Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Hawaii prison inmates to remain on Mainland, Maui cleans up police department, homeless grow 6%, Abercrombie plans third veto, Molokai group forms to fight wind farm, drinking water safe, education audit taking shape, more news from the Hawaiian Islands

Sen. Daniel Inouye (c) 2011 All Hawaii News

U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye said Tuesday he expects the fate of a contentious American Marine base in southern Japan will be decided next month. Associated Press.

Although Gov. Neil Abercrombie has said repeatedly he wants to halt out-of-state incarceration of Hawaii prison inmates, the state is finalizing the award of a new, three-year contract for Mainland imprisonment of up to 2,000 convicts. Hawaii Reporter.

Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie is planning to use his veto pen for the third time since taking office. Associated Press.

Oahu’s drinking water was tested earlier this year to determine if it was safe to drink. Since then, tests have been conducted statewide to determine if we have a public health issue or concern. Hawaii Public Radio.

Tens of thousands of people packed Ala Moana Beach Monday night for the 13th annual Shinnyo-en lantern floating ceremony. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii's homeless population grew by just over 6 percent in the past year, according to a new survey released by the state's Department of Human Services. KITV4.

The Hawaii State Board of Education's audit plans are beginning to take shape with a freshly inked charter document, two task forces to investigate policies and a call for a better systemwide strategic plan. Civil Beat.

The acronym IAM represents “I Aloha Molokai,” a newly formed working group comprised of Molokai residents opposed to the proposal to develop a 200 megawatt industrial scale wind power plant to serve the energy needs of Oahu. Molokai Dispatch.

A new pair of fences in the remote wilderness of Kaua‘i will reportedly protect the island’s primary source of water and one of the most important biological diversity hotspots in the Hawaiian archipelago. Garden Island.

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs is awarding $4.3 million to 12 organizations tasked with improving education, health and income of Native Hawaiians. Associated Press.

Decorated Iraq war veteran Tammy Duckworth has not decided if she will run for elected office again. But if she does, it will not be for Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii’s average price for regular gasoline fell 16 cents from a week ago to $4.14 per gallon, according to AAA’s Daily Fuel Gauge Report and PBN research. Pacific Business News

City Councilman Stanley Chang says the outcry from residents about a bill that would substantially increase the price of metered parking at Kapiolani and Aala Parks has not fallen on deaf ears. KHON2.

Ex-Maui officer, once called a hero, pleads guilty in theft, sex extortion. Maui News.

Hawaii County is nearly finished ridding Mountain View Gymnasium of lead paint, but neutralizing hazardous materials at other park facilities will cost millions and take years to finish. Tribune-Herald.

West Hawaii motorists should be aware: Road work on Palani Road and Henry Street may snarl traffic starting in June. West Hawaii Today.

The Hawaii Department of Health has reinstated First Commercial Kitchen LLC’s permit to operate. Pacific Business News

Friday, May 27, 2011

Hawaii revenue projections unchanged, Oahu beaches make list, hotel occupancy edges up, citizenship sought for Filipino children of WWII vets, Maui sovereignty group members indicted, rat lungworm up on Big Island, more news

Hawaii Council on Revenues (c) 2011 All Hawaii News
Hawaii's recovery from the global economic recession is expected to continue in coming years and slowly begin a shift toward expansion, the state's top economists said Thursday in issuing a static economic forecast for the fiscal year. Star-Advertiser.

The State Council on Revenues met this afternoon for the first time since the Governor called them in for an emergency meeting, March 29th. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii's government is bringing in enough money to avoid additional spending cuts to programs and services, lawmakers said after receiving an updated report on the state's finances. Associated Press.

A national public pensions expert says the changes Hawaii lawmakers approved for new state and county employees are in line with what other states are doing to reduce their pension liability. Civil Beat.

Contracts for several public sector unions expire June 30 and so far only the Hawaii Government Employees Association has ratified terms of a new contract. KITV4.

Five members of a native Hawaiian sovereignty group on Maui are being accused of luring unsuspecting clients with bold talk and official looking documents. KHON2.

U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka of Hawaii has reintroduced a bill that would allow the children of Filipinos who fought with the U.S. during World War II to join their U.S. citizen parents in the United States. Associated Press.

The state plans to boost its enforcement of fisheries laws with the help of donations from nonprofit organizations. Associated Press.

2 Oahu beaches make annual list of the nation’s top strands of sand. Associated Press.

Hawaii hotels’ average statewide occupancy rate was 72.5 percent for the week ending May 21, up 2 percentage points compared to the same week last year. Pacific Business News

The results for the City and County of Honolulu’s all-digital Neighborhood Board elections are in. Hawaii Independent.

Officials of Maui County nonprofit organizations and programs that saw their funding potentiallly reduced or eliminated Tuesday reacted with surprise, disappointment and even anger at the Maui County Council's action in the final stages of the budget process. Maui News.

A new teaching tool was unveiled at Bishop Museum on Thursday and the hope is that it will also pay the bills. Hawaii News Now.

A new state educational incentive program has come to Molokai to help students excel rather than simply meet the status quo. Molokai Dispatch.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie has ordered state flags at state offices, agencies, and the Hawaii National Guard to be flown at half-staff on Saturday in honor of the late lawmaker and judge Hiroshi Kato. Associated Press.

