Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Libraries closing for furloughs, elections chief resigns, Hawaii soldiers headed to Afghanistan, more

Workers at the state's public libraries will take 15 furlough days a year for the next two fiscal years, closing libraries on those days starting Dec. 16.

Kevin Cronin, the state's embattled chief elections officer, informed the state Elections Commission yesterday that he intends to resign at the end of the year.

President Obama's announcement on Tuesday of a troop surge in Afghanistan comes as Hawaii's Army National Guard prepares to send a unit to the war-torn country.

Despite working for nearly two years to eliminate "illegal camping" at Kapi'olani Park, the city finds itself grappling with another homeless encampment there.

On the Diamond Head end of Waikiki next to Kapiolani Park, a disabled Laura Lambertson pitched her tent for the night Monday on a strip of land between the sidewalk and Kalakaua Avenue, along with scores of other homeless people.

As many as 1,275 new bed-and-breakfast homes could be established on Oahu under certain conditions intended to allow true homeowners to take in additional income to keep their properties.

Hawaii's two U.S. senators, Daniel Inouye and Daniel Akaka, are in strong support of President Barack Obama's plan to add 30,000 troops to the Afghanistan war. But Hawaii's two House members, Reps Neil Abercrombie and Mazie Hirono, questioned the plan.

Oahu law enforcement officials arrested a man they said conned Hawaii banks out of $130,000.

Hawaii County farmers who have lost crops to vog and sulfur dioxide emissions can continue applying for low-interest loans from the federal government.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is offering more low-interest loans to Hawaii Island farmers whose crops are suffering from the vog, declaring the county as a primary natural disaster for a second time in less than 18 months.

A three-day land and air search for Hana residents Carl and Rae Lindquist ended Monday when Maui firefighters conducted a 2-hour search of a streambed and a shoreline near where the couple's battered sport utility vehicle was found Saturday morning.

A lawsuit filed in state court demands efforts to widen Kuhio Highway through Wailua be abandoned until an environmental impact statement is completed.

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