Feds: We Will Not Pay for Rail Relocation Program
Australian Man Sentenced To Prison For Illegally Possessing Firearm In Hawaii
Auditor: DoTax Continues to Illegally Hand out Film Tax Credits for Out of State Expenses
Hedging Bets? Mauna Kea Board Declines To Advance Hōkū Keʻa Telescope Decommissioning
BIVN: … The Mauna Kea Management Board on Friday did not accept the Notice of Intent to Decommission the University of Hawaiʻi’s Hōkū Keʻa telescope, voting down a resolution to do so during a meeting in Hilo.
The small Hōkū Keʻa observatory (20 feet in diameter) has been identified as one of the existing telescopes mandated to be taken off the UH-managed summit of the mountain, as per the conditions of the Conservation District Use Permit allowing the Thirty Meter Telescope to be constructed on Mauna Kea. …
During Friday’s meeting, several UH students, and even a few TMT opponents, spoke out against the decommissioning….
Students also spoke in support of an idea to move the observatory down to the area of Hale Pohaku.
The board agreed with the students, for the most part, that moving the small observatory to Hale Pohaku would be a good resolution. Still, members were concerned that another deferral of the matter would not send a strong message the the UH Board of Regents….
HTH: Board votes to leave UH-Hilo observatory in place — for now
read … VIDEO: Mauna Kea Board Fails To Advance Hōkū Keʻa Telescope Decommissioning
Power bills topping $1,000 draw ire of Military Families in Ewa Beach
HNN: … Residents in a gated Ewa Beach community are demanding answers after they were hit with shockingly high electricity bills this month.
Many who live in the Kapilina Beach Homes neighborhood say their electricity bills have more than doubled -- the highest at over $1,000.
"We're all just petrified," said one resident. "Nobody can afford a $1,000 utility bill every month. We are really scraping the bottom of our bucket trying to make rent and utilities this month."
Those who spoke with Hawaii News Now do not want to be identified because they fear retaliation from the property management company….
"We've also noticed that our kilowattage has doubled and tripled with no explanation within a month," said another resident. "As a management property, they should be the first advocating for trying to find out what is going on with the bills, why the bills have gone up, how is the power being used or getting an audit."
The Navy provides electricity from its grid to power Kapilina Beach Homes, and officials say they're currently billing the property management company $.197 per kilowatt hour.
But on the latest utility bill, residents are being billed $.287 per kilowatt hour.
In Kapilina's lease, it states that residents "may be paying for part of the utility usage in common areas or in other residential units as well as administrative fees," and that "the allocation method may or may not accurately reflect actual total utility consumption for Resident."…
SA: Soaring electric bills raise alarm at Kapilina Beach Homes
read … Power bills topping $1,000 draw ire of residents at gated West Oahu community
Maui Eco-Faction Still Trying to Claim they have Ended County’s Supreme Court Appeal
MN: … “We are talking to other attorneys who are saying they’re wrong,” King said….
County spokesman Brian Perry said Friday that there are no new updates, and that the mayor is mulling various possibilities.
“Mayor Michael Victorino is continuing to gather information and input on the impacts of withdrawing Maui County’s Lahaina injection well appeal from the U.S. Supreme Court,” Perry said. “He is reaching out to experts, regulatory agencies, the state and other counties, and those who would be affected by this action.”
He declined to comment on what happens when lawyers from the Office of Council Services and Corporation Counsel are not on the same page.
The mayor last week said that it could cost the county more than $800 million in fines, required improvements and legal fees if the county settles before the case goes to the high court.
Lawyers for the plaintiffs, though, say that the numbers amount to “Chicken Little” fear tactics. (Imagine that: Environmentalists accusing others of ‘Chicken Little’ fear tactics. Hilarious.)
read … Trust us, we’re anti-GMO activists
Engineers propose changes to Ala Wai flood project
SA: … The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is recommending changes to its $345 million Ala Wai Flood Risk Management Project, including removal of two huge basins planned for Pukele and Waiomao streams and improving the system above Manoa Marketplace to increase protection for the University of Hawaii at Manoa and lower Honolulu neighborhoods….
HPR: Ala Wai Project Undergoes Changes, State Reiterates Funding Support
Reality: Ala Wai? Corps of Engineers has Long History of Corruption and Cost Overruns
read … Engineers propose changes to Ala Wai flood project
Honolulu deputy prosecutor admits to shoving defense lawyer
SA: … A Honolulu deputy prosecutor told a state judge Thursday that he shoved defense lawyer Myles Breiner but only after Breiner called him a “piece of s—-.”
Breiner denies making the statement.
