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Saturday, September 24, 2011
September 24, 2011 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 1:53 PM :: 5168 Views

Thanks Councilmen for Rejecting Impact Fees

Disney Re-starts some Aulani sales after Hawaii approves 33% fee increase

If GE Tax were a Sales Tax, It would be among Nation's Lowest

"Get Ready Ewa Beach" Saturday

Star-Advertiser: September 11th Julian Islam Day Festival is Celebration of Kokua and Peace

(Today is September 11th in the Julian Calendar)

The Muslim Association of Hawaii will hold its third annual Islam Day festival today from 3 to 9 p.m. at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii, 2454 S. Beretania St. in Moiliili.

This year's event will be a celebration of peace and learning and of helping those in need.

9-11-11: Star-Advertiser: Hawaii’s Greatness Showcased by “Islam Day”


read … Islam Day festival will celebrate kokua, peace

Shapiro: Hawaii GOP Stuck in Ideological Divide

With the Hawaii Republican Party broke and sputtering heading into next year's election, some party leaders want to oust state Chairman Jonah Kaauwai. The local GOP appears stuck in an ideological divide between a tea party and a pity party.

Related: UPDATE: Hawaii GOP Leaders Call for Ouster of Party Chair

read … Ideological Divide

DoE Panics as Students will be limited to only One Re-take on State Assessment

"We're acutely aware that there's a lot of anxiety (about the new test)…."

Schools are ramping up for the tougher assessment as they also begin prepping students for the kickoff of annual testing this school year. Testing begins next month, and for a second year, students will take the assessment online and up to three times.

The new assessment is still being designed by a 29-state consortium, but some preliminary details on what students will be expected to do have been made available.

The new test will be online, and students will probably be able to take it twice.

SA: Cheating by educators rare in Hawaii


read … Schools taking steps to prepare for tougher annual tests

After years of doing nothing, Mazie finally mentions COFA at meeting of Asian Victimology Caucus

"I brought up the problem that Hawaii is having with our compact migrants and the impact on our health care costs and our education system, and that we needed recognition and support from the federal government in terms of money that would help the state of Hawaii support these compact migrants as they come to Hawaii and some other states that are really impacted," Hirono told reporters in a conference call from Washington, D.C.

Hirono, D-Hawaii, and several other lawmakers in the Congressional Asian Pacific American (Victimology) Caucus met privately with Obama in the Cabinet Room at the White House on Friday. Some lawmakers in the caucus had been frustrated that Obama had not officially met with the caucus three years into his presidency. Obama had met with congressional Hispanic and black caucuses.

Lawmakers said afterward that they discussed issues such as immigration reform, judicial appointments and the importance of White House engagement with the Asian and Pacific Islander community.

Related: Micronesians: “Its just better in Arkansas”

read … Mazie Come Lately

Halawa Prison Employees Able to Smuggle Contraband, thanks to UPW, HGEA

"The majority of our Adult Corrections Officer's, the high majority are honorable, law abiding citizens, however I have spoken with inmates, I have spoken with ACO's and in the past there have been cases where state employees have been convicted," said State Senator Will Espero (D), Public Safety, Military, and Intergovernmental Affairs Committee Chair.

A carton of cigarettes could go for more than $500 in prison. Drugs and weapons can go for even more. So Senator Espero says the state should take away the temptation from an employee to supplement their income.

"It wouldn't be done because we're trying to catch the bad guys, although that's what it would do, but it's truly a matter of safety and security and good policy in a secured facility," said Sen. Espero.

read …. Prison employees skip screening for illegal items

HPD Officer Accused of Rape in Kailua

She said since her niece had a brain aneurism in 1999, she has not been 100-percent sound mentally, making her attractive to a sexual predator.

"She's slow, so he would be able to take advantage of her," the woman’s aunt said.

The woman told her aunt the officer had a bunch of condoms on the floor of his police car.

"So if he has (condoms) there in the police car, he has done it before," her aunt said.

A witness told police he saw the male officer patting down the woman in this part of the Longs parking garage.

