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Saturday, October 29, 2016
October 29, 2016 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 9:25 PM :: 3034 Views

Clean Energy Fraud: Puna Geothermal Operator Settles with Feds

Caldwell Duped?

Rail: How could such exceptional and reliable people so fail this community?

Countering Chinese Inroads into Micronesia

National Disability Employment Awareness Month

Visitor Spending Increased 10.4% to Record $1.2 Billion for September

Kenoi will be Able to Run for Governor in 2018 After Stacked Jury Acquits Him

Q: If Mayor Kenoi is convicted, what does that mean for him politically?

Milner: "It never helps to be able to be convicted of something if of your a politician or if you're not but there also is in our culture not just ours but elsewhere too where people recognize redemption, especially if they like the person before."  (Translation: David Ige, you are toast.)

Q: If he's acquitted, what then?

Milner: "He still did things shall we say that's oongie to lots of people. But I think that certainly a finding of innocence, not guilty would make his image and make his story a little more positive."

Q: Neal, nationally we've seen politicians involved in a scandal redeem themselves get back into office. Locally we've seem some instances of that, as well?

Milner: "Frank Fasi, who often operated on the shadow, was very close to being indicted for the Democratic Party all the time he actually used that kind of imagery and kind of story to build up support...essentially saying that people are after me and I never did anything wrong."  

Cataluna: He’s a canny, charismatic leader in a sea of drips.

read … Kenoi's trial continues Monday, does mayor have political future?

Kenoi: ‘I’m Offended Even Being Accused’

HNN:  “When asked by his attorney whether it was his intention to "permanently deprive this county of money," Kenoi choked up and replied, ‘Absolutely not. I would never hurt this community. I'm offended even being accused.’"

"I hope that he gets in trouble for all the money he stole from us," said Kenoi critic Edith Birdwell. "We live in a state where two out of three kids are food insecure but our mayor can spend our tax money going to hostess bars."

(Too bad the jury is stacked.)

read … LOLROTF

Tough on Crime: Let Judges Set Minimum Sentences

SA:  To promote “truth in sentencing” in Hawaii criminal cases, the head of the state prison system is proposing that the state transfer responsibility for setting inmates’ minimum prison terms for felony offenses from the Hawaii Paroling Authority to state judges.

Hawaii is unusual and possibly even unique among the states for assigning the task of setting minimum prison terms for convicts to the parole board, a practice that gives it extraordinary power.

Most states assign the duty of setting minimum prison terms to the judges who preside over the criminal cases, and state Department of Public Safety Director Nolan Espinda says Hawaii should do the same. In part, the issue is one of “truth in sentencing” for the victims, who are among the people most affected by the sentences that are meted out, Espinda said.

Victims of crimes in Hawaii “go to trial, they observe the guilty finding and they see the judge slam the hammer down on ‘Sentenced to 10 years,’ only to find that later on, a separate entity actually sets the amount of time that’s going to be served by the individual,” Espinda said.

Some victims then testify before the parole board at Halawa Correctional Facility “and again relive the old trauma” of the crime there, he said. That might be avoided if the minimum term were set by the trial judge at sentencing….

read … Tough on Crime

The crisis is here; Panelists urge consumers to get involved in health care cost discussion

HTH: Leaders representing the state, nonprofit organizations, health organizations and others met Friday at the Hilo Yacht Club to sound an alarm.

“Making the Invisible Visible: The House IS Burning!” was the title of a panel discussion that drew approximately 50 people for a luncheon discussion about how to take ownership of the health care cost crisis.

The mission of the panelists was to raise a red flag so consumers and businesses alike awaken to the fact, for example, that skyrocketing health insurance premiums have been doubling every decade. That’s but one example of many related to the crisis, according to the panelists.

“Nobody really understands this. We have to let the people know,” said Barry Taniguchi, president and CEO of KTA Super Stores and president and chairman of Community First….

Community First Executive Director Mike Sayama said it costs about $7,000 per year to insure a single person. That means a family of three is paying an average of $21,000 per year.

If food prices had increased at the same rate as health insurance, Sayama said, a pound of butter would have cost $108.29 — by 2009.

Hawaii Insurance Commissioner Gordon Ito displayed data demonstrating that health insurance premiums are now doubling in cost about every 10 years.

That means, he said, that by 2026 a single person will be paying $14,000 per year for health insurance.

