What they're saying about Hawaii

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Friday, December 31, 2010

TV crew claims Obama security abuse, government pension funds in the red, Big Island landfill expansion in question, jellyfish invasion at Oahu beaches, electric bills to rise, Djou bids aloha, civil unions to make comeback, media looks back on 2010, more news from the Hawaiian Islands

An expected 15 percent surge in cruise ship visitors to East Hawaii could mean a $1.8 million boost for local businesses in 2011. Tribune-Herald.

President Barack Obama and his family traveled to the North Shore yesterday for a barbecue with a high school friend at his beachfront home. Star-Advertiser.

A public access television crew complained of police mistreatment Thursday, after trying to get a picture of President Barrack Obama. KITV4.

President Barack Obama and his family are returning to Oahu's North Shore for a barbecue with a high school friend at his beachfront home. Associated Press.

These are Hawaii's Top 10 stories for 2010. Star-Advertiser.

Stories From The Hawaii Beat - 2010 Recycled. Civil Beat.

Top 10 news stories for 2010. Garden Island.

Republican Congressman Charles Djou will hold a farewell press conference this morning to cap off his term as Hawaii’s representative. KHON2.

City and state officials are wary of the growing under-funded pension of government workers. KITV4.

For his part in reviving the thought-to-be-dead civil unions bill, Rep. Blake Oshiro was vilified by opponents and held up as an example of a lawmaker not listening to public sentiment who would pay the price on election day. Star-Advertiser.

St. Sen. Russell Kokubun of Hilo has formally resigned to take a post in the administration of Gov. Neil Abercrombie. Associated Press.

Oahu appears headed for a loud and smoky New Years' Eve. Almost 2,000 more permits for firecrackers were sold this year than last. Hawaii News Now.

For those leaving the fireworks to the professionals, there are three shows on Oahu.KHON2.

Fire departments on three islands are warning residents against a new type of novelty pyrotechnic in what might be the most eruptive New Year's Eve celebration in years as Oahu faces a looming ban on fireworks. Star-Advertiser.

Setting off of fireworks is allowable only between the hours of 9:00 p.m. on New Year’s Eve and 1:00 a.m. on New Year’s Day. Hawaii Reporter.

Bathrooms with missing doors.Benches with missing boards and piers with missing…stability. Those are a few of the black eyes the Department of Land & Natural Resources would like to fix. Hawaii News Now.

Despite a waste management plan that considers expanding the Hilo landfill the only alternative to trucking East Hawaii garbage to West Hawaii, the county is giving up a quarry officials acknowledge could be needed in its expansion plans. West Hawaii Today.

A year ago, Mayor Billy Kenoi signed off on a list of prioritized, islandwide sewer projects to be sent off to Washington as the county sought federal stimulus funding. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaiian Electric Co. says average residential power bills will rise 71 cents next month to pay for energy-saving incentives. Associated Press.

New flood maps could prove costly for some homeowners KHON2.

Developers are not offering enough affordable homes to low-income buyers, says Kohala Councilman Pete Hoffmann, who's introducing legislation to mandate a marketing change. Tribune-Herald.

More than 200 people were stung by box jellyfish at Waikiki and Ala Moana beaches over the last two days, and lifeguards are urging people to stay out of South Shore waters today to avoid the painful welts. Star-Advertiser.

Money is tight all around these days, but the financial crunch is being felt particularly acute in the non-profit sector, which relies largely on donations from people like you and me, who understandably have less discretionary funds to go around. Hawaii Independent.

It's enough to turn heads: carpets, furniture, appliances, you name it stacked on sidewalks all across the City. KHON2.

Maui fish retailers and wholesalers say there should be enough ahi for sashimi lovers this New Year's, and prices should be reasonable for the holiday. Maui News.

Fresh ahi over a bowl of hot rice is a delicacy in any season. Tribune-Herald.

The Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Forestry and Wildlife on Wednesday announced the opportunity for interested individuals to participate in the control of feral goats in an area known as Hunting Unit A in west Kaua‘i. Garden Island.

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.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Hawaii visitor spending up, Obama goes snorkeling, Abercrombie continues birther battle, Kauai budget woes, fireworks sales up, state drivers face ignition interlock, gas supply in doubt, Hokulia road fight in court, more news from the Hawaiian Islands

Visitor spending in Hawaii jumped more than 30 percent in November to $976 million, reflecting double-digit increases on all islands for the third consecutive month, according to figures released by the Hawaii Tourism Authority yesterday. Star-Advertiser.

Spending in Hawaii by tourists and other visitors in November skyrocketed by almost a third compared to a year ago. Associated Press.

President Barack Obama spent yesterday morning on the beach and afternoon on the golf course, both favorite destinations during his vacations in Hawaii. Associated Press.

Democratic Gov. Neil Abercrombie wants to find a way to release more information about President Barack Obama's birth and dispel conspiracy theories that he was born elsewhere. Garden Island.

Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie wants to find a way to release more information about President Barack Obama's birth and dispel conspiracy theories that he was born elsewhere.KHON2.

Chevron's Campbell Industrial Park refinery suffered a break down on Tuesday, company officials confirmed. KITV4.

There are concerns over Hawaii's supply of gasoline as the year comes to an end, along with dire predictions for future prices at the pump. KITV4.

Here in Hawaii, we are now seeing the highest gas prices of the entire year. KHON2.

For those ringing in the new year by drinking in the new year, take note: Hawaii's new ignition interlock law takes effect Saturday. Star-Advertiser.

Residents convicted of drunken driving will soon have to install sophisticated breath-monitoring devices on their vehicles if they want to legally drive. West Hawaii Today.

The county administration recently released its financial report for Fiscal Year 2010, which ended June 30, revealing a dim light at the end of the tunnel. Garden Island.

It's been a busy year for Honolulu police homicide investigators. The number of killings on Oahu has spiked from last year. Hawaii News Now.

There was a noticeable buzz among the steady stream of customers moving through the fireworks aisles at the Kaheka Street Don Quijote store yesterday. Star-Advertiser.

After surveying the damage Tuesday, it looks like we got off lucky. Sure there's clean-up to do, but considering how hard it rained Monday night, the mess isn't all that bad. Hawaii News Now.

The manager of Kobashigawa Farm said rain pounded down for six hours Monday night, while rising water flooded the green onion fields at the Waianae farm. KITV4.

State regulators have allowed Castle & Cooke to develop a 120-acre solar power farm near Mililani without facing competitive bidding. Associated Press.

The Department of Health has extended its Brown Water Advisory for Oahu, advising people to stay out of waters near river mouths and harbors. Hawaii News Now.

State and county officials are warning the public about potentially unhealthy brown water at beaches due to heavy rains. Maui News.

Tenants at a state housing project in Waimanalo have been given two days to get rid of their washing machines, because they're not hooked up to sewage lines and instead empty into storm drains or onto the grass. KITV4.

County attorneys are petitioning the 3rd Circuit Court to expedite their civil case against the insurance company holding the bond for the Mamalahoa bypass, while the County Council chairman says he favors issuing a new bond to get construction going, while seeking reimbursement through that insurance company. West Hawaii Today.

The funeral service for retired federal Judge Samuel Pailthorpe King will be held Wednesday at St. Andrews’s Cathedral. Hawaii Reporter.

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

American Community Survey indicates North Shore community has one of Hawaii's most dramatically improved local economies. Civil Beat.

The Ewa District on Oahu is fast resembling any other cookie-cutter suburb.Hawaii Independent.

State Rep. Bob Herkes is questioning what he calls a lack of competition in contracts for the Hawaiian Ocean View Estates water project and he's scheduled a Jan. 6 fact-finding hearing. West Hawaii Today.

A swimmer at King's Landing in Keaukaha who reportedly waved to onlookers and shouted for help Monday afternoon drowned before a rescue diver was able to retrieve him. Tribune-Herald.

A Texas court has blocked the release of an autopsy report on surfing champion Andy Irons at the request of his widow. Associated Press.

Creating a modern "Hawaii Five-0" was as intimidating as any drama Peter Lenkov could imagine. Star-Advertiser.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Hawaii weather dampens Obama vacation, teachers to pay more insurance, Honolulu Mayor Carlisle outlines priorities, shipping, New Year's ahi to cost more, other news from the Hawaiian Islands

A moist and unstable airmass has prompted the National Weather Service office in Honolulu to extend the Flash Flood Watch through late tonight for the islands of Kauai, Niihau and Oahu. Hawaii News Now.

The unstable weather conditions that brought heavy showers to Oahu and Kauai yesterday are expected to continue through tonight. Star-Advertiser.

Heavy rainfall in West Oahu forced the closure of eastbound lanes on the H-1 freeway last night and the opening of westbound lanes to two-way traffic near Farrington Highway. Star-Advertiser.

The state Department of Health has issued a brown water advisory for Maui from Waiehu Beach Park to Paukukalo and from Kealia Pond to Kalama Park due to heavy rains and flooding. Star-Advertiser.

Golfers teed off against Mother Nature Monday at the Mid Pacific Country Club in Lanikai. KITV4.

City work crews are tackling the worst potholes around town first and then going back to fill the smaller ones later. KITV4.

Locally heavy rain and scattered thunderstorms will affect Kaua‘i and the western islands of Hawai‘i at least through today and possibly into Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service. Garden Island.

That severely white Christmas that has blanketed the East Coast might possibly pay off in a holiday present for islanders—stable ahi prices for New Year's sashimi. Star-Advertiser.

President Barack Obama went bowling, played hoops and topped off a cloudy, drizzly vacation day with a short trek for shave ice. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii public school teachers will retain their health benefits but could have to pay more after they're forced to enroll in the same health insurance fund as most other state employees next week. Associated Press.

