(Hawaii News Now) Utility relocation work to force overnight closures of 2 Kalihi thoroughfares

(Source: Hawaii News Now)

Utility relocation work to force overnight closures of 2 Kalihi thoroughfares
(Image: City and County of Honolulu)

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) – Parts of Waiakamilo Road and Dillingham Boulevard will be closed Friday night into Saturday for underground and overhead utility relocation work.

The closure runs from 8 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Saturday.

Officials said traffic on all lanes of Dillingham Boulevard between McNeill and Kohou streets will be open to local traffic only.

All lanes of Waikamilo Road from McNeill to Kalani streets will also be shut down.

The scheduled closure will allow both Hawaiian Telecom and Charter to relocate their utilities as part of a $77 million wastewater pump station improvement project.

This story will be updated.

Copyright 2019 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

(Civil Beat) Honolulu’s New Trains Could Sap Power From Nearby Buildings And Homes

(Source: Honolulu Civil Beat)

As next year’s planned interim rail service approaches, local officials still aren’t sure whether the transit system as designed will sap too much electricity from nearby homes and businesses when the trains accelerate.

Hawaiian Electric Co. and the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation, which oversees rail construction, will study the power voltage swings caused by the driverless trains more closely in the coming months, both agencies say.

Depending on what those tests find along the elevated guideway, HECO could demand that the city install additional equipment to keep the voltage from fluctuating too severely whenever the trains leave the station.

“You don’t want a situation where one customer using a line … does it in a way that negatively impacts the voltage to a customer that is also sharing that line,” said Colton Ching, HECO’s senior vice president of planning and technology.

HART rail guideway car photo op Farrington Hwy. 30 may 2017

The driverless, four-car trains will need short bursts of power as they leave a station loaded with passengers, officials say.

HECO’s circuits aren’t designed for the rapid change in electricity load, Ching said.

The Oahu-based utility company remains concerned that the spikes could cause voltage to nearby customers to fluctuate by more than five percent, which is the limit set in its tariff rules. If the trains draw too much power as they speed up, it could affect the use of or even damage household appliances and other electrical-powered equipment, Ching said.

HART officials, meanwhile, aim to convince Ching and his HECO colleagues that the city doesn’t need to buy so-called static compensators, or “stat-coms,” to ease the strain of such voltage swings. The local rail agency has already seen rail costs climb about $4 billion on its watch and faces strong pressure to keep expenses in check.

HART says it can avoid causing severe voltage swings by staggering the trains’ departures. That way, they won’t suddenly suck too much power all at once.

“We understand HECO’s position, looking out for their customers and the safety of their personnel – everything along those lines,” said Sam Carnaggio, HART’s project director. “We have pretty reasonable discussions, and there are just points where we disagree.”

The trains will draw most of their electricity from existing HECO circuits, fed into 13 “traction” stations along the line that convert normal electrical service to power suitable to supply trains.

Equipment Costs A Mystery

With their talks still underway, neither HART nor HECO was willing to discuss in recent interviews how much it would cost to buy and install stat-coms at those traction power stations.

Initially, Carnaggio said that HART wouldn’t have enough money to handle a worst-case scenario in which stat-coms would have to be installed at 12 of the 13 traction power stations. He later said “they would have to find it somewhere else” in the budget to avoid increasing rail’s total construction costs.

Overall, Carnaggio said he considers the prospect of adding stat-coms to the budget a risk to the project, although not a major one.

Indeed, the issue was not mentioned in a recent presentation to HART board members on the biggest risks now facing the project. Instead, HART officials flagged property acquisition along rail’s path as the top risk.

(Agency officials would not publicly state which properties pose the biggest risk during the presentation earlier this month. However, the city is poised to go to court next year after talks with Howard Hughes Corp. broke down to buy key rail parcels in Kakaako. The parties at one point were about $100 million apart, according to rail’s federal overseers.)

This isn’t the first time the island’s longtime utility company and the agency spending billions of dollars to carve a rail line through Oahu’s crowded southern shore have butted heads over rail’s impacts on power service.

