Friday, July 31, 2009

Blustery disturbances in weather and sports: Tropical Storm Lana, UH Coach McMackin

Tropical Storm Lana is strengthening and expected to become the first hurricane in the Central Pacific this hurricane season, according to the Central Pacific Hurricane Center.

Lana losing strength, expected to pass well south of Hawaii

In a comment heard 'round the sports world, University of Hawai'i football coach Greg McMackin yesterday made an admittedly "offensive" slur that not only created widespread stir but rebuke from one local gay and lesbian support group.

Greg McMackin embarked on his trip back to Hawaii yesterday trailed by a most unwelcome spotlight.

University of Hawaii football coach Greg McMackin drew sharp criticism for using a gay slur repeatedly during a Western Athletic Conference media day Thursday in Salt Lake City.

The Navy scored another missile hit off the northern coast of Kauai.The latest successful missile interception comes on the heels of continuing tensions with North Korea over its missile program.

The U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs has announced a hearing to consider the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2009 (S.1011), sponsored by Senator Daniel K. Akaka (D-Hawaii).

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ordered Honolulu to clean and restore Ma'ili'ili Stream after the illegal unloading of concrete rubble, metal debris, used asphalt and other construction debris by city employees.

Jurors deciding the fate of a Hawaiian sovereignty group leader, accused of breaking into Iolani Palace, went home Thursday without a verdict. The jury will resume deliberations Friday morning.

Despite ongoing budget woes that have put the brakes on other aspects of Maui County's burgeoning public bus system, the county does have money to move forward with plans to build bus stops.

The one and only large-scale interisland shipping company, Young Brothers, announced Tuesday it would be upping the cost to send supplies throughout the 50th state, starting Saturday.

Moped owners would have to produce a valid safety inspection certificate when registering their machines under a bill aimed at distinguishing motorcycles disguised as "mopeds."

Hawaii County Council members get paid about $48,000 a year to represent their constituents, thanks to a recent 22 percent raise

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Hawaii's beach water quality 6th in the nation

A study by the Natural Resources Defense Council released on Wednesday found that Hawaii ranked sixth in the nation when it comes to beach water quality.

The burglary trial of self-proclaimed heir to the Hawaiian kingdom James Akahi hinges on whether he intended to commit another crime when he and six of his followers allegedly broke into Iolani Palace on Admission Day last year.

Two more people in Hawai'i have died after testing positive for the H1N1 virus, or swine flu, bringing the state total to six deaths, the state Department of Health said yesterday.

The state Public Utilities Commission has approved an average 13.46 percent increase in Young Brothers Ltd.'s interisland shipping rates.

After a nearly four-year battle in Hawai'i courts, Minnesota residents Steve and Donna LaDuke finally and officially can call Elijah, 5, their son.

The City and County of Honolulu has plans to build a $10.6 million affordable housing project for homeless in Chinatown. But the Downtown Neighborhood Board and others in the community are against the idea.

The Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority board of directors decided Tuesday against early weekday and full weekend closures of the public access gate to the property.

A preliminary study completed by the military earlier this month finds no threat to the public from depleted uranium at the Pohakuloa Training Area.

Sediment is refilling the entrance to Hilo's Wailoa Small Boat Harbor two years after the state spent $1.3 million to have the material removed.

A 5th Circuit judge on Wednesday ruled in favor of the Kauai County Planning Department and Waipouli developers regarding permits issued for the Eastside projects.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Children's deaths lower Hawaii Kids Count status

The well-being of Hawaii's children declined in 2006 and 2007 due to a big jump in child and teen death rates, according to the new Kids Count study.

Hawai'i slipped five spots from last year — to 18th in the nation — in a state-by-state ranking based on key child well-being indicators, according to the annual Kids Count Data Book released yesterday

Hawaii children rank in the top 10 in the U.S. in some key indicators of health and well being, according to the latest "Kids Count" survey by The Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Hawaii's child and teen death rate continues to worsen, even as national rates in those areas improve, according to a national survey released this week.

A new bill signed into law this month by Gov. Linda Lingle has some frequent Las Vegas visitors and local CPAs scratching their heads.

Japan arrivals plummet. Visitors in June from the state's core foreign market were at their lowest since May 2003

UH officials take pay cuts

The San Francisco-based developers of Maui's Downtown Kihei, a 320,000-square-foot, mixed-use project, want to build a new town center for South Maui, with wide, pedestrian-friendly sidewalks, an open area for community events and outdoor seating for restaurants.

