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Thursday, August 19, 2021
August 19, 2021 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 1:58 PM :: 2579 Views

DoH to Receive 500 Healthcare Surge Staff

DLIR Delays Reopening Unemployment Offices (again)

Inside Look: U.S. Army-Hawaii Responds to the Waimea Wildfire, the Largest in Hawaii History

UH extramural funding hauls in a near-record $485.5M in FY2021

OHA: Hawaiians Should Get Vaccinated 

UH Students over 90% Vaxxed

Families of Hawaii’s fallen express disappointment and heartbreak over U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan

HNN: … Nearly 2,500 American service members have died in Afghanistan, including about a dozen Hawaii residents.

Army 1st Lt. Jonathan Brostrom of Aiea was one of them. He was killed in an enemy attack during the Battle of Wanat in 2008.

His father believes that soldiers like his son didn’t get enough support from the U.S. government, stretching through four presidential administrations from George W. Bush to Joe Biden.

“We just thought we could beat the Taliban with small numbers of soldiers and a lack of resources. And it didn’t happen,” said David Brostrom in his Aiea home, filled with remembrances of Jonathan….

“Because my son died and because we made that sacrifice, it was just heartbreaking,” he said. “But it’s also very embarrassing for the U.S. for this to happen.”

Brostrom believes American troops should have stayed longer to build a lasting democracy in that country. However, a drawdown of troops over the years sent a different message.

“We were always trying to get out, and we always sent that message to the Taliban, which emboldened them because they knew we were leaving,” said Brostrom….

WaPo Opinion: Afghanistan isn’t Biden’s first epic mistake

read … Families of Hawaii’s fallen express disappointment and heartbreak over U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan

3 Honolulu police officers free of criminal charges in connection with shooting death of teen

SA: … Three Honolulu police officers are free of criminal charges in connection with the shooting death of a 16-year-old crime spree suspect after an Oahu district court judge ruled the prosecution did not present sufficient evidence that the trio committed murder and attempted murder.

The officers embraced their attorneys in a tearful exchange of bear hugs and congratulated one another amidst cries of relief from their families in the gallery.

It was the second time the judicial system declined to prosecute the officers for the death of Iremamber Sykap, the driver of white, Honda Civic stolen from Kailua that was wanted in connection with an escalating series of violent robberies and a home invasion where the victims reported the suspects were wielding firearms. An Oahu Grand Jury declined to return a true bill against the men prior to Prosecuting Attorney Steven S. Alm’s decision to charge them via criminal complaint.….  

read … 3 Honolulu police officers free of criminal charges in connection with shooting death of teen

Here's How Hawaii's Top 2022 Political Races Are Shaking Out

CB: … The Democratic field for governor appears to be settling while the race for lieutenant governor remains wide open. And who knows what's up with the Republicans…. Wild card: Tulsi Gabbard. Really….

ILind: Could an unexpected candidate jump into the 2022 governor’s race?

read … Here's How Hawaii's Top 2022 Political Races Are Shaking Out

First responders need inoculations

SA Editorial: … On Monday, rising hospitalizations of COVID-19 patients left the Queen’s Health Systems with no available intensive- care beds. At the statewide level, roughly 90% of hospitalized COVID-19 patients are unvaccinated — further evidence that the vaccine is safely and successfully fending off serious illness.

On Friday, in a wrongheaded response to the city’s vaccine mandate, attorneys who said they represented more than 1,200 first responders filed a class-action lawsuit in federal court, asking that the directive be voided.

In a statement, attorneys Michael J. Green, Shawn A. Luiz and Kristin Coccaro said “workers want reasonable testing mandates, not vaccine mandates.”

Further, they said: “There are personal rights that people are espousing. They don’t want this medicine put in their bodies before the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) approves it.”

If that’s the case, resistance should dissipate upon full FDA approval, which is expected in the next few weeks at the earliest….

SA Kokua Line: Can I collect unemployment benefits if I lose my job over the COVID-19 vaccine?

read … First responders need inoculations

Hawaii teachers’ union formally demands to enter into negotiations with DOE over working conditions

SA: … The union representing more than 13,000 teachers across Hawaii today formally demanded to enter into negotiations with the state Department of Education in regard to working conditions and the safety of employees and students amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Hawaii State Teachers Association submitted the demand for negotiations this morning to Interim Superintendent Keith Hayashi and Board of Education chairwoman Catherine Payne, in addition to an open letter signed by nearly 2,000 educators asking for changes that would make schools safer.

