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Thursday, December 12, 2013
December 12, 2013 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:25 PM :: 3578 Views

Queens Hospital Losing Revenue, Furloughs Management Employees

Auditor: HTA Does Not Hold Contractors Accountable

HIRA, ACU to Rank Hawaii Legislators

A Special Tribute to the Honorable Pat Saiki

Senate Committees Set Two-Day Budget Briefing

Violence at Hawaii State Hospital: Senate Committees Set Informational Briefing

VIDEO: The State of OHA

Hawaii Health Director killed in Molokai plane crash

HNN: Multiple sources tell Hawaii News Now that Loretta Fuddy, director of the state Department of Health was killed in a small plane crash Wednesday afternoon off Kalaupapa.  Eight others survied.

The Cessna Grand Caravan operated by Makani Kai Air reportedly went down at about 3:30 p.m. while heading from Molokai to Oahu.

Deputy Health director Keith Yamamoto was also on the flight.

Among the other passengers, three patients were flown to Oahu for treatment; two declined treatment and remained in Kalaupapa, while three other patients were taken to Molokai General for treatment, according to Maui fire officials.

read ... Hawaii Health Director killed in Molokai plane crash

Farmer Begins Subdividing Property in Light of Anti-GMO Law

BIVN: Ha says he has withdrawn an application in to the USDA to dedicate 264 acres of his Hamakua Country Springs Farm into agricultural land for perpetuity.

Instead, he will subdivide the property so – as he says – “we have options as we go forward into a future that has some new uncertainties.”

read ... Development Yes, Agriculture No

Bill 113's Stigmatization of GMOs and Papaya Farmers is Misguided and Wrong

CB: This bill mentions the precautionary principle and risk avoidance.

But any green part of a tomato or potato plant contains glycoalkaloids which affect your nervous system, enough so that a tea made from tomato leaves has killed at least one person. Kidney beans contain phytohaemagglutinin, which induces mitosis, affects cell membrane transport and permeability, and causes clumping of red blood cells.

It is inactivated by boiling for 10 minutes but consumption of just four or five raw beans can make you sick. Cassava produces cyanide, as do the seeds of apple, cherry, peach, plum, almond, apricot, and lima beans (never eat raw cassava or lima beans).

Many of our common ornamental plants are toxic.

Growers of the plants mentioned above aren’t required to register or pay $100 per location per year, even though those plants are demonstrably dangerous.

Growers of transgenic crops are singled out because Ms. Wille proposes that transgenic crops are a unique threat, but fails to articulate what that threat is.

Biotechnology is not going away, and as the products get better and better, our county has decided to shut the door on all of it based on inarticulate fear.

read ... Michael Shintaku PhD

UH Research Corp Runs UHWO Constriction, Abercrombie's Preschool Scheme

CB: The Research Corporation of the University of Hawaii is attached to the UH for administrative purposes only and is exempt from a range of state regulations, including the procurement code and certain civil service laws. Lawmakers say those exemptions are what make the RCUH so attractive to other Hawaii agencies that have turned to it when they want to get a project off the ground without being bound to those regulations, which can consume time and limit spending. One former RCUH director in legislative testimony earlier this year referred to this practice as the "convenience standard."

Recent scrutiny has centered on a project the RCUH took over in 2007: construction of the UH's beleaguered West Oahu campus, which is now millions of dollars in debt. In an unprecedented arrangement, the RCUH has managed construction of the campus even though the $174 million project has nothing to do with research.

And lawmakers argue the agency has since managed other non-research contracts, too, including one for public relations services and one to help Gov. Neil Abercrombie implement his early learning office....

...critics, including Sens.Donna Mercado Kim and Kalani English and several prominent university professors, worry that the RCUH has undergone a "mission creep" since taking on the West Oahu campus, a construction management contract that's earned the agency $141 million and counting over the years.

Even RCUH Executive Director Michael Hamnett acknowledges grave problems with UH West Oahu, telling Civil Beat that the RCUH was “pressured” by the university into accepting the project and that its burdensome contract paperwork, among a range of other hassles, have seriously bogged the agency down. The RCUH, he added, doesn’t have the in-house expertise to handle construction projects to begin with.

read ... RCUH

UH Cancer Center faculty calls for removal of director

SA: Those calling for Carbone's removal paint a portrait of an institution in decline, run by a director who rules by dictate and favoritism, lacks transparency, retaliates against those who challenge his decisions and has created a hostile work environment, according to several letters sent within the past week to the Board of Regents and obtained by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

The newspaper requested copies from UH of all letters received by the regents over the past week regarding Carbone's leadership. But the university said it was gathering the correspondence and was not able to provide any to the newspaper Wednesday, leaving unclear how many have been received and whether some were from Carbone supporters.

Carbone was not available to be interviewed, according to a university spokeswoman.

He is paid $412,000 a year, making him the third-highest-paid employee at UH.

Under Carbone's tenure, employees said, the center received only about 30 percent of what it requested for its major federal cancer institute funding. They also said at least seven faculty members have left because of his management style and at least seven faculty complaints against him have been upheld.

