Friday, April 5, 2013

Hawaii Senate passes budget, Hawaii could be drone testing ground, state addresses Oahu prison problems, Ellison holds briefings for Lanai residents, property tax hike for Kauai, bus fare hike for Hawaii County in the works, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Waikiki tourists (c) 2013 All Hawaii News
Hawaii hotels had a strong week for room rate increases last week when compared to the same week last year, while occupancy rates had modest increases on most of the major islands, according to the latest report from Hospitality Advisors LLC and Smith Travel Research. Pacific Business News.

The state Senate passed its version of the two-year budget Thursday, restoring funding slashed by the House for some of Gov. Neil Abercrombie's initiatives on early childhood education, cash incentives for entrepreneurs and information technology upgrades. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii state Senate on Thursday approved a $24 billion budget for the next two fiscal years, setting up talks with the House to work out differences in the proposals that fall short of what the governor wants. Associated Press.

Nearly two dozen individuals made personal contributions totaling at least $20,000 to dozens of candidates in the 2012 election, according to an analysis of newly available data provided by the Campaign Spending Commission. Civil Beat.

Fewer than 2 out of 10 Hawaii homeowners who are considering installing solar photovoltaic panels said they would do so if the availability of state renewable-energy tax credits was "reduced considerably or eliminated," according to a survey published Thursday. Star-Advertiser.

Sen. Clayton Hee says online journalists will be protected from being forced to reveal their sources — but only if their publications meet the definition of a magazine. Civil Beat.

Hawaii’s law is considered by media advocacy groups and working journalists as one of the best in the country. However the battle between Senate Judiciary Chair Clayton Hee and local journalists to keep the Journalism Shield Law in place did not end well for journalists at a Wednesday committee hearing. Hawaii Reporter.

FAA wants some more information on domestic drones and Hawaii could be a testing ground. Hawaii News Now.

Fracking may seem like a mainland issue, but in fact it could have major implications on Hawaii's plans to import liquefied natural gas as a way to lower electricity costs. Civil Beat.

State roundup for April 5. Associated Press.

Oahu

State corrections officials plan to install surveillance cameras in the security holding cell area at Oahu Community Correctional Center where a detainee allegedly killed another earlier this year. Star-Advertiser.

Recent incidents force Hawaii public safety officials to review policies and procedures to prevent more embarrassing incidents. Civil Beat.

A contract for a 12-hour-a-day ambulance service operating out of Halawa has been cut for budgetary reasons, but city Emergency Services Director Mark Rigg said he expects the void to be filled by next month. Star-Advertiser.

After more than two years shut down, the former Hawaii Medical Center West, and the people who want to fill its halls, is itching to reopen. KITV4.

Sears Portrait Studios close without warning to workers, customers. KHON2.

Navigation device maker TomTom found Honolulu to be the third-most traffic-congested city in North America, in its 2012 Congestion Index, released Thursday. Star-Advertiser.

Late-night spots blamed for Ala Moana crime surge. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

A hike in county bus fares may be “unavoidable,” a transit official said Thursday. West Hawaii Today.

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, said Thursday during a tour of Hilo that he and Sen. Mazie Hirono are working well together to fill the void left after the death of longtime Sen. Daniel Inouye. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

It's a matter of guesswork to foretell the impact of pending public employee union negotiations and arbitration proceedings on Maui County's fiscal 2013-14 budget. Maui News.

The march to protest the agricultural practices of agribusiness giant Monsanto Corp. drew an estimated 1,500 to 2,000 activists to the street on Saturday, March 23. Maui Weekly.

Kauai

County Finance Director Steven Hunt presented Thursday to the Kaua‘i County Council the administration’s proposal to raise property tax rates to every class of taxpayers, except for homesteaders, who have a Permanent Home Use cap in place. This alone would bring nearly $12 million in additional revenues to the county. Garden Island.

Plans for a caretaker residence situated on a Kilauea property controlled by an easement are being opposed by the Kilauea Neighborhood Association. Garden Island.

Lanai

Larry Ellison’s expansion plans for Lanai will be detailed in community meetings on the Pineapple Isle on Thursday and Saturday nights. Pacific Business News.

Molokai

The main streets of Kaunakakai were closed Saturday morning as people young and old marched through town, carrying signs and shouting protests aimed toward Monsanto and calling for clear labeling of food made with genetically modified organisms (GMO). Molokai Dispatch.