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(Civil Beat) Denby Fawcett: The Most Infamous Legal Case in Hawaii’s History

(Source: Civil Beat)

Many people have largely forgotten about the most notorious trial in Hawaii’s history, the Massie Case.

There are no monuments or plaques to commemorate the case, probably because it was one of the darkest criminal incidents of the last century in the islands.

But if you should stumble across a small and almost hidden gravestone in a state government cemetery in Kalihi, you are bound to start thinking about what happened and find yourself getting madder and madder.

The Massie case in 1931-32 prompted hundreds of front-page news stories both here and on the mainland. And since then, the affair has been the subject of numerous books, television documentaries and a Hollywood movie.

The Chicago Tribune deemed it “one of the greatest criminal cases of modern times.”

University of Hawaii professor David Stannard’s description focuses on the waves of racist hysteria the case generated all over the country.

“The Massie Case was more than a true-crime drama. It was a pivotal moment in the history of Hawaii, one that exposed a white supremacist social order (both locally and nationwide) and provided the seedbed for subsequent change throughout the islands,” says Stannard in his book, “Honor Killing.”

Puea cemetery kapalama kalihi, location of the Massie murder graveyard Joseph Kahahawai jr. 4 jan 2016. photograph Cory Lum/Civil Beat

I would not be thinking much about the Massie case if it were not that my friend Phil Kinnicutt recently emailed me that he had found the grave of Joseph Kahahawai in a desolate section of the Puea Cemetery in Kalihi. Kahahawai was a central figure in the case.

I was intrigued and drove down to the weed-filled cemetery on North School Street that’s located between the Unted Public Workers building and Kapalama Street to see for myself.

Kinnicutt says he began looking for the grave after he read the novel “Honolulu” by Alan Brennert, which mentions the Massie case and Kahahawai. 

The Massie case is a dramatic example of the hollow and meaningless outcome of vigilante justice and the lynch-like executions of innocent people.

Kinnicutt says he was overwhelmed when he stood among the many broken gravestones in the Kalihi graveyard looking down at Kahahawai’s stone marker.

“It was a sad feeling,” says Kinnicutt of the murder of the 22- year-old Kahahawai.

Kahahawai was an unemployed, former St. Louis High School football star, who was wearing his school ring from the St. Louis class of 1928 when he was fatally shot in the chest.

“It struck me as so melancholy that Kahahawai, who was a central figure in a major historical event, is hidden away in such an unnoticed grave. It won’t be long before nobody knows what he meant and why we should care about what happened to him,” says Kinnicutt.

Even though the Massie case took place more than 80 years ago, we should remember it today is for its message about the kind of savagery that erupts when racists  or religious fanatics take the law into their own hands. 

Joseph Kahahawai

The Massie case is a dramatic example of the hollow and meaningless outcome of vigilante justice and the lynch-like executions of innocent people. It resonates today as much as then when we hear about Islamist fanatics stoning women to death or police violence against non-white suspects.

Kahahawai’s marker strangely says at the bottom, “Killed January 8, 1932.”

Cemetery historian Nannette Napoleon says in many years of studying Hawaii’s gravestones she has seen only one other that says “killed” instead of “died” at the bottom.

Kahahawai was one of five men falsely accused in 1931 of brutally beating and raping Thalia Massie, the 20-year-old aristocratic wife of a U.S. Navy lieutenant stationed at Pearl Harbor. 

Thalia was a relative of Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone, and related on her father’s side to President Theodore Roosevelt. The young suspects were impoverished, non-white youths. Most of them lived in humble houses in Iwilei, in an area known then as Hell’s Half Acre.

On the night of the alleged crime, Thalia had left a club known as the Ala Wai Inn beside the Ala Wai Canal after an argument with a Navy officer whom she slapped. She claimed that after she left the club and was walking alone in the dark, she was dragged into a car on John Ena Road by five or six Hawaiian men who repeatedly raped her near Ala Moana.

Initially, she said it was too dark to identify the suspects or the license plate of their car. But as time went on, she supplied more and more uncorroborated details, which later were contradicted in court.

Navy officials made outrageous and untrue claims that no white woman was safe in Hawaii from roaming bans of sex-crazed local men. Some members of Congress demanded martial law for Hawaii.

Besides Kahahawai, the accused in the Massie case were Benny Ahakuelo, Horace Ida, David Takai and Henry Chang.

The reason why they were even on the police department’s radar that night is that the young men were involved in a road rage incident about an hour before Thalia’s alleged rape.

They were out driving in a car they had borrowed from Ida’s sister when a car driven by a white man named Horace Peeples nearly collided with them on King and Liliha streets.

