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Wednesday, July 29, 2009
July 29, 2009 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 12:25 PM :: 8928 Views

Judge submits final ruling against furloughs for Hawaii workers

Tuesday's action opens the way for Lingle and Attorney General Mark Bennett to appeal the decision.

There was no immediate comment about an appeal, though the governor has said an appeal is likely. Legal observers say an appeal must be filed within 30 days.

Earlier this month, Circuit Judge Karl K. Sakamoto ruled unilateral furloughs violated the state constitution, and his final ruling permanently prohibits them.

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McClain signals UH close to layoffs

The determination is the first step toward possible layoffs under Article XVI of the contract between UH and the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly, the union representing faculty.

"This declaration is the first step in a process under which our campus chancellors can identify for the Board of Regents areas for programmatic retrenchment that will produce general funds budget savings," McClain said in a news release.  (Doing as much of the heavy lifting as possible before MRC Greenwood's profligate ways take over at UH.) 

According to the contract, "retrenchment refers to the termination of the employment of any Faculty Member during any appointment as a result of lack of work or other legitimate reason ... such as fiscal exigency."

McClain said negotiations with the faculty union are ongoing "but have not yet produced the adjustments we believe we need."

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Hawaii tourism pocketed $882 million less so far this year

Visitor spending through June fell to $4.97 billion, a decline of $882.2 million, or 15.1 percent, from the same period a year earlier.

For the month of June, visitor spending fell to $843.9 million, a 16.1 percent decline from the same month a year earlier. The number of visitors arriving in Hawai'i also continued to slide, falling 5.2 percent to 550,421. That's the 16th consecutive month of decline in arrivals.

Average daily visitor spending fell to $156 per person from $180 per person in June 2008.

RELATED: Japan arrivals plummet

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Pono, Chong?  Hawaii residents now taxed on Vegas winnings even if they lose

Under House Bill 1495, no longer will gamblers be able to offset their winnings with their losses for Hawai'i state income tax purposes. Previously gamblers would be taxed only on their net winnings, but now they will be taxed on gross winnings.

A Hawai'i resident who wins $10,000 in a year, for example, and loses $9,000 in the same year used to be taxed only on the $1,000 in net winnings. Under the new law, that resident would be taxed on the full $10,000 in winnings. 

Dennis Kohara, a certified public accountant in Honolulu, called the law "ridiculous."

"You sit down at the blackjack table. You win a hand. You lose the next one. You win another hand. You lose the next one," he said.

And, under the new law, you now owe taxes on all the winning hands, which are not offset by any of the losing hands, Kohara said.

State Rep. Pono Chong, who sponsored the legislation, acknowledged that Kohara is correct.

However, Chong said, the new law will mainly affect those who have substantial winnings, along with substantial losses.  (And that makes it pono, Chong?)

The law is expected to add about $300,000 a year to Hawai'i tax revenue.

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Big Island mac nut grower may get six-figure investment

Exactly two years after declaring the Big Island macadamia nut industry faced "desperate times," one large grower is making a six-figure investment to aid farmers and create jobs.
Edmund Olson said he's negotiating to become a major owner of troubled Hamakua Macadamia Nut Co. Inc. and absorb the company's debt.
"They are the second largest processor on the island," Olson said of the company's Kawaihae plant.

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25% of council ballots in so far

Newcomer (union lawyer backed by rail contractors and their unions) Nathaniel Kinney leads all candidates in the City Council 5th District special election in terms of how much he's raised and spent.

Not too far behind is former Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi. Third in receipts and disbursements is former state Sen. Matt Matsunaga.

Meanwhile, nearly 25 percent of eligible voters in the district have turned in their mail-in ballots even though people have until Aug. 7 to turn them in, city elections officer Glen Takahashi said yesterday.

RELATED: Kinney has the cash advantage

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Hawaii at risk, experts warn (More Global Warming Hype)

No one can say for sure what the precise effects on the state will be if global warming, mostly caused by human activities, occurs along the lines of the wide range of scenarios scientists project by the end of the century.

But many of the possibilities discussed at the Hawai'i Conservation Conference point to a dramatically altered Island environment if substantial steps aren't taken around the world to curb the burning of fossil fuels.

