Monday, February 14, 2011

Hawaii volcano active, leaked speech shows Abercrombie uncertainty, Maui seeks to harness landfill gas, cheap inmate labor keeps unemployment high, Molokai flood zones revealed, more news from the Hawaiian Islands

Kilauea volcano
Scientists at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory on the Big Island of Hawaii are looking at a swarm of small earthquakes that shook Kilauea Volcano last week. Hawaii News Now.

The lava lake at the summit of Halema'uma'u crater has been rising gradually in the last few months. Tribune-Herald.

The haze and vog that have been clogging the air over Oahu will spread and persist throughout the islands for the rest of the week, according to the National Weather Service. Star-Advertiser.

Bills to require genetically modified food to be labeled as such have been taken off the table this legislative session. Star-Advertiser.

Vacationers flock to Hawaii for the sun, sand and sea, but what about the stars. Hawaii lawmakers are hoping visitors can soon boldly go where only few have gone before - outer space. KHON2.

If you want to know what a veteran union lobbyist and ally of Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie really thinks of the state of things in Hawaii, read on. Civil Beat.

The demand for prison work crews as cheap labor for nonprofit groups, schools, churches and state and city agencies has skyrocketed over the past two years in an economy that forced deep cuts, layoffs and a mounting backlog of repair and maintenance projects. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie is making his case before lawmakers and an upset crowd of retirees that the state should end Medicare Part B reimbursements for public workers. Associated Press.

Taxpayers shouldn’t be surprised that both the administration and lawmakers are coming up with all sorts of platitudes about how we should lead healthier lives and contribute back to the community that are smoke screens for raising taxes. Garden Island.

If Hawaii lawmakers get their way this session, they will protect aquarium fish from harvest, ban feral cat trapping, import nonvenomous snakes for study, order the castration of wild donkeys, designate the Hawaiian Hoary Bat as the official state land mammal, keep dogs out of puppy mills, put Zoo elephants in a space to roam, ban shark tours and give tax credits for, well, worms. Hawaii Reporter.

Trash at the Central Maui Landfill creates gas, which Maui officials want to convert into energy. KITV4.

Converting those stinky gases from the Central Maui Landfill into electricity could create enough energy to power the equivalent of up to 3,000 Maui homes per year, according to a county-commissioned study. Maui News.

In rainy weather and through ankle-deep mud, county officials and Kapa‘a Solar LLC project members gathered under a tent Friday for a blessing and ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the state’s largest and Kaua‘i’s first solar farm. Garden Island.

Twenty years after Molokai’s first flood maps were released, Maui County and federal agencies have presented a major overhaul of flood zones on Molokai. Molokai Dispatch.

Hawaiian Airlines, ramping up service to the state's largest international tourism market, will inaugurate its second Honolulu-Japan flight when it begins daily nonstop service to Osaka in July. Star-Advertiser.

Volunteers using heavy equipment are working to replenish sand at Oahu's famed Makaha Surfing Beach. Associated Press.

Kamehameha Schools plans to renovate 46 rental units in three Moiliili apartment buildings owned by the Schools starting in April. KITV4.

The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands held lot selection for 20 homes on Saturday. KITV4.

Big Islanders showed Saturday that they love Roseanne Barr just as much as the controversial actress-comedian loves her new Big Island home. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii Island's national parks offer residents and visitors alike a means for escaping the hustle and bustle of daily life to get back to the simplicity of old Hawaii. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii residents had the second-highest average credit card debt in the nation in January, according to consumer credit advocate Pacific Business News

Spacenet recently received stimulus grant funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development to provide StarBand: Open Skies Alaska and Hawaii, a broadband service made available in rural areas. Molokai Dispatch.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Honolulu rail transit groundbreaking set, Maui flood maps cause concern, whaling wreck found, lawmakers to raid special funds, media targeted in tourist trespassing, more news from the Hawaiian Islands

Waipio Valley (c) 2011 All Hawaii News
There are several beautiful sites around the state that are on private property. And state lawmakers want to crack down on guidebooks and online sites that they claim are encouraging visitors to trespass to get there, and get hurt or killed in the process. Hawaii News Now.

The Hawaii House is moving forward a bill that would punish websites, social media wireless communication, forums, twitter accounts or blogs for certain types of communication. Civil Beat.

Gambling would be allowed on large ships traveling between Hawaii's islands under a measure approved by its first committee Associated Press.

Money set aside for programs including wireless enhanced 911, state libraries, child abuse prevention and the University of Hawaii could be seized for the state's general fund under a proposal being considered by a key Senate panel. Star Advertiser.

A Senate bill that would allow bar owners to obtain a permit to allow smoking in their establishments was effectively, and predictably, killed in committee on Tuesday, February 8. The Senate Committees on Health and Public Safety and Government Operations and Military Affairs deferred the matter, leaving little hope for a vote to advance Senate Bill 708. Hawaii Independent.

When testimony on the letterhead of William Jefferson Clinton topped the stack for a measure to expand film production incentives, the coconut wireless went into high frequency at the capitol. KHON2.

The Hawaii House of Representative has passed a measure that would prohibit non-judicial home foreclosures for five months. Associated Press.

A proposed law that would to fines of dog owners who tie their dogs with excessively short or heavy ropes or chains prompted debate Thursday before the Senate Judiciary Committee. KITV4.

The Hawaii Senate has unanimously confirmed Dwight Takamine as director for the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations. KHON2.

