Monday, June 8, 2020

Unemployment chief goes on leave amid system meltdown that leaves thousands unpaid, Black Lives Matter demonstrations draw peaceful crowds, campaign donor gets big COVID contract, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Scott Murakami (l) with Gov. David Ige in April 22 Facebook live session
The Head Of Hawaii’s Unemployment Office Is On Leave. It’s not clear whether the leave is voluntary, but agency officials say the labor director had been receiving death threats. Civil Beat.

Hawaii unemployment office director on leave, governor’s office confirms. Scott Murakami, the director of the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, is currently on leave, putting his deputy in charge, a spokeswoman for Gov. David Ige’s office confirmed Saturday. Murakami told a state House committee last month that his employees were receiving death threats because of the issues filing claims. Star-Advertiser.

Senate COVID-19 committee will not be "investigative". The resolution to make the Senate Special Committee on COVID-19 "investigative," giving it the power to subpoena, has been rescinded. KITV4.

How A Major Campaign Donor Got A Million-Dollar Cleaning Contract In Honolulu. The contract, as well as a job on Maui, was approved after Gov. David Ige suspended procurement rules. Civil Beat.

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Thousands of Hawaii protesters rally for Black Lives Matter on Oahu, Hawaii Island, Maui and Kauai. Star-Advertiser.

Thousands Show Up Across Hawaii To Protest Racial Injustice. The peaceful march Saturday in Honolulu, organized by a youth-led group called Hawaii for Black Lives, drew a crowd estimated at nearly 10,000 protesters. Civil Beat.

Hawaii’s weekend Black Lives Matter protests drew thousands statewide. Standing in solidarity with the national Black Lives Matter movement, thousands of Hawaii residents joined in protests across the islands this weekend. Hawaii News Now.


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UH to Begin Training COVID-19 Contact Tracers. The University of Hawaiʻi System-Hawaiʻi State Department of Health kicks off its Contact Tracing Training Program on Monday. Big Island Now.

State’s contact tracing training program kicks off Monday, expects to train hundreds by July. A state training program to trace the contacts of people who have tested positive for COVID-19 starts Monday, June 8. KHON2.

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Germ-fighting ‘dry fog’ system used in prisons could also be used in schools and airports. A new disinfecting system that promises to kill everything from mold to the new coronavirus for at least 90 days is being applied in state prisons and has the potential for use in schools, airports and other buildings to help open Hawaii’s economy, state prison officials say. Star-Advertiser.

Pacific Islanders, Filipinos Have Highest COVID-19 Rates In Hawaii. New data on race shows that Native Hawaiians — previously lumped in with other Pacific Islanders — aren’t currently experiencing higher rates of COVID-19. Civil Beat.

Guidelines create incomplete Hawaii virus data, critics say. Coronavirus information from Hawaii health officials presents an incomplete story of the pandemic’s impact on racial and ethnic communities in the state, some critics said. KITV4.


Hawaii is likely to see more COVID-19 infections as reopening continues, health director says. The number of new coronavirus cases in Hawaii has increased slightly, nearly reaching half of all of May’s cases in the first week of this month. Star-Advertiser.

Weekend COVID cases rise as state figures out a plan to welcome visitors back. Lieutenant Governor Josh Green said we’ll find out soon whether or not the two-week quarantine or travelers into the state will be lifted. KHON2.

2 new COVID-19 cases, 1 new hospitalization reported Sunday. On Sunday, just two new cases of COVID-19 were reported in Hawaii. The two new cases came after both Friday and Saturday consecutively revealed nine new cases on each day. Hawaii News Now.

2 new Oahu coronavirus cases, 509 out-of-state new visitor arrivals to Hawaii. Out-of-state visitor arrivals to Hawaii rose to 509 Saturday, the sixth day in a row that incoming arrivals topped 400. Star-Advertiser.

VIRUS TRACKER — JUNE 7: 2 New COVID-19 Cases In Hawaii. Both new cases were reported on Oahu. Civil Beat.

Oahu

Another audit reveals problems, this time with city parks. The city auditor Friday blasted inadequate maintenance of Honolulu parks, blaming the lack of management and resources. Hawaii News Now.

The new normal for offices will include staggered shifts, limits, more remote working. Many companies with offices downtown are in no hurry to reopen, with some waiting until the end of the month, others until July and even others, beyond that. Star-Advertiser.

Dentist’s offices are reopening for routine care, with fewer patients at a time. Slowly, but surely, dentist’s offices are reopening for routine cleanings and nonemergency procedures. Star-Advertiser.

Single-family homes and condo sales dropped 51% in May. Sales of single-family homes and condominiums on Oahu tanked in May as owners and buyers elected to practice social distancing. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Young Brothers making changes, barge arrival returning to Mondays. Young Brothers will continue operations under a reduced sailing schedule for the next month, but Monday barge service in Hilo is set to resume soon. West Hawaii Today.

Creagan withdraws candidacy: Bondera selected as heir apparent in Democratic contest for House District 5. State Rep. Richard Creagan dropped out of the House District 5 race after hiring a handpicked, last-minute candidate to manage his legislative office in Honolulu. West Hawaii Today.

HECO selects 3 Big Island projects in quest for renewable energy, energy storage. A pair of solar-plus-storage projects that will generate 120 megawatts of solar power with 480 megawatt-hour storage capacity in South Kohala are moving forward. West Hawaii Today.

Hilo DMV: Make an appointment. While the county’s Department of Motor Vehicles is open again for in-person services, residents are advised to make an appointment or be prepared to wait. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

County Council passes austere $823M budget. The Maui County Council on Friday approved on second and final reading an $822.6 million county budget for fiscal 2020-21, which reflects the “new normal” as the county deals with coronavirus impacts. Maui News.

MRA seeks more information from hotel developers. Meeting on review of environmental report stretches over 2 days. Maui News.

Kauai

Kauai Has A New Plan For Its Vacant Residential Drug Treatment Facility. The director of Hope Treatment Services said the county broke his contract to provide inpatient drug treatment to youth because it couldn’t obtain a license to operate fast enough. Civil Beat.

These Kauai Cops Are Tired Of Racist Police Killings, Too. Kauai’s police chief is encouraging officers to attend protests and have candid conversations with citizens — and each other. Civil Beat.

Restarting Kaua‘i. Broadband infrastructure, cleaning up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and implementing a new model for visitor travel are among the ideas that can leverage Kaua‘i’s future post-coronavirus. Garden Island.

Malama Pono Health Services gets grant, launches mobile-health van. Malama Pono Health Services received $200,000 in U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Community Development Block Grant Coronavirus funds for COVID-19 emergency housing and utilities assistance through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act. Garden Island.

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