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Monday, June 15, 2009
June 15, 2009 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:51 AM :: 6597 Views

Hospital no longer a "snake pit," says departing committee member

"I'm quite sure if the hospital had not been under a consent decree from the court, most of the changes we have seen would not have happened," the First Unitarian Church of Honolulu minister said in an interview. "A good many of the line staff ran the place as if it was their own little bailiwick, and if another staff member observed, or a patient complained of, abusive or neglectful behavior, they would be threatened."

A staff member who filed a complaint or supported a patient would "go out and find all four tires slashed," Young said, noting "a couple cases where administrators at the hospital knew inappropriate stuff was going on but because nobody filed a formal complaint, nobody did anything about it. The degree to which, in some cases, they felt threatened was real."

Young described an incident where a lower level staff member, summoned by a superior, laid a big knife on the desk and said, "What do you want to talk to me about?"

Another staff member was found to be "loading ammunition on the job," he said.

(Entire article written without mentioning the leadership of Gov Lingle on this issue after decades of neglect.)

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Honolulu's new transit logo biased, rail opponents say

The logo has been generating concern that the taxpayer-funded public involvement initiative now has taken on an overtly pro-rail promotional tone....

The city spent nearly $2.6 million from August 2005 through June 30, 2008, on a rapid-transit public information campaign that includes newsletters and radio and television shows. Updated figures on spending were not made available.

RELATED: Concerns About Honolulu's Rail Project Process Are Mounting , International Symposium on Freeway and Tollway Operations in Honolulu Set for June 21 to 24

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Hawaii's first stimulus-funded construction project under way

Hawai'i's first construction project using federal stimulus money is now under way at Kahului Airport.

The $23.8 million project to relocate security equipment started May 15 and will last until mid-2010.

While relatively small, the project provides the first indication of how the state will use an estimated $500 million to $950 million in added federal funds that will be pumped into Hawai'i's flagging economy during the next several years.

Overall, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act promises to create or save 15,000 jobs statewide over a two-year period.  (vs how many jobs lots by Obama's failed tax-and-spend philosophy?)

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Furloughs worry UH researchers

They maintain telescopes on Mauna Kea, work in state laboratories and on oceanographic research ships.

They are state workers, but their money comes from grants from the federal government and other sources outside the state.

If they are included under Gov. Linda Lingle's three-day-a-month furlough program, these researchers say, their projects will languish. And their funding sources might dry up.

The University of Hawaii brought in more than $1 billion in external funding in the past three years and a record $400 million is expected this fiscal year, according to the University of Hawaii Association of Research Investigators.

Those funds have nothing to do with the state's financial woes, yet researchers fear they will be subject to Gov. Linda Lingle's orders to take three unpaid furlough days per month.

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2009 Legislature theme? Me first — at 38 percent

Now comes the news that state employees face three-day furloughs. We see the spectacle of finger-pointing by union bosses and legislators at the governor, as if that meant something. If I were a state employee, forced by law to pay union dues, I would demand more from the union bosses, who collect fat six-figure incomes, to do something more than name-calling. It is ironic that union bosses supported and endorsed the very same legislators that made sure they got their raise, but somehow left union members holding an empty bag.

Since January of 2009, legislators have been collecting a 36 percent pay raise. In July 2009, that raise will be reduced by 5 percent. With the highest unemployment figures in decades, hours being cut, bankruptcies and foreclosures at all-time highs and record low tax collections, legislators put themselves at the front of the line and took firsts, seconds and thirds, before any of us were able to find the line.

Put into perspective, state employees who work every day of the year are facing a 14 percent pay cut through furloughs. Legislators who work only 60 days a year gave themselves three times more in raises. The sheer greed, insensitivity and lack of leadership is stunning.

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Hawaii bill gives patients a voice in end-of-life treatment

Emergency care providers currently are required to attempt resuscitation, even if the patient has an advanced healthcare directive or living will to the contrary. Exceptions are made for terminally ill patients who have obtained a "comfort care only/do not resuscitate" bracelet from the state Department of Health through their doctor.

The recently passed legislation, House Bill 1379, establishes procedures for obtaining and using "physician orders for life-sustaining treatment," or POLST, documents that clearly state the patient's treatment directives in emergencies and other treatment situations.

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Study theorizes voyagers left French Polynesia during ciguatera outbreak (Caused by Global Cooling?)

Using archaeological evidence, prehistoric climate data and recent reports of ciguatera poisoning from the consumption of contaminated reef fish, researchers at the Florida Institute of Technology theorize that climate conditions conducive to ciguatera outbreaks may have occurred in French Polynesia between A.D. 1000 and 1450 — an active period of Polynesian voyaging and colonization.  (And a period of cooling climate)

Rongo, a Maori from Rarotonga in the Cook Islands, noted that modern-day ciguatera outbreaks resulted in mass migrations of Cook Islanders to Australia and New Zealand, including many low-income families that supplement their daily protein with fish.

"In fact, the theory originated from my experience in the Cooks, when I noticed families that I used to fish with growing up were relocating to New Zealand when ciguatera began in the 1990s, and fishing drastically declined while the consumption of imported goods increased," he said in an e-mail to The Advertiser. "Past populations did not have these alternative food sources, as ciguatera rendered their main source of protein inedible."

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