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Sunday, May 3, 2020
May 3, 2020 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 9:10 PM :: 3377 Views

Do Our Laws Still Apply?

Keli'i Akina Calls for Balanced Approach to Re-opening the Economy

COVID Count: 1,825 tests uncover 2 new cases

OHA Insiders’ COVID Plan: “Push Money to Us”

CB: … When Congress passed the $2.2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act in March the intent was to set aside at least some funds for tribal entities so that they could respond to the growing COVID-19 pandemic in their communities.

American Indians and Alaska Natives are particularly susceptible to the spread of disease and — like other people of color in the U.S. — are believed to be more vulnerable to the coronavirus due to higher rates of chronic illness, lower incomes and overall lack of access to health care. The same is generally true for Native Hawaiians.

(According to DoH, Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders are 14% of COVID cases vs 10% of population.  That extra 4% means Simoleans if insiders can figure out how to grab them!  Keep working those numbers.  Sick Hawaiians means megabux for OHA!  Bonus money for OHA if you die!)

Federal relief aid in the CARES Act was supposed to ensure the country’s indigenous peoples were not forgotten. Instead, tribes have been embroiled in a legal fight with the Trump administration over attempts to send the money to for-profit Native corporations in Alaska….

When the money finally does flow, however, Native Hawaiians won’t see any of it. That’s because despite decades of trying, Native Hawaiians are not fully recognized by the U.S. government as a sovereign entity in the same way hundreds of American Indian tribes and Alaska Natives are.

(Wisdom: Giving money to OHA insiders will save zero lives.)

They don’t have a centralized government that can receive federal money, which means that in the midst of a global pandemic Native Hawaiians (OHA insiders) might miss out (on free money from the sky).

“This is a direct consequence of the lack of federal recognition,” said Hawaii Congressman Ed Case, who sits on the House Appropriations Committee. “I’ll say it straight, if Native Hawaiians were federally recognized the likelihood of higher funding is there.”…

There’s also the possibility for some Native Hawaiian organizations to get direct allocations from the federal government through other provisions in the CARES Act.

Such was the case for Alu Like Inc., a Honolulu-based nonprofit that received $62,270 through the legislation…

On April 3, shortly after President Donald Trump signed the CARES Act into law, OHA and several nonprofits representing Native Hawaiian interests, such as Papa Ola Lokahi (Sylvia Hussey on Board of Directors) and the Native Hawaiian Community Development Corp.  (8a money mongers last seen sitting on their roof), sent a letter to Ige and top officials at the state Department of Education urging them to apply for millions of dollars in federal emergency education funds through the CARES Act and dedicate at least 25% for Native Hawaiian children (OHA insiders’ profitable nonprofits)….

Sterling Wong, a spokesman for OHA, said there’s little more the agency can do other than urge state officials to apply for federal relief aid and allocate it accordingly to Native Hawaiians. He did not want to comment on the topic of federal recognition.

Kuhio Lewis, who is the CEO of the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement, was more blunt in his assessment.

“The unfortunate reality right now is we are subservient to the state and county government, we have to go through them,” Lewis said. “Really, Hawaiians need to come together to figure out their future and the structure of that future so we can start getting these funds.”

Native Hawaiian organizations, such as his, are reliant on government dollars, but Lewis said there’s barely been a trickle from the feds despite there being trillions of dollars on the table…. (So sad.  37% unemployed and OHA insiders aren’t getting a few random millions.)

“We know there are many ongoing attempts to push money to us, but right now there’s not a lot,” Lewis said…. 

(IQ Test: Are you crying?)

“We need a new president,” Schatz said, “and then we need for the Native Hawaiian community to move through the process of determining what a Native Hawaiian governing entity would look like.”…

Until that happens, Native Hawaiians (OHA insiders) will continue to miss out on certain pots of money, including the $8 billion set aside in the CARES Act….

read … Native Hawaiians Are Losing Out On Millions Of COVID-19 Dollars

DoT Preps Thermal Scanning for Airports

SA: … The state Department of Transportation is gearing up to bring airport thermal screening to Hawaii, which would become the first U.S. state to adopt the technology that’s being used at some Asian airports. They’re also working with state government and tourism leaders to perfect arrivals screening, including tightening loopholes in Hawaii’s mandatory 14-day self-quarantine for out-of-state passengers….

read … Travel to Hawaii will be filled with new safety measures in a COVID-19 world

Burglars and Killers among 37% of Prison Population Released for COVID

BIN: … More recent and additional reductions are related to collaborative efforts of the state public defender’s office, county prosecutors, the Hawai‘i Supreme Court and the Supreme Court-appointed Special Master, Judge Dan Foley, the release continued.