For the second time in two weeks, the state has replaced tattered flags at one of the state's most famous landmarks after KITV 4 News asked questions about the flags' bad condition. KITV4.

The Kaua‘i Academy of Creative Arts Summer Program has added new artists and instructors to their 2011 program. Garden Island.

Cases of rat lungworm infection have made a disturbing resurgence during a typically slow time of year for the disease. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii astronomers used advanced optics technology and a gravitational lens to catch a clear glimpse of a spiral galaxy 9.3 billion light years away. West Hawaii Today.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Hawaii shoots for the moon, collects federal money for small business, has the worst drivers, tiger sharks attack surfers, former Hawaii County mayor dies, counties finalize budgets, more news

Theresa Fernandez rode a wave in to Lyman's Wednesday afternoon, turned her board around and was paddling out again when she felt something bump the board. West Hawaii Today.

A shark specialist says two Hawaii Island shark-biting incidents — involving bitten boards, not humans — in a span of four days at the same surf spot in Holualoa Bay were caused by tiger sharks. Star-Advertiser.

Fifty years after President John F. Kennedy's famous speech committing the country to landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to Earth, the state and NASA announced a new partnership aimed at involving Hawaii in the next phase of the agency's manned and unmanned exploration of the moon and deep space. Star-Advertiser.

The Governor marked the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s speech to land an American on the moon and return him safely to Earth within a decade … with a historic announcement for Hawaii. Hawaii Public Radio.

A Federal grant will help encourage venture capital investment in small businesses in Hawaii. KHON2.

Hawaii drivers are among the least knowledgeable about the rules of the road, according to a study by GMAC Insurance. Bloomberg.

U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono seems to bristle every time a reporter raises the 2002 race for Hawaii governor — the race where she barely edged Ed Case in the Democratic primary and lost to Republican Linda Lingle in the general by 4.5 percentage points. Civil Beat.

Honolulu City Councilwoman Tulsi Gabbard will announce today that she will run in the Democratic primary for Congress to replace Democratic U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha has replaced the man he put in charge of the police department’s preparations for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference in Honolulu this fall. KITV4.

In a sharply divided vote Tuesday, County Council members scrapped a plan to increase the minimum property tax - but they cut deeply into a number of programs in order to make up for the lost revenue. Maui News.

After months of review and weeks of fine tuning, Kaua‘i County Council approved the $269 million fiscal year 2011-2012 budget Wednesday, though not unanimously. Garden Island.

The Honolulu City Council is moving forward with a proposal that would tighten requirements for receiving a historic home tax exemption and another measure to examine all tax exemptions to determine if they should continue. Star-Advertiser.

Former Hawaii County Mayor Stephen Yamashiro died Tuesday night at Hilo Medical Center following an extended bout with pneumonia. Tribune-Herald.

The state Department of Transportation's Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program is sponsoring a small business fair. Hawaii News Now.

Nearly a third of all residential sales in Maui County during the first quarter of this year were either bank-owned properties or homes going through the foreclosure process, according to new statistics from RealtyTrac. Pacific Business News

The Department of Defense announced today the death of four soldiers who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. Hawaii Reporter.

Kohala Middle School students’ battery recycling solution comes out on top. Hawaii Independent.

The Molokai High Class of 2011 stood together for the last time in the Barn last Saturday, commemorating their past four years and facing the future that lies ahead of them as graduates. Molokai Dispatch.

Immediately after making nearly $10 million in changes to Mayor Billy Kenoi's requested operating budget, the County Council last week added roughly the same amount to his proposed construction budget. Tribune-Herald.

A $9.3 million white elephant could be put to use as early as August, under a plan described Wednesday to the Environmental Management Commission. West Hawaii Today.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Hawaii pedestrians unsafe, Filipinos overtake Japanese, Kauai battles feral cats, Fire Department apologizes, money slows redistricting work, national group helps Maui publisher, Molokai health care truce, Big Island wealth concentrated, more news

Hawaii population shifts (c) 2011 All Hawaii News
Almost 29.3 percent of the entire county's total property value is in North Kona County Council District 8, home to just 12.3 percent of the population. West Hawaii Today.

Filipinos have overtaken Japanese as the top Asian ancestry group in Hawaii, according to new data released last week by the U.S. Census Bureau. Civil Beat.

The state Reapportionment Commission is awaiting the governor's final approval of an emergency appropriation of about $664,000 before it can proceed with a contract for software and technical materials needed to begin redrawing the state's political boundaries. Star-Advertiser.

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs and the University of Hawaii are to produce legal primers on Native Hawaiian issues. Associated Press.

A report released Tuesday by Transportation for America, a nonprofit organization devoted to transportation reform with an emphasis on pedestrian safety, pointed to a study from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control showing Hawaii ranking first in the category of pedestrian deaths per 100,000 people 65 and older between 2000-2007. Star-Advertiser.

Feel free to continue to walk and talk, the law that would have made it illegal to cross the street while holding a mobile device is getting disconnected. Hawaii News Now.

The Honolulu City Council is joining the effort to try attracting President Barack Obama's future presidential library. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu Fire Department is apologizing for the way one of its dispatchers handled an emergency call after a fireworks explosion killed five men at a storage facility in Waikele. KHON2.

