Friday, September 10, 2010

Schatz leads lt. gov. money race, Kauai settles bird complaint, Aloun Farms tackles human trafficking case, political bickering, more news from around the islands

The state Office of Elections says 684,481 people are registered for the Sept. 18 primary election. The number is higher than the 667,647 who registered for the 2008 primary, but lower than the 691,365 registered for the 2008 general election, when Hawaii's Barack Obama won the presidency. Star-Advertiser.

The two leading Democratic candidates for Hawaii governor enter the final week of the primary campaign staring at contradictory signs. Associated Press.

Hawaii’s primary election is a little more than a week away and political candidates are saturating communities with campaign signs. KITV.

In the latest campaign spending report period, Hawaii gubernatorial candidate Neil Abercrombie raised two times more money than his closest democratic party opponent, Mufi Hannemann, and Abercrombie also had three times more big donors who gave maximum $6,000. KITV.

Brian Schatz, the former Democratic Party of Hawaii chairman and state lawmaker, raised the most campaign money during the past two months in the Democratic primary for lieutenant governor. Star-Advertiser.

Five Honolulu residents financed a radio ad that criticized Democratic gubernatorial candidate Neil Abercrombie for not declaring a religious affiliation. Associated Press.

Dueling endorsements for Governor have led one venture capital group to demand that a rival organization back off. KHON2.

The head of the Hawaii Venture Capital Association says he will ask the state to nullify a similarly named group that formed last month. Associated Press.

At a debate sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii Tuesday, former Mayor Mufi Hannemann  said: "His overall cumulative score in his 20 years of Congress on issues important to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce was 30 percent." Civil Beat.

The state Republican Party is accusing Democrat Colleen Hanabusa of illegally campaigning by holding a press conference too close to an early polling place. Associated Press.

On a recent trip to Molokai, U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono experienced first-hand what goes into restoring one of Molokai’s precious 68 fishponds – the most of any Hawaiian Islands – and some of the passionate people behind the movement. Molokai Dispatch.

Hot topics for candidates running for a seat in the House of Representatives. Big Island Weekly.

In a federal plea agreement, the county Thursday agreed to plead guilty to one misdemeanor count of violating the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act for “taking” endangered seabirds. Garden Island.

Kauai County yesterday acknowledged in U.S. District Court that it is guilty of violating the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act by killing Newell's shearwater birds through its lighting policies at county facilities over the last five years. Star-Advertiser.

The 20 people ticketed or arrested for an eight-day sit-in at the governor's office this past spring are scheduled to be sentenced in state district court tomorrow. KITV.

The owners of Aloun Farms say they know the 44 workers they imported from Thailand in 2004 were lied to in order to get them to sign worthless labor contracts and that the workers each paid exorbitant recruitment fees to get the jobs. Star-Advertiser.

Three+ days of sentencing arguments in a human trafficking case in Honolulu are now moot, as the owners of Aloun Farms took back their guilty pleas Thursday. Hawaii News Now.

Forbes says Pierre Omidyar, the founder of eBay, is now worth about $5 billion. Hawaii News Now.

A man who turned an online auction into an internet success shared some secrets with local businesses today. KHON2.

Kauai households would face a new tax assessment for trash collection under a measure approved by a Kauai County committee. Garden Island.

The average five-year suicide rate for Maui County from 2005 to 2009 was the highest in the state at 92 deaths per 100,000 residents, according to data from the state Department of Health. Maui News.

Prime Alii Drive property is heading toward purchase by the county, following the County Council Finance Committee's unanimous approval Wednesday of a compromise allowing some of the land to be bought with open space funds. West Hawaii Today.

The public can sound off today on the latest revisions to a plan to lure federal money to boost the Big Island's economy. Tribune-Herald.

The County Council Budget and Finance Committee approved Wednesday a $95,000 grant to Kekaha’s Citizens Advisory Committee, so they can hold a new series of public meetings to figure out what to do with the money from the Host Community Benefit in exchange for that community having the island’s only active landfill. Garden Island.

He didn’t lead in an iron-fisted manner, but instead with the gentle, guiding hand of a nurturing parent. Lahaina News.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Abercrombie catches up in money race, Lihue Airport in trouble, coffee beetle serious, judge says Lingle was right on furloughs, human trafficker bail set at $1M, lots more news

One of the worst parasites to prey upon coffee crops has been discovered on the Big Island. Hawaii News Now.

A beetle known asthe coffee berry borer that threatens the health of Hawaii’s coffee industry has been found on several farms in Kona on the Big Island. KHON2.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Neil Abercrombie has raised twice as much money as rival Mufi Hannemann over the last two months. Garden Island.

Former U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie raised more than double the campaign contributions of former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann over the past two months, a late surge that shows momentum for Abercrombie in the Democratic primary for governor. Star-Advertiser.

The latest Hawaii campaign spending reports due Wednesday show former U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D) had a surge in contributions in the period of July 1 through Sept. 3 -- for the first time beating his well-heeled opponent Mufi Hannemann (D) in fundraising. KITV.

Democratic candidate Neil Abercrombie raised more than twice as much money as his primary opponent Mufi Hanneman from July 1 to Sept. 3, according to campaign finance reports published late Wednesday. Civil Beat.

The 6K club, part one. Honolulu Weekly.

Republican Charles Djou and Democrat Colleen Hanabusa have been busily mining the pocketbooks of politically interested individuals and interest groups in anticipation of their Nov. 2 general election showdown, according to federal records reviewed Wednesday. Associated Press.

