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Tuesday, June 2, 2020
June 2, 2020 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:43 PM :: 3151 Views

Kam Napier: How to strike the right balance in reopening Hawaii economy

US Supreme Court declines to lift restrictions on crowds at church services

COVID Count: No new cases out of 434 tests

COVID Count: One new case out of 587 tests

Applicants Sought for Disciplinary Board of the Hawaii Supreme Court

417 Candidates Pull Papers for Election--303 File

New online system to assist with shooting range reservations

Ige lifting interisland quarantine Effective June 16 — May Join Aus/NZ Bubble

SA: … Gov. David Ige is expected to announce the lifting of the interisland quarantine this afternoon, he said on the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s COVID-19 Care Conversation.

Interisland travelers, however, will undergo health screenings, a temperature scan and paperwork on their travel history, residence, and where they will be staying on the island “so we can know where you came from and where you traveled to” and make sure that “no one has traveled to out of state and visited any of the other communities where the virus has actively been circulated.”

On reopening trans-Pacific travel, Ige said authorities will focus on communities with low virus incidence first, including New Zealand and Australia “as first candidates that we would be interested in,” and “obviously from an economic perspective, Japan and South Korea.”…

read … Ige expected to announce lifting of interisland quarantine today

‘No Fraud or Collusion’ Claimed as Land tied to criminal Al Hee’s company is bought by Another Al Hee Company

SA: … The sale was approved by Bankruptcy Judge Robert Faris with support from creditors of Paniolo Cable and a court-appointed trustee controlling Paniolo Cable, Michael Katzenstein.

There was a late competing offer to buy the property for $2.5 million, but this bid floated last week by an unidentified prospective purchaser was conditioned on a detailed analysis by the bidder.

Katzenstein said in a filing that an attorney representing the prospective bidder made the offer and that Paniolo creditors favored the more certain deal with Blue Ivory, which deposited $2 million into an escrow account May 15.

Jonathan Bolton, a local attorney representing Katzenstein, said Blue Ivory’s $2 million purchase offer was fair, reasonable and did not present potential delays for bringing Paniolo Cable and sister company Sandwich Isles Communications Inc. out of bankruptcy through an auction that already has been delayed by COVID-19.

“There is no fraud, collusion or other improper action between Blue Ivory and the trustee,” Bolton said at Monday’s hearing to consider the sale.

Lex Smith, an attorney representing the parent company of Sandwich Isles owned by Hee, said the real estate sale is a critical part of the settlement and that the settlement is key to continuing telecom services to DHHL homesteads.

Under the deal, Paniolo will lease back buildings on the Mililani property used for the company’s operations, and proceeds from the land sale will benefit creditors….

Paniolo Cable had related financial difficulties because it relied on income from Sandwich Isles for connecting to its interisland fiber- optic network.

Creditors of Paniolo Cable, including HSBC Securities (USA) Inc. and Deutsche Bank, forced the cable company into bankruptcy and sought repayment of debts totaling about $257 million.

According to FCC documents, Paniolo Cable’s fiber- optic network is a valuable asset with enough capacity to provide broadband service to the entire state, though only a small fraction of that capacity has been used….

read … Land tied to a bankrupt Albert Hee company is bought by a related firm

Hawaii could lose 30K in population in slow Covid recovery

PBN: … Hawaii could lose 30,000 residents over the next two years as the state’s recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic lags behind the national economy, resulting in an outward migration of residents to the Mainland, according to the head of the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization.

UHERO Executive Director Carl Bonham told the House Select Committee on Covid Economic Impact & Preparedness on Monday that is based on UHERO’s most recent baseline forecast for the state’s economy as it recovers from the pandemic — a more pessimistic scenario doubles the number of people leaving the state to seek jobs and opportunity on the Mainland.

Bonham said that the unemployment levels in UHERO’s latest report would have been much higher than forecast “except that our models are generating big outflows of population bigger than we have seen, certainly in my lifetime.”

The reason is because the national economy is expected to recover faster than Hawaii, which is so reliant on tourism.

