Neighborhood Boards: 516 Candidates Enter Race With One Day to Go
Takai vs Takai on Homeland Security Funding
House and Senate Republicans Join Forces on Legislation
Hawaii: Anti-Gun Legislation Deferred, Pro-Gun Bills Progressing
Warning labels and beverage tax fail in Legislature
HECO, Taxes, Pesticides, and Teacher Tenure: House Republicans Speak Out
500 Expected at GOP Lincoln Dinner
2015 Legislative Calendar: A Guide to the Deadlines
25%: Hawaii Ranks 43rd in Weekly Church Attendance
House Bills for 2015: Sex, Drugs and a Place for the Kids to Hide Out
Tears and Gnashing of Teeth as Cosmic Vortex Sweeps Pesticides up Mountain Causing Multiple Illnesses and Dirty Window Blinds
HB 825 Provides Little Incentive for Illegal Vacation Rentals to Register
More waivers convey a “Public be damned” attitude toward legislative hearings
Hawaii #2 in USA: 51.2% Tax on S-Corporation Income
Posturing over DLNR pick should be entertaining
Borreca: Sometimes you just have to appreciate the symmetry.
Who is better to review the qualifications of Carleton Ching as chairman of the Board of Land and Natural Resources than the former chairwoman of the same state agency?
Today's state Sen. Laura Thielen was Chairwoman Thielen back in 2007.
It was the job nobody wanted and Thielen brought some stability to the vital but little understood department.
Now she is in the Senate and leading the committee — Water and Land — that will open Ching's confirmation hearing on March 11.
Thielen's BLNR chairmanship, plus Department of Land and Natural Resources directorship, came after the 2007 rejection of a second term for GOP Gov. Linda Lingle's land board honcho, Peter Young.
Eight years ago, the Senate committee led by former Sen. Russell Kokubun held five days of hearings that bordered on confirmation cruelty.
Young was the Big Island's deputy managing director when Lingle picked him to run DLNR.
Before working for the county, Young ran a real estate brokerage and did land-use planning. Young is now back to working for property owners, helping with land use planning.
During his hearing, the committee subpoenaed witness who testified against Young, some of them in secret. Young was forced to give his testimony under oath, an unprecedented move.
Lingle, who stayed through six hours of attacks on Young, but was not allowed by Kokubun to speak on Young's behalf, came away saying, "The average person who has watched this hearing is disgusted by the whole process."...
In 2007, the Peter Young inquisition was criticized as a staged political hit job against Lingle.
Young's many critics at the beginning of his administration had turned into his admirers by the time of his reappointment and spoke in his favor. It did not sway the Democrats.
Today the political tables have turned.
The Democratic state Senate is faced with an unpopular nominee, with little public support....
CB: Sen. Green Calls on Ige to Withdraw Nomination of Carleton Ching
read ... Posturing over DLNR pick should be entertaining
Tax Hikers' Latest Trick: Rail officials pretend to need $350M loan
HNN: "Given the magnitude of what we're facing, I have to tell you and the public there's not enough to cut to make up that deficit," said Dan Grabauskas.... (The magnitude of the possible tax hike forces him to lie.)
To pay its contractors and ease its cash flow problems, HART said it will have to borrow up to $350 million in the form of short-term bonds this summer..... (After the legislature adjourns, this 'need' will suddenly become a non-issue.)
Later this year, HART officials will unveil bids on the final ten miles of the rail project and those costs will likely be much higher than projected..... (They will use this as an excuse to push for tax hikes next year.)
City Council Budget Committee Chair Ann Kobayashi said she plans to vote no on the loan plan. But others will likely go along with the measure. She thinks HART should do a better job of reigning in its expenses. "I don't understand who is doing their business plan or financial plan and why we are in the mess we are in today," she said. "It's like asking every taxpayer to co-sign a loan for them."
read ... Pushing for GE Tax Hike
Council OKs Waikiki tax hike
SA: Bills 81 (2014) and 82 (2014), nonetheless, secured City Council approval on second reading Wednesday, with a 9-0 vote. The measures now will return to the Council Zoning and Planning Committee for more work.
The bills would set up a special improvement district for Waikiki Beach that would tax businesses and property owners. The money would be placed into a fund that would pay for shoreline improvement, restoration and protection projects carried out by the state, city or other entities.
The effort is being spearheaded by the Waikiki Improvement Association and supported by the state Office of Conservation and Coastal Lands, which says the beach is eroding at a rate of about a foot a year. The beach has already received two sand replenishments in recent years, and experts say it will need to be replenished every five to 10 years.
