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Saturday, December 11, 2021
December 11, 2021 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 1:50 PM :: 3626 Views

Takings, PASH, and the Changing Coastal Environment

Omicron? DoH Investigating COVID Cluster at Gay Nightclub

DOH: Red Hill Shaft Diesel at 350 Times Limit

NextHealth Fined $58K for Conducting COVID Testing 

Maui: Property Tax Relief for Long-Time Families in SMA

Defendant in Miske racketeering case seeking release to Custody of former Miske Employee

ILind: … The attorney currently representing Kaulana Freitas, one of ten co-defendants in the federal racketeering case against former Honolulu businessman Michael Miske, has filed an appeal asking Federal Judge Derrick Watson to allow Freitas to be released to the custody of his father pending trial.

If the appeal is successful, Freitas would become the fourth of Miske’s co-defendants to be free on bond pending trial on the charges, which is now scheduled for September 2022….

A check of Hawaii court records shows Freitas pleaded no contest to a charge of 4th degree theft in a 2011 incident, a petty misdemeanor, and to contempt of court in 2013….

Kaulana Freitas’ mother, Heidi (Ivester) Freitas, is a first cousin of Mike Miske. Her late mother, Eldoreen (Lau) Ivester, was the sister of Maydeen (Lau) Stancil, mother of both Miske and his half-brother and co-defendant, John Stancil.

Heidi Freitas’ brother (and also Mike Miske’s first cousin) Craig Ivester, was convicted by a jury in December 2000 of conspiracy to distribute narcotics, and money laundering involving the proceeds of drug trafficking. He was sentenced to 20-years in federal prison.

Ivester was released from federal custody in April 2017. In 2019, he reported living in Henderson, Nevada, about 16 miles from downtown Las Vegas, federal court records show.

Nevada business records show Ivester and his wife formed a business earlier this year which is registered at a Las Vegas address.

Freitas’ father, Edward “Denny” Freitas, operated Kamaaina Plumbing, one of the businesses owned by Miske, for several years, but appears to have severed his relations with Miske, his former wife’s cousin, sometime around 2015, state business registration records indicate. He was replaced as general manager of Kamaaina Plumbing by another of Miske’s cousins, Allen Lau.

There is also a question of how much of Kaulana Freitas’ employment history, cited by Victor in the pending appeal, was tied to Mike Miske’s businesses.

State records show Freitas was licensed as a pest control operator for Miske’s Kamaaina Termite and Pest Control. He was also licensed as a car salesman in 2015, at the same time another Miske company, Hawaii Partners LLC, was licensed as a used car dealer.

In addition, prosecutors allege “Freitas deposited over $162,000 in checks written to him by Co-defendant Michael J. Miske, Jr. in 2018-2019.”

In 2019, Kaulana Freitas was the successful buyer in the foreclosure auction of a home on Kumukaho Place in Hawaii Kai with a bid of $1.4 million. After the auction, Freitas disclosed he had bid on behalf of Mike Miske, who then took his place as purchaser of the property….

A hearing on Freitas’ appeal is scheduled for Thursday morning, December 16, before Judge Derrick Watson….

ILind: New book tells the tale of the Kealoha corruption case

read … Another defendant in Miske racketeering case seeking release on bond

Ala Wai Boondoggle Would Have Been Useless Against This Week’s Flooding

HNN: … critics said city planners should take notice that most damage happened to homes above the city’s streams not below them.

“The real questions is whether the proposed Ala Wai Flood Control Project would have prevented any of the damage that occurred and the answer is no,” said David Kimo Frankel, attorney for Protect our Ala Wai Watersheds.

“Those of us who have grown up here are used to the streets ponding.” ….

Frankel and others have been fighting the project for years largely because it would have condemned land owned by kamaaina families.

Frankel said this week’s storm shows the situation is not as dire as it may appear.

“It is not a reason to spend $350 million to destroy stream life to prevent some ponding of some roads,” he said

That original plan — which was dropped due to community opposition — called for a wall around the Ala Wai to prevent a 100-year flood.

The city and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are now spending $3 million to come up with a scaled-back version.

