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Saturday, September 18, 2021
September 18, 2021 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:44 PM :: 3944 Views

Applicants sought for Maui County Boards and Commissions

Problems on the Road to All-Electric Transportation

COVID Recovery: Hawaii 48th 

Grand jury witness in corruption probe details ties between Kaneshiro, Mitsunaga

HNN: … A former deputy city prosecutor has become an important witness for the federal team investigating public corruption in Honolulu.

Attorney Jacob Delaplane left the federal courthouse last month after a second appearance before a grand jury. Delaplane worked directly under Katherine Kealoha, who is now in a federal prison.

Keith Kaneshiro, then the city’s top prosecutor, hired him in 2014.

“Whether Mr. Kaneshiro committed a federal crime when his office prosecuted and investigated the Laurel Mau case,” Delaplane said.

Laurel Mau was charged with felony theft after she filed a civil lawsuit against her former employer, Mitsunaga & Associates, an engineering and architectural firm with political ties….

Delaplane was tasked with the Mau case, but said he had no idea at the time the firm’s employees, family and friends, had donated tens of thousands of dollars to Kaneshiro’s campaign.

Attorney Megan Kau said federal authorities are investigating whether Kaneshiro “used his position to prosecute someone that was the enemy of his friends.”

Those campaign donors have also been ordered to testify before the grand jury….

“If any of the witnesses who were involved in providing testimony to support those charges (against Mau), if they lied, then they should absolutely be held accountable too,” said Delaplane.

Delaplane said Sheri Tanaka, the attorney who represents the employees of Mitsunaga and Associates, generated the evidence against the former employee.

“Providing the office with declarations to support the charge as well as transcripts and company records and all of those other things supporting the charge, she was the one providing that,” he said.

The felony theft accusation was first made to the Honolulu Police Department by another employee of Mitsunaga & Associates but HPD didn’t find enough supporting evidence or witnesses to pursue a criminal case.

Months later, Tanaka wrote a letter to the prosecutor’s office and that launched the investigation in Kaneshiro’s office….

read … Grand jury witness in corruption probe details ties between former prosecutor, engineering firm

Result of Personal Feud? 3 Honolulu police officers suspended, face possible criminal charges following high-speed crash that left boy, 14, paralyzed

SA: … Attorney Eric A. Seitz, who is representing the family, said he learned the boy was partying with friends early Sunday morning at Maili Beach Park when police officers arrived to clear out the gathering.

A group of people whom the 14-year-old went to the beach with had left without him, Seitz said, so the boy jumped into another vehicle after convincing its driver to give him a ride.

The senior police officer who responded to the scene knew the driver of the second car and allegedly had a “beef” with him, Seitz said.

A high-speed chase on Farrington Highway ensued, and officers allegedly forced the the car off the road and then fled the scene of the crash that destroyed a concrete wall and scattered debris and passengers over a residential property….

“Cops chased them, ran them off the road, and then the cops took off. The police seem to be enough concerned that nobody has come out and made some sort of half-hearted defense of the police. There really is no defense,” said Seitz in an interview with the Honolulu Star-Advertiser “The senior (police) officer knew the driver and they had a feud. This was not a mistake this was deliberate. It just sounds horrendous.”

HPD has opened criminal and administrative investigations into the “actions that preceded the collision in Makaha,” according to police….

The official police description of the event posted on HPD’s website describes the incident as a “single-vehicle crash” at about 3:51 a.m. Sunday and does not make mention of a high speed pursuit of suspects allegedly violating park closure rules and other laws….

read … 3 Honolulu police officers suspended, face possible criminal charges following high-speed crash that left boy, 14, paralyzed

Death Threats for adoptive family of missing 6-year-old Waimanalo girl

KHON: … Attorney William Harrison, who calls himself a “family friend” and legal advisor to Isabella’s adoptive family, said they have been fully cooperative with the police department’s investigation….

Harrison said there has been much misinformation surrounding this case, including previous media reports that Isabella was recently taken out of school to be home-schooled. According to Harrison, she has been home-schooled for two years now….

Harrison said the Kalua family have received multiple blocked phone messages and anonymous social media death threats. He added that the family was instructed by police to remain in their home and not participate in the search parties over safety concerns.

“In their place other family members have been out assisting in the search and bringing food and water, paid for by the Kalua family, to help in the effort,” said Harrison….

read … Why adoptive family of missing 6-year-old Waimanalo girl have remained absent in search parties

Spice, meth and swipe rampant in Halawa

HNN: … On Friday, officials confirmed the hospital’s diagnoses were “drug intoxication.” The inmates were stabilized and returned back to prison Thursday night.

Law enforcement sources say the drug overdoses are part of an ongoing issue.

It’s believed inmates are receiving letters laced with a drug, possibly “spice,” and that they’re putting the paper on their tongue to get high.

The incident comes a week after a 30-year-old inmate at the facility died. Prison staff initially found him unresponsive in his cell.

Sources say the man had tested positive for COVID. But according to the Honolulu Medical Examiner’s Office, his official cause of death remains under investigation.

“I’ve been hearing over the past month there’s been spice, meth and swipe ― prison alcohol you know ― rampant in Halawa,” said Kat Brady, coordinator of Community Alliance on Prisons.

She said the state Department of Public Safety is under extreme stress.

“They are really short-staffed so that’s been a huge problem,” she said….

SA: The seven hospitalized inmates were returned to HCF by 6:40 p.m. on Thursday.

