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Monday, September 20, 2021
September 20, 2021 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:42 PM :: 3773 Views

Anti-Vaxxer May Soon Chair Hawaii Democratic Party

OHA Check Register: Complete List of Who Gets Paid FY2020-21

Project POKE: Build Satellites in the Classroom

Life Sentence? State Releases Criminal to his Mommy -- then Feds Take Over

Cops Reinstated After Hit n Run DUI Accidents Behind Two Recent Shootings

CB: … Honolulu police officer Chance Correa was off duty on Dec. 9, 2002, when he nodded off behind the wheel of his GMC Yukon sport utility vehicle and plowed into a Jeep Wrangler that was pulled over on the side of Fort Weaver Road.

Correa was believed to be drunk at the time, but he fled the scene with the help of a higher-ranking officer who himself had a history of sustained misconduct and other allegations of wrongdoing.

The driver of the Jeep, meanwhile, was left behind, pinned to his steering wheel until a bystander called 911 and emergency personnel rescued him using the “jaws of life.”

The Honolulu Police Department fired Correa in 2005 after a lengthy internal affairs investigation into the incident that resulted in at least three other officers losing their jobs, including one who tried to execute a cover-up.

Correa’s termination didn’t last long. The State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers appealed his discharge and a third-party arbitrator ultimately sided with the union, finding that HPD’s investigation was flawed and Correa’s punishment too harsh.

He was reinstated in 2007, his termination converted to a six-month suspension.

Now, almost 15 years later, Correa’s disciplinary past is playing a key role in a federal civil rights and excessive force lawsuit filed against the City and County of Honolulu for the shooting death of a Honolulu man, Kyle Thomas, after he was pulled over by police.

Thomas was killed by HPD officers in 2019 after he was suspected of shoplifting at a Mililani Walmart. According to the lawsuit, Correa was a principal shooter and is blamed for escalating what should have been a routine traffic stop into a fatal encounter…

Correa won his job back after SHOPO successfully appealed his termination to a third-party arbitrator hired to hear the case, Cynthia S. Nakamura….

Correa’s sergeant, Stephen Gerona, vouched for his sobriety as well….

Rezentes and Gerona both appealed their discharges. A third-party arbitrator eventually reinstated Rezentes albeit with a multi-month suspension.

Gerona, on the other hand, negotiated a settlement agreement with HPD that reduced his discharge to a written reprimand….

Gerona is currently a major who also sometimes serves as an acting assistant chief of HPD’s investigative bureau….

Correa’s reinstatement is just one example of how union appeals and arbitrators’ decisions can have lasting consequences.

Consider the case of Brent Sylvester, who is one of the HPD officers who shot and killed Lindani Myeni earlier this year during a struggle with police.

Sylvester was fired from HPD in 2016 after he was involved in an alleged drunken hit-and-run accident on the H-1 freeway….

read … How An Arbitrator’s Decision Can Cause Problems For Police Agencies Years Later

The Miske Case: Former Kaneohe Biker Bar Operator Pleads Guilty

CB: … Steve Silva was one of three men who formed Cheers LLC in 2015 to open and operate the Four4 Bar and Grill in a Kaneohe strip mall. And the Four4 was the gathering place for a year or two for members of the Nakipi Motorcycle Club, which was led by Norman Akau.

(Cantonese Numerology: 4 = death)

There’s the link, if you know the players in the Miske case. Akau appeared in court and pleaded guilty in early June to being a member of Miske’s criminal organization, and told the judge he had been part of at least one murder-for-hire plot funded by Miske, although it was eventually “unsuccessful,” and the planned killing didn’t take place.

Two others who were among the leaders of Nakipi, Lindsey Kinney and Zeph Kimo Salis, are also names tied to the Miske case….

read … The Miske Case: Former Kaneohe Biker Bar Operator Pleads Guilty

He co-founded an anti-vax mandate group. Then he caught COVID, and his views changed

HNN: … Back in October 2020, Chris Wikoff helped co-found the Aloha Freedom Coalition — the group most vocal against vaccination mandates….

