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Saturday, May 29, 2021
May 29, 2021 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:41 PM :: 3499 Views

In-Person ​Memorial Day Remembrance at Schofield open to the public

Affordable Housing Income Limit Drops to 'Only' $120K/yr for Family of Four

Telescope Protesters Challenge DLNR Approval of 'initiation of work'

OHA seeking Development Consultant for commercial properties

Alaska victory bodes well for Hawaii

Unemployment Pays too Much

COVID Vax Available at Malls, Beach Park Saturday

Ethics: 'Nonprofit' Finds Legal Way to Grease State Employees

Homelessness Audit: Most Recommendations Still 'In Process' Four Years Later

Ige: More Re-openings at 60% Vaccination Rate

Waipahu High principal selected as interim superintendent (again)

Fraud and Corruption: Federal Investigators Have HART’s Secret Board Minutes

SA Editorial: … Taxpayers appalled by the endless cost overruns in the development of the city’s rail system do not have infinite patience. So they would not be holding their breath about promises to unearth any fraud or corruption that could be at the core of the problem….

What’s driving this, of course, is the $12.4 billion pricetag, well over what the 20-mile system was projected to cost when work began a decade ago.

The PIG, comprising about half the board members, published a report in which it endorsed 10 changes, including the addition of an internal audit function for HART, to be outsourced with follow-up handled by the board….

Equally important, though less widely discussed, was the suggested “addition of a process to have proposed resolution or action item amendments available to the board and public.”

Lack of public disclosure has been an issue at various points of this development. In 2018, in the midst of a state audit of the project, the board declined to release unredacted minutes from its executive sessions due to confidentiality of some content. Concern over allegations of mishandled funds also caught the eye of federal investigators, who ultimately subpoenaed records. The results of that probe are eagerly awaited.

(OHA still uses this as an excuse to hide its Exec Session minutes.)

But Honolulu should not have to lean on the federal authorities as the only means of bringing facts into the light. This latest report suggests more ways of bringing sunshine to the state’s largest public-works project, and they merit the HART board’s prompt approval….

read … Scrutiny of Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation is overdue

With more than half of Hawaii vaccinated, Blangiardi seeks to ease restrictions

HNN: … With 51% of Hawaii residents now fully vaccinated, Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi has asked the governor to ease COVID restrictions on Oahu.

Blangiardi won’t give details on what the newly written rules will look like, but he hopes to have an approval by Tuesday.

“What I’m not going to do today is negotiate with the governor through the media, but with the Department of Health and we’ll see how they review our recommendations. Our recommendations are pretty aggressive,” said Blangiardi….

Blangiardi added: “Each of the mayors throughout the pandemic has been adamant about about running their own county.”

Hawaii County Mayor Mitch Roth wants to increase indoor gatherings from 10 to 25 people when 75% of the attendees have been vaccinated.

“That’s the idea is not to punish people who aren’t, but to reward people who do get vaccinated,” said Roth on Insights.

Kauai moved to its version of Tier 4 which allows gatherings of 25 people outdoors and 10 indoors….

Mayor Derek Kawakami wanted to drop all restrictions with 70% of the county having at least one shot, but state officials convinced him to wait until 70% were fully vaccinated because of variants.

“These vaccine percentages in Tier 5 and Tier 6 are a clear tangible sort of benchmark for our business community and our community at large to at least see a path forward,” said Kawakami.

To increase vaccinations, both Maui and Big Island mayors say they’re looking at so-called “vax concerts” where people who get vaccinated can get free tickets to a concert…. 

SA: Higher vaccination rates hold key to reopening in Hawaii         

read … With more than half of Hawaii vaccinated, Blangiardi seeks to ease restrictions

State health director says younger populations are testing positive for COVID

HNN: … “Younger populations are out and about a bit more, so between 18 and 50-year-olds where we’re seeing higher infection, but less of them seem to need hospitalization and there’s a lower death rate.”…

Of those between age 18 and 29, about 30% are fully vaccinated. About 40% of those 30 to 39 years old are completely vaccinated, roughly 50% of those age 40 to 49 have all doses, and about 60% of those between 50 to 64 years old are fully vaccinated.