HART and HECO wrangled for years over what to do about the utility line clearance issues along the elevated rail line. Notably, consultants had flagged the potential budget-busting issue as early as 2009 — but the discussion on how to resolve the situation went silent for years. Ultimately they reached a $70 million deal to purchase specialized trucks for HECO crews to access most of the west side lines, while relocating some others.

For the voltage issues, by contrast, both HART and HECO say they’ve stayed in contact since the issue arose several years ago.

Once rail opens for service, HECO expects the city’s 20-mile, 21-station rail line to be among its 10-largest customers in terms of demand, according to Ching. HART expects the rail system will initially require nearly 15 megawatts of power to operate the entire line, according to figures provided by HECO.

The U.S. Department of Defense and the state, with its collective agencies, are currently the top two customers, he said.

(Star Advertiser) Kokua Line: Honolulu’s bulky-waste pickup exceeds others in level of service, city insists

(Source: Star Advertiser)

Question: We have been leaving our bulky items on the curb like always. Is that wrong? I am seeing so much on the news, but things seem the same here.

Answer: No, it’s not wrong, because you live in Waipahu, which is not included in the pilot program requiring metro Honolulu residents (Foster Village to Hawaii Kai) to make appointments for the city to collect bulky trash such as old furniture and large appliances (known as white goods). Your area remains on a regular monthly pickup schedule, which you can verify at opala.org.

Speaking of bulky pickup, a recent column (808ne.ws/ 814kline) inspired a response Wednesday from Lori Kahi­kina, director of the city Department of Environmental Services (ENV), which oversees garbage collection on Oahu. We’ll share the email in full:

“In Kokua Line’s Aug. 14 article that responded to a reader’s question about bulky waste handling in other cities, there were some quick snapshots of the city auditor’s 2017 report on Honolulu’s bulky-item collection program.

“What really gets lost in the audit and not highlighted nearly enough is that not one city provides what Honolulu does on a monthly basis in regards to bulky waste, which is to collect an unlimited amount of items on a monthly basis for free, while also picking up white goods, including those with Freon gas.

“The six cities we found in the auditor’s report that are remotely comparable to Honolulu are Washington D.C., Nashville, Tenn., Oklahoma City, Boston, Charlotte, N.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

“Bulky item collection in Washington D.C. is free, but only by appointment, and there is a restriction of up to seven items including white goods.

“Nashville is identical to Honolulu, with the only exception being that residents must call or go online and make an appointment. This mirrors Honolulu’s current bulky item pilot project, where you need to make an appointment online or by phone.

“Oklahoma City picks up bulky items for free every month, but only up to four cubic yards; each additional cubic yard is charged to a resident’s utility bill.

“Boston picks up bulky items, but only up to five items, along with regularly scheduled trash service, which is once or twice a week. The service in Boston is free, but you must schedule collection for white goods.

“As for Charlotte, bulky item pickup has to be scheduled, which again, is what Honolulu’s current pilot project requires from Foster Village to Hawaii Kai.

“Columbus also mimics the Honolulu bulky pilot, as a resident must make an appointment with no limit on items and it is free to residents. Although they do collect white goods, they do not pick up refrigerators.”

As Kahikina mentioned, the Aug. 14 column referred to an audit released two years ago that included a comparison of Honolulu’s bulky-waste collection serv­ice to that of 30 other U.S. cities. Collection was free in 37% of those cities, free for a limited number of items in another 27% and charged a fee in another 37%. (The total exceeds 100% due to rounding). Collection schedules varied, with 10 cities requiring appointments (as in the metro Honolulu pilot project) and six offering regular monthly service (as on the rest of Oahu, outside the pilot project).

You can read the full audit report at 808ne.ws/audit. The department’s responses at the time are found in Chapter 4, where the ENV said it particularly appreciated information about the comparison cities (found in Appendixes A and B) and took note of service elsewhere that “aligned with ENV’s vision for an appointment and fee-based bulky collection system that will increase service efficiency, limit the set out of unauthorized bulky items for collection, and reduce collection costs.”


Write to Kokua Line at Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu 96813; call 529-4773; fax 529-4750; or email kokualine@staradvertiser.com.

