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Tuesday, June 25, 2024
June 25, 2024 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:09 PM :: 726 Views

New Coffee Labeling Rules Take Effect July 1 

Hawaiian 'Intellectual Property' Group Convenes

Red Hill Whistleblower Details How Her Warnings Were Ignored Even As Disaster Loomed

CB: … There were no military petroleum engineers working at the facility, she said. Much of the day-to-day maintenance and operations were being done by contractors. Those companies were theoretically subject to oversight by the Navy, but in reality, Bencs said, no one on the military side was qualified to review their work …

in 2022, she filed a fraud complaint against Red Hill’s contractors, later dismissed, which was sealed by the court, preventing her from talking about it. …

Now that Bencs’ fraud case has been unsealed and the trial is over, she said there is nothing holding her back from telling her story. Bencs’ account is corroborated by military documents, including copies of her complaints and DOD investigation records, and matches testimony she shared under oath during a deposition in the Red Hill families’ lawsuit. …

Bencs still has the option of re-filing her False Claims Act case with a new legal team…. 

HNN: ‘It was all preventable’: Red Hill whistleblower claims her repeated safety warnings were ignored

read … Red Hill Whistleblower Details How Her Warnings Were Ignored Even As Disaster Loomed

Milton Choy Dies in Prison

KITV: … Former Honolulu businessman Milton Choy has died after being found unresponsive at the Federal Medical Center Butner in North Carolina, according to a spokesperson with the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

Prison officials say Choy was found around 12:30 p.m. on Saturday. Employees performed CPR on Choy before paramedics arrived and transported him to a local hospital. Hospital staff pronounced Choy dead.

No employees or other prisoners were injured during this incident and officials say the public was not in danger at any time. The FBI has been notified.

Prison officials told Island News they do not share specifics regarding a cause of death due to “safety, security, and privacy reasons.” The medical examiner will determine Choy's official cause of death….

CB: The manner and cause of his death are still not known.

SA: Former wastewater executive dies in federal prison

read … Former Honolulu businessman serving time for bribery conviction dies in federal prison

Maui County identifies 102nd victim of deadly Lahaina wildfires

HNN: … On Monday, Maui police named 68-year-old Claudette Heermance as the 102nd victim.

According to their news release, police said the Honolulu medical examiner’s office confirmed Heermance died as a result of injuries sustained on Aug. 8….

… MPD updated numbers, saying the total estimated fatalities now stand at 102, and all families of those killed have been identified. At this time, they say there are no other victims awaiting identification.

Two people, however, Robert Owens and Elmer Lee Stevens, are still listed on MPD’s list of missing or unaccounted for individuals….

read … Maui County identifies 102nd victim of deadly Lahaina wildfires

'Historic' | Supreme Court sides with advocates to restore stream flows in Maui rivers

KITV: … The supreme court last Thursday sided with community groups and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, which argued the state water commission did not fulfill a legal obligation to return stream flows after sugar cane operations came to an end in Central Maui….

"Being that more than 60% of all the water that's consumed on this island derives from Na Wai 'Eha," Pellegrino explained. …

read … 'Historic' | Supreme Court sides with advocates to restore stream flows in Maui rivers

Congressional Hearing to study Hawaii heritage site at Lahaina

EE: … A House panel will debate legislation establishing Hawaii’s first national heritage area at a site on Maui that was devastated last year by the deadliest wildfire in modern U.S. history.

H.R. 8219, sponsored by Rep. Jill Tokuda (D-Hawaii), would direct the National Park Service to study the feasibility of designating the town of Lahaina on the northwest coast of Maui as a national heritage area.

Tokuda’s bill is the highlight of the Natural Resources Subcommittee on Federal Lands hearing Thursday that will consider five other mostly bipartisan bills.

The Maui fire in August 2023 burned much of Lahaina, killing at least 101 people, burning thousands of buildings and displacing more than 12,000 people. A national heritage designation would unlock federal funding “to help rehabilitate important sites,” according to Tokuda’s office….

REALITY: Tokuda: Make Lahaina Federally Controlled 'National Heritage Area'

read … Hearing to study Hawaii heritage site at fire-ravaged town

DoE Hawaiian Immersion Programs Short on Teachers

CB: … Hawaiian immersion schools are struggling to find the resources and staffing they need to meet the growing demand. Roughly a third of the state’s Hawaiian immersion teaching positions were unfilled leading up to the 2023-24 school year, and some schools have turned away interested families due to limited staffing and resources.

Over 2,300 DOE students were enrolled in Hawaiian immersion schools last year….

Currently, Makaimoku said, a quarter of Kaiapuni teachers are unlicensed, meaning that they’re brought on as emergency hires or are working toward completing a teacher education program….

At most Hawaiian immersion schools in the DOE, Kaiapuni students take classes on the same campuses as their English language peers. Kaiapuni students receive instruction only in Hawaiian until fifth grade, when schools introduce English as a subject. …

read … Schools Are Struggling To Meet The Demand For Hawaiian Immersion Programs

Hu Honua Bioenergy -- Year 17 Status Update -- Federal Court Status Conference

IM: … Hu Honua Bioenergy LLC often portrays itself as ready to go, if only the Hawai`i Public Utilities Commission would recognize that the Hamakua Energy has major problems that Hu Honua can solve. 

But there are other outstanding state and county permits that need to be resolved (see below) before Hu Honua can become operational.

Hu Honua has a status conference in federal court next month regarding its beef with the HECO Companies….

read … Hu Honua Bioenergy -- Year 17 Status Update -- Federal Court Status Conference

Hawaii Governor Signs Marijuana Expungement Pilot Program Bill Into Law

MM: … Hawaii Gov. Josh Green (D) has signed into law a marijuana expungements bill to launch a single-county pilot program aimed at clearing certain past offenses. A separate measure to create a task force that would craft broader expungement-focused legislation, meanwhile, is also poised to become law.