Acting Mayor Kirk Caldwell edged former Honolulu Prosecutor Peter Carlisle in fundraising over the past two months, but Carlisle has a sizable lead in cash on hand left for the stretch in the race for mayor. Star-Advertiser.

Hot topics for candidates running for a seat in the House of Representatives. Big Island Weekly.

A federal judge set bail at $1 million Wednesday for the CEO of a labor recruiting company accused of exploiting 400 workers from Thailand and forcing them to work on U.S. farms. Associated Press.

KITV 4 News has learned federal immigration officials want to detain the man at the center of the largest human trafficking case in U.S. history, which could keep him behind bars even though a federal magistrate in Honolulu ruled Wednesday he could be freed on $1 million bail. KITV.

The Hawaii Supreme Court today ruled in favor of Governor Linda Lingle in her appeal of HGEA v. Lingle, a case that stopped her from implementing a furlough plan. Hawaii Reporter.

A state judge should not have blocked Gov. Linda Lingle's unilateral plan to impose furloughs on state workers last year, the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled yesterday. Star-Advertiser.

A big jump in hotel tax collections is helping get the 2011 fiscal year off to a good start. KHON2.

There are signs in Oahu's housing market that the pendulum is beginning to swing back in favor of sellers. Star-Advertiser.

Dozens of West Hawaii residents Tuesday voiced concerns over a new management strategy proposed by the state for Kealakekua Bay. West Hawaii Today.

The former Kulani prison could become a training base for a 150-soldier company to learn how to detect roadside bombs, perform emergency aerial evacuations and make forced entries into buildings. Tribune-Herald.

Mayor Billy Kenoi has reached into a related department to fill the vacancy created by the resignation earlier this summer of Environmental Management Director Lono Tyson. West Hawaii Today.

Maui County's official website has been named one of the Best of the Web. KITV.

Hearing passionate pleas for Upcountry water meters, the Maui County Council Water Resources Committee expressed support for an outright purchase of a privately developed well in Makawao that could cost about $8 million. Maui News.

Management problems persist at Lihu‘e Airport despite ‘coaching’ Garden Island.

Some say it’s the end of free trash pick-up.Garden Island.

A Lahaina voter is challenging Maui County Council Chairman Danny Mateo’s re-election bid, arguing another full term would exceed the five-term limit. Molokai Dispatch.

Hamakua land EIS completed though sale is off. West Hawaii Today.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Will they raise the GET or won't they? Gubernatorial candidates unclear, Mighty Mo closes for movie, more news

Film crews from the Universal Pictures movie "Battleship" have taken over the state's resident dreadnought, the Mighty Mo, forcing the Battleship Missouri Memorial Association to close the popular tourist attraction to the public for several days. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii's Democratic candidates for governor differed Tuesday on raising taxes, with Neil Abercrombie opposing a hike in the general excise tax "without equivocation" and Mufi Hannemann saying such an increase wouldn't be considered "initially." Associated Press.

Former U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie and former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann, the two leading Democratic candidates for governor, said yesterday that they would not raise the general excise tax to help stabilize the state's budget. Star-Advertiser.

The two leading Democratic candidates for Hawaii governor were asked at a candidates' forum on Tuesday whether they would raise the state's general excise tax. KITV.

The leading Democratic candidates for Governor traded barbs over business issues at a debate today. KHON2.

I like candidate “debates”, even though the definition of that term has been totally bastardized since the days when I participated in the National Forensic Society version when I was in high school and college. Hawaii Reporter.

Concerns are growing over this month's voter turnout as state elections officials continue to spread the word that there will be 97 fewer polling places across the islands for this year's elections. Star-Advertiser.

Associate Justice Mark Recktenwald will be sworn in as the state’s fifth justice at 4 p.m.  Sept. 14 at the Hawaii Supreme Court courtroom. Star-Advertiser.

The battle between Democrat Colleen Hanabusa and Republican Charles Djou will heat up after September's primary, just weeks away. Civil Beat.

Entrepreneur Pierre Omidyar is due to give the keynote address at this year's Hawaii Business Magazine's "Top 250" luncheon. Associated Press.

The stacks of paper are tall and the list is long of all contractors and sub contractors for rail. Hawaii News Now.

Plans to open a transitional home for mentally ill patients have people in an Ewa neighborhood worried about crime and plummeting property values. Hawaii News Now.

Gov. Linda Lingle on Tuesday announced her choices to fill two vacant seats in the state Senate. KITV.

Gov. Linda Lingle has filled a pair of state Senate seats that were left vacant when their incumbents resigned to run for higher office. Associated Press.

Hawaii's volatile economy isn't scaring away investors. Dozens of people have lined up to purchase a unit in Kakaako's newest high rise and they are willing to wait days. KHON2.

Labor day weekend marked the official end of the summer tourism season, and the visitor industry is celebrating some big numbers that haven’t been seen in two years. KITV.

A shortage of tsunami sirens is leaving some Hawaii Island beachgoers and coastal residents vulnerable, says Kohala Councilman Pete Hoffmann, who wants new developments to include the warning devices. Tribune-Herald.

About 500 volunteers are needed to help the state Department of Health Kaua‘i District Health Office with an exercise testing its emergency preparedness mass medication dispensing plan also known as the Strategic National Stockpile, a DOH news release announced Tuesday. Garden Island.

The retiring principal of Lahainaluna High School has left his home, a place that he loves and a place that loves him. Maui News.

Christ Church Episcopal and Family Support Services of West Hawaii's Up Country Faire fundraiser couldn't have had a more fitting name. West Hawaii Today.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Here's the beef, politics of schools, cliff diving the new hit, more news from around the Hawaiian Islands

With the largest land mass in the Hawaiian Island chain, the Big Island has a long history of huge cattle ranches. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii's lieutenant governor candidates last night praised the efforts of island charter schools — especially the 16 that avoided Furlough Fridays while absorbing budget cuts — and called for more emphasis on early childhood education, but fell short on coming up with new ways to find money for promising programs. Star-Advertiser.

