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Monday, August 7, 2017
August 7, 2017 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:22 PM :: 3603 Views

DoE Student Absenteeism Over 20%

Rail Stations Designed to Profit KSBE, HECO, First Hawaiian

Why Hawaii Isn't Rich Like Texas

NY Child Molester Approved by Hawaii DHS as Foster Parent

SA: When the state approved a foster parenting license for Zack and Krystina Morris in 2008, the child-rearing record of the young couple, who had just moved from New York, already had a major black mark.

New York officials five years earlier had found that the Morrises provided inadequate guardianship for their 4-month-old son after the infant stopped breathing; was rushed to the hospital with a fractured skull, bleeding in the brain and other injuries; and was diagnosed with shaken baby syndrome, according to New York documents. The parents failed to offer any explanation for the injuries, the records show.

New York’s child welfare agency subsequently determined that the baby would be at serious risk of harm if he stayed with his parents, and a judge ordered the infant to be placed in foster care, according to the records. The family eventually was reunited.

As serious as the 2003 incident was, it apparently did not appear on the state Department of Human Services’ radar when the agency certified the Morrises as Hawaii foster parents, raising new questions about the vetting process used to determine who gets approved to care for some of the state’s most vulnerable children.

Zack Morris eventually was convicted of sexually abusing three foster children, all boys, who were placed in his care by DHS from 2009 to 2011. The victims ranged in age from 11 to 16.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser previously reported on documents from the criminal case and a 2014 negligence lawsuit filed on behalf of two victims, alleging the state didn’t heed numerous warning signs involving the Morrises before issuing them a license and renewing it several times.

But more recent court documents and other records reviewed by the newspaper have raised even more questions about the screening process, including whether DHS was even aware of the couple’s New York record when it approved the Morrises’ license.

The couple was the focus of two other New York abuse investigations, including one triggered when their son was hospitalized after a door supposedly fell on him, according to the rec­ords. The allegations were unconfirmed but still part of the couple’s New York file, which included the substantiated finding from 2003….

Less than three months after DHS placed the last foster child with the Morrises in July 2011, the agency issued a report describing Zack Morris as a “confirmed and untreated sex offender” and a threat to any child under his care, according to the court rec­ords. By then authorities had removed all the children, including his biological ones, from the home.

Morris was indicted a few weeks later, eventually pleaded no contest and is now serving a 20-year prison sentence.

Jacobs, the plaintiff attorney, said the Morris case revealed multiple problems with the state’s vetting process, leading to horrific outcomes for his clients. “It’s indicative of systemic failures of epic proportions,” Jacobs said…. 

SA: Increase vigilance over foster care

read … Child Molester

Legislators Create System for Politically Connected Landowners to Rake in Megabucks from Carbon Credit Scams

HNN: … The state land department is accepting proposals to move forward with a carbon credit system that will fund forest restoration on the Big Island.

Individuals or companies would have the opportunity to reduce their carbon footprint by buying credits directly from the state.

Income generated would help replant native trees like Koa and Mamane in the 4,700 acre Pu'u Mali Restoration Area within the Mauna Kea Forest Reserve.

"We are sequestering carbon that has been emitted at other places," said Philipp Lahaela Walter, DLNR state resources and survey forester. "Let's say that an airline wants to offset their carbon emission. For now, they cannot fly without fossil fuel. So they have to look at ways like all the emission that they put into the atmosphere, how can they mitigate that?" ….

read … About a Scam

Up Country Maui Residents May Get Nothing Out of A&B Water Settlement

MN: Q: Upcountry residents are under water restrictions again this summer, and I am wondering where all of the millions of gallons of fresh water per day that Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. used to use is going. Why can’t the county purchase any of that water for Upcountry use?

A: The reality is that we can’t just “buy” more water. It doesn’t work that way, because while there may be fewer millions of gallons of water being used, that doesn’t automatically translate to more water being available. In a nutshell, the county pays for delivery of water from people who have access to it to those who need it. The water that supported HC&S’ sugar cane cultivation in Central Maui came primarily from East Maui streams via a ditch system. This same ditch system is a primary source of water for Upcountry Department of Water Supply customers. Water is a public trust resource administered by the state, and appurtenant users who either own or lease land directly abutting the water source have access to the water, but that access is currently regulated via an Interim In-Stream Flow Standard. Although A&B, HC&S’ parent company, may be using less water, that doesn’t necessarily mean that all that water is available for other uses due to a case being considered by the State Commission on Water Resources Management adjusting intakes until the stream-flow standards process is completed. Once this case is decided, which is expected later this year, we will know how much of this water is available for off-stream uses, including county water department customers. Upcountry residents who are concerned about future availability of water can voice their concerns when the water commission holds a future hearing to decide this issue….

read … Nothing

Styrofoam Ban Before Honolulu Council Wednesday

SA: …Earlier this summer, the Honolulu City Council put in place a flat-out ban on checkout- counter plastic bags, effective Jan. 1, 2020. The environmental protection measure is laudable, although it lags behind effective bans already up and running on neighbor islands.

Now, with Bill 71, a proposed ban on ubiquitous foam takeout food containers, Honolulu City and County has an opportunity to keep pace. In June, Maui County became the first county in Hawaii to pass a ban on petroleum-based polystyrene foam containers, effective Dec. 31, 2018. A similar proposal is before the Hawaii County Council.

The proposal for Oahu, slated to get its first airing before the City Council on Wednesday, would ban food vendors from using polystyrene containers when serving prepared food. Instead, vendors would be required to use disposable food service containers made from compostable material. The bill also bans using polystyrene to package meat, eggs, bakery products and other foods.

read … Styrofoam

How Jones Act Causes Traffic Jams

Quartz: For many Americans, the experience of driving on a coastal highway like Interstate 5 in California can be a nightmare of dodging massive trucks hauling cargo between US cities. In Europe, not so much.

That’s because for decades, European nations have turned to the sea rather than the road to transport goods across the continent. In fact, over 40% of Europe’s domestic freight is shipped along so-called motorways of the sea. In the US, a measly 2% of domestic freight distributed among the lower forty-eight states travels by water, even though half the population lives near the coast.

One big reason why is an obscure law, enacted right after World War 1, called the Jones Act, which preserves a monopoly for US-built, owned and operated ships to transport goods between US ports….

read … Jammed

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