Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Renovated USS Arizona opening today, Lost producers coy about details, homeless worry tourism officials, Hannemann's uncampaign, more

Thousands of visitors today are expected to pour into the first phase of a new USS Arizona Memorial Visitor Center, designed to replace the old buildings that have sunk nearly three feet into the unsteady ground around Pearl Harbor.

The state is providing more than $8 million in federal money to the four counties to reduce and prevent underage drinking in Hawaii.

Some parents are worried it may be too late to end teacher furloughs this school year. However, a key state Senate committee said maybe not.

The homeless situation can seem overwhelming to the point where some observers just throw up their hands.

Some tourism officials have voiced concern that the growing number of homeless camped at parks could give visitors second thoughts about returning or recommending a trip to friends and family.

Maui finished a "turbulent year" with an occupancy rate of 62.1 percent for 2009. That was down from an already low 67.9 percent in 2008.

State payments totaling about $90 million a month to five insurance plans providing health coverage for low-income residents will be delayed in May and June, and possibly April, says state Human Services Director Lillian Koller.

While Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann says he is not yet an official candidate for governor, he is in the middle of a campaign swing through the state.

Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann played up his Big Island ties during a benefit in Hilo for the Hawaii Island Food Bank, but he is in no rush to decide whether he'll run for governor.

Australia, Philippines, and now possibly Japan - Hawaiian Airlines is aiming for Tokyo.

More than 150 soldiers will spend one last night in Hawaii before leaving for Afghanistan Wednesday. They'll be gone 10 months and for many it's the second time overseas.

State officials say Kona Blue Water Farms remains in compliance with environmental monitoring and reporting requirements and is current on its lease payments.

The executive producers of Lost have kept viewers on the toes by being careful to reveal little clues, but not much.

Mayor Billy Kenoi has been off-island more than a quarter of his first year in office, according to a summary provided by his administration.

Police on Tuesday continued to investigate the death of a man whose decomposing body was discovered Sunday in his sleeping bag in Kalalau Valley.