Investigators said that raises red flags because police usually prefer to search people in the open where there are plenty of witnesses, and police training recommends getting a woman officer to search a female suspect, or at least calling in a second officer to observe the search.

Read … Rape Allegation



Report: Hawaii has nation's most-expensive rent, houses

Hawaii’s median rent of $1,291 was the highest in the nation, according to the analysis by the state Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism. The national median rent was $855 per month.

The median housing value for Hawaii — $525,400 — was also the highest in the nation. Only three other states — California, Massachusetts and New Jersey — and the District of Columbia had a median home value greater than $300,000. The national median home value was $179,900.

The data also reveals that Hawaii’s home ownership rate of 58 percent placed the state among bottom four states in the nation

read … Landed Aristocracy and its Eco-Activists

Plaintiffs Step Up Campaign to Raise Funds for Rail Lawsuit

The group, organized through, has hired one of the nation’s top environmental attorneys, Nicolas Yost of the San Francisco- based law firm SNRDenton.

Yost, who in 2010 was named the winner of the American Bar Association’s Award for Outstanding Achievement in Environmental Law and Policy, served as the General Counsel of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. There he was the lead draftsperson of the Federal Government’s National Environmental Policy Act Regulations, which the FTA has to abide by.

While the city administration is funding its own public relations, litigation and promotion of the rail with taxpayer dollars, opponents are funding the lawsuit entirely with private funds.

The group has raised $152,000, but needs at least another $90,000 for legal expenses….

The group is collecting tax-deductible contributions through the “SBH Educational Foundation Rail Fund”, 6600 Kalanianaole Hwy, Suite 212, Honolulu HI 96825.

read … Litigation Funds

Final Reapportionment Maps Due Monday

The new maps have not yet been posted online, but reapportionment staff said on Friday that the following six plans have been updated:

  • Maui Senate: Part of Senate District 5 has been moved into Senate District 6, based on public input.
  • Oahu Senate: Multiple Senate districts have been redrawn to accommodate the removal of 15,660 residents from Oahu's base population. Districts that are near to or contain military bases — including Pearl Harbor, Kaneohe Marine Corps Base and Schofield Barracks — have been impacted the most.
  • Hawaii Island House: The shape of House District 4 has been altered, but no population will be affected.
  • Maui House: The changes made to Maui's Senate Districts 5 and 6 have been applied to House District 12.
  • Oahu House: As with Oahu's Senate districts, House districts including and near military bases have been changed.
  • Kauai House: House District 16 has been altered per a recommendation from the Kauai Reapportionment Advisory Council.

HTH: Hawaii County Redistricting panel holds last meeting before public hearings

Honolulu County Reapportionment Hearings: Taking it to the Streets

read … Reapportionment

Reapportionment Commission Prepares Alternative Maps for Judge to Help Malama Solomon get a District

Once approved, the commission's plan is expected to face a lawsuit from Hawaii County critics who contend the new maps wrongfully deny Hawaii island a fourth seat in the state Senate based on population gain over the past decade.

Commissioners voted to have technical staff members continue working on alternative maps that would reflect additional changes to the population base.

"Since early on in this process, back in May or June, we talked about how the commission could get sued by various groups," commission Chairwoman Victoria Marks said. "We've done the best we can, but if a court decides that we were not correct, the court would have some alternatives to consider and hopefully avoid having to appoint a master."

If the court rules against the commission, it could decide to appoint a special master to draw the new district maps.

read … Suit forecast over new political maps

Berg Wins Support for West Oahu Shooting Range

In August the city took inventory of 570 acres in Kalaeloa, old Navy land that's covered with overgrowth. Berg wants to turn five acres into the shooting range.

Ewa historian John Bond said the military used the same spot for its target practice. Some of the evidence still litters the land.

"We found one of the cartridge clips from an old World War II rifle," he said.

Berg wants a private entity to step in, clear the area, and build a gun range so the city won't have to spend money for maintaining the property.

"We want to have the private sector meet all those concerns, have the proper berms and noise mitigation put in," he said.

