After an extremely busy weekend, Maoloka’i Fire Department crews remain on the scene of a suspicious fire near Kauinakakai. Seven units are attending the contained blaze – due to the nature of landscape that could cause it to flare up again with little notice.
There are still no reports of damage to any structures or any injury to people.
Maui Electric Company would like to inform the public that the following areas will be experiencing a planned power outage starting at 9:00AM and ending at 4:00PM today.
Sections off of Hana Hwy. from Ulumalu Rd., including Huelo, Kailua, Keanae, Nahiku, and Kaeleku MM31. MECO is working to meet this timeline and restore electrical service as quickly and safely as possible.
An update will be provided as soon as more information becomes available. We thank you for your patience and understanding.
United Airlines’ has announced today that it will begin non-stop service from Honolulu to our nation’s capital, Washington D.C.’s Dulles International Airport. The new daily route will begin in June 2012, providing an estimated $135 million in visitor spending and $14 million in tax revenue to Hawaii’s economy annually.
Attached and below is a statement from Mike McCartney, president and CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority, regarding the new service.
To view the official United Airlines news release, please click the following link: http://www.united.com/press/detail/0,7056,69315,00.html
Hawaii lawmakers are considering a bill that would ensure taxes on vacation rentals in Hawaii are paid, which could mean $35 million more in state tax collections each year.
The Associated Press reports, via KHON, that the bill before the state House would require the Hawaii transient accommodation taxes be paid even when owners are out-of-state by requiring those nonresident owners to work with licensed real estate brokers and salespeople for short-term rentals of their properties.
HONOLULU – In a united effort, the Hawaii State Senate and the House of Representatives this morning voted to pass Senate Bills 239 and 809. Conference Committees convened two weeks ago to “fast track” both measures that were carried over from the 2011 session.
Senate Bill 809 increases University of Hawaii (UH) authorization to issue revenue bonds from a total principal amount not to exceed $200 million to a total amount not to exceed $300 million to fund UH construction projects, which would stimulate the economy and generate construction jobs. Upon passage of the bill, UH will query the campuses to compile a listing for the use of the appropriation and plans to start projects no later than Spring 2012. One of the projects that will benefit is the Culinary Institute at Kapiolani Community College, which will finally be able to begin construction.
“This bill is in line with the goals of the session, which is to create a win-win situation in job creation and addressing our aging infrastructure,” said Sen. Jill Tokuda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Education.
“I’m very pleased that the Legislature was able to fast track the bill to raise the revenue bond ceiling for the University of Hawaii,” said Rep. Scott Nishimoto, House Chair of the Higher Education Committee. “Not only will it allow the University to move forward on projects to improve the campuses, but it will provide much needed construction jobs to help stimulate the economy.”
Sen. Michelle Kidani, who oversees all the Capital Improvement Program projects for the Senate and serves as Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means, echoed similar sentiments. “This goes along with our belief this session that we should be implementing more Capital Improvement Programs in order to put more people back to work,” she said.
“It’s another tool for the University. We’ve been delegating to them a lot more fiscal flexibility and this revenue bond authorization would allow them to act without legislative approval explicitly,” said Sen. David Y. Ige, Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means. “The University will be able to bring on the projects quicker and a more timely fashion.”
Meanwhile, Senate Bill 239 allows the University of Hawaii’s John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) to continue using the Hawaii Tobacco Settlement Special Fund for the school’s operational expenses. Extending the life of the fund would result in supporting the school’s mission of training physicians.
“This bill allows us to extend the authority for JABSOM to use the Hawaii Tobacco Settlement Fund. This will allow us to grow our own doctors and increase our healthcare providers and address the doctor shortage,” said Tokuda.
“JABSOM is the lifeline for physician providers, so without this bill our healthcare could worsen. We need to show one hundred support for our medical school,” added Sen. Josh Green, M.D., Chair of the Senate Committee on Health.
“JABSOM is a critically important component of Hawaii’s health community,” said Rep. Ryan Yamane, House Chair of the Health Committee. “Even during this challenging economic period, we will continue to work with the medical school to help ensure that their operations are adequately funded.”
The bills will now go to Governor Abercrombie for consideration.
The state of Hawaii has recharged its electric-vehicle rebate program with an additional $150,000 in funding and has extended the deadline for rebates on new electric or plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and chargers another two months.
The deadline for the state’s EV rebate program was pushed to March 31 from the Jan. 31 deadline that had been extended from September, the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism said in a statement.
“The state of Hawaii is definitely becoming a national leader when it comes to the acceptance of vehicles that are 100 percent electric,” said Mark Glick, energy program administrator for the State Energy Office. “With the cost of gas still on the rise, these vehicles offer consumers a cost-effective, long-term advantage.”
The rebates — up to $4,500 for the purchase of an electric vehicle and up to $500 for electric vehicle chargers — are on a first-come, first-served basis and will run through the March 31 deadline or when funds run out, whichever comes first, the state said.
Over the past year, the state has approved 528 rebates for 318 electric vehicles and 210 chargers. The additional funding brings to $303,999 the amount left in the rebate program.
“EV enthusiasts in Hawaii have rewarded automakers for rolling out their new electric vehicles in the Islands,” Dave Rolf, executive director of the Hawaii Automobile Dealers Association, said in a statement, noting that Hawaii had the largest per-capita number of reservations for the Nissan Leaf EV. “The state’s addition of $150,000 in (rebates) for consumers purchasing EVs will help keep the momentum on this important transition to renewable fuels.”
Rebate forms are available on the State Energy Office website at www.electricvehicle.hawaii.gov.
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