Friday, May 29, 2009

Top Hawaii Headlines: Friday morning edition

The Department of Land and Natural Resources will close the Mauna Kea Forest Reserve June 2 and 3 to conduct animal control activities, specifically aerial shooting from helicopters of feral goats, feral sheep, mouflon and mouflon/feral sheep hybrids.

Chasing a slumping economy to the bottom, the state Council on Revenues yesterday whacked the state's revenue forecast, forcing new state spending cuts and throwing the state's two-year budget out of balance.

The state attorney general's office has questioned the Kawaiaha'o Church about its fundraising for a new $17.5 million multipurpose center.

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs presented a $3 million check to the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands yesterday to help finance construction of more affordable homes for native Hawaiians.

It would cost $20 million to $30 million to refurbish the Waikiki War Memorial Natatorium, according to a rough estimate prepared for a 17-member, city-convened task force that met for the first time yesterday to discuss the future of the historic site

The public is invited to participate in meetings concerning a National Park Service special use permit for the proposed Advanced Technology Solar Telescope on Haleakala on Maui.

Police have arrested 21 people in connection of what they've described as "a recent spike in crimes associated with drug use and distribution in Puna."

Hawaii Island needs cheaper health care, more doctors and a system that places greater emphasis on prevention, industry experts told U.S. Congresswoman Mazie Hirono on Wednesday.

Maui Economic Concerns of the Community did intend to pay back county loans, but defaulted when plans for financing and future projects were dropped after a change in the county administration, said former Executive Director Charlie Ridings.

Federal officials are “doing anything and everything we possibly can to find who did this horrible thing” — the killing of two endangered Hawaiian monk seals in or near Kaua‘i waters in the last two months.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Top Hawaii Headlines: Thursday morning edition

State programs to repopulate Hawaiian Waters with fish and create more artificial reefs are on the budget chopping block

Lawmakers are expecting that the state Council on Revenues will forecast today an additional $90 million drop in state revenues.

Visitor arrivals last month dipped a modest 1.3 percent from April 2008, a major improvement over the double-digit declines that have dominated the past 12 months.

State union leaders say Gov. Linda Lingle has switched from calling for furloughs to demanding that state workers take pay cuts.

Army pilots whose unit is preparing for deployment to Iraq died yesterday after their helicopter crashed during a training flight at Wheeler Army Airfield, officials said.

Beset with costly contracts and the appearance of conflicts of interest, Mayor Billy Kenoi vowed Tuesday to strengthen the county ethics code to prevent more of the same during his administration.

The first of many applications under the new bed-and-breakfast ordinance had an easy time winning approval at the Maui Planning Commission Tuesday.

Putting a “fascinating” budget process behind them, the Kaua‘i County Council on Wednesday approved a $213 million budget in the form of two bills, which will be sent today to Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. for his approval.

Two school-age children became the first Big Island residents to be diagnosed with swine flu, the state Department of Health said Tuesday.

If the Board of Regents approves a proposal to offer a second bachelor's degree at Maui Community College, it will likely mean a name change for the Kahului campus to the University of Hawaii-Maui, UH President David McClain said in a memo to the regents.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Top Hawaii Headlines: Tuesday morning edition

A long-awaited environmental report on the world's largest optical/infrared telescope, planned for the summit of Mauna Kea, says the overall public benefits of the project outweigh any "unavoidable adverse impacts."

If everyone agrees the state budget is balanced, why is there such an unending controversy about it?

Money from the federal economic stimulus package has started to flow into the islands, with the Navy putting out nearly $42 million in construction contracts and the Hawaii congressional delegation announcing about $64 million in Army projects.

More than 500 people stood and cheered L. Tammy Duckworth, a former helicopter pilot wounded in Iraq and U.S. assistant secretary of veteran affairs, who returned home to speak at a Memorial Day ceremony yesterday at the Hawaii State Veterans Cemetery in Kaneohe.

A Purple Heart war veteran from West Maui has given his medal to a local businessman he believes is worthy of recognition

An increase in the number of unsheltered homeless people in the urban core has state officials rethinking their efforts for the area and trying to figure out how to deal with people who have been on the streets for months or years and have mental-health or substance-abuse problems.

Every Year something magical takes place in Hawaii on Memorial Day. As the sun sets, thousands of paper lanterns are released into the sea in memory of our lost loved ones.

