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Thursday, September 9, 2021
September 9, 2021 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:12 PM :: 668 Views

Spying on You: Digital Hawaii SMART Health Card

89% of DoE Salaried Employees Vaxxed--Lower on Maui

Judiciary Seeks Applicants for Oahu Independent Grand Jury Counsel

Biden orders vaccines for all federal employees and contractors with no testing option

FNN: … President Joe Biden has signed an executive order requiring COVID-19 vaccines for all federal employees, according to a source familiar with the White House’s plans, who wasn’t authorized to speak publicly ahead of an announcement unveiling the new policies.

Biden is also expected to unveil an additional order extending the requirement to federal contractors, the source said.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said federal employees will have 75 days to get vaccinated. Agencies will provide counseling to those who fail to comply, and employees may face “progressive discipline,” in accordance with the government’s traditional personnel policies, she added.

“The expectation is that if you want to work in the federal government or be a contractor, you need to be vaccinated,” she told reporters during Thursday afternoon’s press briefing.

Federal employees will have the opportunity to request a medical or religious accommodation, Psaki added.

This is a change from the administration’s current policy, which asked federal employees to attest to how many agencies have physically established testing regimes since the Biden administration made its original announcement near the end of July….

IJ: Waikiki Resort First in Mandating Vaccination for Workers

read … Biden will now require vaccines for all federal employees via new executive order

HPD officer on unpaid leave, facing termination for failing to comply with vaccine mandate

HNN: … Honolulu Police Corporal Mark Kutsy was pulled off the streets of East Honolulu while on patrol Tuesday night. He was forced to turn in his gun and badge, and was suspended without pay.

He was also told he will be fired.

Kutsy said he’s “disappointed,” and does not want to get the vaccine because he fears side effects. He added that he wouldn’t qualify for a religious or medical exemption, and didn’t want to lie to get one….

He added that he would get tested weekly, but Honolulu’s vaccine mandate doesn’t allow for a testing opt-out. Other counties and the state do allow for the testing option….

“We have said from the beginning that we do not want to fire any of our employees,” said Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi, in a statement on Wednesday evening. “But our primary goal is to provide a safe workplace for all of our employees and their families.”

He said there are 49 city employees who also face termination for failing to comply with the policy.

Kutsy has 24 years on the department. That’s one year shy of full retirement….

He said his wife is vaccinated, but is supporting his decision to refuse to get the shot or request a waiver ― even if it means an end to his career….

SA: Honolulu police officer is facing termination for refusing vaccination

Meanwhile: NONPROFIT CALLS ON GOVERNOR TO REOPEN UNEMPLOYMENT OFFICES TO HELP HAWAII'S LOW WAGE WORKERS

read … HPD officer on unpaid leave, facing termination for failing to comply with vaccine mandate

With morgue full and COVID surge continuing, city moves in 2 more mortuary trailers

HNN: … As the state continues to grapple with rising COVID hospitalizations and deaths, the city Medical Examiner’s Office is reporting that it’s now 83% over capacity.

Officials also confirm a mortuary trailer that was placed at the site two weeks ago is nearly full. Crews could be seen moving equipment into the parking lot hours after two more trailers were deployed….

the morgue can hold up to 60 people. On Wednesday morning, 110 were there.

Officials confirmed 55 were being stored inside the morgue while another 46 people were outside in a mortuary trailer. Nine more were being kept at an off site facility.

Carter said at least 22 are COVID positive and that staff are still working to determine if the virus is what indeed caused their death.

Meanwhile, the state’s coronavirus website reported 24 deaths in the last seven days….

KITV: High hospitalization rates stress Hawaii's healthcare systems

read … With morgue full and COVID surge continuing, city moves in 2 more mortuary trailers

ACLU: Unvaccinated Guards Latest Excuse for Mass Release of Criminals

SA: … The ACLU is arguing for the release of pretrial detainees, people who are currently incarcerated for technical violations of probation or parole, and kupuna.

The ACLU also asks the court to push employees to comply with the state vaccination mandate and reduce populations in DPS facilities to ensure they are below “infectious disease emergency capacities” established by the Hawaii Correc­tional System Oversight Commission. DPS currently has the lowest participation rate of any state department, with 77% of the 2,285 employees vaccinated, but state officials believe the rate is closer to 83% when workers on extended leave are excluded.

“We are alarmed that key players in the Hawai‘i criminal legal system — from police to prosecutors to the Department of Public Safety and more — continue to mishandle their constitutional obligations. This includes the Department of Public Safety’s continued failure to protect incarcerated people in its care and custody from the peril of COVID-19,” said Jongwook “Wookie” Kim, the ACLU of Hawaii’s legal director, in a statement to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. “The situation is urgent. The severity of the outbreaks and the magnitude of case counts inside (and, for that matter, outside) DPS facilities continues to skyrocket. Based on the class action before the federal court, DPS has shown it is unable to prevent the risk of harm presented by COVID in its dangerously overcrowded facilities. The solution, at this point, is to reduce the incarcerated population” …

read … Latest Excuse

Eviction ‘Tsunami’ -- 44 Cases 

CB: … As of Sept. 3, just 44 rent-only summary possession cases — evictions related solely to the nonpayment of rent — were filed statewide since Ige let the moratorium expire Aug. 6….

Part of the reason relatively few new evictions have been filed is a new law that gives tenants more time to respond to eviction notices and the right to a mediation session with their landlord. The law also limits initial eviction filings to tenants who owe at least four months of back rent, staggering filings.

