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Monday, July 25, 2011
July 25, 2011 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 1:25 PM :: 13749 Views :: Hawaii County News, Agriculture, Kauai County News, DHHL, Maui County News, Congressional Delegation, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party

Line up for a Mayoral Campaign? Ernie Martin, Ann Kobayashi, Milton Holt, One Ton of Cocaine, and Kamehameha Schools

Alleged Eric Ryan Victims Speak out on New Website

Navy Proposes Two new Historic Districts for Ewa Field

MECO to seek 6.7% Rate Hike to pay for Windfarms

Is Environmentalism a Religion of Peace?

Hawaii DoE Cheating Scandal: Teachers blocked from Prompting Answers, Proficiency drops from 62% to 4%

The Department of Education is trying to determine why reading and math test scores for students with severe cognitive disabilities dropped so dramatically this year with the introduction of a more academically rigorous (harder for teachers to cheat on) annual assessment.

Just 4 percent of students who took the Hawaii State Alternate Assessment tested proficient in math, down from 62 percent in 2010. Eight percent were proficient in reading, down from 70 percent.

In response to the big decline in proficiency levels, the Department of Education plans to step up teacher training and analyze whether other problems exist in the test's implementation (continue to rely on the Honolulu Star-Advertiser to steer the public away from the screamingly obvious conclusion that the DoE has been faking these test results for years.) ….

(Buried in paragraph 7) Also changed with the new test: Students were no longer allowed to be prompted while testing, and the assessments were scored by external scorers, not teachers.

(The very last sentences of the article…) "A lot of the tests in the past were these checklists that the teachers would say, ‘Yes, I saw the child do that.' It was just the teacher's impression of what the child was able to do."

(And how was this uncovered?)  The new test, which cost the state about $2 million, came about as a result of a compliance agreement with the U.S. Department of Education, which required that Hawaii test students on grade-level-appropriate benchmarks.

Chart: viewer-galID=126103553

Related: Coverup: DoE changes tests, surveys to create illusion of progress

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DoE to impose “low stakes” Teacher Evaluations

Without union agreement, the state is forging ahead on a pilot program in the coming school year that will substantially change how some public school teachers are evaluated, basing their rating in part on the academic growth of their students.

Officials declined to discuss specifics of the pilot or say how it can move forward without union approval.

"As the days tick by, it gets more and more challenging, but we're going to a start a pilot evaluation system in (school year) '11-'12," said Ronn Nozoe, Department of Education deputy superintendent.

He added, "It probably won't be really shiny and painted all nice. It probably will be a work in progress. But we're going to start somewhere."

The DOE previously has said the pilot and subsequent changes to evaluations would require agreements with the Hawaii State Teachers Association….

The DOE has said that because of the issues surrounding the new evaluations, the ratings will initially be low-stakes and used to identify the areas in which teachers need additional training.

The current evaluation system for Hawaii teachers rates them on five "duties": designing and implementing effective teaching strategies, creating a positive and safe learning environment, using assessment data, demonstrating professionalism and reflecting on their practices.

Last school year, 99 percent of evaluated teachers were rated "satisfactory," and 1 percent were rated "marginal" or "unsatisfactory." That breakdown is similar to what other states see.

RELATED: Teacher Evaluation “Expert” Bought and Paid for By Unions

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Kealakehe HS changes grading policy

"As we move toward a standards-based (education) system ... we need a clear differentiation of what proficiency means," said the school's principal, Wilfred Murakami. "Students in the 'D' range may pass a course, but they still struggle with mastering the skills that will be needed in the next course."

Under the new grading policy, teachers must let students and parents know if the student is receiving lower than a "C" by mid-quarter of each grading period. That student will have until the end of the quarter, or about four weeks, to bring the grade up to a "C." During that time, the student will receive an "I." If, however, the student does not bring the grade up, he will receive an "F" for the grading period. Exceptions will be handled on a case-by-case basis, Murakami said….

The grading policy has been tried at several mainland schools with some success, and West Hawaii Complex Area Superintendent Art Souza said a few West Hawaii school administrators have also expressed interest.

The decision to start the policy at Kealakehe High School was made by Souza, Murakami and the school's restructuring consultant. Because the school has not met adequate yearly progress under No Child Left Behind, Souza said he has the authority to implement the change.

However, any school interested in undergoing a policy change can work with the School Community Council, he added.

