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Saturday, May 2, 2020
May 2, 2020 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:43 PM :: 2845 Views

A Low-Risk Plan to Re-Start Hawaii Tourism Now

Police Arrest 3 Ticket 20 at 'Reopen Hawaii' Protest

OHA Trustee Keli‘i Akina Raises $100K+ Toward Re-Election

291 Candidates File for Election

Hawaii COVID Count: 861 tests uncover only 1 new case, 6 released

COVID Count: 920 Tests Reveal Only One New Case

Justice Department Approves Sale of Dairy Producer Amid Antitrust Concerns

Court Orders FAA Clampdown on Helicopter Tours over National Parks

Hawaii Unemployment Claims Jump 2785%

Kauai: 56% of Households have Lost a Job

CB: … In more than 56% of Kauai households, at least one member of the household has lost their job because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

More than a third aren’t sure they can pay next month’s rent or mortgage and nearly a third include people with health conditions that put them at highest risk of infection.

Those are key data in a new Hawaii State Department of Health survey of 189 Kauai households that were randomly selected from Census data and interviewed in person on April 22 and 23. It is apparently the first such local COVID-19 survey anywhere in the country….

PDF: Hawaii State Department of Health survey

read … Survey: Jobs Losses, Worries About Paying Rent Widespread On Kauai

Child Molestation Suits Raise Question About DoE Hiring Practices

SA: … The heinous crime of child sex abuse — a hurt inflicted on scores of Kamehameha Schools students decades ago by psychiatrist Robert Browne, as well as on members of the Catholic Church — has now embroiled Punahou School and a top city director in disturbing accusations.

Punahou, among Hawaii’s top private schools, is being sued by several prominent alumna over alleged abuse more than a decade ago by a couple of coaches and educators. Mixed-martial arts champion Ilima-Lei Macfarlane and her sister, Mahina, are among former basketball players suing former Punahou assistant coach Dwayne Yuen and the school, alleging sexual abuse by him in the mid-2000s. One of these plaintiffs had filed a restraining order in 2006 against Yuen.

Yuen was released from Punahou as initial complaints swirled — but was hired later at Moanalua High, Kamehameha Schools and Momilani Elementary school; he resigned from his DOE job in February 2018 after the state opened an investigation into allegations against him.

This case prompts sharp questions about the thoroughness of background checks, as well as the obligations of schools to disclose prior actions or investigations launched on employees. Student safety should be paramount — and that responsibility should be applied community-wide, not just to a school’s own campus.

Days after the Yuen lawsuit came news of another sex-abuse suit against Punahou, this one accusing former teacher Christopher McLaren, now married to Monica Mamiya McLaren, a Punahou School trustee who has since stepped down from that post.

And this week, city Enterprise Services Director Guy Kaulukukui was put on paid administrative leave, after a lawsuit was filed against him and Kamehameha Schools over allegations he sexually abused a teenage student while a teacher there in the 1980s.

All the lawsuits came just before the April 24 sunset of a state law that enabled civil lawsuits to be filed for long-ago sex abuse within a statute of limitations…. 

SA: Support brave victims of sexual assault

April 30, 2020: Alleged Child Molester Hired by DoE, Taught Second Grade

read ... Heinous child sex abuse allegations

A sign of the times: Food distribution sites slammed with long lines

HNN: … In Mapunapuna, Honolulu police were called out to help with traffic control as cars lined up for eggs, vegetables and other food being given away at the Aloha Products warehouse.

Some people waited as long as four hours in their vehicle for the line to move along. The turnout even surprised the owner who organized the giveaway.

“Times are hard,” June of Aloha Products said. "I understand many people out there, there’s no jobs." …

At Farrington High School, a separate distribution event was held. The line stretched for about two miles, backing up drivers on surface streets, and near the Houghtailing off ramp.

Long lines at food distribution events have been a recurring sight in recent weeks, and it will likely continue until businesses fully reopen and jobs are filled once again….

TGI: Poipu 2,000 lunches Friday during the We Donated. You Dine drive-thru lunch pickup.

read … A sign of the times: Food distribution sites slammed with long lines

Phased Reopening Plan to be Announced Soon?

HTH: … Rep. Mark Nakashima of Hamakua said there are ongoing discussions regarding when the state Legislature will reconvene. Most agree that such an event cannot occur until after the statewide stay-at-home order is lifted, although that date, currently scheduled for the end of May, is well after when the 2020 legislative session is scheduled to end.

Gen. Ken Hara, incident commander for the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency, reiterated during the call that any attempt to reopen the state must be weighed against the risk of introducing new vectors for COVID-19 infection.