(KHON 2) Trash and a homeless camp polluting a popular surf spot

(Source: KHON 2)

Trash and a homeless camp polluting a popular surf spot

TOP STORIES

Visitors come from around the world to see Oahu’s beautiful beaches. But heaps of trash and a homeless camp at Diamond Head Beach Park are an eyesore and residents want it cleaned up.

“When I see this I get really pissed off. I get pretty angry,” said Honolulu resident Ian Martin. “I think what needs to happen is we need to clean it up right now.”

Trash bags piled high, and mounds of rubbish along the hillside. Less than 20 feet away is the ocean.

The make-shift camps and trash, stretch around the corner and down the coastline.

Midori Sudo is visiting from Japan and said she’s been to Hawaii 15 times. She said she is disappointed when she’s sees the beach in this condition.

“I thought Hawaiian Beaches are very beautiful, but it is not good. I cannot believe it.”

Nate Serota, the Honolulu Department of Parks and Recreation, said that the switchback trail leading down to Diamond Head Beach Park was closed for about six months. Since it reopened about two weeks ago, the trash problem at the park has gotten much worse according to regular beach goers.

Serota said they are aware of the problem. In fact, the city removed more than eight tons of trash in February before renovating the walkway down to the beach.

The next sweep of the area won’t happen for another few weeks.

“We are planning (a sweep) towards the middle to end of September,” Serota explained.

Until then, he said he will look into doing something sooner, but he hopes the community will do their part.

“This city government, and really any government agency, can’t be responsible for keeping every every area clean. That’s everyone’s kuleana. It’s everyone’s responsibility to malama aina our natural areas,” said Serota.

The first thing to remember is to always pack out whatever trash you bring in.

The trash cans were removed from the beach park area due to illegal dumping.

“We found out it was being abused. A lot of people were dumping large items. abusing those trash areas…it was becoming an untenable situation for our staff to go down there and to take all this rubbish out on a consistent basis,” Serota explained.

To alleviate the problem the trash cans were moved up to the Beach Road.

“We find that that area is more easily accessible by our parks staff and there is a lot better use of those trash cans up there,” said Serota.

Once the area is cleaned in September, there are a few things the public can do prevent these types of camps from popping up again according to Marc Alexander from the Honolulu Office of Housing.

“For example not providing food and supplies to people that live in un-sheltered settings. That only enables them to stay there. This is extremely important”

Alexander said feeding people at beach parks is illegal without a permit and it just exacerbates the problem.

“If people do this, they have to understand there’s a consequence. not only are they breaking the law they are enabling people to stay in and unsheltered setting which is bad for the people and also bad for the community.”

Alexander said community involvement is the best way to clean up problem areas.

“Part of it is the community being our eyes and ears,” said Serota. “Helping to clean some of the trash and also reporting anything illegal that they see not only to HPD but that 311 app.”

Serota explained that the Honolulu 311 app is a conduit to getting the complaints to the right city department, which will allow them to deal with issues in a more timely fashion.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

(Hawaii News Now) Drone captures hidden homeless camps that dot Oahu’s south shore

(Source: Hawaii News Now)

Drone captures hidden homeless camps that dot Oahu’s south shore

Drone image captures comprehensive look of a mostly hidden homeless camp on Oahu’s south shore

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) – Walking along Diamond Head Road, homeless camps might not seem like much of a problem.

It’s not until you get a bird’s eye view of the situation that there’s a true understanding of just how entrenched the cliff side encampment has become.

High above Kuilei Cliff Beach Park local photographer, Ethan Tweedie, unknowingly captured a photograph of a mostly hidden homeless camp near one of Oahu’s richest neighborhoods.

“I just flew my drone did a little panorama,” said Tweedie. “I started zooming in on the picture to make sure it was clean for the print and started noticing all the homeless camps.”

Each of the red dots marks an illegal campsite. Credit: Ethan Tweedie
Each of the red dots marks an illegal campsite. Credit: Ethan Tweedie

Tweedie says he took the photo in May. It shows a total of 42 separate campsites. Since then, he says, squatters have just kept coming.