Yesterday afternoon's stifling heat gave way to the slightest of breezes as the sun dipped below the horizon and some 2,200 wooden, rubber and paper floating lanterns set sail off Ala Moana Beach Park.

The Big Island may soon have the first officially designated scenic byway in the state.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Native Americans, Native Hawaiians together

Wailoa River State Park in Hilo was the scene this weekend for the 4th annual Inter-Tribal Pow Wow. On bright green grass beneath swaying palm trees, under a warm sun caressed by cooling ocean breezes, the event rang with drums, pipes, dances and pageantry, as peoples from across the nation joined their Native Hawaiian brethren for three days of togetherness and remembrance.

Although Native Americans account for fewer than 6,000 of Hawaii’s 1.3 million people, their ties to the Native Hawaiian and Native Alaskan peoples is enduring. Memorial Day is an apt time for their togetherness – like many of their Caucasian comrades in arms, Native peoples came to Hawaii as part of their military service, fell in love with the peaceful paradise, and chose to stay.

The Presen-
tation of the colors and the opening ceremonies began the day of workshops, chanting, singing and events for children

and adults alike.

The powwow was sponsored by the Federation of American Natives, in partnership with Big Island Resource Con-
servation and Dev-
elopment Council Inc. Support also came from the Hawaii Tourism Authority, Hawaii County Council-
woman Emily Naeole, Angel Pilago, Connections Public Charter School, Big Island Weekly and the Big island Chapter of Alii’s of Hawaii Motorcycle Club.

Fried bread, Indian tacos and shave ice were among the offerings from the food vendors. All kinds of Native American jewelry, animal skins, sun catchers and carvings were also available in the vendor area behind the arena.

Prominent participants: Head Man Dancer Joe Hacker, a Rosebud Lakota; Head Woman Dancer Shelly Hill, a Mohawk; Master of Ceremonies Chip Begay, a Navajo; and Arena Directors Dan McDaniel, a Choctaw, and Tom Rowland, an Oglala. The Host Drum is 808NDNZ, an intertribal drum from Oahu, with guest drum Wild Horse from Southern California.

Top Hawaii Headlines: Monday morning edition

Big Island losing coqui frog war. War on invasive species pau as money dries up, frog numbers explode.

The Marine Option Program and degrees and certificates in classics, music composition and dance are among 33 programs under review for possible elimination as part of a long-term strategy to streamline the budget at the University of Hawaii at Manoa

President Barack Obama will name a new judge to Hawaii's federal courts in June as U.S. District Chief Judge Helen Gillmor retires.

Despite the economic downturn, Hawai'i travel agents say sales of tours to Rome for the canonization of Father Damien in October are brisk, with hundreds of Hawai'i residents already signed up to make the 8,000-mile trip.

Despite concerns about cost and the complexity of the law, the publicly funded campaigns of Hawaii County Council candidates will go forward next year.

Like museums across the country, Bishop Museum — Hawai'i's premier historic and cultural institution — is struggling to find ways to cope with the lingering economic recession. Dwindling grants, plummeting visitor arrivals, and poor investment returns have made that process especially painful.

Crystal methamphetamine and other narcotics are showing signs of a resurgence on Maui, due to the dismal economy, according to a Maui Police Department vice officer.

April was another cruel month for real estate, but some places have weathered the storm better than others.

Roz Savage knows her biggest challenge to completing a 2,600-mile solo row from Honolulu to Tuvalu in the South Pacific will be crossing the equator.

125 fighting cocks were taken into protective custody by the Kaua‘i Humane Society after being confiscated from a cockfight in Kapa‘a by the Kaua‘i Police Department’s specialized unit. Of the total, 71 remain alive.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Top Hawaii Headlines: Friday morning edition

If life is a beach, Hanalei Bay must be heaven. This remote, two-mile crescent-shaped beach on Kauai where the emerald mountains meet the sparkling sea was selected No. 1 on "Dr. Beach" Stephen P. Leatherman's 2009 list of top 10 beaches, which was released Friday.

As the total number of swine flu cases in the Islands climbed to 40 yesterday, state officials reiterated calls for residents to stay home when they're sick, while reassuring travelers that measures are being taken to contain the virus.

Swine flu concerns have cost the state millions of dollars in Japanese visitor spending this month.

