Thursday, September 29, 2011

New rental car tax nets $5M, Honolulu cleaning streets of homeless, Maui lures tourists, movie-makers, geothermal pitched for Big Island, hydroelectric for Kauai, top Hawaii government and politics news for web and smartphone

Humpback whale NOAA courtesy photo

A confirmed appearance of a humpback whale in Honaunau Bay this week marked the anticipated return of the gentle giants to Hawaii, as well as a reminder for all ocean users to keep a safe distance. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii’s leaders say allowing more visitors from a growing group of ready to spend Chinese holds enormous economic potential for destinations like Hawaii. Hawaii Public Radio.

Higher Rental Car Fee Generates Extra $5 Million. Civil Beat.

State Budget Solutions in its analysis of state budget trends during the past decade – reports that Hawaii is number 47 out of all 50 states in the “total of the state expenditures in a given fiscal year encompassing all state funds.” Hawaii Reporter.

What Super Committee's Automatic Cuts Would Mean for Hawaii. Civil Beat.

The federal government spent more than $20 billion in Hawai‘i for the first time last year. Civil Beat.

Oahu

A bill being introduced by Honolulu City Council members is expected to make it easier for city officials to remove the property of the homeless and others from sidewalks and parks. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu City Council Budget Committee deliberated today on a resolution asking for new bids to build rail-cars for the city’s mass transit system. Hawaii Public Radio.

Honolulu's unemployment rate rose to 5.5 percent in August from 5.4 percent in July, causing the city to lose ground in a ranking of metropolitan areas with the nation's lowest jobless rates, according to a report released Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

For many Kapahulu residents and lawmakers Wednesday night was a chance to see for the first time conceptual plans for a new office building on Charles street adjacent to Leonard's bakery. KHON2.

It is a bittersweet day for customers as another mom-and-pop restaurant closes its doors, but the closure wasn't due to the tough economy. KITV4.

City vehicles that were set to be scrapped by Oahu Transit Services have instead been converted into HPD paddy wagons in preparation for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in early November. KHON2.

Hawaii

Hawaii's dismal voter turnout could be improved by allowing people to vote by mail, said South Kona Councilwoman Brenda Ford in introducing a resolution asking the state Legislature to set up a pilot program in Hawaii County. West Hawaii Today.

Big Island residents aggrieved with the Reapportionment Commission's decision to deny Hawaii Island a fourth Senate seat are making good on their threat to have the Hawaii Supreme Court decide the issue. Tribune-Herald.

Developing a public-private partnership to produce geothermal energy on Hawaii Island could lead to a $1.25 million annual public benefit, a geothermal development company stressed Wednesday evening in Waimea. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii's fastest-growing island is getting more police officers to patrol its swelling neighborhoods. Tribune-Herald.

The Hawaii Army National Guard and Army Reserves are holding a blessing for their new joint complex in Hilo Thursday. Associated Press.

Maui

Maui County must fully disinfect all wastewater at the Lahaina Wastewater Reclamation Facility under a consent order with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Pacific Business News.

The new visitor industry marketing campaign is just beginning to reach the public, but in test views on the Mainland, the reaction has been just what was hoped for, Maui Visitors & Convention Bureau Executive Director Terryl Vencl told the Maui Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday. Maui News.

From producers and scriptwriters to casting consultants to contractors who rent pump trucks to empty the portapotties on location shoots, the nucleus of Maui's permanent film production business filled Kahului Community Center on Monday night. Maui News.

Kauai


Free Flow Power is preparing for its first round of community outreach meetings on its proposed hydroelectric projects for Garden Isle waterways on behalf of Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative. Garden Island.

Molokai

In what appears to be a clash of Hawaiian and western cultures, some Molokai residents are upset that boaters who come to the island as escorts for canoe and other races are catching fish and taking other seafood from coastal waters. Star-Advertiser.