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Tuesday, December 20, 2011
December 20, 2011 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:38 PM :: 11528 Views :: Hawaii County News, Agriculture, Kauai County News, DHHL, Maui County News, Congressional Delegation, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party

Medicare Fraud: FBI Investigating Failed HMC Buyer

Abercrombie Schemes to make Legislators do Heavy Lifting, Introduces Budget with More Spending, No Tax Hike

Secret Furloughs? Two More Executive Orders Appear on Abercrombie Website

Pilago Seen as Swing Vote on Hawaii County Bag Ban

Hawaii Congressional Delegation: How They Voted December 19, 2011

How Christmas Came to Hawaii 

 

Mixed emotions as Schofield troops leave Iraq

HNN: LTC Robert Jean says, "I've spent a lot of time in Iraq, and I've seen how it's changed over the last eight-and-a-half years, and my heart's there a lot because I've put a lot of time, effort, and some blood into it. So, it's one of those things where, it's hard to let go, but I'm ready to let go."

About 25,000 soldiers from the 25th I-D served in the Iraq war. 80 were killed in action, and the vast majority of these troops know at least one person who died. That may be one of the reasons why it's not so simple to say goodbye.

VIDEO: Soldiers take final plane ride home

read … A lot invested

Army Cancels Plans To Deploy Entire 29th Infantry

KITV: The 29th IBCT received a notification of sourcing in April 2011 and was told to prepare for a possible deployment to Afghanistan.

Wong said that Monday's cancellation of the majority of the units from the 29th IBCT is part of the military's move in reducing troop levels in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Army National Guard units throughout the nation are experiencing deployment changes, officials said.

Read … 29th Infantry

Governor sees surplus even if nobody else can

INCREASED SPENDING

  • $25M: Student transportation (Reward for Collusion?)
  • $23.3M: Welfare client services contracts
  • $13.5M: Student spending formula
  • $8.1M: Medicaid payments
  • $6.8M: Child Protective Services contracts

SAVINGS

  • $38.4M: Public worker and retiree health insurance premiums
  • $24.8M: Debt service
  • $22.5M: Retirement system

Related: Abercrombie Schemes to make Legislators do Heavy Lifting, Introduces Budget with More Spending, No Tax Hike

read … A set up for gaming Lobby

Radcliffe: Legalize Hawaii’s $1B Illegal Gambling Business

CB: What we have here in Hawaii, instead of legal gaming, is a large, uncontrollable, criminal gambling enterprise that involves all sorts of bad elements — including, according to the news reports, rogue police officers. Estimates of the size of our homegrown, illegal, gambling operations range all the way up to one billion dollars per year, and history has shown that Prohibition creates crime, not lessens it. Legalizing gambling will have the same effect that legalizing alcohol had. It will lessen, or even end, that crime. How much “bathtub gin” do you think is made and sold here? None. But there is plenty of illegal gambling and none of it is taxed. If it were taxed, we in Hawaii would have about $50 million in tax revenue added annually.

(Yup. Lets legalize all those thugs and make them a mainstay of the General Fund. Then they will have more power than ever.)

Ah, but what about the “social costs?” The emotional attacks that legalizing gambling will create crime, increase personal bankruptcy, and so on, are always a “hot button” item here in Hawaii….

Response to: Kalapa: Legislature Will Turn its Attention to Gaming

Election year setup for gaming: Abercrombie Schemes to make Legislators do Heavy Lifting, Introduces Budget with More Spending, No Tax Hike

Just Ignore This: Judge allows release of indicted police major

read … Good For Me

Queen's Applies For Organ Transplant Program

PBN: Queen’s is currently preparing to hire organ transplant staff.

It is also in the process of submitting an application to the United Network for Organ Sharing, the national approval organization for organ transplantation.

Furthermore, Queen’s is preparing an emergency application for Certificate-of-Need approval of the program.

The application process could take several months.

However, Queen’s is requesting an expedited review and approval of its application in order to minimize the potential of any patients having to go to the mainland.

read … Transplant

Filling the organ transplant void may take one year

HNN: Even if another hospital takes up where Hawaii Medical Center left off, organ transplant patients will have to wait.

"It's my understanding that it could be as soon as three months or as long as one year," said Glen Hayashida, chief executive officer of the National Kidney Foundation of Hawaii.

A new transplant center would have to meet strict licensing requirements set by the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS). It manages the nation's organ transplant system.

"We need to have transplant surgeons who are available 24-7. We need to have nephrologists. We need to have cardiologists. We need to have an operating room that's available for transplant procedures," transplant surgeon Dr. Whitney Limm said.