Soon we may be able to listen to a recorded message left by King David Kalakaua in the late 1800s

After several hours of haggling, the Hawaii County Council on Wednesday managed to save the auditor's budget and help elderly transportation, too.

The Hawaii County Council voted 6-3 Wednesday to withhold an estimated $9 million from a land-purchase fund Big Island voters created in 2006.

After numerous starts and stops, mistakes, a do over and even a flood, the Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge boardwalk could, finally, open in the next month or so, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service officials said Thursday.

Whether or not some animosity exists between stand-up paddleboarders, surfers and swimmers, it’s evident that the popular sport is helping to boost the local economy.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Top Hawaii Headlines: Thursday morning edition

Hawai'i drivers are third-worst in the nation when it comes to their know-ledg
e of basic road rules, according to a survey.

Federal weather officials said they plan to give more advance notice to the public the next time a hurricane approaches the state

State lawmakers have agreed to give public hospitals more money to help them climb out of a financial crisis and greater flexibility to meet community healthcare needs, but have weakened corporate control over the system in favor of more power for regional administrators.

Gas guzzlers and imported vegetables may one day be a thing of the past, according to three energy-related bills awaiting Gov. Linda Lingle’s final approval.

A Maui judge issued an injunction yesterday preventing the state Office of Elections from using new voting machines or procedures in the 2010 elections without first adopting administrative rules.

Honolulu is looking for its 10th police chief after the Honolulu Police Commission voted unanimously yesterday to end Boisse P. Correa's contract when it expires in August.

Come New Year's Day, Big Island motorists will have to hang up their cell phones while driving, according to an amended bill a County Council committee advanced Tuesday by an 8-1 vote.

The Hawaii County Council is set Wednesday to knock the teeth out of its government watchdog, just months after voters put the office into the county charter.

Opponents and supporters of the U.S. Forest Service releasing a Brazilian scale insect to combat the invasive strawberry guava were optimistic Monday that their side would prevail and the facts would be revealed.

Thousands of people went to the Neal S. Blaisdell Exhibition Hall on Wednesday with the hope of finding a job.

Island Chevrolet has reached the end of the road, closing both its Hilo and Kona locations.

Maui Land & Pineapple Co. President and Chief Executive Officer Robert Webber will receive $150,000 and 30,000 shares of stock as part of his resignation agreement, according to a report filed Tuesday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

A warning about asian eyelid surgery - new research from a University of Hawaii professor reveals a misperception that could lead to undesirable results.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Top Hawaii Headlines: Wednesday morning edition

The state appears to be making progress in its push to address the homeless crisis, according to a new homeless point-in-time count, which estimates the number of unsheltered homeless in the Islands is down about 25 percent compared with 2007.

The state Legislature quietly let expire a tax exemption on the sale of gasoline in Hawaii, meaning that drivers will pay an extra $40 million a year in state taxes starting July 1.

The price of public school lunches is expected to go up by about 85 cents after the governor signed a law to allow the Department of Education to increase the cost of school meals.

When the Honolulu City Council Budget Committee on Monday voted to raise property taxes, council members also hiked a number of other city fees twice.

Six state senators are asking the University of Hawaii Board of Regents to delay the selection of a new UH president and include "a native son or daughter of Hawaii" on the list of possible candidates.

Honolulu prosecutors are trying to decide if there is enough evidence to bring misdemeanor criminal charges for the beating death of a peacock.

With his contract set to expire in August, the Honolulu Police Commission will discuss the future of Police Chief Boisse P. Correa today and may decide to extend his contract or start looking for a new chief.

Honolulu Harbor is Hawaii's busiest harbor. But along with all the ships in the water, trash and unwanted items have been dumped beneath the surface for decades.

The growth in Hawaii County employees continues to outpace population growth in Hawaii County, despite the fact that 17 percent of budgeted positions aren't filled.

All you had to do was ask. Turns out Hawaii County employees have lots of ideas about how to increase revenues or cut expenses in their government.

The future of Old Kona Aiport Park is here -- at least, in draft form.

With no signs of significant rainfall coming any time soon, Maui County water officials are concerned about more dry weather and falling water levels in Upcountry reservoirs.

