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Friday, September 17, 2021
September 17, 2021 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:25 PM :: 3290 Views

UHERO ​Survey on COVID-19 Business Mandates

COVID hits 10.6% of Marshallese in Hawaii

Hawaii Unemployment Drops to 7.0%

Biden Tax Hike: Hawaii Combined Income Tax Rate to Hit 57.4%

Volunteers Needed for 45 Neighborhood Board Vacancies

Criminal probe launched into 3 HPD officers suspected of causing, fleeing scene of near-fatal crash         

HNN: … Three Honolulu police officers are under criminal investigation ― suspected of causing and then fleeing the scene of a near-fatal crash early Sunday in West Oahu.

A Honolulu Police Department spokesperson confirmed the investigation and said the three officers, who have been placed on restricted duty, have between two and 15 years of service.

Among those injured in the crash: 14-year old Dayten Gouveia.

He is paralyzed and on a ventilator. A rod and screws were put into his back and neck.

Gouveia and five others were injured in what Honolulu police originally reported as a single-car crash.

But witnesses say the white Honda sedan was actually being chased by three HPD vehicles.

Witness Anthony Charles was riding his motorcycle eastbound from Yokohama Bay and said, “It kind of looked like two cars was racing towards me at first because I didn’t see no lights or anything.”

At Orange Street, he said, one of the police vehicles clipped the sedan, sending it flying through the air. The Honda went airborne, crashing through fence posts, trees and skimming over a rock wall.

It flipped several times and five of the occupants ― mostly older teens but also a 30-year-old ― were thrown across a resident’s yard.

“The car looks like it was bombed,” added attorney Michael Green, who represents five people in the car, including the driver, Jonaven Perkins-Sinipati.

After the crash, Charles pulled over to help. He said the three HPD officers just kept driving….

Multiple people reported seeing the officers turn mauka on Jade Street.

Charles said they returned to the scene after the 911 call came in.

“The first thing I heard from one of the officers, ‘So what happened here?’ and so I told him, ‘You guys should know, you guys (were) the ones who run them off the road,” Charles said.

He said the officers then moved him and the others back and stopped taking their statements….

Attorneys for the victims’ families, meanwhile, said HPD is in full “cover-up” mode.

Hours after the crash Sunday, the police department issued a brief incident report, saying the white Honda “lost control,” hitting a concrete curb then “collided with trees and continued over a wall.”

But the report made no mention of any police involvement….

“In fact, I have already been in touch with federal authorities suggesting that the Honolulu Police Department ought to be placed under federal oversight.”

read … Criminal probe launched into 3 HPD officers suspected of causing, fleeing scene of near-fatal crash

Trial set for ex-cop accused of stealing cocaine from police evidence locker

WHT: … jury selection in the case of 57-year-old Brian Miller, a retired Hilo vice detective, is scheduled to start Oct. 12 in the Kailua-Kona courtroom of Third Circuit Chief Judge Robert Kim.

Miller was indicted on May 13, 2019, on charges of first-degree promotion of a dangerous drug, second- and fourth-degree theft, conspiracy to tamper with physical evidence, three counts of tampering with physical evidence, obstructing government operations, criminal conspiracy to hinder prosecution, and hindering prosecution.

Some of the charges were for allegedly pilfering more than an ounce of cocaine from the police station on May 3, 2016, and taking FedEx parcels between June 13, 2014, and July 30, 2015. Other charges stemmed from an Aug. 10, 2017, gambling raid by police at Triple 7 arcade in downtown Hilo.

Miller and a retired police captain, Chadwick Fukui, were accused of tipping off arcade owner Lance Yamada and his brother, Stacy Yamada, prior to the raid.

Miller also was indicted on July 13, 2020, on charges of intimidating a witness, retaliating against a witness, witness tampering, second-degree terroristic threatening and harassment.

The victim in the case was a woman listed as a potential witness in the drug and conspiracy case against Miller and a separate gambling and conspiracy case against Fukui, the Yamadas and two other civilians. A man also was listed as the victim on the harassment charge. The offenses allegedly occurred on May 14, 2020….

The most serious charge, first-degree promotion of a dangerous drug, is a Class A felony punishable by up to 20 years imprisonment.

Miller remains free on $60,000 bail.

Five misdemeanor charges Fukui faced in connection with the Triple 7 raid — second-degree hindering prosecution, criminal conspiracy to hinder prosecution, tampering with physical evidence, criminal conspiracy to tamper with physical evidence, and obstructing government operations — were dismissed by Kim Feb. 19 without prejudice, which means they can be refiled.