City Schedules Feb. 22 Groundbreaking for Rail Transit Project. Hawaii Reporter.

The state Department of Agriculture has issued a license for a product beekeepers may use to battle the varroa mite hounding Hawaii's honeybees. Associated Press.

Thursday was Colt Brennan's first trip back to the islands since being discharged from Queens Medical Center in late November. KHON2.

A proposed ban on plastic shopping bags is generating mixed reactions from Hilo merchants and may be changed to address enforcement concerns. Tribune-Herald.

From the side of Kuhio Highway in Lihu‘e on Wednesday, it appeared that a number of passing motorists still haven’t heard the news about the island’s cell phone ban. Garden Island.

An impact fee is the most practical, flexible tool Hawaii County could have in raising money to address the island's future infrastructure needs, Kohala Councilman Pete Hoffmann said. West Hawaii Today.

Pick any night in Waikiki and you'll see prostitutes plying their trade, pimps protecting their property, and the darker side of night life screaming "Sex for Sale." Hawaii News Now.

The operator of Puna's geothermal plant has agreed to supply Hawaii Electric Light Co. with an additional eight megawatts of power. Associated Press.

The new commandant of the Marine Corps revealed during a visit to Marine Corps Base Hawaii yesterday that the size of the Corps would drop to 186,800 from 202,000 after the U.S. pulls out of Afghanistan. Star-Advertiser.

Surfers and paddleboarders hashed out their differences at a public meeting Wednesday night in Hilo. Tribune-Herald.

Some people went home concerned and even a little frustrated Tuesday evening after finding that their properties would be placed in a high-risk flood zone under a proposed flood map revision. Maui News.

Researchers find whaling ship from 1823 wreck. Associated Press.

1800s whaling ship found in isle waters. Star-Advertiser.

Experts believe a badly deformed humpback whale recently spotted off Kauai has scoliosis, or curvature of the spine. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii hotel rooms were about three-fourths full during the week ending Feb. 5, and average room rates across the state were strikingly higher than during the same week in 2010, according to Smith Travel Research and Hospitality Advisors. Pacific Business News

Unionized employees at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki - who've been working without a contract since July - held a rally outside the hotel Thursday night. KITV4.

The County Council on Wednesday unanimously passed on first reading a bill which would allow value-added products to be sold at Sunshine Markets across the island. Garden Island.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Kauai reconsiders plastic bag ban, video shows couple swept off rocks, Abercrombie defies open records laws, neighbor islands fear social services cuts, Hawaii lawmakers consider soda tax, gambling, civil unions, prayers, more

Hawaiian activist Abel Lui (c) 2011 All Hawaii News

Hawaii County could lose $2.5 million in state and federal grants to purchase Kawa Bay property because of a battle with Native Hawaiians claiming ownership there. West Hawaii Today.

Sen. Clayton Hee has credibility as a proponent of Native Hawaiian rights. So when he says there's something wrong with a bill that would give the Office of Hawaiian Affairs $200 million to settle a 32-year-old debt, there must be something going on. Civil Beat.

Despite the opinion by the head of the state agency that administers Hawaii's open-records law, Gov. Neil Abercrombie will not release the names of candidates to the Hawaii Supreme Court. Star-Advertiser.

Civil unions appear to be quickly moving toward final legislative approval, with a House vote pending and a Senate leader saying he'll likely accept amendments to the legislation, avoiding the need for additional hearings.Associated Press.

From her home in Kaneohe, the Rev. Toni Baran coordinates commitment ceremonies for gay couples.KITV4.

While most gambling proposals are foundering at the Legislature, a House panel has advanced a measure that would allow bingo on lands designated by the Hawaiian Homes Commission. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii House of Representatives voted Wednesday to continue holding prayers before daily legislative sessions, unlike the state Senate, which became the first legislative body in the nation to cancel them last month. Associated Press.

Alcohol and soda, two consumer favorites, could be hit with new taxes to help with the state's budget deficit and promote healthy lifestyles. Star-Advertiser.

Steep new tax increases on alcoholic and sugared beverages proposed by the Abercrombie administration would cost jobs and unfairly impact low and middle income consumers, opponents testified at a Senate committee today. Hawaii Reporter.

The governor appointed Don Horner to the Board of Education yesterday, saying the First Hawaiian Bank board chairman and chief executive officer embodies the leadership qualities he wants to see on the board that sets policy for Hawaii's public schools. Star-Advertiser.

Kealii Lopez is Hawaii's new director for the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs following her confirmation by the full Senate. Associated Press.

A proposed measure that would have drastically changed the car stereo industry has been sidelined for now. KHON2.

The Kaua‘i County Council on Wednesday approved on first reading an amendment to the plastic bag ban that would allow establishments serving ready-to-eat food to distribute plastic bags to customers. Garden Island.

Video shows wave washing couple off wall at Shark's Cove. Hawaii News Now.

A six-foot-long blue shark beached herself on Kauai and gave birth to several pups before dying. Associated Press.

The last city and county park along the leeward Oahu coast is next in line for a major cleanup, which will force the eviction of more than a hundred homeless campers at Keaau Beach Park. KITV4.

The completion of a $7.8 million construction project in East Oahu has been delayed. Hawaii News Now.

Mayor Billy Kenoi and key administration officials answered citizens' questions on a wide range of topics in the Kukuihaele and Waipio communities, especially about the need for water and road improvements. Tribune-Herald.

