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Friday, November 10, 2023
November 10, 2023 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:51 PM :: 1442 Views

Musical Chairs: Green Appoints HD10 Rep Hashimoto to Senate Dist 5 Maui

Trap & skeet ranges at Koko Head Shooting Complex reopening this weekend

Mililani Fire Video: Native Trees Burn, Albizia Survives

Hawaii Anti-Vaxxers Jump to Whopping 6.4% of Population

AP: … The proportion of U.S. kindergartners exempted from school vaccination requirements has hit its highest level ever, 3%, U.S. health officials said Thursday.

More parents are questioning routine childhood vaccinations that they used to automatically accept, an effect of the political schism that emerged during the pandemic around COVID-19 vaccines, experts say.

Even though more kids were given exemptions, the national vaccination rate held steady: 93% of kindergartners got their required shots for the 2022-2023 school year, the same as the year before, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a report Thursday. The rate was 95% in the years before the COVID-19 pandemic….

Ten states — all in the West or Midwest — reported that more than 5% of kindergartners were exempted from at least one kind of required vaccine. Idaho had the highest percentage, with 12% of kindergartners receiving at least one exemption. In contrast, 0.1% had exemptions in New York….

Hawaii saw the largest jump, with the exemption rate rising to 6.4%, nearly double the year before….

(TRANSLATION: 93.6% are not anti-vaxxers.  Hint, hint.)

read … US childhood vaccination exemptions reach their highest level ever

HPD probe launched into handling of officer-involved crash that left motorcyclist injured

HNN: … Records reveal a Honolulu police officer arrested for driving under the influence and crashing into a utility pole seven years ago recently slammed his subsidized vehicle into the back of a motorcyclist, seriously injuring the rider.

A judge found Vasai Isala, Jr. not guilty of the 2016 DUI and inattention to driving charges.

Meanwhile, the victim in this latest crash tells HNN Investigates he’s spent the past month and half trying to get answers about what happened the night he was hit.

But he says he’s being stonewalled by the police department….

After receiving several tips from law enforcement sources about the case, we asked HPD if the department was investigating claims that Vasai Islala, Jr. — who has been on the force for 18 years — may have been driving under the influence when he crashed into a motorcyclist.

HPD didn’t confirm or deny that information.

However, a spokesperson did tell us an administrative investigation is underway into the responding officers’ handling of the incident.

On Sept. 22 at 9:10 p.m., Honolulu police responded to the scene of the crash on Kamehameha Highway at Salt Lake Boulevard….

read … HPD probe launched into handling of officer-involved crash that left motorcyclist injured

Upcountry Maui Still Waiting for 8a Corporations to Get their fill at the trough

CB: … The property just next door was destroyed, and Anderson is eager to finish the cleanup of his own home and yard but feels there’s no point to it until the burned properties are cleared.

That process, being overseen by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, started Tuesday, causing additional anxiety among many community members….

An Oct. 15 advisory from the Hawaii Department of Health says preliminary data from wildfire ash collected from eight burned homes in Kula showed “very high levels” of the heavy metal arsenic and elevated levels of lead and cobalt, posing a potential health risk to people exposed to the ash….

Hart, 71, and several other Upper Kula residents who spoke to Civil Beat last week seemed satisfied that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s spray application of the Soiltac soil stabilizer on burned properties seems to have done its job of containing the ash and dust to keep it from getting airborne.  

“It’ll be handled in the cleanup,” Hart said. “We’ll still have ash from the forest and whatnot but that’s Mother Nature, even if it does have toxins in it. It’s just the way it is.”…

The Phase 1 removal of household hazardous waste such as compressed gas cylinders, pesticides, ammunition and batteries from the Upcountry burn zones and application of Soiltac was completed by the EPA in mid-September.

Phase 2 removal of remaining structural ash and debris at nearly two dozen Upcountry properties saw site assessments for hazardous materials and bulk asbestos removal completed Oct. 23 by Dawson Solutions, under a $52.5 million contract covering fire-damaged sites in Lahaina and Upcountry.

