Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Radiation reaches Hawaii milk, half of Abercrombie cabinet campaign donors, state technology lacking, Case leads in early poll, Hawaii women paid $10k less than men, Legislature folds on poker, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Big Island cattle (c) 2011 All Hawaii News
Radiation from Japan's nuclear crisis has reached Hawaii's food stream in milk from a Big Island dairy, but the trace amounts are nowhere near levels of concern, a state health official said. Star-Advertiser.

A Disaster Assistance Recovery Center will open Tuesday at Keehi Lagoon. KHON2.

A Civil Beat analysis of campaign finance records found that half of Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie's Cabinet donated money to help get him the job. Civil Beat.

A poll conducted by SMS Research shows former U.S. Congressman Ed Case leading former Honolulu mayor Mufi Hannemann in a hypothetical primary election race for the United States Senate. Hawaii News Now.

The primary and general elections for filling Dan Akaka's U.S. Senate seat are more than a year and a half away, but polls are already surfacing about who might stand the best chance. KHON2.

Three weeks ago, Ed Case met with the kingmaker of Hawaii's Democratic Party to make amends. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii has discarded the idea of legalizing both online and live poker in the islands. Associated Press.

State House Says No To New Schools. KITV4.

Some counties are looking for more flexibility in the proposed contract with Hawaii's largest public worker union. KHON2.

The only Republican in the Hawaii Senate says the state's budget can be balanced by making deep cuts and laying off government employees instead of raising taxes. Maui News.

Hawaii state agencies have increasingly embraced technology to make their operations more efficient, but to some degree, they've fulfilled the expectations of English writer Aldous Huxley, who opined, "Technological progress has merely provided us with more efficient means for going backwards." West Hawaii Today.

Full-time working women in Hawaii are paid on average $9,934 less per year than their male counterparts, according to a study released yesterday.Star-Advertiser.

Council hopefuls frustrated by process. Maui News.

Castle & Cooke has agreed to allow Pattern Energy to use a portion of its 400-megawatt wind allocation for Lanai for the purpose of developing a wind farm on Molokai. Pacific Business News

Hawaii’s Power Out(r)age: A powerful play in six acts. Hawaii Independent.

The recommendations on how Hawaii County can address the growing amount of solid waste collected haven't changed significantly in two decades. West Hawaii Today.

KITV 4 News has learned the group trying to revive the bankrupt Honolulu Symphony has made an initial agreement with unionized orchestra musicians. KITV4.

The two losing bidders of Honolulu's rail car contract, Bombardier Transportation and Sumi­tomo Corp. of America, filed protests with the city yesterday. Star-Advertiser.

The Maui Academy of Performing Arts is seeking the public's help in finding two large puppets that were stolen when thieves broke into one of the organization's vans Saturday night in Kahului. Maui News.

Over the weekend, a cavalcade of artists from the islands and with local ties came together as part of Kokua For Japan. Hawaii Public Radio.

President's sister puts their mom in picture book. Associated Press.

A dog bill that may lack teeth was advanced by the Hawaii County Council last week. Tribune-Herald.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Hawaii raises $1.6M for Japan tsunami, lawmakers mull Internet sales tax, former Rep. Ed Case to run for Akaka's Senate seat, Maui revamping permit process, Big Island studyng garbage, more news from the Hawaiian Islands

University of Hawaii at Manoa
One consequence of the state's current budget crisis could be another attempt to close the University of Hawaii's tourism school and make it a part of the Shidler College of Business. Civil Beat.

Ed Case is the first candidate to officially announce a bid for Senator Daniel Akaka's seat when Akaka retires at the end of his term. KHON2.

Former Congressman Ed Case announced yesterday that he will run in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate next year, vowing to change a political culture in Washington, D.C., he believes is too partisan. Star-Advertiser.

A bill pending in the state House would give online retailers like Amazon.com a choice: collect and pay the state's 4 percent general excise tax on sales from consumers in Hawaii, or provide the state with the names, dates and dollar amounts from each sale so the state Department of Taxation can collect the money annually. Star-Advertiser.

Japan Airlines says it will ask some of its employees to take special unpaid leave this summer due to the temporary reduction of flights on certain domestic and international routes. Pacific Business News

The Hawaii Government Employees Association has released to its members a summary of the tentative contact agreement reached with Gov. Neil Abercrombie. Hawaii Reporter.

When it comes to thankless jobs, police dispatchers top the list. Tribune-Herald.

Kokua For Japan -- a television, radio and Internet fundraising event for the victims of last month's earthquake and tsunami -- pulled in $1.6 million in donations as of 5:30 PM Sunday. Hawaii News Now.

Concert raises $1.6M for tsunami victims. Star-Advertiser.

Music swelled over the great lawn at the Hilton Hawaiian Village this afternoon. Legendary musicians and entertainers shared their talents to raise money for Kokua for Japan. KITV4.

The City Council Budget Committee will meet on Wednesday, April 13 to take action on a number of bills and resolutions that will determine what taxpayers will pay for City services and in real property taxes. Hawaii Independent.

Hawaii County has signed a $199,950 contract for a consultant to compare the cost of trucking garbage to West Hawaii to expanding the Hilo landfill. West Hawaii Today.

