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Monday, December 14, 2020
December 14, 2020 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:56 PM :: 2152 Views

55.6% of DHHL direct mortgage borrowers fall behind

Keeping Traffic Jammed: King Street Bus Lane Opens--One Block South of Hotel Street Busway

Furloughs?   HSTA Demands a Pay Hike

SA: … Corey Rosenlee, president of the Hawaii State Teachers Association. And teachers still have not gotten their overdue “step” pay increases that were frozen and never restored — meaning that teachers with 15 years of experience and those with 25 years essentially make the same salaries, he said….

(Yes.  You heard him.  He is demanding a pay hike.)

SA: Layoffs, salary cuts won’t return Hawaii to economic health (more of the same)

read … Fears grow of furlough-driven teacher exodus

5,000 to 12,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine arriving in Hawaii today

SA: … Green said some 5,000 to 12,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine were likely to arrive in Hawaii today with delivery overseen by officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the state Department of Health.

“They’ll check temperatures and the quality of the packaging and make sure there is no damage,” he said. “They’ll coordinate with The Queen’s Medical Center, which will be the main site for the first batches.”

Green said more doses are coming from Pfizer, with the expectation that other drug companies will follow. The Associated Press has reported that the Moderna vaccine will be reviewed by an expert panel next week and could be allowed for public use soon afterward.

The first COVID-19 shots arriving in Hawaii — phase 1-A — will go to health care workers and all the support systems around health care workers, and then nursing home and long-term care facilities, Green said.

In phase 1-B, the vaccine will go to essential workers who have higher probabilities of COVID-19 exposure, such as teachers, firefighters, police, other first responders and the like, Green said. In phase 1-C, the vaccine will go to people over age 65, he said.

Green said it will could take up to two months just to get through 1-A alone because the distribution group is large and the doses will come in rolling shipments. However, he expects distribution to groups in 1-B and 1-C could run parallel to 1-A, provided enough vaccinations are available.…

HNN: First shipment of COVID-19 vaccine arrives in Hawaii  

PBN: The Queen’s Medical Center today received its first shipment of 975 doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine and will begin immunizing front-line workers on Tuesday.

read … Rollout of thousands of doses of COVID-19 vaccine vials marks a major milestone in the battle against the virus

Test at Airport?  Ige Still Pandering to Kauai Anti-Tourism Activists

SA: … The state is not likely to make more pre-arrival testing changes to Safe Travels Hawaii until next year, despite urging from Hawaii’s visitor industry and community advocacy groups that recent modifications have had negative economic consequences.

Since Nov. 24 trans- Pacific travelers to Hawaii who cannot present evidence of a negative COVID-19 test upon arrival in the islands have not been allowed to bypass the 14-day passenger quarantine once their test results are received. Also, Kauai’s decision to opt out of Safe Travels Hawaii on Dec. 2 has decimated tourism on that island and led to confusion across the isles as not all Hawaii travelers understand the state’s geography.

Lt. Gov. Josh Green told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser on Sunday that Safe Travels has screened 551,762 travelers since Oct. 15, including some 381,483 visitors. Green said Safe Travels is still processing 9,000 to 10,000 arrivals a day, but results likely would have been more robust, like maybe even 13,500 or 15,000 arrivals a day, without the late November, early December changes.

“We’ve seen cancellations,” Green said. “I share concerns about the economic and social costs.”

Green has asked Gov. David Ige to consider extending the pre-arrival testing window to four days, up from three. He’s also asked to add a requirement that travelers who want to bypass the 14-day quarantine must also take an post-arrival rapid antigen test at the airport….

read … Traveling fixes urged during economic travails

Hawaii County spent 80% of $80 million CARES funds

WHT: … With just a month remaining to spend it or send it back, Hawaii County government had used about 80% of the $80 million in federal coronavirus relief funds it received in March, according to the November update the county sent to the state Thursday.

Total spending to date is $63.1 million, with $16.9 million spent in November.

The bulk of the money, $33.8 million, has gone for recovery initiatives — business and nonprofit grants, rent and mortgage assistance and utility assistance. In fact, that category is $1.8 million over the original budget, as the need for assistance outpaced the allocated resources….

read … County spent 80% of $80 million CARES funds

More People Are Going Hungry And It's Only Going To Get Worse

CB: … According to the hunger relief organization Feeding America, Hawaii in 2020 is projected to rank sixth in the nation for child food insecurity at 29.4% of local keiki – approximately 89,050 children – amidst the pandemic. In 2018, child food insecurity was estimated by Feeding America at only 18.4%, with Hawaii ranking 19th in the nation.

For all people in Hawaii, the data is even gloomier. Hawaii has a projected 2020 rank of fourth in the nation for highest projected change in food insecurity, or 16.8% food insecure overall, up from 11.2% in 2018.