Earlier this month, he and his wife tested positive for Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus.

“We were told the COVID virus was not that deadly. It was nothing more than a little flu. I can tell you it’s more than a little flu,” he said.

Wikoff, 66, still needs help breathing. He thinks he got infected during a church event in August.

After he was diagnosed, he was first sent to Queen’s Medical Center West then to Queen’s Medical Center downtown due to the lack of bed space.

His wife, whose case was not as severe, didn’t need to be hospitalized.

“I was in a bed. I can’t move, I can’t breathe,” he recalled about the experience. “I was afraid I was going to die.”

Even though he was treated with Remdesivir, he hasn’t been vaccinated against COVID-19 yet. But he is now considering it because his doctor and family members -- some of whom are physicians -- are recommending it.

“Probably getting COVID again would be more dangerous than getting the reaction from the vaccines,” he said.

He said he asked the Aloha Freedom Coalition to remove his name as a member on its state business registration.

“I no longer want to participate. I want to mind my own business and isolate,” he said.

Wikoff is now sharing his story to warn others not to take part in rallies and protests his coalition is helping to organize, including those held in front of Lt. Gov. Josh Green’s home.

“Before I thought Josh Green was exaggerating the situation and after my experience he sounds very rational to me,” he said….

Wikoff said its time for the focus to shift.

“I think we should be more concerned about safety than about protesting. I think people should not be getting together in large groups for the purpose of protesting,” he said….

read … He co-founded an anti-vax mandate group. Then he caught COVID, and his views changed

Second pregnant woman in Hawaii hospitalized with COVID dies after giving birth

HNN: … A second pregnant woman in Hawaii who was hospitalized with COVID has died after giving birth, the chair of the Hawaii State Maternal Review Committee confirmed.

The woman’s baby survived and is reported to be healthy.

The maternal death is the second this month in the islands, and comes as the state grapples with an ongoing surge in COVID infections, hospitalizations and fatalities.

In the month of September alone, Hawaii has reported 125 COVID deaths.

Meanwhile, HNN has also confirmed that both women were unvaccinated.

Low vaccination rates among pregnant women locally and nationally have caused growing alarm. Experts stress COVID vaccines are safe for pregnant women and their unborn babies….

read … Second pregnant woman in Hawaii hospitalized with COVID dies after giving birth

Executive rule behind Social Discord

SA: … Pressure is building. The warning signs are everywhere. And yet, Hawaii’s leaders appear not to care that 18 months under executive rule is wearing out the social fabric of our state. If things don’t change soon, it could be too late to prevent permanent damage to Hawaii’s spirit of aloha.

More than any particular mandate, this is the biggest failure of governance in Hawaii’s experience with the coronavirus. If you don’t believe me, ask your neighbors or family members: Has the governor — and our mayors, acting under the governor’s authority — gone too far in asking people to sacrifice their jobs, important family events and many other aspects of their lives for the sake of this never-ending state of emergency?

Some people might say the breaking point was when we were told where we could walk or drive and with whom. Others might say it was when their businesses were closed or their jobs became dependent on getting the coronavirus vaccine. For many, the universal vaccine mandate was the last straw.

Others, of course, will refuse to draw any line at all. But no matter the answer, chances are the discussion will result in angry words and accusations. We have arrived at the point where we seem to be talking past each other and becoming frustrated when “the other side” doesn’t demonstrate understanding for our position.

That’s because the people have been deprived of a voice in their own government. Not only has much of the decision-making from the governor and mayors lacked transparency, it also has been an unprecedented exercise of executive rule….

read … Time to end governor’s coercive exercise of executive rule

COVID Rules Expand Homelessness

SA: … Chinatown began slipping backward, and residents and businesses have repeatedly told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser that conditions have only gotten worse and more dangerous as COVID-19 forced Oahu shelters to reduce their bed space as businesses struggled or shuttered.