In a best-case scenario, USACE officials said debris removal Upcountry could be completed by mid-December, at which point, with county approval, fire victims would be free to clear any remaining debris and move toward rebuilding….

Many of the Upcountry meetings with various agencies were limited to those whose homes burned, even though the impacts of the disaster are widespread. As a result, Anderson said he’s gotten most of his information from friends and neighbors who were privy to those meetings and from stopping groups of officials as they walk through the neighborhood.

“The frustration over communication and the government response is palpable,” he said. “Everybody understands this is small potatoes compared to the Lahaina situation, but nonetheless this is where we live, and the only way we know what’s coming right now is really with community outreach to each other.”…. 

SA: Fire debris removal from Maui private properties begins

SA: Maui declares Stage 2 water shortage

read … Upcountry Maui Is Entering The Next Phase Of Fire Recovery. But Anxiety Persists

‘The era of complacency is over’: Wildfire planning agency swamped by requests for help

HNN: … A Hawaii wildfire management nonprofit says only a few communities in the state have prepared for wildfires and now more than 100 are lining up to get protected. The small organization was practically ignored before Maui’s wildfire disaster.

The Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization, based on Hawaii island, has been around 23 years. Elizabeth Pickett, co-executive director, wrote the Wildfire Protection Plan for west Maui nine years ago. In fact, she wrote the federally compliant plans for nearly 20 areas across the state. The reports focus on wildfire mitigation and prevention rather than fire response….

Pickett says before the Maui wildfires, its community meetings were sparse with just few in attendance. These days meetings are standing room only with up to 300 people.

“Most of our talking points are trying to convince people that fire is an issue,” she said.

“I think that era of complacency or having to be convinced is totally over.”

She says 19 communities across the state had previously gone through what’s called a Firewise program, a lengthy process. Neighborhoods include Waianae, Nanakuli, Lanikai, Central Oahu, Mililani, Upcountry Maui, Kihei and Kaanapali….

“One of our most active and model communities is Laniupoko, which is on the edge of the burn scar so we are so proud of them for the action taken ahead of time,” said Pickett.

Now 120 communities are on a waiting list go through the process to become more protected from wildfires.

Pickett says there are things communities and residents can do now to protect against wildfires. For more information, head to their website….

read … ‘The era of complacency is over’: Wildfire planning agency swamped by requests for help

Search For Lahaina’s Missing Spurs Creation Of Cold Case Unit

CB: … Members of a special Maui police task force working to track down and identify people reported missing after the deadly wildfires of Aug. 8 will soon pivot to investigating cold cases.

Maui Police Chief John Pelletier has created a cold case detail that will focus on reexamining the department’s 23 unsolved homicide cases as well as dozens of missing persons cases going back decades. 

Creating a cold case unit was one of Pelletier’s priorities when he was appointed chief in 2021, Maui police spokeswoman Alana Pico said in an email. Before, unsolved cases were investigated only when time permitted. …

read … Search For Lahaina’s Missing Spurs Creation Of Cold Case Unit

The Power Was Out Before The Fires Started. Then Hawaiian Electric Flipped The Switch

CB: … The power was already out in West Maui at 5 a.m. on Aug. 8 and it could have stayed that way had Hawaiian Electric decided not to re-energize its lines. 

Instead, the company rebooted a tripped transmission line so that it could provide electricity to some of its customers in Lahaina despite an ongoing windstorm and repeated warnings of extreme fire danger.

The power came back on around 6 a.m. and within the hour a downed power line near the intersection of of Lahainaluna Road and Hoohakuna Street sparked a blaze that may have been the origin of the deadly inferno that ripped through much of Lahaina and killed at least 99 people….

read … The Power Was Out Before The Fires Started. Then Hawaiian Electric Flipped The Switch

First active-duty troops file federal lawsuit over fuel-tainted tap water in Hawaii

SAS: … Three soldiers and two sailors have become the first active-duty service members to file suit in federal court seeking compensation for harm from the Navy’s fuel-contaminated tap water in their homes near Pearl Harbor in late 2021.

