Kelii Akina interviews Elwin Ahu
Judge Grants TRO as ACLU Pushes Claim That Panhandling is First Amendment Right
New UHM Chancellor orders 'Review' of Cancer Center
Department of Community Services to hold GIA workshops
Excellent News: Al Hee Faces Federal tax Charges, Could do Time in Prison
HNN: A politically connected telecom executive is facing federal tax charges.
Prosecutors allege that 59-year-old Albert Hee (Clayton Hee's brother) underreported about a quarter of a million dollars in income on his personal tax filings for 2007.
If convicted, the founder of Sandwich Isles Communications faces up to 3 years in prison and a fine of $100,000.
Hee is the younger brother of state Sen. Clayton Hee. Sandwich Isles is led by Kamehameha Schools trustee Janeen Olds and its board members include retired Adm. Robert Kihune....
Since 1998, Sandwich Isles has received more than $400 million in low-interest federal loans federal grants.
At one point, the company's federal subsidy was equivalent to about $13,000 per customer, or about 100 times the mainland average for rural telephone services.
Those subsidies have come under heavy attack from lawmakers like former California Congressman Henry Waxman. The federal government eventually began cutting that subsidy and it's now at around $250 per line.
"The numbers don't compute, we have the highest costs per subscriber in the county and I mean they were outrageous costs," said state Sen. Sam Slom, R-Hawaii Kai.
"Where does that money come from? It comes from the taxpayers, the overburdened taxpayers."
read ... Some Truly Excellent News
HHSC to Close Leahi, Maluhia, Patients Have Nowhere to go
SA: Among the most dire is the Oahu region, which operates Leahi Hospital and Maluhia, both long-term care facilities that care for the state's most vulnerable Medicaid population, many of whom have no other options, said Derek Akiyoshi, chief executive officer of the Oahu region.
"The people we serve are our residents, not patients, in that they call our buildings home," he told lawmakers. "Unlike the residents at private long-term care facilities, the vast majority of Oahu region's residents are Medicaid recipients with literally nowhere to go."
The Oahu region, which will be out of cash by May and unable to make payroll, is appealing for $4.9 million in emergency funds to cover shortfalls primarily related to unfunded collective bargaining costs, Akiyoshi said.
Without an emergency appropriation, "ultimately, core long-term care services will have to be eliminated," he cautioned. "All of our service lines are money losers."
Reality: Legislative Report: Convert HHSC to non-profit, dump civil service (full text)
read ... HGEA Job Trust
Hospitals Down to Only a Few Days of Cash
AP: Public hospitals across Hawaii are finding ways to reduce staff and cut services because they don't have enough money to make ends meet.
Executives from Hawaii Health Systems Corporation told lawmakers Friday that even after substantial layoffs they are facing a $30 million deficit.
One hospital on Maui chose to close its adolescent psychology unit because it couldn't sustain the appropriate staffing levels to provide the services. They're also considering cuts to oncology and dialysis services.
The hospital group had asked for $150 million in financial help for 2014, but they Legislature approved $111.4 million.
Some hospitals only have several days of cash on hand to operate.
The CEO of the group's Maui region Wesley Lo says they will continually face this problem because their funding model is unsustainable....
On the east side of Hawaii’s Big Island, three out of four patients are covered by Medicare and Medicaid....
MN: Obama funnels money to free clinics
read ... HGEA Job Trust Collapsing
DLNR Gives Homeless Loophole to Stay in Waikiki
KITV: ...as with most any law, there are gaps that could negate or hamper its intended purpose. In the case of sit-lie, the most glaring loophole are grassy areas closest to the beach. The areas are not considered part of the sidewalk on the makai side of Kalakaua Aveneue, but rather a portion of Kuhio Beach Park, which only closes from 2 a.m. to 5 a.m. every morning.
Under the new ordinance, a sidewalk is defined as the “portion of a street between a curb line or the pavement of a roadway, and the adjacent private or public property line."
That means tourists as well as the homeless can sit or lie on the grassy knolls for as long as 21 hours per day. Mayor Kirk Caldwell was aware of the loophole before signing the sit-lie bill into law Tuesday
Read ... Thanks, DLNR
Absentee mail ballots being readied ahead of Pahoa lava
SA: The Hawaii County clerk's office is sending a letter Monday to Pahoa voters offering to provide them with absentee mail ballots because of the lava flow headed in the vicinity of their homes.
The letter asks each voter to specify where the absentee mail ballot should be delivered.
State Chief Election Officer Scott Nago said many Pahoa residents are evacuating or making plans to evacuate.
"A lot of people are getting ahead of it," Nago said.
SA: Puna detours to cost $2M
read ... Another Puna Election Disaster
Solar Scammers Con 4,500 Homeowners into buying Systems they Cannot Connect
HNN: Hawaiian Electric Company told lawmakers Friday the utility has approved 5,200 solar interconnections this year, but 4,500 applications are still pending.
