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Tuesday, June 16, 2020
June 16, 2020 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:17 PM :: 4252 Views

Former Governors Urge Alternatives to Star-Adv Layoffs

Settlement Improves Honolulu Gun Registration System

Young Case against Hawaii Carry Ban Finally Moving Forward

COVID Count: Eight new cases out of 554 tests

DoH Still Working on New Rules for Quarantine-Free Inter-island Flights

EPA orders the closure of 16 cesspools on Kauai

Contact Tracing, Testing Keep Recent Clusters in Check

Sen. Laura Thielen: Legislature Must Spend $632M on COVID Relief, not Public Employee Pay Hikes

CB: … When we reconvene next week, we must spend the $632 million CARES Relief to keep our residents, local businesses and nonprofits afloat. According to local and national economists, that is the fastest way to economic recovery….

Does anyone really want to tell the 220,000 unemployed and their families, the small store owner with few sales whose lease is guaranteed by her home, the store clerk with reduced hours risking COVID-19 for minimum wage, that we’re keeping the $632 million for ourselves because it’s unfair for us to wait on a raise?…

read … Sen. Laura Thielen: Legislature Has A Chance To Do Its Job Right

Death Threats Convince 21 Cult Members accused of breaking COVID-19 quarantine to leave Hawaii

SA: … Twenty-one travelers arrested on suspicion of violating Hawaii’s coronavirus quarantine order have agreed to leave the state because of threats, a member of the group said today.

Kendra Carter said some of the harassment involved death threats.

“People started rolling up to our house calling us all types of names. Telling us to starve and a whole bunch of stuff. We’ve been getting death threats in our inboxes,” Carter said. “People telling us to get the (expletive) off the island.”

Carter wasn’t arrested with the others last week because police decided to let her and another woman stay with their children.

Arresting them would have meant calling child protective services, which would have meant exposing more people, Hawaii County police Lt. Rio Amon-Wilkins has said….

Bishop, 38, pleaded no contest today to the quarantine violation, said Hawaii County Prosecuting Attorney Mitch Roth….

June 13, 2020: Joyous News: 21 members of reported cult that violated 14-day quarantine plan to stay in Hawaii After Jail Sentence is up

HNN: Self-professed cult member, 20 followers leave for mainland after quarantine arrests (Escorted to the airplane by State Sheriffs.) 

SA: Hawaii, continuing to grapple with arriving tourists, sends cult members home

read … 21 accused of breaking COVID-19 quarantine on Big Isle agree to leave Hawaii

Law Profs: Hawaii can require testing for all coming in

SA: … In discussions of reopening the Hawaii economy, many political and media voices assert that Hawaii “cannot require” a recent, reliable negative COVID test from everyone getting off an airplane here.

As experienced law teachers, we believe that nothing in the federal Constitution, laws or administrative regulations prohibit Hawaii from requiring such tests.

In our federal system, states have broad authority and responsibility to regulate public health. In 1905, in Jacobson v. Massachusetts, the United States Supreme Court upheld state authority to require vaccinations of all adults. While many states make exceptions for medical or religious reasons, the core principle of federal deference to state judgment in the realm of health and safety remains secure.

Congress has broad power to impose federal rules on states, through the exercise of its power to regulate interstate commerce and/or to impose conditions on federal funding. But Congress has not often acted to restrict state power in relation to infectious diseases. In response to U.S. Rep. Ed Case, the Federal Aviation Administration recently stated that “the agency has no authority to either grant permission or to prohibit a local or State unit of government” from mandating pre-boarding testing of airline passengers bound for Hawaii….

read … Hawaii can require testing for all coming in

Second Wave?  Hawaii Ready to handle it Without Return to Lockdowns

KHON: … Even though numbers of new cases shot up into the double digits, only a few required hospitalization.

Healthcare providers said there is currently plenty of staff, equipment and expertise to handle even more increases.

"We are prepared. We don't have our hospital beds full by any means, and were ready for patients - whatever they need," said Hawaii Pacific Health Chief Quality Officer Dr. Melinda Ashton.

