Thursday, May 13, 2010

Lingle signs Obama birther bill, Honolulu budget includes tax hikes, layoffs looming for merged newspaper employees, Hawaii County police seek accreditation, more news from around the state

It's now law in Hawaii that the government can ignore repetitive requests for President Barack Obama's birth certificate.

Gubernatorial candidate Neil Abercrombie's plan to decentralize authority over public education in Hawaii to put more accountability at the school level drew support from campaign supporters Tuesday night in Waimea.

Real estate in Hawai'i's foreclosure pipeline hit a high for the year last month, signaling that homeowners continue to struggle with mortgage payments even as the economy and real estate market are showing signs of a slow recovery.

The Honolulu City Council has advanced a $1.8 billion city operating budget that includes funding for programs such as the Royal Hawaiian Band and Summer Fun, but also proposes to increase taxes on nonoccupant homeowners.

The Honolulu City Council moved another step toward a budget that raises the property tax on non-occupant homeowners, but promised to look for ways to minimize the increase before a final vote.

The merged Honolulu Star-Advertiser debuts June 7, with nearly 400 people losing their jobs in the process, according to the publisher of the combined newspaper.

Dennis Francis, Oahu Publications' president, said yesterday that the company should retain about two-thirds of the Star-Bulletin's 300 workers and about half of the Advertiser's staff of 580.

Nearly 35 percent of the state's mail-in special election ballots have been returned so far, state officials said.

On Nov. 5, 2002, Patsy Mink was re-elected to Hawaii's 2nd Congressional District with 52 percent of the vote. She had died six weeks earlier.

Former television news anchor Ramsay Wharton has filed candidacy papers for the Republican nomination for Hawaii's 2nd Congressional District seat.

Honolulu police officer Kevin Fujioka has been convicted in Las Vegas of possessing marijuana and driving drunk, both misdemeanor charges.

The Hawaii Police Department has applied for national accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies.

Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi brought his budgetary justifications to a Kona audience Tuesday evening, detailing departmental cuts, furloughs and just how many funded, vacant county jobs remain.

An inmate who escaped from corrections officers during a funeral Saturday was back in police custody Wednesday afternoon after he was found in a vehicle in Kihei, police said.

With an estimated 500,000 people hiking the first two miles of the Kalalau Trail every year, from Ke‘e Beach to Hanakapi‘ai, closing the trail for maintenance purposes isn’t really an option, a state parks official said.