Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Hawaii budget up but workforce lags, Reapportionment Commission counting some military, but not enough to change Senate seats, Aina Koa Pono agrees to EA, ordnance removal coming to Maui as environmental groups object, songbirds moved to Laysan, more news

Gov. Neil Abercrombie courtesy photo
Despite growing its operating budget this year, Hawaii state government has yet to restore its work force to pre-recession levels, according to an analysis by Civil Beat. Civil Beat.

The Sierra Club Hawaii chapter and several other environmental and cultural groups urged Gov. Neil Abercrombie on Monday to withdraw an emergency proclamation that he made to help the Army Corps of Engineers remove unexploded ordnance, but the governor declined. Star-Advertiser.

About 16,000 residents, predominantly military members and students, will be excluded from the state's population base when the state Reapportionment Commission submits its final plan for redrawing state political boundaries. Star-Advertiser.

State negotiators had no explicit backup plan in the event that Hawaii teachers rejected their collective bargaining agreement in June, according to Don Horner's testimony before the labor board. Civil Beat.

The state of Hawaii has agreed to team up with 8 other states, the IRS and the U.S. Department of Labor to crack down on business owners who they believe are improperly labeling workers as “independent contractors.” Hawaii Reporter.

Federal officials have moved two dozen endangered songbirds from Nihoa in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands to Laysan 650 miles north in the hope they will establish a new population there and prevent the extinction of the species, officials said Monday. Associated Press.

Hawaii continues to be a hot travel deal, according to a popular travel company. Hawaii News Now.

Oahu

Don Horner, who has devoted more than half his life to First Hawaiian Bank and helped turn the company into the state's largest financial institution, will retire as chief executive officer at the end of the year. Star-Advertiser.

Topless Protesters Don't Have Day In Court. KITV4.

The owner of the Kamehameha Drive-In property in Ai’ea is planning to develop it for mixed residential and commercial use. Hawaii Public Radio.

More than 60 laptops stolen in school burglary. KHON2.

Hawaii
A company that plans to build a biofuel plant in Pahala will commission an environmental assessment even though it's not required. West Hawaii Today.

Business has picked up at Hawaii County's Building Division, but that hasn't translated into jobs for the island's beleaguered construction industry, experts say. Tribune-Herald.

Protections built into a proposed impact fee ordinance and in state law should assure taxpayers that needed infrastructure will be built when new development puts a strain on existing facilities, Kohala Councilman Pete Hoffmann said Monday. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

By the end of this month, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and its contractors will begin a $2 million investigation at the Ahihi-Kinau Natural Area Reserve to assess the type and location of old, unexploded shells and bombs in the area formerly used for military exercises. Maui News.

A U.S. Army Corps of Engineers official said Gov. Neil Abercrombie's proclamation that lets the corps bypass state laws to investigate and remove military ordnance helps gain access to state lands, but the corps still has federal rules to follow. Maui News.

Kauai

The Rotary Club of Kapa‘a along with a handful of local Kapa‘a residents spent Saturday morning removing ocean debris from the Kealia Beach area. Garden Island.

Molokai

A joint venture including Pattern Energy will bid on the proposed 200-megawatt wind farm on Molokai as part of the so-called “Big Wind” project. Pacific Business News.