Authorities investigating the blast at a fireworks storage bunker that killed five people intend to question the facility's operators and hope to finally be able to enter the unstable site. Associated Press.

The winds are changing. First Wind is out, Pattern Energy is in. Molokai Dispatch.

There are roads that need to be rebuilt and hotel expansions in the works, but new Public Works Director David Goode said his most important achievement would be revamping the county's antiquated permitting process. Maui News.

Computer modeling by researchers at the University of Hawaii projects that debris from Japan's tsunami will reach the Big Island in three to five years. Tribune-Herald.

Peace Corp to mark 50 years of service. West Hawaii Today.

The Association for Asian Studies (AAS) held a four-day conference last March 31 to April 3, 2011 at the Hawaii Convention Center . Filipino Chronicle.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Hawaii tax hike nixed, union contract under fire, birther suit rejected, journalism shield law extended, dengue fears widen, education board pau, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Honolulu tour bus (c) 2011 All Hawaii News
A Norwegian Cruise Line company is bringing seven open-top, double-decker tour buses to Honolulu, a move that's expected to add 60 jobs in the islands. Associated Press.

The Senate Ways and Means Committee voted Thursday to kill a proposal to raise Hawaii's broadest tax. Hawaii News Now.

The Ways and Means Committee killed a hike in the general excise tax after the chairman faced a rare revolt from some committee members Thursday morning. KITV4.

A general excise tax hike has been killed by lawmakers, but businesses and nonprofits still may face a $200 million jump in taxes. KHON2.

Thursday's decision by the Senate Ways and Means committee to rule out a general excise tax increase means lawmakers may have to strengthen at least a dozen surviving revenue bills to close the state's budget gap. Civil Beat.

The Abercrombie administration agreed to a “favored nation” clause in a tentative contract with the Hawaii Government Employees Association that gives the union the ability to match gains won by other unions, sources say. Star-Advertiser.

State Republicans are calling the tentative agreement with HGEA "expensive and unfair" and say how its being pitched deceptive and misleading. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle says city officials “still have many questions and concerns” about the statewide labor agreement reached by Governor Neil Abercrombie with Hawaii’s largest government workers union. Hawaii Reporter.

Questions linger around HGEA contract agreement. Hawaii Independent.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie Thursday identified 61 capital improvement projects that are currently under way as part of his New Day Works Projects, which are meant to create jobs and stimulate the economy. Pacific Business News

The economic crisis that refuses to leave the Hawaiian Islands has not been sufficient to sink the idea of a state-run interisland ferry system, introduced this year through a bill sailing through rough waters in the Legislature. Garden Island.

Measures that would have provided state funds to the Kaho'olawe Island Reserve Commission have stalled for this year, after legislators raised questions about the agency's management of the island. Maui News.

The Senate Judiciary Committee has advanced a bill extending the state’s journalism shield law an additional two years. Star-Advertiser.

It is the end of the road for the elected board members, many of whom have given much of their time to try and improve the state's public school system. KITV4.

A Hawaii appeals court has rejected a man's request to "inspect and copy" Honolulu-born President Barack Obama's birth certificate, saying the plaintiff failed to state a valid claim to having access to the document. KITV4.

For the third straight year, Hawaii County is facing one of the most difficult budgeting processes in the local government's history, Mayor Billy Kenoi told West Hawaii residents Thursday night. West Hawaii Today.

About 70 current and former boat owners expressed anger and frustration yesterday with their inability to get help for their losses in last month's tsunami. Star-Advertiser.

Two women were rescued from a remote Hawaiian beach after a tour helicopter spotted "S.O.S." written in the sand. Associated Press.

It will take years, but Hawaii ultimately will bear a heavy burden from floating debris from the March 11 tsunami in Japan, Hawaii researchers conclude. Star-Advertiser.

Big Island sending love to Japan. Tribune-Herald.

For the first time, Disney Cruise Line will sail through the Hawaiian Islands, with a 15-night cruise departing the Port of Los Angeles on April 29, 2012. KHON2.

The state Department of Health is investigating two suspected East Maui cases of dengue fever, a potentially deadly tropical disease. Maui News.

A California company planning to build and operate a wind farm on Maui's Ulupalakua Ranch has agreed to sell electricity to Maui's power company. Associated Press.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Obama buddy nabbed in Honolulu prostitution sting, HGEA agrees to 5% pay cut, crowds oppose tax hikes, bag bans enforced on Maui, Kauai, Big Island moving $56M project list, more news

Hawaii fisherman (c) 2011 All Hawaii News
Researchers Predict Tsunami Debris from Japan to Twice Hit Hawaii Shores. Hawaii Reporter.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie and the Hawaii Government Employees Association, the state’s largest public-sector labor union, announced a tentative two-year contract agreement yesterday that includes a 5 percent pay cut for public workers. Star-Advertiser.

Governor Neil Abercrombie announced that the state has reached a tentative agreement with Hawaii's largest public worker union. Hawaii News Now.

The state and counties reached a tentative contract with Hawaii's largest union, Gov. Neil Abercrombie's office announced on Wednesday. KITV4.

The plan raises pay above current levels, a contract Honolulu's mayor did not support. KHON2.

Not so fast, governor. That’s the message Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle issued shortly after Gov. Neil Abercrombie announced that the state and counties have agreed to a new contract with the state’s largest government workers union. Hawaii Reporter.

