State briefs for September 2

Deputy prosecutor back at work after federal probe letter

HONOLULU — A deputy Honolulu prosecutor returned to work following an absence of more than a year after receiving notice that he’s a subject in a federal corruption investigation.

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Chasid Sapolu went on paid leave in December 2018 after receiving a subject letter from the U.S. Department of Justice in an ongoing corruption investigation that took down a retired Honolulu police chief and the retired chief’s former deputy prosecutor wife. The letter he received is considered less serious than a target letter, which tells you authorities have evidence alleging you committed a crime.

At the time, Sapolu was Honolulu’s second-highest-ranking prosecutor.

Sapolu has said he’s not a target of the investigation and did nothing wrong.

The Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney’s office said Tuesday that Sapolu returned to work and is assigned to the juvenile offender unit.

Prosecuting Attorney Keith Kaneshiro, who remains on a paid leave of absence, received a target letter. It’s not clear for what he’s being investigated. Bill McCorriston, a lawyer representing Kaneshiro, said his client deserves presumption of innocence.

Hospitals seek more nurses for virus response

HONOLULU — Health care officials issued an urgent call for nurses to assist the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic as hospitals experience an influx of patients.

Officials in the private, public and nonprofit health care sectors are collaborating to bring more nurses to Hawaii to address the increasing caseload.

Hospitals trying to deal with the spread of the virus are already short-staffed, said Daniel Ross, president of the Hawaii Nurses Association OPEIU Local 50, which represents about 4,000 members.

Gov. David Ige issued an emergency proclamation waiving licensing requirements to enable recent graduates to provide support assistance such as screening and administrative work.

The Healthcare Association of Hawaii, the Hawaii State Center for Nursing and the Hawaii Healthcare Emergency Management Coalition recently launched a recruiting campaign aimed at new graduates and experienced nurses.

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Healthcare Association of Hawaii President Hilton Raethel said it also activated the part-time Hawaii Medical Reserve Corps in collaboration with the Hawaii Healthcare Emergency Management Coalition.

Officials have contacted staffing agencies in search of traveling nurses for temporary employment.

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