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Wednesday, November 23, 2011
November 23, 2011 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 9:48 AM :: 14811 Views

UH Point Shaving? Blown Leads and Significant Movement in Money Line

#OccupyFail: A Profile in Bad Choices from Hilo

Bill Seeks Terror Designation for Gaza Flotilla Groups with Hawaii Connections

Mitch Roth announces Campaign for Hawaii County Prosecutor 

DBEDT upgrades Hawaii's economic outlook to paltry 1.4% Growth

The latest forecast calls for state gross domestic product to expand by 1.4 percent in 2011, after adjusting for inflation. That’s up from a forecast of 1.3 percent growth delivered three months ago by the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism.

Leading the way will be a 13.1 percent increase in visitor spending to $12.6 billion. DBEDT’s forecast three months ago was for a 12 percent increase in visitor spending.

PBN: Hawaii GDP to grow 1.7% in 2012

read … DBEDT

PUC approves Tier 3 Feed in Tariff program so that Bigger Green Energy Scammers can Cash In

The state Public Utilities Commission Tuesday approved Hawaiian Electric Co.’s Feed in Tariff Tier 3.

Known as the FIT program, it allows owners of energy producing projects to sell electricity to HECO at fixed rates for a period of 20 years.

Last November, Tiers 1 and 2 were released. Tier 1 covers projects up to 20 kilowatts. Tier 2 is for projects between 21-500 kilowatts.

Tier 3, which was under review by the PUC since April, is expected to benefit a broader range of energy projects such as wind energy, with projects ranging from 501 kilowatts to 5 megawatts.

A similar program went into effect in Germany several years ago and is credited with being a major catalyst for its strong solar and wind industries.

read … Lanai, Molokai

Abercrombie’s New Medicaid Plan: 30 Days in Hospital, then you get cut off

The Abercrombie administration intends to tighten eligibility and reduce benefits for adults in QUEST, eliminating an estimated 3,000 people from the state's health plan for the poor, but has walked back limits on hospital stays that would have been the most restrictive in the nation….

Under the new income threshold, an estimated 3,000 adults would lose QUEST coverage in July ….

The department also wants to limit inpatient hospital stays for medical and surgical services to 30 days a year, and cap hospital stays for behavioral health services at 30 days. The existing health plan contains no limits.

An earlier version of the proposal would have capped inpatient hospital stays for medical reasons at 10 days a year, which received national attention because it would have been the toughest restriction in the nation. McManaman said the state reconsidered after talking with social service advocates and the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, which regulates federal health programs and had reservations about the restriction.

The department also wants to drop coverage for outpatient physical, occupational and speech rehabilitation, orthotics and optometry….

Here’s what they’re NOT cutting: DHS: Thousands of ghost names on Hawaii Medicare, Medicaid Rolls

read … Some adults might be cut from health program

Child Welfare Services contracts being reduced or terminated

HNN: DHS will reduce or terminate Child Welfare Services contracts with more than a dozen providers, including Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center, Child and Family Service, and the University of Hawaii's School of Social Work. The state says the $5.8 million in reductions are necessary because of lagging state revenue.

"We started looking at our programs to carefully make a determination of what was absolutely essential for the health, well-being and safety of our children," Human Services director Pat McManaman said.

She said some programs, like Hale Kipa, didn't spend all the money they were allotted. So funding will be reduced. McManaman said other programs are expected to fill the gap left by those being terminated.

But the executive director of PHOCUSED, an organization that represents social service agencies, said the reductions join cuts to Medicaid and mental health services.

"It has continued to accumulate to the point where, for those of us who are advocates, we are saying it is beyond critical," Alex Santiago said.

read … Cut off

Schatz: APEC cost less than expected

"We had projected about $7.5 million in expenses, and it came in something under $4 million," Schatz said. "So it cost about half of what we projected, from the state government standpoint." (And boy did we screw up. If only I had known. We could’ve created lots of positions and signed contacts for donors, too!)

