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Saturday, July 11, 2015
July 11, 2015 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:23 PM :: 4432 Views

Hawaii GE Tax 'Broadest Sales Tax in US'

Kauai Payroll and Hiring Audit: Fraud, Overpayments and Contract Violations

Cane burning nuisance claims made even when no cane burning is taking place

MN: ...attacks on the industry have continued, many unfounded things have been said, and cane burning nuisance claims are being made even when no cane burning is taking place, often by those who well know where to find the cane burning schedule published by HC&S, seemingly to incite unfounded controversy. The company's cane burning schedule is available for all to see at hcsugar.com/sugarcane-burn-schedule. This is in addition to the advance notices sent out to all homes in affected areas to help people prepare....

read ... Efforts to stop cane burning unbalanced

Voices from DHHL Kauai: Feds do not have Hawaiians Best Interests at Heart

AJ: Most Hawaiians agree that the trust lands have been mismanaged. But not everyone agrees promulgating federal rules is the right solution. A deep distrust of the federal government, rooted in Hawaii’s contentious road to statehood, has many Hawaiians wary of the proposed rules. Then there are those fighting for recognition of the Kingdom of Hawaii as a sovereign nation, who want nothing to do with federal or state control.

The Hawaiian Homes Commission has indicated that the functions the proposed rules seek to clarify are already sufficiently detailed in the Hawaii Statehood Admission Act and the Hawaiian Home Lands Recovery Act. The commission has expressed concern that the rules might increase the federal government’s purview over the trust lands....

Clarke is a proud Hawaiian. She’s proud to be American too. But she often wonders why it sometimes seems so hard to be both.

She is distrustful of the proposed rules for the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act because she doesn’t think the federal or state governments have Hawaiians’ best interests at heart.

“I feel really sad for the people who are still waiting for this land that already belongs to them,” she said. “Most of our Hawaiian people are so busy trying to put food on the table and gas in the car that they don’t have time to fight.”

read ... Al Jazeera

Hundreds attend BLNR meeting--Mauna Kea emergency rule approved

KHON: Roughly 200 people gathered at Kalanimoku Building on Punchbowl Street Friday to observe the proceedings and testify on the matter. Many held a chant before the hearing began at 1 p.m....

Due to limited capacity, only 25 testifiers were allowed in the meeting at one time. The rest watched from an overflow area outside....

Board of Land and Natural Resources passed the proposed 120-day emergency rule by a 5-2 vote....

read ... Hundreds

Between Threats And Harassment, A Handful Of Telescope Protesters Cross The Line

AP: Incidents recorded include a bomb threat made on Facebook, protesters making a throat-slashing gesture at telescope workers, and an unidentified woman shouting to kill "haoles" - white people in Hawaiian - and tourists. There also were reports of children running across the road, feces found smeared on bathroom walls, and protesters taking souvenirs from the gift shop.

HTH: ‘Hordes of outsiders’ involved in protests

read ... Huff Po

Critics welcome departure of Stryker brigade from Hawaii--Star-Adv Agrees

AP: Earthjustice attorney David Henkin noted an environmental impact statement close to a decade ago found the vehicles would erode land and pose risks to endangered species and cultural sites in Hawaii. The environmental report found the brigade’s maneuver training would cause more soil erosion in Hawaii and Colorado than in Alaska.

It would have been better if the Army had decided then not to put Strykers in Hawaii, Henkin said. But the announcement was still great news, he said.

“It is not too late to stop continued degradation. So better late than never I guess,” Henkin said.

Henkin represented three groups who successfully sued the Army to compel it to conduct an environmental study comparing potential sites for the brigade.

William Aila, who was part of Na Imi Pono, one of the plaintiff groups, said he hoped the decision would lead to a smaller training footprint in Hawaii. Aila said he hopes the Army will return lands it no longer needs for training.

read ... Stryker

State homeless shelters controversial now and 20 years ago

HNN: Gov. David Ige, who is proposing to build emergency homeless shelters on Oahu will likely run into some of the same opposition that former Gov. John Waihee experienced when his administration built the first three homeless villages on the island more than 20 years ago.

