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Tuesday, August 22, 2023
August 22, 2023 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:55 PM :: 2269 Views

VIDEO: Biden Maui Fire Speech

Honolulu District Courthouse to Partially Reopen After 'Structural Damage'

ACLU Demands Injunction to Protect Massive Festering Homeless Tent Cities

Lahaina Fire: 737 People ‘Not Found’, 115 Dead

SA: … Although the Maui police updated the number of deaths Monday, the latest information was that 85% of the rubble had been searched as of Sunday….

The unofficial Google document and Facebook page is the only public accounting of who is still missing and not in touch with loved ones after the firestorm leveled the 5-square-mile center of Lahaina town.

As of 5:30 p.m. Monday, 737 people were listed on the Maui Fires People Locator under a red tab that read, “Not Found.”…

MPD announced Monday that Lahaina residents Douglas Gloege, 59, and Juan Deleon 45, were identified and their next of kin notified.

Neither name appeared on the Maui Fires People Locator under the “Not Found” or blue “Lives Lost” tab….

According to Maui police, 115 have been killed, 13 victims identified and their families notified. Twenty-two other victims have been identified, but their families have not been found or notified.

“There is still an active search effort underway so it will take some time to reach a final number of missing individuals,” read a statement to the Star-Advertiser from the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency’s Joint Information Center.

The Maui Fires People Locator is maintained by “individual citizens and is not made by the American Red Cross or any county, state, or federal agency,” reads a disclaimer at the top of the document.

“The information provided is not verified and by using this information, you are using it at your own risk. This info is from a crowdsourced compilation of data and because the data relies on people submitting information, there is bound to be human error. Do not rely solely on this information,” reads the disclaimer.

The group’s Facebook page counts more than 3,800 members and is run by seven administrators and moderators.

The American Red Cross generates its own list — separate from law enforcement — of people who are unaccounted for through requests made to its call center and information gathered by its field teams, spokesperson Daniel Parra told The Associated Press.

The organization has also entered into a data-sharing agreement with federal, state and local government agencies to help with reunifications.

So far, the American Red Cross has successfully completed roughly 2,400 requests seeking reunification or welfare updates, out of the more than 3,000 it has received, Parra told the AP.

A completed request means the organization was able to locate a missing person or verify someone’s status in a medical facility, for example, among other things….

SA: Lahaina search turns to ‘very treacherous’ multistory buildings | Honolulu Star-Advertiser (

HNN: Maui mayor: New FBI-vetted list puts number of missing in Lahaina at 850 (

CB: Maui Mayor Says 850 Still Missing After Deadly Fires

read … Details are still not available on people missing in Lahaina | Honolulu Star-Advertiser (

Maui Financial Ruin Next As Visitors Plummet/Unemployment Skyrockets

BH: … Visitors have heeded the state’s original admonition after the Lahaina fire to either leave or not visit Maui. Unfortunately for small businesses, hotels, and employees, visitors do not appear to be returning. As we reported, there’s been mixed messaging if Maui is open for travel when only 15% of the island was impacted. It’s left many visitors uncertain about what to do at many levels.

Even before the full impact of the fire and the visitor exodus from Maui were known, the Hawaii Department of Labor reported that Maui unemployment for the latest week hit nearly 7,000, compared with the 700-800 that has been the norm. And that is just the beginning. Businesses large and small report that they are just in the first phase of layoffs necessary to address the sharp decline in tourism…. 

KITV:  Deadly fires leave more than 4,500 Maui residents unemployed

Green makes plea for visitors to return to Maui to ‘support our local economy’ ( 

Decisive Maui Travel Rules Released | No Mixed messages - Beat of Hawaii

Airlines Chop Maui Flights Corresponding With Tourism Plunge - Beat of Hawaii

Moody's says economic loss from Hawaii wildfire could be as high as $6 billion | Reuters

read … Maui Financial Ruin Next As Visitors Plummet/Unemployment Skyrockets

Lawsuit seeks to upend reassignment of water deputy who delayed firefighting water

SA: … A lawsuit filed Monday seeks to overturn the reassignment of state Water Commission Deputy Director Marvin Kaleo Manuel, who was given a new job after he apparently delayed permission to allow stream water to be made available for fire control during the Lahaina wildfire.

The suit accuses state Board of Land and Natural Resources Chair Dawn Chang, who also is chair of the Commission on Water Resource Management, of going beyond her legal authority to remove Manuel.

