Wednesday, June 25
A revised proposal for a West Maui Hospital was submitted this week by California developer Brian Hoyle. According to an article in today’s Maui News Hoyle, along with the so-called West Maui Improvement Foundation filed an application last February but was asked by the State Health and Planning and Development Agency to provide more information. Clearly the SHPDA is doing what it can to help the application process, prompting Hoyle to say “We truly appreciate SPHDA’s willingness to provide guidance to assure that our application meets it requirements.” Strange, I always thought of an application process as something you have to complete on your own, and then the governing body sees if it’s up to snuff. But I guess when you own two banks in California and control stock in two companies (that would eventually run the new hospital) you get a little extra help along the way. That’s not to say the need for a new facility isn’t there, West Maui could use a decent hospital and the island in general could always use better medical care. But is a California bank-owner turned hospital developer our best option? He obviously knows how to grease the wheels of local government.
The Hawaii Air National Guard’s 29th Brigade Combat Team is getting ready to be deployed to Kuwait for a nine month mission. An AP article featured in the Maui News told of soldiers laughing as they practiced escaping from an overturned Humvee. Most of the troops are veterans of the brigade’s last service in Iraq just two years ago. After serving for 20 months, a year of which was in Iraq, the brigade will only be in the Middle East nine months. Best of luck to everyone, our hearts go with you. Come home soon.
Thursday, June 26
No fireworks on the 4th of July? Where’s everyone’s national spirit? Sighting poor sales, many retailers in the county simply won’t be selling fireworks, this according to an article in The Maui News. More alarming perhaps is the severe drought conditions that have fire officials worried. Parts of Molokai are in full-blown drought status while hundreds of acres around Maui could go up with the slightest spark. So maybe it’s a good thing there won’t be as many fireworks this 4th. Just hope all those smokers out there keep their butts under control.
In other 4th of July news, Cops say they’ll be cracking down on drunks in Lahaina town during the fireworks display. Roadblocks too, so don’t be stupid. With the island’s only public display, there will most definitely be a few derelicts out and about, again, maybe it’s a good idea there won’t be as many fireworks.
Friday, June 27
Interesting story in The Maui News this week about six owners of beachfront property in Spreckelsville who want to “re-nourish” their beaches by pumping sand from the deep ocean floor and depositing it in front of their houses. Consultant Robb Cole calls it “a privately funded science experiment.” A project that has “not really been studied in Maui, or even Hawaii,” according to an agent of The Maui Sea Grant Costal Program. Using large “Geotubes” that “extend into the water like large groins.” Huh? I thought this was Sreckelsville, not Little Beach. Huge water groins aside, what are they doing messing around with the beach? Is this an environmental project or a property value restoration project?
Saturday, June 28
A rather alarming Maui News article today titled “CEO: No threat to county’s hospitals”. When the CEO of the County’s largest hospital says “no threat” it usually means bad news. Wes Lo, CEO of Maui Memorial and administrator of the Hawaii Health Systems Corp, also said every hospital in the county was losing money. But while the corporation may recommend lay-offs in other parts of the state, Maui County is safe for now, Lo said. Set to roll on a $100 million expansion this year, Maui Memorial looks like it has legs. What this means for a possible West Maui hospital is anybody’s guess.
Sunday, June 29
A huge park project – 40 acres huge – on Welakahao across from Hope Chapel is set to start in September. The long-forgotten public works project has been in the design process for, get this, eight years. Bids for the initial phase of the construction will be considered by September. Estimated at $30 million, the County has absolutely no idea when the park might be finished. Somewhere between “2015 and 2020” according to a Maui News article this morning. With a 1,000-seat gymnasium, two softball fields, two soccer fields, new tennis and basketball courts I see it taking decade, but even that is a stretch considering how long Mokulele took. I think the over-under is closer to 2025; it’ll be the park of the future.
Monday, June 30
So all this time we’ve been told the invasion if Iraq was never about the oil, funny how things change toward the end of a lame duck presidency. A New York Times article today revealed that despite what U.S. officials have said repeatedly in the past, American advisors did in fact help the Iraqi Oil Ministry pick who they would award contracts to for developing some of the country’s largest oil fields. The article refers to “a group of American advisors and a small State Department team.” The article also claims “it’s unclear how much influence their work had on the ministry’s decisions.” But reading a list of those who were awarded contracts pretty much clears that up. Exxon Mobil, Shell and Chevron top the list of Western oil companies set to start suckling at the oily teat that is one of the planet’s largest oil reserves. Will this mean our men and women can come home now? Or lower prices at the pump? Somehow I doubt it. Instead it looks like more record profits for the ol’ boy’s club. November can’t come soon enough.
Tuesday, July 1
“The United States has stayed out of the matter of awarding Iraqi oil contracts,” – Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Fox News earlier this month. MTW