Identical charges against Ivar Kaluhikaua — with the exception of obstructing government operations — were dismissed Feb. 16 with prejudice. Those charges can’t be refiled.

Charges against the Yamadas stemming from the 2017 raid — second-degree criminal conspiracy to hinder prosecution, tampering with physical evidence, and conspiracy to tamper with physical evidence — were dismissed without prejudice on Dec. 2, 2020.

David Colon pleaded guilty to criminal conspiracy to hinder prosecution, a misdemeanor, and was sentenced to a year probation in the Triple 7 case.

In another alleged gambling case, charges against the Yamadas of first-degree promotion of gambling, conspiracy to promote gambling, possession of gambling records, and possession of a gambling device were dismissed with prejudice by Kim on May 17….

In the second alleged gambling case, similar charges against Glen S. Haraguchi, April Whiting-Haraguchi and Justin D. Alpert were dismissed without prejudice on Feb. 4, 2020.

In addition, Rodney K. Worley Jr. pleaded no contest on July 1, 2019, to second-degree promotion of gambling, a misdemeanor, and was allowed a deferred acceptance of his plea, which means his conviction was erased from the record a year later….

(IQ Test: Do you see a pattern here?)

RELATED: Police Corruption Scandals Revenge for Gambling Prosecutions?

read … Trial set for ex-cop accused of stealing cocaine from police evidence locker

Despite complaints and lawsuits, high-ranking ‘bully’ commander at HPD keeps getting promoted

HNN: … A battle is brewing within the Honolulu Police Department as members of the rank-and-file push back against one of their leaders, accusing him of retaliation, sexual harassment and creating a hostile work environment.

It’s rare for a single Honolulu police officer to speak publicly against command staff, but HNN has spoken to four officers along with one who is retired and the widow of another about their concerns with Assistant Chief Stephen Gerona, who keeps getting promoting despite a history of complaints.

In fact, in addition to being at the center of at least two lawsuits that prompted heavy taxpayer-funded settlements, there are at least a half dozen active complaints against Gerona filed with the city and federal Equal Employment Opportunity commissions.

There is a also pending lawsuit that was filed by Maile Rego, a detective who works under him.

“He’s a terror,” said Rego, who is currently on unpaid leave because of her battle with the department. “Everywhere he goes, a wrath of terror follows him.”

She added, “I’m on leave without pay because my employer isn’t providing me a safe workplace.”

Rego is assigned to the Criminal Investigations Division, which falls under Gerona’s leadership.

In her lawsuit, Rego specifically describes the murder case of a toddler, Kytana Ancog, as the source of her conflict with Gerona. The 18-month old was reported missing on Feb. 10.….

read … Despite complaints and lawsuits, high-ranking ‘bully’ commander at HPD keeps getting promoted 

Maui Commission Debates Whether To Hire Next Police Chief In Private

CB: … Members of the Maui Police Commission were divided Wednesday over whether discussions and hiring of the next police chief should be held in public or behind closed doors.

The commission is expected to debate who to hire as the next police chief at a public hearing Oct. 1 after a week interviewing the five finalists for the top position at the Maui Police Department.

Some commissioners argued that the debate should take place in executive session, out of the public eye, because that’s been the practice in the past for Maui County and other commissions in the state. But the commission’s attorney said that, absent a very clear reason, going into closed session could violate the law.

“Just because you want to hold something in executive session doesn’t mean you can hold it in executive session,” Jennifer Oana, Maui County deputy corporation counsel, told the commissioners….

KITV: Maui County appoints new Fire Chief

NR: Mayor Victorino releases statement on appointment of new fire chief

read … Maui Commission Debates Whether To Hire Next Police Chief In Private

Miske business partner to be released to home detention

CB:  … Jason Yokoyama, who once served as operations manager of Miske’s Kamaaina Termite and Pest Control, and later was registered as the majority owner of the M Nightclub in downtown Honolulu’s Waterfront Plaza, will be released as soon as his parents submit a $150,000 security mortgage on their home, a GPS location monitoring system is installed in the house, and other preconditions of release are completed, including the surrender of Yokoyama’s passport.

Judge Derrick Watson issued an order at the conclusion of a Thursday morning hearing allowing Yokoyama to be released on bond. His ruling affirmed a decision last week by Magistrate Judge Kenneth Mansfield, and was a blow to prosecutors, who had immediately appealed to Watson in an attempt to block Yokoyama’s pretrial release….