The Molokai veterans group said it has discussed a tentative agreement with Maui County which would OK the permit for a new veterans’ center in Kaunakakai. Molokai Dispatch.

Maui Electric Co. is seeking a supplier of approximately 50 megawatts of firm renewable electric power. Maui News.

Social programs on the Big Island will take a big hit in two months, when the state Department of Human Services cuts off funding. Tribune-Herald.

Students and community members rallied Wednesday afternoon to raise public awareness of the state’s intent to cut funding for several key youth programs. Garden Island.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Hawaii civil unions bill advances, Legislature has the way but not the will to make hearings public, Maui Electric seeking energy, lawmakers target casinos, loud music, toy guns, media enticing tourists, Honolulu seeks Limbaugh apology, more

Hawaii civil unions protest (c) 2011 All Hawaii News
The state House Judiciary Committee voted last night to approve a civil-unions bill with amendments to ensure that the relationships are recognized in the tax code and are under the jurisdiction of family court. Star-Advertiser.

A proposal to legalize gambling in Hawaii is still alive in the legislature.KITV4.

A controversial bill dealing with liability in injuries and deaths of tourists while trespassing private property advanced Tuesday after passing the Tourism Committee in the state House of Representatives. Garden Island.

Some state lawmakers are looking to shoot down toy gun sales.  New bills introduced would make it a crime to sell a toy gun to any child under 18. Hawaii News Now.

Legislators will consider a bill today banning the sale of loud speakers and amplified subwoofers in cars. Star-Advertiser.

A new bill to silence noisy car stereos is creating a commotion in some small businesses.Hawaii News Now.

Public Access at the Legislature: Equal for All? Civil Beat.

Conservation Permitting Costs to Increase 500%. Molokai Dispatch.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie on Tuesday announced his appointment of former Kaua‘i state Sen. Gary Hooser as the director of the Office of Environmental Quality Control. Garden Island.

Members of the Honolulu City Council are urging radio show host Rush Limbaugh to apologize for mocking China's president. Associated Press.

Sunday ban bill deferred. KHON2.

The Hawaiian hoary bat could become the official land mammal for the state of Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.

State schools Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi is recommending the Board of Education close three small elementary schools in May, a move that would save as much as $2 million a year but draw a wave of opposition from parents, teachers and community members. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu home sales are increasing while prices are slightly down compared to a year ago. Associated Press.

The Chinatown Business and Community Association says the expanding sidewalk beds and tents in ITS neighborhood have created unease on its streets. Hawaii News Now.

Big Island police have completed their investigation into a November 19 two-vehicle crash on Queen Kaahumanu Highway in North Kona that seriously injured three motorists, including University of Hawaii quarterback Colt Brennan and his girlfriend Shatki Stream. KHON2.

A North Kohala dairy is hoping to extend how long it can use state land by replacing its 25-year leases, two of which end in 2019 and 2020, with a new, 30-year lease. West Hawaii Today.

Maui Electric Co. is seeking approval from the Public Utilities Commission to issue a request for proposals to generate 50 megawatts of renewable energy. Pacific Business News.

Walter Steiger was a renaissance man, a genial polymath who is credited as a founder of modern astronomy in Hawaii. Tribune-Herald.

Kuau Mart hasn't been just a mom-and-pop business for Leona Bak Nomura and her husband, Fred, who face closing their store at the end of this month. Maui News.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Hawaii Senate committee kills death with dignity bill, high-tech tax credit costs $500 million, humpback has broken back from boat collision, smoking bill moving in Capitol, more news from the Hawaiian Islands

Photo (c) 2011 All Hawaii News
After citing numerous examples of loved ones who outlived a doctor's terminal diagnosis or of their own victory over suicidal depression, opponents of a proposal to legalize physician-assisted suicide in Hawaii applauded as a Senate committee defeated the measure last night. Star-Advertiser.

Civil Unions Bill Hearing Today. KITV4.

There's a bill moving through the State Legislature that aims to change part of that law, by allowing smokers to light up at bars and nightclubs in Hawaii. KHON2.

The latest report on Hawaii’s controversial Act 221 high-technology tax credits concludes the laws was successful in helping prompt investment here, but that it came at a cost of more than a one-half billion dollar loss in tax revenues. Hawaii Reporter.

The Hawaii Senate has confirmed the first two of Gov. Neil Abercrombie's Cabinet appointees. Associated Press.

The House Education Committee has approved a bill that would exempt Hawaii's four most crowded schools from a new state law extending the academic year to 180 days in all public schools. Associated Press.

There's a leadership crisis at the Charter Schools Administrative Office. Civil Beat.

Either in your face bullying or the newer cyberbullying the penalty for picking on others may be getting more severe. Hawaii News Now.

The state's budget, long-term state planning, job creation and the promotion of renewable resources are atop the list of legislative measures forwarded by West Hawaii's state representatives. West Hawaii Today.

Ricebird Roz flies high for Maui. Lahaina News.

Hawaii lawmakers will hear a bill this week that would make selling aquatic life and fish found in local waters illegal. KITV4.

A boat is suspected of injuring a humpback whale spotted Monday morning in shallow waters off the Port Allen Airport.Garden Island.

The head of the Honolulu Board of Water Supply wants to accelerate the pace of pipe replacement and other system improvements — fixes that could sharply increase consumers' water bills. Star-Advertiser.

