Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Elvis 40th anniversary celebration coming to Hawaii, pay hike promised for Legislature, judges, top state execs; Democrats at odds over candidate's rejection, Legislature revives $500M economic revitalization plan, school bus shortfall causes angst, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

© 1973, Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc. and RCA Records.
Elvis Presley Enterprises has announced a vacation package to Hawaii in conjunction with the 40th anniversary of his concert in the state in 1973. Associated Press.

The surprising decision this weekend by Hawaii Democrats to reject Laura Thielen's request to run in the party's Aug. 11 primary for state Senate is causing many Democrats to question their own party. Civil Beat.

State senators took steps Tuesday to revive a $500 million investment in state construction, the Senate's signature idea to help with economic recovery that was in danger of failing this week because of House inaction. Star-Advertiser.

The governor wants to fast-track state construction projects to stimulate the economy with a 500-million dollar legislative package.   The Senate passed the bill in February but the State House refused to hear it …killing the measure.   But, the Senate countered the House yesterday. Hawaii Public Radio.


The Hawaii House of Representatives approved a bill Tuesday that will help generate thousands of jobs by authorizing the spending of more than $602 million to build car rental facilities and make road improvements at Honolulu International and Kahului airports. Pacific Business News.


 Half a billion dollars could start pumping into Hawaii's economy within months. Hawaii News Now.

Lawmakers, executive branch leaders and judges could see 5 percent more pay six months sooner than expected.KHON2.

The Hawaii Legislature is considering changing the rules of workers' compensation despite opposition from medical experts in the field who fear the move could hurt workers rather than help them. Hawaii News Now.

School bus service for more than 21,000 students on Oahu and the neighbor islands would be cut under a plan aimed at tackling an expected funding shortage for transportation next school year. Star-Advertiser.

A projected $22 million budget shortfall for student transportation services next year will likely result in more traffic congestion and higher drop-out rates, school officials warned Tuesday. Civil Beat.

The State Department of Education has created a list of the schools most at risk of losing school bus service, in order to deal with budget cuts. KHON2.

The controversy surrounding Gov. Neil Abercrombie's nominees to a commission that wields significant power over Hawaii's water resources continues, with critics charging that the two candidates don't fulfill qualifications mandated by law. Civil Beat.

Hawaii's highest-in-the nation gasoline prices rose again today, hitting a record $4.598 for a gallon of regular unleaded, according to the AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report.Star-Advertiser.

Senator Dan Akaka has been honored for his commitment to the National Guard. KHON2.

State roundup for April 3. Associated Press.

Oahu

Expect to see more food trucks parked at Honolulu's metered stalls today after Mayor Peter Carlisle signed into law a bill making it legal for them to conduct business on streets for up to three hours at a time. Star-Advertiser.

Food truck owners had good reason to rejoice Tuesday after the Honolulu City Council passed a bill 8-0 that allows mobile gourmets to remain in one parking spot longer than 15 minutes.KITV4.

State senators on Tuesday kept alive the option of giving the state Office of Hawaiian Affairs flexibility to develop high-rise apartments on land near the waterfront in Kakaako. Star-Advertiser.

Despite repeated threats from Honolulu City Council members and even an offer from another company to build new sewage treatment technology at no immediate cost to taxpayers, Mayor Peter Carlisle will not terminate the city's contract with the controversial fertilizer pellet producer Synagro. Civil Beat.

A “truth squad” organized by former Gov. Benjamin Cayetano to investigate the city’s budget and infrastructure problems, unveiled an analysis of Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle’s budget proposal a week ago. Hawaii Reporter.

The Honolulu City Council approved a permit Tuesday allowing the state to proceed on a $15 million project to reconstruct two Makaha Beach bridges along Farrington Highway despite objections from people living closest to the project. Star-Advertiser.

Aiea bag distributor bracing against possible bag ban. KITV4.

Hawaii

Hawaii Electric Light Co. President Jay Ignacio came before a County Council committee Tuesday to clear the air on what he said were misperceptions about the effects of solar and geothermal energy on electric rates. West Hawaii Today.

The County Council’s Finance Committee on Tuesday quizzed an independent tax assessment expert about his recommendations to make Hawaii County’s property tax policies more efficient and fair. Tribune-Herald.

A council committee approved a resolution urging the county to give residents a monetary incentive to recycle. Tribune-Herald.

Researchers already have a pretty good idea about where to find Hawaii’s two most famous cetacean species. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Mayor Alan Arakawa is proposing to privatize the county's PALS program, saying a nonprofit organization could do a better job running the "Play and Learn Sessions" for out-of-school kids. Maui News.

A hearing officer who acknowledged receiving inappropriate outside pressure to reach a decision on a major new telescope proposed for Haleakala said Monday that he was "surprised" to have his report thrown out and felt it was rejected because it embarrassed people on both sides. Maui News.

A bill seeking a reduction in shipping time and costs for the transport of goods between Moloka’i and Lana’i to Oahu, continues to make its way through the state Legislature. Maui Now.

Kauai

With the exception of strength in the visitor industry, economic growth on Kauai is expected to remain sluggish in the coming months, according to a forecast released Tuesday by the Kauai County Office of Economic Development. Star-Advertiser.

Kaua‘i’s economy will remain flat in coming months, according to a report released Tuesday by the county’s Office of Economic Development. Garden Island.

Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. used a weather metaphor on Tuesday, the start of fiscal year 2013 budget talks that will continue through April 19, comparing the storms that pounded the island in early March to “weathering the storm” of providing services in a battered economy. Garden Island.

County parks workers brought in heavy equipment Tuesday to begin clearing vegetative debris at the popular Morgan’s Ponds swimming areas at Lydgate Park, where “no swimming” signs have been posted since March 29. Garden Island.