Weinberg Village Waimanalo, one of three Oahu homeless villages that were supposed to be temporary, was opened by the state 20 years ago.  It is the only one of the original three that is still in operation.

Two other state-funded homeless villages in Haleiwa and Waianae opened on Oahu along with the Waimanalo facility in 1994. 

"The other two were on private land and they only had a five-year lease, so those two were taken away after the five years and so Weinberg Village is still here because it's on state land," said Holly Holowach, director of Weinberg Village Waimanalo....

Residents in Manoa and Hawaii Kai fought off efforts to build homeless villages in their neighborhoods in the early 1990s....

The Waimanalo transitional housing site is funded by the state for homeless families with children under 18. There are 30 units with rent costing $350 for a studio going up to $700 for a three-bedroom unit.  The units have kitchens and share a coin-operated laundry room.

"They pay to live here.  It's not free.  And they have their own apartments and they take good care of those apartments and we do unit inspections," Holowach said, noting her facility has served more than 4,000 people since it opened in the fall of 1994.

read ... Controversial

Drug Overdose Kills 3 per Week in Hawaii

HTH: The average number of overdose-related deaths in Hawaii nearly doubled from 1999-2003, when the annual average was 78, to the period from 2009-2013, which saw an average of 151 deaths a year.

Hawaii Island saw the second-highest overdose death rate in the state between 2009 and 2013 — 11.5 deaths per 100,000 residents annually. That amounts to 22 deaths a year, making up 14 percent of the state total.

Maui had the highest death rate of 13.1 deaths per 100,000 residents....

Hawaii County Prosecutor Mitch Roth said Friday he didn’t anticipate the law would provide much of a barrier to his work, while the potential outcomes would more than make up for any difficulties his office might experience.

“I don’t see this really preventing a lot of prosecutions that we would already have,” he said. “But what this may do, and it’s the reason why I don’t have any problem with it, is it may save lives. Given the choice of saving someone’s life versus putting someone in jail, you go with saving lives. … (The law) makes it easier for people to do the right thing.”

Roth added a potential side effect of the law could be that prosecutors might have an easier time arguing “murder by omission” cases, in which defendants are tried for failure to act to save someone’s life.

“People might say, ‘I would have done this, but I was afraid (of possible arrest),’” Roth said. “If you have a duty to act and you don’t act … It may be that (the law) makes it easier to prove these cases in court.”

read ... Overdose

Forum addresses questions, concerns over cuts at Leahi Hospital, Maluhia

KHON: A public meeting was held Friday to address impending layoffs at both Leahi Hospital and Maluhia nursing home.

Earlier this week, Hawaii Health Systems Corp. announced it plans to cut a combined 64 positions at both facilities in the face of an estimated $3.7 million deficit in fiscal year 2016.

Dozens showed up with questions and concerns over the 15-percent reduction in staff slated to take effect in November....

“We can’t raise the rates. The revenues for these services at Maluhia and Leahi come from Medicare and Medicaid, and since the government fixes those rates and we’re not allowed to charge anything more than what the government rate is, that’s the only income besides the state funds that we have and yet the expenses continue to go up,” said Dr. Linda Rosen, HHSC CEO.

read ... Thanks, HGEA

HHSC Hospitals on Kauai face budget crunch Thanks to HGEA

KGI: Klune spoke to The Garden Island a day after The Associated Press reported the Oahu region planned to cut 64 positions at Leahi Hospital and Maluia as it faces an estimated $3.7 million deficit in fiscal year 2016. It will also be halting new admissions while it grapples with funding issues.

Klune, while not ruling out workforce reductions for the Kauai region, said he has been in discussions with the board of directors, physicians, department heads, managers, and employees about the budget.

“There have been good ideas brought forward,” he said. “We need to come up with a plan on how to fund this $3 million, and that is a work in progress.”

