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Saturday, November 5, 2016
November 5, 2016 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:37 PM :: 4556 Views

Walk-In Early Voting Ends Today

Djou: I will Build 10,000 Affordable Units on Oahu

OHA to Waste Another $7M on Fake Indian tribe?

Telescope: ‘Stop OHA from interfering with the economy’

Hawaiians Need everyone to vote to clean up the problems at OHA

Hawaii Hospitals Top New Safety Rankings -- 12 Grade ‘A’

UH Seeks Believers to Photograph King Tides for Sea Level Rise Propaganda

Are You An Artiste? Need $10K?

HART receives $55.1 million in GET revenue—Claims it is Not Enough

Victims of Solar Scammers Beg for Help

PBN: Paul Onaka Sr. didn’t know where to turn when Baylor Solar Energy, the company that installed a semi-leased 44-panel photovoltaic system on his Aiea home, suddenly stopped returning his phone calls and emails.

“I gave them $10,000 up front four years ago,” the 72-year-old former contractor told Pacific Business News. “Years passed and nobody came to see me. Nothing. They left the job and didn’t even send my net energy metering application to Hawaiian Electric. I had to do that on my own.”

after one of the PV panels cracked and his roof started leaking, among other issues, he had to spend an additional $2,500 to get the system running correctly. In 2014, Baylor Solar rebranded as Equal Earth….

…growing numbers of orphaned customers like Onaka, left with unfinished systems or no one to turn to for maintenance.

In its latest report, the Hawaii Solar Energy Association said employment in the industry is down by more than 40 percent since last fall. Among the companies that have folded were Hawaiian Island Solar, Sopogy, Lumen Solar and Bonterra Solar. Big Island-based Islandwide Solar has recently consolidated its operations to its Kailua-Kona location….

Those reasons include “rogue systems,” systems that were installed without an interconnection agreement with the utility, or issues with permitting and maintenance. The company has also been helping homeowners “right-size” their systems. So far, dozens of homeowners are enrolled in its adoption program.

“With respect to consumers being left hanging with the closure of the companies that sprang up during the solar boom, it’s heartbreaking to see complaints from homeowners who had contracted with a company that no longer exists, and they have nowhere to turn for help,” Gregg Dunn, president and CEO of Better Business Bureau Hawaii, told PBN. “In one case, we’ve had 12 complaints against one company that filed bankruptcy in 2015 and is no longer in business….

Besides surviving solar companies getting calls from solar orphans, the Better Business Bureau Hawaii also is seeing a bump in calls.

“We see the aftereffects of the rapid growth and contraction in the solar industry,” Dunn said. “Any time you have a new market that emerges, buoyed by incentives on something previously out of reach for most consumers, less than trustworthy companies move in to seize the opportunity. We’ve received complaints from many consumers who have been left holding the bag with systems they complain are substandard, warranties that leave them waiting for months for repairs and replacement of defective panels, and installations that have not stood up to Hawaii’s harsh climate.”….

read … Scammers

Governor says he had no role in decision to replace superintendent

KHON: Gov. David Ige says he had no role in the Board of Education’s decision to find another superintendent.  (Know them by what they deny.)

However, the governor said Kathryn Matayoshi’s replacement needs to be in line with his education vision.

Earlier this year, the governor announced a team to develop a blueprint for the state’s public schools that is consistent with the federal Every Student Succeeds Act. Matayoshi was not on that team….

read … Governor says he had no role in decision to replace superintendent

TMT wants to resume construction in 2018: Pace of contested case could impact deadline

HTH: …TMT International Observatory plans to resume building its giant telescope in April 2018, a board member said.

It’s just a question of where.

The TIO board announced this week that it selected Spain’s Canary Islands as a backup site to Mauna Kea if it doesn’t regain a construction permit through a second contested case.

But the organization also is facing a self-imposed deadline that appears to leave little room for error.

“We need to start construction in April 2018,” said Fiona Harrison, chairwoman of the Division of Physics, Mathematics and Astronomy at Caltech and a TIO board member.

“That’s the hard deadline,” she said.

The pace of the latest contested case, a quasi-judicial process that allows people impacted by the project to argue before a hearings officer, could make that difficult….

Related: Leaving Hawaii: Decision on New Site for Thirty Meter Telescope set for ‘Early 2017’

read … 2018

Feds Invited to Launch Rail Tax Hike Dog n Pony Show After Election

SA: As city and rail leaders prepare to ask state lawmakers for another rail tax extension, one key legislator wants to bring the project’s federal partners to Hawaii to clarify their position on the financially troubled transit project.

