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Friday, November 25, 2011
November 25, 2011 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:06 PM :: 12706 Views :: Hawaii County News, Agriculture, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party, National News, Development, World News, Hawaii History

Bishop Silva, Doctors, Attorneys to Speak out on Assisted Suicide

Matt Romney to Campaign for Father in Hawaii

Suspended Attorney Says 'Vindictive' Navy Purposely Sows Intimidation & Fear in Civilian Counsel

American Shipper: Effort Underway to Loosen Jones Act Restrictions

State APEC Costs below projections

Maui Smart Grid Demonstration Project to Begin Next Year

December vehicle registration notices contain error

Final approval of $1.4B rail deal is put off

SA: The proposed contract for up to $1.4 billion between the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation and Ansaldo Honolulu JV was scheduled to be signed by today, but HART staff notified the City Council that the signing will be put off.

"I think that's a wise decision at this particular stage," City Council Chairman Ernie Martin said. "We recommended at the Council that they proceed very cautiously, just to ensure that if the decision is to go forward with Ansaldo, that they are totally capable of fulfilling the contract. We will be monitoring it very closely.

"It seems that every day there's another concern that arises." …

Finmeccanica announced last week it had suffered a third-quarter net loss of 790 million euros, or more than $1 billion. The stock value of Finmeccanica has plummeted 60 percent since January amid the financial losses and a corruption scandal.

Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti on Tuesday called on Finmeccanica to quickly respond to the corruption investigation by Rome prosecutors alleging company officials created slush funds that were then used to pay bribes to government officials, according to coverage by Bloomberg Businessweek….

The HART Finance and Project Oversight committees will meet today to consider the Ansaldo financial review.

read … Ansaldo Deadline

Pushback against rail gains momentum with new allies

Borreca: On Wednesday, former Gov. Ben Cayetano, University of Hawaii law professor Randy Roth, former state appeals court judge and Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustee Walter Heen, and businessman and transit critic Cliff Slater will get their day in court.

The quartet of distinguished and disgruntled Honolulu citizens are suing in federal court, claiming the city is rushing ahead with construction without first doing the required investigations into alternatives….

The Historic Hawaii Foundation has not taken a position on the transit system as a whole, but Kiersten Faulkner, its executive director, in a 2009 assesment said the rail line "will fundamentally change the cultural landscape of Oahu and could forever diminish the civic experience in Honolulu's historic areas."

The foundation found at least 33 historic properties that would suffer adverse effects from construction of the train line….

"The project is destined to become an ugly scar across one of the most beautiful places on Earth while there is little evidence that it will bring relief to Oahu's unacceptable traffic situation," The Outdoor Circle said in a position paper this month….

The four gentlemen suing the city and the two long-time community organizations raising concerns are all serious. The point they make is the planning was a rush job, the financing was a rush job and the result looks like a rush job.

Now the city should come to the table and talk about options to save Honolulu, not scar and disfigure it.

read … Pushback

Thanksgiving homecoming for hundreds of Kaneohe Marines

HNN: At a hangar on Marine Corps Base Hawaii, the emotion of family reunions was as big as the giant welcome home banners on the wall.

"We've been counting down. It just makes Thanksgiving have a whole new meaning for our family," said Victoria Grace, whose husband was returning from his fifth deployment.

About 300 Kaneohe Marines returned to the base….

read … Thanksgiving

Military spending cuts would rock HI

PBN: Hawaii and Virginia are the two states facing the biggest economic impact if an additional $600 billion in defense and other security spending cuts during the next 10 years become a reality, according to a Bloomberg Government analysis.

The projected cuts are slated to start in 2013 as a result of a congressional super committee’s failure to reach a deal this week to slash $1.2 trillion from the federal deficit. The defense cuts account for half of the automatic reductions that will be made as a result of the super committee’s coming up short on an agreement….

As much as 18 percent of Hawaii’s economy and 101,000 jobs can be linked to Department of Defense spending with all four branches having major installations in the state, according to the June study released by Rand Corp. and the Hawaii Institute of Public Affairs….

