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Thursday, September 16, 2021
September 16, 2021 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:40 PM :: 2636 Views

Restaurant Defies Oahu’s new COVID rules--Gets Red Tagged

Robin Danner Moves to Washington, D.C. to Lobby for Fake Indian Tribe

'API' Category Hinders COVID Tracking

Lawsuit Challenges Seizure of Guns by Hawaii County PD

Secret CWS ghost hearings put missing 6-year-old girl in home of convicted felon?

SA: … The parents filled out paperwork to have Isabella Kalua withdrawn and reported the reason was to home-school her, said a DOE official, who could not say when that occurred….

Isabella’s biological mother, Melanie Joseph, said the mother of a boy in her daughter’s class told her she hadn’t been to school for about a week.

Private investigator Steve Lane, who has served as court-appointed special master in the Peter “Peter Boy” Kema Jr. case and other high-profile abuse cases, cites the lack of oversight of children who are home-schooled as a problem.

“There’s no requirement to check if the parents are qualified,” Lane said. “That’s why kids die.”…

In Isabella’s case, Lane questions how Child Welfare Services, which is supposed to vet foster parents, could have allowed someone with a violent criminal history to be a foster parent. Child Welfare Services did not respond to emailed questions.

Isaac K. Kalua III, aka Sonny Kalua, was permitted to foster four of Joseph’s daughters despite having a felony conviction record that includes two second- degree assaults, an attempted second-degree assault and first-degree terroristic threatening.

“How did those kids ever get in that house?” Lane asked. “I’ve been a licensed foster parent for decades. I have great respect for that system and it’s needed, but you can’t put kids in that kind of household.”

Lane said: “Probably all the Joseph kids were placed there as a result of secret ghost hearings, so who’s supposed to speak for the children? The 587 hearing involves custody, safety and placement of children all in Family Court and all closed.”

And it’s possible they were placed without a hearing, he said.

The Kalua family has declined comment. A family friend said Tuesday they were “advised not to talk because it could jeopardize the case.”…  

HNN: Bag found in a canal near Bellows on Thursday afternoon

SA: Missing Waimanalo girl’s items may have been found  … Despite the numerous interviews by HPD detectives, “there are still individuals, to include acquaintances and family members, who have yet to come forward to be interviewed,” Thoemmes said.

read … Missing 6-year-old girl had been pulled out of Waimanalo Elementary School

Kauai Council passes county’s own 3% TAT -- Starts Oct 1

TGI: … A 3% transient accommodation tax levied by the county will soon be applied throughout the tourism industry.

On Wednesday, the Kaua‘i County Council passed the creation of this hotel tax that seeks to fill the roughly $15 million per year the state previously gave the county in TAT revenues….

Bill No. 2829, which passed unanimously by the council, is … a 3% TAT on all gross rentals including hotels, resorts and short-term transient rentals as well as applied to visitor brokers, travel agencies and tour packagers who arrange transient accommodations at noncommissioned contracted rates.

In a previously reported projection, per every 1% TAT, the county would see about $6 million in revenue. To break even, the county would have needed to start the tax at around 2.4%, County Finance Director Reiko Matsuyama said at a previous meeting…. 

TGI: Kauai County has its own TAT now

read … Council passes county’s own 3% TAT

Gov. Ige’s request to halt nonessential travel impacts Hawaii hotel bookings, prices

KHON: … “One of the first weeks where we lost more money in cancellations than it was added to the entire market,” Singh said. “So, pretty alarming. This is kind of the COVID-19 shutdown, kind of travel back in time.”

The Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association President and CEO Mufi Hannemann in a statement said:

“Since the governor’s request for nonessential travel to halt, the industry has seen cancellations increase and occupancy cut nearly in half in some instances. Some hotels have been forced to offer discounts in order to keep operating, and all of this taking place during our normal slow season.”

“There are a lot of $100 deals in the market if you look around not too hard,” Singh said….

Cataluna: “Don’t blame the locals who traveled to Vegas or for their kid’s sports team or to bring their child to a mainland college … even though they deserve a measure of blame, somehow they get a pass because … uh … because so many locals have done or plan to do the same thing.”

read … Gov. Ige’s request to halt nonessential travel impacts Hawaii hotel bookings, prices

No violations found of Honolulu’s new vaccination, COVID-19 testing rules

SA: …Honolulu police have found no violations while spot checking Oahu restaurants — particularly in Chinatown and Kakaako — for compliance with new COVID-19 vaccination and testing rules for employees and customers that went into effect on Monday, interim Honolulu Police Chief Rade K. Vanic told the Honolulu Police Commission Wednesday.

And there have been no calls to 911 reporting violations of the Safe Access O’ahu program that’s scheduled to be in effect for another 56 days….

Meanwhile: Restaurant Defies Oahu’s new COVID rules--Gets Red Tagged

read … No violations found of Honolulu’s new vaccination, COVID-19 testing rules

Audit Finds That Young Brothers Failed To Offset Rising Labor Costs

CB: … When Hawaii regulators let the state’s monopoly interisland shipping company increase its rates a whopping 46% in August 2020, the order came with an equally whopping string – more like a rope – attached: Young Brothers would have to subject itself to a sweeping financial and management audit.

The purpose: to see what had gone so wrong that the century-old company needed an extra nearly $27 million to make ends meet.

Just over a year later, the audit is out. Its main finding: Young Brothers’ management had dropped the ball when it came to keeping up with rising labor costs, which were increasing sharply as outlined by a collective bargaining agreement with the company’s dock hands….

the audit found, Young Brothers management had simply grown accustomed to passing its increasing labor costs on to customers via rate increases routinely approved by the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission.

