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Saturday, August 29, 2015
August 29, 2015 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:42 PM :: 3399 Views

Feds Secretly Threaten to Revoke UH Manoa Biolab Permits

UH Manoa Army ROTC named one of the best in the nation

Ignacio to hit Big Island Monday, Jimena Following

State, feds to waste another $3.3M and $2.8M on Hawaii Health Connector

PBN: ...The state of Hawaii is likely to extend the operations of the Hawaii Health Connector through October 2016 for $3.3 million, the health insurance exchange’s officials announced Friday at its board of directors meeting.

Hawaii’s state-based insurance marketplace also received confirmation Thursday that the federal government would chip in a $2.8 million grant to support “marketplace assister organizations" — the Connector’s nonprofit partners that assist the community in signing up for health insurance....

The $3.3 million will cover extra costs for outreach and the transfer of information to the state....

The Connector’s board approved in June a transition plan to the federal system, as well as a reduction in force. Operations are scheduled to cease by October 2016....

As Predicted: Failed Obamacare State Exchange May Cost Taxpayers Millions More

read ... Another $6.1M down the drain

Rail: Oh now you hire an Accounting Expert

SA: ...A certified public accountant with 29 years of experience is poised to be the newest board member of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation, and thank goodness for that.

As HART Chairman Don Horner remarked on Thursday about Terri Fujii's preliminary selection, "Ms. Fujii was exactly the person we need, given our financial situation right now."

That "financial situation" is HART's estimated $900 million overrun on its 20-mile, originally $5.2 billion rail project that's not even half built yet. Perhaps Fujii should have been brought on board much sooner....

read ... Nothing left to count

Union Hospital Status Quo is Unsustainable

H247: I am very annoyed by the United Public Worker’s (UPW’s) slickly produced ads that state health care is people. Yes, health care is people, I get it. However, the overhead cost of these same people is strangling the hospitals to death. I don’t see the unions, such as the UPW, helping matters by reducing that overhead cost. All I see is the UPW filing lawsuits to keep the status quo.

The status quo is unsustainable. Kona Hospital, which is the only critical medical facility in the Kailua-Kona area, is experiencing operating losses in the millions of dollars. The taxpayers have covered these loses thus far. This cannot continue.

The saving grace for the future of our hospitals is partnering with a privately run entity, such as Queens or Kaiser. This doesn’t fit into the UPW’s plans though, as they believe their members needs supersede the needs of the overall community.

If UPW did more to reduce the overhead personnel costs at these hospitals, then I would view these ads a bit more favorably. However, the UPW wants to file lawsuits to protect their interests instead of being part of the solution.

read ... Unsustainable

Jones Act: Why it's so Expensive

KGI: In effect, the Jones Act subsidizes the domestic shipping industry and gives them a monopoly on trade to Hawaii, as well as carte blanche to charge any rate they darn well please.....

read ... Jones Act

Caldwell Coverup: Environmentalist criticizes city for not testing for sewage in Waikiki on day of spill

HNN: When nearly half a million gallons of raw sewage poured into Ala Moana Beach Park on Monday, the city tested nearby areas for bacteria levels caused by the sewage spill. But it didn't test for sewage in Waikiki that day.

"I'm very concerned that there was no testing for sewage on Monday," said Marti Townsend, director of the Sierra Club of Hawaii. "Common sense dictates that we have more sampling than less."

The day that human waste gushed out of the sewer line beneath Atkinson Drive, the city and the state closed beaches between Kakaako and Kapahulu.

The city tested at 19 different locations that day. But it only conducted tests for sewage in Waikiki the next day after it was told to do so by the state Health Department.

Here's how the city explained its reasoning:  "There was additional testing that the Department of Health asked us to add on but my crews had already done the first day's sampling," Lori Kahikina, director of the city Department of Environmental Services, said during a news conference on Wednesday.

"The first day of sampling was not available. It's the second day that we have."

The Sierra Club's Townsend questioned the city's motives, saying she suspects the city didn't want possibly sewage-related bacteria counts in Waikiki making more national news.

"We know that the story is circulating around the globe and that our reputation is taking a serious hit because of the brown water alerts and the possible sewage spills," she said.

