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TexasTowelie

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White guy, computer programmer. I'm a stud, not a dud!

Journal Archives

Legislators Push To Send $100 Million To Kauai For Flood Damage

Hawaii legislators are rushing to send $100 million to rain-soaked Kauai and make $25 million available statewide for damage caused by last weekend’s deluge.

The Kauai money would be used to reopen roads that landslides closed, rebuild demolished park facilities and help families and businesses reeling from a storm that dropped 27 inches of rain in 24 hours.

Senate Ways and Means Chair Donovan Dela Cruz, House Finance Chair Sylvia Luke and other leading lawmakers came up with a plan to provide $125 million to address the flood damage through an amended version of Senate Bill 192 that a joint conference committee passed Wednesday.

“We’re making an unusual effort in extraordinary circumstances,” Luke said before the unanimous vote in support.

Read more: http://www.civilbeat.org/2018/04/legislators-push-to-send-100-million-to-kauai-for-flood-damage/

How Will Honolulu Pay To Run Rail Once It's Built? The City Still Doesn't Know

Honolulu’s City Council leaders are struggling with how to cover millions of dollars in new rail construction costs so they can appease the Federal Transit Administration. They’ve proposed squeezing that money into next year’s city operations budget, which is already stretched thin.

But that challenge raises a bigger question — one that locals have asked for years. How does the city intend to pay for rail once the trains start running?

The city’s leaders still don’t know the answer.

“We have to face the fact that these costs are going to be there,” Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi said Wednesday at a Budget Committee meeting. “We’ve got to be realistic. We’ve got to face what’s out there, and we have to take the responsibility and prepare for it.”

Read more: http://www.civilbeat.org/2018/04/how-will-honolulu-pay-for-rail-once-its-built-the-city-still-doesnt-know/

Lawmakers finalize negotiations on state budget bill

House and Senate conferees on Friday approved a final version of the state budget bill, which includes operating and capital improvement monies to run the state government.

HB1900 HD1 SD1 puts a priority on appropriating funds for critical health and human service needs that will benefit residents statewide, a press release issued Friday afternoon by the Legislature said. The bill goes before the Legislature this week for a vote. If approved, it will then be sent to the governor for his signature.

House Finance Chairwoman Sylvia Luke said the budget provides $15 million to fund homeless services, $3 million more than requested by Gov. David Ige, to allow the state the flexibility needed to take decisive action and systematically address long-standing problems in the community.

“Instead of dividing various amounts for separate programs, the state Homeless Programs Office needs the flexibility to decide where best to use the money. The state cannot be rigid, especially with our homeless population. It must be able to move funds around to take care of circumstances as they come up,” said Luke (D-Oahu).

Read more: http://www.westhawaiitoday.com/2018/04/22/hawaii-news/lawmakers-finalize-negotiations-on-state-budget-bill/

Ige, Hanabusa spar over alleged conflicts as primary race heats up

Gov. David Ige is ratcheting up his election-year criticism of U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa by reviving the issue of her two-year push for a huge state tax credit for development of an aquarium at Ko Olina, alleging the deal demonstrates that she makes decisions “on behalf of self-interest and special interests.”

Hanabusa, who is running against Ige in the Democratic primary for governor, was president of the state Senate when she led the drive to get lawmakers to approve the Ko Olina tax credit in 2002 and sued former Gov. Ben Cayetano over the issue after he vetoed the bill. The Legislature approved the tax credit again in 2003 at the urging of Hanabusa, and the measure was signed into law by then-Gov. Linda Lingle.

Ige said he was one of the few lawmakers who did not support the Ko Olina tax credit, in large part because the bill Hanabusa advanced was written so that only developer Jeff Stone could benefit from it.

The Honolulu Advertiser later reported that less than a month after the $75 million tax credit was approved, Stone sold a luxury Ko Olina townhouse to Hanabusa’s then-fiance, John F. Souza III. One of Stone’s companies financed the sale by lending Souza $405,773 for the purchase, according to state records.

Read more: http://www.staradvertiser.com/2018/04/22/hawaii-news/ige-hanabusa-spar-over-alleged-conflicts-as-primary-race-heats-up/?HSA=5832ed91b7ce0c038c83b6a992754be834e2a06e

Alaska Native delegates march on Capitol after senators refuse to call language loss 'emergency'

A resolution intended to declare an Alaska Native language emergency is advancing in the Alaska Senate, but without its most important word.

On Thursday, the Senate State Affairs Committee voted to approve House Concurrent Resolution 19 after stripping the word “emergency” from the document.

The changes prompted the annual Tribal Assembly of Central Council Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska delegates to adjourn for a march to the Capitol. Assembly delegates filled the committee room, and the crowd spilled into the hallway, though only three were allowed the time to speak to the committee. (A previous session of public testimony was held Tuesday.)

“We are coming before you, but we are not coming before you on our knees,” said Paulette Moreno, First Grand President of the Alaska Native Sisterhood and one of the marchers, speaking to lawmakers about the group’s determination.

Read more: http://www.juneauempire.com/news/state/2018-04-20/alaska-native-delegates-march-capitol-after-senators-refuse-call-language-loss

Former Quintillion CEO busted on wire fraud

NOME -- Five years ago, Nome Internet users began to look forward to affordable and swift service through Quintillion, a company that would attach spurs to six communities connecting them to a submarine fiber optic cable from Japan to England, routed along Alaska’s northern coastline to serve Nome, Kotzebue, Utqiagvik (Barrow), Wainwright, Prudoe Bay, Point Hope and Shemya.

