Thursday, April 1, 2010

U.S. senators on the Big Island, furlough deal still in works, reports show government waste, Hilton Hawaiian Village growing, more top Hawaii news

The Army National Guard accepted six new Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters on Tuesday in a dedication attended by both of Hawaii's U.S. senators.

Laulima -- cooperation -- was cited repeatedly during Tuesday's groundbreaking ceremony at the site of the future Ane Keohokalole Highway.

The House Finance Committee late Wednesday night approved a plan that would end furlough Fridays, but it left open the amount that would be funneled from the state's Hurricane Relief Fund.

Hawaii State Teachers Association members overwhelmingly voted to support a $92 million supplemental agreement that would end Furlough Fridays in public schools.

April 12th. That's the deadline lawmakers have set for the governor, teachers union and Board of Education to come up with a consensus to end school furloughs.

A proposed audit of the Department of Taxation now in the hands of the Senate Ways and Means committee is related to allegations from current and former department employees about state-level mismanagement of tax dollars.

Hawaii’s Department of Education paid $17,100 to a restroom cleaning consultant and $1.7 million for substitute clericals, according to a new report from The Grassroot Institute of Hawaii (GRIH) and premiere taxpayer watchdog group Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW).

More than 350 bankruptcy cases were filed in March -- the highest monthly total in nearly 41/ 2 years -- as individuals and businesses in the state continued to struggle with the recession.

The seven-tower Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort and Spa plans to add two more timeshare towers as part of its most significant 10-year master plan since the resort opened in 1955.

New laws that prohibit unauthorized tents and shopping carts in city parks are now official. Mayor Mufi Hannemann on Wednesday signed the two bills into law and police will begin enforcing the restrictions on April 19.

A group of builders, environmental groups, lawyers and public agencies and institutions has been quietly meeting in private to help shape the first overhaul of Hawai'i's environmental laws in 40 years, even as lawmakers hold public hearings on a bill that is likely to go nowhere this session.

Critics say State Sen. Colleen Hanabusa's new TV commerical does not tell the whole story when she says she helped cut legislative salaries.

Crime is up, but Hawaii County police and prosecutors are trying to hold the line on their budgets.

Maui County welcomed 174,027 visitors in February, a gain of more than 7 percent compared with the same month last year. Every other county showed an erosion in the already weak traffic count, although small ones.

Former Maui Police Department officer Allison Moore pleaded not guilty Tuesday to 25 charges, including deceiving the department, tampering with evidence, drug possession and forging doctors' notes.

The unemployment rate for Kaua‘i held steady in February at 9.1 percent, according to recently released statistics from the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations.

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