“Because tourism is such a dominant piece of the economy, many other state economies and county economies will recover, much more rapidly, and the job opportunities will simply not exist here that will exist in the rest of the country,” he said. “Think about at the end of this year and into January when our extended unemployment benefits have expired; if you don't have family ties in Hawaii, and you were working in tourism here and your unemployment benefits run out, there's absolutely nothing to keep you here.”

Bonham predicts that even residents with deep family ties in the Islands will be “drawn to other parts of the country where tourists can drive to get to Las Vegas or Orlando, where businesses have reopened more rapidly.”….

read … Hawaii could lose 30K in population in slow Covid recovery

How Many Will Die?  People Avoiding The Doctor Due To COVID-19 Fears

CB: … Fear of contracting the new coronavirus is causing people across Hawaii to delay medical procedures, skip doctor visits and avoid hospitals.

Mia Taylor, director of community and post-acute care services for the Queen’s Health Systems, said a concerning number of patients are canceling or postponing preventative care procedures, such as physical exams, mammograms and colonoscopies.

People are also taking serious risks by neglecting important features of chronic disease management like eye exams, echocardiography and diabetic foot exams.

“We’re super worried about this because we just feel like it could be the next pandemic or tsunami, if you will, of people who have put aside some of these very important evaluations,” Taylor said. “As a result we feel like we may see this big uptick in complications associated with chronic disease.”…

In one case, Taylor said a patient who refused to seek medical care outside his home called his physician because he wasn’t feeling well and thought he might have a urinary tract infection. The physician prescribed antibiotics.

Later on, a worried family member called the physician to say that the patient still seemed very ill but could not be convinced to go to the emergency room.

A nurse was sent to the patient’s home and ended up having to call 911. The patient had a potentially life-threatening infection.

“The primary care doctor felt very strongly that had we not intervened when we did the patient would have died,” Taylor said.

Emergency room visits are also down statewide, with Maui Memorial Medical Center reporting a 50% drop in ER visits in April and so far in May when compared to the same period last year….

ER traffic is also down by about half at Kauai Veterans Memorial Hospital and Samuel Mahelona Memorial Hospital, where Dr. Travis Parker, the emergency room medical director, said some people are staying away from the ER out of a “sense of duty.”

“I see a lot of people who come in with emergency-worthy symptoms and they apologize, ‘Oh I’m sorry I’m here taking up your time,’ because they perceive that we are so busy dealing with COVID,” Parker said. “They think they’re doing their part by not coming in.”

Dr. Laura DeVilbiss, medical director at Kokua Kalihi Valley, said one of her patients didn’t want to come into the clinic so she met her virtually with telemedicine for a follow-up appointment. The patient was doing fine at the time, DeVilbiss said.

But later in the day the patient developed symptoms consistent with a heart attack.

“When she knew she was having a heart attack, she went right to the ER,” DeVilbiss said. “I think people are going when they really, really need to, at least that’s what we’re hoping.” …

Dr. Adrianna Flavin, a psychologist on Maui, said some of her suicidal patients have similarly expressed an unwillingness to go to the ER until the risk of contracting COVID-19 subsides.

“There was at least one person over the last two months where I’ve said to them, ‘If you are suicidal and you do develop a plan, I want to strongly encourage you to go to the hospital. It will be really important,’ and they said, ‘Oh, absolutely not,’” Flavin said.

“They won’t do it and they were telling me that upfront. And it was only because of the virus that they wouldn’t go.”…

read … People Are Avoiding The Doctor Due To COVID-19 Fears

Let’s Put COVID-19 In Context

CB: … It is time to give some context to the 17 Hawaii COVID-19 deaths of the mostly elderly, the last one of which occurred three weeks ago.

For a start, we can compare it to the influenza/pneumonia deaths in recent years. In 2017 there were 637 deaths, and 542 in 2019. It is far more likely to kill the elderly than does COVID-19.

There are flu shots available now for the flu unlike the COVID-19 virus, for which we hope there will be a vaccine soon. As anyone will tell you that vaccine is the one thing that will allow us all to get back to normal lives.

The trouble with vaccines is that people have to be vaccinated. Only a quarter of those 18-64 years old get flu vaccinations.

