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Tuesday, May 4, 2021
May 4, 2021 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 2:12 PM :: 2550 Views

Biometric Controls for International Arrivals at Honolulu Airport

City’s Rental and Utility Relief Program closes after just a few minutes -- will reopen June 7

Two Anti-Gun Bills Await Ige Signature

Special Agents Check 3,200 Hotel Rooms for Quarantine Violators

2021 HS Graduation Schedule Announced

DoE Seeking ESSA Waiver (again)

Escape Gambit Works:  Saito to be released from Prison Soon

KHON: … Three years after a notorious escape from the Hawaii State Hospital, patient Randall Saito has struck a deal with the attorney general’s office.

Saito agreed to serve five years in prison for escape and identity theft, according to his attorney

He faced up to 20 years behind bars.

Saito had been a patient at the state hospital for 37 years when he escaped from the facility in 2017 and caught a flight to Maui, then California….

Saito’s sentencing hearing is set for Wednesday….  

UPDATE: Sentencing hearing for Hawaii State Hospital escapee pushed back to May 6

(Three years served on a five year sentence.  he will be out soon.)

read … Hawaii State Hospital escapee makes a deal to cut his time behind bars

Not-a-Pimp McCoy Guilty of Robbery

HNN: … A jury has found a former death row inmate guilty in the case of a second-degree robbery in Waikiki.

East Coast native Isaiah McCoy has been locked up in a federal jail for nearly two years.

On Monday, a jury found him guilty of the 2019 robbery in which he and another man assaulted and stole jewelry from in Waikiki.

In Delaware, his death row murder conviction was overturned due to prosecutorial misconduct. He moved to Hawaii in 2017. (Thanks to ‘Innocence Project’ boss Ken Lawson)

McCoy was also suspected in several other crimes around Oahu….

Background:

read … Former death row inmate found guilty in Waikiki robbery case

Hawaii Safe Travels getting help from company that developed New York’s COVID-19 ‘vaccine passport’

KHON: … Lt. Gov. Josh Green says the state is on schedule to be able to screen residents who are fully vaccinated to travel inter-island when the exception starts on May 11. Travelers should be able to upload their vaccination card to the Safe Travels portal by May 7.

“We’d like people to carry their card with them, their vaccine card, but you’ll be able to upload a picture of your card into the Safe Travels system, and that will be excellent,” said Green.

The state has already been working with the companies Clear and Common Pass to validate COVID-19 test results from travelers and is looking to do the same with vaccine exceptions. Green says another company helping out is Excelsior, developed by IBM. It’s the first vaccine passport in the country now being used in New York. Green adds that these companies will be more critical when the vaccine passport is allowed for mainland visitors.

“The process is basically that they can do some verification in the background, especially because our systems are very seamless here in Hawaii between the VAMS system, Hawaii Pacific Health, Kaiser, Queen’s, and the health centers,” he said.

Green says the state is also on track to allow vaccinated mainland visitors to come to Hawaii in July, and international travelers by the end of the year. But a lot will depend on how the state handles the increase in inter-island.….

CB: Ige Rules Out Vaccine Passports For Trans-Pacific Travelers For Now

KITV: A week before scheduled launch, state, county officials ironing out plans for vaccine passport program

read … Hawaii Safe Travels getting help from company that developed New York’s COVID-19 ‘vaccine passport’

Gov. Ige mulls vaccination mandate for State Employees

HTH: … Gov. David Ige said he has considered requiring state employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19, but has no definite plans to impose such a mandate.

During a livestreamed interview Monday, Ige said he has considered imposing a vaccine mandate for state employees whereby employees would be required to have completed a COVID-19 vaccine regimen as a condition of employment.

Ige said the state imposes several other vaccine mandates and has for many years. For example, he said, the state requires that students receive several vaccinations — including vaccines against polio, measles, chickenpox and others — in order to attend school.

The state could impose a similar COVID-19 immunization requirement for its own employees, but Ige suggested it is too early to determine whether one would be effective….

The University of Hawaii is similarly considering a COVID-19 immunization mandate for students returning to campus in the fall.

Hilton Raethel, president and CEO of the Healthcare Association of Hawaii, said in April that UH is one of several Hawaii organizations considering its own vaccine mandate, but UH spokesman Dan Meisenzahl said in April and again on Monday that UH has made no definite plans.

“There’s still a lot of things that would have to happen first,” Meisenzahl said, adding that the determination depends on large part on what the state decides to do.

Meanwhile, on the Big Island, Mayor Mitch Roth has not discussed the possibility of a vaccine mandate for county employees, said Roth’s spokesman Cyrus Johnasen….

CB: Civil Beat/HNN Poll: Most People Surveyed In Hawaii Say They Will Get Vaccinated

CB: Fear Of Side Effects, Government Mistrust Among Reasons For Vaccine Hesitancy

read … Gov. Ige mulls vaccination mandate

Public’s help needed to locate Maruo Sykap, 21, wanted in connection with robbery

SA: ...  Maruo Sykap is wanted on a no bail grand jury bench warrant for robbery in the first degree. The robbery occurred at about 1:10 a.m. at Kalakaua Avenue and Philip Street.

