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Thursday, August 4, 2022
August 4, 2022 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:42 PM :: 1750 Views

Maui’s New Water Bureaucracy

Accused Russian spies in Hawaii are set for trial

Early Education: Hawaii Pays the Most Per Pupil

UH to Require COVID Masks for Fall Semester

Psychics and Recreational Drugs: SEC Charges Hawaii SemiSub with Fraud

Blangiardi: Concrete Cracking Could Push Honolulu Rail’s Opening To Next Year

CB: … Consultants and structural engineers are still assessing just how serious the cracking is in the piers that support several West Oahu stations ….

“Before, I felt very confident we could get it – we could get the service done by the fall,” Mayor Rick Blangiardi told the Civil Beat Editorial Board on Wednesday. “I want it to be operational in this calendar year, and I thought that was feasible.”

“But if because of the repairs needed … we’ve got to push it back, then we will,” Blangiardi said of rail’s planned passenger service. In that scenario the opening would occur no later than the first quarter of 2023, he added….

HART officials are poised to brief the agency’s board on the matter on Thursday during its Project Oversight Committee meeting. The public can attend the meeting, at HART’s Alii Place offices or view it live on Olelo…. 

TA: Concrete Columns Cracked

PDF: Jan 2020 Letter on Cracks at Hoopili Station

read … Blangiardi: Concrete Cracking Could Push Honolulu Rail’s Opening To Next Year

Staffing shortages trigger temporary closures at some Oahu EMS stations

HNN: … Officials confirmed six ambulances were left unmanned Sunday from midnight until noon. Another two were offline the remainder of the day….

Officials attributed it to a combination of scheduled vacations, sick calls and personnel on military leave. On top of that, there are currently 26 EMT and paramedic positions that need to be filled….

In the past year, EMS has hired 40 people. During that same time 42 left, often for better paying jobs….

read … Staffing shortages trigger temporary closures at some Oahu EMS stations

It takes 6 months to hire someone at the city. The mayor wants to slash that in half

HNN: … A look at the city’s job listings shows just over 60 openings, but Blangiardi said there are actually 3,000 vacancies.

He added it takes an average six months to hire someone at the city….

The red tape has hindered recruiting, now worse by the labor shortage. So the city is working with the Bloomberg-Harvard Cities Initiative to diagnose the problem and try cut to through layers of hiring bureaucracy.

“It just was a labyrinth. It was just way, way too complicated,” said Blangiardi…. 

SA: Honolulu takes six months to hire city employees while facing 3,000 vacant positions

CB: Honolulu Is Short 3,000 Workers. That’s Because It Takes 6 Months To Hire Anybody

read … It takes 6 months to hire someone at the city. The mayor wants to slash that in half

Hawaii Department of Health’s COVID-19 wastewater monitoring program hit by delays

SA: … Health Department officials said regular testing is underway at wastewater treatment sites statewide as part of a federal program, but that its own testing program is not fully operational. The department had previously said its own wastewater monitoring program would be operational some time this summer, with no specific date.

“We’re almost halfway through summer and while we have experienced challenges, our wastewater surveillance program continues to progress,” DOH officials said in a statement. Some reasons contributing to the delay were the unexpected loss of two key members of the State Laboratories Division. Two new staffers are expected to begin working later this month, officials said….

read … Hawaii Department of Health’s COVID-19 wastewater monitoring program hit by delays

AOC Campaign Sets Up PAC In Hawaii

CB: … Like other political action groups, this new AOC committee will need to file campaign spending disclosures this week….

read … AOC Campaign Sets Up PAC In Hawaii

Have you voted yet? State has received more than 100,000 ballots so far

HNN: … voting service centers are now open and registered Hawaii voters should have received a mail-in ballot.

The state Office of Elections reported Wednesday morning that around 107,000 ballots have come in so far.

On Oahu alone, 82,940 ballots have been received. On Monday, about 5,000 ballots were received and an additional 14,000 ballots came in on Tuesday

Meanwhile, 127 people voted in person on Monday and 141 on Tuesday….

SA: Ballot processing begins amid heightened oversight

read … Have you voted yet? State has received more than 100,000 ballots so far

‘We have no choice’: As inflation rises, plate lunch prices are ticking up and up

HNN: … The majority said they’ve had to raise prices by about 10 to 15%….

read … ‘We have no choice’: As inflation rises, plate lunch prices are ticking up and up

Kona Homeless Magnet Lease Renewed

HTH: … HOPE Services Hawaii, which has run the Friendly Place at 74-5593 Pawai Place in Kona’s Old Industrial Area since 2006, furnished the metrics council members had been asking for since early July in a communication time-stamped Monday.

