Friday, July 1, 2011

Hawaii teachers consider next move, new laws, new fees in effect today, Kauai explores hydro power, Hawaii County Council fails budget veto override, homeowners pay too much insurance, more news from the islands

rare Hawaii orchid courtesy photo, The Nature Conservancy

More than 30 years of research has led to a major victory in protecting one of Hawaii's rarest plants—a native orchid of the Islands’ high forests and bogs that was down to fewer than 50 known individuals. Civil Beat.

Board members of the newly created entity that's due to oversee the city's planned rail line are to conduct their first meeting. Associated Press.

On Friday, all of the laws listed below will become effective throughout the state of Hawaii. KITV4.

Five percent wage reductions and increased health insurance premiums for Hawaii's 12,700 public school teachers were to be unilaterally implemented today, in an extraordinary move that the state says is necessary under a tight budget. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii State Teachers Association was not able to stop the State from implementing a pay cut. KHON2.

The Hawaii State Teachers Association has said it is exploring legal options to stop the contract from going into effect. KITV4.

It is summer break but special education teacher Bryantt Bernardo is in his Moanalua Middle School classroom catching up on paperwork. Hawaii News Now.

They are both Japanese-American women in their early 60s, married Buddhists with no children who represent the state of Hawaii 5,000 miles away in the U.S. House of Representatives. Civil Beat.

Hawaii homeowners pay “excessive rates” for insurance, according to state Insurance Commissioner Gordon Ito. Hawaii Reporter.

Hawaii hotels’ occupancy levels dropped during the week ending June 25, but average room rates were higher than last year, according to Smith Travel ResearchbizWatch and Hospitality Advisors. Pacific Business News.

A controversial plan to build 11,750 homes on Ewa farmland was given new life Thursday as a state commission agreed to resume the case after it was stopped nearly two years ago. Star-Advertiser.

Developer D.R. Horton-Schuler Division wants to build the $4.6 billion Hoopili Project, that includes nearly 12,000 homes, along with businesses to create jobs.  Officials say they also want to make it sustainable. KHON2.

Dozens of labor advocates, environmentalists, and Oahu small farmers crowded into today’s Land Use Commission meeting regarding D.R. Horton’s proposed Hoopili development in Ewa. Hawaii Independent.

Hawaii County will reinstate full open-space funding but not prepay certain retirement costs because the County Council fell one vote short Thursday of overriding Mayor Billy Kenoi's budget veto. Tribune-Herald.

Mayor Billy Kenoi's $367.3 million budget goes into effect today the way he proposed it, following the County Council's failure Thursday to override his veto. West Hawaii Today.

Mayor Billy Kenoi has asked the state's largest public-sector labor union to strike a separate deal with Hawaii County, allowing 13 furlough days a year for the next two years. West Hawaii Today.

Just barely making a tight deadline, the Maui County Council Policy Committee voted unanimously Wednesday to move a bill forward that would allow the mayor to negotiate a settlement with the Environmental Protection Agency over allegations that injection wells in West Maui violate the Safe Drinking Water Act. Maui News.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources issued a statement Tuesday in support of hydroelectricity and Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative’s exploration of hydro power development. Garden Island.

A full 2 percent of county property tax revenues will be earmarked for land buys this year, following the withdrawal Thursday of a bill that would have cut it to a minimum of 1 percent. West Hawaii Today.

The Honolulu City Council's new chairman, Ernie Martin, has announced new committee assignments for the council's nine members. Associated Press.

Despite being from Jamaica, Bob Marley has become one of the most influential music figures in our Hawai`i ohana. Hawaii Public Radio.