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Thursday, May 13, 2021
May 13, 2021 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:40 PM :: 3739 Views

Pfizer Vax Now Available for Age 12+

Hawaii GE Tax Highest In USA

HR279 Undermines American Samoa Self-Determination

Colonial Pipeline: Biden-Harris Administration faces Jones Act conundrum

US House Resolution Backs National Forest in Hawaii

The Jones Act Should Be Waived, but More Substantive Changes Are Needed

What happens after Pride of America says ‘aloha’ to Hawaii?

Expanded Marine Protections Benefited Hawaii Tuna Fishery, Study Shows

Stung by PUC, HECO Releases 'Customer Energy Resources Strategy'

HECO vs PUC on Kapolei Battery Farm

HART to pay Hitachi $130,000 a day for trains that are not carrying passengers

SA: … When the too-narrow wheels on the city’s trains and too-wide track finally fit properly, it’s going to be critical to get trains running to Aloha Stadium as soon as possible or face a whole new series of costs and delays, the head of the rail project told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s Spotlight Hawaii livestream show Wednesday.

There is still no decision on whether to replace the wheels with bigger ones, which would make the trains too heavy — or whether to manufacture new track, ship it to Hawaii and then tear up the old track in a process that would take over a year, said Lori Kahikina, interim CEO and executive director of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation.

“So we’re getting all of the smart people from HART and our consultant and Hitachi in the same room to see what is the most viable solution,” Kahikina said. “It seems to be pointing to the wheels.” …

Kahikina did not respond to a question about bigger wheels making the trains overweight.

The wheels are a half-inch too narrow at track intersections called “frogs.” The trains currently navigate through the frogs by slowing down.

But reducing speed creates yet another problem, Kahikina said.

“Before it was discovered, they were running about 55 mph over the frogs and there were some irregularities — wear and tear on the tracks and that’s what brought this to light,” Kahi­kina said. “So right now they’re addressing it by running slower through the frogs. But that’s not going to work for when we’re in operation for our commuters because there’s an expectation that there’s going to be a train every 4 to 5 minutes at the station. But if they have to slow down every time they come across a frog we’re not going to meet that. So we really do need to fix this.”

(Simple Solution: Reduce the speed limit over the frogs and change the schedule.  Usually a train will only cross a frog at the beginning or end of its run.)

Changing the wheels would likely enable HART to deliver the rail project to Aloha Stadium and to the city’s Department of Transportation Services by the end of the year.

“But if it’s the tracks that need to replaced, we don’t think we can hand it over to the city by the end of the year,” Kahikina said. “… To replace the frogs, it takes about a year to manufacture them and then ship them here to us and then, of course, we need to do the construction to tear out what’s been installed and put it in. So at least a year (delay) if it’s the tracks.”

Asked why rail needs to get to Aloha Stadium — which no longer holds events with spectators in the stands — Kahikina said it’s important to start running the system as soon as it’s ready or pay Hitachi $130,000 a day for trains that are not carrying passengers.

Hitachi Rail International has the HART contract to operate and maintain the city’s rail line for its first 13-1/4 years….

read … Problems piling up for the Honolulu rail project

Honolulu Rail Chief Says Ridership Projections Have Dropped

CB: …Kahikina was asked about ridership during an online video presentation on the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s “Spotlight Hawaii” program on Wednesday, and in general terms acknowledged that the ridership calculations show a drop. She did not say how much of a drop.

“We do have our ridership projections, and they have decreased from when we first started to after the pandemic, but it’s still high,” said Kahikina, who is the chief executive officer for the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation.

Later in the discussion on ridership Kahikina said she expects that ridership will increase as people grasp the benefits of the new train system, but acknowledged that “maybe at first it’s not going to be high.”…

read … Honolulu Rail Chief Says Ridership Projections Have Dropped

At Least Seven Plea-Deals in Miske Case So Far

ILind: … There have been at least seven plea deals filed in court in which defendants connected to the organization allegedly controlled and directed by Mike Miske, formerly known as the owner of Kamaaina Termite and Pest Control, and other local businesses. In each case, the defendants admitted to certain crimes, and agreed to cooperate with law enforcement and prosecutors, and to testify against others if asked by prosecutors.

I say “at least” seven deals because only one of these are filed with the Miske case. The other cases were based on charges filed independently. I found them through various tangential searches, including looking at other cases handled by any of the Assistant US Attorneys who have been working the Miske case….

Jonah Ortiz, charged with kidnapping and drug trafficking, October 9, 2019.

Timothy Taboada, charged with drug trafficking. November 1, 2019.

Catherine Nicole Zapata, charged with drug trafficking. November 7, 2021.

Jacob “Jake” Smith, charged with racketeering conspiracy and conspiring to distribute methamphetamine, November 6, 2020.

Wayne Miller, charged with racketeering conspiracy, December 4, 2020.

Ashlin Akau, charged with knowingly using and assisting the use of a chemical weapon, March 18, 2021.

