Friday, February 5, 2010

Drought extreme, Kauai bulldozes Native Hawaiian homes, state credit rating down, Fasi remembered, command center a white elephant, Big Island stores on Target, roll call on civil unions, more state news


The rainy season here is falling so far short of normal this year that Hawaii is the only state with a National Weather Service assessment of "extreme drought" status.

Several Native Hawaiian families had their dwellings bulldozed Thursday after county officials determined they were illegally erected on county park land along Wainiha Bay and Wainiha River.

Tapping into reserves and special funds such as the state's hurricane relief or rainy-day funds to help balance the state budget could contribute to a lowering of Hawai'i's bond rating, Moody's Investors Services said.

Moody's Investors Service lowered its outlook for $4.7 billion in Hawaii general-obligation bonds, saying the state is depleting budget reserves as a tourism slump reduces tax revenue.

Friends and foes of Frank F. Fasi yesterday remembered Honolulu's longest-serving mayor as a savvy politician who fought for the little guy and got things done, often with little regard for conventional practices.

Even as Mayor Hannemann pushes forward with rail transit today he's following in Frank Fasi's steps. Fasi was one of the first supporters of rail more than 40 years ago.

A high-tech, state-of-the-art emergency mobile command unit that cost $700,000 has sat idle for 2 1/2 years after it arrived in Hawaii.

State Rep. Joe Bertram III has declared bankruptcy for a second time, saying he is unable to cover medical expenses from an illness that hospitalized him last year.

The Kenoi Administration wants to sell another Hamakua parcel of land.

Target and Safeway were welcomed with a mixture of gratitude and relief Wednesday as representatives broke ground on the $60 million Makaala Center in Hilo.

The Kaloko Housing Program took incremental steps forward Wednesday, but county officials seem confident the affordable housing project will be serving residents by early 2011.

The Weekly asked each representative: How did you vote in the voice vote on Speaker Say’s motion to postpone House Bill 444? Here’s what they told us.