A year and a half after Louis Kealoha became the Honolulu police chief, there is high-level criticism of his leadership from within his own department and from people at other law enforcement agencies. KITV4.

With $854,000 in stimulus funding, officials at Better Place are looking for commercial property owners interested in hosting an electric car charging station. Pacific Business News

More than 5-thousand residents seek substance abuse treatment each year at a cost of 20-million dollars to taxpayers. Hawaii Public Radio.

The Kaua‘i County Council is set to vote today on a resolution supporting a trapping, neutering and return method of controlling the island’s feral cat population. Garden Island.

The Maui County Charter Commission discussed Monday how both the commission and the County Council can propose amendments to the county's guiding legal document. Maui News.

The Hawaii County Council wants to expand local government while simultaneously cutting millions from county operations, employee overtime and golfing subsidies. Tribune-Herald.

The Association of Alternative Newsweeklies, a national organization, is set to officially oppose a subpoena by the Maui Police Department and district attorney to release the names of all online commenters to an April 14 story in the Maui Time about the alleged assault of Maui Time publisher Tommy Russo by a police officer during an altercation involving Duane “Dog” Chapman and his entourage. Hawaii Independent.

Studies show more than one-in-four 14 to 24 year olds have been involved in some form of "sexting" - either sending or receiving sexually-explicit photos, videos, or text messages on-line or on cellphones. Hawaii News Now.

In a historic move, the island’s health care providers gathered last week to discuss how to co-exist peacefully. Molokai Dispatch.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Hawaii 911 operators curt with caller, too old for bikinis, poi pounders protected, Maui bus growing fast, Kauai curbs street sellers, DOE touts gun safety, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii poi pounder (c) 2011 All Hawaii News
Today, few people in Hawaii continue to make poi the traditional way, using board and stone. But with the Legislature's passage of the Senate Bill 101 , better known as the poi bill, what began as one man's art has been transformed into a legal recognition of an ancient cultural tradition. Civil Beat.

Educational programs for Native Hawaiians are to receive more than $41 million in federal funding this fiscal year. Associated Press.

The Hawaii Legislature has appropriated $1.2 million to pay for the creation of a state information technology office tasked with improving public online services, making government more efficient and saving money. Associated Press.

Moody’s May 17, 2011 downgrade of Hawaii’s General Obligation Bond rating will cost taxpayers more money this fall when the state issues between $500 million and $650 million in GO bonds to fund state projects for which taxpayers guarantee the repayment of debt. Hawaii Reporter.

Governor Neil Abercrombie’s action plan to address homelessness is a 90-day push to kick-start the program. Hawaii Public Radio.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s nine-part plan to address homelessness in Hawaii has created quite a stir since he announced it last week. Pacific Business News

The state Legislature took small steps this session to enhance oversight and public disclosure for charter schools, and lawmakers plan to work with the charter community on big-picture changes for the system. Star-Advertiser.

The Department of Education claims that over the last five years it has dramatically decreased the number of students being expelled from school for bringing a gun on campus. Hawaii News Now.

A 14-year-old student at Pearl Highlands Intermediate School told police he found a gun on campus and was showing it to friends when it went off Monday morning. KHON2.

A state judge dismissed all charges Monday against the four remaining Honolulu police officers accused of falsifying reports to qualify for overtime. Star-Advertiser.

For the first time we're hearing the frantic moments as the Waikele bunker fireworks explosion was happening from the only survivor.  Hawaii News Now.

The Maui Bus received national recognition this past week for being among the "fastest growing" public transportation systems in the nation. Maui News.

Kaua‘i County Council member on Wednesday unanimously approved a bill to strengthen a law regulating peddling at county parks and facilities, but they left it up to the Parks and Recreation Department to create the specific rules required to enforce it. Garden Island.

County considers opening Ka'u council office. Tribune-Herald.

Governmental red tape has left yellow caution tape blocking the tsunami-damaged portion of the Alii Drive sidewalk and seawall. West Hawaii Today.

Reports of axis deer on the Big Island have numerous public agencies preparing a formal response and developing a possible course of action to protect valuable forest and agricultural resources. Civil Beat.

A Hawaii seatbelt enforcement campaign has been launched statewide. Associated Press.

How old is too old? A new survey is answering that question when it comes to women wearing bikinis, miniskirts and stilettos. KITV4.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Hawaiian monk seals may be moved to islands, state officials disinvited after ethics call, Abercrombie addresses Dems in Kona, $221M for Maui, live WWII bomb found on Kauai, more Hawaii news

Hawaiian monk seal

Federal biologists scouring for ways to spare the critically endangered Hawaiian monk seal from extinction are embracing a desperate if unorthodox strategy: They want to pluck seal pups from the small, pristine atolls where they're born and move them closer to Honolulu and other highly populated areas. Associated Press.

The National Weather Service says Raymond Tanabe has been selected to be the new meteorologist-in-charge of the agency's Honolulu forecast office. Associated Press.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie has signed into law a measure that gradually phases in requirements for more class time in public schools. Associated Press.

Governor Neil Abercrombie spoke at the 2011 Hawaii County Democratic Party Convention in Kona on Saturday. Big Island Video News.

