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Saturday, May 23, 2020
May 23, 2020 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:52 PM :: 1683 Views

HTA Using Spy Program to Watch Tourists

Grassroot: Hawaii's Roadmap to Prosperity

DBEDT: Hawaii Economy Will Shrink 12.1% in 2020

26 States Will Protect Businesses from COVID-19-Related Unemployment Tax Hikes--Hawaii isn't one of them

COVID-19 Proves Hawai’i Central Planners Got it All Wrong

6 in 10 Hawaiʻi adults now live in a household in which at least one person has lost income

Which Hawaii Zip Codes Have the Most Unemployed?

Nigerian Princes Apply for Hawaii Unemployment

Bulky item appointment-based collection going island-wide

Neighborhood Board meetings to reconvene starting June 1

Rule by Decree: Two Years Later Ige Still Extending Kauai Flooding Emergency

Pre-flight COVID testing—As Usual the Hawaii DoH is Obstructing

KHON: … The feds tell KHON2 that tests can be required, but by the airlines not the government. Hawaii’s hometown carrier is at a “maybe” for now along with other key stakeholders, and some state authorities are not ready to drop the 14-day quarantine even with a clean test.

Nonetheless, the chorus is growing among leaders calling for COVID clearance before flying to Hawaii.

“That somebody was negative within the past 72 hours, from a physician’s standpoint, gives me a lot of reassurance,” said Dr. Josh Green, Hawaii’s lieutenant governor. “I’ve spoken with the head of the Centers for Disease Control directly who was more than willing to see this kind of plan take place.”

“The quarantine itself is not going to regain tourism,” said U.S. Rep. Ed Case. “We want to test on the front end and phase out the quarantine on the back end, otherwise people are not going to come here.”

“If we’re going to be able to stop this, we’ve got to stop it at its source, and that’s the people who are coming here or visitors who are coming back,” said state Rep. Gene Ward, (R) Hawaii Kai.

Ward says a White House representative told him the same this week: “It was a phone call that I got Wednesday morning. They called and they said we’ve been going back and forth, and after going fully through the vetting of the FAA and USDOT, they have concluded there’s nothing that can deny it that you guys have the right to do it. So I said is that a green light? He said yes.”

With so many saying “yes,” where are the hurdles?

Always Investigating found two key state departments are still a “no” for letting any test qualify for release from quarantine: the Hawaii Department of Health and the Hawaii Department of the Attorney General.….

read … Where stakeholders stand on pre-flight COVID testing

Star-Adv: Quarantine Enforcement is Good for Social Engineering of Tourists

SA Editorial: … “Let’s get tough with quarantine for a little more time. The visitors we want to welcome back, will be back. The visitors that are coming now just to thumb their noses to Hawaii’s people, we don’t want.”….

(WRONG.  This exercise will not change the character of future tourists.  Meanwhile 200K are unemployed while you amateurs play at social engineering.)

read …  Tourists on the lam in Hawaii, avoiding quarantine

Hawaii Construction Industry Shows us an Alternate Reality Without Forced Shutdowns

PBN: … When Covid-19 began shutting down businesses in Hawaii in late March, Mike Formby brought members of the construction industry together to pledge for each contractor and trade union to implement best safety practices at job sites around the state….

and in late March, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell, then Gov. David Ige, issued stay-at-home orders to all but essential businesses such as construction. Caldwell called out construction during his announcement, saying it is one of the industries that will help Hawaii recover from a Covid-induced recession.

Formby teamed with Cheryl Wathall, executive vice president of the General Contractors Association, to tell the contractors and unions working on projects about the best practices being put out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

That led in early April to a pledge signed by more than 150 general contractors, developers, engineering firms, trade unions and other business and industry associations such as the Building Industry Association of Hawaii and the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii….

“The purpose of that was to show that we could self-regulate and self-police in a changing environment, and do that by adopting CDC and OSHA guidelines and regulations to assure the governor and the mayors that they made the right decision in allowing construction to be an exempt essential business and operation to continue to work,” Formby said. “And then, protect not only the contractors and the workers but protect the community because we didn’t want clusters coming out of our job sites.”

The pledge outlines such steps for construction sites as personal responsibility and screening, social distancing, hand washing, limiting the number of workers on elevators and hoists and communication. Some contractors are taking workers’ temperatures and having them complete health surveys before they enter the job site, where they have installed such safety measures as additional sinks and plexiglass dividers at lunch tables and in areas where more than one worker is needed to complete a task….

Kinney said the short-term outlook looks good, with projects such as Brookfield Properties’ Lilia Waikiki, Prospac Holdings’ Azure Ala Moana, SamKoo’s The Central Ala Moana, JL Capital’s Sky Ala Moana and The Howard Hughes Corp.’s Aalii and Koula in full swing.