Exactly two years after declaring the Big Island macadamia nut industry faced "desperate times," one large grower is making a six-figure investment to aid farmers and create jobs.

For the second time in two meetings, the Kauai County Planning Commission consented to the issuance of non-conforming use certificates to previously denied transient vacation rental applications, giving what critics called a “blanket approval” to 17 properties without reviewing each individual appeal

Monday, July 27, 2009

Big fish farm for Big Island, other top news

A dozen spherical cages each with a diameter half the length of a football field would be sub- merged in state waters off the Big Island if plans are realized to establish the largest open-ocean fish farm in Hawai'i.

A team of scientists led by a University of Hawaii oceanographer had a big surprise when they looked to the ancient past for clues to global warming.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has awarded more than $1.7 million to the University of Hawaii.

State funding cuts are battering the nonprofit sector, which has laid off scores of people over the last 12 months and is preparing for more bad news as state departments scrutinize their contracts looking for more savings.

About 420 low-income households in Hawai'i will soon be getting solar water heaters paid for with $3.7 million from the federal economic stimulus program.

The so-called "novel" H1N1 Influenza A (swine flu) "is not novel anymore," says Dr. Chris Whelen, State Laboratories Division administrator.

Some of the state's top tech-savvy innovators Saturday fused together to exchange ideas and find ways to get more people to use this valuable resource.

A less-than-hoped yield for a well drilled by Maui Land & Pineapple Co. at Piiholo has put the company and Maui County water officials at odds over a deal to use the water.

Funding has already been set aside for curbside recycling to begin next year, Kaua‘i Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. told community members at last week’s Apollo Kaua‘i meeting.

They say a man can't serve two masters, but Lincoln Ashida finds himself serving many more than that.

While Gov. Linda Lingle was meeting with union leaders last week in an attempt to resolve their labor dispute, some of the state's Big Island employees were receiving layoff notices and pondering their financial futures.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Submarines, trains and weinermobiles top news

A state with a warrior tradition yesterday welcomed a 21st- century combatant to its shores: the Virginia-class submarine USS Hawai'i.

The state welcomes the USS Hawaii, the first "Virginia-class" attack submarine to be stationed in the Pacific. This vessel is part of the Department of Defense's strategy to address growing threat in the region.

The family of Navy Lt. Shane Allen made a special, last-minute trip to Pearl Harbor to greet him as he and the rest of the crew of the USS Hawaii arrived at their new home port.

The Union Public Workers Unions and Gov. Linda Lingle's administration went to the state Labor Relations Board on Thursday over the threat of layoffs and ongoing labor negotiations.

The Oscar Mayer Wienermobile's recent O'ahu visit did not cut the mustard with the Outdoor Circle.

Honolulu's planned elevated commuter rail project likely will come in at close to the budgeted price and within five months of the anticipated completion date, according to a report by project oversight consultant Jacobs Engineering.

The University of Hawaii Board of Regents got some good financial news yesterday, learning that researchers brought in $414 million last year and that the UH Foundation raised more than $336 million after its recently concluded six-year Centennial Campaign.

A major California lettuce grower has recalled about 22,000 cartons of romaine lettuce over concerns that the product may be tainted with salmonella.

Drivers must wait several more months for a new mile-long roadway that will trim minutes off the commute between Wailuku and Kahului.

Heavy summer rains led to flash flood warnings Thursday, soaking anything outdoors and twice closing the Hanalei Bridge.

After almost three hours of discussion Wednesday, the Hawaii County Council tentatively agreed to turn the clock back to its June 16 meeting where it voted to reorganize leadership positions.

Despite the economic downturn, Hilo's fledgling residency program to bring doctors to the Big Island is moving ahead -- its survival due to an outpouring of donations from the community.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Budget hits Big Island prison, elections, prep sports

County of Hawai’i Mayor Billy Kenoi questioned the plan by Gov. Linda Lingle’s administration to lay off the entire staff of Kulani Correctional Facility and close the prison without first discussing that decision with the communities that will be affected

Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi said he is "troubled" by the state's apparent plan to close Kulani Correctional Facility on the Big Island without discussion.

State elections chief Kevin Cronin continues to plead for at least $113,000 more to run his office this year, but Gov. Linda Lingle is holding firm, saying she won't release the money.