A 300-pound female green sea turtle found injured and bleeding in waist-deep water off the U.S. Navy Pacific Missile Range Facility at Barking Sands was rescued by humans.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Top Hawaii Headlines: Tuesday morning edition

A peacock was viciously beaten to death this weekend in Makaha. The accused animal killer said the bird's constant squawking drove her to do it

The number of Japanese visitors arriving in Hawai'i plunged over the last two weeks amid swine-flu fears — even though Hawai'i cases have remained few and mild — and cancellations over the next few months are likely to cost the state millions more in lost revenue.

The Lingle administration is ordering $36.3 million in cuts that essentially requires state agencies to stop all discretionary spending.

The latest budget proposal from the Honolulu City Council's Budget Committee would give homeowners a $175 tax credit to help offset an expected increase in the property tax rate

Oahu communities that have waited years for curbside recycling might have to wait even longer now that the Honolulu City Council's Budget Committee has cut $6 million in funding for the roll-out scheduled to begin next May.

With no signs of significant rainfall coming any time soon, Maui County water officials are concerned about more dry weather and falling water levels in Upcountry reservoirs.

Community members continued to dream big Sunday as three proposed plans for Old Kona Airport Park were discussed in greater detail.

A new health clinic quietly opened its doors in Hilo and is now accepting patients.

A tripped generator caused short-term power outages at “various pockets” around Kaua‘i on Monday afternoon, according to multiple witnesses and the Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Top Hawaii Headlines: Monday morning edition

In addition to marketing cam-
paigns supporting local ag-
riculture, the Depart-
ment of Agri-
culture is beginning to designate the long-awaited Important Agricultural Lands across the state.

Gov. Linda Lingle told Hawaii Republicans that it's time for younger members of the state GOP to move into leadership positions.

A 66 cent fee on local monthly cell phone bills intended to pay for 911 emergency location technology is now a windfall for the cash-strapped state.

The recession has lifted the state's bottle deposit redemption rate to an all-time high of 77 percent.

By the time the Hawaii Superferry auction was over Saturday morning, everything from the tent over the bidders' heads to benches under their bottoms was sold.

A long overdue cleanup of Honolulu Harbor is not the end of an environmental effort.

The Maui Police Commission has picked Deputy Chief Gary Yabuta to be the county's new police chief.

Driving while talking or texting on a hand-held cell phone is dangerous and should be outlawed, says the Hawaii County Council's vice chairman.

Some Makawao merchants and their customers are alarmed by changes being prepared for Baldwin Avenue by the Makawao Main Street Association.

Yesterday was a deadly day on Oahu as two men died and several others were hurt in four separate accidents.

The four senior centers on O'ahu, which provide services aimed at keeping seniors active and out of nursing homes, are cutting back programs and staff and grappling with how to keep their doors open after failing to secure rainy-day funds from legislators.

A Honolulu City Council committee has delayed action on a proposal to allow bed-and-breakfasts to operate in residential areas under certain conditions

It's the newest addition to the Hawaii Air Ambulance fleet.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Top Hawaii Headlines: Friday morning edition

The Health Department may increase the Hawaii beverage container deposit by a half cent, which could result in retailers rounding up a whole cent for consumers.

A proposed tax of $1.05 on each barrel of oil sold in Hawai‘i, which would inevitably be passed on to drivers at the pump, would go to fund energy and food self-sufficiency in the state.

Oahu's neighborhood board election is making history because it is the world's first election being conducted entirely on the Internet and by telephone.

Maui's Island Dodge on Hana Highway in Kahului is among the 789 dealerships nationwide Chrysler LLC wants to eliminate by early next month, according to a bankruptcy court filing today.

A former Kaua'i mortgage broker who admitted to defrauding more than 50 people out of $30 million drove his truck off a cliff into a ravine in Washington state, killing himself yesterday, the day he was due in federal court in Honolulu for sentencing, according to law enforcement officials

State Sen. Fred Hemmings' wife, Lydia, pleaded not guilty to felony theft charges yesterday and is free on $5,000 bail pending trial in July.

A scientific study of shark-cage dive tours in Hawai'i indicates they pose little risk to public safety, largely because they operate at least three miles offshore and are frequented by Galapagos and sandbar sharks, two species rarely involved in attacks on humans.

The Army Reserve in the Pacific will get its first female leader: Brig. Gen. Michele Gillen Compton, who has been a reservist for more than two decades.

Derelict fishing nets are turned into electricity

While local officials cast about for ways to plug a growing budget hole, at least $10 million in salaries and benefits for vacant positions sits idle in Hawaii County coffers.