“I agree we do have a health care crisis,” said Dan Brinkman, Community First director and CEO of the East Hawaii Region of Hawaii Health Systems Corp.

East Hawaii has a population of about 110,000 people, he said, and the annual health expenditure in the region is $750 million. About $225 million of that business occurs at Hilo Medical Center facilities.

Health care facilities such as HMC are caught in the strange scenario of trying to find ways to lower health costs by putting urgent care near the ER. An average ER visit costs about $650, whereas an average urgent care visit costs roughly $80….

Want to get involved?

Email akent@ponocorp.com or call 464-2800. There’s also another Community First presentation from 5:30-7 p.m. Nov. 9 at ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center in Hilo. The presentation is titled “Health Care Reform 101,” with speaker Harold Miller.

read … Thanks, Obama

Maui Windfarm: One Down, Seven to Go

MN:  Seven of the Auwahi Wind turbines in Kanaio were back online Thursday after being shut down Oct. 2 when the turbine on the eighth unit separated from the tower and fell to the ground, according to wind farm operators….

The initial investigation revealed that the turbine had problems with fasteners connecting the nacelle to the tower, said Buz Schott, director of external affairs for Sempra on Friday. Fasteners on the seven remaining towers were replaced….

“We continue to conduct a root-cause investigation of the incident at Auwahi Wind,” Schott said.

The eighth turbine remains out of service, Schott said.

“We do not know when we will replace the turbine on tower No. 4 at this time,” he said. “Our focus has been on resolving the problem and getting the remaining seven back in service.”….

According to the final environmental impact statement for the project, filed in August 2011, each tower weighs 283 tons, based on transport weight. The nacelle, which houses all of the generating components of a wind turbine, is 82.5 tons, alone.

Each tower is 262 feet high with blades running 166 feet,

read … One Down, Seven to Go

Economist questions Ige’s goal of doubling state’s food production

MN: …he took issue with tax dollars going toward high-risk agricultural ventures.

“Here’s the dilemma for me: Why is feeding ourselves — who cares?”Brewbaker asked during a talk at the Maui Country Club. “When did the food not come to Hawaii? . . . All we do is sit back and take money from the tourists as they drive down to Wailea. . . . I’m not sure what event we’re supposed to ensure against when we’re talking about food security.”

Speaking on economics and sustainability, Brewbaker pointed out that the state Department of Agriculture itself has very little data on food production, due to cuts in data-related staff positions that are just now being restored.

“How do you double food production? Two times I don’t know is I don’t know,” said Brewbaker, former chief economist for Bank of Hawaii and now head of consulting firm TZ Economics….

Kelii Akina, president and chief executive officer of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, the independent think tank that organized the event, said that the government has laid out the goals without giving itself the tools to do so.

“There seems to be a disconnect in our state,” Akina said. “Our government is trying to do things to promote agriculture. . . . Many of us are aware that there are things the state could do to increase agricultural output by stop doing certain things.”

Some laws, while well-meaning, end up interfering with and restricting farmers on their own land, Akina said.

In 2014, agriculture made up 0.6 percent of Hawaii’s estimated value-added gross domestic product….

Sept 2: Joker Ige commits Hawaii to doubling food production by 2020—While Attacking Fishermen and Overseeing Two Major Ag Closures

read … Doubling

Hawaii Convention Center expects first profit ever

SA: The Hawai‘i Convention Center is on track to achieve its first profit since opening in 1998.

Teri Orton, convention center general manager, said the facility had $1.5 million in net income through September. Even with fourth-quarter seasonal lulls, Orton said the center should be able to hang on to a $14,000 profit….

While that result might sound low, if achieved it would be a benchmark for the center, which has averaged annual losses of about $4 million. Last year the center actually celebrated a $241,761 loss, its smallest to date.

read … Bizarre News

UH Athletics Losing $2.2M to $2.4M a Year

SA: Earlier this week the University of Hawaii athletic department gleefully did something it hadn’t managed in a while — reduced the amount of red ink for its budget projections.

Instead of the forecast of a possible $2.5 million deficit for the current fiscal year, the improving bottom line in football allowed officials to peg it at $2.2 million-$2.4 million.

“For the Nevada-Las Vegas game we took in about $200,000 more than in previous games,” athletic director David Matlin said.

The 28,729 on hand that night marked the largest Aloha Stadium crowd since the 2014 opener against Washington….

read … Losers

DOE sees big drop in homeless students after Free Lunch Rules Change

HNN:  As of October, 2,908 Hawaii public school students were identified as homeless by their parents. That's compared to 3,576 in January….