"We know there are still many customers waiting for their applications to be approved, and we understand delays of any length are frustrating. And for that we apologize," said Jim Alberts, HECO's senior vice president of Customer Service.
read ... HECO updates lawmakers on PV progress
Schatz, Hirono, Gabbard Funnel $2.1M to Anti-GMO Activist 'Kohala Center'
NR: $2,178,250 for the Kohala Center to support the design and construction of an agricultural business accelerator for small farmers and agricultural marketers in Waimea. The accelerator will provide assistance with self-sustaining value-added food and fiber production leading to food self-reliance and sustainability.
Google: Kohala Center GMO
read ... Your Tax Dollars Pay for the Lunacy
House 47 Candidate Kent Fonoimoana Has Tax Debts to State, Feds
DN: Take Mr. Kent Fonoimoana’s form. I checked the website, and it is still the current form listed, so it appears it has not been amended.
Here’s the problem: Creditors are listed, but no amounts given. And in this particular case, shouldn’t potential voters know if this candidate has a tax issue?
HD47 has a choice: http://www.teamfeki.com/
read ... Tax Issue?
Domestic Violence: HPD Covers for 'Well-Known Member of the Community'
HNN: Service providers who help domestic violence victims said that the recent case involving a Honolulu police officer caught on video hitting his girlfriend reflects a larger problem in the department. The Hawaii State Commission on the Status of Women has collected more than 30 complaints about HPD's handling of domestic violence cases in the last year and a half.
"Far too often there are police officers who do not respond to domestic violence situations appropriately when the perpetrator is a friend, a family member or a fellow police officer," said attorney Cheryl Yamaki.
Hawaii News Now interviewed a mother of two who said her abuser was well-known in the community and had close ties to several officers.
"He pointed a knife at me while threatening me, threatening to kill me right there and then," she recalled about one beating in 2006.
read ... HPD's handling of domestic violence cases criticized
Cachola's Victim "A Boxer"
HNN: The video is from outside the restaurant where the woman works. It shows the woman kicking, hitting and then jumping on Cachola's back after he takes her phone.
Inside the restaurant, sources say it was more of the same, with the two actually fighting each other. The whole tape is several minutes long.
"If you say to somebody, let's take it outside and fight and you both agree to it, that's a mutual affray," says Eric Seitz, a defense attorney who is not involved in this case.
Seitz says domestic violence cases are very difficult for police and prosecutors, especially when the victim is not cooperative.
In this case, the woman showed me days later, that she did not have injuries and said she's a boxer. She also described the events of that night as "horseplay".
Legal experts have said it's unlikely Cachola will be charged with anything more than misdemeanor assault.
read ... A Boxer?
Water Board to Redevelop 6 acre Downtown HQ Site?
KHON: “It’s such prime land,” said Honolulu city councilmember Ann Kobayashi
That land is the Board of Water Supply’s six-acre property near the State Capitol.
“I know if we had rental apartments in the front a lot of people from queens and the state government and city government would want to live there,” said Kobayashi.
Her interest in the property isn’t just about prime location.
Her main focus is geared towards reducing water rates by exploring different sources of revenue.
“To keep increasing the rates will make it very difficult for some people and that’s why rather than keep going to the ratepayer I asked the board to try to raise some of their own money,” said Kobayashi.
In March of 2013, the Board of Water Supply issued and developed a request for proposal to the property on Beretania.
read ... Board of Water Supply looking at ways to reduce water bills
Child Molester Breaks into Home, Robs Family
WHT: A 32-year-old Kona man was sentenced Thursday to 10 years in prison for his role in a violent home invasion last year in Puna and for molesting two minors in Kona. ...
read ... Man gets 10 years for home invasion, sex assaults
Hawaii Prisons at 110% of Capacity
WaPo: Nebraska, Ohio, Delaware, Colorado, Iowa and Hawaii are all holding a prison population equal to more than 110 percent of capacity.
read ... Plenty of Room in Arizona
Hawaii Gun Violence Lowest in USA
HD: Hawaii has the lowest rate of gun deaths in the United States, while the District of Columbia has the highest, according to new research.
Over the past decade, deaths from gun-related violence — including murders, suicides and unintentional shootings — varied widely across the United States, the study revealed. Hawaii’s rate was roughly three per 100,000 citizens. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the District of Columbia had the highest rate of gun deaths, with about 22 per 100,000 citizens.
Aside from geography, race/ethnicity also played a role in gun death rates. The national rate of gun deaths was twice as high among black people as it was among whites. The researchers noted, however, that the number of black people killed as a result of gun violence fell in seven states and the District of Columbia. Meanwhile, gun deaths involving white people fell in only four states.
read ... Gun Violence
Hawaii LTC Patients Get Anti-Psychotics Cut
MK: Long-term care providers are being asked to reduce the use of antipsychotic medications among residents by 25% by the end of 2015, and 30% by the end of 2016.
The National Partnership to Improve Dementia Care, a public-private coalition that includes the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living and LeadingAge, announced the goal Friday in a conference call with members of the media.
The percentage decrease goal is based on rates from 2011. Over 21 months through the end of 2013, the national rate was reduced by 17.1 %, from 23.8% to 19.8%, CMS said. States with the highest decrease were Hawaii (31.4%), North Carolina (29.9%), Vermont (28.2%), and Georgia (28.1%).
read ... Anti-Psychotic