“The West Maui community needs stability and consistency right now, not knee-jerk edicts issued behind closed doors in Honolulu,” said Maui attorney Lance Collins, who represents West Maui residents Kekai Keahi and Jen Kamaho‘i Mather in the complaint….

REALITY: DLNR Faked 'Reassignment' of Official Who Withheld Firefighting Water

read …  Lawsuit seeks to upend reassignment of water deputy | Honolulu Star-Advertiser (

Hawaiian Cultural practitioners Want to use eminent Domain to Seize Land and turn Lahaina into a Better Tourist Attraction

CB: … Maui cultural advocates are already talking about how this will be an opportunity to return to a Lahaina of the past when the seaside area was known by its original name “Lele.”

“That is our legacy,“ says Keʻeaumoku Kapu, a longtime West Maui activist who has fought for decades to get formerly Hawaiian-owned farmland back into the hands of Hawaiians.

“No ka noho ʻāina, no ka ʻāina,” says the Hawaiian proverb, meaning the land belongs to the people whose ancestors have dwelled upon it. They determine what happens to the aina.

Thatʻs what Kapu and a group of community advocates expressed in a news conference Friday: no rushing ahead with Lahaina redevelopment without taking a pause for the survivors to heal and without giving the residents a strong say in how the incinerated village will be restored.

This rendering of Mokuʻula situated Mokuhinia Pond at the south end of Lahaina at the intersection of where Shaw and Front Streets are today. (Courtesy Friends of Mokuʻula)

“We feel the government is steamrolling the process without consulting the community,” Kapu said at the news conference.

Kapu told me in a phone call Saturday he sees an opportunity to return Lahaina to what it was, before the sugar plantation, before the tourism, before the banyan tree — something exponentially better than the touristy town it became.

“Lahaina was once considered the Venice of the Pacific. It was a living, viable place,” he said.

read … Denby Fawcett: Show Respect For Lahaina By Restoring Its Once Lush Wetlands - Honolulu Civil Beat

Thousands Displaced After Maui Fires Exacerbate Homelessness

T: … Hawaii leads the way as the most expensive state for housing, with rates that are 2.7 times higher than the national average, according to a University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization report. Researchers point to increased mortgage interest rates as a barrier to homeownership, but data shows that rental properties are no better, with new listings averaging a monthly rate of $2,500.

Much of the rising costs have to do with the low housing supply. Maui County has seen a net housing loss over the past five years, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. And across the state more broadly, Hawaii has the most restrictive land use regulations in the country, making it difficult to construct new homes. …

read … Thousands Displaced After Maui Fires Exacerbate Homelessness | Time

Homeowners Take back Seat to Contracts and Lawyers: Once search for remains is complete, clean-up of Lahaina’s hazards will be a daunting task

HNN: … “You can’t just get heavy equipment and start digging stuff up,” said U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in an interview with Hawaii News Now. “You need to assess the hazardous material, figure out what your plan is for each part of the hazardous material picture and then go about doing it.”

Schatz says it will likely be up to FEMA, the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers to come up with a disposal plan because the hazards are so immense….

When it comes to actually moving the debris once cleared from Lahaina, Schatz suggests the best method would be having it shipped off island instead of using a landfill….


In addition to the physical debris, there are a number of health risk factors, including long-term respiratory illnesses, similar to what emergency responders, relief workers and even New York City residents experienced following the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

“I think the 9/11 lesson is an important one,” Schatz said.

“We have to make sure to take care of our first responders who went in there without regard for their own safety and who continue to work the perimeter of Lahaina town.”


read … Once search for remains is complete, clean-up of Lahaina’s hazards will be a daunting task (

Contracts: Hawai‘i DOT to use federal funds for utterly useless 30,000 foot dust fence that will encircle Lahaina

HTH: …  The Hawai‘i Department of Transportation said Monday a portion of the federal funds would be invested in installation of a 30,000-foot dust screen surrounding Lahaina, which the department said would minimize contaminants and other material from blowing onto highway users….

An FHWA official stressed to The Garden Island that the $3 million allocated toward HDOT will not be the last of federal funds put toward recovering transportation infrastructure. Quick release Emergency Relief funds allow state departments to rapidly receive a portion of necessary funding — often around 10 percent of the anticipated total — in order to immediately initiate an emergency response, the official said.

