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.

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