Background: After Lying, Caldwell Admin Finally Admits Waikiki Flooding is Purely Due to City's own Incompetence

read ... Caldwell Coverup

Caldwell Sets New Record for Sewage

SA: Since the beginning of August, nine sewage spills have entered recreational waters around Oahu — the most in a single month since 2010 — and more could be on the way as two hurricanes barrel toward Hawaii....

...In total about 1.7 million gallons of sewage — most of it treated yet not disinfected — was discharged into the environment....

...large vacuum trucks for emergency response to flooding and spills. Currently, four of 21 trucks are inoperable....

This month's spills came as the city is five years into a $5 billion consent decree to bring the city's sewer collection and treatment systems into compliance with the federal Clean Water Act. Part of the decree requires Honolulu to upgrade its sewer collection system and improve its maintenance program at a cost of $3.5 billion. The improvements are supposed to reduce sewage overflows and be completed in 10 years.

A second part of the decree orders the city to upgrade the Sand Island and Honouliuli wastewater treatment plants to secondary treatment by 2035 at a cost of about $1.5 billion....

Kahikina said the consent decree does not require increasing the capacity of the system. However, tight capacity is a factor in several recent spills....

Background: After Lying, Caldwell Admin Finally Admits Waikiki Flooding is Purely Due to City's own Incompetence

read ... Just Wait til Ignacio and Jimena Get Here

Kakaako homeless Have Plenty of Excuses for Refusing Shelter

HNN: ...42-year-old Jansen Amantiad, who has been living in Kaka'ako for the past eight months. When asked what his plan was he replied, "To get off the streets? Hopefully for the best.".... (But he still won't go to a shelter.)

"Dogs shouldn't live like this. For real. Honest to God. If there was any place I could go, I would," said Vierre. (Except a shelter, that is.)

Bernadine Lalosin has been living with her husband under a makeshift tent along Ilalo Street for nearly a year now.

"Certain shelters won't take couples because I can't be separated from my husband -- that's the only thing that we don't want. We have to be together because we're stronger as a unit. They're pushing us, but if they don't have enough shelters -- what's the sense? People are going to come back," the 45-year-old said....  (Of course there are shelters which do accept couples, she just won't go to them.  These people are pretty good at BS-ing.  Why don't they all get jobs as used car salesmen or politicians.)

Samson Bohol, who has been homeless for four years and says he hasn't figured out what he'll do when crews come through.

"Try to grab what I can carry. What else can I do?" the 44-year-old said.  (Uh...go to a shelter? Nah!)

About 25 homeless people live in the area officials plan to start with. City leaders say there is enough shelter space for all of them....  (Yup.  Sure is.)

KITV: New center helps newcomers from Micronesia

read ... React

Local developer: public private partnership key for affordable housing to end homelessness

KITV: ...Stanford Carr says there is no need to wait that long.

"In a year and a half, you could identify a site, design, construct and move people in within an 18 month period. It's all doable," Carr said, pointing to his recent Halekauwili project as proof. The 19-story high-rise rental -- complete with 260 stalls for parking and retail space -- was built in 15 months.

"Give us the tools. Cut through the regulatory oversight and let us do our jobs," said Carr, adding that industry professionals are coming up with creative and cost-effective ideas -- like a future Cooke Street project in which a 10,000 square foot lot was designed to accommodate 109 units in just nine floors.

But Carr says private industry can only do so much. He says developers need the government's assistance to speed up the process. He says existing state statutues, like 201H, can expedite re-zoning without cutting checks and balances.

"I think the building community would all like to participate. There is the will in the private industry to contribute and paddle our part of the canoe to help solve the problems. What we all need to do is just get in the room to work out the logistics and how we can break down these barriers so that we can realize that the necessary housing and see some measurable results in our community,” Carr said....

read ... Public-Private Partnership

Water Bills Drop 21% Due to Lower Electric Rates

HTH: Lower electricity rates will translate to slightly lower water bills for households that get their water from the county Department of Water Supply.

Starting with Sept. 1 water bills, the power cost charge on customers’ bills will decrease from $2.32 to $1.85 per 1,000 gallons of water used, the water department announced late Thursday. The adjustments were made after a public hearing Tuesday in Kona, where no members of the public testified....