With less than two weeks to go before the primary election, the leading candidates for lieutenant governor took part in a forum Monday night about public education, talking about everything from auditing the state education department to improving early childhood education. KITV.

More than half of Hawaii's public school teachers leave within five years of being hired, a sobering statistic the state is scrambling to address at a time when experienced teachers are needed to help turn around struggling schools, meet federal requirements for "highly qualified" teachers and reach ambitious school reform goals. Star-Advertiser.

Twenty-four people have applied for the job of running Hawaii's public schools. Star-Advertiser.

Three Board of Education candidates - two male teachers and a fashion executive who has returned to her native Maui - all promised to visit schools regularly as they explained why they should be elected to serve as a Neighbor Island representative on the policy-making panel for public schools. Maui News.

Hawaii congressman Charles Djou officially opened his campaign headquarters Monday on Ward Avenue in Kakaako. KHON2.

Hawaii's 2010 primary election ballot is designed in a way that could confuse voters. It also favors the two major parties at the expense of nonpartisan candidates. Civil Beat.

Gubernatorial candidate Neil Abercrombie will swing by Honolulu Hale to cast his vote, since early voting has started. Hawaii News Now.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Neil Abercrombie says his opponent, Mufi Hannemann's supporters are using a negative ad and flier to divide the community and attack his character. KITV.

The Garden Island asked the Kaua‘i candidates running for mayor, Kaua‘i County Council, state Senate and state House of Representatives to respond to three general questions about their decision to seek elected office. Garden Island.

Today it is politically correct to be “green.” After all, how can any elected official oppose the preservation of the “aina” and still be elected to office? Hawaii Reporter.

Honolulu City Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi is questioning several sub-contracts related to the city's controversial $5.5 billion rail transit project. KHON2.

The race to represent the largest County Council district involves two candidates seeking greater communication, an incumbent who won't talk to the Tribune-Herald, and a fourth political hopeful pushing job growth. Tribune-Herald.

In Hawaii, surfing is known as the "Sport of Kings," but cliff diving could just as easily have garnered the royal athletic moniker. Tribune-Herald.

Maui County will be offered a chance Tuesday to buy a water well in Makawao that could make deep inroads into the Upcountry meter waiting list. Maui News.

Take a walk down Manako Lane in Kaunakakai on any given weekday and you will notice an unassuming green house nestled in the corner, buzzing with traffic. Several days a week, mental health patients gather at this spot – known as the clubhouse – which they describe as a place of solace and understanding. Molokai Dispatch.

Monday, September 6, 2010

More military might, politics and dirty tricks, Filipinos love Abercrombie, more island news

Delegations representing indigenous people from around the world were taken from Hawaii's voyaging canoes yesterday morning and paddled to the shores of Kualoa in a welcoming ceremony unlike any other seen at previous Healing Our Spirit Worldwide conferences. Star-Advertiser.

A celebration ceremony Sunday shared cultures from around the world. KHON2.

The Pentagon is planning a $278 million program to increase missile testing on Kauai that would improve the protection of Europe from ballistic missiles from countries such as Iran, and provide an additional element of defense for Hawaii from North Korean threats, officials said. Star-Advertiser.

The Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies has broken ground on a new wing. Associated Press.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service plans to spend $1.4 million cleaning up lead paint on former Midway Atoll military buildings that have been poisoning Laysan albatross birds there. Associated Press.

Honolulu-based Hawaii Oceanic Technology Inc. has withdrawn its permit application for a 12-cage submerged ahi farm offshore of Malae Point, North Kohala, and plans to seek permission for just one cage instead. West Hawaii Today.

Kaua‘i’s beaches and surfbreaks are usually clean. Some are cleaner than others. Garden Island.

Despite the rhetorical fireworks between gubernatorial candidates Neil Abercrombie and Mufi Hannemann, the longtime Hawai‘i Democrats appear to be more ideologically alike than they let on to be. Associated Press.

According to the Hawaii Filipino Chronicle’s (HFC) recent Primary Election poll, former U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie holds a commanding lead over former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann in the race for governor among registered Filipino voters, 45.2 percent to 13.7 percent. Filipino Chronicle.

The Hawaii Venture Capital Association said it is outraged that another organization using a very similar name on Thursday endorsed Mufi Hannemann for governor when the HVA two months ago endorsed Neil Abercrombie. KITV.

When a political endorsement doesn’t go your way, why not just start a new group with almost the same name and have it endorse you so people think that the group you wanted to be endorsed by actually endorsed you in the first place. Hawaii Reporter.

The two major Democratic candidates for governor are set to participate in a debate sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii and the Hawaii Medical Assurance Association. Associated Press.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Neil Abercrombie is accusing the campaign of his rival, Mufi Hannemann, of using religion to divide voters and attack his character. Associated Press.

Civil Beat sent the three leading candidates for Honolulu mayor the same questionnaire. Civil Beat.

The two leading candidates for Honolulu mayor are running television ads that look and sound pretty similar. KITV.

It was not a typical Maui County mayoral forum Friday night at the Iao Theater. Maui News.

The Garden Island asked the Kaua‘i candidates running for mayor, Kaua‘i County Council, state Senate and state House of Representatives to respond to three general questions about their decision to seek elected office. Garden Island.

More than half of the traffic deaths on the Big Island have been blamed on drunken driving over most of the last decade, according to a study released by the North Hawaii Outcomes Project. KITV.