But by 2016, the PUC had become less compliant, and Young Brothers’ approved rate increases weren’t keeping up with the labor costs that were growing more than 10% per year, according to Young Brothers’ contract with its main union, the International Longshoreman and Warehouse Union, Local 142….

Missing Info: Regulated YB milked by unregulated Saltchuk and Foss

PDF: The complete Young Brothers audit report can be found here.

read … Audit Finds That Young Brothers Failed To Offset Rising Labor Costs

Still no whistle-blower hot-line: Four years later, audit recommendation yet to be implemented

HTH: … The Human Resources Department has been scrutinizing interview packets before county departments vet candidates for employment, one of several practices instituted after a scathing 2017 audit found favoritism in county hiring.

But another audit recommendation, a whistle-blower hotline, has yet to be implemented, the Merit Appeals Board learned Wednesday….

The scathing audit from former Auditor Bonnie Nims warned county practices contributed to public complaints of unfairness and favoritism and could have violated the law.

The audit found cases in some departments where applicants were offered positions before interviews were conducted, where no references were checked, where the number of interviews were the same as vacancies even though there was a large referred list, where a random number generator, instead of a skills test, was used to winnow applicants, where applications with mainland addresses were discarded and other questionable practices.

“The county’s hiring practices did not ensure equitable, uniform and transparent selection of candidates which may have resulted in non-compliance with applicable laws, rules, regulations and county policies and procedures,” the audit stated.

West Hawaii Today, in an investigation, expanded on the audit’s findings by revealing the use of sticky notes and the acronym “POI” to designate a “person of interest,” who was selected even before recruitment was conducted for positions.

The county’s new auditor, Tyler Benner, has begun a followup audit that was originally planned to start in 2019. Benner, who took over in July, said he’s requested information from HR to get the process moving.

“We’ve reached out to them and we’re waiting on information,” Benner said. “We’ve started digging that one back out of the trenches.”

Merit Appeals Board Chairwoman Gabriella Cabanas said she was concerned about the lack of action on a whistle-blower hot-line here employees and others could call in tips on unfair or illegal practices. She said money had been budgeted to put the position in Human Resources, but that didn’t materialize and the funding was lost.

“The whistle-blower hotline was one of the biggies that hasn’t been addressed,” Cabanas said. “That was one of the recommendations in the auditor’s report … and is been a couple of years already.”….

read … Still no whistle-blower hot-line: Four years later, audit recommendation yet to be implemented

Why is no media outlet reporting on the Miske case?

ILind: … I’ve spent four years reporting on Miske, beginning when his criminal activities were simply rumors heard “on the street” or out in the community. And, at this point, I’ve gathered a huge stash of background information, public records, court documents, newspaper clips from digital archives, family info from commercial genealogy databases, etc, etc.

And that’s informed the string of blog posts and Civil Beat stories about the case as it has developed.

Someone left a comment on a Facebook group, “Justice for Johnny,” focusing on the disappearance of Jonathan Fraser, a centerpiece of the federal case against Miske and his alleged associates.

“Why isn’t anyone else locally reporting on these stories as of late?” he wrote.

That’s when I realized I have backed into the role of “reporter of record” on this story….

If you wanted to get the scoop on an issue, the newspaper of record would be your first stop.

Newspapers no long provide that level of ongoing reporting on local events and institutions, and news has become as much “entertainment” as anything….

ILind: A look back at my reporting on the Miske case-Part 3

read … A few thoughts about reporting on the Miske case

Retired Hawaii County PD detective sentenced to probation

HTH: … A retired Hawaii Police Department detective has been sentenced to four years of probation for his role in an armed confrontation in Hawaiian Paradise Park in 2017.

Hilo Circuit Judge Henry Nakamoto sentenced 55-year-old John Rodrigues Jr. on Aug. 24 after he pleaded guilty to first-degree terroristic threatening and possession of a detachable magazine with a capacity in excess of 10 rounds of ammunition, both Class C felonies punishable by up to five years imprisonment….

Rodrigues later sued the county and then-Capt. Samuel Jelsma, who is now an assistant chief, claiming Rodrigues’ civil rights were violated and he was defamed by the department, which issued a media release about the arrest even though charges weren’t filed at the time.

In Rodrigues’ suit, filed first in Hilo Circuit Court but later moved to U.S. District Court in Honolulu, he claims he was threatened by Wesley Kaimana “Mana” Brooks, whom Rodrigues said fired a shot at him with a 9 mm handgun….

Rodrigues also alleged Brooks had stalked Rodrigues’ son, and his son had filed three police reports, including one alleging Brooks had made a death threat against Rodrigues’ son while brandishing an AK-47 and a 9 mm handgun, but police refused to investigate….

Rodrigues’ lawsuit was dismissed by U.S. District Judge Alan Kay on Dec. 30, 2019. Rodrigues appealed, and on Tuesday, a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the suit’s dismissal….

read … Retired detective sentenced to probation

Homeless Tweeker Starts 9000 ac grassfire on Maui

MN: … The fire started the morning of July 11, 2019, in Waikapu, where Bingham was reportedly trying to fix a stolen Nissan pickup truck. Thousands of people were evacuated as the fire swept toward Maalaea and North Kihei before it was contained four days later.

The three arson charges allege damage of more than $20,000 to property of Maui Electric Co., Bayer and the U.S. Army, which has its Army National Guard Armory along Maui Veterans Highway.

Three days after the fire started, Bingham was arrested in another stolen vehicle with 4.89 grams of methamphetamine that was packaged for sale, according to police. He was arrested within 750 feet of Imua Preschool and Kahului Community Center Park, police reported.

The prison contraband charge alleges he possessed methamphetamine while in jail on July 24, 2020.

If convicted as charged, Bingham could face mandatory minimum sentencing as a repeat offender with a prior conviction for second-degree burglary….

read … More Homeless Mayhem

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