Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Lucky we live Hawaii, Legislature hiring, but not partying, DUI checkpoints going up, more news

The holidays give us the opportunity to count our Hawaiian blessings. Where else in the U.S. but in the makai areas of Hawaii can a person harvest pineapples, citrus, mangoes, papayas, bananas and avocados throughout the year and in the mauka areas, enjoy apples, plums, strawberries and pears.

Hawaii's recession and sputtering economy have claimed another victim: the state Legislature's opening day celebration featuring lavish parties, floral and musical presentations, and guest lists that choked both chambers.

The legislature needs more than 300 employees to work during the legislative session next year. The House and Senate hire extra employees for the session every year, but this year is different because of the bad economy.

State harbors officials plan to increase user fees statewide to finance $618 million in repairs and improvement at harbors on Oahu, Maui and the Big Island.

The Hawaii State Teachers Association said yesterday that teachers are willing to go back to the classroom on furlough days if they are paid to do so, calling into question a portion of Gov. Linda Lingle's proposal to restore 27 "furlough Fridays" beginning in January.

About 5.5 million tourists visited Hawai'i in the first 10 months of the year, putting the state on track for an annual visitor count of about 6.5 million.

Stimulus funds of $35 million have paved the way for a new road on the Big Island.

Hawaii is full of extreme sport enthusiasts from big wave surfing to skydiving. One activity that is growing in popularity is base jumping, but it's also extremely dangerous.

Six Hawaii Community Correctional Center employees have filed a complaint against the state and their labor union, charging that both violated the collective bargaining agreement in the aftermath of the closing of Kulani Correctional Facility.

The search for the successor to Chancellor Rose Tseng is beginning, with seven months remaining before she steps down.

Free taxi rides will be offered for the first time to West Hawaii residents as part of county efforts to make the roads safer from drivers who have had too much holiday spirits.

Kaua‘i Police Department officers have promised stepped-up efforts to try to make this holiday season free of deaths on the road.

A West Hawaii surfing group is poised to file a lawsuit and request a cease and desist notice against the county and a condominium complex for work on a seawall in Kailua-Kona.

The Maui County Council Land Use Committee put off a decision on the Hanzawa's Variety Store rezoning Monday, and committee members asked everybody to "cool down."

An October letter from the state Historic Preservation Division to the county in support of the makai route for the multi-use path factored into Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr.’s decision Monday recommending the multi-use path on Wailua Beach, a county spokeswoman said Tuesday.