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Monday, October 4, 2021
October 4, 2021 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:33 PM :: 1402 Views

Will Al Hee Cut Off Your 911 Service?

Hawaii health officials urge vigilance with 32% of population not fully vaccinated

KHON: … At the beginning of September, the state was at the peak of the delta surge. On Thursday, Sept. 2, the state reported 1,068 cases and was averaging 881 cases; there were also already more than 11,000 active coronavirus cases. On Saturday, Oct. 2, the state reported 279 cases, a 3.7% positivity rate and 4,653 active cases.

“We’re still seeing a significant amount of COVID transmission in the community because we still have hundreds of thousands of people who are not yet fully vaccinated,” explained Brooks Baehr, Hawaii DOH spokesperson. “In fact, we have about 450,000 Hawaii residents who are not yet fully vaccinated.” ….

According to state data, as of Friday, Oct. 1, there are 131,917 residents who are eligible for the COVID vaccine but still have not gotten it. There are 207,482 kids — from newborns to 11-year-olds — who are not yet eligible to receive the vaccine. There are also 118,936 people who have initiated getting the vaccine but have not yet completed or received their second dose.

All of these numbers leave roughly 458,335 people statewide who are at-risk….

“The first shot gives you some protection, but you really want to follow the science. Go get that second shot, and get yourself fully protected against COVID-19,” he continued.

The DOH said there have been about 8,400 pediatric cases since the beginning of August, and while most children do not get severely ill, those not eligible for the vaccine can still carry and spread the virus….

Related: Herd Immunity? Low COVID Infection Rate Leaves Hawaii LEAST Protected in USA

read … Hawaii health officials urge vigilance with 32% of population not fully vaccinated

Three-judge panel orders disbarment of foreclosure attorney Gary Victor Dubin

ILind: … A panel of three judges from the US District Court in Honolulu issued an “Order of Disbarment” on Thursday, stripping former foreclosure attorney Gary V. Dubin of his license to practice law in Hawaii’s federal court.

Dubin was previously disbarred by the Hawaii Supreme Court in November 2020, triggering a motion to “show cause” why he should not be disbarred from federal court as well, pursuant to a reciprocal discipline policy.

The panel, consisting of District Court Judges Jill Otake and Leslie Kobayashi, and Magistrate Judge Kenneth Mansfield, concluded Dubin had failed to establish “by clear and convincing evidence” that his case qualified for any legal exceptions to the recommended reciprocal discipline….

“Respondent’s repudiation of the allegations consists of deflection and finger pointing, not evidence,” the panel found….

The disbarment order marks the end of a long disciplinary process that started on January 4, 2017 with a petition filed by the Office of the Disciplinary Counsel citing four cases it believed warranted disciplinary action….

In one case, ODC said Dubin failed to disclose a prior criminal conviction when applying for a mortgage solicitor’s license. His license was revoked by the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, and their action was upheld by the First Circuit Court and the Intermediate Court of Appeals, according to a summary in the panel’s order.

In a second case, Dubin was found to have signed the names of clients on a $132,000 settlement check made out to them without prior authorization, and failed to provide billing statements to them for nearly four years.

A third case, according to the panel’s order, involved Dubin’s “failure to account for a retainer and his removal of the retainer from the trust account without notice.”…

A fourth complaint presented to the Supreme Court by the Disciplinary Counsel was submitted directly by the Intermediate Court of Appeals. The complaint cited Dubin’s “repeated violations of the Hawai‘i Rules of Appellate Procedure and the issuance of sanctions against him in multiple appeals filed on behalf of his clients between 2012 and 2014.”…

read … Three-judge panel orders disbarment of foreclosure attorney Gary Victor Dubin

Rental cars more affordable as demand slows

MN: … Idled vehicles in the fields by the airport are piling back up as daily car rentals are seeing a slight drop; about 800 cars a day are rented, according to Moniz. Uber, Lyft and taxi services are currently operating at stable rates, showing “no big spike” or “no big drop” within the past month….

read … Rental cars more affordable as demand slows

Big Island businesses still struggling to find workers despite end to pandemic aid

HTH: … Yoshioka said Big Island businesses ranging from small restaurants to large retail operations like KTA Super Stores are struggling to fill positions, with some employers reporting more than 100 job openings.

Chad Yang, managing owner of Hula Hula’s restaurant at the Grand Naniloa Hotel, said he is having difficulty finding employees willing to work. Yang said he received 40 responses to a job listing, from which he selected 10 candidates for interviews. Of those 10, only four actually showed up to interviews, and two were offered jobs.

Of those two, Yang said, one claimed they contracted COVID-19 and didn’t show up on their first day. The other also didn’t show up, but never offered a reason why.

“So, we’re right back at square one,” Yang said.

“I’ve seen people blow off interviews, I’ve seen people pass their interviews and not show up for their first day,” said Russell Ruderman, owner of the Island Naturals grocery chain. “I never saw that before. It’s not about money — sometimes we hadn’t even gotten to the point of discussing the money.”

Yang and Ruderman speculated that many “job seekers” are really just going through the motions in order to be eligible for unemployment benefits. In May, Gov. David Ige reinstated rules requiring unemployment beneficiaries to apply for at least three jobs a week in order to receive benefits.

