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Friday, July 15, 2011
July 15, 2011 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 1:09 PM :: 23366 Views

Despite high costs, Hawaii Medicaid Spending ranks 41st in Nation

Berg: Restore Funding for Sand Island Wastewater Treatment

Hanalani School Returns Home with Second International Botball Tournament Win

Ewa Field Battlefield Survey Report released by Navy



Hirono bests Case in raising contributions for Senate run 

U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono*  Raised last quarter: $281,000 -- Cash on hand: $545,000

Former congressman Ed Case*  Raised last quarter: $241,000 -- Cash on hand: $210,000 *

Estimates provided by the campaigns. Actual reports are due to be filed with the Federal Election Commission today.

U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, D-Hawaii, raised $228,000 during the past three months, according to a source familiar with her report. Hanabusa has said she will decide by next month whether to run for Senate. She can transfer the money to a Senate campaign.

Former Gov. Linda Lingle has said she will decide by August whether to enter the Republican primary for the Senate. A Lingle candidacy would increase national attention on the Senate race and put pressure on the Democratic contenders. None of the Democrats has shown the ability to raise as much money as Lingle in previous statewide campaigns….

"We're probably talking about a very expensive campaign, so that's an initial consideration that may be a drawback," he said.

Totally Related: Sources: Democrats scheming to plant candidate in Republican Senate Primary

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City rail plan taking longer to build than Great Pyramid

Historians, architects and archaeologists all estimate that it took between 20 and 30 years to build the Great Pyramid (King Khufu) at Giza. Of course, this construction project was started more than 4,500 years ago.

In Honolulu there are actual records dating back to 1969 of a former Honolulu mayor (Frank Fasi) starting planning studies for a Hono­lulu rail system. It may not be geologic time, but 42 years is still a long time to wait for a train that may not be coming. Since then, the rail system has been started, stopped, prioritized, rescinded, eulogized, revived and now demonized….

Hawaii's courts have the capacity to hold the red-hot issue of the day for so long that even the most intense fire can burn out before a decision is finally reached. It would not be unlikely for the same to happen with the city's transit plan.

SA: Rail authority lacks members with know-how in mass transit 

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Hawaii Country strikes 2-year deal with HGEA, furloughs continue

A single monthly furlough day amounts to a 4.6 percent pay cut, and workers keep their 40 percent share of medical insurance costs….

News Release: Hawaii County and HGEA agree to work furloughs of one day per month

WHT: HGEA agrees to furloughs

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Jobless recovery persists in Hawaii

Retail and tourism sectors rise but the construction industry "has yet to turn the corner"

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Neighborhood Board Figure Accused Of Fraud, Elder abuse 

Ewa Neighborhood Board member and past state House candidate Kurt Fevella has been sued for fraud by a Mainland woman who claims Fevella took financial advantage of her elderly father while he was in Fevella’s care.

Ewa Beach Residence sold to Kurt Favella (Photo Courtesy of Carroll Cox)

Fevella has not responded to the suit yet and did not reply to requests for comment.

The state court suit was filed by Melanie Burroughs, daughter of Paul W. Burroughs, an Ewa Beach resident who died in 2009, two years after selling his home to Favella and his wife for $250,000.

Carroll Cox: Favella is paid on “Personal Services Contract” at City Hall

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SA: Sex-Abuse Suits should be allowed against Catholic Church, but not the State

California was first in 2002 to give past alleged child sex-abuse survivors one year and one time to file claims if the statute of limitations for such claims had expired. The temporary law resulted in claims by 850 victims of long-previous abuse that cost the Roman Catholic Church from $800 million to $1 billion in damages and settlements.

In Hawaii, the intention to allow similar redress for such a heinous crime years ago is to be commended. But the recent bill overreached in trying to make a public employer, such as the state, liable for the criminal acts of a worker.

Hawaii Attorney General David M. Louie urged legislators to avoid lawsuits "not just against the alleged perpetrator but against even those who the claimant may believe had some connection, no matter how peripheral, to the assault or abuse, without any time limitation."

He asked legislators to "avoid any confusion" by following the California law, but they went beyond that.

