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Saturday, February 26, 2022
February 26, 2022 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:25 PM :: 2472 Views

HD39: Democrats Pick Three to Replace Ty Cullen

SB2967 SD1 frees cryptocurrency from having to hold actual money

Mayor Victorino repeals all Maui County Public Health Emergency Rules as of March 1

HB2303: Help State and County Agencies Keep Their Secrets

Alone in USA, Hawaii Gov. David Ige still firm on keeping indoor mask mandate

SA: …Hawaii will keep its indoor mask mandate in place despite new federal guidelines issued Friday that allow most of the U.S. population to stop wearing masks.

Gov. David Ige remained firm Friday afternoon on keeping Hawaii’s indoor mask mandate in place, as required under the current COVID-19 emergency proclamation, through its effective date of March 25.

“Hawaii will keep the indoor mask mandate for now,” said Ige in a statement. “We are watching disease activity across the state and globally, especially as other changes are made to current programs across the U.S. and at the county level. We will adjust accordingly.”…

The Aloha State remains the last holdout with a statewide indoor mask mandate in place and no announcement on when it will end.

The state Department of Health said it supports the governor’s decision to keep the mandate in place for now.

DOH spokesman Brooks Baehr credited the state’s mask mandate and high vaccination rate, among other factors, for keeping Hawaii’s death rate the second lowest in the U.S.

“Right now there are several countries in Asia experiencing a real surge in COVID-19,” said Baehr, “and we’re right between the U.S. mainland and some of those Asian cities, so we have to keep a close eye on not only what happens here in the islands, but elsewhere as well.”

Daily case counts, positivity rates and hospitalizations in Hawaii, meanwhile, continue to decline.

On Friday the DOH reported nine virus-related deaths and 311 new infections, bringing the total since the start of the pandemic to 1,321 fatalities and 235,435 cases.

The seven-day average for new cases was 227, marking a 68% drop from two weeks ago. The average positivity rate was 3.0%.

The number of patients with COVID-19 in hospitals was 94 on Friday, according to the state dashboard. Nine of those patients were in intensive care, with four on ventilators.

More than three-fourths of the state’s population, 76.4%, has completed the primary series of COVID-19 vaccines, according to DOH, while 37.2% is boosted….

Link: House Republicans Call for End to Mask mandate

read … Hawaii Gov. David Ige still firm on keeping indoor mask mandate

HART Insiders Hype Another Frog Problem in Effort to Stall Rail Opening

CB: … Kahikina told board members that the tracks in question were installed in 2015. HART aims to determine what initially caused the problem and why the agency’s quality-inspection staff missed it, she added.

The local rail agency first learned there might be an additional frog problem concerning track gauge after one of its recently hired consultants, TTCI, noticed “anomalies” in December, Kahikina said. TTCI then confirmed the problem in mid-January.

The track gauge problem affects five double-crossover points between East Kapolei and Pearl City, HART officials said Friday.

Those points are where the driverless trains can switch between the elevated pathway’s two tracks when it’s needed. On Friday, Kahikina said it would be rare for the rail system to need to use them, and that when it does the trains would reduce speed to around 20 mph as they pass through.

There’s currently less than an eighth of an inch of tolerance at five of the system’s double crossovers, from East Kapolei to Pearl City, according to Kahikina.

“That gauge is too tight,” Kahikina said.

On Friday, Kahikina stressed that despite the latest snafu HART’s goal remains getting the rail line ready for passenger service between East Kapolei and Aloha Stadium. She’s previously said that she hopes to have that ready sometime this year.

The system must undergo rigorous testing first, and “catching this issue now ensures that the rail system will be operating at peak performance before we enter the 90-day Trial Running phase of testing,” Kahikina said in an emailed statement Friday….

REALITY: The code of federal regs allows 1.5" variance in track gage.  Google: Title 49 Subtitle B Chapter II Part 213.53 Gage

read … New mismatch problem emerges for Oahu’s rail wheels, track

Aloha Stadium Boondoggle can Still be Stopped as project leaders lobby for $180M from state legislature

KITV: … Construction of the New Aloha Stadium Entertainment District (NASED) is set to begin next year, but the Stadium Authority Board still needs $180 million to pull it off.

In 2019, the state legislature earmarked $350 million for the project; $170 million in general obligation funds were available at the time, but the remaining $180 million in revenue bonds has been tied up.

The following year, efforts to secure the money were stalled due to COVID, but the board is lobbying for the funds to free up this legislative session.

"Until we get this last piece of funding, our development candidates can't give us their final proposals, budget and finance can't give their final blessing, and we can't enter into any binding agreements," said Chris Kinimaka, public works administrator for the state Department of Accounting and General Services….

