Facing a deep budget shortfall and the antion’s shortest school year, the Hawaii State Legislature opend for business Wednesday morning minus the usual parties, food, and entertainment. State Senate President Coleen Hanabusa told the Associated Press that now is the time for work and not celebration. The state is facing a budget deficit of $1.2 billion dollars.
According to the “Hawaii Tribune-Herald, more than 400 Hawaii medical workers maybe affected by a series of workday furloughs approved by a state arbitration panel last week. The panel’s decision stated that the UPW employees may be furloughed up to 14 days between now and June 30th, and up to 24 days between July 1st and June 30th, 2011.
Despite the weakening economy, commercial rubbish haulers who owe money to the county are paying their past due bills, albeit slowly. Robin Bauman, the business manager for the Environmental Management Department, tells the “Hawaii Tribune-Herald” that haulers at the end of December owed the county $2.3 million in past-due tipping fees, compared to $2.8 million last July. The money is critical to county budgets, with the Office of the Corporation Counsel issuing promissory notes to the largest past-due accounts.
Planning Director Bobby Jean Leithead-Todd tells the “Hawaii Tribune-Herald” that archival research allegedly proving private ownership of the Kapoho Beach Road has not convinced her that Kapoho Bay access isn’t a public right of way. Currently, a gate and guard shack keep out unauthorized motorists from the area. Leithead-Todd says she will do more research and consult county attorneys on the way to proceed with the public access issue.
Homeowners on the Big Island who have been served with a foreclosure action on the residential property that they occupy may ask to participate in mediation with the lender before the case is heard by a judge. Eligible borrowers may indicate their willingness to participate in mediation by serving the Foreclosure Mediation Notice on the borrower along with the complaint and summons. Mediation request forms may be obtained from the Judiciary’s website or from the Chief Court Administrator’s Office in Hilo.
The Hawaii State Department of Health has confirmed two more deaths from H1N1 flu–one an adult female in her 30s who died while hospitalized in late December 2009, and the other, a 50-year old male who died last week after being admitted to an area hospital. Both individuals were Oahu residents and bring the total number of deaths in Hawaii with laboratory confirmed 2009 H1N1 influenza to 13.
The Pahala Public and School Library is scheduled to reopen on Monday, January 25th at 11 a.m. The Library has been closed for major renovations, including health, safety, and accessibility improvements, and the installation of a new roof. The Library will be open Monday, Thursday, and Friday between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Hawaii agriculture continues to be damaged by an unrelenting drought that has continued into the state’s rainy season. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, less than an inch of rain has fallen so far this year at 13 of 17 monitoring stations across the islands. Maui and the Big Island have been especially hard hit by the drought, requiring heavy irrigation to keep crops viable. North Kohala is the area experiencing the worst of the drought so far this year.
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