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Monday, June 26, 2023
June 26, 2023 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:46 PM :: 2320 Views

DoH Publishes Red Hill Exposure Assessment


‘Think outside the box’ to fix Hawaii’s unemployment tax

Honolulu Rail Gave Nan $100 Million To Relocate Utilities. Much Of It May Have Been A Waste

CB: … An executive with the city rail authority estimated Friday that only 50% to 75% of utility relocation work done by contractor Nan Inc. in downtown and along the Dillingham Boulevard corridor before 2021 will actually turn out to be useful.

The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation has budgeted $101 million to pay Nan Inc. for work done from 2018 to 2021 to relocate utilities in those areas and other parts of the city center to clear a path for rail construction, but HART isn’t certain yet how much of that work was completed properly.

HART terminated the original $400 million contract with Nan in January 2021, and solicited new bids to finish the city center utility relocation work under a different contract.

Nan then won a new contract for nearly $500 million for the utility relocation work to be done from the corner of Kamehameha Highway and Laumaka Street near the Oahu Community Correctional Center to Dillingham and Kaaahi Street in Iwilei. That work is ongoing under the new contract.... 

2005: Nan Owner, Patrick Shin, a contractor who has pleaded guilty to falsifying a Navy contract

read … Honolulu Rail Spent $100 Million To Relocate Utilities. Much Of It May Have Been A Waste

Skyline: Rail station surrounded by farming is years away from major use

SA: … The Honouliuli station, between the University of Hawaii West Oahu and the western edge of Waipahu, is envisioned to one day be surrounded by high- density housing and commercial buildings within a 10-minute, half-mile walk as the main station for the Ho‘opili community master-planned for 11,750 homes mixed with businesses.

However, most development adjacent to the station, which could rise up to a dozen stories or so, is a ways off because building Ho‘opili on verdant agricultural fields began at the southern and western ends where infrastructure arteries already existed and also tie into the first two of nine Skyline stations being readied for inaugural rail service scheduled to start Friday….

In the interim, the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation persuaded Ho‘opili’s developer, D.R. Horton, to build a 344-stall park-and-ride lot next to the Honouliuli station otherwise still surrounded by farmland to make some initial use of the station….

Jon Nouchi, deputy director of the city Department of Transportation Services, said it may be hard for many Skyline riders and the general public to imagine a dense town center surrounding Honouliuli station in the not-too-distant future. However, he said, the groundwork has been laid with the grid for future Ho‘opili streets spaced to accommodate rail’s existing guideway support columns.

“It is literally a community designed around the premise of rail,” Nouchi said….

Tracy Tonaki, D.R. Horton’s Hawaii division president, congratulated the city on its impending opening of the initial rail segment…..

SA: The Honolulu Star-Advertiser is featuring each of the nine Skyline rail stations and surrounding communities stretching 11 miles from East Kapolei to Aloha Stadium.  

KHON: History of Hawaii’s rail including decades of planning, billions of spending

read … Skyline: Rail station surrounded by farming is years away from major use

Leaving for Las Vegas: Reaching out to Native Hawaiians

SA: … Trying to make it in Hawaii is becoming increasingly difficult — so impossible for some that more than 50% of Native Hawaiians are now living outside of the state….

to the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement, the trend is clear —that’s why they debuted a new annual mainland conference, the Western Regional Native Hawaiian Conference. Held in Las Vegas this year, the conference drew nearly 2,000 attendees, and more than 60% came from 36 states across the mainland — including states as far away as Maine….

“I do think that there is a future here where CNHA will have a presence in states that have predominant Native Hawaiians. We are already talking about opening up something in Los Angeles, possibly in the next two years. We are already poking around.”

Lewis said CNHA’s vision for mainland expansion includes everything from workforce, business and cultural development programs to loan programs….

Sentiments were also expressed by some conferees that Native Hawaiians living outside of Hawaii who become better off financially than those living in Hawaii should kokua by remitting money back to Hawaii as do other Pacific Islanders….

While some would return to Hawaii, others said that wasn’t a possibility due to the high cost of living as well as housing. They also expressed concerns that Hawaii offered a less friendly business environment, and fewer opportunities to find good-paying jobs. Another popular reason to leave was to be closer to other friends and family who had already left….

SA: Native Hawaiians share experience of mainland living

read … Leaving for Las Vegas: Reaching out to Native Hawaiians

Tea House for Meetups with Transsexual Kids

CB: … Haylin Dennison, a licensed therapist and social worker, is well connected in Oahu’s behavioral health community, but she still struggled to find mental health services for her transgender son during the pandemic. 