Official practices for football, girls volleyball, cross country, bowling and air riflery begin Monday at public high school fields and gyms across Hawai'i, but along with the excitement and anticipation of the new season comes the harsh realities of the state's budget crisis.

Finally holding a much-awaited discussion about government transparency, rules and policy, Kaua‘i County Council members pulled no punches in a day-long, back-and-forth that at times turned heated on Wednesday at the Historic County Building.

Susan McGeachy has a "Citizen of West Hawaii County" bumper sticker glued to the back of her silver Dodge Neon. But her talk Tuesday before a crowd of about 100 at Hualalai Academy in Kailua-Kona focused more on alternatives to splitting the county than actually creating that West Hawaii County of her dreams.

The Hawaii visitor industry changed in 2008, and it will never go back to what is was, the Maui Visitors Bureau membership was told at its annual marketing meeting Wednesday.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

World's largest telescope coming to Big Island, union negotiations drag on and other top Hawaii news

Mauna Kea was chosen yesterday as the site for what will become the world's largest telescope — a mega-feat of engineering that will cost $1.2 billion, create as many as 440 construction and other jobs and seal the Big Island summit's standing as the premier spot on the planet to study the mysteries of space.

The University of Hawaii's Manoa and Hilo campuses are celebrating Mauna Kea's selection over Cerro Armazones, Chile, for the world's most powerful telescope.

After careful evaluation and comparison between two outstanding candidate sites--Mauna Kea in Hawai'i and Cerro Armazones in Chile--the board of directors of the TMT Observatory Corporation has selected Mauna Kea as the preferred site for the Thirty Meter Telescope.

The Lingle administration made an offer to public-sector labor unions yesterday that includes a combination of pay cuts and furloughs to help with the state's budget deficit, but the state's chief labor negotiator would not disclose the details.

The dozen or more state workers on Kaua‘i who received layoff notifications received support from places expected and unexpected during a lunchtime, highway-side protest here Tuesday.

At least 69 sailors and Marines on a Navy assault helicopter carrier tested positive for H1N1 swine flu and were confined to the ship at Pearl Harbor.

Maui County's unemployment rate edged into double digits for the first time in nearly two decades, according to figures released this week by the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations.

Less than a third of the offerings on Hawaii hotel menus are grown locally. If papaya and pineapple are subtracted from the equation, the figure falls to about 18 percent.

Six months after pitching its $240 million "recreational renaissance" project, the state can no longer afford to pay its conservation officers to work overtime.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Union haggling, more flu and other Tuesday news

Lingle is busy with layoffs, talks and duel with Inouye

The state and the unions were expected to be back at the bargaining table Tuesday.

The Lingle administration yesterday provided public-sector labor unions with a list of 1,100 state workers who face potential layoffs because of the state's budget deficit, but Gov. Linda Lingle did not estimate how much money the state would save by layoffs and repeated her preference for furloughs to reduce labor costs.

Employees ratified a labor agreement with The Maui News on Monday, accepting a 10 percent cut in wages and other concessions on health and pension benefits to help the newspaper survive depressed economic conditions.

What appeared to be a groundswell of support from young voters for a Hawaii-born presidential candidate never materialized into ballots cast as the 50th state once again came in last among states in voter participation.

In Hawaii, the moon will start to take a small bite out of the sun at 5:20 p.m. today, according to the Bishop Museum. By 6:14 p.m., roughly an hour before sunset, the eclipse will be over.

Local doctors said they are seeing an unusual number of flu cases, both swine flu and normal influenza.

At least 69 sailors and Marines tested positive for H1N1 swine flu within a Navy ship group now visiting Hawai'i.

The Kaua‘i County Council on Wednesday will consider a pair of proposed bills relating to a ban on plastic checkout bags and a curfew on drinking alcohol in county parks and recreation facilities that could impact all of island’s residents and visitors.

Monday, July 20, 2009

New Hawaii stamp, fewer post offices, Big Island swine flu death and other top Monday news

The U.S. Postal Service will unveil the com- mem- orative 50th anniver- sary statehood stamp next month at the Hawaii Statehood Conference.

The U.S. Postal Service in Hawai'i has undertaken a study to determine whether to close any of its 104 post offices, stations and branches as part of a national effort to stanch billion-dollar losses stemming from the rise of text messaging, e-mail and other forms of electronic communication.