Just two years ago, the state average of keiki living without access to sufficient healthy food was approximately one child per food insecure household. When looked at on a county level, it came down to 1.3 keiki in Hawaii County per insecure household, followed by 1.2 in Maui County; 1.0 in the City and County of Honolulu; and 0.6 in Kauai County….

(Obvious solution to hunger: Instant testing at HNL to bypass quarantine with negative result.  Put people back to work safely while vax rolls out.)


read … More People Are Going Hungry And It's Only Going To Get Worse

Many students choose in-person classes at Hawaii’s Catholic schools

SA: … Hawaii’s Catholic schools were among the first to open their doors to students for in-person classes in August, and the verdict as the semester draws to a close is “so far, so good.”

“Parents want their kids in school,” Catholic schools Superintendent Llewellyn Young said. “And so we recognized that, and we tried to make that the primary option. And lo and behold, they took it.”

Catholic schools started planning in the spring, tried out their protocols to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus in the summer and were ready to roll with in-person instruction in August, he said, even as others held off because of the coronavirus pandemic….

CB: Teachers Balance Need To Cater To In-Person, Online Students Simultaneously

SA Editorial: Help students weather crisis

read … Many students choose in-person classes at Hawaii’s Catholic schools

Judge Orders Honolulu to pay Louis Kealoha legal fees

SA: ... A ruling by a state judge earlier this month leaves Honolulu taxpayers on the hook for paying former Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha’s legal fees — and possibly millions more.

City attorneys intend to appeal the decision and will need the Honolulu City Council to authorize paying a private law firm to pursue it.

It’s yet another twist in the federal criminal corruption and fraud case that led to the convictions of Kealoha and his wife, former city Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Katherine Kealoha, for attempting to frame her uncle and then conspiring to cover up the matter.

At the heart of the disagreement is the definition of what it means for a police officer to take actions within the scope of the officer’s duties….

(Robbing orphans?)

On Dec. 2, Circuit Judge James Ashford ruled that the Police Commission acted properly in determining that taxpayers should pay Kea­loha’s legal fees. Ashford’s order cited a Hawaii law that states it is the Police Commission “and no one else, including the Corporation Counsel,” that makes the determination of whether an act was done in the performance of a police officer’s duty.

The city, in arguing that the commission’s decision should be reversed, stated that Kealoha’s actions were not done in the performance of his duty as a police officer, but “for and motivated solely by his own interests and efforts to cover up his and his wife’s misdeeds.”…

read … Honolulu must pay Ex-Honolulu police chief, Louis Kealoha, legal fees

Legal Battles Loom With Developer Whether Rail Gets Finished Or Not

CB: … Honolulu city officials are continuing to pursue a major condemnation lawsuit against one of Kakaako’s most prominent developers over parcels needed to finish rail, despite all the new problems that cloud the project’s future.

But in a twist, the same developer, Howard Hughes Corp., could also launch a separate legal fight against the city if the last four miles to Ala Moana Center don’t get built as planned, current and former rail leaders say.

That’s because Howard Hughes and its subsidiary, Victoria Ward Ltd., based the designs for their mixed-use Kakaako development, Ward Village, on assumed increases to property values generated by the rail line, according to Terrence Lee, the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation board’s vice chairman.

The Dallas-based developer previously told HART it would bring a “huge” claim against the city if the rail line doesn’t make it through Kakaako, according to Lee and Ember Shinn, one of his former colleagues on the voluntary board overseeing rail….

They’re at odds over the value of an approximately 2-acre stretch of property needed to erect the elevated line between Cooke and Kamakee streets. Court records show that a trial is now slated to start in March over the approximately $100 million impasse, which is described as the “largest real estate dollar risk on the (rail) project.”…

read … Legal Battles Loom With Developer Whether Rail Gets Finished Or Not

The National Defense Authorization Act passed by the U.S. Senate on Friday includes more than $300 million in construction projects for military bases in Hawaii.

CB: …The defense funding bill for next year puts a heavy emphasis on military operations in the Pacific amid growing tensions between the United States and China, calling for a review of U.S. missile defense systems and restoring funding for a new missile defense radar facility in Hawaii.

The 2021 National Defense Authorization Act, which passed by an overwhelming majority in the U.S. Senate on Friday, also included $301 million for construction projects on Hawaii bases, including two new child development centers for military families, a new aircraft maintenance hangar and wharf improvement projects.

The annual defense bill now heads to President Donald Trump’s desk, where it faces an unusual challenge. Trump has threatened to veto it due to the inclusion of a provision that would create a commission to study renaming bases named for Confederate officials and the exclusion of a measure abolishing a law that protects social media companies from liability for posts by their users….

read … The National Defense Authorization Act passed by the U.S. Senate on Friday includes more than $300 million in construction projects for military bases in Hawaii.

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