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Monday, November 13, 2023
November 13, 2023 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 8:01 PM :: 1008 Views

Audit Exposes Caldwell’s $175M Slush Fund

While Lahaina Waits, One Business Quickly Allowed to Reopen

Gun Violence: Westside Legislators Push Back Against Grace, Fevella

Nan News: ‘High Likelihood’ Of More Delays In Critically Important Honolulu Rail Work

CB: … A top manager for the Honolulu rail project says there are probably more delays ahead in a troublesome contract to relocate utilities along Dillingham Boulevard, a particularly painful piece of the rail project that is snarling urban traffic and costing hundreds of millions of dollars….

The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation awarded a $497 million contract to Nan Inc. last year to relocate utilities from Kamehameha Highway at Laumaka Street along Dillingham to Kaaahi Street. That work is about 15% complete, and the originally scheduled end date for the contract is December 2025.

This is the second utility relocation contract for Nan, and progress on the rail line has already been slowed because of problems with that utility work. Now a report produced by HART last month has generated new questions about the latest schedule.

A cashflow spreadsheet presented to the HART Finance Committee earlier this month projects HART will make $134.5 million in payments to the Honolulu-based contractor sometime in fiscal year 2027. But that fiscal year begins July 1, 2026, which is six months after Nan’s contract is scheduled to end….

The report notes another medium risk related to “contractor performance,” explaining that Nan was supposed to provide nine crews to work two shifts per day, seven days per week. That didn’t happen in the first four months of the contract, according to the HART report….

read … ‘High Likelihood’ Of More Delays In Critically Important Honolulu Rail Work

Lahaina: Some Parts Of HECO's New Wildfire Strategy Were Already In Play

CB: … On Nov. 3, when Hawaiian Electric unveiled a new “wildfire safety strategy” to better protect most of the state’s power grid against future devastating blazes, grid repairs in Lahaina were already well underway and, in some places, completed.

Nonetheless, the state’s largest power utility says it has been putting that strategy into practice in Lahaina as its crews install new poles and erect transmission lines across the burn area. In fact, some steps in the strategy occurred there for years prior to the Aug. 8 wildfire.

Ever since the disaster, Hawaiian Electric has been installing aluminum wiring there instead of the single-strand copper wiring that tends to become brittle over time and runs along other parts of the grid, company officials said….

REALITY: Copper vs. Aluminum Wire 

IM: HECO Files Financial Reports Addressing Fires & Reducing Community Involvement in Regulatory Proceedings

read … Some Parts Of HECO's New Wildfire Strategy Were Already In Play - Honolulu Civil Beat

Lahaina Fire Cleanup Addresses Lithium Battery Debris

IM: … The US EPA spokesperson noted that the Maui fires presented three firsts for the agency:

Lahaina is the first major fire with numerous electric vehicles and residential lithium batteries. Although the batteries burned, they could still catch fire, explode, be very hot, and/or give a powerful electric shock.

It is the first time that cultural advisors are being relied on in a phase 1 of an EPA post-fire cleanup.

It is also the first widespread use of Soiltac. The soil stabilizer will be applied to ash but not on the bare ground. The chemical will first be applied along the coast to prevent toxic ash from entering the ocean.

Subsequently, the US Army Corp of Engineers will remove the top layer of the soil including the Soiltac, and then conduct soil testing to determine if the remaining soil is safe….

read … Lahaina Fire Cleanup Addresses Lithium Battery Debris

Miske Eight Years Later: It could have been a simple traffic ticket

ILind: … It was not clear whether Miske’s mention of the “the top of the food chain” was referring to the top of the Honolulu Police Department or to the office of Honolulu Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro, Lee said in a declaration later filed in court.

However, about a day later, Miske telephoned Roger Lau, special assistant to then-Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney Keith Kaneshiro, according to phone records cited in an FBI affidavit filed in support of a subsequent search warrant. In addition to his position in the prosecutor’s office, Lau was also deputy director of Kaneshiro’s campaign committee, according to Campaign Spending Commission records. The two reportedly spoke for nine minutes.

On November 16, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Katherine Kealoha, who headed the career criminal division in the prosecutor’s office and was married to Honolulu’s police chief Louis Kealoha, also called Lau, although it is unclear whether this was before or after Lau’s conversation with Miske.

One day later, Kealoha sent an email to Spiker, saying she just wanted to give Spiker a “heads up” about a “multi-agency operation going on.”

Later that morning, she telephoned Spiker and told him Miske was “assisting the Prosecutor’s Office with an ongoing investigation.” She suggested Spiker should stop his efforts to locate Miske, and he agreed….

read … It could have been a simple traffic ticket | i L i n d

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