Gov. Linda Lingle's list of state workers who face possible layoffs is expected to be delivered to public-sector labor unions today.

The fight over furloughs got more heated, after the Governor defended her decision to issue notices warning hundreds of state employees that they are at risk of getting laid off.

Gov. Linda Lingle and the leaders of four state employee unions are to meet on Tuesday for negotiations on new contracts.

As America marks the 40th anniversary of the first moon landing today, scientists and longtime Hawaii residents recall the important roles that the isles played in the Apollo program.

Hawaii suffers its third swine flu death, this time a mother on the Big Island.

Maui County officials flew to Molokai on Saturday to warn Kaunakakai and Kalae residents that if they don't conserve water, a shortage could become a crisis.

Hawaii County is moving forward with efforts to sell its Hamakua lands to raise an expected $8.2 million that's needed to avoid a budget shortfall.

NELHA gates to be closed on weekends

The Board of Ethics suggested that Wayne Nishiki review the Maui County ethics code, but took no further action on a complaint against the Maui County Council member in its decision last month.

“An exceptionally long total eclipse of the sun” will be partially visible from the Hawaiian Islands before sunset Tuesday, according to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Japan's emperor visits Big Island and other news

It was over almost before it began. But even after standing in a reception line for about an hour Thursday, most of the 130 or so who caught a glimpse of the emperor and empress of Japan said it was well worth the wait.

Japan's royal couple watched Hawai'i-style cattle roping yesterday before returning to their homeland after a two-week tour of Canada and Hawai'i.

With the imperial couple of Japan looking on, 10 paniolo on horseback set about to demonstrate calf roping yesterday on the dry, open pastureland of sprawling Parker Ranch.

With labor talks between the state and the public worker unions still stalled, Gov. Linda Lingle put some pressure on the unions yesterday by announcing that her Cabinet would be taking a pay cut equal to two furlough days a month through two years.

Gov. Linda Lingle, seeking leverage with public-sector labor unions, said yesterday that she and her Cabinet would take two furlough days a month starting in August to help with the state's budget deficit.

This year marked the second year of dramatic increases in the number of schools failing to meet the federal goals, known as "adequate yearly progress." Only 34 percent of schools — or 97 campuses — made AYP this year compared with 42 percent a year ago.

Public school students performed better on the Hawaii State Assessment again this year, moving up another few percentage points in reading and math, but it was not enough to meet the requirements of federal law.

The state Board of Education last night voted unanimously to defer a decision on the proposed closure of five Hawai'i libraries to allow State Librarian Richard Burns and his staff time to propose a budget-reduction plan that would not include library closures.

A judge Wednesday afternoon denied a motion for an injunction to prevent developers from conducting construction activities within 50 feet of historic Hapa Trail.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Veto override, Sunshine Law top Thursday news

A late push by the airline industry helped persuade the state Senate yesterday not to override a veto of a bill that would have raised the barrel tax on petroleum products by $1 to help pay for food and energy security programs and Gov. Linda Lingle's clean energy initiative.

A major environmental and energy conservation bill died yesterday when the state Legislature failed to override Gov. Linda Lingle's veto of the measure.

Hawai'i's eight-year effort to build a technology industry via massive income tax credits for investors has come to an end.

Maui Memorial Medical Center officials have been given the authority to negotiate a public-private partnership after Gov. Linda Lingle allowed a bill paving the way for the action to become law without her signature on Wednesday.

The number of Hawaii households facing foreclosure rose nearly 427 percent in June compared with the same month last year — its second worst rate in a year.

Energized by the public outrage over a recent County Council reorganization, a group is forming to explore the creation of a West Hawaii County.

The Hawaii County Council reacted to a lawsuit filed by West Hawaii Today by calling off committee hearings scheduled for Tuesday in Kailua-Kona.

As tropical storm Carlos continues on its weakening trend about 1,800 miles southeast of the Hawaiian Islands, forecasters say it likely will not impact the 50th state.

Peeling paint and water leaks are damaging Keaukaha gymnasium, prompting Hawaii County to sue the two companies that designed and built the 6-year-old, $4.3 million Hilo facility.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Safe shark tours, trash and other top Hawaii news

Because of the re- moteness of North Shore shark encounter tours and other con- ditioning factors, researchers say the tours do not pose a threat to public safety.