Hawaii Government Employees Association, the state’s largest public workers union, has reached an agreement with state and county officials on a new contract that ends furloughs but calls for public employees to take a 5 percent pay cut and pay more upfront for their health benefits. Pacific Business News

Nonbinding resolutions passed by the Hawaii County Council on Wednesday seek more flexibility in negotiating with the state's public-sector unions. West Hawaii Today.

A hearing on several different tax increase proposals attracted scores of people to a hearing in the state Capitol auditorium on Wednesday. KITV4.

The majority of testifiers told the Senate Ways and Means committee raising the general excise tax one percent is not the way to go. Hawaii News Now.

The state’s most powerful business interests appealed to state senators yesterday not to raise the general excise tax or temporarily suspend tax exemptions to balance the budget, while labor unions and social service providers said the tax options are preferable to more spending cuts to state programs. Star-Advertiser.

Five of Gov. Neil Abercrombie's nine nominees to the new appointed Hawaii State Board of Education cruised through their first Senate Education Committee hearing Wednesday. Civil Beat.

This current session of the Hawai’i legislature, so far, has not borne much good news for those who want stronger regulation of genetically modified food. Big Island Weekly.

A regular Hawaii golfing buddy and Punahou School friend of President Barack Obama was among four people arrested Monday night during a prostitution sting operation in Kakaako by Honolulu police. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu Police Department confirmed that a close friend of President Barack Obama was arrested Monday in connection with a prostitution sting case. KITV4.

The Kaua‘i County Council in a 5-1 vote Wednesday shot down amendments that would have created certain exemptions in the county’s almost 3-month-old plastic bag ban. Garden Island.

Bag ban violations under investigation. Maui News.

The Hawaii County Council on Wednesday unanimously approved a list of 14 projects to be funded through a $56 million bond issue before postponing the bill until its April 20 meeting to comply with state Sunshine Laws. West Hawaii Today.

The stalemate between democrats and republicans over the remaining six months of the 2011 federal budget could result in all eight of Hawaii’s national parks being closed to the public. KHON2.

Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald has appointed four Honolulu lawyers to six-year terms as Honolulu District Court judges, the state Judiciary announced today. Star-Advertiser.

Island music hit a sour note Wednesday when trustees of the Recording Academy announced they are dropping the category of Best Hawaiian Music Album from the Grammy Awards. Hawaii News Now.

Health workers are investigating two suspected cases of dengue fever in East Maui, the state announced today. Maui News.

Officials at Disney Cruise Line say they'll be sending one of their cruise ships to Hawaii for the first time next year. Associated Press.

West Hawaii real estate agents are seeing positive signs in the Kona market, particularly as sales activity increases compared with the past few years. West Hawaii Today.

The Hawaii County Council put a stop to the county's sale of Hamakua lands, and at the same time, invited the public to submit proposals to lease the property. West Hawaii Today.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Feds seek quiet skies over Hawaii national parks, Senate budget assumes furlough savings, court says state at fault in Kauai hiker deaths, more Hawaii news

Ala Wai boat harbor (c) 2011 All Hawaii News
A handful of bills allowing increased privatization of Hawaii’s harbors was kept alive at the Legislature yesterday despite opposition of some boat owners who also worry about separate development proposals to bring wedding chapels to the state’s largest recreational boat harbor. Star-Advertiser.

The state Senate Ways and Means Committee approved the Senate’s draft of the budget yesterday, which would preserve the equivalent of two furlough days a month for state workers to help contain costs through the next two years. Star-Advertiser.

Sen. Sam Slom, the lone Republican in the state Senate, said Tuesday that it is clear to him that public worker unions are the ones putting pressure on the Legislature to raise the general excise tax 20 percent. KITV4.

With the state facing a $1.3 billion budget shortfall over the next two years, the Senate Ways and Means Committee passed a $21.9 billion state budget on Tuesday. Hawaii Reporter.

No school days furloughed, but school bus service cut. Hawaii News Now.

Derek Kawakami is no longer a Kaua‘i County Council member. Garden Island.

Budget cuts threaten Hawaii’s prisoner rehabilitation strategies. Hawaii Independent.

The Hawaii Tourism Authority says the number of airline seats to the islands is expected to be little changed from last year during the next few months despite a reduction in flights from Japan. Associated Press.

More than four years after two hikers fell to their deaths near Opaeka'a Falls on Kauai, a judge has ruled the state "totally" at fault. Hawaii News Now.

The Hawaii Army National Guard’s combat brigade was notified today of a possible deployment to Afghanistan two years from now. Hawaii Public Radio.

The Hawaii Army National Guard received notice that it may be deployed to Afghanistan in 2013, the department announced Tuesday. KITV4.

As the nation’s military and civilian leaders debate the size of a drawdown expected to start in Afghanistan in July, record numbers of Hawaii-based troops are projected to serve in the country for years to come. Star-Advertiser.

Abercrombie Never Promised Transparency. Civil Beat.

The National Park Service and the Federal Aviation Administration are seeking public comment on possible regulations for commercial tour flights over Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Associated Press.

The National Park Service and the Federal Aviation Administration want to hear from you. Tribune-Herald.

An air tour management plan is being developed for commercial air tours in and around Haleakala National Park, the National Park Service said Monday. Maui News.