“Access is a real issue,” Dennison said, adding that during the coronavirus pandemic “the sickest of the sickest kids couldn’t get treatment for suicide and suicidality.”

The state faces many challenges in addressing and treating residents’ mental health needs, especially in rural areas and on neighbor islands. The behavioral health care worker shortage, for one, has been a persistent issue as a high cost of living and remote locations hamper recruiting efforts. The problem has taken a particularly heavy toll on children in Hawaii. 

“People will call us asking, ‘how can I get services? I’m on this island, and there are no psychiatrists through my son’s insurance. What do I do?’” said Kumi Macdonald, executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness Hawaii. She said waitlists for a therapist or psychiatrist range from one to six months. “Six months is not unusual,” she said.

Students from Hawaii Pacific University pose with copies of a new textbook on mental health practice in the islands. (Courtesy: Hawaii Pacific University/2023)

Despite scarce resources, Dennison and others are focused on finding solutions. 

In March 2022, Dennison opened Spill the Tea Cafe, a mental health clinic for adolescents that hosts group sessions as a way to keep up with the demand for therapy services. It also provides a space for teens to get to know one another while studying, playing games and drinking boba.

“Building community doesn’t have to look like, ‘Oh, we’re just going to sit around and talk about depression.’ It’s about exploring yourself and doing really fun activities that are naturally therapeutic,” said Dennison. Both Spill the Tea Cafe and NAMI Hawaii also offer support groups for parents or family members who care for someone with mental illness….

read … Meet The People Filling In The Gaps In Hawaii’s Mental Health Care System

HSTA Teacher: I have reoriented my 7th Grade Class to be all about Gayness

CB: …Anti-gay language is still the go-to method for kids to make fun of each other, and they carry an extra sting for kids who are anything other than cisgender and heterosexual, even when those words aren’t directly hurled at them. Just being in proximity to them makes it clear that being LGBTQ+ is something to be ashamed of, something to ridicule, something to hide. …

That’s why I have a pride flag hanging in my classroom.

The flag, which is taped on the wall above my desk, serves two fundamental purposes. The first is for the kids who see themselves in it, so they know they can feel safe….

read … Eric Stinton: Why I Have A Pride Flag In My Classroom - Honolulu Civil Beat

A Murder Suspect Has Spent 7 Years In The Hilo Jail While Lawyer Goes Psychiatrist Shopping

CB: … A Big Island man accused of murdering his wife and two children in 2016 remains locked up in the Hilo jail seven years later with no trial or resolution of the charges in sight, his case stalled by years of inquiries into his mental health.

The criminal case against John Ali Hoffman, 56, was first suspended on May 19, 2016, to allow him to be examined by a panel of three experts to assess his mental condition. Each of those experts concluded Hoffman was fit to proceed, meaning he could understand the proceedings and assist in his defense.

Dr. Andrew Bisset, one of the psychiatrists tasked with assessing Hoffman’s mental health, concluded in his 2016 report that “it was clear that (Hoffman) was attempting to establish psychiatric impairment as a defense against the charges he faces.”

Then-Acting Circuit Court Judge Henry Nakamoto ruled in early 2017 that Hoffman was fit to proceed and the murder case against him could move forward, but little has been resolved in the six years since….

The first three reports sent to the court in 2016 found Hoffman fit to proceed, according to the court minutes, and Nakamoto then ruled in 2017 that Hoffman was fit to proceed with the case.

Oshiro then requested another examination of Hoffman by three experts in 2018. Nakamoto agreed, and suspended proceedings in the case while the new evaluation was done.

The court minutes don’t disclose the findings of the next three reports, which were all filed in 2018. But Oshiro explained at a hearing in mid-2019 that the reports he received did not “address issues (they were) supposed to,” according to the court minutes in the case.

Meanwhile, Oshiro was gathering additional information in the case through subpoenas to various state, county and federal agencies, including a trove of Hoffman’s writings that were discovered at the police department.

Additional sealed evaluations of Hoffman were then filed with the court in 2020 and 2021. Court minutes show one expert found Hoffman was unfit in 2021, while two others including Bisset again declared Hoffman to be fit to proceed that year.

Oshiro then told the court he needed to make arrangements to replace Bisset with another examiner, and the new examiner submitted another report to the court last fall. Bisset declined to comment on the Hoffman case other than to say he did not ask to be removed as one of the examiners.

Oshiro also told the court this year he has been trying to hire another independent examiner, and the minutes for the most recent hearing on May 19 are unclear on whether the independent examiner has yet been hired. The next hearing in the case is scheduled for July 21.

read … A Murder Suspect Has Spent 7 Years In The Hilo Jail Without A Trial



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