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Tuesday, May 26, 2009
May 26, 2009 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:45 AM :: 6356 Views

Advertiser: Public hospitals must reinvent themselves

This kind of reform is the goal of Senate Bill 1673, passed by the Legislature and under consideration by Gov. Lingle. It gives local administrators on each island greater control of their hospitals.

Regional boards and the hospitals they administer could partner with private entities — or go private themselves — to be more competitive. They could reduce or eliminate costly or unneeded services after consultation with the community, without going through the Legislature. And corporation or regional boards could negotiate directly with public unions.

It's possible that as the regional boards flex their new muscles, they could dramatically change the face of the public hospital system.

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Repairs to nation's largest, oldest subway systems could trump Honolulu rail line (bad news for Mufia)

Last week, President Obama recommended Congress provide $1.83 billion to fund major transit projects throughout the United States. More than $600 million of that money is being recommended for new projects in areas as diverse as northern New Jersey; Austin, Texas; and Roaring Fork Valley, Colo. No money was awarded to Honolulu's train project, which isn't expected to receive federal funds until 2011 at the earliest.

In addition, Honolulu was not among the 11 projects that were approved to enter the preliminary engineering phase of project development....

More than a third of the assets at the nation's seven largest rail transit agencies are in marginal or poor condition. And fixing those assets, which include trains, guideways, stations and control systems, will require $50 billion in repairs, according to a report by the Federal Transit Administration.

Fixing those ailing, older train systems may require diverting money from recently built and planned train systems, according to the recently released report to Congress. That could mean less money for Honolulu's planned rail system.

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SB: Construction needs boost during recession

Reflecting the sharp downturn in tourism, Hawaii's construction industry has been tumbling at unprecedented rates. The state will need to go forward with state and federal stimulus projects and break ground for the rail transit project by the end of this year to (help Mufia run for Governor) offset any ripple effect -- with tidal-wave potential -- from crisis-ridden California.

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Poll finds that if people take vacations this summer, they will not stay for long

Hawaii's struggling visitor industry could be getting more bad news this summer instead of its usual droves of peak-season vacationers.

Fewer than half of Americans are planning to vacation this summer, and less than a quarter of them plan to take a long trip, according to the results of the biennial poll released last week by the Marist Institute for Public Opinion, a survey research center at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.

This more frugal consumer sentiment poses a greater challenge to remote destinations like Hawaii than it does for states that are only a quick car trip away. As a result, members of Hawaii's visitor industry are braced for a lackluster summer.

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Focus shifting to address needs of Honolulu's growing chronic-homeless population

And although many agree more needs to be done to move people off the streets in the urban core, not everyone is happy about the proposed $10.5 million River Street Residences, which would offer long-term housing, largely to the chronically homeless.

Dozens attended a community meeting Wednesday to learn about the proposed River Street project and several expressed concerns about how the development would affect the community. Some said that they liked the concept but didn't want it in the area for fear it would pose a safety threat.

"The community's concern is security, and also the area, whether it's suitable for housing mentally ill people," said Chu Lan Shubert-Kwock, president of the Chinatown Business & Community Association, which has not yet taken a position on the project.


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Kahana residents get state apology

Controversy surfaced at the state park last year when six families who had long ties to the valley were issued eviction notices. The families do not hold leases but had hoped to obtain them.

Kahana Valley residents live there under a unique agreement with the state, which bought the land in 1970 and created a "living cultural park" in 1993 to save the valley from development. In exchange for 65-year leases, the state allowed 31 families who were living there at the time of the purchase to stay, provided they contribute 25 hours a month of cultural activities.

House Bill 1552 puts on hold evictions from the valley for two years, allows the state Department of Land and Natural Resources to grant leases to people who live there now but don't have leases, and establishes a council to create a master plan for the Ahupua'a O Kahana State Park. The master plan could include qualifications for other people who might be eligible for a lease there.

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Builder Bruce Stark faces two suits to foreclose on Canterbury Place

Bruce Stark, one of Hawai'i's most prolific real estate developers in the 1960s, '70s and '80s, is now fighting to hold onto one of his last assets in the state after two lawsuits were filed recently to foreclose on his stake in Waikiki's Canterbury Place high-rise.

In March, the tower's association of apartment owners sued Stark through his company, 1910 Partners, which built the 152-unit luxury tower at 1910 Ala Moana in 1977. The suit alleges that the developer quit paying monthly expenses on commercial space he owns and leases to two restaurants, an office tenant and an operator of 110 parking stalls.

Stark's nonpayment of building operation fees at Canterbury has forced owners of the residential units in the building to cover the shortfall. On average, that's costing each owner about $350 a month.

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Niu Valley, Kaiser seek accreditation for global citizenship curriculum

An IB accreditation team is expected to visit both campuses this fall. If approved, Niu Valley and Kaiser would become the first public schools in Hawai'i to collaboratively offer the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme. Niu Valley is a feeder school to Kaiser.

In addition, Kaiser High would become the second public school in Hawai'i to offer the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme, a curriculum tailored for 11th- and 12th-grade students.

So far, Campbell High School is Hawai'i's only public school school offering the International Baccalaureate Diploma. Mid-Pacific Institute, a private school, is the only other school in the state offering IB curriculum.

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