Thursday, April 21, 2011

EEOC farmworker lawsuit hits six Hawaii farms, Hawaii County passes $56M bond issue, Gov. Abercrombie, Maui mayor calling for tax hikes, community college chancellor candidates woo Big Island, more news from the Hawaiian Islands

Honolulu gay rights rally (c) 2011 All Hawaii News

Gender equity bill on governor's desk a bookend to civil unions bill earlier in session. Civil Beat.

Federal authorities have filed a civil lawsuit accusing six Hawaii farms of "unlawful employment practices" in association with federally indicted farm labor contractor Global Horizons Manpower Inc. Star-Advertiser.

A federal agency calls it the largest human trafficking lawsuit ever against the agriculture industry. KHON2.

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Files Lawsuit in Thai Human Trafficking Case, but Defendants, Attorneys Question Timing, Motives Hawaii Reporter.

Captain Cook Coffee Co. and MacFarms of Hawaii were two of six Hawaii farms named in a human trafficking lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Tuesday. West Hawaii Today.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced Wednesday that it has filed its largest agricultural human trafficking lawsuit against labor contractor Global Horizons and eight farms, including Kaua‘i Coffee Company. Garden Island.

A federal agency has sued a California-based labor contractor and farms in Washington and Hawaii alleging discrimination against more than 200 Thai workers in what it has called its largest human trafficking case in agriculture to date. Associated Press.

House and Senate negotiators meeting in conference committees are agreeing on a few bills that will now get final floor votes. Garden Island.

With the budget year mostly over, Hawaii state tax revenue is up less than inflation, sharpening the state budget crisis. Hawaii News Now.

Golden Week in Hawaii will lose some of its shine this year. Hawaii News Now.

Verbatim: Abercrombie email says moving forward means raising taxes. Hawaii Independent.

Teachers bombarded state Sen. Jill Tokuda's office with hundreds of calls and more than 1,200 emails yesterday, concerned that a law aimed at lengthening public school days would require them to work longer hours without more pay. Star-Advertiser.

The University of Hawaii and various Hawaii public schools plan to donate textbooks and bookshelves to public libraries in Micronesia suffering from budget cuts. Associated Press.

The Honolulu City Council held a marathon session day over a combination of spending cuts and hikes in taxes and fees. KHON2.

Mayor Alan Arakawa is calling for a smaller increase in property tax rates than he originally proposed. Maui News.

County Clerk Peter Nakamura’s mayoral re-appointment and subsequent Kaua‘i County Council confirmation in December stirred controversy after two council members questioned a pay raise that pushed his salary slightly past the mayor’s. Garden Island.

Comments among County Council members got a bit heated Wednesday morning, but by lunchtime, the council gave the final approval to a $56 million bond. West Hawaii Today.

The cost to build Honolulu's rail transit system has decreased to $5.3 billion from $5.5 billion, according to the latest draft of the city's financial plan, released yesterday. Star-Advertiser.

Complaints that Maui County Council Member Mike White acted improperly when he called for more funding for the Maui Visitors Bureau have been dismissed by the county Board of Ethics. Maui News.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie Wednesday presented Hawaii Green Business Office and Government awards to eight institutions. Pacific Business News

“I felt like I was cleaning the rubbish off the reef,” said Dicky Dowling, who speared 46 roi for first place honors in last weekend’s Molokai Roi Tournament. Molokai Dispatch.

Working together will help move Hawaii Community College into the future, four finalists seeking the college's chancellor position emphasized during a forum held Wednesday in Kealakekua. West Hawaii Today.

East Hawaii residents got their first chance Tuesday to interact with the final four candidates vying for the chancellorship of Hawaii Community College. Tribune-Herald.

For many of the 52,000 local Bank of America mortgage holders who have lost–or could lose–their houses due to the bank’s nationwide frenzy of mortgage foreclosures, the possibility of being houseless is terrifying. Honolulu Weekly.

University of Hawaii officials, UH medical students and contractors gathered Wednesday to bless the university's Cancer Center in Kakaako at the medical school. KITV4.

Hawai’i got its first news that radioisotopes from the Japanese nuclear crisis had appeared in local food on April 10, when the Environmental Protection Agency posted results of testing on milk from a Big Island dairy. Big Island Weekly.