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Friday, December 10, 2021
December 10, 2021 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:19 PM :: 2284 Views

COVID Recovery: Hawaii Ranks 45th

Biden: WHIAANHPI Will Save Hawaiians

Billionaire Helps Solar Developers Grab More Ag Land 

City launches first-ever chatbot with voice recognition for customer services

Monsanto Agrees to Plead Guilty to Illegally Using Pesticide at Corn Growing Fields in Hawaii 

UH regents schedule first meeting on new Maunakea Master Plan

How Does Hawaii’s DOE Deal With Child Molesting Teachers?

CB: … Michael Wright, the former STEM curriculum coordinator at Jefferson Elementary, was arrested and charged with felony sexual misconduct for having sex with a minor girl between the age of 14 and 16, off campus. He was arrested in September 2016, was tried and found guilty of sexual assault in January 2018, and sentenced in March 2018 to 20 years in prison.

Wright is currently incarcerated at the Saguaro Correctional Center in Arizona and is petitioning for an appeal, according to court records.

But despite his criminal case playing out in public, records show his actual employment with DOE was not officially severed until July 16, 2018, based on a determination he “was not suitable to work in close proximity to children.”

Records show there were two such suitability analyses conducted for Wright — one upon his arrest and a second interview in January 2018, with an HSTA representative present.

According to records, Wright was placed on department directed leave — which is administrative paid leave — upon his September 2016 arrest through Oct. 19 that year. He then took sick leave from the DOE until May 2017, then went on unpaid leave.

Wright was hired by DOE after being cleared in a background check in July 2007.

A discipline page on the Hawaii Teacher Standards Board website shows Wright’s license was suspended effective Oct. 9, 2019. Suspensions cannot exceed five years, according to HTSB, which is the agency that issues teacher licenses, though revocations may occur following conviction of crimes against children and sexual offenses….

In one of the most high-profile of those cases, Dwayne Yuen, a former girls’ assistant basketball coach at Punahou, settled a sexual abuse lawsuit in August with the private school for an undisclosed sum. After leaving Punahou, Yuen had been hired by several DOE schools, including Moanalua High and Momilani Elementary.

The DOE later began an investigation into allegations that Yuen had sexual conduct with two minors, but Yuen quit his job in 2018 before a DOE suitability analysis could be completed.,,,

read … How Does Hawaii’s DOE Deal With Teachers Accused Of Misconduct?

Congress wants Hawaii missile defense radar up and running by end of 2028

DN: … Congress wants the Missile Defense Agency to get a radar installed in Hawaii that can protect the homeland from ballistic missiles by the end of 2028, according to the fiscal 2022 National Defense Authorization Act released this week.

The House passed the legislation earlier this week and the Senate is expected to take it up for a vote next week….

Lockheed Martin received an award to develop the radar in December 2018….

The NDAA requires a report no later than 60 days after enactment on the architecture and acquisition approach for the system….

2017: To Help Campaign Contributors, Hanabusa Blocks Missile Defense for Hawaii for 6 Years

DO: Calls Grow Urgent for Improving Guam’s Missile Defenses

read … Congress wants Hawaiian missile defense radar up and running by end of 2028

Boom in Housing Prices Helps Hawaii More Than Any Other State

BB: … Home prices are rising in many areas of the U.S. Hawaii may be the state that benefits most. Local governments in the Aloha State are likely to reap the biggest property tax boost, followed by those in Connecticut and Florida, from the significant growth in home prices since the onset of the pandemic, according to a Fitch Ratings index.  The index factors in the portion of states’ total revenue made up by property taxes and the historical relationship between property taxes and house price trends .…

read … Boom in Housing Prices Helps Hawaii More Than Any Other State

Contaminated Water Complaints Spread to Pearl City 

KITV: … According to the Navy, the areas affected by the tainted water include the Red Hill Naval Reservation, Aliamanu Military Reservation and military housing around the airport.

But residents outside the affected areas and as far as the Pearl City Peninsula, are now complaining about foul water.

"They're now starting to get headaches and they're drinking off of the pipe water. They're finding oil sheen in their water, some type of a film residue on top of their water. They're seeing residue grease," she added. "They're starting to smell odor -- like a strong chemical odor coming from their faucet."…

read … Fear over contaminated water grows across Oahu

Navy Challenges DoH Water Test Results

HNN: … The state said water samples taken from the Navy’s Aiea Halawa shaft on Sunday detected more than twice the safe limit of diesel fuel in the drinking water.