Yokoyama has been behind bars since he was named in a second superseding indictment unsealed and made public on July 30. He self-surrendered in Honolulu after returning from his temporary residence in California, where he has been living near his wife’s place of employment.

He is charged with a single count of racketeering conspiracy, although prosecutors earlier disclosed lurid details of Yokoyama’s alleged role in planning the murder of 21-year old Jonathan Fraser in 2016, based on statements attributed to two unnamed cooperating witnesses. However, Yokoyama has not been charged with any substantive offense related to Fraser’s disappearance and alleged murder. Similarly, Yokoyama appears to have been identified by Miske’s former accountant as a participant in preparing false tax returns for Miske businesses, but he has not been charged with any specific financial crimes….

ILind: Miske business partner to be released to home detention

read … One Miske Defendant Gets Out On Bail, Another Ordered To Remain Behind Bars

Seven Inmates at Halawa Overdose on Drugs

KHON: … Seven inmates at the Halawa Correctional Facility in Aiea were taken to the hospital suffering from an unknown medical condition.

Crews in at least five ambulances with Honolulu Emergency Medical Services were called to the prison, located at 99-902 Moanalua Road, just after 11:30 a.m.

Two of the inmates were transported in serious condition, the other five were listed in stable condition, officials said. All of the inmates were men.

Officials with the Hawaii Department of Public Safety could not comment on the symptoms the inmates were exhibiting, but the possibility of illegal drug use is being investigated….

read … Another UPW Fail

17,000 Meth-Heads in Hawaii

SoR: … Dr. Mark Baker, who has worked in Pali Momi Medical Center’s emergency room since its doors opened in 1989, says the number of patients he’s seen come in with meth use-related issues has risen over the last decade. Data from the Pacific Health Analytics Collaborative shows that from 2015-2018, 1.5% of Hawaii residents (roughly 17,000 people) used meth annually. This was more than double the national percentage (0.6%).

While meth use numbers were lower than that of opioid drugs, Baker says it’s a much more addictive drug. It’s also more deadly: 2017 CDC data found that meth was the top drug involved in overdose deaths in the Western U.S….

Background: Mehau in Majuro – How the US Meth Epidemic Began

read … A look at Hawaii’s underfunded meth epidemic

Over 100K uploads to Hawaii SMART Health Card reported since Sept. 10

KHON: … There were a total of 101,199 successful uploads to the Hawaii SMART Health Card application between 2 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 10, to 2 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 16, according to the Hawaii Office of Enterprise Technology Services….

The successful uploads counted for approximately 75% of all attempts to create a Hawaii SMART Health Card, officials said….

read … Over 100k uploads to Hawaii SMART Health Card reported since Sept. 10

Double Dip Recession Whipsaws Workers

CB: … When May Chang was furloughed from her job as a housekeeper at Ala Moana Hotel at the end of August due to a drop in occupancy, she felt a familiar anxiety.

Chang was among the thousands of hospitality workers who lost their jobs in March 2020 as fears of the coronavirus prompted Hawaii leaders to shut down the tourism industry. She spent 14 months out of work, and was relieved to be called back in May.

But now she’s unemployed again and isn’t sure when she’ll be called back. Last year, at least, she was eligible for unemployment and started getting her checks two months after applying.

Now, she doesn’t think she’ll qualify because she didn’t work two full quarters of the preceding year as required….

read … Workers In Hawaii Face New Job Losses — This Time Without A Safety Net

When Hawaii Asked Tourists to Postpone, Many Listened, and That’s Created New Stresses

WSJ: … preliminary data published by the Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism shows passenger counts for the most recent week are down about 30% compared with the week leading up to the Aug. 23 announcement….

Hotels are seeing cancellations every day, and future bookings are slowing, says Mufi Hannemann, the former mayor of Honolulu and current president and chief executive of the Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association. While hotel occupancy averaged between 75% and 80% over the summer, it has now dropped below 50%, he says.

Mr. Hannemann says this year’s drop is steeper than the traditional post-Labor Day decline. Some properties are reporting under 40% occupancy, he says. Typically, shoulder season occupancy is between 60% and 70%, he says….

read … When Hawaii Asked Tourists to Postpone, Many Listened, and That’s Created New Stresses

Hawaii Education Plan for ‘Learning Acceleration’ Short on Details, Board Members Say

CB: … The only data shared in DOE’s Thursday presentation was from the fall of 2020 indicating that nearly 30% of students in grade 5-8 are at least two grade levels behind in English while 36% of students in grades 1-4 are a grade behind in math….

read … Hawaii Education Plan for ‘Learning Acceleration’ Short on Details, Board Members Say

Kaneohe family: Experiencing COVID firsthand erased our vaccine hesitancy

HNN: … Then last month, they and three of their four kids ― all under the age of 10 ― tested positive for COVID. Poyer didn’t need to be hospitalized, but still experienced a full slate of symptoms.

