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Monday, May 30, 2011
May 30, 2011 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 1:02 PM :: 11186 Views

Ronald Reagan, Memorial Day 1986: “They chose to reject the fashionable skepticism of their time”

Abercrombie’s Tough Deal: Penny-pinching Governor demands Control over decision to “Extend Life”

Molokai Anti-Wind Group Forms

Memorial Day Events:

Only 12 remaining Hawaii WW2 Vets of 442nd

Ronald Oba was assigned to the 442nd Regimental Combat Team at 18 years-old.

One of only a dozen remaining Hawaii soldiers from the most decorated regiments in U.S. military history.

It's been 68 years since Ronald Oba left his home in Hawaii to join the 442nd Regimental Combat Team.

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Molokai Veterans Group Comes a Long Way

Ten years ago Patti Berg had a vision, and Molokai Veterans Caring for Veterans was born. Patti, Wendy De Fretias and I paid for three months’ rent, the rest is history. Molokai has approximately 600 veterans – 300 belong to MVCV. Before the organization formed Molokai veterans had limited VA benefits and medical services. Because we lobbied the Senate and Veteran Council, today MVCV has an on-island veteran physician, Dr. Hafermann; regular visits from psychiatrists; a social worker; psychologist; and benefit counselors. There are about 200 vets enrolled in the Veteran Health Care System on Molokai. Many have overdue benefits.

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Hirono finally shows up in Hawaii to do interviews

Four minutes and she doesn’t answer a single question -- including when asked to name “even a single accomplishment”. 

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DOE to tighten tenure rules: School administrators undergo "employee termination training"  (but they aren’t actually going to fire anyone)

(NO CONSEQUENCES) In the meantime, the DOE has offered principals and vice principals "employee termination training," with lessons that include the due-process rights of tenured teachers and the kinds of support and professional development administrators can give ineffective teachers to help them improve.

Though the title of the training might worry some, DOE officials say they are not necessarily interested in increasing the number of tenured teachers who are fired. (No tenured teachers were terminated in the 2007-08 school year, the latest data from the U.S. Department of Education show; 127 probationary teachers were let go that year.)

Instead, said Yvonne Lau, acting administrator for the DOE performance management section, the idea is to get principals and teachers more comfortable with having difficult conversations about performance, improvement and consequences.

The emphasis of the training — and the new system — is on rewarding effective teachers, helping marginal teachers improve and pushing bad teachers who aren't getting better out of the classroom, the DOE said….

Last school year, 99 percent of evaluated teachers were rated "satisfactory," and 1 percent were rated "marginal" or "unsatisfactory."

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OHA awards $4.3M for education, health and income

Organizations receiving funding are Hawaii First Federal Credit Union, Aha Punana Leo, Partners in Development Foundation, Waianae Coast Community Mental Health Center Inc., Mana Maoli, Koa Ike, Hawaiian Community Assets, Pacific American Foundation, Maui Economic Opportunity Inc., Hui Malama I Ke Kai Foundation, Family Nurturing Center of Hawaii Inc. and Hale Kipa Inc.

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Maui Man escapes, so soft-on-crime Judge Lets him out of Prison

(NO CONSEQUENCES) In what 2nd Circuit Judge Richard Bissen called an unconventional sentence, he ordered a man to complete a 30-month residential drug treatment program for crimes including stealing automated teller machines and escaping from jail guards at a funeral last year.

Kahaleauki had pleaded no contest to six counts of second-degree theft, three counts of fourth-degree criminal property damage, first-degree unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle, six counts of unauthorized possession of confidential personal information, second-degree promotion of a dangerous drug, possessing drug paraphernalia, third-degree promotion of a dangerous drug, third-degree promotion of a detrimental drug, attempted first-degree theft, two counts of second-degree criminal property damage, second-degree burglary, first-degree theft, unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle, first-degree burglary, theft of a credit card and second-degree escape.  (And now he is free!)

He read part of a letter written by Kahaleauki saying, "I have been fighting a sick addiction with the drug ice or meth for many years . . . I am sick of my addiction." … (Oh yes, I am soooo convinced!)

According to the Hawaii Criminal Justice Data Center, Kahaleauki's prior record includes 43 convictions for drug, firearm, threatening and other offenses.  (But after writing a letter, we can rest assured …..)


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High cost of Nursing Home Care produces Surplus of LTC Beds 

While the population may be aging, Maui may be making strides at preparing for it. Krieg said the shortage of long-term care beds that appeared to be a crisis 10 years ago has turned into a surplus.

"We now have beds that are empty, which is a total turnaround," he said.

One reason may be government incentives and better insurance coverage to provide services for elderly patients at home. But economics is probably also a factor, he said, noting that families may have a harder time paying for nursing home care and may also regard an older person's Social Security and pension payments as a needed source of income during a difficult time for the whole family.  (Isn’t Obamacare wonderful!)

"I think, when unemployment starts to drop, we'll see more elders outside the family again," he said.

Reality: Hawaii Nursing Home Care costs 58% more than National Average

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Hawaii Gov. Abercrombie intends to veto redundant measure extending stimulus oversight

The Democratic governor has notified the Senate he intends to veto a measure extending the work of a commission overseeing federal stimulus spending in the state.

