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May 7, 2022 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:03 PM :: 1307 Views

DoH: 100% of Oahu Seniors Vaccinated

HECO RFP Seeks 'Renewable' Projects on Maui, Oahu

Hawaii GE Tax Bites in to 94% of Personal Income

DoH: Navy Must Present Red Hill Shutdown Plan by November

337 Candidates Pull Papers 

Caldwell’s ex-chief of staff testifies to grand jury corruption probe--One Day After Caldwell Quits Gubernatorial Race

HNN: … One day after Kirk Caldwell withdrew from the governor’s race, his former mayoral chief of staff faced a grand jury.

And that’s stirring new questions about the ongoing public corruption probe.

Gary Kurokawa spent hours in the grand jury room at the federal courthouse Thursday. Kurokawa was appointed chief of staff by former Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell in March 2017. That was right after a $250,000 lump sum severance package was approved for then-Police Chief Louis Kealoha.

The secret deal was crafted by Max Sword, then head of the Police Commission, and former top city attorney Donna Leong. Both Sword and Leong have since been indicted for their alleged roles in facilitating the payoff along with Caldwell’s managing director, Roy Amemiya….

Moore was surprised by Caldwell’s sudden departure from the race for governor Wednesday. Just days earlier, in a Star-Advertiser article, Caldwell described a path to victory with Neighbor Island voters.

“It was a little strange for him to keep campaigning fairly strongly until the very end when he quickly withdrew,” said Moore. “We didn’t get a lot of indications that he was ramping down his campaign.”…

Wong said Caldwell has not received a subject or target letter from the Department of Justice.….

SA: Caldwell’s former chief of staff testifies before federal grand jury

PH: 20 Years Later, Kinda Same Story

read … Caldwell’s ex-chief of staff testifies to grand jury amid sprawling corruption probe

HART approves draft recovery plan for troubled transit project

HNN: … HART and the city say they only have enough money to build to the Civic Center station and are calling for the elimination of the last two stations and the final 1-and-1/4-mile of the guideway.

The recovery plan also postpones construction of the park and ride at the Pearl Highlands Station ― a move that many H2 commuters oppose.

The 1,600-stall structure will allow residents from Central Oahu and the North Shore to drive to the station and ride the rail into town, cutting traffic congestion on the H1.

But the city and rail officials say the project costs too much ― $330 million or about $200,000 per stall.….

“People are questioning that we’ve inflated that amount. But these dollar amounts came from the P3 bidders on a stand alone project. Two different bidders came up with similar costs,” said HART CEO Lori Kahikina.

HART officials also say their studies show not enough people will use it anyway.

“My feeling if we’re going to spend a third of a billion dollars on a parking garage, it might be better to invest that money in an extension to Mililani,” said HART board member Anthony Aalto….

“In just talking to them, we’re a little bit off on the numbers, not too much, maybe a few hundred million dollars,” said Kahikina.

“There’s been no indication that they’re going to withhold the remaining $744 million.”….

PDF: 'Recovery Plan'

SA: Oahu rail recovery plan approved by Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation board

CB: HART Board Approves A New Honolulu Rail Plan For A Shorter Route

KITV:  HART Board Sending Approved Recovery Plan To City Council

read …  HART approves draft recovery plan for troubled transit project but not without pushback

Bill setting rules for electric gun sellers in Maui County passes

MN: …  The Maui County Council voted unanimously Friday to approve an ordinance setting licensing requirements for electric gun sellers after removing insurance requirements and having the finance director issue the permits instead of the police chief….

a federal lawsuit filed against the county and council alleged that the delay in enacting an ordinance and the additional requirements for sellers “have perpetuated a complete ban on the sale, ownership and possession of electric arms.”…

Asked about the lawsuit, Whittaker said “we have had productive conversations with their attorneys.”

“We believe that this amended bill strikes a good balance between regulation and those that would like to own electric guns in Maui County,” he said.

He said the county hoped the lawsuit would become moot with the new ordinance “because people will be able to sell electric guns in the county once this is signed into law.”

Whittaker also said “there’s not necessarily an issue” to have a Police Commission member selling electric guns. Police Commissioner Mark Redeker owns Maui Ammo and Gun Supply, which wants to sell electric guns and is one of the plaintiffs in the federal lawsuit.

read … Bill setting rules for electric gun sellers in county passes

Lawsuit: DoH ‘Blocking’ Lawyers’ Health Tests

HNN: …. Families affected by the Navy Water crisis have filed another lawsuit.

Their lawyers said the Navy is still refusing to provide even the most basic medical screening to document exposure and care for those who have been affected.

The suit by the Hosoda Law Group joins many others.

One Navy mother who asked to remain anonymous said a doctor told her they couldn’t test for the cause of her family’s illnesses because the state Department of Health told them not to….

Some of her children are also ill, and she said she has seen multiple doctors. She said they told her they could help ease their symptoms but couldn’t test for the cause.

“She said, well, we’ve been advised by the DOH that we should treat the symptoms and not look for the cause,” said the mother.

This medical advisory the Department of Health issued in March said “chemical screening for exposures to petroleum hydrocarbons in drinking water is not recommended.”

In a statement from the agency Friday, a spokesperson said the state toxicologist and the CDC determined that “diagnostic testing should be driven by the clinical evaluation of a physician. As the advisory states, available blood and urine testing cannot reliably indicate exposure to JP-5 jet fuel in drinking water or determine if symptoms are from exposure to petroleum hydrocarbons.”…  

KHON: Still suffering illnesses, Hawaii families go after the Navy over Red Hill water contamination

HH: Bulletin Board – BWS MEETING May 9

SAS: More than 100 residents file claims for compensation over Red Hill water contamination

read … Families impacted by Navy water crisis say they’re still struggling to get health care

One of Oahu’s only homeless shelters for families has closed. The reason? Red tape

HNN: … Despite what advocates described as an enormous need, one of the only homeless shelters that took in entire families on Oahu has closed.

The Family Assessment Center near Kakaako Waterfront Park shut down after its lease ran out in February. The building has been sitting empty for more than two months.

HNN has confirmed money for the project is there.

The problem is, the city says that once the state’s emergency proclamation on homelessness expired it was no longer legal for people to live on the property….

Over the past five years, the Family Assessment Center helped more than 230 homeless families get off the streets. And now, at least half of them are living in places of their own. But that work came to a halt in February ― and that was after a six-month lease extension from the city.

The state, meanwhile, still hasn’t finalized a new location for the shelter.

“I don’t know why they didn’t have a place ready,” Fielding said. “I definitely think government failed.”…

The only other facility that takes in entire families is the Institute for Human Services.  On Wednesday, IHS Community Relations Director Jill Wright said the family dorm was at capacity….

the most recent numbers are from January 2020. And back then, volunteers counted 315 families ― totaling more than 1,200 people.

read … One of Oahu’s only homeless shelters for families has closed. The reason? Red tape

The ocean’s biggest garbage pile is full of floating life

NYT: … Helm believes any large-scale removal of plastic from the patch could pose a threat to its neuston inhabitants.

“When it comes to figuring out what to do about the plastic that’s already in the ocean, I think we need to be really careful,” she said. The results of her study “really emphasize the need to study the open ocean before we try to manipulate it, modify it, clean it up or extract minerals from it.”…

read … The ocean’s biggest garbage pile is full of floating life

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