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Thursday, January 11, 2024
January 11, 2024 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 2:08 PM :: 1231 Views

State Senate Democrats Announce Legislative Priorities for 2024

Hawaii: $2.5M needed to retire

No-Bid 8a Contractors Got Millions--but Rains Washed Lahaina Ash into Ocean Anyway 

CB: … Although the Environmental Protection Agency (became the State and County’s excuse to make homeowners wait for months while they) has (paid no-bid 8a contractors millions of dollars to apply) applied a soil stabilizer to scorched properties in Lahaina and Maui County has (and) placed absorbent material and other pollution controls around storm drains and along Front Street, it’s highly likely that some level of contaminants found in the ash – things like arsenic, lead and volatile organic compounds – entered the ocean.

(TRANSLATION: All this ‘stabilization’ work was a sham.) 

“Without question, some of that is making its way into the coastal waters,” Shuler said. “At this point we really don’t know the impacts.”

(CLUE:  It’s mud.  There will be no ‘impact’.  Fire, rain and mud are part of the natural cycle of life.  Volatile organic compounds are volatile--therefore they evaporated months ago.  And lead and arsenic are elements, therefore immutable outside of a nuclear reactor.  The oceans are naturally full of elements including lead and arsenic.  This ‘toxic’ scare talk exists to line 8a contractors pockets and keep property owners from getting back to their land.)

(PS: Gotta love the photos of ‘citizen scientist’ water samplers wearing hip waders and respirators just to collect some samples of muddy water.  Amusing that anybody is fooled by crap like this.)

Nov 16, 2023: Fronting for the Contractors: CNHA Hosting Debris Removal Meeting

read … Heavy Rain Washed Fire-Related Contaminants Into The Ocean Off Lahaina. How Bad Is It? - Honolulu Civil Beat

Depositions Go badly for ‘Sue Big Oil’ Eco-Kiddies

SA: … Gov. Josh Green’s administration is requesting an additional $2.25 million to fight the climate lawsuit brought by 14 Hawaii youths claiming that the state Department of Transportation has violated their constitutional rights “to live healthful lives in Hawai‘i now and into the future.”

The money will be used to pay for an outside law firm that has already joined the state Attorney General’s Office in representing the department in a case set to go to trial June 24 through July 12 in the 1st Circuit’s Environmental Court in Honolulu.

Attorneys for the young plaintiffs are accusing their counterparts from the law firm of Morgan Lewis & Bockius of using some aggressive, mainland-style tactics to harass the plaintiffs during individual depositions currently being taken with each of the 14 Hawaii youths….

HNN: Former high court justice says state is wasting money hiring lawyers to fight climate change lawsuit 

(Translation: They want the legislature to cut off funding for the defense.)

read … Firm fighting climate lawsuit accused of aggressive tactics

Ewa Rep Martinez Refuses to Make Lead Contamination test Results Public

CB: … Rep. Rose Martinez is refusing to turn over lab tests that appear to show lead-contaminated soil in an area near the Marine Corps training facility in Ewa Beach. As Civil Beat’s Christina Jedra reported in a detailed story published Wednesday, Martinez spent more than $1,100 of her taxpayer-funded legislative expense account on the testing but is now refusing to release the results despite an internal email suggesting they came back positive….

read … The Sunshine Blog: The Legislature Is About To Start. So Let The Bullying Begin - Honolulu Civil Beat

Kaneshiro Corruption Case Set for Trial Feb 27

CB: … another high-profile case is preparing to go to trial too. That is the abuse of power and bribery (among other things) case involving former Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney Keith Kaneshiro, businessman Dennis Mitsunaga and four others….

Prosecutors say Kaneshiro brought forth a meritless case against an ex-employee of Mitsunaga & Associates. Around the same time, Mitsunaga, his business associates, and his former lawyer contributed tens of thousands of dollars to Kaneshiro’s election campaign. 

This case flowed out of the wide-ranging investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office into former Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha and his then-wife, former deputy county prosecutor Katherine Kealoha who worked for Kaneshiro.

In recent days U.S. District Judge J. Michael Seabright, federal prosecutors and attorneys for the defense have been meeting with dozens of prospective jurors even though trial isn’t set to begin til Feb. 27….

read … The Sunshine Blog: The Legislature Is About To Start. So Let The Bullying Begin - Honolulu Civil Beat

Miske Trial Day 3

ILind: … Wednesday, January 10, was another day of jury selection.

This time around, nine jurors survived the process of voir dire. So of 60 prospective jurors who were called to appear during these first three days of jury selection, a total of 25 jurors have survived the process.

That’s just over half of the number needed.

So it appears jury selection will continue into early next week.

After a sufficient number of jurors remain in the pool, attorneys on both sides will then be able to strike a limited number of jurors without cause, for any reason. The remaining will have to be sufficient to fill the 12-member juror and provide several alternates….