State House Majority Leader Scott Saiki (D, Downtown-Kakaako-McCully) says he’ll ask the Federal Transit Administration to brief members of the Legislature on the agency’s rail position sometime after the Nov. 8 general election….

Meanwhile, FTA continues to consider the city’s request to extend its rail recovery plan deadline from Dec. 31 to mid-2017….

SA: Rail sees another shortfall in GET funding

read … Legislator to seek face time with FTA

HD44 Waianae--Candidate Got Secret Cash from Developer

SA: …Cedric Gates, who is running for a state House seat representing Waianae, Makaha and Makua, failed to disclose $1,500 in campaign contributions he received during the Democratic primary from developers working on a $300 million resort, spa and golf course in Makaha Valley.

At the time, Gates was locked in a contentious race with state Rep. Jo Jordan, whom he ousted during the August primary after receiving 1,219 votes to her 979. He’s now facing Republican challenger Marc Paaluhi in the general election.

Gates said that his failure to list a $1,000 contribution from Stanford Carr Development and a $500 contribution from Kane Group in his primary campaign report was an honest (a big) mistake….

Gates could face a fine of $250 from the Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission or a misdemeanor charge if the commission determines that the contributions were intentionally left out of his primary disclosure report….

In total, Gates lists $1,250 in contributions from Stanford Carr Development this election cycle and $1,500 from Kane Group, whose principal is Micah Kane…..

read … Bought n Paid For

Accused Child Molester Running for HD10 Seeks Bail Reduction

MN: …Second Circuit Judge Richard Bissen denied Marten’s requests, keeping bail at $650,000. Bissen said no new information was presented Thursday to warrant reconsideration of 2nd Circuit Judge Peter Cahill’s decision Oct. 14 to maintain Marten’s bail.

“It sounds like he’s still not employed,” Bissen said. “There’s nothing new.”

Marten, 64, has pleaded not guilty to five counts of first-degree sexual assault, three counts of third-degree sexual assault and endangering the welfare of a minor.

The alleged sexual assaults occurred between Dec. 6, 2007, and Dec. 6, 2010, involving sexual contact and penetration of a girl who was between ages 7 and 10, according to the prosecution. The girl is a family member….

In addition to having his home in foreclosure, “his vacation rental on Kauai is headed in that direction,” said Deputy Public Defender Wendy Hudson….

read … Molester Legislature

Kaiser 300% Rate Hike for Medicare Advantage

HTH: …Hurzeler said what Kaiser offered in premiums “in 2016 was $63 a month and what they’re offering in 2017 is $194 a month — per person.”

“I think it should be a concern of every senior in the state that we could be handed a 300-percent increase with no prior notice … what’s to stop them from doing the same thing again next year?” Hurzeler said…. 

(Please take a moment to thank President Obama.)

The situation has made him consider comparing Kaiser to other companies, Hurzeler said. For example, he noted that the Part D Kaiser prescription-drug coverage will now require a $400 deductible versus no deductible on the previous plan….

read … 300% Rate Hike

Bloomberg: Hawaii Worst Long Term Liabilities in USA

BNA: In Republican states, the long-term liability percentage ranged from a high of 21.1 percent in Mississippi to a low of 1.1 percent in South Dakota.

For Democratic states, the range was from Hawaii’s 46.1 percent to Oregon’s 6.7 percent. Oregon was the only one of the eight Democratic-controlled states with its percentage in single digits, while 12 of the 22 GOP states held that distinction….

read … Number 1

Long Term Care Facilities Sit Empty for Year Because of Incompetent HGEA Inspection System

KHON: …despite long waitlists for more care facilities, the state agency that regulates the industry puts new inventory on the backburner.

“Those brand-new facilities (that) require an initial survey are the lowest priority,” said Keith Ridley, chief of the Hawaii Department of Health’s Office of Health Care Assurance, “and unfortunately, as a result, those facilities will have to wait until we have the resources available.”

It’s a wait Ridley says that can be a year or more. As for the hundreds of existing locations with a license, a severe shortage of inspectors has them triaging those inspection and re-licensing visits too. Only places like skilled nursing facilities stay absolutely within their annual licensing visit timeline.

“Other facilities that aren’t high on Medicare’s list get lower on the list and get done when we are able to get to them,” Ridley said.