About 80% of those 65 and up are fully vaccinated, which health officials cite as the reason for lower COVID infections in that age group.

Char estimated that by September, 80% of the state’s population will be vaccinated — but she said that’s only if the pace of shots remain steady and there are no serious variant threats….

May 15, 2021: Hawaii Juvenile COVID Cases Surging

read … State health director says younger populations are testing positive for COVID

As COVID-19 restrictions ease, Hawaii restaurants struggle to hire workers

SA: … StripSteak Waikiki is offering a $600 sign-up bonus at its job fair Tuesday and Wednesday for anyone who is accepted for a position when it reopens in late June.

It’s an incentive to stimulate more job applicants, as StripSteak and many other restaurants in the state are struggling to find employees as they reopen or expand their hours and staff, said Sean Morris, spokesman for StripSteak, inspired by celebrity chef Michael Mina. The steakhouse in the International Market Place has been closed since since March 2020 due to the pandemic.

“People are not going back to work,” said Morris, explaining why the bonus was necessary. “Some are being forced to, but the rest that are collecting unemployment are enjoying it.”…

SA Editorial: Return to work will aid Hawaii’s recovery

read … As COVID-19 restrictions ease, Hawaii restaurants struggle to hire workers

Honolulu’s new city prosecutor stops massage parlor, prostitution raids

HNN: …  Prostitution raids have stopped in Honolulu since new city Prosecutor Steve Alm took over this year.

In a statement, he said the raids didn’t “meaningfully address the root cause of the problem: Human trafficking” and so plans to re-focus his efforts.

Between 2018 and 2020, there were dozens of raids of massage parlors and spas.

Among the crimes people were arrested for: Prostitution, promoting prostitution and operating an illegal business. Last year, during the pandemic, the city Prosecutor’s Office added emergency order violations to the list….

Many of the busts were at Century Center.

“It’s one of Oahu’s biggest brothels and I understand the frustration of the residents in those kinds of buildings where, you know, in the middle of the night people are standing around in their hallway,” said Meda Chesney-Lind, a University of Hawaii professor of Women’s Studies….

read … Honolulu’s new city prosecutor stops massage parlor, prostitution raids

Hawaii State Hospital full of Dangerous Homeless Drug Addicts ordered there by Courts

SA Editorial: … The $160 million state-of-the-art hospital in Kaneohe was dedicated this week, and will begin housing its first patients in August. HSH is licensed for 202 beds, but in the recent past, waivers have enabled as many as 238 patients throughout several buildings. The overcrowding in outdated facilities with subpar monitoring technology, have factored into risky work conditions over the years.

The new hospital will house the most dangerous, high-risk patients — most ordered there by the courts. On any given day, a majority of patients are homeless and more than 90% are suffering from substance abuse problems on top of mental health issues, said Run Heidelberg, the hospital’s administrator….

read …A new Hawaii State Hospital

Missile defense test ‘fails’ off Kauai following appearance by Russian spy ship

SA: … A U.S. missile defense test that likely was the one delayed off Kauai earlier this week due to the presence of a Russian surveillance ship was carried out today with a salvo of SM-6 ship-fired missiles failing to intercept a medium-range ballistic missile target….

(Fake show put on for the Russians?)

A Russian spy ship loitering in international waters off Kauai for several days had delayed a planned missile test, an official said Wednesday….

An official previously said the test was delayed because the United States did not want the Russian vessel to “collect on” the effort….

“Russia is testing hypersonic weapons and maybe seeking insights into our missile systems that might enhance their hypersonic weapons ability to penetrate our defenses,” said retired Navy Capt. Carl Schuster, a former director of operations at U.S. Pacific Command’s Joint Intelligence Center and an adjunct professor at Hawaii Pacific University.

He added that the missile defense test “is an intelligence opportunity that is hard to ignore.”

Riki Ellison, chairman of the nonprofit Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance, said the test may have been focused on the emerging hypersonic threat — increasing the interest of Russia.

“The planned test could be leveraging the vast (Pacific) range for testing United States capability on hypersonic missiles that Russia and China are competing with the United States on,” Ellison said.

The Missile Defense Agency did not announce ahead of time that a test would be conducted off Kauai….

read … Missile defense test fails off Kauai following appearance by Russian spy ship

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