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Wednesday, April 1, 2020
April 1, 2020 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 8:13 PM :: 2494 Views

The Biggest Fruit Ever Grown in Hawaii

258 COVID Cases: 34 New, 11 more recovered

Hawaii Records First Corona Death--224 Total Cases

April 4 Deadline to Register for Hawaii Democratic Primary

Government Response to Coronavirus: Blunders & Opportunities

February 250,052 Tourists Per Day -- Up 0.5%

Assisted Suicide lobby using COVID 19 to promote assisting suicides via telehealth

Restore Open Government in Hawaii

Elections Office Mails Out Signature Cards

Trump Signs Hawaii Disaster Declaration

Hawaii leaders don’t know how many state workers are getting paid to do nothing

SA: … frustrating some state senators who learned Tuesday that executive branch leaders don’t know how many of the roughly 73,000 state workers are getting paid to do nothing instead of being redeployed or perhaps even furloughed.

During a Special Senate Committee on COVID-19 hearing Tuesday, state Sen. Jarrett Keohokalole (D, Kailua-Kaneohe) expressed outrage over not being able to have idle workers help the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, which lacks enough staff to process an avalanche of unemployment claims on a timely basis as job losses mount.

During the first four weeks of March, 116,916 new unemployment claims were filed in Hawaii.

“We have a DLIR, a Department of Labor, that’s behind on issuing unemployment checks to private citizens who cannot telework and are nonessential and have been laid off, and you’re telling me we cannot requisition the individuals in state government — who are sitting at home because they can’t go into work or teleperform their functions via telework — to help the private citizen taxpayers who are paying their paychecks?” Keohokalole asked.

Keohokalole’s question was directed at Ryker Wada, director of the state Department of Human Resources Development, who said that redeploying state workers is challenging….

Wada told the committee that he doesn’t yet have a breakdown of how many state employees are continuing normal work, how many are working remotely and how many aren’t working but are still on the taxpayer’s payroll….

Wada also said he couldn’t give a timetable for obtaining that information, because (insert excuse here) ….

“It almost seems like you’re waiting it out so you don’t have to do it,” Dela Cruz said.

Wada said repurposing idle state employees, none of whom have been furloughed, could be complicated by collective bargaining rules.

Gov. David Ige on March 5 issued an emergency proclamation that allows him to suspend statutes including one covering collective bargaining. However, Wada said Ige has not executed this suspension that would allow shifting workers into other roles….

KITV: “Prove to us you’ve done some work” – Senators blast state HR head over lack of information

read … Hawaii leaders don’t know how many state workers are getting paid to do nothing

Nobody in Jail has COVID, but Lawyer seeks ‘Emergency and humanitarian release’ for accused rapist of 78-year old woman

HTH: … Counsel for a 19-year-old man accused of sexually assaulting a septuagenarian last summer at a Kawaihae campground is seeking “emergency and humanitarian release” for his client due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Zeth Robert Browder has been confined at Hawaii Community Correction Center in lieu of $166,000 bail since his arrest June 15, 2019. He has pleaded not guilty to two counts each first-degree sexual assault and third-degree sexual assault and one count each first-degree burglary, kidnapping and tampering with evidence.

According to prosecutors and police, the victim, a 78-year-old woman, reported that she had been sexually assaulted by a man who was also camping at Spencer Beach Park. Police identified and subsequently charged Browder in connection with the alleged crime.

Trial, which was slated to begin March 10 but was delayed pursuant to an order by Hawaii Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald suspending all criminal trials to after April 30, is now is set for June 2.

The motion to be heard this week seeks an order from Kona Circuit Court Judge Robert D.S. Kim to release Browder on his own recognizance during the pendency of his case, or in the alternative, supervised release due to the “extraordinary circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic.”…

Related: 426 Criminals may soon be released on to Hawaii Streets

read …‘Emergency and humanitarian release’ sought for sex assault suspect

Caldwell: Mass Release of 426 Criminals Will Trigger Crime Wave During Pandemic

SA: … The state Supreme Court last week responded to those pleas by instructing Tabe’s office to submit a list of inmates serving sentences of up to 18 months as a condition of felony probation; inmates who are serving sentences for misdemeanor or petty misdemeanor convictions; and all pretrial detainees charged with misdemeanor or petty misdemeanor offenses.

It is unclear exactly what will happen next, but Caldwell told reporters Tuesday that at a minimum, police and prosecutors should be consulted before there is any wholesale release of prisoners.

“If they’re going to come back out, and they don’t have a place to go to and they don’t have a job to do, if they have no income and many of our businesses are closed and shuttered, and many of our residents are in their homes, they’re going to do what they know how to do, and they’re going to be breaking and entering, and putting more burden on our police officers,” Caldwell said.

“This has to be really looked at very closely, and it absolutely demands the input of the Honolulu Police Department … and our prosecuting attorney,” Caldwell said.

“I’m making the statement loud and clear because so far the decisions have been made without including our police departments and prosecutors, who are the ones catching these folks and trying to get them in prison so our community is safer.” ….

CB: Honolulu Mayor: Prison May Be ‘Safest Place’ To Ride Out COVID-19

read … Mayor Caldwell and police chief oppose release of jail inmates 

COVID: After Overcoming DoH Resistance, Hawaii now 6th-Most Tested State

SA: … The movement of visitors into Hawaii from the rest of the nation has been choked off in a way that is virtually impossible in other states, and Hawaii officials are poised to further restrict traffic between the population centers within Hawaii with an interisland quarantine.

