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Friday, September 8, 2023
September 8, 2023 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:59 PM :: 1405 Views

Medeiros Resigns: Governor Blames Threats from BJ Penn

Maui losses at $11 million a day since fires

DoE Employee Convicted of Theft

Kunia Woman Arraigned on Scheme to Defraud Pandemic Unemployment Recipients

Maui Mayor's Limited Response About Lahaina Fires Leaves Critical Questions Unanswered

CB: … To counter some of the mounting criticism of his crisis leadership skills, Bissen issued a videotaped speech last Thursday where he said he was providing more details about what he did during the fire “as this seems to be of interest.” He gave a second speech broadcast live on Facebook the same evening.

In the Aug. 31 remarks Bissen said he learned early on the morning of Aug. 8 that an Upcounty fire had broken out, prompting him to report to the EOC at around 6:30 a.m. As the day progressed and another fire broke out in Lahaina, Bissen said he and others responded to the need to open the Hannibal Tavares Center as an evacuation center.

“I and key members of my staff, the managing director, chief of staff and chief of communications and public affairs remained at the EOC, some until the next morning,” Bissen said.

Notably, Bissen didn’t say when he left the EOC as Lahaina burned. He has not responded to efforts by Civil Beat to discuss his actions during and after the fire in more detail….

A former judge who began serving his first term as mayor in January, Bissen has said he didn’t know that anyone had died in Lahaina until the morning of Aug. 9, the day after the fires.

It’s unknown what information firefighters in Lahaina relayed to the EOC throughout the inferno.

But Heggie on Thursday said that ground crews were in “constant communication” with the EOC throughout the fire. Whether they told the EOC about fatalities is unknown….

KITV4 reported that when Bissen appeared in a live interview on Aug. 8 at 6 p.m., he seemed unaware that Lahaina was on fire and that people were trying to escape into the ocean or on roads that were blocked by downed power lines, flames or other obstacles. Ten days later, when the television anchor asked him about an evacuation order on the day of the fire and he answered, “I don’t know what time that was.”

In a news conference on Aug. 29, Bissen said he did not place a single call to state emergency officials for help in supporting firefighters in Lahaina who were battling the blaze….

Bissen didn’t issue an emergency proclamation until 8 p.m. on the night of fires, hours after flames had torched Front Street and much more of Lahaina.

The emergency proclamation delegated authority to manage the fire from the mayor to Anadaya, who was off island attending a conference in Waikiki….

read … Maui Mayor's Limited Response About Lahaina Fires Leaves Critical Questions Unanswered - Honolulu Civil Beat

Finger Pointing: Green says improved response in Lahaina could have saved lives as key questions remain unanswered

HNN: … One month after the deadliest U.S. wildfire in more than a century, basic questions about the government’s preparation and response to the blaze that destroyed Lahaina remain unanswered — as the painstaking task of identifying remains continues.

No one will say who was calling the shots as the disaster unfolded or why the Bissen Administration waited until after the town had burned to ask the state for help.

Between county officials dodging basic questions and state agencies playing word games, deciphering who knew what — and when — has been incredibly complicated.

What is clear is that one month later, no one has taken responsibility or even apologized for failures the governor now says could have contributed to the death toll….

While the people in charge of emergency response have acknowledged their own sadness about what happened in Lahaina, no one’s said they’re sorry or accepted accountability for decisions made during the initial hours of the disaster — when every minute, even every second, counted….

SA: Gov. Josh Green to update the public today about the deadly Maui fires | Honolulu Star-Advertiser (staradvertiser.com)

read … Green says improved response in Lahaina could have saved lives as key questions remain unanswered

Website tracks re-entry progress into Lahaina

KHON: … MEMA Interim Administrator Darryl Oliveira said he will be providing once-a-week updates on MauiRecovers.org for four consecutive weeks. To view the website, click here….

read … Website tracks re-entry progress into Lahaina | KHON2

California Company Scores Useless Big Dollar Lahaina ‘Hazmat’ Contract

CB: …ECC Constructors, a California company with offices in Honolulu, will be the prime contractor leading the second phase of Lahaina’s remediation, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has confirmed.

Native Hawaiian-owned businesses will be actively sought out as contractors for the assessment and removal of contaminated soil and ash from locations in West and Central Maui, according to a federal clause in the award to the mainland company.

The Corps employs private companies to manage emergency remediation projects and augment its response capability through its advanced contracting initiative….

read … Local Businesses Will Have Priority For New Wildfire Cleanup Contracts - Honolulu Civil Beat

Will property owners pay for Phase 2 debris removal?

SA: … cleanup in the Lahaina fire zone is proceeding in two phases. The first phase, which is happening now, has the Environmental Protection Agency removing hazardous waste from burned properties, at no cost to the property owner and with no special permission needed from the property owner.

You’re asking about the second phase, debris removal, which will be conducted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Phase 2 will require written permission from the property owner. A property owner with insurance will be charged for this service, to the extent their policy allows; property owners without insurance will not be charged. Yes, property owners will be notified; they can sign up to receive email or text alerts at mauirecovers.org/sign-up. Property owners and their agents will be able to visit their burned properties between Phase 1 and Phase 2, but no dates have been set.