After consulting with the state Ethics Commission, the state film office “disinvited” a number of state employees who were on the guest list for a special “mahalo screening” of the new Pirates of the Caribbean film at the Dole Cannery cinema complex. Hawaii Reporter.

Banding together business, government, nonprofits and the community will help revitalize Honokohau Small Boat Harbor, Gov. Neil Abercrombie told Democratic Party supporters Saturday in Kailua-Kona. West Hawaii Today.

Local lawmakers say one of their main accomplishments from the legislative session that ended May 5 - along with balancing the state budget while juggling a $1.3 billion biennium deficit - was bringing home more than $221.2 million for roads, highways, bridges, harbors, schools and other improvements to Maui County's aging infrastructure. Maui News.

Mayor Billy Kenoi shaved almost $10,000 from his official travel tab in 2010 by halving the number of days spent off island compared with his first full year in office. Tribune-Herald.

As schools of choice, startup charter schools must attract students to survive. Star-Advertiser.

Noreen Yamane has been named chancellor of Hawaii Community College by the University of Hawaii Board of Regents. Her appointment is effective July 1. Pacific Business News

University of Hawaii Professor Alexander "Sasha" Krot is a bit embarrassed by all the attention about the newly discovered mineral: "Krotite." KITV4.

The National Veterans Golden Age Games are due to be held in Honolulu this week. Associated Press.

There's no stretch of sand more important to the future of Hawaii than Waikiki Beach. And it's disappearing. Civil Beat.

A team of explosive experts destroyed an ordnance on Sunday in a remote area of Kapa‘a after a teenager found the device on an Eastside beach. Garden Island.

Do you think that Hawaii has a street gang problem? You might be surprised by how many street gangs law enforcement officers recently identified across the state. Hawaii News Now.

Folks in Washington D.C. got a taste of the Aloha Spirit this weekend. KHON2.

City-community partnership to finish North Shore skate park. KHON2.

Mahalo to everyone who’s responded to our question, “What’s your vision for a better food system?.” Hawaii Independent.

Charmaine Hauanio-Kuewa and Pamela Paulo were born a year apart and grew up in Hilo without ever meeting -- or knowing that they're sisters. Tribune-Herald.

After more than three decades of inconspicuous yearly celebrations, St. Anthony’s Catholic Church is celebrating 95 years of existence with a bang and joyous celebration reminiscent of town festivals back in the Philippines—a prelude to the bigger centennial celebration in 2016. Filipino Chronicle.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Hawaii Supreme Court mulling Native Hawaiian rights, Latinos up sharply, Hirono in Senate race, human traffickers must pay back wages, legislators proud of balanced budget, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Ala Mauna Saddle Road (c) 2011 All Hawaii News
A revamp of the westernmost portion of the Ala Mauna Saddle Road, the 48-mile cross-island route, recently moved a step closer to fruition. West Hawaii Today.

All five Hawaii Supreme Court justices grilled lawyers yesterday in a case that could help clarify to what extent a native Hawaiian's practice of traditional cultural and religious activities can trump a criminal prosecution. Star-Advertiser.

U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono told supporters yesterday that she will run in the Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate next year, seeking to establish herself as a strong voice for Hawaii and the logical heir to fellow progressive U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka, who is retiring. Star-Advertiser.

State and federal agencies have signed a partnership to help conserve Hawaii's forestry. Associated Press.

Hawaii Lawmakers Most Proud of Balancing Budget. Civil Beat.

The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands is stuck with $2,500 worth of exercise equipment that was improperly ordered and caused the departure of the agency’s deputy director. Hawaii Reporter.

The U.S. Labor Department has ordered a labor recruiting company to pay thousands of dollars worth of back wages to men from Thailand who worked at farms in Hawaii. KITV4.

U.S. Census demographic data released Thursday shows a 37.8 percent increase in Hawaii's Hispanic population from 2000 to 2010. Associated Press.

Hawaii saw a total of 2,476 initial unemployment claims for the week of May 14, up 12.5 percent compared to the 2,201 claims filed during the same week in 2010, according to data from the Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism. Pacific Business News

A fierce fight by supporters and scientists of the Pacific Bioscience Research Center to avoid a shutdown of the Kewalo facility proved successful, at least temporarily. KITV4.

A large-scale initiative to integrate Hydrogen-powered vehicles is underway on Oa’hu. Hawaii Public Radio.

The city's Department of Transportation Services detailed its plans to allow bicycles and surfboards to be carried onboard the proposed rail trains.  KHON2.

The Hawaii Public Housing Authority says they have taken a leap of faith, jumping into the first private-public housing partnership in the state of Hawaii. Hawaii News Now.

The loss of nearly $5 million in federal anti-terrorism funding for Honolulu will not affect the city's preparedness for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference in November, city officials say. Star-Advertiser.

Developers of a proposed Ka'u resort and village are looking to limit their ecological impacts while bolstering the region's educational opportunities. West Hawaii Today.

A Texas judge has granted the widow of surfing champion Andy Irons another extension to delay the release of Irons' autopsy report. Star-Advertiser.

In the era of endless news loops and aggregation, it’s hard to get a rise when mentioning the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, plastic-coated beaches or endangered Hawaiian monk seals ensnared in rafts of trash. Honolulu Weekly.

