Friday, May 18, 2012

Hawaii tourism, jobs, construction picking up, Honolulu rail project clears hurdles, teachers union Labor Board hearings end, pay raises in Honolulu council, bonuses in Maui's, Big Island ag report shows cash crops rule, sewer spill closes Kalapaki Beach, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Honolulu hula (c) 2012 All Hawaii News
Hawaii residents will see their incomes grow slightly in 2012 and pick up more in following years as hiring and business profits improve, according to a University of Hawaii forecast released Friday. Associated Press.

Hawaii’s unemployment rate fell to 6.3 percent in April from 6.4 percent in March, reaching its lowest level in more than three years, the state reported Thursday. Star-Advertiser.

The long-running construction industry slump on the neighbor islands is finally reaching bottom, setting the stage for expansion over the next several years, according to a report released today by the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii hotel rates rose nearly 8 percent last week on higher occupancy, according to a report by Hospitality Advisors LLC and Smith Travel Research. Pacific Business News.

The U.S. Chamber plans to spend at least $500,000 this year in support of Linda Lingle's bid for the U.S. Senate. Civil Beat.

Mainland PACs made the biggest splash this week with local political ad buys, spending more than $152,000 on Hawaii TV networks, according to Civil Beat's latest sweep of public files. Civil Beat.

After 10 months of hearings, the Hawaii teachers union wrapped up a prohibited-practice case Thursday before the Hawaii Labor Relations Board, where it argued that the state's decision to impose a contract in July violated members' rights. Star-Advertiser.

The 10-month-old case over whether Gov. Neil Abercrombie was wrong in imposing a new contract on teachers is finally coming to a head, clearing the way for negotiations to resume. Civil Beat.

A state program that provided Hawaii motorists with $4,500 toward the purchase of plug-in electric vehicles has ended earlier than expected because high consumer demand depleted the fund. Star-Advertiser.


A federal judge has dismissed a number of claims from a lawsuit that alleges the $5.27 billion Hono­ulu rail proj­ect would have a harmful effect on recreational and historic sites. Star-Advertiser.

The city has won federal approval to produce the first sections of elevated guideway for the 20-mile Honolulu rail system. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu officials celebrated a federal court ruling on the rail project Thursday that reduced the number of disputed recreational and historic site claims. Civil Beat.

A U.S. District Court of Hawaii judge has ruled that Oahu’s rail-transit project will impact fewer than 10 recreational and historic sites, not the more than 40 locations cited by plaintiffs in a lawsuit. Pacific Business News.

Ninth Circuit Court Senior Judge A. Wallace Tashima, who is overseeing a federal lawsuit filed by seven plaintiffs against the City & County of Honolulu and the FTA challenging the validity of the Environmental Impact Statement for the city's $5.3 billion elevated steel on steel rail system, ruled in favor of the defendants today on one motion. Hawaii Reporter.

Proposed pay raises for Honolulu elected officials are “unaffordable” and should be rejected by the City Council, according to a resolution introduced by Council chairman Ernie Martin. Hawaii Reporter.

Tom Apple, provost of the University of Delaware, was unanimously selected as the next chancellor of the University of Hawaii's flagship Manoa campus Thursday after two UH regents said their initial dissenting views were changed during private discussions among the regents. Star-Advertiser.

Milestones are being marked by Hawaii's private-school community as something of an end of an era for two campuses that built their brands on single-gender education. Star-Advertiser.

The federal agent charged in a fatal shooting at a Waikiki McDonald's restaurant claims he was performing his duties as a law enforcement officer and is immune from prosecution. Associated Press.

The City and County of Honolulu has a new solar energy system paid for 3 years ago with federal America Reinvestment and Recovery Act --- or ARRA funding. Hawaii Public Radio.

Honolulu prosecutors are asking a state judge to keep sealed a request to dismiss a murder charge against a State Department special agent and its supporting exhibits, which include surveillance videotapes of the fatal shooting at a McDonald's Waikiki restaurant last year. Star-Advertiser.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating a series of violent and disturbing death threats against Duane ‘Dog' Chapman and his family, according to sources close to the Chapman family. Hawaii News Now.

It's been decades in the making. But in just a few months, the University of Hawaii West Oahu's new campus will open in Kapolei. KHON2.


Big Island farmers have more than 42,700 acres of land in crop production, but only a small portion of that product enters the local food supply. Tribune-Herald.

West Hawaii’s four main agricultural areas constitute 37.2 percent of the 42,700 acres in crop production on the entire island, but the majority of the crops grown here do not contribute to the island’s food supply. West Hawaii Today.

If another State Historic Preservation Plan is created, the State Historic Preservation Division needs to take action on its contents — not shelve it, Big Island residents voiced Thursday in Kailua-Kona. West Hawaii Today.

As friends, family and loved ones seek to heap praise — and lei — on high school graduates this weekend, they are likely to feel their pocketbooks getting a little lighter than usual. Tribune-Herald.

West Hawaii Today was honored recently at the 27th annual Hawaii Publishers Association’s Pa‘i Awards in Honolulu. West Hawaii Today.


Five Maui County Council members have continued a practice of giving pay bonuses to office staff members, according to records released for the first three quarters of this fiscal year. Maui News.

Maui County and state officials are working together to help start the first community center for the people of Nahiku. Maui Now.

Maui County paramedics will hold open houses at their stations during Emergency Medical Services week from Sunday to May 26. Maui News.


County officials closed Kalapaki Beach Thursday morning after a substantial sewage spill Wednesday evening at the Lihu‘e Wastewater Treatment Plant on Ninini Point Street above Kaua‘i Lagoons Golf Course. Garden Island.

Trustees of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs were on Kaua‘i Wednesday and Thursday to hear from the community, in two forums that were dominated by interest in poi mills and taro farms. Garden Island.

Who in their right mind would envision a garden with at least 50 different kinds of vegetables and fruit trees facing Kaua‘i’s windward coast? Garden Island.


New leadership at Molokai Ranch hopes to get a fresh start with the community as they bring sustainability to the forefront and develop and share their ideas for the island. Molokai Dispatch.

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