Troubled Honolulu rail Contractor owned by Gaddafi--Revolt causing Financial Losses
Hawai`i Free Press: A Million Hits A Month
VIDEO: Abercrombie argues with retired teacher in Hilo
Mainland Democrat Operatives Attack Gov. Lingle's Record
Supreme Court Evaluates Work of Access to Justice Commission
I Love Liliha Festival Aug 28
Kimura Gets 20 Years in Maui Ponzi Scheme
“People at the very top knew”: Sexual Abuse Arrests made at Hawaii's school for Deaf and Blind
Police say several arrests have been made as an investigation continues into allegations of widespread sexual abuse between classmates at the Hawaii School for the Deaf and Blind.
Police say several juvenile males have been arrested since the investigation began earlier this year. There are dozens of victims and several alleged perpetrators.
According to sources, the molestation which included rape began years ago, allegedly instigated by one young student.
The abuse worsened as other student victims were forced to become perpetrators themselves, fearing retaliation if they didn't follow suit….
No adults are suspects in the case, but victims and their families say the problems were known to adults on campus.
The principal has been placed on directed leave by the Department of Education, and an acting principal has temporarily been assigned to the school.
"The parents whose children were suspected of wrong doing and parents of children apparently were preyed upon were never told," says Michael Green, attorney….
While the criminal investigation is pursued through the juvenile justice system at this time, a civil class action lawsuit may be forthcoming.
"Because I am clear that some of the people at the very top knew I have no doubt about that," says Green.
SA: Arrests made in alleged sex assaults on disabled students
UHPA Steps Into Teacher Contract Dispute
…the university's faculty assembly on Thursday filed a petition with the Labor Relations Board to intervene in the case, saying the outcome could affect UHPA's collective bargaining rights. The petition would allow it to comment on the legal aspects relating to HSTA's case, which it points out will have implications for other unions throughout the state…..
Political Radar: Jumping in
Inouye’s National Democrats hit for attacking Case, Lingle
Matt Canter, a DSCC spokesman, said Thursday that national Democrats intend to emphasize what he describes as her "hyper-partisan" politics and her disappointing record as governor.
"Not only was Lingle hyper-partisan, nominating Sarah Palin for vice president and accusing President Obama of palling around with terrorists, she was also a huge disappointment as governor. Lingle's decision to gut classroom time for thousands of Hawaii students drew an intense backlash from parents and teachers and was even singled out by the Obama administration as one of the worst decisions in the nation," Canter said in a statement….
Jonah Kaauwai, state GOP chairman, noted that the DSCC criticized Case this week for releasing a private poll that showed both Case and Lingle ahead of Hirono.
"It is disappointing that the DSCC's candidate of choice, Mazie Hirono, is so weak, flawed, and uninspiring that they are already spending their time negatively attacking candidates from their own party and others who are not even in the race," Kaauwai said in an email. "It is too bad they are so self-conscious about their own candidate and have nothing positive to say about her."
Carpenter said he is concerned about the DSCC's criticism of Case. He was similarly unhappy last year when the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which helps elect Democrats to the House, appeared to favor Case over fellow Democrat Colleen Hanabusa in a special election for Congress.
"So frankly, I think they ought to back off criticizing any Democrat," he said.
Related: Mainland Democrat Operatives Attack Gov. Lingle's Record, Poll shows Lingle beating Hirono: Inouye’s Senate Democrats outraged by “dishonest” Ed Case
Shapiro: It’s already hold-your-nose time in the Hawai‘i’s U.S. Senate race
It makes you wonder how the statement came to be issued. Did Hirono go crying to the DSCC for protection? Was it U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye, a longtime Case antagonist, keeping his promise to remain neutral by having a surrogate do the dirty work?
Establishment Democrats don’t seem to get it that they shoot themselves in the foot with this kind of carping.
The more Hirono seems to need the protection of “the boys,” the weaker she appears. The more the party establishment acts afraid of Case, the more moderates in the party and independent voters like him.
Equally nonsensical was a separate statement by the DSCC’s Matt Canter attacking Lingle after she dipped her toe further into the race.