Yoshioka agreed that many applicants are likely only doing so to maintain eligibility…

read … Big Island businesses still struggling to find workers despite end to pandemic aid

Legislative Session Prep: Convention Center Tries for $64M this Time 

SA: .. The Hawaii Tourism Authority plans to ask Gov. David Ige to add $64 million to the state’s capital improvements budget so that it can finally fix a leaky rooftop deck (insert this year's excuse here) at the Hawai’i Convention Center.

The new figure is more than double what the Hawaii Tourism Authority had last anticipated it would cost to complete the circa-1998 center’s largest deferred maintenance project. It’s a substantial reinvestment in a center that cost $200 million to construct.

Officials at the center requested about $27 million from the Legislature in 2017 to fix the rooftop deck, which was a problem even before the facility opened. However, legislators did not approve the improvements, which consultant Allana Buick & Bers Inc. said in 2012 were needed by 2017.... 

SA: That’s the kind of sticker shock that should raise public questions about ballooning project bids

read … Hawai‘i Convention Center rooftop terrace needs repair

Suspensions of jury trials, grand juries extended

WHT: … Third Circuit Chief Judge Robert Kim on Thursday issued a pair of orders concerning Hawaii Island courts — one further suspending commencement of jury trials, the other further suspending the convening of grand juries until Nov. 16.

The suspension of jury trials follows an order issued Wednesday by Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald extending the suspension of jury trials from today, Oct.. 4, to Nov. 16.

Both jury trials and the grand jury were previously set to resume on the Big Island today….

read … Suspensions of jury trials, grand juries extended

Parents Say DOE’s Effort To Create Distance Learning For Hawaiian Immersion Is Overdue

CB: … More than a month later, the DOE is scrambling to assemble a distance program for Hawaiian immersion secondary students for this school year. But the lack of one has already disrupted the school year for immersion students, parents say, and it remains to be seen what shape it will take as the DOE seeks qualified instructors….

read … Parents Say DOE’s Effort To Create Distance Learning For Hawaiian Immersion Is Overdue

Major flaws found at some Hawaii veterans cemeteries

SA: … in a June report the VA Office of the Inspector General noted “noncompliance issues” within the state’s system of eight veterans cemeteries, including “critical deficiencies” at the Hilo and Makawao facilities.

One grave at the Maui cemetery had a temporary marker for 54 years. In Hilo, 75 markers were not properly installed and “were merely placed on the ground over the gravesite,” according to the June 24 Inspector General’s report. That meant they “could be easily moved and placed over the wrong gravesite.”

Ron Han, director of the state Office of Veterans’ Services and a retired Air Force colonel, said a complex set of circumstances led to the findings, which pertain to the Maui site and to East Hawaii 1 and East Hawaii 2 in Hilo, which are considered one cemetery….

At Hilo and at the Maui Veterans Cemetery, the Inspector General team “identified critical deficiencies including a lack of permanent or properly installed grave markers, inaccurate and missing maps of graves, no process for tagging caskets and urns, and inconsistent safety standards,” according to the June report.

At Hilo a veteran’s spouse had a temporary marker for 19 years. NCA shrine standards require a permanent marker within 60 days of interment. Two veterans had temporary markers for 12 and 13 years….

At Makawao some temporary markers had been in place for three, five and 54 years. Two other grave sites still had wooden crosses, rather than VA-issued headstones, from interments in 1963 and 1990.

Although NCA staff identified deficiencies at the two sites in 2015 and 2016, the agency’s improvement and compliance officials “did not sufficiently follow up with cemetery managers to ensure completed action plans were submitted,” the report states….

read … Major flaws found at some Hawaii veterans cemeteries

Maui Moves 47 Homeless into Shelter by Rejecting Failed Homeless Tent City Schemes

MN: … Outreach workers explained the scheduled intervention. On Sept. 1, “no trespassing” signs went up on Amala Place roadsides, followed by a press release. Shortly thereafter, Maui police officers served “notices to vacate” letters to camp occupants.

The intervention proved to be the motivation needed for 40 camp occupants to move into shelter and accept services. One individual moved into permanent housing, and six were able to move in with family or friends.

Now, 47 individuals are now sleeping in comfortable clean beds under a roof. Those in shelters will work with case managers to help them move into permanent housing. Sixteen occupants who refused the offer of shelter and services have since moved out of the area.

Advocates have been calling for the area around Kanaha Beach Park to become a “managed encampment” for the unsheltered. While such programs are often promoted as magical cures for homelessness, the reality is much more complex.

Fortunately, Maui County has learned from mistakes made by other counties. During the pandemic’s early days, Kauai County allowed homeless people to live in five designated beach parks, but the situation quickly grew out of control. In July, when the “safe zone” period ended, Kauai officials struggled to remove occupants from the parks.

In 2018, Hawaii County established a temporary homeless “safe zone” for those removed from the old Kona Airport Park encampment. For seven months, Hawaii County sanctioned “Camp Kikaha,” a 1-acre homeless encampment for 25 people. It cost just $2,000 to set it up, but after a few months, 24-hour security, portable toilets, water spigots and showers raised the monthly operating cost to over $23,000. When rainy season started, occupants used wooden pallets and large canopies for protection, creating a fire hazard. The encampment was eventually closed due to health and safety concerns.

The only way to solve homelessness is to put people in homes, not camps….

read … Amala Place cleanup benefits everyone

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