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Wednesday, September 15, 2021
September 15, 2021 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:20 PM :: 2816 Views

Not Just Covid: Hawaii Ranks 37th in Vaccinations

86.4% of the eligible population has received at least one shot -- Ige says No More Full-Scale Shutdowns

SA: … Gov. David Ige said Monday that there won’t be another full-scale shutdown in Hawaii, despite the ongoing surge in COVID-19 cases throughout the islands that have strained the resources of hospitals and prompted the governor earlier this month to sign an executive order shielding health care facilities from liability if they have to ration critical care.

If he does enact more restrictions, Ige said they likely would come in the form of curfews or further restrictions on the size of social gatherings.

But for now, hospitalizations of COVID-19 patients have remained stable, and there are signs that the rapid rise in coronavirus cases is abating. The Department of Health reported 461 new coronavirus infections Monday, bringing the seven- day average for new cases to 567. That’s a 37% drop from where it was two weeks ago, according to state data. The number of COVID-19 tests coming back positive also has declined statewide, to 6.9% Monday from 7.8% two weeks ago.

There were 392 people hospitalized with COVID-19 on Monday, compared with 435 people a week ago. The number of people in the intensive care units, which has been of particular concern to health care officials, also has declined, to 79 Monday from more than 100 a week ago….

Ige was clear that there were no plans for the draconian measures taken in 2020.

“I can pretty much tell you there won’t be another full-scale shutdown,” said Ige, which he attributed in part to the state’s high vaccination rate.

Hawaii’s vaccination rate has been among the highest in the country, and the recent surge in delta cases, coupled with a parade of employer- and government- based vaccine requirements, has given a boost to the pace of vaccinations. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration also granted full approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine last month, which likely helped sway holdouts.

There are just 165,680 eligible Hawaii residents out of a total population of 1.42 million who have not at least initiated the vaccination process, according to state data. Children under age 12 still aren’t eligible for the vaccine…..

There is 76.6% of the eligible population in Hawaii now fully vaccinated, while 86.4% of the eligible population has received at least one shot. By comparison, 63% of the eligible U.S. population is fully vaccinated, while 74% has received at least one shot, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention….

read … Governor Says Hawaiʻi Vaccination Rate Means No More Full-Scale Shutdowns

Waimanalo Missing Girl -- Another CWS Fail?

SA: … A few hundred volunteers from across the island continued searching along with police Tuesday for a missing 6-year-old Waimanalo girl, whose adoptive parents told police they last saw her Sunday night in her bedroom.

Waimanalo Elementary School first grader Isabella Kalua, named Ariel at birth, was reportedly last seen at 9 p.m. Sunday at home on Puha Street.

Her biological mother, Melanie Joseph, 33, told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser that the last time she saw her daughter on a scheduled visit was about a year ago, and alleges there were signs of physical abuse….

Kalua’s adoptive parents had custody of four of Joseph’s five daughters for four years. A fifth, a 5-year-old, lives with a relative.

According to the Joseph family, after Isabella disappeared, Child Welfare Serv­ices took custody Monday of the three siblings, ages 12, 3, 1, who they say were living with the Sonny and Lehua Kalua family.

A Department of Human Resources spokeswoman said Tuesday she put in an inquiry to confirm whether the children had been removed and whether it is standard protocol to do so when a child goes missing.

Joseph and former boyfriend Adam Sellers had the children taken by Child Welfare Services because of their drug use, relatives said. The two had been living with relatives in Waimanalo but became homeless, living in the rural back roads of Waimanalo. Sellers is currently at a drug rehabilitation center, relatives said….

The 33-year-old mother said if her daughter did leave the house on her own in the middle of the night, “I think she would be in the bushes that way,” pointing toward the Kalua house, on the corner of Kakaina and Hihimanu streets. The house is on a flag lot off Puha….

A post on social media said the home’s video surveillance showed the child left the house at 1 a.m., but the Star-Advertiser could not verify that.

Sonny Kalua, also known as Isaac K. Kalua III, the named lessee on the house at 41-610 Puha St. where the 6-year-old was last seen, has a history of violent crimes.

He pleaded guilty Jan. 3, 2001, to one count of first- degree terroristic threatening, two counts of second-degree assault and one count of attempted second-degree assault….

A friend at the Kalua home, where a small group gathered in the garage, said the Kaluas had been advised not to talk. “We don’t want to jeopardize the case,” she said….

read … Hundreds of volunteers continue search for missing 6-year-old Waimanalo girl, Isabella Kalua

Whistleblower Lawsuit Claims Hawaiian Airlines Covered Up Sexual Assaults, Security Failures

CB: … Hawaiian Airlines’ former head of corporate security is accusing the company in a lawsuit of covering up a litany of wrongdoing, including plane safety issues, multiple sexual assaults by pilots and cybersecurity failures.

The plaintiff, Thomas Aiu, was hired by Hawaiian Airlines in 2015 and was fired in September 2019, his lawsuit states.

While the company cited “behavior and performance” issues to justify his termination, Aiu’s complaint, filed Friday, states he was “discharged in order to preserve a corporate culture which eschewed transparency, and instead emphasized secrecy over compliance, loyalty over safety.”

Throughout Aiu’s tenure, his superiors allegedly interfered with his ability to perform his job, including directives to “close down investigations” and disregard federal laws that require the airline to disclose certain events, according to the lawsuit.