Rates for shipping to Hawaii are set to rise again next month, the latest upswing in charges that in total have increased the cost of shipping to the islands by 50 percent since 2003. Associated Press.

Keith Kaneshiro says there's a pending investigation of excessive use of overtime by Road Division employees. Civil Beat.

State regulators have granted Castle & Cooke Inc. a waiver allowing it to develop the state's largest solar farm on 120 acres of agriculture land near Mililani without facing competition from other bidders.Star-Advertiser.

Like the national administration, the new state administration has promised change in how state government will deliver services and programs. West Hawaii Today.

Two months into his tenure, Mayor Carlisle says he wants to make sure APEC goes well, but his priorities remain the same: putting Honolulu on a sound, sustainable financial path. Hawaii Independent.

A new law that bans tents and other structures from city sidewalks in urban Honolulu and Waikiki may take several more months to be fully implemented. KHON2.

Results of the 14-candidate race to fill a vacant Honolulu council district are to be released Wednesday evening. KHON2.

Water came rushing into Jim Boulton's work studio and part-time residence early Sunday morning as nearby wetlands and drainage systems in Kihei were overwhelmed by massive amounts of rainwater rolling down the slopes of Haleakala. Maui News.

Kekaha residents Bret Danson and Alix Barker have grown accustomed to seeing strange things in their neighborhood. Garden Island.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Hawaii media tracks Obama family visit, rain and fireworks in the forecast, Obama vacation home gets big tax breaks, Maui bodyboarder hit by shark , military to beef up Big Island facility, Hawaii mayors control credit cards, ethics boards, more news from the islands

President Barack Obama, his family and friends went to church at Marine Corps Base Hawaii on the day after Christmas. Star-Advertiser.

After spending most of the day quietly at their rented compound in Kailua, President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama greeted service men and women at their annual Christmas dinner at Kaneohe Marine Corps Hawaii. Hawaii News Now.

President Barack Obama and his daughters have spent time together on Christmas Eve at a beach popular for bodysurfing. Associated Press.

The absentee owner of a multimillion-dollar home being used by President Barack Obama's visiting entourage gets one of the biggest residential property tax breaks on Oahu. Star-Advertiser.

The National Weather Service expects numerous showers and isolated thunderstorms today through tomorrow morning, giving way to scattered showers tomorrow afternoon. Star-Advertiser.

Heavy rain that was soaking Hawaii was expected to last through at least Tuesday, and forecasters warned Sunday of possible flooding. Associated Press.

Heavy rains early Sunday morning on Maui caused flooding and prompted evacuations. KITV4.

Heavy rain soaked an already saturated Kaua‘i and Ni‘ihau on Sunday as forecasters issued a flash flood warning for the county through Tuesday afternoon. Garden Island.

The Kmart in Iwilei opened their doors at 6am Sunday to a frenzy of fireworks shoppers. KHON2.

Sales are expected to continue rising after a new city law banning everything from sparklers to fountains takes effect Jan. 2, 2011. KITV4.

As people gear up for New Year's, one ritual for many families is stocking up on fireworks. Tribune-Herald.

Kaua‘i fireworks store owner Erika Kleinfeld said last week that she is anticipating a brisk sale of fireworks and firecrackers for New Year’s celebrations this year. Garden Island.

The Army has given notice that it will seek to modernize facilities and build new ones at its Pohakuloa Training Area on the Big Island. Associated Press.

Part of Kahului Harbor on Maui is closed after a teenage bodyboarder was bitten by what appears to be a shark. KHON2.

Gov. Abercrombie has assembled the members of his administration and among them are several Filipinos. Filipino Chronicle.

Hawaii's mayors may be the only ones in the nation with the power to appoint every member of their ethics commissions. Civil Beat.

Top officials in Mayor Billy Kenoi's administration have racked up $222,083.28 in credit card charges over the past 22 months. West Hawaii Today.

Costco plans to expand its Kahului store and build a gas station next door as part of A&B Properties' first part of Maui Business Park Phase II. Maui News.

Mayor-elect Alan Arakawa has appointed Douglas "Doug" McLeod as the county's energy commissioner after the new administration takes office Jan. 2. Maui News.

Maui County Mayor-elect Alan Arakawa announced last week his appointment of County Councilwoman Jo Anne Johnson as the incoming transportation director of the County of Maui. Lahaina News.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Obama birthers discredited, Abercrombie meets with Hawaii mayors, new senator suing the state, fugitive causes ruckus outside Obama vacation home, job market up, Big Island doubles police discipline, Lahaina library gets facelift, Maui beach issues unresolved, Kauai beaches hazardous, Oahu infrastructure failing, more Hawaii news

Neil Abercrombie knew Barack Obama's parents when the future president was born here in 1961, and he has been aggravated by the so-called birther movement, which alleges Obama was not born in the United States and thus should be expelled from office. Los Angeles Times.

Hawaii's four mayors met for the first time with Gov. Neil Abercrombie in his state capitol office Thursday. KITV4.

