Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Honolulu ex-police chief, deputy prosecutor sentenced in corruption scandal, House committee seeks looser travel rules, HPD chief vows to discipline CARES OT abusers, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy Hawaii News Now
File footage of Katherine and Louis Kealoha PC:Hawaii News Now

Honolulu’s former law enforcement power couple learned their punishments in federal court Monday: seven years in federal prison for disgraced Police Chief Louis Kealoha and 13 years for his estranged wife, former Deputy Prosecutor Katherine Kealoha. The Kealohas and two Honolulu Police Department officers were convicted in June 2019 following an elaborate but botched effort for the Kealohas to steal the proceeds from a reverse mortgage on the home belonging to her grandmother Florence M. Puana and then framing her uncle, Gerard Puana, now age 60, when mother and son began figuring out the scheme. Star-Advertiser.

Former HPD Police Chief And Prosecutor Wife Sentenced To Prison.
Katherine Kealoha and her husband, retired Honolulu police chief Louis Kealoha, are at the center of a years long investigation into public corruption. Civil Beat.

Calling their corruption ‘shocking,’ judge goes above guidelines in sentencing Kealohas. Saying that Katherine Kealoha had “perverted justice over and over and over again,” a federal judge on Monday sentenced the former high-ranking deputy city prosecutor to 13 years behind bars ― going above the sentencing guidelines of 10 years. Hours later, her husband ― ex-Police Chief Louis Kealoha ― was sentenced to seven years in prison, two more than was recommended. Hawaii News Now.

Katherine gets 13 years, Louis gets 7, in Kealoha federal sentencing. Katherine and Louis Kealoha learned their fate on Monday, finally sentenced for their federal convictions last year. Katherine was sentenced to 13 years. Louis got seven years. Restitution of more than $450,000 is owed to various victims of their schemes. KHON2.

Ex-Police Chief Gets 7 Years, Wife Katherine Sentenced To 13 Years In Corruption Case. A federal judge today sentenced former Honolulu deputy prosecutor Katherine Kealoha to 13 years in prison for masterminding an elaborate scheme that defrauded her grandmother, led to her uncle's false arrest and plundered the trust funds for two children. Her husband, ex-Police Chief Louis Kealoha, received 7 years in prison for his part in the scheme. Hawaii Public Radio.

A once powerful Oahu couple will soon be known simply as two federal inmates, Louis and Katherine Kealoha are finally sentenced. In addition to the sentences, the Kealohas were also ordered to pay hundreds of thousands in restitution to the numerous victims. Judge Seabright ordered 75% of Louis' $9,720 monthly police pension to go toward his restitution. KITV4.

Ex-Honolulu prosecutor, police chief get prison for corruption. A U.S. judge sentenced a former high-ranking Honolulu prosecutor to 13 years in prison Monday and her retired police chief husband to seven years, saying she stole money from her own grandmother and then used his law enforcement power to frame her uncle for a crime he didn’t commit — all to maintain the couple’s lavish lifestyle. Associated Press.

Judge Exceeds Guidelines in Sentencing Kealohas For Corruption. Two central figures in perhaps the most prominent corruption case in Hawai‘i history were sentenced Monday, as one of the final chapters in the years-long saga was written without sympathy by a federal judge. Big Island Now.

Letter from deceased victim says Kealoha’s ‘ruthless scheme’ was a final blow. Before she died in February at the age of 100, Florence Puana wrote a stinging letter describing the financial and emotional toll Katherine Kealoha’s crimes had on her family. Hawaii News Now.


Gov. David Ige says nearly 300 people have entered the state and later been informed of a positive COVID-19 test. Gov. David Ige said since the Safe Travels program began, nearly 300 people have entered the state and then been informed of a positive COVID-19 test.  Star-Advertiser.

Ige: Safe Travels is working.
Days after approving a request from Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami that will permit Kauai to temporarily opt out of the state’s Safe Travels program, Gov. David Ige said that the pre-travel testing initiative is working in Hawaii’s other counties. Tribune-Herald.

House COVID Committee Pushes Back Against New Quarantine Rule For Hawaii Travelers. A new report from the high-profile committee says the state’s pre-travel test program has been working fine and asks the governor to back off a stricter 14-day quarantine. Civil Beat.

Business leaders, legislators urge governor to rethink new restrictions on pre-travel testing program.  Health and business leaders across Hawaii are proposing a modification to one of Gov. David Ige’s new rules governing trans-Pacific travel during the pandemic. Hawaii News Now.