Quintillion would give the villages access to broadband speeds of 100 Gigabits per second, according to its claims, in contrast with the existing Nome and Barrow speeds of 0.006 Gigabits per minute. Nome folks cited examples of friends in the Lower 48 who paid $50 per month for unlimited broadband use, and looked forward to downloading movies and documentaries in a “whoosh” without triggering an 80-percent-monthly-use warning.

So far, Nome Internet surfers have not enjoyed the fruits of Quintillion’s promises in their households; however, the Port of Nome has benefited from hosting cable-laying vessels to the tune of around $270,000 in user fees for a variety of vessel services over summer seasons 2016 and 2017, according to Joy Baker, port director.

-snip-

Former Quintillion CEO Elizabeth Pierce, in meeting with locals, told them that Quintillion would be a middle provider, wholesaling broadband to any interested ISP. If the providers did not pass on the savings to households and businesses, Nome residents would see Quintillion vehicles rolling up and down streets with the company delivering service directly, Pierce vowed.

On April 12, the federal Dept. of Justice announced Pierce’s arrest in New York City on a charge of wire fraud, connected to perpetrating a multimillion dollar investment scheme. Between May 2015 and July 2017, Pierce had tricked two New York firms into investing over $250 million in Quintillion’s fiber optic project by luring them with sizable fake investment contracts that she had forged, according to the unsealed complaint. She has been charged on one count of wire fraud in the case and faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, if convicted.

Read more: http://www.nomenugget.net/news/former-quintillion-ceo-busted-wire-fraud

ConocoPhillips announce promising oil discovery on Alaska's North Slope

FAIRBANKS - ConocoPhillips announced Monday that three appraisal wells drilled in its Willow prospect on the North Slope support its earlier estimate that the field contains at least 300 million barrels of recoverable oil.

Conoco announced the Willow discovery and its potential in January 2017. The discovery is in the company's Greater Mooses Tooth Unit, located in the northeast area of the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska. NPR-A is in the central region of the North Slope, west of, but not adjacent to, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

The Willow announcement was part of news release outline the results of the company's winter exploration and appraisal program in the state.

"The company’s original plan was to drill five wells on the Western North Slope comprising two appraisal wells of the Willow Discovery announced in January 2017, plus three exploration wells," the news release reads. "Due to improved drilling efficiencies, the company was able to drill a total of six wells, including an additional Willow appraisal well. All six wells plus a sidetrack encountered oil and verified the potential of the play."

Read more: http://www.newsminer.com/business/conocophillips-announce-promising-oil-discovery-on-alaska-s-north-slope/article_1816af62-41c1-11e8-a80c-ab09d1f7bde1.html

Cross-posted to the Alaska Group.

ConocoPhillips announce promising oil discovery on Alaska's North Slope

FAIRBANKS - ConocoPhillips announced Monday that three appraisal wells drilled in its Willow prospect on the North Slope support its earlier estimate that the field contains at least 300 million barrels of recoverable oil.

Conoco announced the Willow discovery and its potential in January 2017. The discovery is in the company's Greater Mooses Tooth Unit, located in the northeast area of the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska. NPR-A is in the central region of the North Slope, west of, but not adjacent to, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

The Willow announcement was part of news release outline the results of the company's winter exploration and appraisal program in the state.

"The company’s original plan was to drill five wells on the Western North Slope comprising two appraisal wells of the Willow Discovery announced in January 2017, plus three exploration wells," the news release reads. "Due to improved drilling efficiencies, the company was able to drill a total of six wells, including an additional Willow appraisal well. All six wells plus a sidetrack encountered oil and verified the potential of the play."

Read more: http://www.newsminer.com/business/conocophillips-announce-promising-oil-discovery-on-alaska-s-north-slope/article_1816af62-41c1-11e8-a80c-ab09d1f7bde1.html

Cross-posted to the Environment & Energy Group.

Landlords won't get paid despite Alaska Legislature walking away from building lease, judge rules

JUNEAU — A judge has rejected a $37 million damages claim by the former landlords of the Alaska Legislature's abandoned Anchorage office building.

Anchorage Superior Court Judge Mark Rindner, in an April 6 decision, denied the appeal from landlords Mark Pfeffer and Bob Acree.

They had appealed an earlier rejection of their claim by a committee of legislative leaders, the Legislative Council.

The claim came after lawmakers decided to terminate their lease for the downtown building, on West Fourth Avenue, by not setting aside money to pay for it. The lease included a "non-appropriations clause," which allowed the Legislature to back out if it failed to include the necessary cash in the state spending plan.

Read more: https://www.adn.com/politics/alaska-legislature/2018/04/16/landlords-wont-get-paid-despite-alaska-legislature-walking-away-from-building-lease-judge-rules/

Alaska Legislature won't cut schools budget this year, but spending boost remains uncertain

JUNEAU — The Alaska Legislature struck a deal Wednesday to guarantee that public schools won't face budget cuts this year.

But an agreement on a budget boost for education, sought by school districts and the state House's largely Democratic majority, remained elusive with lawmakers nearing the end of their first week of extra time in Juneau.

The Legislature was also still trying to negotiate a compromise to use investment earnings from the Permanent Fund as a long-term fix to Alaska's big deficit — a plan pushed by the Senate's mostly Republican majority and Gov. Bill Walker. Legislative leaders, in interviews, said closed-door discussions are continuing about possible long-term fixes.

"Different versions of those are in dialogue between the leadership of the House and Senate and among all the members of the Legislature. But the cooperative atmosphere exists," said Bethel Sen. Lyman Hoffman, the lone Democratic member of his chamber's majority and a member of its leadership.

Read more: https://www.adn.com/politics/alaska-legislature/2018/04/18/alaska-legislature-wont-cut-schools-budget-this-year-but-spending-boost-remains-uncertain/
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