However, Hara added that a phased plan for reopening the state might be revealed in the next few days. That plan would include a series of conditions that would allow certain industries to reopen if the number of new cases remains under a certain level….

read … Lawmakers mull future of island post-lockdown

Airline CEO thinks Hawaii is poised for a major tourism boom after the pandemic

BI: … "Hawaii will be the destination of choice," Bricker noted when asked if Hawaii will be of greater interest to the airline moving forward. "Hawaii ... is doing quite well with the COVID crisis so it'll be interesting to see how accepting they are of leisure customers from places elsewhere in the near term."….

read … Why an airline CEO thinks Hawaii is poised for a major tourism boom after the pandemic, but his won't be part of it

Jobless filing a source of stress, frustration, long wait for checks

MN: … Hutto logs into the state unemployment site at 6:30 a.m., or 6:31 a.m., every day in an attempt to beat the crowd but with no luck. She tried for three weeks, logging in at random times throughout the day but is still confronted with the message: “We’re sorry. The system is currently experiencing a high volume of requests. Please try again later.”

Hutto said she had to close down her business, Mauka Physical Therapy, “due to the safety of my clients and to prevent me from contracting the virus.”

“I have been in business in Maui for over 29 years and never thought I would have to close my doors,” she said. “We cannot continue to survive with no income. I have bills that have to be paid and a mortgage that has to be paid or do a balloon payment at the end of three months, which is insane.”

Hutto and her son, who worked for an electrician company, finally were able to file an initial claim in early April, and one weekly claim. However, they have not been able to file any more weekly claims since.

“I understand that the office is overwhelmed, but there has to be another way to submit a claim if the online system is not able to support high traffic,” Hutto said. “This is just unacceptable.”

The pair received emails saying they may be disqualified and require an update to their online information, which then means having to access the high volume site again. Hutto received the first two weeks of unemployment benefits but her son has not received anything.

“I am so frustrated that I am getting penalized for not doing weekly claims and reclamations because the unemployment website won’t let me in,” she said. “I am in a better position than most people, but am afraid of many of my friends who are having the same trouble as me and not getting their unemployment benefits either, and are struggling to have money to get food, much less pay their bills or rent.” …

HTH: State: More than $87.5M in unemployment insurance benefits paid last week

read … Jobless filing a source of stress, frustration, long wait for checks

Nothing Screams ‘Aloha’ Like An Ankle Monitor

CB: … Hawaii’s visitor industry is in a nosedive, but tracking guests could make things worse ….

BJ: Welcome Back? Or Not?

read … Nothing Screams ‘Aloha’ Like An Ankle Monitor

Kauai resident finishes 14-day quarantine without being checked on

KHON: … one Oahu family moved to the Garden Isle 14 days ago and said no one followed up with them to make sure they were following quarantine.

The father, Zac, said they got off the airplane, agreed to sign paper work that they would follow the mandatory 14-day quarantine and would not leave their new home.

After a few days they were surprised they still hadn’t received a phone call from any officials or law enforcement. 

“We had to sign paperwork, verify our home address and residence where we’re staying and our contact information,” the Kauai resident said.

The family was told to check-in online every day.

“There is a portal that says ‘Are you staying at home today? It’s day whatever, do you have a fever?” said Zac.

He said his family has followed the quarantine every single day and is frustrated to see others who aren’t, including visitors….

read … Kauai resident finishes 14-day quarantine without being checked on

COVID Death Rate not what it Seems

CB: … A Stanford study just released found that in a representative sample of 3,330 people in Silicon Valley there are likely 50 to 85 times more people infected than those previously reported.

Separately in Los Angeles, a similar USC study found those already infected were 28 to 55 times higher than the roughly 8,000 confirmed cases that the county had in early April, when the study was conducted.

A recent New York City study showed that the people infected by COVID-19 was likely 12 times greater than the numbers of people who have been reported as being infected.

These results are prompting a surge of further studies around the country to provide more rigor to these data. In Hawaii, we would hope that our authorities are pursuing similar studies.

Hawaii’s proclaimed death rate, as of April 28, is 16 deaths out of 609 reported infections, or about 2.6%. If it is finally shown that, like New York, we have had 12 times more infections through people not knowing they were infected, it would mean 16 deaths of 7,308 infected, or 0.22% deaths….

WSJ: The_Bearer_of_Good_Coronavirus_News

read … Reopening the Economy Requires Understanding the Data

1,400 Sign up for Antibody Testing at HPH

CB: … On Friday, Hawaii Pacific Health announced it would cover the cost of COVID-19 antibody tests for its employees.

By 2:30 p.m. Friday afternoon, about 1,400 employees had already signed up.

“We knew we’d like to understand how much asymptomatic virus infection there’s been among our employees,” said Dr. Melinda Ashton, HPH’s executive vice president and chief quality officer.

“All of the information tells us there’s a lot of people who get this virus who don’t get sick and recover. So this blood test helps us to identify folks like that as well as people who know that they were sick.” …

HNN: Many dental offices are starting to re-open.

read … COVID-19 Antibody Testing Ramps Up In Hawaii Without DOH Endorsement

15-Minute COVID Test -- DOH distributes rapid test equipment to all Counties

HTH: … The state Department of Health has distributed 12 Abbott ID NOW COVID-19 rapid test instruments to the counties, the DOH announced this afternoon.

