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Sunday, June 21, 2015
June 21, 2015 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:54 PM :: 3598 Views

$481M 'Clean Energy' Tax Hike: Fewer flights and fewer visitors to Hawaii would be expected

Telescope Construction to Re-Start Wednesday

Friends Don’t Let Friends Pay Higher Taxes?

BoE Appoints New Superintendents

Fishery Management Council Questions use of Turtles to Strangle Tuna Industry

Preparing for OHA Toll Booth?  Mauna Kea Traffic now being Counted

HTH: ...While the Mauna Kea Access Road was built a half century ago with only astronomy in mind, observatory and University of Hawaii staff today account for about 20 percent of traffic to the summit, according to Mauna Kea Observatories Support Services.

The office, which operates under the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s Institute for Astronomy, recently installed a traffic counter above Halepohaku that is providing the first data on use of the state’s tallest mountain.

According to Mauna Kea support services, 4,695 vehicles were counted in May, with about 940 being attributed to UH and telescope operators, who drive vehicles equipped with radio tags that allow them to be closely tracked.

The remaining 3,755 vehicles were associated with either tourism, cultural and recreational use, or a few contractors who haven’t yet been equipped with the radio tags, officials said.

While the effort to track traffic to the summit is still new and lacks historical data, UH spokesman Dan Meisenzahl said visitor counts at the Mauna Kea Visitor Information Station just below Halepohaku at 9,200 feet show that tourism has been increasing significantly on the mountain over the past few years.

He said a likely factor is completion of improvements to Saddle Road that have allowed for easier access.

“You couldn’t take your rental car there before,” Meisenzahl said.

Mauna Kea support services estimates 300,000 (very lucrative to OHA) people stopped at the visitor center last year, up from 200,000 in 2010 and 100,000 in 2003....

Flashback: Telescope Cash: Ige Proposes OHA Toll Booth on Mountain, Limit on 'Non-cultural' Access

read ... Mauna Kea traffic count

Stopping TMT would be singular event that irreparably damages Hawaii's future

SA: Hawaii will never reach its potential if we are guided by the view that science is a threat....

Stopping the TMT would surely be the action generations after us would see as the singular event in our state's history that irreparably damaged science, technology and education and prevented us from becoming a leader in these fields....

read ... Henk Rogers

On Cue from on High, Usual Protesters Show up for Red Hill Meeting

DN: On cue from the Water Department, the usual suspects suddenly are very interested in the decades-old Navy fuel tanks at Red Hill....

read ... On Cue

Homeless Moving from Mainland 'Not Uncommon'

HTH: Just before dawn, Leilani drove down Pohoiki Road, and suddenly, Alison exclaimed, “There’s one!”

Leilani pulled over near a dark van, unseen by the reporter, obscured in the underbrush just off the roadway.

Its lone occupant was a friendly woman who said she had come four months earlier from Oregon and had been unable to find housing she could afford.

Afterward, Leilani said the woman’s story isn’t uncommon....

HTH: ‘No surprises’ in homeless count

read ... Not Uncommon

PHOCUSED: Don't Build Homeless Shelter, Give us Money Instead

SA: While temporary shelters, such as the new facility (which isn't directing funding to us), can be a tool to address homelessness on Oahu, they should not be looked at as a "solution" ....

Recently, PHOCUSED and other advocacy groups have identified a promising new approach to (directing funding to us, allegedly for) meeting the needs of homeless families. This approach would provide a small monthly rent subsidy....

By implementing an array of targeted interventions (funded thru us), including a carefully constructed rental-subsidy program for eligible working people, we hope that by next year we will be able to significantly reduce the number of homeless families....

read ... PHOCUSED on Beating IHS

Abstinence-based emphasis replaced with new program

KGI: The Hawaii State Department of Education adopted a mandatory new sexual health policy on Tuesday.

The revised policy requires students to receive sex health education that is medically accurate and age-appropriate. Middle-school students will learn about contraception and methods of disease prevention to stop unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases, according to the Hawaii DOE website....

While the new measure will replace the DOE’s former abstinence-based education policy, it will still emphasize abstinence from sexual intercourse as the most effective way to prevent pregnancy, the spread of STDs and emotional distress....

Students may be excused from the sexual health classes with a written request made by the student’s parents or legal guardian. Students who decide not to take the class won’t be penalized by the school, the policy states....

A copy of the curriculum used by the schools will be made available to parents and will be posted on the school’s website before instruction begins.

read ... Sex

Star-Adv: New Sex Ed Policy risks well-being of Hawaii youth 

SA: ...the state Board of Education has stumbled by imposing on all regular public schools a new sexual-health education policy that downplays the importance of abstinence, potentially risking the well-being of Hawaii youth in the process.