Kahahawai yelled something about the “goddamn haole,” and Peeples’ large Hawaiian wife, Agnes, jumped out of the car and shoved Kahahawai. The two got in a scuffle. Kahahawai punched Agnes in the ear. Then she grabbed Kahahawai by the throat and hit him in the face before the young men took off in their car.

Thalia Massie

Agnes took down their license plate number, which she reported to the police, who broadcast the number on police radios all over Honolulu. It’s now believed that Thalia heard the license number when she was being driven to the hospital in a police car by two officers.

When she was questioned later, she gave police practically the same license plate digits as the numbers on the young men’s car, saying it was the license number on the car of her attackers, a number she had said repeatedly before she was unable to see in the dark. 

Although she had said earlier she had not seen the faces of the men who raped her, she quickly changed her story after police rounded Kahahawai and the other young men up and brought them to her house. After Detective Thomas Finnegan told her “he had some men to be identified as her assailants,” she identified them as her attackers.

Later, a Pinkerton Detective Agency investigation that was funded by the territorial legislature concluded all of the young men were innocent and the detectives’ report stated it was clear that Thalia Massie had not been raped. In fact, the youths had never even seen her before.

The evidence had been unconvincing all along.

When they were brought to trial in November 1931, despite the prosecutors’ racist portrayal of them as  “lust sodden beasts” and the push in the white community for their speedy conviction, they were released after a mistrial. The jury deadlocked after hearing contradictory testimony from Thalia, and being asked to consider weak evidence and questionable information from a botched police investigation.

Navy personnel here and many people on the mainland were outraged by the men’s release. A media frenzy was unleashed. A local publication called the Honolulu Times called the suspects’ release “The Shame of Honolulu.” Time Magazine in a story titled “Lust in Paradise” said, “Yellow men’s lust for white women had broken bounds.”

Navy officials made outrageous and untrue claims that no white woman was safe in Hawaii from roaming bans of sex-crazed local men. Some members of Congress demanded martial law for Hawaii.

A 1933 political carton regarding the Massie case that appeared in America's first national weekly gossip tabloid, the Broadway Brevities and Society Gossip.

The crime that happened after the men’s release created an even more wide-reaching sensation.

Thalia’s Massie’s mother, Grace Fortescue, described by author Stannard as “a socialite mother who would stop at nothing to avenge her daughter’s shame,” had arrived from the mainland after her daughter’s alleged assault. She and Thalia’s husband were concerned that Thalia’s reputation was in shambles after the mistrial when gossip began to surface that Thalia might have been beaten by her husband and that she lied about the rape to gain sympathy for herself.

They convinced themselves that the only way to salvage Thalia’s reputation would be to force a confession out of one of the suspects who had been freed awaiting retrial.

A group of Navy enlisted men then kidnapped suspect Horace Ida and took him up to the Pali, where they threatened to throw him over the cliff unless he confessed. When he refused, they drove him over the Pali to a back road in Kailua where they kicked him and beat him with their belt buckles to try to make him confess, but he maintained his innocence.

After the sailors threw the battered Ida into the bushes and drove away, he pulled himself up and made it to the police station to report his kidnapping and assault.

Later, Lt. Massie and Mrs. Fortescue, with the help of two Navy enlisted men, Edward Lord and Albert Jones, kidnapped Kahahawai.

After trying to get Kahahawai to confess, they shot him in the chest and stood by for up to 20 minutes — the time a city physician later estimated it would have taken for him to die from internal bleeding.

Soon after, the police caught Lt. Massie, Mrs. Fortescue and Lord in a rented blue Buick as they were trying to get rid of Kahahawai’s naked body that they had wrapped in a bloody sheet and bound with rope.

Police had chased the Buick up the East Oahu coast to near the Halona Blow Hole, where it’s believed Mrs. Fortescue and the others intended to throw Kahahawai’s body into the ocean.

Grace Fortescue

After they were arrested and charged, the Navy successfully argued for the murder suspects to be housed on the ship USS Alton instead of in prison as they awaited their trial.

Instead of being treated like criminals, they were hailed by their many friends as heroes. The deck of the Alton was covered with baskets of fresh flowers and greeting cards expressing well wishes and offers of support.

The late Cobey Black said in her book “Hawaii Scandal” that “The prisoners were permitted to leave the Alton for an evening of bridge or an informal dinner party with friends in the Navy Yard.”

When Pulitizer Prize-winning New York Times reporter Russell Owen interviewed Mrs. Fortescue on the ship, she told him she had never slept better since the murder. Owen wrote, “The possibility that she had done the wrong things appeared to be far from Mrs. Fortescue’s thoughts.”

She told Owen her only regret was that their own carelessness caused them to get caught by the police before they had time to dispose of Kahahawai’s body.

Fortescue and her supporters urged attorney Clarence Darrow to come out of retirement to defend them.