Only one major project, so far, has been put on hold — Hilton Grand Vacations’ 32-story, 191-unit time-share tower on the site of the former King’s Village shopping center in Waikiki, about a block from the Brookfield project….But homebuilders such as D.R. Horton — Schuler Division are also still working….

read … Hawaii's construction industry keeps workers on the job during Covid

Problems with communication, testing spurred Maui Hospital virus outbreak

MN: … Slow testing turnaround times, a lack of communication and circulation of staff and patients through the hospital were at the heart of the COVID-19 outbreak at Maui Memorial Medical Center that grew to include more than 50 patients and staff.

The cluster of cases, which began in late March among 15 employees and was announced in early April, mostly centered around two units at the hospital that had cared for the very first COVID-19 patients. As cases mounted, the outbreak spurred criticism from health care workers who were frustrated over hospital policies and called for the removal of its leadership.

Now, with just one COVID-19 patient at Maui Memorial and the cluster officially considered “closed” by the state Department of Health, hospital officials sat down with The Maui News on Thursday to talk about how the outbreak began and spread, the hard lessons they learned and what they plan to do differently should a second wave of coronavirus cases appears on Maui….

SA: Maui hospital staff looks back at its first run-in with a global pandemic

read … Problems with communication, testing spurred virus outbreak

Accused Rapist May Soon be Released Due to COVID

WHT: … A Kona Circuit Court judge on Thursday continued a hearing on a motion by prosecutors to continue trial for a 19-year-old man accused of sexually assaulting a septuagenarian last summer at a Kawaihae campground.

Special Deputy Attorney General Kristen Yamamoto argued via teleconference from Honolulu that the victim is unable to appear in person at this time amid the pandemic because of her advanced age and medical history, warranting the continuation. She cited new active cases on Hawaii Island and suggested the trial be postponed until “late summer, when the situation us under control nationally.”…

Deputy Public Defender James Greenberg opposed the motion to continue trial for Zeth Browder, which is scheduled to begin June 2. He cited Rule 48, which guarantees a speedy trial. Greenberg also asked for his client to be granted supervised release, noting that Browder has been incarcerated for a year and is innocent until proven guilty.

In April, Greenberg filed a motion to have his client released on his own recognizance, asking for “emergency and humanitarian release” for Browder due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He later withdrew the motion because Browder did not have a place to stay.

After hearing arguments from both sides, Judge Robert D.S. Kim continued the hearing until Thursday because the court was waiting on whether Hawaii Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald would issue a new order extending an April 27 order that postponed all jury trials to dates after May 29 in an effort to ensure the health and safety of court personnel and users and minimize the risk of spreading COVID-19 in the courts.

On Friday afternoon, Recktenwald issued an order suspending all jury trials until after June 30, unless otherwise ordered by the chief judge of the respective circuit.

Browder has been confined at Hawaii Community Correction Center in lieu of $166,000 bail since his arrest last June. He has pleaded not guilty to two counts each first-degree sexual assault and third-degree sexual assault and one count each first-degree burglary, kidnapping and tampering with evidence.

read … Soon to be Released

Soft on Crime Crowd Complains that COVID released Criminals Aren’t being Given Enough Stuff

CB: … Advocates say they’ve had to take over reentry services for prisoners released because of COVID-19 worries….

(That’s so sad.  We should solve the problem by re-arresting all of these criminals for whatever crimes they have committed since being released.)

The ACLU of Hawaii wrote a letter with Lawyers for Equal Justice to Special Master Dan Foley, a retired judge appointed by the Hawaii Supreme Court to oversee the inmate population reductions, saying the department is disregarding its statutory mandate to provide reentry services to exiting inmates.

For instance, the department is obligated to provide civil identification cards and to help obtain documents such as birth certificates and Social Security cards.  (Kinda hard to do with everything closed for COVID and jjust a few days notice thanks to ACLU and soft-on-crime judiciary.)

read … Hilarious

Mainland Perfessers Complain About Homeless Sweeps in Honolulu Chinatown

CB: … The authors of the letter include professors from schools like Cornell, Columbia and Georgetown universities. Eric Tars, an adjunct professor at Drexel University who is also the legal director of the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty, also signed on.

Bill 13, introduced by Councilman Joey Manahan, would expand the sit-lie restriction to the streets surrounding the Institute for Human Services shelters in Iwilei. IHS Executive Director Connie Mitchell has said the broadened restriction is necessary because unsheltered people in the area have become a health and safety threat to residents of her shelters. The bill passed second reading and was voted out of the council’s public safety committee on Thursday.

Councilwoman Carol Fukunaga’s Bill 37 would limit sitting and lying hours in Chinatown and downtown. As it is, people can sit or lie in those neighborhoods from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. Fukunaga wants to allow it only between 2 a.m. and 5 a.m. The bill passed first reading at Wednesday’s full council meeting.

