Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Honolulu City Council takes up budget as other counties raise taxes, prison inmates hungry, farmers dry, wasp to tackle stinging caterpillar, monk seal protected, more Hawaii news

The Hawaii County Council is finding it more palatable to raise property taxes than cut spending.

There was a great deal of saber rattling but little slicing of Mayor Billy Kenoi's budget in a marathon Hawaii County Council meeting Monday.

Maui Mayor Charmaine Tavares announced Tuesday that she would allow the Maui County Council's 2011 budget to become law without her signature.

Although they are unsure of who will emerge as the newest Council member, City Council leaders say they do not expect the newcomer to affect the vote on the city's $1.82 billion operating budget.

Statewide, farmers are struggling to keep their crops irrigated and are using more water, planting fewer crops or letting crops die because of extreme drought conditions that started nearly a year ago—and are only getting worse.

State workers on Tuesday released a wasp in hopes of trying to control the nettle caterpillar that has plagued Hawaii plants.

A 13-state survey of honeybee colonies could have a profound effect on how Hawaii Island bee- keepers manage their hives, a state agriculture official said Monday.

Hawaii prisons nearly ran out of food for inmates in May and are now asking for an exemption to state procurement rules to speed up purchases.

The Teach For America program may double the number of teachers on the Big Island, federal program officials said Monday.

The civil unions bill before the governor, should it take effect, may mean people who take advantage of the law would owe more taxes.

Local census officials expect to complete door-to-door census taking within the next week, capping a surprisingly efficient enumeration effort more than a month ahead of schedule and potentially boosting overall census participation in Hawaii to more than 80 percent, compared with just 64 percent 10 years ago.

Why National Standards Won't Change Hawaii Schools

Plastic caps and lids can now be recycled

 Hawaii has tough- ened penalties against people who harm en- dangered species, in particular against those who would harm the critically endangered Hawaiian monk seal.

Hawai‘i boosted the penalty Tuesday for those who harm the en- dangered Hawaiian monk seal after three of the marine mammals were found killed on Kaua‘i and Moloka‘i in recent years.

A legislative panel is set to hear how the state has used federal economic stimulus funds.

The Maui County Council's Planning Committee on Monday agreed to "slog ahead" with the Maui Island Plan, after being warned that it will be difficult to meet the council's Oct. 18 deadline to pass the bill.

Fifth Circuit Judge Kathleen Watanabe on Tuesday dismissed a citizen challenge of the planned widening of Kuhio Highway in Wailua.