EPA takes action to address pollution violations at Kailua Wastewater Treatment Plant
UHERO: Severe economic downturn unlikely for Hawaiʻi
Maui Mayor-Elect Bissen Names Chief of Staff
Five Months Later--Still No Concealed Carry in Honolulu
Report: Hawaii among five healthiest states
Moszkowicz selected as Big Island police chief
SA: … The Hawaii County Police Commission has selected Honolulu Police Maj. Benjamin Moszkowicz as the new top cop for Hawaii Island.
(CLUE: Moszkowicz was runner-up to Logan for Honolulu Chief.)
Commissioners voted 5-3 today during the panel’s monthly meeting in the County Council chambers in Hilo.
Commissioners voting to elect Moszkowicz were Dylan Andrion, Rod Quartararo, Rick Robinson, Pudding Lassiter and Vice Chairman Thomas Brown.
The three nay votes came from commissioners Denby Toci, Donna Springer and Anthony Sur. Chairman John Bertsch recused himself.
Moszkowicz was selected over three other finalists to succeed Paul Ferreira, who retired Aug. 31 after 40 years service in the Hawaii Police Department, six as chief….
HNN: HPD major leaving Honolulu to be next chief of Hawaii Police Department
Related: Lawsuit: Police False Arrest Victim to Cover for Informant
read … Moszkowicz selected as Big Island police chief
Moszkowicz Wants to Recruit Officers Away from Honolulu PD
KHON: … KHON2: Hiring is at crisis levels everywhere, every county across the country. How are you going to get people to stay on the Big Island or come to Hawaii County to be a police officer?
MOSZKOWICZ — So I’m exhibit number one, right? I’m leaving Oahu to come to the Big Island. The Big Island is a wonderful place to work. And not to do too much stealing, but there’s a bunch of people here who might be interested in coming over as well. So, part of it is looking at expanding lateral transfer program. Hawaii County would be very well suited and taking officers from Oahu. Don’t tell Chief Joe I said that; we were kind of laughing about that in my office a little bit earlier.
MOSZKOWICZ — So there’s certainly laterals from within the county laterals from the mainland United States. That’s kind of a first fix….
read … Hawaii County’s new police chief talks next steps
HPD: Weapons violations up in five of Oahu’s eight police districts
HNN: … Weapons violations jumped nearly 40% in District one, which includes Downtown Honolulu.
The memo documents during that 11-month time period last year, there were 125 compared to 174 during that same time period this year.
Meanwhile, weapons violations along Oahu’s Windward coast, also known as District four, surged more than 80% from 30 to 55.
District five, which includes Kalihi, saw the most dramatic increase with a nearly 90% spike from 61 to 115.
According to HPD weapons law violations include: unlawfully carrying a firearm or a felon or person prohibited who is caught in possession of a gun.
It also includes having prohibited weapons — like a butterfly knife or a switchblade, an electric gun or an explosive device….
read … Weapons violations up in five of Oahu’s eight police districts
Kaniela Ing Cited For Another Campaign Spending Violation--Referred for Criminal Prosecution
CB: … Kaniela Ing recently finished paying off $15,000 worth of fines related to violations from 2018….
The Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission voted unanimously Friday to take the rare step of referring a case regarding missed report deadlines from former state lawmaker Kaniela Ing to prosecutors for review….
(Tragically) Failing to file a report is (only) a misdemeanor under Hawaii’s campaign spending law….
To be charged, a prosecutor would need to prove that Ing “recklessly, knowingly or intentionally committed a violation of the law.”…
Izumi-Nitao said that the staff would prepare packets to send to either the Honolulu Prosecutor’s Office or the state Attorney General’s Office….
read … Former Maui Rep Cited For Another Campaign Spending Violation
Racist ‘Steward’ of remote West Oahu beach charged with harassment after encounters with visitors
HNN: … “I had heard there was a guy down at Makua threatening people so immediately pulled right up next to them and got out my car and said you cannot be threatening people,” said Emily Silge, who visited the beach.
Encounters like this one led the Honolulu prosecutor to charge Souza with harassment and second-degree terroristic threatening.
Both the city and state told Hawaii News Now on Thursday that it’s not in their jurisdiction.
“He was calling me all these racial slurs telling me because I’m haole, and I’m white I’m not allowed to be at this beach because this is where his ancestors are,” said Slige.
On Wednesday, he was surrounded by friends and other locals who support his efforts.