Linda Wong, a member of the Diamond Head-Kapahulu-St. Louis Heights Neighborhood Board, testified against including the parks east of Kapahulu Avenue in the bills, noting that a proposed board of directors that would decide spending of collected revenues does not appear to have any representation from interests east of Kapahulu Avenue.
"No one has asked anyone from east of Kapahulu Avenue if we'd like to represent ourselves along with the fee-simple landowners and commercials among the 25 board members that will have voting jurisdiction of the Waikiki Beach Special Improvement District," Wong said.
Surfrider Foundation spokesman Stuart Coleman agreed.
"It gives too much power to these organizations and businesses that may not have our best interests at heart," he said.
The initial plan calls for the district to tax the owners of all commercial properties in Waikiki 7.63 cents per $1,000 of the assessed value of their land with the goal of collecting $600,000 annually.
Waikiki property owners already pay into the Waikiki Business Improvement District fund — anywhere from 12.5 cents to 50 cents per $1,000, depending on their location — that pays for street improvements and security. A beach improvement district fee would be added to those costs.
read ... Tax Hike
$800M: Key airport projects delayed, costing more than expected
KHON: Some of the largest projects in an $800 million effort to upgrade Honolulu International Airport are already running a year or two behind schedule and are costing more than expected, a Hawaii News Now investigation has discovered.
Construction of the new centralized rental car building has been delayed by about two years. Now it isn't estimated to be completed until 2019 instead of 2017 and is expected to cost about $300 million.
...When the state went out to bid for the job it found the overall price went up by 11 percent from original estimates to about $31 million, because busy contractors are charging more.
"We're hitting the construction market that's saturated with projects,” said Chang, the airports official. “So there are a lot of other projects going on in Kakaako, the rail and there's a finite amount of resources for construction locally so we're seeing a little higher prices."
Laura Ebesugawa, a Hawaiian Airlines passenger at HNL traveling home to Hilo said, "That's a lot of money they're going to be spending."
...it is being funded entirely by fees paid by rental car customers in Hawaii. Rent-a-car customers pay a $4.50-a-day facilities fee that is funding the construction.
The gas and car wash buildings are costing about $7 million. The state plans to demolish them in just four years, once the rental car operations move next door to their new permanent digs....
In a second major project, the state plans to build a new commuter terminal for Island Air and Mokulele Airlines, on the Diamond Head side of the overseas terminal.
The state said when it put the commuter terminal out to bid, the lowest bid came back at $41 million, about 14 percent above the initial cost estimate of $36 million....
The state has 159 projects at airports statewide costing $2.7 billion over a nine-year period from 2010 to 2019.
The money to fund the new terminals does not come from tax dollars but from airport user fees so it is OK to waste this money.
KHON: New Hawaiian Air terminal already delayed one year
read ... Railroad with Wings
Feds: Settle West Coast Today or Negotiate in DC
AP: With a Friday deadline looming, negotiators for the two sides in the contract dispute that has snarled international trade at West Coast seaports are laboring to reach a settlement.
U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez told dockworkers and their employers that if they cannot seal a deal in San Francisco, he'll take the parties to Washington. The idea is that, after nine months of talks, a change of scenery and proximity to elected leaders who are increasingly calling for a resolution will help.
read ... Settle?
State lawmakers aim to curb HCDA's leasing power and increase public input
SA: More than a dozen bills have been introduced this year by state legislators seeking to impose new regulations on the agency tasked with transforming Kakaako from what used to be a largely decaying industrial area into a mixed-use community increasingly filled with residential towers.
Objectives of the bills include rezoning land, curtailing HCDA power to lease state land and letting the public contest development permits after an initial public hearing.
HCDA staff is supportive of just one bill, while some critics of the agency — including some Kakaako condominium tower residents who stand to lose views from recently approved towers — are backing several bills....
Senate Bill 1203 would require that certain parcels, including one identified for a prospective Barack Obama presidential library and the site of the restaurant and wedding venue 53 by the Sea, be "set aside" as parkland and future park expansion....