Post-arrivals test urged to shorten quarantine for travelers. The House Select Committee on COVID-19 Economic and Financial Preparedness is recommending allowing travelers who arrive with pending COVID-19 results the chance to shorten their quarantine by taking a rapid post-arrival test. Star-Advertiser.

State House committee proposes changes to Safe Travels program. The House Select Committee on COVID-19 has sent the state a proposal that could, once again, change the Safe Travels program. KHON2.

House Committee Proposes To Modify Safe Travels Hawaiʻi Program. A white paper was written by the House Select Committee on COVID-19 Economic and Financial Preparedness, defending the efficacy of the pre-travel testing program before it was altered by the Governor. Big Island Video News.

COVID committee suggests Safe Travels modification. The House Select Committee on COVID-19 Economic and Financial Preparedness has submitted a proposal to modify the state’s Safe Travels program which involves offering rapid post-arrival tests to travelers awaiting pre-travel testing results. Garden Island.


Gov. David Ige Appoints New Public Safety Director. Max Otani, a retired corrections official and member of the Hawaii Paroling Authority, will take over as head of the state Department of Public Safety starting Tuesday, Gov. David Ige’s office announced. Civil Beat.

Gov Appoints Hilo Native to Public Safety Director. Max Otani was appointed by Gov. David Ige to serve as the director of the Department of Public Safety, effective Dec. 1, 2020. Big Island Now.

Governor names long-time paroling authority staffer as Public Safety director. Gov. David Ige has appointed the state’s former Deputy Director for Corrections as the new Director of Public Safety, replacing Nolan Espinda, who retired earlier this year. Hawaii News Now.

Critical Funding Fight Looms As Public Safety Boards Remain Cash-Strapped. State public safety boards have been shortchanged since they were put in place. But lawmakers suggest there may be little help in sight. Civil Beat.


Hawaiian Telcom to buy firm’s fiber assets for $50M. Hawaiian Telcom has signed a definitive purchase agreement to buy interisland submarine and middle-mile terrestrial fiber infrastructure assets currently owned by the bankruptcy estate of Paniolo Cable Co. for $50 million. Star-Advertiser.

Coast Guard completes drone ship exercise in Hawaii as Navy prepares unmanned asset test. The Coast Guard in Hawaii recently wrapped up a 30-day demonstration and evaluation of two ship drone versions to better patrol the vastness of the Pacific as the Navy’s U.S. Pacific Fleet, also in the drone hunt, plans a “fleet battle problem” exercise early next year using unmanned systems “on the sea, above the sea and under the sea". Star-Advertiser.

Ige, others reiterate need for National Guard assistance. To help in the continued fight against COVID-19, state officials are working to secure federal funding to extend the deployment of the Hawaii National Guard. Tribune-Herald.

Why The Navy Is Becoming A Powerful Force For Clean Energy. As the pandemic highlights fragile supply chains, the Navy is working with Hawaii to harness the sun and other natural elements for power. Civil Beat.


Aquarium fishing: Environmental review required, court rules. The state Monday said it will no longer renew or issue new commercial marine licenses for aquarium fishing without a required environmental review, effective immediately, following a recent state Circuit Court ruling. Star-Advertiser.

New Court Ruling Further Restricts Commercial Aquarium Fishing In Hawaii. More than half a million aquarium fish have been collected despite a 2017 state Supreme Court ruling. Civil Beat.

Court ruling closes loophole for commercial aquarium collection. The state says it is taking immediate steps to comply with a court order shutting a loophole that allowed for continued commercial aquarium fish collection despite a 2017 high court ruling that halted the practice pending environmental review. West Hawaii Today.

Hawai‘i Court Rules Commercial Aquarium Collection Without Environmental Review is Illegal. he state’s environmental court ruled Friday that the continued extraction of aquarium fish from Hawaiʻi’s reefs without first reviewing the environmental and cultural impacts, is illegal. Maui Now.

More pets left behind during pandemic. Although there has been an increase in demand for the adoption of pets during the COVID-19 pandemic, there has also been an uptick in the number of animals being surrendered to shelters, according to several Hawaii nonprofits and shelters. Star-Advertiser.

VIRUS TRACKER — Nov. 30: 85 New COVID-19 Cases In Hawaii. Health officials reported 85 new COVID-19 cases statewide on Monday, including 66 on Oahu, four on the Big Island, 10 in Maui County including one on Molokai, and one on Kauai.  Four Hawaii residents were diagnosed out of state. Civil Beat.


