Thursday, August 20, 2009

Secret nude beaches, farmers' plight, tax scofflaws to be posted online and other top Hawaii news

When the state of Hawaii promotes its lush tropical beaches to the world, bathing in the buff is one attraction it turns a blind eye to. While some state beaches experienced a clothing crackdown in the past, officials pay less attention to naked beachgoers these days, let alone acknowledge they exist.

The jaw-dropping views are still here, from grass-covered cinder cones to Mauna Loa in the distance, as motorists drive at high speed past the quonset huts of Pohakuloa Training Area.

The bad news has been out there awhile, reinforced by the daily reminders on the roads: Hawaii Island's rate of traffic fatalities is three times that of Oahu, twice the rate of Maui and Kauai counties.

Farmers said Hawaii biggest money makers could be seriously impacted if the state goes ahead with plans to layoff agriculture inspectors.

Farming in North Hawaii faces new challenges daily.

The Hawai'i Government Employees Association has filed a prohibited practices complaint against Gov. Linda Lingle and several of her department directors, claiming the state has not adequately consulted with the union on the layoffs of more than 1,100 state workers.

Caught in a financial squeeze by the state's budget shortfall, the Hawaii Office of Elections has decided to pay its utility and other overhead costs for the rest of the fiscal year instead of filling four key positions as the 2010 elections approach.

A Hawaii scuba instructor and underwater videographer takes a journey to the center of the ocean and finds it's covered in plastic trash. Drew Wheeler went in search of trash and he found it floating in the most remote part of the Pacific Ocean. It's often called, "the Pacific garbage patch".

Mayor Billy Kenoi did not get authorization from the Hawaii County Council Finance committee Tuesday to move forward with the sale of land in Hamakua.

Maui County will post the names of delinquent taxpayers in an effort to recoup more than $8.6 million in unpaid real property taxes, the county Finance Department announced Tuesday.