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Monday, April 6, 2009
April 6, 2009 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:47 AM :: 8055 Views

February occupancy rate for Hawaii hotels worst since 1991

The global economic recession and consequent slump in tourism resulted in Hawai'i hotels recording their worst "high season" February occupancy since 1991, during the Gulf War.

February also marked the sharpest drop in average daily room rates since the hotel room survey began in 1987, according to Hospitality Advisors LLC.

February's 74.7 percent occupancy was the lowest since falling to 69.7 percent the same month 18 years ago. Average daily room rates plunged 12.4 percent to $187.21 for February, which was the sharpest decline since the survey began in 1987.

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Shakedown: Future of aquaculture discussed in Kawaihae (activists keeping Hawaii's economy in the tank)

...opponents (names?) are concerned about the unknown and issues -- the killing of a 16-foot tiger shark (the horror), fish escapes (nooooo!), user conflicts, pollution, impacts to other marine species, diseases, parasites, the use of untested technology in Hawaii waters and insecticides. They claim such technology is not a solution to the U.S. seafood trade deficit, further warning that these facilities could have an adverse effect on ecology. They added wild fish stocks can be harmed when farmed fish escape and compete for resources or interbreed.

(plenty of excuses, but aquaculture just doesn't have the kind of money for 'settlements' that Hokulia did)

The potential effects and impacts of open ocean aquaculture facilities along the Big Island's coast were discussed during the meeting at the Hamakua Macadamia Nut Factory. The panel consisted of Clyde Tamaru, aquaculture specialist at the University of Hawaii at Manoa; Neil Sims, president of Kona Blue Water Farms and Ocean Stewards Institute; and Rob Parsons and Christina Lizzi, of Food & Water Watch.

Still, Parsons said the open ocean aquaculture industry has failed to demonstrate that it is environmentally sustainable, financially viable or technically possible on a commercial scale. He claimed fish farming does not increase jobs, adding commercial fisherman believe this is another threat to their livelihoods. Parsons and Lizzi said land-based, recirculating aquaculture was a more sustainable option to protecting the environment and addressing seafood needs.  (if someone were proposing to build such a business, they would oppose it calling for sea-based aquaculture....and why is it that these self-appointed eco-busybodies get any say whatsoever?)

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State-funded clubhouse centers for Hawaii's mentally ill are at risk (push for tax increase, rinse, wash, repeat)

In the midst of significant reductions to mental-health services statewide, the clubhouses — which house day treatment, vocational and other programs for 1,100 mentally ill members — have so far been largely spared. But some worry that might not be the case for much longer.

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Honolulu hiring for rail transit division (why taxes are increasing)

Proposed jobs will be some of highest-paying posts at Honolulu Hale  (can anybody say 'top three years')

"Even those who voted in favor of transit (in November), I don't think they were voting to approve a very large, a very expensive and very permanent bureaucracy," said City Council member Duke Bainum. "If you're starting at that (wage level), imagine where they're going to be five, 10 years down the line when you have these built-in raises."

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SB/Haugen: Akaka Bill: Hawaii could become No. 1 in Native American population (If Hawaiians become reservation Indians)

There are currently 561 federally recognized tribal governments in the United States.

These tribes possess the right to form their own government, to enforce laws (both civil and criminal), to tax, to establish requirements for membership, to license and regulate activities, to zone and to exclude persons from tribal territories.  (Its party time for corrupt trustees!)

Limitations on tribal powers of self-government include the same limitations applicable to states. For example, neither tribes nor states have the power to make war, engage in foreign relations, or coin money (this includes paper currency).

And, based upon the revised bill submitted by Sen. Daniel K. Akaka in March, even if recognized as Native Americans, Hawaiians would not be permitted to establish gambling operations, since gambling is illegal in Hawaii.

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Ceded Lands OHA, DHHL: Heen vs Kawananakoa

AK: "These lands are still Hawaiian lands that rightfully belonged to Queen Li- li'uokalani and her legal descendants,  (ie ME) to be held in trust for the Hawaiian people (by ME)."

WH does a pretty good job making the case for DHHL, but grasps at straws when defending OHA: "Anyone with any knowledge of the history of the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands knows that since the present chairman, Micah Kane, has directed its operations the department has done more to assist its beneficiaries than ever before."

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ACLU to defend school drug pushers again--as Schools chief may get more power (to close your school)

The superintendent of schools would get greater authority when it comes to setting bus fares and school lunch prices as well as closing and consolidating public schools if several pending amendments to Department of Education administrative rules are adopted.

A monthlong series of hearings will begin today at Kapolei High School, where the public will be able to submit testimony on eight administrative rules up for amendment.

Four of the amendments have already gained public attention and dissent, including rule changes dealing with student locker searches and drug sniffing dogs. Other amendments include granting the superintendent authority to increase bus prices and school meal fees as well as the ability to initiate the closing of public schools with the approval of the Board of Education.

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SB: 150 Kaneohe Marines leave for Iraq

Subtitle: "Soldiers hope to build on existing peace"  (Last year's subtitle:  "Soldiers head into Bush's meat grinder.")

"I'm hoping to do a lot of good things over there as far as helping the community, rebuilding schools, shopping centers, things like that," he said.  (Quote ends here, SB reporter begins commentary)

And he's happy President Barack Obama plans to draw down the number of troops in Iraq by the summer of 2010.  Obama said he would like to withdraw two-thirds of the 145,000 U.S. troops now in Iraq.  (Commentary ends, quote begins again)

"I think we did everything that we could (in Iraq). And we have a lot of priorities in Afghanistan right now," Johnson said.

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AP: GOP legislators struggle with little political clout

Hawaii has only eight Republicans among its 76 lawmakers, the second most lopsided legislature in the nation. The GOP lost three seats in November's elections, giving Hawaii the biggest Democratic majority of any state but Rhode Island.

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Kaneohe man arrested after attempted rendezvous with 14-year-old girl

Quick! Somebody call Rep Joe Bertram.

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