When it comes to illegal dumping, there's a group of ladies in Leeward Oahu that take it personally. Hawaii News Now.

Instead of almost annually having to piecemeal together repairs and improvements on South Kihei Road, along with the detours that come with construction, county Department of Public Works Director David Goode this week said he hopes to "dust off" a decades-old proposal to entirely rebuild the north end of the busy roadway. Maui News.

Waimea High School’s graduating seniors missed out on a piece of tradition Thursday, when a break in a water main forced school officials to close the campus. Garden Island.

The public can sound off about noise around Hilo International Airport at a coming meeting called by the state Department of Transportation. Tribune-Herald.

A loud drinking party on county property brought to a halt by the police early May 1 included Mayor Billy Kenoi, state Rep. Jerry Chang and a host of other bigwigs celebrating the end of the Merrie Monarch Festival. West Hawaii Today.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Hawaii expects calm storm season, slow economic growth, no tax increases in Kauai, Hawaii counties, Abercrombie moves in,Obama birth certificate on shirt, mug, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Obama birth certificate shirt, mug
You have seen President Barack Obama's Hawaii birth certificate. Now you can wear it. Associated Press.

Governor Neil Abercrombie and his wife moved into their official residence “earlier this month” after spending some $40,000 on repairs and maintenance of the eight-year-old home, his office said. Hawaii Reporter.

Survey: Hawaii's Most and Least Effective Lawmakers. Civil Beat.

Hawaii's new appointed Board of Education says it wants one diploma for high school graduates, not two separate tracks that the previous elected board approved last month. Associated Press.

Forecasters with the Central Pacific Hurricane Center are expecting a below average number of tropical cyclones to form in the Central Pacific this season. KITV4.

Hurricane Preparedness Week begins Sunday… in anticipation of the official start of the Season, June 1st. Hawaii Public Radio.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau's latest demographic profile of the state, Hawaii is looking a little older, a tad whiter, perhaps a bit lonelier. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii’s economic growth is expected to slow but not stop, and be even stronger in 2012, according to a report issued Wednesday by the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii's job market is on pace to grow this year for the first time since 2007 and the visitor industry is expected to post solid gains despite a drop in Japanese tourists, according to an upbeat economic forecast the state released yesterday. Star-Advertiser.

Emerging from the depths of a bad economy, more than 160 employers -- looking not to trim, but to expand their workforce -- greeted some 7,000 job seekers at the Neal Blaisdell Center Wednesday. Hawaii News Now.

Some service groups are refusing to heed Gov. Neil Abercrombie's plea to stop feeding Oahu's homeless people in parks and beaches, while others are torn about how to proceed. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii County Council on Wednesday slashed the West Hawaii golf subsidy, dipped into the open space and rainy day funds and cut overtime in order to bolster retirees' future health care while sparing the county bands and Hilo Municipal Golf Course. West Hawaii Today.

A last-minute amendment to the county’s budget for Fiscal Year 2012 would have increased real property taxes for hotels and resorts, but the Kaua‘i County Council’s Committee of the Whole voted to keep the status quo. Garden Island.

Maui County is seeking contractors to install more than 1,000 solar panels on rooftops of county buildings to save the government money. Maui News.

A team of University of Hawaii electrical engineering graduate students has placed second at a miniature robots competition in Shanghai, China. Associated Press.

The Honolulu Police Department is upgrading its motorcycles. KHON2.

People will go to great lengths to try to get their hands on a few dollars worth of copper, but they could be costing themselves and the environment much more. Hawaii News Now.

Space jockey lands in Hilo. Tribune-Herald.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Oahu taxes going up, Hawaii bureaucracy bloats, bond rating falls, don't feed the homeless, Hawaii council kills bus fares, Maui Memorial pays $1.2 million renting empty building, Ka'u land eyed for development, more news from all the islands

Honolulu homeless (c) 2011 All Hawaii News

Governor Abercrombie unveiled a 90-day plan to tackle the homeless problem, and it includes discouraging feeding people in parks or other public places. KHON2.

The Abercrombie administration gave itself 90 days yesterday to achieve a marked improvement in clearing homeless people from streets, beaches and parks in Waikiki and the rest of Honolulu's urban core. Star-Advertiser.

Governor Neil Abercrombie established citizen call-in numbers to identify, locate and provide assistance to homeless people in need last month. Hawaii Public Radio.

Only two of Hawaii's 20 state departments will have smaller operating budgets come July 1. The rest are growing — one by as much as 94 percent. Civil Beat.

Hawaii’s “strained” state financial operations, the depletion of reserves in fiscal year 2011, and covering budget shortfalls with one time solutions – these are the factors that Moody’s Investors Services used when downgrading Hawaii’s General Obligation Bond Rating for an estimated $5.1 billion in debt. Hawaii Reporter.

The cost of living for Oahu residents is likely to increase dramatically after the Honolulu City Council’s Budget Committee approved a property tax hike as well as a bevy of user fee increases. KHON2.

A Honolulu City Council committee on Tuesday approved for final vote of a residential tax rate of $3.50 per $1,000 of value. KITV4.

Looking to make a high priority of fixing Oahu's crumbling roads, the City Council Budget Committee restored $32 million to the mayor's construction project budget for roads yesterday. Star-Advertiser.