SA: HMC shuts its emergency rooms; City to treat or redirect patients

Related: Abercrombie Doubles Down on Policies Which Killed HMC Hospitals

read … Organ Transplant

Hochberg, ADF to Defend Against Lesbian Suit

SA: Young, reached by phone Monday, referred questions to her lawyer, Jim Hochberg. Hochberg said he had not yet seen or read the complaint and could not comment.

"At this point all I know is that there is a complaint out there, and I will be defending it with the Alliance Defense Fund," Hochberg said. The Alliance Defense Fund provides resources for the legal defense of religious freedom.

read … Lesbians try to Force Way into B&B

Gays aren’t Spending Much on Union Ceremonies

SA: Couples planning civil-union ceremonies put the focus on the relationship, not the frills….

Related: Abercrombie doubles down against Pro-Bowl: "It's Time We Get Our Priorities Straight"

read … So much for the Pro-Bowl, eh Neil

Fluke: State Judge Rules in Favor of Billion Dollar Developer

SA: Circuit Court Judge Elizabeth Strance ruled on Friday in favor of the project's two developers, which filed lawsuits appealing the LUC's decision to revoke its earlier approval of urbanizing 1,060 acres near Waikoloa for the estimated $1 billion project.

Strance found the LUC acted improperly and that enforcement of development conditions should be left to the county. "It's the court's view that the LUC lost sight of its mission," she said according to a transcript.

Bob Wessels, managing partner of developer DW Aina Lea Development LLC, said the judge's ruling will restore project investors' confidence and allow delivery of housing strongly supported by Hawaii County officials.

"We're just extremely happy," he said.

Bruce Voss, an attorney representing the project's other landowner and developer, Bridge Aina Le'a LLC, called Strance's ruling a historic one with broader implications because it clarifies circumstances for the LUC imposing conditions and revoking prior approvals.

"This decision removes a dark cloud over not only this project, but on other projects, too," he said.

Related: Enviros win 90% in Hawaii Supreme Court

read … This must be a mistake

Hawaii personal income growth lags nation

Salaries, investment income and federal government transfers paid to Hawaii residents totaled $59.14 billion at a seasonally adjusted annual rate in the July-through-September quarter, statistically unchanged from the previous quarter, according to a report from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. That followed quarter-over-quarter increases of 0.9 percent in the second quarter and 1.7 percent in the first quarter.

(And yet, somehow, we are going to have 18% growth next year according to the CoR? What are they smoking?)

Related: Abercrombie Schemes to make Legislators do Heavy Lifting, Introduces Budget with More Spending, No Tax Hike

read … Income Growth

Charter Schools' 'Glaring Concerns' Raised at Briefing

CB: Among the many items that turn up in her office's audit of charter schools is the the fact that a retired vice principal for Myron B. Thompson Academy was able to sign off on a $17,500 purchase order — even though she no longer worked at the school.

"Now, that is just a no-no in any kind of management operation," Higa told members of the state House and Senate education committees.

Committee members, especially Sen. Jill Tokuda and Rep. Della Au Belatti, already knew that, however. The point of their joint informational briefing at the Capitol on Monday was to hear more about Higa's audit, which was released Friday, and see how it dovetails with their own work on revamping charter schools.

Higa's main findings — that the Charter School Review Panel fails to hold schools accountable for student performance, and that school operations fail to comply with state law and regulations — only underscore a legislative task force's recent recommendations that the system needs an overhaul.

SA: Changes will be tough, charter school leaders say

read … Imagine if they Audited the Rest of the DoE

Legislators to Take Hurricane off Hurricane Fund

SA: Gov. Neil Abercrombie on Monday repeated his promise to replenish the state’s rainy day and hurricane relief funds, which he drained to get through the last fiscal year.

Some lawmakers have talked about possibly rebranding the hurricane relief fund, a pool of money that has functioned as a cash reserve in the past decade since the state’s hurricane insurance program for homeowners ended.

Insurance commissions have advised that lawmakers keep about $70 million in the fund to help the state purchase reinsurance in the event private insurers flee after another hurricane, like they did after Hurricane Iniki in 1992. But the roughly $180 million that had been left over in the fund the past decade — and was tapped to help end teacher furloughs on classroom instruction days and balance the budget — was meant to be transferred to the general fund.

Related: Abercrombie’s Bond Sale Like setting up savings account by charging credit card

read … Slush Fund

 

 

$490M in Hawaii Pork in Senate Spending Bill

 

CB: Hawaii is expected to get more than $490 million for programs related to health care, Native Hawaiian education, military construction, highway improvements and more, according to the state’s congressional delegation.

The funds are part of the spending bill that passed in the U.S. Senate over the weekend….

SA: Spending bill sends $490M to state

read … More Pork Coming

 

 

Pope approves miracles of Blesseds Marianne Cope and Kateri Tekakwitha

 

Pope Benedict XVI formally recognized miracles attributed to Bl. Marianne Cope and Bl. Kateri Tekakwitha on Dec. 19, clearing the way for both women to be canonized.