Darrow was the most famous criminal defense attorney of that time, having defended Leopold and Loeb (two wealthy Chicago students who in 1924 kidnapped and murdered a 14-year-old). In the Scopes trial, he had famously argued against William Jennings Bryan in Tennessee for the right to teach the theory of natural selection and evolution in schools.

Darrow was 74 at the time of the Massie case. He wrote later that he took the case because he needed money. He had lost most of the money he planned to use for his retirement in the Depression.

John C. Kelley, a public prosecutor for the territory, was not intimidated by Darrow’s world fame and defeated him by convincing the jury to find Mrs. Fortescue, Tommie Massie and the two sailors guilty of kidnapping and murder. But Darrow successfully urged the jury to reduce the conviction to the lesser felony of manslaughter.

Each of the defendants was sentenced to 10 years of hard labor in Oahu Prison. But immediately after the sentencing, then-Hawaii Gov. Lawrence McCully Judd commuted their punishment to one hour under the supervision of the high sheriff. They spent the duration of this short sentence in the Governor’s Office in Iolani Palace. Then they were released, hustled aboard a ship by the Navy, and left the islands — never to return.

In effect, they got away with murder.

The worst part about reading about this case is the muted sadness and resignation of Kahahawai’s family and the local community. There was none of the huge demonstrations of protest for the injustice that you would expect today.

The trial was front-page news in newspapersaround the country.

Nearly a thousand mourners quietly crowded into Our Lady of Peace Cathedral for Kahahawai’s memorial mass. It was reported to be the most heavily attended funeral since the death of the last Hawaiian queen.

The mourners were mostly Hawaiians, but there were also Japanese and Chinese and a few white people. They walked a mile from the downtown cathedral in silence as part of  the funeral cortege to Puea Cemetery. Another thousand people were waiting there to hear the service at Kahahawai’s graveside.

Today, the cemetery has a mournful and forgotten aspect to it. Puea is one of four inactive public cemeteries under the care of the state’s Department of Accounting and General Services.

Kahahawai and the larger story of the Massie case are slowly fading away.

Central Services Manager Jimmy Hisano says there is no money in his budget specifically dedicated to the care of the cemeteries. He pays his regular DAGS maintenence workers overtime on weekends to trim the grass of Puea and the three other state cemeteries once a month. The grass trimming is the limit of the state’s maintenance.

Hisano said he was unfamiliar with the name of Kahahawai and his historic importance. That’s understandable. So much time has passed. Still, it seems a shame. Kahahawai and the larger story of the Massie case are slowly fading away.

I wish St. Louis  School, where Kahahawai attended classes, and other Oahu schools would take their students to Puea Cemetery to spark their interest. I think the loneliness of the grave and the youthful age of Kahahawai would capture the sympathy of some of the students.

Cemetery historian Napoleon says on her many trips to the Bishop Museum to do research, she often stops off at the nearby cemetery to visit Kahahawai’s grave. She says she always comes away feeling sad.

Her grandfather, Walter K. Napoleon Sr., was one of the jurors who voted to convict Mrs. Fortescue and the other three of manslaughter.

She says after the guilty verdict, her grandfather received phone threats of harm. Napoleon was a meat cutter at the Piggly Wiggly stores. His employer also received threats of a boycott if he didn’t fire Napoleon.

“The case was a huge event for people,” says Napoleon. “My grandmother talked about it until the day she died. She was impassioned whenever she spoke about it. She said it never should have happened.”

Napoleon says she wishes a surviving member of Kahahawai’s family would put up a plaque by the grave to make a political statement about the injustice of his death.

“But I guess Kahahawai’s family has already made a political statement. They didn’t just write on his grave that he died. They said he was killed.”

(Hawaii News Now) City officials continue urging residents to get their REAL ID cards ahead of deadline

(Source: Hawaii News Now)

City officials continue urging residents to get their REAL ID cards ahead of deadline

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Planning to leave on a jet plane? The TSA is changing its ID requirements

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) – If you’ve already gone through the process of getting a gold star on your driver’s license, you’re ahead of roughly half of Oahu motorists.

The city is continuing to remind Hawaii residents of the REAL ID changes that will require the gold star verification on cards in order to travel.

“We don’t want residents to panic,” said Sheri Kajiwara, director of the city’s Department of Customer Services. “But if residents choose to use a Hawaii driver license or identification card to board a commercial flight or gain access to secure federal facilities, including military bases, now is the time to act.”

The deadline to have the new card is less than a year away: Oct. 1, 2020.

City officials say nearly half of the residents have gotten the updated driver’s licenses cards. For state IDs, the city said of the 265,765 issued, only 54,857 are REAL ID verified.

To make an appointment or for more information, click here.

The city urges folks not to procrastinate on scheduling an appointment. Appointments are booked over a month in advance.

