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Monday, October 12, 2020
October 12, 2020 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:21 PM :: 892 Views

Trans-Generational Corruption: Another Charged in Hawaii Lum Scandal

COVID Count: 103 new cases out of 3,819 tests

Al Hee’s Scam Company to Hand off DHHL Service Contracts to Spectrum?

SA: … Even before the pandemic, internet service on Molokaʻi was rarely ideal – spotty coverage, slow speeds and constant buffering. This has become an even bigger frustration for residents on the island’s Hawaiian Home Lands, where service is limited to one embattled telecom provider.

Hoʻolehua Hawaiian homesteader Kui Adolpho says slow internet is just another one of those sacrifices Molokaʻi residents make to enjoy life on the island.

"So we expect delays. I expected lags and, you know, the occasional interruptions. But it got to the point where my children couldn't even get instruction at all," she said.

Frozen screens and constant buffering are a daily ordeal for her three elementary school-aged kids.

Adolpho, too, works from home – adding to the strain on the already limited bandwidth.

"Right now, we have homesteaders who are paying out of pocket for hot spots. And why do we have to do that?"

Adolpho began an online petition to raise awareness about her plight. Something Moloka’i representative Lynn DeCoite has been hearing from homesteaders statewide.

"Anger, frustration, You can't even get through to a live body to talk about what the situation is, or negotiations of how they can have their bills paid, or you can transfer over to another carrier," she said.

But Adolpho’s only choice is Sandwich Isles Communication – a company in deep financial and legal trouble.

Sandwich Isles secured an exclusive license with the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands in 1995 to bring telecom services to rural, underserved homestead communities. In return, any company wanting to serve homesteaders must use and pay for the infrastructure Sandwich Isles built, which hasn’t exactly worked to the customer’s advantage.

"We need to be provided the opportunity or different options, to have an internet service provider that cares about the people they're providing the service for."

Sandwich Isles said its aware of the problems with internet speed and it’s in negotiations with Spectrum to provide internet in Hoʻolehua.

The problem it says is outdated infrastructure it plans to upgrade. But that could be tough to pull off for a company that currently owes the federal government hundreds of millions of dollars. …

Petition: Improve Hoolehua Hawaiian Homes Internet Service 

read … Frustration Rising On Moloka'i Homesteads Over Slow Internet For Distance Learning, Working At Home

Objective Achieved: “Confusion and uncertainty will likely prevent an onslaught of visitors”

SFGate: … With just a few days left before Hawaii-bound travelers can skip quarantine and head straight for the beach, the Aloha State’s plan to reopen tourism is showing as many cracks and fissures as a lava field. The confusion and uncertainty around booking trips will likely prevent an onslaught of visitors right away. (This is the purpose.)

After months of delay and postponement, state officials recently announced a pre-flight testing program starting October 15 that requires mainland passengers aged 5 and older to take a specific type of COVID-19 test within 72 hours of arrival, if they want to avoid a 14-day quarantine.

Proof of such a test is required on arrival in Hawaii, not at the mainland airport. Without proof of a negative test, the state will require the traveler to quarantine until results are available.

The state will only accept nucleic acid amplification (NAAT) tests from designated partners (see list), the results of which must be loaded into the state’s online Safe Travels form. Passengers also have to complete a health questionnaire 24 hours before departure and undergo a temperature check on arrival.

That was the original plan, but it turns out not all the islands are on board with a statewide program, aiming instead to protect their local populations with testing programs of their own. Which of course is going to cause confusion among travelers.  (Which is the purpose)

read … Cracks, confusion appear as Hawaii traveler testing deadline looms

Keeping children out of school causes unnecessary harm

SA: … As a local pediatrician and the mother of two boys in the public school system, I was dismayed to find out that the Kailua/Kalaheo Complex Area’s plan is to hold off returning to school until January.

Coronavirus does not seem to be affecting children and adolescents to the degree that it has affected adults. Children typically have a milder course, though there are children who develop the multi- system inflammatory condition.

However, the pandemic has far-reaching effects on children. They are being isolated at home with little to no interaction with peers. Their interaction with their teachers is through distance learning and lacks the contact, closeness or the private conversations that students have with their teachers and school counselors.

And while there is definitely an improvement in the technology platforms and methods of teaching, there is more than just learning at stake here.

School provides much more than subject learning. It provides socialization, structure, personal interaction, safety for some, food for many and countless other benefits. Our state Department of Education deciding not to return to face-to-face learning until January is not a decision that considers all of these aspects.

As a pediatrician here in Honolulu, we are seeing a marked increase in suicide attempts, depression and eating disorders. There has also been an increase in child abuse. These events are likely only to increase as the economy takes a large downturn now with federal funding no longer coming in and businesses starting to close and increasing layoffs.

Being at home allows children to see what their parents are going through with unemployment and unpaid bills. School provides a respite from these things. It also allows our educators who are well-versed in the psychological welfare of children to recognize children who are struggling. We currently do not have these checks in place….

