Friday, December 18, 2009

Lucky we live Hawaii, economy drops a bit, H1N1 vaccines available, bus service continuing


People in sunny, outdoorsy states -- Louisiana, Hawaii, Florida -- say they're the happiest Americans, and researchers think they know why.

The latest economic forecast says Hawai'i could see some recovery starting early next year, though it will be weak and not shared by all sectors.

The state Council on Revenues trimmed the state's revenue forecast yesterday, but the reduction was less than state lawmakers feared, and economists spoke optimistically about the state moving out of the recession.

The state's budget deficit grew by about $40 million as the Council on Revenues reduced its revenue forecast by one percentage point, predicting tax money for the 2010 fiscal year to come in about 2.5 percent lower than a year ago.

East Hawaii businesses that depend on the cruise ship industry will continue sailing through the doldrums of stagnant tourism in 2010.

Kamehameha Schools spent 5.5 percent less on educational programs in the 2009 fiscal year than the year before, though the trust said it increased its reach to Native Hawaiian children by 16 percent compared to last year.

The Department of Education said on Thursday that school bus services will not end in the spring and any claims that they will end are completely false.

The U.S. Senate Indian Affairs Committee on Thursday approved changes in the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act that would provide a much faster route to a sovereign Native Hawaiian government.

If you're looking to get vaccinated against swine flu there's good news. The Department of Health expanded the range so more people can get the nasal spray.

The Hawaii Supreme Court heard arguments Thursday in a dispute over environmental law. At stake is a plan to expand the Turtle Bay Resort.

A Legacy Land Conservation Commission grant, combined with money from the county's Public Access, Open Space and Natural Resources Preservation fund, will be used to buy 10 acres in North Kohala.

The state Water Resource Management Commission decided on Thursday afternoon to postpone a decision in the contested case over 19 East Maui streams.

From the time Ken D’Attilio of Inter-Island Helicopters decided to get out of the tour business, the company phone hasn’t stopped ringing with inquiries about tours, a company spokesman said.

Wrapping up what has been an occasionally contentious 2009 with quite possibly its most heated meeting to date, the Kaua‘i Board of Ethics on Thursday laid out the path it will take on its way to clarifying a controversial section of the County Charter.