Environmental groups say the federal government has settled a lawsuit over regulations protecting Pacific loggerhead sea turtles from the Hawaii-based longline swordfish fishery. Associated Press.

A Pearl Harbor-based guided missile destroyer is due to return from a seven-month deployment to the Middle East and western Pacific. Associated Press.

No injuries are reported after an Army Black Hawk helicopter made an emergency landing on a grass field at Koko Head Elementary School. Associated Press.

A local astronomy pioneer was killed Sunday afternoon when he failed to stop at a busy Hilo intersection, slamming his mo-ped into a sport utility vehicle, police said. Tribune-Herald.

Wrongfully imprisoned: UH students reach back through an imperfect justice system. Hawaii Independent.

The new executive director of Maui Nui Botanical Gardens wants to cultivate public interest in what she calls "a cultural gem in the middle of Kahului." Maui News.

Native ecosystem preservation group gets help from Young Brothers. Garden Island.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Neighbor Island residents object to powering Oahu, part-time residents bearing tax burden, plastic bag bans in the wind, more Hawaii news

Honolulu Spam Jam (c) 2011 All Hawaii News
Hawaii is the nation's top consumer of SPAM. So the company that makes the canned meat is saluting the state's devotion by holding a contest for a Hawaiian-designed label. Associated Press.

Lanai residents turned out Saturday to express strong opposition to bringing "big wind" to their island for the benefit of Oahu consumers. Maui News.

It seems lately, everyone has been hosting meetings on alternative energy options for Molokai – the state, the federal government, community members – and now, land owners. Molokai Dispatch.

If the House Judiciary Committee passes Senate Bill 232 unamended late Tuesday, a Hawaii civil unions measure could be on Gov. Neil Abercrombie's desk this week. Civil Beat.

Attorneys, friends, colleagues and even former litigants expressed unanimous respect and affection for state Supreme Court nominee Judge Sabrina McKenna in a hearing today at the Legislature. Hawaii Reporter.

On Maui and Kauai, windy days find fewer plastic shopping bags tumbling across the landscape or landing in the ocean. Star-Advertiser.

A state senate committee is scheduled to hear a bill that would ban the sale of any aquatic life for aquarium purposes. Hawaii News Now.

Lawmakers in the Senate heard two bills relating to marijuana Friday. KITV4.

Some state lawmakers still disagree with the decision to close Kulani Correctional Facility and open a Hawaii National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Academy on 600 acres of the former prison site. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii did worse than the nation last year as a whole in terms of the broadest measure of unemployment. Hawaii Reporter.

The federal government is reporting that Hawaii has one of the sharpest increases in children enrolled in the Children's Health Insurance Program and Medicaid. KITV4.

Hawaii's Public Schools: Fixing a Broken System? Filipino Chronicle.

A Honolulu middle school is planning to offer all its seventh and eighth-grade classes online next year, a move that would allow students to learn from home and make the school the first of its kind in Hawaii. Associated Press.

Airport taxi service under state scrutiny. Star-Advertiser.

Taxation without representation? Part-time residents shoulder larger property tax burden. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii Is the Only State to Assess Hotel-Room Tax on Timeshare Owners. Civil Beat.

More than a thousand Maui County property owners may now need flood insurance because the Federal Emergency Management Agency is proposing significant changes to flood insurance rate maps in certain areas of the county. Maui News.

County officials last week submitted an updated application to the state Department of Land and Natural Resources and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for the Kaua‘i Seabird Habitat Conservation Plan project. Garden Island.

Residential real estate market slow to rebound. Garden Island.

Waimea's pink cherry blossoms may not have been in full bloom Saturday, but the spirit surrounding the annual Waimea Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival was on full display. West Hawaii Today.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Hawaii governor's office is broke, physician-assisted suicide, marijuana, gubernatorial confirmations alive in Legislature, they castrate donkeys, don't they, and other news from the Hawaiian Islands

Photo (c) 2011 All Hawaii News
A legal argument based on the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom, used unsuccessfully to fight foreclosures in the 1990s, is now being used once again, even though the man who promoted the theory 15 years ago was convicted of a felony. KITV4.

Hawaii would become the fourth state to legalize physician-assisted suicide under a proposal being brought back for debate in the Legislature for the first time in four years. Star-Advertiser.

A bill aiming to reduce the costs of combating marijuana on the streets and in the courts by decriminalizing possession of small amounts of the drug will be heard by two legislative committees today. Star-Advertiser.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie's office is asking the Hawaii Legislature for an extra $1.06 million in "emergency" funds to get through June. Civil Beat.

Honolulu police are calling it one of their top priority bills in the Legislature this year. They say there's a potentially-deadly loophole in Hawaii's domestic violence law that deals with protective orders. Hawaii News Now.

State Rep. Hermina Morita, the House Energy and Environmental Protection Committee chairwoman who has spearheaded initiatives such as the "bottle bill" for recycling beverage containers, has been tapped by Gov. Neil Abercrombie to head the Public Utilities Commission. Star-Advertiser.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s announcement Thursday that Hermina Morita will be the new chairwoman of the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission, subject to Senate approval, is likely to be welcome news to renewable-energy companies. Pacific Business News

Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie's administration is ending furloughs for 1,200 state workers paid with federal funds, saying the furloughs didn't save the state any money. Associated Press.

Maunalei Love is stepping down today as executive director of the Charter School Administrative Office under pressure from a state panel, after serving longer than anyone else in that position. Star-Advertiser.

