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Molokai slow internet causing problems for education, work

HONOLULU (AP) — Slow internet service has become an increasing problem for Molokai residents on Hawaiian Home Lands properties.

a close up of food: Molokai File Image

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Service provided by a single telecom provider has caused difficulties for residents working at home or families engaged in distance learning, Hawaii Public Radio reported Monday.


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Sandwich Isles Communication secured an exclusive license with the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands in 1995 to bring telecom services to rural homestead communities. In return, other companies must use and pay for the Sandwich Isles infrastructure to reach customers.

Sandwich Isles founder Al Hee was convicted of federal tax fraud, served nearly four years in prison and faces nearly $50 million in fines for defrauding the U.S. government. The company was stripped of $257 million in assets.

Democratic state Rep. Lynn DeCoite, who represents Molokai, said she has received numerous complaints from homesteaders.

“Anger, frustration. You can’t even get through to a live body to talk about what the situation is, or negotiations of how they can have their bills paid, or you can transfer over to another carrier,” DeCoite said.

Hawaiian homesteader Kui Adolpho said her only option for service in Hoolehua is Sandwich Isles, but frozen screens and constant buffering are a daily ordeal for her three children taking elementary school classes at home.

Adolpho also works from home, adding to the strain on limited bandwidth.

She began an online petition to raise awareness about the problems, noting that some homesteaders have to pay for internet hot spots to obtain adequate service.

“I expected lags and, you know, the occasional interruptions. But it got to the point where my children couldn’t even get instruction at all,” Adolpho said.

Sandwich Isles said it is aware of the problems with internet speed and plans to upgrade its infrastructure.

The company also said it is in negotiations to provide internet service in Hoolehua through Spectrum, which is owned by Charter Communications Inc.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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Why it’s so difficult ‘to work your way through college’ these days: That’s Rich! recap

CLEVELAND, Ohio – A lot of college students probably have heard this from time to time: “You can work your way through school like I did.”

But over time, that’s become nearly impossible to do, without also going into debt, scoring a lot of help through scholarships and grants, or getting substantial support from Mom and Dad.

Why? Two big reasons: (1) the rising cost of college and (2) a minimum wage that has not kept up with college inflation. Whereas a minimum wage job could cover the college costs in the early 1980s, it now would fall about $13,000 short of the tuition, room and board bill for the average Ohio public university, found.

The current edition of That’s Rich! – the personal finance column published on and in The Plain Dealer – put dollars and cents on this trend over the last 40 years. Check it out at this link – See just how much a minimum wage job increasingly falls short of paying for college these days

Here are other previous That’s Rich! columns on a variety of topics.

Medicare open enrollment starts Oct. 15; what you need to know

Answers to qualifying for unemployment, the $300 payments and disputed Ohio claims – Q&A

Is your budget tight during coronavirus? See these tips to help you cope, now and in the long run

How to get $300 extra in unemployment, 13 weeks in extra benefits, and more: Q&A

How to avoid scams; newest fraud tricks; can payment be stopped?

Where’s my $300 extra for unemployment? How about my missing stimulus check? – Q&A

Organize your financial records in case you get sick – a reader Q&A

Explaining Ohio’s maze of city income tax rates and credits, and why you should log where you’ve been working

With mortgage rates at historic lows, should you join the rush to refinance? – That’s Rich!

Ohio has $3.2 billion in unclaimed funds; find out if some of that money is yours – That’s Rich!

Roth retirement plan or traditional IRA and 401(k) plans? Is this the time to adjust your thinking?

Taking college classes online this fall? Here’s how students can save a lot of money

Does it make sense to pay off your mortgage early? Here’s what to consider

CARES Act makes this ideal time for a student-loan payment checkup

Coronavirus and taxes: Revised filing deadline nears; IRS not yet processing paper forms

What you need to know to get an unemployment check in Ohio

$300 Ohio unemployment benefit to be retroactive, other updates on unemployment, stimulus checks

Rich Exner, data analysis editor, writes’s and The Plain Dealer’s personal finance column – That’s Rich! Follow on Twitter @RichExner.

Email questions and suggestions to Include your hometown and first name for publication. And to help me sort through the clutter of my email box, try to remember including “That’s Rich!” in the subject of the email.

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How Andrea Ghez Won the Nobel for an Experiment Nobody Thought Would Work

Standing in my office 25 years ago was an unknown, newly minted astronomer with a half-smile on her face. She had come with an outrageous request—really a demand—that my team modify our exhaustively tested software to make one of our most important and in-demand scientific instruments do something it had never been designed for, and risk breaking it. All to carry out an experiment that was basically a waste of time and couldn’t be done—to prove that a massive black hole lurked at the center of our Milky Way.

My initial “no way” (perhaps I used a stronger expression) gradually gave way in the face of her cheerful but unwavering determination. It was my first encounter with a force of nature, Andrea Ghez, one of three winners of this year’s Nobel Prize in Physics, for her work on providing the conclusive experimental evidence of a supermassive black hole with the mass of four million suns residing at the center of the Milky Way galaxy.

That determination and the willingness to take calculated risks has always characterized Andrea. For 25 years she has focused almost exclusively on Sagittarius A*—the name of our own local supermassive black hole. It is remarkable that an entire field of study has grown up in the intervening quarter century, of searching for and finding evidence of these monsters thought to lie at the heart of every large galaxy. And Andrea is without question one of the great pioneers in this search.

Andrea’s co-prizewinner Reinhard Genzel has been involved in the same research from the outset—and it is the work of these two teams, each led by a formidable intellect and using two different observatories in two different hemispheres that has brought astronomy to this remarkable result—the confirmation of another of the predictions of Einstein’s more than century-old theory of general relativity.

 As in so many fields of science, the competition has been intense, sometimes brutal, but out of this has been forged an unshakable result that has been tested and retested over a quarter century. And at the heart of the competition, two colleagues, great astronomers each, whose work has been as much defined by the science as by the availability of telescopes and instrumentation almost perfectly suited to this exact scientific endeavor.

Andrea did her work at the W.M. Keck Observatory’s twin telescopes on Maunakea, Hawai’i, in the calm and clear air almost 14,000 feet above the Pacific Ocean. She started using the very first instrument commissioned on Keck Observatory’s Near Infrared Camera (NIRC), now gracing the lobby at our headquarters. NIRC was never designed to do what Andrea needed—an ultrafast readout of images and then a restacking of the result to remove the effects of the atmosphere’s turbulence. But she was not to be denied—and we made the changes. And it worked! It was supremely hard and time-consuming to make sense of the data, but Andrea persisted.

Out of that effort came the first evidence—not just hints—of stars orbiting the black hole. It was