“When many of the shops and businesses were closed, restaurants etc., it sort of left the streets open both to those who are homeless and congregating in the area,” Fukunaga said.

“It just escalated, these conditions that by themselves may not have been as horrible,” she said. “But when you put them all together, they were just so in your face everywhere that it really contributed to urgent need for a change.” ….

read … Chinatown Weed and Seed program on Oahu requires a sustained effort and more housing

U.S. easing foreign travel restrictions; vaccinations required

AP: … President Joe Biden will ease foreign travel restrictions to the U.S. beginning in November, allowing foreigners into the country if they have proof of vaccination and a negative COVID-19 test, the White House said today.

The new rules will replace a hodgepodge of restrictions that had barred non-citizens who had been in Europe, much of Asia and certain other countries in the prior 14 days from entering the U.S. The changes will allow families and others who have been separated by the travel restrictions for 18 months to plan for long-awaited reunifications.

White House COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients announced the new policies, which still will require all foreign travelers flying to the U.S. to demonstrate proof of vaccination before boarding, as well as proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within three days of flight. Biden will also tighten testing rules for unvaccinated American citizens, who will need to be tested within a day before returning to the U.S., as well as after they arrive home….

read … U.S. easing foreign travel restrictions; vaccinations required

State gives Transportation Security Administration and airlines exemptions to Hawaii’s COVID emergency orders

SA: … Gov. David Ige’s order requiring that contractors and visitors at state facilities and property provide proof of their vaccination or testing status prior to entry has already been in effect for a week, but thousands of workers at state airports still aren’t in compliance.

Ige signed Executive Order 21-07 on Sept. 8. The document, which was issued to ensure the safety of the government workforce during the escalation in COVID-19 infections, went into effect Sept. 13, the same day that Hono­lulu’s Safe Access O‘ahu vaccination and testing requirements began.

While some businesses were able to meet the requirements promptly, others, including airlines and the Transportation Security Administration, have requested a grace period.

Ige spokeswoman Cindy McMillan said in a statement that “Dir. (Kenneth) Hara has approved requests by the airlines and Transportation Security Administration to have until Oct. 15, 2021 to comply with the governor’s Executive Order.”….

read … State gives Transportation Security Administration and airlines exemptions to Hawaii’s COVID emergency orders

Legislators Continue Attack on State Auditor: Agribusiness Development Corp Next Up

CB: … A new product development center is being heralded by supporters as evidence that the Agribusiness Development Corp. is making progress….

On Monday, the ADC will be on the firing line when a House investigative committee starts two days of hearings centered on a review of the ADC conducted by the Hawaii State Auditor. The ADC’s executive director, Jimmy Nakatani, and ADC’s senior executive assistant, Myra Kaichi, are scheduled to testify on Tuesday….

read … Hawaii’s Embattled Ag Agency Finally Moves Wahiawa Center Forward

Telescope Decommissioning: Usual Suspects find something to whine about

SA: … The first two observatories of as many as five of the existing 13 that dominate the landscape atop Mauna Kea are expected to be decommissioned by late 2023. Separate draft environmental assessments for the two projects are available for public review and comment through Oct. 8.

One is the Caltech Submillimeter Observatory, built in 1987 by the California Institute of Technology, a partner institution in the planned construction of the controversial Thirty Meter Telescope. The other is the University of Hawaii at Hilo’s Hoku Kea, which was one of the first built on Hawaii’s tallest mountain, which is held sacred by many Native Hawaiians. That facility was built in 1970 by the Air Force and later given to the university.

Both observatories have already closed, and the draft EAs do not anticipate any significant impacts from their dismantling.

However, environmentalists will be taking a close look at possible chemical discharges that may have occurred there over the years and what can be done to mitigate water contamination by the cesspool that served the Caltech observatory. Hoku Kea does not have a cesspool....

CB: As TMT Works To Build On Mauna Kea, Two Telescopes Are Coming Down

read … Questions of chemical discharges surround decommissioned scopes atop Mauna Kea

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