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Thursday, September 14, 2023
September 14, 2023 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:12 PM :: 1126 Views

Lahaina: "I will rebuild on my land"

Lawsuit: Green Greed behind Lahaina Deaths

Hawaii: Bothered by Cost of Living?  Wait ‘til you see Cost of Dying 

Maui Fires: US House Committee Sets Oversight Hearing

Will HECO Ratepayers Pay?  ATF in no rush to decide cause of fire  

SA: … Evidence gathered by a team of fire investigators with the U.S. Department of Justice after the Aug. 8 Lahaina firestorm could take weeks or months to turn over to the Maui Fire Department.

MFD will pair the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives National Response Team’s findings with the work of their fire investigators to determine what caused the Lahaina fire and where it started….

The work of putting all that material together will take weeks, if not a few months, according to the ATF.

“We understand the intense interest in what caused these fatal fires but our primary responsibility is to conduct a thorough, comprehensive, transparent investigation,” MFD Chief Bradford Ventura told the Star-Advertiser in a statement. “Our investigators are coordinating with the ATF’s National Response Team to ensure we look at every possibility. We have no timetable for finishing this important work.”

This week third-party investigators hired by the state attorney general’s office started interviewing officials as part of an investigation into the county and state response to the Aug. 8 Lahaina wildfire.

State Attorney General Anne Lopez announced Aug. 30 the selection of the Fire Safety Research Institute, a nonprofit research organization, as the third party that will have subpoena power to handle the state’s investigation.

The state contracted with Underwriters Laboratories Inc.’s FSRI to ensure an independent investigation.

The FSRI team’s investigation will not determine the cause or origin of the fire….

read … No timetable for finding cause of Lahaina fire

Hawaii Public Utilities Commission Charts New Delaying Path for Outage Investigation

IM: … The Public Utilities Commission is asking a few questions within a climate hardening proceeding but appears to be asserting that the broader questions addressing the outage and viable utility preventative solutions should be put on hold pending completion of two studies that address different issues: ATF will examine the cause of the fire and the Hawai`i Attorney General investigation will examine governmental actions.

The deferral action may result in more preventable fires and alters the historic Public Utilities Commission path for examining outages….

CB: Regulators Push Hawaiian Electric On Liability Insurance Coverage

read … Hawai`i Public Utilities Commission Charts New Delaying Path for Outage Investigation

West Maui parents take matters into their own hands to keep their keiki in schools closer to home

KITV: … Some West Maui parents have been critical of the ongoing effort by the Hawaii Department of Education (DOE) to bus school kids across the island.

The DOE is awaiting the results of soil tests and other mitigation efforts before it can reopen Lahainaluna schools. In the meantime, some parents and teachers have organized learning hubs on their own.

It was in Kahekili Beach Park that parents and teachers met weeks ago to send a message to the DOE they would not send school kids outside of West Maui to be bussed across the island. And judging by the low bus ridership, parents have held that position.

Only a few dozen school kids using the doe bus service to go to Kihei or Wailuku to attend school

Island News had a chance to speak to Robert Livermore, a parent and teacher at Kamehameha III Elementary. The school sat on Front Street in Lahaina and was destroyed in the fire.

Livermore said he and others have set up alternative learning hubs, including one in Napili Park. The second hub is launching Thursday…

read … West Maui parents take matters into their own hands to keep their keiki in schools closer to home

Lahaina Schools to Reopen Mid-October?

MN: … Air quality tests and a stable electrical connection have been completed at Lahaina public schools, but water quality testing and cleaning of indoor spaces are still in progress as the state works to reopen the campuses by mid-October.

The state Department of Education released a new report that provides status updates and criteria for the reopening of the Lahaina schools, which have been closed since the deadly wildfires on Aug. 8. The report will be updated as new information becomes available and can be accessed at bit.ly/LahainaSchoolsProgressReport.