“Hyper-partisan Linda Lingle is trying to hide her long record as a partisan bomb thrower in order to go to Washington and rubber stamp the extreme Republican agenda that would end Medicare and give tax breaks to oil companies,” Canter said.
Over-the-top rhetoric may sound good in Washington’s overcharged political environment, but it just doesn’t play in Hawai‘i…trying to portray her as a bomb-throwing GOP extremist won’t resonate with most Hawai‘i voters who know better.
Related: Mainland Democrat Operatives Attack Gov. Lingle's Record, Poll shows Lingle beating Hirono: Inouye’s Senate Democrats outraged by “dishonest” Ed Case
Hanabusa’s Announcement: A Matter Of Weeks
Will she or won’t she? Rep. Colleen Hanabusa continues to stir speculation about whether she’ll run for re-election in the House or make a run for the U.S. Senate seat that Sen. Daniel Akaka is vacating when he retires in 2012.
Hanabusa, a Democrat, has said that if former Gov. Linda Lingle, a Republican, announces she’ll run for Senate, it would be added pressure for Hanabusa to challenge her.
Lingle was expected to make an announcement in August but recently said it will probably be later. Hanabusa is still sticking to an August timeline for her campaign announcement.
Hanabusa’s spokeswoman says the congresswoman will “definitely” make an announcement before she returns to D.C. in a few weeks.
Ko Olina Home In or Out of Hanabusa's District?
Astute observers will note the presence of then-GOP Executive Director Dylan Nonaka, who had previously served as Djou's campaign chair and is now one of four Republican appointees on the Reapportionment Commission that's drawing the lines in question. In fact, Nonaka is one of the four members of the technical committee that came up with the draft plans.
Even though he's since left his position with the Hawaii Republican Party to open his own political consulting firm and has moved out of the First Congressional District back to the Big Island, it's not unreasonable to think that Nonaka would like to keep sticking it to Hanabusa by keeping Ko Olina out of District 1. One of the other members of the technical committee, Lorrie Lee Stone, is the wife of Ko Olina developer Jeff Stone, a major Hanabusa backer.
The presence of those two might explain the lack of consensus on the congressional districts even though that task was a far easier problem to solve than drawing boundaries for 25 state Senate and 51 state House seats. The full commission will discuss the plans on Friday and come up with one final proposal.
After that, we'll know if Hanabusa's Ko Olina house is in or out.
Doctor shortage getting worse; hospitals finding ways to cope
Dr. Melanie Arakaki receives at least a dozen calls a day from potential patients pleading for her services.
The Hilo Family Medicine doctor and John A. Burns School of Medicine graduate shares her practice with one other doctor. Combined, they have a waiting list of 500 people, and it’s growing….
Arakaki isn’t the only doctor feeling the burden. Statewide, Hawaii has a shortage of 669 doctors, according to the Hawaii Physician Workforce Assessment Project report. By 2020, that number is expected to swell to more than 1,600.
(And Abercrombie’s Medical Home scheme is only going to make this worse.)
Kamehameha land sales raise questions
“If you’re selling the land to spend it on something else, you’re depleting the legacy,” said Oswald Stender, who was a Bishop Estate trustee for nine years and a vocal critic of his former colleagues.
“They just seem to be on the march to create cash, and I don’t know what they’re going to use the cash for,” he said.
The proceeds are not earmarked and will go into the general fund for education, Fleming said….
the trust, and the schools, will feel the effect of selling income-producing property in the future, Stender said.
“For the long term, and that’s the sadness of this, in the long term that’s where it’s going to hurt,” he said. “When you continuously deplete your source of earnings, when you start to deplete those things, it’s going to start to show.”
Developer Peter Savio, who handled lease-to-fee sales for the trust in the 1990s, said that it makes sense for the trust to sell “remnant” assets unconnected to other holdings to generate higher returns elsewhere.
Cayetano, Waihee speak up for Aloun Farms
Despite the nature of the charges, some community leaders stepped forward to support them, including two former governors who submitted letters to the judge. Ben Cayetano said yesterday he vouched for Alec Sou's character, although he didn't know the details of the case.
"Everything I knew about Alec was good," Cayetano said. "With me he was always straightforward and honest. Frankly, if he had been convicted of the charges, I would have been shocked because that was not the Alec I knew."…
Former Gov. John Waihee said he has always admired the Sous' compelling family story.
