Friday, March 5, 2010

Cruise tickets, passports going up, House trims governor's budget, emergency fireworks ban advances, Kauai kids get news channel, Honolulu councilman fined for ethics, more Hawaii news

Hawaii's cruise market, which declined 18.9 percent last year, could become more buoyant thanks to increased demand, especially from its home-ported sector.

Passport fees are going up, so the time to renew is now.

If you put a police station, firehouse, parking lot, rest rooms, emergency access and passive park on it, can it still be considered open space?

The House Finance Committee has cut Gov. Linda Lingle's state budget by $41 million.

Officials knew all along that Hawai'i stood only a slim chance of being among the first round of finalists in the competition for a huge pool of federal education money, but word yesterday that the state didn't make the cut still came as a blow to a public school system that could use some good news.

The state House Finance Committee yesterday approved a state budget draft that would add $50 million to reduce teacher furloughs next school year but would also make cuts to public education that could increase class size.

Honolulu City Councilman Rod Tam will pay the city $13,700 for improperly using his official allowance to pay for meals not related to council business and giving false accounts of his meals, according to an agreement he reached with the city Ethics Commission.

Honolulu councilman Rod Tam has been stripped of his committee chair titles for using taxpayer money for personal meals.

Dry weather sparked by an ongoing El Nino event has intensified drought conditions in many areas of Hawaii

A troubled real estate developer on the Big Island may be liquidating its assets, after it was discovered that it would be unable to reorganize in its Chapter 11 bankruptcy case.

At least four of Hawaii Island's 71 warning sirens failed Monday's monthly test, county Civil Defense Administrator Quince Mento said Wednesday.

Testimony before the state Land Use Commission was front-loaded with supporters of the Ooma Beachside Village's request to convert conservation land to an urban designation for a development project, but support waned as the first day of a two-day hearing wrapped up.

A resolution asking the state for county authority to temporarily restrict fireworks during emergencies squeaked through the Hawaii County Council on Wednesday.

The Maui County Council Budget and Finance Committee on Tuesday voted to recommend that projects receive $1.8 million in federal Community Development Block Grant funds.

Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School and Ke Kula Ni‘ihau O Kekaha are two of 50 schools in Hawai‘i taking part in “Hiki No,” or “Can Do,” the nation’s first statewide student news network airing on PBS from February through April 2011.

Citing concerns about traditional Hawaiian use and beach access and calling the state’s approval of a controversial proposed cattle fence overlooking Larsen’s Beach “arbitrary, capricious and erroneous,” two appeals were filed earlier this week on behalf of North Shore community members.