Schatz said the budget was large enough to cover a variety of contingencies, from biological terrorism to mass arrests. "We didn't have expenses in the courts, or in the Health Department, that we could have had."

Officials with the City and County of Honolulu have reported similar results in their first look at actual versus budgeted expenses.

read … And Made Less than Expected, too

State Supreme Court denies Pflueger's appeal of manslaughter ruling

Pflueger appealed Kauai Circuit Judge Randal Valenciano's decision last year refusing to dismiss the charges.

In June, a three-judge panel of the Intermediate Court of Appeals unanimously affirmed Valenciano's decision.

The seven people died when hundreds of thousands gallons of water surged from the Ka Loko reservoir on Kauai's north shore on March 14, 2006.

read … Pflueger still running down the clock

Impoverished India to Give $150M to Telescope: Fat OHA Cronies Demand $50M Payoff

HONOLULU (AP) - A giant telescope planned for the summit of Mauna Kea will likely get a $150 million infusion in cash and high-tech equipment from India.

Thirty Meter Telescope spokeswoman Sandra Dawson said Tuesday while no amount has been officially committed, India's contribution will be in the $150 million range. Canada, Japan and China have also signed on as partners in the $1.2 billion telescope, which will be among the world's largest telescopes.

Reality: Telescope: The Shakedown begins, Thirty Meter Telescope Selects Mauna Kea -- Let the looting begin!

read … Lots of $1-per-day people kick in as OHA demands payout

Micronesia Poor Business Climate Drives Exodus

The International Monetary Fund ranks Micronesia in the bottom quarter of its worldwide "ease of doing business" survey. All that despite $130 million in annual assistance programs from the U.S. government.

The bleak conditions at home explain why an estimated 56,000 Micronesians, Marshallese and Palauans now reside in the United States. They comprise nearly a quarter of those nations' total populations. More than half of these immigrants come to Hawaii and Guam.

The original intent of American support to the three Freely Associated States was to build the capacity for economic and political self-sufficiency in those nations. Despite decades of assistance, the FAS remain poor and dysfunctional, so many of these Micronesians, Marshallese and Palauans understandably seek greener pastures in the U.S.

A skeptic might argue that, thanks to their remote location and lack of natural recourses, small isolated island nations are "automatically" destined for permanent financial dependency; that political and financial sovereignty are unobtainable. But none would claim the present situation is the best that can be realized. The problem is not the size or scope of U.S. support, the problems lay within the ways that money is structured, allocated and managed. Private investment is crowded out, local decision-making and initiative hampered, and civil society woefully underdeveloped.

Rohlfing: Help Pacific islanders help themselves by funding tuna industry development plan

read … FSM Business Climate

KaLeo Editor Gets Prize for Dull, Pedantic and Banal Cartoon Depicting TEA Party as Racist and Stupid

Uh huh. More guidance for the go-along-to-get-along crowd and a revealing look inside the ‘mind’ of a typical UH Manoa brainwashed dolt.

BTW, what did cartoonist Grant Crowell get back in the day? Oh that’s right, a faculty-organized attack on his office.

The Gramscians giveth and the Gramscians taketh away. Obey or suffer. And those who obey are treated as “brave”.

George Orwell looks down from heaven and realizes that his vision was insufficient when measured against the real thing.

read … Smug Moron Governed by his own Fear, Ignorance, and Prejudice

Hawaii State Salaries 2012: University of Hawaii

Despite a nearly $200 million cut to the University of Hawaii's operating budget this year, most faculty and staff actually saw their salaries go up this year.

That's because under a six-year labor contract that began on Jan. 1, 2010, UH agreed to restore faculty pay to 2009 levels in the middle of this year — and add raises in 2013 and 2014.

Approximately 70 percent of the university's budget is devoted to salaries and benefits for its 7,466 full time employees, including health coverage and pension benefits.

read … UHPA Tuition Hike

Djous Give Thanks

CB: Lovely photos of the family of Charles Djou helping out with the Institute for Human Services' Give Thanks Project, where volunteers pack and deliver food and other goods to Hawaii's less fortunate.

