Sex Ed: BoE Opting In to Opt Out?
Best Cities for Families? Honolulu Ranks 92nd
Couch Potatoes Short in Hawaii
Hawaii Food Stamp Use Drops After Waiver Allowing Able Bodied to Collect Expires
HTH: After six years of rising participation in the federal Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, Hawaii County’s numbers are beginning to drop off. But state officials attribute the cause to changing federal regulations rather than decrease in need.
Participation in SNAP (formerly known as food stamps) increased yearly from 2008-14, according to the state Department of Human Services, which oversees the program.
Still, monthly records from this year show participation in SNAP has dropped by about 500 households from January to April. As of April, there were 19,198 households enrolled, and a total of 39,021 people.
A spokesperson for the department could not identify any definite reasons for the drop, but said it might be “partially attributed” to a reinstatement of a federal policy mandating unemployed, able-bodied people receiving SNAP benefits can only do so for three months. Hawaii was one of many states to qualify for and use waivers of the policy once the suspension ended, but the final waiver period ended in December....
In April, the average monthly benefit per person in Hawaii County was $227.77. (x 39,021 = $8.9M per month x 12 = $107M / year)
read ... Leaving Rolls
Waiting for your tax refund? -- Keep Waiting
SA: Many isle taxpayers are facing delays of up to four months as the state works overtime to crack down on bogus filings....
read ... Keep Waiting
Hawaii Health Connector Cuts of Multi-Million Dollar Cash flow to Profitable Nonprofits
PBN: The temporary staff, some of whom worked in outreach, were notified Friday, and their positions will be eliminated within the next two to three weeks, Hawaii Health Connector Executive Director Jeff Kissel said.
The health insurance exchange holds contracts with staff of approximately 36 marketplace assister organizations, 23 of which have grants that expire June 30. These organizations will be conducting layoffs independent of the Connector's staff, Kissel said.
Any future federal funding for assister organizations will awarded through the state once the transition completes.
"The state is going to be responsible for all of the outreach and servicing of health care.gov, and they have resources inside the state,” he said. "We are in cooperation with the state, and we’re slimming down as part of the transition."
Some MAO service outreach is no longer needed because the federal government has permitted small businesses to enroll directly with insurance companies, according to Kissel.
Since August 2013, the Connector has distributed roughly $10 million in grants to the marketplace assister organizations to assist community members with health insurance enrollment. A total of $11.9 million is budgeted for MAOs through June 30.
While the connector oversees about 75 full-time and part-time staff, nearly 200 people will be affected by the transition, Kissel said, noting roughly 125 outreach staff at other organizations were assisting the Connector with enrollment....
HTH: On Big Island, Four "assister orgs' cut off
read ... Layoffs
Kona Hospital Layoffs: Public-Private Partnership Needed
WHT: Repeatedly, residents said of the 94-bed Kealakekua facility: “This is all we have.”
The West Hawaii Region of the Hawaii Health Systems Corp. plans to cut 34 positions and close the skilled nursing unit at KHC to deal with a $6 million shortfall in the fiscal year starting July 1. That’s when employees will be notified of the cuts, and the reductions will be put in place over a 90-day period starting Aug. 1. The statewide system is in the red $50 million for the coming year.
Dianna Jones described the hardship of trying to find alternatives in West Hawaii while her husband spent 10 days in the Kona hospital’s skilled nursing unit in April, waiting for a similar bed to open elsewhere.
“Life Care was full,” she said. “There were no beds on the west side. It would have been an unsafe discharge.”
Close Kona’s skilled nursing unit and the hospital will have patients on its hands that it cannot discharge legally or safely, she predicted. They will stay in acute care beds and create a bottleneck in services there, Jones said.
Attendees were (many planted in the crowd by HGEA pretended to be) angry and baffled....
Kreuzer said the shortfall is caused by increased labor costs from collective bargaining agreements and the hospital’s new requirement to pay retiree health benefits, which were previously covered by the state. The hospital would otherwise have broken even after a streamlining effort last year, which Kreuzer said identified $4.5 million in one-time savings and $4.5 million in recurring savings. The facility of 415 employees has $65 million in operating revenue for the coming fiscal year.
Long term, the hospital must either gain more funding from the Legislature or enter a public-private partnership, Kreuzer said....
Debaffleize: Legislative Report: Convert HHSC to non-profit, dump civil service (full text)
read ... Baffled
Study Looks at Emergency Room Readmissions in Hawaii
AP: ...Duseja's team analyzed records from Arizona, California, Florida, Nebraska, Utah and Hawaii, among the first states to link records so patients can be tracked from one health facility to another. Researchers checked more than 53 million ER visits in which the patient was treated and sent home between 2006 and 2010, the latest available data.