A deadlocked County Council on Tuesday put the brakes on a planned $1 bus fare, one of the moneymakers in Mayor Billy Kenoi's proposed budget. West Hawaii Today.

For more than two years, Maui Memorial Medical Center has been paying $600,000 per year to rent a 20,000-square-foot empty building next to the Kaiser Maui Lani Clinic on Maui Lani Parkway. Maui News.

The Hawaii County Band, open space land fund, golf programs, legislative auditor and various county operations are in the crosshairs of County Council members, who are scheduled to vote today on more than $12 million in cuts to the annual budget submitted by Mayor Billy Kenoi. West Hawaii Today.

Mayor Peter Carlisle would veto budget proposals for the planned rail transit authority that give the City Council final say on any spending decisions by the semiautonomous board, the administration said yesterday. Star-Advertiser.

Citing a possible conflict of interest, Kaua‘i County Councilman Dickie Chang has recused himself from voting on funds for the next two editions of the Kaua‘i Marathon. Garden Island.

Unity House Inc. received approval Tuesday from a Hawaii bankruptcy court judge to sell its Lotus at Diamond Head Hotel to Nobuka USA Inc. for $18.5 million. Pacific Business News.

The developer of a proposed 12,000-unit housing project in West Oahu will try again to win approval to move ahead with its plan. KITV4.

Tension resulting from local politics allegedly resulted in physical violence yesterday between an opponent and supporter of the Envision Laie development. Hawaii Independent.

Hawaii County has moved a step closer toward buying 27 acres of pristine Puna coastline. Tribune-Herald.

Kahuku land that was the center of an eight-year battle before the Land Use Commission as the proposed Hawaiian Riviera Resort is again being moved forward for development. West Hawaii Today.

The state this week expects to announce a partnership with federal agencies to help landowners and managers protect forest lands. Associated Press.

A record number of 15 students graduated from the University of Hawaii's law school with a Native Hawaiian Law Certificate this week. Associated Press.

Several weeks after the deal was made for UH Maui College-Molokai to purchase neighboring land from Molokai Properties Ltd., Governor Neil Abercrombie has released the funds to complete the acquisition. Molokai Dispatch.

Two people died when an light sport aircraft crashed off the North Shore of Kauai at about 10:53 a.m. Tuesday, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. Hawaii News Now.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Hawaii unions powerful, Honolulu mayor popular, health insurers profitable, no more money for nurses, new garbage trucks idle, overlooked utility poles make for pricey contract, Kauai gets federal seabird permit, more Hawaii news

Hawaii coastline (c) 2011 All Hawaii News
The Legacy Lands Conservation Program has awarded four grants totaling $4.5 million to protect lands on Oahu and the Big Island. Pacific Business News

The two largest health insurance companies in Hawaii rebounded in the first quarter to post their highest profits in at least three years due to rate increases and improved investments that helped boost earnings. Star-Advertiser.

Most voters believe labor unions have the strongest influence on the state's elected officials, a new Hawaii Poll shows, although Democrats are less likely to have that opinion than Republicans and independents. Star-Advertiser.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie said the state cannot agree to pay more money to Maui Memorial Medical Center nurses because it is in a "fiscal crisis." Maui News.

Not a single steel rail has been laid for the Honolulu transit system and costs are already escalating. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii County is paying $229,000 to a construction contractor after a second engineering consultant failed to include utility pole relocation in the original project design. West Hawaii Today.

As wind company Pattern Energy moves forward with plans to develop on Molokai, First Wind, a company that had been in discussion with the community for several years, is not giving up without a fight. Molokai Dispatch.

It’s a matter of disclosure, practicality, and fairness—none of which Friends of Lanai say applies to the State’s Big Wind proposal. Hawaii Independent.

Reflections on leadership — and lack of it — in the 2011 session. Civil Beat.

New city garbage trucks collecting dust. Hawaii News Now.

The Hawaii County Council majority made clear Monday its displeasure with a $199,950 consultant contract comparing Hilo landfill expansion costs to trucking garbage to Puuanahulu. West Hawaii Today.

New polling data released yesterday shows Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle with a job approval rating of 64 percent, while 60 percent of those polled have a favorable opinion of him. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu mayor Peter Carlisle is busy dealing with rail critics and budgets woes, but his approval rating is still high after seven months on the job. Star-Advertiser.

Both deputy chiefs in the Honolulu Police Department will step down from their posts at the end of the month, the two men said last night. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu had one of the highest inflation rates in the nation last year, but economists say rising costs won't threaten the state's economic recovery. Associated Press.

It was a ground-breaking ceremony many believed was long overdue.  A memorial honoring Hawaii's law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty. KHON2.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has given Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative a green light to “take” a certain number of endangered seabirds annually so long as the co-op adheres to its federally approved habitat conservation plan. Garden Island.

The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear a dispute over whether to identify students challenging a private school system's admissions policy that gives preference to those of Hawaiian ancestry.Associated Press.

Many Aiea residents got their first look at a major development in the middle of their community. KITV4.

West Hawaii's four council districts accounted for 76.8 percent of property values this year, up slightly from last year as property values countywide dipped 4.4 percent. West Hawaii Today.

