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Wednesday, June 07, 2017
June 7, 2017 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 10:24 AM :: 813 Views

Socrates Visits a Homeless Camp in Hawaii

Hawaii: Most Expensive State to Put Your Kid Through College

90 mins to work: Hawaii Super-Commuters up 63%

2017’s Safest States in America–Hawaii 10th

City seeks proposals for its third Housing First program

Maui Mayor Signs Polystyrene Ban

Hiding Failure: Schools board eliminates tests not required by Feds

SA: At a Board of Education meeting Tuesday, officials announced three changes, including the elimination of some tests, that will take effect for the 2017-18 school year….

“In the strategic plan … the board said we want to make sure we’re really minimizing the amount of required testing that we have of all of our students,” said Tammi Chun, assistant superintendent for strategy, innovation and performance….

The state will continue to test students annually in grades 3 through 8 and 11 on English language arts and mathematics on the Smarter Balanced Assessment to satisfy U.S. Department of Education requirements. The Smarter Balanced exam three years ago replaced the Hawaii State Assessment and is designed to (hide failure by moving the goalposts. Therefore, it will also be replaced soon.) ….

Next year Hawaii will implement a streamlined version of the exams, which is estimated to shave off roughly one-fifth of the testing time. (See! Told you!!)

The department also announced high school juniors will no longer be required to take the ACT college entrance exam each year….

The third announced change involves participation in the National Assessment of Educational Progress. The reading and math exam is administered by the federal Education Department in odd-numbered years to a representative sample of fourth- and eighth-grade students in every state, and is considered the benchmark of student achievement in U.S. public schools.

While participation in the math and reading tests is required by the federal government, periodic assessments on eight other subjects — including the arts, civics, American history, geography and economics — are optional. Chun said Hawaii will not participate in any of the optional tests…..

Corey Rosenlee, president of the Hawaii State Teachers Association, asked the board to consider updating its policy on statewide assessments to limit the number of tests in each grade level to four. Under HSTA’s proposed revision, schools would need to seek a waiver from the board to exceed that cap.

“It merely codifies into board policy our collective effort to limit testing time,” Rosenlee said…..

DoE: Board of Education names interim education leadership

read … Schools board wants fewer tests in academic year

HART: With $350M Bonds, Rail Will Have Money for Construction

SA: Bill 34 authorizes the use of general obligation bonds and bond anticipation notes for construction of the 20-mile line from East Kapolei to Ala Moana Center….

If the city does not issue bonds for the rail project soon, the project will run out of money in (drumroll please) January (clash cymbals), HART Chief Financial Officer Robert Yu told the board at its most recent meeting last month. That’s despite the general excise tax funding continuing to trickle into the project’s coffers through 2027….

if Bill 34 is approved, HART will need to return to the Council in the next month or two for approval of the actual bond sales, Manahan said. Such a bill would also need six votes on final reading.  (No need GE Tax hike, eh?)

Approving the bill today is also urgent because the city wants to send a strong message to the Federal Transit Administration that it wants to keep its commitment to build the project under a Full Funding Grant Agreement that gave the city $1.55 billion for construction, Manahan said. The city sent a recovery plan to the FTA on April 30 and is awaiting the agency’s response….  (Translation: This bond will be enough for the Feds, no need tax hikes.)

read … Rail hinges on bonds vote today

Ige: Traffic Relief from Low Cost High Impact Projects – Like Shoulder Lanes

KGI: …“The first is to engage the community so we know if the state’s priorities are aligned with the community’s to identify what those priorities are,” he said. “The second is living within our means — meaning we are going to focus on what we can do short-term to make the biggest improvement in traffic flow. The third, looking at lower-cost, high-impact projects like using shoulder lanes.”

When the legislative session ended in May, the fate of the Honolulu rail transit project was uncertain because legislators could’t agree on funding.

There was talk about scheduling a special session of the Legislature to rectify that situation, but Ige previously rejected that proposal.

“I really think it’s about whether the Legislature can get agreement on whether or not to move forward with the rail,” he said. “I’ve heard a lot of concerns from legislators about how the system is being managed and the escalating costs.”

Ige said the main issue is how much the state should be fronting for the $10 billion project.

