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Wednesday, August 12, 2015
August 12, 2015 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 8:01 PM :: 3730 Views

117 years ago today: The U.S. becomes a global power

Last Day to Comment on Proposed Hawaiian Homelands Rules

Hawaii DoE to request School Improvement Grant Waiver

Renewables Offer No Bang for Your Megawatt 

NOAA Proposes New Monk Seal Rules

Bids are in for the next rail section, but details are a secret

SA: Tuesday marked the deadline for groups interested in building the next stretch of rail guideway and stations to put their names in the running. But project officials say they can’t yet disclose who — or  how many parties — responded.

Such details about the level of interest in the so-called “airport guideway and stations” contract could prove significant, given project officials’ concerns over whether “viable” teams were forming to compete and eventually build such a massive chunk of the system.

The contract represents roughly a quarter of the 20-mile rail line, in a stretch that includes Honolulu Airport, plus four of the system’s 21 stations. Its cost will almost certainly climb into the hundreds of millions of dollars. The two contracts to build rail’s first 10 miles of guideway — which did not include any of the stations there — totaled $855 million combined, according to city records. Kiewit Infrastructure West Co. is handling that work....

HNN: City council chair on delaying the rail tax and running for mayor

read ... Bids are in for the next rail section, but details are a secret

Hospital partner selection imminent

MN: Hospital and state administrators intend to select either Kaiser Permanente Hawaii or Hawaii Pacific Health as a partner for Maui's three public hospitals by the end of next month, officials said Tuesday.

"For those of us in Hawaii, we are so fortunate that we definitely are ahead of the nation in terms of our commitment in believing that quality health care really should be provided to each and every citizen," Gov. David Ige said during a public forum Tuesday night at Maui Waena Intermediate School.

The former chairman of the Senate health committee added that "we have tried a number of different things about how to better manage health care on the island for these facilities, and I'm really committed to seeing that we find the model that best delivers quality health care to all of you citizens."

Kaiser and HPH are the only suitors that have expressed interest in partnering with the three public hospitals of the Maui region of Hawaii Health Systems Corp. The HHSC is the quasi-public entity that runs Maui Memorial Medical Center and Kula and Lanai Community hospitals in Maui County as well as other Neighbor Island and rural Oahu public health facilities.

Their proposals are due by 4:30 p.m. Aug. 24, after which the HHSC Maui Region Board will deliberate and compare submissions, along with the Ige administration. Hospital administrators hope to select a partner by the end of September to begin negotiations and have a "binding, definitive agreement" in place by the end of the year, according to HHSC Maui Region Chief Executive Officer Wes Lo.

MN: Kaiser schedules own meetings

read ... Selection

Now That Astronomy Conference is out of the Way, We Need to Solve Telescope Issues

SA: The international astronomical community has converged in Honolulu.

The timing — in the midst of the controversy surrounding the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) on Mauna Kea — has motivated some who oppose the telescope to engage these distinguished guests, hoping they will take a stand. Though well-intended and keen to see a lasting, peaceful resolution, these visiting astronomers are not the solution to Hawaii’s longstanding issues. They will leave just a few short days from now, returning to distant countries, yet our challenges will persist. It is our responsibility — those of us who call Hawaii home and care deeply about the future of Mauna Kea — to come together, listen to each other, and find a new path forward....

It is essential that we are all informed with clear and reliable information, to make the best decisions. Personally, we are distressed to continue to see inaccurate statements made against TMT, which is often characterized as an enormous structure, bigger than all the rest combined, that has not been subjected to a rigorous review. In reality, TMT will be 43 feet taller than the existing Subaru Observatory, have a footprint comparable to Keck Observatory and has successfully undergone a seven-year thorough review and approval process.

Likewise, we know that we do not understand all of the views and facts surrounding Mauna Kea from the Hawaiian cultural perspective. All of these points of view are what we, the people of Hawaii, need to understand together.

This is a crucial time for Hawaii. It is crucial for all of us who live in and love Hawaii to sit together and find common ground through face to face, eye to eye, dialogue.

read ... Proceed with the TMT?

Feds Threaten to Take Away $100M the State can't be Bothered to Spend

SA: ...As of the end of 2014, $100 million in federal and state funds sat unspent in the revolving fund, according to the EPA. Federal funds are matched 20 percent by the state and are deposited into the revolving fund and loaned to the four counties to make repairs.

The state estimates that $1 billion in repairs are needed over the next two decades to keep Hawaii’s drinking water systems functioning and the drinking water safe. So to let readily available federal funds sit idle is irresponsible — especially given the constant demands on a tight state budget from Hawaii’s many departments and agencies.

During the past six years, Hawaii has used between 71 and 86 percent of its federal water funds that were available, a rate well below the national average, according to the EPA. Hawaii is ranked fifth from the bottom among all the states when it comes to fund utilization.

The Health Department aims to improve that ranking and said that this year, it finalized eight loans worth $48.6 million, and in 2016, it expects to execute 11 contracts worth $69.8 million....

read ... To Busy Raising Taxes to Spend the Money

Burning of sugar cane should not be stopped

MN: ...Sugar cane production in Hawaii existed before any of us was born and supports families and diversifies our economy. Sugar cane burning preceded the birth of all of us and is an essential part of production. It should not be stopped.

What should be stopped is the unfettered urbanization of our agrarian island. What they want is more subdivisions, strip malls, Jacks in the Box and urban areas so they feel right at home like the places they came from, or can be financially rewarded by destroying our environment.