Newly appointed State Sen. Malama Solomon is suing the state over a water usage issue on Department of Hawaiian Home Lands pastoral property her family holds on the Big Island. Hawaii Reporter.

President Barack Obama, who planned to keep a low profile on his vacation in Hawaii, managed to avoid a bizarre turn of events yesterday just outside his security bubble. Star-Advertiser.

Associated Press Video

A man wanted by police is in custody tonight after tense moments in the Kailua neighborhood where President Obama and his family are vacationing. KHON2.

After a little bit of work and a morning workout, President Barack Obama hit the links on his first day of vacation in Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.

With warrants out for his arrest and police following his pick-up truck, Leon Rodrigues tried to get away by turning off Kalaheo Avenue onto Kailuana Place. Bad move. Hawaii News Now.


Parts of Hawaii could be in for another bout of very wet weather early next week. Hawaii News Now.

Many travelers are heading home for the holidays on what's considered one of the busiest travel days of the year. KHON2.

Disciplinary actions against Hawaii County police officers doubled in 2010 compared to previous years, with most suspensions coming from not filing incident reports on time. West Hawaii Today.


A state water official says a headline-grabbing water study that found a probable carcinogen in Honolulu's tap water was "irresponsible," since it drew its conclusion based on a single water sample. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Island's drinking water is clear of dangerous concentrations of the "Erin Brockovich chemical" found in Honolulu's tap water. Tribune-Herald.

For construction workers in Hawaii, recent economic news has been bleak. But there may be some reason to cheer for job seekers in other industries. KITV4.

Wholesaler Pacific Fireworks will move 200,000 pounds of product this year. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaiian Electric Co. hopes to replace a destroyed transformer for Ala Moana Center by this weekend, but the utility fears there could be further outages as it slowly switches from shaky backup systems. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaiian Telcom customers around Oahu are reporting a number of outages to land-line services. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii has lost one of its most visionary and productive real estate developers, Herbert K. Horita, whose projects included Ko Olina Resort & Marina and thousands of Oahu homes. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii State Department of Health officials announced Thursday that a large quantity of storm water and landfill waste was discharged from the Waimanalo Gulch Sanitary Landfill into ocean waters between Ko Olina and the Kahe Power Plant.  KHON2.

Only 8,000 of 48,000 ballots for West Oahu’s City Council seat have been cast so far. Hawaii Independent.

From broad-ranging policy to specific projects, Hawaii County's legislators and a top administrator are looking ahead to 2011 and lining up their priorities. West Hawaii Today.

A hearing on the Keawakapu Beach parking dispute Tuesday was adjourned until Jan. 24. Work remains suspended under a restraining order from 2nd Circuit Judge Joel August. Maui News.

While Kipu Falls in the southeast and Queen’s Bath in Princeville may be some of Kaua‘i’s more popular visitor attractions, they’re also some of island’s more hazardous places to take a dip. Garden Island.

Scientists now have hard evidence for something they have long believed — that establishing no-fishing zones in the ocean will help replenish fish populations far away that have been over-harvested. Associated Press.

Permaculture may be a relatively new word, but the idea behind it is ancient. Permaculture comes from studying traditional native systems that were truly sustainable, one of them being the ahupua`a system of Hawaii. Molokai Dispatch.

Design work is under way on Lahaina Rotary Club’s “Operation Facelift” for Lahaina Public Library, said club President Carmen Karady. Lahaina News.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Obama home for the holidays, Native Hawaiians get $500M in no-bid contracts, Young Bros. seeks big shipping increase, lights out at Ala Moana Center, Kauai measures community, Big Island police union wants more cops, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

After a 10-hour flight, President Barack Obama arrived in Honolulu under a waning moon on a humid night. Star-Advertiser.

A politically rejuvenated President Barack Obama arrived here late Wednesday for an 11-day family vacation in his home state. Associated Press.

Check out this first video of their arrival. KHON2.

President Barack Obama has arrived in his home state for a 10-day family vacation. Associated Press.

Wednesday afternoon President Barack Obama boarded a flight to Honolulu where he will spend Christmas with his wife and two daughters, but he didn't leave Washington DC until finishing important business. Hawaii News Now.

President Barack Obama arrived in Hawaii a little before midnight Wednesday. KITV4.

Security around President Barack Obama’s compound on Kailua Beach is about to get a lot tighter, once the president arrives overnight Wednesday. KITV4.

President Barack Obama has something in common with potential White House rival Mitt Romney. He and the Republican are both taking vacations in Hawaii. Associated Press.

Young Bros. Ltd., Hawaii's regulated interisland ocean cargo transportation firm, says it needs to raise average rates 24 percent -- the highest increase in at least 30 years. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii's largest inter-island shipper on Wednesday asked regulators for permission to raise its rates by an average of 24 percent, saying it needs to charge customers more to stay in business because of falling cargo volumes and the emergence of new competition. Associated Press.

Cargo company Young Brothers has announced they will be increasing their shipping rates statewide. Molokai Dispatch.