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Leading Kauai Environmentalist calls Destruction of Papayas “Self-Defense” 

Anti-Superferry protester Andy Parx:  …safety issues aside- and make no mistake many are emerging such as colony collapse in bees which has increasingly been thought to be associated with the widespread use of GMO cereal seeds (maybe these morons should stop thinking so hard, it is clearly too much stress on their little drug-addled ‘brains’) — the violation of the right of people to choose what they put in their pieholes has many hopping mad… mad enough to take matters into their own hands….  (Then why do anti-GMO protesters smoke genetically modified marijuana?)

Is it really terrorism to engage in protecting your non-GMO papayas by taking matters into your own hands and physically preventing the flowering and pollen drift of the GMO brands?

Who are the real criminals — the ones who are protecting their own health, safety and livelihood where the courts have failed to protect them or those who could care less about health and safety of others as long as they get paid?

It may be “illegal” to destroy someone else’s property but it certainly is at worst a form of civil disobedience, at best self-defense, to eradicate the source of the scourge of GMO crops. 

As Predicted: Is Environmentalism a Religion of Peace?

Anti-GMO arguments debunked: The Future of Fraud

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Shapiro: Hanabusa looking like a House candidate, Hirono has never been a major player

U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa’s new fundraising missive seems a pretty clear sign that she’ll defend her House seat next year rather than jump into the cowded race for Daniel Akaka’s U.S. Senate seat.

An e-mail soliciting funds for her 2012 campaign didn’t exactly specify what office Hanabusa is seeking and she’s said she won’t make a formal decision until August, but the tone was clearly House-oriented….

Hirono was never considered a major player during her years in the Legislature, and none of the three has served in Congress long enough to leave a significant mark.

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Radcliffe, Detroit Casino organize Community Front Group to push Gambling

Liz Hata Watanabe is not one to sit on the sidelines. The former nightclub owner and entrepreneur has a new cause: getting Waikiki a casino.

Watanabe founded Citizens for a Better Way, an organization she says has more than 300 active members lobbying for a casino to provide new jobs and a new business for Hawaii….

She linked up with John Radcliffe, a lobbyist who has been pushing for a Hawaii casino for a decade. They met when Watanabe was doing a charity gambling-free poker tournament for her family charity, the Hata Foundation, which supports children and family organizations.

Citizens for a Better Way has also attracted the support of Jeff Coelho, a longtime broadcaster who will be retiring as general manager of Salem Media Hawaii and was an adviser to former Mayor Mufi Hannemann….

Radcliffe works with Marketing Resource Group of Lansing, Mich. It works with a Detroit casino whose investors would be interested in bidding on a Waikiki casino, Radcliffe said.

"I am sure if given the opportunity, they would want to compete for a license," he said.

Under a bill proposed this year, potential casino operators would first have to put down a large fee for the right to make a bid on a casino license. The bidding would be handled by a specially appointed state board.

Most interesting Comment: “Borreca stays in the shallow end of the pool once again. Major players? Liz is consistent: 100% track record of failure. With all of biographical info he puffed her up with, why omit an important fact -- her bankruptcy filing in June, 2011, which details her train wrecks and the $300,000 plus she stiffed her creditors for. She is a success only at self-promotion which you and others facilitate at the expense of reality. Coelho was an advisor to Mufi. More relevant was that he was the managing director for less than a year and eased over to Director of Customer Service. After three years with Salem, he is soon to be retired and moving to the Mainland. Whoever hires Radcliffe, though, gets something for the money -- newspaper space even if the stories are fantasies.”

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Hawaii Legislators write Secret Laws, lock them in Basement of Capitol

Question: Can you please direct me to where in the Hawaii Revised Statutes it states that electric vehicles may park for free? Your June 24 column on electric cars said, "Act 290 became Sections 291-71 and 291-72 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes," but I don't find anything about free parking.

Answer: You're correct that those HRS sections dealing with requirements for designating parking spaces for electric vehicles don't mention free-parking privileges at state and county facilities/meters.

It turns out the free-parking requirements in Act 290 of 1997 were never codified in the state statutes, but instead can be found in the Session Laws of 1997.

But that doesn't make Act 290 any less of a law, said state Rep. K. Mark Takai. There are two types of Hawaii laws: those in the Hawaii Revised Statutes and those called "session laws."…

Measures enacted by the Legislature "frequently, though by no means always," amend the HRS generally or specific chapters or sections, explained Charlotte Carter-Yamauchi, acting director of the Legislative Reference Bureau.

