Thursday, December 30, 2010

Obama's Hawaii vacation, Tea Party candidate wins Honolulu council race, gated communities lock out police, economy looking up, Maui man pleads guilty in Ponzi scheme, Judge King remembered, audits critical of prisons, computers, Hilo lights protect astronomers, fireworks hoarders ready for new law, more news from the Hawaiian Islands

There's some good economic news that eases the budget crunch facing state government. KITV4.

The forecast for the state budget got a little better today but big gap still must be closed. KHON2.

The state Council on Revenues yesterday raised its forecast for tax collections for the fiscal year that ends in June, which could considerably reduce a projected budget deficit over the next six months and ease an expected shortfall over the following two years. Star-Advertiser.

The State Council on Revenues predicts an increase in tax revenues for the state in the current fiscal year. Hawaii News Now.

Maui County welcomed 168,131 visitors in November and has had nearly 2 million in the first 11 months of 2010. Maui News.

President Barack Obama is extending his Hawaii vacation by another day. Associated Press.

President Barack Obama hit the town in Honolulu on Wednesday night for a leisurely dinner with friends and family at one of his favorite island restaurants. Associated Press.

President Obama and his party caused quite a stir dining at Alan Wong's Restaurant Honolulu on South King Street this evening -- one of his favorite restaurants. Star-Advertiser.

State Sen. Malama Solomon, appointed to office last week by Gov. Neil Abercrombie, is withdrawing as a plaintiff in a pending lawsuit against the state. Hawaii Reporter.

A harsh assessment of Hawaii's contract with a mainland corrections company may be the catalyst needed to fix an overcrowded system.Civil Beat.

State Auditor Marion Higa is blasting the state Department of Public Safety's management of a private prison contract. Associated Press.

A series of decisions by the state Department of Taxation on computer services contracts is coming under scrutiny. Associated Press.

Tom Berg, Oahu’s “Tea Party” candidate, won the Honolulu City Council seat left vacant when Honolulu City Council Chair Todd Apo resigned to accept a position with Disney’s Aulani Resort in Leeward Oahu. Hawaii Reporter.

After an unsuccessful run for the state House, Republican legislative aide and tea party activist Tom Berg emerged victorious yesterday in the special election for City Council. Star-Advertiser.

Tom Berg has won the special election for the District I seat on the Honolulu City Council. Hawaii News Now.

At the home of West Oahu's newest City Council Member, Tom Berg, there was no large celebration.  In fact, the candidate himself was surprised he had even won. KHON2.

Gated communities are keeping out more than unwanted visitors. They're also blocking access for the police. West Hawaii Today.

Because an imminent ban on fireworks has a number of Oahu residents buying for next year, some are concerned hoarding these explosives will turn into a hazard. KITV4.

Hawaii County Fire Chief Darryl Oliveira has issued a warning regarding the Sky Lantern novelty, which he said poses "a serious fire safety hazard." West Hawaii Today.

Oahu’s North Shore. The land of surf, country living, and ... giant wind turbines? Hawaii Independent.

Hundreds gathered in downtown Wednesday to remember longtime Federal Judge Samuel King. KHON2.

Wailuku businessman Lloyd Kimura pleaded guilty to four counts of securities violations in 2nd Circuit Court on Tuesday morning. Maui News.

A meeting is scheduled Monday between the Hawaii Public Housing Authority and tenants at a state housing project who were threatened with eviction because of a possible violation of water pollution rules and regulations. Hawaii News Now.

The latest bright idea from Hawaii County's senior traffic engineer aims to make nighttime driving safer and slash electricity use without blinding astronomers. Tribune-Herald.

County administration officials want to add nearly $26 million in projects to the county's capital budget, through amendments being brought before the County Council's Finance Committee Monday morning. West Hawaii Today.

A law that requires DUI offenders to install a device on their vehicles that would prevent the engine from starting if their blood-alcohol level is 0.02 percent or higher goes into effect with the new year on Saturday. Tribune-Herald.

During the holiday season, too many people will die from drinking and driving — not just the drunk driver, but innocent victims who won’t have a choice. Garden Island.

Lance Hiromoto has been selected as the new director of the Maui County Department of Personnel Services, the county's Civil Service Commission announced. Maui News.

Grand Opening of Podium Racing Hawaii, the island’s first and only indoor electric-kart racing track. Honolulu Weekly.

Ka'iu Kimura joined the 'Imiloa Astronomy Center in 2001, when it was still in the planning stage. She helped design cultural exhibits for the center, which was developed to celebrate the connections between Hawaiian culture and the astronomical research taking place on Mauna Kea. Big Island Weekly.

Forecasters predict light, scattered showers through New Year's Eve. Star-Advertiser.