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Friday, December 1, 2023
December 1, 2023 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:14 PM :: 1301 Views

Kauai: 8% Electric Rate Hike for KIUC

Up in Smoke? AG's Plan to turn Illegal Drug Dealers into Legal Tax-Paying Entrepreneurs

Vivek Ramaswamy on Ballot for Hawaii Republican Presidential Caucus

EPA Completes Removal of Hazardous Materials Following Wildfires on Maui

HTA: Input Invited on Tourism’s Role in Supporting Maui’s Recovery

After Four Months of ‘Toxic’ Hysteria--the Rains come to Lahaina and … nothing happens

SA: … This week’s Kona low storm was anticipated to be the first big rain in Lahaina since the wildfire that destroyed the heart of the historic town and left toxic ash and chemicals at risk of being washed into the ocean.

But as of Thursday evening, (uhhh…) “not enough rain had fallen” (yeah.  that’s the excuse.) in West Maui to trigger a citizen science group to take planned water quality measurements following what scientists are calling “the first flush.”

(REALITY: Ash is an irritant, not a toxin.  Ash is part of the natural environment--including near-shore waters.  All the toxic hype is designed to scare people away from their properties and make government contractors a lot of money.) 

“We may sample tomorrow or maybe after the next storm,” said Liz Yannell, program manager with Hui o ka Wai Ola, a community group dedicated to measuring and sharing the status of Maui’s ocean water….

Even before the Kona low was in the forecast, fears of heavy rain and runoff helped to trigger plans for a $40 million “emergency stormwater capture system” designed to reduce the environmental impact from silt, ash and other disaster debris entering storm drainage systems.

(CLUE: Total waste of time and money.)

Announced a week and a half ago, the project, which includes design, construction management and continued management of the system through 2024, would be funded through the Federal Highway Administration’s Emergency Relief program.

The area to be covered by the stormwater capture system includes the entire length of Front Street, Hono­apiilani Highway between its southern connection with Front Street and Wahikuli Wayside Park, and stormwater inlets in Leialii Hawaiian Home Land, Kapunakea, Mala, the Puunoa Beach area, Lahaina town, Luna­ville and Wainee….

read … Kona low threatens Lahaina nearshore waters | Honolulu Star-Advertiser (staradvertiser.com)

Lahaina Fire: 72 Lawsuits Against Hawaiian Electric

IM: … The complaints named Hawaiian Electric Industries (72 complaints), Hawaiian Electric Company (72 complaints), Maui Electric Company (72 complaints), Hawai`i Electric Light Company (68 complaints), County of Maui (50 complaints), State of Hawai`i et al (48 complaints), Kamehameha Schools (13 complaints), Land developers (6 complaints), and telecommunications companies (4 complaints).

The vast majority, 67 of the complaints, are pending in the Second Circuit Court in Maui County, three complaints are pending in the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawai`i, and two are pending in the First Circuit Court in Honolulu.

Six of the lawsuits involve more than 10 plaintiffs. Maui law firms: Denise Sze (99 plaintiffs), Lance David Collins and Harrison Lee Kiehm (65 plaintiffs), Singleton Schreiber (19 plaintiffs); Honolulu law firms: LippSmith LLP (38  plaintiffs), and Bickerton Law Group (13 plaintiffs); and Kailua law firm Stuemke (17 plaintiffs)

Initial disclosures, status conferences, and scheduling conferences have occurred. Discussions are underway to enable proceeded in a coordinated fashion.

read … HECO Disconnects Between Fire Lawsuits and Three Regulatory Proceedings

Several Maui hotel contracts with Red Cross ending this week, aid agency says

HNN: … Several hotel contracts are ending this week with the emergency non-congregate shelter program for Maui evacuees run by the American Red Cross.

After Hawaii News Now reported on the multiple moves for West Maui families, the aid agency says it’s trying to provide shelter options as close to home as possible.

“We understand that many individuals prefer to remain in Lahaina, and we are working hard to provide sheltering options as close to home as possible,” said the Red Cross, in a statement.

Community organization Maui Rapid Response said 850 people were moving over the next couple of weeks, but the Red Cross didn’t release a specific number.

As many displaced families switch hotels just before the holiday season, others are trying to help.

Carl Hu, Seattle resident and owner of a unit at the Honua Kai hotel condominium in Kaanapali, says he’s been renting to the same family that’s been in his unit since the wildfire disaster.

He says he’ll continue to rent to fire evacuees next year and beyond — as long as it’s financially possible.

“People need to live in West Maui. It’s not acceptable to spread them all over send them to Kahului when their kids go to school in Lahaina,” Hu said.

Hu says he’s interested in Gov. Josh Green’s proposal offering generous government rents and tax relief to short-term rental owners.

“That is definitely progress from what they were talking about before,” Hu said.

