Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Kona lava graffiti removed, raises for Honolulu officials, council, rate hike for health insurer HMSA, Kauai in top 10 for film locations, still no GOP candidate for Congress, rail project needs more credit, waste to energy on Maui mulled, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Kona lava (c) 2012 All Hawaii News
Less white coral graffiti decorates the lava on the shoulders of Queen Kaahumanu Highway these days. West Hawaii Today.

Families of fallen war heroes have been invited to a special joint session of the state Legislature on Wednesday. Associated Press.

March is almost over and still no Republican candidate in the open 2nd Congressional District race. Civil Beat.

Two good government advocacy groups are taking state Sen. Rosalyn Baker to task over her conduct of a confirmation hearing Friday. Civil Beat.

Lawmakers question UH Manoa Chancellor's necessity. KHON2.

Hawaii Medical Service Association plans to raise health insurance premiums for roughly 84,000 small-business members by 3.8 percent after posting a more than eightfold profit to $43.8 million in 2011. Star-Advertiser.

The State Department of Education is being put to the test.  Federal officials are in town to decide if Hawaii should get $75 million in Race to the Top grant money. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu

Honolulu's job market still had not recovered fully from the 2008-2009 recession by the end of last year, although the city fared better than three-quarters of the nation's largest metropolitan areas, according to a report due out today by the Brookings Institution. Star-Advertiser.

The Salary Commission of the City and County of Honolulu voted to recommend raises of 5.5 percent for the police chief and his deputies, 4 percent for the fire chief and his deputy, and 3 percent for city council members, and most directors and department heads and their deputies. KHON2.

Rhetoric is heating up over the financial impact of the city's planned $5.27 billion rail transit project as two top contenders for the mayor's job traded accusations Tuesday of reckless spending and misinformation. Star-Advertiser.

Extending Honolulu's line of credit is the "big piece that's outstanding" before officials can formally ask for funding from the federal government to help pay for Honolulu's $5.2 billion rail project, incoming HART CEO Daniel Grabauskas told Civil Beat in an exclusive interview Tuesday. Civil Beat.

The new CEO and executive director of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation met with the head of the Federal Transit Administration and with Hawaii's congressional delegations in Washington Tuesday. KITV4.

Rail debt is going up, and spending on other capital projects is coming down. Civil Beat.

This letter was submitted March 26, 2012 to Leslie T. Rogers, the Regional Administrator for the Federal Transit Administration, Region IX with the U.S. Department of Transportation, 201 Mission Street, Suite 1650, San Francisco, CA 94105 by University of Hawaii Law Professor Randall Roth, Honolulu Transportation Expert Cliff Slater and Retired Judge Walter Heen, who are plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the City & county of Honolulu and the FTA over the city's planned $5.3 billion elevated steel on steel rail project. Hawaii Reporter.

Honolulu City Council members learned yesterday that one possible step to lower obesity rates is to link health with transportation options. Hawaii Public Radio.

Community, Castle complex in high-risk redesign program. KITV4.

Hawaii

The county Water Board approved a budget Tuesday that’s 6 percent less than this year’s spending plan and relies on an already approved 2.2 percent increase in water rates starting July 1. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii Community Federal Credit Union employees improperly accessed the names, addresses and last four digits of Social Security numbers of “several hundred” Hawaii Community Federal Credit Union members, President James Takamine said Tuesday. West Hawaii Today.

A “fecal incident” over the weekend, and a slowed water filtration rate, closed the Kona Community Aquatic Center Sunday, Parks and Recreation Director Bob Fitzgerald said Tuesday. West Hawaii Today.

Major changes at Old Kona Airport Park are unlikely to happen until the state transfers the 117-acre recreation and beach area to the county. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Mayor Alan Arakawa's administration is exploring ways to turn waste into energy at the Central Maui Landfill. Maui News.

Eight years after becoming stuck on a reef off of Lahaina, Maui, the “Dolphin” vessel was finally carted away in pieces by helicopter at around 11 a.m. today, according to state officials. Maui Now.

Kauai

The Kaua‘i Planning Commission on Tuesday approved a $10 million multiplex cinema project, complete with nine movie screens and 1,274 seats, to be built on the back parking lot of Kmart, at Kukui Grove Center. Garden Island.

The Hawaiian island of Kauai has made a list of the top 10 film locations around the world. Pacific Business News.

With the global box office success of the Hunger Games movie filmed in North Carolina, Cheapflights.com listed the top 10 film locations worldwide that included Kauai. Star-Advertiser.

Kaua‘i will share in $600,000 in federal grants that were awarded to public housing agencies in Hawai‘i to help homeless veterans transition into permanent housing. Garden Island.