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Friday, August 13, 2021
August 13, 2021 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:30 PM :: 2643 Views

Grassroot Institute of Hawaii receives CHANGE Grant award

U.S. Census Bureau Delivers Data for States to Begin Redistricting Efforts

Rumble Gives Tulsi Gabbard her own Channel

Improving Pedestrian Safety in Hawaiʻi

Kamehameha Schools Trustee Selection Underway

Unions Sue to Block Vaccine Mandate: Claim Health Emergency Does not Override Collective Bargaining

KHON: … Representatives for Hawaii union members taking legal action against the state’s COVID vaccine mandate held a news conference at attorney Michael Green’s office on Thursday. Approximately 1,200 first responders are part of the class action lawsuit.

The attorneys announced that they plan to file the lawsuit on Friday in order to try to stop the mandate which takes effect Monday, Aug. 16. This one is on behalf of police officers, firefighters and other first responders….

Related:

read … lawsuit against COVID vaccine mandate

HART: Financial Hit From COVID-19 Will Be Smaller Than Feared

CB: … The Honolulu rail authority is now projecting the direct financial impact of the pandemic on the finances of the city’s rail project will be less severe than it originally projected.

The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation initially predicted the shutdown of the local economy last year to prevent the spread of COVID-19 would cause the rail project to lose about $435 million in general excise and hotel room tax collections. Those two taxes provide the bulk of the construction funding for the project.

As it turns out, the rebound in the Hawaii economy has been stronger than expected, which effectively reduces the financial impact of the economic downturn on the state’s largest public works project.

HART now expects the overall loss in tax collections for rail will be limited to about $265 million, according to Chief Operations Officer Rick Keene….

read … HART: Financial Hit From COVID-19 Will Be Smaller Than Feared

91% of COVID patients in hospitals today are not vaccinated

KITV: … Hilton Raethel of the Healthcare Association of Hawaii (HAH) explains, "Our hospitalizations are increasing significantly. As of today [Thursday], we have 282 COVID patients in hospital, on top of a very large number of non-COVID patients. Of the 282 COVID patients in today, 91% are unvaccinated. Overwhelmingly, COVID patients are showing up in hospitals, not vaccinated. Our total load on our hospitals is getting quite high."

Raethel says his group's trying to bring in more medical staff, so they can expand hospital capacity. He says Hawaii went through this kind of scare last year when cases spiked, but it's different - worse - this year. "There's a couple of things particularly concerning. One is, last year, we had an infection rate, at the worst of the pandemic, of 200 infections per 100,000 individuals. Right now we're running three times that infection rate in the unvaccinated population. That's very concerning, and it's because the Delta variant is spreading so rapidly."…

read … HAH says 91% of COVID patients in hospitals today are not vaccinated.

Lines at COVID-19 testing sites grow as cases increase in Hawaii

SA: … On Thursday morning the line for free COVID-19 testing at the city’s Mobile Lab at the Honolulu airport zigzagged a long way beyond the outside corridor, with some waiting in line for at least an hour and a half.

By afternoon that line grew smaller, but stories of the long lines and hours of waiting for COVID-19 testing all around Oahu are now being shared, reflecting a spike in demand as the delta variant continues to surge statewide.

On Nextdoor someone said they waited at Adventist Health Castle’s drive-thru COVID-19 testing site for 2-1/2 hours. On Twitter another resident shared a photo of the line of cars at a drive-thru testing site at Kaiser in Mapunapuna….

Mobile Lab Director Kelsey Kohagura said there has been an uptick in demand from residents all over Oahu the past few weeks and that he has seen more families with kids coming in for testing since the start of school. He estimated about 1,100 were tested Wednesday, with the same level expected Thursday. On the busiest days about 1,300 are tested….

(IDEA: Vaccinate these people.)

read … Lines at COVID-19 testing sites grow as cases increase in Hawaii

Designed to Fail: DoE Began Seeking COVID Testing Contractors in July

KHON: … School-based testing to screen for COVID-19 is a key component of the CDC’s guidance for virus prevention.

Yet Hawaii’s public schools do not have a widespread test program in place and only asked vendors to start bidding less than one week before teachers were due back on campus….

The State has had access to tens of millions in federal funding to ramp up COVID-19 testing in schools for months, and yet officials are still working on getting a widespread testing plan up and running two weeks into the school year….

