Thursday, May 5, 2011

Hawaii car owners facing hit, freight tax going up, Big Island adds bus fare, public workers to get less sweet retirement deal, Honolulu rail nears bond float, tsunami sirens to become zoning requirement, Kauai sewer rates to rise, Thai labor contractor admits trafficking, oil from algae, more news

Hawaii driving (c) 2011 All Hawaii News
When proposed increases of vehicle registration fees and weight taxes kick in next year, a Honda Civic owner will pay $46.76 more for the 2,672-pound car's annual sticker. Star-Advertiser.

Proposals to begin taxing online shopping won't become law in Hawaii this year. Associated Press.

Tax on the net weight of imported freight will increase 50 percent to fund 15 of 22 agriculture inspector positions the Legislature helped restore last year, said Rep. Clift Tsuji, Chair of the House Agriculture Committee. West Hawaii Today.

Several state agencies will be putting "help wanted" signs out for new employees, thanks to the new state budget approved Monday by House and Senate. KITV4.

New Hawaii government employees will work more years, contribute higher amounts toward their pensions and get paid less after retirement, according to sweeping proposed changes to the state's underfunded pension system. Associated Press.

A final vote on the bill affecting top executive, judicial and legislative branch salaries is set for Thursday. Hawaii News Now.

Nearly a third of the state's $2.9 billion in spending on construction projects over the next two years will go to harbors and highways. Civil Beat.

A state lawyer has laid out for the first time Gov. Neil Abercrombie's legal arguments for refusing to disclose the names of judicial candidates, saying the governor cannot be required to do so unless ordered to by a state judge. Star-Advertiser.

State energy office scrambling for funds. Pacific Business News.

From cockfights in remote and guarded locations to game rooms raided in the heart of urban Honolulu to sports betting through the Internet that hits a fever pitch during the football season, illegal gambling maintains a foothold in the 50th state. Hawaii News Now.

High fuel prices are affecting operations at The Bus, where officials expect to go nearly $1 million over their fuel budget this year. KITV4.

The Honolulu City Council is considering granting permission to float $2 billion in bonds to pay for initial rail contracts. Hawaii Independent.

The late disclosure of a gift the city received from a rail contractor drew criticism from City Council members in a Transportation Committee meeting Wednesday afternoon. It's the latest in a series of complaints from council members about a lack of transparency about the city's polarizing $5.3 billion rail project. Civil Beat.

The City and County of Honolulu purchased its first property last month to make way for the $5.3 billion rail system from East Kapolei to Ala Moana.. KHON2.

County Council members Wednesday approved Mayor Billy Kenoi's proposed bus fares. West Hawaii Today.

The county's current emergency services radio system must be replaced, Maui police officials said, in a project expected to cost more than $16 million only to begin the system's total overhaul. Maui News.

Kauai County sewer rates are to rise incrementally over the next four years starting in July. Associated Press.

The Windward Planning Commission on Wednesday gave unanimous approval to a measure requiring developers to provide emergency warning sirens in order to rezone property. West Hawaii Today.

A Hawaii bio-fuel company is to receive more than $5.5 million from the federal government to produce affordable animal feed from marine algae. Associated Press.

Cellana Inc. said it has begun producing oil from algae grown at its Kona facility and is on track to begin commercial production by 2014. Star-Advertiser.

Shane Germann stood before Hawaii’s U.S. District Judge Susan Oki Mollway on Wednesday, May 4, remorsefully reciting details of crimes he committed in Hawaii between May 2003 and February 2006 as the on site manager and regional supervisor for the California-based labor recruiter, Global Horizons Manpower Inc. Hawaii Reporter.

When it comes to an easy to grow fruit in Hawaii, guava tops them all. Molokai Dispatch.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources will begin construction of road and parking improvements at Waimea Canyon State Park lookout on Monday. Garden Island.

The Office of Mauna Kea Management is taking the first steps toward establishing administrative rules for the summit region of Mauna Kea. Tribune-Herald.