Impaired driving has killed more Big Island motorists than any other cause, according to a recent report aimed at drawing attention to DUI deaths. Tribune-Herald.

Honolulu Police are stepping up enforcement to keep drunk drivers off the road. KHON2.

The owner's representative of the 670-acre Honua'ula development in South Maui asked members of the public and Maui County Council on Thursday to take a close look at the project's voluminous cultural resources preservation plan - a condition for its construction - before making any more judgments. Maui News.

West Maui lawmakers announced that the long-awaited Lahaina Harbor Improvement Project has been successfully awarded and finalized. Lahaina News.

Take a walk down Manako Lane in Kaunakakai on any given weekday and you will notice an unassuming green house nestled in the corner, buzzing with traffic. Several days a week, mental health patients gather at this spot – known as the clubhouse – which they describe as a place of solace and understanding. Molokai Dispatch.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Stamp ceremony on the volcano, Recktenwald slides in, Obama birth certificate 'irrelevant' in military case, new tourism chief named, more

The last in a series of 12 Nature of America stamps was unveiled Wednesday at the site of its inspiration, in a first-day-of-issue ceremony attended by federal, state and county officials. West Hawaii Today.

More than 200 people gathered Wednesday to celebrate the release of a new collection of 10 stamps created by Hilo artist John D. Dawson. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii is 47th in the nation, when it comes to highway conditions, according to a study released today by Los Angeles-based think tank Reason Foundation. Star-Advertiser.

A new study released today says the rail transit program could bring in thousands of jobs. KHON2.

Agents say they've cracked the largest human trafficking case ever charged in U.S. history. Hawaii News Now.

Six labor recruiters have been accused of luring 400 farm workers to Hawaii from Thailand and mistreating them in what the FBI said is the largest human trafficking case ever charged in U.S. history. KITV

The application to build a Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea is a good one, the Mauna Kea Management Board decided Wednesday at the University of Hawaii at Hilo campus. Tribune-Herald.

Kaua‘i plans to limit lighting at public facilities as much as possible to protect endangered seabirds. Garden Island.

A ceremony aboard the USS Missouri marks 65 years since Japan's surrender ended the war. Star-Advertiser
 State senators on Thursday unanimously approved the nomination of Mark Recktenwald to be Hawaii's next Supreme Court Chief Justice. KITV.

Gov. Linda Lingle's appointment of Associate Justice Mark Recktenwald as chief justice sailed through Senate confirmation yesterday, but she won't get to name his replacement on the five-member Hawaii Supreme Court. Star-Advertiser.

The confirmation of Mark Recktenwald as Hawaii's new Supreme Court chief justice was everything the state Senate's Aug. 6 vote against would-be CJ Katherine Leonard was not. Civil Beat.

Kauaëiís mayoral candidates met for the first time in a public forum, sharing their views on agriculture, business, community projects and sustainability. Garden Island.

Sixteen-hundred registered absentee voters in Hawaii Kai should receive new ballots in the mail starting Saturday. KHON2.

A military judge in Maryland has ruled that President Barack Obama's birth certificate is irrelevant in the case of an Army doctor charged with disobeying deployment orders. Associated Press.

The Hawaii Tourism Authority's board of directors has announced that Ron Williams has been selected its new chairman. Hawaii News Now.

The state Department of Transportation wants the next phase of the Queen Kaahumanu Highway widening project to go more smoothly and to have fewer impacts on West Hawaii residents. West Hawaii Today.

To a degree that exceeds any other county, tourism is leading Maui out of the recession, professor Leroy Laney told a capacity crowd during the 36th annual First Hawaiian Bank Economic Outlook Forum on Thursday in the Elleaire Ballroom. Maui News.

The Maui County Clerk has dismissed voter residency challenges against two candidates for Maui County Council. Maui News.

Gov. Linda Lingle has released $63 million to the University of Hawaii to finance capital improvements at campuses statewide. Associated Press.

West Maui lawmakers announced that the long-awaited Lahaina Harbor Improvement Project has been successfully awarded and finalized. Lahaina News.

Mayor Charmaine Tavares is hosting a budget meeting for the community this September, taking public testimony regarding the proposed budget for the 2011-2012 fiscal year. Molokai Dispatch.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Military ramping up on Molokai, Big Island, Abercrombie, Hannemann debate in Hilo, Supreme Court allows public intervention in land use, birther at it again, Discovery Channel shooter from Maui, more news from the islands

A Hawaiian plant species thought to be extinct has been found on the Big Island. (Photo courtesy of The Nature Conservancy). Associated Press.

The Hawaii Supreme Court has refused to reconsider its decision that found that the state Constitution permits private parties to seek a review by the state Land Use Commission of proposals on agricultural lands. Star-Advertiser.

The state Senate Judiciary Committee has given its unanimous approval to the nomination of Mark Recktenwald to become the next Hawaii Supreme Court chief justice. Associated Press.

Wednesday morning the state senate judiciary committee gave full approval to the nomination of Mark Recktenwald to become the next Hawaii Supreme Court Chief Justice. KHON2.

Do you have 25 friends and 75 dollars? If so, you too could one day be a candidate for statewide or federal offices like governor, lieutenant governor, U.S. senator and U.S. representative. Civil Beat.

Gubernatorial candidates Mufi Hannemann and Neil Abercrombie got down to business Tuesday night, debating questions provided by local industry groups as the leading Democrats race virtually neck and neck toward the Sept. 18 primary. West Hawaii Today.