Tens of millions of dollars in state funds are being cut from nonprofits statewide that employ hundreds of people and serve thousands of needy families. KHON2.

Social service programs for the state's most needy population will terminate on April 1 to save the Department of Human Services $84 million over the next two years and three months. Star-Advertiser.

Acupuncturists to fight bill they say would lower standards. Hawaii News Now.

A bill that places an immediate five-month moratorium on both pending and new non-judicial foreclosures, while a national investigation on securitization plays out, took a big step forward in Hawaii’s State House of Representatives. Hawaii Independent.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie's Cabinet nominees are slowly moving toward getting confirmed by the state Senate. Associated Press.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie must release the names of the other candidates for a position on the Hawaii Supreme Court once his nomination of Sabrina McKenna as associate justice is confirmed by the state Senate, according to the state lawyers who administer the open-records law. Star-Advertiser.

Mass Donkey Castrations Delayed. KITV4.

Hawaii's culinary ambassador Sam Choy to open Kona restaurant. West Hawaii Today.

Residents and the redeveloper of Kuhio Park Terrace turned out in force Thursday to defend a planned $332 million refurbishment of the low income housing project in Kalihi. Hawaii Reporter.

There's a proposal that would eliminate a big discount the city offers to commercial companies that take residue from recycling to Oahu's only public landfill. KITV4.

The Kaiwahine Village affordable housing project is expected to be resubmitted to the Maui County Council today. Maui News.

The planned installation of 40 surveillance cameras around the Big Island has hit a snag. Tribune-Herald.

Officials with the City and County of Honolulu are not ready to call it a compromise but discussions are being planned that could spare an illegal beachside park in Waimanalo from being demolished. KHON2.

One of Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative’s latest efforts to meet its renewable energy goals is being met with some early opposition. Garden Island.

Calls For Unity on the Wind Issue. Molokai Dispatch.

It happened again -- a West Hawaii resident observed aquaculture employees pouring something into their company's fish pens and wondered about the impact on water quality and the surrounding environment. West Hawaii Today.

The volunteer directors for the Hawaii State Federal Credit Union, the state's second largest, agreed yesterday to reduce the benefits they give themselves in the wake of increasing criticism from members. Star-Advertiser.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Hawaii lawmakers seek higher automobile fees, Waikiki restaurant foreign language fee draws debate, landfill managers under fire, Haleiwa development opposed, Stock Exchange scrutinizes Maui Land, basil fungus feared, more news

U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann
Sidestepping a question about her political aspirations in 2012, U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann said her mission in visiting early primary states in the coming months is to keep a focus on the Republican Party's message of restoring limited government and repealing the president's health-care reform law. Star-Advertiser.

Lawmakers can expect details of Gov. Neil Abercrombie's proposed budget in the next few weeks, about a month earlier than previously expected, the state's acting budget director told a Senate committee considering his nomination yesterday. Star-Advertiser.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie's proposed tax increases will take a bite ranging from barely more than $100 for a welfare recipient to thousands for a state government retiree, a Civil Beat investigation has determined. Civil Beat.

The cost of operating a motor vehicle in Hawaii could go up if lawmakers and the administration have their way. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii drivers would have to pay higher registration and weight fees under legislation designed to raise money for repairs on the state's well-worn roads. Associated Press.

The Hawaii House Judiciary Committee is taking up same-sex civil unions next week after the legislation already passed the state Senate. Associated Press.

Glenn Okimoto and Alapaki Nahale-a sailed through their initial confirmation hearings to become the respective directors of the state Departments of Transportation and Hawaiian Home Lands. Hawaii Reporter.

Friction between surfers and stand-up paddle boarders is escalating, and a group of surfers is asking the state to regulate the paddle boarding in certain areas. Tribune-Herald.

Police want lawmakers to close what it calls a potentially deadly loophole in Hawaii's domestic violence law. Associated Press.

Frustrated with all the runaround they get from banks, homeowners are asking lawmakers to help them out especially when dealing with bankers thousands of miles away. Hawaii News Now.

Several homeowners told lawmakers on Wednesday of their frustration dealing with mortgage companies while trying to stave off foreclosure.KITV4.

A Waikiki restaurant has attracted the attention of the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission with a notice that it will add a 15 percent gratuity to the checks of patrons who don't speak English. Associated Press.

The chairman of the state Land Use Commission blasted the company that manages the city's Waimanalo Gulch Landfill Wednesday. KITV4.

The Land Use Commission called a meeting Wednesday to get an update on the Waimanalo Gulch Landfill and where the City stands as far as finding a replacement or supplemental site. KHON2.

The Blame Game: A merry-go-round of non-accountability. Honolulu Weekly.

Young Brothers Ltd., which has enjoyed a monopoly on interisland shipping in Hawaii for years, will face a new competitor this month. Tribune-Herald.

Island batteries: EIS scoping meetings to hear testimony on Hawaii wind power plans. Hawaii Independent.

The first vehicles belonging to the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade have arrived on the Big Island and will be used at Pohakuloa Training Area during predeployment training for an Afghanistan tour, said Ozzie Smith, brigade captain. West Hawaii Today.

The first-ever fungus infestation of Hawaii's $6.8 million sweet basil crop discovered late last week has started affecting some businesses while farmers scramble to save their fields. Star-Advertiser.

The University of Hawaii and the state Department of Agriculture are helping farmers combat a fast-spreading mildew that's attacking basil plants at several Waianae farms. Associated Press.