A handful of Native Hawaiian-owned companies used federal contracting preferences authored by U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-HI, to land some $500 million in non-bid or reduced competition government work since 2005, according to federal purchasing records.Hawaii Reporter.

Hispanics in Hawaii. Honolulu Weekly.

A Wailuku teenager forced to re-tool himself after a near-death experience can claim fame as a guest on the set of the new "Hawaii Five-0," a remake TV show trying to craft its own success. Maui News.

Obama ends year on high; Djou on Djou farewell; Akaka on Akaka bill; and Slom says U.S. a "bona fide homosexual nation." Civil Beat.

Hawaii's two congressional districts are unlikely to change significantly under new population counts released Tuesday by the U.S. Census Bureau. West Hawaii Today.

Rancher Malama Solomon is returning to the state Senate seat she held for 16 consecutive years. Tribune-Herald.

Outgoing City Councilman Rod Tam, already facing possible jail time after pleading guilty last month to 26 misdemeanor counts to settle charges brought by the state, could face additional charges stemming from a separate investigation by the state Campaign Spending Commission. Star-Advertiser.

A promised crackdown by Honolulu city officials on the use of illegal fireworks has already resulted in three arrests in less than 24 hours. KHON2.

A local police union official says that despite the economy, there needs to be more patrol officers on the beat. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii County drinking water may soon cost more, but it is clear of the concentrations of the "Erin Brockovich chemical" found in Honolulu's tap water. West Hawaii Today.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources on Wednesday advised the ocean-going public that recent heavy rains, along with forecasts for more rain during the coming week, may increase the presence of sharks in nearshore waters. Garden Island.

Regular beachgoers who brave the debris from Hawaii's recent storms should be on the lookout for another challenge, the type with big teeth. Star-Advertiser.

Kaua‘i Planning and Action Alliance is beginning work on the third edition of “Measuring What Matters for Kaua‘i: Community Indicators Report,” and has received $10,000 from the SW Wilcox Trust toward its publication.Garden Island.

The project to rebuild the parking area near the entrance to the Keawakapu Beach access will remain suspended at least for a while. Maui News.

It was lights-out again at the State's largest mall. KHON2.

Power went out again briefly last night at Ala Moana Center at the height of the holiday shopping season. Star-Advertiser.

With so many potholes to fill following the recent heavy rains on Oahu, the city has increased the number of crews patrolling the island. Hawaii News Now.

Kailua-Kona resident Clement "Junior" Kanuha Jr. never lost sight of his dream to protect, preserve and recount the oral traditions of significant Big Island places. West Hawaii Today.

Kyoto Obubu Tea Plantations tea farmer and president Akihiro Kita will be visiting Hilo to introduce tea lovers and aspiring tea growers to Japanese tea and tea farming. Big Island Weekly.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Obama expected tomorrow, Native Hawaiians organize, sea snake spotted, Maui government takes shape, rat lungworm hazard up, dreaming of a wet Christmas, more Hawaii news

Photo (c) 2010 All Hawaii News
Native Hawaiian leaders plan to start forming their own new but unrecognized government following the failure of federal legislation to do so. Associated Press.

Under the gaze of colorful stained glass and a packed-in-the-pews audience in St. Andrews Cathedral, Haunani Apoliona made her final speech as longtime chair of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. Hawaii News Now.

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs is now under the leadership of longtime grass-roots activist Collette Machado, who was elected chairwoman yesterday. Star-Advertiser.

While the White House is not saying when President Barack Obama will arrive in Honolulu to begin his Christmas vacation, flight restrictions indicate the president will not arrive until early Thursday. Hawaii News Now.

President Barack Obama is expected to arrive in Hawaii this week. But Hanauma Bay, one of the places he visited last year, took a hard hit by Mother Nature over the weekend. KITV4.

U.S. Rep. Charles Djou of Hawaii, who lost a bid for re-election last month, has delivered his final speech on the House floor. Associated Press.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie turned to present and past legislative experience in filling two Senate vacancies yesterday. Star-Advertiser.

State Rep. Maile Shimabukuro and former Sen. Malama Solomon are being appointed to the Hawaii Senate by Gov. Neil Abercrombie. KHON2.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie Tuesday made two appointments to the State Senate: Rep. Maile Shimabukuro to represent Senate District 21, and Malama Solomon, Ph.D., to represent Senate District 1. Hawaii News Now.

State Rep. Maile Shimabukuro and former Sen. Malama Solomon are being appointed to the Hawaii Senate by Gov. Neil Abercrombie. KITV4.

Hawaii's population increased by 12.3 percent to almost 1.4 million residents in the past decade, according to U.S. Census Bureau data released yesterday. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii's booming economy at the beginning of the last decade may have lead to a boost in the state's population. KHON2.

The islands grew faster than the nation as a whole, but will hold steady at two congressional seats. Civil Beat.