One explanation for the drop is that it's still early in the school year and some families haven't gotten around to filling out the paper work. Another has to do with a new program that offers free breakfasts and lunches to all students at a school, rather than just those students who sign up based on income.

Some 30 Hawaii schools are now participating in the program, from seven last school year.

"Because a lot of schools are giving free meals that could be another reason why parents feel they don't have to declare their child homeless. That's (the free meals) the biggest benefit," said Donalyn Dela Cruz, Department of Education spokeswoman.

But by going undeclared, educators say homeless students are missing out on other vital supports…. (Or they were lying before.)

read … Homeless

Push is on for More Childcare Subsidies

HNN: In 2001, a Hawaii family of three at 150 percent of the poverty level paid about $38 a month after subsidies to keep a 4-year-old in center-based child care.

Fifteen years later, that same family would have to pay $473 out of pocket for the same care – or about 19 percent of their budget, according to a new national report….

PDF: Report

News Release: Gaps in-state-child-care-assistance-policies-limit-low-income-families-access-to-affordable-quality-care-new-nwlc-report-finds

read … Hawaii child care subsidies not keeping pace with rising costs, report says

Prosecutor: Homosexual Child Molesters Using Online Dating Apps to Rape Boys in Hawaii

KHON: Sex assaults of underage teens are happening in Hawaii after the victim and suspect connect through online dating apps. Always Investigating shows just how easily kids can fall prey, and what authorities and parents can do about it.

Within minutes of setting up a profile, we found children can be connected with adults who might be predators on loosely monitored sites that can evade parental controls. Recent cases have harmed young teens here in Hawaii.

A boy meets someone he thinks is another teen online through a popular dating app, but at a meetup, the suitor turns out to be a much older man and the teen is sexually assaulted.

A teenage girl is drawn into an app by a much older adult male, several more connections are made, and multiple sexual assaults ensue within weeks.

These are some real-life horror stories that have happened to island teens using mobile hook-up sites.

“Sex assaults, rapes, sodomies, extortion, a lot of it has to do with extortion, revenge porn,” explains Chris Duque, a former HPD officer now a cybercrimes investigator for the Honolulu Prosecutor’s Office, with a warning for parents: “It’s giving your kid a loaded gun.”

read … Homosexual Child Molesters

Soft on Crime: Long Rap Sheet out on the Streets Does it Again

HNN: …Bernard Antoque, 35, was arrested following a raid at a home on Ala Akau Street in Waianae, right across from Kamaile Elementary School.

Police and federal agents participated in the raid.

Sources say Antoque resisted arrest. After his arrest, he had a cut on his face.

Antoque has a long criminal record, which includes convictions for drug crimes, robbery and assault.

Antoque violated parole earlier this week and when police sought to apprehend him, he allegedly pulled a gun on officers to get away. …

read … Police, federal agents arrest fugitive following Waianae raid

HPD Crime Mapping—Half-Truth

SA: …HPD launched its mapping service six years ago in response to inquiries from neighborhood boards. At the time, HPD said, they were primarily interested in property crimes.

HPD said Friday it plans to survey neighborhood boards, victim advocates, businesses and others to see whether they would like additional crimes added to the mapping site.

Loretta Sheehan, a new member of the Honolulu Police Commission, said violent crimes should not be excluded.

“If they’re going to provide crime statistics, they can’t provide a half-truth,” Sheehan told the Star-Advertiser. “They have to provide the whole truth.” ….

read … Police seek input on crime mapping

5% More Dopers Than 2015

PBN: …The results of drug tests administered within Hawaii’s workforce during the third quarter show little change from the second quarter, although the use of amphetamine among employees rose year over year, Diagnostic Laboratory Services Inc. reported Friday.

Amphetamine use increased from 0.7 percent in the third quarter of 2015 to 0.8 percent in the third quarter of this year.

The use of marijuana, which jumped from 2.2 percent in the first three months of the year to 2.9 percent in the second quarter, dropped to 2.3 percent in the third quarter.

“Year over year, use is still up 5 percent over 2015 third-quarter results,” Carl Linden, scientific director of toxicology at DLS, said in a statement. “Possibly coincidental is the increased use of synthetic urine, which increased from 0.9 percent second quarter to 1.1 percent third quarter.”

SA: More workers test positive for ‘ice’ and pot

read … Doped up, up 5%

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