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Bus Stop Moved To Avoid Homeless Woman's Smell

“We were getting quite a few complaints from bus riders about her smell,” Yoshioka said. “We are trying to be as sensitive as possible,” he added, noting that it’s not illegal for the homeless to stay at bus shelters.

Bus drivers told KITV 4 News that the woman is sometimes so smelly that her odor wafts in buses when they open their doors outside the bus shelter and the smell lingers for a while inside the bus.

So the city temporarily moved the bus stop 60 feet down the street to the area in front of the Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant on the corner of Kapiolani Boulevard and Keeaumoku Street.

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Mafia Wind: State signs off on North Shore wind farm plans 

In its EIS, First Wind said it had not made a final decision on whether it would include a battery storage system similar to what it installed at its Kahuku and Kaheawa II projects. The battery systems are designed to smooth out short-term fluctuations in the energy output of the wind turbines that occur when wind speeds increase and decrease. Without such a buffering system, the volatility in wind turbine output could be harmful to the electrical grid.

The actual energy output of a wind project is often substantially less than its stated capacity. For example, the Kawailoa wind project would produce about 25 percent of its 70-megawatt capacity over the course of a year, according to an analysis of data provided by First Wind in its EIS. The Kahuku Wind Farm's so-called capacity factor is higher at 30 percent.

The more reliable winds on Maui have resulted in much higher capacity factors. At First Wind's Kaheawa I Wind Farm, the project's capacity factor has averaged about 43 percent during the five years it has been in operation, with a peak of 48 percent reached in 2007.

Related: Hawaii Wind Developer tied to Largest-ever asset seizure by anti-Mafia police

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Navy meeting on Kalaeloa to discuss proposal to develop solar power project

The Navy is inviting the public to attend an informational meeting on Kalaeloa next week.

Tuesday's meeting is expected to address a proposal to develop solar power at Ewa Field. The project by Ford Island Ventures would include about 21,000 photovoltaic solar panels and power up to 5,000 homes.

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CSAO: Scam Potential in some Charter Management Organizations

Q: Aren't there a lot of companies on the mainland that have turned chartering into a business?

A: You have these large CMOs or EMOs (charter management organizations or educational management organizations) that do chartering. I'm not going to disparage them, some of them are doing a great job.

Q: But isn't there a lot of scam potential there?

A: There is. I would say absolutely there is.

For example: Gulen Cult strikes out in Hawaii Legislature, School?

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Hawaii Judges Financial Disclosures Posted Online for first time ever

The conservative group, Judicial Watch, engaged in a legal battle and now has the financial disclosures of federal judges going back to 2003 available online. The most recent reports available are for the 2009 calendar year. Magistrate judges are not included.

The forms include sections for non-investment income, positions with organizations or businesses, investments, gifts received, agreements (such as for future employment, or participation in a pension plan from a former employer), and reimbursements received.

A copy of the instructions, useful for interpreting the disclosure reports, is also available.

And state judges also file public financial disclosures and these are available online. But you have to know what you are looking for, since they are not mentioned on the Judiciary’s main web site, or in its “News and Reports” section, where the reports are actually filed.

I had to use the “Search the site” function to come up with the link to the 2011 disclosures. No links to earlier years are provided.

The list includes full-time and part-time judges statewide. It’s a long list.

State Judges:

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Panel to consider placing sheriffs in their own state department

The state is looking at moving the Sheriff Division from the state Department of Public Safety to correct some of the problems highlighted last year in a scathing audit of the division.

On Monday, Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed into law Act 215, which creates a task force that will look at whether the Sheriff Division would be better off as its own department. If it is determined that a separate department is needed, then the task force will come up with a plan of separation.

The group, which will be led by the state sheriff, must turn over its findings to the state Legislature in the 2012 session.

The Sheriff Division, which has about 300 deputies, was criticized in a 2010 state audit that claimed the Department of Public Safety's lax leadership and the division's equipment problems might put public safety at risk.

