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Thursday, August 20, 2015
August 20, 2015 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:29 PM :: 6787 Views

Jeff Stone Wants to be Your Cannabis Connection

Hale Mauliola construction contract awarded: Caldwell Vetoes One Sit-Lie Bill, Signs Another

DBEDT: Hawaii Growth Up but Still Short of 5% Dream

Key Rail Contractor owned by Felon--Tangled Up in Fraud Allegations in Hawaii Courts

CB: Nan Inc. recently won a $56 million contract to build three West Oahu rail stations. The company, which has taken advantage of federal minority business programs, is at the center of state and federal lawsuits alleging questionable business practices....

Since Nan began its contracting business as Ocean House Builders more than 20 years ago, the company, its owner Patrick Shin, his relatives and affiliated corporations have received at least $636 million in military contracts. Nan collected $144.8 million of that while it was an 8(a) participant itself and another $262 million was raked in through partnerships with Su-Mo, a company owned by former Nan employee Su Yong Yi....

in 2004, Su Yong Yi was the president of Su-Mo Builders. He was an up-and-coming contractor when he says he met Nan’s Patrick Shin for an Italian dinner.

The two contractors were there to discuss a possible business partnership, but Shin, also known as Nan Chul Shin, asked Yi to keep quiet and not tell anybody about the meeting, Yi says.

Shin was a convicted felon. He had recently been caught manipulating government bid documents, and as part of his plea dealhad been banned from conducting any business on behalf of his company.

Yi says Shin told him of a plan that, if executed properly, could reap millions of dollars in federal contracts for the both of them.

Not long before, Yi had been working odd jobs that paid him anywhere from $500 to $10,000. He’d also had a regular gig with the Hyatt Regency Resort and Spa in Waikiki in which he painted and fixed broken ceramic tiles.

A partnership with Nan, Yi believed, would bolster his bottom line and grow his young business into a highly profitable venture.

They signed a deal in 2006 that Nan’s president, Fooney Freestone, helped make possible. Freestone, a childhood acquaintance of Yi, had taken over for Shin after his conviction, and was a driving force behind the joint venture between Nan and Su-Mo Builders....

Shin declined to comment to Civil Beat about the case when contacted by phone, and abruptly hung up.....

Another 8a: Pelatron Q plans to build WTE plant in Kauai, HI

read ... Fraud

Mauna Kea Suit will be Heard in Environmental Court

HTH: A Hilo Circuit Court judge ruled Wednesday he doesn’t have jurisdiction in a case seeking a preliminary injunction to halt construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope.

Judge Glenn Hara said a recent ruling by state Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald makes legal judgments on leases and subleases the jurisdiction of environmental judges.

Two 3rd Circuit judges, Ronald Ibarra and Greg Nakamura, are designated as environmental judges.

Ibarra is the Big Island’s chief judge, so he likely will decide who hears the lawsuit....

read ... Suit Off

Police arrest 8 in telescope protest at Crater Road site

MN: Maui police arrested eight people Wednesday night as part of protests against the ongoing construction of the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope.

The arrests were at the intersection of Haleakala Highway and Kekaulike Avenue in Kula, at the foot of Crater Road, said Maui Police Department spokesman Lt. William Juan on Thursday morning.

An observer at the scene said demonstrators put in placed rocks and branches across Crater Road in an attempt to slow the movement of three semi tractor-trailers and various support vehicles to the construction site at the summit of Haleakala. The source said the transport trucks delivered their loads at 7:30 a.m. Thursday.....

read ... Haleakala

Telescope Protester "a sorry white girl who needed help”

HTH: ...Cynthia Lahilahi Verschuur (the 2014 Libertarian candidate for Lt Gov) is accused of criminal property damage for allegedly ramming into a state truck at the checkpoint near the Visitor Information Station just after midnight July 12 and of disorderly conduct and open lewdness for allegedly taking her clothes off and creating a disturbance near the same spot the night of July 13.

The TMT protesters, who call themselves protectors of the mountain, moved to distance themselves from Verschuur after the second incident.

“I didn’t realize that until after I got out of jail. So, I had three weeks to kind of sit on what had happened and reflect on it,” she said. “… The one entity that I’ve not spoken to since I’ve been out is the kia‘i on Mauna Kea. And I’m very confused about how I stand with them.”

Verschuur (who, oddly enough, lives in Puna) said Mauna Kea rangers overreacted when she drove toward their checkpoint July 12.

