Monday, March 22, 2010

Hawaii reacts to health care bill, government strives to save natural resources, beach access, earmarks R us, honey bees in peril, more top state news

As Hawai'i's precious recreation areas become increasingly crowded, a bill to protect shoreline access is gaining momentum in the Legislature.

The native koa and ohia trees in the Kau Forest Reserve reach 100 feet into the sky, providing a haven for critically endangered Hawaii birds to nest and forage.

The monumental health care reform bill passed by the U.S. House yesterday will have immediate results for some residents in Hawaii, supporters said.

Hawai'i's congressional delegation yesterday praised the historic restructuring of the nation's health care system as a momentous step forward.

Local supporters of the bill praised its promise to bring health coverage to millions, reduce costs of prescription drugs while extending coverage for consumers with pre-existing conditions.

As the health care reform passed through legislation, some local politicians celebrated the landmark bill.

Scores of private companies, nonprofit groups and state agencies will divvy up more than $412 million this year in earmarked federal funds that were designated by one or more of Hawaii's four members of Congress.

Well, the other shoe has dropped and it now appears that unlike the House, which was willing to look at other ways to fill the looming general fund budget gap, the state Senate seems to be more than willing to solve the fiscal crises facing the state by increasing the general excise tax.

Just weeks before hula's premier event, the hula world is mourning the loss of two of its best-known members.

The hula world, still shaken by the loss of Uncle George Na'ope late last year, is now dealing with the loss of the other pillar.

Beekeepers of all sorts know they must find a way to coexist with the destructive parasite as varroa mites continue to spread across the Big Island.

Drought has made many West Hawaii residents painfully aware of water here where catchment tanks and wells form the backbone of the water supply.

If and when it is up to Hawaii gubernatorial candidate Neil Abercrombie to take the state's reins, he said last week, one of the first orders of business will be to tackle the challenge that has eluded his recent would-be predecessors: Fix the public school system.

The wind was cold and clouds obscured the sun, but the photovoltaic system atop the One Stop Center was producing electricity Friday at Kaua‘i Community College.

Kauai County's Important Agricultural Lands advisory committee met for the third time Friday, revealing the differences of the diverse group.

In January, 19 of our 25 state senators joined together to introduce Senate Bill 2450, a measure to decriminalize possession of less than one ounce of marijuana.