“It’s kind of appalling to be honest with you,” he said.

Up close, many of the camps are surrounded by piles of rubbish accompanied by a pungent smell of urine and feces.

There’s also evidence of fires on the cliff side.

This encampment sits at the base of a new trail leading from Diamond Head Road down to the beach. The city opened the path in early August as part of a $2 million improvement project.
This encampment sits at the base of a new trail leading from Diamond Head Road down to the beach. The city opened the path in early August as part of a $2 million improvement project.

One of the messiest camps HNN found sits at the base of a brand new switchback trail the city opened earlier this month as part of a $2 million improvement project.

People who live nearby say the park’s not safe and a recent crime wave has the community on edge.

“In the last three weeks we’ve had six break-ins in our neighborhood,” said resident Stephany Sofos. “Nothing’s getting done. Nothing’s happening and we’re having to defend ourselves.”

The encampments are on government property split between two jurisdictions.

The state is responsible for Diamond Head Monument while the city maintains the Kuilei Cliffs and the beach below.

Nathan Serota, spokesperson for Honolulu’s Department of Parks and Recreation, said the last time either area was swept was more than six months ago.

The next enforcement isn’t planned until late September.

“We try to do enforcements as much as possible but it comes out to about two enforcements a year because it takes a significant amount of manpower,” said Serota.

The city added that it’s gearing up to launch a new psychiatric street medicine program targeting addicts and mentally ill campers in the area.

In the meantime, officials from the state Department of Land and Natural Resources says they’re thinking about building a chain link fence on the monument.

They say a 4,000-foot-long, 12-foot-high barricade would cost more than a half million dollars.

Marc Alexander, head of the Mayor’s Office of Housing, is also urging residents to call police to report illegal campsites. He said the city wants to know about it, too.

Some neighbors scoffed at the response telling HNN they’ve done it ― repeatedly. Sofos said, “We see it, we call on it. We have videos of it. Nothing gets done.”

Copyright 2019 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

(Star Advertiser) Decision on controversial Ala Wai flood plan delayed

(Source: Star Advertiser)

  • BRUCE ASATO / AUGUST 2018

    Concerns about the Ala Wai Canal overflowing are at the center of a proposed $345 million flood mitigation project. The canal turns brown after heavy rain with runoff from streams that feed it.

Facing opposition from scores of residents, the Honolulu City Council delayed any decision on the controversial $345 million Ala Wai flood mitigation project.

The Executive Matters and Legal Affairs Committee, composed of all nine Council members, deliberated for more than five hours without voting on any of the items on its agenda before agreeing around 6 p.m. to recess until 1 p.m. today.

A full Council meeting — which was to take place after the committee meeting — was postponed until 2 p.m. today.

At the heart of Tuesday’s committee meeting was Resolution 19-182, which authorizes Mayor Kirk Caldwell to accept up to $125 million from the state for the flood control project aimed at easing concerns that a large-scale storm would cause the Ala Wai Canal to overflow, submerging much of Waikiki in the process.

Committee Chairman Ron Menor said the additional time will give all Council members and the public a chance to review the latest draft of the resolution.

The project has generated lively objections from those living and working mauka of the Ala Wai Canal who worry that improvements aimed at helping Waikiki will increase the potential for flood damage in their own communities, including Manoa and Palolo valleys, McCully, Moiliili, Makiki and Kapahulu.

The administration and local officials with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers want the Council to approve the plan by Aug. 31 to ensure the $245 million federal share of the project remains available. Jeff Herzog, the corps’ Ala Wai Flood Risk Management Project manager, said that after that date, corps officials in Washington will look at a possible redistribution of the money to a project in another state.

The Council leadership had agreed to fast-track the flood project decision, waiving the normal six-day holding period between a committee vote and a full Council vote and instead planning to take both votes Tuesday.

But scores of residents urged Council members to hold off on a decision until more information can be made public.