Maui County has posted a lot more information about the debris removal process on a new website, mauirecovers.org. Here is a brief summary of Phase 2 information:

Phase 2 cleanup, which will include the removal of structural ash and debris as well as soil testing to ensure the site is “clean, safe for rebuilding and free of potentially leached toxins,” can begin only after Phase 1 is complete. In Lahaina, hazardous waste removal (Phase 1) is still in the early stages….

read …  Will property owners pay for Phase 2 debris removal?

Potential Bidders on Aloha Stadium shows concerns over financial feasibility

SA: … The people who know how to do it have continued interest in building a new Aloha Stadium, and state planners say they still expect it to be ready in time for the 2028 football season, with no public cost beyond the $400 million in bonds allocated by the Legislature in 2022.

But the just-completed market-sounding process also confirmed wariness of potential contractors. Some used to developing and building and then getting out of the way are unfamiliar with the develop, build, operate, maintain concept Gov. Josh Green shifted to for the New Aloha Stadium Entertainment District after former Gov. David Ige wanted to return to a stand-alone stadium plan.

According to the market-sounding summary:

“There is, in general, market interest in the Project; however, this is strongly qualified or abated by significant concerns regarding the Project’s financial feasibility. The State should, as a priority, finalize an updated financial analysis and determine how best to share this analysis with prospective (or actual) offerors.”…

People can make their own judgment by reading the report at nased. hawaii.gov/nased- market-sounding….

read … Feedback on building the new Aloha Stadium shows concerns over financial feasibility

Inmate dies after fight breaks out at Halawa Correctional Facility

HNN: … According to officials, security staff who were conducting a walkthrough headcount witnessed two inmates fighting in a cell around 2:25 p.m.

Corrections officers restrained one of the inmates and called for medical backup.

The other inmate was lying on the ground and breathing hard, officials said.

EMS treated and transported both inmates to nearby hospitals. One was brought back to Halawa Correctional Facility, but the other inmate died at the hospital on Wednesday afternoon, DPS said.….

read … Inmate dies after fight breaks out at Halawa Correctional Facility (hawaiinewsnow.com)

Review: Former HPD Chief Louis Kealoha “tell all” really says little

ILind: … The book by former reporter, Mary Zanakis, runs to 216 pages in the print edition, including a glossary of terms and an index. It was published by Watermark Publishing, a local publishing company (“Louis Looks Back: The Rise and Fall of Honolulu’s Top Cop“)…..

The book turned out to be a big disappointment. It was basically a long-winded exercise in finger-pointing. He did nothing. She did it all. He knew nothing. She did it all. His mistake was trusting her. She did it all. Blah, blah, blah. “How was I supposed to know?” Etc, etc, etc….

While on the stand in Puana’s federal trial, Louis blurted out that Puana had previously been arrested and convicted of entering a neighbor’s home. Louis finally gets around to admitting that he knew it was wrong, but that he had a reason for doing it. He said he was being shown a video of the mailbox theft, and had been asked if he recognized the man in the grainy, blurry video. He realized that he didn’t recognize Puana in that video, but didn’t want to say it. When a mistrial was declared and the case abruptly ended, the evidence of the corrupt “set up” of Puana was forwarded to the FBI by the U.S. Attorney. At that point, the chief must have had one of those sinking feelings that he was now in trouble. How did he feel? What did he do? When did he and his wife get lawyered up? What happened in that process? Did his illusion of innocence really continue for another two years right up until he received a “target letter” naming him as a target of the criminal grand jury?

The questions go on and on. But they aren’t asked or answered.

I wish I could recommend this book, but I can’t. If you want to know about the case, Alex “Ali” Silvert’s “The Mailbox Conspiracy,” is a much better bet.

read … Review: Former HPD Chief Louis Kealoha “tell all” really says little

Maunakea telescope removal slated for next week - Will be Moved to Chile where Science is Appreciated

HTH: … The removal of a Maunakea telescope will begin as soon as next week after lengthy delays.

The Caltech Submillimeter Observatory on Maunakea is the first of five telescopes to be decommissioned in exchange for the planned eventual construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope. As part of Caltech’s plan to demolish the facility and restore the site to a natural state, the telescope and its 34-foot-diameter primary mirror will be removed this month.

Caltech reported Thursday that the 120-ton crane needed to remove the telescope will be transported up the mountain imminently, possibly as early as today. Work to remove the telescope itself will begin shortly thereafter, tentatively on Monday, Sept. 11.

The removal process will take a few months, as the steel frame of the primary mirror must be dismantled on-site into pieces small enough to fit into shipping containers.

The observatory’s secondary mirror, measuring about three-quarters of a meter across, was removed in August. Both mirrors will eventually be transported to an observatory in Chile.

The rest of the observatory, including the dome, will remain standing until the spring in order to prevent work from being paused during the winter months.

read … Maunakea telescope removal slated for next week 

Lahaina Fire News:

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