“I think there’s general agreement, but there’s disagreement about what that means,” he said.

read … Rail?  What Rail?

Hawaii County Property taxes going up

HTH: Property tax rate hikes passed by the Hawaii County Council late Monday pack a wallop for residential and apartment properties, while sparing homeowners and affordable rentals from increases.

Four other categories remained at Mayor Harry Kim’s proposed 6.5 percent increase, and one, agriculture, increased a scant 1.1 percent, reflecting a council priority of protecting farmland in addition to protecting homeowners and the most vulnerable.

The council passed the rate hikes and trimmed $400,000 off Kim’s proposed $491.2 million budget during a marathon day that ended just minutes before midnight…..

read … Massive Tax Hike

Hawaii County Council to Vote on Massive Fuel Tax Hike Next

WHT: As Hawaii County considers large increases to the fuel tax, should any of that extra revenue go to help improve substandard private roads?

That was a question raised Tuesday as the Hawaii County Council considered a resolution seeking to authorize grants for private roads used as main thoroughfares, such as in large subdivisions, during a Finance Committee meeting.

While several council members supported the intent, the council postponed the measure because of concerns about the legality of using public funds for private roads. That’s an issue that has plagued past attempts to subsidize improvements to streets — often unpaved — that are maintained by neighborhood associations….

Mayor Harry Kim is proposing to increase the county’s gas tax from 8.8 cents a gallon to 19 cents. That would be followed by increases of 2 cents in each of the next two years until it reaches 23 cents, which is the amount Maui charges and is the highest in the state.

Hawaii County’s gas tax currently is the lowest in the state and raises just more than $8 million a year. It was last raised in 1988.

The council will consider the tax hike today when it meets in the Hilo council chambers at 25 Aupuni St….

read … Massive Fuel Tax Hike

Caldwell Reaches into your Pocket: Street parking rates are set to double in Honolulu this summer

HNN: …On Wednesday, the Honolulu City Council is expected to pass a measure doubling the hourly rate at many parking meters in Chinatown, Downtown Honolulu and in Waikiki.

Drivers currently pay $1.50 an hour to park in metered stall in the areas.

If the bill passes, the price would jump to $3 an hour.

Fees would be charged between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. daily, except on Sunday and holidays. In Waikiki, the fee would be charged from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

The proposal would affect meter fees on 87 streets. That has some businesses worrying the hike will drive away customers.

At Manifest Cafe, the owner said the biggest challenge of doing business in Chinatown is creating an environment that's inviting.

Having to pay more to park doesn't help.

"I don't think it's going to be a positive impact. I mean no rate increase in any area is a positive impact," said Nicole Reed, of Manifest Cafe.

Many of Reed's neighbors agree.

The owner of Open Space Yoga said with limited stalls the issue of parking comes up enough as it is.

"They don't ask about homeless. They don't ask about drugs. They say, Where am I going to park?" said Mary Bastien….

read … Street parking rates are set to double in Honolulu this summer

Suicide Squad Poll: Death Support by Ethnicity 

CB: …Support was strongest among white respondents at 76 percent, followed by Japanese at 70 percent.

There were 58 percent of Chinese respondents in support, followed by Filipinos at 57 percent, Hispanics at 56 percent and Hawaiians at 54 percent. Respondents who identified as “other” or “mixed” were 56 percent in support.

Opposition was strongest among Hispanics and Filipinos at 33 percent and 27 percent, respectively.

read … Help Insurance Companies Save Money

Dope Stores Still Tied up in Red Tape

CB: …The company held a media event in the lobby of its new King Street storefront to announce plans to open its doors to the public Thursday. But even though medical marijuana has been legal in Hawaii for 17 years, Aloha Green still doesn’t have approval to actually sell cannabis.

Dispensaries were expected to open last year, but the state Department of Health has taken a lot longer than expected to get the program off the ground.

Cheng said Aloha Green originally planned to open before Christmas and that the company has been losing more than $100,000 a month waiting for the state’s approval.

He said the company has already completed four harvests, and while it’s storing the cannabis in a secure, dark place, there’s always the risk that it could lose its flavor through oxidization.

“It’s frustrating,” Cheng said, noting that the company still has to pay rent and has 18 full-time and 20 part-time staff members….