If Saturday's 17 daily cases doesn't sound the alarm, how high do the numbers have to get?

"The key is we don't want to get in to the 20-30s. That number could spike up and go through the roof," said Green.

"Even the 20-30s might not be enough to cause concern or change. Across the state, we could manage a higher number than that," added Ashton.

Helping to track who might be impacted by increasing numbers of the coronavirus are 160 new contact tracers with the Department of Health.

With Hawaii prepared to manage any uptick in cases, the Lt. Governor shared what kind of interaction he is comfortable with during this new normal, "I think it is fine to go to restaurants, just make sure they are socially distancing tables. But big events shouldn't be done. Don't have gatherings of more than 10 people, even at home when people come over."

He stressed the simple ways to keep the number of Hawaii's COVID cases low, "Wear a mask, and stay 6 feet apart, and we'll see the number eventually go down to zero."…

read … What caused uptick in Hawaii COVID-19 cases?

Hawaii Economy Faces ‘A Long Slow Road Back’

CB: … businesses that rely on a mix of residents and tourists are likely to begin failing in the fall, as federal stimulus money that has been propping up the local economy – and Hawaii families and businesses – goes away.

“It’s going to be a long, slow road back when we do start accepting visitors,” said Peter Ingram, chief executive of Hawaiian Airlines, which is the state’s dominant carrier and largest private employer with more than 7,000 workers.

Ingram and others spoke Monday during an informational briefing of a state House committee that is working to respond to the crisis.

Data from the Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism estimated it will be 2023 before visitors to Hawaii top 9 million, which compares to about 10.4 million visitors at a peak in 2019….

SA: Over 23,000 Hawaii small businesses tap $3 billion in federal aid

read … Hawaii Economy Faces ‘A Long Slow Road Back’

With some improvising, state agencies welcome thousands of workers back to the office

HNN: … Tens of thousands of government employees are returning to the office as their administrators improvise to allow for social distancing.

At the Hawaii Criminal Justice Data Center, shower curtains and foam core boards were installed to separate work spaces.

The center is part of the state Department of the Attorney General and is in charge of the sex offender registry and criminal history records.

“We went from 43 staff members to eight to 10 a day to make sure we could sustain our operations,” said Christopher Young, agency administrator.

All his workers have a face shield if they want to use it but it is mandated that everyone wear a mask in the common areas. They can remove their masks at their desks.

Young said 85% of his workers have returned to the office.

"At this point, I have several staff members, because of medical conditions, still working from home. But I’m making sure they can do almost 100% of their work at home.”…

There is no set schedule for when each agency will bring employees back to the office. Some have already started to while others don’t have any plans to in the immediate future….

June 14, 2020: Honolulu County says how workers are deployed; Gov. Ige’s administration has yet to supply such information

(This means there is no longer any excuse for not restoring the full UIPA law.)

read … With some improvising, state agencies welcome thousands of workers back to the office

In Effort to Justify Do-Nothing ‘Distance Learning Scam, DoE Deploys Unworkable Summer School System 

CB: … “Good morning, how you feeling today?” Ikaika Plunkett, the vice principal of Kaneohe Elementary, cheerfully asked as he approached a vehicle that stopped by the front entrance of the school Friday morning.

Holding a small no-contact infrared digital thermometer, Plunkett donned a face mask. Then he took a student’s temperature through the open back window of the car before giving him the all clear.

The boy, in a face mask and his backpack flung over his shoulders, stepped out of the car and headed toward the open doors of the cafeteria several steps away.

“Howzit guys! Don’t forget to wash your hands!” the vice principal reminded some other kids who walked toward the entrance after being screened by two colleagues — Principal Derek Minakami and the summer school coordinator, Diane Higa.

The students, several days into summer school, by now knew the drill: head straight to a large outdoors sink to wash their hands before taking their seat in folding chairs in designated rows in the cafeteria, with each chair spaced 6-plus feet apart.

