Thursday, March 8, 2012

Poll shows Cayetano on top for Honolulu mayor, Hawaii GOP now relevant, economy on upswing, electric rates rise, Legislature ponders official microbe and civil union bills, Abercrombie releases money for schools, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

former Hawaii Gov. and mayoral candidate Ben Cayetano, courtesy photo
Former Gov. Ben Cayetano is riding strong anti-rail sentiment to a dominating lead in the Honolulu mayor's race, according to The Civil Beat Poll. Civil Beat.

Voters in Hawaii's upcoming Republican presidential caucus have found themselves in an unusual position: They're relevant. Associated Press.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce spent $236,625 to run television ads last month supporting Linda Lingle's run for the U.S. Senate. Civil Beat.

The Council on Revenues has upgraded its forecast for the current fiscal year, citing an improving economy led by Hawaii's rebounding visitor industry. Civil Beat.

The Hawaii Council on Revenues has increased its revenue growth projection for the fiscal year ending June 30 by 0.5 percent to 12 percent. Pacific Business News.

The Council on Revenues raised its State general fund projection today … increasing the total amount of tax revenues the state can expect this year. Hawaii Public Radio.

Is Hawaii "in the money"? The Hawaii Council on Revenues, the 7-member politically appointed body officially charged with forecasting the state's economic future, today increased the state's revenue growth projection for the fiscal year ending June 30 from 11.5 percent to 12 percent. Hawaii Reporter.

Rowdy objections at the state Capitol could land critics in jail if a proposal moving through the Legislature becomes law. Associated Press.

A bill that would recognize an “official microbe” of the state of Hawaii was passed by the House of Representatives today. Hawaii Reporter.

Two bills making their way through the Legislature aim to clear up confusion surrounding the state’s civil union law. Tribune-Herald.

Nine of the 64 video surveillance cameras at the state Capitol don't work and the computers that run the system no longer allow sheriff's deputies to monitor all of the functioning cameras at once, state officials acknowledged Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

Rising fuel prices pushed residential electricity bills higher in March on all islands, utility officials said Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii Tourism Authority has been in serious talks with more airlines to jump into the Hawaii market as a way to help offset rising costs and bring more visitors in. KHON2.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie announced Wednesday that $7.48 million is being released by the state for public schools capital improvement projects. Pacific Business News.

The Hawaii Department of Education estimates that ramping up instructional time in public schools as required by a new law passed last year will cost $206 million over the next seven years. Civil Beat.

Oahu
A Honolulu District Court judge denied motions Wednesday by six Occupy Honolulu members to dismiss charges stemming from remaining in Thomas Square beyond park hours in November. Star-Advertiser.

Pictures of tourists straddling and touching Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles, which are a threatened species, have prompted a reminder that disturbing them in any way is a violation of both state and federal law. Hawaii News Now.

Guests at a hotel near Honolulu's airport found a suckling pig in the lobby, but it wasn't on the menu of the luau. KITV4.

Hawaii

Commissioners who create County Council districts would be barred from running in those districts for at least one election cycle after the lines are drawn, under a charter amendment the council Governmental Relations Committee is scheduled to hear today. West Hawaii Today.

Big Island hospitals and doctors are finally seeing the pieces of a $16 million federal stimulus award come together. West Hawaii Today.

Banana bunchy virus found in Hilo. Tribune-Herald.

Businesses are back in Kailua-Kona after last year's tsunami. KHON2.

Maui

Voters will get a chance to decide whether to make the county Department of Environmental Management responsible for "sustainability" in addition to its other duties. Maui News.

Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua on list of Lehman holdings for sale. Associated Press.

Beaches in West Maui and Honolulu were ranked among the top in the US and World according to the annual awards issued by the international travel site, TripAdvisor. Maui Now.

Kauai

Tropic Care Kaua‘i ends Friday. Garden Island.

A bill recently introduced at the Kaua‘i County Council by request of the administration intends to promote the “effective and efficient use of solar energy facilities.” But not at the expense of Kaua‘i’s “best agricultural lands,” according to an amendment unanimously approved by the council’s Planning Committee Wednesday. Garden Island.

Now that the emergency shelters are closed, American Red Cross volunteers on Kaua‘i are helping assess damage from this week’s heavy rains on Kaua‘i, spokeswoman Maria Lutz said Wednesday. Garden Island.

Molokai

The close connection between land and sea is nothing new for Molokai locals. But researchers have taken that connection a step farther and made a groundbreaking discovery along the coast of Molokai: they found that in two submarine canyons off the north shore of the island, ocean animals are relying heavily on resources from the land. Molokai Dispatch.