You could avoid the lines if your documents are on file with City Hall. You can click here if you renewed or got a license between May 1, 2014 and Jan. 31, 2018 but were not issued a gold star.

Officials say if you want to continue using your license as identification to fly after the October 2020 deadline it'll need a gold star on it.
Officials say if you want to continue using your license as identification to fly after the October 2020 deadline it’ll need a gold star on it. (Source: Hawaii Department of Transportation)

Copyright 2019 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

Council OKs bill mandating union labor for city projects valued at least $2M

(Source: Star-Advertiser)

A bill requiring the city to hire unionized workers for major construction jobs valued at least $2 million won a 7-2 approval from the Honolulu City Council Wednesday despite lingering concerns from contractor groups.

Council members Brandon Elefante and Heidi Tsuneyoshi voted no. Members Carol Fukunaga and Ann Kobayashi voted yes, “with reservations.” The measure now goes to Mayor Kirk Caldwell, who has not signaled whether he will sign it, veto it, or let it become law without his signature.

Bill 37 would require the city to negotiate community workforce agreements (a form of public labor agreements) with unions for contracts valued at $2 million and that fall under the definition of a “large-scale public works project, including any police, fire, emergency services, erosion, rock-fall mitigation, roads, stormwater or sewage infrastructure, and pump station projects.”

The proposal has divided the state’s construction industry, with major unions lobbying hard for it and contractor associations working just as hard to get it shot down.

The original bill, as introduced by Councilman Joey Manahan, would have applied to projects valued at $250,000 or more. But in an apparent effort to appease opponents the threshold was changed to $1 million-plus in the draft that was up for a final vote Wednesday. The threshold was upped a third time, to $2 million-plus, before the measure passed.

If it becomes law, it would take effect May 30, 2020.

Manahan said requiring the agreements would ensure local workers get hired first for city jobs. He noted that the contractors for Aloha Stadium improvements were brought in from the continental U.S. during an economic downturn that affected the construction industry throughout the nation. Community workforce agreements bar unions from striking or other labor actions, thus eliminating the possibility that projects could be delayed, he said.

The bill would apply to less than 20% of all city public works projects, “and only projects that are deemed critical and need to meet strict construction deadlines,” Manahan said. Work on the Neal Blaisdell Center and Honolulu Zoo are not considered critical and wouldn’t require the agreements, he said.

Tsuneyoshi urged colleagues to defer the decision, saying there were too many unanswered questions. “I think we need more time to further refine this bill,” she said.

The bill was initiated by the state’s most politically influential construction labor organizations — the Hawaii Construction Alliance and the Hawaii Building and Trades Council, which said the measure is a way to help ensure competent and local workers are used at city jobs, and that it will create a more efficient work environment.

But contractor organizations, including the General Contractors Association of Hawaii and American Builders and Contractors, warned that it would reduce the number of firms available for city jobs, thus leading to higher bids and project costs. They also argued the bill was unnecessary because many of the safeguards it purports are already in state law.

But Ryan Kobayashi, a representative of the Hawaii Laborers’ Union Local 368, said requiring unionized workers will not cost more because state law mandates that the city pay both union and nonunion workers prevailing wages.

“If the non-union (contractor) is complying with this prevailing wage scale, it would not raise the cost to the city or the city taxpayer because … on a city project they would be subject to the prevailing wage scale,” Kobayashi said. “This bill is about the workers, not the unions.”

Ana Tuiasasopo, a representative for the Operating Engineers Union No. 3, said requiring project labor agreements “will ensure that projects get finished on time and on budget.” Rather than discriminate against nonunion contractors and their employees, they would “make sure that we’re all on the same playing field,” Tuiasasopo said.

A key concern raised by contractors is what happens with fringe benefit contributions they would be forced to make to unions, even if their workers who earned those benefits wouldn’t be eligible to receive them if they weren’t union members long enough to be able to be vested.

Frances Kama-Silva, president of Henry’s Equipment Rental and Sales, said after Wednesday’s vote that she will need to reassess the future of her company if the bill becomes law. The company, which has between 20 and 25 employees, does general contracting work, and she estimated 95% of the company’s jobs are city or state projects for such things as road paving and demolition.

“We were union at one time, we were voted out of the union by our workers,” Kama-Silva said. “For some people it’s fine, but we’re a small company. It didn’t work for us.”

Reggie Keanu, a road construction foreman for Jas. W. Glover, said he and his crew chose to work for a company that isn’t unionized. “I do not understand why the city is trying to change or interfere with that. Why are you telling me I have to now join a union, pay dues, or give them my pension money to be able to work on city projects?”

Gary Kurokawa, chief of staff for Caldwell, said while the administration supports community workforce agreements, it’s concerned that the bill states the mayor “shall” negotiate a workforce agreement with a union.

