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Wednesday, December 29, 2021
December 29, 2021 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:45 PM :: 2038 Views

Tourist Spending Down 11.5% from 2019

The islands’ broken education system: Why I left Hawaii

Miske Lawyers Focus on Dead Ends for Witnesses

ILind: … Miske lawyer complains: “The names of most of the witnesses interviewed are redacted. The names of people about whom the witnesses have provided information are frequently redacted. Much of the substance of the information provided by the unidentified witnesses is redacted. The names of alleged conspirators and alleged members and associates of the so- called ‘Miske enterprise’ are redacted. Information about criminal activity committed by alleged enterprise members turned Government witnesses is redacted.”

she’s also searching through an immense haystack looking for a few tiny needles, evidence of dead ends …

Miske’s attorneys will vigorously attack the credibility of at least two key witnesses, Wayne Miller and Jacob “Jake” Smith .… (if they survive)

read … “Discovery” issues continue to trigger complaints from Miske’s attorneys

BWS: If Red Hill fuel tanks aren’t emptied, key wells may be permanently shut down

HNN: … The Board of Water Supply warned Tuesday that if the Navy doesn’t empty its Red Hill underground fuel tanks, three key wells may have to be permanently shut down.

Earlier this month, BWS stopped pumping water from the Halawa Shaft, Halawa Well and Aiea Well in a bid to stop the fuel contamination in the Navy’s system from migrating to the public water system.

BWS has said that the Halawa Shaft is particularly vulnerable to contamination because it sucks water right from the top of the aquifer. With the three wells shut down, officials have urged residents to voluntarily conserve and said mandatory conservation may be necessary this summer.

“The worst-case scenario is the Navy doesn’t change its mind and maintains that position,” said BWS Chief Engineer and Manager Ernie Lau, at a news conference. “And we have no choice but to permanently consider the shutdown of Halawa Shaft, Halawa Well and Aiea Well.”…

He added that the wells won’t be used again until the agency has “100% confidence” that they won’t be contaminated by migrating fuel.

How BWS gets to that point is also unknown.

“Our community should not expect us to turn on those wells on in the near future,” Lau said ….

read … BWS: If Red Hill fuel tanks aren’t emptied, key wells may be permanently shut down

Ige’s Final COVID Emergency Order Expires Today

SA Editorial: … Today marks the expiration of Gov. David Ige’s last COVID-19 emergency order, ending a series of proclamations that began soon after the start of the pandemic, on March 4, 2020.

Now it’s the mayors who are exercising the emergency authority of an executive, with no requirement for the governor’s approval….

UPDATE: Ige's Latest COVID Emergency Proclamation Does Only One Thing: Suspend Part of Sunshine Law

Related: Can We Beat COVID Without Lockdowns?

read … Hawaii counties forge ahead on COVID rules

As cases soar, COVID staffing shortages force some Oahu ambulance stations to temporarily close

HNN: … More than 200 Oahu first responders were out Tuesday either because they’re infected with COVID or they’re in quarantine, the city confirmed.

That includes:

56 employees of the Honolulu Fire Department;

137 police department personnel (of those, 121 are officers);

20 EMS workers;

and 13 lifeguards.

SA: Hawaii’s latest COVID-19 surge is touching off labor shortages

HNN: Hawaii hospitals facing staff shortages as omicron cases surge

read … As cases soar, COVID staffing shortages force some Oahu ambulance stations to temporarily close

Omicron Takes Aim at Unvaccinated Children

NYT: … emerging evidence shows children are getting infected with the coronavirus and being hospitalized at alarming rates relative to pre-omicron days, particularly those who are unvaccinated. As a result, kids younger than 5 years old, who are not yet eligible for vaccination, are making up large portions of pediatric COVID-19 surges across the globe….

read … Is the omicron variant more severe in children? What we know so far

Schools to resume full in-person classes despite highest surge in cases since the pandemic started

KHON: … Case counts are the highest they have been since the pandemic started. Students are set to resume in person classes, and there are no changes to COVID guidance plans for schools so far.