(SOLUTION: Give them nothing and cancel the $170M bond.)

read … Future of new Aloha Stadium up in the air as project leaders lobby for $180M from state legislature

Principal must be reinstated at Hawaii School for the Deaf and the Blind, arbitrator says

SA: … A state arbitrator has ordered that Angel Ramos, a former principal of the Hawaii School for the Deaf and the Blind, must be reinstated to his job after having been demoted and transferred away in 2019 by the state Department of Education.

The decision by the arbitrator with the Hawaii Labor Relations Board also says Ramos’ demotion to vice principal must be rescinded and expunged from his personnel record, and he must be awarded lost pay and benefits.

The reinstatement of Ramos, who is deaf, to lead the DOE’s only public school exclusively serving deaf and blind students is being hailed by many in the deaf community as a victory for a segment of the population they feel has been largely underserved and misunderstood throughout history….

Ramos, a Fulbright scholar with more than 40 years’ experience in deaf education, was principal of the school starting in July 2016. Under his leadership the school was accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges for the first time in its history. He received satisfactory ratings in his first two years there, he said.

But in 2019 he received a rating of “marginal” and was abruptly demoted to vice principal and moved to a different school. A nondeaf administrator who did not know American Sign Language was brought in at that time to head the Hawaii School for the Deaf and the Blind.

Members of the deaf community at the time picketed in protest, asserting that the school needs a deaf principal like Ramos who understands deaf academics and deaf culture, and the union filed the grievance that led to the arbitration.

For two years, bills at the state Legislature have proposed establishing a board of trustees who have expertise in deaf education and American Sign Language to independently govern the public school, but they have not passed…. 

CB: ‘I Lost 3 Years Of My Passion’: Popular Deaf School Principal Gets His Job Back

HNN: Former principal of School for Deaf and Blind to be reinstated

read … Principal must be reinstated at Hawaii School for the Deaf and the Blind, arbitrator says

Amid ongoing flushing efforts, Navy finds high levels of petroleum, other compounds in tap water

HNN: Here’s what was found:

Testing at a home at Halsey Terrace at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam found petroleum levels of 460 parts per billion, more than double the acceptable contamination level set by the Health Department.

Samples from two non-residential buildings on base, meanwhile, found high levels of a compound commonly added to plastics to make them flexible.

Levels of the compound came in at 23.8 and 18.3 parts per billion — above the allowable 6 parts per billion. Officials said the compound, identified as DEHP, is not a known component of jet fuel.

Additionally, levels of DEHP at a vacant home on base came in at 42.4 parts per billion. The home was located in Zone B1, which is composed of the McGrew and Halawa neighborhoods.

read … Amid ongoing flushing efforts, Navy finds high levels of petroleum, other compounds in tap water

Next Kealoha to be selected by June, commissioners say

SA: … Following former Honolulu Police Chief Susan Ballard’s retirement in June, the city’s 12th police chief is expected to be selected within the next four months, according to Honolulu Police Commission Chair Shannon Alivado and Commissioner Doug Chin, who on Friday addressed the matter on the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s “Spotlight Hawaii” livestream show this morning.

Navigating the city’s procurement laws to retain a consultant to sift through the applications of 19 candidates took longer than expected, they said. Among the candidates, six are current Honolulu Police Department officers, five are retired HPD officers and one works in Hawaii law enforcement….

Alivado said the candidates will participate in a written exam in March, followed by an assessment, placing applicants in mock management situations so the consultant and commissioners can evaluate how they lead in real time. The consultant is withholding the names of the candidates until three to five finalists are selected. That list will be released to the public.

In November 2020, Kea­loha was sentenced to seven years in prison for using his position as chief to frame a relative for a crime he didn’t commit in Hawaii’s biggest corruption case.

Alivado said in the aftermath of that case that Ballard was a “bright light,” and credited her with helping restore some public trust.

(Then she was driven out by HPD insiders.)

read … Next Honolulu police chief to be selected by June, commissioners say

SB2670 to create Hawaii LGBTQ+ Commission advances

SA: … A bill that would create a state Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer Plus Commission was passed Thursday out of the state Senate Ways and Means Committee.

The committee amended Senate Bill 2670 to include recommendations from the Hawaii Health &Harm Reduction Center that the commission should include at least one member representing the Hawaii Sexual and Gender Minority Work Group and others who “reflect the diversity of the LGBTQ+ community by including individuals from different LGBTQ+ identities.”

Support for creation of the new commission came from the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission, Pride at Work, Rainbow Family 808, Common Cause Hawaii, North Shore Ko‘olau Diversity Collective, AF3IRM Hawai‘i and Americans for Democratic Action ….

read … Bill to create Hawaii LGBTQ+ Commission advances

Legislative Agenda:

Corona Virus News:

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