Friday, October 14, 2011

U.S. Senate race a 'tossup,' Hawaii tax collections up, military strong, Honolulu rapid transit advances, DOE wants more money, term limits for Maui, foreign cars for Kauai, more

Honolulu's Ala Wai (c) 2011 All Hawaii News
Earlier this year, the paddling community was warned that their regular practice venues like the Ala Wai canal might be off- limits for the entire month of November. KITV4.

The Cook Political Report on Thursday rated the Hawaii U.S. Senate race as a "tossup," one of the nine most competitive campaigns next year that could determine political control of the Senate. Star-Advertiser.

Linda Lingle described her veto of Hawaii civil unions as perhaps the most difficult decision she made in eight years as governor. Civil Beat.

As U.S. military leaders continue to sound the alarm about how deep Defense Department spending cuts would decimate military operations, Sen. Daniel Inouye and Rep. Colleen Hanabusa say they will work to keep Hawaii programs off the chopping block. Civil Beat.

The Army is continuing high-altitude helicopter training flights over Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa with no glitches so far. Tribune-Herald.

State tax collections increased nearly 10-percent last month. KHON2.

Hawaii tax revenues for the first three months of the fiscal year that started July 1 were $1.2 billion, the state Department of Taxation said Thursday. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii state government’s financial situation is dire, mainly because of unfunded obligations that total in the billions of dollars. Hawaii Reporter.

Governor Neil Abercrombie’s new chief of staff maintains an active private business life in real estate sales and investments but he says those side interests won’t interfere with his duties on the fifth floor of the Capitol. Hawaii Reporter.

The state Reapportionment Commission gave final approval Thursday to its plan for new political boundary maps and now waits to see whether the Hawaii Supreme Court orders changes. Star-Advertiser.

The Department of Education plans to ask for an additional $58 million in the 2012 legislative session to keep school buses running, save adult education and cope with a growing student population. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

Rail's next stop: a signed $1.4 billion core systems contract with Ansaldo. Civil Beat.

Once again concerns are raised with Ansaldo Honolulu, the company picked to build the rail transit's core system, and once again the city says it's not a problem. Hawaii News Now.

The Army is returning to its mounted heritage with a polo match Saturday at Fort Shafter's historic Palm Circle, and the public is invited. Star-Advertiser.

A San Jose, Calif.-based company is preparing to build a large solar panel farm in West Oahu. KITV4.

Hawaii

Even as the Hawaii County Council plans a final vote Wednesday on a tough new building code, one councilor wants to exempt rural dwellings from some of the provisions. West Hawaii Today.

America's southern-most district is getting its first federally certified evacuation shelter, which will double as the community's new recreational facility.  Tribune-Herald.

A long-sought-after public shooting range for the Big Island is a step closer to reality after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service committed to giving the state $305,000 for range development. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

County Council members could get four-year terms - and a "drop-dead" three-term limit - under a proposal moved forward by the Charter Commission. Maui News.

Maui’s real estate market has been sluggish to flat, according to figures released yesterday by the Realtors Association of Maui. Hawaii Public Radio.

Kauai

At a time when Americans struggle to find jobs and national debt approaches crisis levels, some taxpayers may be interested to learn stimulus funds are supporting foreign auto manufacturers. Garden Island.

Employers who are hiring had no shortage of takers Thursday when hundreds of people flocked to the Lihu‘e Civic Center’s Pi‘ikoi Building for a job fair coordinated by the county’s Office of Economic Development and the state’s WorkWise program. Garden Island.