Kaua‘i’s Board of Ethics took significant steps toward a more transparent government Thursday morning.

After selling one of its bulldozers as surplus for $52,083, Hawaii County will have spent $427,025 renting it back by the time its recently extended contract expires June 31.

The Maui County Council on Wednesday approved keeping property tax rates at existing levels for the next year.

School officials are investigating how a Keaau Middle student managed to pull up an Internet pornography site on a school computer.

A Keaau couple accused of commercial promotion of marijuana claims their arrest was unlawful because both are medical marijuana patients.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Top Hawaii Headlines: Thursday morning edition

The state Supreme Court yesterday denied a request by the Lingle administration and state House and Senate leaders to reconsider a March ruling that led to the shutdown of Hawai'i Superferry.

An effort to balance the state budget could keep visitors from heading to Hawaii. A small change in Hawaii's room tax will make big waves, not only in Waikiki, but across the state - with the island's tourism industry.

The University of Hawaii announced on Wednesday that it will not have the traditional handshake at the Manoa campus graduation.

A Maui resident who became sick in Washington state is among four more cases of swine flu reported for Hawaii, bringing the state's total to 10, according to the state Department of Health.

The Honolulu City Council is pushing a 3-cent-a-gallon fuel tax increase and plans to discuss raising property taxes next week.

Honolulu on Wednesday suspended the commuter ferry service known as TheBoat, a spokesman said.

The $2.5 billion attack submarine USS Hawaii left the East Coast yesterday en route to its new home port at Pearl Harbor.

Hawaii County has fired its contractors and taken back the Kamakoa at Waikoloa Workforce Housing project.

Seeking to subdivide his Glenwood property to create homesites for his children, Mayor Billy Kenoi wants one of his Cabinet appointees to exempt the parcels from minimum water requirements.

In typical and traditional Native Hawaiian fashion, Kaua‘i Police Chief Darryl Perry is not just administering his huge department for the present.

Officials yesterday recovered the body of a woman in a ravine off Waimano Trail, in a renewed search effort prompted by the reappearance just hours before of a missing woman's pet dog.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Lawmakers to be schooled on sharks

Shark experts will be schooling lawmakers Thursday about shark feeding in relation to commercial tours.

The information briefing, conducted by the Senate committees on Energy and Environment and Water, Land, Agriculture and Hawaiian Affairs, will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Capitol auditorium.

  • On the agenda:
  • Presentation by the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology about shark behavior and human interactions.
  • Presentation by Hawaii Shark Encounters about their shark tour operations.
  • Presentation by Surfrider Foundation from the perspective of ocean recreation users.
  • Presentation by Save Our Surf from the perspective of ocean recreation users.
  • Presentation by the Royal Order of Kamehameha concerning the Native Hawaiian perspective of sharks.
  • Presentation by the Department of Land and Natural Resources, Aquatic Resources Division regarding the state's jurisdiction over near shore waters.
  • Presentation by the U.S. Coast Guard regarding enforcement activities in federal waters.
  • Presentation by the NOAA Fisheries Service regarding federal jurisdiction.

Top Hawaii Headlines: Wednesday morning edition

Pipe and cigar smokers along with those who buy snuff and chewing tobacco in Hawaii are getting a four-month, $400,000 state tobacco tax holiday because of an error in a tax law written by the state Legislature.

The state's Employees' Retirement System investment portfolio sank by more than a half-billion dollars during the first three months of the year as stock markets tumbled.

State legislators surprised hospital officials with a $12.3 million appropriation to help offset rising costs of health care for the unemployed and uninsured.

An article posted on the Tax Foundation's Web site said Hawai'i is leap-frogging seven other states to move into the No. 1 spot for income tax rates.

The National Science Foundation says the summit of Haleakala is the best site in the world for its proposed Advanced Technology Solar Telescope.

About 25 people on Tuesday protested at the Honolulu federal court demanding the impeachment and prosecution of federal Judge James S. Bybee.

West Hawaii's own planning commission will meet for the first time on Friday.

Just 75 marijuana plants, ranging in size from seedlings to four-footers, were taken by law enforcement officers during last week’s Green Harvest operations across the island, according to Kaua‘i Police Department officials.

Officers seized 113 plants from indoor pot operation. Two people accused of operating an indoor pot farm have been indicted by a Hilo grand jury.