Younger people are not as much at risk as seniors, but they are still at risk. Those who are really at risk are the seniors, but only 60 percent of them get vaccinated.

So, what is the chance of the COVID-19 vaccine being the cure-all? …

read … Let’s Put COVID-19 In Context

Study Estimates 30% to 50% Learning Loss for Students By Fall

HPR: … When Hawaii students return to classes in the fall after completing the last months of the school year through distance learning, many may have lost the earlier progress they made for lack of in-person instruction.

A study by an Oregon-based educational research group estimated that children could lose 30% to 50% of their typical learning gains.

Hawaii public school students have been at home, learning in online classes and using teaching packets since March.

read … Study Estimates 30% to 50% Learning Loss for Students By Fall

Hawaii chambers of commerce petition urges governor to save small business

PBN: … No. 1 on the petition’s list of 10 items needed to save small business is “clear, consistent direction and reopening guidelines that are delivered through one government voice, and a straightforward communications plan.”

Wendy Laros, executive director of the Kona-Kohala chamber, brought the subject up on Monday to the House Select Committee on Covid Economic Impact & Preparedness after telling members that certain ocean recreation tourism businesses on Hawaii Island feel they have been left out of the state’s plans for reopening.

“Clarity is a problem with some of these communications and these documents and there are definitely folks feeling left out of all this,” she said…

read … Hawaii chambers of commerce petition urges governor to save small business

Hawaii short-term rentals remain on hold for virus recovery

HNN: … under emergency health restrictions issued by the state in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the rentals can be used only to house tenants who were already there when the restrictions went into effect or workers for essential businesses or operations, such as first responders.

Vacation rental occupancy statewide was 5% in April, the first month after Democratic Gov. David Ige’s March 26 mandatory 14-day quarantine for travelers.

Hotels that were allowed to remain open had an occupancy rate of 8.9%, according to data provided by the Hawaii Tourism Authority.

Ige held a video conference with county mayors last week that included discussion of reopening short-term rentals statewide. Some mayors indicated a preference for the rentals to remain closed, especially in residential areas….

(Translation: The Mayors want to use the COVID Emergency to illegally impose policy goals they were not able to impose through democratic means.  This is illegal because it has nothing to do with fighting COVID.)

read … Hawaii short-term rentals remain on hold for virus recovery

PUC opens emergency investigation of Young Brothers

HTH: … The state Public Utilities Commission will conduct an emergency investigation into Young Brothers’ financial condition after the interisland shipper notified the state it needed millions in funding to survive the COVID-19 pandemic.

The commission opened the “emergency investigative” docket Monday to analyze the company’s “financial condition, contingency plans and access to financing, and to address identified requests that have been or will be filed in the future,” the commission’s order opening Docket 202-0084 reads ….

IM: Public Utilities Commission Invites Intervenors into Young Brothers Investigation

SA: Young Brothers lays out dwindling-cash predicament

read … PUC opens emergency investigation of Young Brothers

Local restaurant owner launches #SaveHawaiiBusinesses campaign

KHON: … A local restaurant owner is launching a campaign in hopes of helping all local restaurants and businesses, by reaching out to you.

“Be vocal, support local” is the call to action that Thomas Ray is putting out to fellow independent local businesses to let the people of Hawaii know that they need support to stay in operation.

“In order for us to survive we need continued support from local people local residents or else it’s going to collapse, unfortunately.” Ray said.

Ray owns both Square Barrels located in downtown Honolulu and Heiho House, which is currently being constructed in Kaimuki….

read … Local restaurant owner launches #SaveHawaiiBusinesses campaign

Bar owners awaiting governor’s plan for reopening

SA: … Several bar owners are expected to rally today in front of the Honolulu Liquor Commission to protest the lack of information coming from state leaders about when bars can reopen despite liquor license renewals coming due at the end of this month.

Bill Comerford, who owns four Irish pubs in Honolulu, said it will cost him about $8,500 for a new license even though he doesn’t know when he will be able to use it and he won’t be able to use his current one for three out of 12 months….