Kaua‘i County Councilman KipuKai Kuali‘i responded Monday to some community concerns over a possible conflict of interest stemming from his participation in a certain departmental budget review meeting last month. Garden Island.

Never, ever expect gratitude is what Gov. Neil Abercrombie told University of Hawaii Maui College graduates on Sunday. Maui News.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Kamehameha Schools opponents must be public, Hawaii 2012 politics show Hirono, Case, Lingle leaders, Abercrombie popularity 50%, rail transit pricey, state to buy more land for preservation, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Gov. Neil Abercrombie (c) 2011 All Hawaii News
A new Hawaii Poll shows 50 percent of registered voters approve of the job that Neil Abercrombie is doing as governor, much lower than his predecessor at the same point in office, and a reflection of the difficulty Abercrombie has had in pushing his agenda forward. Hawaii News Now.

Former congressman Ed Case and U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono are tied in a hypothetical matchup in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate, a new Hawaii Poll shows. Star-Advertiser.

Out of nine public figures and possible political candidates, Congresswoman Mazie Hirono garnered the highest favorable ratings in the Hawaii News Now/Honolulu Star-Advertiser Hawaii Poll. Hawaii News Now.

Former Gov. Linda Lingle told fellow Hawaii Republicans at the party's convention in Kauai over the weekend that she would decide by the end of August whether to run for the U.S. Senate next year. Civil Beat.

The Supreme Court has declined to hear a dispute over whether students challenging a private Hawaiian school system's admissions policy must be identified. Associated Press.

The first female soldier enlisted in the Hawaii Army National Guard 38 years ago … but it was only this year that a woman was promoted to General. Hawaii Public Radio.

Recently proposed Medicaid qualification standards would leave around 4,500 without health insurance around Hawaii. Molokai Dispatch.

Homeowners have a fighting chance with foreclosure law. Maui News.

Act 48 suspends nonjudicial foreclosures in Hawaii and creates a mortgage foreclosure dispute resolution program administered by the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs' Office of Administrative Hearings. Associated Press.

After concluding a grueling legislative session of tax raising and budget cutting, Hawaii lawmakers may find that their work is not yet done. Associated Press.

The state's Legacy Lands Conservation program is providing $4.5 million in grants for the purchase and protection of culturally and agriculturally important lands on the Big Island and Oahu. Associated Press.

The state plans to open a new H-1 freeway on-ramp and an off-ramp this week that are expected to remove traffic bottlenecks around some large shopping centers in Kapolei. KITV4.

The state Department of Transportation will not reopen the temporary Kapa‘a bypass road for another week as recent rainstorms have delayed resurfacing work. Garden Island.

While about half of Honolulu residents remain in favor of completing the rail transit system, nearly 9 in 10 agree the project is likely to cost more than the $5.3 billion estimated price tag. Star-Advertiser.

The price tag for preparation of the Honolulu rapid transit project’s environmental impact statement was originally $86 million but has since bulged to $156 million, a City spokesman confirmed today. Hawaii Reporter.

A bike rental program to promote an active lifestyle and reduce traffic will officially launch on Friday in Kailua. Star-Advertiser.

It would be a stretch to say that Hawaii’s renewable energy companies, the utilities and the public are moving together in harmony toward a clean energy future. Pacific Business News

A milestone in Manoa -- a special graduation ceremony. Thousands turned their tassels at the University of Hawaii's 100th commencement ceremonies. KITV4.

Mostly dry trade wind weather will prevail for the next several days, with brief showers favoring windward areas during nights and mornings. KHON2.

If you received your motor vehicle registration reminder notice in the mail this month, you might have noticed that the form looks different. Tribune-Herald.

Ka'u is well on the way of making a name for itself in the coffee industry on an island for many decades known primarily for its Kona-grown coffee. West Hawaii Today.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Waikiki Beach to be widened, new Disney resort to boost economy, state rep. fined for late finance reports, rail stirs council debate, another lawsuit, Big Island tackles redistricting, more Hawaii news

Waikiki sand (c) 2011 All Hawaii News

A $2.5 million project to replenish the sand along a 1,700-foot shoreline of Waikiki Beach is finally set for completion by the first quarter of next year. Star-Advertiser.

The Magical world of Disney is coming to Ko Olina and this summer the Aulani Resort will officially welcome guests.KHON2.

The Walt Disney Co. plans to hire through the next six weeks most of the 800 workers needed for its much-anticipated Aulani Resort in West Oahu, providing a needed boost to the state's anemic job market. Star-Advertiser.

Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, will be among more than 140 employers meeting with job candidates at the WorkForce 2011 job fair on May 18. Pacific Business News

A sea of people wearing green “Keep the country country” shirts flooded last night’s Koolauloa North Shore Alliance’s Talk Story 3, regarding the future of Turtle Bay Resort, where a proposal to increase its current size of 500 hotel and condo units to 4,000 units—five new hotels and 1,000 luxury condominiums have been planned. Hawaii Independent.

State Rep. Mele Carroll has been fined $2,608 by the Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission for the late filing of her 2010 election finance reports. Maui News.

When new retirement rules kick in next summer, state and county employees will have to work four extra years to earn a similar pension they would get under current rules. Civil Beat.

