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Friday, October 07, 2016
October 7, 2016 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:08 PM :: 2253 Views

‘Incredible’ 35% HMSA Hawaii Obamacare Rate Hike for 2017

OHA Illegally Contributing to Lindsey Campaign?

Police Release Rape Kit Test Info

2016 Hawaii elections: proposed amendments, part 1

Victory: Hawaii Supreme Court Approves Haleakala Solar Telescope

Outside OHA, Interior Rule Has Little Native Hawaiian Support

CB: …Over the course of two decades, these OHA trustees have lavishly spent Hawaiian Trust funds on federal recognition knowing full well that the majority of Native Hawaiian people have not wanted them to do so.  Based on data from their own surveys, the trustees have known that native Hawaiians have overwhelmingly wanted these funds to be spent on meeting the real needs of Hawaiians for housing, jobs, education and healthcare.

Hawaiians feel it is both a tragedy and a scandal that OHA trustees have spent millions on political governance schemes instead of helping the 27,000 individuals on the Hawaiian Homelands waiting list to get homes….

read … Little Support

Hospital: Arakawa ‘Fed up’ With Ige

MN: Gov. David Ige assured Maui residents Wednesday evening that the state is working with the unions on the long-delayed transition for three Maui County hospitals, but Mayor Alan Arakawa said that the county and its residents are “fed up” with the delays and lack of information.

“There’s been no real communication from the governor’s office except to tell us, ‘We’re negotiating, we’re talking, you’re going to hear from us,’ and we’ve been hearing the same story for months and months and months,” Arakawa said following the governor’s speech during a community meeting at the University of Hawaii Maui College….

Ige said after the meeting that the two parties are “trying to resolve the issues,” which include severance, enhanced retirement and other topics.

“It’s negotiations, so there’s a back and forth,” Ige said. “There’s really not much that I can say publicly. . . . The supplemental agreements are fundamentally important to allowing us to move forward. Until we get those agreements in place, it’s hard to determine what the transfer date can be.”

But Arakawa said the fact that the governor is negotiating separately with the unions has left Kaiser, the county and the hospitals in limbo.

“Ultimately, Kaiser has to administer the programs,” Arakawa said. “By not including everybody in the discussion, nobody knows what’s going on. Nobody can plan.”

Wesley Lo, chief executive officer of Hawaii Health Systems Corp. Maui Region, which currently runs the three hospitals, said it was “not fair for me to judge” because HHSC wasn’t involved in negotiations, but he wondered if talks would move faster if more parties were involved.

“I’m sure the governor is doing the best job he can,” Lo said. “But from our perspective, ultimately if (Kaiser and the unions) have to agree, shouldn’t they all agree together as opposed to one at a time? Otherwise, we keep going from agreement to agreement.”

Ige said that while his office does consult with Kaiser on a regular basis,“they’re not a direct party.”

“The agreement is between the state and the union,” he explained. “I really don’t see a role for the county or Kaiser in the negotiations at this point in time.” …

Kihei resident Kay Anderson told Ige that she moved to Maui after she was diagnosed with a terminal disease, which she survived. However, she’s had to go to Maui Memorial various times due to complications from stage IV liver cancer, and the care has visibly declined since she first arrived.

“It terrifies me what’s happening here,” Anderson said. “If news of this gets to the Mainland . . . tourism’s going to be impacted. And that’s really, really sad to say that if it impacts us the residents, nothing’s happening. But once tourism’s impacted, something’s going to happen.”

Because of the delay, Kaiser’s transition team has left the island and is now on the East Coast, Arakawa said. He added that when House Bill 1075, now Act 103, was signed to allow the hospitals to find a private partner, “it was a way to make our hospital system better, not to deteriorate the hospital system by lack of attention, by lack of agreements.”

“Instead of having a more responsible group, now we have nobody in charge,” he said. “We’re just fed up with the long delays, the wait and the noninformation. If we could understand what the delays were, why the delays were, then perhaps we could be a little more patient.”

Ige said that one of the main hurdles is the supplemental agreement, and that the goal is to negotiate a transfer date sooner than July 1. Lo added there are a number of other contracts that also depend on upon the supplemental agreement. Ige explained that it’s a “complex transaction.” ….

read … Ige says state is working toward ‘smooth transition’ for hospitals

Caldwell, Djou should debate

SA: …Though both candidates’ positions on building rail to Ala Moana Center are now aligned after Djou dropped his opposition, voters deserve to hear directly from the two about specific actions ahead to bridge the $6.8 billion project’s estimated $1.8 billion shortfall.