That leaves a gap for many places, like Hawaii’s nearly 500 adult residential care homes….

(The HGEA will now use its own incompetence as an excuse to add funding and create more positions.)  

SA: State lags in inspecting medical, care facilities

read … LTC

First Family Housed at New Oceanfront Homeless Shelter Arrived from Mainland 4 Months Ago

SPN: …Lewis moved to Hawaii four months ago and was staying in housing on a military base before her savings quickly ran out, and in mid-September, she and her three daughters became homeless. They spent a few weeks in a shelter on Oahu’s west coast, and Lewis searched for help but didn’t find any facilities that would meet her and her daughter’s needs beyond a roof over their heads….

The center opened on Sept. 28, and just ten days later, it housed eight families, nearing the building’s capacity for 12 families or 50 people….

SA: Charitable builders help more find shelter in Kakaako

read … Hawaii’s Newest Shelter Aims to be a Blueprint for Future Services

Homeless Meth Addicts Removed from Camp Under Nimitz viaduct—Only One Accepts Shelter

HNN: A 66-year-old woman was seriously injured in a dog mauling on a bike path near the Nimitz viaduct Friday, just days after the state announced it would erect a fence to protect bikers from loose dogs in the area….

of the dozens of people who used to live under the Mapunapuna side of the Nimitz viaduct, only one man accepted shelter.

At the viaduct Friday, vacated encampments greeted crews tasked with clearing out trash and belongings left behind by homeless. The fence will extend from Ahua to Middle Street….

The idea for the fence came after the DOT said it received complaints about dangerous dogs in the area. So far this year, there have been at least three attacks, including the one that happened Friday….

John Leary is the owner of Island Demo, which is adjacent to the viaduct.

"They steal batteries. They steal gasoline. They damage vehicles. They get a little crazy sometimes," Leary said. "I think they're going to be mad. And who knows what will happen then?" ….

DOT officials say fence will be complete by Nov. 19.  Estimated cost for the project: $200,000 and $300,000….

read … Woman seriously injured in dog mauling near Nimitz viaduct

Molokai ‘Big Wind’ developer Formally Abandons interest in renewable projects in Hawaii

PBN: The company formed to develop part of the so-called "Big Wind" project on Molokai is no longer interested in doing projects in Hawaii, Pacific Business News has learned.

In 2011, Molokai Renewables LLC, a joint venture between Pattern Energy and Bio-Logical Capital, was interested in developing various renewable energy projects in the state. They included a 200-megawatt wind farm on Molokai in a deal that would have the company lease thousands of acres of land at Molokai Ranch….

This week, Molokai Renewables sent a letter to state regulators saying that it “is no longer pursuing any of these renewable energy projects.”

The letter was a request from Molokai Renewables to withdraw from its seat at the table regarding Hawaiian Electric Cos.’ reliability standards case.

read … B-Bye

50 Years of Delays, Mamalahoa Bypass Opens on Big Island

WHT: After more than a half-century of daydreaming, planning, legal action and construction delays, the entirety of the Mamalahoa Bypass opened to the public at noon on Friday.

At several points, the event carried an element of a eulogy.

Uncle Billy Paris, a longtime paniolo and activist, was remembered for his support of the project by Brandon Gonzalez, director of public works. Paris died in November 2015, at age 92….

read … 50 Years

Surfrider Harasses Kauai Fishermen on Behalf of Tourism Industry

KGI: …the creation of this voluntary marine management area would put more restrictions on locals and purposefully avoid any harsh rules on tourists and the industry they drive.

“Limiting fishing … for me, it’s about going out there and catching my own fish to put on my own table,” said Darrell Borrero, of Wailua. “I take my kids out there and teach them to fish and provide for themselves. There’s a problem when you’re making tourism more important than the locals.”

Kalasara Setaysha, with Kohola Leo and Gordon LaBedz, with Surfrider Kauai, hosted the meeting aimed at gathering community input.

“We want to be able to preserve the ocean for the next generation,” Setaysha said.

Not everyone agreed that the area’s abundance is in jeopardy, and not everyone agreed on which animals were most at risk.

“You guys all talk about the monk seals and you love the monk seals, but that’s what’s ruining the reef,” said John Miner, of Hanapepe. “They wreak havoc.”

Though there was worry about people who don’t know the area coming in and establishing rules for the voluntary management area, LaBedz assured everyone in attendance that they were in full control of the outcome….

read … Agents of Tourism 

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