More than a thousand pages of documents have been released in response to open-records requests about storm water and waste discharge from Oahu's city landfill into the ocean this winter. KHON2.

Former Honolulu City Council Chairman Todd Apo has surfaced as a potential pick for the new transit agency's board of directors — and so have new details about his two ethics violations, including a $500 civil fine. Civil Beat.

Hawaii County administrators on Tuesday brought a revised bond ordinance with a detailed list of projects to the County Council, hoping to win support for the $56 million bond issue when the council takes it up today. West Hawaii Today.

The state is asking a 2nd Circuit Court judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed in January by Public Access Trails Hawaii-Maui. Maui News.

A Kekaha community group announced Tuesday that it has filed complaints with the Department of Health and the Environmental Protection Agency against an energy developer for its lack of transparency in plans to remove toxic substances from the site of an old sugar mill. Garden Island.

The University of Hawaii at Hilo has asked the state Legislature for $36 million to build more on-campus housing for students, but the state's budget crunch may mean that UHH will have to defer the projects. Tribune-Herald.

Queen Kaahumanu Highway widening construction is scheduled to begin in September, state transportation officials said Tuesday. West Hawaii Today.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Hawaii governor reassures unions, shipping charges hiked, Sheraton sold, Hawaiian business boom, school board picks face Senate vetting, taxes, taxes and more

Honolulu homeless (c) 2011 All Hawaii News
Homeless are on the move again after a recent sweep in Kakaako. Hawaii News Now.

The number of companies owned by Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders increased at a faster rate here and nationally than business growth overall from 2002 to 2007, and small-business advocates said yesterday there’s reason to believe they continue to thrive despite the down economy. Star-Advertiser.

Hundreds of union workers rallied at the state capitol Monday, some wielding signs that called into question the attack on labor rights across the country. KITV4.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie had a message for the members of more than 20 unions who filled the state Capitol courtyard yesterday: Union support is in the governor’s blood. Star-Advertiser.

Labor union members cheered and chanted Monday at the Hawai‘i Capitol against cuts in government that would come out of their pockets. Associated Press.

More than 500 union workers gathered in the state Capitol rotunda this afternoon to express support for collective bargaining here and on the Mainland. Hawaii Reporter.

Hundreds gathered today at the Hawaii State Capitol to rally for union solidarity and to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who was murdered 43 years ago today in Memphis, Tennessee, where he was speaking on behalf of a group of workers seeking to unionize. Hawaii Independent.

On Wednesday, Hawaii lawmakers will hear a measure to modify the state's excise tax. KITV4.

Taxing retiree pensions is being debated at the capitol. Hawaii News Now.

One after another local restaurant owners, liquor distributors, and employees of companies that sell or distribute alcohol testified at a House Finance Committee hearing against increasing the state tax on alcohol. Hawaii News Now.

Treading into politically sensitive territory, state Senate Democrats are asking the public to choose between raising the general excise tax or temporarily suspending a tax exemption on certain business activities to help balance the budget. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii senators are proposing an increase to the state's broadest tax, and they'll discuss it during a public hearing Wednesday. Associated Press.

Lawmakers heard testimony today from residents who want to stop prostitution in areas frequented by children and take it one step further … by targeting sex-trade operators and customers. Hawaii Public Radio.

A new day for accountability in Hawaii schools begins as early as this week, when Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie's nine nominees to the state's first appointed Board of Education in 45 years head into their confirmation hearings.Civil Beat.

The Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort and Spa has been sold. West Hawaii Today.

Courthouse in Wailuku needs fixing. Maui News.

Both Horizon Lines Inc. and Pasha Hawaii Transport Lines will raise their fuel surcharges for specific routes at the beginning of May. Pacific Business News

After a series of natural disasters that hit Japan recently, the bosses at the Hawaii Tourism Authority have hinted for a possible cut in the Hawaii air capacity for the second quarter after the tourism was adversely affected. Top News.

Wailuku District Court Judge Rhonda Lai Loo was appointed Monday to replace retiring 2nd Circuit Judge Joel August, Gov. Neil Abercrombie announced. Maui News.

Hawaii residents applied for a record number of permits to buy guns last year and registered a near-record number of firearms, while the islands continued to enjoy the lowest rate of gun-related deaths in the country. Star-Advertiser.

Attorneys for the state Land Use Commission now have through April 25 to provide commission records in response to an appeal filed by Ooma Beachside Village. West Hawaii Today.

Members of Hawaii’s second-largest credit union voted two new faces onto its volunteer board of directors and ousted the chairwoman, reflecting what many said was a need to change the ways of the old board, whose leadership recently came under fire. Star-Advertiser.

Dr. Michael Chun says his retirement from the helm of the Kapalama campus has been discussed in internally for a couple of years -- common of long lead times for transitions at schools the size of Kamehameha. KHON2.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Hawaii residents asked to choose their tax hike, airport fees go up, cold water AC, mac nut charcoal plans move forward, county employees' furloughs, pay cuts, OT under review, more news from the Hawaiian Islands

Waikiki road repairs
An ongoing construction project and an untimely water main break provided a double whammy for motorists and businesses in a section of Waikiki Sunday. Hawaii News Now.

This Sunday, Kokua For Japan takes place at the Hilton in Waikiki. Hawaii Public Radio.