The lawsuit, filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Hawaii, will test the boundaries of a legal concept that prevents members of the armed forces injured during active duty from suing the federal government under the Federal Tort Claims Act….

read … First active-duty troops file federal lawsuit over fuel-tainted tap water in Hawaii

Latest Anti-Telescope Trick: Maunakea eyed for registers of historic places

HTH: … Hawaiian cultural practitioners have nominated Maunakea to be included on the state and federal registers of historic places.

At a Thursday meeting of the Maunakea Stewardship and Oversight Authority board, Ku‘upua Kiyuna, legal specialist for nonprofit Huliauapa‘a, told the board her organization has filed nominations for a portion of Maunakea, including the mountain’s summit, to be listed as a “traditional cultural property and district” on the National Register of Historic Places and the Hawaii Register of Historic Places….

Huliauapa‘a, Kiyuna said, is dedicated to empowering communities to steward and preserve Hawaii’s cultural sites. As such, it submitted the nomination on behalf of two other Native Hawaiian advocate groups, KAHEA and Mauna Kea Anaina Hou.

By having the mountain — more specifically, public lands on the mountain above the 6,500-meter level — listed on the state and federal registers, Kiyuna said agencies such as the Hawaii State Historic Preservation Division and the National Trust for Historic Preservation would participate in future changes or alterations to the site.

“Both state and federal historic preservation processes require project proponents to weigh the impacts of any proposed projects on historic sites,” Kiyuna said. “The main takeaway here is that establishing a (traditional cultural property) gives project proponents more information to work with and an earlier understanding of the compliance that’ll be required.”

(Meanwhile, historic telescopes are being dismantled and shipped to Chile.)

read … Maunakea eyed for registers of historic places

Honolulu Gay Bar Steps Up Dispute With Liquor Commission

CB: … The Honolulu Liquor Commission is being accused of issuing a death threat against Robert Sobieralski, a witness in a federal civil rights lawsuit against the commission.

The lawsuit was filed in fall of 2021 by the LGBTQ+ newsletter Gay Island Guide and the LGBTQ+ bar Scarlet Honolulu, owned by Robert Baldwin. Sobieralski, Baldwin’s longtime partner, has made hundreds of public records requests to the commission since then.

In late October, the phrase “Rob is dead” was scrawled onto the outside of a building that Sobieralski often walks past to pick up these public records, according to Scarlet’s lawyer….

“There is no evidence contained in the motion for a temporary restraining order that shows the graffiti at issue references the plaintiffs, witnesses, or anyone connected to this case. There also is no evidence whatsoever connecting the Honolulu Liquor Commission to the graffiti,” Smith said….

Late last year, one investigator, Catherine Fontaine, obtained a temporary restraining order against Sobieralski, claiming that his stream of records requests along with sending information about her to the commission and the City Council constituted harassment. … 

HNN: Death threat graffiti prompts nightclub owner to file suit against Honolulu Liquor Commission

read … Honolulu Gay Bar Steps Up Dispute With Liquor Commission

Trump hotel rebranding to become Wakea Waikiki Beach

SA: … The upcoming removal of Trump’s surname from the building follows what’s been described as a “mutual decision” for an early departure from the management contract and a significant buyout, said Scott Ingwers, who served as managing director of the hotel under the Trump Organization and will serve in the same role at the rebranded hotel…..

Ingwers said, “For our hotel, our international guests were thrilled to be staying at the president’s hotel, which made up for some guests who preferred not to stay for their own political reasons…..” 

SN: Trump International Hotel to be rebranded

I: Wakea Press Release_C&R Irongate Approved  

T: TRUMP HOTELS AND IRONGATE REACH A DEAL FOR THE SIGNIFICANT BUYOUT OF TRUMP INTERNATIONAL HOTEL, WAIKIKI (prnewswire.com)

Big Q: Are you following Donald Trump’s New York civil fraud trial?

read … Trump hotel rebranding to become Wakea Waikiki Beach

Lahaina Fire News:

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