Gerwig carries a map of the site in his smart phone. He said the area is ideal for a shooting range.

"The more remote it is the better in terms of noise," he said.

read … Shooting Range?

Sea-water air conditioning closer to reality

The developers of a project that will use cold ocean water to air-condition office buildings in downtown Honolulu have signed a long-term lease for a pumping station site, clearing the way for construction of the system to begin early next year.

Honolulu Seawater Air Conditioning LLC signed a 55-year lease with Kamehameha Schools for a 30,000-square-foot parcel behind the Gold Bond Building in Kakaako that will be home to a pumping station and heat exchanger that will be the heart of the system, the company said Friday.

"We're very pleased to have that in place, and we're ready to go," said Bill Mahlum, president and chief executive officer of the company. He said Honolulu Seawater is getting all the necessary permits as well as finalizing financing for the $266 million project.

The company, which has postponed the project's start date several times, now says it plans to break ground early next year. Service to customers is projected to begin sometime in 2013, according to the company.

read … Air Conditioning

After Gaming Advocates Use it as Talking Point, Navy Closes Bingo Night

The Navy abruptly suspended its long-running but controversial bingo games Wednesday, saying it is conducting a "management review" of the games, which can cost players as much as hundreds to play and yield thousands to winners.

Navy Capt. Jeffrey W. James, who took over command of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in June, made the decision, officials said.

"The Joint Base commander has temporarily suspended the Games Night program at both the Hickam enlisted club and the officers club to conduct a review and ensure our program remains consistent with regulation and policy," Navy Region Hawaii said in an emailed statement. "We are committed to respecting Hawaii state law and maintaining the highest ethical standards, including avoidance of even the appearance of impropriety."

There is "no investigation being conducted," the Navy added. "This is just a management review of the program."

read … BINGO

SA: Resist appeals to prop up Oahu slaughterhouse

The slaughterhouse's future remains uncertain, following financial difficulties since the cooperative bought it in 2004 from Palama Meat Co. At that time, Palama had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy while facing $1.4 million in probable foreclosure; the U.S. Department of Agriculture paid the amount and still wants its money back.

The state lent the cooperative $600,000 two years ago, but the Legislature rightly rejected a bill this year that proposed spending $1.6 million to buy the facility. Russell S. Kokubun, chairman of the state Board of Agriculture, had supported the bill to buy the slaughterhouse for $600,000 and install a solar electricity system for $1 million to reduce operating costs; the state would have leased the new entity to a managing company. That idea died, but legislators did insert $750,000 to pay for the solar system. However, Gov. Neil Abercrombie has not released that money — and he should not, given the increased uncertainty for the slaughterhouse.

Privately owned slaughterhouses continue to operate in Maui, Kauai and Hawaii counties. While no slaughterhouse in the nation is operated by a state government, Kokubun points out that the facilities on Molokai and Hamakua are owned by the state and leased to private operators. Such an arrangement would be risky at Campbell Industrial Park in light of recent history.

read … Animal Liberation Nuts

The Future of Industrial Solar: Thieves Loot Solar Panels at Makuu, Puna

The facility is located on Highway 130 just past the 7-mile marker in the vicinity of Makuu Farm Lots. It is one of several in Hawaiʻi that send signals to commercial airlines flying in the Pacific Region.

Sometime between Sept. 13 and Sept. 17, unknown persons stole 12 panels and damaged two.

Between Sunday and Thursday , the thieves used a vehicle to ram the front gate and remove 10 additional panels.

(Insurance will pay for the lost panels—and maybe the lost tax credits?)

read … Just the beginning of the end

Styrofoam: Civil Beat Launches War on Restaurant Industry

At Civil Beat, we believe change begins with a question. One question that keeps coming up in our newsroom is – why is Hawaii’s trash overflowing with Styrofoam?

(Here’s another question. Why does Civil Beat want to kill trees by mandating use of paper products?)

We see it everyday – from our morning coffee to our mid-day plate lunches. But where does Styrofoam come from and where does it go?