State lawmakers want to hear from the public on proposals to raise the general excise tax or temporarily suspend the tax on certain business activities. Star-Advertiser.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie is supporting a tax plan that would increase taxes for Hawaiian Airlines, construction companies and businesses that sublease. KITV4.

As Hawaii lawmakers find ways to fill the State’s budget deficit, tax reform is being cited as a key component to the solution. Hawaii Independent.

All aboard! That seems to be the consensus so far across the Hawaii state legislature for a proposed bill that would jumpstart a state-wide high-speed ferry system. Molokai Dispatch.

For some Honolulu city workers, Furlough Fridays have meant overtime instead of time off. Civil Beat.

The developer of a proposed $200 million air-conditioning system that draws cold sea water several miles off Hono­lulu said the proj­ect is unlikely to threaten endangered species such as monk seals or leatherback turtles. Star-Advertiser.

A Schofield Barracks aviation brigade deploying to southern Af­ghani­stan with 2,600 Hawaii soldiers and 95 helicopters has been unable to conduct high-altitude training on the Big Island because of an inadequate Army environmental assessment, officials said. Star-Advertiser.

The U.S. Army invited members of the media onto Pohakuloa Training Area on Thursday, to observe their studies on the impacts that the proposed High-Altitude Mountainous Environmental Training, also known as HAMET, may have on the Mauna Kea area. Big Island Video News.

The U.S. Coast Guard is on 24-hour watch at the Kaneohe sand bar - enforcing a safety zone around the CH-53 helicopter that crashed earlier this week. KHON2.

U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono says she has advanced an amendment to pending legislation that would result in $6 million in federal money to improve Hawaii airports. Associated Press.

The state Department of Transportation says parking rates are due to go up at airports statewide starting May 1 to help the state to raise funds to pay for airport improvements. Associated Press.

Hawaiian Air ranked among the large airlines with the fewest complaints.Associated Press.

Hawaii County employees could be asked to continue twice-monthly furloughs or endure 5 percent wage cuts expected to save taxpayers a combined $10 million annually. Tribune-Herald.

Honolulu City Council member Tom Berg is sticking with his Tea Party roots. Civil Beat.

Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa wants to spend nearly $44 million on water infrastructure projects during the next fiscal year — almost double what the county is spending this year. Associated Press.

A Big Island technology startup plans this month to begin turning macadamia nut shells into premium grade, granular activate carbon. West Hawaii Today.

Five appointments each to the University of Hawaii Board of Regents and the East West Center Board of Governors were announced this afternoon by Gov. Neil Abercrombie. Hawaii Reporter.

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs is funding a new Hawaiian cultural training program for volunteers of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meetings taking place in Hawaii this November. Pacific Business News

Steven Nishimura, Kaua‘i’s Democratic party chair, said Foster Ducker, one of the applicants for the party’s nomination, was also in the voting committee that chose the three nominees. Garden Island.

At a party marking Joel August's retirement as a 2nd Circuit Court judge, emcee Judge Richard Bissen joked that if you read the letters to the editor of The Maui News, you'd think that opinions about the jurist started at bad and went down from there. Maui News.

The governor's new pick to represent Hawaii Island on the state Board of Education says his main mission will be to serve as a cheerleader for the school system. Tribune-Herald.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Hawaii profits from gas hikes, Army assures helicopter training won't harm Mauna Kea, Maui mayor cutting workforce, Hawaii Five-0 honored, House committee kills ethics changes, more news

The Tax Foundation reports Hawai‘i is one of nine U.S. states that siphons off more tax revenue when gas prices rise. Garden Island.

The Hawaii State Legislature Thursday honored CBS and Hawaii Five-O Thursday for engaging a new era of viewers and showcasing the beauty of the islands as never seen before. Hawaii News Now.

House Republicans have come out with their own budget plan that they say won't rely on new taxes in the biennium. KHON2.

A much-discussed measure that would have eased ethical restrictions on state legislators and employees appears dead after being deferred today by a House committee. Hawaii Reporter.

A state senate committee has approved a resolution that would reopen a correctional facility at Kulani on the Big Island of Hawaii. Hawaii News Now.

The state Health Department is investigating 12 new cases of suspected dengue fever since a medical alert for the mosquito-borne viral illness was issued last week. Star-Advertiser.

A Senate bill banning the use of restraints on pregnant inmates during childbirth has cleared two key House committees. Star-Advertiser.

Army officials readily accepted fault for community concerns and misconceptions surrounding a plan to increase helicopter training exercises from Pohakuloa Training Area to landing zones on Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa. West Hawaii Today.

Honolulu City Council Plans "Significant Cuts" to Mayor's Budget . Civil Beat.

To help gain control of the county's pension liabilities, Mayor Alan Arakawa hopes to reduce the number of county employees through attrition by about 7 percent by the end of his first year in office. Maui News.

Mayor Alan Arakawa said Wednesday that the county could eventually trim as many as 150 employees per year from the county work force through attrition. Maui News.

Time-share industry leaders turned out Wednesday to protest a proposal that would increase their property tax rates.Maui News.

Chalk up DARE, the drug abuse prevention program that sends officers into schools, as another casualty of the tough fiscal times. Star-Advertiser.

