Monday, November 9, 2009

The 'Earmark Guy,' searching for pineapples, blending Kona coffee and grappling with the budget

Inouye's earmarks go to his donors

Hawaii companies that would benefit from earmarks sponsored by U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye that are in the Senate version of the fiscal year 2010 defense appropriations measure. The firms' workers have contributed to Inouye's campaign committees since 1997.

A $76 million budget deficit, a standoff between the University of Hawaii's administration and its faculty union, and fears of massive cuts to programs, departments and schools have longtime professors calling the situation at UH the worst money and morale crisis they have known.

Planned increases in park and boating fees are being opposed by many Hawaii residents who have spoken at public hearings held across the state.

A Hilo contractor is alleging that the state's biggest Burger King franchisee is delinquent in payment of construction costs for the new Hilo restaurant -- and the remainder owed is a whopper.

Hawaii County's 2 percent land fund would be downsized to 0.5 percent as part of a county Charter Commission proposal, but it could become part of the county's charter, protecting it from raids by the administration.

Maui County finance officials are stepping up efforts to collect delinquent taxes, reclassifying some nonfarmers who claim agricultural tax assessments, and taking other steps that could add to the county’s revenues ahead of what’s expected to be a tight year in 2010.

Mr. Pineapple - aka Jimmy Hutaff - needs 350 delicious Maui pineapples a day, and when Maui Pine closes down later this year, he doesn't know where he will get them.

Expanding the county Black Pot Park in Hanalei remains the primary objective for the Kaua‘i Public Land Trust, said Jennifer Luck, KPLT executive director.

As the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival celebrates its 39th year this week, a controversy that started two decades ago about what defines Kona coffee is brewing anew.