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Friday, September 4, 2020
September 4, 2020 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 8:21 PM :: 1583 Views

We weren't crying "Wolf" after all

Hawaii DoE Abandons Blue-Collar Households During Corona Crisis

How Can? U.S. DHS: National Eviction Moratorium

Death Tax: Hawaii Highest in USA

Hawaii Is Now Learning the Hard Lessons That Most Other States Learned Earlier 

UH Manoa in top 1% of worldwide universities

Community Well-Being Index -- Hawaii #1

COVID Count 271 new cases out of 7,669 tests

Pro-Hanabusa PAC Investigated for False-Name Contributions

CB: … As of Aug. 8, the PAC had 23 contributors. A review of state campaign finance records going back over a decade shows most of those people had not donated to any political candidates in that time period, or to a political action committee.

Some of them made substantial donations despite listing occupations that aren’t known to be particularly well-paying.

Naalei Artuyo, a receptionist at Queen’s Medical, donated $1,400. Renell Riberio, who listed herself as a caretaker at Care Hawaii, donated $6,000. Riberio did not respond to requests for comment, and Artuyo wrote via Facebook messenger that she has “no comment.”

“Please do not bother me again!” she said.

The women are among three PAC donors who live at the same Nuuanu-area address on Booth Road as the chair of the PAC, Lokahi Cuban, who also donated money, according to campaign finance data.

Cuban sells guppies, koi and other fish through a company called Bloodline Fish Farm, according to social media accounts.

He would not speak with Civil Beat for this story and instead, via Facebook messenger, directed questions to the PAC’s email address.

“Your conduct is amounting to harassment, in which it may require me to obtain a restraining order against you,” he wrote to Civil Beat. “Please do not contact me any further.”

Earlier this year, Cuban publicly proclaimed himself a “100% HANABUSA SUPPORTER,” but later said he does not support any particular candidate.

Former Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa came in third in the August mayoral primary and is now backing Amemiya’s competitor, Rick Blangiardi. She said in July that she is not involved with the PAC or Cuban….


read … Campaign Spending Commission Investigating Anti-Amemiya PAC

How Hawaii’s Reliance On ‘Labor Intensive’ Fax Machines Hampers Contact Tracing

CB: … Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic hit Hawaii, the state’s contact tracing program has relied on two fax machines to receive the thousands of new positive and suspected case reports pouring into its offices.

Recently, those machines have been overloaded with the new cases. Occasionally, they break down.

The decades-old technology, along with other IT inefficiencies, has consumed valuable time throughout the crisis and heaped duplicative data-entry work on an overburdened staff, according to Dr. Emily Roberson, who was recently leading the Department of Health’s Disease Investigation Branch.

“Picture running a printer from the beginning of the day to the end of the day, without a break,” she said….

Prior to her leave request, Roberson told Civil Beat she’d been working to fix inefficiencies, including the faxes, that were hampering the DOH contact tracing operation. Even her division’s core group of six to eight primary investigators has been doing basic administrative work throughout the pandemic, she said.

DOH leaders have been roundly criticized for not hiring more contact tracers fast enough to keep up with the pandemic’s recent surge. The state has now seen 9,202 reported cases, including 211 new cases Thursday. Hawaii has also endured 79 reported COVID-19 deaths.

“You can’t address the personnel without addressing that we’re highly dependent on fax machines that keep breaking,” Roberson said Monday.

The faxed reports often have missing patient data, which University of Hawaii student interns and National Guard personnel have recently helped to clean up, she added. Dealing with obsolete IT adds time and labor, as staff moves spotty data from thousands of hard copies of paper into Maven, the software DOH uses to manage its contact tracing strategy, she said.

Before Roberson arrived, staff with the Disease Investigation Branch would manually scan the faxed sheets of paper even though the system was already automatically scanning most of the faxes and placing them in a digital folder, she said.

“I don’t think they realized it was being scanned the first time,” Roberson said. Only a couple of people had access to the folder, she said, adding that she didn’t know why that was.

(I do.  It is this way because these obsolete systems create HGEA positions.)

The National Guard team assigned to help the branch now has access to the folder and the duplicative scanning has stopped, Roberson said.