Those who want to stop the burning want to destroy, not protect our environment....

read ... Burn

Kakaako violence and vandalism: Human waste in mailbox

KITV: As of this week, there’s a new sense of order on the ground floor of the Kakaako building that houses scores of state workers from the departments of health and public safety....

Increasing friction between the homeless on the sidewalks and state workers prompted the increased security.

“They were going into the bathroom and making mess. That's one of the reasons why we had to put security in for the safety of the employees," said state worker Kelli Keawe.

The two departments cited increasing violence and vandalism to justify emergency funding of up to $50,000 for private security guards.

Just last week a public safety worker was chased into the building.

There were cases of staff from both departments "verbally assaulted" with one being chased by dogs.

State officials wrote "Security Guard Services are immediately necessary."

One of the recent cases of vandalism involved a mail box.

Keawe says a couple of weeks ago she went to drop mail in that box but realized too late someone deposited human waste in with the mail.

"Maintenance told me don’t drop it. but it was too late and the postman didn't want to open it and so they sent someone to inspect it," said Keawe.

The postal system says this want the first time it’s had trouble here.

The growing number of incidents triggered the decision to remove the mailbox for good.

The post office confirmed it has removed other mailboxes in the downtown area due to similar vandalism.

But it’s the fear of more violence that concerns the staff.

We spoke with a worker who said she was attacked by dogs as she walked from a nearby parking lot....

read ... Human Waste

Should City Provide Dumpster to Pearl City Homeless Camp?

KHON: ...Shortly after we brought it up, city workers came in with a large sanitation truck and started picking up and shoveling the mound of trash so it can be hauled away.

The challenge now is keeping this clean. Bicyclists and joggers have told us they’ve seen this area cleaned up before but it doesn’t take long before piles of trash are once again thrown in this area.

People familiar with the bike path tell us that there is a growing homeless encampment in the area. Whether they’re responsible for the trash, no one can say for sure.

KHON2 asked Sasamura if it would make sense to put a big dumpster there and he doesn’t see it as a solution. He tells me in some parts of Oahu, people dump on the road near a convenience center....

read ... City clears illegal dump site along Pearl Harbor Bike Path Homeless Camp

After Photographing Homeless People For 10 Years, She Discovered Her Own Father Among Them

MXP:  ...Over the next few years, Diana attempted to reconnect with her dad, and, in many ways, to ‘fix’ him (he suffers with severe schizophrenia), by turning her lens on him.

‘Photographing my own father actually began as a mechanism of protecting myself at first. I would raise my camera phone in front of me, almost as if that barrier would help keep me together,’ she says, adding ‘My own flesh and blood, but still such a stranger to me…’

It wasn’t until her dad suffered a heart-attack in October 2014, that he agreed to let her help him. Today, he’s doing well and is currently looking for a part-time job....

Related: Mental Health: Can Reform Solve Hawaii’s Homeless, Prison and Unfunded Liability Problems?

read ... After Photographing Homeless People For 10 Years, She Discovered Her Own Father Among Them

Should Care Homes Know When Inspectors Are Coming?

CB: The fast-growing adult care home industry serves some of our most vulnerable citizens. In Hawaii, inspectors looking to ensure clients aren’t being neglected usually announce their visits in advance....

CB: We Must Do Better for Our Kupuna in Care Homes

read ... Time to Clean up

NextEra Energy Claims Hawaiian Electric deal to bring $1B in customer savings, economic benefits

PBN: NextEra Energy Inc.’s proposed $4.3 billion acquisition of Hawaiian Electric Co. (NYSE: HEI) should result in almost $1 billion in customer savings and economic benefits for Hawaii in the first five years after closing the deal, a spokesman for the Florida-based energy giant told PBN Tuesday.

This statement comes on the heels of Monday’s testimony filed by the Hawaii Division of Consumer Advocacy, which recommends state regulators reject the deal, saying NextEra Energy (NYSE: NEE) has failed to prove that the sale will result in significant benefits to consumers.

read ... $1B

Styrophobe Inveighs Against H-Power

CB: Honolulu Magazine’s recent article, “Should Honolulu’s Recycling Program Go Up in Flames?” b​egan by questioning the value of Honolulu’s recycling program. It diverged quickly, though, into a reverent outline of why Honolulu’s waste­-to-energy facility, HPOWER, is a panacea for Honolulu’s waste and energy woes.

Here’s the problem: HPOWER was created to relieve the overflowing landfills strained by our unchecked generation of imported trash. But, in order for HPOWER to continue being relevant and function, Honolulu has to perpetually create more and more waste. Effectively, the city and county have built a system that leaves no incentive to reduce consumption and divert resources like recyclables or organics.

(Translation: H-Power makes recycling easy.  This prevents us from using labor-intensive recycling campaigns to brainwash the public so they will be as crazy as us.)

read ... Styrophobia

Honolulu Art Museum Scammed for $890K

SA: ...The Honolulu Museum of Art filed a lawsuit to recoup $890,000 in payments made to a San Francisco art collector for five pieces of Southeast Asian art that have no written warranty of authenticity and indemnification.

Formerly the Honolulu Academy of Arts, the museum in 2004 agreed to pay Joel Alexander Greene $80,000 per year for the rest of his life for the five pieces valued at $1.275 million. Museum donors might be wondering why those documents weren’t required before the first payment was made.

Museum director Stephen Jost said he has been unable to reach Greene, who so far has refused to prove the sculptures were legally exported from their country of origin and imported into the United States. Our guess is Greene will be difficult to find, much like the documentation he promised.

read ... In Over their Heads

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