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Friday, November 16, 2018
November 16, 2018 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:33 PM :: 2850 Views

Auditor Rips Health Department Oversight of Board and Care Homes

HR5025: Protect Fishermen from Enviro Fines

Bum Patrol: City Launches 24/7 Security Project for Nine Parks

HART approves rail recovery plan—New Cost $9.196B

SA: …At the instruction of the FTA, the new recovery plan outlines a path to complete the rail project for $8.299 billion in construction costs plus $897 million in financing costs, for a total of $9.196 billion.

However, the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation says in the recovery plan it is determined to hold its construction costs to $8.165 billion.

HART also says it is determined to finish the project in late 2025, but a consultant for the FTA estimates there is only a 65 percent chance the project will be completed by September of 2026.

The HART board unanimously approved the 147-page recovery plan this morning without discussion.

The FTA has withheld nearly $744 million in funding for the project until the city develops an acceptable recovery plan, and in September the FTA asked the city to produce the recovery plan by Nov. 20.

State lawmakers last year approved a $2.4 billion financial bailout of rail, and another major piece of the recovery plan fell into place last month when the HART board of directors authorized the use of a public-private partnership to develop the last 4.1 miles of the rail line through downtown Honolulu.

The new recovery plan incorporates that public-private partnership, or “P3” proposal, and also provides updated financial data for the rail project that shows higher-than-expected hotel and excise tax collections are giving the project another financial boost.

The Honolulu City Council has already approved the recovery plan….

read … HART board approves rail recovery plan

DoE SPED: We’re Incompetent so Give Us More Money 

HNN: … A shortage of special education teachers in Hawaii is worsening.

That’s according to the newest numbers from the state Education Department

There are more than 2,200 special education teacher positions at Hawaii public schools, but about 500 positions are filled with teachers who don’t have special education credentials.

“This is a time bomb waiting for a lawsuit to occur because we know that we cannot provide services unless we have enough special education teachers,” said teachers union president Corey Rosenlee, during a presentation to the Board of Education on Thursday….

HSTA hopes to change the pay structure from step increases to increases by years of service, like many other mainland districts. That would cost $50 to $60 million for 5,000 teachers…. 

HNN: As teacher shortage grows, those who've left say it's easy to see why

Reality: Report Ties Hawaii Youth Suicide Rate to HSTA Grab for HGEA Positions

read … Money

Hawaii Suicide Squad too Eager—Might Blow Chance to Spread Scheme to Mainland States

SA: …The recent dispute over policies held by a Honolulu facility for elders has illuminated the real-life conflicts that are certain to arise….

That likely won’t be the last upheaval in the implementation of the new law, given that the statute, passed as House Bill 2739, does allow health care providers to exclude medical aid in dying from their services.

Kat West is national director of policy and programs for Compassion &Choices, the advocacy group in the forefront of securing the passage of this bill and provisions like it legalizing medical aid in dying in six other states and the District of Columbia.

Hawaii’s statute — like that of Oregon, the first state to enact such a law — allows institutions, religious or otherwise, to enforce policies barring doctors from providing medical aid for patients seeking to end their lives.

She is part of a committee working on ensuring that patients have access to this legal option, she said. Members have been meeting with medical groups and institutions to make the case against blanket prohibitions.

There is a delicate balance to be struck here. Patients need to know about all their options — including the robust pain-management and comfort care of palliative services that remain a viable choice. They should be helped to find assistance on their chosen path.

At the same time, providers need to have the freedom to practice in accordance with their conscience or religious beliefs.

West said that over time, state leaders have discussed whether some of the restrictions in law are necessary and have amended them. For example, she said, some states have lessened the requirement for witnesses testifying to a patient’s sound mind, given that many lack any expertise in that area.

Granted, there may be room to revise Hawaii’s law at some point, but that remains some distance down the road. The state Department of Health is bound to gather data and issue a report on an annual basis and, next July, make an initial set of recommendations to the Legislature.