However, prosecutors have done some objecting in recent weeks to the granting of supervised release to habitual criminals and those charged with serious offenses — though not to much avail.

Law enforcement officials initially said no prisoner convicted of domestic violence, sexual assault, burglary, robbery or any other similarly serious crimes would be released from custody. It appears, however, that policy has changed.

Jake Branch appeared in 3rd Circuit Court in April for an arraignment and plea on charges related to residential burglaries in South Kohala and failing to obey officers’ commands. During the discussion of bail, the judge decided to allow the 35-year-old supervised release.

Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Chase Murray, who was present at the hearing, said he was surprised by the decision, as Branch was already pending trial on two separate cases. During the hearing, Murray argued Branch was a flight risk, a danger to the community and asked the judge to maintain bail.

James Bonham, 66, was taken into custody on April 28 following a shooting incident in Captain Cook that left his 45-year-son, Joshua Bonham, dead….

Bonham was officially charged with 2nd Degree Murder on April 30 and was held on $50,000 bail, then subsequently granted supervised release. The decision by the judge was made despite the prosecutor’s objections.

The state has said the rationale behind its overarching philosophy of releasing prisoners to slow the spread of coronavirus isn’t only to protect prison populations, but also to protect prison employees and their families…. 

Rep Ward: This “Get Out of Jail Free Card” for a thousand prisoners is outrageous!

read … Hawai‘i Judiciary Frees 37% of Prison Population in Two Months

Contract Tracing Devolves into Bureaucratic Turf Battle, Squabble over Funding

SA: … A crucial piece, still in development, is contact tracing: Those exposed to the virus from someone with a confirmed infection are located and isolated.

The state’s current force of contact tracers — people who interview those testing positive for COVID-19 to find others whom they might have exposed — can handle the task now at hand. That’s thanks in large part to the fact that a crackdown on tourism and business activity generally has “flattened the curve” of new disease cases….

The state must pursue ways to expand its network of surveillance, its contact tracing and its protections for the front-line health-care workers who are coping with the disease….

Instead, work must accelerate, on multiple fronts. One of them is contact tracing. Encouragingly, the state Department of Health last week announced its plan to use a new digital tool, developed by HealthSpace (www.gethealthspace.com/contact-tracing) to help with this task.

The app, equipped with privacy protections, will allow those who test positive to submit their contacts themselves….

Not everyone will be able or willing to use the app, though, which means there will be more than enough work for the roughly 80 DOH staff and volunteers tasked with the person-to-person questioning.

Bruce Anderson, director of the state Department of Health, said in an interview Thursday that the state will clearly need to expand that force to be ready for any increase in infections….

(Translation: While everybody else cuts back, DoH wants to expand)

Anderson said his department will use positions that are already budgeted for a more immediate expansion of contact tracing, but pointed out, with good reason, that the Legislature will need to consider funding increased staffing for this purpose, for the foreseeable future….

(Translation: While everybody else cuts back, DoH wants to expand)

Anderson said that DOH is drafting a comprehensive plan to provide a focal point for testing. This will include an expansion of its established sentinel testing network of 32 physicians statewide who detect infectious diseases in the community. The network should soon include community health centers and other health-care providers….

MSN: Scientists conclude people cannot get coronavirus twice

read … Progress and beating the coronavirus will take array of tests and contact tracing

Slow-footed governor leaves Hawaii’s unemployed hanging

Shapiro: … between March 1 and April 26, the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations paid only 65,252 of 225,394 unemployment claims filed as its staff, phones and online portal were overwhelmed….

Ige had a virtual army of state workers sitting home with little to do who could have been deployed to help process unemployment claims. He had hundreds of phone lines in closed state offices that could have been repurposed for unemployment calls. He could have quickly marshaled computer expertise to work around antiquated systems.

The governor did none of these under his clear emergency powers, apparently worried about the response of public workers unions, which were consumed with demanding hazard pay…

read … Slow-footed governor leaves Hawaii’s unemployed hanging

Amid much talk of new normal, expect much to stay the same

Borreca: … It appears that the biggest obstacle to Hawaii moving ahead with making a decision and carrying it out is Hawaii.

City and state government would argue they bear no guilt, they are immensely capable of making a decision. Decisions fuel the government, they would say, although when the government comes down with decisions on both sides of the issue, it equals no decision….

Yes, not doing anything is something we do well….