Kurokawa said there’s language in the bill that may be in conflict with state procurement laws and city attorneys are assessing the situation.

(Star Advertiser) Bishop Museum wins grants to digitize research on species

(Source: Star Advertiser)

  • CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARADVERTISER.COM
                                The Bishop Museum’s mollusk collection — including handwritten field notes going back 100 years — is scheduled to be digitized through a $1.3 million grant. Tricia Goulding, a researcher at the museum, takes a digital photo of a tiny shell using a microscope outfitted with a camera back.

    CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARADVERTISER.COM

    The Bishop Museum’s mollusk collection — including handwritten field notes going back 100 years — is scheduled to be digitized through a $1.3 million grant. Tricia Goulding, a researcher at the museum, takes a digital photo of a tiny shell using a microscope outfitted with a camera back.

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The National Science Foundation has awarded two grants to the Bishop Museum — one for $1.3 million and another for $245,000 — to digitize its separate mollusk and insect collections, which could help identify living species of animals believed to be extinct.

The bigger grant of $1.3 million over four years is designed to digitize the museum’s mollusk collection to better understand the extinction of land snails, which have the highest number of extinctions of any major animal group. The greatest losses of land snails occur among the Pacific islands, according to the museum.

Researchers currently have to visit the Bishop Museum to look at mollusk field notes from Hawaii, Polynesia, Micronesia and East Melanesia that could be over 100 years old and are currently housed “in the back of the museum” — along with shells of snails believed to be extinct, according to Ken Hayes, the Bishop Museum’s invertebrate curator and director of its Pacific Center for Molecular Biodiversity.

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The Bishop Museum is taking the lead on the project, which includes the Academy of Natural Sciences at Drexel University, Philadelphia; Museum of Zoology at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; Harvard Museum of Natural History, Cambridge, Mass.; Florida Museum of Natural History, Gainesville; Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago; and the University of Hawaii.

The smaller grant, for three years, is for the Bishop Museum to join 22 other research collections in digitizing its insect collection.

The information from all of the organizations is expected to go online as soon as it’s digitized. But Norine Yeung, the Bishop Museum’s malacology curator, was attending a conference in Florida last week where researchers were trying to come up with uniform ways to format the information and images.

When the information does become available, the idea is to make it readily accessible online for anyone.

“Think of it like Google for biodiversity,” Yeung said. “It’s going to be online and available for anyone who’s interested in different species or interested in saving a species. It’s like Wikipedia for biodiversity.”

It’s not unthinkable that someone who culls through the data could retrace some of the original research and discover that a snail species considered extinct is actually alive in the wild.

A decade ago researchers estimated there were only nine surviving species of the amastridae family of snails in Hawaii — and one species was thought to be found only on Kauai.

But Yeung and Hayes were able to find 12 more species on Kauai, Maui and Oahu.

“We were able to rediscover species that haven’t been seen since the ’40s or the ’60s,” Hayes said. “Now there are 23 species. We were able to put 12 more on the list.”

The original information on where snails were identified in the past “has been locked away,” he said.

Making the collections and field notes available on the internet also might increase appreciation for the way earlier Hawaiians considered creatures such as snails, which were a sign of a healthy ecosystem, Yeung said.

“They were highly revered in the Hawaiian culture,” she said. “They weren’t thought of as icky or yucky. Native land snails took fungus off of leaves, which helped in photosynthesis. They were revered as auspicious, a good omen after a storm. If you find a snail after a storm, everything is OK again. In Hawaiian culture they were treasured, very important.

“If these species go extinct,” Yeung said, “we’re losing something of our culture, not just our ecosystem.”

(Star Advertiser) City Council puts brakes on OCCC relocation plan

(Source: Star-Advertiser)

City Council puts brakes on OCCC relocation plan

Gov. David Ige’s plan to relocate the Oahu Community Correctional Center to Halawa has hit a new roadblock.

Skeptical members of the Honolulu City Council voiced reluctance to approving a Plan Review Use permit that would clear the way for the proposed facility, which would, like the current OCCC, primarily house pre-trial detainees.

They told state administration officials at a Council Zoning, Planning and Housing Committee on Sept. 26 that the request is premature because it lacks details, including a firm source of funding. They also said they don’t want to get into the middle of a firestorm between Ige and the state Legislature.

The concerns led the committee to delay a vote on Resolution 19-136, which would grant the state a Plan Review Use permit closing the existing Kalihi facility and relocating to 29 acres at what’s now the state Department of Agriculture’s Animal Quarantine Station about a mile away from the existing Halawa Correctional Facility.

Committee Chairman Ron Menor said Thursday that he’s not yet decided whether to hold a vote on the matter in the coming months or wait until after the Legislature signals its intent when it meets early next year.

