Thursday, October 29, 2009

Vog blankets state, Honolulu considers tax breaks for homeowners, BOE struggles with funding

Creeping lava is no longer threatening a public viewing area near Kalapana, but officials said there's still plenty of activity from the Kílauea eruption, now in its 27th year.

As light Kona wind persists, an increase in vog has spread from the Big Island across the entire state.

Just when parents thought things in Hawaii's public schools couldn't get much worse, Department of Education officials warned yesterday that "thousands" of DOE employees will be laid off if a federal judge blocks teacher furloughs.

Facing an unprecedented reduction in school days and deep budget cuts, state Board of Education members got more bad news: They need an additional $32 million in the next two years to meet rising student transportation costs.

Facing accusations of making backdoor deals and bending to the will of the mayor, Honolulu City Council Chairman Todd Apo defended his last-minute change of heart that revived a proposal to create a new "homeowners" classification for property tax assessments

Part diplomat, part cheerleader, Governor Linda Lingle is heading to China this Friday for a two-week visit to six cities, including Beijing, Hong Kong, and Shanghai.

The Waikiki Aquarium is nurturing 20 live coral specimens recently harvested from the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, also known as the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.

It's usually difficult to re-create the comforts of home while staying in a hospital for any length of time. It's more difficult still when trying to rest and recover from an illness or injury in an unwelcoming, aged environment that requires beeping equipment, frequent public address system pages and bustling health care workers.

The $250 million expansion of the Grand Wailea Hotel Resort & Spa received a special management area permit Tuesday, with seven ayes and one "reluctant" nay from the Maui Planning Commission.

Maui County's visitor count ticked up by 1.8 percent in September to 134,932, but deep discounting by lodging providers and price cutting by other vendors drove per person per day spending down by 4.9 percent to $167.

The state’s four elected county executives discussed a broad range of issues from agriculture to collective bargaining to the 2010 legislative session at their monthly Hawai‘i Council of Mayors meeting Wednesday.

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