Friday, May 21, 2010

State tax checks in the mail, the taxman leaveth, Big Island still loves its pickup trucks, water the issue on Maui, UH may hike tuition, Kileauea wows the media, more top Hawaii news

Saying pickup trucks are some families' only mode of transportation, the Hawaii County Council on Wednesday rejected a resolution aimed at keeping passengers from riding in open truck beds.

In this day and age of volatile gas prices and a downward-spiraling economy, drivers may be increasingly more inclined to accept that driving is a privilege rather than a right.

It's not a lot of money in the scheme of Hawai'i's $50 billion-plus economy. But the nearly $125 million in state tax refunds that start going out today will provide a welcome psychological lift as businesses try to come back from an exhausting economic downturn.

State Tax Director Kurt Kawafuchi will be leaving his job June 15, Gov. Linda Lingle's office said yesterday.

Gov. Linda Lingle invited about two dozen public school principals, teachers and parents to her office Thursday, to discuss three education bills awaiting her signature.


A bill making its way through Congress could provide Hawai'i with an estimated $91 million to save education jobs and potentially help eliminate furlough Fridays next school year, according to U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye's office.

Hawaii will move its primary from late September to the second Saturday in August starting in 2012 to comply with a federal law intended to ensure that military and overseas voters get ballots within 45 days before elections.

Mail-In Voting The Winner In Special Election

A fundraising letter from the Republican National Committee that rankled Congress into passing a law banning deceptive mailings because they could be mistaken for an official U.S. Census document appears to be making the rounds in Hawaii.

University of Hawaii administrators are weighing whether to propose a tuition increase beginning in the fall of 2012.

Media Council of Hawaii is filing another complaint to the Federal Communications Commission about the merger between KGMB, KHNL and KFVE.

Every year thousands of visitors travel to Kilauea on the Big Island for a chance to see one of the most active volcanoes in the world. A massive plume still billows from the active lava filled vents.

Halemaumau Crater has been putting on a show like this since March 2008.

The public is being asked to comment on major improvements for Highway 130 -- the Keaau-Pahoa Road -- that may cost in excess of $100 million.

With the relaxing of water limits and removal of the penalty of jail time, the Hawaii County Council on Wednesday found a water spigot bill it could agree upon.

The proposed Villages of Aina Lea South Kohala development would offer some new regional road connectivity, with a mauka-makai road between the development, which is mauka of the Mauna Lani Resort, and nearby Waikoloa.

A U.S. Geological Survey study 4 years in the making and released this week describes the effects of taking millions of gallons of water daily from "the Four Streams" of Na Wai Eha that originate in the West Maui Mountains.

The state Commission on Water Resource Management will take up a petition next week to set new instream-flow standards for 16 East Maui streams.

The Pioneer Mill abandoned the sugarcane fields of Lahaina in 1999, and the browning of the once verdant slopes of the West Maui Mountains began.

A car running on java plum wood chips was the star of the 14th Annual Agriculture and Environmental Awareness Day, Thursday.