“So this time around, I think they’re going to build something more like a 50-year storm,” Blangiardi said….

read … Damage left behind by strong storm reignites debate over flood control measures

Rail Plan: Start Building from Ala Moana Mall

SA Editorial: … for the record, here’s another optimistic date, from the project’s new CEO, Lori Kahikina: The rail could be turned over to the city Department of Transportation Services around July, for operation from East Kapolei to Aloha Stadium. Getting interim rail service up and running would indeed be key to creating ridership excitement and convenience.

That is, “if all the stars line up” to overcome a host of hurdles — including a series of stringent test runs mandated for safety; and finding a fix for problematic “frogs,” the track crossings built too wide for trains with too-narrow wheels to maintain the 55 mph running speed.  ….

…(to lock in rail all the way to Ala Moana Mall) Kahikina said, the plan would be to also forge ahead with work from the town end, to ultimately meet up with the system coming from Dillingham…..

REALITY: The plan is a political maneuver--begin work from the town end, sinking billions of dollars which would be wasted unless it meets up with the system coming from Dillingham.  The purpose is to undermine any effort to stop rail at Downtown after construction proceeds beyond Middle Street.

read … If stars align for Honolulu’s rail

Anti-Vaxxers Fall Waaaay Short on Maui Mayor Recall Petition

MN: … The Maui County Clerk’s Office released results on Thursday afternoon, in which it said the RecallVictorino.org group was 20,022 signatures short of the threshold of 21,586, which is 20 percent of the Maui County voters registered in the 2020 general election.

Of the 3,211 signatures submitted, 1,647 were deemed invalid and 1,564 were valid, the certification shows….

According to the certification results from the County Clerk’s Office, the 1,647 invalid signatures included 501 who had incorrect or missing voter precincts, 447 who were not registered voters, 434 who had different addresses, 77 who registered after the 2020 general election, 58 who had mismatched signatures, 40 who provided insufficient information, 35 who had different names, 20 that were not legible, 19 who were registered in a different county in the state of Hawaii, eight duplicate signatures and eight with miscellaneous invalid issues….

County Clerk Kathy Kaohu said in a letter to the group led by Sheila Walker, Paul Romero and Cullan Bell, that according to the County Charter, the group has 20 days to file a supplemental petition with her office, which would make its deadline 4 p.m. on Dec. 29.

The county clerk will then have 10 days after Dec. 29 to examine the signatures, Kaohu wrote….

read … A good laugh

Navy says fuel contamination at Red Hill Shaft from Nov 20 spill with no indications of long term problem

AP: … Rear Adm. Blake Converse said Navy officials are very confident that the contamination happened on Nov. 20, when 14,000 gallons (52,995 liters) of jet fuel spilled at the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility inside an access tunnel that provides fire suppression and service lines for the complex. The complex supplies fuel for many military planes and ships that operate in the Pacific and its use has been suspended.

The spill was cleaned up, Converse said, but people have complained for weeks of foul-smelling water and some have said they have gone to hospitals because of cramps or vomiting after they drank the water.

Converse said it appears that some of the jet fuel was sent through the Navy’s water distribution system that serves about 93,000 people, including those in military housing.

Converse also told state lawmakers that Navy officials have moved more than 3,000 families to hotels on the island of Oahu and that they will stay there until the problem is solved.….

read … Navy blames Hawaii water contamination on jet fuel spill

BWS: Halawa shaft could be shut down for years, even permanently, amid water contamination crisis

SA: … Supply is able to resume use of its Halawa shaft, which has typically provided about 20% of the water for neighborhoods stretching from Moanalua to Hawaii Kai, said Ernie Lau, manager and chief engineer for the Honolulu Board of Water Supply. And that’s if use of the shaft can be resumed at all.

“Right now, just being very honest with you on this thing, the contamination levels – and we will hopefully get more data about how badly Red Hill shaft is contaminated – but if the contamination levels are extremely high, we will probably not be able to turn Halawa shaft on maybe for years, maybe not ever,” Lau told the Star-Advertiser’s Spotlight Hawaii today….

Those concerns increased this week when the Navy said that it had detected high levels of diesel fuel in a water sample collected at its Aiea-Halawa well. But Navy officials later said that the contamination came from an unused segment of the distribution system and that the well does not have detectable levels of petroleum, prompting confusion.

Lau said that tests of its Halawa shaft have so far come up clean and that the Board of Water Supply’s drinking water system, which is separate from the Navy’s, remains safe to drink and use….

read … Halawa shaft could be shut down for years, even permanently, amid water contamination crisis

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