Welcome to the new reality of morning protocol in Hawaii schools in the COVID-19 era: on-site temperature checks, hand-washing upon arrival on campus, staged waiting areas before heading to respective classrooms and face masks that limit a child’s spontaneous conversation….

(This is designed to make in-person c;asses seem unworkable, thus justifying the HDAT-DoE goal of faking on-line education in order to get paid to do nothing ) 

HNN: Masks on! Summer classes offer a window into the new normal for schools

read … Face Masks, Temperature Checks: The New Reality For Summer School Students

Five Hotels Permanently Discharge Workers

HNN: … “At least five hotels so far have already given workers notice that they’re permanently discharged and they have to apply for their jobs again. That’s just not right,” Eric Gill of UNITE HERE! Local 5 said….

read … Hotel workers protest, calling for protection ahead of tourism restart

Kauai: 57% of Households have lost a job

TGI: … More than half, 57%, of Kaua‘i households have at least one person living in their home who has lost their job as a result of the pandemic, and the resulting economic strain is affecting the mental health of Garden Island residents.

These findings were revealed in a Community Assessment for Public Health Emergency Response (CASPER) survey conducted in April by the Hawai‘i Department of Health’s Kaua‘i District Health Office to assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although Kaua‘i households are relatively stable in terms of housing, food, and other basic necessities, one third are very concerned or somewhat concerned about their ability to pay the following month’s rent or mortgage….

read … CASPER COVID-19 survey results announced

Star-Advertiser's plan to cut 30 newsroom staff may turn out to be a negotiating ploy

CB: … Star-Advertiser president and publisher Dennis Francis said in a phone conversation Saturday that he expects talks to resume with the editorial employees’ union to avoid layoffs. ”My hope is we will not have to go that route,” he said…. 

PBN: Hawaii broadcast news expands as former governors lobby newspaper over layoffs

read … Ploy

Short term vacation rentals allowed to reopen on Maui, Big Island and Kaua'i

KITV: … On Tuesday short-term vacation rentals are allowed to resume most operations on Maui, the Big Island and Kaua'i.

Owners are not allowed to rent to anyone who is undergoing quarantine.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell has yet to submit a request to Governor David Ige to allow legal short-term vacation rentals to operate on O'ahu….

SA Editorial: Go interisland to aid isles’ recovery

Big Q: Now that the 14-day interisland quarantine has been lifted and the process is clearer, do you plan to do a neighbor island trip?

read … Short term vacation rentals allowed to reopen on Maui, Big Island and Kaua'i

Retailers report resistance to the in-store mask requirement

SA: …“people just don’t want to do it, and they’re fighting back now.”

“They’ll walk into the store with a mask, 10 feet in they’ll take it off; we kindly remind them and then they get confrontational,” Yamaki told the committee Monday. “The other thing that we’re hearing, too, is ‘If the president doesn’t wear a mask, why should I?’”

… she recalled one woman with two children late last week who walked in with a mask and then partially removed it so the mask was danging from one ear.

The woman announced that the World Health Organization had lifted the mask requirement, and offered to pull up the proof on her phone. “We just said, ‘We’re sorry, in our county and in our state, the rules are you have to wear a face covering, and that’s how it has to be,’” Reed recalled.

“She put her mask back over her face,” and the two children pulled their sweaters over their faces in an effort to comply, Reed said….

HNN: Hawaii officials notice a worrisome trend: Fewer residents wearing masks

read … Retailers report resistance to the in-store mask requirement

Soft on Crime: Spurned Woman Accused of Attempted Murder Walks Free without Bail

SA: … A Kona District Court judge released today a 29-year-old Kailua-Kona woman accused of attempting to murder a 30-year-old man and a 20-year-old woman, who were riding a moped, on Saturday by hitting them with a car.

Over the objections of Assistant Prosecutor Annaliese Wolf, Judge Margaret Masunaga placed Keola Kama on supervised release with special conditions, including an ankle bracelet, until her July 14 preliminary hearing.

