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Tuesday, June 13, 2023
June 13, 2023 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:30 PM :: 2771 Views

Falsified Financial Disclosures? Legislators Approve $20K for Sen Fevella’s ‘Reelect-me’ Group

Homeless Camp Controlled by Miske Gang? Hanged man connected to Miske case found dead in sinkhole

HNN: … Janet Salas found the body of her eldest son, Michael Salas, last month.

The 34-year old’s body was in a sinkhole, wrapped in a blanket and covered by brush in a remote area of Kalaeloa, near a homeless camp hidden from the road.

Salas was told by others in the camp that Michael hanged himself from a tree.

Honolulu police have classified the case as an unattended death, and Salas said HPD told her no foul play was suspected.

That left her confused.

“My son hung himself, he died, got off whatever he hung himself on, wrapped himself in a blanket and crawled into a hole?” Salas said….

“His body had been desecrated,” Loo said, adding even if Michael Salas hanged himself, someone committed a crime when his body was moved and hidden….

Salas said her son feared others in the camp may have a connection to Michael Miske.

(CLUE: The pusher controls the addicts.)

Court documents unsealed last year showed Salas’ other son, James, was a confidential source who reported to the FBI and HPD that in the summer of 2016, he saw 21-year old missing man Jonathan Fraser being tortured in a Kalihi home by men associated with Miske.

Salas also reported, according to the court records, that days later he saw a pot of boiling water with large bones on the stove at the same home.

James Salas was murdered in the Oahu Community Correctional Center after being picked up for a probation violation in 2019, months before Miske was arrested by the FBI.

Jonathan Loo, attorney for the Salas family, said James Salas told guards at the jail repeatedly that he was in danger and needed to be in solitary because of the information he provided to authorities.

Instead, he was put him in general population and was beaten to death.

“He refused housing assignments on two occasions because he feared there were gang members in the housing units where they were trying to send him,” Loo said.

Additionally, the dorm James was placed in — Annex 1 — had broken surveillance cameras.

No one was ever arrested for the murder at OCCC.

Taxpayers will now pay Janet Salas $700,000 as part of a settlement in a wrongful death lawsuit. Lawmakers approved the settlement, which will be paid out later this summer.….

read … Brother of murdered man connected to crime boss case found dead in sinkhole

Green: 2,000 Chronics Consume 61% of Hawaii Medicare -- Cost $1.3B

SA: … Out of Hawaii’s homeless population, 2,000 are chronically homeless “and in deep trouble,” meaning 3.6% of Hawaii’s homeless consume 61% of Medicare costs — or $1.3 billion, Green said.

“They were costing $82,000 per person per year,” he said.

One homeless person alone made 242 hospital visits in a year, representing just one of hundreds of homeless patients “who consume a huge amount of resources and never get better.”

The medical respite kauhale, Green said, “is already blowing my mind. … This will save $1 million a month just because people will not have to go in the hospital. And all of that savings is tax dollars. Not one single penny.”…

read … Green wants new ideas to expand Hawaii’s future

Homeless Drug Addicts Nearly Destroyed This Central Oahu Cemetery. Now The Community Is Standing Up For The Dead

CB: … Sunset Memorial Cemetery at 848 Fourth St. is a privately owned graveyard whose owner died 12 years ago, allowing the site to fall into ruins.

A homeless encampment took over part of the cemetery and smashed the gravestones to use for flooring material, causing the markers to be separated from the bodies of the people they were intended to memorialize.

Vandals stole the burial urns, emptied out the contents and sold the brass vases for scrap. Bodies were looted for jewelry. Someone broke open a grave and scattered the bones.

People have jimmied open the doors of the crypts and appear to be sleeping inside the burial niches.

For a while it became an open-air drug market….

The soil that covers some of the graves has collapsed and gaping holes have appeared over the caskets below. There’s a towering heap of trash at one of the graveyard entrances.

Even the dead people are lost there, ever since an arsonist burned down the building that held their burial records….

ILind: Where’s George Galbraith now?

read … Vandals Nearly Destroyed This Central Oahu Cemetery. Now The Community Is Standing Up For The Dead

Hawaii losing appeal for repeat visitors

SA: … While overall satisfaction among Hawaii visitors is high, fewer visitors from North America say they’re “very likely” to return in the next five years, according to the results of a state-commissioned survey.

The latest Visitor Satisfaction and Activity Survey ranks the cost of a trip to Hawaii as the top reason cited among visitors from the U.S. West, U.S. East and Canada who say they are not very likely to return in the next five years.

The desire to go someplace new as well as the perception that Hawaii was too expensive and a poor value were among the top factors not to return to Hawaii in all North American source markets that were part of the 2023 first-quarter survey. Some visitors also mentioned a perception that Hawaii was overcrowded or too commercialized….

