Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Kona Coffee Festival perking, symphony struggles, dining inspections down, furlough fights continue

The Kona Coffee Cultural Festival has been celebrating and promoting Kona coffee for 39 years. The theme of this year's festival, which runs Friday through Nov. 15, is "Kona Coffee: Aroma of Aloha."

Ninety-five public schools have applied to turn teacher training days into instructional days and restore some of the class time students are losing to furloughs.

A group of state Senate and House members plans to meet with staff members of the Lingle administration to discuss reducing the number of days public schools are closed due to budget cuts.

The House and Senate Republican Caucus is urging the Hawaii State Teachers Association to rework its (relatively new) contract with the Department of Education. GOP lawmakers want the HSTA and DOE to scrap the teachers' existing contract and negotiate a new deal that will end furlough Fridays.

Perennial guests at a 54-year-old Waikiki hotel say they are saddened that they might not be able to return to their favorite winter retreat, fearing it could close.

Just three years ago, inspectors used to make unannounced inspections on restaurants about once a year. However, that situation has worsened.

People in Hawaii love to dine out at all kinds of eateries. There are about 5,800 restaurants on Oahu, and the results of some inspections might make you think twice about dining out.

The Honolulu Symphony may file for bankruptcy protection as early as tomorrow, according to people familiar with the situation.

Jenna Roussy, an employee at Hilo Shark's Coffee, holds a 7-pound Keitt mango on Friday at the shop. The fruit is possibly the largest mango ever grown in the U.S., and surpassed only by the current world record holder, a 7-pound, 7-ounce Keitt cultivated in the Philippines.