The Hawaii Tourism Authority announced today the visitor count arriving in Hawaii on Monday plummeted to 121, down from an average of about 30,000 per day a year ago at this time. In all, 681 people arrived Monday on 41 flights, and the vast majority of those were returning residents or flight crew members.

Even within the state, much of Hawaii including the neighbor islands is sparsely populated and rural, which reduces the chances of a major outbreak, Katz said.

“Rural means less densely populated and the key risk for person-to-person transmission is close person-to-person contact,” said Katz. “That’s why social distancing is really the key for mitigation of transmission.”

Even with the travel quarantine in place along with the closures of bars and non-essential businesses and the statewide restrictions on residents’ movements, Katz said Hawaii will inevitably see more cases because the incubation period for COVID-19 is up to 14 days.

But Hawaii has also been increasingly aggressive about testing people for coronavirus. State health officials said Monday they have so far tested 8,936 people for the novel coronavirus, which is far more tests per capita than many other states.

According to coronavirus testing data maintained by the website Vox, Hawaii ranks sixth in the nation for the number of people per capita who have been tested for the disease….

“We’re actually not far behind (South Korea) in terms of tests per capita,” Anderson told the Senate Special Committee on COVID-19 on Friday….

read … Hawaii’s geography and widespread testing are advantages in the COVID fight

Paying rent during COVID-19

KGI: … Most tenants have their April rents, but since many have been laid off or furloughed in mid-March, it’ll be after April that he’s anticipating challenges.

“It’s when we start running into May and June we’ll see issues because [tenants are] out of work,” he said. “Not one owner I’ve come across wouldn’t want to help.”

In many cases, he said employment is one of the biggest issues.

“If the economy doesn’t get up, then we’ll be looking at a lot of rents and real estate going down,” he said….

read … Paying rent during COVID-19

Mayors call on president to stop all non-essential travel to Hawaii

HNN: … Caldwell said he plans to send a letter to President Trump to push for a halt of all non-essential travel to the islands. Neighbor Island mayors have supported the move and the governor is reviewing it, Caldwell said….

read … Mayor calls on president to stop all non-essential travel to Hawaii

Kauai police arrest visitor accused of violating state’s mandatory quarantine

HNN: … Kauai police arrested a Florida man Tuesday for violating the state’s mandatory, 14-day quarantine for all incoming visitors and residents.

Authorities identified the man as 62-year-old Dwight Anthony Tucker, of Tampa.

They said he arrived Monday on Kauai and checked in at the ISO Hotel in Kapaa. He was supposed to remain in his hotel room, not even leaving to get food. But instead, police stopped him in Hanalei.

He was arrested for disregarding the mandatory quarantine rules and subsequently posted $100 bail. His court date is set for May 27.

It’s the first known arrest linked to the mandatory quarantine….

Kauai police said they’ve also issued eight citations to people who allegedly violated Kauai’s nighttime curfew.

On Tuesday, Police Chief Susan Ballard said Honolulu officers have issued at at least 1,500 warnings to people for violating the stay-at-home order along with 180 citations. At least nine people have also been arrested.

The majority of citations and arrests included other violations….

read … Kauai police arrest visitor accused of violating state’s mandatory quarantine

Police appear to contradict city policy on park access

ILind: … City officials have repeatedly assured the public that although parks are closed, people are free to walk through a park to get to the ocean. But out on the streets, Honolulu police officers are threatening people with citations for doing so….

read … Police appear to contradict city policy on park access

Queen’s Medical Center employee tests positive for coronavirus

SA: … “The Queens Health Systems is working closely with state health officials after receiving notification of a positive COVID-19 test result for one of its caregivers,” said spokesman Cedric Yamanaka….

Patients and staff exposed to the worker have been notified and “Queen’s is working with them to ensure their safety.”

The state Department of Health is following up on all other potential contacts, he said, adding that Queen’s doctors and staff are following the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and safety precautions and have the equipment “to safely care for potential or confirmed COVID-19 patients.”…

read … Queen’s Medical Center employee tests positive for coronavirus

HFD confirms second firefighter tests positive for COVID-19

KITV: … The Honolulu Fire Department has confirmed that a second firefighter from the Kalihi Uka Fire Station has

tested positive for COVID-19 and the HFD has temporarily shut down the fire station for cleaning and disinfecting.

The fire station will re-open Wednesday morning at 8:00 a.m. All station personnel have been directed to stay home and self-monitor as recommended by the City and County of Honolulu’s Infectious Disease Officer….

read … HFD confirms second firefighter tests positive for COVID-19

17 homeless people move into state’s first Kauhale village

HNN: … The state’s first Kauhale is made up of 11 tiny houses. The communal village was paid for entirely through donations. But what’s even more incredible is where it’s built.

“This is actually our backyard,” said Blanche McMillan.

It’s farmland she leases from the state.

For the past year, McMillan worked with government to get the project off the ground. Now it’s finally come together. “Because of the coronavirus I said, ‘No more. This is enough. We need to bring our people here right now,'" she said.

All 17 people who live in the village used to live across the street at Waimanalo Beach Park. Each one of them had a hand in clearing the land and building their own hale….

Cataluna: Public restrooms critical for some

read … 17 homeless people move into state’s first Kauhale village

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