“I had fatigue, I had chills, I had headaches,” Poyer said. “I had hard time breathing. When you breathe, it hurts and I never felt that before.”

Although her kids were asymptomatic, Poyer was worried that could change at a moment’s notice.

“I would go and check them,” Poyer said. “Check their heart, check if they’re still breathing, check if they have a fever because even though they weren’t showing symptoms.

“You just don’t know how this COVID is going to be for them.”

In the wake of the episode, the couple vowed to get vaccinated.

Both Poyer and her husband received the first dose of the COVID vaccine recently, and they’re encouraging other people who were initially vaccine hesitant to get the shot.

Their message comes as social services hub Palama Settlement launches a new vaccine drive in partnership with the Queen’s Medical Center.

The vaccination clinic opens Friday at 11 a.m. and no appointment is necessary….

HNN: ‘Brah, be akamai!’: Kauai woman’s message about COVID carelessness goes viral

read … Kaneohe family: Experiencing COVID firsthand erased our vaccine hesitancy

How Hawaii residents are dying from COVID-19

KITV: … Seventeen percent of Hawaii patients hospitalized for the coronavirus have died. We take a look at what happened when coronavirus turns deadly.

Those having trouble taking a full breath from COVID usually end up at the hospital. There they are given oxygen and medications to help reduce the risk of the infection getting worse. Because the outcome for patients is much, more dire if they have to be admitted.

"By the time people with COVID are hospitalized 12-24% end up in the ICU, and those in intensive care have a 50% chance of dying," said Dr. Chien-Wen Tseng, a Professor with the John A. Burns School of Medicine.

Those with underlying health conditions, like obesity, hypertension and diabetes are at higher risk as the coronavirus attacks the body.

"As it affects the lungs, it also affects other parts of the body as people start getting really sick. It can damage the heart muscle, damage the brain. People develop blood clots ,.strokes and when someone gets really sick, it is very overwhelming. People end up on ventilators," added Tseng.

More than half of Hawaii's deaths during the pandemic were residents 70 years and older.
But in the last 7 days, as many people in their 50's died of COVID, as those 80 and older.

At Mililani Memorial Park and Mortuary, they have lately seen more funerals for younger COVID patients.

"We're about helping people get closure. It is hard when someone passes and they are unable to be with their family at time of their passing," said Pete Dilwith, the Vice President of Operations.

Even with the need for closure, Dilwith adds some families have put services on hold, because the entire family can't be accommodated.

"While the numbers of people passing have gone up, the number of our services have gone down. People are waiting to do services when the government restrictions relax," added Dilwith.

That means after a person dies from COVID, their body may wait around in a storage trailers, possibly for weeks.
Already one of the extra storage trailers at the Medical Examiner's office is nearly full.

According to Department of Health statistics, certain ethnic groups have seen more severe cases of COVID. Filipino and Pacific Islanders only make up 20% of the state's population but make up around 44% of COVID deaths….

A large percentage of the 341 patients currently in Hawaii hospitals are not vaccinated, 84% percent did NOT get their their shots…..

read … How Hawaii residents are dying from COVID-19

Hawaii sees big drop in COVID hospitalizations, but officials warn we’re not out of the woods

HNN: … Two weeks ago, the average daily case count was 858. On Wednesday, it was 557.

At the same time, there has been a significant drop in hospitalizations.

Lt. Gov. Josh Green said there were 448 people hospitalized with COVID on Sept. 3. The state is now down to 346….

he added Hawaii health officials won’t know for sure until at least Friday. That’s when they’ll get a complete picture of how much the virus spread over Labor Day weekend….

read … Hawaii sees big drop in COVID hospitalizations, but officials warn we’re not out of the woods

Record COVID levels found among negative flu tests in Hawaii

KITV: … According to State health data on flu tracking, none of 520 respiratory specimens in the latest weekly flu surveillance popped up positive for influenza — which means hundreds of people who thought they would come down with flu had something else.

Turns out more than 37% of those also screened for COVID were positive for that instead — 52 out of 138 samples re-tested for COVID as part of what’s called “sentinel surveillance,” within the flu program….

read … Record COVID levels found among negative flu tests in Hawaii

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