The top two rivals for the Democratic Party's gubernatorial nomination clashed for the second time in as many days during a debate Tuesday night in Hilo. Tribune-Herald

James "Duke" Aiona owes the most personal debt of the three leading candidates for governor and Mufi Hannemann has the least debt, according to financial interest disclosures filed with the State Ethics Commission. KITV.

Hawaii GOP Chief Jonah Ka'auwai said Wednesday he is satisfied his letter to urge pastors and conservative Christians to shun Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mufi Hannemann and to ban him from campaigning in their churches was successful. KITV.

In the midst of an election year, the candidate chorus of providing jobs and rebuilding the economy has relegated discussions of environmental protection to the back burner. Honolulu Weekly.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mufi Hannemann is proposing to create a specialized court that would provide treatment and other services to veterans convicted of criminal activity. Associated Press.

Democratic candidates for the state Senate whose names were left off some absentee ballots in District 25 said they were concerned the error might hurt their chances for winning. Star-Advertiser.

A man identified as holding three people hostage at the Discovery Channel headquarters in Maryland Wednesday was a former Lahaina resident. Maui News.

 The United States military is planning yet another expansion entailing increased use of Pohakuloa Training Area. Big Island Weekly.

As the U.S. Marine Corps prepares to draft an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the use of new aircraft during training exercises, officials say Molokai could see a slight increase in military activity. Molokai Dispatch.

The last three F-15 jets in the state are gone...making way for Hawaii's newest military aircraft to take to the skies. KHON2.

Depleted uranium found at Pohakuloa Training Area on Saddle Road poses "no likely adverse impacts" to people working at, visiting or living near the training area, Army officials said Tuesday. West Hawaii Today

An Army doctor charged with disobeying a deployment order because he doubts President Barack Obama's credentials as commander in chief is asking a military judge for access to the president's school and college records. Associated Press

Acting Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell said Wednesday the city next month will begin a $37 million project to dig a tunnel for a new permanent sewer main pipe in the Waikiki area. KITV.

It's a sight many have never quite gotten used to. KHON2.

Kauai plans to limit lighting at public facilities as much as possible to protect endangered seabirds. Associated Press.

City Council members took the first steps to providing immediate help for a "gap group" of 247 residents who saw sizable increases in property tax bills due to a reclassification of their property from residential to commercial/industrial. Star-Advertiser.

Now that the ownership of Makena resort has been formally transferred, the new owners are refining the details of development proposals that will include work force housing within the resort, which would be a first for Maui. Maui News.

About 60 people attended a forum on controversial red mangrove eradication Tuesday night at Pahoa Community Center. Tribune-Herald.

The first new fire station built on Kaua‘i in 66 years received its blessing and dedication four months ahead of schedule, Wednesday. Garden Island.

A survey conducted to help the University of Hawaii at Hilo develop a new strategic plan identifies marine science, Hawaiian studies and pharmacy as the school's academic strengths. Associated Press.

It's a game measured by dollars and cents and USC football fans are running up a tally. Hawaii News Now.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Akaka Bill in jeopardy with Alaska GOP loss, tourism up, investigations at DOT, green energy advances with PUC decoupling, more state news

Reminder: The Civil Defense monthly test of the statewide outdoor siren warning system and Emergency Alert System on the radio, is scheduled for 11:45 a.m. today

Hawaii's electric company will get paid a guaranteed amount of money regardless of how much power it sells under a decision Tuesday meant to promote renewable energy. Associated Press.

Alaska Republican, seen as key vote for the Akaka Bill, loses in primary. Associated Press.

July was the best month for visitor performance that Hawaii has seen in five years. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii officials have known for weeks that July was a very strong month for tourism, because daily arrivals were up smartly from last summer, but financial data released Tuesday showed spending outpacing even arrivals. Hawaii News Now.

People renting a car in Hawaii can expect to pay more in fees starting tomorrow. KHON2.

Hawaii GOP Chairs Tells Christians To Shun Hannemann. KITV

As September election approaches, the Hawaii Republican Party is weighing in to keep religious conservatives from crossover voting in a close democratic primary. KHON2.

The two leading Democratic contenders to be Hawaii's next governor visited the Big Island a nearly equal number of times this summer. West Hawaii Today.

A spokeswoman for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Neil Abercrombie says he misspoke when he alleged that a website that rated his congressional record poorly was a "Republican front organization." Associated Press.

Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona is planning 20 campaign meetings in as many communities over the next two months as the primary and general elections approach.Associated Press.

The state ethics commission has begun an investigation into the former deputy transportation director who abruptly resigned three weeks ago while under fire for mismanagement and questionable ethical behavior. KITV.

A supervisor at Lihue Airport who admitted to stealing thousands of dollars in an embezzlement case has been fired after state transportation officials put her on leave with pay for nearly two months while they investigated the case. KITV.

If the highest paid employees of the University of Hawaii reveal where its priorities lie, then UH appears to most value the following: football, medicine and cancer research. Civil Beat.

James Bopp Jr., the attorney who brought a federal lawsuit against Hawaii's campaign finance law, said the law severely limits First Amendment rights to criticize the government and participate in political campaigns. Star-Advertiser.

On August 27, 2010, Attorney General Mark J. Bennett filed a Complaint in First Circuit Court for the State of Hawai`i for Preliminary and Permanent Injunctive, and Declaratory Relief against The Financial Group Legal Plan, Inc Hawaii Reporter.

U.S. Senator Daniel Inouye used a workshop on Rail Transit to re-state that Federal funding is in jeopardy unless the project moves ahead. Hawaii News Now.

The city held a workshop Tuesday to answer questions about the rail transit project from senior citizens and those with disabilities. KHON2.