The rapid coronavirus tests can produce results within 15 minutes when conducted in a certified laboratory, the DOH said.

“Having this capability to test a critically ill patient within 15 minutes is a great tool in the fight against COVID-19,” said Dr. Edward Desmond, DOH’s State Laboratories Division administrator. “It helps us detect the virus quickly and respond much faster to help the patient and inform staff to ensure safety measures are in place.”…

Six instruments have been sent to county medical systems. Two each went to DOH District Health Office laboratories on the Big Island, Kauai and Maui, and six instruments went to clinical laboratories and health systems on Oahu….

The Abbott instruments were provided at no cost to the state thanks to federal funding….

MN: Hawaii now has the capacity to run more than 3,000 tests per day, and results are coming back faster, within 24 to 48 hours, Ige said.

read … DOH distributes COVID-19 rapid test equipment

If you’re flying Hawaiian Airlines, you’ll need a face mask going forward

HNN: … Starting May 8, Hawaiian Airlines said passengers will need to be wearing a face mask or cloth covering for all flights.

The company said passengers will be required to wear the masks from checking in at the airport, while riding on the plane up until they deplane at their arrival destination.

The new policy is in place going forward. They added young children who are unable to keep a face covering on, or guests with certain medical conditions will be exempt from the policy.

This is a significant change from the early days of the pandemic when flight attendants worried for their safety after they said they were not allowed to use face masks in flight. There was no previous requirement for passengers….

LAT: Major U.S. airlines will require masks to slow coronavirus spread

read … If you’re flying Hawaiian Airlines, you’ll need a face mask going forward

Farmers react to Young Brothers shipping schedule change

HTH: … Michael Durkan, who buys and sells papayas that are shipped to a health food chain in Honolulu, also manages Johnson Family Farm, a 20-acre organic farm in Opihikao.

He’s not concerned that Young Brothers is reducing its routes, but rather that they are planning to cut the Monday barge.

Ships leaving Hilo on Thursday arrive in Honolulu for unloading on Saturday, but because of work schedules, Durkan said, most produce shipped from the Big Island will have to wait until Monday until it’s unloaded.

That’s a problem for farmers because their products are then damaged or not as fresh.

It also means the produce isn’t available for weekend markets.

Barges that leave Monday arrive Wednesday or Thursday, in time for the weekend, Durkan said.

Because the markets aren’t able to move as much fruit, Durkan said sales and receipts go down for both the farmer and the sellers.

“Not just for us, but also for the people that sell our produce in Honolulu. They also lose if they don’t get the produce in time for peak sales. … It’s a real bad situation for everyone, including the customer.”

Additionally, Durkan said many farmers and farm workers are “weekend warriors,” who work full-time jobs through the week and pick and pack produce on Saturday and Sunday in preparation for the Monday barge.

And in a letter to the Tribune-Herald, Durkan also said he now has to pay to haul goods to ship from Kawaihae on Tuesday, which adds 4 cents per pound to freight costs, resulting in higher prices for customers and reduced sales. ….

read … Farmers react to Young Brothers shipping schedule change

Caldwell wants four-day work week for city workers, but could take several months to implement

KHON: …  The mayor says a four-day work week benefits everyone, not just the workers. But unlike Kauai, it can’t happen that soon. Caldwell says the devil is in the details.

“It’s something that is definitely on the table, particularly with the pandemic and the new normal when we crawl out of this pandemic,” he said.

The mayor says we’re already seeing a glimpse of it with considerably less traffic on the roads. If Honolulu went to a four-day work week, different departments would have different days off, so some would wind up working on the weekends.

“The good news is there will be people working on Saturday and if there are people working on our satellite city halls for example, there will be additional customer service,” said Caldwell.

Council member Kymberly Pine proposed the four-day work week back in January because she saw the benefits when lifeguards and EMS workers did it.

“They have had less sick leave, less workers comp usage. So it was a benefit to the taxpayer. They were excited and rested to come to work for their 10-hour days and they were more productive workers as a result,” said Pine.

There are about 10,000 county workers that will be affected, and the mayor says the unions, HGEA and UPW, have to agree to the change. He points out that there might be some workers who aren’t willing due to child care issues. So it could take months before it can happen…..

read … Caldwell wants four-day work week for city workers, but could take several months to implement

Let’s Stop Calling Them Leaders

CB: … Let’s reserve the title “leader” for those who are willing to use their judgment to act decisively despite having limited information, limited authority and the pressure to please everyone.

We should stop calling people leaders until they deserve the title.

Leadership expert Eric McNulty believes these distinctions are important: Leadership is based on behavior and independent of role or rank.

Just because someone has an important title or fancy office, they are not automatically leading….

read … Let’s Stop Calling Them Leaders

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