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Thursday, October 13, 2022
October 13, 2022 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:20 PM :: 1971 Views

Strive HI--Hawaii Public School Chronic Absenteeism Jumps to 37%, May Account for Improved Test Scores 

Legislature is Hiring for 2023 Session

‘Inept’--HGEA, Blangiardi ‘Mired in Blame Game’ over Corrupt Liquor Commission

KITV: … Perreira said he was outraged when leaders of the Honolulu Liquor Commission last week seemed to blame the union contracts for being 46% short of investigators. The acting administrator and interim chair of the commission both singled out HGEA Unit Three when asked about shortages.

“That’s the best you can do when you are locked into a civil service system and bargaining unit three,” Acting Administrator Anna Hirai told the City Council.

“When departments like liquor commission routinely and vaguely blame union rules or union contracts for their inability to do this stuff. Frankly, that’s BS,” Perreira said.

Perreira said the problems are red tape and historically inept management, which means it takes multiple months to fill vacancies….

“In today’s world the private sector is hiring in days, they are not keeping up with employee needs, they’re not offering competitive wage and benefit packages,” Perreira said.

(REALLY OBVIOUS QUESTION: Perreira negotiated those wage and benefit packages, so why does he still have a job?)

Mayor Rick Blangiardi said when he took office, he found a broken HR system mired in a blame game over thousands of vacancies.

“People blaming department of human resources or blaming fiscal services when in reality it was across the board,” Blangiardi said….

BACKGROUND: Liquor control retaliation: “Still at where we’ve been forever”

read … Head of Hawaii’s biggest public workers union blames bureaucracy for hiring shortages

Rail ‘hammerhead’ crack reports overdue, incomplete

SA: … Two highly anticipated reports on the extent of hairline cracks in the city rail system’s overhead “hammerhead” supports — and what should be done about them — were due Sept. 30 but still are not complete after a series of extensions.

Preliminary drafts of both engineering reports were turned in Friday and Monday but still need additional information to be complete, Lori Kahikina, CEO and executive director of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation, told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser from a rail industry conference in Seattle….

even if the rail system is cleared for service, the extent of the damage to the hammerheads could delay the turnover of the rail system to the city, Kahikina said.

“If those hammerheads are not deemed safe and structurally sound, we will not transfer to the city,” she said. “We will not transfer to DTS (the city’s Department of Transportation Services).”…

Kahikina plans to update the HART board on the status of the reports at its Oct. 21 meeting. But she likely still will not have an answer by then to the question of who will pay for any repairs to the hammerheads — HART or builder Kiewit Hawaii….

RELATED: Feds Approve Honolulu Rail Recovery Plan, Will Release $125 Million

read … Rail ‘hammerhead’ crack reports overdue, incomplete

Staffing crisis forces hospital’s cancer center to turn away new patients

HTH: … Kona Community Hospital has temporarily stopped accepting new patients in its medical oncology and chemotherapy infusion clinics, forcing those needing care to travel to Waimea, Hilo or Honolulu for treatment.

KCH Marketing and Strategic Planning Director Judy Donovan said the decision to not accept new patients as of Oct. 6 was made because of “a serious staffing crisis” within the clinics, however, current patients are still being treated.

The Kona Cancer Center’s chemotherapy infusion clinic is currently managing 494 patients and the medical oncology clinic has 705 patients at present. Donovan said the patient census since last year has fluctuated up, but not significantly.

Staffing loss has been due to attrition, however the hospital is beginning to utilize traveling nurses in those departments.

Under optimal staffing, the oncology clinic at the Kealakekua hospital can accommodate 16 patients per day and the infusion clinic 15 patients per day.

Currently, there is one medical doctor, one nurse practitioner, one registered nurse (RN) and one medical assistant in the medical oncology clinic.

The infusion clinic employs two RNs, one traveling RN and two per diem RNs when available.

Donovan said optimal staffing for the infusion clinic is four to five RNs, four patient access reps, two charge nurses, three medical assistants and two patient navigators. She was unable to provide details regarding the oncology clinic, however, noted both clinics are in need of more RNs and medical assistants….

read … Staffing crisis forces hospital’s cancer center to turn away new patients

Attorney representing Kapolei man in 'Russian spy' case asks to withdrawal as counsel

KITV: … Assistant Federal Defender Max Mizono filed a motion for withdrawal and substitution of counsel citing a “breakdown of the client-attorney relationship.”

In the motion, Mizono says he cannot detail the underlying reasons for the breakdown without violating attorney-client privilege but said he will seek an ex-parte sidebar with the court at the hearing on the withdrawal/substitution motion….

read … Attorney representing Kapolei man in 'Russian spy' case asks to withdrawal as counsel

Alleged meth ring leader ordered held without bail

SA: … Prior to her arrest in the current case last month, Elsie Thammavongsa pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute 5 grams or more of methamphetamine, trafficking, and possession of a firearm, according to federal court documents.

She was not in custody and was facing up to 40 years in prison and a maximum fine of $5 million on the conspiracy charge and up to life in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000 on the firearm violation when federal agents arrested and charged her and her son Abel Thammavongsa, 21, with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine….

Acting on a tip earlier this month, DEA agents learned that an person was going to mail 20 pounds of methamphetamine to Guam on the morning of Sept. 7.

On that day, investigators set up surveillance near the post office at Ala Moana Center and approached a person in a car who told them there were 4 pounds of methamphetamine inside the vehicle….

read … Alleged meth ring leader ordered held without bail

Lifetime Criminal Gets Probation Again

MN: … Jesse Spitalsky, 61, pleaded guilty to attempted second-degree promotion of a dangerous drug for taking a substantial step toward distributing methamphetamine on Jan. 8 and to third-degree promotion of a dangerous drug for possessing methamphetamine on June 16, 2020.

Spitalsky’s criminal history began with his first conviction in 1980 and continued to 2012, said Deputy Prosecutor Shelly Miyashiro.

“It appears the defendant has been part of the criminal justice system for most of his life,” she said….

In following a plea agreement to impose the sentence, 2nd Circuit Judge Kirstin Hamman said Spitalsky would need support to address his drug addiction and “make the best” of his time….

2021: Hamman Sworn-In

read … Probation is ‘last chance’ for man with long criminal history

Board: Nonresponsiveness to AntiVaxxer BS is not an ethics violation

HTH: … A nonresponse from government officials to emails and telephone calls isn’t necessarily a violation of the ethics code, the county Board of Ethics said Wednesday in denying a resident’s call to penalize 14 top officials for ignoring his warnings about what he saw as the danger of face masks and vaccines during the coronavirus pandemic.

Roger Christie filed the petition against Mayor Mitch Roth, two of his top staff, all nine members of the County Council and the former police chief and deputy chief, alleging violations of the part of the ethics code requiring officials to treat all persons in a “courteous, fair and impartial manner.”

Christie, a minister and advocate for cannabis legalization, said his communications with county officials during the 1980s were met with return calls, meetings and even scheduling on County Council agendas. These days, he said, they’re met with silence….

read … Board: Nonresponsiveness is not an ethics violation

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