The incident happened in the hallway in the state courthouse Sept. 18 following a hearing on a criminal case for one of Breiner’s clients. The deputy prosecutor, Emlyn Higa, is one of two deputies assigned to the case.
In a hearing on Breiner’s request to disqualify Higa from the case Thursday, Higa told Circuit Judge Paul B.K. Wong, “Normally, when something like this happens, and it does happen among attorneys, things will get heated, sometimes people say things they don’t mean. We handle it between ourselves. We handle it as men.”
Higa told Wong he should not be disqualified from the case because what happened was personal, between him and Breiner, and had nothing to do with the case or the defendant.
Wong did not rule on Breiner’s disqualification request. The parties are involved in plea negotiations, and the next court hearing is scheduled for Oct. 28.….
read … Honolulu deputy prosecutor admits to shoving defense lawyer
State charges dropped but federal charges pending against MPD officer
KHON: … State charges have been dropped against a Maui police officer accused of witness tampering and hindering prosecution. But Brandon Saffeels could still face federal charges.
Saffeels is accused of sending inappropriate texts and phone calls to three women he had arrested. Maui prosecutors say they have dropped the charges against him but the case has not been dismissed.
Saffeels was supposed to have his initial court appearance Thursday and his attorney says they were both surprised that when they got there, the case was not even on the calendar, meaning the charges have been dropped.
“Most likely they just don’t have the evidence to file the case and if they were gonna kick it over to the feds then yesterday would have been the time for the feds to come in and say your honor we’re taking over this case,” said Victor Bakke, Saffeels’ attorney.
Saffeels was arrested last month after three women spoke out that he made offers to let them off the hook after arresting them, if they would return the favor.
The attorney for the women shared some of the texts Saffeels allegedly sent. Last year, he offered to give a woman confidential police records, and made it clear he wanted something in exchange. “Hahaha. I will get that for u as soon as I am done here. And I get anything I want?” Saffeels allegedly texted.
In July, after arresting a woman for DUI, he sent a text offering to alter his testimony so she gets off. And later added, “Come my house if u like. I’m on duty but I can go home.”
The attorney for the women says federal prosecutors could file charges against Saffeels any day now….
MN: “Hawaii law precludes dual prosecution if the federal government has jurisdiction”
read … State charges dropped but federal charges pending against MPD officer
Oops, we did it again: Maui sends out false emergency phone call
HNN: … Maui County is apologizing for accidentally sending out an erroneous emergency alert phone call to residents on Friday morning.
The call went out to as many as 5,500 people who are registered to get advisories about dangerous surf through the Maui County disaster alert system.
When people answered, an automatic recording said, “This is an important message from the County of Maui. Press 1 to hear this message.”
But those who pressed "1″ got no message.
Officials said the phone call was supposed to be a routine text message ― not a phone message ― letting residents know a high surf advisory was in effect.
“Instead, an error in a template led to the initiation of phone calls in addition to the regular text and email messages,” a Maui County news release said….
KITV: Maui County Mayor apologies for error in sending emergency phone calls
read … Oops, we did it again: Maui sends out false emergency phone call
Snorkel Rentals Kill: Big Island Tour Companies Still Allow Deadly Full-Face Masks
WHT: … Several boat tour companies on Hawaii Island have
either outright banned customers from using the full-face masks, or only allow customers to use them with the signing of a waiver form….
Kailua-Kona’s Dolphin Discoveries and Ocean Adventures said they only provide traditional snorkel masks for their customers, but allow customers to use their own equipment as well, including full-face masks.
Maggie Brown, owner of Body Glove Hawaii, another boat tour company in Kailua-Kona, said they do not provide full-face snorkel masks to their customers, but they still allow customers to use them. Those who want to use the full-face masks must bring their own to the Body Glove’s tour and sign a waiver form.
Brown said Body Glove tried an outright ban of the masks for several months this year, but the policy began to hurt the business….
“We were just bombarded by bad TripAdvisor reviews because we wouldn’t let them use them,” Brown said. “We were trying to explain and educate them, and it just got to the point where what we do now is have them sign a waiver that was written and put together by our lawyer.”
Body Glove also gives the customers who want to use the full-face snorkel masks swim noodles that have been color-coded to identify the full-face masks users. Brown said it ensures the employees (company mortician perhaps?) on the Body Glove boats keep a closer eye on those customers….
A resolution introduced into the state House of Representatives this year, HR 113, urged county councils to enact ordinances to ban the sale and rental of full-face snorkel masks. The resolution stated an average of 17 snorkeling-related deaths occur in Hawaii each year, with both traditional and full-face masks, and that two deaths occurred in January of 2018 where the swimmer was wearing a full-face mask….
SA Editorial: Saying no to full-face mask
read … About the companies who led anti-aquarium fishing efforts