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Wednesday, January 25, 2023
January 25, 2023 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 11:22 AM :: 2494 Views

Preventing the Next Foster Care Disaster--Bills Mandate Court-Appointed Attorneys for Biological Parents

Schweitzer Exonerated of Dana Ireland Murder After 25 Years

Could this be a good year at the Hawaii Legislature?

30 Years Later: Will Court Toss Out $150M Grift Against Bank of America?

Hawaiian Electric issues call for projects to significantly expand renewable energy generation on Oahu, Maui

US Department of Justice Orders Handi-Van to Answer Phones, Book Rides

Feds: Female Guard Gave Miske associate access to cell phone, drugs while detained at OCCC

Ilind: … What has been described as an ongoing investigation into drug smuggling into the Oahu Community Correctional Center appears to have been a spinoff of the long running federal pursuit of former Honolulu business owner Michael J. Miske’s alleged racketeering and drug trafficking organization.

One of the beneficiaries of this smuggling operation was Dae Han Moon, 26, who is one of Miske’s remaining co-defendants and awaiting trial in that case.

In mid-2018, Moon was in custody at OCCC awaiting trial on 2nd degree murder charges for the shooting death of Stevie Feliciano at Ala Moana Center on Christmas 2016 that appears, in retrospect, to have stemmed from his involvement in Miske’s drug distribution ring.

On August 9, 2018, just weeks before his murder trial was set to begin in state court, Moon used a cell phone in his possession to contact Jacob “Jake” Smith and arrange to buy a half-ounce of methamphetamine for $300. Phone records obtained later via a federal search warrant showed Moon and Smith had been exchanging text messages for about a month before this order. It is not clear whether there were other drug buys arranged during that period.

Smith was a known drug dealer and experienced martial arts fighter who had been an active participant in Miske’s organization since 2015….

After making the deal with Smith, Moon called Timothy Taboada, a Kaneohe drug dealer who was supplied by Smith, to arrange delivery. Moon provided Taboada the contact number for a woman who would be picking up the drugs. She was, as Taboada understood, a corrections officer who had a “romantic relationship” with another prisoner housed in the same module as Moon….

Taboada and his girlfriend, Catherine Zapata, then drove to Macy’s parking lot at Windward Mall about 7:30 p.m. and waited to make the drug handoff. The woman was about 20 minutes late, but finally arrived in a gray or silver SUV and paid $300 cash for the meth.

In February 2019, a confidential informant told the FBI that Moon was still using a cell phone to obtain money and arrange drug deals while being held at OCCC….

At about the same time, the same confidential informant told investigators Moon was letting another prisoner in his module use the contraband phone. The phone was used for multiple text and voice calls to numbers on the other prisoner’s approved contact list, according to data collected in the court-approved monitoring of the phone. It was also used to call the number of the female ACO who had picked up the meth for Moon, with approximately 55 calls during a six day period in March 2019….

read … Accused Miske associate had access to cell phone, drugs while detained at OCCC

DoE Enrollment will Soon be at 65-Year Low

CB: … If current projections hold true, by the 2027-28 school year Hawaii will have fewer students enrolled in state-run public schools than at any point since 1962….

many smaller and rural schools are already struggling to keep programs afloat.

“It’s a significant concern,” Bruce Voss, chair of the state Board of Education said of the declines, adding that at this time the BOE is not planning or considering any closures. 

“We have a lot on our plate right now to remediate the learning loss caused by the pandemic,” Voss said….

Enrollment in DOE schools had been slowly but steadily declining in Hawaii before the pandemic, driven by out-migration, fewer births, and the growing popularity of public charter schools. Hawaii also has one of the highest rates of private school enrollment in the nation. 

Covid-19 significantly accelerated the declines.

Nationally and in Hawaii many parents didn’t enroll their children in kindergarten, a particularly difficult age to engage remotely. But there wasn’t a large surge in enrollment in first grade students during the second year of the pandemic, Dee said.

 “It suggests to me enrollment losses will be enduring,” Dee said.

Enrollment in Hawaii declined roughly 6.8% in the last five years and is currently projected by the DOE to drop another 5.4% by 2027-28….

ome schools, like Kahului Elementary school on Maui and Haleiwa Elementary on Oahu are predicted to lose 20% of their students between now and 2027-28. A few schools are expected to experience growth, including Barbers Point Elementary on Oahu, which is slated to increase enrollment by 11%….