(Translation: To make he system work we are completely bypassing the HGEA members and their useless technology.  They can now go back to their desks and play solitaire on their computers until they hit retirement.)

On Sunday, the Disease Investigation Branch unveiled to health care providers across the state a new, fillable online PDF form to report cases. The branch hopes that hospitals, doctors and providers will use the digital form to report new COVID-19 cases instead of faxes.

(1996—the year fillable PDFs were first available commercially.)

read … How Hawaii’s Reliance On ‘Labor Intensive’ Fax Machines Hampers Contact Tracing

In weeks, hundreds of Hawaii's hotel workers will lose their jobs

KITV list of layoff and furloughs: 

Aston Ka'anapali Shores- 120 layoffs

Ilikai hotel extended 4 furloughs
Hyatt Residence Club 45 extended furlough
Hyatt Residence Club 73 layoffs
Marriott’s Kaua’i Lagoons 70 layoffs - extending furlough for 34 employees
Koolina Beach Club-- 171 layoffs- Extend furlough for 254 employees
Maui Ocean Club-- 78 layoffs- 241 extended furlough
Waikoloa Ocean Club-- 45 layoffs- 3 furlough extensions
Waiohai Beach Club-- Extending 79 furloughs 

Westin Ka'anapali Ocean Resort-- 4 permanent layoffs- 165 permanent layoffs- Extending furlough for 231 employees
Westin Nanea Ocean Resort and Villas-- 116 extended furlough- 2 permanent layoffs- 77 permanent layoffs
Westin Princeville Ocean Resort-- 77 furlough extension- 54 permanent layoffs
Prince Waikiki- all staff on furlough since June 15 (no number provided in letter)
Royal Kona Resort- furlough all employees (no number provided in letter)
Turtle Bay- extending furlough and closure. 606 employees impacted 

SA:  Lost faith in Hawaii’s October tourism reopening triggers mass layoffs, traveler cancellations

KITV: Turtle Bay extends temporary furlough for hundreds of employees 

SA: Workers laid off after furlough should reactivate claim, not file anew

HNN: Businesses fear they’ll have to pay back federal funding that kept them afloat

HNN: When will tourism in Hawaii reopen? One expert predicts it might not be until 2021

TGI: Kaua‘i Marriott Resort &Beach Club meal and food distribution for more than 300 of its furloughed associates.

read … In weeks, hundreds of Hawaii's hotel workers will lose their jobs

Embattled state epidemiologist Sarah Park takes leave of absence, Contact Tracer Returns

KHON: … “At this time, Dr. Sarah Park is taking a paid leave of absence from her work at the Department of Health. During her leave, Deputy Director Danette Wong Tomiyasu is in full charge of all disease investigation and immunization activities under the Disease Outbreak Control Division.”…  

CB: New Contact Tracing Head Is Back At DOH After Leadership Shakeup  

HNN: Cautious optimism after shakeup at DOH

SA Editorial: Leadership must be strong, clear

read … Embattled state epidemiologist Sarah Park takes leave of absence

Pandemic Becomes Excuse to Undermine Patient Privacy Law

CB: … A powerful federal law, known as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, or HIPAA, tightly shields health records and data, says Sallie Milam, a deputy director with the Network of Public Health Law, who has worked extensively with state agencies on data-related issues. There are also state laws and departmental policies.

However, when it comes to matters of public health — such as disease control and prevention — there is some wiggle room.

“Being in a pandemic often increases the need for the public health to share more data so that people’s questions are answered and the trust is maintained with the community,” she said.

Milam’s organization has created an FAQ section on COVID-19 and health data privacy. It says in part that to protect the public’s health and maintain its trust, agencies “must share as much information as possible with the media and the public.”…

read … State Officials Are Overusing Privacy Excuse To Withhold COVID-19 Data

Lawmakers want Gen. Hara to take the lead on contact tracing

KHON: … senators want the governor to put Gen. Kenneth Hara in charge. As head of the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency, he put together a call center for contact tracers at the Hawaii Convention Center.

