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Saturday, December 1, 2012
December 1, 2012 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:19 PM :: 4140 Views

DoE School Bus Report: "Every Aspect Needs Systemic Change"

NOAA Proposes Listing 66 Coral Species as Endangered

AG Louie Opposes 'National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act'

First, Third Circuit Judges Petition for Retention

JSC Nominates Five to First Circuit

Only 17% Support Jones Act

What do you think about the Jones Act, the 1920 law designed to protect U.S. domestic shipping interests?

  • B. Create exemption for Hawaii (47%, 303 Votes)
  • C. Repeal it (36%, 234 Votes)
  • A. Keep as is (17%, 106 Votes)

read … Big Q

Higa Going to be Hard to Replace

SA: Hawaii department supervisors have learned over the past two decades to toe the line or brace themselves for a public scolding from state auditor Marion Higa. Now Higa is retiring, at the end of this year, leaving state legislators with the challenging task of finding a person with the integrity, grace and courage to fill the position. It will be no small task to replace the state's most trusted official.

Higa, 70, joined the auditor's office 41 years ago and was put in charge in late 1991, appointed by state legislators in the following year. According to the state Constitution, her replacement will be appointed by majority votes by the House and the Senate.

The Legislature's role in making the appointment did not result in an auditor politically and quietly representing Democratic control. Upon starting in the office, Higa made her reports public and later made them immediately available on the auditor's website. The assessments have been readable, succinct and bold.

Her audits have taken on key questions about the Hawaii Superferry, the Hawaii Tourism Authority and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, and have revealed fiscal deficiencies at charter schools and a bench-warrants backlog at the state Sheriff Division.

read … Auditor

$19 Million More In Honolulu Rail Contracts Signed

CB:  One contract, with AECOM Technical Services, Inc. is worth $10.2 million, and will be for the design of four transit stations.

AECOM already has $104 million in contracts on the $5.26 billion project.

The other contract, dated Nov. 16, is with L.A.-based Anil Verma Associates, Inc. to design three other transit stations.

That contract is worth $8.7 million.

link: HART Contracts

read … $19 Million More In Honolulu Rail Contracts Signed

Man accused in UH concert scam pleads not guilty

KHON: Marc Hubbard is accused of wire fraud in the scandal. He had no comment as he walked into the U.S. District Court House.

His attorney entered a not guilty plea and told the media after the hearing that Hubbard's defense team will review the accusation against him in what is the beginning of a long process.

The North Carolina businessman will be allowed to return home.

He is free on a $200,000 bond, putting his nightclub in North Carolina up as collateral.

During the brief court hearing one of Hubbard's attorneys said his client had $1,300,000 in equity.

A temporary trial date of Jan. 29, 2013 has been set.

read … UH Concert Scam

Deedy not Drunk says Lawyer

SA: … in defense papers filed Friday, Hart said Deedy was "compelled" to fire the weapon after Elderts punched him in the face and tried to take the gun away.

Hart said Elderts had a blood-alcohol level of 0.127 and had metabolites of cocaine and marijuana in his system.

Hart said photographs taken by police less than 90 minutes after the shooting showed Deedy with "clear, not bloodshot, eyes."

The photos were taken at the Queen's Medical Center, where Deedy was taken after suffering bruises and a broken nose from Elderts' punches, Hart said.

The hospital staff concluded Deedy was able to move around without difficulty and that his gait and speech were "normal," the lawyer said.

Hart said that later at the police cellblock, Deedy declined to take an Intoxilyzer test for alcohol because he had not been able to reach his State Department supervisors.

Police could have seized Deedy's blood without a warrant to determine any level of alcohol, but did not, Hart said.

Hart also said Deedy appeared to be "normal" by the police officer who presented the federal agent with the Intoxilyzer.

read … Not Drunk

Your Tax Dollars at Work: Big Island Carbon officers paid nearly $500K

WHT: The top two officers of the bankrupt Big Island Carbon LLC together were paid almost $500,000 in salary and expenses last year, according to court filings.

In addition to $50 million in private venture capital, Big Island Carbon received a $5 million federal loan in 2010 from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. There is no available record of the company receiving state money.

Hawaii County Finance Director Nancy Crawford said there’s no indication the company received any county funding either.

Filings in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware show Chief Executive Officer Rick Vidgen received $184,000 in salary and $21,228 in expenses for the 12-month period ending Oct. 30, while Chief Operating Officer Fred Baker received $240,000 in salary and $3,365 in expenses. A third executive, Controller Gerald Gruber, received $130,000.

read … Its OK, its Federal money

Suit blames Plaza for negligent care

SA: "When she went in she was walking with a cane, she was still her happy self, energetic, still telling jokes," said Lum, who added she found her mother sleeping on a mattress soaked with urine during an unannounced visit. "When she left she was really, really sad. It's almost as if she kind of gave up hope."

The lawsuit alleges that a few weeks after Aquino moved into the facility, which opened in 2010, she was found on the bathroom floor with lacerations to her skin and taken to the emergency room at Wahiawa General Hospital.

"She said, ‘Felicia, I called and I called and I called and nobody came,'" Lum said. "For her to say that she called and called and nobody came, I knew she was sitting there for a while."

She fell a second time the next day after returning to the Plaza. But the worst fall came later when she broke her wrist as she was trying to get up from the dining table with the help of a certified nursing assistant behind her who couldn't say how the fall happened, the suit alleges.

"There were times that I went on to visit her and her TV and air conditioner wasn't even turned on — something as simple as that," said Lum, who lost both her father and husband in recent years. "I wanted to desperately move her, but I couldn't because of the MRSA. No one would admit her."

read … Suit

Mainland strike may impact Hawaii shipping

KHON: Every week Costco in Iwilei ships in between 45 and 65 containers from the west coast. But next week those shipments may not all arrive as scheduled.

"Our Monday boat will be on time, our Thursday boat or vessel that comes in will be a little late," said Tom Burba, Costco Iwilei.

A strike at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach has continued into its fourth day.

About 600 (SEIU) clerical workers are in a contract dispute with several shippers and the Longshoremen refuse to cross the picket line.

read … SEIU

Appeals Court Orders Contested Case in East Maui Water Dispute

EH: The Intermediate Court of Appeals has sided with a group of Hawaiians living in East Maui who had sought a contested-case hearing over the state Commission on Water Resource Management's decision to amend stream flows in the area.

The decision, published November 30, is the latest in a dismal series of reversals of commission decisions by higher courts. The three judges were unanimous in finding that the commission had improperly denied the request for a contested case hearing by Na Moku 'Aupuni o Ko'olau Hui on its decision to amend instream flows of 19 East Maui streams.

The group "is entitled to a contested case hearing with the full procedural protections afforded by the Hawai'i Administrative Procedures Act," the judges found. It ordered the commission to "grant Na Moku's petition for hearing and to conduct a contested case hearing ... in accordance with state law."

To read the decision, click here: ICA Decision on Na Moku Appeal

Back On His Feet After Losing His Legs

MW: Kaimuki High grad Brian Kolfage brings a message of determination and hope to a Navy League audience….

read … Back on His Feet

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