“I was basically saying, ‘I need help. S.O.S. Save our ship.’ I was flashing it … with my (head)lights,” she said. “Apparently, no one knew Morse Code, that I was looking for help. So, as soon as they didn’t understand who I was or what my intent was, they immediately went into maximum-security fear mode. And that is the biggest mistake that happened up there. They treated me as an unknown criminal rather than a sorry white girl who needed help.”....

Verschuur said after she posted bail and retrieved her car, it was stolen from the side of Highway 130 near Uncle Robert’s in Kalapana. She then hitchhiked up the mountain July 13, she said, but doesn’t remember causing a disturbance or removing her clothes....

Verschuur, who has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, was jailed following a courtroom outburst July 14 — technically with bail, but also with a no-release caveat — after Hilo District Judge Harry Freitas ordered her detained for a mental examination. She was released from custody Aug. 3, but her mental examination still is pending....

Verschuur has applied for citizenship in an entity calling itself the Hawaiian Kingdom, and said she would like to be represented by University of Hawaii at Manoa law professor Williamson Chang....

read ... An Above Average Punatic

Hilo Hospital to Partner With Castle, Adventist?

HTH: ...East Hawaii’s financially strapped public health care facilities might have a potential suitor in California-based Adventist Health.

In a press release issued Wednesday, Hawaii Health Systems Corp.’s East Hawaii Regional Board announced it was “evaluating strategic alliance prospects” with Adventist, which operates Castle Medical Center on Oahu.

It’s still too soon to tell what kind of relationship the pair could choose to pursue, or if they choose to pursue any relationship at all, said HHSC East Hawaii Regional CEO Dan Brinkman.

“What we’re talking about right now is a preliminary conversation,” he said. “I was talking with staff, and it’s a little like when you’re dating and you decide you’re going to go for coffee. You go for coffee because you don’t really know if you want to have that full-on date and start heading down that road, but you want to have coffee and talk about things and decide if you want to meet anymore.”

Administrators sent an email to employees Tuesday evening, stating representatives from Castle Health, which is part of the Adventist Health network, planned a site visit at East Hawaii’s hospital facilities later this month. However, Adventist Vice President for Marketing and Communication Rita Waterman clarified the site visit would be performed by Bob Beehler, Adventist’s vice president in charge of its growth strategies....

read ... Partnership

Consumer Advocate seeks subpoenas for utility CEOs

SA: Testimony from Lau and Robo is necessary as the two have “knowledge and information that only she(he) can know and possess concerning the circumstances, events, rationale, and reasoning that resulted in NextEra’s decision to acquire the Hawaiian Electric Companies.”

The depositions would be recorded by stenographer and video recording.

In another filing, the Consumer Advocate asked the PUC to compel a complete copy of all documents and opinions provided to the HEI board by HEI’s financial adviser, J.P. Morgan Securities LLC.

read ... Subpoenas

Listening Sessions set to discuss NextEra HECO bid

MN: Hawaiian Electric Co. and NextEra will be holding "public listening sessions" throughout Maui County next month on NextEra's proposed purchase of HECO.

* Sept. 4, 6 to 9 p.m., Lihikai Elementary School in Kahului.

* Sept. 5, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Lanai High and Elementary School cafeteria.

* Sept. 19, 9 a.m. to noon, Kulana 'Owi halau area, Kaunakakai.

read ... Listening

Large class sizes, teacher shortages linger into school year

KHON: It’s now weeks into the school year and Hawaii’s public schools are still hundreds of qualified teachers short, with some schools facing huge class sizes, officially as large as 37 students.

Some say they’ve seen even more.

“I know a teacher at Campbell High School that had 52 (students),” said Corey Rosenlee, president of the Hawaii State Teachers Association. “I had 40 kids in my classroom. Across the state, the high 30s are very common....

“Right now, we’re still in the process of hiring for certain situations,” said deputy superintendent Stephen Schatz.

“Right now there are classes at the beginning of the school year that are taught by substitutes,” Rosenlee said. “In some places, they cannot even find enough substitutes.”

The Department of Education has made about 700 new hires in the past two months, with 178 considered “emergency” hires, meaning key qualifications can be waived.

“Emergency hire needs to have a college degree,” Rosenlee said. “I’ve had experience where P.E. teachers were teaching science.”

Always Investigating dug deeper into where the emergency hires were most used and for what subjects and found, according to the Hawaii Teacher Standards Board, that most are teaching special education (93), followed by math (33), English (18) and science (10).

