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April 12, 2024 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:26 PM :: 722 Views

SB2706: 'Expungement' will help sex offenders find work in Hawaii schools

Study STR economic impact before banning them

‘Surprise’ state tax last straw for veteran Hawaii bar owner?

Legislators “stripped out pretty much everything that made it work.”

Health Department: Lahaina Ocean Waters Safe for Recreation

Hawaii #3 for Per-Capita Congressional Earmarks

CB: … Federal lawmakers cut total appropriations for home-state projects by 5% in fiscal 2024 compared to the previous year. But some states “are more equal than others” when it comes to the distribution of earmarked funds, says a report from CQ Roll Call.

The top six states for overall earmark dollars are California ($1.05 billion), Texas ($747 million), New York ($655 million), Maine ($602 million), Mississippi ($532 million) and — aloha! — Hawaii ($489 million). Hawaii, Maine and Mississippi, CQ Roll Call explains, punch well above their weight compared to the much more heavily populated states.

Why is that? The data is also broken down to measure per capita earmarked funds. Hawaii ($341) is No. 3 after Alaska ($642) and Maine ($431.) The credit is due in no small part to the “appropriator clout” of Sens. Brian Schatz, Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins, respectively, each of whom sits on the Senate Appropriations Committee. And Hawaii Rep. Ed Case is on the House Appropriations Committee….

read … The Sunshine Blog: Missing Records, Money Talks And Who Doesn't Love A Good Bagel

Former MMA fighter testifies he carried out beatings for alleged crime boss Mike Miske

HNN: … In the ongoing federal trial alleged crime boss Mike Miske, career criminal Jake Smith testified Thursday that he was the muscle who exacted revenge on Miske’s enemies and rivals.

He also said he had inside knowledge of murder plots.

Smith was an aspiring MMA fighter who said he was part of a robbery gang that targeted drug dealers and illegal game rooms. He said he kept Miske informed of their crimes and Miske set him up with an attorney.

He also said he was on call to assault people for Miske — for $1,000-$2,500 per beating….

He testified that Miske’s half-brother, John Stancil, would joke that Fraser “went for a swim” and that others who crossed Miske would meet the same fate.

Smith also said Miske offered $250,000 to kill a cockfight organizer he thought was informing on him and asked Smith to bring Lance Bermudez to the meeting.

“Lance was known as a shooter and he asked me to bring Lance to Kam Shopping Center to talk about killing Joe Boy Tavares,” Smith said….

2012: Hawaii Movie, TV Drivers Have A Long History of Drugs and Violence

KITV: "He testified that he wasn't afraid about retaliation from people he robbed because they were part of Miske's group and people were afraid of them,"

read … Former MMA fighter testifies he carried out beatings for alleged crime boss Mike Miske

Video shows robbery of BVNK store by Miske crew wearing ‘Sheriff’ Shirts

ILind: … The government expects the evidence will show that by October 27, 2015, Stancil had taken over Michael Miske’s role of overseeing robberies. Wayne Miller brought intelligence on BVNK to Stancil, who then directed the robbery of BVNK. Lance Bermudez initially protested the robbery because he knew the store owner, but agreed to be the driver after Stancil indicated that the robbery would go forward with or without Bermudez. Bermudez provided stolen shirts with the word “SHERIFF” on the back, and drove the getaway vehicle. Stancil, Kelii Foster, and F.S. entered BVNK wearing the sheriff shirts and masks. Stancil carried zip ties, Foster carried what appeared to be a firearm, and F.S. carried a baton. The store clerk was forced into the back by all three. Foster carried out the store’s safe, and F.S. carried out a cash register. Stancil, Foster, and F.S. then escaped in the car driven by Bermudez….

read … Video shows robbery of BVNK store by Miske crew | i L i n d

$120M for 5 Years use of New Elementary School In West Maui

CB: … A temporary campus for King Kamehameha III Elementary opened earlier this month, but hosting students at the West Maui site could cost over $100 million, Department of Education officials say.

The school, located at the Pulelehua housing development near the Kapalua Airport, hosted its first day of classes on April 1. Approximately 350 students are attending the school, which has a capacity for 600.

(CLUE:  The school could have been combined with the two existing elementary schools since all three have sharply reduced attendance post-fire.  They only kept the school open to justify continuing the positions attached to the school.)

DOE can operate the temporary campus until 2029, when the 30 modular classrooms must be removed to return the land to its original state. The department has not yet selected a location to build a permanent campus for the elementary school, which was destroyed in the August Lahaina wildfire.

If the department uses the temporary site for five years, the cost for the school will fall between $100 and $120 million, said DOE deputy superintendent Curt Otaguro during Thursday’s Board of Education meeting. The Federal Emergency Management Agency is expected to cover 90% of the cost, with the remaining 10% covered by the state….

($120M / 5 = $24M per yr / 350 students = $68,571 per student per year just for the building.)

read … Concerns Are Being Raised About The New Elementary School In West Maui - Honolulu Civil Beat

Maui Fire litigation State Court hearing to take place today

MN: … Jan K. Apo, a Maui attorney representing over 1,400 plaintiffs against utility companies involved in the August 2023 wildfires, will hold a media availability following an important April 12th status conference at which the Judge will discuss trial dates that could determine the timeline for Lahaina fire cases moving forward, according to a press release from Apo.

The Status Conference follows last month’s Federal Court decision to send Lahaina Fire cases back to Maui and State Court Judge Peter Cahill’s March 22, order setting a September 9, 2024, trial date for all Upcountry fire cases.