The same study showed that defense department spending in Hawaii averaged $6.5 billion per year during the 2007-2009 fiscal years. Of that, $4.1 billion was for personnel and $2.4 billion was for the purchase of goods and services in Hawaii. It also indicated that Defense Department spending increased by $1 billion since the mid-1990s….

The automatic cuts are on top of another $450 billion to $500 billion in defense cuts already planned over the next 10 years, she said.

Cut This First: 49% Waste: Inspector General Slams Hawaii Navy Solar Projects

The Cut This: Navy looks for more-powerful buoys for wave-energy testing

read … Military Cuts

Federal Contractors will not face 3% Withholding

PBN: President Barack Obama signed legislation that repeals a tax law that would have required federal, state and local governments to withhold 3 percent of their payments to vendors.

Both the House and Senate passed the bill unanimously. The legislation also includes tax breaks for hiring veterans, which was part of Obama’s jobs plan.

The withholding requirement was passed by Congress in 2005 as a way to make sure that government contractors don’t avoid paying federal taxes. Small businesses complained that the provision was unfair to tax-compliant businesses and would cause cash-flow problems for many companies. They have been working to repeal the withholding requirement ever since it was passed.

Repeal “is a huge win for business and prevents a severely flawed provision from delivering a harsh blow to the nation’s overall economic recovery,” said David Raymond, president and CEO of the American Council of Engineering Companies, who was at the White House for the bill’s signing ceremony.

read … Contractors

VIDEO: JFK monument re-dedicated at Hilo Peace Corps reunion

BIVN: It was a special moment for hundreds of former Peace Corps volunteers gathering in Hilo on Saturday.

This monument to President John Fitzgerald Kennedy, who signed the order establishing the Peace Corps, was relocated and re-dedicated here at the University of Hawaii-Hilo during a special ceremony.

The monument was refurbished and relocated from Hilo Memorial Hospital, the former main Peace Corps Training Center….

The event was part of a larger commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Peace Corps, one of many events and exhibitions in cities across the U.S. and in each country where Peace Corps currently serves. In 1962, the Big Island of Hawaii was selected as a Peace Corps training center. 50 years later… here in Hilo, a reunion includes this ceremony, and a tour up the Hamakua Coast, with a trip into Waipio Valley – the first Peace Corps training camp – on Monday.

read … Peace Corps

Star-Advertiser, Occupy Honolulu Denounce the 99%

SA: "Usually people come out on this day because it's cheaper for everyone to get their stuff for what they need, usually for Christmas and stuff, but they are over here trying to cut it down I guess," Walmart shopper Christian Canete said.

MSNBC: Shoppers at Valley River Center said they wished the demonstrators, who chanted and sing reworded Christmas carols, would just go away. "I think it's a waste of time," one shopper said. "People are still buying."

SA Chimes In: This year, shop small, shop local

Someone Else who is concerned about Mainland Corporations: Good News: A small elite no longer runs Hawaii -- Bad News: Mufi thinks he can change that

read … Arrogant, snobbish, elites denounce you

Tough Love: City Homeless Sweep aims to Push Homeless into Shelters

CB: But the tents — and their occupants — will be gone not long after the Thanksgiving holiday, the city hopes. Honolulu police and other city workers plan to dismantle the encampment on Tuesday, Nov. 29. They will clear away any remaining belongings, power wash the sidewalk and pick up trash in the park.

State homelessness coordinator Marc Alexander called the sweeps a "tough love" approach. The cleanups are a coordinated effort by city and state officials. The goal, he said, is to pressure homeless to leave the streets and move into shelters. (Exactly the right policy!)

“We kind of want to make things uncomfortable for those who refuse to access services,” he said. "People have been offered help. And there is space in our shelters for them.” (BRAVO!)