Molokai’s community college has cleared a major milestone in expanding its campus. Molokai Dispatch.

The Hawaii Supreme Court is hearing oral arguments at the University of Hawaii William S. Richardson School of Law for the first time next week. Associated Press.

Maui Land & Pineapple Co.’s stock gained 19.8 percent Wednesday, prompting the New York Stock Exchange to contact the company regarding the unusual market activity. Pacific Business News

Council Member Riki Hokama reopened the issue of moving the Central Maui sewage treatment plant inland at a meeting of the Water Resources Committee on Tuesday. Maui News.

County Department of Water officials on Wednesday announced the start of two pipeline replacement projects, one in Lihu‘e and the other in Wailua. Garden Island.

State and city officials say an illegal roadside park in Waimanalo poses a danger and must be demolished. KHON2.

A capacity crowd filled the Waialua Community Association building in Haleiwa to discuss developer Andy Anderson's proposal to build a 80-room hotel on unused park land that the city wants to sell. Hawaii News Now.

The debate over what to do with unused city land is heard again in Haleiwa. KITV4.

County taxpayers shouldn't have to pay the commuting and personal transportation costs of high-ranking police officers, County Council members decided Tuesday. Tribune-Herald.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Unions like labor nominee, tax collections, bankruptcies down, plastic bag bans at issue, lobbying laws leave folks guessing, more Hawaii news

Sen. Dan Inouye brings buses to Big Island (c) 2011 All Hawaii News
Hawaii programs that depend on hundreds of millions of congressional dollars are in jeopardy after U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye said yesterday he would ban "earmarks" for the next two years. Star-Advertiser.

Labor leaders from public and private sector unions jammed a hearing Tuesday morning for Dwight Takamine, 58, a former state legislator appointed by Gov. Neil Abercrombie as state labor director. KITV4.

The union that represents Hawaii's police officers has reached a self-triggered impasse with the county mayors and Governor Neil Abercrombie. KHON2.

State tax collections are down 2.8 percent through the first half of the fiscal year, according to the state Department of Taxation, but revenues would be up 6.3 percent if the delay in income tax refunds last year is factored out. Star-Advertiser.

A total of 245 bankruptcy cases were filed in Hawaii in January, down 11 percent from the 276 cases recorded for the same month last year, according to statistics from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Hawaii.Pacific Business News

The largest photovoltaic system in the state, located in Kapa‘a, is ready to go. Garden Island.

A bill to limit the state's cost from solar energy tax credits has sent a chill through the state's solar energy industry. KITV4.

New laws cost taxpayers' money, and Hawaii Republican legislators want a clearer accounting of how much. Associated Press.

Hawaii's lobbying laws leave organizations guessing what expenditures they're required to report with the state ethics commission. Civil Beat.

There are dozens of animal protection laws going through the state capitol this session, some of which stem from our reports over the summer on puppy farms. Hawaii News Now.

State plans to fly unmanned aerial surveillance drones over Hawaii harbors are now “under review” by Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s administration, a spokesman for the Department of Transportation says. Hawaii Reporter.

It's a program that's estimated to cost nearly one billion dollars, with the goal of our state being much less dependent on imported oil. KHON2.

Students from Hualalai Academy, Holualoa Elementary and Parker School swelled the ranks of supporters as the County Council Environmental Management Committee voted 5-3 to move a plastic bag reduction bill forward. West Hawaii Today.

A new law banning checkout plastic bags went into effect three weeks ago, but many food service establishments are allegedly already complaining of food breaking through paper bags and possible contamination. Garden Island.

The annual push in the Legislature to restrict the use of fireworks in Hawaii is under way.Tribune-Herald.

State legislators are seeking to change who sits on the board governing the state's semiautonomous hospital system.West Hawaii Today.

Alapaki Nahale-a, Gov. Neil Abercrombie's nominee for Hawaiian Homes Commission chairman, says there needs to be strong emphasis on putting Hawaiians in homes, even if they do not have a deed saying they own the property. Star-Advertiser.

Governor Abercrombie's Social Media Director Speaks on Sustaining Your Network. Hawaii Public Radio.

Mayor Alan Arakawa has appointed Bill Medeiros to his executive staff, making him the third former Maui County Council member to get a post in the new administration. Maui News.

Sometime next year the Department of Transportation may take a snapshot of your car’s license plate as you travel down the H1 Freeway. KHON2.

A divided County Council on Tuesday advanced new rules for dividing the county into council districts, when the Committee on Governmental Relations voted 7-2 for a stricter redistricting plan. West Hawaii Today.

Inspectors from the state Department of Agriculture captured a live snake in Waipahu Sunday. Several citizens and the Honolulu Police Department were also involved in the capture. Hawaii News Now.

Grand Wailea owners scramble to settle debt. Maui News.

The Molokai Public Library will be closed from Feb. 14 to March 18 for re-carpeting. Molokai Dispatch.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Hawaii Supreme Court nominee victim of Facebook fraud, gambling bills mulled, rail lawsuit filed, HECO agreement reached, Kauai to protect rare birds, more news from the Hawaiian Islands

Waikiki Beach Walk (c) 2011 All Hawaii News
A series of proposals aimed at generating money for the state through gambling, casinos or a multistate lottery face a tough fight in the Legislature. Star-Advertiser.

The House Tourism Committee is testing the temperature of House Bill 394 that calls for amending the state constitution so slot machines and video poker would be legal in Waikiki. Hawaii News Now.