Councilwoman Carol Fuku­naga, whose district includes Halawa, grilled Public Safety Director Nolan Espinda, project architects and the Department of Accounting and General Serv­ices over the lack of specifics about the plan.

“It just seems kind of premature at this point to be granting approvals … when we really do not have a final determination as to what the scope of the project should be as well as the potential financing alternatives given that a relatively major redevelopment is now being proposed for a location that is right down the road from this area,” Fukunaga said, referring to the state’s New Aloha Stadium Entertainment District.

Traffic and safety concerns raised by residents have yet to be addressed, she said. “Understandably, people are very upset.”

Joseph Earing, head of DAGS’ capital improvement projects section, said the state is in the process of seeking a private partner to help finance and build the site. The timeline calls for an entity to be selected in late 2020 or early 2021, he said.

The Council’s approval of the PRU would make it easier for a prospective partner to determine financing for the project, Earing said.

“The more uncertainty that there is, the cost associated with any proposal goes up, so we’re trying to narrow down the uncertainties,” he said.

Ige has called the relocation one of his top priorities. State officials argue that the existing facility, built in 1917, is overcrowded and dilapidated, and that the prime site on Dillingham Boulevard and Puuhale has broader development potential.

The Halawa plan calls for a four-story detention center, a two-story pre-release facility outside the new OCCC and a third building that would contain a warehouse, central energy plant and facility maintenance operations.

Plans also call for 1,044 beds, slightly more than OCCC’s current 982 beds, Espinda said. The existing Laumaka Work Furlough Center would remain in Kalihi.

In August 2018, Ige announced he was accepting a final Environmental Impact Statement for the plan, which carried a $525 million price tag.

Since then, the project has been stalled by state lawmakers who have been cool to providing funding for it.

Councilman Tommy Waters said the state should take a harder look at relocating OCCC to the state Circuit Court parking lot on Pohukaina and South streets in Kakaako. It makes sense for pre-trial detainees charged with a crime and awaiting trial to be housed near the Circuit Court building and near the District Court facility several blocks away, he said.

Waters, a criminal law attorney, said prisoners being driven from Halawa “are always late.”

Another possible solution would be for the state to take over the Federal Detention Center near Daniel K. Inouye International Airport, Waters said. A proposal for that plan was passed by the state House but stalled in the Senate last session.

Bettina Mehnert, president and CEO of Architects Hawaii, said the Circuit Court parking lot and other downtown locations were looked at as possible relocation sites. “None of them fit the criteria that we felt were essential to be on the short list.”

Espinda said the administration supports looking further at the Federal Detention Center purchase and will continue doing so at the same time the Halawa relocation plan advances.

Councilman Joey Manahan, who represents the area where the current OCCC is housed, did not attend the committee meeting. He said last week that while a new OCCC site is critical, he would support a temporary postponement of a vote until after the Legislature considers the various options for relocation during its upcoming session.

Menor said the Council has to look at both sides of the issue before deciding to support a Plan Review Use permit.

(Hawaii News Now) Nonprofit sees spike in illegal dumping at donation sites since city started bulky item pilot

(Source: Hawaii News Now)
Non-profit sees spike in illegal dumping at donation sites since city started bulky item pilot

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) – The president of Big Brothers Big Sisters is making a plea to the public: Stop dumping bulky items at the nonprofit’s donation sites.

“It’s a tremendously frustrating issue having to deal with the large bulky items that we don’t take,” said Dennis Brown, the agency’s head.

Of its seven drop off centers across Oahu, the donation site at the corner of Young Street and Pensacola is the busiest.

Attendants collect clothing and small housewares. Then the nonprofit sells them ― wholesale ― to Savers Thrift Store.

The money helps Big Brothers and Sisters fund its youth mentorship program.

“We’re very, very grateful for all the donations for the items we can use,” said Brown.

But lately, the agency’s run into an issue: It’s drop-off sites have turned into dump sites.

Brown says he noticed an increase in illegal dumping shortly after the city started it’s bulky item pilot project, which requires Honolulu residents to schedule a time for crews to pick up their trash.

The program also encourages residents to donate oversized items instead of waiting to have the city haul it away.

“We actually don’t take any bulky items, period,” said Brown.

“The larger items that are left with us ― that usually happens when our attendant’s not here at nighttime. It becomes our problem and we have to take them to the dump.”

That means money that should be going toward the agency’s youth mentoring program is being spent to pay its drivers to deal with the oversized opala.

“We’re paying them overtime,” Brown said. “Usually when that happens it’s because they have a full day already. And to do the dump run, or the runs as it turns out, during the week is an extra cost to us.”

It’s also paying employees OT to monitor the donation sites after hours.