Meet Hanabusa’s Husband, the former Sheriff:

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Law Allows Public-Private Partnerships At State Properties

For instance, a private developer could buy some or all of the Kamamalu Building from the state, renovate it, and then lease the building back to the state. State taxpayers would still own the land beneath the building and could charge the developer lease rent for the parcel.

The state legislature appropriated $13 million for renovation of the Kamamalu Building this year, but another $14 million is required to complete upgrades to the building….

The new law could also spur development on the slopes of Diamond Head, where the University of Hawaii has long planned to build a culinary arts training facility.

The project has been planned for the old Cannon Club site for more than eight years, with architectural drawings long since completed. But the state has been unable to come up with millions of dollars to build the new facility.

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Hawai‘i foreclosures decline 66% during June, Judicial Foreclosures nearly double

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser on Thursday reported data from real estate research firm RealtyTrac showing there were 344 foreclosure filings in June, down 66 percent from 1,000 in the same month last year.

There were 337 filings in January 2009.

June’s filings reflect the effects of Hawai‘i’s new foreclosure law curtailing activity against delinquent borrowers.

Judicial foreclosures increased to 200 from 109 in the same month last year, according to the state Judiciary.

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9th Circuit orders Pacific Beach Hotel to Bargain with Union

The Ninth Circuit ruled Wednesday that the National Labor Relations Board can legally give its general counsel the authority to file petitions seeking injunctive relief, turning back a challenge by the owners of the Pacific Beach Hotel in Hawaii.

A three-judge panel's ruling affirms an injunction issued by the Hawaii federal court requiring the hotel to bargain with its employees' union and reinstate discharged employees.

The hotel argued that the district court lacked jurisdiction

CN: NLRB Can Impart Powers to Directors, Court Says

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Local farmers divided on food safety program

"Politics yes. Money, follow the money. Who wants food safety? So the Farmers Union stance is this, we don't want Costco or Safeway or other mainland outfits coming to Hawaii and telling our Agriculture Department they're not good enough," said Martinez.

Now a division has grown amongst farmers in the state over the issue.

"This bill was all good. The bill didn't mandate farmers do anything. There's no prohibition of animals on a farm, infants on a farm, insects, there's no mandatory food safety certification. This bill was meant to support our local farmers," said Janet Ashman, Hawaii Farm Bureau Federation, Environmental Stewardship Committee Co-Chair.

The Hawaii Farm Bureau supported the law saying it wasn't some plot to put small farmers out of business, but instead educate them and help comply with new federal guidelines that are coming.

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CDC: Hawaiians Die, Too -- But Less Often

In 2009, the age-adjusted risk of dying was about 50% higher for a resident of West Virginia than it was for a resident of Hawaii.

The gap between the age-adjusted mortality rate for residents of Hawaii and residents of West Virginia, fell to 53% that year, from 57% in 2007, but, in 2009, West Virginia still recorded an age-adjusted death rate of 949.6 deaths per 100,000 residents, compared with an age-adjusted death rate of just 619.8 deaths per 100,000 residents for Hawaii.

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County denies culpability in blowhole incident

The disappearance of a Northern California man at Maui's popular Nakalele Point blowhole on Saturday has fanned fresh debate over the responsibility of visitors to account for their own safety when viewing Hawaii's natural attractions versus landowners' legal responsibility to ensure that visitors are fully aware of the dangers they face.

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High Speed Misery: for Both Superferries & U.S. Taxpayers Alike

Beyond the sadness (anger?) of seeing the potential final demise two of the most environmentally correct, U.S. built and flagged vessels ever produced, I’m also curious to know whether the sleek ferries could be bought and then reflagged….

… as much as $85 million in U.S.-based private equity capital, a guaranteed $136 million Title XI federal loan and tens of millions from the state of Hawaii to jumpstart the ill-fated Hawaii Superferry project will probably be paid back at 50 cents on the dollar….

Getting two brand spanking new vessels on the cheap to operate in what is otherwise a proven market concept in a dozen other places makes perfect sense. In the meantime, and lacking any work from the current lien holders, the vessels continue to rack up expenses for the taxpayer’s account….

Someone, somewhere, is going to get quite a bargain. And, you are going to pay for it.