The two women, who both lived in the United States, were among numerous individuals whose sainthood causes were advanced by decrees authorized by Pope Benedict XVI on Monday

read … Next Stop Sainthood

Anxiety, hope fill island Koreans

SA: Kim Jong Il's death spurs talk about travel fears and reunification

read … Dictator Croaks

Honolulu Property Tax Overhaul Dead On Arrival?

CB: The hearings will begin after the 30-day public comment period for the recommendations closes Jan. 9, Kobayashi said.

Some of the recommendations have already been lambasted. A weekend Honolulu Star-Advertiser editorial (subscription required) said raising taxes in an election year was politically untenable and "a spectacular miscalculation."

In addition to taxing homeowners and nonprofit organizations harder, the recommendations, if adopted by the Council, would take aim at another sacred cow: disabled veterans and their widows.

Two letters sent by citizens to the Council summarize the opposition.

In one unsigned letter, the author says changes to the property tax exemptions would hit elderly residents hard, turning "our last remaining days of our twilight years (into) a financial nightmare." The other asks about the disabled veteran exemption: "What kind of government is it that tries to balance its budget on the backs of the totally disabled?"

read … DOA

Kamehameha Schools wins $1.4M settlement in alleged breach case

SA: The Does' former attorney, the late John Goemans, disclosed that the schools paid $7 million.

The schools said Doe, his mother and Grant will pay $1 million and $400,000 in legal fees and costs to settle their lawsuit, the schools said.

read … Payback

Typo Makes Gabbard Frontrunner

But the part of the article that Gabbard’s campaign left out includes a key error that could have led to The Hill giving Gabbard frontrunner status. The newspaper mistakenly describes Gabbard’s Democratic rival Mufi Hannemann as a Republican:

“Gabbard, a Honolulu city councilwoman, is the Democratic front-runner to replace Rep. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), who is running for the Senate. Gabbard could face a tough challenge in the Democratic-leaning district from former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann (R).”

While both Hannemann and Gabbard are running as Democrats, both of them have a history of expressing far more conservative stances on issues like gay rights.

read … Typo

Forbes: Bank of Hawaii 2nd Most Profitable in Nation

The No. 2 ranked bank is Bank of Hawaii which topped our list last year. It continues to be among the most profitable banks with a return on average equity the last 12-months of 15.6% which ranks second among all banks….

read … Forbes

KIUC getting set up for solar—Installs 1st of 3 Giant Battery Systems

Mike Yamane, KIUC Chief of Operations, said the Koloa system is the first of three KIUC has scheduled. The Koloa system has a rating of 1.5 megawatts with a 2.25 MW short-term overload rating….

KIUC signed a contract in January with Xtreme Power Inc. to purchase a utility-scale battery system and Xtreme Power’s Dynamic Power Resources installed and placed in operation the Koloa system.

Background: Xtreme Power: A Pig-in-a-poke For Hawaii Wind Farm

related: Fairbanks Battery

read … X-Treme Scores Another Contract

Cruise Allowed To Return To Molokai Next Month

KITV: American Safari Cruises announced Tuesday that an agreement has been reached between the company, state and federal authorities and local groups so that the Safari Explorer will return to Molokai in January 2012.

American Safari Cruises says the company took the proper channels to coordinate arrivals which included meeting with community members and even attending one of the prior protests.

Read … What did Ritte Get?

Failure is a key component of learning

SA: Carol Dweck, a Stanford University professor and author of "Mindset, The New Psychology of Success," made an interesting discovery while watching young children attempt to solve puzzles such as the Rubik's Cube. Some youngsters tried for a short while, became frustrated and gave up while others seemed to delight in the challenge.

Over time, Dweck developed the theory of "fixed" versus "growth" mindset, stating that those who spend time developing their "growth" mindset have a much greater probability of leading more self-actualized and happy lives.

In the Sept. 18 Education magazine, Paul Tough provided a provocative argument on "why our kids' success may depend less on perfect performance than on learning how to deal with failure." Tough told the story of how educators from a diverse group of schools found that many of their graduates were not succeeding in the way they expected. They discovered that the missing ingredients in the curriculum were in the area of "performance character."

read … Failure

UH OKs contract negotiation with Norm Chow to lead Warrior Football team

HNN: Hawaii News Now has learned that the UH administration has authorized athletic director Jim Donovan to negotiate a contract with University of Utah offensive coordinator Norm Chow.

This would be the first head coaching position for the Punahou alumnus.

Chow's coaching experience includes positions with the NFL's Tennessee Titans, UCLA, USC, North Carolina State and Brigham Young University.

Chow, 65, also won the Broyles Award in 2002 for being the top assistant coach in college football.

read … Chow Time


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