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Wednesday, July 29, 2020
July 29, 2020 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:47 PM :: 963 Views

Groups Threaten Lawsuit over Lack of Polling Places

Lawsuit: Samoans Denied Gun Rights in Hawaii

DHHL Seeks Input on Agriculture Program Plan

HECO to Begin Cutting off Service Sept 1

A Visit with Keli'i Akina, Candidate for OHA

COVID Count: 109 New Cases out of 1,653 tests (new record high)

KSBE Insider Directs Billions in COVID Relief -- to Landlords of course

CB: … Hawaii faces a precipitous economic cliff at the end of this week, with federal money that’s provided some $1.3 billion to unemployed workers in Hawaii over the past several weeks set to run out by month’s end. That’s in addition to about $2.5 billion in SBA loan money that mostly ran out in June….

The good news: Hawaii has billions in additional CARES Act money available to soften the fall. The bad news: almost all of that must be spent by the end of December  (and its being distributed to the usual insiders via profitable nonprofits) …

Hawaii has received so much money in fact that it’s hard to account for all of it.

One source of information is the state Office of Federal Awards Management. From a few bigger pots of money alone, the office reports, Hawaii has gotten well over $7 billion. That includes $1.3 billion in supplemental state unemployment benefits, commonly called “plus-up” money, and $2.5 billion awarded under the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program.

But that doesn’t include some other massive amounts. For instance, there’s also about $654 million, split between two types of aviation industry aid, approved for Hawaiian Airlines. That included $290 million to be used to pay employees and up to $364 million in loan funding to provide cash for operations.

Accounting for everything and making sure it’s spent properly is such a daunting task that Saiki’s House committee set up a special subcommittee just to do just that.

Lauren Nahme, the subcommittee’s chair, said there are billions of additional dollars not going through the state.

“When we add all of it up, it’s looking more like $9 billion,” said Nahme, who is also vice president of strategy and innovation for Kamehameha Schools. “And there may be a couple of billion more that we’re getting straight from the (U.S.) Treasury.”…

(KSBE.  See. Told you.)

SA: Hawaii businesses want $100M in city grants to pay for rent

(And who do they pay that rent to?  KSBE.)

SA Editorial: Local businesses need rent lifeline (And so does KSBE.)

read … Our Struggling Economy: The First ‘Cliff’ Is Almost Here And A Second One Is Looming

Hawaiian Airlines moves to reduce staffing in the wake of devastating earnings report

SA: … During an investor earnings call today, executives from the carrier’s parent company, Hawaiian Holdings Inc., reported a second-quarter net loss of $106.9 million, or $2.33 a share. During last year’s second quarter, Hawaiian had a net income of more than $57.8 million or $1.21 cents a share.

The carrier’s adjusted second quarter net income, including CARES Act deductions and other changes, was a net loss of $174.7 million, or $3.81 cents a share. Revenue fell to just over $60 million, a nearly 92% drop from the $712 million plus that it realized in the second quarter of 2019.

Hawaiian reported a second-quarter daily cash burn of about $3.3 million….

Ingram said. “With an uncertain demand recovery timeline, our primary planning scenario focuses on being a smaller airline by about 15% to 25% next summer compared to 2019 levels.”

Over the next days Hawaiian will be releasing Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act notices to employees at risk of being affected by an undisclosed number of involuntary furloughs, Ingram said….

Meanwhile: More than 500 visitors land in Hawaii on Monday after Hurricane Douglas’s departure

read … Hawaiian Airlines moves to reduce staffing in the wake of devastating earnings report

COVID Clusters Spread Among Micronesians on Oahu

SA: … Dozens of COVID-19 patients have been hospitalized following numerous coronavirus outbreaks, including one in Kalihi among Pacific islanders living in large multigenerational households.