"They did a lot to get the agricultural industry restarted," Waihee said. "I just knew they were exceptionally good people, trying to make a living. This current interest to buy local, which I'm really happy about, would not be possible without families like the Sous who actually went out there and produced local products."
Jurors: Prosecution Botched Aloun Farms Case
At least two jurors apparently were leaning toward the defense.
"We were very much surprised that the government decided to drop the case this early," said juror Gary Fujitani, (the Exec Director of Hawaii Bankers Association)
"Obviously, the defense made a good case in trying to refute the government charges," he said.
Pasha: New law makes competition nearly impossible
The head of Pasha Hawaii Transport Lines LLC said a new law that limits the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission’s ability to grant the licenses needed to transport cargo between islands will make it nearly impossible for his, or any other company, to compete in the inter-island shipping market.
The PUC caused an uproar last September when it issued Pasha an interim license to enter the inter-island shipping market without forcing it to stop at some of the unprofitable Neighbor Island destinations that Young Brothers Ltd. is required to serve.
Seemingly in response, the Legislature passed a measure that was signed into law by Gov. Neil Abercrombie that places strict requirements on the PUC when it considers permanent or interim licenses. Pasha’s certificate will be up for renewal at the end of 2013 and the new law, the company says, will effectively shut it out of the market.
(Imagine that. The Gov and the Leg getting together to protect the Young Bros monopoly. What a surprise.)
Luddites, Mortgage Scammers Move to Thwart Hawaii Fish farm
Kale Gumapac, Alaka'i for the Kanaka Council Moku O Keawe, expressed deep sadness with the industrialisation of fishing and warned that Kona Blue's practices presented a grave threat to the centuries-old practices of Na Po'e Kanaka, or native Hawaiian people.
"Kona Blue sells its aquaculture venture as 'sustainable', but how can this be true when it is costing tax payers huge amounts of money and eating up large chunks of federal government funds?" Gumapac asked IPS, referring to the 3.3 million dollars in public subsidies that the company has benefitted from – directly or indirectly – thus far.
A statement issued by the Kanaka Council outlining the dire implications of Kona Blue's practices include the disruption of gathering rights on ancient fishing grounds; a breach of religious freedom, particularly the slaughter of a 16-foot tiger shark in 2005, one of the most sacred creatures in Hawaiian culture; environmental damage wrought by the injection of land-based grains and chicken protein into the ocean; and encroachment onto Hawaiian land.
"History shows that our rights were and continue to be protected by the Hawaiian Kingdom's Declaration of Rights in 1839," the Council wrote in its statement. "These rights were not limited to the land, but included the ocean."
"We support this lawsuit, and hope to see an end to the serious infringement of traditional cultural, religious and economic rights of our people," Gumapac told IPS.
Akaka introduces bill to restore Compact of Free Association citizen eligibility for Medicaid
Hawaii Sen. Daniel Akaka has reintroduced a bill that would restore Medicaid eligibility for Compacts of Free Association nation citizens in the U.S.
Akaka said in a statement Thursday that state and territorial budgets — particularly in Hawaii and Guam — are strained by payments for the social service and public health needs of Compact of Free Association nation citizens.
SA: 'Sexting' laws need clarity
This week's indictment of Onizuka, 25, for allegedly coaxing a girl to send him nude photos of herself, is Hawaii's first criminal sexting case. The offices of the city prosecutor and Hawaii attorney general appear to have acted responsibly in determining which cases should be taken to court. However, state legislation and policy is needed to provide guidance on how sexting — a form of child pornography — should be treated depending on the circumstances.
Deal puts Hawaiian Air's imprint on field of Aloha Stadium
The playing surface of Aloha Stadium will become known as "Hawaiian Airlines Field at Aloha Stadium" under an agreement announced today by the airline and stadium.
PBN: Aloha Stadium turf gets Hawaiian Airlines name
Historic Ewa Airfield proposed site for renewable energy park
On December 7 1941, Ewa Airfield was where Japanese Zero fighters fired their first attack, 5 minutes before the actual bombing of Pearl Harbor.
