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Wednesday, November 1, 2023
November 1, 2023 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:14 PM :: 1115 Views

DoH Survey: Housing Among Lahaina Top recovery needs 

Hawaii couple found guilty of stealing identities of dead babies

Maui emergency response officials ignored advice, turned down state help in early hours of disaster

HNN: … Some of the people in charge on the day flames tore through Lahaina rejected the state’s advice ahead of the catastrophic wildfire and even refused extra state help in the early hours of the unfolding disaster, HNN Investigates has learned.

HNN has uncovered multiple instances where the people calling the shots during the Maui wildfires disaster rebuked suggestions along with offers of help from outside agencies. It’s a strategy experts say goes against more traditional emergency management principles….

Meanwhile, another fire erupted after power lines fell into dry grass just after sun up along the island’s Leeward coast in Lahaina. With air support grounded due to red flag conditions, firefighters were stretched thin as they fought desperately to gain the upper hand on multiple blazes.

At the same time, there was a separate fire fight happening on Hawaii Island that forced officials to order evacuations along the Kohala Coast.

Through open records requests, HNN Investigates confirmed the wildfire prompted Hawaii County’s Civil Defense to ask the state for help on the morning of Aug. 8.

According to a Hawaii Emergency Management Agency spokesperson, Maj. Gen. Kenneth Hara — the state’s adjutant general — alerted Maui’s Emergency Management Agency about the Big Island’s request and asked if Maui also needed assistance with emergency response….

At 9:30 that fateful morning, the state says, “Maui indicated that the county had sufficient resources to meet its needs at that time.”…

Eric Stern, a professor at the University of Albany’s College of Emergency Preparedness has studied emergency management for 30 years and is the editor in Chief of the Oxford Encyclopedia of Crisis Analysis.

“Generally speaking, if there are indications of an event that is potentially escalating or where you have not yet developed good situational awareness of what’s happening, it’s generally prudent to act on the basis of a bad- or worst-case scenario,” he said.

Stern says its usually a good rule of thumb to accept those offers of help when responding to dynamic or rapidly evolving emergencies.

“That can cost some extra money. And sometimes questions are asked afterwards why you overreacted,” Stern said. “But if you really stop to think about it, there’s a lot of uncertainty in these events. And it’s much worse to not do those things.”

The state also confirmed an assistant telcom officer working with Hawaii’s emergency management agency “reminded” his counterpart at the Maui Emergency Management Agency that sirens could be used to alert residents of wildfires.

The state says this happened prior to the catastrophic blaze that swept through Lahaina town. Despite that discussion, sirens remained silent….

read … Maui emergency response officials ignored advice, turned down state help in early hours of disaster

Maui fire survivors beg officials to help them secure long-term housing

HNN: … Kuhaulua and her mother, Sallyann Gomes-Borden, lost their matriarch, Donna Gomes, in the firestorm that leveled Lahaina in August.

On top of trying to plan her mother’s funeral, Sallyann is still bouncing between family members, Airbnbs, and hotels.

“They want to find permanent housing,” Tehani said.

“You get tired of living out of your trash bag or suitcase or wherever you put all of your belongings, and it’s like, where’s this? Where’s that? I don’t know. It’s in one of these 10 bags,” said Sallyann.

However, everything seems to be out of reach for them.

“Nothing is affordable,” said Sallyann. “Especially coming out of a low-income apartment complex into the market world out here. It’s like, wow.”

They said they feel defeated because of skyrocketing rental prices and various application fees.

“I wish under the circumstances, especially for Lahaina people, they would just be like waive those fees,” they said.

“If we are guaranteed the place, then I can see, alright here, you have to pay these fees. But when you’re not guaranteed the place, and you have to go through seven, eight different places, and then they keep charging you. It’s like, wow.”

“Not to mention you’re up in competition with 20 to 30 other people,” Tehani said….

MN: W. Maui hotel occupancy still mostly residents | News, Sports, Jobs - Maui News

read … Maui fire survivors beg officials to help them secure long-term housing

Test Scores Show Slow Progress For Hawaii Students

CB: … While (Because) chronic absenteeism improved in Hawaii public schools, there was little improvement in reading and math scores in the 2022-23 school year….

(CLUE: Absentee students are the worst-performing students.  Now that they are slowly coming back, they are dragging test scores down.)