Hawaii’s new normal is much the same as the old normal; it is that same old “no can do spirit.”…

read …Amid much talk of new normal, expect much to stay the same (see Natatorium, Haiku Stairs)

Hawaii can’t be world’s safest place with Homeless Tent Cities Everywhere

Cataluna:  … Gov. David Ige’s administration began talking publicly about Hawaii’s economic recovery, pointing to the state’s relatively low number of COVID-19 cases overall as key to marketing Hawaii as the “healthiest state in the country” and “safest place on earth.”…

Hawaii can’t be the state that most effectively dealt with COVID-19 but unable to deal with the legions of homeless people living in unsanitary conditions ….

read … Hawaii aiming to be the world’s safest place

Several Mainland Homeless Arrive at Airport as Senators Watch—Only One Deported

HNN: … The group toured Honolulu’s airport one day after grilling the deputy director of the Transportation Department about not doing enough to keep visitors inside their hotel rooms for the required 14 days.

The senators were there as flights arrived.

They witnessed the screening process, which includes temperature checks, phone verification process, and requires each visitor sign forms explaining that they could be arrested if they break the rules.

State Sen. Donna Mercado Kim pointed out a problem with that.

“They just sign. They’re not even reading what they’re signing,” she said, adding that the Hawaii Tourism Authority should add a verbal agreement instead of just requiring the signature.

State Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz said one loophole was particularly concerning.

“The amount of visitors that are coming through and are not staying the 14 days. They have a hotel reservations but the hotel reservation is only for one night,” he said….

More than 300 tourists statewide have been caught violating the rules and have been referred to law enforcement. Some have been sent back, others have been cited or arrested.

A homeless man arrived on an Alaska Airlines flight from Los Angeles as senators were beginning the tour.

The man did not have accommodations and during screening agreed that he would turn around and return to the mainland….

“There were several people coming from different cities who were actually homeless,” Dela Cruz said.

State Sen. Kurt Fevella said sheriffs deputies told him that happens more than once a day….

Lt. Gov. Josh Green wants to require all visitors be tested 72 hours prior to arrival in Hawaii.

“It’s much better that that gets done there because once we start getting thousands of tourists there’s no way to do enough rapid tests," he said.

The senators are still pushing for a quarantine hotel….

read … During airport tour, lawmakers find loopholes in mandatory quarantine for visitors

Bumfight: One Homeless Dude Kills Another

KHON: … Honolulu police said that the victim, who was in his 40s, and the 20-year-old suspect were arguing near the Firestone across the street from Pearlridge Center around 1:30 p.m. The argument escalated and resulted in the stabbing.

The victim was transported to Pali Momi Medical Center in critical condition, where police said he was later pronounced dead….

read … Homeless man in Aiea dies in stabbing

Hawaii couple that contracted COVID-19 recounts harrowing and frustrating battle against the disease — and red tape

HTH: … “My mom was supposed to go on a fun trip … and she ended up hospitalized for 2 1/2 months,” said William “Bill” Heflin, the couple’s son and a Hilo attorney recently on a short list of nominees to become a Hilo Circuit judge….

Bill Heflin was calling Oahu’s private hospitals in an attempt to get his mother admitted. His efforts turned up denials with only three maybes — The Queen’s Medical Center, Pali Momi Medical Center and Adventist Health Castle.

“The three hospitals said they couldn’t take her unless she had an updated test. The Japanese hospital originally didn’t want to do it because they had a limited number and she’d been cleared for weeks,” he said….

Finally, Bill Heflin contacted his sister, Audrey Burke, and her husband, Dr. Timothy Burke, a neurosurgeon who practices at Anne Arundel Medical Center in Maryland. Timothy Burke said he contacted the Hawaii facilities that were maybes, and “they sort of gave me the impression that they were at full capacity.”

“I know that wasn’t true, because I’m a physician here, and our (occupancy) numbers were and are significantly higher in Maryland,” Burke said. “… She just needed things to be arranged for her transition to outpatient status. We weren’t asking for an ICU bed or anything like that. It was frustrating.

“So I asked my hospital here and, granted, it’s my hospital and I know people here. But it was just one 30-second phone call, and we were able to get her accepted for transfer.”

So on April 10, almost a month after the initial CDC letter clearing her to travel to the U.S., and more than two weeks after being medically cleared by the Yokohama hospital, Catherine Heflin was discharged from the Yokohama hospital and put aboard an air ambulance to the East Coast.

“Because she wasn’t able to go to Hawaii, what would’ve been probably an eight-hour flight ended up being a 17-hour flight,” Audrey Burke said.