Imagine getting liposuction during your lunch, then going to work the next day. New technology makes that possible. It's a laser procedure, now available in Honolulu, and it's a first in Hawaii.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Bike to Work Week kicks off in Hawaii

Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi kicked off Bike to Work Week today with a bicycle ride across Hilo ending at the county government owned Aupuni Center, near the new judiciary complex and state office building.

Bike to Work Week is a statewide celebration of bicycling as a clean, green transportation alternative, a healthy physical activity and an economical means of mobility for many Hawaii residents.

The national event was organized locally by PATH, Peoples Advocacy for Trails Hawaii, a 23-year old nonprofit pedestrian and bicycling advocacy organization.

Bike to Work Week activities will be happening all week on Maui, Kauai, Oahu and the Big Island.

Top Hawaii Headlines: Monday morning edition

Gov. Linda Lingle is asking for your input on the measures that do everything from dictate street planning to make include pathways for bicyclists and pedestrians, banning opihi hunting, changing the expiration date of some licenses, to designating the state insect.

The wife of Republican state Sen. Fred Hemmings has been indicted on charges of theft from a nonprofit organization.

DLNR faces ‘Plan B’ to fix parks, harbors

Hawaii lawmakers couldn't agree on a ban on genetic modification of Hawaiian taro this year.

Recycling paper to cut costs at Hawaii Community Correctional Center apparently led to the "inadvertent release" of confidential information on prisoners.

More than 600 public comments were lodged in response to a city plan to build a 20-mile East Kapolei to Ala Moana train.

A Kailua woman, accused of stealing about a dozen people's personal information to obtain credit cards, is expected to make her first court appearance in the case Monday.

Despite high-profile killings including a recent fire death in Makiki and the shooting of a Kailua attorney, the number of homicides in Honolulu this year is low compared to comparable-sized Mainland cities and on pace to meet the decade's average.

Kapolei resident Brent Buckley said he is glad the federal government is helping to fund a cleanup of former sugar cane land in West Oahu containing toxic chemicals from pesticides.

Maui Memorial Medical Center improvements, bolstering Honoapiilani Highway against erosion, and land acquisition for a Maui Community College campus on Molokai are just some of the projects funded in the budget passed by the state Legislature.

The value of one Hilo parcel has more than quadrupled since it was rezoned by the County Council in 2004, leading one council member to question whether the county should be stricter about making property owners adhere to their stated plans for rezoning.

County crews pushed back sand and removed the tops of dunes along a quarter-mile stretch of South Kihei Road last week as part of an effort to keep sand out of the road.

Hawaii-born astronaut Megan McArthur will have her hands full this week as part of the daring shuttle mission to repair the Hubble Space Telescope.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Top Hawaii Headlines: Friday morning edition

On a day rich in political theater, Gov. Linda Lingle stood before several hundred people in the state Capitol and vetoed tax increases she warned would further damage the state's sagging economy.

State lawmakers return to work today -- one day more than usual -- poised to override three of Gov. Linda Lingle's vetoes.

Legislation that would ease the way for implementation of the 4 percent general excise tax on all Internet purchases made from Hawaii is on its way to the governor.

Hawaii's congressional delegation has decided to turn to the past to advance a measure that would give native Hawaiians federal recognition similar to that of American Indians.

Pilot error caused a Cessna to crash June 17 into Mauna Loa on the Big Island, killing all three on board, the National Transportation Safety Board reported yesterday.

O'ahu's latest swine flu victims did not have contact with any of the first three patients and appear to have contracted the disease here, state health officials announced yesterday.

The state Senate briefly revived civil unions yesterday but then quickly voted to amend the bill, a move that killed the bill for this session but led to new promises from majority Democrats that they would try again next year.

Maui County Council members will look at maintaining cuts in the county budget, and setting aside some or all of the hotel tax revenues they now expect to get from the state, when they meet to restore $18 million to the budget next week.

Hawaii County wants to work with its three counterparts in pursuing a single, statewide solution to each county's garbage-disposal challenges.

A tiny high school on the Big Island that provides a free college-preparatory education to students from Pacific island nations expects to shut down at the end of the academic year for lack of funds.

Target is hiring up to 300 people to work in its Big Island store.

