Thursday, November 19, 2009

Monk seal protection, stimu-less funding, Jehovah Witnesses coming, Christmas trees arrive and more

There are only 1,100 Hawaiian Monk Seals left in the wild. One of them named KP2 (Kauai Pup 2) is going blind and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration or NOAA is trying to help him see again.

About 30,000 people are expected to attend an international Jehovah's Witnesses convention opening here today — the largest event of its kind ever held at the Hawai'i Convention Center.

Honolulu's new police chief says his five-year plan includes "restructuring" the department, increasing community service and boosting morale, including possibly bringing back a popular three-day, 12-hour work schedule for some police officers.

The Honolulu Police Department's plans to post the names and photos of alleged drunken drivers on a new Web page have disturbed some attorneys, who say it's unconstitutional and will infringe on the person's right to a fair trial.

Nearly one-third of Honolulu real estate listing prices have dropped in the last six months, with the average decline in the 10 percent range, according to online real estate marketplace Trulia.com

The Hawaii County Council wants to abolish the state Land Use Commission and allow county governments to have full oversight over big developers.

As the county moves forward with plans to construct a new landfill on a Kalaheo property currently in agricultural production, Kaua‘i Coffee Company this week renewed its objections to the proposal in advance of an important community meeting.

Imagine an elevated concrete train viaduct rising from abandoned sugarcane fields just east of Kapolei and barreling through Waipahu, Pearl City and ‘Aiea, past Pearl Harbor and the airport and into downtown.

Nearly 40 containers of Christmas trees are on the docks at Honolulu harbor Wednesday.

About nine months ago, the Obama administration and Congress agreed to set aside $787 billion in stimulus dollars to help revitalize Main Street America. On Tuesday, Maui County Managing Director Sheri Morrison compared the glacial and byzantine efforts of 75 federal agencies - most of which never gave out grants before - to release those funds with "a snake trying to swallow a horse."

Less than a year after the Hawaii County Council started a new term by pledging unprecedented unity, lawmakers' infighting has cost taxpayers nearly $50,000 in legal fees.

The U.S. Census Bureau has hired 600 of the 2,500 people it needs on Hawaii Island, leaving 1,900 positions unfilled.

Hawaii County will see its rent payments drop at the end of this year, as two leases expire and several offices return to the county building on Aupuni Street.

Greatly curtailed hours for garbage transfer stations will go into effect Dec. 1, despite opposition from the public and questions from the Hawaii County Council.