DoE: FREE MEAL PROGRAM EXTENDED FOR STUDENTS AT 203 HAWAIʻI DEPT. OF EDUCATION SCHOOLS THROUGH DECEMBER 18

AP: Star power helps uplift, connect Hawaii elementary school

read … Keeping children out of school causes unnecessary harm

Advocates Call for HGEA to Start Showing up at Work Again so Unemployed can get Claims Processed

HNN: … “We found in the Kalihi area, many Marshallese, Micronesian and Filipino immigrant communities have been hard hit and they’re not getting the benefits they should get," said John Witeck, co-founder of the Hawaii Workers Center, a resource center created in May for low-income working residents.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the state Labor Department has struggled to pay out benefits to hundreds of thousands of claims filed statewide.

Language and cultural barriers have made the application process much more complicated for these working-class families, Witeck said.

“A lot of these people have no WiFi or have no computer skills," he said.

He said the Hawaii Workers Center is asking the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations to reinstate in-person processing of the claims….

read … Advocates worry immigrant, working families struggling to get by amid pandemic woes

Kailua brewing company ordered to shutdown calls for more transparency from liquor commission

HNN: … Lanikai Brewing Company was ordered to shut down for 24 hours by the liquor commission Friday evening for violating the mayor’s emergency order and failing to operate as a restaurant.

The owner of the brewing company, Steve Haumschild feels their venue is being unfairly targeted.

He said the investigator told him they were not in compliance because food was served about 20 minutes after beer was delivered.

Haumschild adds that he is not aware of the rule and is still unclear with how they’re falsely acting as a restaurant when 51% of their sales on Friday were food.

“I’m very frustrated, all we’re trying to do is act compliant we’re trying to figure out what we need to do to open in this challenging business landscape," said Haumschild. "And we’re ghosted on every single time that we’re asked for more information,”

In June, the liquor commission issued a warning for the brewing company for not serving meals in violation of the emergency order….

read … Kailua brewing company ordered to shutdown calls for more transparency from liquor commission

Hu Honua Organizational Structure Revealed

IM: … Hu Honua BioEnergy LLC was founded in 2008.

Life of the Land successfully appealed the Hawai`i Public Utilities Commission approval to the Hawai`i Supreme Court.

In the Hawai`i Public Utilities Commission proceedings, Hu Honua repeatedly refused to answer Life of the Land Information Requests regarding the corporate structure and interlinks between Hu Honua BioEnergy LLC, Island BioEnergy LLC, and CN Renewable Resources LLC.

After losing the remanded case at the Hawai`i Public Utilities Commission, Hu Honua has appealed the ruling to the Hawai`i Supreme Court.

But the corporate structure was substantially revealed in a massive legal fight is occurring in California between two major players in the Hu Honua fiasco. The Harold H. Robinson IV vs. Jennifer M. Johnson jury trial is scheduled for January 2021.  …

read … Hu Honua Organizational Structure Revealed

Maui officer accused of soliciting sex from women he met on the job indicted by Feds after County Prosecutor Declines to act

HNN: …A U.S. Attorney has indicted a former Maui police accused of harassing women by sending them suggestive messages to solicit sex.

Maui prosecutors initially decided not to charge Brandon Saffeels last year when the feds began a probe into the case. But now, the former officer faces a single wire fraud charge for allegedly abusing his power.

In 2019, Hawaii News Now reported that officer Saffeels allegedly attempted to solicit sex from a woman he had come into contact with while on the job.

The woman -- who was one of several victims who later came forward -- claimed he started sending her inappropriate messages to her cell phone after their initial encounter.

Saffeels is accused of offering to throw testimony in a drunk driving case in exchange for her going over to his house.

Court documents also say he tried to conceal his misconduct by lying to federal law enforcement officers who questioned him….

read … Maui officer accused of soliciting sex from women he met on the job indicted

Neglected Varona Village plantation community in Ewa awaits redevelopment plans

SA: … Eusebia Batalon would like to think she will live to see the day she buys her city-owned home under a government initiative announced 39 years ago to preserve several now-historic Oahu sugar plantation housing camps.

Batalon, whose husband worked for Oahu Sugar Co. and died in 2005, turns 88 today .

“Long time we are waiting to buy,” the sprightly widow said, referring to herself and her neighbors in Varona Village, a community on the Ewa Plain that once was filled with 93 homes rented by employees of Oahu Sugar’s Ewa Plantation….

read … Neglected Varona Village plantation community in Ewa awaits redevelopment plans

Hawaii bankruptcy filings continue to tick downward

SA: … Hawaii bankruptcies continue to decrease even as individuals and businesses struggle to make ends meet in the slowing economy.

The number of filings declined 10.7% in September to 125 from 140 in the year- earlier period, according to new data from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Hawaii. The number of cases have now fallen seven of the nine months this year.

Year to date through September, bankruptcy filings were down 8.1% to 1,149 from 1,250 during the same period in 2019.

“Though bankruptcies rise during economic recessions, it is different this time,” said Eugene Tian, chief economist for the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism. “I think the decrease is mainly because of the federal assistance programs. We still have the rental and the mortgage assistance programs in place. That is the most important part.”….

read … Hawaii bankruptcy filings continue to tick downward

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