The state set aside money to fund mediation sessions in the hope that they’d help landlords and tenants come to agreements and avoid overwhelming the court system….

Tracey Wiltgen, who leads the Mediation Center of the Pacific, said in August, her staff received mediation requests from landlords representing more than 370 eviction cases.

The organization conducted 79 mediations, with 73 resulting in written agreements allowing the tenant to remain housed, Wiltgen said. Nine more were settled without mediation because the tenant received money to pay the landlord back.

Some 160 mediation sessions have been scheduled and but not yet completed, Wiltgen said. In about a third of cases, the tenant didn’t reply to mediation requests or declined to participate….

TGI: KGEFCU offers in-person assistance for rent and utility assistance Thursday

read … Hawaii Landlords Can Now Evict Their Tenants. But Not Many Cases Are Being Filed — Yet

Hawaii public schools not requiring 3-foot distancing

SA: … An unspecified number of students in Hawaii public schools are attending class less than 3 feet apart from each other and social distancing is no longer a “core essential strategy” of reducing the spread of COVID-19 compared to the value of in-school learning.

The original distancing plan is no longer a key piece of the Department of Education’s plan to keep students from contracting COVID-19, which does include a requirement that students wear masks.

Interim Schools Superintendent Keith Hayashi on Wednesday did not provide members of the House Education Committee with estimates of the number of classrooms or students that cannot be accommodated by social distancing of at least 3 feet, which has been among several concerns of the Hawaii State Teachers Association….

read … Hawaii public schools not requiring 3-foot distancing

Can Kids Keep Up With Schoolwork In Quarantine? In Hawaii, It Depends On The School

CB: … When Nikki Kaneshiro’s kindergartener daughter was considered to be a “close contact” of a classmate who tested positive for Covid-19 a couple weeks ago, she was dismissed from her class and told by the teacher to stay home for the time being.

Kaneshiro decided to also pull her son out of his fourth grade classroom at the same school to lessen possible exposure to the coronavirus since they are all part of the same household.

The Ewa Beach parent decided to keep both children home until it was determined safe to send them back to class. That’s how both kids ended up staying home for three full school days.

But that’s where the similarities end.

While her daughter’s kindergarten teacher sent home worksheets and online videos to keep the girl engaged, her son’s teacher told Kaneshiro he had been “instructed to not send any work home to students whose parents choose to keep them home” due to Covid-19 concerns, the parent recounted….

read … Can Kids Keep Up With Schoolwork In Quarantine? In Hawaii, It Depends On The School

Getting to school may soon be harder for some DOE students who ride the bus

HNN: … The state says the pandemic is leading to a severe shortage of school bus drivers on Oahu, Maui and Hawaii Island.

Some schools are telling families to find other ways to get their students to classes because bus routes could be suspended in the next few weeks.

The Hawaii Department of Education says some former drivers found other jobs, while others are quarantined because of COVID.

School leaders are examining one possible solution of transferring drivers from other islands…. 

MN: Pandemic worsens local school bus driver shortage

read … Getting to school may soon be harder for some DOE students who ride the bus

Former HSTA President May Seek Gabbard’s State Senate Seat

CB: … Corey Rosenlee, who was president of the Hawaii State Teachers Association for six years, has filed organizational paperwork with the state Campaign Spending Commission….

The former union leader is eyeing state Senate District 20, which represents Kapolei, Makakilo, portions of Ewa, Kalaeloa and Waipahu.

The seat is currently held by Sen. Mike Gabbard. It’s not clear whether Gabbard, a Democrat, is seeking re-election, but all 25 Senate seats are up in 2022 because of 10-year reapportionment….

(HSTA Cult vs Chris Butler Cult)

Rosenlee indicates he will run as a Democrat. He stepped down from the HSTA job, which is term-limited, on June 30, with the intention of returning to teaching social studies at Campbell High School.

Rosenlee is also preparing to launch a campaign website….

(The Chris Butler Cult could be out of office for the first time in decades.  What secrets will be revealed?)

Flashback April 30, 2021: Head Of Hawaii’s Teachers’ Union Is Vying To Be Interim Superintendent

read … Former HSTA President May Seek State Senate Seat

After 2 decades away, Weed and Seed program is back to target crime in Chinatown

HNN: … “Before Weed and Seed, thieves just walked in, picked produce off the shelf, and walked out,” said Paul Min, the owner of You Market in Kekaulike Mall.

Min said that after just a few months of the program, there has been less crime.

“Now we got it back,” Min said. “So I’m very happy, grateful for the city for putting it all together again.”

“Since the middle of July, we’ve made 74 arrests,” said interim HPD Police Chief Rade Vanic. “A majority of them have been for drug-related offenses.”

Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney Steve Alm said that all offenders in the area will be held accountable.

“I’m warning any of the crooks out there that work in Chinatown, you’re going to get arrested,” Alm said. “The police are going to investigate, they are going to arrest you, we are going to prosecute you. The businesses down here, the residents, deserve a break from the criminal activity that’s been going on.”

“We believed that a lot of the people who used to panhandle in Waikiki came to Chinatown and downtown over the last two years,” Fukunaga said.

SA: Weed and Seed program sees 74 arrests in Chinatown area

read … After 2 decades away, Weed and Seed program is back to target crime in Chinatown

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