Got Windmills – “…Don’t Mess With Hawai`i Bloggers”

I’m very thankful of the support I’ve been receiving regarding the Texas attorney who is thinking of suing my blog for my write up on December 8th about the Umauma Ziplines.

Andy Parx of Got Windmills today wrote a post entitled “My Oh My What a Wonderful Day” where he describes one of the oldest tricks in the books that lawyers like to scare people with and that is the cease and desist letter.

Parx writes more about the differences between journalist and bloggers stating:

… With the advent of “bloggers” the question is whether, when they engage in the act of reporting, they are de facto journalists. While many of the more stogy practitioners may argue for all sorts of self-serving and exclusionary rules for what a journalist is or isn’t, there’s still “no license required. ”

In fact, after much debate our own Hawai`i state reporters’ “shield law” essentially defines a reporter by the act of reporting- something bloggers do every day whether, like Ian they consider themselves journalists or, like Damon and Larry, not.

In this case Damon simply reported on the situation, citing and naming his source. Whether or not “The Umauma Experience” is actually safe or not his report is true in that the story is that two co-owners are alleging they are not safe.

And in libel cases, truth is the ultimate defense…

I just wanted to say thanks for all the support that I have been getting on this. I really didn’t want to stir the pot so much as to just let folks know that KapohoKine was opening a new zipline course. In the course of things… I guess we all may learn a lesson or two.

I really like the way Parx finished his post….

“…The other lesson may be that, even if you’re from Texas, don’t mess with Hawai`i bloggers.”

Bay Clinic Rolls Out New Electronic System

Media Release:

As of January 1st, Bay Clinic will undergo a major transition in the way it manages its business. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, commonly known as the Stimulus Package, provided Bay Clinic and other community health centers throughout the country with funding to help upgrade information technology systems.  One of Bay Clinic’s four stimulus-funded programs targeted for overhaul is its Practice Management system. Currently, Bay Clinic manages all aspects of its business including patient scheduling and billing with a software program created in the early 1990’s. “Despite the fact that technology has advanced dramatically over the past few decades, we simply could not afford to update our software programs until now” stated Paul Strauss, Bay Clinic CEO.

The new software program which cost nearly $300,000 manages patient flow, including scheduling of appointments, accounts receivable, collections, registration, data reporting, and insurance managed care. It also helps track referrals to specialists. It is a NextGen product that can fully integrate with Bay Clinic’s Electronic Health Record system for improved efficiency and data collection. Once implemented, the new system is expected to improve patient service as well as support the vital business functions of the organization.

When asked how this will impact patients, Jason Ferreira, Bay Clinic’s Health Information Technology Director said “ultimately, we will have updated information on the 16,000 patients we serve which will improve patient registration and appointment scheduling, but any change of this magnitude will cause some delays at first. So, we’re asking for patience for the next 30 to 60 days as we complete the transition”.

“One way patients can help”, said Sarah Nae’ole, who is helping to coordinate the transition “is if patients can bring their I.D.’s and insurance cards to their appointments and if they are uninsured, then some form of income verification so that they can receive discounted services if they qualify.”

Bay Clinic is making new patient registration forms on their website at www.bayclinic.org to help expedite the process. People can print them out and bring them to their appointments.

Bay Clinic already has an Electronic Health Record system that was implemented in 2006 and is a member of the Hawaii County Beacon Community for Health Information Exchange. The new electronic practice management system nearly completes Bay Clinic’s electronic health information technology infrastructure. According to the Health and Human Services Secretary, Kathleen Sibelius, Health Information Technology has bipartisan support due to its ability to improve quality and ultimately lower costs. In early 2011, Bay Clinic will be implementing an Electronic Dental Record system, also funded by the Stimulus Act, to complete their transition to a fully electronic health care environment.

Founded as a grass roots women’s health clinic at Hilo Bay front, Bay Clinic has grown into one of the largest nonprofit providers of health care on the Island with a mission to provide high quality health care regardless of ability to pay. For more information, please email madams@bayclinic.org.

Disappeared News on the Zipline Post Threat

I wanted to thank another blogger that I noticed has posted his thoughts on the recent news that I may be sued by a Texas attorney for my thoughts about the Umauma Ziplines and KapohoKine going separate ways.

Larry Geller of Disappeared News posted a blog entitled “Hawaii should regulate potentially hazardous recreational activities like ziplines” where he expands on Ian Linds thoughts and goes even further by saying:

…Anything that could be called a “death slide” would, you’d think, be inspected regularly by some government body. Apparently not…

Geller concludes:

…Damon and Ian have provided a public service by posting information on their findings. At least those who Google for information on ziplines in Hawaii will possibly hit one of the articles. But for those who don’t Google, some official procedures and protocols need to be put in place to protect the unsuspecting public from the effects of “allegedly substandard and rusting” facilities anywhere in Hawaii.

