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Saturday, September 3, 2011
September 3, 2011 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 2:20 PM :: 11947 Views

Murder in Kona: A flurry of phone calls, then Union Leader Walks Free

UHERO: With Hawaii Growth Slow, US Risk Looms Large

Flags to Fly at Half-Staff in Honor of Senior Chief Petty Officer Kraig M. Vickers

Manoa Liberals to Apologize to Muslims for September 11th

"A Decade After 9/11: Acknowledging the Harms, Learning the Lessons and Shaping the Future," will be held Sept 10th from 10 a.m. to noon at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii, 2454 S. Beretania St. in Moiliili….

"There were multiple victims of 9/11. Those who lost their lives and those who are Muslim, or perceived to be Muslim or Middle Eastern, and thus are subject to stigma and discrimination because many equate Muslim with 'terrorist,'" JACL President Trisha Nakamura said.

Speakers will include author and filmmaker Tom Coffman, who will address racial tensions and how they were reduced during World War II; Mari J. Matsuda, a University of Hawaii law professor, on the 9/11 connection to current events and what they mean to social justice seekers; and Hakim Ouansafi of the Muslim Association of Hawaii, on the experiences of Hawaii's Muslim-American community. Ellen Godbey Carson, an attorney and civil rights advocate, will moderate.

Who they’re apologizing to:

read … apology

Carlisle, HART officials headed for DC Money Train

Carlisle sent a message to Honolulu City Council Chair Ernie Martin Friday announcing that he'd be out of state from Sept. 6 through Sept. 9 and would be leaving Managing Director Doug Chin in charge.

Carlisle's note said the purpose of his trip is "to meet with the Federal Transit Administration and Congressional Delegation regarding the Honolulu High-Capacity Transit Corridor Project."

Carlisle won't be the only Honolulu official at those meetings. Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation spokeswoman Jeanne Mariani-Belding told Inside Honolulu Friday that Interim Director Toru Hamayasu and Board Chair Carrie Okinaga are going to the nation's capital as well.

"They are going to meet with FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff. They are going to talk about scheduling of the Full-Funding Grant Agreement; Carrie is going as the new HART chair to express that there will be continuity and continued support for the project," Mariani-Belding wrote in an email.

read … DC

Community objects to plan to close Likelike Elementary

The department estimates that closing Likelike would save about $1 million a year. Its teachers would follow their students to other area schools.

The department's review of the McKinley complex is the latest step in a statewide plan to determine whether small schools can be consolidated to save money. Shuttering Likelike would bump up to three the number of campuses closed as part of the cost-cutting push.

Liliuokalani Elementary in Kaimuki was closed in May, sending about 100 students to neighboring schools. Also closed as part of the review were Wailupe Elementary and a one-room schoolhouse on Maui. But eight schools have been spared after consolidation reviews, including two on Oahu's North Shore, two in east Honolulu and two in Kalihi.

Full Text: DOE consolidation report

read … Likelike

Halawa Could Make Millions for Hawaii

Ohio made history this week when it became the first state to sell one of its prisons to a private firm (pending the outcome of a lawsuit questioning its constitutionality). Maybe Hawaii could follow suit?

The sale of its prison on the shores of Lake Erie to Corrections Corporation of America is expected to result in annual savings of $3 million for the state, since CCA figures it can operate the institution for 8 percent less than Ohio's state government could.

Again, something for Hawaii to explore? It's not like we couldn't use the money.

SA: Inmate pleads guilty to escape charge

read … Halawa Millions

Slom: Labor Day Should be for All Workers — and Jobs

This year, 2011, is especially significant for labor unions. Though they still bluster, attack business, the Tea Party and the free market, and have an economic and political impact, the unions—not workers— are in survival mode. Except for New York and Hawaii, their membership is low and declining. Their political influence is waning. Their demands have resulted in excessive consumer cost increases. They are being challenged for their unsustainable benefits on the backs of all workers and taxpayers. They are forced to accept wage and benefit reductions.

In Wisconsin, the Governor and Legislature stood up against, and were victorious, in changing collective bargaining. This is spreading to other states.

Even in Hawaii, union members are openly critical of the representation of the Hawaii State Teachers Association (HSTA) which has failed to secure a new contract and is openly fighting with the pro union new Governor. Other government unions and private unions are hostile to the contract agreed to by the Governor and the Hawaii Government Employees Association (HGEA) that gives the largest government union “most favored nation” status, meaning if any other union negotiates better benefits, the HGEA will automatically get those benefits too.

During the recent 2011 Hawaii State Legislature, the HGEA and other unions wanted a 25% increase in the General Excise Tax to fund their benefits. They failed in this bluest of blue union states. No union contracts were funded this year. Benefits are being scaled back. The union health fund is under funded by at least $8 billion; the state retirement system under funded by at least that amount or according to some estimates, as much as $15 billion.

The unions here, as elsewhere, are in for harder times because of fiscal realities and their decades of excess and avarice and an all too willing government to give them what they want in exchange for votes.

Hawaii has reached a tipping point by several measures.

HGEA Pres Jackie Ferguson-Miyamoto: Hawaii Workers Should Be Proud

read … Labor Day

Foreign Journalists begin Arriving for APEC

Foreign journalists have been coming to Hawaii ahead of November's APEC summit.

They're interested in our best and brightest ideas for renewable energy, health, science and technology. We talked to some reporters from South Korea today - to get their thoughts on how Hawaii's innovations can be used overseas.

(Attention International reporters. We publish a list of suggested story lines here every day. Hint, hint….)

read … It Begins

He's Not the 'Shot Caller', But Federal Judge Denies Shack Patron Jesse Yoshino Bail

Chang stood firm in his assertion that Yoshino, who is a single father of two, is a "danger to the community" and "does not make good decisions."

