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Wednesday, January 13, 2021
January 13, 2021 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:32 PM :: 1959 Views

"We will create a path for them to spend time in federal prison"

Delaying health benefits fund payments will add $8 billion to Hawaii taxpayer debt

I got my first covid shot yesterday

COVID Vaccine Now Available on Big Island for Age 75+

Why Wait for Government? Volunteers Repair Koko Head Tramway

DBEDT: Hawaii Defense Spending Outlook Report

Kauai: Vaccine for Age 75+ Begins Jan 15--Sign up here

Ige to Raise GE Tax -- ponders higher fuel and income taxes

SA: A wealth tax and a higher tax on fuel are among measures Hawaii’s governor is considering to help plug a projected $1.4 billion state budget shortfall.

Linda Chu Takayama, chief of staff for Gov. David Ige, informed the House Finance Committee on Tuesday that these two types of taxes are possibilities to increase state revenue and partly offset a decline driven by coronavirus pandemic impacts.

Takayama also mentioned that halting general excise tax exemptions and credits is under consideration as well by the governor, who is formulating a detailed state budget proposal with specific amounts for revenue and spending the Legislature expects to receive soon….

(DSA member) Rep. Amy Perruso (D, Wahiawa-Whitmore-Poamoho) said she plans to introduce a bill that would increase the state income tax rate on Hawaii residents with high incomes….

Big Q: Would you favor raising Hawaii’s tax rate on individuals in higher income-earning

Related: Tax Hikes on Fuel, Food and Health Care 

CB: Hawaii Governor Weighs Income Tax Increases--Ige’s chief of staff also suggests upping the “barrel tax” on fossil fuels

CB: Hawaii Vector Control Branch Faces Budget Cuts (Tax Hike Sales Pitch)

read … Gov. David Ige ponders higher fuel and wealth taxes

Hawaii: 60,000 Vaccines in Refrigerator?  DoH says just an illusion as COVID-19 vaccine rollout lags

SA: … State officials are pointing fingers at one another over concerns of a lagging rollout of COVID-19 vaccines in Hawaii and a lack of coordination in ramping up large-scale immunization clinics to keep the disease under control.

As of Monday at least 39,000 residents were reported to have been vaccinated, though a total of 109,250 doses had been delivered in the islands.

“At this point there’s no excuse; we’re dealing with lives here. Those could be lives we’re saving,” said Rep. John Mizuno, a member of the House Pandemic and Disaster Preparedness Committee. “From a pure strategy point of view, wouldn’t you have plans in place even before … the rollout so as you anticipate getting 20,000, 100,000 doses of vaccine, you would already have teams and sites ready to go? We’re seeing a little bit of a surge in COVID numbers, and there’s an extreme urgency to get the vaccines into the arms of our people.” …

There’s a significant delay in reporting the number of shots administered by health care providers, so the actual number of people vaccinated is substantially higher, according to the Health Department.  

(IQ Test: Do you believe the DoH?)

The state is partnering with Hawaii Pacific Health — parent company of Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children, Straub Medical Center, Pali Momi Medical Center and Wilcox Health on Kauai — to ramp up immunizations at Pier 2 on Monday, and with The Queen’s Medical Center to operate a large-scale vaccination clinic a week later at the Neal S. Blaisdell Center, Lt. Gov. Josh Green earlier told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

But House Speaker Scott Saiki, who blasted Green in a memo to his legislative colleagues for prematurely announcing the vaccination plan before contracts were signed, said a plan for mass vaccinations “should have been set up months ago.”

“We knew this day was coming. I don’t understand why this wasn’t done,” Saiki said of the vaccination centers only now being established. Saiki said he is leading efforts to set up the large immunization clinics with the hospitals, which weren’t able to coordinate with the Department of Health fast enough.

“There’s massive coordination involved. I’m not sure why the DOH wasn’t able to initiate this on their own. I’m not even sure how many vaccines are in the refrigerator right now,” he said….