Lynne Wilkens, a faculty member with the epidemiology program at the center, urged the regents to support Apple's efforts to replace Carbone and not bend to "outside forces who do not fully understand the functioning of the institution."

Speaking in support of Carbone, state Sen. Josh Green, Senate Health Committee chairman, said that until the past week, he had heard nothing but positive comments about the cancer center, which was built on time and under budget.

Green questioned whether the controversy is partly the result of competition among intelligent, professional colleagues....

Sen. Roz Baker, vice chairwoman of the Senate Health Committee, credits Carbone with the center's new $100 million facility, which opened in Kakaako earlier this year. "It disappoints me when members of the faculty are basically trying to discount the very fine and good things that have been done by the center under Michele," said Baker....

NOTE: Carbone is apparently the nation's top expert on mesothelioma.  A condition which afflicts almost nobody, but has put billions into the pockets of trial lawyers nationwide.  The legislature is full of trial lawyers.  Do the math.

read ... Another Inouye/Greenwood Client Out?

Kim Congressional Campaign Helped by Opposition to Gay Marriage

Boylan: Donna Mercado Kim has had a good year. She’s humbled the chairman of the University of Hawaii Board of Regents, the Manoa chancellor and the university’s president. The latter resigned, citing health problems. Kim can do that to you.

Then, with the death of U.S. Sen. Dan Inouye, the lieutenant governor went to the U.S. Senate, the state Senate president went to the Lieutenant Governor’s Office, and Kim became the state’s 13th Senate president.

Together with House Speaker Joe Souki, Kim made the session a smooth one. Budget numbers matched, agreements were reached on time and adjournment came without delay.

Even the special session on same-sex marriage worked to Kim’s advantage. A practicing Catholic, Kim abandoned the Senate’s Democratic majority and voted against the same-sex marriage bill. She thus became the only announced candidate for the 1st District Congressional seat who can expect a chunk of support from the religious right.

read ... A Warrior Ready For Washington

Liberal Complains Parents are Slow to Accept Children's 'Right' to 'Choose' their own Gender

Bob Jones: Let’s face it, this mixed plate of same-gender marriage, civil unions, sexual partnerships and children picking their gender identity is tough chewing, swallowing and digesting for perhaps half of this state’s adult population....

Piled on top of that is Pono Choices, a public-school program for sexual education. It’s only in the pilot-program stage but already is being put on hold while we talk some more about what’s to be taught....

if you’re going to teach about sex you logically have to include homosexuality and the touchy topics of oral and anal sex....

More than just a few parents strongly object to even the basic boy-girl sex discussions in the classrooms. Including boy-boy and girl-girl relationships is very volatile stuff in many households. Some of the objection is religion-based (and therefore can be dismissed out of hand) and some from parents who just aren’t quite ready to embrace these earth-shaking changes that washed over them so quickly (but they will go along with us eventually).

read ...  Catching Up To New Realities

10 months later School still waiting for solar savings

KHON: Several Hawaii schools had high hopes of slashing their electricity bills. But like many homeowners who installed photovoltaic panels, there are long waits before they can start saving.

"We have solar panels on our cafeteria and our 'A' building," Webling Elementary School Principal Sherrylyn Yamada said.

Photovoltaic panels were installed there 10 months ago.

"They have been here for a while," Yamada said.

So why has Webling Elementary School not been unable to hook up to the system and start harnessing the sun's energy?

Here's what we found out:

As we've seen in recent months, the solar industry has seen a huge boom. Now, the public school system is also seeing back-ups.

"Basically HECO are afraid of the transformers being overloaded and wanted to make sure the equipment we had on our campus are adequate," Yamada said.

Hawaii Pacific Solar was awarded a Power Purchase Agreement with the Department of Education to install photovoltaic systems at 35 schools on Oahu and 15 schools on Kauai -- at no cost to the schools....

Webling Elementary School spends about $60,000 a year on electricity.

"Approximately save $30,000 to $39,000. We would save from what we are currently paying right now for electricity," Webling Elementary School Vice Principal Chad Matsuda said.

read ... School still waiting for solar savings

Ethics Commission Considers Attack on More School Charity Fundraisers

PBN: “The State Ethics Code prohibits state employees from using work time and state resources for non-state related business purposes, which generally includes supporting or promoting private charities. More specifically, with certain limited exceptions, state law does not allow a state employee to fund raise for or to otherwise solicit support of a private charity, such as the Make-A-Wish Foundation, during work or using state resources,” the advisory stated.

That spurred a bigger conversation about other fundraising efforts held on school grounds, such as the American Heart Association’s Jump for Rope event that happens in schools. But, for now, the Macy’s “Believe” promotion is the only fundraising activity that the state ethics commission has asked the state DOE to stop because of its commercial component.

“So much fundraising goes on in the schools,” said Les Kondo, executive director of the ethics commission. “We have continuing concerns about those activities, but what separates this campaign, as explained to us, is that the Macy’s “Believe” promotion is a promotion by Macy’s, even though that gets lost because Make-A-Wish is the end beneficiary.”

Even though the conversation is isolated around this campaign, Kondo explained that the commission is evaluating other fundraising activities, such as selling the “Entertainment” discount books that raise money for the schools, but works by giving students gift cards toWalmart and Target for every six books sold.