Amid the hundreds who gathered at Kapi'olani Park yesterday for a brief glimpse of Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, perhaps none appreciated the bittersweet implications the imperial visit would have for Japanese-Americans in Hawai'i more than 70-year-old Helen Wadahara.

State officials plan to slash funding for Healthy Start, a nationally recognized child-abuse prevention program that serves thousands of children in the Islands, limiting services to East Hawai'i and Leeward O'ahu, and forcing the layoffs of dozens at nonprofits with Healthy Start programs.

Gov. Linda Lingle vetoed a bill yesterday that would allow workers to organize labor unions if a majority sign union cards, an alternative to secret-ballot elections.

A Seattle-based company has all the parts in place to begin shipping Oahu's trash to the mainland — with or without a city-approved contract.

Bright side to down economy: The Hawaii Police Department, which was understaffed for years, is now nearly at full strength.

As El Nino returns to the Pacific, signaling a more active hurricane season, Hawaii County Civil Defense this week is renewing its emergency notification system with a $71,800 two-year contract to the current provider.

After riding a wave of prosperity, Maui County residents are struggling to cope with a recession that has swept through the islands. In The Maui News' continuing series of stories on the islands' financial crisis, today's report tells the personal stories of residents surviving these tough times.

The Kauai County Board of Ethics renewed with a vengeance its discussion on conflicts of interest and the infamous Section 20.02(d) of the County Charter, rejecting a County Attorney opinion, repeatedly declining to go into executive session, and changing its rules to provide public discussion of county employees’ disclosure statements in a wild meeting at the Mo‘ikeha Building.

One of two former Moanalua Golf Club workers who admitted butchering a pet dog of a golf club member in 2007 started serving three months of a one-year prison term yesterday.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Top Hawaii Headlines: Tuesday morning edition

During these tough times, the state is con- sidering spending $500,000 applying to become a federally licensed spaceport.

Hundreds are expected to converge on Kapi'olani Park today to catch a glimpse of Japan's Emperor Akihito in his only public appearance during his three-day Hawai'i visit.

Paniolos and a master hula teacher will be among those welcoming the Japanese emperor and empress to Hawaii this week.

Public workers appear headed for at least a 5 percent pay cut for two years, but there is no indication from Gov. Linda Lingle that the concession would be enough to make up for a $750 million budget shortfall.

In what all sides described as progress, public-sector labor unions yesterday offered to take a 5 percent pay cut to help close the state's budget deficit, far less than what Gov. Linda Lingle has wanted but a sign that state workers are willing to sacrifice.

An estimated $47.3 million and six years' construction work are needed to reduce the threat of rockfalls harming motorists driving through the Hamakua Coast's three main gulches.

Some Hawaii school principals spent this week in Las Vegas for a conference, but the Department of Education didn't foot the bill.

In the management battle brewing over a picturesque location, condo owners have drawn their weapons while Hanalei Bay Resort’s management company pulls out its shield.

After riding a wave of prosperity, Maui County residents are struggling to cope with a recession that has swept through the islands

Friday, July 10, 2009

Hawaii library closures top Friday morning news

The state Board of Education heard a proposal yesterday by the state librarian to close five branches to cut the budget.

The Board of Education yesterday heard a proposal from State Librarian Richard Burns to close five public libraries and negotiate furloughs and other salary savings to reduce the Hawai'i State Public Library System's budget by more than $5.7 million.

The board that oversees Hawaii's public libraries was told Thursday about a proposal to close five libraries statewide to deal with budget cuts.
The libraries that could be closed are Ewa Beach on Oahu, Holualoa, Pahala and Kealakekua on the Big Island, and Hana on Maui.

Avoiding a possible shutdown of public schools on Sept. 21, members of the state Board of Education passed a $1.8 billion budget for 2009-2010 that covers a $226.85 million shortfall and includes reducing about $117.4 million in labor costs.

Faced with the most drastic budget cuts ever to the state's public education system, the Board of Education approved a plan yesterday that includes about $117 million in yet-to-be negotiated labor savings — from potential pay cuts to furloughs of teachers and administrators.

Isolating Gov. Linda Lingle, county mayors and the leaders of several independently governed state agencies have agreed on a framework for new contracts with public-sector labor unions aimed at addressing the state's budget shortfall.