Hawaii’s liability for public worker pensions ballooned by $900 million during the latest fiscal year, raising the possibility that lawmakers will have to increase funding for the state pension plan. Hawaii Reporter.

Health experts say they're seeing an increase number of people in Hawaii contract rat lungworm. KHON2.

Moist and unstable air over the islands and soil already saturated with water from rains earlier in the week could still lead to flash floods, the National Weather Service says. Star-Advertiser.

New Airport Corridor Already Leaking. KHON2.

U.S. Sens. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein have called on the Environmental Protection Agency to protect the public from hexavalent chromium following a report that found the carcinogen in the tap water of 31 cities across the country. Associated Press.

Federal prosecutors collected about $2.9 million from criminal and civil actions in Hawaii during the most recent fiscal year. Associated Press.

After a six-month deferral, the Kaua‘i County Council on Wednesday approved a resolution establishing a policy for facilitating open governance and Internet access to public documents. Garden Island.

Power was fully restored at Ala Moana Center yesterday, but retailers were still tallying the damage from lost Christmas sales at Hawaii's largest shopping center following three outages over three consecutive days. Star-Advertiser.

On Sunday, the City and County of Honolulu’s Department of Environmental Services responded to multiple sanitary sewer overflows across Oahu, caused mostly by heavy rains. Hawaii Independent.

Sewage, it's a recurring problem in Kailua. Hawaii News Now.

A Big Island company is resurrecting the dream of waste-to-energy conversion in West Hawaii. Tribune-Herald.

Bi-monthly monitoring of tiny African wasps enlisted to keep a big pest -- the Erythrina gall wasp -- under control show the flying assassins are "working very well" and the counter attack has been successful. West Hawaii Today.

Mayor-elect Alan Arakawa has announced the appointment of Rob Parsons as his environmental coordinator. Maui News.

Maui County Council members spent much of their last meeting Friday saying "aloha" to four of five departing members. Maui News.

After 10 years in the Makawao-Haiku-Paia residency seat, outgoing Council Member Mike Molina said he won't be out of public service for very long. Maui News.

The Army has announced the deployment of several major units to Afghanistan, including the 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team based at Schofield Barracks on Oahu. Associated Press.

Deadly sea snake found at Ke'ehi Lagoon. KHON2.

A handful of North Hawaii boaters still in possession of a Kawaihae Deep Draft Harbor mooring permit got notice last week that the agency that used to issue those permits won't be issuing renewals. West Hawaii Today.

The building that formerly served as Hilo headquarters for C. Brewer & Co. is on the market for $9.5 million. Tribune-Herald.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Hawaii Gov. Abercrombie presents unbalanced budget, veteran lawmakers seek Takamine seat, Michelle Obama family caught in mall blackout, green jobs growing, bell ringer gets Krugerrand, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Neil Abercrombie turned in his first budget as governor today -- with double-digit increases in general fund spending he says are a result of fixed costs.KHON2.

Asking for breathing room, Gov. Neil Abercrombie said yesterday that the state has a $71.6 million budget shortfall for the fiscal year that ends in June and a substantial $771.9 million deficit over the next two-year budget cycle. Star-Advertiser.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie unveiled a state budget proposal for the next two years, calling it a starting point for discussion. Hawaii News Now.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie said the state faces a nearly $850 million budget shortfall over the next two and a half years, but he unveiled his budget proposal Monday without offering any specifics about how to solve that deficit. KITV4.

Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie says he won't increase the state's sales taxes or again delay tax refunds, but he lacks specifics on how he will balance a $844 million shortfall over the next 2½ years. Associated Press.

Hawaii governor reveals $843 million budget shortfall, insists "crisis" won't stop him from funding his ambitious agenda. Civil Beat.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie presented former Gov. Linda Lingle’s version of the State’s budget, for fiscal years 2012 to 2013, to the State Legislature today, as required by State law. Hawaii Independent.

Governor Neil Abercrombie today submitted the initial version of the state’s budget with a call to legislators, businesses, nonprofits and all community members to work collaboratively throughout the legislative process to address fiscal challenges and accelerate the state’s economic recovery. Abercrombie news release..

Several new Hawaii laws go into effect with the new year, including measures raising taxes, increasing campaign finance transparency and cracking down on drunk driving. Associated Press.

Six Democrats seeking former state Sen. Dwight Takamine's vacant seat made their best pitches to party leaders during a four-hour meeting Sunday in Laupahoehoe. Tribune-Herald.

A state legislator and a Washington-based privacy group are preparing a measure to impose requirements on entities that suffer breaches of personal data. Associated Press.

Maui Taser case ruling could have nationwide implications. Maui News.

Jobs in the renewable energy field in Hawaii are expected to grow at a faster rate than the overall work force, surpassing 14,000 positions by 2012, according to a new study. Star-Advertiser.

An environmental group says laboratory tests show the presence of a toxic chemical in 31 of 35 cities, with Honolulu having the second-to-highest level. Star-Advertiser.