"I do see him as a risk to the community," Chang said.

Yoshino's supporters, which included a large group of women who appeared to be in their early 20s, made noises signaling their disapproval with both the Brady's claims and Chang's decision.

The federal case against Yoshino, Swanson and Winward, reads like scenes from the movie The Godfather, with details of multiple violent attacks, threats and extortion against The Shack Waikiki owners.

SA: Third extortion suspect, like others, denied bail

read … Godfather

Probationer with 21 convictions let loose on bail after being arrested again

On Sunday evening, officers arrested two men and two women suspected of removing catalytic converters from cars on a private farm lot on Kulana Kea Drive in Wainaku. Catalytic converters are devices designed to reduce pollution from automobile exhaust emissions.

Matthew Keone Tilfas, 30, of Pahoa was charged Tuesday with second-degree theft, a felony punishable by up to five years in prison, and criminal trespassing. His bail was set at $2,500.

According to court records, Tilfas has 21 convictions, and was sentenced to five years probation and a year in jail for two counts of second-degree theft and a single count of unauthorized entry to a motor vehicle. He was re-sentenced to five years imprisonment in 2008 after violating probation.

"He's still on felony probation," Deputy Prosecutor Rick Damerville said Thursday.

read … 21 Convictions

Subcontractors: Troubled Waikiki Hotel Owes Them Money

Plumbing and electrical subcontractors who did millions of dollars worth of remodeling work on the hotel tell KITV 4 News they consistently had trouble getting paid.

"I'm out of business. They put me out of business. They've ruined my credit with my suppliers," said Judith Means Rod, owner of Approved Electric, the electrical subcontractor for the job.

She claimed owners M Waikiki LLC still owe her $1.2 million for electrical work done in the hotel.

Michael Lam, the lawyer for the hotel's owner, said Rod’s company had a number of other problems, including an IRS tax lien of more than $700,000 before the Waikiki Edition job began.

read … Out Of Business

The MODERN Honolulu Granted Temporarily Liquor License, But Spa License Still on Hold

…after a great deal of confusion among employees yesterday, today the hotel owners announced it fixed at least one of its problems.

The Honolulu Liquor Commission granted the hotel a temporary liquor license late Thursday, which "enables The Modern Honolulu to keep open its food and beverage outlets including The Lobby Bar, The Bar at Sunrise Pool, The Bar at Private Sunset Beach and the world-renowned Morimoto Waikiki restaurant."

The spa license is still pending. Spa workers are off the job until the hotel resolves this issue….

SA: Crazybox nightclub casualty of hotel dispute

read … MODERN

Kaneohe sandbar deemed safe after radiological testing

A sweep of the Kaneohe sandbar Friday by six members of the state’s Indoor and Radiological Health Branch turned up no evidence of radiological contamination from a helicopter crash five months ago.
“We got mainly background radiation,” said Jeff Eckerd, IRHB’s program manager. “We did not get any hits or spikes.”
The testing was ordered Thursday after environmental activist Carroll Cox received information that the CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter that crashed onto the sandbar March 29, killing one marine and injuring three others, contained an In-flight Blade Inspection System. Within the device are six half inch pellets that contain 500 microcuries of strontium-90, a radioactive substance known to be harmful if ingested.

read … no radiation


Big Island fish farm says water pen experiment a success so far

The operator of a Big Island experiment that has the potential to increase the volume of fish raised in farms said this week that initial tests were going well.

The test is being run by Kampachi Farms, which is run by the same people who pioneered farming Kona Kampachi in Hawaii waters over the past decade as Kona Blue Water Farms.

The company sold its operation growing fish in anchored pens and is now pursuing new technology by growing the fish - amberjack or Hawaiian yellowtail - in a large unanchored, underwater pen in federal waters off the Kona Coast….

Sims said the project had minimal environmental impact. Asked about the potential harm from fish waste, Sims said the pen is in waters at least 12,000 feet deep in an area with strong currents. He said the farm would have no impact on coral reefs in waters that deep.

read … Success

Small businesses key to employment

Maui Chamber of Commerce: We want to see a strong small-business emphasis, as small businesses are the true job creators, with initiatives focused on reducing costs for small businesses to foster job creation and retention. Tax incentives for businesses would help, such as tax credits for increased payrolls or reducing the employer's amount of payroll taxes. The current program that reduces the employee-paid portion of payroll taxes does keep more money in the employee's pocket, however it does nothing to spur additional jobs. Employer incentives are needed. Additional programs that reduce the cost of health care (a top expense for businesses) and regulatory burdens are other areas that should be considered.

read … Key

Politics in play over Say’s attack on Fontaine’s meeting

Being an inquisitive person, I called Calvin Say's office and asked about the cybercrime committee. There was a pause, then the person answering the phone said, "I'll have someone call you back." About 45 minutes later, a person called me back. I told him that I was on the Internet a lot and would like to know about this committee. The person said, without prompting, "George Fontaine is not the chair of that committee." I didn't ask who the chair was, so what was up with that?

Further conversation went on to who was at this meeting. I asked if the police chiefs were there as Fontaine said in his rebuttal. "Yes," said the person from Calvin Say's office. I also asked if this was an informational meeting and the reply was, "You'll have to call Fontaine's office. His number is 586-8525."

Huh? If Fontaine was not heading up this "committee" in the speaker's eyes, why give me his number? Could there be a bit of politics going on here? And for what purpose? To sully the name of Fontaine in the public's eye? What shibai.

read … Politics


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