The Chinatown Improvement Association endorsed Fukunaga’s bill in written testimony. The president of the organization wrote that 5 a.m. is when early morning markets open and late-night pubs and restaurants don’t close until 2 a.m.

read … Pointy Headed Academics Who Live Far Far Away

BOE questions lack of student data during shutdown

HNN:  … The Board of Education rated Superintendent Christine Kishimoto “effective” Thursday in her annual evaluation, but raised concerns about a lack of data on how public schools are faring and how many students actually participated in distance learning while campuses were closed….

on the standard covering operations, resource management and personnel, board members gave her a “marginal” rating, pointing to ongoing concerns about everything from teacher recruitment to the lack of a solid plan on school impact fees. There were also concerns about backlogged repairs at school facilities.

Board members were particularly concerned about the superintendent’s failure to show that big ideas and initiatives are actually resulting in progress. And they said the dearth of data on how many students participated in distance learning was a significant gap that undermined public confidence in the schools system.

“We need data on how many students actively participated in learning on a daily basis in distance learning during the shutdown. We don’t have that,” said Board of Education member Bruce Voss, adding that the state Department of Education also hasn’t produced metrics on its strategic plan goals.

BOE member Kili Namauu added: "I have great faith in the superintendent under these very dire circumstances (However), the data is missing and people are trying to ascertain how well is our system doing and it’s impossible ... without having that important information.”…

(Reality: Kishimoto does not want to produce this data because she knows the HSTA members are doing nothing.)

CB: Hawaii Schools Under Pressure To Provide More Data About Remote Learning

DoE May 20, 2020: Distance Learning Survey - Secondary Student

read … BOE rates superintendent ‘effective,’ but questions lack of student data during shutdown

Hilo Hospital Sees Big Drop In Patients — And Revenue — Amid Pandemic

CB: … Total admissions have shrunk by a third, causing a significant financial shortfall….

It has yet to admit its first COVID-19 patient.

Though the Big Island has had 81 diagnosed cases of the disease so far, the majority of those cases were in West Hawaii, and most were able to recuperate under quarantine at home.

While the expected surge of COVID-19 patients hasn’t happened in East Hawaii, all the hospital’s other admissions have dropped precipitously.

Hospital admissions in Hilo Medical Center overall have fallen by about a third. Emergency room admissions have dropped from a daily average of up to 159 patients to a current average of about 80 patients….

The hospital and its two smaller sister hospitals in Ka’u and Kohala are now projecting a budget shortfall of about $26 million by December, only partially made up by $11 million in federal aid for COVID-19 preparations….

The hospital has opened two COVID-19 testing locations: one in the parking lot across from the hospital’s main building, where testing is done from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and a second at Puna Community Center in Pahoa, which is open on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Testing at the Med Center parking lot facility in Hilo requires a lab order from a doctor, but there are no such requirements at the Pahoa location, which accepts anyone who walks in.

In the past 10 weeks at the two locations, the hospital has tested a total of 995 patients….

read … Hilo Hospital Sees Big Drop In Patients — And Revenue — Amid Pandemic

Residential care home operators call on state to provide more COVID-19 testing

HNN: … Hawaii hasn’t seen any COVID-19 outbreak in skilled nursing homes — like what have been reported on the mainland.

But the operators of hundreds of small residential care homes in Hawiai say they’re still at risk.

They take care of more than 8,000 elderly and disabled residents and believe they've been largely ignored by the state health system that regulates them.

Wannette Gaylord has four small care homes with 20 residents in the McCully-Moiliili area.

She says it's been hard for small care homes to find personal protective equipment….

Related: CMS: Nursing Homes Should Screen for COVID

Related: Schatz calls for more testing at Hawaii nursing homes

read … Residential care home operators call on state to provide more COVID-19 testing

Another Inmate released due to pandemic is back behind bars following bus stop robbery

HNN: … Diamond Simeona Agoo was back in Honolulu Police custody Thursday for allegedly robbing a woman as she waited for the bus in Ewa Beach.

Agoo is accused of slapping the 42-year-old victim, then taking her cell phone and bus pass.

At only 19, Agoo has a criminal record for indecent exposure, trespassing, terroristic threatening and harassment.

Agoo was included in a group of more than 800 inmates recently released as part of a Hawaii Supreme Court order to reduce the jail population during the COVID-19 pandemic.

At least 50 were back in custody for re-offending or violating the terms of their release….

Also arrested Thursday, 57-year-old Arthur Mudget who has an extensive criminal record relating to drug crimes and property crimes. Mudget was picked up on a habitual property crime warrant.

(As the first 800 are returned to jail,) the Hawaii Paroling Authority identified another 700 prisoners who could be released citing COVID-19 fears as the reason….

HNN: Chinatown businesses say vandalism has risen during lockdown

read … Inmate released due to pandemic is back behind bars following bus stop robbery

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