Other measures, such as the budgets for the state executive branch, Judiciary and Legislature, do not amend or "purport to amend" the HRS or might be of a temporary nature, such as the creation of a pilot program or task force to address a particular issue, she said.

"These measures are not codified in the HRS, as they are not laws of a general or permanent nature," she said. This was the case of Act 290 in 1997.

When Act 290 was passed in 1997, it did have an expiration date for some provisions, Takai noted.

However, the free-parking provisions and use of HOV (high-occupancy vehicle) lanes remain in effect.

As Takai said, Carter-Yamauchi emphasized that because an act is published in the session laws "does not render it any less 'the law' or any less 'important.' Uncodified laws ... are still statutes and are very much 'the law.'"…

You can read Act 290 of the Session Laws of 1997, as well as other session laws, at the Legislative Reference Bureau library, in Room 005 in the basement of the state Capitol (Ewa side).

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Star-Advertiser paywall goes up next week: Mainlanders get 90% Discount

There are going to be some unhappy local folks when they figure out that they are being asked to pay as much as twelve times more than mainlanders for the same digital subscriptions.

Yup. The S-A is quoting $9.95 a month for digital-only subscriptions for Hawaii residents, but enter a mainland zip code and discover an unadvertised price break that drops the cost to $1.95 a month or $10 for the year.

SA: Publisher's Letter

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Tuition up 88% at UHH

Resident undergraduates will see the largest tuition bump this year, an increase of 10.3 percent to a total of $2,820 per semester. Nonresident undergrads will pay $8,556, up 9.7 percent from last year.

Meanwhile, resident and nonresident grads will pay $4,176 and $9,600, respectively, increases of 8.8 and 8.7 percent over last year's per-semester tuition.

Typically, tuition is raised each fall, anywhere between 8 and 15 percent. In the last five years, resident undergraduate tuition has gone up 88 percent.

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Steve Case drives ANOTHER company into Bankruptcy

Commercial fisherman Randy Cates founded Hukilau as Cates International 10 years ago and initially achieved success growing and selling a fish once raised in fishponds and reserved for Hawaiian royalty.

Problems, however, arose several years ago in connection with financing and executing an aggressive expansion plan that involved building a hatchery at Campbell Industrial Park and deploying bigger fish cages.

The $13 million expansion plan sought to boost moi production to 5 million pounds a year, a roughly fourfold increase and enough to generate an estimated $20 million in annual sales.

To help finance the expansion, Case acquired a controlling 51 percent stake in the company in 2006 and renamed it Hukilau.

Visionary paid $500,000 for control of Hukilau, and up until bankruptcy had invested $8.9 million in the aquaculture venture. Early on in bankruptcy, Visionary also committed to lend Hukilau an additional $3 million to help the company reorganize and emerge from Chapter 11….

Cates, in bankruptcy court filings, has criticized Hukilau management and characterized its latest projections for completing the hatchery and resuming fish sales as unrealistic.

Cates said it takes eight to nine months to produce a 1-pound market-size fish from an egg, but Hukilau has empty cages and no eggs being hatched. Cates also said Huki­lau has had trouble addressing fish survival rates that dropped by more than half since 2009, and called the firm a sick business with a flawed business model.

"The problems run to the very heart of (Hukilau's) dysfunctional operations with the existing inexperienced management that guarantees (Hukilau's) failure," Cates said in a written objection to the company's plan to seek turnaround financing or a buyer.  (In other words they are a bunch of enlightened, conscious and progressive know-nothings with a “vision”.)

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Police Nab 62 Career Criminals

Most of the 62 Oahu fugitives nabbed in a sweep last week didn't commit crimes that ended up as front-page news — but dozens of them were repeat, career criminals. So kudos go to law enforcers, especially from crime victims who know only too well how it feels to go through procedural hassles, loss of security and invasion of privacy.

"As many of you know, a small number of criminals are responsible for a large number of crimes," said Police Chief Louis Kealoha in announcing results of the "Lokahi Sweep" by the Hawaii Fugitive Task Force. Three of those nabbed had no bail and were hauled to prison; two others had high bail. Good job, crime fighters. Step One is getting the bad guys off the streets. Now Step Two: Keeping them from recommitting crimes.