“That looks like a sales commission ... incentivizing students to sell these books,” he said. “The ones that have a clear commercial component make us very uncomfortable.” ...

Exceptions to the statute are Aloha United Way and the Hawaii Foodbank, he noted, after a governor many years ago deemed it state business to help those particular organizations using state resources and time.

Reality: Atheist Ethics vs Santa: Teachers, Students Cannot 'Believe', 'Make a Wish'

read ... Thank an Atheist

Abercrombie Announces "Surplus" -- Hold onto Your Wallet 

SBH: Gov. Neil Abercrombie recently announced the state has an $844 million surplus. Good news? It means you have been overtaxed. Even with tax increases we have had in recent years, the state expects to spend more of your money. The public unions, always nipping at taxpayers' heels, want all of that surplus - and more - in current contract negotiations, while the Gov wants to put the surplus towards his Early Education state subsidy scheme. There will be battles for even more of your cash during the 2014 Legislative Session, which begins January 15. Hold onto your wallet.

Read ... Sen Sam Slom

Bill allowing ads on city bus exteriors wins preliminary approval

SA: Bill 69 now goes to the Council Budget Committee for further discussion.

Council Chairman Ernie Martin was the sole "no" in an 8-1 vote. Martin said he philosophically is opposed to the idea of selling ads on the sides of TheBus -- which Mayor Kirk Caldwell projects could raise up to $8 million for bus service.

Martin said he will be introducing his own bills to raise revenues.

CB: Bus Ad Proposal Alive, But Opposition Appears Determined

read ... Bus Ads

Luxury Resort Developer Pierre Omidyar Publishes Hanalei EIS Prep Notice

CB: The Hanalei Plantation Resort project has entered a new phase with the publication Monday of its environmental impact statement preparation notice.

The notice, filed by Ohana Hanalei LLC, is a step toward acquiring permit applications to redevelop and develop the Hanalei Plantation Resort in Princeville and Hanalei.

The project includes a hotel and residential lots on 65.5 acres just north of the Hanalei River.

Herman Tuiolosega, senior planner and acting director of the Office of Environmental Quality Control, said amended requirements to the state Environmental Policy Act would have allowed Ohana Hanalei to go directly to the draft EIS phase without a statement to show support.

The Honolulu-based development group, however, instead produced a 100-page report.

Background: Pierre Omidyar: The Secret Empire of a Resort Developer

read ... Hanalei project moves ahead

As Housing Deal Hangs in Balance, Honolulu City Council Wants Affordable Housing Policy for TOD

CB: The Honolulu City Council is urging the city to develop an affordable housing policy for neighborhoods by metro stations on the city’s planned rail line.

Council members approved the resolution on Wednesday.

The city is in the process of devising transit-oriented development (TOD) plans for areas surrounding 19 expected stations.

read ... Honolulu City Council Wants Affordable Housing Policy for TOD Neighborhoods

Honolulu City Council to City: Why Does Kakaako Smell So Bad?

CB: Council members want the city to come up with short-term solutions to the sewer issues by the end of January and long-term solutions by the end of March.

Hawaii residents who testified in favor of the resolution asked why it has taken so long for the city to take action.

One testifier named Richard Baker criticized the resolution as paying lip service to the community’s concerns.

“This resolution could have been written by the development lobby,” he said, saying that the latest version has been watered down from the initial draft.

Click here to read the full resolution.

read ... Honolulu City Council to City: Why Does Kakaako Smell So Bad?

Maui County Lawsuit Could Affect State Role in Open Meetings Oversight

CB: The Maui County Council has gone to court to keep the state's public information agency from forcing the county to turn over minutes from a closed-door executive session.

It's a case that could have significant ramifications for the state's ability to crack down on violations of the state's Sunshine Law, which requires meetings to be held in public.

On Monday, the council filed a lawsuit against the state Office of Information Practices after the agency asked the council to prove that it didn’t violate the Sunshine Law when it went behind closed doors during a council committee meeting in August. The committee had been discussing whether the county misused funds in demolishing the Old Wailuku Post Office.

read ... Open Meetings?

University of Hawaii to survey geothermal energy on Oahu

PBN: Oahu, which isn’t known for its abundance of geothermal energy, is about to re-enter the conversation after the head of the Center for the Study of Active Volcanoes looks to investigate further into the possibilities of geothermal energy on the Hawaii’s most populated island and biggest consumer of energy in the state....

Don Thomas, director of volcano study center at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, told PBN that there’s some evidence that geothermal energy resources are beneath Oahu’s lands, specifically in the Waianae area on Oahu.

There are two caldeiras, or centers of volcanoes, on Oahu, Waianae in the Lualualei Valley and Koolau between Kapaa and the Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe.

Thomas says that they plan to conduct a survey of these two caldeiras starting possibly in 2015 to utilize modern technology to dig as deep as 20 kilometers to check for geothermal energy resources....

“We did a number of surveys in the 1980s, but we now have more sophisticated technology, [so we’re] trying to take advantage of this opportunity to get a sense of what’s going on,” he said.

read ... Geothermal?



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