"We would like to see the site further researched and developed into a historic memorial park that the community can enjoy," John Bond, Save Ewa Field.
On the other hand, Navy Region Hawaii and Hunt Development are looking to build a renewable energy park on the former airfield….
"In order to have everyone sustainably live, we need to make sure we power everyone up in the most proper and safest way," says Kapolei resident (and Mufi crony) Maeda Timpson.
"It will not only provide solar power but will protect this historical runways," says McGinnis.
Opponents say they're in strong support of having a renewable energy park in Ewa, just not on the historic battlefield. They want the solar farm to be built south of the airfield in what is considered the "Panhandle".
"What we want to see, is them located in a different place besides being put on the airfield itself," says Retired Marine John Gollner, Deputy Director of Naval Air Museum Barbers Point.
"We're not asking for very much only that we preserve a small area that's very historic and very special," says Gollner.
SA: Dump site to house new solar power plant
Kona Airport Manager Disciplined: Kauai Airport Manager Fired As DOT Tries To Fix Airports
KITV4 News has learned that the manager of the Kona Airport has been disciplined for mismanagement, while the manager of Lihue Airport was fired, after numerous complaints about mismanagement on Kauai. State transportation officials say management changes are underway to improve operations at all of the state’s airports.
Sources said Chauncey Wong Yuen, the airport district manager for the Big Island headquartered at Kona International Airport, was suspended for roughly one week for management mistakes that happened last year.
State Transportation spokesman Dan Meisenzahl said could not confirm details of the case because it's a personnel matter.
Proposed Big Island Biofuel Plant Attracts Strong Supporters, Vocal Skeptics
The project under scrutiny is a proposed biofuel plant in the Kau region of the Big Island that would utilize hundreds of acres of fallow land to produce drop-in biofuels for Hawaiian Electric Co. from a range of agricultural feedstocks.
Aina Koa Pono, a biofuels start-up company, signed a contract with the utility to supply 16 million gallons a year of biofuel by 2015. The contract is pending before the Public Utilities Commission.
The projected cost of the biofuel is significantly higher than the price of petroleum. If spread amongst ratepayers on the Big Island, where the biofuel will be supplied, the cost of the biofuel would increase rates substantially for Big Island customers who already pay much higher rates than Oahu residents. As a way of offsetting the cost, Hawaiian Electric hopes to spread the premium throughout ratepayers on Oahu. This would raise average residential electric bills by about $1.75 to $2.10 a month.
NRC satisfied with Army handling of Depleted Uranium
"The NRC has concluded that the Army has provided adequate information regarding the reason for the violation, the corrective actions taken, and planned to be taken, to correct the violation and to prevent recurrence, so the enforcement action is resolved," NRC spokesman Scott Burnell told West Hawaii Today.
Andy Irons Drug Problem Hidden behind surfing industry Wall of Silence
Things are a little tense because, in late November, only weeks after his November 2 death in a Dallas airport hotel room, I wrote about Irons’ history of drug and alcohol abuse, which nearly killed him on at least one occasion. At the time, the family was standing by its initial press release that Irons had “reportedly been battling” the tropical disease dengue fever when he died, and neither they nor Billabong were talking—though one Billabong rep sent an e-mail saying he couldn’t comment but that we could “count on” Irons having died of dengue.
For writing that story, and especially for recounting that 1999 near-death binge-drinking episode in Indonesia, I was threatened by numerous people within the surf industry and accused of spitting on Irons’ grave. Then on June 10, a week prior to my sit-down at Billabong, after multiple legal challenges from Irons’ family, a Texas medical examiner had finally released a toxicology report detailing what killed Irons.
The report should have cleared up any lingering mystery, but that’s not what happened. Tarrant County medical examiner Nizam Peerwani wrote that he’d found evidence of cocaine, methamphetamine, methadone, a generic form of the anti-anxiety drug Xanax, and marijuana in Irons’ system, and the original police report noted that a bottle of sleeping pills was on a table in the hotel room. But he also concluded that Irons had a severely clogged artery and ruled that “the primary and the underlying cause of death is ischemic heart disease.”
What about all those pharmaceuticals? “Drugs,” the report continued, “particularly methadone and cocaine, are other significant factors contributing to death.”