Honolulu Police Department acknowledges excessive overtime. Honolulu Police Chief Susan Ballard said Monday that HPD takes responsibility for actions by officers who violated the department’s overtime policy, and she confirmed that multiple investigations are taking place as a result of the abuse. Star-Advertiser.

Chief: Officers who abused overtime while responding to COVID calls will be disciplined. Honolulu Police Chief Susan Ballard says officers and supervisors who abused overtime privileges during COVID-19 enforcement efforts will be disciplined. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu Police Chief addresses COVID-19 enforcement team violating overtime. According to Ballard, multiple investigations have been opened and violators will be disciplined. KITV4.


More Tales Of Crime And Violence As 2 More Caught Up In Miske Murder Case. Court records reveal two more men who are cooperating with federal authorities in the case against a Honolulu businessman charged with running a criminal enterprise. Civil Beat.


Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell rolls out food card for disadvantaged families, individuals. A new city-issued debit card would provide 4,000-plus disadvantaged families and individuals with $500 to spend on groceries and other household necessities in the coming weeks, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell announced today. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Distributing $500 Grocery Gift Cards. Thousands of Oahu households will receive assistance with food and other necessities from city CARES Act funds. Civil Beat.

City to mail out $500 gift cards for groceries, necessities to thousands of Oahu families. The city will distribute $500 gift cards to thousands of Oahu families experiencing hardship because of the pandemic. The gift cards, which will be mailed out starting Dec. 7, can only be used for groceries and other necessities. Alcohol, tobacco, bus passes and gift cards can’t be purchased. Hawaii News Now.

Direct cash going to Honolulu households affected by COVID-19. Honolulu households that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic are getting help in the form of $500 cash cards. KHON2.


Kapiolani nurses plan picket over expiring contract situation. More than 700 nurses from Kapiolani Medical Center are planning to picket on Wednesday over the status of their contracts, which were set to expire on Monday. Hawaii News Now.

Kapiolani nurses, sans contract, claim unsafe working conditions. Nurses and respiratory therapists on the front lines at Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children are now working without a contract and say they are worried about patient care and unsafe conditions during the coronavirus pandemic. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Starting Wednesday, all trans-Pacific travelers who took a pre-boarding COVID-19 test also will be given a rapid-result antigen test upon arrival at Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keahole, Mayor Harry Kim said Monday. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii Island COVID-19 case count nears 1,600. Hawaii County Civil Defense has reported a total of 49 coronavirus-related fatalities on Hawaii Island. The state has yet to confirm 15 of the deaths reported to date on Hawaii Island and has not responded to repeated requests for information on pending cases. West Hawaii Today.

County announces free COVID-19 testing schedule. Free COVID-19 drive-through testing will be provided at a handful of sites this week, Hawaii County announced Monday. West Hawaii Today.

Wastewater Flows Into Reed’s Bay Following Monday Spill.
The County Wastewater Division said the spill resulted from a sewer force main break caused by employees of Goodfellow Brothers, Inc., who were repairing the sidewalk over the Banyan SPS force main Monday. While excavating to prepare the foundation, workers accidentally punched a hole in the force main, which is 10 inches in diameter. Big Island Now.

Sewage Spill Reported Near Ice Pond Area Of Reeds Bay. An unknown amount of sewage entered the waters of Reed's Bay near Ice Pond shortly after noon on Monday, officials report. Big Island Video News.


Memorial Checkpoint Comes as Maui Police Deal with 400 Percent Increase in Habitual Drunk Driving. The Maui Police Department is seeking a change in behavior within the community in an effort to prevent further drunk driving fatalities in Maui County. Maui Now.

Kīhei Charter School Transitioning from Distance Learning to Blended Learning Model. The Kīhei Charter School is transitioning from all distance learning to a blended learning model in a steady safe process that gradually adds grades to the reopening of the school campus, Head of School Michael Stubbs announced in a news release. Maui Now.


Kawakami defends opt-out. As Kaua‘i temporarily opts-out of the Safe Travels pre-travel testing program, Mayor Derek Kawakami offered some insight into his reasoning. Garden Island.

2 more travel-related cases. The state Department of Health Kaua‘i District Health Office reported two new travel-related cases of COVID-19 on Sunday. Both cases participated in the Safe Travels program and reportedly boarded their flight after receiving positive pre-travel test results. Garden Island.


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