Thursday, March 25, 2010

Akaka Bill under fire, Historic Preservation Division risks federal funds, rail still at issue, islands struggle with tax hikes, state gaga over Google, cigarettes targeted again, more Hawaii news

Gov. Linda Lingle has sent a letter to all 100 U.S. senators, reaffirming her opposition to the latest version of a bill that would allow native Hawaiians to create a sovereign government, but Hawaii's two senators predict the bill will pass without her support.

The Native Hawaiian community and the military have often been at odds over the use of land across the islands.  But Wednesday, representatives from both signed a promise to work together.

The state agency that for years has struggled to protect Hawai'i 's historic and cultural sites is in danger of losing federal funding that amounts to half its budget.

The state Historic Preservation Division risks losing more than $1.1 million in federal funding -- about half its budget -- due to program lapses detailed in a new report by the National Park Service.

Hawai'i state and county officials are pitching Google Inc. in the hopes of landing one of the free ultra-high speed broadband networks the company is proposing to install around the country.

The state and the four counties have made a bid to be part of online search giant Google's test of ultra high-speed broadband.

Gov. Linda Lingle is asking the Legislature for $40 million in emergency funds to help the Department of Human Services cover its April payment to the state's Medicaid providers.

In a survey of 500 residents that began statewide in December, 71 percent supported a 60-cent-per-pack increase in the cigarette tax to reduce smoking and the state budget deficit.

Lawmakers Thursday, will debate a bill that would carve out $86 million from the Hurricane Relief Fund to end school furloughs.

Gubernatorial candidate Neil Abercrombie says he isn't looking for villains to blame for the continuing school furloughs.

The city, not the state, will have to pay to resolve the issue of a planned commuter rail line running too close to the Honolulu International Airport, according to a Nov. 3 letter from the state Department of Transportation.

With each delay along the way, the City’s mantra about its multibillion-dollar rail proposal remains unwavering.

Little more than two years after opening its doors, Hilo's Yukio Okutsu Veterans Home finds itself nearly full.

Facing opposition from farmers and ranchers, the Hawaii County Water Board is having second thoughts about discontinuing its agricultural subsidy, a move that could cause residential rates to rise more than first thought.

The $23 million fresh fruit processing line that three years ago was supposed to represent the new future of Maui Pineapple Co. was auctioned Tuesday for $125,000.

The carcass of a rare beaked whale will be a "treasure chest" of information for scientists, after it was recovered in Hana this week.

A weekend dog attack that left three Kapa‘a High School sheep dead highlights the shortcomings in the school’s struggling agriculture program and the dearth of student interest in farming, the school’s principal and primary ag teacher said this week.

Clayton Hale remembers a time when professional musicians could make a decent living performing on the Big Island.