Open Letter to Gov. Ige on Transparency
Ige Appoints DCCA, DoA, DHHL Directors, Deputies
Honolulu to Convert all Streetlights to LED
Hawaii prime target of foreign governments seeking US intelligence
"The Interview": Not Quite Ready For The John Peter Zenger Honorary Oscar
21 Rail Supports Fail Concrete Stress Test
KITV: KITV4 has discovered several issues that had been kept from the public....
...21 of the 191 shafts along the first half of the 20-mile route failed a concrete stress test. Known as Crosshole Sonic Logging, the test determines the structural soundness of concrete within a shaft's rebar cage.
Elsewhere, two segments that are part of the project's elevated guideway were found to be damaged and must be replaced. The damage was apparently caused by unbalanced support from temporary bearings. Kobayashi told KITV4 this is the first time she's heard about problems with construction, and she's frustrated by the transit authority's lack of openness....
An old military pipeline that runs along Kamehameha Highway was found to be coated with asbestos and must be safely cleaned up. The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation has set aside $500,000 to deal with the asbestos after learning the train's guideway will intersect the pipeline in 50 different locations.
Meanwhile, the so-called Banana Patch area near Sam's Club in Pearl City was found to be contaminated with lead, which likely came from fuel and oil spilled from heavy machinery. HART has budgeted up to $1 million to remove the lead from the area, which was once home to Richard Lee Trucking....
KITV: Trends & Talkers -- Rail Repair Costs
Related: Lying About 'Temporary' Tax Hikes is Old Tactic
read ... Hidden costs revealed
The primary strategy to improve health in Hawaii should not be additional funding
SA: Among the top health priorities facing the new administration is the need to forge a durable solution to the chronically mounting financial burdens of the Hawaii Health Systems Corp. Important decisions must be made regarding the potential for public-private partnerships. If the private sector does take a stake, the better choice is to facilitate a level playing field among proven local organizations that understand the unique needs of each island community. Still, all considered will need to make sacrifices for a better future.
Continuing efforts must be made to more skillfully support the local homeless population while discouraging those who have no possibility of earning a living from flying to Hawaii without a viable plan. The long-term solution will not be found by simply adding to the list of places where homeless are prohibited from camping, sitting or lying. Rather, Hawaii must augment strategies that support the family unit and strengthen the ohana. To do so we must better organize services that care for residents with behavioral and mental health problems together with those troubled by alcohol and substance abuse. Sadly, the number of homeless with dual diagnoses of behavioral and substance abuse problems is extremely high.
Taking measures to better support the family unit while improving access to behavioral health services including autism and working to combat prescription drug abuse and narcotic diversion will go a long way toward mitigating inefficient and inappropriate use of hospital emergency departments and hospital readmissions. Hawaii also needs an expertly structured pilot dispensary for medical marijuana so that those who hold approved certificates given by registered physicians are not forced to make illegal purchases. Such headway will reduce the cost of health care in Hawaii that will, in turn, further improve access to quality health care. Doing so will enable both law enforcement and the criminal justice system to more readily focus on violent crime and other pressing matters of public safety.
The primary strategy to improve health in Hawaii should not be additional funding. In most cases, existing resources are reasonably adequate but can be used more wisely. Notable exceptions are the John A. Burns School of Medicine and the Cancer Center.
The good news is that Hawaii is already far ahead of the rest of the nation owing to the Prepaid Healthcare Act of 1974, which requires employers to provide health insurance to staff who work at least 20 hours per week for four weeks. The people of Hawaii also benefit from the unique QUEST program, a legacy of former Department of Health Director Dr. Jack Lewin and others, which combines federal and state dollars to insure those who still have the potential to rejoin the workforce. These two elements have already afforded access to a greater percentage of the population than in the rest of country. In fact, to a large degree, Obamacare is really about the mainland trying to catch up to Hawaii.
read ... Dr Ira Zunin
Nurses reach deal on Queen's contract
SA: The Hawaii Nurses Association reached an agreement this week with the Queen's Medical Center to bump up wages by 2 percent retroactive to Dec. 1 for roughly 1,400 registered nurses....
The contract also provides differential pay for evening shifts, $1.50 effective March 1, $1.75 effective March 1, 2016, and $3.75 effective March 1 for night shifts....
The union nurses must still ratify the new three-year contract. Voting is scheduled for Friday at Queen's Punchbowl and West locations.
read ... It sure is good to be an HNA nurse
Star-Adv: UH Hilo Free speech a noble cause
SA: Merritt Burch and Anthony Vizzone, who sued to uphold the First Amendment on the University of Hawaii's Hilo campus, fall into this category: Theirs was a fight for the general freedom to speak out, which should have been sacrosanct in any college setting.
Burch and Vizzone clearly realize this, which is why they are so deserving of selection as one of the Star-Advertiser's "Heroes Next Door." Their issue was a protest of surveillance by the National Security Agency, and they were stopped while distributing, of all things, copies of the Constitution on campus. They sued and won, setting a precedent for other campuses and causing a change in UH policy.
Their cause, however, is not limited to UH. It is universal.
Consider that the defenders of "The Interview" movie championed something of limited artistic value — some dismissed the comedy as a mere "stoner flick," funny but crude. But it's when the subject matter is less than noble that we can take the truest measure of the U.S. commitment to free expression....
In his year-end press conference, President Barack Obama underscored the real impact: that it could lead to self-censorship, with writers increasingly inclined to pull their punches. The next time, he said, the topic might be more consequential....
UH-Hilo may not be a grand stage, and "The Interview" may not qualify as literature for the ages, but it's through such battles that the defense of freedom is attained....
read ... Free speech a noble cause
Experimental Battery Depends on Red Hot Molten Salt
NBF: ...Given that the battery (chemistry) depends on high temperatures to operate, is there a trade-off between energy required and generated?
“We have many variants of the technology. One has it operating at 450°C. Some of the energy is lost in generating enough heat to keep the battery at that temperature. With proper insulation we have shown round-trip energy efficiency exceeding 75%, which compares favorably with such methods as pumped hydro storage and compressed air storage. So the trade-off is acceptable.”
Trials of the new storage, installed alongside renewables, are planned to take place at the Pearl Harbor naval base, Hawaii, in late 2015, and the Cape Cod military base in the same timeframe.
“We look at the world from a cost-of-electricity standpoint.” Places with high electricity costs will place a very high value on energy storage....
read ... Next Big Scam