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Thursday, December 3, 2020
December 3, 2020 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:14 PM :: 1869 Views

In “Staggering” Conspiracy, Former Police Chief, Prosecutor, and Police Officers Sentenced for Framing an Innocent Man with a Crime

HSTA Solution for Budget Cuts: 'Eliminate Standardized Testing'

Meet OHA’s new Molokai Trustee

Visitor numbers Down 40% since stricter pre-flight testing requirement

HPR: … A total of 9,185 people arrived in Hawaii from out of state on Tuesday. Of the total, 3,935 said they came for pleasure or vacation and 2,027 were returning residents.

Since Nov. 24, arrivals are required to have their negative COVID-19 test results in hand in order to bypass the 14-day travel quarantine. Prior to that, passengers could arrive without their results and get out of quarantine once they showed their negative test.

Tourism industry representatives feared the requirement to have results on arrival would discourage visitors from coming to Hawaii. 

There has been a dip in visitors since Nov. 24. Prior to the change between Nov. 17 and Nov. 23, the average daily number of vacationers reached 5,867 while between Nov. 25 and Dec. 1, they averaged 3,573….  (3500 / 5800 = 60%)

SA Editorial: Travel rule shifts disrupt tourism

read … Visitor numbers dip since stricter pre-flight testing requirement

Budget crisis won’t spare schools -- $264M Cuts Coming

HNN: … Education Department is facing as much as $264 million in budget cuts over the next two years.

And that’s got the teachers union asking which programs could be slashed.

Schools Superintendent Christina Kishimoto said the DOE was asked to identify budget reductions of at least 10% in addition to a $100 million cut to the base budget this school year….

According to the proposal, 10% of the weighted student formula ― the money that follows each student based on their needs ― and a 9% cut of special education in regular schools are on the table….

“Our teachers are dealing with a trio of problems both trying to open schools during a pandemic, the governor’s furlough discussions, and now dealing with these budget cuts and potential job losses,” he said, adding that other areas should be focused on, such as energy and testing….

(Energy:  Too bad Hawaii rejected natural gas generation of electricity.  I am sure the teachers appreciate their suffering from DoE's high electric bills is for the betterment of Silicon Valley billionaire tax credits from wind and solar farms.  The billionaires need money.  That's why they're billionaires.)

SA: HSTA says DOE budget cuts could result in loss of 1,000 teachers 

BIN: HIDOE Proposed Budget Cuts Could Impact Student Programs, Special Education, HSTA Says

PBN: HSTA: Proposed DOE budget cuts could cost 1,000 teaching positions

read … Budget crisis won’t spare schools and that has educators worried about the future

Distance learning not looking good

SA Editorial: … In October, shortly after Hawaii’s public schools started their 2020-21 second quarter, the state released data showing that only 10% of K-12 students were receiving in-person instruction daily, with younger students getting the most time on campus.

At that time, about three-quarters of the state’s 171,000 public students were assigned to spend at least some time on school grounds — but most were still working remotely with their teachers. Plans were in the works for certain grades — particularly transition grades, such as kindergarten, sixth and 12th — to return to campus to start “blended learning” schedules, including in-person and distance learning before the quarter’s end.

Now, with the first half of the year wrapping up in two weeks — and amid mounting evidence that remote learning is a subpar substitute for in-person education — the state Department of Education (DOE) owes its school communities a candid public update on this back-to-campus transition, which has so far been entirely too murky.

Further, we’re overdue for a hard conversation about first-quarter grades as DOE has yet to release figures on how many students flunked a course or took an incomplete.….

In Honolulu Star-Advertiser reporter Susan Essoyan’s interviews with several high school principals earlier this fall, most said at least 20% of their students have had trouble with distance learning…..

read … Distance learning not looking good

Hawaii plans to shrink contact-tracing team next year

SA: … While health experts are predicting a third wave of infections fueled by the holidays, Hawaii’s contact tracers that track COVID-19-positive residents are set to be reduced after the new year.

Acting state epidemiologist Sarah Kemble told reporters on a Zoom call Wednesday that the state is currently overstaffed in the contact-tracing program and will downsize to match the actual needs based on Hawaii’s case rates and scale up when necessary.

“We’re in a really different place than we were back in the summer. We now have a much larger trained workforce. Hawaii is actually doing pretty well right now,” she said. “Based on current case counts we have excess capacity for contact tracing to reach every case.”…

read … Hawaii plans to shrink contact-tracing team next year

Police Commissioner: People Want Answers On HPD’s Low Crime-Solving Rate

CB: … Chief Susan Ballard says the FBI data on HPD’s clearance rates is wrong, but her department shared data with a city councilman that reveals similarly troubling numbers….

Honolulu Police Commissioner Doug Chin says he is tired of excuses from HPD leaders who say the data can’t be trusted.