About 8 percent of patients returned within three days, more than previous estimates, and 1 in 5 patients made a repeat visit over the next month, Duseja reported this month in Annals of Internal Medicine.
A third of revisits within three days, and 28 percent over a month, occurred at a different ER. Duseja couldn't tell why, if patients were dissatisfied the first time, or traveling, or for some other reason.
Patients with skin infections were most likely to return, followed by those with abdominal pain....
Revisits may be appropriate, Duseja said. Nearly 30 percent of revisits involved hospitalization, suggesting either patients got worse or emergency physicians felt more scrutiny or testing was warranted.
Also, sometimes ERs tell patients to return — to see if an antibiotic is working, for example, or if they think the person can't or won't get follow-up care elsewhere. In the ER at San Francisco General Hospital, Duseja sees many Medicaid or uninsured patients who have trouble finding a primary care doctor or specialist....
read ... Revisits
Judge Hears Arguments: Expected to Slap Down Ruling on Maui Anti-GMO Initiative Soon
KHON: We could know by the end of the month the fate of Maui County’s voter-approved moratorium on the farming of genetically modified organisms.
The initiative has been stalled in federal court after Monsanto and other groups filed a lawsuit to challenge it.
Both sides argued their case before a judge Monday.
Attorneys say the conflict doesn’t focus on whether or not GMOs are harmful, but rather, whether the county has the right to create legislation that would supersede state or federal law when it comes to testing for GMOs.
“The critical question is who can regulate in this area and we believe that the county may not do so,” said Marjorie Bronster, the plaintiff’s attorney. “It is for the state or the federal government to regulate, and they have been regulating in this area.”
read ... Federal judge hears arguments over Maui GMO initiative
Will Monsanto Be Able to Reverse Effect of Anti-GMO Hysteria?
SA: ...Monsanto Hawaii hopes to reverse its public relations fortunes with a new advertising campaign that gives a human touch — a worker driving a truck through lush fields — to its operations. Monsanto hopes the ads will “dispel myths” about the company.
Perhaps. But direct outreach to the community, and frank disclosures about its operations, would probably help Monsanto more than the gloss of an ad campaign. That’s local style.
read ... Local Style
Hawaii Democrats to Anti-GMO Protesters: "Just Keep at it"
Borreca: ...Time was spent discussing issues. Topics included balanced growth, affordable housing, rail, GMOs and the protests regarding the telescopes on Mauna Kea.
According to those attending, the issues were not protest sessions....
Some of the conference delegates, however, questioned why stay in politics when you don't win.
"The Kauai delegation talked about their concern on pesticide use and how they rallied their friends, but they weren't able to get the result they wanted immediately, so a lot of their friends just dropped off saying ‘Well, forget it. If they aren't going to listen to us, why bother,'" said Dos Santo-Tam.
That question was pitched to a panel of three Hawaii governors: George Ariyoshi, John Waihee and Neil Abercrombie.
Waihee explained how the movement to stop the bombing of Kahoolawe took years of protests, organizing and finally successful legislation.
"Their message was that you just got to keep at it," said Dos Santos-Tam.
read ... Just Keep At It
Greenmail: Hokulia Shakedown artists try to use Herbicide Claims for cash
WHT: LeeAnn Leslie, organizer of the protest, said Hokulia has allowed construction to go on without an archaeological monitor, used herbicides to maintain burials and failed to consult with descendants on treatment of the sites as required by a 2006 settlement agreement. About 40 people attended the protest through the first part of the day. Fifteen protesters were present at about 1:30 p.m.
“All my kids are descendants of this place,” said Conrad Gomes, holding a sign that read “Malama Na Iwi Kupuna.” “I’m here to protect their rights and their descendants and make sure they know how to stand up for their culture.”
Leslie’s son, Kawika Leslie, 7, broke out in a severe rash on his legs after wearing shorts on his first visit to burials south of Kailua-Kona on June 4, said Leslie, who also displayed a rash on her shins and said other visitors in the group also had reactions. She thought the reactions were caused when they moved through dry shrubs that were killed by herbicide. (Quick IQ Test: Do you buy this story?)
Flashback: Hokuli`a Settlement Exposed
read ... Back for More Money
White-Collar Make Work: Natatorium EIS
SA: The city's plan to tear down the Waikiki War Memorial Natatorium is being pushed back more than a year.