(This is the cost of the failure to enforce the law on Kauai.)

REALITY: Why Hawaii Lost the Superferry

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Canadian Officials don’t want Hawaii Meth Dealer in their Prison 

For the second time in a month, a Federal Court judge has called the Conservative government "unreasonable" for refusing requests by B.C. drug traffickers to do their time in Canada. Vancouver's Sunny Yu pleaded guilty in Hawaii in 2005 to smuggling four kilograms of methamphetamine while he was a university student there.

He got a 14-year sentence.

In 2006, he applied to the former public safety minister to serve his sentence back home and the request was approved. But the U.S. denied Yu a transfer, "citing the seriousness of the offence," the Federal Court noted.

Meanwhile, Yu's accomplice, Khai Ong, who got a seven-year sentence, was allowed to return to Canada to serve his time.

Yu, who is now 32, applied again to the U.S. to be transferred and the Americans agreed.

But last August, Public Safety Minister Vic Toews refused the request….

"It is all about saving money without saying so."

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Victim of the great garbage patch: Turtle is just one of thousands left deformed or dead by Pacific Ocean plastic—but not plastic bags

Look at the photos of plastic from animals stomachs.  There is not a single plastic bag to be seen.  So what do they want to do?  Ban plastic bags.

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Roseanne's Nuts: Say hello to the second-worst show on television

Roseanne's new reality show premiered, in back-to-back half-hour episodes, as Dance Moms' lead-in. Roseanne's Nuts, as the thing is called, is so loud, dull, and dumb that it seems to be jackhammering an abyss into existence, but its reign as the most depressing show on air lasted only 60 minutes….

As the show is filmed in a style that wavers between undistinguished and crummy, it doesn't really matter from a cinematographic perspective that we are on the Big Island. For the most part, we might as well be in the Delaware Water Gap, and the satellite dishes atop the star's lair have a way of cluttering the landscape shots. Nonetheless, Roseanne makes some noise about the spiritual virtues of "living off the land," and it is countered by a young relation who calls her "a poser." But mostly Roseanne makes noise with tractors, mowers, and—an implement beyond the powers of John Deere to manufacture—her endless vocabulary of invective. You can take the girl out of TV Land, but you can't take the lust for TV out of the girl, and she insistently denounces the machinery of fame to camera crews being filmed by other camera crews.

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Avoiding Cheating Scandal, Atlanta Sup’t of Schools Hides in Maui

How long until the DoE hires her?

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Peter Thiel Buys Maui Home For a Record $27 Million

Mr. Thiel, 43, who co-founded PayPal and was an early Facebook investor, bought the 1.7-acre Makena property through a Delaware limited-liability company. The home, which was never on the market, is a contemporary that was built in 1991, according to public records. It's over 4,500 square feet and has a pool.

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Inouye Knew about N Korean Abductions of Japanese 30 years ago

An influential U.S. senator was aware of the abductions of Japanese nationals by North Korea over 30 years ago, a member of Japan's parliamentary bipartisan caucus on the abduction issue said Thursday.

Daniel Inouye, a Democrat from Hawaii, told the group of Japanese Diet members and representatives of the relatives of the abductees that he took up the abduction issue when he visited North Korea as chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Jin Matsubara, secretary general of the parliamentary league, told reporters in Washington.

The North Korean government did not respond and the Japanese government appeared indifferent about the matter at that time, Inouye told the Japanese lawmakers, according to Matsubara.

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Ceremony at Schofield Barracks marks the end of the Iraq mission for the post’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team

The 2nd Brigade deployed in July 2010 and relieved two brigades in northern Iraq, operating across Diyala, Salah ad Din and Kirkuk provinces. Their primary mission was to advise, train and assist Iraqi army units to be self-reliant after U.S. forces depart.

“You assisted the Iraqis in putting themselves on an irreversible path that will result in a secure, stable, self-reliant and sovereign nation that is an oasis of hope for the Middle East,” 2nd Brigade commander Col. Malcolm Frost said during the ceremony.

Five of the unit’s soldiers were killed and 58 were wounded on the deployment.

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