The Army said Tuesday that its tests show depleted uranium at Pohakuloa Training Area isn't likely to adversely affect people living and working at or near the Big Island base. Garden Island.

Apo taking Disney job. The Council chairman's departure in November will trigger a special election. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu City Council is getting shaken up again. Hawaii News Now.

Harry E. Williams of Kapa‘a is officially a Republican candidate for the state House seat encompassing Wailua to Ha‘ena, a judge ruled Tuesday morning. Garden Island.

Hawaii County taxpayers are chipping in for cell phones used in the reelection campaigns of five of the nine County Council members, but whether that use violates campaign laws is open to debate. West Hawaii Today.

Monday's public hearing on proposed changes to the two-year-old Puna Community Development Plan turned into a public referendum on growth versus conservation. Tribune-Herald.

U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye is seeking out alternative ways to get people to and from West Maui. Maui News.

Bobby Cooper, the former president of W.H. Shipman Ltd. and a powerful force for good in the community who could never stay retired, died last Friday at his Hilo home of bile duct cancer. Tribune-Herald.

Several candidates for many office positions met Monday evening at the historic Waimea Theatre to share their visions and goals for Kaua‘i. Garden Island.

A new affordable rental housing complex has opened in Kailua-Kona. Associated Press.

With the State Primary elections nearing, it is imperative for every voter to get to know the candidates and what they stand for. Molokai Dispatch.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The great debate: Hannemann v Abercrombie, and other news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Former U.S. Rep. Neil Aber- crombie and former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Han- nemann clashed last night in the last televised debate before the Democratic primary for governor, a substantive and mostly positive encounter that forced both candidates to defend their records. Star-Advertiser.

Neil Abercrombie and Mufi Hannemann threw zingers at each other for 90 minutes at the final debate to be televised statewide before the Sept. 18 Democratic gubernatorial primary. Associated Press.

The race for governor kicks up a notch.  With just 19 days before the primary election the two leading candidates traded ideas and insults tonight. Hawaii News Now

With less than three weeks before the primary election, the two leading Democratic candidates for governor faced off in a live, televised debate Monday night. KITV.

Monday's televised debate between Mufi Hannemann and Neil Abercrombie showed both candidates in top form, scoring points with factual (and sometimes not-so-factual) statements. Civil Beat.

All jabs aside, how did gubernatorial candidates Mufi Hannemann and Neil Abercrombie do in their bid to win over voters? Hawaii News Now.

Some quick impressions of the Mufi Hannemann/Neil Abercrombie debate. Volcanic Ash.

Thousands of absentee ballots were mailed out starting last Friday, but some voters in some districts say they’re having a difficult time understanding their ballots. KITV.

Students and parents at state middle, intermediate and high schools have until Sept. 15 to remove their names from a national list given annually to military recruiters by the Department of Education under the federal No Child Left Behind Act. Star-Advertiser.

U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye is seeking out alternative ways to get people to and from West Maui. Maui News.

Boosting Chinese tourism to Hawaii is the focus of an event getting underway in Waikiki. KHON2.

In an effort to reduce crime and eliminate homelessness lawmakers are looking at several proposals to tackle the situation including the creation of Safe Zones. KHON2.

State workers who process applications for government benefits say layoffs and furloughs have spurred bigger caseloads and growing backlogs, lengthening the amount of time it takes for low-income residents to get needed services. Star-Advertiser.

Congresswoman Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii) announced that a $9,044,880 grant has been awarded to support Native Hawaiian health centers on Kauai, Maui, Molokai, Lanai, and the Island of Hawaii, from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Molokai Dispatch.

Federal officials say a rare deep diving whale rescued from Maui earlier this month has died. Associated Press.

There is probably no one who will dispute that a good tax system is one that treats everyone fairly. At least that is what many taxpayers would like to believe. Unfortunately, it is the definition that sometimes gets in the way of truly achieving a "fair" tax system. West Hawaii Today.

A rail transit workshop is planned for Tuesday, targeting a group of people that are big consumers of public transport: seniors and the disabled. Hawaii News Now.

Alae Cemetery would grow by more than 50 percent under a county proposal aimed at meeting demand for burial plots. Tribune-Herald.

The container looks the same as the automated trash-pickup container, except it has a blue lid. Garden Island.

Sometimes it’s a stinky job, but somebody still has to do it. Garden Island.

Monday, August 30, 2010

State seeks presidential library, busy week for governor's race, signs and trash targeted in Honolulu, Maui foreclosure picture not pretty, more news from around the islands

Hawaii has an early lead in pitching the islands as the future home of President Barack Obama's library, museum and think tank, but yet another Illinois-Hawaii smack-down is brewing over where it will actually end up. Star-Advertiser.

No Public Accountability for Rail PR Contracts. Civil Beat.

Less than three weeks remain before the state's primary election and voters are likely to hear and see a lot more of the two Democratic candidates for governor. Associated Press

State Showdown: Abercrombie and Hannemann debate Monday August 30. Hawaii News Now.

High-profile Democratic primary contests in Hawaii tend to be vicious intraparty wars, and the race for governor is following that predictable script. Tribune-Herald.

Neil Abercrombie says on his campaign website that his record is proof of "a boundless commitment to serve others with integrity, honesty and humility." Tribune-Herald.

Mufi Hannemann's record is all over the map. His career is a feat of political mountain climbing (with several slips) that took him from humble roots in Kalihi Valley to Harvard University, the White House, Na'alehu, Honolulu Hale and now, he hopes, Washington Place. Tribune-Herald.

Republican gubernatorial candidate James "Duke" Aiona told supporters Saturday evening in Kailua-Kona to question the promises his Democratic counterparts have made to not raise taxes. West Hawaii Today.