- » HB 239 — repeals a forced gift of land to the Kewalo Keiki Fishing Conservancy
- » HB 332 — extends deadline for automatic approvals of development permits
- » HB 333 — postpones expiration of board member terms
- » HB 500 — provides $4 million for a Kakaako makai parking structure
- » HB 700 — repeals ability to finance public facility projects with special revenue bonds
- » HB 735 — alters affordable-housing rules
- » HB 1434 — increases ceded-land revenue paid to the state Office of Hawaiian Affairs
- » SB 906 (HB 1021) — changes development permit criteria and contested-case process
- » SB 916 (HB 1020) — alters affordable-housing rules
- » SB 1189 (HB 1244) — repeals operating funds
- » SB 1203 (HB1022) — changes land zoning in Kakaako makai
- » SB 1205 (HB 1023) — revises land lease regulations
read ... HCDA
27 Intervenors, Next Era Opposes Them All
IM: Most Hawai`i Public Utilities Commission regulatory proceedings (dockets) have few if any intervenors. A mega-docket with 15 to 26 parties and intervenors are fairly rare.
The HECO-NextEra merger docket has 32 potential parties. There are four applicants (NextEra, HECO, MECO and HELCO), the Consumer Advocate (which is a party by law in all proceedings) and 27 intervenors.
The intervenors include water, electric and gas utilities, two counties, and three entities which want to replace their local utility with their own operations.
Although the newly appointed Public Utilities Commission Chair Randy Iwase has stated that he favors liberal intervention and NextEra has stated that they wish to engage with the public, NextEra is continuing to files motions in opposition to all intervenors. Some consider this a pro forma opposition, but others note that NextEra is going about and beyond simply filing boilerplate statements in opposition.
read ... A Conversation on Hawai`i's energy policy
Ike Choy's Attack on UH Programs, Ham Handed, Narrow, Destructive
CB: State Rep. Isaac Choy’s recently introduced and deferred HB 555 betrayed a narrow and destructive conception of the University of Hawaii’s purpose. Furthermore, it displayed a startling misunderstanding of the structure of higher education and represented profoundly irresponsible legislative overreach.
Choy proposed to eliminate all undergraduate programs that graduated less than 10 students a year unless the program was financially self-sustaining.
Ka Leo reported that among those programs which would have needed to prove self-sufficiency were French, German, Russian, Dance, Physics, Pacific Island Studies, Geology, Meteorology, Biological Engineering, and Tropical Plant and Soil Sciences. Also under threat of elimination were 11 of the 12 secondary education programs on offer.
The proposal was deferred, but in the future, Choy would do well to consider three things.
First, the number of program graduates is not indicative of utility or value to the University. There will never be a time when Meteorology students are more numerous than Business majors – we need fewer meteorologists than capable business leaders, and foreclosing the possibility of studying meteorology for this reason is irresponsible.
Further, some small programs represent new and emerging fields. Biological engineering is a rapidly growing field, stretching from alternative energy sources to environmental remediation techniques like wastewater treatment. Competitive research institutions across the U.S. are investing in fields like biological engineering despite the potential for losses in the short term.
The University of Hawaii, as a land-grant institution, has a responsibility to maintain programs that advance practical science and engineering to solve our most pressing challenges. Cutting programs like biological engineering undermines this responsibility.
Furthermore, the number of graduating students does not account for those taking courses outside of their majors. Our university is structured such that students may choose from a variety of courses outside their major. This pluralism is an important component of higher education.
SA: UH links coaches bonuses to academic performance
read ... Choy Ham Handed
Ethics Comm Bans Free Trips for Teachers, DoE Staff
CB: Public school teachers will no longer be allowed to accept free trips and other benefits from private companies for arranging and participating in educational travel for groups of students and parents, according to a ruling by the State Ethics Commission.
Department of Education officials have already been told the free trips given teachers by private educational travel companies are “impermissible gifts” that violate the state ethics code, and that the practice should be stopped. The commission will now notify the superintendent in writing of its decision.
Les Kondo, commission executive director, is not insisting on cancelation of trips already scheduled and booked, including one set to begin within weeks, citing the complexity and potential cost of unraveling travel reservations.
read ... Ian Lind
Instead of Raising Lunch Prices, DoE Should Follow Audit Instructions for Savings
SA: The real solution, as board members observed, lies in patching the leaks in what appears to be a highly inefficient school-lunch system.
A DOE report, issued in January 2013, gave the program an "unacceptable" rating, citing its lack of oversight, monitoring and accountability of purchases.
Many things that should be automated are done manually, according to the audit, which pointed to schools taking inventory on index cards.
The audit identified myriad problems. For starters, staffing is based on meal counts recorded in September each year, a system that likely is being manipulated.