Wolf said that the victims are the father of her children and his female companion. A complaint filed in court today names them as Junior Lavatai and Madeline Parsons….

She was not required to post bail, which had been set at $215,500….

The crash, which occurred shortly after 9 a.m. Saturday, left the pair in critical condition.

Police found the victims on the east shoulder of Kuakini Highway.

They were taken to the Kona Community Hospital and were later transported to The Queen’s Medical Center in Honolulu.

Had Kama been taken into custody, she would have been detained at the Hawaii Community Correctional Center. Its population, as of June 5, was still over capacity at 277 inmates. Its operational capacity is 226. The population as of March 2 was 395.

There has been a deliberate effort (to keep the State from building more jails in order to keep criminals on the streets)….

WHT: Attempted murder suspect gets supervised release

read … Soft on Crime

Soft on Crime: Homeless Car Thief Does it Again and Again Since COVID Release

MN: … A 31-year-old man was ordered not to drive and to stay away from any car dealerships after he was arrested for allegedly stealing vehicles from Maui Toyota and Jim Falk Motors of Maui.

Zachariah Tacang, who gave no local address, was arrested Friday.

In one case, he is charged with three counts of unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle in connection with the thefts of a 2017 tan Toyota Tacoma, 2015 white Scion FR-S and 2014 white Scion XB from Maui Toyota at 320 Hana Highway in Kahului.

The vehicles were stolen after Tacang and another suspect allegedly reached into the night deposit drop box at the dealership and took three sets of keys in the early morning of June 10, Deputy Prosecutor Jeffery Temas said during Tacang’s initial appearance Monday in Wailuku District Court.

“There was also a high-speed chase, which put the community in danger,” Temas said.

He said Tacang has 21 criminal convictions, including two for felony offenses….

Tacang also was arrested on a warrant charging him with unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle on May 23 for a GMC Acadia stolen from Jim Falk Motors of Maui….

According to court records, Tacang is awaiting sentencing after he pleaded no contest in five criminal cases to three counts of first-degree unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle, second-degree burglary and third-degree promoting of a dangerous drug. He was released from jail on supervision April 28 after pleading no contest in the cases…. 

(Translation: Homeless tweeker released for COVID, twice arrested since.)

read … Man arrested, ordered to stay away from car lots

2 possible COVID-19 cases being looked at in state-run public housing

KHON: … The state announced eight new cases of COVID-19 Monday, June 15. Officials say three of the new cases are linked to a new income housing facility, but did not say exactly where. There are also two new cases in Waipahu, one in Pearl City and one in Moanalua. The final case is a resident at Hale Nani Rehabilitation and Nursing Center.

Hawaii Public Housing Authority executive director Hakim Ouansafi said there also are two possible cases being looked at in state-run public housing. He said the cases have not been confirmed.

“We are aware now of a potential two only cases in a household that [have] not been confirmed. We were told this afternoon that it could be that,” said Ouansafi. “[The Department of Health] are watching closely and as soon as they have the tests coming in, they will let us know.”

Ouansafi didn’t specify where the suspected cases are, but he said, with many people in public housing living close together, it’s worrying that if a case is found, it could spread quickly….

read … 2 possible COVID-19 cases being looked at in state-run public housing

State: COVID Spreads to Resident at state’s largest skilled nursing facility

HNN: … A resident at Hale Nani Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Makiki has tested positive for COVID-19.

The case comes on the heels of a staff member at the facility testing positive.

State Health Director Bruce Anderson said it is not clear how the resident was exposed.

He said the patient was recently transferred to Hale Nani, and could have contracted coronavirus before actually entering the facility.

The patient tested negative after being admitted to Hale Nani and then tested positive after developing symptoms.

Anderson said all patients and employees at the facility will be tested for COVID-19….

KITV: Official: Hawaii care homes have lowest national virus rate

read … State: Resident at state’s largest skilled nursing facility tests positive for COVID-19

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