The tight primary race between Democratic gubernatorial candidates Mufi Hannemann and Neil Abercrombie is coming to an end in three weeks. Garden Island.

The Waipio Little League All-Stars fly home to Honolulu this afternoon one heartbreaking win short of the title of World Series champs, but they have still stirred the dreams of players like 10-year-old Logan Yee, who hung on every pitch yesterday. Star-Advertiser.

Governor Linda Lingle has asked the public to assist in offsetting some of the costs for the players and their families by making a monetary donation. KHON2.

U.S. Navy training exercises in waters around Hawaii and across the Pacific would be the same kinds of activities that have been under way for decades, including sonar training and the use of explosives under water, Navy officials said last week. Maui News.

Explosives Testing At Kaneohe Marine Corps Base KITV.

The four major candidates for Honolulu mayor say they support restrictions on campaign signs, according to The Outdoor Circle. Star-Advertiser.

Two lawyers and an engineer are the leading candidates for the top position at City Hall. Each of the three—Kirk Caldwell, Peter Carlisle and Panos Prevedouros —bring substantial experience, expertise and their respective visions of the future for Honolulu. Filipino Chronicle

Acting Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell will sign into a law tomorrow morning a bill aimed at cleaning up illegal bulky items on sidewalks. KHON2.

A Honolulu City Council member voiced her concerns this afternoon about a recent hike in property taxes. KHON2.

The Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Foundation is awarding $3 million to the nonprofit agency Housing Solutions Inc. to help provide housing in Waianae. Associated Press.

Hawaii's duck tours are looking to splash back into local waters following a summer of violent incidents. KITV.

Citing problems with the Hawaii Teacher Standards Board, such as the expenditure of over $1 million for an online licensing system that is still not operational after 7 years, the 2010 Hawaii Library Reference Bureau’s report and a 2009 State Audit on the Hawaii Teacher Standards Board concurred with the recommendation of several teachers: Abolish the Board. Hawaii Reporter.

The nomination of state Supreme Court Justice Mark Recktenwald to be that court's chief justice is to be decided this week. Hawaii News Now.

Following a year when no police officers were terminated, the Hawaii County Police Department fired one officer in 2009 and at least one more so far this year. West Hawaii Today.

The foreclosure picture for Maui is "not pretty at all" with nearly a thousand single-family homes and condominiums currently pending foreclosure - nearly double the number from a year ago - said the executive director of a non-profit housing organization Thursday. Maui News.

A request by nonprofit Na Hale O Maui for $1.1 million from the county's affordable housing fund, for its program of turning foreclosed properties into affordable homes, will be reviewed Tuesday by the County Council's Budget and Finance Committee. Maui News.

Kealia landowner Canpartners says Kaua‘i County is turning its back on an offer of $3 million and 16 acres of land. Garden Island.

The Aloha Festivals are going on statewide now throughout the month of September. KITV.

Friday, August 27, 2010

DOT: 83 percent want ferry, special ed lawsuit revived, economic signals mixed, more Hawaii news

Fire officials anticipate the need to remain on the fire over the weekend. KHON2.

A large wildfire continued to rage on the northern slopes of Mauna Kea Wednesday afternoon, having so far consumed more than 1,300 acres of dry brush land. Meanwhile, a second Blackhawk helicopter joined in the effort to knock the fire out. Tribune-Herald.

The Department of the Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, intends to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for the basing and operation of 24 MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft as well as H-1 Cobra and Huey helicopters in support of III Marine Expeditionary Force units stationed in Hawaii. KHON2.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Wednesday, reversed a 2009 Hawaii District Court ruling that dismissed claims the state failed to provide adequate access to special education programs for disabled students. KITV.

A federal appeals court reinstated a lawsuit yesterday by the parents of two autistic daughters seeking money for what they say was the Department of Education's failure to provide them with appropriate special-education services. Star-Advertiser.

A public opinion survey of state transportation issues revealed a yearning for an interisland ferry, with 83 percent of those polled by SMS on behalf of the state Department of Transportation saying a marine transportation system should be part of the state's overall infrastructure, although pro-ferry sentiment was much weaker on Kauai. Maui News.

Gubernatorial candidate Mufi Hannemann said on Thursday that just because the U.S. government plans to take over the former Hawaii Superferry vessels it does not mean his plan to bring back interisland ferry service to the state is sunk. KITV.

The occasion was a gubernatorial forum held at Kealakehe High School in Kailua-Kona. It was the first gubernatorial forum on the Big Island's west side this year. Civil Beat.

The Democrats on Thursday filed a suit to challenge the legality of the move that put Kapa‘a contractor Harry Williams, a Republican, in the race against incumbent state Rep. Mina Morita, D-Kapa‘a-Hanalei, for District 14 state representative. Garden Island.

Gov. Linda Lingle (R) accused Senator Dan Inouye of being dramatic when he begged her Wednesday to sign off on the Environmental Impact Statement to allow Oahu's rail transit project to move forward. KITV.

Twelve people, including a former California schools superintendent and two mothers who protested last school year's teacher furloughs, are running for three Oahu at-large seats on the state Board of Education. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii is facing a daunting set of economic and leadership challenges that go well beyond how the state recovers from a dogged economic downturn that has thrown tens of thousands of people out of work. Hawaii Reporter.

Despite a rebound in concerns for the City and County of Honolulu continue. KHON2.

The Big Island economy, which suffered more economic shrinkage than other parts of the state, has stopped shrinking and is now in slow recovery, First Hawaiian Bank economist Leroy Laney said Thursday. Hawaii News Now.

