Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Honolulu rail project begins, land chief confirmation stalls over fish permits, Abercrombie defends budget, coqui frogs invade Oahu, Big Island biomass plant questioned, Maui hikers sue, more

Groundbreaking yesterday was a milestone in the battle to bring a rail transit system to Honolulu, a debate that has spanned more than four decades. Star-Advertiser.

Critics say it's all for show but rail supporters see today's ceremonial rail transit groundbreaking as an important milestone. Hawaii News Now.

Both supporters and critics of Honolulu’s proposed $5.5 billion rail projected flocked to North-South Road on the outskirts of Kapolei Tuesday for a large and elaborate groundbreaking ceremony, estimated to cost $30,000. KHON2.

After 45 years of talking about rail, the City and County of Honolulu Tuesday broke ground on its $5.5 billion, 20-mile project. Pacific Business News

Honolulu’s largest public works project broke ground Tuesday, capping more than four decades of work to bring the $5.5 billion rail project to fruition. Hawaii Reporter.

Politicians hate to talk about it. The media doesn’t cover it, unless they absolutely have to. It is a taxpayer’s nightmare. Yet it has come so far. It is the Honolulu Rail Transit project, aka TheRail. Hawaii Independent.

The National Weather Service has extended a flash flood watch for all Hawaiian islands until Friday morning as unsettled weather continues over the state. Star-Advertiser.

State House and Senate leaders questioned Gov. Neil Abercrombie and his state budget director yesterday about a new two-year budget draft, including what would happen if they reject the governor's tax revision and spending cut proposals to close a projected $700 million deficit. Star-Advertiser.

If anybody wants to try and manipulate the numbers for personal political agendas in order to try and score political points, let me tell you, this is one governor that's not going to put up with it," Gov. Neil Abercrombie warned lawmakers. Hawaii News Now.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie told lawmakers Tuesday that the state is in a "terrible financial hole for which there are no easy answers." KITV4.

Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie is calling for partnership and collaboration with government employee unions as he seeks to reduce their pay. Associated Press.

Governor Neil Abercrombie and his budget director defended a $22.7 billion biennial budget plan before dozens of lawmakers. KHON2.

Hawaii lawmakers confronted Gov. Neil Abercrombie on Tuesday over his new budget proposal to expand government and raise taxes while the state is recovering from an economic downturn. Associated Press.

Hawaii Sen. Clayton Hee defers land chief decision until next week; Aila surrenders fishing permits. Civil Beat.

At least one state lawmaker is saying the recent increase in the number of coqui frogs found on Oahu highlights the need for more agricultural inspectors to check on cargo coming into the state and moving from island to island. Hawaii News Now.

Vigil held in opposition to civil unions on eve of bill signing ceremony. KHON2.

A fast-tracked bill setting up the process for appointing a Board of Education is expected to get to the governor's desk as early as next week. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii developers are struggling to sell affordable housing units, despite being given plots of state land to build on for free. Civil Beat.

The number of manufacturing jobs in Hawaii fell for the fifth year in a row last year but the rate of decline slowed. Associated Press.

The state Department of Health has revised its advisory levels for sulfur dioxide to be more protective of people with asthma. KITV4.

Ka'u residents had questions for Aina Koa Pono officials Monday night, ranging from the environmental impacts of the planned biofuel production plant on the district to what other plans the company has. West Hawaii Today.

The hikers' group Public Access Trails Hawaii-Maui is suing Haleakala Ranch and the state to force the reopening of the horse trail that was used to reach the crater until 75 years ago. Maui News.

In six years, a group of volunteers, working along with police and county officials, has transformed Kalama Park from "not a good place to go and hang out" to a place where families go for walks, bike rides, sporting events and picnics. Maui News.

In the interest of public safety the utility access road to the Nawiliwili jetty will be closed to the public this Thursday and Friday between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. while the Kaua‘i Fire Department conducts its helicopter rescue operations training. Garden Island.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) is holding statewide public hearings this month on proposed amendments and additions to its Hawaii Administrative Rules for the Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation. Lahaina News.