Robert Kroning, the city's director of design and construction, said officials with the State Historic Preservation Division have asked that the city look into inserting into its draft environmental assessment a third possible "alternative" for the future of the long-contested plan. ($)
Studying such an alternative — something in between full restoration and saving only the arches — would take about 16-18 months, pushing back completion of a draft environmental assessment ($) that the city had hoped would have been completed by April, Kroning told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser on Friday. "An 18-month delay would probably put us toward the end of 2016," he said.
A final EIS would probably be completed about six months after that, he said.
Kroning emphasized, however, that the Caldwell administration is not wavering from its previously stated preferred position that calls for most of the nearly century-old structure to be torn down and the area turned into a beach. The Beaux Arts-style arches would be saved and moved back from the shoreline under the plan, which is estimate to cost about $18.4 million. ($)
CB: Don’t Write Off ($) Honolulu’s Natatorium Just Yet
read ... Thanks for the study
Fortune: Honolulu 10th Best City to Get a Job
F: This map shows the 10 cities with lowest unemployment rates, where jobs are begging for workers....
read ... Get a Job
Homeless Advocates Admit Shelters not Filled Up, Homeless Can Quit Being Homeless Any Time They Want
KITV: ...The council decided to move forward with four bills attached to the law, but a few residents homeless industry spokespeople stated their dissatisfaction and also came armed with ideas (which contradict their earlier 'ideas'.)
"Looking at emergency shelters, the number of vacancies has remained consistent so it doesn't appear the sit-lie compelling people to go into shelters. If that's the intended result that's not the outcome,' said Scott Morishige, the executive director of the community outreach group PHOCUSED....
read ... Some tell City Council sit-lie law not working
Homeless Person Dies Alone in Jungle Because Activists Blocked Effort to Force Him into a Shelter
HNN: At 8:37 a.m. Monday (June 15), South Hilo Patrol officers responded to a report of a body off the road leading to the Hilo airport.
They found the body under a makeshift shelter in overgrowth about 80-100 feet south of Kekuanaoa Street and approximately a half-mile east of the intersection of Kekuanaoa Street and Kanoelehua Avenue. The body was in advanced stage of decomposition. (He could have been alive in a homeless shelter, but the ACLU wouldn't let us save him from himself.)
An autopsy is scheduled for Tuesday to determine the sex and cause of death. Fingerprints, dental records or both will be used to establish identity.
read ... Murdered by Do-Gooders
Wailuku Suicide Might Be Alive Today if he had not been let out of Prison Again and Again
KITV: The man was identified as 46-year-old Shawn Akamine of Wailuku. Police say Akamine shot himself during an altercation with police.
Investigators say Akamine was a passenger in a vehicle stopped by officers along Lower Main Street at around 4:30 p.m. Sunday. They say Akamine exited the vehicle and shot at police.
Police originally reported that an officer shot Akamine. Akamine was taken to Maui Memorial Medical Center in critical condition where he later died.
Akamine has 16 convictions on his record, including felony theft, between 1989 and 2014....
(Too bad he did 16 crimes in soft on crime Hawaii. Anywhere else he would be alive in prison instead of being dead on the street.)
HNN: Bizarre News--Prisoner Caught Escaping
read ... Soft on Crime Kills
HPD officer pleads no contest to assault charges at nightclub
SA: An Oahu grand jury indicted officer Danson Cappo on Jan. 29 for second-degree theft, two counts of third-degree assault, and fourth-degree criminal property damage. Second-degree theft is a class C felony, punishable by up to five years in prison.
According to prosecutors, Cappo was at a nightclub on March 15, 2014 when he choked a man until the man lost consciousness on the dance floor. The man had been dancing with Cappo's ex-girlfriend. Cappo then took the 22-year-old woman into his car and threw her cell phone out of the vehicle, prosecutors said. He allegedly assaulted her that night.
In January, Cappo, a police officer for two years, had his police powers restricted, a Honolulu Police Department spokeswoman said.
read ... No Contest
Hawaii’s strict gun laws are unconstitutional
KL: On May 29, the Texas state legislature approved a bill allowing the open carry of firearms for anyone with a concealed carry permit. Meanwhile in Hawaii, the future of gun laws is still uncertain. In March 2014, Hawaii’s May-Issue gun laws were deemed unconstitutional by the 9th Circuit Court. Currently, however, the law remains in effect while the ruling is appealed....
read ... Unconstitutional
Even After Attempted Murder Conviction, Criminal Defense Lawyer Wins Second Chance at Mental Disturbance Defense
HTH: Joel White — found guilty in early May in an attack that left Jeremy Nicholas with several stab wounds in his back — will have a retrial on Sept. 15.