Both state and federal transportation departments added that additional funding will be requested and allocated as needed….

read … Hawai‘i DOT to use federal fuunds for 30,000 foot dust fence that will encircle Lahaina

Contracts: Canec becomes lame excuse for Toxic Ash Hysteria

CB: … Canec — pronounced cane-ick — was a fiberboard made from sugarcane fibers and treated with arsenic as a termite repellent. Structures dating between the 1930s and 1960s used the building material in load bearing walls and ceilings, according to David Cerame, a project manager and restoration specialist with Architects Hawaii Ltd.

Canec, a fiberboard made from sugarcane fibers and treated with arsenic in high concentration, was widely used in building construction between the 1930s and 1960s. It poses a health risk if disturbed. (Provided:DOH/2018)

According to a survey of property histories, 9% of the affected area in Lahaina was built when canec was in use, and nearly half the buildings predate the 1978 federal ban on lead paint….

The first phase of Lahaina's cleanup is underway to remove hazardous household waste — visible items including propane tanks, partially intact asbestos, ammunition, pesticides and batteries.

EPA Incident Commander Steve Calanog estimated this will last eight to 12 weeks once the search for remains and cultural artifacts is finished.

EPA crews equipped with radiation, carbon dioxide, mercury and other detection equipment will survey each property for work conditions and contaminants. A second team then removes the flagged waste, posts a clearance sign and an online map will be updated with that location.

After clearing a property, crews administer a soil tackifier to glue contaminated ash and soil to the ground….

KHON: Potentially toxic ash is a major concern as EPA begins testing air quality around Lahaina

SA: EPA incident team hopes to begin cleanup work soon | Honolulu Star-Advertiser (

read … Toxic Debris From The Lahaina Fire Will Be Shipped To The Mainland

HECO ‘Undergrounding’ Means Rate Hikes Coming

ILind: … A consumer group in California is opposing a proposal by PG&E to move 10,000 miles of its electrical transmission lines underground to avoid future wildfires caused by downed lines, according to a story on Monday in the Mercury News, formerly known as the San Jose Mercury News.

The plan, similar to what has started to be discussed in the wake of the deadly Lahaina fire, is being criticized as adding financial pain to consumers already stressed by increasing utility rates and general rates of inflation.

“We have a real affordability crisis for utility costs,” according to Mark Toney, executive director of a consumer group, The Utility Reform Network, or TURN. “One of the biggest cost drivers is this massive expense for burying 10,000 miles of PG&E power lines.”

TURN is promoting an alternative plan to insulate power lines rather than move them underground, similar to what is being done by Southern California Edison, which operates in the Los Angeles area.

TURN estimates the cost of insulation at $800,000 per mile. The utility says that moving lines underground will cost between $2.8 million and $3.3 million per mile….

MN: PG&E monthly bills might hop higher due to power line burial plan (

read … California utility’s plan to move power lines underground hits consumer resistance

Kingdom of Atooi case heading to trial after motion to dismiss is denied

ILind: … Four people charged with kidnapping and assault for their parts in the takeover of the office of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs in January 2017 are now scheduled to stand trial the week of February 19, 2024.

It has been 4-1/2 years since the four were among about a dozen men dressed in red shirts and identifying themselves as federal officers of the Kingdom of Atooi stormed the Office of Hawaiian Affairs Oahu office and violently took control of the area.

Three defendants–Ene Faletogo, Jordan Faletogo, and Rheece Kahawai–are each charged with two counts of kidnapping, a class A felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison, and a single count of second degree assault, a class C felony, with a maximum five year sentence if convicted.

The kidnapping charges stem from restraining OHA employees Davis Price and Kyle-Lee Ladao “with intent to terrorize…and/or interfere with the performance of any governmental or political function….”

Price alleged in a civil lawsuit he had been hit in the face, head, neck, and shoulders, while trying to keep the group from accessing a back-office area, then thrown to the ground, held down by four men, and put in a choke hold. He suffered two broken ribs, as well as scrapes and bruises.

Ene and Jordan Faletogo and Rheece Kahawai could face extended prison terms as “multiple offenders” if convicted of two or more counts in this case, according to the indictment.

Ene Faletogo was previously convicted of five drug-related charges, and was imprisoned for five years after pleading guilty in 2007, and as a result could receive an extended term as a “persistent offender.”…

(A great leader of the Hawaiian people who occasionally sells poison to their children.)

read … Kingdom of Atooi case heading to trial after motion to dismiss is denied

Lahaina Fire News:




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