Osa Tui Jr., president of the Hawaii State Teachers Association, was a registrar at McKinley High School during a time when the student body declined by about 16%….

If fewer students are enrolled and funding doesn’t change, the per-student funding formula would increase, making it so that some schools could theoretically have the same amount of funding even with a decline in students…

Fewer students without funding cuts could mean smaller class sizes, better art and music electives, or more one-on-one instruction, Jim Shon, a former state lawmaker and education policy expert said in an email.

“The legislature is the driver for this non-crisis,” he said….

read … Why School Enrollment Declines Are A ‘Significant Concern’ In Hawaii 

Hawaii legislators want to expand program to keep drug dealers out of jail if they act crazy 

KHON: … Act 26 started in 2020, redirecting people with serious mental illness into treatment programs instead of taking up space in already overcrowded jails. The program has so far diverted at least 120 people charged with non-violent petty misdemeanors that include things such as disorderly conduct.

(CLUE: They are not being forcibly incarcerated in lunatic asylums.)

"We don't want anyone who has major mental health needs to sit in a jail cell for 55 days waiting to find out if they even need to get that mental health help," said Amy Curtis, administrator of the state Health Department's Adult Mental Health Division. "We have calculated there's been over $8 million saved so far by the state."

Lawmakers are working with the judiciary to determine what other groups should be prioritized for treatment instead of jail time. Non-violent misdemeanors include minor drug crimes.

(Translation: Now they want to use this program to keep crazed criminals on the streets.)

HNN: The report said of 107 defendants who received treatment, 86 defendants were released to the community and 76% weren’t arrested again.

(Translation: 1 in 4 is back on the streets acting crazy again)

read … Hawaii legislators want to expand program to keep mentally ill charged with minor crimes out of jail

New Park Rangers to Hunt down small businesses

CB: … Fed up with rampant illegal commercial activity at the city’s public parks, Honolulu is introducing a new kind of beach-rule enforcement team to be operated by the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation.

(Drug dealing?  Moped chop shops?  Nope.  These cops are going after yoga classes and surf schools.)

The city is hiring five mobile rangers who will roam Oahu identifying problems at the city’s parks. In the next two years, as the new pilot program rolls out, the rangers will go out in pairs to make surprise visits at island beach parks to evaluate trouble spots of various kinds and look for patterns.

Then the city will issue a report about what the rangers have learned and make some decisions about how best to proceed with an enforcement program. That will pave the way for the next step — on-the-ground implementation of the strategy, officials said.

read … New Park Rangers To Serve As Beach Sleuths

Former Kamehameha Schools CEO appointed as new interim leadership for Bishop Museum

HNN: … Former Kamehameha Schools CEO Dee Jay Mailer has been appointed to a one-year term as interim president and CEO of Bishop Museum….

SA: The museum is looking for its fourth CEO in seven years

read … Former Kamehameha Schools CEO appointed as new interim leadership for Bishop Museum

Hawaii had a total of 1,440 millionaires in 2020

PBN: …Hawaii had a total of 1,440 millionaires in 2020, a 50% increase from 2015 in the number of $1 million dollar earners, according to data released by the Internal Revenue Service. The Aloha State also experienced a 13.39% growth from 2019 to 2020 in the number of $1 million dollar earners.

In 2015, there were 960 filers in the state of Hawaii with a total adjusted gross income of $1 million. In 2019, there were 1,270, and in 2020, there were 1,440, according to the IRS….

read … Here's how many millionaires Hawaii added in 2020

Eco-Religion Children's’ Crusade to be tossed out of Court?

HNN: … Fourteen young people in Hawaii who are plaintiffs in a climate change lawsuit against the state are preparing for their day in court.

Ranging between the ages of 8 to 20, they call the case Navahine v. Hawaii Department of Transportation.

The state’s attorneys want the case dismissed, but the youth plaintiffs want to proceed to trial.

The youth claim that the state’s operation of its roads has led to high levels of greenhouse gas emissions….

“The Department of Transportation spent hundreds of millions of dollars in the rental car parking facility and did not provide for sufficient charging infrastructure,” Earthjustice attorney Marti Townsend said.

The case is one of several children’s climate lawsuits across the country.

The young Hawaii plaintiffs said they don’t want money from the lawsuit. They want a declaration from the court about the DOT’s responsibility to counter climate change….

The state’s motion will be heard on Thursday….

read … The state is defending its climate record. These kids aren’t buying it (and they’re suing)

Legislative Agenda:

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