Third Circuit Judge Ronald Ibarra granted the retrial following a May 29 hearing in which White’s attorneys argued that the court erred in not instructing the jury on extreme mental or emotional disturbance as a possible factor in the incident last April, and the possibility of considering the lesser charge of attempted manslaughter.
The EMED defense has been used to reduce murder cases to manslaughter on the grounds of extreme mental or emotional disturbance for which there is a reasonable explanation.
SA: Patient arrested after attack on staffer at State Hospital
read ... Soft on Crime
Criminal Refuses Orders, Complains About Result
HNN: ...The inmate, 24, accused the guard of assault in the incident June 2 in the cafeteria of the Olomana cottage at WCCC.
Sources said the sergeant told her to take her stuff and leave because she was done eating and she started arguing with him.
That's when sources said the guard used what some witnesses considered to be unnecessary force to take her to the ground and then punched and kicked her.
The inmate -- who's five-foot-three and weighs 130 pounds -- filed an assault complaint against the corrections officer.
Prison officials put her in solitary confinement for the last two weeks, because of her alleged "misconduct" in the incident. So she's allowed out of her cell just one hour each day....
read ... Criminal Complaint
Hawaii Only 3.1% of Mortgages Upside Down
WS247: The five states with the highest percentage of homes with negative equity are Nevada (23.1%), Florida (21.2%), Illinois (16.8%), Arizona (16.8%) and Rhode Island (15.7%). These five states account for 31.4% of all underwater mortgages.
The five states with the highest percentages of homes with positive equity are Texas (97.7%), Hawaii (96.9%), Alaska (96.8%), Montana (96.8%) and North Dakota (96.2%).
The five metropolitan areas with the highest percentage of properties with negative equity are Tampa-St. Pete-Clearwater, Fla. (23.1%), Chicago-Naperville-Arlington Heights, Ill. (19.1%), Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Ariz. (16.9%), Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif. (13.9%) and Warren-Troy-Farmington Hills, Mich. (13.4%).
The five metro areas with the highest percentage in positive equity are Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, Texas (97.9%), Dallas-Plano-Irving, Texas (97.6%), Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, Colo. (97.1%), Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, Ore. (97.0%) and Anaheim-Santa Ana-Irvine, Calif. (97.0%).
read ... 5 States Account for Nearly a Third of Underwater Mortgages
Kauai County Bill would require B&B owners to live in same building
SA: The Kauai County Council has voted to narrow the definition of a bed-and-breakfast operation to require that the owner live in the same dwelling.
Otherwise it's a transient vacation rental, subject to a different set of rules, permits and fees.
Planning Director Michael Dahilig said the new definition closes the loophole of illegal TVRs attempting to seek refuge under a "home stay" or B&B permit.
read ... Require
Falls of Clyde to receive funding from Scotland?
HS: ... the Falls of Clyde could soon be at the bottom of the Pacific ocean if a campaign to save her does not secure the funds it needs by August this year.
The Clyde-built deep water sailing ship is currently berthed at Honolulu Harbour in Hawaii where trust Friends of the Falls of Clyde (FoFC) are battling to raise funds for the vessel's restoration.
The group bought the ship for $1 in 2008 but have so far been unable to raise the money needed to restore her to her former glory.
They have now received the backing of Clyde Maritime Trust (CMT), the group behind the restoration of sister ship, the Glenlee (the Tall Ship), based on the Clyde at the Riverside Museum.
CMT Trustee Frank Brown said: "The Falls of Clyde is a very important ship. She was Clyde built and there's only five of these ships left in the whole world.
"If she goes, you can't just build another one. But she needs an awful lot of work and an awful lot of money spent on her."
It is understood that FoFC have been given until August 15 to remove the ship from Honolulu Harbour amid fears it could sink and result in a costly removal process for the harbour authority.
FoFC are believed to now be left with the choice of either raising the funds and moving the ship to a dry dock or it being sunk out in the Pacific Ocean.
The trust say they need to raise $1.5 million (almost £1m) to complete the first phase of the restoration project and get the ship on to the dry dock to clean, repair, and paint the hull.
It will then cost a further $170,500 (£110,000) to complete the project.
Some shipping enthusiasts in Scotland have criticised the FoFC for not taking action on funding sooner and have called for the Falls of Clyde to be returned to Glasgow and restored in a similar way to the Glenlee.
The campaigners would like to see the vessel taken on by the CMT and saved from an "ignominious end", however Mr Brown estimates that the costs involved in doing so would run to £10 million - money that the CMT does not have....
read ... Back to Clyde?