Two bills moving through the State Legislature would affect everyone who owns a vehicle in Hawaii.KHON2.

Medicaid Cuts Up For Discussion At State Capitol. KITV4.

The House Committee on Tourism deliberated on a number of tax measures today to generate additional revenue for the State. Hawaii Public Radio.

An influential lobbyist who was involved in vetting Neal Palafox before he was nominated by Gov. Neil Abercrombie as director of the state Department of Health believes the doctor had nothing in his past that would have jeopardized his post. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Supreme Court Nominee Sabrina McKenna disclosed today that she is the target of fraud on Facebook.Hawaii Reporter.

A lawsuit filed Monday afternoon in Honolulu Circuit Court hopes to stop construction of the city’s $5.5 billion rail project. KHON2.

Former Gov. Ben Cayetano led several groups in blasting Honolulu's rail plans yesterday and then took swipes at Honolulu mayors past and present. Star-Advertiser.

The road to rail transit for Oahu still isn’t paved.Hawaii Independent.

A longer school day and teacher evaluations, depend on collective bargaining agreements with the unions — the Hawaii State Teachers Association, United Public Workers and Hawaii Government Employees Association — and possibly two school boards.Civil Beat.

Lingle a threat to Akaka in 2012. Star-Advertiser.

A tax on sugary drinks could help quench the state's thirst for money while discouraging obesity caused by beverages that some doctors refer to as "liquid candy." Tribune-Herald.

The last time the city had a landfill selection committee it ended in controversy and no new site was built. Hawaii News Now.

A Waikiki restaurant is causing a stir with the fine print on its menu and now the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission may be making an inquiry. KITV4.

Representatives from Hawaiian Electric Co. and its largest group of unionized workers reached a tentative agreement yesterday on a new labor agreement to replace one that expired three months ago. Star-Advertiser.

Community members are invited to share their thoughts with the state tonight on a developer’s proposed efforts to protect several endangered species during and after construction of a 772-unit resort residential project and 27-hole golf course complex in Lihu‘e. Garden Island.

After three years of planning, Target Corp. will begin construction this spring on a 130,000-square-foot store in Kailua. Star-Advertiser.

Maui Land & Pineapple will no longer manage the two Kapalua Resort golf courses after March 31, and has notified employees that their jobs may not be secure. Pacific Business News

Construction for the clinic’s new Oceanside Health and Wellness Center at the former Pau Hana Inn site has been forced to shut down due to a lack of funding. Molokai Dispatch.

Even though she came from a family of teachers, Maui Waena Intermediate's Vice Principal Jacquelyn "Jacque" Davis didn't start off wanting to become one. Maui News.

The charm of the Keauhou Store remains. West Hawaii Today.

The Congress of Visayan Organizations (COVO), the umbrella group for Visayan organizations in the State of Hawaii , recently received the 2010 Presidential Award for Filipino Individuals and Organizations Overseas given by the Philippine government every two years. Filipino Chronicle.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Hawaii pins hopes on Chinese tourism, shoreline surveillence drones planned, Maui lawmakers seek tropical fish ban, schools lack AC, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii Interisland Renewable Energy Program
State and federal officials are holding public meetings starting tomorrow on an environmental study of the proposed transmission of wind energy from Maui County to Oahu by undersea cable. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaiian Electric Co. announced Friday that it has tested 100 percent renewable biofuel in a petroleum oil-fired steam turbine generator at the Kahe power plant near Kapolei. Pacific Business News

The National Weather Service in Honolulu has issued a High Surf Warning, effective from midnight Sunday night until 6 a.m. Tuesday for the north and west facing shores of Kauai and Niihau and for the north facing shores of Oahu, Molokai and Maui. Hawaii News Now.

Collecting reef fish for sale in the aquarium trade would be banned or restricted statewide under bills introduced by Maui legislators. Maui News.

Bills proposed by Maui lawmakers would set bag limits and size restrictions for uhu and goatfish caught in waters off Maui. Maui News.

A measure creating a school board directly appointed by the governor is heading for a vote in the full Senate. KHON2.

With gas consumption projected to decrease in coming years, lawmakers are looking for a new way to pay for roads — taxing drivers based on their mileage. Civil Beat.

A self-storage entrepreneur is protecting more than 2,000 acres of Hawaii agricultural land from development. Associated Press.

The first chartered direct flight full of high-spending Chinese tourists touched down at Honolulu Airport yesterday with 263 passengers eager to shop and see the islands through the Chinese New Year over the next six days. Star-Advertiser.

A China Eastern Airlines A-340 touched down at Honolulu International Airport at 11:30 a.m. Sunday, becoming the first-ever direct charter flight from China to Hawaii. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii tourism officials and politicians greeted the first direct charter flight from China Sunday. KITV4.

The state and a private contractor are installing extensive new security and surveillance measures at harbors and shorelines that include planned use of unmanned aerial drones, according to public records. Hawaii Reporter.

Wright: The U.S. is making a killing off the killing in Afghanistan. Hawaii Independent.

The U.S. Army is taking responsibility for "miscommunication" it said fueled the recent public outcry over its proposal to conduct high-altitude helicopter training on Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa. Tribune-Herald.

Over the past decade, the state has installed air conditioning in just three schools. Star-Advertiser.

As part of a push to extend services to more native Hawaiian children statewide, Kamehameha Schools spent $102 million on educational outreach programs last fiscal year, up from $57 million in 2006. Star-Advertiser.