Catherine Heflin received follow-up treatment in Maryland and was released from the hospital on April 17….

Richard Heflin said he was “very angry” his wife was denied care in Hawaii.

“And what upset me was, during the time my wife was still in Japan, there was an article in the newspaper that said only about 30% of the hospital beds in Hawaii were occupied. That really ticked me off,” he said….

read … Hawaii couple that contracted COVID-19 recounts harrowing and frustrating battle against the disease — and red tape

Waikiki bartender awake in hospital, tests negative for COVID-19 after 6-week battle

SA: … He has been recovering at Kaiser Permanente Moanalua Medical Center where he has been able to breathe without the ventilator for as long as 11 hours, his family said….. 

KHON: After 6 weeks, COVID-19 patient Coby Torda wakes up from coma

HNN: Ewa Beach man wakes from medically induced coma in COVID-19 battle

read … Waikiki bartender awake in hospital, tests negative for COVID-19 after 6-week battle

DOH apologizes for director’s mention that Kona McDonalds Patients are Marshallese

WHT: … “We feel like this is like discrimination, because it’s disparity of a minority,” Big Island Marshallese Community Association members Meetu Kelen, vice president Charles Kelen and president Taruo Abner said in a joint statement. “All throughout the month of March, there wasn’t any mention of ethnicity, and then April comes — and boom — Marshallese.”

Anderson, when lawmakers implied the department was withholding information, told the Senate Special Committee on COVID-19 that some of 32 cases in the cluster included McDonald’s employees from the Marshall Islands and their families. He outlined that six or seven were traced to two different locations, adding family members were subsequently sickened, further spreading the virus….

read … DOH apologizes for director’s comments about race and ethnicity

Layoffs and Cutbacks at Hawaii Newspapers

CB: … Those who pick up The Maui News will notice the paper is thinner, said Managing Editor Lee Imada. Advertising has evaporated, and rotating furloughs mean a quarter of the staff of 12 is not working any given week. The paper, which had already eliminated its Sunday edition last year, recently cut sections from its Saturday paper.

The ads for hardware stores, restaurants, appliances and entertainment that used to fill pages are “pretty much gone,” Imada said. The losses could have led to layoffs, but the union and paper leadership chose rolling furloughs instead.

“We decided to share the suffering,” he said. “We’re trying to wait this thing out.”

Oahu Publications – the parent company of the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, the Hawaii Tribune-Herald, West Hawaii Today and the Garden Island, among others – has indefinitely furloughed 50 workers companywide, put another 125 on reduced work schedules and eliminated some freelance positions, according to President and CEO Dennis Francis. Some, but not all, of those positions are journalists. To cut printing and distribution costs, Saturday editions of Oahu Publications newspapers are now only available online….

read … Hawaii’s Media Is Surviving On Federal Assistance And Community Support

Hawaii County Mayor: Mitch Roth Leads Fund Race

HTH: … Hawaii County Prosecutor Mitch Roth is running well ahead of the fund-raising pack of the five mayoral candidates who filed campaign spending reports with the state Campaign Spending Commission by Thursday’s deadline. Roth was the first announced candidate, and as an elected official, he already had a campaign account set up….

Roth had $107,217 in contributions for the filing period that ended April 25, compared to Ikaika Marzo with $8,235, Tante Urban with $4,000, Bob Fitzgerald with $2,300 and Michael Ruggles with $1,200….

Last Week: Harry Kim Pulls Papers to Run for Reelection

read … Campaigning during COVID-19: Mayoral candidates try to break out of the pack

Mary Day Disappearance: Another Hawaii Child Welfare Failure

H: … In December 1980, while the family still lived in Hawaii, Mary was placed in protective custody after police said her stepfather started physically abusing the young girl. The following month, the family moved to Seaside, California, when William was reassigned there, leaving Mary in protective custody in Hawaii. She was released a few months later and rejoined the rest of the Houle family in California….

read … Mary Day’s Disappearance: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Global Warmers: Seawalls Will not Save Hawaii from Sea Level rise

SA: … A new study by researchers at the University of Hawaii at Manoa has found that Honolulu will be under increasing siege by a triple threat of flood waters associated with escalating sea level rise in the decades ahead.

Surprisingly, direct flooding from ocean waves represents the smallest threat — only 3% — while flooding that emerges from the ground, known as groundwater inundation, appears to be the greatest single threat, according to the study published in the journal Scientific Reports.

What that means is that anyone thinking of building a seawall for protection against a rising ocean might want to think twice….

read … Honolulu under triple threat of flooding as sea level rises

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