Out-of-state buyers don't drive Hawaii home prices, report shows
DoH Survey: Just as Many Concerned about COVID as in 2020
Hawaii Guns: Concealed Carry OK, Open Carry Banned?
The Public May Never Know Who Did The Bribing In The Honolulu Permitting Scandal
CB: … In a bribery scandal that nabbed government workers, federal prosecutors have obscured the identities of those on the other end of the transaction….
The indictments and plea agreements filed so far describe the bribers in vague terms.
For instance, former senior building inspector Jason Dadez admitted to taking at least $1,000 to nullify a violation for an architect and third-party reviewer who is only identified in court records as having a client with a residence on Ala Wai Boulevard. …
Dadez also took at least $2,000 from the owners of a restaurant in Waipahu and accepted some $9,900 in bribes from an unnamed solar contractor, the plea agreement states….
Before a trial, prosecutors have an interest in keeping secret the identities of people who may testify in court, he said. They want to do what they can to protect cooperating sources from intimidation, according to Silvert.
“They don’t put that out there for their protection and safety,” he said.
However, when defendants plead guilty and take a deal, there is no trial, and the identities of those witnesses may stay hidden forever. …
Former building inspector Jennie Javonillo, who was sentenced to two and a half years in prison, admitted to accepting money from several customers over the years, including an architect, two draftsmen, an engineer and a builder.
But the identities of those people were not released by prosecutors….
Similarly, three years after a prominent local engineer, Frank James Lyon, was busted in a major bribery scandal spanning from Hawaii to Micronesia, the public still doesn’t know which state agencies – or which state officials – were engaging in the corruption. …
2019: Lyon Bribe: DHHL Releases Suspect Contract Docs
read … The Public May Never Know Who Did The Bribing In The Honolulu Permitting Scandal
Airport theft probe exposes possible wider public corruption scheme
HNN:… “Given the number of people involved. I think the scheme was extensive in terms of longevity. I don’t think it was just a one-time occurrence,” said Randal Lee, a retired judge and well-known investigator of white-collar crimes….
“The scheme had been going on for years.”
Deputy Sheriff Freddie Carabbacan, a Department of Public Safety Employee since 2004, as arrested last year on suspicion of second-degree theft. Kennesey Keawe, who has worked as an adult correctional officer for two decades, was arrested on similar charges.
He’s the brother of former baseyard supervisor Arnold Keawe Sr., who was arrested last year. Both Carabbacan and Kenessey Keawe still work for the Department of Public Safety . None of those arrested have been charged.
Hawaii News Now has learned that what began as a theft investigation has expanded to include alleged contracting violations….
One of the DOT employees arrested -- Steve Washiashi -- is a purchasing employee with the department, which suggests insider deals with taxpayer money.
“It was a closely knit group that were was using the procurement process to either purchase equipment or purchase material that were used for either personal use or business use,” said Lee.
Carabbacan told us the Attorney General’s office is investigating a vehicle repair shop he owns. He said his business did about $140,000 of repair work for the baseyard….
CB: Deputy Sheriff Freddie Carabbacan always took it upon himself to pat down female detainees
read … Airport theft probe exposes possible wider public corruption scheme
Miske co-defendants who flip are not getting off scot-free
ILind: … I’m sure people are wondering what kind of “deals” have been made with former associates of Michael Miske who have already “flipped” by pleading guilty, admitted to crimes that were tied to the accused racketeering boss, and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors, including testifying against their former associates if required.
To answer the question, I went back over the guilty pleas already entered by Miske’s co-defendants, or by others who were charged separately but admitted to being directly or tangentially part of what prosecutors refer to as the Miske Enterprise.
The short answer is that many defendants face, at minimum, a mandatory 10-year sentence, while others are exposed to much long possible sentences despite their plea deals. One was sentenced to over 15 years in federal prison, despite his guilty plea and deal with prosecutors….
read … Miske co-defendants who flip are not getting off scot-free
Ige: COVID Policy Designed to Acquire Federal Funding
HTH: …Due to changes in federal funding, the state of Hawaii will alter its approach to testing, treatment and other COVID-19 mitigation strategies.
“Congress did not provide any additional funds to the Biden administration to support the COVID pandemic moving forward,” said Governor David Ige during a Honolulu Star-Advertiser conversation on Wednesday. “You’re going to begin to see us move back to normal, where health services, tests and treatments are provided through your health insurer.”
On Tuesday, White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha confirmed the Biden administration will stop buying vaccines, treatments and tests as early as this fall.….
read … Ige: Changes coming as COVID funding ends
Hawaii reports 13 COVID deaths, nearly 2,700 cases in past week
HNN: … Hawaii on Wednesday reported 13 additional coronavirus deaths and 2,696 new cases in the past seven days.
That compares to 3,189 cases and 14 additional deaths in the previous week.
DOH said the average positivity rate is 10.7%.
The state’s COVID figures don’t include positives from at-home tests, so the real number is likely far higher….