The September counts were boosted, largely with adult meals, according to the report: The rest of the year, the daily tally of meals sold to adults was 2,220 statewide, while during September, that count rose to 3,950.
Further, purchasing and collection procedures weren't always followed and forms were used and retained on file inconsistently, the report stated, adding that this opens the DOE to overspending, waste and other problems.
In deferring action until the March committee meeting, Brian De Lima, the school board's finance chairman, proposed that the department consider an outside review of ways to reduce costs. As precedent, he cited the DOE-commissioned study that recommended reforms to cut costs in the school bus program.
That did ultimately produce savings, but the existing audit already lays out good suggestions that the department is still working to implement. DOE officials should accelerate efforts to follow that report's recommendations, to begin the reform process.
Finally, Waipahu High School has demonstrated already that school lunch menus can be adapted to make them more appealing and, ultimately, increase sales. The school surveyed students to find out what they like.
read ... Savings
Labels: Senate Panders to Anti-GMO Mob Knowing House Will Protect Hawaii from Them
SA: Any genetically modified food offered for sale in Hawaii would need to carry a label that clearly identifies it as genetically altered under a bill that won approval from two Senate committees Thursday. However, the measure appears unlikely to get far in the state House this year.
The issue has emerged as an annual focus of controversy at the Legislature. After tallying public testimony on Senate Bill 131 on Thursday, Senate Health Chairman Josh Green announced 407 people had submitted testimony in support of labeling, while 103 opposed it....
The bill approved by the Senate committees would require that all food or raw agricultural commodities sold in Hawaii after Jan. 1 be labeled as genetically modified products if they contain genetically engineered materials.
The mandatory label would announce in bold print, "This product contains a genetically modified material or was produced with a genetically modified material," according to the measure.
The new labeling requirement would also apply to all meat and other food products from animals that were fed genetically modified material. The labeling requirement would not apply to food served in restaurants.
Under the bill, vendors of GMO food that is not properly labeled could be fined up to $1,000 for each violation. The measure also calls for the state Department of Health to adopt rules for testing food to determine whether it contains GMO material.
read ... Pandering to Morons
As Expected, House Saves Farmers from Hypocritical Pesticide Buffer Zone Bill
HNN: "Nebulizers are being handed out like candy to children. Almost all my friends have a nebulizer, doctor issued at their home. Why? Why is that?" -- Typical anti-GMO protester
Without a vote, the committee killed House Bill 1514.
VIDEO: House Committee Defers anti-GMO Pesticide Bill
read ... Kabuki so Senators can Pander to the Hysterical
Infested with progressives, State asks childcare facilities to track unvaccinated children
KHON: Health officials emphasize that the current measles outbreak has not reached Hawaii, but if it does, schools and childcare facilities need to be ready.
That’s why they’re asking child daycare facilities to keep track of those who have not been vaccinated. If there is an outbreak here in Hawaii, those kids may be told to stay home, even if they’re not sick.
The state’s infectious disease expert told KHON2 the list will keep track of not just the children, but also staff members of the facilities.
KHON2 learned the state health department has the authority to keep people away from any facility in the interest of public safety.
Kamaaina Kids, which takes care of about 12,000 children a day, already has the list of children who are not immunized. But records need to be updated for the staff.
read ... Anti-Science Progressives Making Your Kids Sick
Even in Face of mass Opposition, Kauai Council Continues Tinkering with anti-Fireplace Law
KGI: Best Comment: "'73 violations from one Wailua Homesteads neighborhood' - aren't these all from the same family - the McDonalds? The reporter should publish this important detail. What an amazing waste of time and county resources! Even the county prosecutor doesn't like this law. I hope everyone remembers this at election time. This is what they do instead of work to make real changes that improve Kauai."
"I didn’t mean for all of this to happen — I’m sorry to the whole island of Kauai,” said Wailua Homesteads resident Dustin MacDonald, who along with several other residents has asked the seven-member board to regulate wood-burning fireplaces....“This has created such a tidal wave of horror,” MacDonald continued. “It has blown out into this thing where I can’t believe this. I’m fighting for life...."
read ... Hysteria
Are Maui tour operators ignoring federal whale watching rules?
ILind: "The whale watch was fantastic! A few came about 15′ from our pontoon boat (close to the water). And lots of other close by activity too." ...