Aloha Green originally announced May 23 that it would have a soft opening June 8 and sell products with CBD, a chemical extracted from cannabis that’s not psychoactive, unlike THC.

Cheng says he thought that would be fine since he’s seen similar products are on sale at health food stores like Down to Earth.

But a week later, the company reversed course after hearing from the health department. Keith Ridley from the department’s Office of Health Care Assurance told Civil Beat that the agency contacted Aloha Green to raise concerns about the plan.

“We still consider CBD as a derivative of marijuana,” Ridley said….

SA: Sick people Addicts and their caregivers Dealers wait for state to let them buy pot

read … Medical Marijuana Dispensary To Open Without Any Marijuana

Government Oysters: Delicious but we Promise not to Eat Them

SA: Bruce Anderson, division administrator, said the Department of Land and Natural Resources plans to escalate a project that has successfully grown several thousand oysters in Pearl Harbor’s West Loch over the past year….

The state spent $100,000 for the one-year study and will apply for grants for several hundred thousand more, Anderson said….

“It’s all about environmental restoration,” Anderson said. “We’re not planing to eat the oysters, although they’re probably very edible.”…

Anderson introduced the cages to Kualoa Ranch about 10 years ago, when it decided to utilize the 125-acre Molii Fishpond for oyster growing. Molii is Hawaii’s largest and oldest working fishpond.

Ranch President John Morgan said not only has the water quality improved in the fishpond, but the oyster operation has taken off to where it is producing 10,000 oysters a month. It is now the ranch’s most profitable agricultural venture, even more lucrative than the ranch’s 500 head of cattle, he said….

read … Government Oysters

HPD: Unelected Thieves got away with millions of dollars in property crimes last year

KHON: …The Honolulu Police Department’s annual report lays it all out, and suffice it to say, criminals are getting away with a lot of your goods and money.

The report shows thieves kept busy last year. There were 30,592 cases of property crime on Oahu in 2016.

The biggest target came from vehicles, and the haul was huge with the total value of vehicles stolen locally amounting to $24,052,937.

A small silver lining is that more than half of that value, $16,383,680 was recovered.

The next most popular item on the list: jewelry and precious metals.

The total value of items stolen in that category added up to $8,447,079. Unfortunately when it came to these items, the chances of the owner getting his or her goods back was slim with $198,513 worth recovered.

The next most popular item on the list was actual money. Thieves made off with $4,469,839 in currency and bank notes. Again, the recover rate slim with just $57,021 getting returned back to the rightful owner.

Other popular items targeted by thieves: $3,762,393 in clothing and furs, $1,827,805 in electronics, and $1,225,709 in household goods.

Remember the story about the stolen goat a few weeks back? Luckily, in that case, the animal made it back to its owner, but the total value of livestock stolen on Oahu last year amounted to $9,955.

In total, $60,341,783 worth of your property and money was stolen in 2016 with just under a third of it, $19,086,205, worth recovered…..

PDF: HPD Annual Report

read … They Should Run for Office

Sentencing delay likely for Kema Sr. as search for Peter Boy continues

KHON: …Kema pleaded guilty to manslaughter and hindering prosecution in April. The plea deal calls for Kema to receive a 20-year sentence, although he will be eligible for parole in less than seven years. Prosecutors have said that Kema will likely serve most, if not all, of that 20-year sentence.

Kema also agreed to show prosecutors where he hid Peter Boy’s body, and if it’s not found, Kema must pass a polygraph test to prove he was telling the truth.

But Damerville says they’re not there yet.

“We’re going to give them an opportunity to do that, and then if they’re unsuccessful, we’ll sit him down for a polygraph,” Damerville said.

As for Peter Boy’s mother, Jaylin Kema is scheduled for sentencing on June 13. She would have been required to testify against her husband had there been a trial.

As part of her plea deal, she was released in April after serving one year in jail, and will likely get probation when sentenced.

“Substance abuse assessments, mental health assessments, a follow on health as indicated, and she’s likely to be on probation for 10 years,” Damerville said.

Jaylin Kema will also be required to get a job. Under the terms of her release, she is not allowed to contact any of her children and other family members involved in the case….

read … Sentencing delay likely for Kema Sr. as search for Peter Boy continues

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