Police said the woman was treated and released at a hospital for a non-life-threatening stab wound to her upper torso.

The robbery apparently took place near a makeshift memorial that was created for his younger brother, 16-year-old Iremamber Sykap, whom police fatally shot after he rammed through police cars with a stolen vehicle in oncoming traffic April 5 following an alleged crime spree….

read … Public’s help needed to locate Maruo Sykap, 21, wanted in connection with robbery

Myeni family’s attorneys want to query occupants, owner of home

SA: … On Friday in a series of filings, Myeni’s attorneys noticed their intent to depose the woman who called 911, Shiying “Sabine” Wang; her husband, Da Ju “Dexter” Wang; and the registered owner of the home, James H. Hall….

The home at 91 Coelho Way is a short-term vacation rental advertised on Airbnb and Instagram, according to the lawsuit, meaning discrimination by persons owning, operating or controlling that establishment on grounds of race is prohibited by law….

Prior to the April 14 incident, police and city inspectors had responded to incidents at the home.

In the past year, officers responded to reports of a vehicle break-in, a motor vehicle collision, a possible COVID violation and a miscellaneous incident. The Department of Planning and Permitting investigated seven complaints from 2019 to 2020 of an illegal short-term rental being operated at the home….

SA Editorial: Build public trust with HPD probes

read … Myeni family’s attorneys want to query occupants, owner of home

Hawaii ranked 5th most impacted state for hotel industry job loss for 2021

KITV: … Monday, the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) released data on projected job loss through the end of 2021. Hawaii's expected to lose more than 20,000 hotel jobs.

The organization ranks that as the 5th highest in the nation, just behind Nevada, with more than 22,000 projected jobs lost…

PBN: Four questions with Sherry Menor-McNamara on Hawaii unemployment

PDF: AHLA Report

Related: DOWNLOAD AHLA'S NEW 2021 STATE OF THE INDUSTRY REPORT

read … Hawaii ranked 5th most impacted state for hotel industry job loss for 2021

Kauai Exultant as 700 Visitors turned away at Ha‘ena

TGI: … (Happy) Employees have turned away over 700 cars the past two Sundays at Ha‘ena State Park.

…state Department of Land and Natural Resources staff say it is not just because of the new fees being implemented.

Alan Carpenter, assistant administrator for the DLNR Division of State Parks, said that the turnaround number is true, but it is not because of the fee, but rather because advance reservations and fees have been required since June 2019 to enter Ha‘ena State Park or to hike the Kalalau Trail….

“The parking staff have the unenviable (exalted) position of delivering bad news to disappointed, upset and often-entitled visitors who arrive at the park without the required advance reservations, which are always sold out in advance.”….

“Unfortunately, capacity will never equal demand for these highly-sought-after park experiences,” Carpenter said. “Sundays are the most difficult (productive) days, with the highest number of turnarounds, due to the open-road schedule.”

Carpenter said that, (sadly) on most days, less than 100 vehicles are turned around.

“This has been happening more frequently since we have returned to Safe Travels on April 5th,” said Sue Kanoho, executive director of the Kaua‘i Visitors Bureau. “The unusually-high number of cars (were) turned away on Sunday, April 25 and May 2….

Hawai‘i residents are exempt from the fee/reservation requirement…..

read … Visitors turned away at Ha‘ena

Thousands sign petition calling for spectators to be allowed for youth sports on O'ahu

KITV: … Outdoor youth sports were allowed to resume on April 12th but parents have not been able to see their children play from the sidelines.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, many families were able to pull up a chair on the side of the field and watch their children play but because of restrictions, they now have had to watch from their car.

A petition on Charge.org has already garnered more than 2,000 signatures. It asks Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiradi to allow spectators to watch outdoor games - if they are wearing masks and observing social distancing.

The effort is getting support from Dr. Scott Miscovish with Premiere Medical Group Hawaii who believes the data shows this can be done with very minimal risk of spreading the virus if those guidelines are followed….

Petition: Let Parents Watch Their Kids Play Sports with Mask Wearing and Social Distancing Outdoors

read … Thousands sign petition calling for spectators to be allowed for youth sports on O'ahu

Oahu's Rental & Utility Relief Program temporarily closes minutes after opening

KITV: …The City & County of Honolulu's Rental and Utility Relief Program has been temporarily closed to new applications in order to process 4,000 applications….

read … Oahu's Rental & Utility Relief Program temporarily closes minutes after opening

Fewer food drops ahead: The Food Basket says they are not sustainable at the current frequency

HTH: … The Food Basket started the food drop program slowly but eventually ramped up to serve 15 communities a month at the height of the pandemic.

Some locations garner thousands of people every time The Food Basket arrives, which has required a lot of planning and manpower.

The Food Basket served eight locations in April and will continue with that number through May. In June, the nonprofit plans to serve six locations and then move to five for July and August.

“We have seen some major decrease in attendance on some parts of the island, given that some hospitality workers are getting back to work,” Frost Albrecht said. “At the same time, we’ve seen record numbers at some locations and hear from people that they have a year’s worth of unpaid bills. It’s a catch-22 for us.”….

read … Fewer food drops ahead: The Food Basket says they are not sustainable at the current frequency

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