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Landowners owe “No duty of care” to Tourists

Hawaii Revised Statute 663-1.56 requires the state or counties operating public beach parks to warn the public about dangerous ocean conditions. Appropriate warning signs "shall be conclusively presumed to be legally adequate." Legislation passed in 2003, Act 82, provides similar rules for improved public lands such as trail systems.

For private landowners, the Hawaii Recreational Use Statute provides limited protection from lawsuits. With some exceptions, "an owner of land owes no duty of care" to maintain safe premises or give any warning of dangerous conditions to those who access the land, without charge, for recreational purposes.

Even so, there are enough gray areas to raise concerns. In April, a Circuit Court judge held that the state was fully liable in the deaths of two women who walked off a steep cliff near Opaekaa Falls on Kauai in 2006. There was no warning sign on the unofficial trail the victims apparently took.

In 2002, a visitor was killed at the Hanola Blowhole in east Oahu. Signs were posted in the parking lot, but not along the shoreline from where he approached the area. The case was settled out of court.

Earlier this year, the state Department of Land and Natural Resources and large landowners attempted to protect themselves further by supporting legislation that would hold liable authors and publishers of tourist guidebooks who write about dangerous attractions not open to the public. This assault on the First Amendment was sweepingly vague and legally unsustainable. Fortunately, it failed.

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Kauai Council plays “Hot Potato” with Vacation Rentals

In the 2008 general election Kaua‘i voters adopted by a nearly two-to-one margin a Charter amendment (Section 3.19) to end the profligate approvals being given by the Planning Commission for tourist accommodations and to entrust that authority to the County Council. The measure allowed the council the right to delegate such authority back to the Planning Commission subject to observance of a 1.5 percent annual growth rate in transient accommodations.

Last November a bill was introduced in the council purporting to exercise such delegation of authority to the Planning Commission. Following review by the Commission, a revised Bill 2410 has been returned to the Council. A public hearing before the Council Planning Committee (Nadine Nakamura, chairperson) has been scheduled on the bill for Aug. 3.

Bill 2410 in its present form contains provisions that appear to be disturbingly inconsistent with and in violation of the terms of the Charter amendment.

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Maui Charity under investigation loses Website

Stay Strong stated on its website at www.staystrongnation.org — where it solicited donations — that its goal was to build a $20 million post-traumatic stress disorder/traumatic brain injury treatment facility on Maui for service members returning from active duty.

Additionally, the charity touted a controversial and unproved dietary supplement, ProArgi-9 Plus, as a treatment for PTSD and TBI.

Web hosting company GoDaddy.com recently posted a notice at www.staystrongnation.org saying the domain name had expired on July 8 and was pending renewal or deletion.

Crosby said by phone last week from Maui that the attorney general's office is "going over everything," adding, "We've given him everything he's asked for, so as soon as he gives us the go-ahead, we're up and going again."

Hugh Jones, supervising deputy attorney general in the Tax Division, said in an email that "we are continuing our inquiry" into Stay Strong Nation.

Jones added that his office has asked the charity for additional records and information, but didn't specify what information.

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BankOH Disappoints Investors with “only” $0.74 per share earnings

Bank of Hawaii Corporation (NYSE:BOH) today reported diluted earnings per share of $0.74 for the second quarter of 2011, down from $0.88 in the previous quarter. Net income for the second quarter of 2011 was $35.1 million, down $7.2 million compared to net income of $42.4 million in the first quarter of 2011 primarily due to the previously announced tentative settlement agreement regarding the Company’s overdraft practices.

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Hawaii Sen. holds hearing on workers' comp changes

A proposal to reduce wage loss compensation for disabled federal employees when they reach retirement age is being discussed at a hearing held by U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka.

The Democrat from Hawaii is planning the Tuesday meeting in Washington to discuss changes to the federal workers' compensation program.

(Great.  When is Hawaii going to amend its Workers Comp program?)

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Hawaii second stop in cross-country bike ride honoring 9/11 victims

A Nevada man is on a mission to honor the victims of the September 11th terrorist attacks.

Max McManus will ride a bike in each of the 50 states. He's already stopped in Alaska and Hawaii. He's now heading to California….

More information about his ride, visit http://www.freedom5050.com.

SA: 2 down, 48 to go for rider pedaling bike in 50 states

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