According to the report, other tasks that are still in progress include soil testing, clearing of debris from facilities and grounds and ensuring stable internet and telephone service. The DOE is also working to ensure safety measures are in place and that mental health supports are provided for students and staff….

DOE: Hawaii DOE | Maui school updates (hawaiipublicschools.org)

read … DOE releases progress report for Lahaina schools’ reopening

Maui Businesses Still Await Grants

KITV: … A week ago today, businesses affected by the Lahaina fires were in a closed door meeting with all levels of government disaster recovery. During that meeting, impacted business owners were told that grants of 10 to 20000 dollars were on the way - a note confirmed by Governor Green in his State address last Friday.

"The reason to get a 10,000 or $20,000 grant, not a loan is to give them a breather for these 30 days," said Governor Green after his report on recovery 30 days after the Lahaina fires. "As you know, I just announced that we're going to be reopening on October 8th for travel to the entirety of Maui and the rest of Hawaii of course is open. So we're expecting to see people start coming back, which is hopefully going to be a bridge for them."

Now a week since that meeting, no information on those grants has been made available leaving business owners still in the dark.  Javier Barberi lost his seafood restaurant on Front Street, Down The Hatch. While in theory he has 3 other properties where employees could work, they continue to wait for answers, and wait to get back to business.

"We're on the hook right now for rent at Mala and a restaurant in Honokawai called Pizza Paradiso," said Barberi.  "And we opened it, but it's just terribly slow up there.  It's like a ghost town and we are on the hook for rent. And if you ask me for rent, I don't have money to pay their rent.  Eventually, you're gonna evict me."

And as each day passes, he still has no answers for his employees - Some who have run out of time.

"I have so many employees that they're like, 'oh, I'm moving, I'm having a going away dinner tonight.  It's Wednesday.  Alex and Alex from Serbia are moving to Chicago.  And it breaks my heart that I have to say goodbye to them.  I wish I could say 'Go there work hard, save some money and come back in three months". I wish I could say that, but I can't because I have no idea when that's gonna happen."

We've been able to learn that part of that distribution will be handled by Maui Economic Opportunity who responded with this official statement:

Maui Economic Opportunity is awaiting approval of the funding….”

read … Maui Businesses Still Await Grants

HPD chief touts major drop in violent crime, but department refuses to share data on it

HNN: … There have been at least four murders, along with multiple robberies and assaults — and even a home invasion.

These crimes come as HPD Chief Joe Logan is touting a significant drop in violent offenses.

Here’s what he told Honolulu Police Commissioners at a meeting Sept. 6: “HPD continues to focus on violent crime, as evident by our overall crime across the seven categories is down anywhere for 14 to 40 percent — depending on the category.”

Logan didn’t clarify what seven categories he was referring to. So we asked….

(crickets)

Over the past eight months, the number of sex assaults in District 5, spanning Kalihi to Moanalua, jumped 27 percent compared to the same time last year — from 59 to 75.

Sources also confirmed burglaries are up 11 percent in District 1, from 226 to 251. That area includes Kakaako, Makiki and Punchbowl.

In District 7, or east Oahu, sources say homicides are up 200 percent from 1 to 3. Car break-ins are up also up 18 percent from 547 to 649….

read … HPD chief touts major drop in violent crime, but department refuses to share data on it

Over a month after the Lahaina wildfire, Maui first responders face breathing issues

HNN: … “Called me saying they are coughing up blood and soot and he heard about my services and was asking for help,” said Braddock with Mana Warrior Health on Oahu’s North Shore. “That was a Saturday morning, the week of the fires, within three days, we were setting up five hyperbaric chambers on the island.”

Tina says as New Yorker who was there on 9/11, getting first responders help is personal.

“My fear is that we will again witness the effects that 22 years later we saw with the 9/11 first responder and survivor community and the issues with respiratory issues, cancer, depression. We have an opportunity to intervene on the early stages.”

There are currently three locations on Maui where first responders can get free Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy services….

read … Over a month after the Lahaina wildfire, Maui first responders face breathing issues

Lahaina Fire News:

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