State, Counties seek candidates to serve on boards and commissions
Is the World Running out of Resources?
Rape in Turkmenistan: How HPD Rejects Female Police Recruit
Tourist Spending Up 14%, Tourist Count Down 10%
Concealed Carry: Blangiardi Proposes New Gun Regulations
Feds Approve Honolulu Rail Recovery Plan, Will Release $125 Million
CB: … The Federal Transit Administration has approved the Honolulu rail project’s recovery plan and will release $125 million of the $744 million it has withheld for years, city officials announced on Friday.
UPDATE Oct 2, 2022: Electrical Fire at Kapolei Rail Station
A second release of $250 million is contingent on the successful award of a contract for the city center guideway and stations, the FTA told HART CEO Lori Kahikina in a letter. That contract is expected to be awarded in 2024. …
HART submitted at least five versions of a recovery plan between 2016 and 2019, and it didn’t secure an FTA approval until September 2019. Even then, the FTA did not agree to release rail’s remaining $744 million to Honolulu until HART made more progress to keep the project on budget.
The latest plan, which was submitted in early June, assumes the largest infrastructure project in Hawaii’s history will collect around $6.4 billion in GET funding, $1.1 billion in state TAT funding and $488 million in city TAT funding.
FTA officials approved the plan without revisions. It represents the first time the federal agency has released rail funds since 2017….
(TRANSLATION: Suddenly the cracks will not be a problem.)
read … Feds Approve Honolulu Rail Recovery Plan, Will Release $125 Million
Hawaii’s attorney general declines to prosecute SHOPO leadership
SA: … The state Department of the Attorney General has declined to charge two leaders of the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers with misdemeanor extortion in connection with allegations contained in a civil suit filed by an ousted board member.
The decision not to proceed with criminal charges was made after reviewing an investigation by …uh… the Honolulu Police Department’s Professional Standards Office .. oh, OK …. of SHOPO President Robert Cavaco and Vice President Stephen Keogh, according to the Attorney General’s Office.
In a joint statement to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, Cavaco, an HPD lieutenant, and Keogh, an HPD sergeant, said they were “pleased” the attorney general “saw through these ridiculous accusations” by HPD Sgt. David Leonard “Kawika” Hallums….
The civil suit is ongoing in state Circuit Court….
June 2, 2022: Ousted police union official sues SHOPO, alleges blackmail and discrimination
read … Hawaii’s attorney general declines to prosecute SHOPO leadership
Alleged Babykiller Games System -- refuses to appear in Oahu court
SA: … Travis Rodrigues, who confessed to killing his 18-month-old daughter, Kytana Ancog, on Feb. 4, 2021, refused to participate in a court hearing Thursday to determine whether he is mentally fit to stand trial for second-degree murder, the second time he has defied the court’s order to appear.
Oahu Circuit Judge Christine Kuriyama said the court was informed Rodrigues would not go to a Halawa Correctional Facility hearing room to participate in the hearing, which was held via video teleconferencing. Kuriyama waived his presence and rescheduled the hearing for Nov. 1, noting that one of the doctors had not completed her report yet.
Rodrigues’ case has repeatedly stalled, in large part due to the defendant himself. He was indicted Feb. 17, 2021, and pleaded not guilty to the murder charge March 18, 2021. On Aug. 2, 2021, his lawyer asked the judge for a mental health evaluation….
unclear whether Rodrigues’ refusal to appear or to cooperate in the evaluation is due to a mental condition or is perhaps a tactic to delay trial or have his case dismissed….
His friend Scott Michael Carter was charged with hindering prosecution after Rodrigues claimed Carter removed a duffel bag containing the child’s lifeless body, allegedly telling Rodrigues he would take care of it.
The toddler’s body has not been found.
A judge dismissed Carter’s case because the state had taken too long to bring it to trial, violating his right to a speedy trial, but left the door open for prosecutors to refile the case.
Carter was released Aug. 24, and the state has not refiled charges against him….
read … Man accused of killing daughter refuses to appear in Oahu court
Minimum wage slated to increase this weekend — along with menu prices
HNN: … Hawaii’s new minimum wage law takes effect this Saturday. Those earning the current $10.10 an hour should see a bump in their paycheck soon — up to $12 an hour….
“With freight and fuel charges going up, we’re gonna see menu prices increasing as well throughout the state,” said Tiki’s partner Michael Miller. “It’s a delicate balancing act. I think all restaurants or businesses throughout the state are going to have to be making pricing adjustments to see where that sweet spot is to still keep in business yet take care of their employees.”…
Businesses have time to plan for more changes. The next scheduled wage increase is on January 1st, 2024, when it will rise to $14. In 2026, it’ll go up to $16 and in 2028 it will be $18 an hour….
Flashback: How Hawaii Minimum Wage Workers Earn $24.24 per hour
read … Minimum wage slated to increase this weekend — along with menu prices
More Homeless Mayhem: Parkgoers raise concern over vandalism, illegal activities at Oahu public restrooms
HNN: … Last week, vandals destroyed toilets inside the bathroom at Pokai Bay Beach Park. That caused a serious flooding and plumbing issue inside the public restroom, even causing the shower to become inoperable.
The city was quick to resolve the issue and repair the facility but still, many people say issues like that are a symptom of a larger problem.
”They’re in pretty bad shape. Because the homeless, as you know, have been using it as their place to shower and camp out and do all their necessities, I guess. So it’s pretty gross in there,” said Terry Kakazu, who frequents Magic Island at Ala Moana Beach Park.
Others say the homeless activity inside public park restrooms forces them to reconsider letting their children use the facilities alone.
”We can’t even allow them to go in and use the bathroom to get changed or to go to the bathroom. The last practice at Ala Wai Park, there was someone sitting there smoking ice with a big huge torch in the middle of the bathroom,” said Erich Wida, a coach who says he’s fed up with problems like this at public parks….
KHON: HPD, community cleans up Waikiki
read … Parkgoers raise concern over vandalism, illegal activities at Oahu public restrooms
More Homeless Mayhem: Bums Operate Chop Shop at Kalaeloa Airport
KITV: “… some of them were doing a chop shop, doing their own business and having their own illegal empire," said Sen. Kurt Fevella, who represents 'Ewa Beach. "Fire, fire, fire, shooting, fighting -- everything you could think of that was happening in there was getting out of control. But the reason why we went in there was nothing to do with the stolen stuff to tell you the truth, it was because of public safety.…”
read … Kalaeloa homeless encampment demolished to protect public safety, but dozens are now displaced
Hawaii sees largest average equity gain
SA: … Average homeowner equity jumped 25.3% from the second quarter of 2021 and rose 6.6% from the first three months of this year. That’s a smaller year-over-year and quarterly increase than in the first three months of 2022, reflecting a more moderate pace of home price growth as the housing market has cooled amid sharply higher mortgage rates.
The average homeowner with a mortgage saw their equity increase by roughly $60,190 in the second quarter versus the same April-June quarter in 2021, CoreLogic said.
At the state level, Hawaii, California and Florida saw the largest average equity gains at $129,800, $117,000 and $100,000, respectively….
read … Hawaii sees largest average equity gain