They also need to be pressed on issues such as an aggressive affordable-housing strategy, promised for at least two years but still unset; visions for development and land use across Oahu; results-oriented homeless strategies; and ethics and transparency in government.

In the August primary election, a mere 1,530 votes separated the two — Caldwell at 74,062, Djou at 72,532 — with some 19,410 votes for other candidates that are now up for grabs, possibly more….

read … Caldwell, Djou should debate

Ticket Fixing? -- High-ranking HPD officials go before federal grand jury

HNN: …In a significant twist in the case, sources tell Hawaii News Now that the three -- Deputy Chief Cary Okimoto, Assistant Chief Jerry Inouye, and Major Lisa Mann -- met with Katherine Kealoha weeks ago regarding traffic tickets. 

Among the issues the federal grand jury is investigating: An excessive speed ticket, a felony, that Kealoha got dismissed for an electrician who was doing work for her….

read … High-ranking HPD officials go before federal grand jury

Firefighters union calls on chief to step down over safety issues

HNN: …The call comes as new video of a helicopter rescue at Diamond Head that left a firefighter injured clearly shows a rescue basket hitting a utility pole seconds before the firefighter fell from it.

Bobby Lee, president of the Hawaii Fire Fighters Association, said he spoke to the injured firefighter just hours after the frightening 30-foot-fall from the basket.

"His wrist was really messed up," Lee said. "He was talking about broken ribs and some broken bones in his back. He did mention that he felt a jot which is what he felt threw him out of the chopper."

This accident came just three months after another fire fighter, Cliff Rigsbee, died in a rough water training accident off Waikiki.

Lee said in the wake of the accidents, HFD has been unresponsive and hasn't acted quickly to address safety concerns….

KHON: Fire chief addresses safety measures, changes made after recent accidents

read … Not Like the Police, eh?

Kenoi trial requires massive jury pool

HTH: Summons have been sent to 1,600 potential jurors for Mayor Billy Kenoi’s theft trial, which is scheduled to start Monday in Hilo….

State Judiciary spokeswoman Tammy Mori said typically 100-150 potential jurors are summoned for a trial with similar charges. She said if a case is high-profile, 300-500 jurors usually receive summons.

Mori said the jury pool for Kenoi’s trial will be divided into eight panels of approximately 200 potential jurors per panel. She said one panel will be called per day, and jury selection is scheduled to take about two weeks but could go longer….

“If (they) put him on the stand, people are going to say, ‘Hey, Billy’s lying to get out of these charges,’” Lawson said. “If (they) don’t put him on the stand, people are going to say, ‘If he’s innocent, he should have gone onto the stand and said so.’….

read … Kenoi trial requires massive jury pool

Thanks to Fracking and Pipelines residential electricity prices decline

GE: …As the delivery of gas into New England has improved as a result of new pipelines, the effect has been a 6% drop in residential electricity prices in the first half of 2016. Electricity prices in the region now average 19.2 cents/kWh.

Because of its isolated location, Hawaii does not use much natural gas to generate power, but the island state has benefitted from falling oil prices. Average power prices in Hawaii were 24 cents/kWh so far this year, a 12% decline….

tread … Thanks to Fracking and Pipelines

Gigantic Oil Company Grabs for Hawaii Offshore Waters Lease

RN: Norwegian energy giant Statoil is mulling a floating wind farm in Hawaii, its first offshore foray in the US since abandoning a test project off Maine three years ago.

Statoil Wind US nominated its interest in the entire Oahu call area, which spans about 485,000 acres and is split into two zones, after the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management issued a call to developers in June….

Progression Energy has planned a 400MW project while Alpha Wind Energy proposes to build a pair of 408MW wind farms. Both developers plan to install turbines on Principle Power’s semi-submersible WindFloat foundations.

BOEM has determined all three companies are legally, technically and financially qualified to hold an outer continental shelf renewable energy commercial lease.

The Oahu North area starts about seven nautical miles west of Kaena Point and Oahu South is located seven nautical miles south of Barbers Point.