Hawaii's four mayors on Thursday called on Gov. Linda Lingle to personally attend an on-the-record negotiation session next week now that state employee unions have submitted what the mayors called a viable preliminary proposal on pay cuts or furloughs

Big Islanders may soon be allowed to live in tents or other temporary structures while building a home of their own

On war duty in Iraq, troops from Hawaii, including several from Maui, plan to share their aloha by celebrating next month's 50th anniversary of statehood.

Two horses were shot in Wailua late Wednesday or early Thursday, owners and police say.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Sour economy again tops Thursday news

Economic experts gathered Wed- nesday to give their picture of how Hawaii is doing right now during this recession and they said it could be some time before the islands recover.

The state Department of Taxation reported yesterday that state revenues fell 9.4 percent, worse than the 9 percent projected by the state Council on Revenues in May.

Gov. Linda Lingle said Wednesday afternoon layoff notices to the unions could be sent out by the end of the week if she doesn't receive a formal "on the record" proposal from the four labor unions representing state workers.

In her most somber assessment of the economy yet, Gov. Linda Lingle says tax revenues continue to plummet, meaning the state has to cut an additional $57 million in spending.

A policy specialist who was laid off from the state Department of Land and Natural Resources last month maintains he was illegally fired because he repeatedly raised concerns about the agency not complying with the same environmental law that sank Hawaii Superferry.

City Prosecutor Peter Carlisle yesterday said he intends to run for mayor the next time there's a vacancy, be it 2010 or 2012.

Hawaiian Electric Co.'s customers on O'ahu will see their average monthly electric bill increase by $6.48 under a rate hike approved by the state Public Utilities Commission.

There will be no belt-tightening for the Hawaii County Council -- at least as far as members' own waistlines are concerned.

The Hawaii County Council won't be asking the Salary Commission to rescind the 22.14 percent raises it granted lawmakers a year ago.

Despite agreeing the Big Island is a safe place to live, work and visit, many of those who took a survey conducted for the Hawaii County Police Department were ambivalent about the ability of the department to serve the community's needs and resolve situations reported to police

The Maui County administration is considering another way to dispose of a luxury home built on oceanfront beach property at Kapukaula, also known as Montana Beach, in Paia.

Dozens of Kaua‘i farmers stuffed Council Chambers Wednesday afternoon, voicing their support for a proposed bill that would clear the way for farm worker housing and provide much-needed support for the agriculture industry.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Top Hawaii Headlines: Wednesday morning edition

The new owners of the Ilikai Hotel in Waikiki said they plan to shut down hotel operations tomorrow, resulting in the loss of at least 65 full-time jobs.

Honolulu has moved up in a ranking of the world's costliest cities to live in, placing 41st of 143 metropolitan areas examined.

Public worker unions are willing to agree to pay cuts or a furlough as part of their next contract, KITV has learned.

The United Public Workers alleged yesterday that Gov. Linda Lingle and her chief labor negotiator are not bargaining in good faith by canceling and walking out of negotiating sessions.

The rising cost of living and the needs of Oahu's growing elderly population were two main issues addressed as 14 candidates seeking to fill the vacancy on the City Council began airing their views in various community forums.

Two cheerleading coaches on Oahu were taken into police custody Monday night, accused of showing pornography to a child.

A 23-year-old Punchbowl woman will remain in custody for five more months before being released on probation for hijacking a city ambulance while emergency medical workers were still inside tending to a patient.

The much-anticipated Kaloko Housing Program may have to be scaled back because $1.45 million in state funding lapsed when it wasn't released by the June 30 deadline.

A fire destroyed an estimated 100 acres of pasture land Tuesday in Kalaheo, officials said.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Union negotiations top Tuesday headlines

The state's chief labor negotiator walked away from talks with four government employee unions after just half an hour yesterday, and Gov. Linda Lingle warned that she could begin sending out layoff notices in coming days.

Labor tensions continued rising yesterday as Gov. Linda Lingle's negotiator walked out of bargaining talks, and the governor said she is preparing for mass layoff notices to be sent as early as Friday.

The strain continues to come up with the state's $730 million shortfall. Unions, state officials and the four Hawaii mayors met Monday to come up with a solution

State negotiators walked out of a meeting Monday afternoon because they said union representatives did not want to discuss issues on the record.

A misinterpreted navigation system, a sleep-deprived skipper, faulty equipment and an inexperienced bridge team led to the grounding of the Navy guided missile cruiser Port Royal on the night of Feb. 5, according to a Navy Safety Investigation Board report.

