5 city workers indicted on bribery, theft
Five city workers have been indicted by an Oahu grand jury on charges of bribery and theft. City spokesman Bill Brennan said the charges relate to theft of overtime expenses. All five employees provide street-sweeping services at the Department of Facilities Maintenance, Brennan said.
(We've got to increase taxes to pay for their services!)
Hawaii's poor, disabled facing 33% cut in benefit
Four months into the fiscal year, the state is cutting the monthly cash benefit to 5,055 poor, temporarily disabled people by a third — to $300 — so the program won't run out of money before June.
The general assistance program got a $21.3 million block grant from the Legislature this fiscal year.
That's down from about $21.9 million last fiscal year.
Meanwhile, Koller said, enrollment in the program is increasing.
Enrollment is up by 27 percent from 2007, when 3,955 people were in the program.
(Wow. Dan Inouye could have paid for this program six times over with the $135M he wasted on his cronies at Central Pacific Bank.)
RELATED INFORMATION: After Call From Senator Inouye’s Office, Small Hawaii Bank Got U.S. Aid
UH planning to rent office space in town
The University of Hawaii at Manoa is preparing to rent downtown office space for $20,000 a month starting next month.
(That's enough to pay for two Ethnic Studies Perfessers! Why would they waste this money?)
The psychology department was forced to vacate Gartley Hall in September after engineers declared the 88-year-old building unsafe to occupy.
(So this is the price UH pays for following the socialist pattern of building--but not maintaining.)
Groups want special session to cancel Furlough Fridays
(This is in contradiction to Monday's GOP/Oshiro call for the HSTA and DoE to reopen negotiations. The difference? A special session will deal with tax increases and raids on special funds and will allocate spending between the HSTA, HGEA, UPW, and UHPA/UH. This is why the HSTA immediately rejected the call to reopen negotiations.)
"We want the schools open, that's the first priority," said Marguerite Butler Higa, a spokeswoman for Save Our Schools Hawaii who has a third-grader at Noelani Elementary. "We can't wait until next year to solve this crisis, because it really is a crisis."
Her group is the latest to spring up in opposition to the state's decision to shutter public schools for 17 days this year to help balance the state budget. Hawaii Education Matters has also called for a special legislative session, saying that most people now agree that Furlough Fridays are a bad idea.
Meanwhile, U.S. District Judge David Ezra, a court-appointed special master, is trying to mediate an out-of-court settlement of two federal lawsuits filed to block Furlough Fridays. He is meeting this week with parties to the suits as well as representatives of the teachers union and the Hawaii Government Employees Association, according to a court spokeswoman.
RELATED: Furloughs: How Unions and the DoE aim to co-opt protesting parents
Chased out of Hawaii by Eco-Shakedown: Kona-based company to raise kampachi off Mexico
Kailua, Kona-based Kona Blue Water Farms announced today that it has secured funding and is proceeding with development of a second mariculture farm in Mexico's Sea of Cortez. Kona Blue Water Farms currently operates an array of submersible net pens in waters over 200 feet deep and a half-mile off the Kona coast. (But they were blocked from expanding by the same scammers who attacked Hokulia.)
Oahu home sales reach 19-month high in October
Sounds good? Don't be deceived. From the article: "The report was based on sales of existing homes and condominiums as opposed to new housing built by developers and others."
In other words, the complete collapse of new construction is boosting the resale market.
Waikiki hotel could face closure
Lisa Hookano-Holly, the general manager, said the staff learned of the hotel's foreclosure, bankruptcy and purchase only a few days ago, adding she knows nothing of plans for the site.
Pineapple all pau on Valley isle
With the last remaining sugar company hanging on by a thread, Maui Land & Pineapple Co. said yesterday it would stop planting pineapple immediately, cease all pineapple operations by the end of the year, and lay off more than 45 percent of its work force amid a companywide restructuring that repositions subsidiary Kapalua Land Co.
The company, which employs 624 people, said up to 133 employees will be offered jobs at partner companies while up to 285 employees will be laid off, primarily at subsidiary Maui Pineapple Co.
ADV: Maui Land dropping pineapple production
Parker Ranch sells real estate business
The Big Island's Parker Ranch, which was founded more than 160 years ago and is one of the largest ranches in the nation, has sold its real estate brokerage as part of the reorganization plan it announced last month to combat difficult economic conditions and continued operating losses.
'The silent majority' voices concern: Public hearing draws opposition to land transparency bill
HILO -- More than 50 people spoke up about a land transparency bill during a public hearing Monday night, and this time, most were against it.
It was the first show of organized opposition on a bill that had already had two airings with overwhelming majorities in support. During the previous hearing Wednesday, more than 40 spoke in favor and only one spoke against Bill 132.
Many of the testifiers Monday were from Ka'u and many called themselves "the silent majority" of voters who don't come to council meetings but elected Ka'u Councilman Guy Enriques to represent them there. Several said this was the first time they'd ever testified before the County Council.
Land is worth less than thought: Proposed Hamakua sale could still leave $1.9 million deficit for county
The 16 parcels are worth a combined $6.33 million, well short of the $8.21 million Mayor Billy Kenoi must raise by June 30, according to an independent appraisal of the former sugar cane lands.
Kauai: County Charter amendments move forward
LIHU‘E — While the county Charter Review Commission debates the merits and legality of the controversial county manager system of government, a number of other, more germane proposed changes are moving closer to earning spots on the ballot.
Oil uncertainty pushes KIUC to find alternatives
The uncertainty of oil prices makes it that much more important for KIUC leaders to push forward aggressively with plans for alternative forms of energy, he said, to “try to mitigate our exposure.”
Toward that end, KIUC’s Shawn DeMille announced that savings between $200,000 and $1 million (depending on the price of a barrel of oil) will be saved by KIUC’s burning of one million gallons of waste oil at its Port Allen power plant. The plan has state Public Utilities Commission approval, and the waste oil is en route from O‘ahu, Bissell said.
For the first nine months of this year, KIUC members paid $93 million for electricity, compared to $150 million for the same period last year, Bissell said.
RELATED: Hawaiian Electric profit drops 10.2%