The Environmental Working Group, a non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C., issued a report Monday showing Honolulu's water supply may contain high levels of hexavalent chromium, a chemical believed to cause cancer and made famous by California activist Erin Brockovich. KHON2.

The Coast Guard will soon begin enforcing a temporary security zone in Kailua Bay. KHON2.

Ala Moana Center was crowded with thousands of Christmas shoppers, including first lady Michelle Obama and first daughters Sasha and Malia, when portions of the mall nearest Diamond Head went black for the third time in two days and triggered noxious odors and traffic gridlock around the Keeaumoku Street area. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaiian Electric Company expected to have power restored to the Ala Moana Center area sometime after midnight Monday night. Hawaii News Now.

Families who spent hundreds of dollars to spend the holidays in the Hawaiian Islands are making the most of the less-than-picture-perfect weather. KITV4.

It's great weather, for a hippo. KHON2.

The National Weather Service in Honolulu has issued a winter weather advisory for Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea until Tuesday morning. West Hawaii Today.

The rains and flash flood watch advisory couldn’t keep the residents from ringing bells for the Salvation Army, Monday. Garden Island.

An anonymous donor dropped a gold coin worth $1,200 to $1,400 into a Salvation Army red kettle on Kauai this weekend, officials said. KITV4.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources will close the shoreline in the Waikiki and Diamond Head areas to all fishing so stocks can replenish. Associated Press.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Obama family in Hawaii, Abercrombie completes Cabinet, Washington Place in disrepair, weather wreaks havoc, Tropical Storm Omeka looms, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

While President Barack Obama's standing in Washington has dropped a notch or two in the year since he and his family last spent their holiday vacation in this beach community, the thrill is definitely not gone for many Kailuans about him coming back. Associated Press.

While President Barack Obama and his family have been coming to Hawaii for vacation almost every year, it will be the first island visit for "First Dog" Bo. If he passes a veterinary exam when he lands, he'll be allowed to follow the Obama ohana to Kailua immediately. Hawaii News Now.

First lady Michelle Obama, daughters Malia and Sasha, and dog Bo arrived at the beach community of Kailua over the weekend, but President Obama is still in Washington waiting for the lame duck Congress to wrap up its pre-Christmas work. USA Today.

U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye is chiding his Senate colleagues for shelving an omnibus spending measure in favor of a short-term resolution keeping expenditures at current levels. Associated Press.

For 10 years, Hawaiian citizens have requested island wide and U.S. Government official hearings of the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act that would reclassify Native Hawaiians as Native Americans and establish a separate, sovereign, race-based nation on all islands of the archipelago. Hawaii Reporter.

Oahu will remain under a flash-flood watch through this afternoon following a rain-soaked Sunday that saw a storm-related fire knock out power to parts of Ala Moana Center on the last shopping weekend before Christmas, the closure of the Honolulu Zoo and City Hall, an overwhelmed sewer system that burst manhole covers and wrong-way drivers trying to avoid flooded streets. Star-Advertiser.

A Flash Flood Watch has been extended for all Hawaiian islands through Monday afternoon as deep tropical moisture is drawn up by a strong low pressure system west of the state. Hawaii News Now.

The National Weather Service in Honolulu has issued a winter weather advisory for Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea until Tuesday morning. West Hawaii Today.

An out-of-season tropical cyclone has formed west of Hawaii. The Central Pacific Hurricane Center says Tropical Storm Omeka was located 505 miles south of Midway Atoll, or about 1,210 miles west of Lihue, Kauai. Hawaii News Now.

The bulk of the heaviest rain was Saturday night.KHON2.

As heavy rains fell on parts of the state on Sunday, Department of Health officials issued warnings about coastal waters. KITV4.

Heavy rains caused sewer lines to back up into people's homes in Kailua and a sewage spill in Hawaii Kai. KITV4.

A Brown Water Advisory was issued Sunday for Kaua‘i due to heavy showers. Garden Island.

Cargo company Young Brothers has announced they will be increasing their shipping rates statewide. Molokai Dispatch.

Washington Place, the historic home to Hawaii’s last queen and previous governors, has fallen into disrepair.KITV4.

Hawaii's new governor completes his Cabinet by selecting a trial lawyer with 33 years experience in litigation. Civil Beat.

David M. Louie, a trial lawyer and managing partner with the Honolulu law firm of Roeca Louie & Hiraoka, was nominated yesterday by Gov. Neil Abercrombie to be Hawaii's next attorney general. Star-Advertiser.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie on Sunday announced he has chosen David Louie to be his attorney general. KITV4.

Former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann has been named president of the Hawaii Hotel & Lodging Association. Associated Press.

Kamehameha Schools plans to convert a four-story office and retail building at 680 Ala Moana Blvd. into loft-style apartments for rent to households at or below the median income level. Star-Advertiser.

With the median sale price of a Big Island home down 5.8 percent from the same time a year ago, it's still a buyer's market -- and the buyers are starting to return. Tribune-Herald.