The Department of Education released a summary of results from the 2022-23 Strive HI reports, which assess the performance of all public school students, including those attending charter schools. Additional data, including individual schools’ performances, will be available on Thursday, when the DOE presents the report to the Board of Education.

In the school year that began in 2022, 52% of students achieved proficiency on state assessments in language arts, the same percentage as the previous year though slightly higher than 50% in the first full school year following the start of the pandemic. That was a drop from 54% language arts proficiency in the two years before the pandemic began in March 2020.

The improvement was more pronounced in math skills, with 40% of students achieving proficiency in the last school year, compared with 38% in 2021-22 and 32% in 2020-21. That figure was 43% in the year before the pandemic. In the 2019-20 school year, Hawaii received a waiver for standardized testing and did not include math and reading data in its annual report….

read … Test Scores Show Slow Progress For Hawaii Students

HOOSER: Yes, in my backyard!

TGI: … Like tens of thousands of homeowners across Hawai’i on every island, I’m allowed by law to build behind my existing home an additional dwelling unit (ADU), a guest house, ohana unit, or an additional rental unit (ARU) (different county’s call them different names).

I’d love to build a small rental unit for family (or for my wife and I when we get old) and/or to rent out for some extra retirement income.

Because the county offers property tax breaks for owners who rent at affordable rates, and because I want to do what’s right for family and community, I’d be happy to keep the rent of this new unit at truly affordable levels.

The law however requires me (and everyone else) to upgrade my cesspool to a septic system which could add up to $50,000 or more to the cost of construction.

If the state of Hawai’i would cover the first $50,000 of the costs via an affordable housing construction grant, thousands of existing homeowners across the island chain (including myself) would jump at the opportunity to build a little ohana unit out back….

read … HOOSER: Yes, in my backyard! - The Garden Island

Molokai Loses Food Stamp Waiver -  Unemployment Drops Sharply

CN: … Hawaii, for instance, wants to develop a pilot program to help 400 Molokai residents keep benefits. The rural island once had a waiver because of high unemployment, but the new rules assign Molokai to the same job market as nearby, more prosperous Maui, even though a 30-minute plane ride is the only way to travel between the islands.

The program would use education, training and volunteering to fulfill the work requirement. It's modeled after similar programs used in remote Alaska, which is seeking waivers for less-populated areas. Roughly 5,000 people in Alaska could lose benefits.

Attorneys general in nearly 20 states and Washington, D.C., have sued to block the rules. They say the changes will force people to divert their limited funds, leading to homelessness and health problems….

RELATED: Molokai Unemployment Suddenly Drops from 6.9% to 1.3%

read … New Food Stamp Rules Burden Hundreds of Thousands

Kalaeloa Home Lands Solar Terminated by HECO

IM: … Kalaeloa Home Lands Solar, LLC (KHLS) registered in Delaware and then registered with Hawai`i as a Foreign Limited Liability Company in 2010.

The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) agreed to a KHLS land lease for a 29.8 acre parcel located next to the Kalaeloa Airport in 2018.

KHLS bid into HECO`s request for proposals for community-based renewable energy projects. The proposed 1.72 MW system was to be operational in October 2022.

After many delays and missed deadlines, HECO terminated the project in October 2023….

read … Shared Solar Struggles to be Relevant

Jewish temple in Nuuanu beefs up security

SA: … The largest Jewish temple in Hawaii is trying to raise $50,000 to pay for armed guards and enhanced security in the wake of the Oct. 7 Hamas terror attack in Israel.

Due to the war in the Holy Land and “heightened antisemitism and acts of antisemitic violence around the world,” Temple Emanu-­ El, which counts 200 family units as members, is increasing security at its Nuuanu location on Pali Highway.

Heightened security will protect services, the temple’s school and special events, according to an email sent Monday to supporters.

Cris Borden, 51, president of the temple’s board of trustees, told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser in an interview that there have been no direct threats, but “some concerning voicemails” have been received.….

Borden said temple officials have been in contact with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and, through security contacts, Honolulu police….

Wray cited sobering statistics in his response, saying that Jewish people make up 2.4% of the U.S. population but are the targets of about 60% of religious-­based hate crimes. “That should be jarring to everyone,” he said….

Donations are being accepted at shaloha.com/donate…. 

KITV: Local Jewish temples increase security as antisemitism grows across the globe 

read … Jewish temple in Nuuanu beefs up security

Lahaina Fire News: 

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