The U.S. House candidate himself couldn't be there, of course, as he is serving in Afghanistan.

read … Djou

Report on Hawaii's Homeless Doesn't Tell Whole Story

Hawaii homeless coordinator Marc Alexander told Civil Beat that the need for services may have plateaued. That was when the University of Hawaii and the Department of Human Services released its annual report on homeless services — this time touting a 6 percent decrease in people seeking services in Oahu from fiscal year 2010 to 2011.

"My line is that with these figures we are cautiously optimistic that perhaps we have hit a plateau," Alexander said when the report was released.

But some homeless service providers on the island said more recently they hadn’t seen declines in people seeking help. In fact, some providers told Civil Beat they remain near full capacity — and have even experienced increases in people seeking services.

read … Homeless

Matson Hikes Rates Again

Matson announced today that it will raise its rates for the company’s Hawaii service by $175 per westbound container and $85 per eastbound container, effective January 1, 2012. The increase will be filed with the Surface Transportation Board. In addition, Matson will raise its terminal handling charge by $50 per westbound container and $25 per eastbound container, also effective January 1, 2012. Matson estimates that the combined increase of both the rate adjustment and terminal handling charge will result in shipping costs rising by an average of 5.6 percent.

SA: Matson to raise shipping rates starting Jan. 1

read … Matson

Extra space needed for church’s ‘steady growth’

"We're excited. This is monumental," said Kahului Hawaii Stake President Arnold Wunder, who oversees the congregation in Maui County. "Our congregation is just growing; we just need the extra space here. It's been steady growth."

Wunder said the 21,000-square-foot church will be built along Maui Lani Parkway. The church will also serve as the new stake center, where regional meetings and other large gatherings will be held.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has its Kahului Hawaii stake center on Kamehameha Avenue near the Kahului Shopping Center. That is also where the Kahului, Wailuku and Waiehu wards meet. The building will continue to be used as a meeting place after the new stake center is built.

The congregation of around 5,600 members in Maui County has outgrown the 16,000-square-foot stake center in Kahului, and church officials have been working on finding a new site and drawing up plans for a new stake center for the last five years, Wunder said.

Over the past 10 years, the church has seen a 28 percent increase in members in Maui County, he added.

read … Maui LDS Temple

Sewer bill to increase for Hawaii Kai residents

The PUC approved a 14 percent increase which translates to a $1,246,630 increase in revenue for Hawaii American Water.

Hawaii American Water had asked for a 20 percent increase in March.

The rate for a single-family home will go to $67.08 from $58.70.

The monthly rate for multi-family units will go to $57.08 from $49.95.

SA: Hawaii Kai sewer bills to climb 14 percent

read … Sewer

Air Service for Kalaupapa Residents

The U.S. Department of Transportation selected Makani Air Charters to provide subsidized air service for Kalaupapa residents, Hawaii’s congressional delegation announced on Tuesday.

Makani Air Charters will use a nine-seat Cessna Grand Caravans to transport residents between Kalaupapa and Honolulu. The two year subsidy will total about $1.9 million.

Sen. Daniel Inouye said that the people of Hawaii “owe a great debt of gratitude us their votes” thanks to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood for addressing Kalaupapa residents’ lack of medical access. Rep. Mazie Hirono and Sen. Daniel Akaka also commended LaHood.

read … Kalaupapa

Japan to Run Smart Grid Study on Maui

Hawaii has several demonstration projects in the works -- one big one on Maui and now another significant one on the way for the valley isle -- this time a $37 million investment by the "new Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization -- a branch of Japan's ministry of economy, trade and industry.

Governor Abercrombie signed a memorandum of understanding with the president of the organization -- explaining why a test project on Maui would be of interest for Japan.

"With the reconsideration of nuclear energy, what role nuclear energy will play in the Japanese energy picture, the advancing of alternative energy technology is even more crucial than it was before," said Governor Neil Abercrombie.

By late next year project contractors including Hitachi will install meters in about 200 residential, commercial and electric vehicle charging locations in the Kihei area.

read … Smart?




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