He said the Kauai region is unique in that it provides services the other HHSC properties do not, including psychiatric services and long-term care.

“We have stopped hiring for new positions for the past several months,” Klune said. “We are looking at all of the expenses, including areas of space rentals, consultant fees, and anything we can do to contain costs.”

Klune said most of the money involves the 4 percent wage increase through collective bargaining and retiree health benefits.

The Kauai region has shown operating losses since 2010, when it had a $16 million shortfall. In 2011, the Kauai region finished $12.1 million short, in 2012, it showed a deficit of $15.6 million, rising to a $20 million loss in 2013 and ended 2014 with a $16.1 million deficit.

It estimates a deficit of between $13 and $14 million for fiscal year 2015, which ended June 31. Funds allocated by the Legislature help, but still leaves them about $3 million short.

read ... Thanks, HGEA

State warned of airport kickback allegations two years ago, Did Nothing

HNN: Two years ago, state transportation officials met with airport cab drivers over complaints of kickbacks and harassment at Honolulu Airport. But they said the state failed to action.

"The state knew about this for two years, maybe more. There's nothing done, still the same thing," said Lou, who worked with the FBI as a confidential informant to document alleged payoffs demanded by security workers employed by airport contractor Securitas.

"I think there's a cover up. That's the bottom line."

Sources tell Hawaii News Now that one of the people who attended the 2013 meeting was Department of Transportation Director Ford Fuchigami, then the head of the state's airports. Others at the meeting include Securitas executives Sanj Sappal and managers with Ampco Systems Parking.

read ... Kickback

2 officers are no longer with HPD after alleged misconduct

SA: Two police officers who were placed on restricted duty for alleged misconduct are no longer with the Hono­­lulu Police Department.

The department says the last days of employment for Anson Kimura, 56, and Kramer Aoki, 35, were in mid-May.

Kimura, who was a police sergeant and 25-year veteran of HPD, retired....

The department placed Kimura on restricted duty after he allegedly shot and wounded a 40-year-old female employee of a South King Street bar April 3 while off duty. The woman suffered a gunshot wound to her stomach.

Police said Kimura and the woman are friends and that the gun that injured her went off accidentally. The department declined to say whether the firearm was Kimura's service weapon.

HPD classified the incident as a second-degree assault and forwarded the case this week to prosecutors for charging. Second-degree assault is a Class C felony punishable by up to five years in prison.

Kimura avoided disciplinary action because he retired before HPD completed its internal investigation....

Aoki's lawyer, Thomas Otake, says Aoki was fired....

An Oahu grand jury returned an indictment in November charging Aoki with third-degree sexual assault for knowingly subjecting a person in custody to sexual contact. Sexual assault in the third degree is also a Class C felony, punishable by up to five years in prison.

In January a state judge dismissed the case because he ruled that stopping someone for a traffic violation is not the same as placing the person in custody.

The prosecutor recharged Aoki days after his firing with fourth-degree sexual assault, a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail....

read ... Misconduct

Solar owners face income tax

KGI: Last year, the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative issued 358 checks for $100 or more to customers who exported excess energy to KIUC’s grid — 105 of those checks were for $600 or more.

“Every month, what you export to the grid we look at how much electricity you used, how much you exported,” said Jim Kelly, KIUC spokesman. “Whatever the difference is, you either get a credit on your bill or you end up writing us a check for that month.”

Kelly said, starting in 2016, KIUC plans to issue IRS Form 1099s to customers who the co-op paid $600 or more for their exported energy.

“KIUC has also asked for guidance on whether all exported energy for which a customer received a check or bill credit is income for which KIUC should be issuing a Form 1099,” he said....

Customers of Hawaii Electric Co. aren’t as lucky. Excess energy produced by them goes straight to HECO. They don’t see a dime. Two years ago, solar users relinquished $1.7 million. HECO serves Oahu, Maui and the Big Island. 

read ... Tax

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