Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Hawaii radiation fears rekindled, mini-furlough proposed for public workers, lawmakers consider tax hikes, plastic bag fees, gifts, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Trace amounts of radiation from Japan's nuclear crisis were detected in Hawaii for the first time Monday night as fallout spread as far as Iceland, officials said yesterday. Star-Advertiser.

The Conversation for 3/23: Stop worrying about radiation! Hawaii Public Radio.

The more than 250 people who attended an emergency preparedness meeting in Ewa Beach Tuesday night were told Hawaii does not face the same kind of tsunami threat as Japan and that people here should have confidence in the state's published tsunami evacuation zones. Hawaii News Now.

The National Weather Service has issued an advisory of strong winds for all islands. Associated Press.

The state Civil Defense will test Oahu sirens on Wednesday and Thursday on Oahu. KITV4.

Recovering from the tsunami: PBN’s continuing coverage. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii's government employers, the four county mayors and the governor, may be offering a mini-furlough to government workers in effort to win approval of a 5 percent pay cut. KITV4.

State Senate President Shan Tsu­tsui said yesterday that a general excise tax increase is an option to close the budget deficit. Star-Advertiser.

Choosing paper or plastic bags may cost you a nickel in the future.  Lawmakers are strongly considering a bill aimed at shifting public behavior from single-use plastic and paper bags to re-usable bags. KHON2.

Hawaii will remain one of a handful of states where the attorney general is appointed, after the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday rejected a proposal to make it an elected position. Star-Advertiser.

After hearing strong opposition, the House Judiciary Committee delayed a decision on a bill to allow state employees, including lawmakers, to accept free tickets to nonprofit fundraisers and even foreign junkets without restrictions. Star-Advertiser.

Legislators quizzed state Ethics Commission executive director Leslie Kondo this afternoon about recent guidance he has delivered on gifts that lawmakers may not accept under the state Ethics Code. Hawaii Reporter.

US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is in Hawaii tonight -- his first visit to the Islands since being appointed to the cabinet-level position by President Obama two years ago. KHON2.

Although U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood was the guest of honor at a Tuesday night gathering of politicians and union leaders in a Hilton Hawaiian Village conference room, the event was mostly a testament to Sen. Dan Inouye's influence. Star-Advertiser.

A month after denying a cell phone carrier a permit to install a 150-foot pole by Halfway Bridge on Kaumuali‘i Highway, the county Planning Commission on Wednesday granted Sprint/Nextel a request for reconsideration. Garden Island.

The developer of a regional mall planned for East Kapolei on Department of Hawaiian Home Lands property received approval yesterday from the Hawaiian Homes Commission to build a small phase initially and defer paying rent on most of the land for up to six years. Star-Advertiser.

Hu Honua Bioenergy scored a major victory on Monday when a long-awaited report recommended the approval of its biomass-burning power plant in Pepeekeo. Tribune-Herald.

A tight county budget inspired little participation Monday evening, with only 10 people coming out to a County Council public hearing to comment on the $366.1 million spending plan. West Hawaii Today.

Tower rises in place of old one. Maui News.

Mayor’s Aloha Garden sprouts more gardens. Garden Island.