Monday, March 21, 2011

Hawaii food prices going up, lawmakers see smaller budget, Maui mayor wants 20% spending hike, Kaui grapples plastic bags, Kona coffee labeling sought, guidebook authors could be liable, more Hawaii news

Hawaii Island cattle (c) 2011 All Hawaii News
Hawaii's ranching industry is recovering from several years of crippling droughts. KITV4.

Food is costing more.  Some Hawaii businesses are feeling the effects of rising wholesale food prices on the mainland. Hawaii News Now.

Tourists from Japan are still flying in to Hawaii, but some interviewed yesterday brought pangs of guilt with them. Star-Advertiser.

A week after the tsunami hit, the number of visitors from Japan has declined, but it hasn't fallen off a cliff. Tribune-Herald.

Here at home...retail stores who import products from Japan have been working closely with the federal government to ensure products are safe to sell and consume. KHON2.

The Hawaii lawmaker now in charge of finalizing the state's budget says the draft he's been handed is out of date and no longer relevant in light of recent world events — and he predicts the deficit will top $1.2 billion, triggering even more spending cuts and potentially bigger tax hikes. Civil Beat.

The Hawaii Legislature has narrowed the number of bills it's considering from 3,224 to more than 600. KHON2.

Ironing out the tax code, state House lawmakers want to suspend general excise tax exemptions for several business activities over the next few years to help reduce the budget deficit. Star-Advertiser.

A bill moving through the Hawaii Legislature would require the authors of visitor guidebooks or websites about Hawaii to warn readers of potentially hazardous conditions at any recommended site located on private land. Associated Press.

A bill that would prohibit using the word "Kona" on a bag of coffee unless its use is part of a trademarked name is moving forward in the state Legislature. West Hawaii Today.

Many lawmakers who received free invitations to a high-powered private reception next week at the Hilton Hawaiian Village will now have to pay $36.75 apiece to attend. Hawaii Reporter.

Arakawa proposed an overall budget of $632 million for Maui County, an increase of 20.6 percent over the current budget of $524.2 million. Maui News.

Action on an amendment that would loosen a county law banning plastic bags from check-out lines was postponed another two weeks after an O‘ahu businessman proposed an environmentally conscious option. Garden Island.

Central Maui could get a major new park complex under a proposal Mayor Alan Arakawa said he is making in coordination with Senate President Shan Tsutsui. Maui News.

Six contracts boost Hawaii’s electric vehicle industry. Pacific Business News.

A major taro restoration project in He`eia was hard hit over the weekend by the theft of most of its equipment and supplies. Hawaii Independent.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park firefighters continue to map and monitor the Napau Fire located on the east rift of Kilauea Volcano, which has burned more than 1,800 acres since it was first triggered by the March 5 Kamoa­moa fissure eruption. Star-Advertiser.

For communities around Maui County affected by tsunami destruction, funding for repairs may be on the way. Molokai Dispatch.

Hawaii State Civil Defense officials are encouraging residents to report any damage they suffered as a result of last Friday's tsunamis through Aloha United Way's 2-1-1 information and referral service. Associated Press.