for a religious or medical exemption. There are 358 employees out on extended leave for workers’ compensation, family leave and other reasons, who will be expected to complete their digital attestation forms when they return to work.

In a statement to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, Blangiardi said the city is “reviewing each of the 890 exemption requests received, however we fully intend to honor the medical and religious requests of employees.”…

“I would like to thank and acknowledge the 8,829 men and women in our workforce who have been vaccinated to date,” said Blangiardi in a statement. “We anticipate that number to continue to increase as a measure to help prevent the spread of the disease amongst the city’s workforce and mitigate the pressure on the medical community experiencing the high hospitalization rates. We said from the beginning that we do not want to fire any of our employees, but our primary goal is to provide a safe workplace for all of our employees and their families.”

There are about 10,300 county workers. In August, 97 of them tested positive for COVID-19, and one person lost their life to the virus….

Related: Hawaii Catholic Diocese not giving religious exemptions for COVID vaccines

read … Many Honolulu first responders ask to opt out of vaccine

Going into Labor Day, nearly every Oahu hospital is now at or near ICU capacity

HNN: … Healthcare Association of Hawaii’s Hilton Raethel told lawmakers every Oahu hospital, except for Tripler Medical Center and Kapiolani Medical Center, is at or near ICU capacity.

The state has 223 licensed adult ICU beds in all of its medical facilities.

“We’re getting close to not being able to provide ICU care for patients needing it, which means some patients will not get the optimal level of care to maintain health and potentially life,” he said.

During the pandemic’s peak last August, 131 COVID patients were hospitalized. Now there are more than 440 and the forecast isn’t promising.

“All the models say the hospitalization numbers will continue to climb into, if not through, most of September,” Raethel said.

State Health Director Dr. Libby Char said the state is increasing its capacity to test for COVID, and is trying to ramp up its use of monoclonal antibody treatment for select patients.

The state is bringing in 30 FEMA professionals to staff six sites that will administer the shots….

read … Going into Labor Day, nearly every Oahu hospital is now at or near ICU capacity

Amid hospital crisis, governor pledges strict enforcement of COVID rules over holiday weekend

HNN: … As Hawaii faces an increasingly dire hospital crisis, the governor and Hawaii’s four mayors on Friday pleaded with residents to avoid gatherings and wear masks over the Labor Day weekend ― and warned they could face citations of $250 for ignoring COVID mandates.

“The current spike in COVID-19 has put tremendous stress on our hospitals,” Gov. David Ige said, at a news conference, adding that further measures will be needed if COVID case counts don’t drop. “We stand united in pledging state and county resources to enforcing our emergency measures.”

Right now, gatherings are limited to 25 people outdoors and 10 indoors. Masks be worn indoors. And many businesses have to follow capacity limitations.

Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi said there’s “trepidation” going into the holiday weekend.

“Our hospitalizations, our case counts, people in our ICUs ― everything is at all all-time high,” Blangiardi said. “There is a collective urging to use common sense. We need to pay attention.” ….

read … Amid hospital crisis, governor pledges strict enforcement of COVID rules over holiday weekend

Cash: Insider settlements up for final approval vote at Honolulu City Council

KHON: … Settlement of a wrongful termination claim by former parks director Michele Nekota will cost more than $44,000. She was demoted in February after a change of helm in the mayor’s office.

The state’s public housing director Hakim Ouansafi is set to get $250,000 after he sued the city over damage to his home from overflowing Niu Valley Stream water.

Ex-HART CEO Dan Grabauskas will get nearly $40,000 worth of legal bills covered relating to a federal investigation of the rail project.

These and other settlements and payouts are up for a final approval vote on Wednesday…

read … Costs of legal cases and settlements up for final approval vote at Honolulu City Council

75,000 in Hawaii to see unemployment aid cut

SA: … More than 30,000 unemployed Hawaii residents will lose their weekly federal benefits following today even as record-setting numbers from the delta variant continue to ravage the state.

An additional 45,000 people in Hawaii also will lose their $300-a-week, or plus-up, federal supplemental unemployment payment after this weekend. These recipients, however, will continue to receive their regular state unemployment benefits. The number of Hawaii residents filing initial jobless claims for the week that ended Aug. 28 declined 67.3% to 2,218 from 6,782 in the year-earlier period….

Related: State Announces End of All Federal Unemployment & Assistance Programs

read … 75,000 in Hawaii to see unemployment aid cut

Senator Impeachment wants DHHL to give Telescope Protesters a Permanent Base

KITV: … A handful of state lawmakers are urging the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands to look into entering into an agreement with a group that calls themselves the protectors of Mauna Kea.

Senators Kurt Fevella and Laura Acasio, along with Representative Jeanne Kapela, say members of the group continue to occupy the base of the mountain.

Native Hawaiians say they've been protecting the mountain from the desecration they say would happen if the proposed Thirty-Meter Telescope were to be built there.

“The kupuna and kia'i who remain on Mauna Kea continue to respect, honor, and protect the mauna each day they are there. They are not squatters; nor are they homeless,” they write. “During their time on the mauna, they have picked up and removed trash left behind by squatters, partiers, and visitors.”

(Translation: We admit this is just another homeless camp.) 

HPR: Lawmakers Warn State Removal of Maunkea Kia‘i Could Result in Larger Gatherings

read … State legislators ask Department of Hawaiian Homelands to enter into agreement with Mauna Kea protestors

Retired Marine colonel is second to plead guilty this week in ‘Fat Leonard’ Navy bribery case

SDU: … Retired Marine Col. Enrico “Rick” DeGuzman, 63, admitted in his plea agreement Friday to accepting $67,000 in fine dining, gifts and luxury hotel stays in exchange for steering business to Leonard Francis, a military contractor operating in the Eastern Pacific.

At least 27 people have pleaded guilty in the San Diego-based criminal prosecution, including Francis, since the case began in 2013. The case, which has captured worldwide attention as the Navy’s worst scandal in recent history, has become known for the scheme’s mastermind, the charismatic, larger-than-life figure known in military circles as “ Fat Leonard.”

According to the indictment, DeGuzman was one of Francis’ more enthusiastic cheerleaders, doing his bidding from the inside, supplying him with proprietary information and bad-mouthing his competitors to help give Francis an edge. That edge ended up costing the Navy at least $35 million, according to acknowledgements in court.

DeGuzman, a Las Vegas resident, is among nine military officers who were charged in the same 2017 indictment. The group is portrayed as a tight brotherhood working together on Francis’ behalf and enjoying grand outings at his expense….

DeGuzman heavily lobbied Francis for a job with GDMA in 2008, according to emails, but later said he would be staying with the Marines for a while longer. He ended up serving as the assistant chief of staff of operations for the Marine Corps Forces, Pacific, based at Camp H.M. Smith in Hawaii until 2011. When his active service ended, he served as the civilian deputy chief of staff of operations in the same unit.

Before leaving for his Hawaii post, DeGuzman emailed Francis: “(U)nfortunately, I don’t think I’ll be able to influence people (from Camp Smith) like I did there at 7th Fleet.”…

read … Retired Marine colonel is second to plead guilty this week in ‘Fat Leonard’ Navy bribery case

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