The county really needs the money, but it's so far been able to recoup only $370,000 of more than $1.4 million seriously past due from garbage haulers. West Hawaii Today.

Former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann, now the president of the Hawaii Hotel & Lodging Association, joins us now to talk about Japan Airlines cutting back flights and other tourism issues. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaiian Airlines said it is not reducing flights to Japan even though other airlines have done so after this month's magnitude 9.0 earthquake and tsunamis. Associated Press.

Matson Navigation Co. on Thursday announced a new fuel surcharge hike, the third since February. KITV4.

One of Hawaii’s last venerable Big Five companies, Alexander & Baldwin Inc., could be under pressure to break itself up. Star-Advertiser.

More than seven out of every 10 Hawaii hotel rooms were full during the week ending March 26, and average room rates were higher compared to a year ago except on the Big Island, according to Smith Travel Research and Hospitality Advisors. Pacific Business News

HECO said it would start pouring locally grown biofuels in its generators in a few years. It signed a contract with a company for 300 million gallons of biofuel. Hawaii Public Radio.

A Kilauea teacher fears vegetables she grows with her homeschool group could be laden with arsenic and dioxin left over from pesticides mixed at the former Kilauea Sugar Mill. Garden Island.

April is Tsunami Awareness Month in Hawaii. Associated Press.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Honolulu rail transit doubted, Hawaii Board of Education takes shape, Kona disaster center busy, barking dogs, golf subsidies, plastic bags debated, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

After weeks of escalating tension between Honolulu City Council members and the administration of Mayor Peter Carlisle, the council went public with a flood of concerns about the city's $5.5 billion rail project Wednesday. Civil Beat.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie on Wednesday reinforced his opposition to raising the Hawaii's broadest tax, saying it "isn't something we should be looking to" as the state struggles with deep budget problems. Associated Press.

The governor’s nine nominees for the Board of Education, announced yesterday, plan to meet for the first time April 26 to kick-start an overhaul of board operations, moving to audit BOE policies, shift more responsibility to the superintendent and decrease the number of employees in the board’s offices. Star-Advertiser.

BOE Appointees Include Former News Anchor, Attorneys, Academics, Execs. KITV4.

Word of the governor's announcement spread quickly on public school campuses across the state.KITV4.

Governor Neil Abercrombie announced his appointees for the new state Board of Education, tapping a diverse group of busy business executives, attorneys and even a former news anchor. Hawaii Reporter.

The Governor introduced his choices for the State Board of Education yesterday. Hawaii Public Radio.

The board consists of nine members - three from Oahu, three at-large, and one each from Hawaii Island, Maui and Kauai. Hawaii News Now.

In another step forward to advance the state’s public school system, Governor Neil Abercrombie today announced his appointments to the new Board of Education. Hawaii Independent.

Maui Memorial Medical Center CEO Wesley Lo is among nine people appointed to the Board of Education by Gov. Neil Abercrombie, the governor's office announced Wednesday. Maui News.

Preparations are on track for the Nov. 12 APEC Leaders' Meeting and the adjacent conferences that will bring at least 12,000 people to Hawaii including President Barack Obama and leaders of 20 other nations, according to members of the APEC Host Committee. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island residents continue to lag behind the rest of the state when it comes to healthy living. Tribune-Herald.

Oahu residents dodged a major disaster with the March 11 tsunami, city Department of Emergency Management officials said yesterday. Star-Advertiser.

Nearly 40 people visited Tuesday the Disaster Assistance and Recovery Center in Kailua-Kona, a one-stop shop offering information about disaster aid and services available in the wake of the March 11 tsunami, said state Civil Defense spokeswoman Shelly Ichishita. West Hawaii Today.

Zoo Director Manny Mollinedo faced his first tsunami after only three months on the job. During that emergency, the zoo lost one of its animals: a llama.KITV4.

South Kona councilwoman Brenda Ford wants to re-write the county code when it comes to barking dogs… Big Island Video News.

Joseph Wildman has withdrawn his nomination to be a judge in the 2nd Circuit Court. Pacific Business News

Marine helicopter crashes in Kaneohe Bay. Hawaii News Now.

The owners of Turtle Bay Resort on Oahu’s North Shore are renewing efforts to develop the property, but are willing to scale back a previous plan that called for five new oceanfront hotels with 3,500 rooms and condominium units. Star-Advertiser.

Bus fares, golf subsidies and the Hawaii County Band were fair game Wednesday as the County Council wrapped up three days of a department-by-department budget analysis. West Hawaii Today.

During a protest about local jobs going to mainland workers yesterday, deputy sheriffs arrested a union leader who used a bullhorn to make his statement at the Kalanimoku Building on Punchbowl Street. Star-Advertiser.

While water shortages and rate increases have plagued Molokai Irrigation System (MIS) users for years, the island’s state representative, Mele Carroll, has taken action to legally bind the Department of Agriculture (DOA) to provide water at a reduced rate. Molokai Dispatch.

Disagreement over Kaua‘i County Council rules of procedure took center stage Wednesday after committee members learned their vote not to approve an amendment to the plastic bag ban may have killed the bill. Garden Island.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Hawaii economy dips, Italian coffee giant buys Kauai business, Maui plans open classroom, Hawaii County to pump $1 M into tourism, Akaka Bill redux, Puna residents file marijuana lawsuit, more

Hawaii Council on Revenues
The Council on Revenues Tuesday revised its projection on state revenues to decline to -1.6 percent, down from a March 10 forecast of .5 percent growth. Hawaii News Now.

