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Wednesday, December 7, 2022
December 7, 2022 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:53 PM :: 1577 Views

Forgotten Honouliuli: Jack Burns, Police Spy 

Hawaii House and Senate Release Committee Assignments for 2023

​City’s free COVID-19 testing program to end on December 30, 2022

Federal Real ID enforcement delayed to May 2025

Ewa Foreclosure Scammer Indicted for Stealing Chief Federal Judge’s Identity

Hawaii County Police Chief Finalists Named

With Minutes left on Clock, McCartney rescinds tourism contract with Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement

DPP Shakedown: Go to back of line, pay another $1000

CB: … Currently, the Honolulu Department of Planning and Permitting can cancel permit applications that have been in its system for 365 days, and the applicant forfeits their entire plan review fee. That fee, which is 20% of the building permit fee, would be over $1,000 on a $500,000 project.

Under Bill 58, applicants would get back 75% of their plan review fee, and the department would be required to notify them in writing about the impending expiration.

The average building permit approval timeline is approximately 247 days, according to council member Andria Tupola, who introduced the bill. Even with planned improvements, DPP is only expected to reduce that time period to 167 days, she said.

The current law is “adding insult to injury for those already punished by existing permitting problems and delays,” she said in a statement. The refund may incentivize the department to move faster, she said.….

SA: Honolulu building permit delays might lead to refund

read … Honolulu Permit Applicants May Get Refunds If Approval Takes Too Long

Cost of Housing Behind Healthcare Worker Shortage

HB: … Everyone’s access to health care is jeopardized when critical care workers cannot afford to live in Hawai‘i. The overall high cost of living means workers have less money to spend on housing. Similar to other industries, it then becomes difficult to retain and recruit people to work in Hawai‘i.

“If they cannot see a path forward in terms of getting into housing, they just say, ‘Well, I can’t see a future here in Hawai‘i,’ ” says Hilton Raethel, President and CEO of Healthcare Association of Hawai‘i (HAH).

HAH is a trade organization that represents hospitals, nursing homes, home health agencies, hospices, and assisted living facilities in the state. HAH has tracked and conducted studies on the adequacy of Hawaii’s health care workforce for the last several years.

Prior to the pandemic, in 2019, HAH had already found there to be a health care worker shortage. “We identified over 2,200 open patient-facing positions in Hawai‘i,” says Raethel. These open positions were not physician positions, he says, but included other health care workers, such as nurses, respiratory therapists, and patient service representatives….

SoR: Hawaii’s new governor highlights several public health initiatives he plans to address

read … Affordable Housing Leads to Better Health

Amid ongoing shortage of health care workers, Hawaii hospitals see ‘unprecedented’ demand

HNN: … Hospitals across the state are busier than ever — even busier than during the peak of the pandemic.

At Maui Memorial Medical Center, patients are having to double up in rooms and even sleep in the emergency room as they wait for a room.

“We are experiencing an unprecedented demand for health care. The entire state is,” said Maui Health System Chief Executive Officer Michael Rembis.

“This is the highest number of admissions in the state of Hawaii we’ve ever had, and Maui is feeling it.”

Health care officials say the capacity issues are being driven by a number of issues.

“One of them is that there are some delayed repercussions from the pandemic where people put care on hold,” said Hilton Raethel, Healthcare Association of Hawaii president and CEO.

“And so that has been a problem bigger, which means the patients who do come into the hospital, some of them are sicker because they delayed or deferred care.”

Rembis added Hawaii is also seeing a rise in flu, RSV and COVID cases.

“You add it all together, we have more need for healthcare than ever before,” Rembis said….

read … Amid ongoing shortage of health care workers, Hawaii hospitals see ‘unprecedented’ demand

More Families Below The Poverty Line In Hawaii

CB: … The report, which focuses on the working poor who are living paycheck to paycheck, noted that the pandemic has affected households unevenly but said 15% of those surveyed this year were below the poverty line compared with 9% in 2018.

The overall number of families struggling to get by — including those classified as asset limited, income constrained, and employed, otherwise known by the acronym ALICE — also rose to 44% from 42% in 2018….

Since 2007, the percentage of Hawaii households under the ALICE threshold has risen from 31% to 44%….

And some demographics were affected more than others. According to the report, a majority of Filipino and Native Hawaiian households fell under the ALICE threshold, as well as a majority of households in Hawaii County and Maui County.

More people have started selling their possessions for cash compared to 2019, as well as turning to friends and family to borrow money. … 

MN: 52% of Maui County homes live below ALICE threshold

SA: More Hawaii households in poverty, report finds

PDF: ALICE in Hawai‘i: 2022 Facts and Figures

read … Report: Pandemic Has Driven More Families Below The Poverty Line In Hawaii

Oahu home sales plunge amid rising interest rates

SA: … Sales of single-family homes nose-dived 48.2% in November to 192 from 371 in the year-earlier period while condominium sales tumbled 43.4% to 340 from 601, according to data released Tuesday from the Honolulu Board of Realtors.

The single-family home sales were the fewest in at least three years, while the condo sales were the fewest since there were 312 in June 2020. Properties in both markets spent a median of 18 days on the market year over year, roughly double the time on the market compared with November 2021. Pending sales, or homes in the final stages of escrow, fell for the eighth straight month….

read … Oahu home sales plunge amid rising interest rates

Kauai Island of Retaliation--Qualification to become Hawaii County Chief of Police?

HTH: … Applegate is the plaintiff in an active federal lawsuit against Kauai County, KPD, the Kauai Police Commission and Kauai Police Chief Todd Raybuck.