Around 193,000 kids will be back in classrooms next week, following winter break….

According to DOE, 162 cases were reported between Dec. 18 and Dec. 27 at public schools statewide, classes were not in session during that time.

The plan on the DOE website outlines their protocol for handling positive cases and close contacts….

read … Schools to resume full in-person classes despite highest surge in cases since the pandemic started

Ready to collect: New 3% hotel tax goes into effect Saturday

HTH: … The county tax forms are in place, new government employees are being hired and the hospitality industry is ready to begin what Mayor Mitch Roth calls the “unacceptable but necessary” step of charging guests at hotels and transient vacation rentals an extra 3% starting Saturday.

The new 3% county tax is on top of the current 10.25% state transient accommodations tax. The county implemented the new tax after the state Legislature earlier this year took away the counties’ share of the state tax….

read … Ready to collect: New 3% hotel tax goes into effect Saturday

Legislative Agenda: New Jail at Halawa

SA Column: … On Jan. 19, the Hawaii Legislature will convene at the state Capitol for the 2022 session. Among the many issues under consideration will be those dealing with the state’s criminal justice system, including ongoing efforts to replace the current Oahu Community Correctional Center (OCCC), the state’s largest jail.

Since 2016, the Legislature, with the backing of Gov. David Ige, has supported efforts made by the Department of Public Safety (PSD) and the Department of Accounting and General Services (DAGS) to develop a new OCCC by funding the work that led to selection of the Animal Quarantine Station site in Halawa as the location for the new jail.

Our team engaged the Legislature and the community as we prepared the draft and final environmental impact statements in accordance with state regulations and provided updates and reports on utility services, transportation access, and environmental resources, among other topics. With considerable progress achieved, the state’s ability to significantly improve how offenders are housed and treated while held at OCCC is within reach….

read … Hawaii can no longer ignore Oahu Community Correctional Center problem

Legislative Agenda: Ohana Zones

CB: … Hawaii lawmakers are expected to consider a number of measures aimed at dealing with Hawaii’s continuing homelessness problem this legislative session, including more money for the state’s Ohana Zones program.

The 2022 session is set to begin Jan. 19.

Rep. Ryan Yamane, who chairs a key committee on homelessness, plans to introduce a package of bills but says he is still meeting with advocates and service providers before finalizing it.

Service providers and outreach workers are advocating for measures that would provide more mental health services for people struggling on the streets and that would tackle income discrimination.

But so far the top priority for key lawmakers is extending funding for Ohana Zones, a state-funded pilot program that is set to expire in 2023. Ohana Zones provides basic services like health care and transportation with the goal of moving people into housing.

Scott Morishige, the state’s coordinator on homelessness, said the administration is considering requesting $15 million for Ohana Zones and extending the program to 2026….

Rep. Sylvia Luke, who chairs the House Finance Committee, says that homeless programs will be a focus this session….

read … Proposals To Help Hawaii’s Homeless Population Taking Shape At Legislature

Public Utilities Commission Finalizes HELCO-Hu Honua Evidentiary Hearing

IM: … The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission will host an evidentiary hearing on the Hu Honua-HELCO contract from January 31 – February 3, 2022, from 9 am to 4:30 pm.  The evidentiary hearing will be held virtually through Webex. The public can view the proceedings on YouTube….

The issues in the proceeding are:

“What are the long-term environmental and public health costs of reliance on energy produced at the proposed facility?”

“What is the potential for increased air pollution due to the lifecycle GHG emissions of the Project?”

“What are the GHG emissions that would result from approving the Amended PPA?”

“Whether the total costs under the Amended PPA, including but not limited to the energy and capacity costs are reasonable in light of the potential for GHG emissions.”

“Whether the terms of the Amended PPA are prudent and in the public interest, in light of the Amended PPA's hidden and long-term consequences.” ….

read … Public Utilities Commission Finalizes HELCO-Hu Honua Evidentiary Hearing

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