“We’ve seen dozens of people get sick. We’re only one order of magnitude away from losing complete control. If cases go from 500 to 5,000 in 14 days, it’ll be over,” Lt. Gov. Josh Green told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, urging residents to remain vigilant about safety precautions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. “There’s just more clusters all over the place. If the numbers don’t start decreasing, then we’re going back to very strict restrictions on gatherings in public places. Let’s hope we don’t have to get there.”

One such cluster includes at least 36 people who were infected at funeral events in the Pacific Islander community….

Health officials reported 47 new coronavirus cases Tuesday, bringing the statewide number of infections since the start of the outbreak to 1,757. The numbers may be artificially low since state laboratories didn’t conduct all of their COVID-19 tests Sunday due to the threat of Hurricane Douglas. Over the past 30 days there have been 839 new cases, compared with about the same amount in the previous five months combined, said Green, who is also an emergency room physician on the Big Island.

Of significant concern is reaching out to Pacific islanders, who have disproportionately high numbers of COVID-19 infections.

“There’s some cultural barriers. One is that testing is not traditional in the Pacific islander community,” Green said. “Routine testing and swabs can sometimes be viewed as a risk.”

Dr. Scott Gallacher, medical director of the intensive care unit at The Queen’s Medical Center, said hospitals across the state have seen a substantial increase in COVID-19 cases over the past several days — some of them in smaller ethnic group clusters that need more education on how to prevent infections.

Ethnic minority groups, including those in the Micronesian community, living in small quarters with nearly a dozen or more people “can’t help but be in contact with folks.”…

read … Hawaii residents urged to take precautions as clusters of coronavirus cases proliferate

COVID Positive Quarantine Breakers Locked up by Order of DoH

HNN: … A father and son who have tested positive for COVID-19 were ordered into quarantine at a facility on Tuesday after being detained at a strip mall in McCully.

Hawaii News Now has learned the two are from Florida but have been staying in Hawaii.

Authorities say the son, a teenager, was detained after being spotted at McCully Shopping Center about 7:30 a.m. Tuesday.

State Health Department Director Bruce Anderson told Hawaii News Now the teen “refused to comply with the isolation order and was out with his friends and exposing lots of people."

He called the situation “an imminent threat to public health.”

Shortly after the teen was taken into custody, the boy’s father ― who is also positive for COVID-19 ― showed up at the shopping center. At that point, the father was also detained.

Anderson signed an order forcing the two into a designated COVID-19 isolation facility.

Anderson said the order is based on a rarely-used authority he has to protect public health.

“The last order I signed 20 years ago, had to deal with an individual with tuberculosis who was non-compliant and would not isolate.”

After the order was complete, Emergency Medical Services personnel transported the father and son from the shopping center to the designated COVID-19 facility on Kaaahi Street.

HNN cameras spotted the ambulance surrounded by a dozen Honolulu police cars. The two were screened before being taken to a room.

Law enforcement will be posted outside their door at the facility, which was intended for homeless people who are positive or exposed to the virus.….

SA: “Yeah, he was kind of sick.  He was all weak and squeezing himself by the stairs. … The police went test him, and it came up positive. … The dad, too. They tested the dad, too, and it came up positive, too.”

read … Father, son with COVID-19 forced into facility after breaking quarantine

State investigates large COVID-19 cluster tied to Kalihi funeral

HNN: …Officials have identified at least 36 cases so far.

“In this case, it’s largely community spread and one of the larger clusters we’ve investigated. I’m almost sure we haven’t seen the end of this one either,” said state Health Director Bruce Anderson.

With the recent surge in cases, state officials are expecting more hospitalizations in the weeks ahead. A total of 47 people are in hospitals across Hawaii, according to the state.

"I heard that it's more than two dozen individuals that are over at Queen's hospital that are in the hospital now in the last just like 72 hours," said Lt. Gov. Josh Green. "As many as 6, I believe, needed ventilation, so that's a pretty serious surge of need."…

State health officials report that about 10% of all COVID-19 cases that are detected end up in the hospital. Green said the average hospital stay is 10.5 days.