“It’s proof that HIEMA can handle the job because they were able to build up the contact tracing call center in a matter of days and that’s the kind of response that we need,” said Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz, Chairman of the Senate Special Committee on COVID-19.

He says Dr. Roberson will still be in charge of contact tracing duties, but should report directly to Gen. Hara and not anyone else at DOH….

Kouchi points out that with 212 contact tracers statewide, we are still barely halfway to the goal of reaching more than 500….

MN: Maui Contact Tracing Expands, Now Utilizing UHMC Facility

CB: DOH Struggles To Trace Surge In Big Island Cases To Large Gatherings

read … Lawmakers want Gen. Hara to take the lead on contact tracing

University Of Hawaii Regents Reject ‘Shell Game’ Budget Proposal

CB: … The administration says it is in “triage” mode, facing $138 million in lost revenues.

Members of the University of Hawaii’s governing board want officials to come back with a more detailed and sustainable spending plan.

The Board of Regents’ Budget Committee, which typically rubber stamps the UH spending plan before sending it to approval by the full 11-member board, decided instead to defer the financial plan in a unanimous vote Thursday.

UH President David Lassner and university budget chief Kalbert Young agreed that the budget was incomplete, noting too many unknown factors like state-level support.

Officials will be expected to present a new budget at the regents’ next board meeting, scheduled for Sept. 17….

UH: Athletics blue ribbon committee formed to address COVID-19 impacts

read … University Of Hawaii Regents Reject ‘Shell Game’ Budget Proposal

HHS: Less than 1% of Hawaii’s ’surge’ tests conducted so far have come back positive

HNN: … The line of cars grew even longer on the second day of surge testing at the H-3 and left traffic at a standstill.

Depending on when they showed up, wait times were from 20 minutes to an hour and a half.

The Honolulu Fire Department reported more than 5,000 people registered for Thursday’s testing. That’s compared to 3,183 who registered and then 1,975 who took the test on Tuesday….

A person we talked to says they signed up online to take a COVID-19 at the H-3 and got a negative result even though they’d never taken the test. Later, the testing company, eTrueNorth told them there may have been a mix up with their confirmation number.

“It makes me less confident in the COVID-19 testing process now. I wanted to do my part, but who or what do you believe now,” said the person who registered.

“eTrueNorth identified 4 participants from HI who had results sent to them accidentally.  They have researched the problem and they feel confident the issue is limited to these four individuals.  Their clinical team is in the process of calling all four of the affected individuals,” said Mia Palmieri Heck, Director of External Affairs, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

HHS says as of September 3, there were 15,152 specimens processed from the surge testing sites and 92 were positive….

HNN:  HHS: Less than 1% of Hawaii’s ’surge’ tests conducted so far have come back positive

read … Handful get accidental test results as more turn out for second day of H-3 surge testing

Hui of Kauai parents petition state to let Garden Isle students back to campus

HNN: …On Kauai, where there are no active COVID cases, hundreds of parents are asking the department of education to allow students to start a blended model of learning on September 14, as it was initially planned.

The Garden Isle has been the most successful county at keeping coronavirus out, with only 57 cases so far and no deaths.

That has many families wondering why Kauai schools are lumped in with the rest of the DOE for full on-line learning through the first semester, which ends on October 2.

“I think the frustration is really fueled from that basis of not understanding why our keiki cannot be back in our schools,” said parent Madison Perry. “This is our safest time, this is the safest space.”

Perry says both of her children - ages 6 and 3 - are doing distance learning, which she says takes up at least seven hours of her day.

The Kapaa resident says its been a struggle for both families and teachers.

That’s why she is one of more than 800 people who have signed a petition, asking for a partial return to Kauai campuses….

TGI: Survey seeks input from families about distance learning

read … Hui of Kauai parents petition state to let Garden Isle students back to campus

No COVID but 24 HCCC felons to be released

WHT: … With two dozen felony inmates at Hawaii Community Correctional Center set to be released over the next few days, Hawaii County prosecutors have concerns about public safety.

