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Friday, October 13, 2023
October 13, 2023 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:20 PM :: 1702 Views

Maui: Water Meters Taken from Fire Victims

How Could Officials Not Have Known?  911 calls from deadly Lahaina wildfire show residents' terror and panic

AP: … The 911 calls were released to The Associated Press in response to a public record request. They cover a two-hour period from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on the afternoon of Aug. 8 as the deadliest U.S. wildfire in more than a century, whipped by powerful winds from a passing hurricane, bore down on the town….

(QUESTION: With these calls coming in starting at 330PM, how could Maui Co officials not have known what is going on in Lahaina?) 

One woman tells a dispatcher that she is on Front Street and sees a house on fire, but can’t advance.

“We’re caught in massive traffic and we’re covered in ashes and embers and there’s a lot of people honking and trying to get out of the road,” the caller says. “If there’s anything you guys could do, because the ashes are engulfing our car and ... the flames are going on our car,”… 

SA Editorial: 911 calls must spur better responses

read … 911 calls from deadly Lahaina wildfire show residents' terror and panic in a desperate bid to escape

How Will The Maui Strong Fund Be Spent?

CB: … Future grants will be focusing on programs that support long term recovery….

read … How Will The Maui Strong Fund Be Spent?

Public Utilities Commission Seeks to Understand HECO`s Plans

IM: … HECO issued its final IGP plan in May 2023. “The future grid will look unlike any before, with customers playing a vital role in generating and storing energy. Customer-scale generation and battery storage in customers’ homes and communities will seamlessly connect to largescale generation through a modernized transmission system, providing a consistent stream of energy that can adapt to fluctuations in use. Sourcing energy from a diverse array of local, renewable resources will fortify Hawai‘i against global swings in oil prices, stabilizing utility costs for customers.”

HECO asked the PUC to review and approve the IGP Plan as a foundational guiding strategy and to open a new docket for competitive bidding related to grid-scale resources, non-wires alternatives, and grid services by January 2024.

The PUC issued an Order on October 12, 2023. “During its review of the Plan, the Commission has become concerned that the Plan does not contain sufficiently clear or comprehensive versions of Hawaiian Electric’s near- and long-term, preferred plans for generation and capacity. This prevents the Commission from further evaluating the Plan.”

HECO must provide only one preferred plan for each island. The plans must include pie charts that show the expected “resource generation mix” and planned “resource installed capacity mix” in 2030, 2035, 2040 and 2045 for each of its service territories.

The PUC believes that the data and projections needed are readily available in various dockets. HECO should be able to supply the information to the PUC by November 14, 2023….

read … Public Utilities Commission Seeks to Understand HECO`s Plans

OSHA demands answers on alleged hazards at Red Hill days before defueling set to begin

HNN: … Four tankers are arriving at the base, each capable of carrying 11 million gallons of fuel.

The roughly 104 million gallons of fuel that will be emptied from the Red Hill underground facility will be distributed to Kalaeloa, San Diego and the Philippines.

“We are ready to go with our roving security and fire watch personnel in the facility at all times,” said Cmdr. Nico Melendez, Joint Task Force-Red Hill spokesman.

HNN Investigates obtained a letter sent on Tuesday from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Honolulu Area Office to Naval Supply Systems Command about alleged workplace hazards at Red Hill. It said complaints about the facility include:

“Only one exit and workers need to travel a very far distance ... 1,000 to 5,000 plus feet through a potentially hazardous area.”

“Emergency plan appears to provide self-contained breathing apparatus for some of the workers for escape,” but the “egress path to the tunnel entry will require more time than the supply of air.”

And that fire fighting “training provided is questionable.”

OSHA wants the Naval Supply Systems Command to “immediately investigate the alleged conditions and make any necessary corrections” while reporting back by Oct. 18.

That’s just two days after Joint Task Force Red Hill will start defueling….

Big Q: Are you assured that defueling of the Red Hill tanks, to start Monday, will go well?