Across the country, a few of the millions of people who have had their homes foreclosed are counterattacking in the courts. Maui News.

Last week, we looked at some measures the new administration might want to consider to improve the business climate in Hawaii and reduce the burden on taxpayers and consumers who continue to struggle to make ends meet. But finances and taxes are not the only things that need fixing. West Hawaii Today.

For most of its 40-year history, Kumu Kahua Theatre has told Hawaii’s story through theater, offering talented local playwrights and actors a crucial venue for their craft, and giving the Hawaii community new perspectives on its island home. Many of its productions have become statewide touchstones, such as the hits Folks You Meet at Longs by Lee Cataluna and Wild Meat and the Bully Burgers by Lois Ann Yamanaka. Hawaii Independent.

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.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Sen. Josh Green not taking top doc post, Oahu property values stable, Maui County clerk at top of payroll, Hawaii Kai school fights closure, Abercrombie names more Cabinet heads, more news from the Hawaiian Islands

According to AAA the average for a gallon of gas at the pump in Hawaii is $3.46. That's up about 6 cents from just a week ago and about 23 cents from this time last year. Hawaii News Now.

Former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann returned to City Hall this morning. KHON2.

For his official portrait, former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann posed in front of his office desk of five years. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu properties have largely maintained their value through the past year, allowing city officials to breathe a sigh of relief that the revenue will keep flowing even as the city faces an anticipated $100 million shortfall in next year's $1.8 billion operating budget. Star-Advertiser.

New figures released by the City Wednesday show that overall, residential property values across Oahu increased point-4-percent based on the city's real property assessments for 2011. KHON2.

Federal authorities intend to impose less onerous temporary flight restrictions while President Obama and his family are vacationing in Kailua. Associated Press.

United Continental announced Wednesday the company will resume direct flights from the West Coast to Hilo International Airport beginning next June. Hawaii News Now.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie named two more department heads and said he is "on the cusp" of completing his Cabinet with the final two nominees: attorney general and health director. Star-Advertiser.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie promised swift action to bring back all Hawaii inmates serving sentences in mainland prisons in light of a new lawsuit alleging their mistreatment by guards at an Arizona facility. Star-Advertiser.

Neil Abercrombie's New Day plan calls for stopping the practice of sending prisoners out of state. Civil Beat.

Sen. Josh Green looks forward to staying in Senate. Hawaii Reporter.

The state Ethics Commission says it's selected Leslie Kondo to be its new executive director. Associated Press.

Carrying signs that read "Save our School," more than 400 angry parents and community members came out last night to oppose proposals that would close one of two high-performing Hawaii Kai elementary schools, saying both campuses give students a high-quality learning environment and that closing either of them would go against efforts to improve Hawaii's public education. Star-Advertiser.

Leona Rocha-Wilson, the newly elected Maui District representative on the state Board of Education, will serve as vice chairwoman of the board's Committee on Curriculum Instruction and Student Support. Maui News.

State dam inspectors said a dam above Haleiwa did not fail during heavy rains two years ago, although it was heavily damaged. KITV4.

Mayor-elect Alan Arakawa has chosen Maui County Council Member Jo Anne Johnson as his administration's transportation director. Maui News.

A pay raise that County Clerk Peter Nakamura received a year ago based on a Salary Commission recommendation and the Kaua‘i County Council’s approval put him at the top of the county’s pay roll, surpassing the salary of Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. Garden Island.

Since Dec. 1 when a majority of the Kaua‘i County Council appointed Peter Nakamura to continue serving as county clerk, some officials have remained embroiled in a controversy that stems in large part over their interpretation of the County Charter. Garden Island.

"Without a doubt, the number one issue and priority is to deal with the upcoming budget," noted Dominic Yagong, "This is my sixth term, and without a doubt, I know that this is going to be the toughest budget that the county has ever had to deal with." Big Island Weekly.

Hawaii will receive $425,000 from a $21 million settlement with Dannon Co. Inc. over the company's health claims for its Activia yogurt and DanActive dairy drink. Associated Press.

The Gas Company is trying more environmentally friendly ways to produce natural gas. KITV4.

A judge has ruled in favor of a lender in a foreclosure suit on a former Pacific Northwest logger who attempted to turn the former Haina sugar mill in Honokaa into a sawmill. Tribune-Herald.

A request for a special permit to build a condo at Lyman's surf spot goes back before the Leeward Planning Commission today. West Hawaii Today.

The Hawaii Crop Improvement Association (HCIA), a nonprofit trade association, recently announced the impressive growth of the seed industry in our state –estimated at more than $220 million and growing at a rate of 26 percent every year. Honolulu Weekly.

The relationship between humans and honeybees is ancient, as demonstrated by cave paintings in Spain, South Africa, and Nepal, depicting honey hunters collecting honey from wild hives. Molokai Dispatch.

A young couple draped in a blue beach tarp huddle together under a tent on the beach—their infant child held close. For many, it’s not the usual Nativity scene. Hawaii Independent.