Monday, December 28, 2009

Air travel smooth, smoking down, whale finally freed, First Family vacations, unions drag feet, more news

Despite increased security at airports following two scares in Detroit, many passengers arriving in Honolulu Sunday said they did not experience any unusual travel delays.

The quarantine station at Honolulu Airport is seeing a lot of international passengers arriving with swine flu but no illnesses requiring quarantine or isolation, say Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials.

A series of tobacco tax hikes are helping to curtail local sales of cigarettes and cigars.

Businesses in Kailua said they have seen a surge in customer traffic since the first family arrived for the holidays.

It seems the teachers union, along with blue-collar workers, are dragging their feet in hopes that they can make it to the finish line called the legislative session and make their case before lawmakers that they should not have to take a hit.

A whale entangled in fishing gear off of Maui was freed on Christmas Day by rescuers led by the Hawaiian Islands Entanglement Response Team.

Whale expert Ed Lyman of the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary said he believed the team freed the whale of most or all of the material it was dragging, which included an anchor; but that he could not be sure because he didn't get a chance to look under the animal before it swam away.

The Christmas shopping season was a mixed bag for Hilo merchants, some of whom did strong sales, while others are hoping for better business in 2010.

As the number of homes in foreclosure grows larger and larger, so do the problems caused by an increasing number of homes sitting vacant, ownerless and uncared for in neighborhoods around Maui.

Living in a grass hut, tepee or igloo may not be ideal for most people, but these structures provide the fundamental concepts of sustainable living that have been around “a lot longer than we have,” said architect and sustainability consultant Peter Arsenault.