The legislation duplicates another law Abercrombie already signed last month that gives the commission six more months, until Dec. 31, to complete its work.

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No Wind on Molokai (Literally)

Throughout the year, wind speed varies from calm to seven miles per hour (mph) for several days in a row. For the last 20 years on Molokai, the wind has been less than 10 miles per hour intermittently as much as half the time. 50 percent of each year, the wind is not strong enough (12 mph) or steady enough or directional enough to power the wind generators for 24 hours for more than a day or two. A short term wind test, six months or a year gives false information.

I have been trying to depend on wind powered electric generators for over 20 years in Ho`olehua (near the airport) and sadly disappointed that only a few days each month the wind is good. In the case of a wind farm producing alternating current electricity, diesel generators would have to be kept running to supply electric power when the wind generator is not. The diesel generators must be kept running 100 percent of the time whether the wind generators are producing or not. 50 percent of the time, wind generators are working, while 100 percent of the time diesel generators are running – burning additional fuel.

How is this going green and reducing our dependence on oil?

RELATED: Molokai Anti-Wind Group Forms

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HC&S: Sugar ‘at the top,’ can anything knock it off?

Researchers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the University of Hawaii will arrive on Maui this summer to work with Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. to study crops, growing conditions and other issues in developing biofuels on the island.

The 130-year-old plantation is working with federal and state partners to help determine not only its own future, but also the future of growing biofuel crops in Hawaii to power both the U.S. Navy's Pacific Fleet and private vehicles across the state. The end result could be the development of a biofuel refinery for HC&S, said company General Manager Rick Volner Jr.

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Ex-Maui officer, once called a hero, pleads guilty in theft, sex extortion

Kristopher Galon, decorated by the Maui Police Department for heroism in 2004, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court on Thursday to felonies committed while on duty in Lahaina in 2007 and 2008.

He was charged earlier this month by District Attorney Florence Nakakuni with two counts of depriving a person of rights under color of law.

In one case, he stole money from a driver at a traffic stop, according to his plea agreement. In the other, he extorted a sex act from a woman who had been jailed after another officer arrested and robbed her.

The other officer, Steven Gunderson, pleaded guilty in April to charges of theft and evidence tampering.

Both were fired from the Maui Police Department. Galon has been sued for damages by the woman, and a jury trial is scheduled before 2nd Circuit Judge Joseph Cardoza next year.

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Costs force MEO out of senior chore service

Maui Economic Opportunity Inc. will be giving up its county contract on June 30 for elderly homemaker and chore services, a program the agency has run virtually nonstop since the mid-1970s.

There will be no interruption of services to elderly clients, who receive help with their household chores, home maintenance and laundry with the goal of keeping them independent and living in their homes.

Hale Mahaolu, which already offers personal care services, will pick up the program in the interim, until the county can contract with a new provider, a news release said.

MEO, a private nonprofit Community Action Agency, decided to relinquish the Homemaker and Chore Services contact because of financial shortfalls in the program. The agency lost about $40,000 this contract year on the $153,645 contract, said Debbie Cabebe, chief programs officer.

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Kauai Property Tax Appeals up 35%

Tax appeals in total rose 35 percent over last year to 1,030, up from 763 in 2010. The increase was due mainly to several condominium property regime (CPR) projects, Hunt said.

Kealanani filed 250 to 300 appeals, Cornerstone filed 400 to 500 and Marriott Kaua‘i Beach Club filed 356. These three developments’filed appeals on the entire property, he said, which encompasses each individually taxed unit.

“There were very few residential, condominium, commercial, industrial or homestead appeals,” he said. “While the actual count was high, given that the vast majority was isolated to three projects, it seemed like an uneventful year.”

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Fences protect 8,000 acres of Kaua‘i wilderness

A new pair of fences in the remote wilderness of Kaua‘i will reportedly protect the island’s primary source of water and one of the most important biological diversity hotspots in the Hawaiian archipelago.

These strong barriers, developed by The Nature Conservancy for the benefit of the Kaua‘i Watershed Alliance, will shelter 8,000 acres of the state’s most pristine wildland from the onslaught of invading feral animals, a news release states….

$700K fences protect private, public lands

The work was funded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Partners for Conservation and Endangered Species Recovery Programs, the U.S. Forest Service’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act program, the state Division of Forestry and Wildlife’s Natural Area Reserve Fund’s Watershed Partnership Grant Program, and various private donors.

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Enviros Panic as Huge new Oil Field opens up in Texas

The Texas field, known as the Eagle Ford, is just one of about 20 new onshore oil fields that advocates say could collectively increase the nation’s oil output by 25 percent within a decade — without the dangers of drilling in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico or the delicate coastal areas off Alaska.

There is We enviro-cultists have only one catch hope to stop this: the oil from the Eagle Ford and similar fields of tightly packed rock can be extracted only by using hydraulic fracturing, a method that uses a high-pressure mix of water, sand and hazardous chemicals to blast through the rocks to release the oil inside.

The technique, also called fracking, has been widely used in the last decade to unlock vast new fields of natural gas, but drillers only recently figured out how to release large quantities of oil, which flows less easily through rock than gas. As evidence mounts that fracking poses risks to water supplies, the federal government and regulators in various states are considering tighter regulations on it.

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