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Tuesday, December 22, 2009
December 22, 2009 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 11:39 AM :: 8658 Views :: Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party, National News, Development, World News, Hawaii History

Lingle submits plan to close $1.23B Budget shortfall

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'Last, best' union offer at UH calls for 6.7% cut

The University of Hawaii has modified its "last, best, final" offer to the faculty union and is now calling for a 6.667 percent reduction in faculty pay beginning Jan. 1 and may attempt to impose the pay cut, a university spokeswoman said.

ADV: UH salary talks deadlocked Administration threatens larger pay cuts on Jan. 1

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Arakaki: Emotion not good basis to support assisted suicide

The tragic and heart-wrenching situation of the Yagi family will elicit calls for legislation, but as a former lawmaker of 20 years, formulating law and policy on the basis of individual cases and emotion is not a good practice.

Please note that as the chairman of the House Health Committee, we scheduled a hearing in 2004 on the "Death with Dignity Bill." It lasted almost 12 hours and resulted in the committee holding the bill.

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Hifo, Hirai to step down

Hifo, who was formerly known as Bambi Weil, was first appointed to the Circuit bench by Gov. John Waihee in 1993. Hirai was appointed by Waihee in 1994....

In 1998-99, she presided over the closely watched five-month trial on the removal of Lokelani Lindsey as a trustee of the Kamehameha Schools/Bishop Estate.

That case ended with the judge's issuance of a blistering, 190-page decision on Lindsey's conduct as a trustee that ordered Lindsey's permanent removal from the trust....

In 1999, Hirai ordered the removal of two Bishop Estate trustees, Henry Peters and Richard "Dickie" Wong, finding that they had breached their obligations to the trust.

As probate judge, Hirai has also been responsible for approving new trustees to run the Kamehameha Schools, one of the largest charitable institutions in the country....

Supreme Court Associate Justice Steven Levinson retired early at the end of last year, and Chief Justice Ronald Moon reaches mandatory retirement age next year.

All the vacancies give Gov. Linda Lingle an opportunity to leave an imprint on Hawai'i's courts long after her term of office expires next year.

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Count us in for census power and money

A study of that census showed that the nation's final head count was about 1.8 percent below the actual population, while the undercount in Hawaii was 2.16 percent, the second-highest undercount. The low count cost Hawaii an estimated $310 million over a decade in federal funds distributed on the basis of census figures.

Officials told the Star-Bulletin's Susan Essoyan that Hawaii's low response rate can be attributed to some residents being wary of government, some having language barriers and others not recognizing the effect of the count on distribution of federal funds to their communities.

"The census is all about power and money," said Marilyn Yoza, partnership specialist in the Census Bureau's Honolulu office.

The average resident doesn't understand, she said, that the federal government spends $430 billion a year to the states.

(Or maybe residents DO understand well enough to not care about boosting the political class' power and money)

$310 Million??? That's not enough to pay for this: Sandwich Isles Communications: Political Connections Pay Off

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Planning begins for Hawaii undersea cable system

Development of the cable hinges on construction of two privately developed 200-megawatt wind farm projects expected to cost $500 million to $1 billion each, as well as power grid upgrades by Hawaiian Electric Co. The cable itself is preliminarily estimated to cost $800 million to $1 billion.

The goal is to have the cable installed and the wind farms running by 2014, according to DBEDT.

The cable is one component of a Lingle administration plan calling for 70 percent of the state's energy to come from renewable resources by 2030.

Hawaiian Electric spokes-man Peter Rosegg said the utility is working closely with the state on project financing issues.

"The cost will ultimately be paid for by some combination of utility customer and taxpayer funds," Rosegg said in an e-mail. "The state will seek additional federal funding and/or long-term loan guarantees to keep the total cost under control."

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Official says ban won't hurt 'ahi stock

Concerns about overfishing led to international agreements and federal regulations limiting the annual U.S. longline bigeye catch to 3,763 metric tons, effective this year. NOAA Fisheries Service has been monitoring bigeye tuna catches and determined that the 2009 catch limit will be reached by Dec. 29, Tosatto said.