(CLUE: We need a dozen mass inoculation sites statewide moving 1,000 people per site every day until we inoculate everybody.)

read … Hawaii lawmakers heap blame as COVID-19 vaccine rollout lags

The DOE to pay Private Tutors after a year of paying HSTA members to do nothing

CB: …Hawaii’s Department of Education requested private tutoring proposals in October to address “unprecedented issues related to student learning” due to the pandemic….

In what appears to be a first-of-a-kind arrangement for the state, some public schools will begin offering small group or one-on-one tutoring starting this month through the end of the calendar year via private agencies paid with Title I or other existing funds.

The state Department of Education has tapped five companies to provide academic tutoring to select K-12 students in a virtual or in-person setting before, during or after regular school hours in a bid to reach children whose families may not otherwise be able to obtain the service….  

SA: Tutoring could help reverse loss of learning in Hawaii public middle schools

read … The DOE Plans To Use Private Tutors To Help Struggling Students Catch Up

How One Company Is Going The Extra Mile To do the Job DOE- HSTA Won’t

Cataluna: … Unlimited Construction has turned its Kauai workplace into a distance learning facility for employees’ kids….

At Unlimited’s Kauai building in the Puhi industrial area, Gaisoa reorganized the office to create classroom space with safe distancing. The company built a patio outside to serve as a lunch area, and built separate restrooms for the kids.

“For two weeks before school started, we rushed around and got supplies for the students. We bought furniture. We got separated cubbies. We put up TVs. Every kid has an iPad. We went on a search for a teacher. We didn’t know what was going to happen, but we were preparing to be prepared.”…

CB: How Single Mothers In Hawaii Are Weathering The Pandemic

read … How One Company Is Going The Extra Mile To Help Its Working Parents

Alm says his top priority is restoring public’s trust in city Prosecutor’s Office

HNN: …In a news conference Tuesday, Alm said that his office will audit all of Kealoha’s former cases.

He has also let go of some members of the office and brought in new blood.

Other top priorities, Alm said, include launching implicit bias training, instituting other management changes to improve the efficacy of the office, and improving transparency.

He also said he wanted to improve data collection….

CB: Alm isn’t enthusiastic about the idea of an independent commission to oversee his work

read … Alm says his top priority is restoring public’s trust in city Prosecutor’s Office

Judge to hear motion to dismiss charge against surgeon general

SA: … A judge is set to address a motion requesting to dismiss a charge against U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams, whom police cited in late August for allegedly violating an emergency order at an Oahu park.

The hearing is scheduled to be held Feb. 10 at Circuit Court on the motion filed by attorneys Michael Green and Alen Kaneshiro, who is representing Adams and his aide, Dennis Anderson- Villaluz…..

read … Judge to hear motion to dismiss charge against surgeon general

Lawsuit alleges businesses are victims of a massive city sewer fee ‘ripoff’

HNN: … Back in October 2018, Sherman Louie said he was shocked when he got his sewer bill from the city for his Waipahu building.

The commercial landowner had purchased the historic Arakawa’s Store four years before but the building had remained empty for most of that period due to renovations.

“After the construction was done. They back charged me and my bill was $25,000,” said Louie.

“The way they are billing people is the biggest, greatest ripoff there is.”

Louie is now suing the city, alleging its method of calculating the sewer bills for commercial land owners is not based on actual usage just old estimates.

He said his sewer tab has since ballooned to $60,000.

The city told him the old Arakawa’s building generates nearly 100,000 gallons of sewage every month. The owner said his experts determined that it was generating a little more than a third of that.

His attorney, Megan Kau, said she believes that hundreds of businesses are being overcharged….

Louie said that was when the previous owner used the building as a homeless shelter, which generated much more sewage.

“That doesn’t sound right that you get billed a sewer charge based on something eight or nine years ago,” said Louie….

read … Lawsuit alleges businesses are victims of a massive city sewer fee ‘ripoff’

Schools that purchased PPE early on won’t be reimbursed with emergency funds?

HNN: … Personal protective equipment for schools was a huge, unexpected expense last year.

(This is a DoE story so first we have to create a sense of having a sacred cause.)

Many administrators spent tens of thousands of dollars from their budget, anticipating the state would provide federal emergency funds to cover it.

