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Saturday, August 15, 2015
August 15, 2015 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:55 PM :: 3960 Views

Obama Administration to Propose 'Procedure' for Recognizing Fake Hawaiian Indian Tribe

Maui's New Public-Private Partnerships--Panel Discussion on Possibilities and Challenges Ahead

What Rep. Sylvia Luke, Sen. Brian Schatz, the City Council and the Mayor don’t know about solving Honolulu’s homelessness crisis

Interior Grants $500,000 to Stand Up Micronesian One Stop Service Centers in Guam and Hawaii

Hawaii Property Tax Rate Lowest in USA

How Free Market Environmentalism is Transforming Parks

Big Cable EIS to be Released Soon

IM: The long-awaited inter-island cable Environmental Impact Statement may be finally surfacing.

The Hawaii Clean Energy Programmatic EIS (DOE/EIS-0459) was initiated in 2010. Last month the U.S. Department of Energy released the status of 15 “Key Environmental Impact Statements.” The release of the document, which has been repeatedly delayed, is now expected to be released this month.

This release may coincide with the Asia Pacific Resilience and Innovation Summit and Expo (APRISE) being held at the Hawai`i Convention Center from August 24-26. APRISE was originally named the Asia Pacific Clean Energy Summit & Expo. The summit grew out of an effort to promote the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative (HCEI). The kama`aina rate including for non-profits is $495....

read ... Transformation Energy meetings will be held this month

$60M More Needed to Upgrade DoTax Computers after Latest Tech Disaster

SA: Hawaii is spending nearly $60 million to redo its faulty tax collection system that already cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars and contributed to significant delays in tax refunds.

The Department of Taxation awarded Fast Enterprises LLC, a Colorado-based software and consulting firm, a four-year contract to replace the outdated system, which has limited functionality and cannot be updated efficiently as tax laws change.

The project will replace “problematic systems that impaired the department’s performance during the past tax season,” the state said in a press release Thursday. The new system is expected to be completed by mid-2019.

The state originally contracted Canadian-based CGI Group Inc. — the same company that built the problem-plagued Hawaii Health Connector — and paid the firm $87.5 million from 1999 to 2011 to modernize the tax collection system. But what the state was left with was old technology that doesn’t provide accurate information when determining the state budget, the Tax Department’s own technology experts earlier testified to lawmakers. Instead, the department that manages roughly $6 billion a year in state revenue must use manual workarounds to process reports....

“They’ve spent too much money. We have not gotten our money’s worth,” said state Sen. Sam Slom (R, Diamond Head-Kahala-Hawaii Kai). “People were very upset this year that the delay in getting their tax refunds was three months or four months and in some cases longer, so we’re really going to have to do a better job of making sure they do what they’re supposed to do on time. As far as tax modernization, we haven’t seen that modernization. That’s the real problem.”

The existing system is so antiquated it cannot even handle scanning paper tax forms, said Tax Director Maria Zielinski....

Solution: Quickbooks $199.95 per computer

read ... Another Tech Disaster in the Making?

State Employees Watch 300 hours of Netflix on the Job

HNN: The state has just begun to block state employees from being able to access video streaming services such as "Netflix" and "Hulu" from their on-the-job computers.

And Hawaii News Now has learned the state workforce spent anywhere from 100 to 300 hours in one week recently watching Netflix.... (x$20/hr = $6000 paid to watch Netflix)

Technology allows bosses to catch the TV-watching culprits. 

"You could probably find out from specific IP addresses which computers are actually doing all the watching and you can also tell what time of day they may be watching," Lum said.

There are no plans to discipline workers who watched Netflix and other entertainment programs on the job, state officials said.

The state will still allow state employees access to YouTube and other free streaming media sites....

read ... Scot-Free

Kaiser blames ObamaCare for $4.3M Q2 loss

SA: “We recorded reduced revenue of $6.1 million in the second quarter due to the (Affordable Care Act) Risk Adjustment Program,” Risse said. “This is an adjustment based on 2014 membership experience, without which we would have been just above break even.”

SA: HMSA Earnings drop from the year-ago quarter as the cost of administering benefits increases

read ... Thanks, Obama

Opponents of Haleakala telescope planning another Blockade

SA: ...Foes of the $340 million project are planning another protest after it was announced that another convoy of oversize trucks loaded with construction parts and material would be dispatched to the top of the 10,000-foot Maui mountain late Wednesday night.

Twenty demonstrators were arrested July 30 in the last attempt to block a shipment of large telescope parts from reaching the summit....

HNN: Organizers are calling it a "Direct Action."

read ... Haleakala

Mainland Homeless Arraigned for Attempted Murder

HTH: Trial is set for a 32-year-old homeless man accused of stabbing a married couple last month in a Hilo park.

Hilo Circuit Judge Glenn Hara on Thursday ordered David Lester Bars to appear for trial at 8:30 a.m. Nov. 16.

Bars is charged with attempted second-degree murder and second-degree assault for allegedly stabbing 27-year-old Myreon Nau-Fikes and 24-year-old Anastasha Nau-Fikes, both of Pahoa, in the early morning hours of June 20 at Wailoa State Recreation Area....

read ... Exported Problem 

Sovereignty squatters arrested

HTH: ...After an extended effort by a Realtor to remove former tenants and others from a foreclosed home on Kapalai Road in Kurtistown, state sheriff’s deputies served an eviction notice July 25 on the persons squatting in one of two homes on the property.

