Thursday, May 10, 2012

Tourism ticks up, U.S. tests new weapon from Kauai, Hawaii Supreme Court allows Hawaiian Homelands to sue for state funds, Honolulu voters won't get to decide rail transit, Maui bus system struggling, Big Island marijuana advocates lose in court, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

(c) 2012 All Hawaii News
Waikiki Beach (c) 2012 All Hawaii News
Hawaii will host a record 7.8 million tourists this year, leading to 2.2 percent growth in the state's economy, according to a recalibrated government forecast released Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii’s state economists have revised their forecast upward for tourism in the state, predicting the number of visitors to the Islands will increase by 6.5 percent to top 7.7 million by the end of 2012. Pacific Business News.

The state, in violation of the Hawaii Constitution, has failed to adequately fund the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, according to a unanimous ruling by the Hawaii Supreme Court on Wednesday. Civil Beat.

The Hawaii Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that Native Hawaiians can sue the state to provide sufficient funding for administrative and operating expenses for the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, but not for the development of homestead lots. Star-Advertiser.


President Barack Obama's announcement Wednesday that he supports same-sex marriage — and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's response that marriage is for heterosexuals — is rippling through Hawaii politics. Civil Beat.


For the second time in four months, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has bought television ad time in Hawaii to support former Republican Gov. Linda Lingle's run for U.S. Senate. Star-Advertiser.


Linda Lingle
 Former Governor Linda Lingle, candidate for Hawaii's open U.S. Senate seat, released the following statement today regarding the endorsement she has received from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Hawaii Reporter.


With Hawaii's Aug. 11 primary election three months away, several candidates in state and local races have stockpiled sizable campaign war chests, according to a Civil Beat analysis of campaign finance data. Civil Beat.


The state's chief negotiator is asking the teachers union to return to contract talks, and says the state "remains committed" to reaching a new agreement. Star-Advertiser.

After months of what's often been characterized as tedious and difficult hearings, the Hawaii Labor Relations Board finally heard from the union's most critical player in the convoluted negotiations over the famously failed teachers contract. Civil Beat.

Hawaii was among 16 states whose eighth-graders saw gains on a national science test in 2011, but students in the islands continued to score well below their peers nationally, results scheduled for release today show. Star-Advertiser.


Gov. Neil Abercrombie has released $37.5 million to address highway damage caused by stormy weather in March. Associated Press.

Donne Dawson has returned to State service as Film Industry Development Manager for the Hawai‘i Film Office. KHON2.

The U.S. Postal Service announced Wednesday it is set to cut hours at 13,000 rural facilities -- 12 of them in Hawaii -- instead of closing thousands of post offices across the country. KITV4.

The Marine Corps in Hawaii is officially transforming its Sea Stallion helicopter squadron into an Osprey aircraft squadron. KHON2.

Oahu

A proposed ballot question to ask voters whether the year-old Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation should be abolished failed Wednesday to win approval from the City Council. Star-Advertiser.

Attempt to Dismantle HART Fails. Hawaii Public Radio.

The City and County of Honolulu is thinking about setting aside 0.5 percent of its budget for charity, now that the Honolulu City Council has put a proposed charter amendment on the ballot for November despite objections from Mayor Peter Carlisle. Civil Beat.

A bill banning all commercial activity at Kailua Beach Park got the second of three needed approvals from the City Council Wednesday evening. Star-Advertiser.

Mayor Peter Carlisle today announced a new City effort to address homelessness in urban Honolulu by creating specially focused transitional housing. Hawaii Independent.


Hawaii

Five Big Island post offices could see a reduction in their operating hours under new cost-saving measures proposed by the United States Postal Service. Tribune-Herald.

Patients spending time within Kona Community Hospital’s medical and surgical unit will rest a little more comfortably with the addition of 30 state-of-the-art beds this summer. West Hawaii Today.


One company has survived and is on track to serve the island with up to 5.5 million gallons of biodiesel per year, or 16,000 gallons a day. Tribune-Herald.

Keauhou mauka Kona coffee farmer Dave Bateman has announced he will run for the state House District 5 seat, representing Kona and Ka‘u. Bateman pulled papers May 9 making his official entry into the House 5 race. West Hawaii Today.

A Third Circuit judge has rejected a lawsuit filed against a host of county officials that accuses them of not fulfilling the requirements of a 2008 ballot initiative making the personal use of marijuana the “lowest law enforcement priority.” Big Island Now.


The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) has closed the remote Muliwai Trail in North Kohala for public safety, effective yesterday through Friday May 11 and Monday May 14 through Thursday, May 17, while it conducts annual trail and campground maintenance and repair. Associated Press.


Maui

Maui County's public transit system is straining to meet the growing demand of bus riders. Maui News.

A forum on flooding in South Maui titled "Stormwater: Can a Problem Become a Resource?" will be held Friday from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary. Maui News.

The funds released by Gov. Neil Abercrombie include $2 million for improvements to the Hana Highway between Uakea Road and Keawa Place.  The CIP project includes widening to provide two-way traffic flow, facilitating emergency vehicles responding from the nearby Hana Fire Station. Maui Now.

Kauai

missile courtesy NAVAIR Photo Point
The United States destroyed a target missile near Hawaii in the first successful test of a new defense tool. Hawaii News Now.

Starting today, the Kaua‘i County Council begins a four-day review of the supplemental budget for Fiscal Year 2013 submitted Tuesday evening by Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. Garden Island.

The Kauai Planning Commission is approving a plan to nearly double the size of the Kauai Veterans Cemetery in Hanapepe. Associated Press.

Representatives of RSVP, Foster Grandparents and Senior Companions programs took to the street following a visit with Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. to bring their traffic safety messages to the public, traversing along Rice Street fronting the Kaua‘i Museum and First Hawaiian Bank’s Lihu‘e Branch. Garden Island.

Molokai

Construction of the new Kawela Bridge is scheduled to continue through January 2014, according to a statement from Goodfellow Bros., the Molokai company contracted to complete the work. The $8.4 million project is being paid for with $6.5 million in federal funds, $1.6 million in state money, and some additional funding, according to DOT spokesperson Michael Moscati. Molokai Dispatch.