He also likes Maui County Mayor Richard Bissen’s tax waivers for short-term rental owners.

But he thinks getting hit with high taxes for those who stick to renting to tourists is unfair when tourism is part of the economic recovery….

read … Several Maui hotel contracts with Red Cross ending this week, aid agency says

In win for activists, military says it will permanently end live-fire training at Makua Valley

HNN: … The U.S. Department Defense has announced the military no longer needs to conduct live-fire training in Makua Valley — now or in the future….

U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth filed a statement with federal court in Hawaii detailing the military’s new stance….

Under the terms of a 2001 settlement, the military hasn’t conducted live-fire training at Makua Valley since 2004. Then in 2008, the Army said moving training from the area was feasible…. 

Big Q: Do you favor the official end of live-fire training at Makua Military Reservation?

SA: Live-fire training in Makua Valley not needed, Army says

read … In win for activists, military says it will permanently end live-fire training at Makua Valley

Surf schools granted restraining order on lottery

HTH: … Kona Circuit Court Judge Robert D.S. Kim on Thursday granted a temporary restraining order which will halt the issuing of permits by the DLNR for surf school operators at Kahalu‘u Bay.

Surf schools Kona Mike’s Surf Adventures, Surf Lessons Hawaii, Kona Adventure and Tifani Stegehuis filed an application for TRO against the DLNR and its Chair Dawn Chang on Tuesday to prohibit the issuance of the permits for surf instruction “based on an ambiguous, arbitrary, and unjust lottery system utilized by Defendants to award such permits on November 17, 2023.”…

The application to the court stated the flawed lottery permitting system resulted in three of the four permits being awarded to entities owned by only one individual, effectively creating a monopoly for surf instruction in one of the few, if not the only, suitable locations for instruction available on the Big Island….

read … Surf schools granted restraining order on lottery - Hawaii Tribune-Herald

Incomplete police report, differing accounts: ‘Red flags’ questioned in crash involving HPD officer

HNN: … The report states the corporal “appeared to be tired, possibly from just finishing a 3/13-hour work week” and that he seemed “worried” due to his “last chance” probation status because of prior incidents.

However, law enforcement sources tell us Isala was at a party prior to the crash.

We asked HPD if officers drove the corporal home that night because they suspected he was intoxicated, but officials refused to answer the question saying in a statement, “HPD is continuing to investigate the collision, including the actions of the responding officers.”

The spokesperson added, “Further information on this incident is not being released at this time.”

It wouldn’t be the first time Isala was a suspect in a DUI case.

Court documents reveal he was arrested for driving under the influence and crashing into a utility pole seven years ago. A judge later found him not guilty of the 2016 DUI and inattention to driving charges.

“In the end, there’s questions that still need to be answered,” said Hankins.

For example, why responding officers didn’t put Isala’s initial statement from the crash scene in the report until a supervisor asked where it was.

That night he told his colleagues he veered into another lane and collided with the motorcyclist after someone “cut him off.”

In an interview two months later, Isala told investigators “he took his attention off the roadway and was looking at the rail station ... not realizing there was a motorcycle ahead of him.”

HPD has since closed the crash investigation. Isala was never cited despite evidence he caused the collision….

read … Incomplete police report, differing accounts: ‘Red flags’ questioned in crash involving HPD officer

Pilgrims yearn to visit an isolated peninsula where Catholic saints cared for Hawaii's leprosy patients

AP: …  The pilgrimage to Kalaupapa, defined by its natural isolation in northern Molokai, is logistically challenging to make under normal circumstances, with longstanding rules including prohibiting anyone younger than 16 from visiting. It is even more so today because of lingering COVID-19 pandemic restrictions that canceled all pilgrimages and tours of the national historical park to protect the peninsula’s eight remaining former patients. Park and state health department officials have been easing restrictions and are considering when to resume organized pilgrimages and tours ….

read … Pilgrims yearn to visit an isolated peninsula where Catholic saints cared for Hawaii's leprosy patients

Homeless Outreach Team Gets One Person off streets every two weeks

HNN: … David Warman manages the Outreach Navigation Program.

No matter what the weather is like, his team of outreach specialists from the Institute for Human Services are helping those with mental illness or substance abuse off the streets.

Warman said their line of work takes patience and compassion. The program is focused on trying to help those with mental illness understand the long-term benefits of medication.

“We probably helped 50 or 60 over the past year and a half to two years,” said Warman….

HPR: State aims to cut unsheltered homelessness in half by 2026 | Hawai'i Public Radio (hawaiipublicradio.org)

KITV: Homeless residents in Honolulu wait years for support despite city's efforts | Local | kitv.com

read … This dedicated homeless outreach team has found success, but they need more help (hawaiinewsnow.com)

Lahaina Fire News:

Legislative Agenda:

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