During a midday news conference, HSTA leaders recounted numerous reports by teachers that suggest the schools aren’t following COVID-19 protocols as strictly as the department says it is….

Last year there was a memorandum of understanding between the teachers and the department that, for example, allowed schools to switch between modes of instruction, from in-person to hybrid and distance learning.

(Translation: Allow HSTA members to get paid for not teaching.)

But the state refused to bargain on the MOU for this year, union leaders said, and instead insisted on in-person learning with limited alternatives….

read … Hawaii teachers’ union formally demands to enter into negotiations with DOE over working conditions

Statewide Distance Learning Delays Leave Many Children In Limbo

CB: … Many parents who refuse to send their children back to the classroom are still waiting to secure a spot, two weeks into the new school year….

read … Statewide Distance Learning Delays Leave Many Children In Limbo

Miske associate seeks reconsideration of order denying release on bail

ILind: … An attorney representing Jason Yokoyama, who was recently added as a defendant in the racketeering conspiracy case against former Kamaaina Termite and Pest Control owner Michael J. Miske, is again seeking his client’s release on bail pending trial….

Following an August 6 hearing, Magistrate Judge Wes Reber Porter ordered Yokoyama held without bail, over objections by defense attorney William Harrison, and contrary to the recommendation of a federal pretrial services report.

Porter said he was “troubled” by prosecutors’ allegations Yokoyama had participated in planning and preparing for Fraser’s kidnapping and murder, including purchasing at least one item to be used, and later assisting in the destruction of evidence. The allegations were based on statements made by two cooperating witnesses, according to prosecutors, who did not name either of the two….

In early 2011, Yokoyama made an appearance in court on behalf of Miske, and identified himself to the judge as “operations manager” for Kamaaina Termite. This was at virtually the same time Hawaii Partners LLC and Leverage Entertainment LLC were registered to do business by partners Miske, Yokoyama, and a third man, Richard Aqui. The following year, M Nightclub was registered to do business, and its liquor license listed Yokoyama as the majority owner with a 70% interest, with Miske holding a minority stake.

Prosecutors allege all these and additional companies involving Yokoyama were all in fact controlled by Miske, and operated as part of what they refer to as the “Miske Enterprise.”

After M Nightclub closed in 2016 following a series of violent attacks by club bouncers on patrons and others, Yokoyama pleaded “no contest” to five liquor commission violations and was fined $8,250.

In 2017, Yokoyama was hit with a $266,758.37 judgement in a lawsuit brought over unpaid rent owed by M Nightclub. And in September 2018, Ferrari Financial Services won a judgement for $149,914.76 plus interest after Yokoyama defaulted on payments for the 2015 purchase of a yellow 2014 Lamborghini Gallardo.

read … Miske associate seeks reconsideration of order denying release on bail

Can a convicted felon operate a nightclub?

ILind: …  state liquor law allows a license to be issued to a corporation or partnership which has a member, partner, or stockholder who is a convicted felon, as long as their interest is less than 25 percent, and the others are “fit and proper” persons found to be qualified to hold a license…

This means that as long as Miske only held a 20 percent interest in the nightclub, as reported to the Honolulu Liquor Commission, granting a license was in line with the commission’s rules and state law.

In this case, of course, prosecutors allege long after the fact that Miske actually controlled the company holding the license for his M Nightclub, although the application claimed he held only a 20% interest, raising questions about how such matters are investigated by the commission.

There’s nothing on the public record to indicate where Jason Yokoyama, who on paper controlled 70% of the company, would have come up with his share of the original investment if it didn’t come from Miske. In 2011, the year before M Nightclub opened, Yokoyama worked for Miske’s Kamaaina Termite. He testified in a later court case that he had no experience with a nightclub before before becoming the majority owner of M Nightclub. There were no loans recorded at the Bureau of Conveyances to Yokoyama, or his companies, including Leverage Inc. and Leverage Entertainment LLC….

read … Can a convicted felon operate a nightclub?

Criminologist: Don’t rely on HPD crime maps — they’re often inaccurate

HNN: … Between Jan. 15 and July 14, the 1300 block of Punchbowl Street was linked to seven robberies, according to HPD’s crime mapping website.