Plaintiff attorneys are hopeful that the Judge will likewise put the Lahaina fire cases on a quick path to trial, allowing victims to have their day in court sooner rather than later, according to Apo….

read … Maui Fire litigation State Court hearing to take place today

Lahaina: “You go through the buffet line, and you sit down, and you get to have a meal with your community.”

HNN: … The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency and the American Red Cross will soon start cutting back free meals they serve to fire survivors living in hotels.

Right now, they are serving three meals a day.

However, starting on Monday, the program will transition to one meal a day.

Some survivors say it is a major blow and food is still very much needed.

“Unfortunately, it’s another big hit for Lahaina,” said Shannon Iʻi. “I feel like Lahaina continues to just get pushed aside. Meals are like one of the most important things that we need.”

Iʻi lost her home in the fire.

She and her family are now scattered across various hotels and condominiums around the island.

She says having meals together is an important part of the healing process.

“You go through the buffet line, and you sit down, and you get to have a meal with your community,” Iʻi said.

“It’s not just about the food, it’s about that social interaction with one another. It’s that shared experience on what we’re going through.”

State officials said HI-EMA and the American Red Cross served nearly 1.5 million meals since the fires.

“Food distribution and availability has returned to the affected areas in Maui County,” said HI-EMA Administrator James Barros….

CB: State Reduces Meal Service For Lahaina Fire Survivors Still Living In Costly Hotels

read … Maui fire survivors decry decision to cut back on meals for those still living in hotels

Lahaina's Santa Claus Joins The Exodus From Maui

CB: … Ron Proctor, 71, lived at the Front Street Apartments in Lahaina until the Aug. 8 wildfire burned down the subsidized housing project. Despite his efforts to regain a footing in Lahaina, Proctor decided to move back to Napa, California, where he has a daughter and three grandchildren…. 

There’s no official count of the number of people who’ve left Maui like Proctor due to wildfire losses. But there are estimates.

The Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement roughly calculates that at least 1,500 people have moved away from Maui County since the August fires. And the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization said in its February economic forecast that Maui County had lost more than 1,000 households

UHERO researchers predict a population dip of 2,300 people, or 1.4% of the county’s total population, by the end of 2024, according to the report. By comparison, the county lost 1,400 households, or 0.9% of its population, in 2023….

read …  Lahaina's Santa Claus Joins The Exodus From Maui

Liquor Comm Denying UIPA Requests

CB: … The Honolulu Liquor Commission might want to brush up on its federal case law before telling people they can’t have public records. 

The commission is denying requests for documents under the state’s Uniform Information Practices Act because discovery in a lawsuit against the commission has closed….

read … The Sunshine Blog: Missing Records, Money Talks

Harassment: Waikiki building owner racks up $100,000 in fines

KITV: …  Waikiki building owner has racked up more than $100,000 in fines for landscaping and other violations dating back more than five years ago, city regulators confirmed to Island News.

The commercial building is located along Liliuokalani Avenue near the Alohilani Resort.

The city tells Island News that the building’s owner, Jiying Wu, received a notice of violation in 2018 for landscaping at that did not follow an approved Waikiki Special District permit issued in 1999.

The violation has not been corrected and civil fines to date total $98,700. The city says it is working with the violator on its request to rescind the violation….

Also, just last year, the city’s Department of Planning and Permitting responded to a complaint about numerous motorized vehicles parked on this property. An inspector determined that more than 20 mopeds were parked there and issued a notice of violation.

The city says the mopeds have since been removed. However, the civil fines of $4,000 still have not been paid….

read … Exclusive: Waikiki building owner racks up $100,000 in fines

Water likely to shut off to Camp Erdman, dozens of Mokuleia residents in July

KHON: … As the state Department of Transportation works with the US Army on a new lease for Dillingham Airfield, a new condition was brought up by the Federal Aviation Administration.

“The FAA made it very clear that our funds are not eligible for off-mission work and our mission is safe airports,” explained DOT Director Ed Sniffen. “So we’re required under our new lease with the military to indicate we cannot run or operate the water system moving forward under our new lease.”

The Dillingham Public Water System serves roughly 30 users, but is used by thousands of people; including Camp Erdman, Mokuleia Beach Park, Department of Agriculture and other state agencies.

On Wednesday, letters were sent out saying ‘prepare for the possibility that Dillingham PWS will cease to operate after July 5.’….

“My sleepless nights began last night,” said Greg Waibel, YMCA Honolulu CEO….

“The worst case scenario is the water gets shut off, we don’t get any water and we cannot operate,” Waibel added….

In the meantime, lawmakers, residents and others are hoping to start a co-op.

“According to our legal guidance, the DOT cannot be a member of the co-op, but potentially they can purchase water from the co-op,” explained Rep. Amy Perruso (D) Waipio Acres, Wahiawa, Mokuleia. “If that doesn’t happen, if we do not do this in a timely fashion, then provision of water will shut down on July 5.”…

read … Water likely to shut off to Camp Erdman, dozens of Mokuleia residents in July

Convert Papahanaumokuakea into a Marine Sanctuary before a Trump Return

CB: … A proposed national marine sanctuary is on pace to take shape in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands by early 2025, and supporters hope that timeline will make it harder to roll back the environmental protections there if former President Donald Trump retakes office next year.

Federal fisheries officials are gathering public comment at meetings across Hawaii for the proposed Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Sanctuary, which would have the same boundaries as the existing national monument that covers a vast ocean area. Unlike the monument, the sanctuary would not include the islands, only the water.

Once the public comment period ends, in early May, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will prepare the final documents to designate the new sanctuary. NOAA expects to have those documents completed this winter, according to the agency’s timeline….

read … Proponents Look To Create A New Hawaii Marine Sanctuary ASAP In Case Of A Trump Return

Lahaina Fire News:

Legislative Agenda:

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