Since March, HCCC (which has 0 cases of COVID) has been gradually reducing its number of inmates to comply with Hawaii Supreme Court orders to reduce jail populations in an effort to prevent a COVID-19 outbreak among those incarcerated, such as the one currently raging at Oahu Community Correctional Center, which has infected more than 200 inmates.

read … Prosecutors concerned about release of HCCC felons

Suit seeks documents relating to boat allegedly used in kidnapping and murder

ILind: … A federal lawsuit filed in Honolulu last month is seeking the public disclosure of sealed court records relating to the search and seizure of the “Painkiller,” a $425,000 Boston Whaler purchased by a company controlled by Michael John Miske, Jr., owner of Kamaaina Termite & Pest Control and several other local businesses….

The lawsuit was filed by attorney Brian Black on behalf of the Civil Beat Law Center for the Public Interest. It asks that the court unseal and make public twenty-one documents that were part of a subsequent lawsuit by Miske’s Hawaii Partners, LLC, that sought to have the boat returned….

ILind: Read the lawsuit seeking disclosure of court files about Mike Miske’s boat, “Painkiller”

FB: Justice for Johnny

LINK: Motion to Unseal

read … Suit seeks documents relating to boat allegedly used in kidnapping and murder

Hu Honua Spoofing Incident Heats Up

IM: … “All 7 email responses to the PUC’s auto-reply are highly suspicious given that (1) all 7 public comments using those email addresses appear to have been sent within the same 47 minute time-span: 10:59 pm; 11:04 pm; 11:24 pm; 11:35 pm; 11:45 pm; 11:46 pm; 11:46 pm, and (2) most of the those email responses claiming unauthorized use of email their addresses contain very similar characteristics, including word choice and use of all caps.”

“Google Analytics (a third party) reports that during that 47 minute time span, only a single click at 10:59 pm was made on the website (no other click to access the website was made during this 47 minute span). The single click originated from an IP address located in Honolulu, Hawaii.”

Warren Lee further asserted, “It is our understanding that there are ways to identify the IP addresses and source associated with these 7 emails….

SA: Fake emails plague PUC’s review of Honua Ola Bioenergy project

read … Hu Honua Spoofing Incident Heats Up

Which US cities have the highest proportion of solar-powered homes?

PVM: … Cities from Hawaii and California dominated the top of the list, which makes sense as both states have tremendous solar resources. Additionally, Hawaii has extraordinary high imported energy costs as the state’s remoteness makes it expensive to ship in more traditional sources of power, like oil.

Ewa Beach, Hawaii had the highest proportion of solar-powered homes in the U.S. with 1,269 solar-powered housing units out of 20,199 total housing units, giving the city a solar-powered percentage of 6.282%.

Following Ewa Beach was Jamul, California, which has 194 solar-powered housing units out of 3,123 total units for a percentage of 6.212%. Kapolei, Hawaii rounded out the top three with 897 solar-powered housing units out of 14,476 total units, which means 6.196% of the houses in Kapolei are powered by the Sun.

Other U.S. cities in the top ten from LendEDU included Kailua, Hawaii (5.501%), Makawao, Hawaii (5.084%), Somerset, California (4.932%), Mililani, Hawaii (4.780%), Kahului, Hawaii (4.526%), Kula, Hawaii (4.481%), and Waipahu, Hawaii (4.381%).

Sandia Park, New Mexico was the highest-ranked community outside of Hawaii and California with 96 solar-powered homes out of 2,265 total homes, which gives Sandia Park a percentage of 4.238%….

read … Which US cities have the highest proportion of solar-powered homes?

State sees increase in calls for homeless outreach on Oahu

HNN: … Hawaii State Homeless Coordinator Scott Morishige said their office has been getting more calls from the public asking for outreach services to go out to homeless camps that have been popping up around Oahu….

Since City and County of Honolulu parks and state parks on Oahu are closed, Morishige said the homeless are moving into new areas.

City Council Member Carol Fukunaga said her office has seen an increase in complaints about the homeless in the downtown area.  More tents are going up in front of businesses that have shut down due to the pandemic….

In July, he said they were able to move 518 people into permanent housing, which is a higher amount than normal.

Individuals can report a homeless encampment to the state by calling 586-0193. They can also e-mail the state at….

read … State sees increase in calls for homeless outreach on Oahu

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