HNN: Joint news conference planned ahead of major effort to empty Red Hill facility of fuel (hawaiinewsnow.com)

read … OSHA demands answers on alleged hazards at Red Hill days before defueling set to begin

After Lahaina, Makakilo Residents Press Harder For Another Exit Off Their Hill

CB: … The Lahaina wildfire disaster has heightened long-standing safety concerns in Makakilo, where more than 20,000 residents face similar obstacles to evacuate and an effort to build a second exit out of the densely packed West Oahu neighborhood has languished for decades.

Many residents have pressed city leaders for years to build an extension of Makakilo Drive that would open another way out, near the H1 Freeway west of the neighborhood.

Instead, they’ve watched as other road projects around the island have been finished while theirs has failed to get past the design phase….

Recent official estimates have put the MDE’s price tag at nearly $84 million. However, several weeks before the Lahaina wildfire, DTS Director Roger Morton estimated that the extension could cost as much as $200 million. Federal highway dollars often cover most of the cost of such major local road projects….

By June 2021, the city had released $4 million of the $6 million allocated for that design work, according to emails shared by Agles between Makakilo residents and a member of Councilmember Andria Tupola’s staff. The neighborhood is part of her district.

At that time, the project had two “incomplete plans” and a third one that hadn’t yet been started, according to Louis Galdeira, then a community liaison in Tupola’s office. 

On Thursday, Nouchi said the project had hit a snag in 2019 when an updated environmental assessment for the project paused. That’s because key policy leaders on the island removed it one year earlier from a somewhat obscure yet significant list of projects called the Transportation Improvement Program, or the TIP….

For the extension to get done, Oahu’s transportation leaders first need to add it back onto the TIP, which gets updated every three years….

read … After Lahaina, Makakilo Residents Press Harder For Another Exit Off Their Hill

Hilo Hospital opens bum flop for homeless discharged patients

HNN: … For the first time, a homeless shelter is teaming up with Hilo Medical Center in an effort to reduce overcrowding at the island’s largest hospital.

Hope Services Hawaii has taken some of its shelter space and transformed it into a small medical respite facility providing homeless people with a safe place to heal after they’re discharged from the hospital.

Because those respite beds are in such high demand, work is now underway to get a bigger facility….

Fried says some of the most common conditions being treated at Hale Maluhia include “heart failure, COPD, kidney failure and liver disease.”…

The partnership between the hospital and homeless shelter started a little more than a year ago and has quickly proven its worth, helping dozens of people.

According to the National Institute for Medical Respite Care, the average stay in a respite facility costs 90% less than an average hospital stay.

It also reduces the chance a patient will end up right back in the ER….

read … ‘Focus on healing’: Innovative hospital partnership aims to offer respite to those on the streets

Catalytic converter theft drops dramatically with new law

KHON: … Catalytic converter theft has gone down dramatically. Officials said a new law that took effect this year makes it a lot harder to sell the precious metals….

Statistics from the Honolulu Police Department are eye-opening. As of 2023, there have been 119 reports of the theft. At this time the year before, there were 1,602. And 2,008 reported in 2021. The crime was so rampant not just in Hawaii but all over the country….

Experts point out the thieves can steal your catalytic converter in just a few minutes. The damage to your car could be in the thousands of dollars.

That drove state lawmakers to change the law and made the crime a felony, which took effect in June 2022….

“Because the problem we had before was when people would get their catalytic converter stolen, in order to charge somebody with it, we would have to prove that the value of that used catalytic converter was over $750 because that’s the threshold for a felony,” said Honolulu Prosecutor Steve Alm.

Alm said that helped but for the most part it was hard to catch someone in the act of stealing the catalytic converter. He said what really made the difference was the law that took effect this 2023. Anyone selling the auto part has to show their ID, sign a form saying the part wasn’t stolen, and other requirements.

“They have to list their name, what vehicle brought it there, where they bought it from, on and on and on, people are not gonna do that,” said Alm.

Recyclers and auto shops that buy them are also required to hold on to the catalytic converter for 60 days, and make sure they keep track of the paper trail….

Jalponik: Hawaii Figured Out How To Stop Catalytic Converter Theft, Why Hasn’t Your State?

read … Catalytic converter theft drops dramatically with new law | KHON2

Lahaina Fire News:

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