“I know it exceeds $70 million,” for Hawaii’s portion, said Dr. Scott Miscovich of Premier Medical Group, which provides both clinic-based testing as well as special mass-testing programs nationwide. “And I am told that recently some of the monies that came out of the next $138 million have to be, so it’s probably in the range of $200 million.”

But Always Investigating has found out the Department of Health (DOH) waited until July 22 to ask a handful of companies for quotes for what they called “Reopening Schools: COVID-19 School Testing Program.”…

That was less than one week before teachers were due back on campus, less than two weeks before kids started and long after multitrack schools were in session. The late timing baffled teachers and doctors….

“I’ve been working in approximately seven other states helping to develop a plan, and actually, we are testing,” Miscovich said. “Many of them started in March and April, because that’s when it was known the funding was released.”

The HSTA told KHON2 they knew nothing of the State’s school testing plan status until KHON2 forwarded the copy of the late-July biding invitation to them….

read … Hawaii public school coronavirus testing plan still in limbo after start of school year

These Central Oahu Schools Have Joined Forces To Offer Distance Learning

CB: … Several days into the new school year, which for most public schools began on Aug. 3, DeAsis is relieved that she secured a spot for her daughter in Esther Kwon’s virtual fifth grade classroom.

“We’re in uncharted waters right now, so to receive that welcome from the teacher was really refreshing,” she said. Last school year, DeAsis decided to home-school her daughter, who has a medical condition.

The new online academy, which has about 70 students so far, is offering a unique approach to distance learning as educators try to balance the Hawaii Department of Education’s emphasis on in-person learning with the desire of many parents to keep their children home amid the ongoing pandemic….

read … These Central Oahu Schools Have Joined Forces To Offer Distance Learning

Troops Can’t Sue The Military For Discrimination. This Hawaii Sailor Wants To Change That

CB: … The case of a Navy sailor in Hawaii whose complaint of discrimination prompted multiple military investigations is getting attention from national advocacy groups.

Petty Officer 1st Class Jon Stremel alleged that employees of a military program meant to help domestic abuse survivors ignored his claims that his now ex-wife was abusing him and their son because he is male. Stremel is set to leave the Navy in coming months, but said he plans to remain in Hawaii and intends to pursue a law degree.

“This experience has given me a new direction in life,” he said.

He is currently working with the Protect Our Defenders, which represents military victims of sexual assault and domestic violence, and Minority Veterans of America on proposed legislation that he authored aimed at making it easier for service members and veterans to sue the military for discrimination….

(CLUE:  Another way to tear down the command structure.)

Stremel’s personal battle reached a conclusion this week when a judge granted the divorce between Stremel and his wife and ordered them to share legal custody of their son after rejecting all allegations of family violence, according to court documents.

The court found Stremel’s “testimony lacks credibility in most respects, particularly as it pertains to his allegations of domestic violence and abuse.”

(Ooops!)

Stremel’s ex-wife has denied allegations of abusing their child. Her attorney, David Hayakawa, welcomed the court’s decision.

“Every Family Court Judge who reviewed and issued a ruling on Mr. Stremel’s abuse accusations at numerous hearings and in two separate extensive Family Court trials found the accusations to be without merit,” Hayakawa said in an email.

read … Troops Can’t Sue The Military For Discrimination. This Hawaii Sailor Wants To Change That

Lawsuit Seeks Simoleons After Police Shots Snuff 48-time loser

CB: … Soon after the shooting last year, then-Honolulu Police Chief Susan Ballard said the plainclothes officers, who wore marked vests, approached the man and he ran to his car. He then reversed the vehicle, and officers jumped out of the way.

She said that officers fired their weapons because Gentzler (age 45) drove his car toward officers and they feared for their lives. They shot four to six times, she said.

In the months following the shooting, HPD updated its use of force policy to limit the circumstances in which officers can shoot into vehicles. Now, officers may not shoot unless the person in the car either threatens someone with deadly force by means other than the vehicle itself or other factors warrant the use of deadly force.

Officers were not armed with less-than-lethal firearms or equipment, according to Ballard.

Ballard said Gentzler was wanted in relation to a kidnapping case, but the chief did not share details. According to Ballard, officers were trying to serve a warrant that would revoke the suspect’s parole. The chief said he had 12 felony convictions, 14 misdemeanor convictions and 22 petty misdemeanor convictions….

(Do the Math: 45-18=27 48/27=1.8 convictions per year -- more than one every seven months since age 18)

(Reality:  This criminal would be alive today if he were properly locked away in Arizona instead of being given parole again and again.  Soft-on-crime policies killed him.)

read … 48-time loser

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