Friday, November 30, 2012

Hawaii tourism hot, Honolulu addresses solar PV permit backlog, middle class tax cut could cost Hawaii $1B, phone scammer calls Kauai police chief, state funds for Hilo hospital, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Polynesian Cultural Center (c) 2012 All Hawaii News
Increased tourism is the gift that keeps on giving for Hawaii's visitor industry, which moved past the traditional October shoulder season with nary a slowdown in sight and is heading toward a strong year-end finish and start next year. Star-Advertiser.

Japan overtook the East Coast of the United States in October to become Hawaii’s second largest visitor market, after the West Coast market, according to statistics released Thursday by the Hawaii Tourism Authority. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii is on track to welcome a record number of visitors to the islands this year, the Hawaii Tourism Authority said Thursday. Associated Press.

Allowing tax cuts on middle class families to expire could result in almost a billion-dollar reduction in consumer spending in Hawaii in 2013. Civil Beat.

Hundreds of teachers from 51 public schools statewide participated in grass-roots “work to rule” protests Thursday to call for a resolution to a labor dispute entering its 17th month. Star-Advertiser.

As Hawaii strives to cut its dependence on imported oil, researchers at the University of Hawaii say that state policymakers are missing a major part of the equation when it comes to energy efficiency goals. Civil Beat.

Hawaii's energy costs could drop by as much as $2 billion a year if natural gas not oil was used to generate electricity, according to the head of Hawaii's gas company. Civil Beat.

Hawaii has the second-least competitive commercial health insurance market in the country, according to an American Medical Association study released this week. West Hawaii Today.

Local attorney and former state lawmaker John Carroll is taking another whack at the Jones Act, the federal law that supports America’s commercial shipping fleet but is also criticized as inflating Hawaii’s cost of living. Star-Advertiser.

The University of Hawaii Board of Regents will follow at least one recommendation from a Senate Special Accountability Committee that looked into the fundraising concert debacle at UH-Manoa.Star-Advertiser.

State Auditor Marion Higa will retire midway through her current eight-year term on Dec. 31, after 21 years. Star-Advertiser.

State roundup for November 30. Associated Press.

Oahu

A bill allowing third-party electrical engineers to make final inspections of newly installed photovoltaic systems on Oahu got a key approval from the City Council Zoning and Planning Committee on Thursday despite objections raised by city inspectors. Star-Advertiser.

Installation of Solar Photovoltaic Systems to generate electricity on O’ahu has more than doubled each year since 2009 … fueled in large part by federal, state and public utility incentives.   But this has caused the workload for electrical inspectors to quadruple…and the Honolulu City Council is seeking temporary relief. Hawaii Public Radio.

Gun registrations on Oahu are headed toward record numbers, resulting in long lines at for buyers seeking permits for their firearms. Hawaii News Now.

In a firm show of support for rail, a Honolulu City Council committee voted 8-1 Thursday to authorize Mayor Peter Carlisle's administration to sign an agreement to accept $1.55 billion in federal funding to help finance the city's planned train project. Star-Advertiser.

Starting Saturday, the State Health Department will allow Honolulu police officers to take people an HPD psychologist believes may be suffering from mental illness to four Oahu hospitals that do not have in-patient psychiatric wards. Hawaii News Now.

Kailua residents are gearing up for the arrival of President Barack Obama and the First Family. KHON2.

Hawaii

Hilo Medical Center can begin a series of much-needed repairs and renovations to the East Hawaii hospital after Gov. Neil Abercrombie released on Thursday $3.7 million in taxpayer funds for the projects. Tribune-Herald.

The U.S. Army maintains that it does not need a license from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to possess depleted uranium at its training ranges in Hawaii. Tribune-Herald.

Kealakehe Elementary School special education teacher Julie Vernon held a sign protesting the continuing lack of contract between the Hawaii State Teachers Association and the state Thursday morning. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

The founder of an organization opposing the Public Land Development Corp. and an official with the Sierra Club Hawaii Chapter will be discussing the controversial PLDC at a meeting of Upcountry Sustainability at 7 p.m. Monday. Maui News.

Some of the new shops set to open in The Outlets of Maui in Lahaina include high-end retailers Coach, Brooks Brothers and Calvin Klein. Maui News.

Kauai

A telephone scammer dialed up a wrong number earlier this month, reaching Kauai's police chief — who recorded the conversation and shared it with the public to raise awareness about how con artists operate. Star-Advertiser.

The Kaua‘i Police Department posted an online recording of a con artist who unknowingly attempted to scam Kaua‘i Police Chief Darryl Perry, according to county officials. Garden Island.

Kana‘iolowalu is coming to Kaua‘i in an effort to reunify Native Hawaiians. The Native Hawaiian Roll Commission is hosting an informational workshop from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., and a commission meeting from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Saturday at the Kaua‘i Veteran’s Center in Lihu‘e. Garden Island.

Molokai

Congresswoman Mazie K. Hirono today joined three fellow representatives in introducing a House resolution honoring Mother Marianne Cope of Molokai. Maui Now.