The water department recently completed a study to look at the department’s current energy reduction efforts and recommend ways to achieve more savings. The department is the island’s largest customer of electricity, spending more than $22.3 million for electricity in 2014.

Background: Hawaii electricity cost drop 23 percent after oil price fall

read ... Thank a Fracker

The Student-Loan Siphon

WSJ: New evidence from the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia illustrates how subsidized student loans sap small business creation.

Student loans have ballooned tenfold since 1999 to more than $1 trillion, the authors note in a July report. Other consumer debt—mortgages, car loans, credit cards—dipped during the 2008 financial crisis, but student debt doubled from $547 billion in 2007, nearly all of it on Education Department books. The Philly Fed is the first to examine how mortgaging an education influences entrepreneurship....

One result is that students choose different careers, flocking to existing companies—if they manage to find a job in an economy in which more than half of parking lot attendants report some college experience. There’s no longer an incentive to plunge into the risk-taking that produces valuable and innovative companies. It’s fashionable to treat college as an Elysium promising higher earnings and eternal happiness, but the Fed research is the latest clue that many students would be better off without a degree. The 17% delinquency rate is another hint.

And Don't Forget: 70% Tuition Hike: UH System Ranks #2 in USA

read ... But We Got Plenty of Rich College Administrators

Caldwell to Remove Lane from South Street

KITV: The city's second protected bike lane will be located along the left side of South Street....

According to Formby, the bike lane should be ready by the end of this year. It will not include the asphalt berms that you see in the South King street lane.

“We found out that while they are for cars and provide an added protection, it was difficult for people to get out of their cars,” said Mayor Kirk Caldwell. “The driver on the left-hand side had to step up. Those who have a wheelchair also have some difficulties, so we’ll just do the bollards and painting.”

The city does not know yet whether it will include a parking lane...

Since opening in December, the number of bicyclists using South King Street has increased by 88 percent, with 89 percent of cyclists saying they use that lane, not the street or sidewalk....

read ... Another Lane

Soft on Crime: 36 Priors and Does it Again, Gets 6 Years

KITV: On Thursday, a judge sentenced 42 year old Davelyn Mahi to six years imprisonment for aggravated identity theft and theft of mail....

Evidence showed that Mahi stole hundreds of mail items and recovered credit cards and other property over at least a six month time period. She then used these to fraudulently purchase thousands of dollars worth of goods.

Mahi has had 230 prior arrests and 36 prior convictions, which were substantial factors supporting the Court’s decision to impose a sentence of imprisonment above the maximum sentence advised by the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines....

read ... Soft on Crime

75 foot Hose to be used to Spray Haleakala with Roundup--Protesters Silent 

MN: To prevent Haleakala Crater from turning into a pine forest, the national park will be flying helicopters in September and October to 3,000 invasive trees growing on cliffs and terrain inaccessible by foot and spraying a herbicide tree by tree....

The spraying will occur on four to seven days in September and October on the remote Hana Peak and the western crater wall, Angelakis said. About $80,000 has been budgeted for pine eradication.

The herbicide is a combination of water (93 percent), glyphosate (5 percent), aminopyralid (1 percent) and vegetable oil (1 percent). The composition and weight of the oil allows the mixture to bind and to be absorbed by the tree. The herbicide degrades within 30 days, she said.

The chemical is applied precisely by spraying individual trees from a 75-foot hose hanging below the helicopter. Spraying is controlled by the pilot with the help of spotters at lookouts, Angelakis said.

After the chemical is absorbed by the leaves, it may take a year for the tree to die, she said. The trees will be left in place.

The targeted herbicide spray method was developed with researchers from the University of Hawaii and has been employed successfully elsewhere in Hawaii, Angelakis said. The Park Service project is in compliance with the National Environmental Policy and the Endangered Species acts. A pilot pine control project that successfully targeted 185 trees was conducted in December.

The national park held a public meeting in Keokea on Aug. 20 to outline its plans.  (Did you see any anti-GMO activists there?  Me neither.)

No trail, campground, road, cabin or other closures will occur as a result of the aerial spraying project.

read ... Pinetree Roundup



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