Palolo resident Brad Frye, whose house is about 100 feet from Palolo Stream, called the Ala Wai plan inadequate and warned not to turn the project into “a fiasco” like the over-budget Honolulu rail project. “It does not evaluate the proposed design versus any alternatives, not from an engineering, political, stakeholder or fiscal standpoint,” he said. “This is not the right way to make a $345 million decision with ongoing unknown maintenance costs and major impacts to numerous stakeholders.”

Kaimuki resident David Frankel said building walls around the canal would negatively affect lower-lying regions such as Kapahulu, McCully and Moiliili.

“The water that would have flowed through Waikiki would backfill into those neighborhoods,” Frankel said. “So in order to save Waikiki, you’re screwing the communities that live on the other side of the canal. That’s just wrong. It is absolutely unjust to save Waikiki at the expense of residents of Moiliili, McCully (and) Kapahulu.”

Several residents noted that the Council last month passed Resolution 19-145, which calls on the administration to address concerns about the Ala Wai project raised by the community and explore alternative flood mitigation plans that would be less harmful to upper-elevation communities. Approving the flood project now would contradict the intent of the earlier measure, they said.

An official with the Caldwell administration said the city is taking into consideration the concerns and suggestions residents have raised.

“We’re hearing, we’re listening and we’re performing analysis on it,” said Robert Kroning, director of design and construction. Many of the issues raised by residents can be addressed later in the process, but losing the money now likely “would push the project way into the future,” increasing the potential risks, he said.

Herzog, the project manager, was equally emphatic that the corps would not proceed with a plan that increases the potential for harm to the community.

“It’s illegal, immoral and unethical for us to induce risk,” he said, adding that his agency is doing what it can to reduce flood risk in those lower areas as well.

(Star Advertiser) Kaneohe Joint Outreach Center to aid the homeless

(Source: Star Advertiser)

  • DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARADVERTISER.COM

    The new Kaneohe Joint Outreach Center medical clinic was blessed Friday in an opening ceremony. Kaku Kordell Kekoa sprinkled water on state Rep. Scot Mata­yoshi’s hand to put it on the wall as part of the blessing.

A Hawaiian blessing was held Friday morning for the new Kaneohe Joint Outreach Center, a medical clinic now serving the homeless on the Windward side of Oahu.

The center, to be operated by the Hawaii Homeless Healthcare Hui, will offer a one-stop shop of services, including a walk-in medical clinic for all without regard for ability to pay, social services and referrals to drug abuse and mental health treatment services. It also will provide clothing, hygiene items and food supplies.

“Some of the folks we see with mental health issues or substance abuse problems or homeless in our community are people that I grew up with, that I know,” said state Sen. Jarrett Keohokalole at the blessing Friday. “Kaneohe’s a small community. Our homeless are our people.”

COMMUNITY OPEN HOUSE

>> Date: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. today
>> Place: Kaneohe Joint Outreach Center, 45-260 Waikalua Road
>> Purpose: Tour the center, learn more about its services and how to get involved

An open house for the center, housed in a state building next door to the police station on Waikalua Road, is being held today for community members who want to tour the facility and learn more about its serv­ices.

Growing up in the neighborhood, Keohokalole remembers seeing a homeless veteran most know as Mango Man sleeping under the shade in front of the same building, and now it’s where people like him can seek help. Mango Man, or John Cruz, later became a fixture in Kailua before getting the help that he needed.

In those days there were not as many homeless on the Windward side, he said, and now there is a growing need for services as more people are struggling, including numerous families.

The new center, modeled after one already opened in Chinatown, is a three-year pilot program expected to alleviate the volume of homeless seeking medical care at hospital emergency rooms.

While hospital emergency staff can address immediate health concerns, Keohokalole said, they are not set up to offer ongoing care and support. That’s where Kaneohe JOC fits in, offering care for immediate patient needs while providing referrals to needed services to get them back on their feet.

The center became a reality through a public-private partnership, led by state legislators including Keohokalole, Lisa Kitagawa, and Scot Matayoshi, who saw the growing need and worked to bring the Hawaii Homeless Healthcare Hui (H4) to Kaneohe.

H4, an organization founded by two physicians — Lt. Gov. Josh Green and Dr. Scott Miscovich — operates both the Chinatown and Kaneohe centers.