The civil suit, filed in August 2021, alleges that in April 2020, Applegate was improperly passed over a promotion to assistant chief of the department’s Administrative and Technical Bureau because he is part-Japanese. Applegate’s lawsuit also alleges he was retaliated against by the chief after Applegate filed complaints against him with Kauai County Human Resources Department, one of which resulted in Raybuck being suspended five days without pay….

read … Commission names final four for Big Island police chief

Hundreds of Big Island residents still waiting for money for properties destroyed by Kilauea eruption

KITV: … Hoapili said he's owed about $130,000 from a Hawaii County disaster recovery program helping to buy out homes of those impacted by the eruption.

Since the eruption, he's had to move away from the Big Island and is hoping to get money to help him rebuild his life on the mainland.

"Unbelievable hardship," he said.

He's among the more than 700 applicants still waiting for Hawaii county officials to distribute $107 million in federal money to acquire properties deemed uninhabitable and vulnerable to future eruptions.

"It's a setback and it shouldn't be a setback. I shouldn't have to go through this nor should anyone because we are all told that money's allocated -- waiting," Hoapili said. "So who's sitting on it and why aren't they spending it like they should? 2018 this came through. It's going on 2023. That's five years."

As of Dec. 1, 820 residents applied to the Hawaii County Voluntary Housing Buyout Program.

The county has closed on 95 properties -- expending about $17 million in total -- distributing an average $179,000 per property….

read … Hundreds of Big Island residents still waiting for money for properties destroyed by Kilauea eruption

Hawaii Island shooting facility eyes final state approval

HTH: … Progress continues on a new Hawaii Island shooting facility at a proposed Pu‘uanahulu location near Waikoloa.

The roughly 1-square-mile facility would incorporate pistol and long-distance rifle ranges, noise mitigation, trap and skeet fields, and bays for classes and competitions.

The next major hurdle will be securing funding during the legislative session starting in January….

read … Hawaii Island shooting facility eyes final state approval

Wahiawa: Can Government Pork Replace Pineapple Plantations?

CB: …In the past 10 years, Dela Cruz has funneled almost $400 million in development funds to the community….

Standing on the upper floor of Wahiawa Transit Center on a recent sunny morning, Dela Cruz gestured in all directions describing his vision. He pointed to the downtown, where he sees a cluster of impressive new buildings that he hopes will bring bustle and life back to the town center, and out to Whitmore Village, about 1.5 miles away by road. He is planning a $27 million pedestrian bridge that will give Whitmore Village residents easy access to that more vibrant downtown.

In the past decade, the state has spent $100 million to buy more than 3,000 acres of farmland in the Wahiawa area to protect it from encroaching development and preserve it for agricultural uses. One specific venture, the Whitmore Project, includes food processing operations, agricultural warehouse space, a greenhouse and a centralized kitchen for preparing school meals for the Department of Education.

To make sure the water supply is adequate for what he has in store, Dela Cruz has secured $13.5 million for a wastewater reclamation system in town.

Related: Kahuku and Waimanalo Protests show why Hawaii Needs Municipal Government

read … DelaCruz Fluff Piece

On Oahu’s west side, worsening homeless problem draws calls for greater outreach

HNN: … At a recent Waianae Neighborhood Board Meeting, police said they simple “don’t have the equipment or manpower to actually remove” all the homeless people camped at the beach.

Meanwhile, Partners In Care told Hawaii News Now that the west side only has two dedicated full-time homeless outreach workers.

To address this, Honolulu City Councilmember Andria Tupola says she started a pilot program in August that involves coupling a meal program with homeless outreach.

“You can’t go see a homeless person every 6 months and hope that there is progress,” said Tupola. “You have to know who they are. Who’s their family? What’s their name? What’s their situation? What’s their story?”

In a statement, HPD said it’s also been working with community groups to address that situation.

“hile enforcement, in the form of arrests or citations, may temporarily remove an individual from the area, it does not help in obtaining housing or support services for the individual, and homeless individuals frequently return to the beach or park after being cited or released,” the department said, in a statement….

read … On Oahu’s west side, worsening homeless problem draws calls for greater outreach

Attempted Murder, Drugs, Gambling, Assault; Career Criminal Gets Away with it Again and Again

TGI: … Moleni Koli, 38, is also facing unrelated weapons violations and a minor drug charge stemming from a 2021 Kawaihau district game room raid.

He was arrested on the new assault charge, which prosecutors say left the victim with broken bones, along with 46-year-old Hanama‘ulu man Albert Bactad last month. Bail for both defendants is set at $100,000.

At a Nov. 23 arraignment, Koli pleaded not guilty to the charge. Bactad is set to be arraigned Thursday.

Defense attorney Melinda Mendes fiercely argued for a lower bail for Koli on Monday — requesting it be lowered to $10,000. She also questioned the credibility of the victim, who named Koli in the assault, describing him as a career criminal.

“He tells the police initially that (Bactad) was responsible and some other guys,” said Mendes. “He repeatedly tells the police this for three days. All of a sudden he comes up with my client’s name.”

An individual with the same name as the victim, who we have elected not to identify due to privacy concerns, has previously served time for burglary and robbery.

“They have probable cause sure — because this career criminal named my client,” Mendes continued.

New Deputy Prosecuting Attorney David Seaver emphasized the severity of the crime on Monday, calling it “calculated” and “akin to a hit.”

“All of this happened while the defendant was pending counts for unlawful firearms and drug possession,” said Seaver.

Seaver also called attention to a past attempted murder charge against Koli, which was later downgraded to an assault charge, as a reason for maintaining the high bail….

read … Bail reduction denied in Anahola man’s assault case

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