SA Editorial: Tourists looking for better value

OS: Thieves swoop in after man dies while on his Hawaiian honeymoon

BH: Link Between Social Media and Latest Hawaii Beach Drowning

read … Hawaii losing appeal for repeat visitors

Only the Feds Can Prosecute Pushers for Fentanyl Overdose Deaths

SA: … There is no state statute to prosecute drug dealers who deliver a fatal dose, and HPD works with the U.S. Department of Justice to target those who sell a fatal high. DOJ is very keen to prosecute fentanyl dealers, especially those who are armed.

In November an Ewa Beach man, Rajesh Bhatti, aka Ryan, who allegedly supplied and smoked fentanyl with his friend who died from the high, is being prosecuted in federal court for possession with intent to distribute. In February a 25-year-old Waikiki man, Rayshaun “Nova” Ducos, charged by federal prosecutors of selling a bag of cocaine to a Kaneohe Marine that caused him to overdose and die, was ordered held without bail.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service are investigating Ducos and other “identified and unidentified subjects, regarding the distribution and possession with intent to distribute fentanyl and other controlled substances, and conspiracy,” according to the federal complaint.

Joseph Iseke, 44, of Kailua was pronounced dead at the scene after Honolulu Emergency Medical Services paramedics responded to a call at the Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort at about 6:30 a.m. June 4 regarding a possible overdose case with multiple victims….

read … HPD, partners working to stop wave of fentanyl deaths

City tries novel approach to crack down on illegal game rooms: Going after landlords

HNN: … Last month after another police raid of the Ohana Grocery, inspectors with the city Department of Planning and Permitting followed up by citing the owner for building code violations.

The violations included turning a grocery store into a commercial game room and building interior walls and fortifying the exits without permits, Dos Santos-Tam said.

“Those are potentially thousands of dollars of violations that the landlord is going to have to pay and can’t pass off to the game room operator,” he said.

If the fines continue to accrue, and the owner doesn’t pay them, the city could place a lien on the property….

read … City tries novel approach to crack down on illegal game rooms: Going after landlords

New HPD Budget Adds Potential Hiring Bonuses, Boosts Chinatown And Community Policing

CB: … The budget of the Honolulu Police Department will jump $43 million in the next fiscal year including a $35 million increase directed to the patrol division as the department fights a persistent shortage of officers.

“Everything that HPD requested in the budget was approved,” said Dinna Schwiering, chief of staff to council budget chair Radiant Cordero, in an interview.

The department budget, which the Honolulu City Council passed Wednesday includes nearly $46 million in line items, such as $8.7 million to subsidize police vehicles, $5.4 million for gas to fuel vehicles, $5 million for Tasers and firearms and $1.5 million for body cameras and storage software….

read … New HPD Budget Adds Potential Hiring Bonuses, Boosts Chinatown And Community Policing

The City Council Is A Mess. Why Can’t The Legislature Be More Like That?

CB: … The audience waited for hours in council chambers last week to voice its opposition to 64% pay raises for the council members and to denounce some questionable tactics intended to move those salary hikes along.

And yet …

The council’s messy marathon displayed traits sorely lacking in the recent legislative session. There were open disagreements among council members and even impromptu, unhurried conversations with those audience members.

It all smacked of unscripted democracy in a setting where no one could be sure what would happen next.

That’s a far cry from what just went down at the Capitol, where most of the big decisions turned out to be preordained, and where most committee meetings were lifeless exercises given over entirely to the whims of the chairs….

Radiant Cordero announced before the meeting she would return her pay raise if she gets one. And Val Okimoto supported the higher salaries as well as the proposed ban on outside employment, saying it would be good for transparency….

read … The City Council Is A Mess. Why Can’t The Legislature Be More Like That?

Questions persist in Maunakea handover

HTH: … Authority over Maunakea will begin shifting from the University of Hawaii to a state agency in less than a month, but what that necessarily means is unclear.

The Maunakea Stewardship Oversight Authority, which was established last year by the state legislature, will begin a five-year transition period wherein it gradually takes over responsibility for the mountain from UH on July 1, with the agency assuming full control in 2028.

But the shape of that transition is still uncertain. At the Authority board’s most recent monthly meeting on Thursday, chair John Komeiji said the Authority and UH still need to determine how they will co-manage the mountain once July begins.

“The question, again, is what is that relationship (between the Authority and UH will be),” Komeiji said, adding that he hopes to hold additional public meetings with Authority members to hash out how responsibilities over the mountain will transfer to the authority, rather than “just jumping in.”

Authority member and Hawaii County Managing Director Doug Adams said that the Authority is currently in no position to take over all of the activity on the mountain permitted under UH’s lease, and added that, in fact, the Authority had not yet reviewed the terms of the lease.

Greg Chun, director of UH’s Center for Maunakea Stewardship, introduced at Thursday’s meeting three planned projects involving Maunakea that he said demonstrate the sort of complicated interdepartmental agreements that govern most things on the mountain, and whose continued viability depends on the transition being as coherent as possible.

One of projects Chun mentioned involved the ongoing decommissioning of Hoku Kea, UH’s defunct educational telescope. In particular, a Hoku Kea outbuilding houses radio components that represent a vital component of the island’s emergency communications systems, and which will have to be relocated to a different telescope.