As lawmakers prepare to write a budget addressing a shortfall estimated at up to $1.3 billion over three years, the state Council on Revenues was called back into session to set the tax revenues estimate on which, by law, the budget must be based. KITV4.

The forecast drop means a swing of more than 2 percent into negative territory, largely in line with what the administration had estimated in its end of fiscal year crunch. KHON2.

Hawaii’s Council on Revenues today revised downward its economic outlook by 1.6 percent. Hawaii Reporter

The State Council on Revenues met today at the request of Governor Neil Abercrombie. The Council lowered its projections more than 2 percentage points due to a number of factors. Hawaii Public Radio.

The Hawaii Council on Revenues Tuesday revised its forecast for the rest of the fiscal year, saying general fund revenue collections will decline by 1.6 percent, more than 2 percentage points lower than what the council had projected earlier this month Pacific Business News

The number of Hawaii visitors jumped 11.8 percent last month compared to the year before, but tourism officials responding to the data released Tuesday said they're girding themselves for a drop-off as travelers from Japan increasingly stay home in the wake of this month's devastating earthquake and tsunamis. Associated Press.

Hawaii County Council Chairman Dominic Yagong wants the county to spend $1 million to lure mainland tourists to the Big Island to fill a gap created by declines in Japanese visitors. West Hawaii Today.

From school furloughs to reductions in state services, many residents have been feeling the pinch over the past few years as Hawaii leaders have cut back because of the difficult economy. KITV4.

Dozens of people gathered at the state Capitol on Tuesday in a rally designed to raise awareness of the elderly suffering from hunger in Hawaii and encourage lawmakers to fund programs. KITV4.

The idea of taxing soft drinks may be making a comeback. Associated Press.

David Louie's nomination to be Hawaii attorney general does not appear to be in trouble, but Senate Judiciary Chairman Clayton Hee is not quite ready to sign off on a top appointment for Gov. Neil Abercrombie. Civil Beat.

U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka, who has said he plans to retire after his current term expires next year, spoke on the Senate floor this morning as he re-introduced a bill to grant federal recognition for native Hawaiians, renewing his effort to win passage of a proposal that has been before Congress since 1999. Star-Advertiser.

More than a decade after it was set aside for preservation, a 20-acre site at Palauea could be transformed into a "living classroom" on Hawaiian culture, archaeology and agriculture under a proposal by the University of Hawaii Maui College. Maui News.

One of the three bidders to provide rail cars for Honolulu's transit system plans a formal protest of the contract award, which the city publicized would cost $574 million but has since acknowledged might amount up to $1.4 billion over the life of the contract. Star-Advertiser.

Rail opponents have added an attorney to their arsenal who helped write national environmental laws. Hawaii News Now.

Coffee giant Massimo Zanetti Beverage now owns Kaua‘i Coffee Company, the nation’s largest coffee estate. Garden Island.

For the sixth year in a row, the Legislature convened in a joint session to honor service members with Hawaii ties who were killed or died in a war zone, and to present their families with the state Medal of Honor. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu Zoo is in danger of losing accreditation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Hawaii News Now.

New State Ferry Under Consideration. Molokai Dispatch.

Eight Puna residents have filed a lawsuit alleging that police, prosecutors and other county officials have failed to abide by the voter initiative making adult personal use of marijuana the "lowest law enforcement priority." Tribune-Herald.

The countdown is on for West Hawaii residents who've long-awaited their chance to pick up more live, over-the-air Hawaii Public Radio news, information and music broadcasts. West Hawaii Today.

Judge voids final EIS for housing project. Maui News.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Hawaii Senate considers broad tax hike and delaying refunds, Hawaii council members call for furloughs, office buildings, Maui Ritz-Carlton on the block, more news

Northwestern Hawaiian Islands
An initial assessment of damage at Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument (Northwestern Hawaiian Islands) shows the tsunami that hit late on the evening of March 10 and early in the morning on March 11 did "tens of millions" of dollars in damage to infrastructure. Hawaii News Now.

Tsunamis generated by a magnitude 9.0 earthquake off Japan earlier this month swept up a one week-old Hawaiian monk seal pup and separated her from her mother at a remote atoll northwest of the main Hawaiian islands, but a state wildlife worker managed to reunite the pair shortly after. Associated Press.

Hawaii senators on Monday discussed raising taxes on everyone by increasing the general excise tax, the state's version of the sales tax that's paid on most transactions. Associated Press.

Closing this fiscal year's budget gap could include delayed tax refunds for the second year in a row. KHON2.

Facing lower tax collections due to falling Japanese tourism, the state Senate must cut deeper and potentially raise taxes on more residents than was proposed just three weeks ago by the state House.KITV4.

The senator in charge of finalizing the state's budget says Hawaii lawmakers have just two options to balance this year's budget: raid special funds or "completely shut down spending." Civil Beat.

State senators, growing impatient with the lack of budget details from Gov. Neil Abercrombie, asked yesterday when the governor plans to fulfill his campaign promise to restructure state government to help with the fiscal crunch. Star-Advertiser.

