Friday, December 17, 2010

Hawaii corrections officers well paid, Abercrombie signs rail project, state faces another budget crunch, medical marijuana patients' charges dropped, Honolulu Zoo gets new director, Maui OKs new development, more news from the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii’s state government isn’t out of the woods yet when it comes to money woes, with a national report tabbing the state as one of at least two dozen that will face budget shortfalls during the next two fiscal years. Hawaii Reporter.

Hawaii's unemployment rate remained at 6.4 percent in November for the fifth straight month, indicating a reluctance on the part of employers to undertake any significant hiring until they are convinced the economic recovery is firmly rooted. Star-Advertiser.

Just ten days after taking office Governor Neil Abercrombie has given the city's rail project the state's blessing. Hawaii News Now.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie's signature on the rail transit environmental impact statement once again sets wheels in motion for environmental review of the projected $5.5 billion system. Star-Advertiser.

Former Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona accepted an administrative job created for him at his high school alma mater, but did not rule out a return to politics, particularly the governor's race in 2014. Star-Advertiser.

The case of three prison guards who lost their jobs after assaulting an inmate is raising concerns about the training required for dealing with corrections challenges. KHON2.

Thanks to overtime, some employees at the Hawaii Department of Public Safety earned more than department heads, judges — even the governor. Civil Beat.

A University of Hawaii at Hilo lecturer suspended for cursing in class plans to sue the university system for infringing on his free speech and academic freedom rights after the school told him he won't teach next semester. Associated Press.

There are currently 111 Hawaii public and charter schools that qualify for free tutoring from organizations like the Learning Hale, which has a database of about 800 former and current students. Hawaii Independent.

A total of 141 projects worth $321 million earmarked for Hawaii was lost yesterday after the U.S. Senate abandoned a $1.3 trillion appropriations bill. Star-Advertiser.

Five years after an historic ship was sunk off the coast of Lahaina, the artificial reef it created is thriving. KHON2.

The latest edition of the Pono Fishing Calendar, an important tool in preventing overfishing, came out last month. The calendar teaches fishermen when not to fish, based on each species’ life cycle, to ensure healthy fish stocks. Star-Advertiser.

The former executive director of the San Francisco Zoo, who resigned after a tiger attack that killed a teenager there in 2007, has been named to head the Honolulu Zoo. Star-Advertiser.

Just days after a bankruptcy judge approved the liquidation and closure of the Honolulu Symphony, its musicians were back in the orchestra pit at the Blaisdell Concert Hall Thursday night. KITV4.

About 290,000 Oahu homeowners began receiving their property tax assessments this week. KITV4.

It's been a long time since Hilo International Airport's salad days of the mid '60s and early '70s, said Chauncey Wong Yuen, airport district manager for the Hawaii Department of Transportation. Tribune-Herald.

Taxpayers should be told when Hawaii County construction projects rise in cost, the new County Council and Mayor Billy Kenoi's administration agreed Wednesday. An anticipated showdown over the proposed reporting of contract amendments called change orders never happened, as both lawmakers and a key administrator embraced the bill. Tribune-Herald.

With little fanfare, and even less argument, the Hawaii County Council passed on first reading a bill that requires the administration to report all contract change orders every 30 days. West Hawaii Today.

Drug possession charges against two Big Island medical marijuana patients who were arrested at Hilo International Airport were dismissed Wednesday by District Court Judge Barbara Takase. West Hawaii Today.

The Maui Planning Commission recommended approval Tuesday of A&B Properties' requests for land use measures needed to proceed with the developer's $151 million, 600-unit north Kihei project. Maui News.

Human bones found in Kalalau Valley. Garden Island.

Inauguration Day for Hawaii’s seventh elected governor — held on the grounds of the flag-bedecked ‘Iolani Palace and blessed with azure sky and warm sunshine — was more than a special day for new Gov. Neil Abercrombie. Lahaina News.