What are the environmental ramifications? How does Styrofoam affect Hawaii’s people and its land? (What are the ramifications of killing more trees?)

How does Hawaii’s use of Styrofoam compare with other places around the World? (How does Hawaii’s use of paper products compare?)

Maui Luddites 2009: Council panel drops lid on Styrofoam ban — for now

Maui Luddites 2011: Would you like to see Maui County ban Styrofoam takeout food containers, as has been done in more than 50 California cities and counties?

(“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.” – HL Mencken)

read … Why Do We Use So Much Styrofoam In Hawaii?

Papaya farmers eye threats as 85 more trees destroyed

the industry still must overcome threats from thieves, vandals and even food-safety regulators, said Mitch Roth, deputy county prosecutor….

The papaya industry also is facing a threat from vandals, like those who caused more than $100,000 worth of damage by cutting down 10 acres of Kapoho fields in July, said Detective Brandon Konanui.

"There's a $20,000 reward that's still being offered to anybody who can help with this," said Konanui, who has been assigned to work exclusively on that case.

A similar incident occurred in the same area a year prior, while Oahu papaya farmers also have been victimized, he said.

"It's an organized group that's trying to make a statement," Konanui speculated regarding the latest Kapoho crime.

He's been gathering information, but hasn't compiled enough to make an arrest….

On Sept. 14, someone cut and uprooted 85 recent papaya plantings growing along an Opihikao roadside, said Lorey Andres, who manages that and other fields for Calavo Growers.

Maui News: The hidden dangers of celery rash

read … Eco-Terrorism

Self-righteous Diving Instructor Charged with Harassing Fish Collector

A DOCARE officer came by Kohala Divers, where Landt works, ordered her to take down the photos and told her Lovell wanted to press harassment charges. She didn't hear anything until last week, when she received a summons to go to the Kona Police Station. She did and learned she was being charged with harassment of a fisherman and was ordered to appear in District Court Wednesday. She faces a maximum fine of $500 and up to 30 days in jail. No one else who took pictures that day was charged, she said….

"I wonder if I'm going to be made an example of," Landt said, adding that she acted in the way divers and other marine users are instructed to act if they see what they believe to be a marine violation. (SELF-APPOINTED GREEN POLICE) "It seems like it was kind of discouraging people from reporting (violations)."

Walsh agreed. The charge may have a "chilling effect" on people making such reports.

The charge, that she harassed Lovell by "placing (her)self in a location in which human presence may affect the behavior of the fish to be taken," according to Hawaii Revised Statutes, refers specifically to anyone with a license to fish in the state's freshwater rivers and reservoirs.

read … Fish collector drops anchor on live coral, not cited (The word ‘allegedly’ is missing from WHT headline.)

County sues rubbish haulers

The county filed 33 civil lawsuits this week, seeking payment of delinquent tipping fees from commercial rubbish haulers for using county landfills.

Hunter Bishop, the county's deputy director of environmental management, said Friday the total amount sought in the mass litigation is $1,152,095….

read … Fee Collection

Molester’s Former Underling Calls for Abolition of HOPE Parole

57 percent of the current inmates at Maui Community Correctional Center are either pretrial or probation violators and are often incarcerated (at $100/day) because their bail was set too high. Because offenders (usually people addicted to drugs or alcohol) can't afford bail, we the taxpayers fund their room, board and surveillance. Talk about a wasteful welfare program….

Justice Reinvestment, a nonprofit organization that helps states take funding out of incarceration and put it into drug treatment and rehabilitation, is now conducting a thorough analysis of Hawaii's prison/criminal justice system. Changing policy, such as bail standards, costs nothing. Building another prison to incarcerate people who should be receiving treatment is a criminally exorbitant waste.

(Actually it is a jail, not a prison. And the new jail is required to provide space for treatment programs and cut off the flow of drugs into the jail. But after working at the Lege, under convicted child molester Leon Rouse, Netra Halperin want to let all the criminals out.)