Green approved the cannabis-specific legislation, HB 1595, without issuing a formal signing statement. The new pilot program will work to expunge non-conviction marijuana arrest records in Hawaii County, home to about 14 percent of the state’s population. The county comprises the Big Island and is the state’s second most populous after Honolulu County.

As originally introduced, the measure from Rep. David Tarnas (D) would have directed state officials to automatically expunge tens of thousands of arrest and conviction records for low-level marijuana possession. But the Senate Judiciary Committee later gutted the proposal, replacing the statewide plan with a pilot program in Hawaii County that would apply only to non-conviction arrest records….

REALITY: Miske Hitman Criminal Record Secretly Expunged

read … Hawaii Governor Signs Marijuana Expungement Pilot Program Bill Into Law

Soft on Crime: Eight Years Later, Still no Conviction in Triple Murder

HTH: … Officers responding to a call about a disturbance at the Hoffmans’ Moku Street home in the early morning hours of May 6, 2016, reportedly stopped Hoffman for driving without headlights on as he was allegedly leaving the scene. Police say a handgun was in the car, within Hoffman’s reach.

Officers also opened the trunk after allegedly seeing blood dripping from it and found the body of Aracely Hoffman. The two children’s bodies were found in the house….

Hoffman remains in custody at HCCC in lieu of an aggregate $2.085 million bail….

read … Grisly murder case drags on: Puna man is accused of shooting to death his wife, children in 2016

Culture Police: Task Force Forms

SA: … The group, chaired by kumu hula Vicky Holt Takamine, is specifically tasked with submitting recommendations to state lawmakers, including draft legislation, and also could involve action to be taken at the federal level where U.S. trademark and copyright law is governed.

Formation of the Native Hawaiian Intellectual Property Working Group was driven in part by Chicago­-based healthy fast-food franchise Aloha Poke Co. threatening legal action for trademark infringement in 2018 against similarly named businesses that included at least one in Hawaii ….

HNN: Working group decries ‘Okina baking business as ‘cultural appropriation’ - YouTube

REALITY: Can Aloha Poke Be Trademarked?

read … Team starts work to combat appropriation of Hawaiian culture | Honolulu Star-Advertiser (staradvertiser.com)

Election News:

Candidate Q&A: State House District 20 — Tina Nakada Grandinetti

Candidate Q&A: State Senate District 1 — Laura Acasio

Candidate Q&A: Senate District 1 — Lorraine Inouye

Candidate Q&A: State House District 20 — Corinne Solomon


HNN: According to UHERO, vacation rentals account for just 2% of housing on Oahu.

Editorial: Reform land-use policy for housing | Honolulu Star-Advertiser

Big Q: Do you think rail CEO Lori Kahikina should get a contract extension?

California, Hawaii among 15 states with elevated coronavirus levels in sewage | Honolulu Star-Advertiser (staradvertiser.com)

Council meets for second time in June, pays tribute to longtime Maui resident

‘We were fleeing a domestic violence situation’: Hawaiʻi homelessness, part 1 | KHON2

Real-time GPS, HOLO card systems restored for TheBus following ransomware attack (hawaiinewsnow.com)

Judge denies bail reduction for man accused of stabbing Walmart employee

DOH reports another travel-related case of dengue on Oahu (hawaiinewsnow.com)

Grieving parents hit by suspected drunk driver on daughter’s death anniversary (hawaiinewsnow.com)

Following major blackouts, community and leaders call for action to support Chinatown businesses | News | kitv.com

'Not how we take care of ohana,' Sen. Fevella on outages (khon2.com)

Two men arrested, charged with trespassing at Oahu's 'Stairway to Heaven' | Crime & Courts | kitv.com

MADD Hawaii honors 5 members of Hawaii Police Department (spectrumlocalnews.com)

**Just Released** Lahaina Elementary School Front Street | After the Fire | PRAY for the Children - YouTube

California mother is arrested for confronting drag queens at Hawaii hotel over 'inappropriate' Pride show | Daily Mail Online


Denby Fawcett: YWCA Members Fight To Retain Fitness Program Before It Closes This Week - Honolulu Civil Beat

Decisions To 'Harden' Hawaii Beaches Can Be Disastrous - Honolulu Civil Beat

Diamond Head has the most calls for those needing assistance | Honolulu Star-Advertiser (staradvertiser.com)

Acid attack victim thanks community for its support | Honolulu Star-Advertiser (staradvertiser.com)

Honolulu Council urges condemnation of garbage-filled Ewa roadway | Honolulu Star-Advertiser (staradvertiser.com)

Column: Collaborative solution for Hawaii tourism | Honolulu Star-Advertiser (staradvertiser.com)

Off the news: Federal funds for underground power lines | Honolulu Star-Advertiser (staradvertiser.com)

Letter: No gifts for city workers under any circumstance | Honolulu Star-Advertiser (staradvertiser.com)

Governor Josh Green, M.D. | DCR News Release – Keiki Day at Waiawa Correctional Facility to support children of incarcerated fathers (hawaii.gov)

Governor Josh Green, M.D. | DCCA News Release : DCCA DISCIPLINARY ACTIONS (THROUGH MAY 2024) (hawaii.gov)

Governor Josh Green, M.D. | News Release – New DOH Portal Compiles Maui Environmental Monitoring Data (hawaii.gov)

Governor Josh Green, M.D. | DOT News Release: Honoapi‘ilani Highway to reopen before new school year (hawaii.gov)

06/23/243 Effluent at Kailua Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant in compliance

Turbulent Times Ahead in Hawaii's Air Travel Transformation - Beat of Hawaii


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