Thursday, November 18, 2010

New Akaka Bill offered, IRS seeks Hawaii taxpayers, restaurant inspectors stretched, Hawaii marijuana heads to Colorado, recycling rates up, more state news

U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka has introduced a compromise version of a native Hawaiian federal recognition bill and is waiting to hear from Senate leaders whether legislation can move during a lame-duck session before the end of the year. Star-Advertiser.

The IRS is looking for people in Hawaii to give money to. The agency said Wednesday that 735 Hawaii residents are due a total of $739,000 in refunds, but it can't find them. Associated Press.

The state has set aside nothing to pay for retiree health benefits for its aging public workers over the next three decades, leaving future taxpayers on the hook for the estimated $10.8 billion cost. Star-Advertiser.

The largesse in congressional earmarks awarded to Hawaii each year is in position to be severely curtailed, with Republicans in Washington coalescing around a ban on pork-barrel projects and President Barack Obama saying the nation cannot afford them. Associated Press.

Millions of meals are served every year on Oahu but there are only 10 inspectors making sure health guidelines are followed which means there are plenty of violations out there that aren't being found. Hawaii News Now.

A group of Hawaii residents who say they are really good at growing pot said they have found success in the medical marijuana industry in Colorado. KITV4.

A state agricultural advisory committee has recommended an emergency quarantine on the Big Island to prevent the spread of a beetle that could severely damage Hawaii's $27-million coffee-farming industry. Star-Advertiser.

After a three-hour hearing today, the committee recommended in favor of a one-year quarantine but suggested adding more mitigation methods. A full board hears the matter next Tuesday. KHON2.

The state has increased the rates it pays for redeemable aluminum cans, glass bottles and plastic bottles. Associated Press.

A national organization has given the University of Hawaii a grade of "F" for online security breaches that exposed Social Security numbers and other sensitive information in nearly 260,000 records. Star-Advertiser.

The Washington D.C. based Liberty Coalition said over the last five years the University of Hawaii has had five security breaches involving at least 259,000 records. KITV4.

“Change, not charity” is the motto used by Hawaii People’s Fund (HPF) Hawaii Independent.

Tension and confusion about the state Tax Department's new crackdown on "cash economy" businesses escalated yesterday when city parks officials barred some vendors from learning about the new rules -- and Mayor Peter Carlisle took responsibility for the abrupt cancellation of the 36th annual Mayor's Craft and Country Fair scheduled for Saturday. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle said Wednesday the city needlessly cancelled a craft fair this weekend that raises money for senior clubs. KHON2.

Honolulu's 36th annual mayor's craft and country fair may happen after all. Hawaii News Now.

A proposal to lower the county homeowner tax exemption was deferred Tuesday by the Maui County Council Budget and Finance Committee. Maui News.

Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle says he's not happy about reports of excessive use of overtime by city road division employees and promised to look into the issue, following a series of stories Civil Beat published this week. Civil Beat.

Police have cited more than 700 Big Island drivers for driving while using a cell phone so far this year, including 38 instances linked to car crashes. Tribune-Herald.

Wild Donkey Round-Up Underway on Big Island. KITV4.

Most of the dogs received at the island’s only animal shelter later found homes, but the majority of cats collected were euthanized, according to the Kaua‘i Humane Society’s annual report to county officials. Garden Island.

After two years of multimillion dollar losses, Parker Ranch Foundation Trust made money last year and now wants to raise more by hosting special events at its Waimea rodeo arena. Tribune-Herald.

The National Weather Service in Honolulu has placed the island of Oahu under a Flash Flood Watch effective from 6:00PM this evening thru Friday afternoon. Hawaii Reporter.

Maui Fire Department officials are asking for an additional $1.1 million in funding, saying an unusually busy brush fire season has depleted their budget. Maui News.

They're all over the island: in former Hamakua cane fields, running across a'a in the Ka'u desert, crossing the Mauna Kea uplands: stretches of abandoned or semi-abandoned road, owned but no longer maintained by the state or the county. Big Island Weekly.

A West Hawaii subdivision is a step closer to getting county water, after a County Council committee gave its approval to a county department manager's plan to create a water improvement district there. West Hawaii Today.

Construction at Cooke Memorial Pool in Kaunakakai could not have come at a worse time for the Molokai High School (MHS) swim team. Molokai Dispatch.