Tim Houghton, city deputy director of Environmental Services, said in a statement that he’s “not sure” there’s a correlation between illegal dumping and the bulky item pilot project.

“However, we appreciate hearing about the concern and will work with the nonprofit and other nonprofits to see if there are impacts and to see what can be done,” he said.

“We would like to stress and reiterate to the public to use opala.org website for a listing of donation organizations and call them to see if the item you would like to donate is accepted at the nonprofit.”

Copyright 2019 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

(Maui Now) Molokaʻi Initiative Gets Prestigious Equator Prize at UN Climate Change Summit

(Source: Maui Now)

Two Hawaiʻi Community Initiatives Awarded Prestigious Equator Prize

During the UN Summit, two Hawaiʻi community initiatives received the prestigious Equator Prize: Hui Makaʻāinana o Makana on Kauaʻi and Maui County’s own Hui Malama O Moʻomomi on Molokaʻi.

The Equator Prize, organized by the Equator Initiative within the United Nations Development Programme, is awarded biennially to recognize outstanding community efforts to reduce poverty through the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. These two groups were the first recipients of this prize selected from the United States.

“I am incredibly proud of these two groups, and I’m especially excited for our friends on Molokaʻi,” said County of Maui Environmental Coordinator, Makaleʻa Ane, who connected with the groups in New York City. “As sustainable community initiatives take root throughout the tropics, they are laying the foundation for a global movement of local successes that are collectively making a contribution to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through place-based frameworks such as Hawaii’s statewide Aloha+ Challenge.

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“I look forward to implementing Mayor Victorino’s commitment to develop a Maui County Resiliency Strategy that will incorporate island values, TEK, locally-driven and nature-based solutions to meet the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.”

For more information on the development of the Maui County Resiliency Strategy or to schedule a community input event please contact Mrs. Ane at (808) 270-8250. For more information on other climate change, mitigation, and resiliency initiatives please visit https://www.mauicounty.gov/142/Environmental-Program.

County of Maui Environmental Coordinator, Makaleʻa Ane, returned from a recent trip to New York City where she represented Mayor Michael Victorino and Maui County at the United Nations Climate Change Summit.

“The climate crisis threatens to dramatically alter people’s relationships with the land on which they rely,” Ane said. “Meanwhile, many climate solutions are themselves land-intensive, including solar and wind energy, carbon dioxide removal, and strategic relocation. Finding places for people displaced by climate change to live and grow food dramatically increases competition for land, whereas, indigenous populations have historically been pushed to the margins of society and are underrepresented in these discussions.”

Ane attended the United Nations 2nd High Level Local and Regional Government Forum and the High Level Island Event: “Island Values, Local Knowledge, Global Solutions: Catalyzing Partnerships for Implementation.” The events discussed critical topics, including how island communities are the most vulnerable to intensifying wildfires, floods, rising seas, diseases, coral bleaching, droughts and extreme weather.

A resounding theme in this year’s UN Climate Change Summit and associated events emphasized how Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Nature Based Solutions offer a powerful line of defense against harmful current and future environmental change. The two groups provide viable ways to store and reduce carbon emissions by changing the way we protect, manage, and restore our lands, waters and the ocean.

Hawaii’s locally and culturally driven approach to sustainability through the Aloha+ Challenge: measured through an open-data dashboard, inspired dialogue on island models to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and advance an island worldview. The Hawaiʻi contingent that attended Climate Change Week in New York City was comprised of statewide public, private and community representatives.

Ane also attended various events hosted by the New York Bar Association, Global Island Partnership and Local 2030 Islands Network, the Ford Foundation Center for Social Justice, and the New York Community Trust.

(Star Advertiser) EPA preparing to remove elevated lead concentrations in various areas on Factory Street in Kalihi

(Source: Star Advertiser)

  • CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARADVERTISER.COM
                                Although the EPA and state Department of Health have known about the lead contamination, they decided that the pavement prevented exposure to the residents. However, recently the city stopped maintaining the roads and the potholes and crumbling asphalt has exposed the contaminated soil.

    CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARADVERTISER.COM

    Although the EPA and state Department of Health have known about the lead contamination, they decided that the pavement prevented exposure to the residents. However, recently the city stopped maintaining the roads and the potholes and crumbling asphalt has exposed the contaminated soil.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency wants to remove the soil under Factory Street in Kalihi “to abate the potential imminent and substantial endangerment posed by lead contamination to this densely populated neighborhood,” and says it can begin the work as soon as Monday.

Because the street has no designated owner, the EPA is asking the federal court for an administrative warrant to access the property.

The agency said the work will be done from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and should take three to four weeks to complete. At least two days before it begins the work the EPA said it will leave flyers at homes and businesses and post no-parking signs in the neighborhood. The agency said it already has secured the use of other property for staging of equipment, transportation and storage.