But that won’t happen after all, Hawaii News Now has learned.

(Now we create a sense of tragedy.)

“In speaking to individual schools, I know that some of them spent well over $100,000 on PPEs,” said state Sen. Michelle Kidani, chair of the Senate Education Committee.

Kidani was told by school leaders that the Hawaii Emergency Management Office was the agency distributing the federal emergency funds to schools for PPE…

(And next blame everybody except the DoE.)

In a statement, an agency spokesman said, “HI-EMA is not responsible for reimbursement decisions.”

The statement also said the agency has provided millions of dollars worth of PPE to the state Department of Education in what was described as a “very complex distribution arrangement to individual schools acting as the DOE Logistics operations.”…

The CARES Act provided $1.25 billion in federal emergency funds to the state for COVID relief and there was leftover money, which was turned over the unemployment insurance fund.

That money could possibly have been used to reimburse PPE expenses ― if DOE asked.

(And finally reveal the truth: It is the DoE’s own fault.)

A spokesperson for the Governor’s office told us the DOE did submit request to the Budget and Finance Division in November, but the spokesperson didn’t say if that was specifically for PPE reimbursements….. 

HNN: Schools will have to absorb $5M they used to buy PPE in pandemic’s early days

read … Schools that purchased PPE early on won’t be reimbursed with emergency funds

Sacrifice?  The Bus workers want $800/mo raise

HNN: … The bus company adds that $800 a month hazard pay would cost over $15 million a year. Morton says they have already tried to help drivers by spreading out hours to keep them all on full-time pay and benefits, even though ridership is down 50%. …

read … TheBus, Handi-van drivers call for hazard pay, but OTS says its a long shot

No ‘twindemic’ as cases of flu remain scarce

HTH: … Only six states — Nevada, Arizona, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Georgia and South Carolina — are at a low level of flu-like activity. No states have moderate, high or very high levels.

Chad Shibuya, director of infection control at Hilo Medical Center, said in January and February of 2020, the hospital had 120-130 cases each month in its emergency room….

In March, when COVID-19 cases were first reported in Hawaii, the number of flu cases treated in the ER dropped to 60.

Since April 2020, though, HMC has not seen any flu cases come into the ER.

“That’s highly unusual,” Shibuya said. “Normally, we do see flu cases throughout the year. To go nine months with zero positive flu (cases) … it’s really unusual. It goes to show that the measures we have in place to minimize the spread of COVID-19 also work to prevent flu from (spreading).”

Kona Community Hospital also is reporting “very, very few” flu cases, according to spokeswoman Judy Donovan.

Preventative measures, such as not traveling, wearing face masks and distancing, “those are really helping to prevent the spread of the flu virus,” she said.

In the most recent surveillance report from the state Department of Health, just 0.5% of outpatient visits were related to influenza-like illnesses during the week of Dec. 13-19.

During that week, all 428 specimens tested negative for the flu….

read … No ‘twindemic’ as cases of flu remain scarce

Late to the COVID Game: Maui Anti-Tourism Activists Hope to Replicate Kauai’s Success

MN: … Officials, residents agree that second post-travel test should be required …

Meanwhile: Quarantine: Court denies request to increase Utah man’s bail

read … Panel debates tourism’s role in COVID-19 surge at town hall

Human trafficking, sexual violence cases triple amid pandemic

KITV: … According to John Tobon, the Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations Honolulu …

SA: Criminals use ho to rob john

read … Human trafficking, sexual violence cases triple amid pandemic

Repeat Offender charged with burglary after allegedly breaking into Waialae Iki home

KHON: … The incident happened at approximately 8:20 p.m. on Sunday in the Waialae Iki area.

Police say the man, identified as Christian Kudlich, entered the woman’s home at Analii Place and was in the process of stealing her property when officers caught him in the residence…..

His bail was set at $25,000….

2019: Kudlich applies for Security Guard License (deferred pg 5)

2007: Fugitive arrested in Waikiki

2007: Known convict sought after Waikiki fracas

read … 34-year-old man charged with burglary after allegedly breaking into Waialae Iki home

Corona Virus News: 
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