Numbers HPD gives the Hawaii Attorney General and the FBI show that HPD solved only 7% of “index” crimes in 2019, including violent crimes like murder and assault, and property crimes, like arson, burglary and theft.

That’s among the worst clearance rates the department has reported in the 40 years the AG has published reports on it. And it’s well below the national average for cities of similar sizes, according to the FBI….

she did provide some data to Honolulu City Councilman Tommy Waters’ office. Those numbers rely on a reporting system that yields more favorable stats, and yet they still reveal low clearances that aren’t far off from what the FBI reported.

According to the data given to Waters, HPD closed only 30.4% of violent crimes reported in 2019 and less than 6% of property crimes reported in 2019. That’s an overall clearance rate of 7.8% for all 2019 crimes.

The FBI data reported by Civil Beat breaks down to a 25.7% clearance rate for violent crimes, a 5.4% clearance rate for property crimes, and an overall clearance rate of 7%.

The difference is that the data given to Waters’ office is part of the FBI’s National Incident-Based Reporting System, or NIBRS. That system counts clearances under the year the crime occurred, not the year it was solved. So a robbery that happened in 2017 that was solved in 2020 would count as a clearance for 2017….

read … Police Commissioner: People Want Answers On HPD’s Low Crime-Solving Rate

Honolulu Police Department switching to new data-reporting system

SA: … The Honolulu Police Department will switch to a new, data-rich system for reporting crimes at the start of the new year.

The National Incident-Based Reporting System “captures details on each single crime incident — as well as on separate offenses within the same incident — including information on victims, known offenders, relationships between victims and offenders, arrestees, and property involved in crimes,” according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Deputy Chief John McCarthy told the Honolulu Police Commission on Wednesday that the new system could allow HPD to report more incidents and give the department the ability to report more crimes that it clears, usually through an arrest.

HPD actually started using both the current reporting system and NIBRS in 2018 and was able to show the commission on Wednesday that the murder clearance rate was higher under the newer system….

read … Honolulu Police Department switching to new data-reporting system

Louis Kealoha owes city taxpayers $250,000, but they’re unlikely to ever see it

HNN: … Ex-Police Chief Louis Kealoha, sentenced this week to seven years behind bars for his role in an elaborate corruption scandal, owes Honolulu taxpayers $250,000.

But they’ll have to get in line behind victims who are due to get paid first.

Kealoha was sentenced Monday in federal court following his conviction on conspiracy, obstruction and bank fraud charges.

Because he waived his right to appeal the trial, he is supposed to return the money.

In 2017, the Honolulu Police Commission paid him the $250,000 in order for him to retire from his post before his term ended.

He had already received a target letter from the Department of Justice and was on leave at the time.

Loretta Sheehan, a former federal prosecutor, was the only commissioner to vote against the payout. She said it’s unlikely the city will ever recoup the money. “The city and county doesn’t fall in the line (of victims) at all. We’re behind the line, that’s where we are,” she said.

The payoff did have conditions. If Kealoha was convicted of a felony crime and exhausted his appeals, he would have to pay the money back.

”It is final, he cannot appeal and now it can be collected upon. The question is what’s there to collect,” said Alexander Silvert, who represented one of the Kealoha victims as a deputy federal public defender.

Silvert doesn’t believe the former police chief will pay it back on his own and there isn’t much the city can do about it….

SA: City moves to get $250K back from former Honolulu police chief Louis Kealoha

read … Louis Kealoha owes city taxpayers $250,000, but they’re unlikely to ever see it

Kauai Couple Allegedly Exposed Airplane Full of Travelers to COVID

HNN: … Officials said the two participated in Hawaii’s pre-travel testing program, getting a COVID-19 test before flight. They both tested positive and were taken to the quarantine station at San Francisco International, where they were instructed not to board their plane to Hawaii.

However, they decided to get on a United Airlines flight from San Francisco to Lihue anyway.

In a statement, Kauai police said the two were stopped after arriving in Lihue and arrested.

“They knowingly boarded a flight aware of their positive COVID-19 test results, placing the passengers of the flight in danger of death,” Kauai police said.

The two were released after posting bail of $1,000 each.

They were traveling with a 4-year-old, who was released into the care of a family member….

KITV: Names of arrestees

read … Some News from Kauai

Roundup did not cause cancer in Big Island men

HTH: .. A Hawaii spokeswoman for the parent company of Monsanto Co. told the Tribune-Herald the use of Roundup herbicide isn’t the cause of the cancer suffered by three Big Island men suing the chemical giant and other corporate entities….

“The extensive body of science does not support a causal link between either of the products and NHL.

“Moreover, Monsanto did not manufacture the commercial products containing PCBs identified by plaintiffs and therefore was not responsible for providing warnings about any potential risks associated with them.”…

read … Roundup did not cause cancer in Big Island men

Corona Virus News:
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