The King Street cleanup comes on the coattails of sweeps prior to the APEC summit, which pushed people out of encampments near Nimitz Highway and Kalakaua Avenue across from the Hawaii Convention Center.

read … Sweep them into a Shelter

In Bizarre Twist, Civil Beat Prints Some Facts About Styrofoam

CB: Polystyrene is cheaper and lighter than aluminum, molded fiber, starch and paper, according to Environmental Facts About Polystyrene Foam.

"In addition to Polystyrene Foam's environmental benefit, it is: functional and versatile; economical; sanitary, sturdy and safe (FDA Accepted); environmentally friendly as well as resource efficient," says Pactiv Corporation.

One other benefit: "There is no evidence that polystyrene foam bans reduce litter. A recent study of results from a ban on polystyrene foam in Portland, Oregon, shows that the ban has not been successful and should be repealed." …

Another benefit: "Polystyrene foam is composed of carbon and hydrogen," says Dart Container Corporation. "When properly incinerated polystyrene foam leaves only carbon dioxide, water, and trace amounts of ash."

And another: "Dart polystyrene foam products are not manufactured with chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) or any other ozone-depleting chemicals."

Plastic foam is not filling landfills as quickly as you think, says Pactiv Corporation. In fact, these products "are 95 percent air. Similar product performance with solid plastic or paper may require four times more material."

"All packaging materials represented 31.2 percent of municipal solid waste generated in 2005," according to Polystyrene Facts You Should Know. "Paper and paperboard packaging represented 15.9 percent, while plastics packaging represented only 5.6 percent of that municipal solid waste. All polystyrene packaging typically comprises less than 1.0 percent of municipal solid waste that is generated."

read … Some Facts for a Change

Lawsuit again stops Kawaiaha'o work

Kawaiaha'o Church has stopped construction again on a controversial multipurpose building -- this time because of a complaint that the church is disregarding a state requirement to remove human burials found on the construction site.

Paulette Kaleikini filed a lawsuit last week against the church and state officials, alleging that the historic Honolulu church was moving ahead with compacting the ground and pouring a concrete foundation without fulfilling an agreement to disinter and relocate burials to another part of the church's cemetery.

Circuit Court Judge Edwin Nacino granted a temporary restraining order, halting construction, and has scheduled a hearing on the issue for today.

It is the second time that work has been stopped since construction initially began in early 2009 on the $17.5 million multipurpose building. The facility is intended to help the 159-year-old church, referred to as "the Westminster Abbey of Hawaii," broaden its mission and membership.

It is also the third time the church has been sued over the project that has incensed native Hawaiians who insist their cultural beliefs in iwi kupuna, or ancestral bones, should be respected….

Kaleikini's lawsuit follows two others filed in connection with the building.

Hawaiian cultural specialist Dana Naone Hall, whose relatives are buried at Kawaiaha'o, filed a lawsuit in 2009 contending the state's burial law protecting Native Hawaiian burials was being violated, but a judge in a preliminary opinion said Hall was unlikely to win the case and refused to inhibit construction. The judge ruled the law did not apply because of an exemption for cemeteries, given that the Kawaiaha'o burials were of a Christian nature as evidenced by coffins.

Another suit was filed in 2009 by Abigail Kawananakoa, a relative of Queen Kapiolani, who alleged that trenching work encroached on the family burial plot.

That suit was settled a year ago. The terms were not disclosed.

read … Bones

Decision is expected soon on fate of Superferry vessels

The U.S. Maritime Administration is expected to decide in the near future on a winning bidder for the two former Hawaii Superferry vessels, which had a short-lived operation in Hawaii waters.

The Alakai and Huakai have been docked at Lambert's Point in Norfolk, Va., since the U.S. Maritime Administration took possession of them more than two years ago.

A bankruptcy judge ruled in 2009 that owner Hawaii Superferry Inc. could abandon the vessels to lenders, who were owed $159 million.

The Maritime Administration, which guaranteed the loans, has received four bids, including one reportedly from the Navy, according to the The Virginian-Pilot newspaper of Norfolk, Va.