But compare that to what the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary’s website has to say. All boaters are advised:
Follow federal regulations that prohibit approaching (by any means) within 100 yards (90 m) when on or in the water, and 1,000 feet (300 m) when operating an aircraft. These regulations apply to all ocean users throughout the Hawaiian Islands.
And whale watchers are reminded of the same rule:
~ Once whales are sighted, slowly approach and carefully parallel along side, while maintaining more than 100 yards distance.
If their boat was in fact just 15 feet from a whale, that’s only about 5% of the federally required distance....
...in the apparent absence of enforcement, it seems to me that one approach would be to advise everyone going on a whale watching tour of the federal requirement that they stay at least 100 yards away from the whales, stay out of their paths, etc. And also be provided a telephone number to tour operators when they appear to violate those regulations.
Tourists shouldn’t be excited about how close their boat got to the whales. They should be upset at the disregard for the whale’s safety and comfort.
read ... About What Anti-Superferry Protesters do to Whales Just to Make a Buck
Sierra Club Boss: My Environmentalism Begins When Little People Invade Lands Once Reserved for Elite
SA: QUESTION: Where did your environmentalism come from?
ANSWER: All of my friends are fed up with hearing this story.
I say I grew up on the Oahu of the Mediterranean. When I was 10 years old my mother married a Spaniard, and the whole family moved to a little island off the coast of Spain called Majorca. Stunningly beautiful, they called it paradise, just like here.
For the first half of the century, it was the kind of place that only movie stars and celebrities could afford to go to. There were basically one or two old hotels, kind of equivalent to the Royal Hawaiian. ... In 1959, exactly the same year as here, the tourist boom started, because they built themselves a new international airport, same as here. ...
Just like people who grew up here after World War II and saw places that they had known throughout their childhood suddenly being transformed and felt a really powerful sense of loss, that's what I felt growing up when I saw this.
read ... Elitist
Obamaville Tent City at Kakaako Presidential Library Site
KHON: Homelessness is a problem just about everywhere on the island.
Right now, the spotlight appears to be on Kakaako. The area is booming in development and could be the future site of the Barack Obama presidential library.
On Thursday, we went down to the Kakaako Waterfront Park area and saw dozens of tents and other personal items lining the sidewalk.
“Kakaako is an area with a lot of potential, but right now, there’s not a lot going on there. So I think that’s part of the reason why people have congregated there,” said Jesse Broder Van Dyke, the City & County of Honolulu’s spokesperson. “But in time, there’s expected to be more development including, hopefully, a presidential center. And so with more activity going on, more people, more private property owners active in the area, we believe the situation will change in that area.”
So what’s being done to address the problem? The city says it has a full-time crew who removes items from the sidewalk as part of its stored property and sidewalk nuisance laws. On average, they go to Kakaako 12 times a year. The enforcements are also based on complaints....
"People, they don’t want to go to the presidential library and see all this, but they don’t bother people. So as long as, nothing really happens, I don’t see anything wrong with it,” said Liam Niell, who plays soccer in Kakaako twice a week.
President Obama and the First Lady are expected to make a decision in early to mid-2015.
read ... Obamaville
Bill to Abolish Hawaii Land Use Commission Is Dead on Arrival
CB: Senate President Donna Mercado Kim’s proposal to abolish the state Land Use Commission seems doomed to fail after four committee chairs didn’t schedule a hearing for the bill in time for an internal Senate deadline Friday.
Sen. Laura Thielen, who chairs the Water and Land Committee, said she doesn’t plan to hold a hearing for the bill.
The measure was also referred to the committees on agriculture, public safety and transportation.
The panels would have to jointly take up the proposal by Friday in order for the measure to advance this session, according to the Senate’s internal deadlines.
The idea could resurface in another bill if lawmakers decide to amend other measures to keep the proposal alive....
Only three of Kim’s 24 colleagues signed on to the measure: Sens. Breene Harimoto, Ronald Kouchi and Glenn Wakai....
read ... Abolish LUC
Funding to continue the Preschool Open Doors Program passes
CB: A preschool program inadvertently left off the governor’s budget is making a comeback through the Legislature.
Senate Bill 64 to fund the Preschool Open Doors Program passed through a joint hearing of the Senate Committee on Human Services and Housing and the Committee on Education on Thursday afternoon.
It would allocate $6 million to provide subsidies to low-income families subsidies to help pay for preschool. It would also allocate $440,00 for three positions and other services to continue the program.
read ... Preschool
Marsy's Law: basic rights for crime victims
KITV: "It ensures that they are notified and that they can be present and can be heard in certain proceedings and it and ensures that justice hears from them also,” said Meg Garvin of he National Crime Victim Law Institute.