Five men are scheduled to go on trial in October on charges that they conducted illegal shark feeding off Oahu's North Shore, renewing the debate over shark-encounter tours. Star-Advertiser.

It turns out Oahu’s booming shrimp wagon business has not been particularly good for the state’s struggling aquaculture industry. KITV.

Environmental officials are seeking mana`o from around the state for their management review process. They met with Molokai residents last week to get their input on the future of the state’s five humpback whale sanctuaries. Molokai Dispatch.

A rare Blainville's beaked whale rescued on Maui earlier this month is progressing in its recovery, officials said Thursday. Associated Press.

The trickle of local milk in Hawaii that grew last year to a small flow could be on the verge of significant expansion again. Star-Advertiser.

A company that leased equipment to Hawaiian Waste Systems says it wants its equipment back, and the money its owed. Hawaii News Now.

A lifeguard shortage at Puna's only public swimming pool is being offset with temporary hires and staffing reassignments, county parks Director Bob Fitzgerald said Wednesday. Tribune-Herald.

North Kona Councilman Kelly Greenwell tried to take discussion of the charges pending against him behind closed doors Wednesday. West Hawaii Today.

Lanai High School teacher Gaylien Kaho'ohalahala said Wednesday that he considers his brother, Sol Kaho'ohalahala, to be a member of his household in Lanai City. Maui News.

There were no surprises or fireworks between the candidates as more than 50 interested voters turned out for the West Maui Taxpayers Association’s Candidates’ Night on Aug. 15 at the Maui Theatre. Lahaina News.

Another school consolidation fight is brewing -- this time at Queen Liliuokalani Elementary School in Kaimuki. Star-Advertiser.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Fat government at Honolulu Hale, gubernatorial hopefuls talk health care, Recktenwald hearing smooth, body scanner coming to Honolulu airport, Inouye says help rail, more Hawaii news

Honolulu's work force grew 5 percent during Mayor Mufi Hannemann's tenure, but the total spent on salaries ballooned 32 percent, according to an analysis by Civil Beat. Civil Beat.

Hawaii's top Democratic gubernatorial candidates on Wednesday delved into the heavy-duty policy realm of health care, taking different approaches on how they would improve its delivery to island residents. Associated Press.

Democratic candidates for governor Neil Abercrombie and Mufi Hannemann went head to head on healthcare at a forum Wednesday afternoon. KHON2.

Hawaii is facing the same health care problems sweeping the rest of the United States. KITV.

There were two big endorsements for Democratic gubernatorial nominee Mufi Hannemann. KITV.

The Senate Judiciary Committee chairman indicated yesterday he's inclined to support chief justice nominee Mark Recktenwald, who received overwhelming praise during a hearing yesterday on his appointment to lead the state's third branch of government. Star-Advertiser

Associate Justice Mark Recktenwald went before the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday to describe his judicial philosophy and explain to members of the panel why he should become Hawaii's fifth chief justice. KHON2.

Candidates for public office running as nonpartisans say the system is rigged against them. Tribune-Herald.

Kauai Democrats have gone to Circuit Court to try to remove a Republican state House candidate from the September primary ballot, arguing that the state GOP should not have been allowed to field the candidate as a replacement after another Republican withdrew just before the filing deadline in late July. Star-Advertiser.

After 37 long years of waiting for Hawaiian homestead land, Judy Caparida still has a smile on her face. Molokai Dispatch.

"When they brought us into port, they asked, 'Why did you want to enter Israel illegally," recalled Ann Wright. "We said, 'We did not want to come here. You boarded us seventy miles offshore in international waters and outside your self-declared security zone. We did not want to come to Israel. You kidnapped us and brought us here.'" Big Island Weekly.

Hawaiian Airlines says its new nonstop route between Hawaii and South Korea will start Jan. 12. Associated Press.

Honolulu International Airport is set to receive an all body scanner. Hawaii News Now.

The Maui Planning Commission lent its support Tuesday to a two-year-old plan to expand the Hana Landfill from 29 to 74 acres and add two improvements intended to monitor and mitigate the potential pollution of the nearby ocean. Maui News.

It's looking more likely Gov. Linda Lingle will run out of time before deciding whether to approve the city's planned $5.5 billion elevated commuter rail project. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii’s senior senator is imploring Governor Linda Lingle to get behind rail transit, or risk losing more than $1.5 billion in federal money. KHON2

Maui County Council Member Sol Kaho'ohalahala said Tuesday that he packed suitcases, boxes and coolers with his belongings and began moving them to Lanai when he made the decision to change his residency back to the island in July of 2008. Maui News.

Puna Councilwoman Emily Naeole-Beason's attorney responded Tuesday to a criminal complaint filed against her by her estranged husband. West Hawaii Today.

The Maui County Council voted 7-1 Tuesday to give initial approval to a compromise bill aimed at getting condominium owners to pay the correct property tax rate on their units. Maui News.

With roughly 30 days left in his current contract, Kaua‘i Police Chief Darryl Perry said Wednesday that he wants to continue serving the county. Garden Island.

The Shells Restaurant at the Sheraton Kaua‘i was sold-out as friends and parishioners of the Koloa Missionary Church filled the restaurant to wish Pastor Niles Kageyama and his wife Aileen a happy retirement, Saturday. Garden Island.

If you’ve ridden your fair share of waves, then you know Duke Kahanamoku’s story: a full-blooded Hawaiian born on August 24, 1890, and raised in Waikiki, with a natural affinity for the ocean. Hawaii Reporter.

Police have arrested a man authorities believe is responsible for starting the large brush fire that has closed much of Saddle Road since Sunday morning. Tribune-Herald.