Souza plans to attend his next court appearance on Dec. 28, but says will continue to stay at the beach and continue to be what he calls “a steward of the land.”…
read … ‘Steward’ of remote West Oahu beach charged with harassment after encounters with visitors
Guam Legislature passes abortion ban; governor veto expected
AP: … Guam’s Legislature on Friday passed a bill prohibiting most abortions, a measure modeled after a new Texas law that leaves enforcement up to private citizen lawsuits instead of criminal prosecution.
Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero, who favors abortion rights, is expected to veto the measure.
The Guam Heartbeat Act of 2022 passed the U.S. territory’s unicameral legislature with eight senators in favor and seven opposed, the Pacific Daily News reported. Supporters would need 10 votes to override any veto.
The measure would ban abortion in Guam once cardiac activity is detected, usually around six weeks….
CB: The Fight Over Abortion Access In Guam Has Broad Implications For Women In The Pacific
read … Guam Legislature passes abortion ban; governor veto expected
Wespac Will Have To Pay Back More Than $800K Of Mishandled Federal Money
CB: … The Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council will ultimately have to pay back $837,000 of more than $1.2 million in questionable and opaque spending flagged by federal auditors last year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s grants division has ruled.
The influential council, known as Wespac, had appealed the findings of the Office of the Inspector General’s 2021 audit, contending that all of the spending was in fact above board. Wespac argued that it shouldn’t have to pay back those federal dollars, which stem from a fund that’s supposed to support sustainable fisheries in the Western Pacific.
Kitty Simonds, Wespac’s executive director, received NOAA’s final determination on the council’s questionable spending on Thursday. Wespac had appealed the findings of a 2021 federal audit. Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2020
Nonetheless, in its “final determination” letter Thursday, NOAA’s Grants Management Division informed Wespac’s executive director, Kitty Simonds, that it would uphold most of the OIG findings, largely because the council failed to provide “associated invoices, purchase orders, procurement agreements, receipts and cashed checks” for the flagged expenses….
read … Wespac Will Have To Pay Back More Than $800K Of Mishandled Federal Money
Hawaii’s Prison Medical Records System Has Reached A Point of ‘Absolute Crisis’
CB: … The state correctional system is struggling with an electronic medical records system that hasn’t worked properly since June, and medical staff at Hawaii prisons and jails are unable to access medical records including vaccination data for many inmates, according to corrections workers.
That last point is particularly frustrating because the Department of Public Safety began offering $50 incentive payments to prisoners more than a year ago to encourage them to get vaccinated against Covid-19 to try to slow the spread of the coronavirus inside state correctional facilities.
Many inmates’ vaccination records were scanned and loaded into the electronic system, but those are now unavailable to prison health care workers, according to staff who are familiar with the problem. The missing data includes records for inmates who have been vaccinated since April 2021, staff said….
As for the vaccination records, Schwartz said in her statement that apart from Public Safety’s records, inmates’ vaccination status was entered in the Hawaii Immunization Registry maintained by the state Department of Health. The Public Safety department has so far spent nearly $242,000 on the incentive program to encourage inmates to get vaccinated.
About 6,000 inmates have tested positive for Covid-19 since the pandemic began in March 2020 — some of them twice or more — and 10 inmate deaths have been blamed on the disease.
Staff said the department cannot vaccinate inmates with the new bivalent vaccine booster shots now being recommended by the health department unless it can confirm the prisoners already have completed a first series of vaccines. But to do that, prison officials need access to the inmates’ vaccination records.
Covid-19 clusters have been a continuing problem in Hawaii prisons. Halawa Correctional Facility had 178 active cases and Waiawa Correctional Facility had 39 on Dec. 6, although those numbers have dropped since then as the inmates recovered….
read … Hawaii’s Prison Medical Records System Has Reached A Point of ‘Absolute Crisis’
Former owner of Oahu rehab business indicted for fraud
SA: … A 39-year-old Honolulu man entered a not guilty plea in federal court Friday to allegations that he used unlicensed individuals to provide physical therapy and chiropractic services then faked claims that resulted in collecting more than $3 million in payments over a period of 4-1/2 years.
(Translation: Fake quacks.)
Stephen Timothy Wells owned and operated Ehukai Kapolei LLC and Healthcare Partners Inc., which did business on Oahu as Oahu Spine and Rehab. Wells had no medical training or other training related to health care, according to a Dec. 8 indictment charging him with seven counts of health care fraud and four counts of aggravated identity theft….
read … Former owner of Oahu rehab business indicted for fraud