But when you get people on ventilators, it becomes a 50/50 probability of dying, so this is a real surge," he said. "I think that the next two weeks, we're going to see higher hospital numbers." ….

HNN: Green: Queen’s seeing uptick in COVID-19 patients from Kalihi cluster

read … State investigates large COVID-19 cluster tied to Kalihi funeral

DLNR says 'bad behavior' has led to closure of Polihale State Park

KITV: …-Over 1,000 people camped at Polihale on a recent weekend, though only 80 were legally permitted.  Several hundred parked trucks formed a line spanning nearly the entire 2-mile long beach.

-Trucks racing on the beach and driving through dunes which contain both Hawaiian burial sites and critically endangered plants.

-Overuse has led to widespread defecation within the fragile dune system.

-Numerous complaints about large gatherings and a lack of social distancing, despite emergency orders. …

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, DLNR Division of State Parks has reported a series of incidents in parks which it detailed in a list below:

  • Vandalism and theft at Akaka Falls State Park on Hawai‘i Island. The pump house was broken into and photovoltaic panels, a controller box and batteries were stolen.  Cost to replace these items and repair: $37,700. 
  • Illegal behavior at Ka‘ena Point State Park on O‘ahu. In both the Makua-Keawa’ula (west) and Mokule’ia sections of the park, bad behavior, particularly at night and on weekends is resulting in a “wild west” mentality with illegal drinking, littering, beach bonfires and burning of rubber tires and large numbers of illegal campers in a park unit with almost no sanitary facilities.
  • Aiea Bay State Park on O‘ahu. Virtually every fixture in the park restrooms – toilets, sinks, urinals and the gates, were destroyed by vandals, rendering the facilities completely inoperable.  Estimated cost to replace these items and repair: $25,000. 
  • Illegal beach access and illegal camping in West Side Hawai'i Island parks impacting endangered Hawaiian Monk Seals and pup at Kiholo State Park Reserve and Kekaha Kai State Park. Signs to curb the illegal access were damaged or destroyed within a week of installation, and illegal vehicle access continues unabated.

“This is not a comprehensive list of the scope and kinds of activities we’re unfortunately seeing at parks across the state…

SA: Large gatherings, trucks driving over Hawaiian burial sites, widespread defecation force closure of Polihale State Park on Kauai

read … DLNR says 'bad behavior' has led to closure of Polihale State Park

Hundreds who lost homes in 2018 eruption could be eligible for up to $230K

HTH: … Former Puna residents whose homes were destroyed by the 2018 Kilauea eruption can choose to sell their properties to the county through a nearly $80 million recovery program.

The Voluntary Housing Buyout Program is the central focus of an action plan submitted by the county to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in order to receive $83 million in Community Development Block Grant funding. Of that funding, $78 million would be used to buy out owners of property that was destroyed, isolated or damaged during the 2018 eruption.

The program, which is anticipated to begin in April 2021, will prioritize buying properties from households with low to moderate incomes, as well as properties that were owners’ primary residences, said Disaster Recovery Officer Douglas Le.

The program will first prioritize making buyout offers to documented primary residences, then secondary residences and finally undeveloped residential parcels. The action plan also stipulates that condos or other housing units that “share any common wall or area” will not be eligible for the program, nor will recreational vehicles or campers used as residences be compensated.

Le said the program will aim to buy out approximately 300 homes, although he added that is a benchmark based on property value assessments, not a hard target.

According to the action plan, 612 homes were destroyed during the eruption, 294 of which were primary residences….

Jan 8, 2020: Property buyouts mulled: Hawaii County will use HUD funds to purchase land from those wanting to leave areas impacted by eruption

What They’re Not Doing: HRS 171-93: Law Allows Swap of Lava-Covered Lots for State Property in Zone 3  (This would have maintained the supply-demand balance and kept land prices low on the East side of the Big Island.  The HUD money could have paid for improvements.)

read … Hundreds who lost homes in 2018 eruption could be eligible for up to $230K

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