Maui Police Commission members heard testimony from 13 people Wednesday morning on the panel's pending decision on the successor to police Chief Tom Phillips, who retires June 1.

To help prevent the extinction of Kaua‘i’s native flora and fauna, the State of Hawai‘i recently added 486 acres of preserved land to the system’s Waimea district, bringing the total size of the Hono O Na Pali Natural Area Reserve to 3,579 acres.

Who says it's only for banks? More than 194,000 island residents are getting a little economic stimulus of their own. The federal government is mailing nearly $55 million in checks to Hawaii Social Security recipients.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Top Hawaii Headlines: Thursday morning edition

Hawaii continues to have the lowest rate of gun-related deaths in the nation, which state officials and a national organization attribute to Hawaii's strict gun laws and low gun ownership.

The Army yesterday said it has given up efforts to retry 1st Lt. Ehren Watada on three charges for refusing to deploy to Iraq in 2006, but has not made up its mind about two other court-martial charges or the possibility of administrative punishment.

The state's $5-billion-a-year budget and an estimated $300 million in tax increases are to be decided in vetoes and possible overrides today and tomorrow.

Gov. Linda Lingle yesterday continued to denounce tax increases approved by the Legislature when she took her message of no new taxes to the people in a live webcast. The governor's Web site was overloaded during the 4:15 p.m. time slot and many late-arriving viewers had trouble loading the page.

A bill that aims to plug a $150 million hole in the state's two-year budget also portends the demise of the state's burgeoning high-technology industry, some lawmakers say.

Two more O'ahu adults appear to have contracted swine flu, which would bring the number of Hawai'i cases to five.

One of two men who allegedly killed and ate a family's pet dog pleaded guilty yesterday to first-degree animal cruelty.

Property taxes would be held steady and free bus service continued, but the county's 2 percent land fund would be suspended and prime Hamakua acreage sold under an amended budget Mayor Billy Kenoi released Tuesday.

Furloughs of nonunion county legislative and executive branch workers are off the table in Hawaii County.

As negotiations continue to lay the groundwork for a new Target and expanded Safeway store in Hilo, a final environmental assessment anticipates no significant impacts.

A jury on Wednesday found Kelii Acasia guilty of manslaughter for the beating death of a man in Waikiki last year.

Five Keanae residents launched a campaign this week to stop the state Department of Education from permanently closing the one-room schoolhouse in their remote East Maui community.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Top Hawaii Headlines: Wednesday morning edition

Gov. Linda Lingle is warning public employee unions that those who bargain with the state now will get a better settlement than those who stall.

Gov. Linda Lingle accused majority Democrats yesterday of giving government labor unions a "false sense of hope" that the tax increases they have approved would help soften wage and benefit cuts in collective bargaining.

Healthcare costs are taking up an increasing share of people's budgets in Hawai'i, with 262,000 residents now paying more than 10 percent of their income for healthcare.

The fate of a lawsuit that challenged the state's title to lands once held by the Hawaiian monarchy now rests with Gov. Linda Lingle, who took the case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs and the state on Tuesday announced an agreement over the sale of ceded lands.

From slamming the Hawaii Superferry exemption law to revealing debt-management counselors' deceptive practices, a new report provides a round-up of all the recommendations made last year by the state Office of the Auditor.

Third Circuit Court Senior Administrative Judge Ronald Ibarra entered his third 10-year
term as a Circuit Court judge Monday evening.

The state has identified 39 individuals and businesses who could help solve its budget crisis -- by simply paying millions in overdue taxes.

State health leaders are investigating the sudden death of Kurt Sonoda, a teacher and golf coach at Pearl City High School who contracted a flesh-eating bacteria. Officials say the 45-year-old was sent home from work on Thursday because he felt sick

The Maui Fire Department’s Air One helicopter lifted firefighters into an inaccessible area of Huelo on Monday afternoon to recover the body of a young woman found at the base of a 180-foot waterfall.

It's called the "greatest game of all time" by Electronic Gaming Monthly magazine. Tetris was born in Russia, but a local man gave life to it, making it an international phenomenon.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Top Hawaii Headlines: Tuesday morning edition

Swine flu appears to have reached Hawai'i, with three probable cases: a married military couple and an unrelated school-age child.

Gov. Linda Lingle, trying to tap into populist anger over higher taxes, yesterday invited the public to join her at the state Capitol on Thursday afternoon when she plans to veto bills that would raise taxes.

