Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Top Hawaii Headlines: Wednesday morning edition

Coffee has become big business in Hawaii. Eleven regions on five islands house some 830 farms statewide. This is great for our economy, and it's even better for our tastebuds. The diversity of farms and locations translates into a tantalizing cornucopia of experiences for our collective palate.

Hawaii Superferry has asked to abandon its two high-speed catamarans to creditors because of the significant cost of maintaining the vessels as the company moves through bankruptcy.

A showdown in court over Gov. Linda Lingle's planned furlough of thousands of government employees has been set for July 2, the day after the governor's plan is set to take effect.

Two state-employee unions asked a judge yesterday to block Gov. Linda Lingle from unilaterally ordering thousands of state workers to take three unpaid days off per month, starting in July.

The state's four public worker unions are starting a low-key public relations campaign to win support while they fight Gov. Linda Lingle's call for 36-day-a-year furloughs.

Five of the 20 students on a summer study trip to South Korea have been confirmed as having the H1N1 virus or swine flu. They remain in hospital quarantine and are being treated with Tamiflu, said a spokeswoman for the Pacific and Asian Affairs Council, which organized the trip.

A private company that state officials hope will put Hawaii on the road to the widespread use of electric vehicles expects to begin installing infrastructure here in about six months.

An executive with one of the largest architecture and planning firms worldwide said rail projects such as the one planned on Oahu will help increase business along the transit line

The number of West Hawaii residents calling for their own county increased during the last week, after County Council members from Hilo, Puna and Ka'u engineered a council leadership reorganization.

In a ceremony honoring Kaua‘i’s late mayor — a personal accolade everyone agreed he would have resisted — the state Department of Transportation on Tuesday broke ground on the $30 million Wailua Cane Haul Bridge Widening Project, naming both bridges spanning the Wailua River for Bryan J. Baptiste.

Honolulu police are looking for a local man in his 30s they said sexually assaulted a 15-year-old tourist at a Waikiki Beach on Monday.

A 14-month-old law banning tobacco use at all Hawaii County parks has gone largely unenforced because there's none or too few signs informing people of the prohibition.

The Maui County Council voted unanimously in favor of a bill Tuesday that would ban alcohol from Honokowai Beach Park in West Maui.