But the bill is opposed by the (soft on crime) attorney general's office and public safety....
The Paroling Authority and City Prosecutors’ Office support the intent of the bill but both have reservations about how it’s written. (Uh-huh.)
Hawaii has a crime victims statute, but it is one of 18 states that have not made victim's rights part of their constitution.
The House Judiciary committee deferred action on the bill Thursday afternoon.
A companion bill in the senate has yet to get a hearing.
read ... Victims Rights
Sylvia Luke Raises Campaign Cash During Session
CB: The chairwoman of the Finance Committee in the Hawaii House of Representatives will be raising campaign cash Thursday evening.
Sylvia Luke’s fundraiser is set for 5:30 p.m. at 800 S. Beretania Street, Suite 210. The suggested contributions range from $100 to $250.
Thursday is the 18th day of the 60-day Hawaii State Legislature, the day before the “first lateral” deadline for bills....
Related: 2015 Legislative Calendar: A Guide to the Deadlines
read ... Bought n Paid For
Menor Proposes New Housing Office
CB: Councilman Ron Menor introduced a resolution on Thursday that would establish a city housing office in charge of affordable housing and housing for the homeless.
The Department of Housing would have cabinet-level status, ensuring that affordable housing issues receive high priority, Menor said in a press release.
Resolution 15-43 directs the City Charter Commission to review the proposal and approve a charter amendment that would be placed on the ballot during the 2016 election.
read ... Ewa Villages Redux
Rhoads Refuses to Hear Bill to create state game management panel
HTH: A bill to create a statewide game management advisory commission appears to be dead for this legislative session after missing a deadline to be heard by its second committee.
The commission would advise the state Board of Land and Natural Resources on hunting matters and be responsible for developing a five-year game management plan, in addition to other duties.
Rep. Karl Rhoads, House Judiciary Committee chairman, said he was still analyzing the amended version of the bill and hadn’t decided whether to hear it prior to the deadline. The bill would have to be heard today to stay alive this session.
“We had time to hear it but I couldn’t fit it in with all the other stuff I want to hear,” he said.
Tony Sylvester, a member of Hawaii County’s Game Management Advisory Commission, said Rhoads also told him the bill was too controversial to be fit in this session.
Sylvester said that was disappointing to hear after the bill received support from hundreds of testifiers before the House Water and Land Committee, which passed an amended version.
“For me, that’s the saddest part,” he said. “We try to empower people.”
The same bill could be heard by his committee next year, Rhoads said. But, for this year, it will not advance any further.
read ... Rhoads is the Obstacle
Willie Plays Game with Anti-Aquarium Bills
WHT: After almost six hours of testimony, presentations and discussion Tuesday, two bills seeking to license aquarium collectors and regulate the transport of fish were withdrawn by sponsor Kohala Councilwoman Margaret Wille.
Wille, saying she’d like to wait and see what happens at the state level, withdrew the county licensing bill shortly before 7:30 p.m. The other bill, setting water volume and other restrictions on the transport of fish, was withdrawn earlier in the day.
More than 50 testifiers and three experts on aquarium fish collection had kept the Committee on Agriculture, Water and Energy Sustainability busy.
The bills were opposed by commercial aquarium collectors and some members of the public, while ... recreational dive tour operators largely supported the measures.
read ... Pander and Duck
A Year Later, 40 Guam Soldiers Injured in Afghanistan Remain in Hawaii
GPDN: More than a year after close to 600 Guam National Guard soldiers ended their Afghanistan deployment, one soldier is expected to arrive home on Guam tonight.
A hero's welcome awaits Staff Sgt. Dennis Eber, who had been receiving medical care in Hawaii, the Guam National Guard announced yesterday.
Eber's arrival also serves as a reminder that not all of the Guam soldiers who served in Afghanistan are home.
Almost 40 Guam soldiers remain in Hawaii for treatment of injuries sustained during the Afghanistan deployment, Maj. Josephine M.P. Blas, public affairs officer of the Guam National Guard, confirmed yesterday....
There are no dates set for the approximately 40 Guam soldiers to finally come home, as their injuries and treatments vary.
The majority of Guam soldiers who made up the island's largest deployment to Afghanistan, in 2013, came home in January last year.
They served in Afghanistan for more than nine months.
read ... 40 Injured