TOTALLY RELATED: Chicago Sees Coldest July In 67 Years Average Temperature Only 68.9 Degrees

The National Weather Service says 2009 has seen the coldest July since the official recording station was moved away from the lakefront in 1942. The average temperature this month in Chicago has been a mere 68.9 degrees.
Even in the years before 1942, when the National Weather Service recorded temperatures at the cooler lakefront, there are only three years that had colder Julys through the 26th.  (Uhhh, that cooling is hiding the underlying warming, Uhhh we are talking about climate change, not global warming....  uhhh global warming means temperature disruptions so there will be cooling in .. uh Chicago.!) 

ANALYSIS: Global Warming is the new religion of first world urban elites

Ian Plimer has outraged the ayatollahs of purist environmentalism, the Torquemadas of the doctrine of global warming, and he seems to relish the damnation they heap on him.

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Hawaii slips to 18th in U.S. in well-being of its children

Hawai'i slipped five spots from last year — to 18th in the nation — in a state-by-state ranking based on key child well-being indicators, according to the annual Kids Count Data Book released yesterday.

It was the third year in a row that Hawai'i's ranking in the report has declined.

Hawai'i slipped in child and teen death rates, percentage of low-birthweight babies and teen birth rate.

In the study, Hawai'i had the second-lowest percentage in the nation of children in poverty (just 10 percent, compared with 18 percent nationally).

RELATED: Death rates topple Hawaii from top spot in child health

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Private Donors step up: Prep sports score $430,000 backing

The donations — coming on the heels of a recently announced 36.35 percent overall budget cut to public school athletics for the 2009-2010 school year — include $200,000 from the Clarence T.C. Ching Foundation, $100,000 from First Hawaiian Bank, $50,000 each from Bank of Hawaii and the GIFT Foundation, and $30,000 from Amemiya and his wife, Bonny.

In addition, Hawaiian Airlines has announced discounted interisland airfares for teams traveling to state tournaments, and Hawaii Medical Services Association will sponsor radio advertising spots to publicize a public fundraising drive.

The Honolulu Advertiser also will publish a weekly list of individual donors, along with short articles illustrating how funds for athletics are used.

(Who needs the DoE anyway?)

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Air America Owner is Convicted Felon

The man who helped found the liberal radio network "Air America" is now a convicted felon.

Evan Montvel-Cohen stole more than $30,000 from his employer in 2005.

Montvel-Cohen's victim Brian Vidinhar says, "I ask you and plead with you to protect all the innocent people out there. Do not let his record go clean. If he had a record when I did the background checks, I might not have been sitting in this courtroom today."

Judge Randall Lee agreed...

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No doubt about Obama's birth

Dr. Chiyome Fukino, the state health director, issued a statement in October that she had seen the "original vital records" that Obama was born in Honolulu on Aug. 4, 1961. She issued a similar statement on Monday. Hawaii's archaic secrecy laws prohibit her from showing it in public, but Obama has posted an electronic facsimile on the Internet. (Secrecy laws: Legislative target in next session)

(No doubt about how useful the "birthers" are to Obama...He could order display of his "long form" anytime he wants, but why wouldhe want to with the following going on?)

True to his audience, Rush Limbaugh has told radio listeners that Obama "has yet to prove that he's a citizen." CNN's Lou Dobbs said on his radio show last week that a caller's claim that Obama is a Kenyan "can't be discounted." A Dobbs substitute later said CNN had "found no basis for the questions about the president's birthplace." We appreciate Dobbs' candor: His reputation as an anti-immigration fanatic is now firmly in place.

The Hawaii statehood resolution passed in both the House and the Senate without opposition. However, Rep. John Campbell, R-Calif., has not withdrawn a bill that he is sponsoring that would require future presidential candidates to present their birth certificates.  (Does that make him a "birther" or is his bill a means to avoid future birther scams?)  Estimates of the number of birther members of Congress range from nine (Politico) to 17 (Salon).  (To be used against them in future campaigns)

RELATED: Don't be fooled: Obama was Born in Hawaii , CNN Chief is source of latest "Birther" claim

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