ILind: Miske trial Day 2 (minutes) | i L i n d

read … Miske trial Day 3 | i L i n d

$100M will be left for Native Hawaiian causes from Kawananakoa Estate

AP: … Now, more than a year after her death at age 96 and the bitter battles over her fortune in the twilight of her life, her estate has been settled. And recently finalized court documents show that after doling out tens of millions to various people — including former housekeepers, other longtime employees and her ‘wife’ — there will be at least $100 million left to support Native Hawaiian causes….

Big Q: What do you think of Abigail Kawananakoa’s $200M estate being settled?

SA: Battle for Abigail Kawananakoa’s estate comes to an end

Background: Kawananakoa Estate: Sex, Drugs, and Inequality

Must Read: The Royal Torch: Beamer, Billie F.: 9780963376404: Amazon.com: Books

read … $100M will be left for Native Hawaiian causes from the estate of an heiress considered last princess | AP News

UH 800 bed Dorm vacant for Seven Years, nobody noticed

HNN: … An 800-bed dormitory at the University of Hawaii at Manoa has now been vacant for seven years…

“Maybe we should turn that into kauhale,” she said, referring to tiny home villages being developed for homeless residents. “Give it to the governor and let him turn it into a kauhale; we can put housing there.”

Ways and Means Chair Donovan Dela Cruz pressed Lassner about how the building was neglected for so many years.

“How would you not know that those dorms have been vacant for seven years?” he asked.

“I can’t answer,” Lassner responded with shrugged shoulders. “Nobody brought it to my attention. And I didn’t ask the question.”

CB: The Sunshine Blog: The Legislature Is About To Start. So Let The Bullying Begin - Honolulu Civil Beat

CB: University of Hawaii Budget Request Faces Backlash From Senators - Honolulu Civil Beat

SA: Crumbling dorm calls UH priorities into question | Honolulu Star-Advertiser (staradvertiser.com)

read … Vacant large dorm draws senators’ anger as UH proposes $80M in renovations

How big is the latest COVID wave?

NYT: … Reported levels of the virus in U.S. wastewater are higher than they have been since the first omicron wave, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, although severe outcomes still remain rarer than in earlier pandemic winters.

“We are seeing rates are going up across the country,” said Amy Kirby, program lead for the CDC’s National Wastewater Surveillance System. The program now categorizes every state with available data at “high” or “very high” viral activity.

The surge might reach its peak this week or soon after, modelers predict, with high levels of transmission expected for at least another month beyond that.

Hospitalizations and deaths have remained far lower than in previous years. There were around 35,000 hospitalizations reported in the last week of December — down from 44,000 a year earlier — and 1,600 weekly deaths as of early December, down from 3,000. (At the same time in 2020, there were around 100,000 hospitalizations and 20,000 deaths each week.) …

(CLUE: Get vaccinated.)

read … How big is the latest COVID wave?

Red Hill Registry Being Planned to Study Long-Term Health Effects of Tainted Water on Hawaii Military Community

M: … The Department of Defense plans to develop a registry for residents of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, who consumed water tainted with jet fuel in November 2021 to understand the long-term health impacts, a Defense Health Agency official said Tuesday.

The announcement comes more than two years after 93,000 service members and their families were exposed to the contamination. It is still unknown when the registry will be operational, but work on creating it is expected to start later this year.

Working with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, the Pentagon is building the database and plans to provide a grant to an independent organization, such as a nonprofit or university, to manage the project. Army Col. John Oh, a DHA spokesman, said during an online briefing Tuesday that the grant is expected to be awarded sometime in the summer or fall but couldn't say when residents would be able to sign up….

SAS: Red Hill fuel exposure registry remains far from ready 2 years after Hawaii spill

read … Red Hill Registry Being Planned to Study Long-Term Health Effects of Tainted Water on Hawaii Military Community

Settlement talks continue in sex assault case against former Saint Louis School football stars

HNN: … The attorneys for Saint Louis School, two former high school football stars and a woman suing them for sex assault have not come to settlement terms — despite three days of mediation. Court records show talks will continue Thursday.

Quarterback Jayden De Laura, currently in the transfer portal after spending two years at the University of Arizona, and safety Kamoi Latu — a senior at the University of Wisconsin — were sued for an alleged attack in 2018. The plaintiff, who was a minor at the time, said the players sexually assaulted her in the stairwell of the school’s parking garage after a championship game win.

Court records show De Laura and Latu were prosecuted and accepted responsibility in the juvenile court system — so the details are sealed….

read … Settlement talks continue in sex assault case against former Saint Louis School football stars

More details emerge in HCCC overdoses

HTH: … The Hawaii Community Correctional Center inmate who survived a fentanyl overdose in the facility on Jan. 4 was revived by a dose of naloxone, also known as Narcan….

HTH: Wife of dead HCCC inmate speaks out, recalls generous side of her husband - Hawaii Tribune-Herald

read … More details emerge in HCCC overdoses - Hawaii Tribune-Herald

Legislative Agenda:

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