Friday, March 25, 2011

Dengue fever in Pearl City, Big Island gets big bus, tsunami has a price tag, Honolulu councilman has transit conflict, hard to fire state workers, budget hole deepens, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
National Park Service firefighters have spent the week trying to prevent a wildfire ignited by Kilauea volcano from spreading through a protected rain forest inhabited by endangered Hawaiian plants and animals. Star-Advertiser.

Four people who live in the same Pearl City neighborhood are the first known Hawaii cases of locally contracted dengue fever since a 2001 outbreak in which 153 people were infected with the mosquito-borne viral illness, health officials announced yesterday. Star-Advertiser.

Data from the March 11 tsunami has given scientists more confidence in research predicting what coastal land around Hawaii will be inundated by tsunamis in the future.Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii disaster response officials are estimating the state suffered damages exceeding $30 million during this month's tsunami, a figure that could lead to the federal government providing money for repairs. Associated Press.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie is hoping to get federal aid for some of the $30.6 million of damages that occurred to Hawaii homes, businesses and property as a tsunami swept through the state on March 11. Hawaii Reporter.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie Thursday formally requested an Administrative Disaster Declaration from the U.S. Small Business Administration to help Hawai‘i Island homeowners, renters, businesses and nonprofits affected by the tsunami that swept across the state on March 11, states a release from the governor’s office. Associated Press.

A 200-pound sea turtle was rescued near Kmart, and reef fish were spotted swimming in a pond at a Kahului parking lot, days after the Japan tsunami hit Maui earlier this month. Maui News.

Although the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency had yet to identify the radiation that arrived here Monday from Japan, a state health official said yesterday he expects the isotopes that have been detected on the West Coast to be seen in Hawaii, and in similarly low levels. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii hotels were three-fourths full during the week ending March 19, and average room rates were generally higher compared to a year ago, according to Smith Travel Research and Hospitality Advisors. Pacific Business News.

The U.S. Department of Transportation will subsidize air service to and from Kalauapa, and will select an air carrier to service the remote community following a competitive bid process, Senator Daniel K. Inouye, Senator Daniel K. Akaka and Congresswoman Mazie K. Hirono announced today. Maui News.

The Abercrombie administration, not waiting for the state Council on Revenues to update its forecast, has put the projected two-year budget deficit at $1.3 billion. Star-Advertiser.

The state's top budget official has raised his estimate of the budget hole lawmakers will have to fill: The total shortfall is now $1.3 billion — more than one-third larger than previous estimates. Civil Beat.

Gambling seemed all but dead at the legislature this session. But the odds are suddenly better that some form of poker could get to the Governor’s desk. Hawaii Public Radio.

It's as difficult to fire someone from Hawaii state government as it is from the federal government, Civil Beat has learned. Civil Beat.

Hawaii senators and the state Department of Education are pushing a bill that delays a requirement for state schools to have a full 180-instructional day year until 2014. Associated Press.

Honolulu City Council Chairman Nestor Garcia told KITV4 News Thursday that he will begin officially declaring that he has a conflict of interest on the rail transit issue when it comes up for votes in the council. KITV4.

Hawaii County's new double-decker bus has arrived, and county staff is already reporting problems navigating the 14-foot-tall monstrosity around the Mass Transit Department's baseyard in Hilo. West Hawaii Today.

The Honolulu Police Department said it's seeing far fewer people applying to be police officers compared to the last time it accepted online applications in the fall. As a result, H.P.D. will extend the application period for another week. KITV4.

Cash-strapped Hawaii County plans to save $40,000 a year by taking bread literally from the mouths of its workers.Tribune-Herald.

On Thursday the first commercial wind project on Oahu was dedicated in Kahuku on the island’s North Shore, making renewable energy a reality. KHON2.

Aina Lea developers are hoping the third time might be the charm for their proposed 1,060-acre South Kohala residential and commercial development proposal. West Hawaii Today.

Voter turnout for Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative’s 2011 board of directors election was lower this year than last year despite its continued efforts to expand the methods in which voters could cast a ballot. Garden Island.