SA: VIDEO: Gov. David Ige joins the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s ‘Spotlight Hawaii’
SA: COVID-19 cases in Hawaii trending downward
read … Hawaii reports 13 COVID deaths, nearly 2,700 cases in past week
Expert: Worrisome rates of drug abuse among Hawaii’s youth could fuel surge in crime
HNN: … According to new figures, roughly 1 in every 10 middle and high school students in Hawaii report a probable substance use disorder indicating a need for treatment. The Hawaii Student Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drug Use Survey also shows treatment need increases by grade, more than doubling from middle school to high school.
Youth aren’t just experimenting with alcohol, nicotine and marijuana. The study showed students as young as eighth grade were also trying meth, opiates and cocaine….
For years, Hawaii has had a shortage of beds where people can detox, especially on the neighbor islands. There’s also a need for more youth drug treatment programs….
read … Expert: Worrisome rates of drug abuse among Hawaii’s youth could fuel surge in crime
Sen. Fevella calls for emergency declaration over rising electricity costs in Hawaii
KITV: … Fevella’s request comes less than two weeks after the Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO) said it would have to raise its rates by an additional 7% as the state shuttered its last coal power plant and the ban on coal as an energy source is set to take effect to start 2023.
The HECO rate increase is in addition to 10% to 20% increase they announced for the state in March 2022.
Citing Hawaii Revised Statute Chapter 127A-14, Fevella says Gov. Ige has the power to “relieve hardships and inequities, or obstructions to the public health, safety, or welfare found by the governor to exist in the laws.” ….
read … Sen. Fevella calls for emergency declaration over rising electricity costs in Hawaii
DoE Red Tape slows teacher hiring
KITV: … The State Department of Education is trying to boost its teachers and staff ranks by streamlining the application process….
Yama Radtke, DOE Substitute Teacher says, “It takes forever to get registered. Sometimes just jumping through all the hoops who you have to talk to where you have to go and I know it’s the government and the department of education but they still need to find a way to file themselves. I have 5th graders who can organize themselves better than the department of education.”
And the red tape makes it difficult even for former teachers. Yumi TR Kawano taught on the Big Island for more 10 years before retiring in 2014 to care for the rainforests as a biologist. But she wanted to return to the classroom as a substitute teacher.
“I think what the challenge is the communication breakdowns between the district offices and the schools," explains Kawano. "I went through this in 2020 I was trying to teach at Pahoe High School -- of course it was very chaotic at that time so, somehow I wasn’t able to get on the sub list yet they needed subs badly so…nothing new even with COVID being somewhat over.”….
read … A proposed plan to help streamline teacher hiring
Visitor paid parking program to start in 2023
MN: … Beginning with Ulua/Mokapu Beach Park and the Kamaole beach parks in early 2023, including the respective on-street parking, the program would require visitors to pay for spots at county-owned parking lots while reserving free spots for residents….
read … Visitor paid parking program to start in 2023
City (again) preparing design documents to renovate storied Waikiki Natatorium
KITV: … Will the iconic Waikiki War Memorial Natatorium ever reopen to the public? After closing down due to water quality and safety issues 43 years ago, the storied landmark now sits dilapidated with crumbling concrete and chipped paint.
The city told KITV-4 it is "in the process of preparing the design documents for the renovation of the Natatorium and is also in the process of obtaining the necessary permits."…
read … City preparing design documents to renovate storied Waikiki Natatorium
Oahu churches have become targets for crime
KITV: … "We have encountered people shooting up in quarters of our temple," said Bishop Reyn Tsuru of the Shingon Mission of Hawaii. "Sanctuary areas where we have loved one's remains had been desecrated with people using the area as a restroom. And we've had to clean up human waste in front of basically graves."
Surveillance video from the Shingon Mission shows a trespasser taking items from the altar used for worship…
"We have to do that because of the dramatic rise in vagrancy and crime that has strangled this neighborhood," he said.
With the amount of trespassing doubling over the past year -- the head of the temple said the move's necessary for the safety of visitors and the congregation….
read … Oahu churches have become targets for crime
Soft on Crime Activists fight over Which Rapist to Free
HNN:… The group convinced a Hilo Circuit judge to release documents from 2007 and 2009 containing a list of items sent for testing after the conviction. The 2009 document is heavily redacted and lists several items like clothing, evidence from Ireland, hair and carpet.
“There may be evidence that the 2007 DNA test was intentionally withheld from Frank Pauline. If that’s in there, that’s attorney misconduct. Now, I’m not saying it is. I’m just saying it’s possible. We don’t know. It’s blackened out. We don’t know what’s there,” said Ret. Judge Mike Heavey of Judges for Justice.
Pauline was killed in prison. Shawn Schweitzer received a short sentence with credit for time served. The Hawaii Innocence Project and New York Innocence Project are trying to exonerate Albert “Ian” Schweitzer who’s still behind bars….
(Not a Pimp Importer) Ken Lawson of the Hawaii Innocence Project … says Heavey is interfering with the case.
“Finally, the judge told him in hearing last week, look all these accusations you’ve been making are false. These files, these sealed files contain absolutely no DNA results. Has he apologized? No,” said Lawson.
“The man is a menace,” he added.
“I would tell them, I love you. I come in peace and I am not trying to do anything that would upset you. I am merely pursuing righteousness,” said Heavey….
2018: UH: Convicted Felon Paid to Get Other Convicts Released
read … Unsealed documents in Dana Ireland murder case show no hidden DNA evidence