Officials thought fishers would hit the quota much sooner. Tosatto said the 2009 season may have lasted longer than expected because of lower catch levels for a couple months early in the year and apparent efforts by the fishing industry to ration its bigeye catch to be in position to take advantage of the profitable holiday period when raw 'ahi dishes are a traditional favorite at island parties.

Takenaka said the fish auction sees its best sales during the last two weeks of the year, when the bidding can get intense.

The same catch quota of 3,763 metric tons will be used for the 2010 fishing year, which opens Jan. 1.

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CoFA Medical Care:  Public's view sought

The free Basic Health Hawaii program is less comprehensive than the Quest plan, which now covers noncitizens as well as other low-income residents. But the state has agreed to continue to cover kidney dialysis and chemotherapy drugs in response to concerns raised by the Micronesian community.

Advocates for patients were concerned at first glance the proposed program does not specifically guarantee the treatments for kidney failure and cancer, and because the program is limited to 7,000 people.

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Oahu Mayor Breaks Ground on H-Power Expansion Project

 

“We are firmly committed to reducing the amount of waste that ends up in our landfill, and this is a major step forward in that continuing effort,” Hannemann said. “This expansion has been badly needed for years, and I am very pleased to see such an important project reaching fruition. By greatly improving our island’s sustainability, this project will be a tremendous help to us all.”

The H-POWER facility currently utilizes two refuse-derived fuel boilers capable of processing a combined 2,160 tons-per-day of non-hazardous municipal solid waste, while generating up to 57 megawatts of energy. This translates into 4.5 percent of Oahu’s electricity, enough to power 45,000 homes.

The third boiler will utilize mass-burn technology and be able to combust an additional 900 tons per day, yielding an additional 25-30 megawatts of electricity – enough to supply 25,000 more homes – and supplying a cumulative total of 6 percent of Oahu’s electricity.

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Oahu's 'opala piling up on dock

Steinberger said the company's delays are the result of its attempt to amend its permit from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It requested that its barge operator and port of destination be changed, he said. Originally scheduled to use a barge company that would dock at the Port of Roosevelt, in Washington state, Hawaiian Waste asked for permission to use a shipper that would dock at the Port of Longview, near the Oregon border. Both ports are along the Columbia River, and under both scenarios the garbage would be loaded onto trucks and be hauled to the 2,500-acre Roosevelt Regional Landfill, Washington's largest dump.

Steinberger said he's been told Hawaiian Waste has now gone back to the original shipper, which would negate the company's need to amend the permit, or obtain a new one.

Hawaiian Waste is still in compliance with its contract with the city, since it is under no deadline to actually ship to the Mainland and is still accepting waste.

"Obviously, our concern is we're still seeing a lot of our 'opala that has been stockpiled at the harbor, some 12,000 tons worth, that has not moved," Steinberger said. "So until it's landfilled, I'm not real comfortable with just having it sit out there."

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HTA approves strategic plan 'to put more heads on beds'

The plan, which was requested by State Auditor Marion Higa during her last agency review, tracks closely with the state tourism plan.   (Gee, what a coincidence....)

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Plan calls for zero growth at Turtle Bay resort

An update for the North Shore Sustainable Communities Plan was released this week after two years of work by a community advisory committee and consultants.

Other parts of the plan recommend prohibiting the "improper" use of agriculture lands, including for subdivisions, allowing for one small-scale country inn limited to 40 rooms in Hale'iwa Town (And which committee member owns that?)  and keeping Kamehameha and Farrington highways as two-lane thoroughfares.

(Meanwhile local North Shore residents continue to be squeezed out by housing costs and leave for the Mainland.)

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Former Del Monte Hawaii workers begin buying Poamoho Camp homes

The bank said Monday that qualified residents have been offered the opportunity to purchase their single-family homes for an average price of $120,000, or less than half the current market price....

The bank worked with (the ILWU's pet) developer Peter Savio and others to help save the camp for the workers.

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City must refocus on enforcing rental law

The city's spotty record of enforcement of existing law is surely one of the reasons a reasonable allowance for supervised B&Bs went down in the final vote last week before the City Council.

Many opponents of the measure, Bill 7, said as much: They feared even a limited expansion of regulated B&Bs would merely pile on more troubles for neighborhoods upset about the proliferation of illegal rentals.

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