Hunter Wilson, charged with racketeering conspiracy and conspiracy to distribute drugs, May 6, 2021….

ILind: Almost all federal cases are settled by plea bargains

read … “Facts” admitted so far in Miske-related plea deals

Kealoha ‘Mailbox Case’ co-conspirator asks to stay out of jail while he pursues appeal

HNN: … Just weeks away from his June 1 date to self-surrender at a mainland prison, Kealoha mailbox co-conspirator Derek Hahn wants a judge to let him stay in Hawaii.

Hahn, a former Honolulu police lieutenant, is supposed to report to a federal prison facility in Oregon. But Hahn’s attorney filed a motion Wednesday asking that he remain free until his appeal is complete.

Hahn was convicted of obstruction of justice and conspiracy in June 2019. And in December, he was sentenced to 42 months in prison for his role in the conspiracy….

Chief Judge J. Michael Seabright will rule on the motion….

HNN: PODCAST: The attorney who helped uncover ‘Mailbox Case’ joins ‘The Other Side of Paradise’

read … Kealoha ‘Mailbox Case’ co-conspirator asks to remain free while he pursues appeal

Taxpayers On Hook For $2.3M To Settle Legal Claims Against The State

CB: … A state settlement over a deadly motorcycle crash on the Likelike Highway accounted for nearly half of taxpayers’ legal bills — totaling about $2.3 million — approved by lawmakers this year.

That settlement is one of 15 that puts taxpayers on the hook for legal costs involving state departments and employees.

Taxpayers are also footing the bill for violations of the Clean Water Act, a lockdown drill that traumatized a middle schooler, a state employee who rear-ended a car, an inmate injured in transit, and legal fees for Hawaiian Home Lands beneficiaries who have waited for decades to get homes.

The state Attorney General’s Office earlier this year submitted summaries of those cases and others to lawmakers….

read … Taxpayers On Hook For $2.3M To Settle Legal Claims Against The State

Uptick in assaults around Ala Moana has many calling for action

KHON: … There were almost 20 assault cases reported near the mall since Wednesday, April 14.

More than half of the reported assaults occurred in broad daylight. Residents and lawmakers say more needs to be done to protect the public.

A 30-year-old woman was assaulted inside a women’s bathroom at Ala Moana Center around 3:30 p.m. Sunday. The victim says she was washing her hands when a man walked into the bathroom and punched her in the face before walking out.

She says she never met the suspect before and neither of them said anything before he assaulted her. She has a broken nose and is shaken up, but says she is otherwise okay ….

read … Uptick in assaults around Ala Moana has many calling for action

Housing especially scarce for ex-convicts during COVID-19

KITV: …Ex-con Anthony Milikini recently completed a long-term rehabilitation program at Habilitat, the state's largest drug treatment facility.

He already landed a job, but is still searching for housing.

"When you get told 'no' so much times and you don't have a place to live, you don't have a place where you can actually go and rest, it leads you back to places like on the streets, reverting back to old ways, which is very dangerous to someone's addiction," he said.

COVID-19 and the state's moratorium on evictions have made landlords wary of welcoming new tenants because there's no recourse for unpaid rent….

2014: Grand jury indicts 2 suspects in Salt Lake shooting

read … Housing especially scarce for ex-convicts during COVID-19

When will people on unemployment in Hawaii have to start searching for jobs again?

SA: … the director of the state’s Department of Labor and Industrial Relations is scheduled to meet with Gov. David Ige today to discuss it, said DLIR spokesman Bill Kunstman.

Since the pandemic began, Hawaii has waived the requirement that people search for at least three jobs a week while collecting unemployment benefits. The waiver is authorized by federal law.

According to news reports Monday, President Biden has ordered the U.S. Department of Labor to ensure that people throughout the country don’t collect enhanced federal jobless aid if they turn down a suitable job.

Kunstman said it likely “would take a while” to reinstate the job-search requirements and that Hawaii claimants would be notified well in advance….

KHON: Hawaii staffing firms and businesses expect many job openings in summer

read … When will people on unemployment in Hawaii have to start searching for jobs again?

Hawaii saw 78K visitors over Mother's Day weekend as many return to travel

SFG: … Visitors flying out of California airports made up the majority of travelers to Hawaii, with 14,771 travelers leaving from Los Angeles International Airport. From the Bay Area, San Francisco Airport saw 6,819 travelers, Oakland Airport saw 3,849 travelers and San Jose Mineta 3,182 travelers….

The number of visitors is still less than the approximately 90,000 people who visited Hawaii in 2019 over Mother’s Day weekend, but travel is rapidly rebounding to its pre-pandemic levels. A recent survey from TripAdvisor found that 67% of Americans were planning summer vacations, and that 74% were planning to travel domestically. …

USAT: Southwest (finally) growing again in Hawaii: New flights on tap from Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Phoenix

HNN: ‘Golden Week’ comes and goes as Japan visitors face COVID hurdles when traveling to Hawaii

read …  Hawaii saw 78K visitors over Mother's Day weekend as many return to travel

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