Several of the adults present were confrontational, refusing to identify themselves, but all 12 persons left the property with their belongings. The Realtor later changed the locks on the doors.

On Aug. 5, police conducted a check of the house in response to information that it appeared one of the homes had been reoccupied after the eviction. Police saw a woman outside the house who immediately went inside, secured the door and refused to come out, arguing that she had Hawaiian sovereignty rights allowing occupancy of the house and property. Police overheard other persons inside the house and advised the occupants that they would be returning.

Today, officers surrounded the structure and prepared to force their way into the home if necessary. The occupants voluntarily opened the door and all eight adults were arrested. All refused to be fingerprinted or photographed, claiming Hawaiian sovereignty....

read ... Sovereignty

KPD Officer Faces Negligent Homicide Charge

KE: Kauai Police Officer Irvin Magayanes was arrested yesterday on one count of negligent homicide in the second degree for the traffic death of Michael Sheehan Kocher Jr. last January.

Kocher, 19, reportedly was walking on Kaumualii Highway near Kaumakani when he was hit by a car at about 9:35 p.m. on Jan. 3, 2015. He was lying in the road, but alive, when a police car driven by Magayanes reportedly struck him again while responding to the call for help. Kauai police conducted an investigation and forwarded the results to Kauai Prosecutor Justin Kollar's office....

Magayanes is the second KPD officer to face criminal charges this year. Sgt. Colin Nesbitt was charged with driving under the influence after he crashed his truck while off-duty. The Kauai OPA has referred that case to the state Attorney General to avoid any conflict of interest....

KGI: Officer charged in death

read ... KPD Officer Faces Negligent Homicide Charge

Hawaii Inmate Strangled: Was Alone in Cell With Homosexual Murderer

KHON: The Pima County Office of the Medical Examiner-Forensic Science Center said Jonathan Namauleg, 21, died from asphyxia as the result of strangulation or smothering....

On Thursday, Aug. 6, corrections officers were alerted when Namauleg’s cellmate, Jason McCormick, 41, activated a distress button in the housing cell.

McCormick is serving a life sentence with the possibility of parole for second-degree murder.

He was found guilty in the 1996 cold case murder of Robert Henderson, a visiting professor at the University of Hawaii (who had hired McCormick as a gay prostitute).

read ... Homosexual Murder

Cabbies complain about kickback schemes

HNN: ...Longtime drivers say the kickbacks are a way the smaller, independent cab companies get around those exclusive contracts and take rides from their bigger rivals. On airport rides, the kickbacks range from $10 to $15, or about a third of the fare.

"I would clearly estimate it in the tens of millions of dollars a year," said Eco Cab's Jung.

But many believe the ultimate victim is the consumer, who winds up footing the bill for the kickbacks in the form of inflated fares.

Jung and Deluze said that some unscrupulous drivers will take longer routes or will charge tourists excessive baggage fees to make up for the kickbacks.

Others will rig their meters or car tires to get higher mileage readings.

Those meters are tested annually by the state Agriculture Department. But some drivers will use larger back tires on their cars when their meters are tested by the state, driver said. They then replace those wheels with smaller tires or they deflate their back tires, so that the meters get higher mileage readings when they drive customers around, sources said.

"I've heard stories of people saying why are we going through tunnels (on the Windward side) which takes them around the long way," said Deluze....

read ... Long Way

After 15 Years, Molokai veterans finally celebrate opening of their own center

MN: Plans to build the veterans center began in 2000, when former commander Larry Helm and a team of volunteers started planning for a space where they could hold regular meetings and Veterans Affairs clinics. Molokai Ranch donated about an acre along Wharf Road for the center in 2004, but securing the building permits took more than seven years, veterans said.

Several veterans who've lobbied for the project, including Helm, have died since construction began in 2006. Helm died in June 2013 after a battle with liver cancer. The Vietnam War veteran was 70 years old....

Council Member Don Couch, who had been following the project since 2002, said "we had to fight for a long time because of different laws and rules." He remembered that Helm organized a protest in front of the county building during Mayor Charmaine Tavares' administration to advance the Molokai veterans center.

"Larry Helm was the one who was really pushing hard," Couch said.

Mayor Alan Arakawa thanked Helm and the rest of the veterans for seeing the project through despite the hurdles.

"When this project started, only the veterans had the vision that this was achievable. But look at what we have today," he said.

read ... 15 Years

Hospital Training of Caregivers would be Lucrative for Lawyers

SA: ...The proposed statutes that go beyond these standards are a burden, according to George Greene, president and CEO of the Healthcare Association of Hawaii. Hawaii is already among the top states for health care of retired people, Greene said, citing AARP.

“We believe that community-based services that educate caregivers should be better funded, and this is a preferred venue for valuable caregiver training,” Greene said. “The most appropriate place for this work is the Aged and Disability Resource Center. This is a better, local environment which will also be effective in reducing hospital readmissions.”

However, Bruce Bottorff, director of communications for AARP Hawaii, argues that no one is in a better position to train caregivers in the complex medical tasks required for a given patient with a specific condition than the treating physician or relevant nurse at the time of discharge.

Greene also warns that asking hospitals to train lay, unpaid caregivers up to a clinical standard without accountability increases liability for inpatient facilities and places them in an impossible situation. In response, Bottorff says there is now a revised proposal with the intention of creating a strong limitation of liability for hospitals. He says this is among the most protective proposals for hospitals across the county and does so in the strongest way possible....

read ... Lawyers Scheme

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