But a look at the actual police reports tells a much different story. Turns out just one of those seven robberies happened there.

The other six were reported at Queen’s Medical Center but occurred somewhere else….

(CLUE: This covers up for game rooms and other crime magnets.)

read … Criminologist: Don’t rely on HPD crime maps — they’re often inaccurate

Most Hawaii Hospitals Delay Non-Emergency Procedures As Pandemic Worsens

CB: … Sarina Erstad has had a tough year. In May, she found out she had breast cancer and spent three months going in and out of The Queen’s Medical Center for a barrage of tests and exams to figure out how bad it was.

She scheduled a mastectomy to remove her cancerous breast on Aug. 19. Then Covid-19 cases shot up in Hawaii, and with them, Covid hospitalizations.

As case counts swelled, Erstad found out that her surgery was rescheduled until Aug 24. Then she heard it was canceled. Then it was back on, but up in the air when.

On Wednesday, she heard it was canceled completely and might not be rescheduled for months. She might have to go on hormone therapy and chemotherapy to prevent the cancer from spreading….

read … Most Hawaii Hospitals Delay Non-Emergency Procedures As Pandemic Worsens

Hawaii leads nation in nursing home vaccinations

SoR: … Hawaii currently leads the nation with the highest vaccination rate — 87% — among nursing home staff, according to the recently released American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) Nursing Home COVID-19 Dashboard. Hawaii also has 88.7% of nursing home residents fully vaccinated –the highest in the Pacific region and 11th highest in the nation, according to the report….

read … Hawaii leads nation in nursing home vaccinations

Tourism Ain't Going Away Anytime Soon, So Deal With It

CB: … Talk of transforming the economy ignores the reality on the ground: people rely on tourism jobs, and alternatives take a long time to develop….

Transformation is the false idol of social change. People who think in terms of transforming Hawaii have some excellent, important ideas, but they are long-run ideas that skip over dealing with immediate and pressing realities.

Transformation is also an elitist way of thinking about change..,..

read … Tourism Ain't Going Away Anytime Soon, So Deal With It

Former Honolulu City Councilwoman Kym Pine is target of ethics complaint

SA: … An ethics investigation, a charge of discrimination from the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and a financial dispute all center around former Honolulu City Councilwoman Kym Pine, alleging that she used city resources for her 2018 (sic!) unsuccessful bid for mayor, disclosed personal medical history of a former employee and did not properly pay that same staffer.

The ethics investigation is centered around Pine’s use of city resources during her mayoral campaign. Council staffers were asked to send fundraising solicitations and messages to an email list cultivated during the course of official Council business that included contacts for county employees and other government workers who were not politically active, according to Daniela Stolfi, a former Pine staffer, and documents reviewed by the Hono­lulu Star-Advertiser.

Staffers repeatedly urged Pine to use an email list dedicated to the campaign, and notified Pine that they were uncomfortable with her orders, according to Stolfi and the documents. However, Pine persisted. Some lawmakers also asked Pine to cease sending campaign materials to their official emails, which is prohibited….

The ethics investigation into Pine’s campaign was originally based on a complaint filed over a year ago by Choon James, one of Pine’s opponents in the 2018 (sic!) mayoral race.

Pine, the former council­member from District 1, is also locked in a financial dispute with Stolfi, who was Pine’s City Council and campaign digital director. Stolfi managed Pine’s City Council and campaign websites, social media feeds, communications and various other duties. Stolfi filed a Small Claims Court case against Pine, alleging that Pine did not pay Stolfi for work done during the campaign. Stolfi is asking the court to make Pine pay her $5,000 for the work she did.

Additionally, the City and County of Honolulu is facing charges of employment discrimination by the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission after Pine disclosed Stolfi’s mental health history to a Honolulu Star-Advertiser reporter when asked about the Small Claims Court proceeding.

The charge asserts that Pine told the reporter that Stolfi might hurt herself if a story were published on the financial dispute. It also alleges that Pine sent disparaging text messages about Stolfi’s mental health, prescribed medication use and her ability to work with others…. 

SA: Former councilwoman Kym Pine in financial dispute with former employee

ILind: Losing track of the last mayoral election

read … Former Honolulu City Councilwoman Kym Pine is target of ethics complaint

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