Ian Lind and Andy Parx Defends My Post About My Zipline Experience

I mentioned the other day that a Texas attorney was going to attempt to sue me for a blog posting I made on the Umauma Ziplines and the cancellation of my trip that I had planned due to safety concerns.

I’ve gotten a lot of support in the comments on that post as well as email comments from others supporting me.

I had to laugh at Kauai Blogger Andy Parx email to me suggesting I tell him the following:

I’d tell him to go f**k himself and take it up with the people who said it. All you did was quote them. These kinds of letters are bluffs. They don’t want a lawsuit- all that would do is put the guy’s quote in the mainstream media.
Tell him to f**k off and that you “welcome a lawsuit where we can air the issue of the safety of their ziplines before the community and in the mainstream press”.  That’ll scare ’em off.

I was even more stoked when former Honolulu Star-Bulletin Investigative Reporter Ian Lind posted the following blog on his site today “Big Island blogger faces legal pressure to withdraw reporting on zipline safety concerns” where Ian was able to find out some other things about the attorney’s client C.L. Carlile Enterprises, L.P.  that is attempting to in essence… censor me.

“…And just who is this Carlile Enterprises?

It’s involved in real estate, oil and gas back in Texas, and is owned by Cleo Carlile, who splits time between the big TX and Hawaii. Carlile Enterprises also owns several pieces of former sugar land along the Hamakua Coast of the Big Island, and is the landowner offering the “Umauma Experience”, as well as owner of the zipline facilities there, including platforms, cables, rain shelters, and a new building for a kitchen and gift shop…”

Ian continues on about what the safety and certification process that may or may not happen with the zipline industry here in Hawaii and then goes on to say:

…Mr. Carlile and his company may have a beef with his former business partners, but it seems to me that his Texas attorney is off-base for this ill-considered attack on a local blogger.

Damon reported the dispute over safety issues in a straightforward and responsible manner. This was not a story that he was reporting, but a direct consumer experience he shared via his blog. And it happens to involve matters of public health and safety, and should have alerted the mainstream media to potential safety and regulatory issues in this relatively new recreational sport. There are obviously more sides to the story which need to be covered, but Damon deserves credit for flagging the issues and sharing them…

I’d like to thank Ian and Andy as well as the others that are supporting me in my effort to blog about my daily experiences. I hate it when folks take things so seriously that they go out of their way to actually stop me from doing something on my own personal blog!

I’m sorry if their business has been affected by what I wrote but that’s not my fault! I should be allowed and entitled to write freely about the experiences I have without being threatened by big money attorneys and their clients that don’t act responsibly!

Diversion of Lava Flows by Aerial Bombing — Lessons from Mauna Loa Volcano

The folks over at the Pacific Aviation Museum just posted this on Facebook and I thought it needed to be given a bit more attention.

I always thought that the lava flows were pretty much unstoppable but this seems to prove otherwise.

I would have no problem with the military dropping a few bombs above Hilo if it meant saving the entire town!

…Explosives were first suggested as a means to divert lava flows threatening Hilo, Hawaii during the eruption of 1881. They were first used in 1935, without significant success, when the Army Air Force bombed an active pahoehoe channel and tube system on Mauna Loa’s north flank. Channel walls of a Mauna Loa flow were also bombed in 1942, but again there were no significant effects. The locations of the 1935 and 1942 bomb impact areas were determined and are shown for the first time, and the bombing effects are documented. Three days after the 1942 bombing the spatter cone surrounding the principal vent partially collapsed by natural processes, and caused the main flow advancing on Hilo to cease movement. This suggested that spatter cones might be a suitable target for future lava diversion attempts

You can read the full abstract here: Diversion of Lava Flows by Aerial Bombing – Lessons from Mauna Loa Volcano, Hawaii.

Top 10 Adventures in 2010… Numbers 8 and 7

Continuing on with my top 10 adventures in 2010 today brings us to adventures 8 and 7.

So coming in at #8 was getting the honor to spend a weekend up on Oahu attending the 2010 Na Hoku Workshops and covering the Awards Ceremony.

This was an awesome weekend where I got to meet some of Hawaii’s top musicians culminating in the actual Na Hoku Awards show.

Carol Kai, Anuhea Jenkins and Kimo Kahoano

There were a few glitches in last years show that I have heard have been addressed and hopefully next years show will be a much better production.

I’d like to thank the Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts and others for hooking me up with this weekend.

Coming in at#7 was getting the opportunity to go aboard one of the largest trauma facilities in the United States… The USS Mercy.

The USS Mercy was in Pearl Harbor for a few days and I was invited aboard to visit the ship and see this world class Navy Ship in operation before it headed on to Guam.

The ship itself is a converted oil tanker!

One of my favorite facebook pictures comes from this trip and that’s this one below:

Picture courtesy of Jasmine Guevara