The state is due to hold a public hearing this week on efforts to avoid and minimize harm to nene and other endangered birds during the planned construction of a new development at Kauai Lagoons Resort in Lihue. KHON2.

A state agency collaborating with a community advisory council has sketched its vision for developing state land in Kakaako next to Kewalo Basin. That was no easy task, but now comes the hard part: paying for delivery. Star-Advertiser.

First-ever State of the County addresses Mayor Billy Kenoi delivered have drawn mixed reactions from County Council members, several of whom wanted a budget forecast. Tribune-Herald.

The Hawaii County Council will get its first look at a redistricting plan Tuesday, when a bill by South Kona Councilwoman Brenda Ford is scheduled to be heard by the Committee on Governmental Relations. West Hawaii Today.

Every year researchers and scientists send thousands of island bugs to the University of Hawaii’s insect museum. Hawaii Public Radio.

Molokai Dialysis Facility is preparing to upgrade their facilities to better suit special case patients, so they’ll no longer need to travel off-island for dialysis treatments.Molokai Dispatch.

Watching a whale breach off Ahukini Landing was the perfect way to wake up Saturday, said Lani Broadbent, part-time resident of Wailua and Maryland. Garden Island.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Obama birth certificates could go on sale, Maui drivers flout cellphone ban, HECO strike looms, Native Hawaiians learning law, Kauai mayor ends furloughs, EPA praises bag bans, more Hawaii news

Hawaii Mayor Billy Kenoi Photo (c) 2011 All Hawaii News
Mayor Billy Kenoi gave his first State of the County address Thursday morning in Kona, pointing out the positives despite a still-ailing economy. Hawaii 24/7

Moving to dispel claims that President Barack Obama was not born in Hawaii, his supporters in the state's legislature have introduced a bill that would allow anyone to get a copy of his birth records for a $100 fee. Associated Press.

Hawaii now has its first network of commercial charging stations for Nissan Leaf electric cars. Pacific Business News

The Abercrombie administration is starting to make good on the governor's promise to bring all state prison inmates incarcerated on the mainland back to Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.

Hospitals would be barred from denying care to rape victims who refuse to undergo forensic examinations under a proposal being pushed by the Women's Legislative Caucus in the state Legislature. Star-Advertiser.

The Women’s Legislative Caucus of the Hawaii State Legislature has proposed a package of bills and resolutions that include a number of measures related to sexual assault, including removal of the statute of limitations on prosecuting rape cases. Hawaii Reporter.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie asked Dr. Neal Palafox to withdraw his nomination as director of the state Department of Health, but the governor's staff has declined to publicly disclose the reason. Star-Advertiser.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie has appointed the director of two executive branch offices. Associated Press.

Kauai Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. has signed a bill restoring funding in various county departments, ending all county employee furloughs for the remainder of the current fiscal year. Associated Press.

Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. signed a bill Thursday that restores funding in the various county departments and ends all county furlough days for the remainder of the current fiscal year. Garden Island.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is praising Maui and Kauai counties for banning plastic shopping bags. Associated Press.

Kohala Councilman Pete Hoffmann hopes Hawaii County will follow the lead of Maui and Kauai, whose mayors and county councils were praised Thursday by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. West Hawaii Today.

A proposed biofuel plant in Ka'u will not be built in Pahala town; officials are instead looking at acquiring land near the Pahala Transfer Station. Tribune-Herald.

The Hawaii Department of Health on Thursday issued an updated list of recall items involving the First Commercial Kitchen investigation. KITV4.

The demand for new Army and Air Force housing is driving a rebirth in the local construction industry. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii tourism officials are counting on sunshine and momentum from the NFL play-offs to bring big bucks to our islands.Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii is one of the top four states in the nation when it comes to debt and pension burden, according to a new report from Moody’s Investors Service. Hawaii Reporter.

The Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement (CNHA) and its Policy Center have adopted a project to increase understanding on a variety of legal cases moving through the court system involving Native Hawaiian trust assets. Hawaii Independent.

As bad as the landfill spill was, the decision to release contaminated stormwater into the ocean was necessary to prevent something even worse — a catastrophic structural failure, a top state Health Department official told Civil Beat. Civil Beat.

They're not striking yet, but Hawaiian Electric employees gathered Thursday to get ready for such an event. KHON2.

A trust representing unsecured creditors in the Hawaiian Telcom bankruptcy case is suing three former top executives of the company to recover about $2.5 million in severance and other payments paid to the officers before the company filed for bankruptcy in late 2008. Star-Advertiser.

Although some drivers denied they had been talking on cell phones and most had hung up before reaching a police checkpoint, officers ticketed 26 motorists for cell phone violations last week in Wailuku. Maui News.

A Naalehu man has filed an ethics complaint against Hilo Councilman Donald Ikeda. West Hawaii Today.

Bill Dorman has been appointed as Hawaii Public Radio’s News Director. Hawaii Public Radio.

Brother honors astronaut's memory. Hawaii News Now.

Developer Jesse Spencer and his supporters turned out for a meeting of the Maalaea Community Association on Tuesday night to advocate for his Ohana Kai Village project and protest the association's legal action against it. Maui News.

The U.S. Army has suspended animal-eradication efforts within its Pohakuloa Training Area due to a dispute with state wildlife administrators, who maintain recent aerial shoots were unauthorized. Tribune-Herald.