The Windward side has the second-highest number of unsheltered individuals who are part of a family on the island, according to the Institute for Human Services.

Connie Mitchell, executive director of IHS, said the Windward side homeless are often people who are recognized in the community, whether it’s someone’s former schoolmate, son, daughter, aunt or uncle.

The Kaneohe clinic is expected to serve more families, she said, and is located in an ideal hub near the police and fire stations and a state Department of Human Services benefits office.

She hopes it will “provide an oasis” for those in need as well as “a measure of compassion” — a place to get some relief from the hot weather, as well as real services that will make a difference. Offering health care services is often a starting point that leads to other services, she said.

For many Windward side homeless, she said, traveling over the Koolaus to seek services poses a barrier, so it is ideal to have a center in Kaneohe, as well as other parts of the island, to serve the needs of different communities.

Sara Alimoof, the state Department of Education’s homeless youth liaison, estimated there are close to 500 schoolchildren without stable housing in the Windward district.

The center serves a need for these families with schoolchildren, who are not always visible because they may be couch-surfing or living in their cars.

“Without a doubt, I think what they’re trying to create here is a family atmosphere for some of the families who just really can’t afford to have a place of their own,” she said. “That’s a priority, to serve that population and to make it a safe environment.”

Support and funding for the Kaneohe JOC came from many donors, including Alexander & Baldwin, First Hawaiian Bank Foundation, Hawaii Community Foundation, Harold K.L. Castle Foundation, IHS, Kamehameha Schools.

(KHON2) Windward Oahu bus routes expand

(Source: KHON 2)

HONOLULU (KHON2) — The city expanded several Windward Oahu bus routes and the changes began Sunday, Aug. 18.

The improved service will better connect Windward Oahu neighborhoods to major shopping, education and recreation areas.

Buses have mainly used the Pali Highway to get to the Windward side, but the expansion will now use the Likelike Highway as well.

The changes will also make it easier to travel between Kailua and Kaneohe.

Similar improvements are coming next to Leeward Oahu.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

(Star Advertiser) Downtown satellite city hall relocating to larger space

()Source: Honolulu Star Advertiser)

The city’s Department of Customer Services will close its satellite city hall at Fort Street Mall on Friday and reopen Monday at a new location at the Chinatown Gateway Plaza at the corner of Hotel Street and Nuuanu Avenue.

The larger, 2,905-square-foot Downtown Satellite City Hall is on the street level and will be more visible and accessible for Oahu residents seeking basic government services such as motor vehicle registration, bus pass sales, bicycle and moped registrations, dog licensing and vehicle junking services.

It is expected to serve an average of 300 customers daily, with improved access for the disabled and dedicated counter service for car dealership transactions, according to a news release. It will be staffed by the seven employees currently working at the Fort Street Mall location.

Hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays.

(Star Advertiser) Space Station will appear over Hawaii

(Source: Star-Advertiser)

Hawaii residents can expect impressive evening passes of the International Space Station on Friday and Sunday, weather permitting.

The space station will rise in the northwest just after 8 p.m. Friday and head to the right, piercing the pan of the Little Dipper.

Three minutes later, it will bisect the so-called Summer Triangle, made up of three bright stars: Vega in the constellation Lyra; Deneb in the constellation Cygnus; and Altair in the constellation Aquila. Just before 8:04 p.m., it will pass just under Altair before it blinks out in the eastern sky.

High in the southern sky, Jupiter will shine brightly between a growing gibbous moon and the red star Antares.

On Sunday, the space station will rise in the northwest just before 8 p.m. and angle to the left, passing below the star Arcturus, on Hokule‘a, in the west, and very near the star Spica (Hikianalia) in the west-southwest. It will fly for another two minutes before it disappears below Jupiter.

The moon will be very near Saturn in the southeast.

The space station, 250 miles high and traveling at 17,000 mph, is visible j ust after sunset and just before dawn when it is illuminated by the sun against the darker sky. Aboard are U.S. astronauts Christina Koch, Nick Hague and Drew Morgan, two Russians and an Italian.