Monday, December 26, 2011

Obama enjoys quiet Hawaii holiday, tourism boost expected from new civil union law, coqui frogs, angry birds challenge state agencies, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands for smartphone and web

Baby checks out President Obama's mouth, AP pool photo
The first family kept a low profile on Oahu's Windward Coast for Christmas, attending a Christmas Day church service at the Base Chapel on Kaneohe Marine Corp Base. KITV4.

Marine Gunnery Sgt. Joseph Maupai could barely contain his enthusiasm at having his four children meet his commander in chief on Christmas Day at Marine Corps Base Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.

President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama spent part of Christmas greeting families at a Marine base in Hawaii. USA Today.

President Obama got a Christmas Day surprise when a baby put his hand in the president's mouth. CBS News.

The Obamas got to spend some time off on the East side today, enjoying what many would call, a very ordinary, special Christmas. KHON2.

President Barack Obama has kept a relatively low profile since arriving to Hawaii to join his family for the holidays. Hawaii News Now.

With Congress finally buckling to White House demands to extend the payroll tax cuts before the new year, President Barack Obama is officially heading “home” to Hawaii for the holidays. Hawaii Reporter.

While President Obama Arrives in Hawaii Amidst Security and Fanfare, Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Slips Quietly into Big Island Resort. Hawaii Independent.

When federal authorities visit in January for an extensive review to determine whether Hawaii can deliver on its Race to the Top education pledges, the state will acknowledge stumbling in key initiatives but argue the school system has seen great progress. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii comptroller's office this year spent $25,000 to replace bird netting wrapped around the third-floor ledge of the state Capitol. Civil Beat.

The coqui frogs have been growing in population in the state in recent years and are now starting to show up in larger numbers on Oahu. Associated Press.

State roundup for Dec. 26. Associated Press.

Oahu

Tony Locricchio saw the growing homeless population living in tents on sidewalks and said we must find places for them to live with dignity. KITV4.

The city and the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands are planning a land swap worth an estimated $30 million to provide the city with a site for a rail maintenance facility in Waipahu. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu oceanfront property owners are being given violation notices for blocking public access to beaches. KHON2.

The Honolulu City Council may consider a ban on businesses offering plastic bags at checkout counters as early as February if Council Chair Ernie Martin goes through with his plans. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii

Fireworks are going on sale this week across the island, and the Fire Department is hoping for a soggy New Year. Tribune-Herald.

New Year's celebrations and fireworks have been synonymous on Hawaii Island. West Hawaii Today.

In 2011, one event swept away the rest when it came time to pick the top stories of the year. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Maui hotels and resorts are gearing up to host same-sex couples in Hawaii to formalize their relationships starting New Year's Day. Maui News.

The state Department of Transportation is weighing options for a major overhaul of Kahului Airport's long runway, after being notified that federal funds would no longer be available to keep patching the aging tarmac. Maui News.

State and federal officials announced Friday that they were investigating the deaths of two Hawaiian monk seals on the south shore of Molokai, and a prominent Molokai advocate called on Native Hawaiians to protect the species. Maui News.

Kauai

After purchasing a home on Kauai nearly two years ago, actor Will Smith and wife Jada Pinkett-Smith recently sold their property, making a $6.5 million profit. Hawaii News Now.

Santa Claus wasn’t the only one on duty this holiday. Across the island, police officers and firefighters were on the clock Sunday, along with restaurant and hotel workers, gas station employees and airport personnel. Garden Island.

Many things on the islands nowadays come from China, including The Garden Island’s new managing editor, Renée Haines. Garden Island.