Comerford said in states where bars have successfully reopened, government officials communicated plans with business owners. He said he needs information from the state on when he might be allowed to reopen so he can decide what to do when his $580,000 federal coronavirus loan runs out at the end of this month at the same time that his liquor license renewal comes due.

“They are completely shut off,” he said of the governor’s office. “He’s making all the calls. It kind of reminds me of North Korea.”…

Big Q: When should bars and clubs be allowed to reopen, with social distancing?

read … Bar owners awaiting governor’s plan for reopening

The Pandemic Is Proving Too Much For Some Big Island Businesses

CB: … Alley Geckos, with inventory as unique as its name, is closing.

So, too, is Kona Jewelers, which sits across the street. A simple sign hangs in the window of that store front: “Sorry, closed. (Will not reopen.) All the best.”

A little bit south of the jeweler is the clothing shop, Pacific Nature, which is also in its final days.

Its owner, Peter Dungate, is shuttering that retail space so he can devote his resources to another one of his businesses nearby, The Treasury. He’ll try and keep The Treasury open as long as he can. Which, he estimates, will be a couple more months.

“I’ve been through a lot, but not like this,” Dungate said, standing outside Pacific Nature in the Kona Inn Shopping Village. “This will change retail.”

The outdoor, oceanfront mall in downtown Kona used to be thronged with tourists. But nobody passed by the day last week Dungate spoke outside his shop….

read … The Pandemic Is Proving Too Much For Some Big Island Businesses

Family of an abused Oahu toddler files suit for lack of child protection

HNN: … The family of an Oahu toddler who was abused by her parents is now suing the government.

They say Tripler Army Medical Center should have done more to protect her at birth.

Aveline Beyer now lives with her grandparents.

In 2017, when she was just 7-days-old, she suffered permanent brain damage and multiple broken bones.

Her father, Former Air Force Sgt. Caleb Humphrey, was sentenced to three years for abusing the girl. Her mother, Sgt. Natasha Beyer, is awaiting a manslaughter trial for the 2016 death of their infant son.

Attorney Randal Rosenberg says, had doctors at Tripler properly investigated the boy’s death, Child Protective Services could have protected the girl when she was born.

“The daughter was born in the exact same hospital. These people knew that this boy — or if they didn’t they weren’t paying attention — that the brother had been killed by his parents in a violent physical way. He had multiple fractures he had head injuries and the doctor just screwed up,” Rosenberg said ….

read … Family of an abused Oahu toddler files suit for lack of child protection

Academy of Hawaiian Arts falls victim to rioters in Oakland

HNN: … A halau known for its energetic performances at the Merrie Monarch Hula Festival suffered $30,000 in losses this weekend at the hands of looters and violent rioters.

The Academy of Hawaiian Arts has been based in Oakland, California for 35 years. Mark Kealii Hoomalu is their kumu hula.

His wife tells Hawaii News Now that vandals damaged the front windows, then took off with electronics — like a TV, tablets, and sound system — during protests that erupted this weekend over the death of George Floyd.

The thieves also got away with a few ukulele.

She says sentimental items, like a feathered cape, were saved….

read … Academy of Hawaiian Arts falls victim to rioters in Oakland

Tweeker Caught Stealing, Given Free Food

MN: … Kukral visited a supermarket. He witnessed a man running from the store with a (stolen) shopping cart filled with ‘his’ belongings. A store employee ran behind him, eventually catching up and grabbing the two bags of beef jerky the man had (also) stolen from the store.

“It couldn’t have been more than $15,” said Kukral. The man with the cart then broke down, pleading and begging with the store worker, telling him he was hungry (Jonesing) and hadn’t eaten (scored) in days.

“No one was really paying attention,” said Kukral.

He pulled into a parking spot nearby and continued to watch from a distance. A construction worker, who was also on the scene, stepped in and began yelling at the homeless man. He proceeded to take the man’s cart and empty it’s contents onto the street (viciously crushing his precious meth pipe). People continued to walk by, no one doing anything. A few strangers muttered and audibly snickered passing by.

Kukral had seen enough. He proceeded into the store and bought the man a bento box. Giving it to him, he said, “I don’t really condone stealing. But I understand what you’re going (tweeking) through.”….

read … Hungry Homeless

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