That process needs to go on undisturbed by any policy debates in this coming session….

read … Caution needed for aid in dying

HGEA Coverup: A year later, few answers into how admitted killer escaped from Kaneohe psychiatric hospital

HNN:  …other than ruling out criminal wrongdoing, the state Attorney General’s office still won’t say what the workers are being investigated for because their administrative investigation is still pending.

“blablabla" said state Sen. Jarrett Keohokalole, whose represents Kaneohe.

Added state Rep. Della Au Belatti: “Bla. Blabla, blblba."

…Saito’s attorney said his help came from people outside the hospital.

“I’m convinced based on what I’ve seen so far that it didn’t come from inside the institution. That it came from the clubhouse where there were people that were not part of the hospital scene," said lawyer Michael Green.

(Clue ‘Clubhouse’ employees are also HGEA)

Meanwhile, the state is building a new, $140 million high-security facility at the State Hospital …. That project will be completed in about three years.

read … A year later, few answers into how admitted killer escaped from Kaneohe psychiatric hospital

Maui Solar Schemes to Score $0.11 per kwh

MN: (Just skip to the comments) “The only "impact" on the average Maui bill will be upwards, don't kid ourselves!”

read … Planning ongoing for large-scale Ulupalakua, Central Maui solar projects

DHHL: Remove unauthorized hale

HTH: …At first, participants say they would ask vehicles to stop….

Aila said DHHL is willing to dialogue with the group, but first they need to come into compliance.

That’s why cease and desist letters were issued in September. So far, the warnings have been ignored.

“I can say they are not in compliance,” Aila said. “We are giving them more time to remove the structure.”

Additional warnings have been posted on the structure, which have been painted over, he said.

Aila said the original structure was removed by a homesteader whom he described as being its owner. A slightly larger structure was then erected to replace it.

As for whether the participants could face penalties, he said that would be up to the Hawaiian Homes Commission….

read … DHHL: Remove unauthorized hale

NELHA Tax Credit Scheme Blames Global Cooling for Losses

WHT: …Limited access to fresh water, inclement weather and a volcanic eruption has resulted in growing pains for Cyanotech Corp., forcing the company to post a loss for a third consecutive quarter.

The Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority-based company announced this week it lost $1.13 million during the second quarter of fiscal year 2019, which runs July through September….

The company, a producer of microalgae-derived products, including the supplement BioAstin, Hawaiian Astaxanthin, and Hawaiian Spirulina Pacifica, has now posted losses for the past three quarters, including the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018 and the first and second quarters of fiscal 2019….

Halfway through fiscal 2019, losses have reached $2.4 million…

The company said it ceased production from April to mid-May after an “unusually cool, cloudy and rainy winter” and a fresh water supply restriction issued by the Hawaii County adversely effected spirulina production. That led to the growth of small and difficult to harvest spirulina….

read … Weather, water hit Cyanotech hard

Bruno Mars Proves Aloha Stadium Structurally Sound

SA: Question: We attended the Bruno Mars concert on Sunday. Several times the music and Bruno Mars’ prompting encouraged the packed crowd in the stands to stomp and jump in unison. We were in Orange Section N in the fourth row. Every time people jumped, we bounced as much as 3 inches. I actually thought if the stands gave way, at least we were closer to the ground than those higher up. Has anyone addressed the safety of the stadium structure for future concerts and events after so much physical abuse?

Answer: Yes. “The management of Aloha Stadium maintains guest safety as a high priority and follows the guidance of a licensed forensic structural engineering firm that performs structural safety inspections and evaluations for the stadium on a biennial basis.

“A past evaluation included crowd-induced dynamic loading on the structure, such as that described in the question. Engineers measured and evaluated the movement of the stadium’s structure under occupant loading during large football events.

“Measurements confirmed that although there is movement in most areas of the stadium, the Orange sections near the tip of the sideline stands are the seating areas with greatest crowd-induced movements. The measured deflections were accompanied by computer modeling of the stadium structure to evaluate the engineering significance of the measured movements induced by the crowd activity.

“The structural studies concluded that while some occupants may readily perceive the movements caused by the crowds, the structural safety associated with the movements is not a concern. It should be noted that a structural engineer from this firm attended the Bruno Mars event and observed the movement without concern.”

read … Bruno Mars

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