It is not too late for the board to improve this new policy, which it approved only last week and which the Department of Education has yet to implement.

Policy 103.5 succeeds in ensuring that students receive effective education to protect themselves and others from HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, unintended pregnancy and unhealthy, violent or coercive relationships. But it should be revised to elevate abstinence as the best path to those positive outcomes.

The board could easily achieve this by restoring language similar to that in the old policy but stricken from the new one: verbiage that promotes abstinence as the most responsible choice — not just the surest — and encourages even youth who have had sex before to avoid engaging new partners.

Doing so would follow CDC recommendations that sex-ed programs address the needs of youth who are not sexually active as well as those who are, and recognize that most Hawaii youth are not — a finding reinforced yet again in the most recent Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS), compiled by the CDC.

The 2013 survey found that only 36 percent of Hawaii high-school students had ever had sex, compared to 46 nationally. Only 4 percent became sexually active before age 13, compared to 5.6 percent nationally. And less than 8 percent had had four or more partners, compared to 15 percent nationally....

read ... Risk

White-Collar Make Work: Politicians perfect the art of leaving business undone

Borreca: ...Our half-finished projects and never-developed plans block every layer of city and state business.  (But writing those useless plans and studies sure does line the pockets of campaign contributors with white-collar make work.)

The results are schemes halted while politicians wait in fear of tipping over someone's unfilled apple cart.

This past week's newspapers were filled with stories to make you shout, "Just get on with it!"

First, just in time for the Fourth of July is yet another debate on fireworks....

Since 2008, the Friends of the Falls of Clyde have waged the valiant fight to save the last non-Hawaiian link to Hawaii's seafaring past, but fundraising has not worked....

The saga of the Falls of Clyde, however, is nothing compared to the tortured history of Honolulu's most famous non-swimming pool, the 88-year-old Waikiki War Memorial and Natatorium, which has been in festering decline since it was padlocked in 1979....

read ... Politicians perfect the art of leaving business undone

Growing popularity of (tax free) e-cigarettes pushes Hawaii to raise legal smoking age to 21

AP: Hawaii has become the first US state to raise the legal smoking age to 21, amid fears that the growing popularity of e-cigarettes is encouraging teenagers to develop a taste for tobacco (stop paying tobacco taxes).

read ... Tax Revenue

School Bus Fees? Hawaii Nearly Alone

No one keeps data on the number of school districts that bill parents for bus service. But a 2011 report by the Florida Legislature’s Office of Program Analysis & Government Accountability found that 12 states allowed districts to charge parents fees to transport their children to school. A 13th state, Hawaii, required parents to pay. Nineteen states prohibited such fees and the rest hadn’t established policies.

Most states that did allow fee-based school bus transportation gave school districts the authority to determine whether to do so and how much to charge.

read ... School Bus Fees 

UH vs Arnold: 'Histrionics, Little Substance'

SA: In a strongly worded rebuttal, the University of Hawaii challenged former basketball coach Gib Arnold's "counter allegations of wrongdoing against the university" and claims of mitigating factors in reply to the charges leveled against him by the NCAA.

"When the histrionics of Arnold's accusations against the University are stripped away, little substance remains," UH's 21-page "Supplemental Response to Notice of Allegations" read. "The so-called ‘mitigating factors' set out in Arnold's response are factually incorrect and do not serve to excuse Arnold's conduct. Moreover, Arnold's current position with respect to several aspects of the Notice of Allegations is directly contradictory to his prior statements," UH's statement said.

UH's "Supplemental Response" was submitted to the NCAA by its Alabama-based law firm, Lightfoot, Franklin & White, on Tuesday, and a redacted version was made available to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser on Saturday in response to a request under the state's open records law.

read ... Histrionics Redacted

Ticket Scalping Scandal: FBI Seizes Computers at Arizona Memorial

SA: The FBI and Department of the Interior inspector general's office are investigating a 2013 ticketing scandal at the USS Arizona Memorial and tour company involvement with some park staff, sources said.

The federal agencies reportedly came through the park in recent weeks, seized some computers and cellphones and questioned employees.

For about seven months in 2013, the National Park Service and its nonprofit fundraising arm, Pacific Historic Parks, diverted a large portion of what were supposed to be free tickets at the door for tours of the memorial, and instead sold them with an audio tour for $6 apiece to tour companies, according to one of several past Park Service investigations into park activities.

Thousands of dollars flowed daily from tour companies through the Arizona Memorial without controls, the investigations revealed....

read ... Federal agencies scrutinize 2013 ticket scandal

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