Micronesia’s President Emanuel Mori Meets With Citizens in Maui and Hilo

Micronesia's President Emanuel Mori

Micronesia's President Emanuel Mori

Media Release:

His Excellency, President Emanuel Mori visited the islands of Maui and the Big Island of Hawaii on September 29 to October 1, 2009, to meet with FSM citizens living in these communities. Secretary of Foreign Affairs Lorin Robert, Consul General Akillino H. Susaia, and Mr. David Wolphagen, Deputy Chief of the FSM Immigration accompanied President Mori on his visits to Maui and Hilo.

In Kahului, Maui, President Mori discussed with the citizens the current developments in the FSM National Government and also briefed them on his statement presented to the UN General Assembly as well as the side meetings he had with the U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton and the leaders of the American Jewish Organization in New York.

During the question and answer session, the citizens raised their concern about the proposed scaling back of the Hawaii Med Quest insurance program which will affect most of the FSM citizens living in Hawaii. President Mori re-assured the citizens that his administration is working cooperatively with the State of Hawaii Congressional Delegation to find a long-term solution to this problem. President Mori informed the citizens that there is a proposed amendment pending in the United States Congress, sponsored by Hawaii Congressman Neil Abercrombie, which will provide FAS citizens eligibility for Medicaid and other federally funded social services programs. The FSM Embassy in Washington D.C. is working hard to ensure the passage of this amendment which could be included in the overall health reform bill awaiting approval by the U.S. Congress.

In Hilo, Hawaii, President Mori and his delegation met with citizens at the University of Hawaii, Hilo Campus. Most of the citizens attending this meeting were students. Understandably, one of the main issues discussed was the timely processing and awarding of scholarships to eligible students. President Mori explained to the students that the FSM National Government is providing scholarships to mostly graduate students with the exception of those students who are enrolled in the field of aviation. This is a requirement of the law establishing the scholarship program of the FSM National Government.

Generally, the other concerns raised were similar to the ones raised by the citizens living in Maui, which were mostly related to the proposed changes to the Hawaii Med Quest insurance program and the need to improve the processing and issuance of passports to citizens living abroad. Again, President Mori assured the citizens that their concerns were noted and that his administration is committed to implementing the new passport program within the next few months. As for the medical insurance issue, President Mori wanted the citizens to know that it will cost a lot of money to continue providing services to those citizens receiving hemodialysis and chemotherapy treatments in hospitals within the State of Hawaii. No matter what the cost maybe, he is fully committed to finding a long-term solution which will benefit them, and also be acceptable to Hawaii State and the FSM Government.

President Mori concluded his short visit to Hawaii by meeting with the Consulate Counselor Group at the East West Center. The group is comprised of prominent Hawaii residents who had once lived and worked in the FSM in the past. The purpose of this group is to assist in the citizens outreach program by serving as counselors to the Hawaii business community, the Hawaii State Government and the City and County of Honolulu

Money Paid Out and Collected by the County of Hawaii in 2008-2009

Lincoln Ashida

From the Desk of Lincoln Ashida:

The Office of the Corporation Counsel was asked to provide information about taxpayer money paid out in litigation cases in fiscal year 2008-2009.  We were also asked for information concerning efforts made over the past year in the collection of delinquent accounts for water, solid waste, and other service fees due the County.  This information will be included as part of the County’s annual report required by our laws.

The office settled six major lawsuits during the fiscal year for a total of $3,595,500.  The potential monetary liability exposure for these cases was $8,302,000.  The difference between the potential exposure and actual settlement amount was +$4,706,500 in favor of the County.

Two major cases were dismissed by court order (one case remains on appeal), and three cases were partially dismissed.

There were 65 claims for damages against the County investigated.  The total amount paid for all valid claims was $54,974.

What is the County doing to reduce its liability exposure in future years?  The brutal reality is any government body offering a wide range of services to the public will be exposed to a certain degree of liability. With over 2,300 employees and a number of direct services such as police, fire, solid waste, water, recreation and sanitation offered to the public, there will be times when injury occurs and the County will need to be held financially responsible.  As illustrated above, the $3.5 million incurred during the past fiscal year involved just six cases.  Suffice it to say these were major cases involving extraordinary factual circumstances and thankfully represent the exception and not the norm.  Mitigating future liability is addressed through the County’s Risk Management Division responsible for assessing what happened, how it can be avoided in the future, and what steps the County can take to address the risk factors.  To this end, the County welcomes input and recommendations from the public we serve whenever there are any concerns.  Please contact our office and we will make sure the Risk Management Division is notified.

With respect to collections on delinquent accounts owed the County, the total collected for the fiscal year totaled $4,317,833.  This represents actual cash in hand, and not promissory notes or other promises to pay in the future.  Special recognition goes to Deputy Corporation Counsel Molly Lugo who heads our collection unit and effort while balancing the rest of her legal work and caseload.

Kokua Kailua – Free Fun for Friends & Families

Media Release:

Kokua Kailua Hulihee Palace Concert and Village Stroll returns to Historic Kailua Village on Sunday, October 18 from 1pm until 6pm.

kailua
“People that come to Kokua Kailua are so happy they did,” says event Chairperson Dorlene Kolina Chao. “I get positive comments after every event. People come with their entire family, even their pets, to enjoy the afternoon, take in the free concert at Hulihee Palace, shop and to just have a good time walking Alii Drive.”

A behind-the-scenes volunteer committee works tirelessly assisting Chao with each Kokua Kailua. There are gift basket give-away items to collect and assemble, road closure permits to secure, participant applications to screen and booth assignments to create. The volunteers also help promote the event with flyers and advertisements.

“Its a lot of work, but it is so gratifying on event day to watch everyone enjoying themselves in beautiful Kailua Village that is is all worth it,” Chao says. Kokua Kailua is seeking committee members and volunteers to help the event continue in to 2010. Contact Chao at 936-9202 if interested.
Kokua Kailua Hulihee Palace Concert and Village Stroll is sponsored by the Kailua Village Business Improvement District, the Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce, Destination Kona Coast, Kailua Village Merchants Association, Hulihee Palace and Pacific Radio Group. The program is designed to rally support for merchants and restaurants and to remind residents to shop, dine and buy local.

The next Kokua Kailua Hulihee Palace Concert and Village Stroll date is Sunday, November 15, 2009.

Get Wet, Get Wild and Get Scared at the Festival of Fear

I love water slide parks and I really wish the Big Island had one. I’ve been to the water slide park on Oahu a few times… but I’ve never had the chance to check it out at night.

This would be the perfect opportunity… If I friggin still lived on Oahu!

Media Release:

festival2

Experience your most Wicked’n’Wildest Halloween ever at the all-new Festival of Fear at Wet’n’Wild in Kapolei.

Wind your way through the scariest’n’craziest 3-D FREAKSHOW, make your head spin in the TERROR TUNNEL in 3-D or see our cryogenic prison in meltdown with THE FREEZER!

PLUS check out your favorite rides at night with extreme night-riding, as well as Scare Zones, Feast of Screams and MORE!

Fright Festival

Click Here for more information and valuable coupons

Another Hawaii Inmate Sues Mainland Prison for Sex Assault

Otter Creek Correctional Facility

Otter Creek Correctional Facility

A woman, who claims she was sexually assaulted at an Eastern Kentucky prison is suing the facility’s owner.

The Herald Leader reports the lawsuit was filed Monday in Hawaii against Corrections Corporation of America, who runs Otter Creek Correctional Center in Floyd County.

The suit alleges the inmate, who is from Hawaii was assaulted in 2007 at the prison by a former guard.

State police are investigating several alleged assaults at the facility.