Friday, September 11, 2009

Saving sea turtles, taxing telephones, grappling with the economy and other top Hawaii stories

Volunteer group working to protect Hawaiian sea turtles

State tax collections were off by 5 percent in July and August, a steeper decline than estimated by the state Council on Revenues and another indication the state's economic recovery could take longer than expected.

Hawaii's latest tax collections fell 5 percent in July and August, a drop greater than predicted for the full fiscal year by the state's Council on Revenues.

As Hawaii's tax revenues continue to plummet, Gov. Linda Lingle said some of the savings will have to come from state government employees.

The statewide board charged with bringing enhanced emergency 911 service to Hawaii wants to expand the program through a monthly surcharge on all telephone numbers, not just cell phones.

Two more Neighbor Island public libraries are adjusting or cutting hours because of budget cutbacks and staff shortages, according to a news release.

Affordable housing advocates and legislators are puzzled at the Hawai'i Public Housing Authority board's decision this week to start a search for a new executive director, saying the agency's current head has made significant strides in the past two years toward turning around an agency that's been awash in problems for decades.

The state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs said Hawaii's workers' compensation insurance rates are dropping for the fifth consecutive year

Tourists seeking to experience historic Waipio Valley may have to settle for views from the rim, a commercial tour or a long hike.

A judge granted West Hawaii Today's request to add a second set of potential Sunshine Law violations to its lawsuit against the County Council.