The state’s short and long-term fiscal crises appear to be …in one lawmaker’s words … pretty dismal. Hawaii Public Radio.

Representatives from all state departments and major agencies came before the senate ways and means committee to plead their cases for their share of state spending. KHON2.

Reality check. That is what Hawaii Senate Ways and Means committee members, and state administration officials, got today during an exchange between senators and the state budget director, Kalbert Young. Hawaii Reporter.

The poker bill going through the capitol is not a lottery or casino. Hawaii News Now.

The decision by Japan Airlines to slash flights to Hawaii by one-third adds to the challenges faced by the state's leading industry since the earthquake, tsunami and radiation scare crippled its No. 3 visitor market. Star-Advertiser.

Former Congressman Charles Djou said Sunday he's waiting to learn if fellow Republican Linda Lingle will run for U.S. Senate in 2012 before plotting his own political future.Tribune-Herald.

A resolution that urges the salary commission to forgo raises for city council members was passed unanimously Monday in committee. KHON2.

Three Hawaii County Council leaders said Monday during an hour-long back-and-forth with Mayor Billy Kenoi they think employee furloughs should continue, with Finance Committee Chairwoman Brenda Ford calling for a 4 percent reduction in force if they don't. West Hawaii Today.

In its continuing efforts to encourage the public to provide input on the future of Kaua‘i’s parks, officials said in a news release Monday that the county is conducting a survey through May 31. Garden Island.

Mayor Alan Arakawa released the Maui County budget for fiscal year (FY) 2012 to the Maui County Council for review a few weeks ago – $632 million. Arakawa also presented revenue of $686.7 million, an increase of $59.9 million compared to FY 2011. Molokai Dispatch.

The largest owner of office buildings in Honolulu is considering selling its portfolio of six properties, a move that could result in a new dominant landlord controlling nearly 10 percent of the market. Star-Advertiser.

The Ritz-Carlton in Kapalua will be sold at a foreclosure auction in May. Pacific Business News

Hawaii's highly decorated Japanese-American veterans of World War II prepared on Monday to receive what will likely be their final official commendation: the Congressional Gold Medal. KITV4.

The Honolulu Zoo's three tiger cubs had new homes lined up, but now those plans have changed. Hawaii News Now.

A recent AARP Hawaii survey of employed adults age 50 and up shows two thirds of them say they’ll work much longer if the economy doesn’t improve. Hawaii Independent.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Hawaii hits budget wall, radiation leaks not threat to seafood, disaster center set in Kona, Maui buildings to reach new heights, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Gov. Neil Abercrombie appealed for fiscal responsibility Sunday in a message sent via email and posted on YouTube. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii is running out of time to find an estimated $232 million needed to balance the budget over the next three months, leading Gov. Neil Abercrombie's administration to consider emptying the state's hurricane relief fund. Associated Press.

Deep state funding reductions to education projected for the next two fiscal years will likely slow ambitious plans to boost student achievement and turn around low-performing schools, educators warn. Star-Advertiser.

Recent labor union settlements negotiated between the state and labor organizations will give thousands of workers at least four days off on a paid basis and bring an end to their furloughs.Hawaii Reporter.

Sen. Ron Kouchi says he is looking for guidance during the next two weeks in making difficult decisions on how to balance the current and future state budgets, citing the impact of the Japanese tsunami and the economic downturn. Garden Island.

Forty-eight other states have approved it in some form, but not Hawaii. Most lawmakers have consistently opposed it -- while admitting it happens regardless. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaiian Lawmakers Push Akaka Bill At State Level. Civil Beat.

Experts say radiation leaks cause no immediate threat to Hawaii's seafood. KHON2.

Hawaii’s “Aloha for Japan” tsunami relief effort announced it has collected more than $1 million in donations through March 25. Pacific Business News

The U.S. Coast Guard has completed a fly-over of the damage one of the world's largest marine reserves sustained in the tsunami. Associated Press.

Hawaii State Civil Defense will set up a disaster assistance and recovery center in Kona to offer help to people affected by the March 11 tsunami. Star-Advertiser.

During a tour Saturday of Kailua-Kona, U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono vowed to help secure federal funds and low-interest loans for those hit by the tsunami. West Hawaii Today.

A bill that would allow certain residential structures to be built higher than the current county code allows has passed first reading by the Maui County Council. Maui News.

The state has acquired 17 acres of land along the Big Island's North Kohala coast in an effort to preserve dozens of significant cultural sites and assist in marine habitat conservation efforts. Associated Press.

Following a near 17-day pause, lava is once again flowing from Kilauea Volcano's east rift zone, according to the U.S. Geological Survey's Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. Tribune-Herald.

On Prince Kuhio Day, many mark the 140th birthday of this Hawaiian royalty with a parade in Waikiki, while other remember an Alii by carrying on his legacy. KITV4.

Since January, there have been three fires that targeted boats belonging to North Shore Shark Adventures. Hawaii News Now.

Molokai Veterans Caring for Veterans (MVCV) are seeking a settlement to the lawsuit they filed against Maui County in September 2010, after years of delays in receiving a building permit for a veterans center. Molokai Dispatch.

When one lane of the new Wailua Cane Haul Bridge opens for traffic later this month or in early April, it will be the beginning of the expanded traffic flow pattern planned for the Wailua corridor. Garden Island.