Related: Why Hawaii Lost the Superferry, Hanabusa could have saved Superferry, did nothing

Hampton Roads: Navy hopes to gain two Hawaii superferries

read … Superferry

Nurses union reaches tentative agreement with Queen's

The nurses union and The Queen's Medical Center have reached a tentative agreement for a new contract, the Hawaii Nurses' Association announced today….

Ratification meetings will be held for the approximately 1,200 registered nurses at Queen's on Monday and Tuesday.

Meanwhile back in the HGEA: VIDEO: Abercrombie squares off with Maui Nurses (HHSC nurses are forced to be public employees and work for half pay. Time to privatize the HHSC and pay nurses what they’re worth.)

Related: Legislative Report: Convert HHSC to non-profit, dump civil service (full text)

read … HNA Gets Contract

Will Transplant Institute Survive St Francis Sale?

Dr. Linda Wong does not seek the spot on the business end of a camera but submitted to publicity in pursuit of one result: that people understand what the community will lose if Hawaii Medical Center shuts down. The biggest loss, she said, is the potential shutdown of the Transplant Institute of the Pacific at HMC-East in Liliha, formerly known as St. Francis Medical Center. That's where Wong performs surgery to give ailing patients donated livers and a new lease on life.

Sigall: Sisters of St. Francis led the way in isle health care

read … Transplant

Homeless find shelter, work on buses

Utu Langi has transformed six buses donated by Roberts Hawaii into homes on wheels, calling it The Evan’s Project. The buses were gutted and transformed into sleeping quarters with the help of volunteers.

“We're looking to reach out to those that are homeless and living out on the streets with no income at all or very little income,” said Langi, a longtime homeless advocate and executive director of Hawaii Helping the Homeless Have Hope, or H5 Hawaii….

Instead of a government handout, Langi has signed two multi-year janitorial contracts with the Hawaii Community Development Authority and the Waikiki Health Center, a non-profit organization which manages The Next Step homeless shelter nearby. Both contracts are worth about $450,000.

As part of the agreements, most of the residents who call The Evan’s Project home are charged with cleaning Kakaako Waterfront Park and Kewalo Basin every morning, seven days a week.

read … Labor Contractor

H-Power Ash to Become Building Material?

WILMINGTON, Del., Nov 25, 2011 (GlobeNewswire via COMTEX) -- IBA Green, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Pioneer Exploration (otcqb:PIEX.PK) announces it has organized a team of planners and engineers to respond to a "Request For Proposal" from the city of Honolulu, Hawaii for the treatment of incinerator bottom ash (IBA). IBA is the toxic residual residue resulting from burning coal or solid waste in the process of generating electric power.

Angelo Scola, CEO, said, "We believe that our technology and the resulting building material by-products can address several issues facing Honolulu, not the least of which is the immediate reduction of toxic Incinerator Bottom Ash from being deposited in the landfill. That same ash once treated can then safely be converted into nonhazardous eco-friendly building materials, thereby reducing some of Honolulu's dependency on expensive imported building materials and providing the municipality additional revenue. IBA Green's patented technology to treat and convert incinerator bottom ash into viable and environmentally responsible construction materials is a safe and environmentally sensitive method of diverting what was previously hazardous material and well suited as a treatment solution response to the Honolulu RFP."

read … Ash

Climategate 2.0: New E-Mails Rock The Global Warming Debate

A new batch of 5,000 emails among scientists central to the assertion that humans are causing a global warming crisis were anonymously released to the public yesterday, igniting a new firestorm of controversy nearly two years to the day after similar emails ignited the Climategate scandal.

Three themes are emerging from the newly released emails: (1) prominent scientists central to the global warming debate are taking measures to conceal rather than disseminate underlying data and discussions; (2) these scientists view global warming as a political “cause” rather than a balanced scientific inquiry and (3) many of these scientists frankly admit to each other that much of the science is weak and dependent on deliberate manipulation of facts and data.

Read the Emails: New Batch of Global Warmers’ Emails: “We're choosing the periods to show warming”

read … Forbes


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