According to the information provided, the emergency homeless shelter served 370 clients between July 1, 2016, and June 30 of this year. Another 390 were served the previous five years. In the most recent period, 38% were moved into permanent housing, while 48% had been moved the previous period….

While more than half (51%) of clients in the five years prior to July 1, 2016 were nonresidents, having lived in the area less than a year,that figure dropped significantly in the second period to 11%. That’s because, said HOPE Services Director Brandee Menino, the nonprofit more carefully screened applicants to ensure the program was prioritizing residents most in need of services in order to get those housed who’d been on the street the longest.

“We exceed the expectations of federal and state contracts in our performance,” Menino said, noting that the facility was only at half capacity last year because of construction, with just 56 living there.

Menino said the nonprofit receives about $14 million annually in state and federal grants and donations, with the Pawai Place facility costing a little more than $1 million annually. Other facilities are in Pahoa and Hilo.

The county paid the nonprofit about $1.5 million last year….

Villegas said at the last meeting that the community’s perception of the program is that it’s not working, because of tents erected outside the gates and loitering in the neighborhood….

read … Friendly Place lease renewed: Council approves homeless shelter lease after receiving more information

Soft on Crime: 4 arrested and released on Kauai for fake jewelry scam

HNN: … Police identified the suspects, all originally from Romania, as 32-year-old Mihail Drugan, 24-year-old Daniel Calin, 37-year-old Vasile Alexandru and 29-year-old Nicolae Dragomir….

read … 4 arrested, released on Kauai amid concerning spread of fake jewelry scam

Walter Ritte is Grifting Again to Seize Molokai Ranch--Will it Work?

CB: … Molokai Ranch used to be the island’s biggest employer. But after residents (Ritte tried to force the ranch into a giant windfarm scam) rejected the company’s plans to build 200 luxury homes at Laau Point, the ranch shut down its high-end lodge, glamping resort, the island’s only movie theater, a restaurant, a general store and the only gas station on the west side.

The sudden closure of ranch operations in 2008 put 120 people out of work. The island’s unemployment rate shot up from 6.2% in 2007 to 13.7% in 2009 …

read … The Community Is Mobilizing Again To Buy Molokai Ranch. Will It Work?

Kunia land occupiers’ claims of harassment and threats dismissed as “frivolous” by court

ILind: … on May 5, 2020, the pair appeared for a hearing before Judge Ann S. Isobe. The transcript of the hearing appears below. The hearing got wild at times, as the two spoke at once, interrupted both the judge and Berg’s attorney, Fred Arensmeyer, raised their voices, or expressed bewilderment and confusion about what was going on, at several points requiring a bailiff to intercede to maintain order.

Okawekiu was also admonished by the judge to stop interrupting her husband and coaching him on what to say.

Okawekiu, whose legal name is Kaiulani Pieper-Mokiao, who was in control of their testimony in the hearing, described Berg as “trespassing onto my private property.”….

The judge then dissolved the restraining order, and further ordered the pair to pay Berg and Arensmeyer $2,500 in fees and costs “for bringing a temporary restraining order in bad faith,” calling their claims “frivolous.”…

PDF: Transcript of Hearing on application for a restraining order against Tom Berg

read … Kunia land occupiers’ claims of harassment and threats dismissed as “frivolous” by court

Maui Council Committee rejects settlement with former prosecuting attorney

MN: … A Maui County Council committee has rejected a proposed settlement offer from former Maui County Prosecuting Attorney Don Guzman, who sued the county last year over his firing in 2020.

The council’s Government Relations, Ethics and Transparency Committee unanimously voted Tuesday to file the resolution….

Mayor Michael Victorino, who appointed Guzman to be prosecuting attorney in March 2019, placed Guzman on administrative leave without pay Sept. 15, 2020, and fired him on Oct. 19, 2020. After testimony by Matthews and others at a Maui County Council committee meeting Nov. 5, 2020, the council voted unanimously on Dec. 4, 2020 to remove Guzman from the job.

“When the council took the brave decision to vote unanimously to remove the former prosecutor, I can’t tell you the number of women in my former office who came up to me crying saying, ‘Thank you Leslee, I can never share my story.’ They never shared their story with their husbands, because the rage that would ensue when they knew what this man has done to them,” Matthews said during Tuesday’s meeting.

She added that she was “displeased that the county did not have the common decency to call us to let us know” about the settlement resolution, but that they were here again “risking our dignity, our time to say ‘no, no more.’ “

The suit filed in April 2021 says Guzman suffered from diabetic neuropathy and other negative impacts, such as diabetic rage and the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to an angry confrontation with a deputy prosecutor….

Another court date for the parties is set for Aug. 25 in U.S. District Court on Oahu, Lutey said.

read … Committee rejects settlement with former prosecuting attorney

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