The last bales of trash at the Hawaiian Waste Systems facility in Campbell Industrial Park has been removed and delivered to a City waste disposal facility, according to the city. Hawaii News Now.

Challenging assumptions that the general excise tax surcharge and federal funds would be adequate to support the $5.3 billion rail transit system, City Council members pressed the city administration on proposed backup plans to pay for the system without tapping general fund money. Star-Advertiser.

A complaint has been filed in federal court seeking an injunction to halt Oahu's rail transit project. KITV4.

Hawaii's statewide campaign to raise funds for the survivors of the Japan earthquake and tsunamis has reached $6 million in donations. Associated Press.

The average price of gas in Hawaii dropped this week but continues to be the most expensive in the nation. Associated Press.

The annual Kaua‘i Marathon has generated over $5 million to the local economy in its first two years, according to organizers. But the event has yet to make a profit, and organizers have come before the County Council asking for substantial subsidies to keep the marathon running. Garden Island.

A Honolulu police officer implicated in an overtime abuse investigation has been found not guilty. KHON2.

A new law mandating how County Council districts are drawn almost ensures that Hilo will lose one of its three council seats, Puna will gain at least one additional seat and lines along the Kona coast will move significantly.  West Hawaii Today.

A University of Hawaii professor has won an award for outstanding national contribution to school librarianship. Associated Press.

Of the 2,800 known sex offenders currently living in Hawaii, around 650 of them are behind bars. Hawaii News Now.

The Ups and Downs of Traditional Hawaiian Fishponds. Molokai Dispatch.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie has appointed the county's Deputy Planning Director Michele Chouteau McLean as the chairwoman of the Kaho'olawe Island Reserve Commission, the county announced Thursday afternoon. Maui News.

Move over Mt. Waialeale. Hawaii has a new "wettest spot" in the islands. KITV4.

A proposal to review Hawaii County's real property tax structure comes before the County Council's Finance Committee Monday morning. West Hawaii Today.

In response to the high volume of requests for changes and clarification, county officials have extended the deadline to May 31 for property owners to make changes to their residential refuse collection assessment. Garden Island.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Hawaii cuts Medicaid rolls, Honolulu liquor employee outs undercover investigators, GOP strikes out in legislative session, fight over home for Poseidons, affordable housing in crosshairs, more news

Honolulu housing (c) 2011 All Hawaii News
After years of talking about it, the city of Honolulu is working to put all its affordable housing projects up for sale. KITV4.

Renting a two-bedroom apartment on the Big Island requires a person earn at least $22 an hour, however, many renters here make less than half that, according to a study recently released by the National Low Income Housing Coalition. West Hawaii Today.

About 4,500 Hawaii residents will be cut from government-funded health services, and most remaining on Medicaid rolls will receive reduced services beginning Jan. 1, the state Department of Human Services announced yesterday. Star-Advertiser.

The state on Tuesday announced cuts in Medicaid benefits that will affect many low-income residents in Hawaii. Hawaii News Now.

Governor Neil Abercrombie addressed a statewide teleconference today on his plan to cut skyrocketing Medicaid costs. Hawaii Public Radio.

Costs for long-term care in Hawaii continue to outpace the national rate in some cases by more than 50 percent, according to the latest survey by Genworth Financial Inc. Star-Advertiser.

Liquor Commission Staffer Posts Photos Of Undercover Investigators Online. KITV4.

No bill — zero, zip, nada — introduced by a GOP lawmaker passed in the 2011 session. Civil Beat.

The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission has denied a petition from the nonprofit Friends of Lanai that sought to intervene in the proceedings involving the Big Wind project. Pacific Business News

Four years and more than a quarter of a million immunizations later, the successful Stop Flu at School program faces an uncertain future due to shrinking state and federal dollars. KHON2.

A county commissioner from Washington state has mounted a campaign to secure Navy P-8A Poseidon sub-hunting aircraft for her state by claiming that Kaneohe Bay — where 18 of the jets are planned to be based — has a runway that's too short for fully fueled and loaded Poseidons to take off. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii is still a target: New S.T.A.R.T. Treaty a small step toward nuclear disarmament. Hawaii Independent.

The University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine is facing a money emergency. In July it loses $4 million in state tobacco settlement funds because of funding cuts. Hawaii News Now.

For four years, the fate of the historic Kapaia Swinging Bridge has been up in the air as the deteriorating bridge itself sags into the very ravine it traverses. Garden Island.

Members of the Maui County Charter Commission were sworn in Monday, kicking off what's expected to be an intense 16-month process to propose major changes to how the county operates. Maui News.

The planned expenditure deferrals Mayor Billy Kenoi is using to balance next year's county budget are County Council Chairman Dominic Yagong's top concern. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii Kai, an upper-middle class community in East Oahu bordered by a spectacular turquoise ocean and stunning emerald mountains and valleys, is built around a private marina that spans from the valley to the ocean. Hawaii Reporter.

Federal officials have prepared a plan to manage a 38,000-acre wildlife refuge on the slopes of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa that is home to endangered Hawaiian forest birds. Associated Press.

A Hilo-based tour operator could be fined at least $15,000 for allegedly performing unpermitted construction on conservation land located along Honolii Stream. Tribune-Herald.