Folks at the Honolulu Christian Church in Manoa — trying to cope with growing pains and thinking about adding a second sanctuary — thought their prayers had been answered three years ago when the owner of an adjacent property offered to give the church first shot at buying his 11,250-square-foot lot at 2234 University Ave

A presidential-sized parking problem is turning some residents against a Manoa church.

The quest for short sales and foreclosure properties dominated real estate activity on the Big Island and Kauai last month and continued to drive property prices down in most categories.

After hitting an all-time low of 59 percent in April, Maui's hotel occupancy rate fell another 3.1 percentage points, or 5 percent, in May to 55.9 percent.

The draft environmental assessment for proposed Alii Drive improvements along Oneo Bay in Kailua-Kona was released this week.

Of all the objects in the night sky, few can compare with the ethereal beauty of the planetary nebulae.

Not many people seem to know the location of the Weuweu-Kawai-iki Fishpond.

Mayor Bernard P. Carvalho Jr., proud owner of a 6X barong Tagalog (Filipino dress shirt), said that if he gets to the Philippines any time soon, he will visit Paoay, Ilocos Norte Mayor Bonifacio Carpio Clemente Jr.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Top Hawaii Headlines: Monday morning edition

The president of Taiwan left Honolulu Airport early last night after a contro-versial 23-hour visit to Hawaii that sparked protests from members of the Taiwanese community who oppose his political measures. Video

Despite deep discounts on room rates, Hawai'i hotels were less than 62 percent full in May, marking the worst May since at least 1987.

Though summer is well under way, Hawaii's struggling hotel industry has little hope of rising out of its prolonged slump, according to a report released today.

A 37-year-old woman was arrested for investigation of first degree reckless endangering charges for allegedly throwing bottles off a Waikiki hotel lanai, police say.

While it was a safe Fourth of July on O'ahu, the Honolulu Fire Department said yesterday it hopes people will refrain from any dangerous activity with fireworks.

Dressed in a Revolutionary War-era costume, Korean War U.S. Army veteran Robert Williams displayed his patriotic side Saturday on the 233rd anniversary of the day 13 American colonies declared independence from Great Britain in 1776, citing years of taxation without representation and other oppressive measures.

When someone owns a homemade smoker adorned with a steer skull, you know he's serious about barbecue

Three women donned scuba masks and jumped into the waters off Oahu's North Shore, floating inside a submerged cage as about a dozen sharks glided toward bloody fish scraps tossed into the water by a tour company.

A popular Oahu beach reopens to the public just in time for the Fourth of July weekend

As Hawaii's unemployment rate grows, it's taking longer for those out of work to find new employment.

A Honolulu developer for a mixed-use project in North Kona is seeking community input at a public meeting Tuesday evening.

Hawaii County is suing the company responsible for building the Waikoloa workforce housing project.

Two people were killed and two others were injured early Sunday when a car went out of control, crashing into guardrails on Kula Highway and ejecting passengers

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Public union rallies top Wednesday news

Hundreds of government union members rallied along Kamehameha Avenue in Hilo and thousands on the lawn of the state Capitol on Tuesday in a show of solidarity and strength as Gov. Linda Lingle and the state's unions remain at an impasse over unpaid furloughs.

The mandatory furloughs are equivalent to about a 14-percent pay cut for two year, although workers would have most Fridays off. Lingle is trying to close a $3 billion budget gap,and the furloughs would account for about half of that. Employees would get three Fridays a month off.

Other media accounts of the rallies and union negotiations:

State workers flooded the Capitol yesterday afternoon for a rally protesting Gov. Linda Lingle's furlough plans, accusing the governor of trying to wipe out the state's budget deficit at their expense.

More than 2,000 members from public worker unions arrived for a rally Tuesday at the state Capitol.

It was a monster rally for rights as thousands of Hawaii union employees invaded the state capitol Tuesday evening to fight Governor Linda Lingle's furlough plan, which amounts to 72 unpaid days off the next two years

University of Hawaii President David McClain says salary reductions -- whether through furloughs or pay cuts -- will have to be part of the university's response to cutting about $155 million from its budget over the next two years.

University of Hawaii President David McClain says he will seek pay cuts for faculty and administrators as part of a developing plan to address about $155 million in budget cuts over the next two years.