Lingle called bills to raise the hotel room tax and increase state income taxes for high income earners, SB 1111 and HB 1747, "seriously detrimental to our economic health."

Karen's Law: The daughter of a woman who was allegedly strangled by a teenager is frustrated that a bill to make it easier to try juveniles as adults when charged with first-degree murder has not been approved.

A 1997 graduate of Konawaena High School will serve as a ground segment lead in Tuesday's launch of a NASA microsatellite to study space's affect on cells in long-duration space travel.

In a tight budget year, fair elections funds are proving fair game for a government raid, a move that could delay public financing of Hawaii County Council elections.

More than 15,000 students at Kapiolani Community College face an identity theft risk because of an Internet security breach, school officials said.

The Kaua‘i Marriott and the Kaua‘i Invasive Species Committee teamed up last week to remove the island’s only known pampas grass population located at the Kaua‘i Lagoons Golf Club.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Top Hawaii Headlines: Monday morning edition

May Day in Hawaii is, of course, Lei Day. The tradition started back in 1928, and it was a way to encourage people to wear and celebrate lei.

State lawmakers have killed an attempt to balance the state budget by taking the counties' share of hotel room tax money, a move that would have brought the state $100 million annually.

The attack submarine USS Jacksonville sailed 6,000 miles from the East Coast to Hawai'i in just less than a month's time, stopping in its namesake city in Florida and passing through the Panama Canal along the way.

Occupancy at Hawai'i hotels sank to a more than two-decade low in March, with about one-third of all hotel rooms empty, according to the latest monthly survey of visitor accommodations.

An updated University of Hawaii study estimates repair and maintenance costs at the system's 10 campuses will likely top $1 billion through the next 10 years, raising questions about how the university and taxpayers will pay for it.

Honolulu Community College has identified four finalists for the position of chancellor and has invited them to participate in a final round of interviews and open forums from Monday, May 4, through Thursday, May 7.

Hilo land once slated for a large residential and commercial development has been purchased by a Hilo group that wants to build medical facilities and senior housing.

The Hawaii County Council won't make a final decision Wednesday on the mayor's proposal to suspend payments to the 2 percent land fund.

More than 400 Hawaii residents are making plans to attend the canonization of Father Damien in Rome this fall, including about 10 patients from Kalaupapa.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Top Hawaii Headlines: Friday morning edition

State House and Senate budget negotiators are close to an agreement on a state budget that would cut general-fund spending by about $800 million over two years and eliminate some state jobs.

Hawai'i's governor would need to obtain approval from two-thirds of each house of the Legislature before selling any state lands, under a bill agreed to by House and Senate leaders in conference committee yesterday.

Legislation that would reduce controversial high-technology tax credits in Hawaii was sent to the House and Senate floors yesterday after lawmakers meeting in a conference committee agreed on a compromise.

The head of the Honolulu city department whose employees are under criminal investigation for an overtime scam said he has changed procedures to avoid future fraud.

School officials acknowledge the availability of soap and paper towels has been spotty in school restrooms because of vandalism and theft.

Family members of a Honolulu attorney are mourning his sudden death. Craig Kimsel, 48, was gunned down in a home in Kailua Tuesday night.

The south end of the Big Island will get a mobile medical van using federal Homeland Security grant funding. The van is authorized by the sole surviving bill from Ka'u Rep. Bob Herkes' vog package, which he submitted this legislative session.

Saying there's still too much up in the air at the state level, Mayor Billy Kenoi is keeping his amended budget plan under tight wraps until his May 5 presentation to the Hawaii County Council.

Puna Councilwoman Emily Naeole has resurrected her proposal to allow people to live in tents while building a permitted home.

The U.S. Coast Guard released reports Thursday on two fatal touring catamaran accidents that occurred in Hawaiian waters less than four months apart in December 2006 and March 2007.

The Hawaii Republican Party was gearing up this week to continue making an example out of state Rep. Joe Bertram III with a television ad and automated phone calls to voters after the South Maui Democrat stood up for a friend convicted of trying to sexually prey on children.

An annual inspection and notices from a property management company left residents of Hualalai Elderly Housing fearful that they would be evicted from their homes and left with nowhere to go.

After months of anticipation, the grand opening of the new St. Regis Princeville Resort has been postponed to Oct. 1.