That is easier said than done, Chun said: “What that would involve is a new operating agreement between the university, Hawaii County and (the authority) … From a technical perspective, it’s fairly easy to execute, but it is going to require coordination and development of this memorandum of agreement.”….

read … Questions persist in Maunakea handover

Navy claims success in removing fuel contamination around Red Hill tank farm

HNN: … Since the Department of Health ordered the pumping of the Red Hill shaft 18 months ago, more than 2.3 billion gallons of fresh, filtered water have gone down the Halawa Stream into the sea

The pumping of up to 5 million gallons a day through giant Granulated Activated Charcoal filters — called GACs — was part of a strategy agreed to by the Navy, EPA, Health Department and environmental groups to prevent contamination from spreading towards wells used for the civilian water supply.

Divers and later mechanical skimmers collected petroleum that rose to the surface of the capture zone at the top of the aquifer

Comparing recent “heat maps” showing the plume of petroleum contamination, the strategy seems to have reduced evidence of contamination around the Red Hill Fuel Facility, which was the site of many spills through the years, including two large spills in 2021, according to the Navy….

The heat maps show that In late 2021, immediately after the second big fuel spill, the plume from the tanks extended north, west and east of the tank farm. But by early this year, the plume looked less concentrated and much smaller — almost to the size of contamination plume before the spills.

Because of the results, the Navy got DOH permission to reduce the pumping from 5 million to 1.8 million gallons a day. On Monday, the stream looked drier — and schools of fish gathered at the meager flow….

HNN: Plaintiffs double in suit against US government over Red Hill crisis

read … Navy claims success in removing fuel contamination around Red Hill tank farm

Oahu in 2045 -- Solar Everywhere or Offshore Wind

IM: … The HECO Companies have issued three rounds of Request for Proposals (RFP) for Hawai`i, Maui, and O`ahu renewable energy projects. …

To reach 100% renewable energy, O`ahu will need offshore wind (fake), geothermal (real), pumped storage (real), and/or hydrogen projects (fake) that require time-intensive transmission upgrades (undersea cables). ….

PHOW suggested that HECO issue an RFP-4 in mid-2024 and select the winners by the end of 2024. The projects should come online in 2035.

Federal and state environmental impact statements would be required. The proposed site would need to stay clear of military and commercial sea routes, sensitive habitats, and cultural sites. Several contested case proceedings may occur.

An floating offshore wind project located in deep ocean waters several miles from O`ahu would require approval from the U.S. Department of Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and the Hawai`i Public Utilities Commission. 

The transmission lines would require approval by the Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR) and the and the Hawai`i Public Utilities Commission. …

read … Oahu in 2045 -- Solar Everywhere or Offshore Wind

Haiku Stairs: Company gets contract to rebuild then demolish?

SA: … Pager asserts the city’s budget over the Haiku Stairs demolition has been rather suspicious.

“We find it interesting that Nakoa has emerged as the sole bidder for the removal project and now potentially stands to benefit from an inflated contract in a project whose projected costs have varied over the years,” he said.

In reports and emails obtained by Pager’s group, around 2001, Nakoa was hired to repair the Haiku Stairs — which it did — at a cost of approximately $900,000.

Ten years later, Nakoa’s president, Austin P. Nakoa, told the city in a July 24, 2011, email that his company could do the city’s requested demolition work for $2.5 million to $3 million.

Three years after that, a community task force convened by then-Council member Ikaika Anderson explored options for the Haiku Stairs. The task force’s final 2014 report recommended managed access for the site, but also considered removal as an option. That report cited a total cost to demolish the Haiku Stairs at $4 million to $5 million….

Big Q: Should the city remove the Haiku Stairs?

read … City reviewing bid to remove Haiku Stairs on Oahu

Strike: Will Hospitals get Gas Deliveries?

HNN: … Growing tension in the Hawaii gas workers strike after picketers blocked Hawaii Gas delivery trucks again on Monday — but this time at the Kaneohe base yard.

The company called the move “unethical” and said it’s delaying deliveries to hospitals.

“We have very few drivers available, and so we really need to get out to our emergency responders, our critical care customers,” said Hawaii Gas Company Manager Cheryl Lien-Fua.

While some restaurants and retail propane suppliers have run out of gas, there have been no reports of critical care customers going without.

Hawaii Gas also claimed in a statement that the Local 996 has asked other unions to stop barges with gas shipments from docking.

The teamsters replied in a statement saying that’s not true. They claim Hawaii Gas is making a desperate attempt to change public opinion instead of bargaining in good faith….

read … ‘A lose, lose situation’: Tension grows as Hawaii gas workers strike continues

Hawaii County Struggles With Shortage Of Certified Nursing Assistants

CB: … Our Hawaii nursing homes are affected by the worrisome shortage of nurses and CNAs. Nursing homes in the U.S. lost nearly 250,000 workers during the pandemic. Current staffing is at 1995 levels….

read … Hawaii County Struggles With Shortage Of Certified Nursing Assistants

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