Here’s a breakdown of school districts with the most emergency hires:

  • Leeward Oahu: 60
  • Maui: 36
  • Hawaii Island: 33
  • Kauai: 32

Police to return to Campbell HS following threat and arrest

Lawmaker starts campaign to "Cool Schools 4 Ewa"

read ... Linger

HSTA may take legal action against new educational travel rule

KHON: This week the Kaimuki Middle School band canceled its spring study tour to San Francisco because school employees are no longer allowed to go on the trip if someone else is picking up the tab....

The Ethics Commission determined that teachers who are involved in planning the trip and selecting the tour company cannot accept free travel and other benefits from the tour company.

KHON2 asked the president of the Hawaii State Teachers Association about the policy. He said it needs to change, and that could mean going to court.

“This decision is wrong and its going to hurt kids,” said Corey Rosenlee, president of the Hawaii State Teachers Association. “Right now the two options is one is to take this to court, and the other one is to change the law.”....

KITV: State Ethics Commission votes: No free teacher trips

read ... Travel Rule

BOE wants time limits in inquiries of alleged misconduct

SA: ...The number of public school employees on paid leave pending investigation of alleged misconduct has dropped over the past six months to 43 from 63, but the state Board of Education says the investigations are still taking too long.

The board asked the Department of Education this week to come up with a policy to impose deadlines for completing department-directed leave investigations. Officials said “several” pending investigations have stretched on for a year or more....

read ... Misconduct

Homeless encampment along Keehi Lagoon growing

HNN: Tucked in between kiawe trees, up and down the banks where the Moanalua and Kalihi streams empty into Ke'ehi Lagoon are dozens of shacks and tents.

Outreach providers estimate more than 100 people are living in the brushes there.

In one area, the homeless rigged a pulley system to help them cross from one side to the other.  Many have their own boats or make-shift flotation
device to get them around.  One shoreline even has it's own dock.

The only way to get to where they've set up camp is by crawling under the Nimitz viaduct or via boat.

read ... Growing

Ex-prison guard locked in federal pen

SA: Former state prison guard Irwin Ah-Hoy is serving an 18-month prison term at the Federal Detention Center for sexually assaulting an inmate at the Women’s Community Correctional Center.

State Circuit Judge Karen Ahn sentenced Ah-Hoy, 51, last week to five years of probation and concurrent 18-month prison terms for two counts of second-degree sexual assault and two counts of third-degree sexual assault. The prison time was a condition of his probation.

The state Department of Public Safety said it sent Ah-Hoy to the Federal Detention Center because of space limitations at Oahu Community Correctional Center. The DPS has a contract with the U.S. Bureau of Prisons to house Hawaii inmates with shorter sentences at the federal facility....

read ... Locked up

Council Panel Agrees to Nearly $1M Subsidy for Mainland Recycling Company

CB: The Honolulu City Council Budget Committee gave tentative approval Wednesday to a subsidy for recycling companies that would cost taxpayers more than $1.2 million annually, with nearly $1 million going to an Oregon-based scrap metal company....

Natalie Iwasa, an accountant and former City Council candidate who testified against the measure Wednesday, criticized the subsidy as “business welfare.”

“When does the public get a lobbyist?” she asked. “How can we protect what taxpayers are paying?” ....

read ... Recycling

Tulsi Gabbard Running for Vice-President

KGI: ...The biggest news item of the day may have been in response to a (planted) question from The Garden Island:

Would she be willing to run for vice president in the 2016 election?

Gabbard, who turns 35 next year (the minimum age required under the Constitution to serve as president) hesitated for a moment, then gave a very clear, direct, and firm answer:

“I would, because the question that I’ve always asked myself is, where can I be in a position to make the most positive impact? That’s what motivated me to run for office at 21.”

And it is what motivated her to leave office to deploy with the military, she added. The congresswoman said that future decisions will be made in that context.

Gabbard, who is considered a rising star in the Democratic Party, said that no one has talked to her about this yet....

Meanwhile: Video: Tulsi Gabbard praises her Guru Chris Butler on 50th Anniversary of Hare Krishna in USA

read ... Chris Butler, one Heartbeat Away from the Presidency

Maui County Republican Picnic set for Labor Day

MN: Republicans, independents, conservatives and Tea Party members are invited to a Labor Day picnic from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 7 at the Kalama Park Pavilion in Kihei....

read ... Picnic

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