Who Wants to be an ICA Judge? Applicants made public for first time
Former Maui Police Officer Sentenced to Ten Years in Prison for Attempted Child Enticement
Fuel Completely Removed From Red Hill Pipes
Unemployment Trust Fund Grows to $205M
More Delays for Rail: 8 Westside Rail Station Supports Need Retrofits Before Service
CB: … Eight of 21 large West Oahu station supports, many of them flagged by structural engineers for their growing concrete cracks, will need to be retrofitted before limited passenger service can start along Honolulu’s rail system, project officials say.
All 21 of those supports, known as hammerhead piers, will be treated with an epoxy material to help address the cracking, according to the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation. It won’t be necessary to build entirely new supports at the stations as previously feared, project officials said at the agency’s board meeting Friday.
Consultants and engineers investigating the cracking have determined that the affected hammerhead piers on rail’s westside don’t pose an imminent safety concern, HART officials added.
However, it still hasn’t been made clear what’s causing those “shear” cracks, whose growth was discovered by city consultants this past summer, or how the retrofitting might affect plans to finally launch limited rail service early next year ….
SA: ‘Hammerhead’ crack fixes in limbo, delaying Oahu’s rail service
As Explained: Plague, Frogs, Fire and Cracks: Eleven Years of HART Excuses
Real Reason for Delays: Transit agencies carried 45 percent as many riders in 2021 as in 2019
read … HART: 8 Westside Rail Station Supports Need Retrofits Before Service
132 Owners Seek Registration for Oahu short-term rentals
SA: … The long-awaited city ordinance regulating short-term rentals took effect Oct. 24 to an anticlimax: Honolulu Hale’s registration website came a day after, few property owners in resort districts registered, and a federal court had already barred the city from penalizing people who rented out property for 30 to 89 days. But now, the program is getting underway.
Short-term rental owners in resort districts submitted 132 applications to register their properties with the Department of Planning and Permitting as of Thursday. DPP reviewed 67 of them, approving 28, and finding 39 needed corrections. “The most common registration correction issue: Lack of a title report,” DPP spokesperson Curtis Lum wrote in an email. The numbers had not “changed much” by Friday afternoon, he said.
Since Oct. 23, the day before enforcement of Ordinance 22-7 took effect, DPP’s Short-Term Rental Enforcement Branch has issued 45 Notices of Violation for illegal short-term rentals, but “we have not yet referred the NOVs for fines,” Lum said. By contrast, DPP issued 14 in the entire month of September and 15 in August. Meanwhile, 114 complaints about illegal short-term rentals have been submitted, he said.
Despite “bad predictions in the media that it would crash,” the registration website “has been operating smoothly since we launched it,” Lum said. DPP has been receiving about 15 to 20 calls a day, with most callers asking whether they need to register.
Generally, Oahu’s major resort districts encompass portions of Waikiki, Turtle Bay on the North Shore and Ko Olina resort by Kapolei. Some small pockets of resort districts are in Makaha Valley, Kahala, Laie and Ewa….
read … Registration for Oahu short-term rentals is progressing
Despite plenty of potential cases, Hawaii lags in Medicaid fraud and abuse prosecutions
HNN: … Hawaii has a huge population of people on Medicaid and thousands of health professionals, nursing home and care home operators taking care of them.
But the law enforcement unit in charge of finding theft from the program and abuse of its patients has the lowest rate of charging crimes in the nation….
Hawaii’s Medicaid program spends about $2.5 billion a year and the state attorney general has a 15-person Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, which looks for overbilling fraud by providers and abuse or neglect of patients….
In 2020, the unit’s growing caseload was 600 fraud and abuse cases, but only two people were charged with crimes and one convicted. The following year there were more cases, but just one person was charged and five convicted….
read … Despite plenty of potential cases, Hawaii lags in Medicaid fraud and abuse prosecutions
Plan to protect 30% of shoreline draws concern among anglers
HNN: … Ed Watamura is part of HFACT, the Hawai’i Fishermen’s Alliance for Conservation and Tradition. The group advocates for everyone’s right to fish and serves as a bridge between the fishing community and the state.
“The fishermen were not happy and a lot of them just turned around and walked out,” he said. “They felt like they were not listened to, that their voice was not being heard, and they were just being told what to do.”
He added that misinformation is circulating on social media about the state’s plan to designate 30% of each island’s nearshore waters as part of a network of marine management areas by 2030.
“The rumors are gonna be rampant, ‘oh they’re gonna shut down 30% of the shorelines,’ when that really isn’t true,” Watamura said.
What is true is the concern anglers feel about restrictions being placed on them without having a say.
“One of the main questions is that 30% where does that come from, how is that designated, hopefully they get the fisherman involved into trying to decide where that 30% is gonna be,” Watamura said.
The problem Watamura says is the state doesn’t take into account shores not open to fishermen like military bases and areas blocked by natural barriers like cliffs.
“They’re not taking into account that so much of the coastline is already inaccessible,” he added. “It’s up to the fishermen to be involved in the process, to get a say, to have their voice heard, you know, because without it, somebody else is going to decide what the rules are.” …
Related: Aiona: DLNR Holomua Marine Initiative 'Copying California'
read … Plan to protect 30% of shoreline draws concern among anglers
Judge rules against Oahu man who refuses to surrender 'FCKBLM' license plate
KITV: … in August 2022, the Honolulu City Council authorized city attorneys to file suit against the driver, Edward Oquina.
In September, Odquina filed a complaint, a motion for a temporary restraining order and a motion for a preliminary injunction against the city, claiming his first amendment rights were being violated.
In his ruling on Friday, District Judge Derrick K. Watson denied Odquina’s motions, saying that his free speech claim would likely not succeed for two reasons: one, because license plates are government speech and not subject to First amendment Review. And two, even if that were not the case, government rules concerning non-public forum speech on vanity plates are reasonable and viewpoint-neutral.
“Odquina, in short, does not have a constitutional right to a license plate containing profanity,” Watson wrote ….
PDF: Court Ruling
read … Judge rules against Oahu man who refuses to surrender 'FCKBLM' license plate
Enviros Saddened by Lack of Marine Debris, Pray to Goddess Gaia for Return of Garbage Patch Glory Days
TGI: … In the paper, researchers report that 17.5 tons of debris were collected in the second quarter of 2018 — which fell to 4.7 tons in the fourth quarter of 2021. Most of the debris (71 percent) was fishing gear — nets, ropes and plastic buoys.
This decline has occurred throughout the Hawaiian islands. A quantitative survey from the Hawai‘i Wildlife Fund on Hawai‘i Island found 6,916 pieces of debris in August 2018, as compared with 594 in October 2021.
Just because there’s less debris washing up on Kaua‘i doesn’t mean there’s less garbage in the ocean in general. The amount of trash in the ocean keeps increasing, Welti said. Researchers remain unclear on where all this debris is washing up instead.
Welti described the reduction of debris as a “breather.”
“I can’t tell you how discouraging it is to clean a beach and come back the next day and have a whole new round of plastic,” said Welti.
This reprieve won’t last forever, however. The Garbage Patch “oscillates,” Welti said, and is projected to return to its old position within the next few years….
read … Shifting Garbage Patch means less marine debris on Kaua‘i