The next step in the competitive lease process is area identification. BOEM is also preparing an environmental assessment, which will include information submitted during the scoping period.

If BOEM decides to proceed with an auction, it will then publish a proposed sale notice….

IM: Shale Oil Fracker Proposes Floating Wind Turbines off O’ahu

Meanwhile on Land: Wind farm reduces power sent to MECO’s grid After Turbine Self-Destructs

read … Statoil floats Hawaii offshore bid

UH-Manoa sees spike in drug-related violations on campus

HNN: UH-Manoa referred more than 500 drug-related violations for disciplinary action in 2015, a 20 percent increase from the year before, according to a newly-released security report.

Most of the 509 violations happened at the University of Hawaii at Manoa's on-campus dorms. In 2015, there were 417 violationsreferred for disciplinary action. And in 2013, the figure was 345.

Meanwhile, UH-Manoa saw a drop in liquor law violations, from 932 in 2015 to 884 last year. …

read … Spike

What do Aloha Stadium and OCCC Have in Common?

Borreca: It is one of two major chances the state has to be the big positive force that shapes and changes what Oahu looks like and how it grows.

The other big shot the state has is doing something with the Oahu Community Correctional Center in Kalihi. Moving the jail and freeing up that state land could also be a major shift…..

read … Aloha Stadium land not just for fun and games anymore

EPA: Red Hill Leak Unlikely to Affect Water Supply

HNN: "It's very unlikely that that contamination, that mass we're seeing under the tanks, gets anywhere near the Board of Water Supply wells," Steven Linder, of the EPA, told the state Health Department's Underground Fuel Tank Advisory Committee on Thursday.

read … Hype

Food Babe Whines About Failure of Hawaii anti-GMO activists

KE: …In a lengthy whine-fest, the Babe — not to be confused with the equally confused Babes Against Biotech — took to her blog to cry a few tears about how people actually tried to, sniff, disrupt her presentation.

Because the antis, they never disrupt nothin', right?…

…Vani whimpers about how as soon as her speaking engagement was annonced, CFS's Facebook page “began receiving hundreds of insulting and inflammatory comments – mainly criticizing me personally, characterizing me as “hilariously uninformed,” “a crazy food blogger.”

Imagine. Correctly identifying the Babe for what she is. Which leads to the real problem here: CFS, the Food Babe, Gary Hooser, the Babes, Hawaii SEED, etc., can dish it out, make any kine. But as soon as you dare to speak up or question, they draw the "you're so mean" and/or "victim of corporate shills" card.

Vani plays this up by featuring a quote from Ashley:

“Vani’s visit to Hawai‘i would unleash the most powerful display of the pro-GMO public relations machine that I have witnessed since taking my position with CFS.”

Hey, I'm glad she noticed that there are a helluva lot of us who have no intention of letting Ashley and Vani dictate the future of biotech.

read … Anti-GMO Losers

Hawaii has fallen behind on ways to identify doctors who overprescribe as well as patients who shop around for opioid pain pills

CB: …In the last legislative session, Green pushed through a bill to require prescribers to sign up to use the prescription drug database, and to allow others besides doctors to check in – nurses, physician’s assistants, administrators. That was an important step, Green said, because doctors worried that they would have to take time away from patients to check the database.

But experts in the field say the single most important step in making the database effective is requiring doctors to check it, at least for certain patients or circumstances.

A recent survey by the Hawaii Department of Health found that many prescribers know little to nothing about the drug database. Slightly more than half said they were unfamiliar with it. For some groups it was even higher – 70 percent of dentists said they didn’t know about it….

More than eight of 10 prescribers who were actively using the database said it allowed them to identify “doctor-shoppers,” gave them a better grasp of their patients’ medicine regimens and gave them confidence in telling patients “no.”

A total of 18 states have passed laws requiring prescribers to check the database. They’ve taken many different approaches. Some require the checks for all new prescriptions for opioids and other controlled substances, and afterwards every three months….

The state, for instance, is one of only three that does not authorize its medical board to use the database to identify doctors who are overprescribing controlled substances….

Josh Green says there’s one drawback of being both a doctor and a Hawaii state senator.  “I have people who tell me they won’t vote for me if I don’t give them a prescription” for opioid painkillers, he said….

read … Selling Drugs

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