In a statement, Hawaiian Airlines spokesman Alex Da Silva disputed Aiu’s allegations.

“We have carefully reviewed Mr. Aiu’s complaint against our own records of the time he was with our airline and found it to be stunningly inaccurate,” he said. “We look forward to refuting these claims in a court of law.”

Before joining Hawaiian Airlines, Aiu was a Drug Enforcement Administration agent for 28 years. He holds a degree in criminal justice management from Chaminade University and a law degree from the University of Hawaii’s William S. Richardson School of Law.

He was a finalist to be Honolulu’s police chief in 2017. However, questions were raised about his credibility and truthfulness after Steve Alm, the former U.S. attorney and now city prosecutor, told the Police Commission that the feds had a policy of not calling Aiu as a witness….

PDF: Lawsuit

read …  Whistleblower Lawsuit Claims Hawaiian Airlines Covered Up Sexual Assaults, Security Failures

Mauna Kea Protest Site Devolves into Homeless Tent City?

WHT: ..Two Oahu legislators have asked the state Department of Hawaiian Homelands to halt any plans to forcefully remove protesters who remain on Maunakea.

DHHL Chairman William Aila Jr., however, says plans for any immediate removals have been “paused.”…

Aila said in a statement that the DHHL regularly addresses unauthorized campers and unpermitted structures on Hawaiian homestead lands.

“The department recently began to assess several campsites surrounding Pu‘uhuluhulu to determine if any social services were needed prior to the issuance of any trespass notices,” he said. “Afterwards, I was invited to a meeting with community leaders, and a request for a limited right of entry to the area was made….

… “We held a meeting with DHHL to request more information regarding Maunakea and we were told by the department that there were plans in place to designate our kupuna and kia‘i who are peacefully occupying Maunakea as homeless individuals,” Fevella said  “They are not squatters; nor are they homeless. During their time on the mauna, they have picked up and removed trash left behind by squatters, partiers and visitors….”

read … Protester removal put on hold

Hawaii Lawmakers Question Rent Payments On State Land as Part of Effort to Frame up State Auditor

CB: … An audit of DLNR’s land division in 2018 found that the office lacked a strategic plan to guide its work in that area, that it undercharged rent, and that it lacked transparency necessary to run an efficient operation.

The DLNR hearing, which is in its second day, is part of a yearlong probe of two state agencies that were the subjects of critical audits that found deficiencies in how those agencies manage state-owned lands and the revenues generated from them.

House Majority Leader Della Au Belatti, who chairs the committee, directed many of her questions during the last two days of hearings at whether State Auditor Les Kondo properly followed all the Legislature’s instructions while performing the DLNR audit….

The auditor found that DLNR may only be getting a portion of the revenue it could charge tenants that hold permits to operate businesses on state lands. Using an independent appraiser, the auditor determined that DLNR lost more than $1.6 million in potential rent on a sample of parcels during the audit review period….

Generally, revenues are not the only thing the department is concerned about when it comes to managing public lands, the DLNR officials said.

Some lands are used for charitable organizations, like the Hawaii Food Basket, Russel Tsuji, the state lands administrator, told lawmakers.

“There’s not only the idea of maximizing revenue,” Tsuji said….

read … Hawaii Lawmakers Question Rent Payments On State Land

Safe Access Oahu testing has some unvaccinated visitors wishing they’d gotten the shot

HNN: … Visitor Kyle Austin said he is the only unvaccinated member of his group that traveled here from the mainland.

And he’s now realizing that coming without getting the jab wasn’t a great idea.

“I figured I’m going to have to be tested every two days,” he said. “Otherwise, am I not going to go to the restaurants and bars?”….

read … Safe Access Oahu testing has some unvaccinated visitors wishing they’d gotten the shot

HSTA Protest Demands Return to Fake Remote Learning

KHON: … Members of the teacher’s union, concerned parents, and community members picketed Tuesday afternoon outside the Kapolei State Office building. …

HSTA says many of the teachers and school staff in the area are forced to quarantine, and there aren’t enough people to replace them.

“There is not enough staff to staff the cafeteria during meal times,” said Osa Tui, president of the Hawaii State Teachers Association. “Substitute teachers are not available because they don’t want to come in to the classes anymore. So really we are at a breaking point for the department.”

The union filed formal complaints with the state earlier this month. Tui says the union has been trying to get the Department of Education to sit down for a meeting but the state has ignored that request. He says one solution would be for some of the schools to go back to the hybrid model, where half the students would be learning from home.

“It’s definitely an option because you’ll have less during meal times, less during recess, less in the classrooms themselves,” said Tui. “So they could be twice as distanced as they are now.”

He adds that physical distancing is not being followed because there’s just not enough space with 30 or more students in each classroom. There’s no clear policy on who should be quarantined when someone gets infected. He says teachers should have some input on how it’s implemented….

(CLUE: HSTA lies a lot.)

read … Teachers rally for more COVID safety measures at Leeward Oahu schools

Domestic travel to Maui sees Labor Day spike

MN: … Domestic daily arrivals ahead of the holiday weekend to Maui County show a 27 to 31 percent surge Thursday and Friday compared with the record-setting prepandemic year of 2019, according to recent state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism data…..

read … Domestic travel to Maui sees Labor Day spike

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