(Solution: Forcibly inoculate all the prisoners to stop them from purposefully spreading COVID in hope of getting released.  This will allow more staff to choose to return to work.)

read … Multiple drug overdoses triggered mass casualty incident at Halawa prison, DPS confirms

Hawaii Supreme Court: The Public Has A ‘Compelling’ Interest In Knowing About Police Misconduct

CB: … Hawaii’s police union was dealt yet another blow Friday in its efforts to protect police officer misconduct records from public scrutiny.

In a unanimous opinion, the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled that citizens have a compelling right of access to officers’ disciplinary files when they are suspended or fired for misconduct, noting that such records are critical to holding police accountable.

More significantly, the court ruled that private parties, such as the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers, do not have the right to block government officials from releasing those records to the public.

Friday’s decision memorialized the high court’s ruling last year to release an arbitrator’s report on why HPD Sgt. Darren Cachola was given his job back after being fired by police administrators….

SA: Records are public when police officers are punished, Hawaii’s high court rules

PDF: Court Opinion

read … Hawaii Supreme Court: The Public Has A ‘Compelling’ Interest In Knowing About Police Misconduct

Inmate Vaccination Rates Climb In Hawaii Prisons And Jails

CB: … Public Safety Director Max Otani told the Hawaii Correctional Systems Oversight Commission that as of Tuesday, 92% of the inmates at Halawa Correctional Facility were vaccinated. Halawa is the state’s largest prison.

However, only 56% of the inmates at Hawaii Community Correctional Facility in Hilo had been vaccinated by Tuesday.

Data from Sept. 7 shows that 70% of the inmates at Kauai Community Correctional Center had been vaccinated by that date, while 91% of the prisoners at Kulani Correctional Facility on Hawaii island were vaccinated.

Only 44% of the inmates at Maui Community Correctional Center were vaccinated as of Sept. 7.

On Oahu, meanwhile, 63% of the prisoners at the Women’s Community Correctional Center had been vaccinated by that date, and 88% of the inmates at Waiawa Correctional Facility were vaccinated.

There are currently no known active cases of the virus among the prisoners at Kulani, Waiawa and the women’s facility, according to the department. Saguaro, a privately run prison in Arizona where more than 1,100 Hawaii inmates are housed, also reported no active cases as of Friday.

As of Sept. 1, 47% of the inmates at Saguaro were fully vaccinated, and another 273 prisoners had received their first dose, Otani said….

read … Inmate Vaccination Rates Climb In Hawaii Prisons And Jails

Lifeguard terminated for refusing to comply with city’s vaccine mandate

HNN: … An Oahu lifeguard was terminated Friday for refusing to comply with the city’s vaccine mandate, a spokesperson confirmed.

The Honolulu Ocean Safety employee “refused to complete the required attestation form and refused the weekly testing,” Honolulu Emergency Services Department spokesperson Shayne Enright said.

Under the city’s mandate, employees are required to attest that they are vaccinated against COVID or file a medical or religious exemption.

Ocean Safety is dealing with a staffing shortage, but Enright said the employee’s termination did not result in a tower closure Friday ….

read … Lifeguard terminated for refusing to comply with city’s vaccine mandate

Some Maui restaurants struggle to find employees amid vaccine-or-test mandate

HNN: …  “Some of my employees are seeking employment elsewhere where they don’t have to worry about getting vaccinated to come to work. So, it’s a big challenge and we’re doing our very best to fill in those holes,” said Cafe O’Lei Restaurants General Manager Darren Byler.

Cafe O’Lei Restaurants is a family-owned business. They have five restaurants on the Valley Isle and have been around for 25 years, employing about 300 workers.

Byler says some of his employees recently got vaccinated, but it will be at least two weeks until they are considered “fully vaccinated.”

In the meantime, those employees are getting COVID tests — but even that has been a challenge.

“On our first day, we were short seven people for service,” Byler said.

“Some of our employees couldn’t find tests. They couldn’t get in to get a test because all of the reservations had been taken up already.”…

read … Some Maui restaurants struggle to find employees amid vaccine-or-test mandate

Blue Planet Research Endorses Hu Honua`s Proposed Tree-Burning Project

IM: … Henk Rogers is the founder, president, and the only director of Blue Planet Research….

read … Blue Planet Research Endorses Hu Honua`s Proposed Tree-Burning Project

End of CDC Guidelines Opens Door to Move Homeless into Shelters

MN: … Clean-up will begin this coming week. To ensure public safety, the Amala gate to Kanaha Beach Park will be locked for four days. A public park detour will go through Koeheke/Ka’a Street while heavy equipment is in use to haul solid waste and derelict cars that line the road.

Ever since the CDC’s guidance discouraging relocation of unsheltered people expired on July 31, the County of Maui has been working with social workers and service providers to assist those living in the Amala Place encampment. To date, 25 individuals have moved into shelters and one has moved into permanent housing. Thirteen have moved out of the area while 12 have been offered shelter and services but remain undecided. Maui Police Department officers have served the remaining 14 individuals with notices to vacate.

Maui residents can be confident that compassion guides our actions. Shelter and services are available to everyone living in the camp. I don’t believe it is compassionate to enable people to continue living in dangerous, unsanitary conditions when safe, clean shelter and support services are available and within reach.

At the outset of the pandemic, the Hawaii National Guard joined our Department of Public Works and Department of Parks & Recreation to build 23 temporary “pallet shelters,” as emergency housing. These small shelters were placed in Waiale Park under the management of the good people at Family Life Center.

Since then, the pallet home program has helped more than 80 percent of its sheltered residents move into permanent housing. This is one of the highest placement rates in Hawaii and the people of Maui County should be proud of this….

MN: Photos, Video

Related: A Model for Hawaii: Federal Judge Orders Los Angeles to Clear Skid Row

read … Amala Place offers opportunity for renewal

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