Related: Judge Steven Alm: Justice Reinvestment and the future of HOPE Probation

read … A new jail is not the answer for Maui

Nine Months after Hawaii Conviction, Pervert Vanishes in Scotland

Peter Roy Woodhouse, 69, was convicted at a court in Hawaii in January last year of indecent assault and stalking a woman.

Earlier this year his brother, Paul Woodhouse, told how he believed his sibling was dead until immigration officials in Honolulu called to say Peter was in their custody.

Peter Woodhouse was last seen at Glasgow Airport on 9 September.

read … Commit a crime in Hawaii and see the world

Kona Village Resort to suffer fate of Coco Palms?

The fate of Kona Village: One of the Big Island's oldest resorts was wrecked by the tsunami in March. Locals worry about a repeat of Kauai's Coco Palms, damaged by Hurricane Iniki in 1992 and never reopened. Kona Village's owners say the resort will return, but not before 2013.

read … Coco Palms Redux?

Just in Time for APEC: Homeless Houseboat to be Scuttled

Underwood says the structure could also pose a hazard to boat traffic if its mooring to a clump of mangroves came loose.

“You've got a structure moored to a navigable channel which could create a hazard to navigation, so it's got to be lit at night. There are all sorts of things regarding vessels moored at night.”

From shore one notices clear signs that someone lives onboard. A pet parrot sits inside a cage attached to one of several windows. There’s also a dinghy tied to the structure, a large ice chest within reach.

In the early 1990’s similar structures were scattered throughout the middle of nearby Ke'ehi Lagoon. The situation was declared a nuisance, but the state allowed the floating platforms to remain under a grandfather clause.

“Those people were allowed to remain and once they left, that was it, no new people were allowed in,” said Underwood.

read … Back to the 1990s?

Hawaii Meth Project selects Joe Perez as new Director

Born and raised in Hawaii, Perez most recently served as public information officer for the state Department of Human Services. A former educator, Perez’s career path led him to numerous leadership roles in the education field in Los Angeles, including head of The Country School, an independent school serving pre-kindergarten through 8th grade students.

Prior, he developed human service and educational programs with New Visions Foundation, a nonprofit focused on finding innovative ways to provide a wide range of learning-based programs to underserved urban youth.

read … Hawaii Meth Project

Final 31 Permanent FEMA Homes Turned Over to American Samoan Families

The Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is announcing that Phase II of the American Samoan permanent housing construction program was completed on September 17, 2011. Titles to all 39 homes have now been transferred to families who lost their dwellings to the earthquake generated Tsunami that claimed 31 lives and devastated large parts of the island on September 29, 2009.

Related: The Tsunami and Mufi’s Samoan Connection

read … Samoa


Obama Fundraiser Scored $107M in Wind Farm Credits

President Barack Obama will raise money in early October with a Missouri businessman whose company benefited from a $107 million federal tax credit to develop a wind power facility in his state.

Tom Carnahan, a scion of Missouri’s most prominent Democratic political family, is listed on Obama’s campaign website as a host of a $25,000-per-person fundraiser to be held in St. Louis on October 4.

His energy development firm, Wind Capital Group, was helped by a sizable credit authorized in the stimulus, for an energy project in northwest Missouri….

Missouri Republican Party executive director Lloyd Smith compared the situation to the Solyndra affair, in which the Obama administration reportedly rushed federal support to a green-energy firm that subsequently collapsed.

Read … Note to Hawaii politicos: Some people think this kind of stuff is unacceptable

Obama Administration Set to Ban Asthma Inhalers Over Environmental Concerns

Asthma patients who rely on over-the-counter inhalers will need to switch to prescription-only alternatives as part of the federal government's latest attempt to protect the Earth's atmosphere.

The Food and Drug Administration said Thursday patients who use the epinephrine inhalers to treat mild asthma will need to switch by Dec. 31 to other types that do not contain chlorofluorocarbons, an aerosol substance once found in a variety of spray products.

Related: Giant Ozone Research Satellite Burns up over Southern California

read … In the Ozone


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