The EPA and state Department of Health have known that soils in various locations of Factory Street between King and Waterhouse streets contain elevated lead concentrations, exceeding both the EPA Residential Screening Level and state DOH Environmental Action Level for unrestricted use. In 1995 and 1996 they decided that no action was necessary because the pavement prevented exposure to residents.

In recent years, however, the city stopped maintaining the street and the asphalt has been crumbling, forming cracks and potholes, exposing the contaminated soil to the surface. Residents also say concrete caps on some of the holes drilled into the pavement to test the soil underneath are no longer there.

The exterior of the home at 915 Factory St. is below street level and floods when it rains because there is no drainage, residents said. They said four of the five children who either live or frequent the home have elevated levels of lead in their blood.

Apartment buildings and businesses line both sides of the 900 block of Factory Street. Parks and five elementary schools are located within a half-mile.

Harry Kim, owner of HK Construction at 905 Factory St., said someone from the EPA told him a few months ago of the plan to dig up the street but no one warned him of any risk of exposure to the soil.

“You gotta think there is,” he said.

The residents at 915 Factory St. said the only person who contacted them about lead contamination of the soil is area City Councilman Joey Manahan, who could not tell them the risk they face if they are exposed to the dirt.

The EPA said children and adults who regularly travel or play on Factory Street are at risk of high levels of lead exposure, especially children who play on degraded street shoulders. The Health Department said people are exposed to lead through ingestion, which is a concern for small children who touch everything and put their hands into their mouths.

State public health authorities have known about lead in the blood of children residing on Factory Street since the 1990s but had not identified the source. The source of the lead in the soil is another mystery, but could have come from a dental office, sign painting shop, Kalihi Fishing Supply and a car battery rebuilder, which all once operated there, the EPA said.

Kalihi Taro and Land Co. bought Factory Street in 1910, then the company dissolved in 1926 without selling or transferring the property to anyone. The Health Department said the city maintained the private street as long as there was public access, but stopped repaving the roadway after residents posted no-parking signs.

DOH said it used money from its Environmental Response Revolving fund to repair potholes while it tried to find an owner to take responsibility for Factory Street. When it determined that the property is abandoned, it turned to the EPA.

 

(Hawaii News Now) Suspect accused of opening fire on ex-girlfriend at bus stop set to appear in court

(Citation: Hawaii News Now)

Police arrest suspect accused of opening fire on ex-girlfriend at bus stop

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) – The man who allegedly tried to kill his ex-girlfriend at a Kalihi bus stop over the weekend has been charged, Honolulu police said.

Theodore Kim is scheduled to appear in court on Thursday on charges of first-degree attempted murder and several other firearms offenses. His bail is set at $1 million.

Officers arrested Kim on Wednesday just before 9 a.m. on Kamehameha Avenue.

A tipster alerted police after spotting Kim at a construction site in Manoa.

Police are searching for Theodore Kim, the suspect in a shooting in Kalihi over the weekend.
Police are searching for Theodore Kim, the suspect in a shooting in Kalihi over the weekend. (Source: (Image: CrimeStoppers))

During the arrest, a shotgun was found in the back floorboard of the SUV he was driving, sources say.

The fugitive spent the past three days on the run.

Records show the 59-year-old was on the radar of authorities Sunday, when he tracked down his ex-girlfriend near Sand Island Access Road.

Police say when the woman refused to leave with him, he fired three blasts from a 12-gauge shot gun.

“She made the right decision not to go with him and seek shelter at the bus stop,” said Honolulu Police Department Sgt. Chris Kim. “She’s very fortunate. Very fortunate that she was not injured.”

Law enforcement was warned something like this could happen.

Three days before the shooting, Kim’s probation officer filed a police report after getting information Kim was threatening to hurt his ex-girlfriend.

Sources say Kim allegedly told co-workers he was “going to shoot her” and to “watch the news.”

The victim herself wrote something similar just days before that ― when she petitioned the court for a restraining order saying Kim had threatened to shoot her and then take his own life.

“That’s what victims and survivors are afraid of,” said Nanci Kreidman, head of the Domestic Violence Action Center. “They’re not sure whether their abusers are going to make good on their threats.”

Kreidman emphasized the importance of law enforcement following up on these types of reports.

“It’s crucial for the system to work right. We are always encouraging people to seek help. To reach out. To get support. To seek restraining orders. To call police,” she said. “All of these parts of the system really have to work together — and work well in response to people’s need.”

HPD didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on what actions were taken after Kim’s probation officer reported those threats to police ahead of the shooting.

Kim’s criminal record dates back nearly four decades and includes 25 convictions ranging from drug charges to theft and assault.

Since 2007, Kim’s been found guilty of eight felonies, including three convictions for abuse of a family member.

Copyright 2019 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.