On Thursday morning, the Navy disputed the Health Department’s findings. They said the water samples were from an off-service section of the water distribution system.

“The Navy and Hawaii Department of Health are doing additional water sampling after a sample taken Dec. 5 from an off-service section of the Navy’s water distribution near Navy’s Aiea Halawa Well showed elevated results for total petroleum hydrocarbon,” the Navy said, in a news release.

“This sample did not come directly from the Navy’s Aiea-Halawa Well and the Navy does not believe it indicates contamination of the Navy’s Aiea Halawa Well.”

The Board of Water Supply, meanwhile, wasn’t convinced by the Navy’s explanation.

“If it’s not coming out of the shaft then where is it coming from?” said BWS Manager and Chief Engineer Ernest Lau, at a news conference Thursday.

“Folks, we cannot afford to repeat what the Navy’s customers are experiencing right now in the broader Honolulu community.”

If the Health Department’s conclusions hold, it means the contamination of the Navy’s water system is much more widespread than previously thought…

read … DOH: Petroleum levels more than double safe limits found in Navy’s Aiea Halawa water shaft

In wake of well shutdowns, BWS asks residents to use water wisely to avoid restrictions

HNN: … The Board of Water Supply previously stopped using its Halawa shaft, which supplies about 20% of the drinking water to the urban core. On Wednesday night, agency also shut down the Aiea and Halawa wells, which together supply about 1.85 million gallons of water per day to the public….

In a news conference, BWS Manager and Chief Engineer Ernest Lau said there is no need for mandatory restrictions right now. But, he stressed, that could change if there’s a big water main break or pump failure. And this coming summer, when usage is up, there might also be a need for restrictions….

KHON: Red Hill Rally Preparations at the State Capitol

read … In wake of well shutdowns, BWS asks residents to use water wisely to avoid restrictions

GPS data now evidence against HPD officers accused of chasing car, fleeing crash scene

HNN: … Evidence gathered against them includes data from the Automatic Vehicle Localization application, which tracks officers on duty. Similar to what’s commonly called GPS, it determines an officer’s location, time, speed and direction, according to a Honolulu Police Department spokesperson.

On Sept. 12, the three officers allegedly started chasing a white sedan after it was cleared from a party at Maili Beach Park. The AVL, according to multiple sources, showed the officers were driving at high speeds ― near 100 miles an hour on Farrington Highway ― at various times during the chase….

The AVL reportedly shows the three officers continue driving after the crash on Farrington Highway and then turning mauka, away from the injured occupants….

Sources tell Hawaii News Now the data from the officers tracking system also shows the officers driving back makai on Makaha Valley Road.

At the intersection with Farrington Highway, a store surveillance camera captured what looks like the unmarked car’s driver and the squad car driver close to each other.

“They’re speaking with each other, apparently trying to figure out, what are we going to do,” said Stern….

read … GPS data now evidence against HPD officers accused of chasing car, fleeing crash scene

Juvenile Mental Health Patients Quadruple

KITV: …Haylin Dennison is the Clinical Director for Integrated Health Hawaii, a healthcare company. "It's been really challenging. Since March 2020 we've quadrupled in patients under 18. The pandemic has exacerbated mental health issues," she tells us.

She's been a therapist for 15 years and says she's never seen mental health services so in demand. "It really is heartbreaking. Not only in the state, but across the nation, there's a shortage of mental health specialists. We have kids right now not even able to get into the inpatient hospital when they attempt suicide," she expands….

read … Therapist encourages parents to talk to kids about suicide - before it happens

New Hawaii County Council maps set for public hearings

HTH: … The public can compare the current map and draft map by visiting The draft map is the second tab from the left as marked, following the current council district map. The map also reflects population figures for each district should the proposal be put in place. The website features GIS and users can zoom into areas of interest using the plus and minus keys. The county has posted 3-foot-by-4-foot copies of the maps at all 12 state libraries on the island and will also have them available at the public hearings.

The West Hawaii hearing is set for 6:30-8:30 p.m. Tuesday at Kona Council Chambers-West Hawaii Civic Center. The East Hawaii hearing is set for 6:30-8:30 p.m. Thursday at Hilo Council Chambers- County Building.

The public can attend the meetings in person or watch on the Redistricting Commission’s Youtube channel:

read … New County Council maps set for public hearings

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